Sam Burnham, Curator
As the longest partial shutdown of the Federal Government in history continues there’s a lot of y’all about the economic impact as well as the reduced services available to the American people.
I heard earlier that the impact on the Washington area alone is now over $2 billion and increasing by well over $1 million a day. This is the result of a shutdown of approximately 25% of the Federal Government. That means about 75% is still going like normal. And there is still this level of disruption.
There’s a lot of talk in the media about furloughed workers, economic impacts, and ways to end the shutdown and prevent future closures.
One thing I’ve yet to hear is any meaningful attention being given to the fact that the Federal Government is just way too big, that we’re spending way too much money on it, and that we’ll never get out of $21 trillion of debt with such a behemoth gobbling borrowed money as hard as it can go.
Here is but one example:
During the shutdown, no new craft beers can be introduced. That’s because the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is not open to process any new applications for such. I’d never even heard of that agency before last week. The TTB has over 500 employees and is a bureau of the Treasury. They’re responsible for collecting taxes on alcohol and tobacco, including imports. Over 500 people responsible for products I can produce without leaving my back yard. Why does the government even need to be involved? This group isn’t even monitoring safety or quality, that falls under the FDA.
This is called overreach. It’s called tyranny.
With that, I ask the question the media isn’t asking. Which furloughed agencies should be permanently shuttered? Which parts of the government are redundant, unconstitutional, inefficient, better handled on the state or local level, or just ill-advised? Which parts can we live without? Which parts should we live without?
Sam Burnham, Curator
During the on-field celebration following last Monday’s college football championship game, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made a statement that at laughed at then, and I’m still chuckling about it today. While giving the layout of where all the season had carried his team he commented they ended up “...here in wherever the heck California we are...”
That’s a typical description of the places we tend to love. “Middle of nowhere.” “BFE.” “The sticks.” “Wherever the heck this place is.” “I hear banjos.”
And looking at Santa Clara, I get it. It’s the home of the San Francisco 49ers. But it’s not really close to San Fran. It’s called “The Bay Area,” but so is Oakland...which isn’t nearby either. Looking at the growth and development on the satellite imagery, I can imagine it’s hard to tell where one City ends and another begins. It’s just one big mass of development from wall to wall and then wall to wall again.
But we never equate development with desolation. That’s reserved for the natural or agricultural places. We never see the pervailing perspective equate apartment complexes and shopping malls as “nowhere,” even if they add less character than a tree or a pond. That’s odd.
But Dabo was born and raised in Alabama. He grew up in Pelham, which has grown significantly in recent years but Shelby County is not “The Bay Area” now and certainly wasn’t when Dabo was growing up. Now he recruits for his program, often in small Southern towns that would have city folks describing as “Wherever we are South Carolina.”
And so we got the special treat of seeing a Central Alabama native turned foothills of South Carolina football coach give us the inverse of the prevailing perspective. For once, a high-priced California city got to be “the middle of nowhere.
Sam Burnham, Curator
As I’m looking over the reports of a major sewer failure in Cobb County, I can’t help but think of all the ramifications. With WSB reporting that everything being flushed in Cobb County is going straight into the Chattahoochee as raw sewage, let’s take a look.
The county said drinking water is not affected by this spill. And I’m sure their drinking water isn’t. But the drinking water of people in counties in three states lies just downstream. The bacteria and unthinkable debris is being washed right on down into reservoirs and fisheries between Six Flags and Apalachicola, Florida.
When we face off against Alabama and Florida in the ongoing water wars, these are the things that give us a bad name. The inability of urban and suburban counties to handle their resource infrastructure is just one reason we oppose developments like Norfolk-Southern and Amazon. Metro Atlanta is gobbling up land and resources and literally bleeding filth - raw sewage, coal ash, air pollution, and refuse bound for landfills.
The river is home to fish that are good for food, as well as sport. Deer, turkey, and other game animals rely on the river for water. Thousands of acres of crops may be irrigated by this water. West Point, Oliver, Walter F. George, and Seminole are Lakes that lie in the path of this spill. The whitewater course in Columbus could feel an impact. The
But don't worry, Cobb County’s drinking water is safe.
When a sparsely populated and impoverished South Georgia county needs to close a voting precinct or two it becomes major national news. But now Cobb County, a shopping Mecca, home of the Braves, Six Flags, and Kennesaw State University just spills every gallon of feces and urine, all manner of used birth control contrivances, sanitary products, anything that might wind up in a sanitary sewer, in the major river of west Georgia, it’s all good.
Again, Cobb County’s drinking water is fine.
Georgia deserves better. The South deserves better. Cobb is putting the ‘filthy’ back into ‘filthy rich.’ We need to be demanding that counties and municipalities, especially the wealthy metro ones, do what it necessary to protect our natural resources from filth, refuse, pollution, and ruin.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire