Category Archives: Conspiracy Theory

Hot Air

An Unmistakable Statement

Think what you will about Barack Obama’s presidency. You’re entirely welcome to piss and moan that he’s a failed president, that his policies are leading us toward socialism, and/or that we’ll be paying through the nose for his programs for generations to come. Wags, “journalists,” and even entire “news” organizations have grown up shrieking such things. That’s okay; this is Murrica and we have the right to say what in the hell ever we want, so long as we don’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater. We can even lie from sunrise through sunset, so long as we don’t fudge our résumés or cheat on our taxes.

So the Right can keep on peddling its slop. But those who didn’t show up at Selma Alabama, yesterday for the 50th anniversary remembrance of Bloody Sunday, are being more honest with that one single act than with all the facts, figures, interpretations, and innuendos they’ve mouthed and keyboard-spewed for the so-far six-plus years of the Obama reign.

Washington Post

Obama Embraces John Lewis At The Edmund Pettus Bridge

[Saul Loeb photo/Getty Images]

They’re saying:

  • Civil rights don’t matter;
  • Black human beings don’t matter;
  • Voting doesn’t matter;
  • The rule of law doesn’t matter.

They’re saying a lot for being so uncharacteristically silent.

Kyle Watch

Is Kyle Schwarber single? Does he go out with anybody?

Aw, what am I saying? He’s not my type.

The burly and supremely talented former Indiana University catcher came to the plate Thursday in sunny Arizona. It was his first at bat as a professional baseball player in Spring Training. He promptly hit a grand slam home run. On top of that, it was his birthday. The kid is only 22.

Sigh.

Schwarber

Schwarber

If he keeps this remarkable hitting up — he’s been tearing up the minor leagues since he was drafted out of IU by the Chicago Cubs last June — he’ll be smashing baseballs onto Waveland Avenue outside Wrigley Field by the end of the 2016 season.

Maybe he is my type after all.

Rules & Regs

Now, this may be a silly thing to make an issue of but, well, I gotta. I was in the restroom at my local Subway yesterday afternoon. After I finished my primary business therein, I stood at the sink and washed my hands. And there, right next to the sink was the sign, “Wash Your Hands.”

I doubt if there’s a restaurant or other food service establishment in this holy land that doesn’t have that sign or a similar one in its rest rooms, most of them reading, in fine print, something on the order of By order of your local health dept.

Sign

I’m willing to bet a bushel-full of cash that all those health depts. also mandate that the sign must be within a certain few inches of the sink. Which is the worst place for it to be.

If you’re standing at the sink, you’re washing your hands, right?

The sign should be right above the urinal. Or next to the flush lever in the stall. That’s when whatever king or queen of slobs who needs to be prodded into washing their mitts should be, y’know, prodded.

There. I feel better now.

Political Science

I’ll sigh again here in today’s post, but for a different reason.

A story in this AM’s Herald Times (paywall) tells us that there’ll be a Bigfoot investigation campout at Monroe-Morgan State Forest the first weekend in May. Yep, a gang of people who fancy themselves scientific researchers will be on the lookout for the famous wraith that has purportedly appeared, fleetingly, before the eyes of yahoos all around the backwaters of this holy land for decades.

Apparently, credulous souls have glimpsed the reputed giant in the woods just north of this thriving, throbbing megalopolis. And despite the fact that Bloomington is home to rational thinkers, reputable scientists, and dogged investigative types, only a select few have gazed upon the decidedly non-glabrous, towering, hermetic figure. A guy named LeRoy Nail of Martinsville, the leader of the local chapter of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, says his group has investigated three confirmed sasquatch sightings in Morgan County. The national BFRO lists 76 sightings of the beast in Indiana over the years.

Sigh. Again.

From BFRO

Bigfoot Footprint In Morgan County

To think there are scads of us who passionately believe that if only we can calmly and patiently lay out well-reasoned arguments, all the people of this great nation will happily accept certain scientific truths. Such a liberal way of thinking.

Which, itself, is highly un-scientific. Researchers have shown, time and again, that well-reasoned arguments — far from being convincing or persuasive — actually steel the resolve of non-believers.

For instance, I know a guy who believes the following:

  • Communist infiltrators have run vast swaths of the United States government since at least the end of World War II
  • Bobby Kennedy smothered Marilyn Monroe to death with a pillow because she’d heard JFK blab some state secrets while in flagrante delicto with her
  • The JFK assassination was a Mafia hit
  • A spaceship from another planet crashed into the Earth and the bodies of its occupants were operated on in a secret facility in Nevada
  • The moon landings were hoaxes
  • Homosexuals are engaged in a systematic plot to take over the public school teaching profession
  • Hillary Clinton ordered the murder of Vince Foster
  • The US government employs high-altitude airplanes to spray mind-control drugs over heavily populated areas

"Chemtrails"

“Chemtrails”

  • Barack Obama was trained from childhood to be a Muslim plant whose job was to take over America and destroy it

This fellow is otherwise a respectable, seemingly reasonable chap. He runs his own successful business. You wouldn’t consider him a wild-eyed lunatic at first glance.

Yet he firmly rejects any suggestion that global warming or climate change threatens us.

And, yes, he believes there are sasquatches or Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) running around all corners of this globe. “There’s all kinds of scientific evidence for it,” he says.

He is impossible to talk to.

To liberals, he’s simply misguided, in need only of enlightenment. To the Right, he’s the key to the White House in 2016.

My Pal Foot Foot

A “classic” by The Shaggs, who inexplicably were resurrected from a well-deserved obscurity back in the 1990s by musicians and critics who should have known better.

Hot Air

Black Helicopters Take Out Bambis

So, the White Buffalo outfit whacked some deer Monday night and Tuesday morning — apparently. The City’s being closed-mouth about the operation. Do not enter signs were put up at the last possible moment, I suppose so that culling protesters wouldn’t flock to the Griffy Lake area and perhaps catch an arrow or even a slug in the gluteus maximus.

Griffy Lake

A couple of trucks from the Exotic Feline Rescue Center and the Hoosier Hills Food Bank were seen parked in the vicinity, meaning some big cats and unwealthy humans’ll be dining on venison soonly.

I can report the spread of a conspiracy theory. One woman has publicized a story she got from her nephew that the FBI was involved in the cull and some 150 critters were assassinated. The nephew also told his aunt that each deer was gutted on the spot and the guts were left for coyotes to munch on.

Folks, it ain’t just the wingnut right that’s got its head screwed on backward.

Risky Business

Have you caught the news from So. Korea that the ferry line CEO whose vessel capsized in April, killing 304 people, has been thrown in prison for ten years? Not only that, seven other company officials were given  prison sentences of two to six years. And another couple of guys got suspended sentences for participating in the cover-up.

Sewol Disaster

The Sewol Disaster

The poor bastards. I bet they wished they’d have run their ferry company here in America. In which case, following a similar disaster, at least three of them would have been hired by Fox News as shipping and/or business analysts. The rest would probably have gotten their own reality TV shows.

I guess the South Koreans just don’t understand business.

McKim’s Missives

I don’t know where he finds the time to do it but Monroe County Council member Geoff McKim puts out an absolutely indispensable blog covering the nuts and bolts of local gov’t. His IN53 – MOCOGOV site is a neat example of elected officials at least giving the impression that they give a good goddamn about you and me, the voters.

McKims

Geoff McKim & Brood

For instance, a post this week addresses  $87,575 in proposed spending on a couple of maintenance vehicles for the Monroe County Parks and Recreation Dept. so it can take care of its hiking trails. Admittedly, that’s not anywhere near as sexy a news story as, say, Barack Obama’s birth in Kenya or some Tea Party pol professing that rape babies are god’s gift.

What we fail to recognize all too often is that these are the real issues in government. Spending a few thou here and a few thou there is what council members, representatives, state senators, and other beauty contestant winners argue about and do every day.

This Means War

It’s sort of comforting to know that Phyllis Schlafly is still on the case. The superhero fighter against the Equal Rights Amendment back in the ’70s and, before that, a prime mover in the birth of the neo-conservative movement in this holy land, she’s got some thoughts on Barack Obama’s immigration speech last night.

Even before the Prez issued his exec. order granting temporary amnesty for certain unauthorized aliens to remain here, ol’ Phyll told the World Net Daily folks that he was about to embark on a course of action as shocking and devastating to our sacred republic as the attack on Ft. Sumter or Pearl Harbor.

Man! I munna start digging a bomb shelter in the back yard this very morning.

US Civil War

Amnesty = Unspeakable Slaughter

Schlafly referred, of course, to the opening salvo of the Civil War — and, golly gee, we might be in for another such bloodbath because of Obama and his amnesties:

Schlafly, like fellow conservative luminary Richard Viguerie, speculates that an executive amnesty might touch off a sort of modern-day conflagration.

The truth of the matter is these Right Wing loons are pretty tumescent over the prospect of another Civil War. Witness, for instance, the run on St. Louis-area gun shops in the lead-up the the Michael Brown killing grand jury report.

Y’know, if ever I have questions about the rightness and efficacy of being at least somewhat allied with the Democratic Party, I remember the other party boasts deep thinkers like Schlafly and Viguerie. All of a sudden I say to myself, Hey man, those Dems’ll do.

Hot Air

The Bloom Is Off The Foods Store?

Here’s some alleged inside dope about the air that Bloomingfoods workers breathe. I caution you to take it with a grain of salt. It’s one person’s observation. I’ll continue canvassing other insiders at the five-store co-op, some of whose employees are making union noises these days.

Bloomingfoods/Union

Acc’d’g to this B-foods employee — let’s call him Joe Doe — morale at the stores has been sinking for a good long time. There are several reasons for this:

  • Newer employees must obey the rules and do the dirty work while older, entrenched employees tend to take these things a bit less seriously
  • B-foods is bruised and bloodied, thanks to competition from the likes of Kroger which is now selling many of the same natural and certified organic products at better prices
  • Management seems slow to respond to the competition — B-foods’ merchandising, inventory, and retail strategies are the same ones the co-op has depended on since its inception 38 years ago
  • Those sweet employee benefits linked to here yesterday? They’re available to full-timers but — here’s the rub — try getting F-T hours

Again, this is one Bloomingfoods worker’s testimony. If there’s any truth to it, though, it would indicate the co-op just might be suffering through a mid-life crisis. Most companies go through it. Brilliant, ambitious, visionary entrepreneurs start businesses that take off like rockets. For years these operations are model wealth generators, their set-ups sleek and enviable. After a couple of decades of robust growth, the ideas that put these cos. ahead of the pack have been co-opted by everybody else in the industry. Those one-time visionaries eventually find themselves incapable or unwilling to adopt newer ideas in their fields. They’ve become hidebound and cocksure.

Hell, even Apple kicked Steve Jobs out the door at one point. Every company needs a shake-out at the top at some point in time.

Is this Bloomingfoods’ time?

Maybe, maybe not. Stayed tuned here for more testimony from insiders who may or may not buy into this theory.

Ebola Causes Insanity

And now a new flood of crazy has begun. This time the topic is ebola.

You had to figure that would happen, no? First, batshit paranoia emanated from the cakehole of that deep thinker, Phyllis Schlafly (who, unaccountably, is still alive and being interviewed). Schlafly sez Prez Obama, natch, not only is responsible for ebola coming into this holy land, he wants it here. The reason? So’s we can become just like the rest of the planet’s cool kids.

He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Africa is suffering from Ebola, we ought to join the group and be suffering from it, too.

Schlafly

Schlafly

So says the woman whose greatest accomplishment in life was to lead the battle against the passage of an amendment to the US Constitution that would guarantee civil rights for half its citizens. Thanks, Phyll.

Anyway, pop star, noted domestic abuser, and serial violent tantrum-thrower Chris Brown has now weighed in on the greatest threat to America since the last one. He tweeted yesterday:

I don’t know … But I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control. … getting crazy bruh.

Brown

Brown

Laugh if you want, but his tweet contains an unassailable truth: he doesn’t know.

Whee, Me!

Scads o’thanks to writer David Brent Johnson and publisher Malcolm Abrams for the neat profile of this scribe in the October/November edition of Bloom magazine.

Johnson/Abrams

Johnson (L) & Abrams

Somehow, Johnson succeeded in catching the gist of The Pencil and me in only 400 words. That’s writing, babies. And Abrams had the good sense to recognize that the founder of this communications colossus must be immortalized in his mag.

Honestly, boys, I appreciate it. Now, let’s see some good Bloom ink translate into a gazillion page views here!

Hot Air

[MG Note: Pardon the weird paragraph leading today; WordPress is eff-ing up.]

Scandal!

Just when you think the Far Right-wingnut mob can’t get any farther or nuttier (and how many times have I had to type a version of that lead over the last few years?) they up and shock the bejesus out of me.
And any other sane person, for that matter.
Are you sitting? Okay. That latest deranged rumor about Barack Obama is that he and Michelle are not the biological parents of Malia and Sasha.
Obama

The Mother Of All Frauds

Yep. A gang of Obama-obsessed jingoists on a website called The US Patriot (“home to the best Conservative news on the net”) has uncovered this earth-shattering news that’s sure to make Watergate and Iran-Contra and the October Surprise look like childish indiscretions.
“[S]ome Americans,” the site intones, gravely, “feel that the two girls have very little resemblance to their parents.” Later, the post’s author reveals, “[N]o one has ever claimed to see a picture of the First Lady pregnant or with a newborn.”
Hmm. What could be up here? No doubt something horribly devious, considering this Prez is the worst America-hating non-citizen who’s ever lied, cheated, and defrauded his way to the leadership of the Free World — which won’t be free very much longer after he and his pals enslave us all.
Whoever wrote this scoop — there is no byline — says unimpeachable sources (“others claim…”) have unearthed evidence the two kids might have been born in Morocco and then adopted.
Thank god for people like those who staff The US Patriot! Why, without them, we’d all be speaking Morroccan now.
[h/t to Ray Hanania.]

False Flag

Not to be outdone, the loons on the Left have their own brand spanking new mad, mad conspiracy delusion.
ISIS, acc’d’g to one or two as-yet-uncommitted mental patients on the Wingnut Left, flat out doesn’t exist.
Meme
All of which makes me wonder why scads of folks are so bored by the vagaries and complexities of real life that they must create spectacular fictions to get themselves through the day.

Fogey Fun

The Loved One and I had a lot of fun out with the Fergusons and Joneses last night at the Bloomington Playwrights Project production of Kalamazoo and then, post-show, at Ferg. world HQ.
Kalamazoo

“Kalamazoo” At The BPP

Kalamazoo was a rare bit of entertainment dealing with the lives, loves, hopes, and dreams of, well, old people. As in, Ick, old people.
The play was written by Michelle Kholos Brooks and Kelly Younger. Brooks is the daughter-in-law of legendary funny man Mel Brooks and his influence shows in the play. The gags and one-liners — lots of them Borscht Belt mots buffed up to a contemporary sheen — come rapid fire as two old fossils, widowers both, hook up on an old-person dating site and fall, by fits and starts, in love.B-town luminaries in attendance for the opening night performance included Bloom mag publisher Malcolm Abrams and political doyenne Charlotte Zietlow.
And Tyler Ferguson’s late evening jambalaya feed was fab.

Hot Air

Just The Facts, Ma’am

Loyal Pencillistas know I’m a defender of Genetically Modified Organisms, AKA GMOs. That puts me in a distinct minority in this food fetishist town. People here know me as a liberal-bordering-on-radical and so are aghast when they discover I don’t see GMOs as the tools of the devil.

They say: But what about Monsanto? To which I reply: Sure, Monsanto’s about as evil as, say, Halliburton or Academi (the former Blackwater.) Monsanto makes tons of dough on its patented GMO seeds and uses the most bullying tactics possible to make certain every farmer, every gardener, hell, every kid who plays in the dirt buys its product. Plus, Monsanto actively squashes competition, infringes on free speech, impedes investigations, harasses critics, and literally writes laws that legislators on its payroll can then obediently introduce and pass.

Monsanto is, in short, a bad guy.

Newcomb/Reuters

A Monsanto Corn Sprout [photo by Peter Newcomb/Reuters]

The ways Monsanto is forcing GMOs upon the world may be despicable but that that doesn’t mean their new species per se necessarily spell the end of civilization. That’s my position.

That said, it was my good fortune to meet Dr. Martha Crouch, better known as Marti, at the Book Corner Monday. “Hey,” I nearly shouted as I read the name on her credit card, “you’re you!”

“Indeed I am,” she replied, smartly.

Crouch

Marti Crouch, Surrounded By Green, Naturally

I explained how I’ve heard about her through countless folks who’ve taken me to task for defending GMOs. I then asked her to educate me. “I’d be more than happy,” I said, “to change my mind if you’d take the trouble to persuade me — and I buy your argument.”

Marti Crouch is the “real thing” — so sez Pencillista Nancy Hiller. She’s earned herself a national rep. Here, for instance, is a description from a short piece about her appearing in Mother Jones magazine back in 2000:

Martha Crouch, a biology professor at Indiana University in Bloomington and once a pioneering biotechnologist, studied her entire life to reach the pinnacle of her profession. She earned a Ph.D. in developmental biology at Yale before landing at Indiana University, where she teaches and once ran a lab dedicated to cutting edge plant research. In 1990, her lab made the cover of The Plant Cell, the leading journal in the field of plant molecular biology. Instead of launching Crouch into professional nirvana, however, the article marked the end of her research career.

Crouch had tenure and was well-known in her field. But she had awakened one day to the realization that her research was being co-opted by corporations which hoped to apply the science for profit. Further, the manner in which those firms used her discoveries was destroying the natural processes that attracted Crouch to the study of biology in the first place.

In the piece, Crouch is quoted as saying, “You are basically treating the agricultural environment as if it was a factory where you are making televisions or VCRs.”

She’s no longer teaching science because she stopped doing research (IU looked askance at her public denigration of the commercial exploitation of her research.) If anyone can sway me, she’ll be the one.

Marti Crouch has sent me the first of what promises to be a long series of info-packed articles and tracts. It’s an excellent introduction to GMOs from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Consider it GMOs 101. Here it is.

UCS

Click Image For Full Article

Even if you think you know all you need to know about GMOs, you should read these pieces. Hey, you may learn something! I know I’m hoping to.

Let the conversation begin.

White Fright

h/t to both Chuck Rogers and Jerry Boyle for this one:

From ValleyWag/Gawker

Click Image For Full Story

Need I even tell you how much this disgusts me?

Wahoo, Drew & Cool Kat

Congrats to Drew Daudelin, the new news reader/producer over at WFIU.

Teller/Daudelin

Daudelin (r) With Teller of Penn & Teller

I met Drew at WFHB where he volunteered five days a week to edit each Daily Local News script. The kid was good, I’m telling’ ya. He brought the writing level up dramatically while he was there.

Now, apparently, he’s making real dough. Good for him.

You may also have caught Kat Carlton reading the news during local breaks on Morning Edition the last few months as well. She, too, prepped at WFHB, in fact writing up news stories right next to me on several occasions. Just watching the way she carried herself, I could tell she was going places.

Carlton/IPM

Carlton

That Alycin Bektesh, WFHB’s redoubtable News Director, she’s got a nose for talent, no? A thought: Maybe WFIU should become a major contributor to WFHB, considering the latter is now the talent pool for the former.

Criminally Cynical

Remember the teenaged girl in Texas who survived the massacre of her family a few weeks ago? The one who gave a heartfelt speech at her family’s memorial? The latest poster child for gun sanity?

Stay Funeral

Cassidy Stay (center) At Her Family’s Funeral

Her name was (and is) Cassidy Stay. The shooter, if you don’t recall, was searching for his ex-wife and held her sister’s family hostage until they told him where she was. They refused to and as a result were executed, Nazi-style, with bullets to the backs of their heads. Cassidy survived the carnage.

At the memorial Cassidy (who played dead during the gunman’s rampage) said:

I really like Harry Potter. In “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” Dumbledore says, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.” I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca and Zach are in a much better place and that I’ll be able to see them again one day. Thank you all for coming and for showing support for me and my family. Stay strong.

Gun control advocates, naturally, lauded Cassidy to the skies and asked, for the zillionth time, why we have to endure yet another firearms atrocity.

Just as naturally, gun nuts on the far end of that particular spectrum didn’t look as kindly upon the teen girl and those who hero-ized her. In fact, a certain number of people believe Cassidy never was shot at all and that her family was killed in that old reliable trick of the jack-booted gov’t, the false flag job. Not only that, the gun control crowd, acc’d’g to this train of “thought,” works hand in hand with purported “victims” of gun crimes merely to make money. Want detail? Check this vid out. It just may be the most cynical thing you’ve ever seen or heard:

A reminder, kids: There aren’t two sides to every question.

Hot Air

Quickies

Lots of little bits today, mainly because I’m lazy.

The Color Of Law

Today’s the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

The unanimous US Supreme Court decision was the atom bomb in the war that would eventually destroy institutionalized segregation in America.

Marshall et al

Thurgood Marshall (c.) Argued Against School Segregation

Today ought to be a national holiday.

Doctoring The Books

David Brooks spouted off on All Things Considered yesterday afternoon, the topic being that Veterans Administration hospital scandal the Republicans surely will try to make hay of this election cycle.

In case you’ve been too busy fretting over that elevator fight between Jay-Z and his sister-in-law, Solange, doctors at certain VA hospitals were revealed to have been fudging record books to cover up the fact that sick vets have been waiting weeks and even months to get medical care. Some of the vets have even died while waiting for their appointment days. It’s a lousy situ. especially for people who who’ve been shot up or mentally traumatized by our seemingly endless Iraq/Afghan wars this century.

The scandal already has cost the VA’s undersecretary for health his job. Many Republicans are calling for the head of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

It’s beyond me why docs would lie, officially, about their patients’ wait times. I suppose they’re hoping to show what good little workers they’re being. Apparently, the VA has a standard that demands vets be seen within a specified, short period of time. Unfortunately, the VA has tons more ex-soldiers coming in for help these days, thanks to the Bush wars, and not enough doctors to handle them.

The nation’s most sneered at New York Times columnist, Brooks, yesterday said he understood and sympathized with the doctors. They are under pressure to see more and more patients and still there aren’t enough hours in the day to take care of them all. So, naturally, that would cause them to lie on the record about the wait times.

To which I respond, Huh?

If that’s true, then the docs seem to be nothing more than invertebrates. If the institution isn’t constructed to service the customer, I know I’m not going to lie about it to make things look better. But, of course, that’s me. And I haven’t even taken an Hippocratic oath.

Intolerance

Gluten, if one pays attention to recent breathless interwebs and TV health reports, is worse than global warming, nuclear annihilation, and twerking all rolled into one.

The truth about gluten as the most deadly poison since arsenic is that less than one percent of the human population suffers from g. intolerance, which can be a very devastating disease. For some reason, though, gluten-phones are sprouting up all over the place. People are starting to self-diagnose what is called gluten sensitivity. Some 18 million people consider themselves thus afflicted.

It has replaced nut allergies as the latest bete noir for the health food crowd.

Acc’d’ng to researcher and gluten expert Jessica Biesiekierski, a gastroenterologist at Monash University who has done a specific study on self-diagnosed G. intolerants, such folk really don’t have the condition. The vast majority of them simply decided they had it, of course, or listened to some alternative health care joker tell them they had it.

The late Carl Sagan talked about the phenomenon of popular hypochondrias in his book, Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.

Life offers plenty enough maladies and ailments to vex me as I get older. I don’t need “alternative health” salesfolk to invent any new ones for me.

Belief

Speaking of peeps with overactive imaginations, conspiracy theorists have multiplied like the horniest of rabbits since the onset of the interwebs.

These fabulists may only be annoying when sitting next to you at your corner tavern or holding court nearby you at the local coffeehouse, but they carry a lot of weight in the body politic today. Witness the number of people who still believe Barack Obama forged his birth certificate.

Worse, some 49 percent of Murricans believe climatologists and other related scientists either definitely are, or may very well be, involved in a vast conspiracy to convince the rest of us that there’s such a thing as climate change.

These and many other findings about the faux-knowledge possessed by much of the population of this holy land can be found in a piece by Kurt Eichenwald in Vanity Fair online. He cites a series of polls conducted by the Public Policy Polling outfit, a well-respected political temperature-taker.

One of the Qs PPP asked respondents was whether they believed Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ. More than a quarter of your national brothers and sisters believe he may indeed be.

A Racist Mantra: I’m No Racist!

And, finally, learn all about the police chief of a town in New Hampshire who’s convinced the President of the United States is a nigger. Joan Walsh, the big boss at Salon, tells all about it.

Robert Copeland of Wolfeboro, NH, sez he’s not being a hater when he uses the N-word to describe Barack H.O. See, he has reasons for describing the Leader of the Free World in such an insulting fashion. So, stop calling him racist, wouldja?

Hot Air

Hide And Seek

Alright-ee-o — here’s a list of as many Malyasia Air Flight 370 theories as I could find (before I was driven to stick a fork in my eye.):

● From the New York Daily News:

The North Koreans snatched it and plan to put a nuke onboard and fly it over some as-yet unnamed target.

● From the Christianist apocalypse fetishists at End Times Headlines:

Members of the Chinese Martyrs Brigade hijacked it because…, well, maybe because they were feeling cranky that day.

● From crunchy, organic, tinfoil hat site Natural News:

Some “entirely new, mysterious and powerful force is at work on our planet which can pluck airplanes out of the sky without leaving behind a shred of evidence.”

Peter Cushing

I Shall Rule The World!

● Sticking with the wingnut Left, 9/11 Truthers are pouring out of the woodwork thanks to the disappearance. From Truther News:

The Chinese grabbed the jet and will soon use it to carry out a 9/11-style attack in the US.

● From Before It’s News:

Representatives of the US corporation Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. were on board and they carried with them the company’s technology that can make a jet “disappear” from radar screens. They’re doing this, natch, to prove to the world it can be done.

● From Agenda NWO (that stands for New World Order, for those of you not up on your garden-variety paranoiac groups):

In this video, the announcer tells us the jet carried passengers from the Ukraine, Russia, and the United States. Also, while it was flying across Malaysia, a “military jet” was simultaneously crossing Malaysia air space. So, therefore, um…, who knows? But isn’t it all suspicious?

● And, of course, the ultra-demented Alex Jones chimed in on his InfoWars site:

The jet was teleported through a “stargate” that uses principles of the quantum theory to blah, blah, blah.

[Big Mike note: Whenever someone who is not a physicist with a specialization in quantum mechanics bandies about the word quantum, ignore him or her.]

Okay that’s enough now. My eyeball jelly is starting to run down my cheeks.

Freedom

Let’s talk Bill of Rights. Another Bill of Rights.

President Franklin Roosevelt, during his State of the Union address of January 11, 1944, proposed an Economic Bill of Rights, which he also called a Second Bill of Rights.

Campaign Button

He said:

We have come to the clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence…. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day, these economic truths have become self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all, regardless of station, race, or creed.

He went on to call for, among other things

  • The right to a useful, well-paying job
  • The right to afford adequate food, clothing, and recreation
  • The right to decent housing
  • The right to adequate medical care, as well as overall good health
  • The right to insurance against poverty in old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment
  • The right to a good education

Franklin Roosevelt, you may recall from your post-school readings of history, was accused of being a socialist, a communist, someone whose goal was to destroy America, and a traitor to his class. All because, as he said, “…[W]e must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.”

Hardly a thing has changed in nearly a quarter of a century. Sure, we’ve got unemployment insurance and Medicare, but the same type of people who demonized Roosevelt are trying to convince us now that we ought to dump those “failed” plans. And today, people who throw around the word freedom promiscuously and with impunity tell us we can only be free if we have piles of guns, more of them than we’d ever need, and our businesses are unregulated.

That’s freedom? Nah. That’s idiotic.

Anyway, watch Roosevelt talk about his Second Bill of Rights.

The Answer To All Our Problems

Ready for some science fiction? Okay. By 2020, there will be a working machine in southern France called a tokamak. Basically, it will be a magnetic chamber suspending a human-made star in midair within a hermetically sealed housing.

This artificial star will be able to generate energy. If its designers and patrons all have their way, it will replace conventional nuclear power, oil-burning, natural gas, fracking, and hydroelectric power as the planet’s primary means of making our coffee grinders and hair dryers go.

The machine itself will weigh 23,000 tons. Its design specs take up 1.8 terabytes of memory. When the machine is switched on, it will generate at its core a temperature of 200,000,000 ℃ Like every other (natural) star in the Universe, it will run on hydrogen. In the process of generating power, it will convert that hydrogen to helium.

Its waste, in other words, will be that harmless gas, already the second most plentiful substance in existence.

Serling

Where Is Rod Serling When You Need Him?

Now, ready for reality? The machine I’ve just described is now under construction. It’s called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). It makes CERN’s Large Hadron Collider look like an iPod. Scientists and administrators from 35 countries, including the United States, Russia, European Union, Japan, South Korea, and India are working feverishly on the project. So much so, many of them feel compelled to take stress leaves.

And it’s no wonder. The countries involved in this project representing more than half of living humanity and will be expected to pony up some $20 billion. And, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, the tokamak in France is the single most ambitious, complicated, and expensive scientific engineering endeavor in human history. So, naturally, scientists and bean counters working on it are losing sleep, their hair and, quite possibly, their minds.

Too bad Rube Goldberg isn’t around to help.

Rube Goldberg Fly Swatter

Click Image To Enlarge

I get all this information from an eye-opening article written by Raffi Khatchadourian in the March 3 edition of the New Yorker. Read it. You don’t need a particle physics or astrophysics background to grasp the thing.

ITER

Artist’s Concept of the ITER

This machine just might be the answer to all our fuel and pollution problems. Or it’ll be a monumental bust. Or — yikes! — it’ll blow us all to smithereens.

We’ll see. We’re willing to take a lot of risks to keep our coffee grinders and hair dryers humming.

[BTW: Here’s a bucket of cold water splashed on the whole ITER idea by the science-in-journalism wonks at MIT.]

Your Daily Hot Air

Flying Saucers And Pink Dresses

Yesterday, of course, was the 66th anniversary of the fabled crash of the UFO into the desert in southeast New Mexico.

Roswell Headline

It seems that UFO conspiracy theories have petered out in recent years because we have better, juicier fever dreams to keep folks with hyper-active imaginations awake at night. Keep in mind that Dick Cheney personally directed the 9/11 attacks and Barack Obama was bred by foreign Muslims to take over this holy land. These two fairy tales are a tad more urgent and compelling than a government cover-up of the crash of the family flying saucer driven by some drunken ET teenagers out for a joyride. (h/t to Maxwell Bodenheim of Forest Park, Illinois, for this explanation.)

Roswell

Joyrider

Anyway, the 50th anniversary of the second oldest conspiracy theory I can think of is fast approaching and this one just may overshadow, at least for a time, the sins of Cheney and Obama. That is, the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963. (The oldest consp/theo is probably the plot by FDR and the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff to stage Pearl Harbor so’s the USA could jump that much more quickly into WWII. I’m telling you, these conspirator types are brilliant.)

The JFK theory tied together pretty much all the bogeymen that scared the poo out of the widest range of the American citizenry in the mid-60s. The Russkies, Castro, the Mob, right wing generals, the CIA, LBJ, Nixon, the federal reserve, representatives of huge defense contractors, and even anti-Castro exiles met in some secret location to get their stories straight on the impending whacking of the Prez. Not only was this gang brilliant, their ability to coordinate such a massive planning confab — flights had to be booked, hotel rooms reserved, boxed lunches brought in; all in secret — was awe-inspiring. Just getting Castro and his exiled opponents in the same conference room must have been nothing short of a miracle.

LBJ/JFK

LBJ And The Man He Whacked

The city of Dallas is planning a big shindig for the 50th to be held smack-dab in Dealey Plaza, where the hit took place. It’s not known if organizers will stage a reenactment but I’d bet against it. OSHA regulations put in place since the assassination probably would preclude having an actress in a pink Chanel suit climb on the trunk of the limousine.

Imagine, though, the field day the conspiracy theorists are going to have, come this fall. Already, Bill O’Reilly’s two assassination-porn books, Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, are New York Times bestsellers. Sales of the latter likely will go through the roof starting in September.

Here are a few fun facts about Jackie Kennedy’s famous dress. It’s in a vault in Maryland, embargoed until the year 2103. Jackie’s mom sent the suit and the purse her daughter carried that fateful day to the National Archives shortly after the assassination. The suit has never been cleaned. Oh, and Coco Chanel, despite never having commented on the fact that one of her creations had suddenly become a gruesome icon, did say some years later that, because of her penchant for wearing miniskirts, Jackie “wears her daughter’s clothes.”

Jackie Kennedy

Jackie And The Pink Suit

Coco sure knew what the important things in life were, no?

A website dealing with all things Jackie actually has an entire page devoted to the pink suit.

And, natch, the chic ghoul can buy a replica pink suit on eBay; it’s a steal at $189.99.

That pink pillbox hat Jackie wore? It’s missing.

One of the archivists in charge of the suit said a couple of years ago, “It looks like it’s brand new, except for the blood.” Which is like saying December 7th, 1941 was a perfect day in Oahu, except for that mess down by the docks.

I was seven years old when Lee Harvey Oswald did his thing. I was vaguely aware of the existence of President Kennedy. I only knew the nuns at St. Giles had red-rimmed eyes when they told us we were to go home that gray Friday afternoon. My second-grade classmates and I momentarily believed the word assassination signified something really good, considering we’d never heard it before and it allowed us to bolt school early.

When I got home, my mother was compulsively vacuuming in front of the TV. She was crying. I’d never seen her cry before. I figured she personally knew JFK. Otherwise, why would she be so busted up that he’d died?

That, I can safely say, was a loss of innocence. Believe me, we’re going to be sick to death of hearing that phrase by November.

Abraham, Martin & John

To this day, this song brings tears to my eyes. It was released soon after Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated in 1968.

Your Daily Hot Air

Love It Or Hate It?

Barack Obama yesterday did what American presidents do every Fourth of July. He told us how fabulous we are, how rich our history is, what intractable problems we’ve solved, what insurmountable obstacles we’ve overcome, and how we have the unique ability to face all the challenges of the future.

Then an orchestra played the 1812 overture, a bunch of fireworks were shot off, everybody went home, and this morning some of us are back at work.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Obama On The Fourth

More than some of us are bitter because we have to pay outlandish taxes to support lazy bums, welfare queens, and clever pimps. I’ve always held that the vast majority of flamboyant patriots love America but hate Americans.

Anyway, Obama fulfilled his presidential duties no better or worse than any of his 43 predecessors (actually, he has 42 predecessors; Grover Cleveland, having served non-consecutive terms, is counted twice). The nation’s Cheerleader in Chief is always the big star on Independence Day and normally no one doubts how loyal he is to this holy land.

Barack Obama, of course, is different. He is, according to many, a Kenyan-born Muslim, homosexual, terrorist. He’s not one of “us.”

Nixon

One Of Us

I have to wonder, therefore, what the lunocracy thinks when they see Obama waving the flag and celebrating the land they’re certain he’s not a part of.

Just for giggles’ sake, here’s a sampler of observations over the years from the Neptunian Right re: Barack Obama:

◗ “He is an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom.” — Ted Nugent

◗ “Barack Obama does not like the American system of government. He doesn’t like our founding fathers either…. Obama does not love America. He hates America.” — Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips

◗ “[Barack Obama holds] an ideology remote from what Americans believe in or care about… something completely separate from American thought altogether.” — Dinesh D’Souza

Obama Hates America

◗ “[W]hen it comes down to his ideology and mine, there’s a difference. I love America, and I don’t know what he does.” — Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber”

◗ “I think it can now be said, without equivocation — without equivocation — that this man hates this country. He is trying — Barack Obama is trying — to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream.” — Rush Limbaugh

So, what do these and other like-minded deep thinkers feel when Obama tells us how fab we are on the Fourth?

I know they don’t have him on their short list for the best American prez ever. But given the above citations, they have to believe he’s the finest actor our great nation has ever produced.

Funny thing is, not one of my go-to sources for wingnut-ism even mentions Obama’s appearance at the pep rally for the Fourth in Washington yesterday. Which is a shame; what a golden opportunity for them to write and rant about the man’s shameless hypocrisy and how pervasive and underhanded his efforts to overthrow this great land are.

Who knows, maybe the Deranged Right is losing its edge. That’d be too bad; I’ve long felt they are the comic geniuses of our time.

Anarchy In The USA

Soma Coffee is The Electron Pencil’s alternate office, as you well know if you’ve been following these screeds for any length of time. The joint was open yesterday, which I didn’t even know about until I came in this morning. I spent my Fourth napping, writing, washing a dish or two, and sharing in a nice smoked beef brisket with my next door neighbors. Overall, it was my typical Independence Day.

Soma

I Wonder If I Can Write Off My Coffee

Not so typical, as I learned today, at Soma. The place has a life-sized cardboard cut-out of that iconic Marilyn Monroe photo, the one where she’s standing over a subway grate and her skirt is being blown upward. (BTW, acc’d’g to the riveting biography of Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer, The Hero’s Life, Joltin’ Joe whacked Marilyn around pretty handily after that particular photo shoot. The story goes that DiMagg didn’t want his wife to be viewed as a “slut” and so he punched her up, but only in places that would be hidden by her clothes. Ick.) Anyway, the cut-out is in the coffeehouse’s bathroom which, at least in these hinterlands of South Central Indiana, is noted far and wide for its compelling decor.

Sadly, some kid Anarchist with a Magic Marker® defaced the cut-out while the rest of us were congratulating ourselves for being Americans.

Soma Marilyn Cut-out

Recruitment Poster?

Taciturn Mike, a mild-mannered electronics engineer for the Navy whom dedicated Anarchists might deem a vile tool of the military-industrial complex, wonders why the vandal didn’t decorate, say, the county courthouse or some other symbol of corrupt tyranny with the anarchists’ logo. He also wonders what the offender had in mind: Does he expect the graffito to goose this year’s Anarchist recruitment figures?

I have no such wonderment. The Anarchist in question is simply an asshole.

Fanfare For The Common Man

This, babies, is the sound of patriotism.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“More things in politics happen by accident or exhaustion than happen by conspiracy.” — Jeff Greenfield

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG SKY

Heads up for another cool sky show tonight.

The annual Leonids meteor shower will peak tonight after midnight. Look toward the constellation Leo when it rises and, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch ten or a dozen shooting stars and hour. The apparent origin point of the shower will be smack dab in the middle of the question mark formed by the lion’s head. That bright star at the base of the question mark is Regulus, known as “the lion’s heart.”

This should be a terrific year for viewing the shower because this sky is expected to be clear and the moon will be a sliver.

So turn off your TV, bundle up, and watch that sky.

MAD MEN

A hat tip to Professor Richard Lloyd of Vanderbilt University for pointing out this one in Salon.

Republican state senators in Georgia held a meeting a month ago to discuss the maddest conspiracy theory yet. Apparently, the GOP legislators believe President Barack Obama is using advanced brainwashing techniques to turn Americans into pliant sheep so that he and the United Nations can take away private property rights, depopulate the suburbs, move everybody into the cities, and otherwise turn this holy land into some kind of dystopia straight out of a cheap science fiction novel.

Svengali

Again, this is not an Onion article. It’s no joke. I get the feeling I’m going to have to get used to typing that line as time goes by in this, Obama’s second term.

Here’s the dope from the dopes:

The United Nations has an action plan called Agenda 21, created 20 years ago during the Rio global environment conference. It deals with sustainable development, which the sane among us dig, but the psychologically disturbed see as some kind of an Hitlerian/Stalinist plot to enslave us all.

Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntary program that most countries of the world, even these United States, at least pay positive lip service to. The Georgia senators, on the other hand, see things differently.

It’s a “conspiracy to transform America from the land of the free to the land of the collective.” So says a man named Field Searcy, a former Tea Party honcho (that figures) who was booted from the party because he seemed a tad, shall we say, deranged.

If you’re considered deranged among Tea Party-ists, you are deranged indeed.

If This Guy Thinks You’re Nuts….

Searcy led the meeting which was called by Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, who bills himself the “taxpayers (sic) best friend,” and was held at the state capitol. So this is no secret cabal getting together under cover of night in some dank basement.

Anyway, Obama’s using a something called the Delphi technique to control the innocents of our nation. It was developed during the Cold War by Project RAND (later known as the RAND Corporation) and it has something to do with making behavior forecasts utilizing the collective thinking of a group as opposed to the wildly divergent thinking done by individuals. How this becomes a nefarious thought control tool is not explained by Searcy et al.

Searcy and his fellow dementos believe municipal, county, and state governments are in on this plot along with the commies, brown people, and Muslims of the UN as well as the chief destroyer of America, Obama himself.

According to political reporter Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a videographer recorded the first hour of the meeting and then was kicked out of the room. The logical conclusion is that subsequent discussion must have been even more batty than that recounted here.

I suppose if certain anti-Obama-ites have their way and do indeed secede from the union, they should call themselves the United States of the Cuckoo’s Nest.

AUSTERITY, NO

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! writes in Truthdig that the movement against austerity measures is gaining ground all across the globe.

This news makes me feel a bit better after writing the previous story.

Thanks, Amy

It seems the reelection of Barack Obama and the repudiation of so many Republican candidates a week ago Tuesday is our nation’s little way of rebelling against austerity. Sure, some young people took to the streets for a few months in the Occupy movement of 2011 but, honestly, that had about as much effect as tossing an LSD tab into a big city’s water supply in hopes of turning the populace on.

Most of the American citizenry believe money should remain safely in the hands of the uber-wealthy, no matter what folks say about raising taxes on the rich. Not so elsewhere in the world. We fetishize the plutocracy; the rest of humanity looks upon the Midas class properly, as one would a mobster making you an offer you can’t refuse.

How else would you explain the popularity of Donald Trump?

Execrable, Albeit Explainable

APPROPRIATELY NAMED

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