Hot Air

Hillary, Homicidal Maniac

This just occurred to me. Bernie is 74 years old. He’ll be 75 in September. The average American white male lives to the age of 76.7 years, acc’d’g to the CDC. Bernie’s just about pushing the age at which everything after is just gravy.

Let’s face it, he’s an old bird. If he dropped dead tomorrow, it wouldn’t be that much of a shock, based on life expectancy.

No one can say precisely when this one or that one is going to punch the clock. Hell, Bernie may live to be a hundred.

Hillary’d better hope he does because I’ll guarantee you this: If he cashes in his chips any time between now and November, there’ll be no dearth of people ready, willing, and eager to blame her for it.

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Hillary! Please…, No…, No!

Magical Thinking

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace. — Eugene O’Neill

Doesn’t it make sense that a Republican would be a big backer of magic?

The US House is considering a resolution declaring magic a “rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” That would put sleight of hand on a cultural par with, say, jazz or ballet, both of which Congress has recognized as rare and valuable art forms.

House Rules Committee Chair Pete Sessions (R-Texas) is hot to trot for this resolution. His committee decides which bills go to a floor vote.

Some Democrats, meanwhile, are smirking. Mark Takano (D-California), for instance, has tweeted that the Republican Party “believes in magic but not climate change.”

The GOP has sold magical thinking for a good four decades now, maybe more. Saint Ronald Reagan came to power largely by telling the citizenry we ought to go back to those wonderful halcyon days when things were dandy. If we elected him president, he promised, he’d replace the hell we were going to in a hand basket with the 1950s.

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Wizzo The Magician And His Pal Bozo

You know how great the 1950s were, don’t you? Jim Crow. Poll taxes. Homosexuality criminalized. Women in their place (and knowing where that place was). Oh, and the threat of nuclear holocaust hanging over all our heads.

And the American people bought into Reagan’s trick hook, line, and sinker. Twice. His 1984 reelection campaign TV ad began “It’s morning again in America.” The ad went on to show Americans going back to work, making scads of dough, and buying every freaking thing they could lay their hands on. But we all knew the line referred to far more than employment statistics. America’s darkest hours, it implied, were the Democratic Party years of civil rights, the social safety net, universal suffrage, women’s lib, and more.

Finally we woke up from that nightmare to discover we were a country ready to restrict access to abortions and contraception, to allow factories to resume pumping poisons into our lakes, rivers, and air, to smash all those racial quotas that’d helped countless black and brown folks to get promotions and go to college, and to fight any number of wars to help us forget the embarrassment that was Vietnam.

Even today, when Me Party-ists and their ilk howl about “taking our country back,” you know they’re nostalgic for the days when broads and coloreds weren’t so uppity.

And just as magical, the GOP has sold many of us the line that anything that’s good for our nation’s billionaires is good for us. Trickle-down economics, it’s called — and isn’t that the most insulting things you’ve heard in years? Here, we’ve got full buckets; you can have whatever drips spill over the side.

Like I said, magical thinking.

I guess I’ll have to admit with the GOP in charge of both houses of Congress, magic is indeed an art.

June 12th Birthdays

John Roebling — German-born civil engineer who moved to the US and designed the Brooklyn Bridge as well as the bridge bearing his name over the Ohio River that connects Cincinnati with Covington, Kentucky. He never got to see the completed Brooklyn Bridge. While overseeing work on the bridge his foot was crushed by a ferry pulling into dock. He treated the injury with something called “the water cure” which called for water to be poured continuously over the injury. Naturally, he died three weeks after the accident.

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Weegee — Born Ascher Fellig, he was prolific photographer who depicted real life, particularly crime scenes, from the late 1930s through the ’60s in New York City. He was known for arriving at crime scenes often before even the police got there. His ability to be first on the scene earned him his nickname, a slang pronunciation for Ouija, the board game used by many for seeing into the future. Weegee actually had darkroom facilities built into the trunk of his car so he could dash developed photos off to newspapers before anyone else could do so.

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Samuel Z. Arkoff — Perhaps the top B-movie producer of the 1950s, he’s credited with creating the beach party and motorcycle gang genres. He worked with horror film maven Roger Corman early in his career and eventually became vice president of American International Pictures, one of the premier low-budget horror movie studios. Among Arkoff’s masterpieces were Invasion of the Saucer Men, The Amazing Colossal Man, A Bucket of Blood, Panic in the Year Zero!, Beach Blanket Bingo, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, and Blacula.

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Uta Hagen — Film and stage actress and theater tutor, she was blacklisted in the 1950s primarily because she’d had an affair with black, self-identified communist Paul Robeson. Her books, Respect for Acting and A Challenge for the Actor, are considered standards in theater education.

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Frank McCloskey — Mayor of Bloomington and, later, a member of the US House of Representatives. McCloskey won election to Congress after his incumbent opponent smashed his car into a tree while he was driving drunk. During a fact-finding mission to the Balkans in 1991, McCloskey was struck by the extent of what he characterized the genocide perpetrated by the Serbians against the Croatians. He dedicated the rest of his Congressional career to that issue.

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On this date in 2012, Elinor Ostrom died. An Indiana University professor of political economics, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009 for her work in analyzing economic governance. To this day she remains the only women ever to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.

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