Europe Can Pack ‘Em In

9 04 2019

Cologne

Explaining the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region to St. Louisans.

First off, Germany has only twice the land area of Missouri, but with 82 million people.  Imagine if Missouri had 41 million people.

The Michelin road atlas of Germany is actually an eight-country atlas.  While it’s only officially advertised as having seven countries, (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland), any map or atlas that shows either all of Switzerland or all of Austria will by necessity show all of Lichtenstein.  And those eight countries have a total combined population of 138 million, all while having a total combined land area less than Texas.

Now for the good stuff, the thought experiment.

Put Cologne Cathedral and the St. Louis Arch in the same space, then keep everything else to scale.

Bonn would be just south of Millstadt, Illinois.  Düsseldorf would be at Pelican Island, the northernmost part of St. Louis County.  Duisburg would be northeast of Godfrey, Illinois.  Essen would be near Brighton, Illinois, and Dortmund would be right about at Gillespie, Illinois.  Mönchengladbach would be north of St. Peters in the Mississippi River valley.  Aachen, while not officially part of The Region, is close enough and historically important enough to mention here;  It would be at Villa Ridge, Missouri, which is the place where Highway 50 splits off of I-44 as Route 50 goes to Washington.

The population of the urbanized parts of The Region is more than ten million.

Expanding out a bit further, Bremen would be around Chenoa, Illinois (northeast of Bloomington), Berlin would be at Ridgeville, Indiana (east of Muncie), Frankfurt would be at Marion, Illinois, and Munich would be at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

And yet, I have to hear the ZOMG WE NEED MORE PEEPHUL LOL~!!!!1 Kuhscheiße in this country and on this continent.

On the other hand, it’s why sky high European gas prices aren’t quite so bad in terms of the household budget of the typical sort of average car owner, if only because people don’t really need to log that many miles in their cars, only because everything is so much closely packed together.  And most German car owners will take the train for out of town trips anyway.  Also my cynicism informs me that high gas prices are a deliberate public policy position, only because traffic in Germany and Europe is already so phlarking bad that if gas were much cheaper, traffic would be impossible on account of all the new cars on the roads.  It’s why, in spite of the reputation that the Autobahns have among Americans, the reality is that barely more than half the system mileage has no legal speed limit anymore, the percentage continues to decline over time, and even where there is no speed limit, it’s not a good idea to floor the gas anyway.  The only difference is because Germans have better lane and spacing discipline than Americans, it means it’s safer to go faster and with more overall throughput.  It is credibly estimated that the 85th percentile, or one standard deviation above the median, speed, on no speed limit Autobahn sections, is 92 miles an hour.

Advertisements




Huh?

20 03 2019

Kirkwood

NYT’s article about Snowplow Parenting and its deleterious effects.

This part:

Carolyn O’Laughlin worked as a director of resident life at Sarah Lawrence and Columbia, and now does a similar job at St. Louis Community College, Meramec. “I don’t talk to parents nearly as much here, where parents are down the street, as I did when the parents were across the country,” she said.

“Resident life?”  When did Meramec get dorms?

I know a lot can happen in two years, but I distinctly remember from talking to people that Meramec nor any other SLCC campus had dorms as late as the 2017 spring semester, and that if they were getting them, it would have been fairly big local news in St. Louis.





Any Given Sunday

3 02 2019

Greetings from Warsaw.

First off, even if I really had an interest to watch the Super Bowl, the kickoff is at 12:30 AM in my time zone, (Poland and Germany are both on UTC+1), and I’ll be well off into log sawing land by then.

But I saw this interesting piece in SI tonight.

This article sits at the intersectionality of what were two of my serial interests, one of which is now hot again:  The Great Stadium Soap Opera of 2015, and what I now term the Louschaltung (portmanteau of St. (LOU)is and Gleichschaltung), the city-county reunification effort.  (Remember, you might not be interested in the Louschaltung, but the Louschaltung is interested in you.)

I might have mentioned here once or twice or 847,295 times, but just in case you either missed it or are new here, I figured from just about the get-go of the North Riverfront stadium proposal at about the start of 2015 that it wasn’t a serious plan, that local and state officials were going through the motions of looking serious about proposing something that smelled like a serious plan to build what seriously could have been a new stadium, because they all knew that Kroenke was going to move the Rams back to L.A., so they wanted to position themselves on the chessboard in such a way that, when what they knew would happen eventually did happen, all the PR splatter and civic anger would splat on Kroenke’s face, and none of it on any elected or non-elected St. Louis civic officials.

From this article, it seems like that effort has massively succeeded, considering the way “Kroenke” is now a cuss word back on the old home city.

The only thing I got wrong in the long term is that I presumed that Kroenke made up his mind about moving the Rams back to L.A. in the spring of 2014, because the whole Donald Sterling non-troversy relating to the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA showed the business community how valuable a Los Angeles based major pro sports franchise can be.  As it turned out, after the move was done, and people started confessing to stuff, Kroenke actually made up his mind in 2012.

Now, as for the matter of the Louschaltung, it says in the SI article that Kroenke’s formal application to the league for relocation:

St. Louis is a misunderstood place, a city that boomed a century ago and then had a lot of things that didn’t break its way. Chicago reversed the flow of its river, sending us its sludge downstream and then outpacing us with growth. Municipal leaders did some disingenuous and stupid things as they drew boundaries, creating this arcane setup where the microscopic city is left with declining population and atrocious schools. Most of what we call St. Louis is actually St. Louis County, in a bizarre twist, and has its own separate set of demographics and statistics more robust than the city’s. All of us former Kool-Aid babies understand this. Kroenke understands this. And then he and the Rams used those quirks and mistakes, twisted those facts, to pave the Rams’ path out of town. In the team’s application to move away, Kroenke and his cronies listed a smattering of stats about the city’s stagnancy—most of which took into account only the city, not the 10-times-larger metro area—to claim a place that had played home to an NFL team for 49 seasons between the Cardinals and Rams couldn’t viably support one.

In reality, those stats were just an excuse, and even if he didn’t list them, the league still would have approved his relocation application.  That’s because Kroenke is among NFL owners the “good cop” to Jerry Jones’s “bad cop,” and the league has wanted a team back in L.A. badly for a long time.  But that’s not quite the point:  The point is as long as “St. Louis” in terms of the city proper is as statistically bad as it is based on the fact that it’s a relatively small entity both geographically and population-wise, it houses a particularly degenerate black undertow, the more of an embarrassment it becomes to everyone in the region, and hurts the metropolitan area’s prospects.  Or so they say.  Which is why, if you look closely enough, you’ll find one of the two real reasons for the Louschaltung is the “big rug” thesis, that is, using the relatively well behaved white people of St. Louis County as statistical cover for the high violent crime, homicide and STD rates for black St. Louis City.





The Steve and Lyda Show’s Official World Premiere

28 01 2019

Downtown;  Clayton

“Better Together” has officially dropped.  (Ch 2, Ch 4, Ch 5, P-D)

I don’t have time to read it, so I’m going to take the St. Louis media’s interpretation at face value, even though I know that’s a bit of a risk.

It is what I’ve been expecting, based on my being able to follow this milieu from almost a front row seat from July 2013 until being so rudely inconvenienced on July 19, 2017.  Yours truly coined the phrase “Steve and Lyda Show” as a clever metonym for the city-county reunification movement the month before being so rudely inconvenienced.

I told you two things about The Steve and Lyda Show all along, even long before I called it that:

(1)  The all but totally unspoken reason for it is that the insurance industry wants the St. Louis City based 22nd Missouri state judicial circuit gone, because St. Louis City juries are known for sticking it to da man, i.e. anyone with more than two nickels to rub together.  Insurance industry funded research into “judicial hellholes” show St. Louis City/22nd as the or close to the worst “judicial hellhole” in the country.  This purpose I know from my days of having that almost a front row seat, but is not obvious even to outsiders who pay close attention.

(2)  Outsiders who have paid close attention long enough know the other reason why reunification is desired in certain circles:  Crime.  Not in terms of making it better in actuality, but it terms of statistically making it disappear.  Reunification means combining city and county in terms of a law enforcement agency, judicial circuit, and most importantly, crime reporting.  What it really means is that puffing up the denominator of what is legally considered “St. Louis” using the relatively well behaved white people of St. Louis County as statistical cover in order to reduce the homicide, violent crime and STD rate for “St. Louis.”  This way, “St. Louis” will no longer be at or near the top of the annual surveys for worst violent crime, worst homicide or worst STD cities.  Because, sometimes the solution to dirty floors is a bigger rug.

Now that you know, in case you didn’t already, that the real purposes of reunification are helping the insurance industry and covering city black violence with a rug, let’s look at what Better Together officially proposes to do and explicitly proposes not to do:

* Create a single judicial circuit for the unified entity
* Create a single civic government for the unified entity
* Create a unified law enforcement agency for the unified entity
* Leave existing fire departments in place (Legalese:  The STLFD would be legally redefined as its own “fire protection district” within the unified entity)
* Leave existing school districts in place

Well, well, well.

Everything I’ve been saying, and then some.

Leaving the school districts in place means that white voters in what are still majority white school districts in St. Louis County, the Mehlville to Parkway belt, and everything in between, won’t have to worry that reunification will mean mashing up all the school districts into one big super giant district and therefore requiring “intra”-district race-based deseg within the hypothetically unified entity wide district.  And leaving the fire departments in place I suspect is designed to leave the STLFD in place, for the purposes of affirmative action.  The schools thing and the fire department thing being left out is designed to create as few reasons as possible for anyone to vote against and to mobilize against B/T.

Public employees for St. Louis City and the many municipalities in St. Louis County have a direct incentive to oppose Better Together, and bet on hearing them make some level of noise.  But, like I said, this is really being done at the behest of the insurance industry (hint:  Rex Sinquefield is a B/T donor), so it’s time for the sworn political superpower enemy of the insurance industry, which is the trial lawyer industry, to get it in gear.  Most of the noise that St. Louisans and Missourians (statewide, because it will take a statewide vote on a Constitutional amendment to make it happen) hear in opposition to this will be funded by the trial lawyer lobby from behind the curtains.  They want to save the 22nd Circuit, for the same reason the insurance lobby wants it gone.

In summary, St. Louis City and St. Louis County are about to become a big public battlefield in the long raging covert/clandestine war between insurance and trial lawyers, a war that usually only rages in the niches of electoral and interest group politics.

Ironically, I write this tonight from Berlin, which is not only its own city, but also its own state.





The Gardner Bypass Project

22 01 2019

Jefferson City;  Downtown St. Louis

I see the news back home today continues to serve as the Blogmeister Vindication Service.

Me, October 30, 2016:

As you know, the only other corporeal person I filled in a circle next to other than Trump any time this year was Josh Hawley in AG-R back in August, as I dislike and distrust the party establishment favored candidate, State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, from Columbia, that much.  I wasn’t so much voting for Hawley, even though he does have some decent instincts and positions, as much as I was voting against Schaefer.  As it turned out, Hawley wiped the floor with Schaefer on primary day.

Even though I previously had no intention to do so, after thinking it through, I’m going to vote for him on Tuesday, and he’ll be the only other person I vote for affirmatively other than Trump on my ballot.  And, as it was back in August, my vote for him won’t be so much a vote for him as it is a vote with another circumstance in mind.  And what is that other circumstance?  It was the outcome of another election that same day back in August.  That being the Democrat Primary (i.e. the whole election, in essence) for St. Louis City Circuit Attorney.  The George Soros and Lizz Brown favored candidate of Kim Gardner won, which means she’s going to be wielding the power of state prosecution in the city of St. Louis for the next four years.  What that means is that she won’t prosecute black crime, she’ll overprosecute white people, and especially chimp out when it comes to cops and especially white cops.

Josh Hawley isn’t all that much less the bag of chips, but we’re probably going to need him in the AG office to keep Kim Gardner in check, and to yank her choke chain from time to time, and if worse comes to worst, have the state AG’s office and the assistant state AGs prosecute garden variety black street crime in St. Louis that Gardner won’t.  If the Democrat wins state AG, that being Teresa Hensley, she’ll let Gardner have the run of the joint.

Hawley won, then won Senate, and His Accidency bumped Eric Schmitt, who also won Treasurer on the same slate Hawley won AG, got bumped up to AG.  And I’m guessing by now, without looking it up, that Parson has appointed someone to take Schmitt’s place as Treasurer and his own place as Lieutenant Governor.  That means that Jay Ashcroft is the only statewide executive office holder who actually won an election for the office he’s in.  All the rest of them are accidencies.

Anyway, back to the subject matter.

Channel 2, today:

Missouri attorney general to unveil Safe Cities Initiative

The Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt will be making a special announcement Tuesday, January 22 to make St. Louis a safer place for all.

Schmitt believes he has the answer to affect crime in St. Louis` and Missouri for that matter and he`s calling it the Safe Cities Initiative.

The press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Old Post Office Building at 815 Olive St. in St. Louis, Missouri.

According to the attorney general’s office, “The initiative will aim to cut down on alarming violent crime rates in Missouri’s cities by facilitating unprecedented cooperation between the Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

St. Louis City ended 2018 with 187 homicides and currently, there are about 8 homicides in 2019. St. Louis County, has seen their highest homicide rate with 58 in 2018 and currently, this year reports show police are investigating three homicides.

These numbers may be alarming for some and that is why the Missouri Attorney General says he wants to change that.

Translation:

Schmitt is building a bypass around Gardner in the city, and now Wesley Bell in the county.

I wonder if Gardner and Bell will understand this for the diss that it is.





Local Boy Does Good (“Was Ist Diese Flagge?”)

8 12 2018

Düsseldorf

Remember this flag I brought with me on the move?

I told you I brought it with me because I figured I’d have a use for it.  And that I did, yesterday, in Düsseldorf.

Over the summer voyage, I found that Bremen is the German city that most holistically reminds me of St. Louis.  During our day there, I saw in the local media that the soccer team in town not long before that signed an 18-year old native St. Louisan by the name of Josh Sargent, grew up in St. Charles County, and he is indeed a rookie on the team this season.  He started the season on the club’s kinda-sorta JV squad (U-23), but was just recently called up to the big team.

The way the German Soccer Bundesliga works is the way most countries’ soccer club leagues work, in that every team in the league plays one game at home and one on the road against every other team.  The Region here has five teams in the league:  Mönchengladbach, Düsseldorf, Leverkusen, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund, the latest being the best team in the league so far this year.  The Bundesliga is basically a two-team league, Munich and Dortmund, and Munich is having a down year by its standards this season, after having won the league for the last 87 years in a row, so this opens up the door for Dortmund.  Incidentally, Leverkusen is where Bayer is based, and Bayer sponsors the team — I wonder if part of the deal is free aspirin for the players for getting headaches because of all the time bouncing soccer balls off their heads.

Furthermore, the second tier soccer league in Germany, called Zweite Bundesliga (“Zweite” = Second), has three teams in the region:  Cologne, Duisburg and Bochum.  Meaning combining both top and second leagues, there are eight soccer teams, just here in my 10 million population region.  Promotion and relegation of teams up and down among tiers and classes of leagues is the device that contributes to some semblance of parity in sports cultures that use that system and within leagues.  The United States doesn’t have P&R on the pro level, so back home, what enforces parity is the reverse standings amateur draft, and of course, amateur drafts don’t exist in P&R cultures at all.

Anyway, this means that Bremen is making five trips to The Region this season, to play their one away game against each of the five teams here.

I fully intended to go to one, but it was just a matter of timing:  Whether I had something else and more important to do, and whether Sargent was promoted to the big club.  Bremen’s game at Dortmund doesn’t happen until May, and Dortmund tickets are really hard to get, being as the team is so good.  (Though right now, because some fans are on strike against going to the games because they have a burr up their saddle about Monday night games, for some reason, that’s not so true at the moment.)

All the stars lined up yesterday, for Bremen’s game at Düsseldorf.  So I went.

The only X-Factor was whether Sargent would start, and if he didn’t, whether he would get in the game as an in-game substitution.

As luck had it, while the former didn’t happen, the latter did.  It was his first playing time in the Bundesliga.  Even better, he scored a late game goal in Bremen’s 3-1 win.

When Sargent’s entry into the game was announced, I yelled out “YO JOSH” from where I was sitting, and waved my St. Louis flag.  Unfortunately, he didn’t hear me, even though a lot of people around me did.  Not a surprise that my voice didn’t make it that far away or down:  One thing that became perfectly evident about German professional soccer games is that the crowd is constantly and steadily loud, with only a few breaks of being a little less loud, then getting ear splitting when someone scores a goal.  The way I figure, at this game, around 40% of the crowd were Bremen fans, even though it was an away game for them.  Then again, it’s not a long haul between one city and another in Germany.  That, and Düsseldorf is in last place, so I’m sure their fans were in a ticket-unloading mood — Which is how I was able to score one myself so easily.

Naturally, there was a lot of curiosity about the piece of cloth on a stick I was carrying around.  And I anticipated there would be.  Lots of people were carrying and waving lots of flags, but Germans don’t get the opportunity to see the flag of the city of St. Louis every day.

While High German is not that morphologically similar to English, some words and phrases are just obvious.  Such as an interrogatory directed my way quite a few times during my several hours at the stadium in Düsseldorf:

Was Ist Diese Flagge?

Before going to the game, I pre-loaded the Wikipedia pages for both St. Louis and Sargent into tabs of the browser (Brave) on my sail foam.  So that when I was inevitably asked about the flag, all I had to do was pull out my foam and my passport and do a lot of pointing, to make it understood that I was there to show out for the homeboy.

Because he and I have something in common:  We’re both St. Louisans trying to make our career bones in Germany.

 

 





If St. Louis Was Its Own Country, He Would Be Getting an Official State Funeral

26 11 2018

CWE;  Belleville

I’ve thought all my life that professional wrestling is hokum, but I’m just old enough to have remembered Wresting at the Chase being on Channel 11 and Larry Matysik announcing.

My bet is that his family’s original last name is Matosich, or something similar, Croatian in origin.

He was on the Belleville PD before he started with WATC.