Hot Air: Wraiths, Wenches & Wheezers

Hollingsworth

The Phantom

Just wondering: Is there really such a person as Trey Hollingsworth, Representative in US Congress from Indiana’s 9th District?

I’m open to hearing or seeing any evidence at all for his existence.

Too Quick To Quit

Sticking w/ politics, it occurs to me two fairly recent Democratic aspirants for their party’s presidential nomination, in separate years, were laughed out of the running for doing things that our current president did — and was cheered for by many of his supporters.

Let’s look:

  • Gary Hart was a veteran of several presidential races. He was George McGovern’s campaign

    Horrifying

    manager when the South Dakota senator won the Dem nom in 1972. Then he ran a spirited campaign against Walter Mondale for the Dem slot in ’84. After serving as Colorado’s senator from ’75 through ’87, he was ready to go big time again in the ’88 race. He officially declared his intention to run in April, ’87. Less than a month later, corporate media news outlets went gaga over rumors Hart was having an affair with some unnamed “young woman.” Reporters and private gumshoes tailed him as well as the likely “young woman,” a Phi Beta Kappa, former beauty pageant contestant, rock star girlfriend, and aspiring actress named Donna Rice. Lo and behold, the two were seen entering each other’s residences and on at least one occasion Hart was seen exiting her place the next morning. Photos were published of Hart dandling Rice on his knee aboard a pleasure craft, inadvertently christened with the pun “Monkey Business,” bound for Bimini. Despite being the clear frontrunner for the nomination, Hart had to quit the race, otherwise all of Western civilization might have collapsed.

  • Howard Dean was a family practice doctor and former governor of Vermont who ran as an anti-Iraq War candidate in 2004. His issues included health care reform and campaign finance reform (he thrived on small donor fundraising over the internet). He utilized a “ground troops” strategy to build his grass roots campaign. He rode a wave into the Iowa caucuses that January and, although he finished third, gave a rousing pep rally-type speech to supporters, punctuated by yells and what would become the famous ejaculation, “EEEEEE-YEAHHH!” He had to quit the race otherwise the entire American political process would forever be spoiled by such gross and crass shouting.

His Unforgivable Sin

Funny isn’t it? Li’l Duce is a serial philanderer and unapologetic braggart about sexually assaulting women, yet plenty of members of that gender who supported him shouted — both by word and  vote — that they’d be happy to have him grab their pussies. And then, at one of his own campaign rallies, he shrieked about protesters in the hall where he was speaking and exhorted his supporters the physically remove them.

In neither case was L’il Duce forced to quit the race. And not once did he even consider such a move.

What are we to conclude after considering these incidents? Some might say, Well, times are changing. Others might say the Democrats have to learn to say, as the future President Gag repeatedly has implied, Yeah, I did it. What of it?

I’m with the latter group.

Good gamblers must have an exquisite sense of timing to know when to double down — and the guts to do it.

Seventy-Somethings

Plenty of people who are approaching or who’ve already crossed the threshold of their 70th year on this Earth might claim being a septuagenarian does not mean they’re old.

Look, when I was a young writer in the 1980s, often wondering not only where next month’s rent was coming from but how in the world I might pay for that evening’s dinner, I could have told myself I was rich in friends. Sadly, both the landlord and the grocer refused to accept a roster of my intimates as sufficient payment for their goods and services. Similarly, when you’re 70, the truth is there aren’t too terribly many revolutions around the sun left in your metaphysical account.

I’m a full eight years away from that magic number. And already I’m old. See, I was young once. I know what young is. This ain’t it.

Being 70 doesn’t necessarily mean one is dead. Only that one doesn’t leap out of bed with the same brio one did at the age of 20. One’s joints, skin, bowels, hairline, and ability to engage in various pleasures all exhibit unmistakable signs. Hitting 70 inevitably means the aforementioned either are aching, disappearing, sagging, receding, or simply not worth getting out of the recliner for.

Still, scads of folks born in or before 1948 are living vibrant, creative, productive…, hell, fabulous lives. Here’s a woefully incomplete list:

  • Steve Martin comedian, actor, musician, composer, playwright, etc.
  • Bernadette Peters singer, actor, children’s books author

    Peters

  • Morgan Freeman actor, voiceover artist
  • Paul McCartney musician
  • Mick Jagger musician
  • Betty Thomas actor, director
  • George R.R. Martin author
  • Candy Crowley journalist
  • Al Gore environmental activist
  • Christopher Guest actor, director
  • Brian Eno composer, producer

    Eno

  • Carol Moore libertarian feminist
  • Bruce Vilanch comedy writer, actor
  • Charles D. Walker astronaut, engineer (born in Bedford, Indiana)
  • Alan Lightman physicist, author
  • Barbra Amesbury philanthropist, filmmaker, musician
  • Anatole Solovyev cosmonaut
  • Conrad Cummings composer
  • Alexander McCall Smith author, law professor
  • Christopher Langton computer scientist
  • Agnieszka Holland filmmaker
  • Alfred Sung fashion designer
  • Bud Cort Harold

    70 this year!

  • Catherine Millet writer, art curator, feminist
  • Art Spiegelman cartoonist, graphic novelist
  • Bob Holman poet, poetry slam pioneer
  • Aline Kominsky-Crumb underground cartoonist
  • David H. Levy astronomer
  • Debbie Macomber romance novelist
  • Alan Parsons musician, producer
  • Daniel Okrent editor, historian, creator of Rotisserie Baseball (forerunner of fantasy sports leagues)
  • Catherine Breillat filmmaker, novelist, professor

I thought of compiling this list this morning while listening to a radio host mention that Steve Martin was in his seventies. Steve Martin is more active and productive than any ten people who are in their thirties.

If you’re 70-plus (or, like me, you’re racing in that direction) this list ought to comfort you far more than the lie that you’re not old.

Hot Air: Winter Wonderland

Friday’s Heroes

City employee Levi Combs read me the riot act Saturday morning on social media, as well he should have.

Combs was pressed into service driving a plow during Friday’s snow and ice storm. He and his colleagues worked extra long shifts, he says, trying to keep Bloomington’s streets clear. “There were over 30 drivers out over our 22 hour shift covering everything that they could with plows and salt,” he wrote.

The truth is, I know precisely how he feels. I’ve worked in vehicles for 12- and 16-hour shifts during massive snowstorms accompanied by plummeting temps and howling winds. No matter how high you’ve got the heater set, your feet become damp and numb, your ass goes to sleep from sitting on a cold hard vinyl seat, your stomach feels as though it’s filled with wet sand after you’ve scarfed down a quick Big Mac, fries and a Coke just to get some kind of nourishment into you, you stink, your socks and underwear feel as though they’re glued to your skin, your bladder’s full because you can’t find a spare moment to jump out and pee in some filthy gas station bathroom, your nostrils dry up from the constant blowing of the heater fan, and…, and…, and….

I drove a trolley for 15 hours during the 21-inch, January, 1999 Chicago blizzard.

Driving a plow or an ambulance or a bus or a trolley during a snowstorm is hell. And I imagine Combs finally getting home, showering, eating warm food, maybe having a beer, and feeling he has earned every goddamned penny he gets.

Then, the next morning he reads the screeching of some jerk who’s crying like a kindergartner about the messy streets. Sheesh, I’m lucky I wasn’t anywhere near him yesterday AM, otherwise I might have a fat lip big enough to hang my hat on as a result.

So, yeah, I know how Levi felt and I have no quibble with him or the other 29 drivers who did heroic work Friday.

My quibble is with a city that was absolutely not prepared for a snowfall of 1-3 inches. In January. That was predicted days in advance.

Hot Air: Cold Response

Headline in this AM’s Herald-Times:

Crews Battle Ice

Reaction from this reader:

Oh yeah?!

A spy tells me that at approximately 4:00pm, smack dab in the middle of the snow and ice storm yesterday, what appeared to be a whole fleet of snowplows and salt trucks remained parked in the Streets and Sanitation garage, even as the fat flakes fell, the wind howled,  and the streets remained slick as ice skating rinks. Oh, and while cars from one end of this metropolis to the other were fishtailing, slipping, sliding, skidding, and otherwise having a hell of a time stopping and going.

All I know is I drove from the eastern outskirts of Bloomington into downtown at about noon and saw a grand total of zero plows and salt trucks on the streets the whole way in.

Question for the mayor: Whose decision was it to keep the trucks out of service and, when you find out, how soon afterward will you fire that person?

Then again, this is the town that puts sweaters on trees rather than on homeless people.

The Fourth Estate

BTW, the H-T doubled down on its task as Mayor Hamilton’s PR machine and ran this hed on the paper’s website:

Hot Air: Big Deal

Who’s Really Big Around Here?

Ju-u-u-u-ust in case you’re confused, Big Talk has absolutely nothing to do with another similarly monikered radio show, The Big Listen.

I’d rubbed my hands together, grinning evilly, when I first heard about WFIU’s new syndicated show. New, that is, in these parts. The Big Listen has been around for a while. Anyway, I was hoping I could get mileage out of accusing the show’s producers of swiping the Big part of their name from my show.

‘Course, that would have been pure fantasy on my part. I really didn’t think radio content developers from Washington DC’s WAMU, whence that show comes, would have ever heard of my gig, despite its presence as a pillar in the Big Mike global communications colossus. Still, when WFIU’s monthly member newsletter floated into Chez Big Mike yesterday (I refuse to say why the thing comes to my crib) with The Big Listen’s host, Lauren Ober, on the cover, I tore through the thing looking for evidence Big Talk was the elder of the two.

My Commodore.

I couldn’t raise said evidence so I clicked over on my trusty Commodore Amiga home computer to the show’s website. Turns out The Big Listen actually started out, locally in DC, in 2009 for a short three-episode run. Dang, mang. That beats the genesis pants of Big Talk, which came screaming into this world on Thursday, January 9, 2014, with cartoonist Nate Powell as my premier guest.

The Big Listen did go dormant, apparently, from 2009 through 2016, with a single blip on the radar screen in November, 2012. So, really, Big Talk should be considered the senior of the two.

Even My Logo’s Bigger!

So now, lemme see. Aha! Yeah, I’m gonna blame this on that sneaky, conniving Will Murphy, the GM over at WFHB when I first arrived in this town and who now Program Directs and otherwise empties wastebaskets at the Indiana University 29,000-watter. He knows how popular Big Talk is in South Central Indiana — the most recent listenership numbers for my show hitting the high two-figures. Heck, If my mother and several neighbors hadn’t passed away a few years ago, I’d be sure to have hit the magic 100 figure by now. That Murphy definitely wanted to cut into my listenership!

So help me thwart that archvillain Murphy — make sure you tune in every Thursday at 5:30pm for the new half-hour format. And, honest to gosh, we’ll be posting links to shows just as soon as we rouse our tech geeks out of their coma-like repose, which should be by this weekend (fingers crossed.)

She’s A Big Talker

My hat.

Thursday afternoon’s Big Talk featured me going toe-to-toe with Amanda Barge, this town’s newest Democratic darling. She’s the first-term Monroe County Commissioner and if she’s not sitting pretty in the United States House of Representatives by this date in the year 2025, I’ll eat my hat (as long as it’s made of graham cracker pie crust and filled with a rich lemony cheesecake).

I Got Nothin’

If you’re expecting me to react to President Gag’s latest floater, you’d better not hold your breath.

This president-by-a-technicality has defined himself — and his fawners — time and again. They love him, and he loves himself. He’s not going to change, nor are they. We’re in a waiting game right now, waiting for the 2018 and 2020 elections. Those of us who detest him don’t need any more evidence of his rashness, his incuriosity, his slavish devotion to his race, his paranoia, and his outright meanness. His supporters don’t need to hear anymore from him to reinforce their feeling that he’s strong, forthright, and determined to bring back an America that never really was.

His next jaw-dropper will either be dropping the F-bomb when discussing one country or another or waggling his dick on live TV and claiming it’s the biggest one in the world. I’ll try not to react to those possibilities (probabilities?) because if he does either (or both) it can’t be surprising. Let’s stop gasping and let’s start working.

Hot Air: Our Mad, Mad World

Mogul Mania

Renaldo Migaldi describes Oprah Winfrey:

The TV mogul who inflicted charlatans like Deepak Chopra, Drs. Oz and Phil, Jenny McCarthy, and Paulo Coelho on our public consciousness.

‘Nuff said?

S Marks The Spot

Have you been contacted by the Sbs Bloomington people yet? I have; they want me to be their friend. They call themselves “an all-inclusive multi-faceted leftist media organization.” Apparently, they’re starting up some kind of…, well, I don’t know what. All I can find when I google sbs bloomington is some online game developer in Estonia called Storm Bringer Studios. The site claims it has generated some 4,000,000 downloads for one of its games. That’s about the only info I can find on the site — all its subpages are blank

I’d like to reserve judgement on them since the only other thing I know about them is what their logo looks like:

But, really, that’s plenty. A “media organization” — whatever that means — that proudly displays a logo that looks like a pleasantly-hued update of the notorious Schutzstaffel insignia…

… ain’t that media savvy.

President OW

Hail to the next Chief?

Back to Oprah. In the wake of the mini-tornado that arose following her rousing speech at the Golden Globes Sunday night, a gang o’folks are calling for her to be this holy land’s next president and another gang are saying, What? Another celebrity prez? I’ll be damned!

That pushback sentiment is based on the argument that our nation “should have learned” about the risks and horrors of electing a big name with no other qualifications to the highest office in the land.

We haven’t learned. Americans are notorious non-learners. Learning, to a huge swath of the populace, is a sign of weakness. Don’t tell me. I know! should be this country’s motto.

Anyway, I’ve long thought celebrities would be the presidents of the future. For many years, I predicted some to-be president would be a Hollywood actor, a rock star, or some big-name pro athlete. How many votes do you think Bruce Springsteen might get if he decided to run? How about Meryll Streep or Tom Hanks or Tom Brady? Hell, Bill Belichick would give the field a strong run for its money.

We are, as Chris Hedges has described us, an empire of illusion. We love — no, we crave — spectacle. Image is everything. Feelings are paramount. Opinion is superior to knowledge.

We’ve got no time for deep personal investigation into the minds and hearts of our candidates. President Gag won the last presidential election (on a technicality, but still…) largely because “he spoke his mind.”

Or what little of it he retains.

No. Oprah’s got a great chance to become the President of the United States. Probably a better chance than half to three-quarters of the “qualified” wannabes who are, as we speak, amassing war chests and putting together organizations.

Of course, should she win and take the oath as the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s greatest superpower, it’ll be a step down from her current position: Queen of All Media.

Hot Air: We Have Met The Enemy And…

Here’s my fave bit of confirmation bias this new year:

I’ve been saying all along that the gaming of the 2016 election by Vladimir Putin’s geeks and spooks was irrelevant. If we were stupid enough to fall prey to the Russkies’ social media disinformation campaign and their almost-clever manipulation of our corporate media, then we absolutely deserved what came of the 2016 race.

The important thing — the obvious thing — was that Li’l Duce was in bed with a gang of Russian billionaire oligarchs long before Putin & Co. decided to sully the election. The Russian oligarchs and the future-President Gag set themselves up as their respective countries’ capos in a transnational crime syndicate. They’re a cabal of global archvillains whose sole goal is to enrich themselves at the cost of whatever shreds of democracy we had left in this 21st Century, the worldwide economy, the planet’s environment, and — quite possibly — the fate of us all.

The Russian and P. Gag mob-up comes straight out of a mind meld between Ian Fleming and William S. Burroughs. The game they’ve been playing for years is the true scandal, not some pissant Facebook posts that sullied the rep of Hillary Clinton who, BTW, was strong enough and tough enough to have withstood the niggling broadsides against her. We, the American electorate, though, were so malleable and suggestible that we elected a buffoon at the behest of the crooked Cyrillic despot.

The real criminals in this Russian investigation are…, well, us.

Rolling The Dice

Interesting feature on an experimental crime prevention program in Chicago last night on 60 Minutes. It seems the Chicago Police Department is partnering with social workers, ministers, and concerned citizens in an effort to reach out to the likeliest people in town to either be murdered or commit murder.

The CPD is using an advanced software that purportedly predicts who has the best odds of dying or killing on the city’s mean streets.

Here’s the feature:

Called “predictive policing,” the implementation of the software has been hailed by the likes of Time magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of the year 2011. Former New York, Boston, and Los Angeles police chief William Bratton began working with computer geeks and policy analysts to create the computer program in 2008.

Chicago’s cops — not usually known for strategies that don’t include firing multiple rounds into unarmed citizens or beating confessions out of suspects — has set up a cooperative venture using data from the software and employing neighborhood elders to reach out to those named on the “likeliest” lists.

It’s a double-eged sword in my book. Life on the toughest streets in the city screams out for any and every possible intervention if we hope to save lives and redeem potential perps. OTOH, the very notion that one can be painted so easily with a broad brush stroke as a killer or victim seems potentially — very potentially — Orwellian.

There are no easy answers here.

 

Hot Air: Doing The Right Thing

Here’s a perfect example of why a lot of people hate the idea of “regulations.”

An Elgin, Illinois, man, Greg Schiller, set up cots in his basement so homeless people could sleep in a bit of warmth during the area’s current deep freeze. He offered them a little something to eat and drink and even played movies for them.

All so they wouldn’t have to sleep — and quite possibly die — in temps that only reached the single-digits during the day and dipped below zero at night.

What a beautiful, godly gesture, no?

No. Not, at least, acc’d’g to city officials who ordered him to stop letting the poor people camp out in his basement. And here are the reasons why he was told to stop being so beautiful and godly:

  • His basement might not be ventilated well enough
  • The people sleeping there might suffer carbon monoxide poisoning
  • The basement doesn’t have enough exits in case there’s a fire

“Mr. Schiller’s house does not comply with codes and regulations,” says an Elgin spokesperson.

Yeah. Those homeless people ought to be much safer sleeping outdoors while Elgin’s temperatures hit -12, as they were forecast to do last night.

Many government regulations — really, most of them — protect us from real and present dangers like untreated drinking water, tainted food, dangerous machinery in the workplace, Black Lung disease, drunk drivers, polluted streams, fouled air, global warming…, the list goes on ad infinitum. Those regulations are invisible to us, though. Most people become cognizant of regulations when they deal with local inspectors who often are petty tyrants.

Someone caught wind of Schiller’s sleepovers and went to the trouble of shutting him down. That person can sleep well tonight knowing he or she followed the letter of the law.

Unfortunately for a bunch of Elgin homeless people, there’s no law guaranteeing the right to a warm bed.

Hot Air: Do You Believe In Magic?

What Are We — Stupid?

The Dow has hit yet another magic number — 25,000. The stock market’s blowing up faster than President Gag’s waistline (mine, too).

We’ve been down this path before. Many times. And it always ends the same way. With a pop.

No, not of a Champagne bottle but of a balloon that’s been blown up far out of proportion.

Today’s swelling Dow is straining the limits of economic laws and reason. Smarter people — you’d think — would call out Whoa! Hold on now! but they’re not because they’re too busy making big scratch on the sucker’s game that is a irrationally fattened stock market.

It reminds me of the way Mobsters think. They invariably get nabbed and thrown into the joint, usually nearing the ends of their lives. So why do they continue carrying on with their nefarious ways? Because they’re too seduced by the lure of the quick buck they make extorting, providing vice, taking over unions, peddling dangerous dope, and other criminal pastimes they’re involved in. They figure, Man, this money so good I can’t stop now! I’m smart enough to always stay a step ahead of the law. And while I’m at it, I’m getting rich and so are my family and my friends.

And, sure enough, they drive fancy cars, travel the world, their wives wear mink, their sons and daughters sport glittery jewelry…, but then one day the indictment comes down. Their former pals are hauled before the Grand Jury and they sing like divas. They’re tried, convicted, and slammed into prison. And their wives and sons and daughters cry real tears because, on the main, they’d rather have their daddy-o’s back than have all the Mercedes and furs and Rolexes in the world.

They’ve spent their lives rolling the dice and when the lucky run suddenly ceases, they’re left with nothing.

All those brokers and speculators and investors who are giddy that president Gag has erased so many rules and regs, making the stock market obese, are on yet another fabulously lucky run. Huzzah! They can’t stop now! They’re all rolling in dough.

The last time this kind of balloon popped was barely ten years ago. Ten freaking years, people! We all remember the Great Recession. Most of us are still suffering from the effects of it. Yet — woohoo! — this holy land’s jumping right back on that growing balloon, blithely hoping for it to carry us to unimaginable riches.

It’s going to pop. Once that happens, we’ll be suffering unimaginable hardships. And with a dick-waving, bellicose, narcissistic, uninformed lunkhead in charge of our holy land, who knows how he’ll react to the Chinese and Russian oligarchs who’ve sunk their rubles and yuan into our market and who’ll be saying, teeth bared, Hey, where’s our money?

BTW: We know how he’ll react to plain old Americans who’ll be suffering under yet another recession or even depression. Stop crying, he’ll say. Stop being losers!

You won’t have to cup your hand behind your ear, awaiting the pop. You’ll hear it. Believe me, you’ll hear it.

The Answers

Oh, those questions I pose in the headline and subhead up above? The answers are…, oh, hell, you know the answers as well as I do.

Talk, Talk, Talk

Adrian Matejka On Big Talk.

Stand by for links to yesterday’s premier of Big Talk as a stand-alone program on WFHB. My guest was new Indiana poet laureate Adrian Matejka. The thing went remarkably well, if I do say so myself. And lemme tell you a secret: I had a little tear in my eye as I listened to yesterday’s first show. I’ve been working toward this moment for a good four years now.

I’ll be posting the podcast of the show soon. Right now, the WFHB brain trust and I are working on details to get the thing up online. I’ll let you know just as soon as it’s available.

Meantime, tune in every Thursday at 5:30pm, immediately following the Daily Local News, for the new half-hour-long Big Talk.

Hot Air: A Really Big Show

Gab Time

Big news on the Big Talk front. My WFHB radio chat-fest debuts as a stand-alone program this afternoon at 5:30.

Big Talk’s history goes back to the winter of 2014 (my first guest was graphic novelist Nate Powell) and its now-defunct incarnation as a Thursday feature on the Daily Local News ran from July, 2016, through last month. It eventually hit me that I was tossing away a lot of great conversation in the process of editing my interviews down to eight minutes. So now — with many thanks to news directors Joe Crawford and Wes Martin and the WFHB News and Public Affairs Committee — we’ll be going with a weekly half-hour jaw party. Today’s guest will be the recently-named Indiana state poet laureate Adrian Matejka. He’s a hoot and you’ll get 28 minutes of his utterings, huzzah!

So tune in later today, and every Thursday at 5:30pm on 91.3 FM or online for the best talk in town.

Pale Peace

My old Chicago Trolley Co. colleague, Chris Churchill, posts an interesting bit in the Literate Ape. A self-described “group blog,” the Literate Ape offers the rantings and ravings of a pack of writers, some of whom go by pseudonyms to preserve their anonymity. Churchill’s piece that ran earlier this week talks about the former-European culture that we like to refer to as “White America” these days.

It got me to thinking about the gradually but inexorably shrinking chunk of the American populace that went gaga over Li’l Duce last year. You know, the people who think Black Lives Matter means white lives mean nothing anymore, the canary-in-a-coalmine sensitive gang that can’t forget a single slight, no matter how trivial, while upbraiding blacks for still resenting slavery, Jim Crow, and restrictive covenants — as if those things were mere annoyances. We often refer to them as Europeans and their attitudes as Euro-centric.

Funny thing is, real Europeans for the last couple of millennia have hated the holy shit out of each other. The Germans, French, Poles, Russians, English, and all the littler Euro-nationalities have been fighting each other tooth and nail since long before books were printed by machines. Their shared animus reached its zenith in the mid-20th Century when their armies battled each other to the tune of more than 50 million deaths and the destruction of hundreds of cities and towns throughout the continent.

Strange that we should consider the progeny of these nations here in this holy land as a single entity.

They have one thing in common and that’s the paleness of their skin. Funny how that’s pretty much the only thing that could get them to want to stop killing each other, at least on these shores.

What’s Next?

So, planning for the soon-to-be vacated Bloomington Hospital site has been suspended for at least a good year, since the city’s been in negotiations with the IU Health outfit to purchase the BH campus. Now the city has to come up with the $6.5 mill purchase price for the 24 acres. I imagine a bond’ll be floated sooner rather than later.

IU health has agreed to tear the old joint down and remediate the land underneath it for any environmental taintings it’s suffered over the years. Acc’d’g to IU Health, the real value of the campus ought to be about $16 million — of course, were I to want to sell you my four-year-old hot rod I’d tell you it’s worth 50 thou, so you can’t put much stock in that kind of talk. In any case, it seems as though the city has struck a decent deal although it’s a solid bet that IU Health got a boatload of considerations from Mayor John Hamilton in exchange for selling the tract at such a bargain basement price.

Back to the planning for the site, Vi Simpson, chair of the committee former Mayor Mark Kruzan named to study potential uses for the site back in 2015, says her gang hasn’t laid eyes on each other for an annum.

The better reporters around town ought to be digging for two things now: 1) What did Boss Hamilton have to promise IU Health for the corp. to sell so cheaply, and 2) When do Vi and co. begin meeting again, seriously, to formulate plans for the land.

BTW: Don’t be shocked if this deal hits a bump in the road over the next few weeks. Nothing’s been signed yet. The city and the hospital operator have only agreed on broad terms. The parties have set a mid-February date to make the deal official. Anything can happen before then.

Hot Air: NIMBY

Bloomington Hope

Mayor John Hamilton and a gang of swells from the IU Health outfit will announce, momentarily, plans for the soon to be deserted Bloomington Hospital campus. The sparkling new H. is slated to arise on the site of the old university golf driving range at the SR 46 bypass between 10th and 17th streets.

Mayor Mark Kruzan in 2015 tabbed a blue-ribbon committee to consider what to do with the current hospital site on 2nd Street and Rogers Avenue. The committee, headed by B-town political doyenne Vi Simpson, had the thankless job of trying to come up with a visionary plan for the 24-acre site that’ll be abandoned in 2020 when the new digs open up. Plenty o’folks, including an ad hoc group of citizens, academics, and retired pols, see the site as some kind of nirvana-ish olio of social service centers, affordable housing, and thriving businesses.

Bloomington Hospital Now.

If that unofficial study group realizes its vision, the former IU health/Bloomington Hospital location will be the first such successful dreamscape in the history of the human universe.

A city the size of Bloomington has deep needs for homeless shelters, drug rehab centers, houses and apartments within financial reach of the non-rich, and shops and offices providing jobs and tax revenues. Problem is, nobody wants to live near a drug rehab center. Nobody wants the homeless traipsing through their neighborhoods. And nobody wants the traffic and parking congestion that accompany healthy going concerns.

Whatever Hamilton and the IU Health people announce today, you can bet the mortgage payment that a wide swath of the citizenry will stomp their feet and say hell no.

A Public Service

Friends, let me prepare you for the 2020 presidential election:

  1. The Democratic candidate — whoever she or he may be — very likely will be in thrall and in debt to Wall Street and the rest of the Goldman Sachs mob, big corporations, and ultra-rich individual campaign contributors.
  2. That candidate also very likely will be what many of my friends on the Left like to call a neo-liberal, meaning, I believe, someone who espouses a brand of laissez-faire capitalism.

Both of these conditions may discourage you. They may even sicken you. Myself, I’m feeling a little queasy just typing this stuff out.

That said, the reason No. 1 will hold is this holy land’s political system runs on money. Much more than $1 billion will be spent by the two major candidates in the next presidential election. The Reagan/Bush Supreme Court essentially knitted that into the nation’s fabric when it ruled in favor of Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission in 2010. There is no way around it since the 114th Congress hijacked the court by denying a hearing for Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to succeed the late Antonin Scalia.

No matter how saintly or of-the-people some heretofore unknown rising star will appear during the primaries, if that candidate isn’t able to raise her/his share of the $1 billion-plus, s/he will lose. Period.

As for No. 2, well, this is America. We worship wealth. Our national religion is capitalism. We elected an unqualified, unknowledgeable, incurious, hateful, spiteful, probably mentally disturbed boor as president mainly because he is a billionaire. That’s how much we value riches. Anyone who is not a laissez-faire capitalist, to one degree or another, will be viewed as a sicko ranking two or three rungs lower on the disgust ladder than a molester of teenaged girls.

Look at America — don’t just look at your close circle of friends.

If you truly wish this all to change then you’d better be prepared to shed blood and/or have your own blood be shed. Otherwise, clip a clothespin to your nose and vote for whomever is running against President Gag.

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