Category Archives: Douglas A. Wissing

Hot Air


I didn’t watch last night’s Democratic candidates debate but I understand Hillary insisted it be conducted in Afrikaans. Yet another craven attempt to sabotage Bernie Sanders, whom the vast majority of America prefers and who holds a triple digit lead over her.

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Clinton: “Ons sal julle vermorsel!”

Like It Is

On a serious note, for all the bluster about which candidate speaks her or his mind and which one will dare to utter one or another truth, it was Martin O’Malley last night who was bold enough to say what the sane among us know:

What our nation needs right now is to realize that, while we face a terrible danger, we also face a different sort of political danger. And that is the danger that democracies find themselves susceptible to when unscrupulous leaders try to turn us upon each other.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during a roundtable interview in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, the first day of the 2014 legislative session. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

O’Malley (AP/Patrick Semansky)

We will rise to the challenge of ISIS and we will rise together to the challenges that we face in our economy. But we will only do so if we hold true to the values and the freedoms that unite us, which means we must never surrender them to terrorists, must never surrender our American values to racists, must never surrender to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.

Unscrupulous, racist, fascist, and a billionaire with a big mouth. Yeah, that’s pretty much a capsule summary of Donald Trump. And, hell — let’s take the gloves all the way off — he’s a terrorist, too.

Another Brown Bomber

Are you freaking kidding me? Yet another brown boy has been busted in Texas for the heinous crime of carrying something that some fever-delerious pack of scared bunnies thought was a bomb.

Yep. Last weekend, a 12-year-old kid named Armaan Singh Sarai was held in juvenile detention for three days in Fort Worth because some white boy miscreant told the schoolteacher he was going to bomb the school.

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The teacher reacted — oh-so-reasonably, natch — by immediately calling the cops, who came to the school, took Sarai in, and locked him up from Friday through Monday. All on the say-so of some adolescent dickhead. Sarai’s parents, BTW, were not told of his whereabouts while he cooled his heels in stir.

It turns out Sarai has a backpack with a solar panel on it so he can charge his electronic device while carrying it. A dopey-assed clown in his class pointed it out to Sarai and told him he was gonna tell the teach it was a bomb. Sarai laughed and the dopey-assed kid laughed. But, mirabile dictu, the dopey-assed kid dropped a dime on Sarai anyway and paranoiac psychosis ensued.

The whole damned incident could have been no-harm, no-foul, except Sarai was incarcerated for the entire weekend and — get this! — he is suspended from school, must wear an ankle monitor, and still faces unspecified criminal charges.

No mention is made of the teacher, the cops, or any sane authority figure simply eyeballing the solar panel backpack and, once establishing it was not an weapon of mass destruction, kicking the class clown in his white-boy ass.

Kicking kids in the ass is forbidden in schools these days.

Putting them behind bars — especially when their melanin level is more elevated than the average Cauc. kid’s — ain’t.

‘Specially in the Lone Star State. Do us all a favor, Tex: Secede.

Wissing Well

A quick update: Doug Wissing’s new book, IN Writing: Uncovering the Unexpected Hoosier State, is flat-out flying off the shelves at the Book Corner. Grab it while you can, kiddies.

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Douglas A. Wissing

Hot Air

Who Says We Don’t Make Anything In America Anymore?

So far as I can tell, this story is the real deal. This isn’t the fruit of the fertile imagination of some humorous writer from the Onion or another knockoff news satire site.

Some doohickey town in North Carolina had the opportunity to get a nice big solar farm that’d tie into the area’s electrical grid. A sweet move coming on the heels of the Paris climate talks and Prez O’s recent imprimatur of same, wherein he said the global pact is “the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve all got” and that its implementation would be “a turning point for the world.”

‘Course, if that’s what our Imam-in-Chief sez, it must be as wrong as the sun rising in the west.

See, this little cow town had a big ol’ public meeting on the night its town council was to vote on a zoning ordinance for the land upon which the solar panels would be built. Now, normally, no one in her or his right mind would attend — much less pay attention to the blathering that goes on at such things — a meeting of a town council considering zoning matters.

The sane among us would prefer being impaled upon the tippy-top of Seattle’s Space Needle.

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Oh, Yeah, If It’s A Zoning Meeting or This….

But, apparently, the meeting in Q. was packed. The public got its chance to voice its displeasure over the plan, citing every drawback from loss of jobs (not explained) to the certain death of surrounding flora. Um, yeah, that’s what some retired science teacher (?!) said. Her name is Jane Mann and she testified that solar panel arrays suck up all the sunlight, preventing surrounding plants from getting their share of it. The plants’ photosynthesis processes, she said, shut down. She swore she’s seen brown and dead plants all around other solar farms. She also said she’s noticed a lot of cancer cases popping up around these facilities.

Bolstered by these clearly incontrovertible statements, the town council went ahead and denied the zoning request for the solar farm. It also instituted a moratorium on any other solar farm plans.

The story has reached across the mighty oceans, natch. Any story that illustrates just how unscientific we Murricans are — even our retired science teachers, fer chrissakes! — gets play in the foreign news media. And rightly so. Here, for instance, is a line from the Independent UK‘s story on the vote:

Members of the public in Woodland, North Carolina, expressed their fear and mistrust….

Yep. Fear and mistrust — two products of which we are inordinately proud in this holy land.

Sanders: Man Without A Medium

Here are the main reasons why the TV nets are ignoring Bernie Sanders:

He’s old.

He’s a Jew with a northeast accent.

He’s not handsome or dignified in that vanilla TV way.

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Square-Jawed, Greying At The Temples: Mitt Was A TV Hottie

His hair’s a mess.

He talks policy.

He hasn’t got a hint of scandal around him.

He’s not palsy-walsy with media conglomerate big shots.

He’s not a woman or a black man.

He hasn’t led a devil-may-care, dashing life.

He flies coach.

He doesn’t worship wealth.

The poor bastard. About the only way he’ll get real TV coverage is if he appears before a packed arena without a stitch of clothing on. Then they’ll talk about him.

A Little Love For Indiana

Dig: Doug Wissing, our town’s intrepid war correspondent, has a new book coming out on January 4, 2016, so save your pennies.

Wissing’s new tome, IN Writing: Uncovering the Unexpected Hoosier State, published by Indiana University Press, is a love letter to the Hoosier State.

Before I moved here, I had Indiana pegged as this holy land’s least remarkable state. Hell, after living here six-plus years, I still feel that way. But if anyone’s got the chops to sway that opinion, it’s Wissing. His new book has earned kudos from the likes of bestselling mystery writer Michael Koryta, historian and biographer Michael Shelden, novelist Dan Wakefield, and even former Congressbeing and current Indiana University SPEA big shot Lee Hamilton.

Wissing himself says:

Given my essays cover subjects naughty and nice, the publishers are touting it as alternative Indiana history, one that includes Indiana’s often counter-intuitive links to the wide, wide world.

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Wissing In Afghanistan

Okay, I’m game. I’m saving my pennies too.

Hoosier Hilarity

Here’s a quote from red-hot funnyman Jim Gaffigan, who — I had no idea — is a Hoosier:

I’m from Indiana. I know what you’re thinking — Indiana… Mafia. But in Indiana it’s not like New York where everyone’s like, “We’re from New York and we’re the best,” or “We’re from Texas and we like things big.” It’s more like, “We’re from Indiana and we’re gonna move.”

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I take my life into my hands by uttering this but it needs to be said: M*A*S*H was a pretty good TV show until Harry Morgan replaced MacLean Stevenson as the colonel.


Harry Morgan, Emoting

Good god, Harry Morgan was wooden. He boasted an acting range that spanned from A to B. He brought that stiff, stilted stage manner over from Dragnet and added nothing to what could have been a brilliant show. It wasn’t, although millions of people think it was.

But, as I always say, what do people know?

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Wednes II


“Raised by two mothers? Wow. Most of us barely survive one.” — Woody Allen



Our town’s international gumshoe reporter, Doug Wissing, is gearing up for a second trip to the wilds of Afghanistan.

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Wissing on C-SPAN

Wissing, a noted freelance investigative journalist, has a hot item on the Book Corner‘s shelves these days, entitled “Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban.” During his first foray into the Afghan theater of war and corruption, Wissing learned that much of America’s dough wends its way through a maze of unsavory characters and entities into the hands of the very people we are shooting at.

Now he’s headed back to Southwest Asia. He’ll catch a flight in that direction on New Year’s Eve night. Wissing tells The Pencil he’ll stay in Afghanistan for a month or six weeks, with an eye on writing a second book on the 12-year-old conflict.

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Afghanistan (image from the BBC)

“I’m interested in seeing how the end game is turning out,” he says. He wants to get back in touch with American soldiers, many of whom hipped him to the cat’s cradle that includes venal US officials, greedy private corporations, Afghan kleptocrats, and the Taliban.

The new project will be Wissing’s seventh tome.

The Pencil advised him to stay out of trouble in those dangerous environs. Wissing replied, “That’s what I go there for.”


So, now Liza Long is taking heat for her viral “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” blog post.

Image from Blue Review

Liza Long’s “Crazy” Kid

In the immediate wake of Friday’s mass assassination of schoolkids and teachers in Connecticut, Long’s essay on raising a child whom she diagnoses as, well, crazed struck a chord. According to early sources, the Sandy Hook shooter also had psychiatric problems as a child. Ergo, Long’s post was originally viewed as a plea for help from a Mom who feared her kid might one day take up assault weapons against seven-year-olds.

Long was characterized as a trail-blazer, courageous in her everyday life as well as her willingness to reveal the most embarrassing details about her troubled son.

Image from NBC News


The more we’re exposed to revelations like this, the thinking went, the easier it might be to prevent the next Sandy Hook.

But blowback is inevitable in our info-tainment culture. Another blogger posted that maybe — just maybe — Long’s heartfelt tale of life with a disturbed kid isn’t all it was first cracked up to be.

Anthropologist and communications scholar Sarah Kendzior, who earned an MA in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University, wrote that an in-depth reading of Long’s blog revealed a “series of vindictive and cruel posts about her children in which she fantasizes about beating them, locking them up and giving them away.”

Funny thing is, most of the mommies and daddy-os I know have expressed similarly dramatic dark thoughts about their kids despite the fact that none of them would go so far as to describe their little angels as clinically deranged.

In fact, Kendzior herself writes, “In most of her posts, her allegedly insane  and violent son is portrayed as a normal boy who incited her wrath by being messy, buying too many Apple products and supporting Obama.”

Fairey Poster

If Your Kid Has This Poster, Institutionalize Him

Still, for at least a few days after Sandy Hook, Liza Long was the poster mom for heroic parents everywhere who’ve brought whacked out kids into the world.

My immediate guess is the name Liza Long will be long-forgotten by the spring.

As for her kid, well, some team of shrinks is going be putting down payments on luxury yachts after he reaches the age of thrice-weekly psychotherapy — even if he’s not certifiably cracked.

Millions in this holy land now know him as that mentally ill kid who’s somehow tied in with the Sandy Hook shooter. Thanks, Mom.

And now, Kendzior and Long have kissed and made up. They issued a joint statement the other day. Kenzior wrote in her blog, “We do not want to be part of a ‘mommy war’….”

The statement reads, in part: “We both agree that privacy for family members, especially children, is important… We love our children and hope you will respect their privacy.”

Natch, the best way to maintain your kids’ privacy is to write about them using a media technology that can be accessed by billions of inhabitants of this weird, weird world.

Personal to Long from a veteran blogger. You don’t have to post your every thought and feeling. Sometimes what you write needs to stay unpublished. Take it from me: Any number of times I’ve clacked out a post that I’ve deemed not ready for the light of day. And often I won’t have a replacement post in me on those particular mornings. Ergo, The Pencil skips a day.

So far, no one’s psyche has been damaged by those missed days.

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