Hot Air


From John Steinbeck:

Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.


Bektesh Boffo

My old pal and colleague Alycin Bektesh has been named Bloomington’s 2015 Emerging Leader as part of the city’s Women’s History Month festivities in March.

Hard to believe the old girl is now 30 y.o., considering I recall her years ago sitting next to me for the first time one afternoon in the WFHB newsroom, fresh out of J-school, as well-scrubbed as any neophyte can be.

Hah — neophyte! She showed me. Alycin hit the ground running and didn’t stop until she left her latest post as News Director earlier this year. Believe me, the dame showed the entire news op. how a young, serious, dedicated reporter should act. She served as a role model not only to young women, sure, but to young men like WFIU voice Drew Daudelin and new WFHB News Director Joe Crawford, and — yeah, I’ll admit it — to an old bastard like me.


Alycin Bektesh

Alycin will grab her award at city hall, Tuesday, March 3rd, at 5pm. The event is free and open to the public. Oh, I’ll be there, just to hear her say, “Hey, Glab,” one last time. Alycin tells me she has no definitive work plans at this time but with nearly a thousand NPR stations and better than 220 community radio stations pumping out news in the US, it’s almost a sure bet someone’s gonna grab her from us. I get the feeling she has the itch to do some creative and important reporting after spending the last few years cracking the whip at ‘FHB.

Of course, she’ll tell you ‘FHB cracked the whip on her — and she’d be right, too. It’s good to see her step away from that grind and breathe again.

Excuses, Excuses

Scads o’folks are taking to the interwebs these days to lay a big guilt trip on this holy land for making it possible for ISIS to exist.

The idea being, our benighted leaders have so horribly mangled and mauled various precincts of the Middle East that, by golly, what else can you expect but for good, decent young Muslim men to chop people’s heads off?

And burn one or two hostages at the stake.

And videotape the festivities.

Make no mistake, it’s easy as pie to hate empire, any empire, and we — these United States of Murrica — are the empire du siècle.

Many of the same tut-tutters decry outraged criticism of ISIS as so much Islamophobia. These sensitive souls like to say the ISIS guys are not really Muslims at all, not like the peace-loving, vast majority of Muslims on this otherwise mad planet.

All told, a certain number of hand-wringers and pontificators hold that we’ve got ISIS all wrong and, even if we don’t, we — the USA — are jerks anyway so who are we to be outraged?

The truth is the ISIS gang is really more interested than anything else in time-machining the world to the Seventh Century. That would be when Islam’s founder, fella named Muhammad, decided to incorporate his god myth. The way the ISIS boys (and they are exclusively males, natch) look at it, every single thing that’s happened since the good old Six Hundreds has been an utter and brazen violation of god’s want.

Don’t ask me how they know this. I’m perplexed by all god-believers and their cock-suredness of what the putative creator of the Universe is thinking. Hey, Christianist peeps here think god becomes sick to his stomach at the very thought of two men passionately kissing. Then again, the ISIS boys think the same thing so, hell, who knows? Maybe they’re both right — although it seems far-fetched that the super supreme being who created all 118 elements as well as Katy Perry and Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, would be so skittish.



Nevertheless, the ISIS-ers are dead set upon regressing this world some 1400 years. And should they fail in that quest, apparently, they would be more than happy to see this planet roasted. Yep, acc’d’g to Yale U. poli-sci lecturer Graeme Wood, writing in the most recent issue of The Atlantic, ISIS makes no bones about that either-or position. Either we go back to those rollicking pre-A/C, frozen pizza-less, women-are-chattel, no-one’s-ever-heard-of-the-Chicago-Cubs days or they’ll do what they can to make an apocalypse happen.

As in a biblical Apocalypse. Capital A.

And guess what — should they get their hands on some nukes and some matches, it wouldn’t be a jaw-dropping shock to see ISIS torch, say, Cairo, Tel Aviv, or even New York City.

See, the roster of ISIS is not comprised of hail-well-met fellows who’d be Quakers or volunteers for Habitat for Humanity were it not for the USA’s missteps and atrocities. They’re cut-throats. They’re end-times believers. They hate the world. They hate life itself.

And their vision of Islam is the most pure and unadulterated there is. As Graeme Wood writes:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

I know many good people who practice the Islamic faith. But like Christians and Jews, they cherry-pick their scriptural guidelines and commandments. All faiths today are pale imitations of the holy — and monumentally violent — ideals of their denominations’ original charters.

And today, only the ISIS guys are following the rules as originally laid down by Muhammad and his PR men.

Fundamentalists, man. We’re going to be fighting them for a long time to come. As we should.

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