Hot Air: Indictment Morning

Is That All There Is?

Right off the bat, the indictments coming down against arch-villain Paul Manafort and his fellow cock-of-the-walk Rick Gates are anti-climactic. The Republican campaign guru and his abettor have been nailed mainly for financial misdeeds.

Yeah, sure, maybe the Feds are hoping that by slapping charges of money laundering and tax evasion against the pair, they can get them to flip on their führer; that’s the Democrats’ wet dream.

Admit it: We were all hoping for dramatic revelations contained in the bill of particulars issued this AM by the FBI. What we got were the usual venial sins, the kind that pretty much every greed monkey — Republican or Democrat — commits every day.

Repeat after me: Give us the head of Li’l Duce!

A Socialist Triumph

Ran into a long-time prof at Indiana State University. We got to talking about Terre Haute. I remarked that the city looks to me as though it’d been reasonable hopping at one time, back when American factories were located in American cities and employed American workers. Such a quaint idea.

The Loved One and I snooped around Terre Haute one fall day a couple of years ago. The streets and sidewalks were empty, by and large — odd that, considering the town is the home of a campus that boasts a student pop. of about 12,500. And we were loitering around that very campus! We wondered, Where in the hell were the students?

The professor told me what he taught — a discipline I never would have guessed by the looks of him. We chatted a little more, then I brought up the Eugene V. Debs house, now a museum dedicated to the founder of the Industrial Workers of the World. The two-story frame house, built in 1890 by Debs and his wife Kate for their fifth anniversary, was not terribly showy. It’s not a mansion after all, but it was, for its time, a bit more grand than a typical working-class family’s digs. For that, Debs took some heat from the type of people who look for any reason to give heat to socialists and labor leaders. It turned out that Kate Debs came from some dough and thanks to an inheritance she and EVD were able to live in a spot of some little luxury. The house is located on the campus, at the edge of a big surface parking lot, as a matter of fact.

The prof said: “There’s a story behind that house.”

I gave him an ear.

“In the early ‘Sixties, I don’t know, about ’61 or ’62,” he continued, “the university wanted to tear the house down. They wanted to build the new parking lot.

“Well, there were a lot of socialists in the History Department and they said, ‘No way!’ They stood their ground. They went to the university and the city and raised such a fuss that the university backed down.”

The upshot: I found after the professor took his leave that the house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

TLO and I sat in the backyard of the place that fall afternoon. It’s decorated with plaques denoting all the fabulous champs of the working person who’d visited him in situ back in the early 20th Cent. I got goosebumps just thinking about sitting in the same garden wherein Debs and his bride sat, perhaps, watching the sun set and listening to the local birds’ evening songs.

After meeting the ISU professor, my thoughts turned to how tone-deaf and intentionally ignorant university bosses can be. A big title and years of educational accomplishment, evidently, do not guarantee intelligence.

Doomsday — This Way ➔

Did you catch this obit last week: The guy who designed that famous, bone-chilling fallout shelter sign has died.

His name was Robert W. Blakeley and he was the director of administrative logistics support function for the US Army Corps of Engineers. He’d actually studied landscape architecture at the University of California at Berkeley.

A couple of factoids got me: The signs originally were black on orange. I recall only ever seeing them as black on yellow. I guess age and sunlight faded the orange. And Blakeley designed the sign in his basement.

I wonder how many of his contemporaries at the time figured they and he, in the main, would be dying of old age rather than in the unbearably terrifying flash of a nuclear explosion?

Typecasting

We’re shocked that so many men of accomplishment are being accused — and very credibly so — with sexual harassment. Does it occur to anyone but me that over-the-top success, the kind that makes one a household name or someone who wields extraordinary power in whatever field he’s in, goes hand in hand with almost uncontrollable goat-ness? It’s all power and dominance and…, let’s be frank, bullying, isn’t it?

Acquisitiveness, the refusal to be denied, a single-minded pursuit of adulation and power — aren’t these the basic ingredients in the sexual harassment stew?

 

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