* Go ahead, look it up!
Words & Lyrics
Don’t miss it: Bloomington’s unofficial poet laureate, Ross Gay, and singer songwriter, Kacie Swierk, will perform live tomorrow at the Book Corner.
Gay, the award-winning professor of creative writing at Indiana University, will be reading from his bestselling Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude as well as new stuff from his forthcoming book. Swierk will play songs from her debut album, This Is Water.
The reading/singing festivities begin at 3:00pm and will run through five o’clock. The Book Corner is located on the southeast corner of courthouse square, 100 N. Walnut St., 812.339.1522.
Old Bird Watching
A funny little memory. Then again, maybe not so funny. In fact, it’s rather sad.
A few years back, when The Loved One and I cribbed in Louisville, I used spend a lot of time in the cafe at the Barnes & Noble on the city’s east side.
Every single solitary time I went there, no matter if it was a Monday, a Friday, or a Sunday, there’d be these two bitter old birds sitting at one of the tables, egging each other on over how our holy land was going straight to hell. They’d have the newspapers spread out on the table before them — the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Louisville Courier-Journal — and they’d be complaining all the while about how the papers were wrong about everything and, in fact, were purveyors of the worst kind of lies. I first saw the two when we moved to the area in the spring of 2007. They were loud, opinionated, sure of everything the believed, and contemptuous of anyone who wasn’t…, well, them.
Every day I saw (and heard) them, they lamented angrily the fact that one of America’s major political parties seemed on its way to nominating a black man for president. Countless times, one would tell the other how enraged he was by all these people who were going to vote for Barack Obama because they suffered from “white guilt.”
One day in the spring of 2009, while TLO and I were in transition mode (she was already working here in Bloomington while I remained in L-ville waiting for our house to be sold) I found myself, as usual, at the B&N cafe. And, naturally, the two bitter old birds were there.
They were carping about how much dough they’d lost in the Great Recession. Just to refresh your memory (and to make the kicker clearer), the Great Recession began in December of 2007, acc’d’g to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The precipitous dip was caused, among other things, by 1) the repeal of the Glass-Steagal regulations on banks, ensuring that they keep adequate cash reserves on hand as a ratio of loans they’d extended; 2) the creation, unregulated growth, and subsequent abuse of mortgage-backed securities; 3) an unchecked feeding frenzy at major Wall Street investment banks; 4) an enormous, unsustainable housing bubble; and 5) giddy investment in risky bonds and other financial instruments by retirement plans, mutual funds, and municipalities. The coming collapse of the world economy seemed assured in March, 2008, when the Blackstone Group, manager of the world’s biggest buyout fund, announced its profits had fallen fully 90 percent in the previous quarter. The global economists who’d predicted since as early as 2000 that the world economy was in for a mighty fall, all said I told you so, and predicted bad news from other institutions would soon follow. It did. It sure as hell did.
In any case, the seeds of the worldwide economic collapse — the effects of which are still felt, and still being remediated, to this day — had been sown many years, even decades, before the hammer came down in the summer of ’08. You may recall that the big news during that year’s presidential election was Republican candidate John McCain’s suspension of his campaign in September so he, purportedly, could focus all his attention on putting out the fire. The US stock market, which had peaked at 16,451 in May 2007 at that moment began an historic plunge, losing half its value by February, 2009.
So now you’ve got the background — and the timeline.
And on this day in the spring of 2009, the two old birds told each other the Great Recession, which had erased much of their wealth, so much so that one of them embarrassedly revealed he might have to take a part-time job to make ends meet, was the result of one thing and one thing only: the election of Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency. They sat nodding at each other for long moments after that pronouncement was made.
I was tempted to shriek, What the goddamned hell is wrong with you idiots!
I didn’t. And not because I was loath to make a scene. Hell, I wanted a scene. In fact, I would have wanted one of them to to stand up and say something to me just so I could knock him down.
No, I didn’t hold my tongue because of that. I remained silent because here were two educated men — I’d overheard them talking about the top-flight universities they’d attneded — two guys who scoured the financial newspapers and all the cable news shows focusing on money, two fellows conversant in all the terminology and all the nuances of economic theory, still able to convince themselves that it was the black man who brought ruin to the global economic system.
There’s nothing I could have said that would have swayed either of them one half degree off their cherished belief.
I’ll bet the two old birds — if they’re still alive — are thrilled with our current president.
In Out Like Flynn
So, Michael Flynn’s going to cop a plea, eh?
Get ready for the coming mother-of-all constitutional crises, babies. President Gag surely is going to try to pull the plug on Robert Mueller’s probe into the odiferous rectum of Li’l Duce‘s presidential campaign now.
And the Republicans, with this stinking albatross carcass hanging over their heads, most def. aren’t looking forward to the 2018 mid-term election w/ relish.