Does Roanoke have to have a Bleak Future?

By 2060, computer models show Blacksburg larger than Roanoke. The stagnation in Roanoke's growth will leave it nestled right between the "Charlanta" drag and the triangular shaped "Bostyorkicago," making its verdant areas a yearly tourist hellscape.

By 2060, computer models show Blacksburg larger than Roanoke. Staunton will likely surpass Roanoke’s size by 2070. The stagnation in Roanoke’s growth will leave it nestled right between the “Charlanta” drag and the triangular shaped urban sprawl over the midwest and the northeast. Roanoke’s verdant areas will be a yearly tourist hellscape.

Roanoke — The New Silicon Valley?

Nestled in the Blue Ridge is a defunct railroad boomtown where Philadelphia businessmen set up a factory to build steam locomotives. When no one used steam locomotives anymore, Roanoke kept on chugging, living out its servile company-town attitude, building steam trains longer than any other manufacturer in the US. Now Roanoke is best described as a suburban breedery for fresh white teens to be extruded into a college and sent to a real city.

In Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show’s adaptation of a fragment of a song Bob Dylan only sang once in an afterparty bootleg tape, Roanoke is a sleepy place where truckers stop to toke up, “Walkin’ to the south out of Roanoke / I caught a trucker out of Philly, had a nice long toke.” And Roanoke is a good place for that, but millions of dollars in tax money have been squandered on the Sydney Opera House wannabe art museum and the Explore Park, a fake town from the past that is once more haunted by hyperreal ghosts, phantasmagoric projections endlessly demonstrating blacksmithing and threshing wheat for the tourists who never came. Of course decriminalizing marijuana could increase tourism and tax revenues in one easy move, but that’d bring in the wrong element. But why not? The kids are already hitchhiking into Roanoke just to toke up with truckers because of that top 40 pop hit.

Today, Roanoke serves as a distribution center for auto parts, but its future in this business is as bleak as the vaguely sick-looking healthcare towers appearing around Riverside Park. Like so many other sickly cities, urban life has concentrated itself in a gussied-up market square where local news stations let anonymous business owners wring their nervous hands around the necks of the homeless who wreck the Disneyland vibe.

But Roanoke could revive its urban center in a meaningful way, maybe through promoting internet infrastructure that would bring fiber optics not only to businesses, but to homes. In Chattanooga, this was done as a municipal project, which is important because data is not simply a service, but it is also a valuable commodity. By holding the keys to all of Roanoke’s fiber optic data, a municipal system could sell this valuable data on the market and potentially lessen the cost of maintenance or even turn a profit. Proactive steps to ensure the privacy and civil rights of the citizenry in the implementation of such a system could potentially set this municipal internet apart from anywhere in the world, making the transaction of business safer and more desirable in Roanoke while bringing in all kinds of jobs just to lay the fiber and keep the lights flashing. Internet that’s quick, reliable, and secure should be thought of as essential infrastructure for the health and growth of a city, and if one plumbs the history of the earliest days of Roanoke things like streets, sewers, prisons, police, and firefighters were “left to the free market” (totally ignored) with disastrous and sickly results. This foresight in the construction of infrastructure would be a strong break from tradition in a city that embodies the corporate mentality and looks at any expenditure of tax money as a burden on business (while they line each others’ pockets with ludicrous projects; there were gas-powered street lights before there were streets).

Norfolk and Western used Roanoke as a site for their factory because they were given ten years without taxes by the local tobacco farmers. It wasn’t an ideal spot for habitation considering the salt-encrusted swamp, the “Big Lick.” There were no workers hanging around to man the factories — they came in on the rails for the jobs. In some ways it was a disgusting exploitation and the laughingstock of the state, but in others it was a brave experiment and unlike anywhere else. Jobs and a city were created, but it was for a single purpose: steam trains, metaphor of obsolescence. Can Roanoke find a new purpose?

Hipster Islamists plant White Flags on Brooklyn Bridge

Art Jihad, underground Brooklyn hipster Islamists, takes credit for raising the white flag over Brooklyn Bridge

INTERNET — A Hipster Islamist “art terror” cell in Brooklyn took credit on Wednesday for raising bleached American flags over the Brooklyn Bridge. Art Jihad issued a statement saying, “The Caliphate [ISIS] is the only government with . . .

The Poor are Satan’s Army

Satan’s Army cannot pass through the pearly gates and into suburban heaven

“I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, but most of all I’ve seen short segments on television by fair and balanced news networks that have no vested political interests backing their reporting. I watch them every day, and because . . .

Snowden says “Don’t drink Pepsi”

Pepsi, Snowden, MH17 and the sanctions that will soon take away many Russian’s favorite drink

INTERNET — Friday, Edward Snowden unveiled that Pepsi executives bribed NSA overseers for information from several discount shopping card programs and facebook emotional manipulation experiments in order to convert Coke drinkers to Pepsi products. Snowden said, “This is . . .

Chronicle Editor Caught With Pants Down

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Hatesec’s male gaze once reportedly ruptured a young girl’s hymen

ASPEN, Colo. – The 9-1-1 call came shortly after five AM.

A pleading voice whimpered into the line, “He’s got his pants down… he’s got a bottle of lotion… he’s… he’s… Hatesec?”

The woman on the other end . . .

Restraint! Israel Razes Gaza Death Camp

Israel backed by United States

Angstrom H. Truedaberg, the Chronicle’s resident schlemiel, said, “These folks are expressing their right to exist. Many-a-Mensch took to the streets on this July 4th. I’m proud to be a part of such a peaceful, compassionate movement like Liberal Zionism.” . . .

“Anti-rape Activist” accused of Rape

Cruisin by the River N you know I’m straight clownin On you fuckin bitches And on you fuckin hoes Step in the club And you know I’m chose

INTERNET — Deric Lostutter, also known as KYAnonymous (KY refers to Kentucky, Lostutter’s “Anonymous” home state), starred as hero of a “Strange Saga” featured in Rolling . . .

We come bearing gifts!

Mike Webert, Career Criminal

“We come bearing gifts!” the female announced, holding up a gift basket with a smile. “Well, hello!” replied the aide, taking the flowers and displaying them on her desk. “Please, come on in!” The group strode by as my reporter continued to wait. They disappeared into their mutual representative’s office and closed the door. . . .

Hackers turn out the lights at World Cup

Hate Security has ties to defunct terrorist group Rustle League and its official spokesperson, Jaime Cochran

INTERNET — A small group of elite hackers known as “Hate Security” cut off the light at Monday’s World Cup game between France and Nigeria for several seconds, as confused fans and players screamed in terror. Several . . .

Hobby Lobby web site taken down by Anonymous

Anonymous dusts off its most powerful hacking tool to take down Hobby Lobby

INTERNET — Monday morning, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 that Hobby Lobby does not have to pay for any healthcare that involves the reproductive systems of women. Hacktivists at Anonymous, the decentralized collective and ensemble of . . .