Category Archives: Adolf Hitler

Hot Air

Why You, I Oughtta….

At a certain point, all the verbal muck and mire that issues from the mouths of wingnuts will no longer alarm or anger me; the scaredy-cat Far Right, in fact, will entertain me.

The Three Stooges used to keep me enthralled in a similar fashion when I was nine years old. Really, today’s plaster-saint moralists and obsessive nostalgists for some weird American Eden that never existed already strike me as Moe-like; as in, they’re always mad, they lash out at the slightest insult, and they’d rather poke their kids’ eyes out than let them read a science book.

To wit: a couple of Chicken Littles from the starboard side believe the gay rights movement is actually a front for A. Hitler’s secret plan to weaken and destroy our holy land. You may remember Hitler from your history books. He died 69 years ago, in case, you’ve forgotten. Apparently church guy Jeff Allen and “journalist” Rick Wiles haven’t gotten that bit of news yet. Pastor Allen, BTW, is a proud Hoosier, huzzah!

Allen interviewed Wiles on the BarbWire website, a repository of misinfo that’s so far to the R. that even Ann Coulter strikes its operators as too liberal for the world’s good. Yee-oww!

Allen, acc’d’g to Right Wing Watch, sees the LGTBI gang as some perverse cross between al Qaeda, the Klan, and everybody’s fave baddies, the Nazis. In the interview, Wiles expands on this gay-view: Adolf and his buds had hoped “create a race of super gay male soldiers” who would eventually tear down these blessed United States. And, lo and behold, Hitler’s plan is succeeding even as we speak.

As far as I can determine, Jeff Allen is  a god-flack for the Grace Wesleyan Church of Shelbyville, Indiana. S-ville is located hard to Bloomington’s right (natch) on the map. If, perchance, I’ve gotten my Jeff Allens mixed up, I apologize to the Grace Wesleyan Church, the town of Shelbyville, the county of Shelby, and, for that matter, the entire human race for the slander.

Moe Howard

The Face Of The Far Right

Hot Air


Okay, why are we being inundated on the interwebs with stupid Sarah Palin quotes again?

Why, why, why, why?

It’s not as though we don’t already know that the con artist, almost-beauty queen, shirker of duty is as batty as a cave in Southern Indiana, is it?


Palin Porn

Can it be that my lib brethren and sisteren are quivering under the covers with petrification that Palin is somehow going to rise Phoenix-like over the American political scene again? Ask me, that’s got about as much chance of happening as my beloved Chicago Cubs winning the 2014 World Series.

And if Palin does somehow become a political figure with whom to reckon once again, this holy land would be de facto dead in the water anyway, so why worry?

Another Sorry Dem

Hillary Clinton got herself in hot water this week by likening Vlad Putin’s swoop into the Crimea to the actions of a certain Right Wing dictator who wore a funny mustache.

Now, HRC is being forced to backtrack and explain herself because, as we know, the use of Hitler analogies is ever so unfair.

Only it’s those on the Right who are wringing their hands and rolling their eyes over the analogy. An analogy, BTW, that way, way, way too many of them use to describe a certain dark-skinned man who pushes pencils around the Oval Office.

As always, The Pencil is here to clear up any confusions.


Nothing To Apologize For

Barack Obama is not Hitler. Neither are Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or any others who don’t quite believe that Sarah Palin is a thoughtful, serious observer of the world condition.

OTOH, what Putin has done in the Crimea is absolutely, positively, very much like what Hitler did throughout the late 1930s. That is, ID a hot spot where the existing gov’t is about to topple and which contains a significant number of citizens who share said tryrant’s language and ethnicity, go in under the guise of rescuing the poor, downtrodden ethnic group, and then, voila!, take the joint over.

Yeah, that’s Hitler (and Putin) all the way. Stop apologizing Hillary!

Dorm Hijinks

The house organ for the weak-kneed liberal sect of the American body politic, the Huffington Post, ran this headline in its right-hand-column teasers last night:

From Huffington Post

No Link Necessary

And, no, I don’t need to explain what HuffPo‘s tittery euphemism is referring to. I suspect a child of 11 could catch the drift.

My question: Is this a drift anyone with a working cerebrum would want to catch?

Mammal Mobsters

And, finally, scientists are coming to the conclusion that dolphins have homicidal tendencies.

Dolphin Kills Porpoise

Sharks & Jets? No, Dolphin & Porpoise

Those who view the “natural” world as a Bambi cartoon have long asserted that critters don’t kill for fun, only humans do.

Not true. Dolphins time and again have been observed whacking other animals and even members of their own tribe just for the hell of it. And so have chimps.

Funny isn’t it? Perhaps the more intelligence a being has, the more likely it’ll be to bump off another being for sport, pleasure, or just because it’s bored.

Hot Air, From Me To You

What If…?

Here’s a crazy hypothetical. Let’s say I just got a job that will pay me $1,000,000 a year.

You know what I’d do? I’d work a year and then never work again. Admit it, you’d probably do the same.

Think of it: At a mill a year, the first of my 26 bi-weekly paychecks would net me a few bucks shy of $27,000. Now, I have a reasonably modest lifestyle so that 27 Gs would be quite enough to cover all my basic living expenses for the year. All the necessities: housing, food, utilities, pizza, chocolate, would be covered. So that means I’d have approximately two-thirds of a million skins left over to spend any way I’d want.

I’m a reasonably prudent adult at this time (at least compared to what I was, say, 10 years ago) so I’d take a half mill and put it in some nice, safe investments. Then I could live off the yearly dividends and gains. The rest of the dough, nearly a quarter of million bucks, I’d spend on silly things like motorcycles, trips to Alaska for the summer solstice, scale models of Apollo 11 and 1950s hot rods, and health insurance.

In other words, I really don’t need a penny more than a million dollars. Nobody does.


Yet guys who make, say, $10 million a year in Hollywood movies or pro football or the legalized larceny that falls under the umbrella moniker, Wall Street, would cut your throat and those of hundreds of your neighbors if it would help them make $11 million next year.

Don’t ask me why. All I know is a mill would be plenty for me.

This holy land, sadly, is run by guys who’d cut a few hundred (or a few hundred thousand) throats to add to personal net worths that they couldn’t possibly spend in ten lifetimes. Funny thing is, a lot of these guys don’t really care much about money and what it can buy. Their need for more, more, more of the green stuff is more a pathology than a means to an end.

For instance, I remember reading a profile of the notorious 1980’s junk bond king Michael Milken, who spent a few years in the joint for conjuring up innovative financial maneuvers that, well, screwed everybody but him. Milken, the profile revealed, made upwards of a half billion a year. Billion. With a b. And this was in the 80s, mind you, when gasoline cost something like a dime per tanker truck-full. (Or is that truckful? I’m too lazy today to look it up.)

Anyway, despite possessing such a skyscraping pile of cash, Milken was surprisingly tight. He wore cheap Thom McAn shoes. His wife served dinner on grocery store paper plates. Clearly, he didn’t see the accumulation of money to be a means to an end. It was an end.

But there are plenty of rich guys — D. Trump comes to mind — for whom money is but a road to vulgar, flamboyant displays of status and achievement.

Other guys — the Koch boys, for instance — see dough, mounds of it, stacks and stacks, veritable Rocky Mountain peaks of it, as the means to rule the world.

No matter what money means to the rich, they want to keep it. And they want more of it. And woe to anybody who gets in their way.

They even view someone like Barack Obama, who is 97 percent the friend to them that George W. Bush was or Mitt Romney would be, as a socialist or commie. That three percent the Prez is shy of is enough to turn them into plotting paranoiacs.

They view BHO the way you and I might see punk gang bangers who break into our homes to steal our new flatscreens.

See, the loss of our new flatscreens means next to nothing in the grand scheme of our lives. It’s only an annoyance; the burglary itself is more harmful emotionally than fiscally. Same with the Koch Bros. and a president who isn’t behind their pursuit of all the currency on Earth with every fiber and cell of his being. They’ll still be rich, rich, rich no matter what Obama does to curb their acquisitiveness — which ain’t much.

Obama, though, harms them emotionally, the way that gang banger harms you and me. We want that gang banger apprehended, charged, convicted, and sentenced. We want him out. Same with the Koch Bros. and BHO.

Something similar happened in the 1930s. The world was in the grip of the Great Depression. Just plain folks were starting to think that maybe, just maybe, this idea of socialism might not be so bad. Card-carrying Communists, with the backing of the Soviet Union’s spook agencies, were infiltrating town hall meetings and union gatherings. The national mood was turning decidedly against the plutocrats.

Grassroots revolts elsewhere on the planet produced demagogues like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini who told their gullible crowds that Jews and Russians and a bushel-full (bushelful?) of other loathsome creatures were responsible for all their troubles. The demagogues said “Gimme all the power I need and I’ll take care of you.” The crowds gave it to them.

Mussolini, apparently, was quite a popular fellow here in the United States in the early 30s. He was straightening out the notoriously lax Italian financial, transportation, and manufacturing systems. He was a strongman who was making his homeland itself strong.

Just as there were many here (Charles Lindbergh, for instance) who thought Hitler was a cool guy, Mussolini was hailed as a great success. In fact, according to Sally Denton in her book, The Plots Against the President, Mussolini was viewed by many Americans as the most prominent and respected world leader, outside of our own prez.

Scads of powerful men here urged the recently-elected President Franklin Roosevelt to assume dictatorial powers, just as Mussolini had. Hell, these guys wanted the US to be strong again, too, just like Italy was becoming. Among those urging Roosevelt to take up the fascist mantle were the industrialist du Pont family and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (the model for the movie Citizen Kane).

When Roosevelt turned out to be more in tune with the unscrubbed unemployed, the industrialists, the press magnates, and all their pals decided we need a grass roots revolt here as well. They tried to recruit the angry, rebellious World War I veterans who’d marched on Washington twice and had set up Occupy-style shanty towns in view of the US Capitol. They even identified two respected US Army generals whom they believed might be willing to lead an assault on the White House. The two were Douglas MacArthur and Smedley Butler. MacArthur shrugged when they approached him so they turned to Butler. They told him they had plenty of dough to bankroll the grassroots insurrection, that big, big men were behind the idea. Anybody  who smells Tea Party in this recipe, raise your hand.

They said the idea was to oust Roosevelt by force or, if he opted to play with them, he could become a figurehead who would shake hands and watch parades while a designated all-powerful boss ran the real show.

Butler told them to take a hike and then he dropped a dime on them to Congress. The House held hearings on the affair, tut-tutted, and then, next thing anybody knew, the whole affair disappeared from everyone’s consciousness. It can be assumed that legislators, the FBI, and Roosevelt’s own emissaries contacted the plotters and told them, “We’re on to you. Now drop the whole idea and we’ll forget it ever happened.”

So, the citizens of this holy land went on to live happily ever after.

We might read of this incident as something that could only happen back in those benighted, black-and-white days of great-grandad and grandma.

But why couldn’t it happen here and now?

Dig: Just last month the “Two Million Bikers to DC” demo roared into the nation’s capital to rev their engines, flex their muscles, and sneer at Muslims. Even though they fell far short of their 2M goal, the organizers convinced many thousands of ironheads to converge on DC for a political purpose.

Dig: Next month “One Million Truckers United Drive to DC” will, its organizers hope, shut down the capital on Veteran’s Day. Truckers from all fifty states will honk their air horns, fill their cabs with flatulence, and sneer at President Obama who, apparently, has decided to persecute them via high gas prices.

It’s a lock there won’t be a million long-haulers in DC on November 11th, but would you be willing to bet against a turnout of say 15,000? That’s a lot of truckers (and way too much flatulence).

Coincidentally, many, many, many of these grassroots folks seem to embrace their firearms about as much as a new husband embraces his wife on his honeymoon night.

So, you’ve got tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people who are certain that Muslims are to blame for all our problems, that the president (who himself is a Muslim) has it in for them, who are willing to give up a week or so of their busy lives to show the nation what wonderful patriots and Christians they are. Oh, and tons of them are packing heat.

Mussolini knew what to do with mobs like this. With the help of wealthy industrialists, he rode on the backs to dictatorship. Hitler knew what to do with them as well. He channeled their hatred of a religious group and rode it to the Chancellorship.

Here’s hoping big money boys like the Koch Bros. are a tad more decent than that. Time will tell.

The Pencil Today:


“I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.” — Miriam Makeba


NPR’s Linda Wertheimer this morning on Weekend Edition Sunday pointed out that this year’s presidential election will be the first in our history in which no one on the major parties’ tickets is a WASP.

Perhaps that explains why so many people are freaked out — still — about Barack Obama.

See? See? That’s The Nazi Salute!

The world that every American once knew and too many are terrified to leave, is gone.

And speaking of terrifying, yet another music star has blown verbal chunks about the Prez. Hank Williams, Jr., who last year compared Barack Obama to Hitler (natch, they were both half-black men who studied at Harvard Law), now ups the ante. Yesterday, the man who once asked Are you ready for some football?, declared the President of the United States to be a Muslim who not only hates the military but the rest of the nation, for good measure.


Williams, Jr. sings something called “Take Back Our Country.” He needn’t add, …From all those scary brown people.


Lauren Spierer’s disappearance last year raised a puzzler.

Why do so many Indiana University students come from suburban New York City?

IU’s Prep School Attendance Boundaries

With a record 7590 freshmen expected to attend IU this semester, many of them will come from  the tri-state area including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Spierer family hails from Edgemont, north of the big city.

Edgemont is a part of the town of Greenville in Westchester County, a tony enclave that through the years has been home to the likes of Linda McCartney, Bugsy Seigel, Walter Winchell, and Billy Collins, the former US poet laureate.

It’s funny how certain campuses become desirable destinations for specific matriculate populations. For instance, it was well-known in my old Chicago area that the University of Wisconsin in Madison drew a disproportionate number of northwest suburban Jewish kids.

I suppose the Madison thing makes sense because it falls into that Goldilocks zone for college students: far enough away from mom and dad to not worry that they can drop in at a moment’s notice but near enough to dash back home for a laundry run and a good warm meal, PRN.

Bloomington, Indiana seems an odd choice for Eastern Seaboard kids and their megalopolis classmates who might want to run back home in a six-hour or less drive.

Any ideas?


Indulge me for a moment. Today is the 43rd anniversary of the most exciting moment I’ve ever experienced as a rabid Chicago Cubs fan.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 19th, 1969, my fave Cubs pitcher, Kenny Holtzman, tossed a no-hitter against the mighty Atlanta Braves.


The Braves that afternoon were led by one Henry Louis Aaron, who’d go on to become baseball’s all-time home run king.

The sun was bright, a pleasant lake wind blew in from the northeast, and the Cubs were in first place, on their way to their first World Series since World War II and — fingers crossed — their first championship since the Peloponnesian War.

In a summer during which two human beings had stepped on the moon and nearly half a million people jammed Max Yasgur’s farm just to be able to brag to their grandchildren that they’d attended Woodstock, the Cubs racing for a World Series was the most jaw-dropping miracle yet.

And the high point of the season was Kenny’s gem.

Basking In The Glory

I watched that game from a bleacher seat under the centerfield scoreboard at Wrigley Field.

I was 13 years old.

Even now, nearly half a century later, I still believe had I died that afternoon, I’d have gone happy.

Have pity on this aching soul: don’t ask me to recount the ensuing weeks. Nor, for that matter, the ensuing decades.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present & CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Click Image For Full Article:

Present/&/Correct: 44 Old Typewriter Instruction Manuals

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Eat Sleep Draw: Illustration by Rachel Sanson

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oliver WineryCreekbend Vineyard tour; Noon-2pm

Monroe County Public Library — Basic Literacy Tutor Training, session 2 of 4; 1:30-5pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Solana”; 2pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Ohio; 2pm

Bryan ParkOutdoor concert: O2R Blues Band; 6:30pm

Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series: “The Well Digger’s Daughter”; 7pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; 7pm

The BluebirdBoDeans; 8pm

The BishopJamaican Queens, Fly Painted Feathers; 9pm


◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:


“If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.” — Thomas Merton


Drop everything you’re doing this instant. Go out and buy Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts.”

Read it.

Erik Larson

Larson hit it big with his “Devil in the White City” a few years ago. His latest is even better than The Devil. The best way to describe Larson’s books is to call them “fact novels.” They’re not historical fiction in the sense that we understand some of Gore Vidal‘s works or even Philippa Gregory‘s. He’s a straight historian who tells his true stories with the care, craftsmanship, and imagination of the novelist.

I copped In the Garden a couple of days before The Loved One and I drove off to Florida last week. I couldn’t put the book down throughout our stay. Here’s a sure sign that I love a book: when I near the end, I intentionally slow myself down so as not to finish the thing. When I read the last sentence of In the Garden, I felt a sense of loss and emptiness.

Anyway, In the Garden tells the story of William Dodd and his family who moved to Berlin in 1933 when Dodd was named US Ambassador to Hitler’s Germany.

The Dodds About To Board An Ocean Liner For Germany

Larson follows in detail the lives of Dodd and his daughter Martha, a flighty narcissist who had passionate affairs with a Russian diplomat who turned out to be a spy, a Gestapo big shot, a World War I flying ace, and other dashing but morally iffy swains. Martha, who viewed herself as a literary figure and an adventuress, previously had carried on flings with the likes of Carl Sandburg and was ardently devoted to Thornton Wilder, although she and he did not play on the same team, before her family set out for Germany.

Gestapo Strongman and Martha Dodd Paramour Rudolf Diels

Ambassador Dodd was among the first to recognize the coming horrors of the Nazi regime. This despite the fact that, like most Gentile Americans, he harbored at least a hint of anti-Semitism.

For her part, Martha at first embraced the Nazis, with their sharp uniforms and their hordes of tall, hunky, blond, young men marching through the streets of Berlin at any given moment.


A striking aspect of Larson’s description of 1930s Berlin is the sense of peace and serenity which imbues the city despite the recurring ugliness.

And why didn’t the United States government raise a bigger kick in protest against the Nazis? One big reason was the fear of being labeled hypocrites: this holy land treated blacks pretty much the same way the Nazis treated Jews.

The whole thing reminds me of many of my lefty confreres who seem convinced that these Great United States, Inc. today are merely a rerun of Springtime for Hitler. Come to think of it, tons of right wing whacks think Obama nation is Reich redux as well.

All I have to say about it is, read In the Garden and you’ll know that the real Nazis were sine qua non.


Our daily events listings are back. Click on the logo and… go.

The Pencil Today:


“Like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves.” — Joseph Priestley


Let’s look at something from the viewpoint of a dopey kid who’s burning up with the desire to piss people off.

It’s an easy task for me because that’s precisely the kind of dopey kid I was. That urge to thumb my nose at grownups and society at large was so overpowering that I got myself busted. It wasn’t until a couple of tough guy detectives pounded on the back door of my family’s home and slapped the cuffs on me when I was 17 that I realized the whole F.U. I was shouting at the world might not be a strategic success.

Believe me, having my belt and shoelaces confiscated, sitting in a cell where the toilet has no seat because inmates can kill themselves with it (I still don’t know how they can do it), and being offered the traditional bologna sandwich and a glass of water for dinner profoundly changes one’s attitude toward senseless rebellion.

Anyway, a couple of Bloomington teenagers presumably faced that same reality check this week. The two high school students, a boy and a girl, were hauled in on suspicion of drawing a swastika and writing the word Hitler on a poster at the Jewish studies program office in Goodbody Hall.

Apparently, the kids were hanging around the IU campus, bored, and decided to liven up the decor. The IU police say crude drawings of female parts were also found around Goodbody, drawn with the same type of black marker that the anti-semitic stuff was scrawled in.

I could have been that boy (if I had a girlfriend at that age). So I ask myself, Why would I have done it?

When I was 15, 16, and 17, the Vietnam War was just winding down, Watergate was just gearing up, and the country was just emerging from the chaos of assassinations and race rioting. I concluded this was a sick nation, that I was one of the select few souls perceptive enough to grasp that elementary fact.

Sick Nation

My parents were the two stupidest people to walk the face of this Earth. How they survived the mere act of getting to work in the morning baffled me. My teachers were idiots — all they were concerned about was the length of my hair. The cops were fascists. Politicians were crooked. Corporations were run by greedy pigs who’d sell out their grandmothers for a profit. And even the music on the radio was execrable — I mean, honestly, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree”? And what about “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”?

For pity’s sake, can you blame me for wanting to overthrow the world?

The Last Straw

I was too much of a dope to understand that I could have channeled my rage in some constructive way. I hadn’t the slightest idea what I could have done to, say, force the executives of Ford Motor Company to mend their ways, or convince the Illinois governor not to slurp at the public trough.

The only thing I could think of was to roar.

Yeah, I was dopey, but I didn’t really mean anybody any harm. I wasn’t about to take a gun (which I had access to, thanks to some of my associates in small-time crime) and go out blasting for the lark of it.

Hell, I could hardly muster the bile to punch a guy in the face, although that talent was considered requisite in my neighborhood.

So what was I to do to inform the citizens of this holy land that I considered them consummate boobs?

I fell back on the old reliables: busting windows, splattering paint on walls, petty theft, flashing the finger at passing squad cars (all the while making sure they wouldn’t see me doing it), and other teen boy annoyances.

“Yeah, This’ll Show ‘Em!”

Those two Bloomington kids might well be harboring some of the same grievances I did. Hell, cops are still dousing protesters with pepper spray these days. Corporations are still run by greedy pigs. Pointless wars are still being fought. And Illinois governors are still going to prison.

Work Hard, Study, Mind Your Elders And You, Too, Can Grow Up To Be Governor

The two kids may not know exactly who Otto Kerner was or Rod Blagojevich is, but rest assured they know pols still are adept at digging their hands in our pockets when we aren’t looking. It’s a safe bet to assume, as well, that the two Bloomington teens feel their parents are spectacularly uninformed and incapable of tying their own shoelaces.

And maybe — just maybe — they needed the world to know just how contemptible they think it is.

So, pretend you’re a kid with a half-formed sense of morality. What’s the worst thing you can draw on a wall that illustrates how despicable you think the adult nation is?

A good starting point might be a penis or a vagina, no? That’ll shake ’em up. They’ll realize what idiots they are when they catch sight of that, huh?

Okay, now that we’ve made our point clear on that score, how about politics? Let’s see now, who was the most evil politician of all time?

Duh! Adolf Hitler!

“This Is What I Think Of You.”

Man, nothin’s gonna show these pigs what we think of ’em better than writing the name of history’s most evil man on a poster and drawing a swastika.

You think you’re gonna pull me into your bullshit world, man? Take that! Hitler. Hah!

You may counter that I’m being too forgiving here. Perhaps these two kids have had their brains turned to mush by the rantings of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Perhaps one or both of the kids really hates Jews.

I doubt it. My guess is that neither of the kids knows exactly what a Jew is.

They most likely only know that writing Hitler’s name on a wall pisses people off, big time. And it’s a sure-fire way to make the announcement that we are not you.

I hope the kids had an epiphany when they had their belts and shoelaces taken away.


Can you believe it? Birthers are still around and still making bleating noises.


Jerome Corsi is one of them. You’ve heard of him. Several of his books have made the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list.


Which is ironic because they’re as far from nonfiction as the number one bestseller called “Heaven Is for Real” by that Nebraska preacher named Burpo about his kid’s fever dream fantasy that he died and came back from paradise.

Corsi, of course, is the fabulist who popularized the Swiftboat canard against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and has since thrown his lot in with the likes of Orly Taitz, who is to sanity what the hot dog station at the Circle K is to gourmet cooking.


Corsi earned a doctorate in political science from Harvard, which proves only that even Ivy League institutions make mistakes.

Taitz, meanwhile, roams the streets freely, always one step ahead of the men with butterfly nets.

Corsi’s latest flight of psychotic fancy is called “Where’s the Birth Certificate: The Case that Barack Obama Is not Eligible to Be President,” published last year even as Barack Obama produced his long-form birth certificate.

Per Corsi’s peculiar logic, that is not the birth certificate.

Whatever the hell ever that means.

Anyway, New Jersey Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, a Republican (duh!) from Morris, has jumped on the Manchurian Candidate bandwagon. The state legislator says Corsi, who gave an SRO speech at the Morristown Masonic Lodge that Bucco attended Tuesday, piques his interest.

Corsi, according to Bucco, raised “interesting points I wasn’t aware of, and it made me believe this thing isn’t going away.”

Bucco, by the way, is an alternate spelling of the Italian word for hole. As in the things in both his and Corsi’s heads. Taitz’s cranium is a sieve.

Osso Bucco — Literally, Bone With A Hole

Bucco is the deputy Republican leader in the New Jersey House. Corsi’s speech was sponsored by a gaggle of Tea Party groups as well the Morris County Republican Party.

So this is fairly mainstream stuff. Within my lifetime, the cranks of this holy land have become respectable — which says absolutely nothing about them but everything about us.

See, there’ve always been those who fixate on marginalia. There were guys I used to see at City Hall, for instance, who rode their rusty three-speed bikes to every single City Council Zoning Committee meeting, convinced they were the average citizen’s bulwark against corruption. You know the type — they loiter in the county building halls and mumble hello to passing county board members and whoever is foolish enough to acknowledge them immediately becomes the object of the loiterer’s mantra-like anecdote for the next few weeks: “I was talking to so-and-so at the county building and she says….”

Or how about the insomniacs who listened to all-night syndicated talk radio shows? They knew that the government was sitting on alien visitation evidence in Roswell.


They reside at the flange of the sanity’s bell curve.

For most of our history, the ramblings of these folks have been the aural equivalent of the croak of a toad in a wetland ten miles from the nearest outpost of civilization.

Now, though, that toad croak must be breathlessly covered by TV, radio, and newspaper reporters across the nation.

How did that happen?

Is it the inevitable result of me-generation huffing and puffing from the 70s?

You know, everybody’s opinion counts? Feelings are paramount? Facts are fascist? If you believe it, it’s true?

Self-help authors made millions pontificating in this manner. Remember Robert Bly and John Bradshaw? Later practitioners included Marianne Williamson and, more recently, Rhonda Byrne, she of “The Secret.”

Believe And It Will Be So

They all preached that you create your own reality.

And no matter how much the Right derides the touchy-feely, post-hippie, 70’s generation, most of them grew up in that era. If they didn’t care for est training and I-am-woman-hear-me-roar, they surely dug the patronizing message that whatever you think or believe is valid.

Well, guess what folks — it ain’t.

No matter how passionately you feel, the world is not flat. The Apollo moon landings were not staged. Alien bodies were not hidden in a hangar at Area 51. And Barack Obama was born in Hawai’i.



The Pencil Today:


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” — Hannah Arendt


The IDS this morning runs a story about the Starlite Drive-In, the first outdoor movie theater in the state.

Built in 1955, it still stands at 7630 South Old State Road 37. The Starlite opened for the 2012 season this past weekend, drawing about 500 cars for a double bill of “The Hunger Games” and “Mission Impossible 4.”

The Loved One and I plan to get out to the Starlite sometime this summer so we can make out in the car.


I’m trying not to jump on the Trayvon Martin bandwagon at this moment because, as a very, very prominent attorney in these parts reminded me the other day, we don’t know many of the facts yet.

Trayvon Martin And George Zimmerman

Highly emotionally charged incidents like this one draw the ranters and the ravers out of the deep woods. Like that despicable New Orleans cop who tweeted, “Act like a Thug Die like one!”

Never mind the borderline illiteracy of the man’s wireless ejaculation, this officer of the law is saying if you walk around wearing what he considers to be the uniform of gangsters, you ought to have your life taken.

The cop has been suspended without pay. If I’m the chief of police, I fire his emotionally unqualified ass forthwith.

Anyway, the shooter claims he and Martin had a scuffle. Let’s assume that’s true. Should we be able to pump lead into people whenever we find ourselves in a fight? Especially when we’ve been trailing them in the dark?

See, these are the chickens that come home to roost when you’re a nation in love with guns.


The German city of Frankfurt has a new mayor. Peter Feldmann, a Social Democrat, takes over the fifth largest city in Germany on July 1st.

Feldmann beat the Christian Democrat candidate with 57 percent of the vote.

Feldmann is a Jew.



It’s ironic. I’d just watched the movie “Downfall” (originally “Der Untergang“) the other day. It’s a German production with English subtitles. You can get it on Netflix.

The movie recounts the last 12 days of the Nazi regime and is set primarily in Hitler’s underground bunker. It’s as powerful a piece as you’re likely to see. Much of the story is based on the recollections of Hitler’s stenographer, Traudl Junge.

The actual Junge opens the film by saying, essentially, How should I have known what those guys were doing? I was just a kid.


The movie’s coda carries a different tune. I won’t spoil it for you by telegraphing it here.

Anyway, Hitler’s surviving boys always said Yeah, we screwed up but at least we did something about those pesky Jews.

In the movie, Hitler doesn’t allow the possibility that he screwed up but he seems most proud of the fact that he stood tall against the Jews.

Bruno Ganz As Adolf Hitler

A few people who were forced onto cattle cars and shipped off to concentration camps are still alive to this day. Most of them wore the mandated Star of David.

It’s been only 75 years since the end of the Holocaust. And, yeah, anti-Semitism now and again makes a reappearance in Europe.

But Frankfurt has a Jewish mayor.

I thought you might appreciate some good news.


Didja catch today’s Google Doodle?

March 27th is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe‘s birthday so Google put up a stylized image of one of the architect’s most notable designs. It’s Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology‘s campus on the South Side of Chicago.

Crown Hall

Mies, as he’s known familiarly, was perhaps the key figure in 20th Century world architecture. The simplicity of his work was stunning. His famed aphorism, “Less is More,” was the imprimatur for a generation of architects who filled the world’s big cities with box-like, prismatic skyscrapers.

Mies’s 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive Apartments (1951)

Whereas Mies’s boxes were elegant and visually arresting, the slew of copycats who followed him turned his minimalism into a stultifying conformity.

Michael Wolf’s Photo, “tc 81”

See? Jumping on a bandwagon rarely turns out well.


Here’s another reason I love doing this blog. Minnie Riperton‘s song “Lovin’ You” seemed a perfect wrap up for the series of headlines above. So, in the course of researching Riperton, I discovered Maya Rudolph, ex of Saturday Night Live, is her daughter.

That might be common knowledge but now I know.

Cool, huh? Now, an admission — this song really gets on my nerves.

The Pencil Today:


“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot, nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded, who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” — William Tecumseh Sherman, US Army general.


The United States of America is now, officially, no longer engaged in hostilities in Iraq.

It would have been nice to say the war is over.

But Congress had never declared our little affair in Iraq to be a war.

So I don’t know what it was. Nor do I as yet know why this holy land invaded that country.

Something happened for some reason. Whatever it was — and why it was — resulted in these scenes shot by Carolyn Cole for the Los Angeles Times.

It is my duty as a writer, journalist, and essayist to inform the living people in the photos above that what they’ve experienced was not war.

I suspect they’d say it was hell.


Scrolling through Facebook yesterday I learned that both President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney are Nazis.

Apparently, the party of Hitler has become very broadminded.

Working Together: Blacks And Whites, Democrats And Republicans

It also must espouse something all right-thinking Americans want — a good productive bipartisan sense of cooperation among our nationally elected officials.

Just goes to show that redemption is possible no matter how heinous a person or group has been in the past. Who knows? Maybe, say, Donald Trump will experience an epiphany and begin to work tirelessly on behalf of the poor and the sick.

“I Want To Help All My Less Fortunate Brothers And Sisters!”

Or North Korean strongman Kim Jong-il may call for world peace.

Anything can happen if both Obama and Cheney have been welcomed into the ranks of the Nazis.

Either that or the respective Facebook posters are full of horseshit.


Adolf Hitler lives on as a cherished symbol — not of brutality, racism, genocide, and tyranny, but as the poster boy for whoever you happen to disagree with.

You see, breathless exaggeration is the semi-official national language of the 21st Century.

Here’s an example. Millworkers, stonecutters, and machinists have been on strike against Indiana Limestone Company in Oolitic for a month tomorrow. Early in the morning on December 2, a non-striking employee driving a pickup truck drove into the picket line at the entrance to the facility.

WTIU Report

Upon first hearing sketchy details of the incident, a reasonable soul might wonder, Had a hired thug been ordered to mow down strikers with his pickup truck? Was he trying only to intimidate them? Or had it even been an honest accident?

And how about this? The pavement outside Indiana Limestone was either littered with crushed bodies of victims or one or two guys got bruised up a bit.

Let’s go to two different information sources to learn the truth.

The incident was reported shortly after noon Friday on the WISH-TV website. “A picketer was struck by a vehicle…,” the report began. It went on to say, “The incident happened around 6:30 am Friday and sent the picketer via ambulance to IU Health Bedford Hospital. He was treated and released.”

Phew! That was a close one. Thank heavens it was no tragedy.


No so fast.

Here’s the scoop from a press release issued by Millworkers Local 8093 Tuesday: “… Union members… were peacefully picketing… when company thugs savagely attacked them, swerving a truck into their picket lines at a high rate of speed, hitting several of the strikers and sending one… to the hospital…. [The picketer] is still undergoing medical treatment and it is not known if he will fully recover from the injuries he sustained in the attack.”


Labor Violence

Somebody’s lying here. Not spinning. Not obfuscating. Flat out lying. It could just as easily be a corporate media outlet as it is an overexcited press release writer.

If the gap between labor and management is half as great as that between the two accounts of the incident, the strike may go on for years.

Too bad the two sides can’t learn to work together the way two prominent new members of the Nazi party do now.

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