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Credit the commissioners for giving Cogentrix issue a shot


   I've got to hand it to the Jefferson County's commissioners. They aren't afraid of diving into the frying pan.
   On the heels of the somewhat heated Jan. 16 gathering of Cogentrix and state energy department, which drew an attendance which was roughly 90 percent against the project, county officials have scheduled for tonight a question forum on the subject.
   The county officials want to promote what a positive impact on our local tax base the Cogentrix plant would have. Something tells me the large majority of the folks who care enough to attend don't give a hoot. Those against Cogentrix won't be looking to be educated on tax issues; they're focus is on water consumption and fog/pollution concerns, and in keeping Grizzly Power from ever becoming a reality. Instead of learning about tax consequences, they'll be looking to do the "educating", trying to turn their commissioners against the project.
   I don't think a lot of public opinion changed following the Jan. 16 event. The give and take at the county meeting will be interesting -- though I predict lots of giving and little taking.
   As for the state's meeting on the 16th, the most telling question-and-answer I heard was directed to the state officials, and I paraphrase: "What impact will public opinion have on your decision." Answer, again paraphrased, "None."
   The state basically stated that there are standards which the project must fit under to be approved. If it does fit under those standards, then it will likely be approved. Cogentrix won't have to convince their local enemies, just the state and the scientist and experts it will depend upon to make its determination.
   I guarantee pomp and commercialism
   This Sunday comes the 36th mid-winter national celebration known as the Super Bowl. Let's rephrase: it's the 36th Super Bowl, but the 34th mega-event. The first two captured as much national attention as the boring Pro Bowl does today.
   But then came 1969. After his poolside prediction of victory, Joe Willie Namath led his Jets of the outlaw AFL to defeat the awesome Colts and the NFL. David slayed Goliath ... which begot a merger, which begot behemoth TV contracts and Brent Musberger, which begot Lite Beer from Miller ads, which begot the Pittsburgh Steelers (defense) and the San Francisco 49ers (offense), which begot ESPN, which begot the NFL as we know it -- a religious movement that has dominated American Sundays like, well, religion.
   All this hubbub can all be traced back to Super Bowl III. The Super Bowl trophy shouldn't be a gleaming football. It should be a bronze image of a long-haired guy in shorts laying by a pool in Miami guaranteeing a victory. And it shouldn't be called the Lombardi Trophy; call it the Joe Willie. Lombardi harkens back to age of Jim Brown and Sam Huff, of 220-pound linemen playing offense and defense, of championship games on frozen mud. This year's game will be played in a 70-degree building on plastic grass, with more TV timeouts than a 4-year-old would need after a gallon of Kool-Aid.
   Call the trophy the Joe Willie. Not only did Namath quarterback his team to one of the greatest victories in the history of football, but his other claim to fame is putting on panty hose for a television ad -- a perfect merging of sports and do-anything-for-a-buck commercialism that defines today's Super Bowl.
   Prediction for this year's national holiday main event: More great ads, lots of pageantry, another bad game. St. Louis 38, New England 17. Somewhere Joe Willie might be sitting poolside, maybe sipping a Lite Beer from Miller, saying, "I knew this game would stink. I guaranteed it."