Category Archives: Dan Coats

Hot Air

Cue The Kazoos

I was too lazy to attend the debate between the three Democratic candidates for mayor last night at IU’s Neal Marshall Black Culture Center. John Linnemeier, John Hamilton, and Darryl Neher sat together on stage without a brawl breaking out in the first of several such panels between now and the primary May 5th.

[View The Pencil’s schedule of debates and forums here.]

The Herald Times this AM reported on a rather dull affair with the three offering the obligatory array of political positions including their four-square backing of good government, honesty, and sunny spring days.

The frontrunners, Hamilton and Neher, have so little to separate themselves, philosophically and politically, that the danger exists whomever succumbs first to desperation will turn this race personal. Hamilton already has (gently) hammered on Neher’s transformation from Republican to Democrat. Last night Neher pointed out that five Hamilton underlings were convicted of swiping $1.6 million in taxpayer dough when H. was in former Indiana Guv Frank O’Bannon’s cabinet.

Personal to Hamilton and Neher: Don’t go there. Bloomington’s voters will turn quickly against anyone who engages in negative campaigning this cycle. See, nobody in the general public is so madly in love with either of you that they’ll forgive destructive mudslinging. Just my unsolicited advice.

Coats Leaving The Cloakroom

So, who wants to be the new junior United States Senator from Indiana now that Dan Coats is hanging up his Republican buckle-hat and breeches?

  • Todd Young?
  • Baron Hill?
  • Shelli Yoder?
  • Evan Bayh?
  • Richard Mourdock?

Altered Movie Poster

Well, maybe not Richard Mourdock, although America is noted for shocking second acts (Richard Nixon, Marion Barry, and ABBA, for examples). But how about these names, mentioned by The Hill, the daily hardcopy and online newspaper covering Congress?

A Luke Messer spokesgeek sez the 6th Dist. Republican US Congressbeing isn’t hep to the idea of running at this moment, The Hill also reports.

Tom LoBianco of the Indy Star adds these names:

LoBianco feels that Bayh, Mourdock, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz aren’t worth writing about in terms of the upcoming race.

Politico‘s Kyle Cheney does a thorough job of vetting Evan Bayh’s mindset as the seat comes open. Cheney figures there’s no chance Bayh — even with his $10 million war chest — will run.

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz of Indy Politics drops Bosma, Young, Stutzman, and Rokita’s names — adding Holcomb’s almost as an afterthought.

Coats so far is the third US Senator to announce he won’t run in 2016, joining Dems Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) in the glue factory line.

Be Divine

Hey, you’ve only got six more days to read Scott Russell Sanders’ new novel, Divine Animal. The current selection of the Bloom magazine Book Club, Divine… has been flying off the Book Corner‘s shelves.

Malcolm Abrams’ brainchild was a smashing success the first time around with Bloomington author Michael Koryta packing the house at Oliver Winery on the Square in February. Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead was the Book Club’s first selection.

Sanders will read from his book and answer questions Tuesday, March 31st, 5:30pm, at FARM Bloomington’s Root Cellar Lounge. My advice? Get there early.

Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders

BTW, poet extraordinaire and IU Creative Writing prof. Ross Gay told me yesterday that Sanders — back when he was still teaching keyboard clacking there — was a terrific influence on a lot of young scribes, the tall versifier included. “Every time I’d see him in the hallway, he’d have something nice or encouraging to say,” Gay remembers.

Keep in mind encouragement is worth its weight in gold to an aspiring writer, especially considering careerists in that field see very little gold in their lifetimes.

The Pencil Today

THE QUOTE

“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.” — Henny Youngman

VI WILL VIE

Hoosier Dems are going all in for women this election year.

I’m all for it.

Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg is putting his money on Vi Simpson, the Indiana Senate Democratic  Caucus leader, as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. He’ll make the announcement today.

Vi And Her Guy

Simpson joins the state’s Ninth District Congressional candidate Shelli Yoder on the November ballot.

It’s a gamble and it’s a good one.

Indians has been turning monochromatic (red) since Barack Obama squeezed out a narrow victory here in 2008. Senator Evan Bayh retired and was replaced by retread Dan Coats in the 2010 election. Congressman Baron Hill got the thumb that year as well and watched altar boy Todd Young fly to Washington.

The Dems need to turn to their ace in the hole — women — to reverse that trend.

Neither Shelli Yoder nor Vi Simpson will strike rural voters as wild-eyed, radical femi-nazis — that is, of course, unless said suffragists have been so conditioned by the Fox News gang to see all those to the left of John Birch as loyalty risks, traitors, and saboteurs.

Democrats have no hope of ever luring those voters away from the GOP.

I’m not deluded enough to think Indiana may turn touchy-feely liberal Democrat any time soon (or even later) but the Dems must put up a better fight than they have of late.

Even Obama’s surprising victory here owed more to the upset stomach that the Bush/McCain/Palin bunch induced in the voting public than anyone’s great desire to see an almost-liberal take the White House.

But, jeez, folks — if even the People’s Republic of Bloomington can’t put a Dem in its own Congressional seat then these precincts truly have become a one-party monolith.

TERPSICHOREANS

My old man came from the generation that knew how to dance.

No matter how paunchy, tubby, clumsy, or homely a guy who grew up during the Great Depression was, the minute a wedding band would strike its first chord, he could jump up and sweep his equally awkward wife across the dance floor as if he were a combination of Gene Kelly and Jack Kennedy.

They’re Playing Our Song, Jackie

It never ceased to amaze me that Dad and all my uncles could become as smooth as silk when the music started. I mean, I knew these these guys wore black socks with their slippers at home, that they were more adept at producing a variety of different flatulent tones than cooing sweet nothings in their brides’ ears, and that the simple act of getting up out of the La-Z-Boy was for them akin to scaling a medium-sized mountain.

So how could they also be these fabulous dancers?

Old Joe Glab could also swing a shoe to a polka tune like nobody’s business. Polka dancing demanded a certain level of physical exertion that in other circumstances would be guaranteed to strike Dad and all his peers immediately dead from myocardial infarct.

Yet he and his contemporaries could polka all the night long.

When I was 21 and 22 I could undulate my hips to funk or disco five nights a week. I could pogo to punk with the best of them. But at some indeterminant point in my life, I lost the ability to dance.

I learned this dramatically one Friday night about a dozen years ago. I went out on a date with a hot tomato divorcee named Robbie. She and her ex were big-time art dealers in Chicago. We had dinner, then she suggested we go out dancing. Cool.

So we zoomed up to Joe Shanahan’s uber-trendy Smart Bar near Wrigley Field. I’d spent many a long night gyrating and sweating to the likes of Alison Moyet and Rick James there in the mid-80s so I figured I could still reach back and put the good moves on.

I Could Ride The White Pony With My Eyes Closed

We dashed out on the floor and started in. Robbie acquitted herself quite nicely — I, on the other hand, felt as though I’d suddenly turned into an epileptic. I could no more keep to the beat than a Mormon.

I looked around and saw all these kids half my age slithering the way I once could. Some of them, I have to admit, were eying me critically. As in, What the fk?

It felt as though the DJ was aiming a spotlight at me. Come to think of it, he may have been. Of course, I became even stiffer and more dopey.

More kids started staring at me. I was certain they’d go home that night, fall asleep, and then wake up with a start, horrified at the memory of what they’d seen. Worse, I could imagine them imagining that Robbie and I would go home later and, ugh, have sex. (We didn’t.) I’d scarred the poor kids for life.

How could I lose it all so quickly? And why were Dad and his generation able to keep it well into their 60s and 70s?

Life is unfair.

I’m reminded of all this because Dave Hoekstra of the Sun-Times Facebooked the news that Chicago’s polka king, Eddie Blazonczyk, died yesterday.

Just about everybody from the dancing generation is gone now.

Soon — very soon — the only males left in the world who can dance will be those under the age of 30.

Did I mention that life is unfair?

VIRAL PIE

Yet another reason why the interwebs is (are?) the greatest single invention of mankind.

Without my connection to the faux/real world, I would never have known this pizza joint ever existed:

Me? I wanna go there, eat a slice, and then stand outside the place scratching at the corner of my mouth. Imagine the looks on people’s faces as they drive by.

Yeah, I’m deranged.

Anyway, BuzzFeed has ten more such iffy trade monikers. Go there and laugh.

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