Hot Air: Fanning The Flames

Hate Speech

Columnist Neil Steinberg this morning finds a nifty comparison for the putative presidency of America’s Shart, Donald Trump.

Steinberg points to the newly elected president of the Philippines, a loudmouthed lout named Rodrigo Duterte. The former mayor of Davao City is an old hand at spewing oral excreta. He specializes, apparently, in insulting women. Duterte once commented on the rape and murder of Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill during a prison hostage crisis in Davao. He found it somehow appropriate to joke about the incident.

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Hamill (With Gun At Her Head) During Hostage Crisis

Steinberg writes:

You’d think that kind of thing would hurt a candidate even in a rough-edged place like the Philippines. Duterte beat his nearest rival in a crowded field by almost two to one.

I looked up the “joke” and found this from the Asia Times:

“They raped all of the women [and] there was this Australian lay minister. When they took them [the bodies] out, I saw her face and I thought, ‘son of a bitch’ what a pity they raped her…I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought the mayor should have been first,” Duterte said.

But wait, it gets worse. Duterte has a daughter who says she was raped once. Wasn’t she aghast at her old man’s stab at levity? Hell no! She defended her daddy-o. Then, Duterte claimed his daughter was a “drama queen,” wondering how she could ever have been raped since “she carries a gun.”


In response to these examples of verbal emesis, both the Australian and American ambassadors to the Philippines protested. Duterte responded by telling the two to “shut their mouths.” Later, when asked if he’d apologize for the “joke,” he said, “I will not. I am even willing to lose the presidency. Do not make me apologize for something that I did and was called for by the moment.”

It’s safe to say this kind of rubbish is as nauseating as Trump implying he’d do his daughter or his comment that Rosie O’Donnell was a “fat pig” and a “slob.” If you want to give Duterte extra credit, it would only be for making light of a grisly crime.

Trump hasn’t gone that far. Yet.

Adria’s Army

Who doesn’t love Adria Nassim? Bloomington’s acknowledged autism spectrum maven, she educates the citizenry on the condition. In fact, acc’d’g to the latest iteration of her weekly Herald Times column, she conducts seminars for businesses that’d like to make their places more accessible and welcoming to those on the spectrum.

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Adria And Lucy

Jane Kupersmith, co-boss of Hopscotch Coffee (HQ of this communications colossus), had her in recently to speak with her employees.

Do yourself a favor and read Adria every week. And if you run a business — whether it’s open to the public or not — you ought to contact her and have her stop by to give a talk to your people.

See, the first time I ever met Adria, I thought she was blind — she stared straight ahead and had a service dog. It would have benefitted me to have a bit of knowledge about people on the spectrum.

The Rich Are Different…

Scuttlebutt is basketball deity LeBron James’ deal to shill for Nike ranges anywhere from half a billion dollars to a full b. Kanye West claims the deal is worth a billion. USA Today estimates it a half that. Let’s go with the lowball estimate, just to be safe. Paying a guy $500 million or so just to say what a swell pair of sneakers you make is ipso facto a crime against humanity in my book.

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Shoe Salesman

And that ain’t hyperbole, either. Half a billion big ones could feed a lot of hungry people or put thousands of homeless people in under roofs or rescue countless families from financial ruin when one of their members suffers a catastrophic illness.

Neither Phil Knight, Nike bossman, nor James see anything amiss trading in such obscene figures. Lots of true believers in the free market, Ayn Randists, mob capos, drug lords, and other reprobates view deals like this as evidence our monetary system is humming along quite nicely, thank you.

My take? The system works marvelously when you can stuff a basketball better than anyone else in the world. Otherwise, get in line, loser.

May 18th Birthdays

Gotta tell you, I love doing these birthdays. It’s like taking a bunch of history lessons every time I go digging for each day’s celebrants.

Early on, my oldest and dearest pal, the visual artist Sophia Anastasiou-Wasik, chided me for the preponderance of men in my daily lists. Since then I’ve gone out of my way to find birthday women. Despite being historically elbowed out of the limelight via sexism, there’ve been scads of dames who’ve accomplished amazing things. They had to be tough and determined far beyond what anyone could have expected from men. Thanks, Sophia.

Omar Khayyám — Persian mathematician and poet, he was a leading light in the Muslim world when that culture was one of the few at the time to value scientific inquiry. His Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra laid out the basics of that branch of math and brought it to the attention of European scholars.

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Isabella d’Este — One of the most important figures in the Renaissance era, she used her wealth to support countless great artists and was a cultural icon throughout western Europe. Isabella was recognized as extraordinarily brilliant as a young girl and was educated accordingly. She did translations of Latin and ancient Greek texts at a surprisingly tender age and at the same time held her own in conversations with diplomats, revered artists, and scholars. She was described by two contemporaries as “supreme among women” and “the first lady of the world.”

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Bertrand Russell — Philosopher, logician, mathematician, Nobel Prize winner. Some priceless Russell quotes: “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”; “War does not determine who is right — only who is left.”; “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so sure of themelves, and wiser people are so full of doubts.”

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Walter Gropius — Seminal figure in modern architecture, he took over Germany’s Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts and transformed it into the Bauhaus, where he persuaded the likes of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky to join the faculty. He fled Germany when the Nazis came to power and relocated in the United States. Gropius ranks with Mies, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier in the mid-20th Century pantheon of architects.

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Big Joe Turner — “Rock and roll would never have happened without him.” — Doc Pomus. Turner, known as “Boss of the Blues,” was a barrelhouse musician in Kansas City in the 1930s and appeared with Benny Goodman at a show in New York but was deemed “not ready” for the big city until 1938 when he was booked to appear at Carnegie Hall. His career then took off. He developed the back beat, the syncopated emphasis on the off beat.

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Margot Fonteyn — The Prima Ballerina Assoluta of Britain’s Royal Ballet, her appearances with Rudolph Nureyev after his defection form the Soviet Union in 1961 were the stuff of legend, inspiring wild audience demonstrations including repeated curtain calls and tossing flowers onstage. Nureyev said that as a dancing pair, the two had “one body, one soul.”

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Don Martin — My favorite Mad magazine cartoonist, his characters were noted for their hinged feet, which I found endlessly hilarious. He was known as “The maddest of the Mad artists.” He also was famed for his onomatopoeic sound effects — some examples: skreee (car skidding to a stop), borrft (Porky Pig belching after a big meal), doot (sound of the doctor’s rubber hammer hitting a knee), fit! (sound of air escaping from a balloon flying away).

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Janet Fish — Realist painter of still life scenes, early on she rejected abstract expressionism, instead focusing on everyday objects. She refuses to be labeled a photorealist because she emphasizes light in a more artistic sense than as a faithful representation of reality.

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Jeana Yeager — Co-pilot of the Rutan Voyager, the first aircraft to be flown non-stop and non-refueled around the world (nearly 25,000 miles) in 1986. And, no, she wasn’t related to Chuck Yeager.

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Tina Fey — You’ve heard of her, I’d imagine.

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On this day in 1973, Jeannette Rankin died. She was a long-time member of the US House of Representatives and the only rep who voted against the declaration of war against Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ranking was a life-long pacifist who also voted against American involvement in World War I. Her work advocating women’s suffrage helped lead to the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing females the right to vote in the United States. She also fought for civil rights long before that became acceptable.

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