Sometimes I Hate My Country

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Why? From the Hoosier state:

State homeland security officials have warned Vermillion County to stop using electronic emergency message boards to advertise fish fries, spaghetti dinners and other events.

Homeland Security, which bought the 11 signs for $300,000, said the county could risk losing federal money. The county has stopped using the signs for the community announcements, and commissioners plan discuss the matter next week.

The president of the County Commissioners said Homeland Security is interfering with local governing.

"We run the county," Commissioner Tim Wilson said. "We make decisions to run the county on what's best for us. Did we misuse (the signs)? Or did we just run the county as we saw fit?"

Local officials say residents enjoyed the advertisements.

Goddamn.

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  1. Our phone here in the bowels of Sinincincinnati rang at 2:30 AM this morn for an “amber alert.”
    I know it’s all about the children, but fuck ’em at that time in the AM.

  2. The toxicology lab in my state is overcrowded and takes almost a year to turn around specimens, with dramatic delays in autopsy reports and forensic investigations as a result.

    In the same building is a lab funded by the homeland security department to perform analyses in case of attack by chemical weapons. It consists of nine people who sit around all day doing nothing, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of analysis equipment, sitting idle.

  3. Just imagine how many emergencies were kept from the public so they could advertise their little fish fries, spaghetti dinners and other events.

  4. AML:

    PLEASE tell me you are yanking the wank there — there just cannot be that kind of disconnect between actual, real, legitimate government functions and a homeland security porkfest.

  5. “We run the county,” Commissioner Tim Wilson said. “We make decisions to run the county on what’s best for us.”

    Ha ha ha. When you take the Fed’s coin, you dance to their tune. This is the insidiousness of the Federal assistance carrot-and-stick game: as soon as you accept the assistance, they can tell you what to do (*cough* public schools *cough*).

  6. JAT:

    We’re talking bureaucracy here, and don’t yoi forget it!

  7. Meaning to say “you” rather than “yoi”. And to hell with this thing that prevents me from quickly correcting my self-inflicted errors.

    n an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I’ve enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

  8. I don’t see what’s wrong with it, If it’s for “Homeland Security” use only, it will rarely, if ever, be used. No need for it to just sit there.

    If you take the federal handout, they want power over you in return.

    They used federal highway funds to blackmail the state to raising their drinking age to 21.

    They got their hands on the schools systems through funds they give.

    If you take the handout, you owe them. It’s like the mob.

  9. If you take the handout, you owe them. It’s like the mob.

    Federal money is like heroin!

  10. Well, Vermillion County, Indiana was very high on the target list. But I hear they have signs? Call it off. Curse you again Homeland Security!

  11. These signs are to be used only in emergencies, to notify the public of threat levels.

    If past practice is any guide, that would mean just before an election.

  12. I’m not sure if either of these premises is true, but I think both may be:

    1. The damaging effects of a disaster will be less if emergency information is communicated to motorists via these signs.

    2. Motorists who are used to seeing advertising on these signs will be less likely to notice emergency messages (banner blindness, as web marketers call it).

    If both statements are true, why shouldn’t Homeland Security require that they be used as intended?

  13. The framing of the post seems a little hyperbolic. I would save the “hate my country” and “Goddamn” for bigger fish. I mean, if *this* makes you hate your country and swear, I’d hate to see your reaction to, say, an average post at The Agitator. I envision your head exploding in flames.

  14. Not here to defend Homeland security pork but since when does a supposed libertarian publication endorse using $3 Million in federal funds to to advertise fish fries? Have we stepped through the looking glass?

  15. JAT,
    Nope, I’m not making it up. They just sit there, calibrate their machines, and wait for a ricin attack that will never come. To do anything else would be a misappropriation of federal funds.

  16. eb, the looking glass has stepped through us. You ain’t the only one to notice.

  17. You hate your country?!!

    Commie, commie! Traitor to our country!
    That’ll show you Taylor!

  18. Ramon Colombo, director of Vermillion County Emergency Management, said sponsors of a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and an elementary school carnival reported larger-than-normal turnouts after message board ads.

    So apparently peopleare reading the signs, not unusual for community notices in a small town.

    And running the notices is a good way to make sure the signs are working and to maintain the proficiency of the operators.

    Otherwise you end up with Fed mandated “This is a test of the emergency broadcast system” messages, that folks learn to totally ignore.

  19. [S]ince when does a supposed libertarian publication endorse using $3 Million in federal funds to to advertise fish fries?

    Well from a libertarian perspective, I’d say, the 3 Million is already a waste of federal funds, so it might as well be used for something else. That’s my take.

  20. Not here to defend Homeland security pork but since when does a supposed libertarian publication endorse using $3 Million in federal funds to to advertise fish fries? Have we stepped through the looking glass?

    It’s bad enough to have spent the $3 mil. The kicker is to spend the money and never put the toy to use. I’ll bet what happens is that the sign is never actually used to warn of security emergencies, and is replaced with a bigger, better, costlier system that will be just as good at never actually warning anyone of security emergencies.

  21. Hey, by preventing the VFDs from advertising their spaghetti fund-raiser by using the signs, which are just sitting there, doing nothing, the Feds are starving our vital first-responders of the funds they need to do their important jobs!

    I know, my fingers almost cramped-up as I typed that.

    In other voluntary fundraising by food news, a local district attorney in Wisconsin is planning on supplementing his dept.’s budget by holding bratwurst fries. It will probably work. We love our sausage, even if it’s chorizo.

    Kevin

  22. “So apparently peopleare reading the signs, not unusual for community notices in a small town.

    And running the notices is a good way to make sure the signs are working and to maintain the proficiency of the operators.

    Otherwise you end up with Fed mandated “This is a test of the emergency broadcast system” messages, that folks learn to totally ignore.”

    How about this, when a county can order up free signs that are designed for emergency use, and use them to advertise their fundraisers, perhaps they’ll be motivated to request them even though they really have no need.

    Has anybody stopped to wonder where all this money that has been wasted on unneeded crap with HS has gone? I would guess a lot has beeen to counties that have Fish Fry signs sitting in the town square, or their own variation of the same situation.

  23. In a small town near me they used $300,000 of
    Homeland security money to build a new social hall. I guess everyone can run there when the terrorist hoards come running over the Pennsylvainia hilltops. I can sleep good at night in the knowledge that I am being “protected” from terrorism by competent (idiots)security personnel. I hope that they raise my taxes for more “protection”.

  24. So unless there’s a gigantic flashing red light on top that only activates when something important actually happens, they’ll just drive on by without reading it like they do every other day.

    I understand, but state, local, and federal government is like the boy who cried wolf anyway so even things like Amber Alerts are pretty much ignored by the populace. A posted message is at best going to be twenty or thirty minutes behind the emgergency response personnel anyway. All a sign is going to do is reduce a little bit of inconvenience. It’s like the old civil defense tests on TV years ago, just a prompt to change the channel. “If this had been an actual emergency, TV and radio news would have been all over it and there wouldn’t be an irritating sound for 60 seconds.”

    Vermillion County knows it’s all BS, the scary part is the sheer number of ideological nutjobs in the DHS.

  25. Hit & Run should change it’s name to “Mountians & Molehills”…you guys apparently can’t tell the difference.

  26. “5 Year Old Tiffany Smith has been abducted by her father and is believed to be heading for the state line. Looks like she’ll miss out on the buckwheat pancake breakfast at the Elk’s Lodge tomorrow!”

    Amber’s been pretty successful in smaller states where the route over the border are limited. Her in CT we’ve had a few abducters give themselves up after seeing their car description flash on the overhead sighs multiple times, and sitting in traffic doesn’t help either.

  27. Troll Dan—

    If they can’t tell the difference, how would they differentiate in order to name the blog both words? If you think an apple and an apple tree are the same, how would you have two words for it?

  28. Oh.

    So I guess no one in Libertopia needs to be reminded when and where to find the government-endorsed weekly fish fry.

    You selfish, heartless fucks.

  29. Like many irresposible small towns they see $$$ (grants) and go after it, “if you don’t use it someone else will”, grab and run. Someone probably got kudos for getting the sign. If you extrapolate that small town to D.C. you would have the same wasteful crap going on and they would be still saying “we run the countRy”. Greed, quest for power is innate.

    The article is void of information and full of drama, even the title.

  30. yeah. “Thanks” there DanT. Just because it’s flat in this part of the midwest, and a highway off ramp doubles as a “ski resort”, no need to rub it in.

    hrumphingly,
    VM

  31. Ruthless – are you serious about the amber alert thing? You actually get phone calls from an automated service about this?

  32. Troll Dan—

    If they can’t tell the difference, how would they differentiate in order to name the blog both words? If you think an apple and an apple tree are the same, how would you have two words for it?

    What I’m suggesting is that the H&R bloggers know that both mountians and molehills exist, they just can’t distinguish between the two.

  33. I think “Osama” has it right. Why the fuck does Vermillion County have $300,000 worth of DHS money for emergency signs in the first place?

    Here’s what your $300,000 is doing: in the event of a terrorist attack, people will be warned and presumably instructed on where to drive to get away. I’m guessing the people there know the one or two roads that lead out of town already, and most probably have cars equipped with radios. But I could be wrong.

    As far as the likelihood of a single life being saved (or rather, prolonged) among it’s 16,500 population, Vermillion county has Indiana’s largest concentration of citizens 65 and over, and contains such targets as Cayuga, Highland, and Fairview Park.

    Info about the county here Another case where I fear the poor judgment of my own government more than I do the evil intentions of the terrorists.

  34. “What I’m suggesting is that the H&R bloggers know that both mountians and molehills exist, they just can’t distinguish between the two.”

    Nothing quite like being condescended to by a dumbass.

  35. TERRE HAUTE…INDIANA [Terre Haute melts off of map]

    Aww, and they were just about to get a new public library!

  36. In the rural area where I live, the volunteer fire departments depend for hose and Nomex money on fish fries, spaghetti feeds, and of course the world-famous Redwood Coast Fire Deparment Pig and Lamb Roast.

    In other words, those community events could well be contributing to emergency readiness.

  37. Hoake, Crimethink, you get major props for that reference. One of the best movies. Ever.

    (points appreciatively in recognition of a great play)

  38. Wouldn’t the obvious raison d’etre for the Vermillion County signs be to direct a horde fleeing a Sears Tower collapse (or St Lawrence cargo ship suitcase nuke) from the Chicago area?

    Why did DHS let the county have control of these signs when it seems like either the state Dept of Transportation or a multistate consortium such as: http://www.i95coalition.org would be both more logical as well more focused on the goal?

  39. Um, Keith – I see from your email that you’re in Western NY. I am a Hamilton grad, so I think I know where you’re coming from.

    Newport, Indiana is nowhere near Chicagoland. It is about 150 miles away or so. It’s on I 74 (or thereabouts). (“About three hours away by car”)

    And, similarily, Newport (and Vermillion County,Indiana) is nowhere near the Lake.

    It would be a good westward-ho evac route out of Indianapolis, since it’s around 80-100 miles away. It’s also close to Chambana (about 50 miles or so, max), so horny Illini could swarm to the hooters in Indy! Or Gen Con!

    It’s also about 150 miles from our capital in Springfield, so…

    (The Authorities would like to assure you that the Moose has been beaten with a beenie baby as a result of his glib posting.)

    Finally, looking at the last line in the article, “The Cayuga volunteer fire department, where Wilson is chief, used the messages to promote its fish fry.” I can assure that it’s a different Cayuga that you’re used to.

    (The Authorities wish to assure you that we’ve now bludgeoned him severely with his blow-up Noam Chomsky Doll, and we’ve taken away his leather-bound copy of “Heather Has Two Mommies” (the edition with the sweaty pillow fight scene on page 69. He will behave henceforth!)

    But the original point is this: Vermillion County, Indiana is no where near any evac route from Chicagoland.

    (signed)
    A Whomped Moose

  40. What I’m suggesting is that the H&R bloggers know that both mountians and molehills exist, they just can’t distinguish between the two.

    Again, this makes no sense; how can you know that two separate things exist and not be able to distinguish between the two? If I am looking at both and am unable to distinguish between the two, then I would call them the same thing.

  41. A little nitpick. The signs were funded by the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) which is a DoD Program, not a Homeland Security (DHS) Program. The program predates DHS by at least a decade. They are there to alert resident if there is an emergency at Newport Chemical Depot.

  42. “We run the county,” Commissioner Tim Wilson said. “We make decisions to run the county on what’s best for us. Did we misuse (the signs)? Or did we just run the county as we saw fit?”

    I’d have a lot more sympathy with the guy if his main argument weren’t, “But we’re the government! How can anyone question what we do?”

    Perhaps a better justification would be something like this:

    “Holy crap, what’s with these guys? They spent $300 grand on emergency signs in Sleepy McPodunkville, and they don’t want us to put them to use in between the once-in-a-blue-moon emergencies. It’s not as if we’re going to advertise fish-fries when the nukes are dropping, is it?”

  43. Blue moons (two full moons in the same month) are considerably more common than homeland security emergencies.

  44. Well, in terms of terrorist homeland security issues, you’re right, but I figure these things are also tied into the Emergency Broadcast System, which goes off all the time for weather alerts.

  45. For me, the best thing about these forums is that they sometimes bring me news I might otherwise never hear about, and provoke thoughts and perspectives outside the ordinary. This thread has got me thinking, really, really seriously, about fried fish for supper tonight.

  46. “We run the county,” Commissioner Tim Wilson said. “We make decisions to run the county on what’s best for us.”

    Sorry, Indiana, but that’s MY sign you’re screwing around with. Not yours. Where do I live? Seattle. That’s why it’s MY sign.

    However, if we want to sit down and have a civil debate about whether or not the signs should have been bought in the first place (they shouldn’t have ) I’m happy to discuss that, too.

  47. Local officials say residents enjoyed the advertisements.

    So what? Local residents here in Seattle are probably going to enjoy a $4 billion(scratch), $6 billion(scratch), $10 billion(scratch), $15 billion tunnel project called:

    Big Dig II, The Big Dig Goes to Washington… on the backs of people in Indiana. Does that make anyone in Indiana feel any better?

  48. reminds me of the simpson’s episode, where they get the sign telling the nuclear reactor’s condition…

    “the jokes on them, if the plant goes nuclear, there won’t be any electricity to power the sign!”

  49. I hope this letter finds it’s way to you. (Maybe they could put it up on the message boards?) Forgive me love for the shame I’ve put you through, and all the tears. Hang on, love, to the memories of those happy years.

    Red lights are flashing around me.

    Good Lord! It looks like they found me!

    Indiana wants me, Lord I can’t go back there.

  50. Here’s how I see it, according to jeff taylor at least, government waste is super as long as it counters Homeland security policy. This isn’t about political philosophy, its about personal vendettas.

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