On Fracking and Building Roads Along the River, Who Are the Real Conservatives?

Categories: Schutze

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So today I put aside my morning paper after the customary two-minute encyclopedic read, and I think, "OK Lawners, you tell me." You work it out. I can't. I'm tired. So you give me the answer. Who is the "conservative" here?

On the one hand I have former City Council member Lois Finkelman in reporter Randy Lee Loftis' story telling me she thought the city's task force on gas drilling had sort of "covered" the whole gas-fracking-Trinity-River-downtown-flood-control-levees-collapsing-Biblical-flood-baby-carriages-and-wheelchairs-floating-off-to-the-Gulf-of-Mexico thing, because they had "included the (U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers) in the approval requirement."

Her thought is this: Let's approve fracking right up next to the levees, which are what stand between us and Noah, get some fees in our pockets, and then if turns out there's a problem, the corps can deal with it.

Stop me if I'm wrong. I believe Finkelman's position -- in the context of traditional bid'ness-friendly culture here in Dallas -- would be taken by most people as the "conservative" one.

Take a flier on this-here fracking deal. Scarf up some sweet drilling royalties for the city. If the babies ever do float off to Mexico, it'll be the federal government's fault.

Now, council member Scott Griggs, on the other hand, is in the same story saying that the Corps of Engineers is already scared to death of this idea, wants a 3,000-foot safety zone around the levees and therefore the city will be wildly imprudent if it gives its blessing to slant drilling and underground chemical explosions right next to and under the Noah wall. I believe most people in Dallas would take this position to be the crazy-hippie anti-bid'ness Nervous Nellie French-seeming position.

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What exactly is being conserved if we line the Trinity River with these babies?
I make these generalizations about people, because I've only been watching this shit for about 100 years in Dallas, and it always works out the same way. Take East Dallas council member Angela Hunt, for example. She is the latest in a 30-year tradition of East Dallas council members who have crusaded to protect and bolster stable family neighborhoods -- a concept always taken by downtown Dallas business leaders as communism. Viva Che!

The opposition to Hunt and her predecessors all these decades has been from people who want to jam more freeways through East Dallas, load the area up with stick-built apartment blocks built to last 15 years before turning into tenements and then salt the ground liberally with puke-joint saloons. I believe that would be the traditional pro-bid'ness "conservative" position.

You see where I'm getting. I just want to know: Why does the so-called conservative position in Dallas always remind me of an elderly couple pushing a shopping cart down the alleys of Las Vegas collecting cans so they can have one more shot at the casinos? Or somebody living in a tin shack with a Mercedes parked out back?

Meanwhile the so-called liberal or hippie or anti-bid'ness position reminds me of people trying to take care of assets and what's important to them. Why is it liberal, for example, to want to go slow on the drilling fees until we're pretty damned sure the babies won't float off to Mexico?

On another topic, look at North Dallas council member Sandy Greyson. What she has been saying on the Trinity River Toll Road is simply that we need to count the money.

We're more than a billion dollars short of what it would cost to build new freeway on top of the river. We're about the same amount short of what it would cost to fix the freeway we already have downtown.

So before we commit to finding the money for either one, Greyson has said, let's make sure we know which project would do the most effective job per-dollar of relieving downtown congestion.

That's the crazy hippie position. In Dallas, the conservative position is that counting the money is a party-pooper thing. We need to just hurry up and sign the documents, give the toll-road people what they want, forget about it and have some Champagne like we did when they opened the Calatrava fake suspension bridge.

Sign over your assets and party like there's no tomorrow! That's what conservatives do. All those liberals ever do is drive around all sour-pussed shaking their heads because they never get invited to the cool-kids' parties. No kidding!

I'm not bitching. I get it. I could almost be happy with it, in fact, if I could just give in and agree to view Dallas not as a city in real life but as a one big living infomercial.

You know how it is with infomercials. It's not that you really believe cranking the hand-operated plastic vegetable dicing device they're selling you is truly going to flatten your abs or give you a total ass-transplant. You just enjoy watching them turn the crank over and over again. Hypnotism feels so much better than reality.

That's conservative, Dallas-style. Getting all sweaty-technical and truth-squady about it, saying, "No, it won't really give me an ass-transplant," that's a bunch of nerdy hippie a'ginner whining.

Here's where I need to get myself. The "conservative" Lois Finkelman position says: "No, obviously fracking under the levees is not safe, but everyone will just feel so much better if we continue to say it's safe and we're going to get rich and then we can all go to Mexico in our solar-powered water craft."

Scott Griggs is all worried about the babies floating off to Mexico, because he just doesn't get it. Conservative is the belief that being positive is more important than being real. Liberals are people who lack the willpower to rise above reality.

Right? Help me out with this, will you? I want to rise above. Really. I want to be positive all the time like those conservative guys. If I can't do it by actually being conservative because I lack the willpower to forget about the babies, should I take a short-cut and just start smoking pot as soon as I wake up every morning?

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21 comments
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Steve T
Steve T

Conservation is, by definition, conservative.  So the opposite is something else (reckless short-term stupidity comes to mind).

Dalguy
Dalguy

Maybe we should take down levees and let the waters take their natural course.  The first thing to go would be the jails.  Then all those expensive inmates can float down through the Standing Wave with the babies.

Balch Springs Citizen
Balch Springs Citizen

How can you take millions and then say you can't drill....sounds like the mob to me

Larry
Larry

Jim, u r correct on the current muddying of traditional rt/left camps; so here is the easy way:  follow da money.  The CORPS and TxDOT say budget is way under guesstimated.  So, the answer is: 'Even an accountant can figger this one out.' 

It's a disaster in the making.  Again, move Council form Marilla to the river basin.  There's the test.

RTGolden
RTGolden

The only thing liberal about any, i repeat, any career politician is the way they spend tax payer dollars.  There is no thought towards economy, efficiency, or accountability.

The only thing any career politician wishes to conserve is their own seat at the table.

Anyone who has watched any politics for the last 100 years, and especially Dallas politics, should know this.

JimS
JimS

But, RT, the pro-bid'ness conservatives in this town are the ones who want to spend taxpayer dollars on themselves. It's the so-called liberal "neighborhood" peple who wnat to count the money. Translate it to the national scene. It's the Republicans who want to sluice taxpayer dollars into wars and running other countries without ever stopping to figure the cost. It's the liberals and the Democrats who want an honest accounting. So how do you figure?  

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

You lose all credibility when you assert that Democrats are fiscally responsible.

Marks Powers
Marks Powers

What you term pro-bid'ness conservatives are better termed crony capitalists.  

True conservatives desire to cut government spending so that government spending is less than 30% of GDP.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Jim,

President Obama roared in grand promises (like every new president), and has produced little squeaks (like every new president).  His one surprising accomplishment is his use of the military in a force projection role, using just the right military package to get the job done with the smallest possible footprint.  His healthcare package, which was ambitious at first, has become a feather in the cap for the insurance companies, who will now have force of law behind their predatory practices.  He may understand economics and basic business, but he doesn't have to courage to stand on his convictions, and as a result, Wall Street, with one minor hiccup (for them) continues to operate as usual.

No, I'd say, President Obama, in predictable fashion, has disappointed just as thoroughly as President Bush, President Clinton, etc etc.  He is doing exactly what he thinks he has to do to get reelected (conserve his seat at the table.)

JimS
JimS

The Republicans and conservatives are also the ones who ran the business environment into the dirt during the Bush years.  Thank God we have a president now who understands economics and basic business, unlike the clowns who preceded.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Your second sentence is officially the most stupid comment ever typed on the internet.  Ever.

observist
observist

Comparing the parties today to the parties before 1964 is mostly futile. In the eyes of the current Republicans, Nixon was a RINO. 

All the Clinton-era military interventions combined were a tiny fraction of the magnitude of the Iraq war, and I think it's extremely unlikely the US would have invaded Iraq in 2003 if Al Gore had been in office.

RTGolden
RTGolden

You can stay mired in your '60's fantasy land of benevolent democrats and war mongering republicans if you wish.  There have been two parties guiding our country for the last 140 or so years, and nothing much changes from one to the other.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

We HAVE to get viable alternate parties invovled in US politics. As was pointed out to me on these very blogs not too long ago, we need more than just a third party, but a fourth, a fifth, a sixth.  We need enough parties viable in congress, in state legislatures, in local politics that one party cannot dominate.  This will force compromise and serious debate on the issues.

Remember Hoss, it was a democrat that dragged us into Vietnam.  It's not an indictment on liberal thought, for Kennedy (John F.) was only superficially liberal, rather an opportunity to correct a misconception you have that only republicans drag us into needless warfare.  Having served the entirety of Clinton's tenure, I have a few points of contention when someone says "it is republicans who want to sluice taxpayer dollars into wars and running other countries...".

scottindallas
scottindallas

excuse me?  O hasn't improved or implemented shit.  I wish he had, but we're still waiting for the Volcker rule to be drafted, waiting for a public option, waiting to break up the too big to fail banks.  We're waiting, and Wall St. seems poised to select Romney, and Obama has yet to make a liberal argument.  He could at least advocate for higher tax rates, breaking up the banks...

LDR4
LDR4

Why do we need drilling when the pretty little drawings of the toll road show a wind farm?

darrd2010
darrd2010

Conservative thinking at Dallas City Hall continues as they try to figure out a way of not releasing documents that were requested 9 months ago by a Dallas citizen.Go figure.http://dallasdrilling.wordpres...

claytonauger
claytonauger

Aren't the same structural integrity questions about fracking too close to dams also in play when it comes to pipelines, bridges and other structures, like, er homes? Where's the Corps' equivalent watchdoging everyone's foundations?

Montemalone
Montemalone

Allow me to clarify:The modern definition of a conservative is someone that wants to conserve all the bounty for himself, and if other people get screwed over, then that's icing.

RTGolden
RTGolden

The only difference between a modern conservative and a modern liberal is who they desire to see get screwed over.  In Dallas, even that difference is minute.

scottindallas
scottindallas

... and their marketing angle. 

observist
observist

Which is the conservative marketing angle, Gabriel, Michael or Lucifer?

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