Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Smartass w/ bass and sax
I'll be reading at tomorrow night's "Jazz and the Spoken Word" event at The Jazz Factory: Event cancelled because of slippery iciness. Stay tuned for rescheduledment.

"Jazz and The Spoken Word returns with a FREE night of music and readings. Writers and poets from around the region read from their works. Bassist Brian Vinson and saxophonist Jacob Duncan provide the jazz improvisation. Don’t miss Jazz & The Spoken Word, now in its fourth season at The Jazz Factory. We open the doors for dinner at 5 p.m. The readings start at 7:30 p.m."

The Jazz Factory is in the Glassworks Building at 8:15 W. Market. Free parking across the street. I'm scheduled to go on first (at 7:30). I would love to see you there.

McCain '08
Like Hope,
But Different

Welp's Louisville, from LEO 2.6.2008

At last, a president who doesn't resemble my uncle
It looks like we're finally going to elect a president who doesn't reflect my privileged, status and I am psyched! As a straight, white, middle-class male, doors have pretty much always swung right open for me. And I'm not going to lie to you, it's been sweet. I never have problems getting served in restaurants and I have full salary parity with males in my profession. Oh, and I can live anywhere I want. Anywhere! It's been pretty awesome.

But, it's getting old always nailing the job interview and getting the promotion, while never getting groped by co-workers or insulted on YouTube by Kramer from Seinfeld. Plus, I only know, like, one guy who's even in jail. One! Can you believe it?

But once Hillary or Obama gets in the White House, things are going to change. And one of those two is definitely going to be our next president. I mean, the Republicans don't even seem to be trying. John McCain and Mitt Romney – are you kidding me? It's like the Republicans want to lose.

Anyway, if the next president is Hillary, things will change, that's for sure. Like, I'll probably start doing more chores around the house. That will be good for me. Build my character. Frankly, it's a little embarrassing sitting on my ass on the couch, just because I'm a dude. It probably wouldn't kill me to actually have to think up something smart to say in meetings instead of always getting the floor just because my generative glands are outside my body cavity, either. Also, maybe I'll finally get around to reading the Brontë sisters.

But I think Barack Obama's going to be our next president. He's going to be impossible to vote against, even for many Republicans, who understand it's the least they can do after foisting the historic, shameful George W. Bush nightmare on people of color the entire world over. Not only is Obama brilliant and dashing and Kennedyizzle (the handsome, lithe Kennedys of the sixties, not the bloated, red-faced, inbred Kennedys of the noughties), but just listening to him talk makes you feel all squishy inside, like that time in middle school when you got a SweeTart from the teacher for answering all the test questions right, and you did it without cheating and the teacher was hot. Barack Obama is walking serotonin.

So how will things be different under President Obama when there's no more racism? I guess I'll get more traffic tickets, since the cops won't be so busy pulling over African Americans just because they're black. That seems like a small price to pay so that millions of people can get access to healthcare, education, insurance, housing, childcare, clean air, clean water, crime-free neighborhoods, bank loans at fair-market rates, hope as a birthright and groceries. Oh, and as veep, Oprah will totally Renuzit any lingering Cheney cooties.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've been anticipating that any day now racism and sexism were going to end and the picnic would be over for us white guys. And damned if it isn't finally going to happen. I'm stoked about the prospect of being judged by the content of my character instead of the color of my skin or the existence of my balls. And I'm totally up for relating to a president who's not a pasty-faced, privileged cracker-man like me (not counting Barack's white half and Hillary's Wellesley/Yale background). So count me in, as America finally wakes up and elects a leader who can't possibly do any worse than the 230-year shitstorm perpetrated by privileged white guys.

Rename this column
It's come to my attention that, as much as I deeply love this city, I don't technically "own" Louisville. Also, a reader suggested that I write more about national issues, and the other reader said, "sure, whatever." Therefore, the name "Welp's Louisville" -- like "Visigoth's Corner" and "Blogging Plessy v. Ferguson" before it -- has become obsolete. Won't you help me rename this column? Please send your suggestions to jim welp at gmail dot com. Thank you.
What a Week, 2/6

- 2
In yet another whiny speech about how broke the Commonwealth is, Governor C. Montgomery Beshear proposed an "austere" budget that'll put such a hurt on us that we'll be dying (some literally, others illiterately) to vote for casino gambling and toll bridges. To make up the current $580ish-million budget shortfall, higher education, roads, and social services will feel the most pain, while Medicaid and public schools will get off a little easier.

+ 4
One possible revenue source is a proposed 70-cent cigarette tax boost, which would generate about $200 million per year and save countless lives but that's a brilliant idea so it has almost no chance of passing. What the anti-tax zealots won't say is that at $3 billion per year in health care and $550 million in Medicaid, tobacco is Kentucky's number-one health care expense, so not raising the tax is also kind of a tax, only more expensive and deadlier.

- 2
The glass-half-full version of that last stat is this: hospitals are Kentucky's 7th-largest industry, according to a U of L study. So, hey, killing ourselves is good for business!

+ 3
With its heroic desegregation system famously screwed by the Supreme Court, Jefferson County Public Schools approved a plan to temporarily assign students according to geography instead of race next year, which will serve to keep schools integrated without using race as the benchmark because our city itself is so heartbreakingly segregated. The compromise reassignment impacts only elementary schools, and should keep 93% of families where they want to be and the other 7% constantly calling talk radio and posting insightful comments like "YUR A MORAN!!" online.

What a Week, 1/30

- 25
Times are turbulent. Last week, the stock market fluctuated more wildly than Mitt Romney's position on abortion and, in response, the fed took a knife to interest rates like an emo kid on prom night. Sphincters clenched across Possibility City as Louisville unemployment rose to 5.4%, Ford announced more buyouts, homeowners saw home prices plummeting, the state killed its student-loan-forgiveness program, you really wanted a cigarette, and your sumpin'-sumpin' secretly worried that hooking up with you was a horrible mistake.

+ 10
But take heart, intrepid Possibility Citizen. Your gummint totally knows what to do: Shut you up with a bribe. The Criminal-in-Chief and Congress agreed on a stimulus plan that will hook tax-rebate electrodes to the economy's nipples to the tune of about $600 per person, hoping you'll hand it over to Home Depot, which will totally fix everything, in the way Ambien fixes everybody but Heath Ledger. Checks will arrive in May.

- 11
And one Kentuckian who can use the rebate bucks is Paducah activist Heather Ryan, who mysteriously got fired from her job at a cinema after she tried to videotape Mitch McConnell awkwardly not answering her questions about the Iraq war. In a statement, McConnell didn't say, "Just because I cured cancer and saved the environment doesn't mean I'm not a dick."

+ 7
So yes, it sucks to be you, but at least when you get old and can't remember anything but the lyrics to "Anyone Else But You," maybe a nursing-home attendant will change your Depends, thanks to Kentucky Rep. Carl Rollins' House Bill 109, which would require proper staffing for nursing homes and remedy the current Cuckoo's Nest state of affairs.


- 21
What a Week, 1/23

It's sweet to see the hometown on top in anything green and that's what happened when recyclers ECO-CELL listed Louisville #1 in the US in cell-phone recycling at North American zoos. The Louisville Zoo recycled 3051 cell phones in '07, earning kudos from green groups and gorillas.

What do you do when your Representatives pass a bill that would save countless miners' lives? If you're President Bush, you threaten a veto. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. John Yarmuth, would toughen laws that protect miners against the wishes of coal barons, who along with oil barons, pretty much own the Bush White House. The bill now moves to the Senate (also overseen by energy tycoons).

The proverb that says "may you live in times when TV is interesting" has never been more painful, thanks to the writer's strike. But the action could get interesting if Anne Northup runs against Rep. John Yarmuth. Northup, twice-quarantined by voters, teased the electorate about a possible run. Conservatives who would love to vote for the woman who spent an excruciating decade in Congress, progressives who enjoy sticking a fork in the expired, and the advertising industry all await with bated breath.

With US economic nipples squooshed inside Iraq-war channellocks, the $4.2 gajillion Louisville bridges project nowadays garners warm chuckles. But once the laughter dies, the word "toll" sexily spills over lips, especially the pouty maws of Transportation Secretary Joe Prather and Kentucky Senator David Williams. The state, which is awesome at conducting studies, is studying the feasibility of toll funding. Meanwhile, Williams has filed a bill to give local authorities more control to fund projects they can't afford.