Category Archives: 2014 Election

Hot Air

The Party’s Over

So, the Republicans now are the big boys, running the halls of Congress like they own it. The Democrats, meanwhile, are crying, moaning, copping pleas, and generally behaving like high school sophomores who failed geometry because they didn’t study.

I have no use for either gang at this point in history.

The Republicans give me the jitters because their party has been hijacked by loons. The Dems upset my stomach because they’re all afraid of their own shadows. What choice does a bright, intelligent, caring, charming citizen such as I have?

Ick. Just Ick.

BTW: Those BMOC Republicans who think they own Congress? They don’t. The Koch Boys and several other nefarious, archcriminal, ungodly wealthy sociopaths do. Not that it matters to the Republicans in Q. The money’s gonna flow into their campaign coffers for the foreseeable future and, really, that’s all that matters. The Dems? Money’s still flowing into their war chests, too — just not as obscenely much as that emanating from the checkbooks of Chucky and Davey et al.

Koch Industries

The Nation’s Capital

For years I’ve been telling people we in the Dem party shouldn’t pin our hopes on peeps like Dennis Kucinich or Elizabeth Warren for possible White House runs. They’re too liberal, I’d say, pretending I’m some wise old political strategist. They need to be on the outside, shouting in, I’d pontificate. Mom and Pop Murrica won’t buy them. Apparently the Dem “brain” trust bought that argument as well, imposing upon us slate upon slate of milquetoasty, innocuous, borderline vacuous stuffed shirts. Oh no, they weren’t too liberal at all. They were, um, uh…, well, they were alive as far as the rest of us could tell. Barack Obama is alive. So is Hillary Clinton. Harry Reid. Alison Lundergan Grimes. Rahm Emanuel. Andrew Cuomo. John Kerry.

Ugh. I’m sick to death of all of them, every single middle-of-the-road, safe, non-threatening, “successful” Dem out there, and that’s a huge lot. (Admittedly, Obama’s brown skin and Hillary’s vagina threaten the bejesus out of tons o’folks in this holy land but no matter; those people are never going to vote Dem anyway.) The “safe” way has been so successful that the Dem party has pissed away control of the White House and both houses of Congress as late as 2010 to the point now where a certain revivified corpse pundit can ask, Is this the end of the Democratic era?

So, yeah, bring Elizabeth Warren on! And bring with her legislators like Judy Chu and Keith Ellison. Al Franken ought to get an invite. Donna Edwards, Sam Farr, Mike Honda, Jan Schakowsky, and Linda Sanchez too. Put out the call for Barbara Mikulski, Brian Schatz, Maria Cantwell, and Tammy Baldwin while you’re at it.


Bring Her On!

They’re all too liberal, acc’d’g to conventional wisdom — which makes them just liberal enough for me.

Hell, sticking like glue with true believers worked out fabulously well for the Conservatives, resulting in the beatification of one Ronald Wilson Reagan. Old Dutch never once apologized for his views. He was, at one time, long, long ago, considered a political joke. Saint Ronald now sits in heaven at the right hand of god.

Give me E. Warren for Prez in 2016.

Out Is Back

Drop what you’re doing and tune in tonight at 6pm. bloomingOUT! is back on the air.

South Central Indiana’s only LGBTQI-oriented radio talk show went silent for a few months after the retirements of producer Carol Fischer and her partner, host Helen Harrell, in August. Now, WFHB is airing the program again, starting immediately after the Daily Local News tonight.

“We have a big crew of volunteers from eclectic backgrounds coming together to produce bloomingOUT,” says WFHB New Dept. chief Alycin Bektesh. “We have a rotating cast of hosts, segment producers and engineers. Many IU students are involved as well as Indiana’s Marriage Equality Poster Boys Jeff Jewel and Jeff Polling.”


Jeff Jewel & Jeff Polling Get Married (Photo: Chris Howell/Herald Times)

Hot Air

Democracy, Now

Voters, you got what you asked for. Corporate titans, plutocrats and oligarchs, you got what you paid for. America, you got what you deserve.

Corporate Flag

Hot Air

A Good Beating

Y’know what? I hope the Democrats get their asses kicked all over this holy land today.

They deserve it. They deserve it because they’re pinning their hopes on a candidate whose big selling point is she’s not Barack Obama. That’s Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky. She’s running against next January’s new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Barack Obama, you see, is a bad guy to many Kentuckians. To many Murricans, for that matter. Even though he’s the President of the United States. And the titular head of the Democratic Party. Alison Lundergan Grimes’ party.

I hope she goes down in flames.


Poster Girl

Remember the line from The Big Lebowski in the bowling alley parking lot where Walter Sobchak says to The Dude, “Nazis? Say what you will about National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.”

The Republicans are not Nazis, no matter what certain drama queens on my side of the fence say. But they are a party that’s been hijacked by loons, whack-jobs, wingnuts, religious fanatics, anti-intellectuals, militarists, and Ayn Rand lovers. Hell, Mitch McConnell himself has made anti-intellectual hay by telling crowds around Kentucky that the Dems in Washington are being run by “college professors and community organizers” — as if there’s something wrong with that.

And the first thing the Democrats should have said was “You’re goddamned right, Mitch! You got a problem with college professors and community organizers?” Alison Lundergan Grimes should have said that.

It’d be an ethos.

But no. Alison Lundergan Grimes couldn’t even tell a debate moderator whether or not she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. As if to admit doing so would be an embarrassment. Yet the Democratic Party funneled tons of dough into her campaign.


Anyway, the Republican Party may be overrun with climate change deniers, xenophobes, gunslingers, Fox News watchers,  slut-shamers, evangelicals, and other such reprobates and cartoon characters, but at least they’ve got an ethos.

Even if that ethos includes the wish to throw up a fence between this country and Mexico, to run in terror from every Muslim they see or imagine, to burn as much fossil fuel as we can just for the hell of it, to allow billionaires to buy elections, to deny contraceptives to women but to make sure our health insurance cos. pay for boner pills for men, to fever dream that there’s some kind of war on Christianity and Christmas, and…, oh, I could go on and on. But you get it, don’t you? They believe in things.

What does Alison Lundergan Grimes believe in? Other than she’s not Barack Obama. Which we all could have figured out just by looking at either one of them.

You’ll have to forgive me: I’m typing in sentence fragments because I’m mad.


Because my party sucks.


I want the Democrats to lose today. And they’re gonna.

They’re going to lose because they’ve refused to scream from the mountaintops that the Affordable Care Act is now covering millions of Americans who, prior to its enactment, did not have health insurance. They’re going to lose because they should have been hammering us with the fact that unemployment has dropped to under six percent since Barack Obama, that bad guy, took office. They should have shouted, gleefully, that the national debt has dropped from over a trillion dollars in 2008 to less than 500 billion dollars this year. Why didn’t the Dems brag that with Barack Obama as president, four times more jobs have been added in this country than were added in George W. Bush’s entire eight year term? Or that US oil imports under Barack Obama have plummeted by more than 50 percent? And wind and solar power production in America has increased by 241 percent since 2008?

Or even that, with Obama courageously giving the go-ahead, US soldiers staged a daring raid and bumped off Osama bin Laden?

What more do you want from a guy who had to “work” with an opposition that promised to sabotage him and his presidency the moment he took the oath?

Did you hear Democratic candidates saying any of this?

Alison Lundergan Grimes is simply the poster girl for the run-from-Barack strategy employed by too many — way, way, way too many — Democratic candidates this year. Mind you, they’re not even running from some wild-eyed radical of the Left; they’re running from a fellow who’d make Richard Nixon or Dwight Eisenhower proud. Lyndon Johnson, on the other hand, would have employed some awfully harsh words in describing him.

The Dems, kiddies, are embarrassed about themselves. They’re embarrassed for having once embraced labor unions. They’re embarrassed because they don’t think it’s a sin to have an abortion. They’re embarrassed because they wonder how we can work with Mexican immigrants, with Middle East Muslims, with Russians. They’re embarrassed because they don’t want to stone homosexuals. They’re embarrassed because they want to spend more money on teachers and schoolbooks and less on thermonuclear bombs. They’re embarrassed because the Republicans are peopled with beet-faced parsons, mean old ladies, and tough guy coppers who’ve devoted their lives to shaking their fingers at them.


Scolds: John Hagee, Phyllis Schlafly & Joe Arpaio

They’re embarrassed for all the wrong reasons.

Hot Air

Manns’ Act

I know nothing about Alphonso Manns other than what I read about him in the Herald Times Saturday (paywall). Manns is the Dem candidate to supplant longtime Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Todd in the November election.

Manns, it was learned, once was whacked along with two others with a $1.3 billion judgement in a fraud case involving gold bullion. It seems Mann and his then-wife and law partner repped a kinky character named Otis Phillips who’d conjured a scheme to get investors to put earnest money down on the gold, pending approval of their qualifications to participate in the deal. The investors, in turn, would not be approved and Phillips would keep the earnest dough.

The gold never existed.

Back in 1997, the H-T‘s Mike Leonard described the set-up thusly:

[T]he investment scheme Dollie Manns represented hinged on the smuggling of gold and platinum that former Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek purportedly stashed in China and Indonesia when Communist forces led by Mao Zedong took control of the country 48 years ago.

Leonard went on to quote an Indiana Securities Division and Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission ruling in its investigation of Dollie Manns (Alphonso’s former wife):

She (Dollie Manns) exploited the investor by opportunistically initiating a conversation with her about the ‘investment’ knowing, by reason of her association with the investor’s lawyer (Al Manns) that the investor had just closed a lucrative real estate transaction. Her actions indicate a predilection to take advantage of unsuspecting clients of the firm and thus impart a strong negative implication to her fitness as a lawyer….

By converting the investor’s $20,000 to uses other than those agreed to by the investor and by failing to return the funds pursuant to the parties’ understanding and after the investor demanded return, the respondent violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b). her conversion of the investor’s funds violated Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(c) in that it represents conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation.


Alphonso Manns (IDS photo)

Phillips spent two years in the joint for the scam (not his first time as a guest of the state) and the Manns’s were named as co-respondents in the criminal case. The judgement against them was upheld by the a Texas appeals court, although the original penalty was reduced to $400 million.

The Manns’s, being neither billionaires nor hundred-millionaires, couldn’t come up with the scratch and so filed for bankruptcy. Even though the plaintiffs in the case could have pressed to collect the 400-extra-large, they didn’t, presumably because they were embarrassed nearly to death to have been taken in such a flimsy scheme.

For his part, Manns says he’s as pure as the driven snow.

Maybe. I only know I’m not voting for him. A judge, I’d hazard to opine, needs to possess better sense than to get involved in a business deal with, as the Texas appellate court described Phillips, “a shadowy figure…, (and) an ex-convict, (who) masterminded this scheme….”

Gay’s Best

In more savory news, Indiana University verse-ologist Ross Gay‘s poem, “To the Fig Tree on 9th and Christian” has been named one of the best of the year. It’s been included in the compilation The Best American Poetry 2014.

BAP 2014

The Best… books are a neat series that gather together some of the finest writing of the year. The books come out annually and include titles such as The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Essays. [Shameless plug alert] A piece I wrote about women boxers in the Chicago Reader back in 1994 was named a notable work in The Best American Sports Writing 1995. Read the piece here.

Once you’re finished with that make sure you check out Gay’s poem. It appeared originally in the American Poetry Review.

Those Zany Zimmermans

GQ mag yesterday released a story online from its October, 2014, issue detailing the sheer lunacy of the Zimmerman family. You remember George Zimmerman don’t you? Got into a scrape with a kid he was stalking, found himself on the losing end, and so shot the kid in the heart, killing him.

The kid’s name, natch, was Trayvon Martin.

Honestly, you knew from the start — as did I — that George himself was as mentally stable as a 17-year-old on his 30th crystal meth booty bump. Bet you didn’t know, though, that he comes from a clan that makes the Bluths look like the Huxtables.

The apple, babies, fell directly under the tree.


Yay! It’s Okay That I Killed A Kid!

Anyway, read the piece and try to understand the sheer weirdness of the family that has inspired love, devotion, and loyalty from the likes of Sean Hannity and his Fox News audience.

Hot Air

Why Vote?

So, what’s the diff. between the Dems and the Republicans again?

You’ve heard this Q. many times. I’ve even wrassled with it myself a time or two. A quick glance at the last three presidencies — Bill Clinton’s, George W. Bush’s, and Barack Obama’s — might lead a common citizen to think they’d all three come from the same college fraternity, the one that also funneled dozens and dozens of future capos into the Goldman Sachs mob.

There’s a lot of truth in that assessment. But there exists a greater truth, and here’s proof:

Clinton & Obama: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor

Bush II: John Roberts, Samuel Alito

Yep, those are the US Supreme Court nominees of the last thee presidents. Justices selected by Clinton and Obama voted in the minority against yesterday’s Court’s decision (Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action) to uphold Michigan’s voter ban on racial quotas in college admissions. (Breyer, it should be noted, uncharacteristically joined the majority in Schuette.)

The Clinton/Obama gang also voted in the minority against

McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission: Removed limits on how much money individuals can contribute to candidates or political action committees in in campaign cycle.

Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission: Corporations and other special interest organizations may contribute as much as they like to coandidates and political action committees in any given campaign cycle. This decision produced, as a byproduct, the concept of “corporate personhood.” It also led to the idea that a corporation’s money is the moral and legal equivalent to an individual’s free speech.

Shelby County v. Holder: The section of the Voting Rights Act allowing the federal government to monitor the voting rules of states that had previously allowed slavery and, later, had instituted Jim Crow laws was dismantled. This decision was immediately followed by several states enacting stringent voting restrictions.

The current majority in the Supreme Court also includes Saint Ronald Reagan’s boys, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, as well as Pappy Bush’s nominee, Clarence Thomas.


So, what can we glean? This: The conservative-dominated Supreme Court believes that the wealthy should have greater sway in the electoral process and that blacks are on their own, even in the face of long-standing, institutionalized prejudices and legal impediments.

Sorry if I sound didactic here today but the pressure’s on. It’s an election year — an off-year election, to be sure, but all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are up for grabs. I don’t know what’s so off about that other than voters in this holy land usually don’t give a damn about non-presidential elections.

Conceivably, putative next prez, Hillary Clinton, could be forced to work with both a Senate and and a House dominated by Me Party-ists, Right Wingnuts, regressivists, Birchers, crytpto-racists, and the odd moderate Republican who somehow manages to slip through.

Good luck, Hillary, on getting a Supreme Court nominee through that thicket.

Your Daily Hot Air

Kid Stuff

A couple of proposed swaps have been talked about in recent days here in the bustling metrop. that is Bloomington, Indiana.

Children Trading

City Business?

One I touched upon the other day: some folks put up a petition on suggesting that the city trade its Certified Tech Park land for Habitat for Humanity’s wooded tract just to the west of it. The idea being that the several dozen planned HforH homes should be built on city-owned land and that the wooded tract be preserved. Proponents of this solution say, by golly, it’s so simple any child should have been able to figure it out. You get to preserve one of the last remaining green areas of the central city and HforH gets to put up structures on land already prepped for development.

The other swap is one I’ve heard many an Average Citizen talk about ever since that big Public Works Department scandal broke last week. You know, the one where a heretofore well-liked, trusted PW project manager allegedly conspired with an out-of-town concrete outfit to bilk the city out of $800,000. Again, the proposed swap is so simple a kindergartner could have come up with it: Just recoup the 800 Gs and use the swag to pay for all those things the revenue from B-town’s downtown parking meters were supposed to finance.

If only the affairs of gov’t could be so simple. I chatted with a city official yesterday who provided the following caveats about that land swap idea:

  • “It’s impractical” at the very least.
  • The plans the city has already spent tons of dough on for the Tech Park cannot be switched over to another tract of land just like that. Similarly, HforH’s plans would have to be re-drawn as well — also at a significant cost.
  • The topographic and ecological conditions of the Tech Park area cannot easily accommodate a single-family-homes development nor can the wooded area adequately underlie the mixed-use Tech Park structures.
  • Some folks avoid the northwestern end of the B-Line Trail, the part that curves through the wooded area, because it is isolated, lonely and, frankly, a little scary for those who fear unexpected head-clunkings. Should homes be built around that end of the trail, it’ll be visible to a lot of neighbors. “Eyes on the trail is a good thing,” the official said.

The Bloomington City Council will vote on zoning variances for the Habitat project Wednesday, March 26th. Expect a quick okay.

Now then, what about that $800,000 windfall the city will get just as soon as Justin Wykoff and his pal, the concrete contractor Roger Hardin, turn their ill-gotten cash over to the proper authorities? (That is if they are indeed guilty of skimming said lettuce.)

This one’s as childlike as any scheme concocted by a kindergartner. It assumes Mayor Mark Kruzan is emptying out one of his old sports bags so he can stuff it with the cash the alleged embezzlers will tote over to him once they get sprung from the federal joint in Indy. The assumption is Kruzan will simply dole out the dough and every dept. head in the city will be fat and happy and city-workers will then go about the business of sawing down those damnable new parking meters.

Money in Bag

Okay, Boys, We’re Square

Kids, it ain’t gonna happen. Let’s not even concern ourselves with the probability that the cash — or most of it, at least — is long gone. The city can’t just spend found cash like a drunken sailor. It’ll have to go through channels, return the money to its original funding source, and then go through the whole process of re-allocating it. It’s not as though the $800,000 was sitting in a pile in some city safe somewhere and the bad guys (allegedly) swiped it in the middle of the night. It’s all too complicated for a straightforward reimbursement and redistribution.

Much as we wish it, spending a city’s money is not child’s play.

My Homestate Blues

Personal to the voters of the great state o’Illinois: y’all had better kick the crap (at the ballot box, natch) out of the newly-crowned Republican candidate for Guv this coming Nov.


Dem. Gov. Pat Quinn (left) Faces Rauner In The Fall

Bruce Rauner is a plutocratic, union-busting “right-to-work” advocate, health care profiteer, low-tax fetishist, and social-service expenditure slasher. He’s a Me Party dreamboat and will accelerate in his own small way this holy land’s headlong rush toward a cold, uncaring, bottom-line-only society. Assuming we’re not there already.

Anyway, Illinois voters, if you do elect this guy to be the state’s big boss, I’ll lose all respect for you. Assuming I haven’t already.

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