Category Archives: 2016 Presidential Race

Hot Air

Madness Men

Boss Sandberg yesterday asked me if I plan to watch that debate featuring Republican candidates for president — in an election that is still some 15 months off.

I responded forcibly; “Fk no!”

The genteel clout-meistress recoiled as if from a big furry bumblebee. I don’t blame her. For her part — after she regained her equilibrium — City Council maven Susan Sandberg sez she will watch the gabfest, mostly for the laughs.

Padded Room

The Green Room For Tonight’s Debate

Me? I don’t see any hee-haws coming out of tonight’s projectile word vomit fracas. Not when the participants, as a rule, look unkindly upon undocumented immigrants, women who abort their fetuses or who use birth control, folks who are poor, anybody will an al- preceding their surname, unarmed dark-skinned men who get shot up by cops, school teachers, environmentalists, climatologists, liberals, and other grave threats to our holy land.

I don’t care to spend the lion’s share of my evening watching my proxies being insulted, degraded, and vilified.

Mainly I don’t want to be made mad. I’m using the term in a dual sense here. The ludicrous hoo-ha emanating from the face holes of the likes of Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee will not only spike my choler level, it will drive me to some brink of mental delirium. I can just see myself pounding across the kitchen tile, the libels and defamations of white men who possess near-negligible levels of intellectual acuity and even less empathy for their species brethren and sisteren echoing in my memory.

Poor old Sally the Dog just might hoist herself up and plop her front paws on my fragile nethers — a habit The Loved One and I have found impossible to break in her so far — and she’ll be rewarded with a thunderous outburst of foul verbiage and barking that’ll cause her to afford me a wide berth for the next few days.

Sally’s a good mutt otherwise and I’d feel awful for treating her in a manner more appropriate for Scott Walker.

So, no, I ain’t watching. Sure, you go ahead and watch. Like S. Sandberg, I’m sure you’re blithely anticipating it being as innocuously comical as one of those old-time Dean Martin roasts. I’m willing, though, to put good money down on this proposition: the debate tonight will boil your very blood — as well as your lymphatic fluids, the perspiration on your forehead, and whatever other fluids and sauces you have circulating through and around your bod.

Again, it’s a year and a quarter until the 2016 general election. If you’re made jowl-flappingly mad this early in the game, think how many holes will form in the lining of your stomach by a year from Nov.

For your own health and and your house pets’ safety and comfort, take my advice: do anything other than switch your flat screen on to Fox News this eve. Not that you should ever do that, but tonight especially. Your stomach will thank me.

Still At It

Charlotte Zietlow and I are covering the first year of her term as Bloomington City Council president in our memoir project these days. That is, her memoir with me as her pro scribe. This is by explanation why my posts here have become so infrequent of late. Just in case you’ve forgotten.

Get Together

Here, chill out on these gentle tones from the Youngbloods, summer of 1969 vintage:

Hot Air

Learnin’ — Who Needs It?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is back on the slicing and dicing trail. This time he wields his machete against the state’s university system that serves 180,000 students and employs 39,000..

Walker, of course, is an early, early, early front runner in the Republican beauty pageant for the 2016 presidential nomination. He came out on top in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll of GOPers yesterday, edging out even Jeb Bush in popularity among likely Repub. voters. That’s the way things stand — this minute at least.

Walker

This Minute’s It Guy

Anyway, Walker’s big news of late has been his desire to slash the state’s financing of the University of Wisconsin by a cool one-third in his next budget. As of now, Wisconsin spends about $1 billion a year on its university system. Walker proposes cutting $300 million from that total.

Criss-crossing the state and even appearing on the nationally televised Sunday morning gasbag programs, Walker adds that professors and other U. teachers just might have to start thinking about teaching more classes and working longer hours. The Guv is falling back on the old Republican canard wherein teachers are sitting around smoking pipes, reading the Socialist Worker, and planning their next wife-swapping get-together.

Scads o’ Republicans these days think all a college teacher has to do is spout some facts and figures for 45 minutes and then go back to plotting the overthrow of god. In addition to the grueling hours major university instructors put in preparing classes, actually teaching, meeting with students, grading papers and trying to keep up with advances in educational theory, many also engage in research in whatever field they’re in. The U. of WI demands that its teachers do research. This is how our breadth of knowledge is expanded. Seems inarguable, right? Wrong. In fact, one of Walker’s coat-holders, speaker of the Wisconsin assembly Robin Voss says, “Of course I want research but I want to have research that focuses on a way of growing our economy, not on ancient mating habits of whatever.”

Cute, huh?

Reminds me of Sarah Palin’s old line — back when she was inexplicably relevant — about university researchers spending our good, hard-earned tax dollars on studying fruit flies. Fruit flies! Imagine that. How inane! Her GOP audiences ate that stuff up. Only the fruit fly studies she was talking about were agriculturally significant in terms of invasive species knowledge, but also were being done by genetics researchers. They use fruit flies because the little buggers’ life span is so short; scientists can learn about numerous generations of mutations within a few weeks. Gregor Mendel would be proud.

It’s one thing for a dingbat like Palin to spout nonsense but when a presidential contender’s loyal lieutenant starts talking like a baboon, things suddenly begin looking a little grim for this holy land.

The Bestseller That Nobody Has

One of the hottest books out right now is Pioneer Girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s recently released memoir, complete with annotations. Well, let me amend that: the book is out, but not out. Wait, what? Yeah, PG was released back in November and quickly sold out. Its publisher the South Dakota Historical Society Press isn’t used to dealing in blockbusters. Not when its catalog includes such page turners as County Capitals: The Courthouses of South Dakota and The Mystery of the Pheasants.

One of the big publishing houses would have rushed second, third, and fourth printings off before impatient book buyers could stomp their feet twice. As of this moment, SDHSP has issued no statements about when Pioneer Girl will be available again.

Book Cover

We had a couple of copies at the Book Corner back at the end of last year. They passed through our hands so quickly I didn’t even have a chance to thumb through them. So, if you’re a fan of the creator of the Little House on the Prairie series, you’ll just have to cool your heels.

Magic Pill

Let’s recognize the passing of the scientist who helped women achieve whatever modicum of equality they enjoy today.

The Pill — no other identifier is needed — was created in large part by one Carl Djerassi, chemist, novelist, and playwright. Back in 1951 he and two research partners (there’s that old bugaboo again, research) figured out how to make the synthetic steroid hormone, norethisterone, usable in a tablet taken orally. The hormone effectively prevented ovulation in women taking The Pill daily during their fertile weeks of the month. (The Pill regimen usually includes placebos to be taken during those days when the women is not fertile.)

The Pill

Good ol’ Doc Djerassi — who, coincidentally enough, earned his PhD form the University of Wisconsin — died Friday. He was 91. Like many scientists of his generation, Djerassi escaped from Nazi occupied territory back in the 1930s.

The Pill just may have been the single most important scientific or technological advancement aiding the cause of women’s rights. It allowed women to enjoy sex without worrying about conceiving. It was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1960. Next thing anybody knew, women were agitating for things like equal pay, workplace advancement, progressive rape laws, and others. Because The Pill was the first birth control method that women exclusively control every day, their newfound self-dominion inspired a greater desire for autonomy in many other areas.

Djerassi

Dr. Carl Djerassi

Its benefit has extended well beyond women. I know for a fact that The Pill has aided me in my desire never to reproduce. For that alone, the world should give thanks to Carl Djerassi.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” — Carl Sagan

THE INAUGURAL ELECTRON COOL TEST

Brainstorm, babies!

Welcome to the first ever Electron Pencil online blog game show puzzle contest…, thing. I haven’t even come up with a name for it yet.

Hmm, how about the Big Brain Stakes?

Meh.

Or Pencil Jeopardy?

Nah, that won’t do. What if this blogsite becomes the biggest thing on the interwebs and then the late Merv Griffin’s legal goons come after me with subpoenas and cease-and-desists for stealing their game show name?

I’ve got it — The Electron Cool Test! (h/t to Tom Wolfe).

Perfect!

The Electron Cool Test will become a regular feature of this column. Its rules, prizes, eligibility, and honesty will be whatever I want them to be on the particular day that I run it. Today, for instance, we at the Electron Pencil are calling for all Pencillistas to guess what outrageousness the Republican Party will be capable of in the year 2016.

Who knows? If this thing takes off, I might even devise a neat high-tech way for you all to participate. As it stands right now, we’ll go with the old reliable Comments section.

Read on for today’s First Ever Super-Supercilious, Bombastic, No Trans-fat, Electron Cool Test!

IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD PARTY

So, here’s the background for our first Electron Cool Test.

Who among the great mass of broad-minded, attractive, and intelligent readers of The Electron Pencil could ever have foreseen what the Republican Party has become in this year of our lord, 2012?

Honestly, the POG is warning the trusting ovines of this holy land that a second term for President Obama will enable him and his blackshirts to seize all our guns, hand the US Capitol over to radical imams, stifle the voices of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and redistribute all our hard earned money to black men, slutty women, and homosexual abortionists.

“Huh? What? Homosexual Abortionists? Save Us, Party Of God!”

Much of this nightmare was brilliantly recapped by Jon Stewart Wednesday night.

Stewart, of course, was making jokes. Haha. The really funny thing is, the candidates for the presidential nomination of The Party Blessed By The Creator Of The Universe are actually saying these things.

Well, three of the four of them. Ron Paul, bless his weird heart, isn’t engaging in such verbal hijinks — but, then again, he’s not really a Republican. No, Paul is a Libertarian, which frightens even Republicans, believe it or not. That’s like Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodin shuddering in their Manolo Blahniks at the site of some bizarre new beast from the planet Zpltfik.

Godzilla: “Didja See That!?”

Rodan: “Oh, My Heavens!”

Mothra: “BZZZZZT!”

Anyway, the three real Republicans scream about the monster black man under the bed until their voices are raw, then other, minor POG-ers take over, as Stewart so capably points out.

The Republicans at this point in time are certifiably insane.

And, honestly, when Rep. Bob Morris (R-Indiana) started calling the goddamned Girl Scouts a “radicalized” organization, did you need any more evidence that the party of Lincoln and Taft had now become the cast from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”?

Rick Santorum’s Cabinet

Okay, now that we’ve got that settled, let’s have a little fun with it. Let’s try to imagine what Republicans will be saying in 2016 when they are choosing their standard bearer to battle Chelsea Clinton for the presidency.

Hail To The Chief

First off, who will the rising young Republican be? Marco Rubio? Todd Young? Ivanka Trump?

And who will be the wily old veterans still hoping the claw their way into the White House? Definitely Newt Gingrich. And Mitt Romney. And, hell, Rick Santorum as well. Come on, it’s a lock all three will still want to win the big one.

Oh, and Chuck Norris. Can’t forget him.

Early Frontrunners: Chuck, Marco & Ivanka

Now, the secret to playing this first Electron Cool Test is to let your imagination run wild. If I were to suggest to you four years ago that a major party candidate for president would accuse the incumbent of plotting to wage war on the Catholic Church, you’d have said, Aw, you’re delirious.

See? Let yourself be delirious. How can you go wrong?

I’ll start. Um, uh, let’s see…, oh! I’ve got it! Back in high school, Chelsea appeared in a production of “The Nutcracker.”

That’s it! Chuck Norris will say that proves she was sympathetic to the Russian commies from her earliest days. “If this country elects Chelsea Clinton president in November,” he’ll warn, “the next day, a new, resurrected Soviet Union will rise in Washington!”

Later, he’ll call for the banning of all Christmastime productions of “The Nutcracker” because, after all, it was written by that stinkin’ red, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

“The Nutcracker” — Subversive

Norris will mispronounce all three names, endearing him to millions of voters.

Wait, wait, here’s another.

Marco Rubio will react to news that researchers have developed a new, super-strong anti-viral drug that virtually cures genital herpes. Rubio will call for the drug to be outlawed saying, “Anyone who has genital herpes obviously has engaged in sex at some time in their lives. They should be made to suffer for it. It is clear that these drug researchers are dangerous radicals.”

Do you get the game now? It’s easy!

The Scarlet Canker

One more. The New York Times will unearth the news that Ivanka Trump keeps a stable of young children on a remote work farm in South Central New Jersey. Other media outlets will report that she harvests the tykes’ hormones and has it injected into her in an effort to maintain her youthful looks.

The revelations will cause an uproar among Democrats and those few Republicans who retain vestigial traces of human emotion. They call for her to withdraw from the race. She refuses.

“I am a job-creator,” Ivanka protests. “This is trickle-down economics at its finest. If it weren’t for my special farm for these precious children, they’d be homeless. They might even starve. My opponents would like them to receive welfare, which would be the real tragedy.”

Ivanka will go on to market the childrens’ hormones. By the time of the Republican National Convention in August, women across the country will be purchasing Trump’s Essence of Tot at $24.99 for six milliliters, available at all CVS and Rite-Aid stores.

“Hooray For Our Owner, Dear Ivanka!”

The eventual Republican candidate, Chuck Norris, will pledge to name Ivanka his Secretary of Commerce and Child Labor.

Okay? Now it’s your turn.

HOW TO PLAY

Let yourself go, players. Submit your ideas about what the Republicans will be saying in four years.

The winning entry will be selected by me as soon as I get around to it. I’ll treat the winner to a specialty drink at Soma Coffee on a Saturday morning of my choosing.

Simply go up to the top left hand corner of this page, click the Leave a Comment link…

… and then type in your entry. It can be a simple slogan, a paranoid accusation, or a drawn-out dystopian scenario. In any case, don’t let logic, reason, or restraint hamper you — after all, the Republicans never do!

Play.

%d bloggers like this: