Thursday, August 06, 2009

10 Observations from the Rust Belt

I just returned from a week-long trip to rural Indiana. Some observations:

1) Everyone is unemployed and getting (understandably) impatient. Now that the economy is starting to turn the corner, announcing another unemployment benefit extension would be a smart gesture on the part of the Obama administration. There was, however, much celebrating over the success of the Cash-for-Clunkers program.

The reports from the media about Obama's numbers slipping makes sense with what I was hearing from people I talked to-- nearly all of whom voted for him. What the media doesn't report, however, is that as much as people are getting frustrated with Obama, they really, really fucking hate the Republicans. The Congressional speeches that the Southern Republicans like Mitch McConnell made about the domestic auto industry will make it a hard climb for Republicans in the Rust Belt.

2) Places that are green are really awesome. Amazing what water can do.

3) I didn't see a single non-Big Three car once I got outside of Marion County.

4) I saw the funniest use of scare quotes in Zionsville, IN-- a sign was nailed to a telephone pole that said:
"JESUS" is Coming!

5) Fried pork tenderloin sandwiches are outstanding.

6) My parents don't have any internet connection whatsoever; they live way out in the sticks and can't get it. It was nice and strange to be away.

7) An iPod full of NPR podcasts and episodes of Bill Maher's HBO show are great for flying.

8) I had the best Italian-American (or, more aptly, American-Italian) meal in Marion, IN at Rosie's Little Italy. The place has been there for over 50 years and not a damn thing has changed in the interior.

9) The small town of Royal Center has a weekly newspaper called the Royal Center Record. Each week, they publish little bits from editions past. Apparently, about a 100 years ago, some local townsfolk loaded up all the Italians and sent them away on a train. I would love to know more about this incident.

10) It is awesome to fly from California to Indiana through Colorado, knowing that I was in Blue States the whole time.