Hot Air: Rising, Running

All the big shot women in town gathered late yesterday afternoon in Bloomington’s city council chambers. As far as I’m concerned, that means all the big shots in town — period.

Oh, and Mayor John Hamilton was there, too.

The event: the kickoff for our town’s local chapter of Rise to Run, a nationwide effort to get more women in public office.

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The new Democratic mantra seems to be We’re at the tail end of a really weird era in politics. That is, the conservative Republican, Fox News, Moral Majority-sires-the-Tea-Party, here-comes-Kid-Rock era. Are they whistling past the graveyard? I dunno. I only know the Dems have won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections, and they still don’t control the White House, the US House, or the US Senate. And don’t get me started on the nation’s statehouses or governor’s mansions.

In any case, I’ve heard a few 2018 Dem candidates repeat this mantra already. The idea being, Change is in the air and who’s going to lead it? May as well be the women, said the gang assembled in the stately confines Sunday afternoon.

Give Regina Moore and Rachel Guglielmo, co-bosses of B-town’s newborn R-to-R chapter, credit — they sure know how to call out the troops. Some fifty women — and a man or two — got together to hear an all-star cast talk about getting females on the ballot. It ain’t easy, they all concluded, so we’ll have to help each other get over the hump.

Moore, the former city clerk, solidified her status as my fave retired pol by pointing out there’d be homemade cannoli at the buffet table after the proceedings.

But first, business. Mayor Hamilton gave the welcoming speech. “This is a hard time, politically,” he said, and ain’t it the truth. He then pointed out a fact that we in this holy land don’t like to think about — it hasn’t even been a full hundred years since women herein were granted the right to vote. In fact, I might add, America was among the last major industrialized nations in the world to grant its females suffrage. Now give America credit: we honor our traditions. We continue to bring up the rear re: social reforms; we’re now among the last industrialized nations on Earth to grant guaranteed health care to our citizens.

Moore took the podium to introduce the keynote speaker, Attica Scott, a member of the Kentucky state legislature. Moore called Scott a “kick ass speaker,” and so she was. Scott told this tale: Years ago she and four pals sat around a kitchen table and asked each other which one among them was best suited to run for office; the five settled on her.

Scott ran for a school board seat and lost. The next day, she recalled, her pastor dropped by and told her, “It’s time to get to work!” And so, the very next year, she ran to fill a vacant Louisville city council seat and won. She then won reelection but her third run for the office was not a charm — she was defeated. The lesson, Scott stressed, was it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, “You keep on doing good work.” She did so and this year was rewarded by copping a seat in the Frankfort House. She’s the first woman of color in that august body in 20 years, a distinction she characterized as unacceptable.

“It’s because of women in my life,” she said, “particularly young women who worked on my campaign, that I’m here right now.”

To women thinking of running for office, Scott offered this advice: “Find your mentors right now.” And this: “Have one anothers’ backs.” Finally: “Please bring other women along with you.”

Scott then joined a panel of speakers offering advice and huzzahs to the young, aspiring office-holders in the audience. The panel was led by Monroe County Commissioner Julie Thomas and included:

Man (and Woman), that’s an all-star cast. Proof women can thrive politically. Of course, there’s a caveat. Scott reps the Louisville area and the rest of the panel’s pols rep our island of blue in an ocean of red. Both locales hype their contrary orientation despite being surrounded by…, well, a body politic that Hamilton and other Dems swear (and hope) is becoming a minority.

Is this the dawn of a new political age in America? Search me. All I know is there was a lot of hope in council chambers yesterday and hope is the first step.


Hot Air: What We Know; What We Don’t Know

Clearly, the December 20, 2011 incident in St. Louis that resulted in the death of a man named Anthony Lamar Smith was a frightening one for police officer Jason Stockley. After all, Smith had rammed Stockley’s patrol car with his own vehicle and then led Stockley and his partner on a high-speed chase.

Police officers, as a rule, interpret such behavior as indicative of the rammer/chasee’s ill will. Seems reasonable.

The officers eventually rammed Smith’s car to a stop. When Stockley approached Smith’s vehicle, acc’d’g to Stockley, Smith appeared to be reaching for something that the officer assumed was a gun. Stockley shot Smith five times, killing him.

It’s only natural for Stockley to have been pumped to the sky on adrenaline when he approached Smith’s car. Seeing Smith reaching for something had to have triggered an overwhelming urge in Stockley to do something to protect his own life.

Fair enough.

It turned out Smith hadn’t been reaching for his gun because he didn’t have one. So Stockley did what police officers have been doing since time immemorial — he produced one out of thin air. Most of the cops I’ve ever known carry small personal pistols in addition to their service revolvers, the firing of which they have to make reports on. Most cops see this as good policy to protect themselves from what they consider to be innocent errors or, in more sinister scenarios, when they have to pop a guy for whatever extrajudicial reasonings they might have.

County prosecutors discovered Stockley had planted a gun in Smith’s car. They also found video of Stockley saying to his partner as he got out of his patrol car, “I’m going to kill this motherfucker.” Ergo, prosecutors hurled the book at Stockley, charging him with first degree murder.

Prosecutors hate like hell charging cops with crimes. They consider cops their allies in the eternal struggle against bad guys. Not only that, prosecutors understand that when the cops feel said prosecutors aren’t “on their side,” they’ll do everything they can to sabotage prosecutors’ cases. That’s another long-standing police tradition.

So, when a prosecutor lays a murder rap on a cop, guaranteed s/he knows the case is airtight.

Only this one wasn’t. Stockley walked, Friday. Protesters gathered immediately afterward and, later, some turned violent, breaking windows, throwing paint on the mayor’s house, and otherwise expressing rage.

We seen this time and again in this holy land. The whole sick ritual of white cop killing black guy, prosecutors occasionally charging the cop, the acquittal, the ensuing chaos.

We know this. Just as we know all the facts in the Anthony Lamar Smith killing.

Stockley was reported to have said after the acquittal, “I did nothing wrong.” He believes that. If I’m him, I’m thinking, I thought the guy had a piece so I had to shoot him. When it turned out he didn’t have a gun, I knew I’d be crucified, so I had to plant one. It’s a war zone out here. What else could I do?

All of which, as I say, is perfectly reasonable.

Then again there’s the nagging perception that white cops are quick on the draw when it comes to black guys. Sometimes, even black cops are quick on the draw when it comes to black guys. Peer pressure can make a person forget the color of her/his own skin. And — don’t you know it? — there are few, if any, in-groups more peer-pressurized than the cops.

We’ve seen too many videos of sweet white girls ramming cop cars and then leading them on high speed chases. It seems they’re always apprehended alive. We saw the white lunatic ram a crowd of protesters with his car in Charlottesville the other week. He was apprehended, alive. We’ve seen recordings of white guys tussling with cops, reaching for the cops’ guns, and they were subdued, alive. I could go on and on with such examples.

The truth is black guys inspire a deep, visceral fear in white people. Have you seen that study where white people are shown arguments for certain social safety net policies? The one where the arguments are accompanied either by pictures of white people or black people? Whites are all for the social policies if the argument is accompanied by pictures of whites. They suddenly turn dead set against them if the argument is accompanied by pix of black people.

What we need to know today is how many ram-and-chase incidents end in police shootings, and what the ratio of black dead guys is to white dead guys.

Then we need to figure out why white people are so terrified of black guys.


Hot Air

Overheard this AM at a diner:

Whatever happened to ol’ what’s his name?

Y’know, That Guy

Keller Converses On Big Talk

Do you ever wonder how all these different non-profit social service agencies get off the ground? Well, we’ve got one such genesis story right from the (clothes)horse’s mouth. My guest on Big Talk yesterday was Sandy Keller, founder and executive director of My Sister’s Closet. She and her crew have been outfitting and counseling at-risk women hoping to get into the workforce for nearly 20 years now.

Here’s the link to the WFHB feature on her and here’s the link to the entire, unedited interview I did with her in the studio Tuesday afternoon.

Next week, we’ll gab with Dr. Maria Elizabeth Hamilton — known as Osunbimpe Abegunde — Indiana University visiting lecturer in African American and African Diaspora studies. She’s a researcher in ancestral memory

as well as a poet, birth doula, Reiki master, and engungun priest. I’m looking forward to this show because, frankly, I know next to nothing about any of those topics, so we can all look forward to becoming enlightened — and isn’t that why we’re alive?

Talk later.

Kid Stuff

Herein, I’m publishing the transcript of Kid Rock’s coming-out party speech. That is, coming out in terms of stating categorically he’s running for US Senator from Michigan.

Who knows what the future may hold. Hell, we might look back on this week and say, Ha! Kid Rock wanting to run for office — what a joke that was! Of course, the events of 2016 have proven that nothing is too ludicrous to happen in this holy land anymore. In either case, I want to make sure there’s a record of Kid Rock’s speech here.

So, here are the words of a man who wants to become member of America’s elite leadership body, and who makes no bones about looking ahead to the White House:

Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Location: Little Caesar’s Arena, Detroit Michigan

Event: Inaugural concert in the new arena, starring Kid Rock

[Kid Rock sings one song, leaves the stage, and is immediately re-introduced.]

Emcee: “Ladies and Gentlemen. Will you please welcome, the next Senator of the great state of Michigan, Kid motherfucking Rock!”

The song, ”Hail to the Chief,” is played.

Graphic behind stage: “Kid Rock ’18 For U.S. Senate.”

Well, what a crowd! I said, ‘Well, what a crowd!’ What’s going on in the world today? Seems the government wants to give everyone health insurance, but wants us all to pay. To be very frank, I really don’t have a problem with that since God has blessed me and made my pockets fat. But, if redistribution of wealth seems more like their plan, then I don’t believe you should save, sacrifice, do things by the book and then have to take care of some dead beat, milking the system, lazy ass motherfucking man.

The issue of struggling single parents is an issue close to my heart. But, read my lips: We should not reward those who can’t even take care of themselves but keep having kid after fucking kid.

Of course we should help them out. I don’t want to stand here and sound like a jerk. But let’s help them out with child care, job training and find them a fucking place to work.”

And you deadbeat dads who refuse to be a man. Who refuse to be there for your sons and raise them up to be good men. You no-good derelict sperm donor wannabes. I say lock all you assholes up and throw away all the fucking keys.

If you want to take a knee or sit during our Star Spangled Banner, call me a racist because I’m not PC and remind me that Black lives matter. Nazis, fucking bigots and now again the KKK? I say fuck all you racists. Stay the hell away.

And why these days is everything so gay? Gay rights. Transgender this and that. I say let gay folks get married if they want and I’m not even close to a Democrat. But things shouldn’t be this complicated. And, no, you don’t get to choose, because whatever you have between your legs should determine the bathroom that you use.

It’s no secret we’re divided and we all should take some blame, and we all should be ashamed because we all seem scared to call him by his name. (Picture of Jesus appears; KR points at it) So, please almighty Jesus, if you’re looking down tonight, please guide us with your wisdom and give us strength to fight. To fight the tyrant evils that lurk here and abroad and remind us all we are still just one nation under God.

And I do believe it to be self-evident, that we are all created equal. I said it once, I’ll scream it again. I love black people. And, I love white people, too. But, neither as much as I love red, white and blue.

And, if Kid Rock said it, it’s got some folks in disarray, wait until they hear Kid Rock for President of the U-S-A!

‘Cause wouldn’t it be a sight to see. President Kid Rock in Washington, D.C. Standing on the desk in the Oval Office like a G. Holding my dick ready to address the whole country.

I’d look them straight in the eyes. The eyes of the nation live on TV. And Id say to them, “You ever met a motherfucker quite like me?”

Fingers crossed we’ll be laughing our heads off about this come November, 2018.

Hot Air: Talking & Walking

The old line goes: She’s the kind of person who, when you ask her what time it is, will tell you how to make a watch.

In other words, an interviewer’s dream.

That’s Sandy Keller, founder and exec. director of My Sister’s Closet. She’ll be on Big Talk with me this afternoon on WFHB‘s Daily Local News at 5:00pm.

Keller (L)

Perhaps the only human in Bloomington who can challenge her for loquacity is the legendary Spyridon Stratigos — Strats — who was on Big Talk with me in July. Now don’t get a big head, Strats — she’s the champ.

It takes a big talker to convince people to volunteer with and fund a start-up non-profit. My Sister’s Closet will be celebrating its 20th anniv. next year. MSC’s roll of clients is fast approaching 2000.

Tune in to 91.3FM or come back here tomorrow for podcast links.

Talk later.

Talking In Rhythm

With the Bloomington clime turning decidedly fall-like, it’s the right time to hunker down and hear some poetry. So, Monster House Press is throwing another of its storied house party/readings — only this time the bash will be at Hopscotch 2, 212 N. Madison St., right around the corner from the flagship Bloomingfoods store.

by SE Waters

Monster House’ll be celebrating the release of local poet SE Waters’ new chapbook, “They Offer a Name & Take it from You.” Joining SEW in oral metering will be Wendy Lee Spacek, Michelle Gottschlich, Hannah Hadley, Morgan Eldridge, and Kayte Young, with music by Glitter Brains.

Walking In Rhythm

Hot Air: They Know

Overheard at a diner.

Man: They can’t even talk about 9/11 in the schools anymore.

Woman: Really? What do you mean?

Man: Well, if the teacher talks about 9/11, they say it insults the Muslims.

Woman: Where’d you hear that?

Man: That’s what they say.

Alright? Let’s parse. The man cites “they” three times. That’s out of a total of 27 words. So, one of every nine of his words is “they.”


None of his “theys” has antecedent. So, let’s assume two of his “theys” refer to that authoritative, all-knowing committee of humans who dispense knowledge, as needed, to the rest of us. You know who I mean. They.

Big Mike Rule of Thumb: The nano-second people start talking about “they,” turn your ears off. Go do something else.

[BTW: The woman excoriated the man for repeating stuff he’d heard, maybe, somewhere, as if it were gospel. Give him credit: He said, “Yeah, maybe you’re right.”]

You’re In It; Like It Or Not

“[P]eople have to stop thinking that because they see some corruption in the system, they can live outside that system by not participating in it in any way, including electorally. No, every minute of every day you are in the system; the safety or menace you feel is the system. The streets you drive on are part of the system. The deductions from your paycheck are part of the system. By not voting you don’t buck the system, but succumb to it; you don’t show your strength but your weakness.”

Charles Blow

Charles Blow

[h/t to Lucy Fischman for this quote]

Clown Limo

I’d always thought there’d eventually be a clown candidate for president. Watching American politics for the half century spanning 1968 through now will do that to a fellow. As for whether that clown candidate would make it all the way to the White House? I figured it to be a 75 percent likelihood. Probable, although not necessarily definite.

I always figured, though, it’d be a rock star. I thought of Michael Jackson before he doped himself to death. Go ahead and laugh, but is that any more ludicrous than the idea of Li’l Duce as president?

Or how about Madonna?

Now that a slightly different kind of unthinkable has come about, the doors to the White House are wide open. Which makes the buzz about Kid Rock alarming (his appearance last night at Detroit’s Little Caesar’s Arena was heralded by the strains of “Hail to the Chief”). Say he somehow wins a US Senate seat from Michigan. It’s a short hop to the Oval Office.

Here’s a list of potential candidates for the presidency (and how much do you want to bet at least one of them will take the prize some November Tuesday in the not-so-distant future?):

  • Angelina Jolie
  • Wayne LaPierre
  • Al Franken (not necessarily a clown anymore, although he was a Saturday Night Live skit player and writer)
  • Taylor Swift
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Sean Combs
  • Howard Stern
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Rush Limbaugh

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  • Dr. Phil McGraw
  • Garth Brooks
  • David Copperfield
  • Judy Scheindlin (Judge Judy)
  • Drew Brees
  • Tom Cruise
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Bill O’Reilly
  • Sean Hannity
  • Dr. Dre
  • Katy Perry

This is not to say I think all of the above-named would be political and/or philosophical disasters. Just that they all have the potential, through celebrity alone, to ascend to the highest position of authority in the richest, most powerful empire the world has ever known.

Hot Air: Women, Get Going!


That’s all.


History’s repeating. As it always does.

To wit: Back in 2008 when my guy Barack Obama won the presidency scads of Americans were aghast. The very presence of Obama in the White House appalled and terrified them.

It was as though the world had been turned upside down. People walked around in a daze at the very first, and then that dizziness turned to rage. “That’s not my president,” many said. Commentators and wags pledged to do everything they could to hinder him. Some of the loudest voices shrieked that they hoped he’d fail.

All of which, in turn, appalled us Obama-ites. How dare they speak in such disloyal terms? We called them unpatriotic. Which was funny because, for most of us, patriotism had never before been a goal or a compliment. Suddenly, we were flag-wavers, defenders of The Man. The New Man.

Then, seemingly in the snap of a finger, it’s today. And now we’re the ones spewing the exact same things! Simply switch President Gag’s name for Barack Obama’s in the above grafs and, like magic, 2009 becomes 2017.

Not-My-President, Versions I & II

Now, before knee-jerk dissenters smirk and say, See? It must be noted we of the disloyal, unpatriotic, anti-Li’l Duce bent are fermisht because the object of our appallment is a misogynist, white supremacist, anti-intellectual, almost certainly pathologically narcissistic greed monkey who thus far has attempted with varying degrees of success to dismantle nearly all the social and legal advances our holy land has made in the last half century.

The fellow whom 2009’s tongue-clickers and hell-raisers couldn’t bear to think of as their leader was perhaps the single most centrist human being ever to ascend to the apex of this democratic republic/empire’s political pecking order. So, no, that couldn’t have been it. Must have been something else.

The more things stay the same, the more they change.

Hot Air: Naked City

I lived in abject terror for four years while attending Fenwick High School just outside Chicago. A Catholic boys’ college prep school, our teachers and disciplinarians were about a 50/50 mix of Dominican priests and brothers and lay teachers. Our swimming coach was Mr. Grothe.

For four years, he watched me march into the pool area, naked. No, he was not naked. I was. I and however many other guys would be in that semester’s gym class. Say 50 or 60 of us.

Click for the WBEZ report.

All nude. Bare. Unclad. Forced to strip.

It was horror.

I was 14 years old in September 1970, my freshman year in high school. Eighteen when I left. Arguably the four most insecure years of a human being’s life. And, in the case of a male human being, the four years during which his genitalia are as alive and reactive as, oh, uranium 235. Riding a bus, sitting in religion class, walking home from school, listening to Sugarloaf’s “Green-eyed Lady,” wiping the dishes, watching a Friday night appearance of Raquel Welch on the Tonight Show — all of them, and more, were triggers enough for me to experience tumescence.

Much more. Lenny Bruce once did a bit about how guys will “hit on a chick” (his words, so don’t get all huffy) anywhere, any time, under any circumstances. A guy could have his foot cut off and, being sped to the hospital in an ambulance with a pretty nurse attending to him, he’d find it impossible not to say, “So, whattya doin’ Friday night?”

And she’d say, “Are you nuts? Your foot’s cut off!”

Didn’t matter, Bruce’d quip.

Now that’s hyperbole. But hyperbole only works if it contains a grain of truth. Guys will “hit on a chick” even under the most trying circumstances.

And 14-year-old boys will get wood at the drop of a hat. Or even if the hat remains firmly in the holder’s grip. Doesn’t matter.

I recall once having to stay on the Oak Park Ave. bus — and consequently being late for school — for an extra mile and half one morning because, you guessed it, a certain part of me was engorged. I had no real reason to be aroused that particular morning. Perhaps I’d glanced at a picture of Grace Slick, fully clothed, in the Sun-Times while eating breakfast. Or I’d happened to have thought back to that final week of eighth grade just a few months before when Angela Zaharias was wearing those little white shorts that contrasted so nicely with her tanned thighs. Or, more likely, just because I was 14 years old.

Acc’d’g to Wikipedia, “Penile erection is the result of a complex interaction of psychological, neural, vascular and endocrine factors, and is often associated with sexual arousal or sexual attraction, although erections can also be spontaneous.”


So, for four years I fretted and sweated, hell, I chewed my fingernails to the quick at the prospect of coming undone in school — or on the way to and from it, or in the store, or at a wake. Sometimes I tossed and turned the Sunday night before our one-week pool rotation commenced, all due to the highly likely possibility that my junk might decide of its own accord and without consulting me or anyone else to reach for the sky.

The guys passed this story around: A few years before (always a few years before, no matter when the story’d be retold) an old-school, tough guy gym teacher named Mr. Lawless spied one of the guys sporting a boner in the pool. “Hey you with the flagpole,” Mr Lawless shouted. “Get over here!”

The poor kid shuffled over toward him and, even in his moment of supreme humiliation, still retained his flagpole. Mr. Lawless instructed him to grab a towel, drape it over his equipment, and go stand on the end of the diving board until the towel fell into the water. It’s not known how long it took for gravity to work its magic but it must be assumed that, to the poor kid, several eons had passed.

Scene Of The Crimes

And if the fear of an unwanted erections weren’t enough, there was also the terror of being laughed at, roared at, pointed at — take your pick of method of mortification — because my pride and joy might be deemed…, well, wee.

More than a few of my classmates were endowed with one or another variety of colossal Italian salsiccia.


I mean, how was I to hope to compete, athletically or academically, with Joey Scolari, who packed a veritable capicola?

An aside: Given all this, perhaps the bravest human I’ve ever encountered was an unfortunate lad named Peter K. No reason to give his last name. Nature had bestowed upon him a tool the size of an unshelled peanut. As I think back, I recall him being unusually hairless and round in places the rest of us boys weren’t. It could be he was gender-fluid, although society hadn’t coined that term at the time.

He was so unlike the rest of us that we couldn’t even move ourselves to terrorize him for his oddness. Hell, we might have been afraid of him or thankful it was him and not us or even (I doubt it) filled with compassion for him. In any case, if I (who understand now I was an average bear) was petrified at the prospect of comparing myself to others, how must Peter K. with his unshelled peanut have felt every Sunday night before the start of his pool rotation? No matter; he stripped with the rest of us.

The teen years are frightful enough. Why in god’s holy name gym teachers and principals made the males among us parade around in the nude is a question only the world’s most astute psychoanalysts can hope to answer.

Or Words To That Effect

Hot Air: Farewell, Cassini

Y’done good.

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Hot Air: Good Talk, Reckless Talk

Now then, here are this week’s Big Talk links.

Go here for yesterday’s feature with Sam Stephenson on WFHB‘s Daily Local News. Go here for the complete, unedited interview with Sam, done Tuesday at ‘FHB world HQ.

Then get on over to the Book Corner or your fave local book peddler (although why the BC wouldn’t be your number one choice is beyond me) and cop copies of both The Jazz Loft Project and Gene Smith’s Sink, Stephenson’s gorgeous and compelling books.

Thelonious Monk & Company Rehearse At The Jazz Loft

Damage Control

Overheard at a diner yesterday AM: Bloomingfoods is about to close its doors forever. Maybe next week, maybe the week after.

I’ve seen no evidence that a Blooming-pocalypse is on the immediate horizon. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me one iota should the worst occur. Still, when the general citizenry is babbling about your impending doom, you’ve got a big stinkin’ mess on your hands.


Personal to the Bloomingfoods brain trust: You’d better put the word out that you’re still hale and hearty, at least for the next week or two.

Hot Air: Good Riddance

So, the Press of Mean, AKA Regnery, is filing for divorce from the New York Times.

Not that the New York Times is all broken up about it. Regnery peddles the almost-looniest ramblings of the Far Right. The NYT is hooked up with dozens of publishing houses, inasmuch as the Gray Lady heralds the best selling books in this holy land every week. Publishers became dewy-eyed at the prospect of landing a tome on one of the NYT‘s lists.

Regnery, a Washington-based outfit owned by Salem Media Group, specializes in specious wastes of ink and electrons spewed out by the likes of the following Squealers for the White Supremacist New World Empire:


  • Pat Buchanan
  • Mona Charen
  • Whittaker Chambers
  • Jerome Corsi
  • Ann Coulter

  • Dinesh D’Souza
  • Deke DeLoach
  • R. Lee Ermey
  • Steve Forbes
  • Mark Fuhrman

  • Newt Gingrich
  • Bernard Goldberg
  • Dennis Hastert
  • David Horowitz
  • Laura Ingraham
  • Wayne LaPierre
  • G. Gordon Liddy

  • David Limbaugh
  • Chuck Norris
  • Oliver North
  • Ted Nugent

  • Dennis Prager
  • Rick Santorum
  • Phyllis Schlafly
  • Mark Skousen
  • Donald J. Trump
  • Geert Wilders

Go ahead, google any of these names. Odds are good you’ll find the description of a proud reprobate who’s broken any and all of his/her Christian commandments, fluffed for authoritarianism, pimped for the prosperity gospel, tingled for violence, tittered at others’ pain, shaded, fibbed and outright lied his or her way to a worldview, and otherwise called for a planet that’s nearly indistinguishable from that of 1984 or Brave New World. Their books range from The Real Custer, a sanitization of the racist, probably psychopathic general’s life, to The Murder Business, a racist cop’s fever dream that “the media” intentionally botches capital crime investigations for who-knows-what nefarious reasons.

Hmm, that’s two mentions of the word racist in one sentence. Don’t blame me for that literary gaffe; it’s Regnery.

Anyway, Regnery has announced it’s “cutting all ties with the New York Times— including the New York Times bestseller list.” The reason? “[W]e believe that the Times’ list does not represent national sales of conservative books as accurately as other widely-published bestseller lists.”

In other words, the NYT is giving short shrift to Regnery’s output, this despite the fact that the current NYT hardcover nonfiction bestseller list prominently features the latest scurrilous diatribe by Far Right darling Dinesh D’Souza — you guessed it, a Regnery author. BTW: D’Souza’s new book is entitled, The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left. “The Democratic left has an ideology virtually identical with fascism and routinely borrows tactics of intimidation and political terror from the Nazi Brownshirts,” reads the author’s own hype.

If that’s a bestseller, we’re all fucked.

The truth is the New York Times indeed did tilt the scales away from a lot of Right-championed books beginning in the ‘Aughts. You may gasp, Golly gee, why?

Answer: the conservative publishing industry had learned how to game the list by buying in bulk, artificially goosing sales numbers. Right Wing organizations, PACs, oligarchs and plutocrats, and even authors themselves forked over big bucks to buy thousands of copies of titles at a crack, instantly and miraculously hoisting said titles onto the NYT bestseller list.

The NYT said, Uh uh, and began to place symbols next to bulk-bought titles on its list and, eventually, struck them from its list altogether unless they earned real and honest consumer sales figures.

So, okay, see ya later, Regnery. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out. And enjoy your books’ bestseller designations on WND and Alex Jones’ InfoWars.

Sam’s Gig

It’s Big Talk Thursday. Tune in this afternoon at 5:00 for WFHB‘s Daily Local News. Big Talk usually airs around 5:14. My guest this week is author, historian, and archivist Sam Stephenson, the brains behind The Jazz Loft Project and penner of the new book, Gene Smith’s Sink.

Sam just moved to Bloomington in recent months. His wife scored a sweet research gig at Indiana University so the two moved from their erstwhile digs in North Carolina.

And thanks tons to Jeff Isaac for nagging me to have Sam on the show. Sam’s (and Smith’s) respective obsessions make for compelling conversation.

As always, I’ll post links to the feature as well as the original uncut interview here tomorrow.

Talk later, ‘kay?


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