Category Archives: Equal Rights Amendment

Hot Air

Proclamation

Happy Lincoln’s b-day.

Lincoln

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.

— Lincoln

Fools’ Paradise

You know, I can’t take today’s Republicans seriously on anything until they all stop pandering to the goosebrains of this holy land. Case in point: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently refused to tell a British interviewer whether or not he believes evolution is the real deal.

Creation Museum

A Fairy Tale World

Now, maybe Walker does indeed accept the conventional, non-controversial, empirically demonstrable theory of natural selection by mutation in his heart of hearts. It’s impossible to know. What is inarguable, though, is his unwillingness to offend the willfully ignorant of America.

The Party has to ask itself why it is a magnet for the imbecilic.

Addendum: So, let’s say on some far off day the GOP washes its hands of those who believe their ignorance is as valid as the consensus of the world’s scientific community. As I say, I just may start taking them seriously. I still won’t vote for a Republican, no matter what, until the Party supports the Equal Rights Amendment. So there’s that hurdle to cross.

Atheist Extremism?

So, a lunatic who says he’s an atheist offs a family of Muslims (allegedly) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ergo, he’s an anti-religious bigot whose hatred of the god-loving has driven him to this craven act.

At least that’s how some of the conventional wisdom goes in the aftermath of Tuesday’s slayings.

In fact, The New Republic‘s religion writer Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig yesterday posted a piece indicting what she considers the unseemly “the New Atheism” as embodied by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Bill Maher and other in-your-face unbelievers for Craig Hicks‘ gunplay.

Hicks

Hicks

The religionists of this holy land can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that atheism is not a religion. Hell, it’s not even capitalized. It is a nothing, whereas religion is a something. It’s not a club with rules, rituals, a leadership structure, and a set of taboos. Religions are just such clubs.

Sam Harris, noted rationalist author, is no more responsible for Craig Hicks’ (alleged) atrocity than I am for Sam (Momo) Giancana‘s criminal acts since we both had Sicilian antecedents and spent a lot of time in Oak Park, Illinois.

OTOH, religions regularly teach that those who are outside the club are to be pitied, converted, and even socially ostracized. Many, if not most, religions go so far as to say that when non-believers die the putative creator of the Universe will condemn them to an eternity of punishment. Taking this to its illogical conclusion, extremist Sicilians and Oak Parkers will not kill you for not being Sicilians and Oak Parkers but extremist Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others just may bump you off for not buying their god fables. After all, god so does not not give a shit about the beliefs and comforts of infidels that he’s happy to consign them to the fires of everlasting hell. Why, then, should we, the faithful, care about nonbelievers’ Earthly bodies?

I still insist that Muslims around the world should actively distance themselves from, for instance, the Charlie Hebdo killings. So should American Christians condemn slavery, KKK atrocities, and the Indian holocaust, since those things were committed in their god’s name. And modern-day Germans bear a responsibility to say they despise their Nazi history.

But even if an atheist claims to have killed people of faith simply because they have a faith, I’m not obliged to explain to you that, as an atheist, I’m not as evil as he is.

Again, atheism isn’t our shared club. Atheism is nothing.

Hot Air

Primavera

I’ll say this: If you don’t like what the sky, the winds, and the greenery are doing to us these days, you’re beyond help.

LMonroe20140405

Lake Monroe At Sunset, Saturday

Ready, Aim….

You didn’t catch this in today’s Herald Times because the City Council didn’t get around to voting until well after the paper’s midnight deadline, but our dear elected leaders voted to allow that controversial deer shoot around Griffy Lake.

Deer

… Fire!

Only Dorothy Granger and Steve Volan voted against it. Council chambers were packed yesterday with folks railing against the cull.

I’m in favor of whacking the deer if their meat can be harvested to feed the homeless. Same with Canada geese.

Greed Is Good

Ben Stein, whose greatest contribution to society thus far has been the movie line “Anyone? Anyone?”, opened his caviar hole again the other day and told us how lucky we are that our species can boast among its membership the subspecies, billionaire.

“They fund symphonies and ballets and schools for inner city kids. They are a bulwark against tyranny because they can afford lawyers to fight overweening government,” Stein said, as reported by Raw Story.

Y’know, because the poor keep all their money to themselves, the selfish slobs.

Food Stamp

The Poor Keep Their Assets To Themselves

Not content with elevating the likes of the Koch Bros. to sainthood, Stein also pontificates upon the poor.

“My humble observation is that most long-term poverty is caused by self-sabotage by individuals. Drug use. Drunkenness. Having children without a family structure. Gambling. Poor work habits. Disastrously unfortunate appearance. Above all, and counted in the preceding list, psychological problems (very much including basic laziness) cause people to be unemployed, have poor or no work habits, and enter and stay in poverty,” he said.

No word yet on whether Stein solved the eternal chicken-or-egg conundrum.

More evidence that a certain percentage of people in this holy land see the accumulation of wealth and those who obsessively participate in it as, de facto, good.

Mr. Pennybags

Whee, Me!

Again, for the benefit of those on my side of the fence who wonder aloud how folks can keep voting for candidates whose raison d’etre is to further grease the already-frictionless path for the pathologically rich, lots of our national brethren and sisteren truly believe wealth — gobs of it, obscene piles of it, more than anybody could ever need in one lifetime or ten — makes the holder thereof morally, ethically, philosophically, and evolutionarily superior to the rest of us.

And it isn’t just the wealthy who buy into this — if so, coatholders for the plutocracy such as Paul Ryan or Scott Walker would never win an election. The 1% (in truth, more like 0.01%) has all the dough, sure, but they by definition constitute only that eensy sliver of the electorate. No, the mids and the poors revere wealth just as much as Sheldon Adelson or Joe Ricketts do. They think that if they’d just played their cards right and the breaks all had fallen their way, they, too, would have amassed a fortune big enough to buy elections, legislators, and, well…, heaven here on Earth.

Let’s go a step further: most of the mids and poors still dream that they’ll reach the rarefied heights of billionaire-dom one day, no matter how entrenched they are in their caste today.

That’s the American Dream: One day I’ll be richer, and better, than you.

Frenemies

OTOH, how to explain the continued love affair half the electorate has with the Republicans, 100 percent of whose Senate members voted, essentially, against the equal pay bill?

I assume women vote Republican. And, if so, why? The GOP as far back as the 1970s demonstrated its loathing for dames by killing the Equal Rights Amendment. They haven’t done anything since to indicate that their view of females as brood sows and fap objects has changed a whit.

Being a double-X chromosomer and voting for Republicans is like being an Oglala Lakota and pulling for the 7th Cavalry. You’re all mixed up.

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse: “Go, Custer!”

Hot Air

Old But Good

Wait a minute — Gloria Steinem is 80 today?

Eighty freaking years old?

Steinem

Steinem, Seasoned

And just imagine — a legal, political issue she was associated with, the Equal Rights Amendment, is such a relic of the past that it makes the octogenarian look downright coltish.

Yep. The ERA died its official, ignominious death some 32 years ago. But it was on a respirator for several years before that.

The meat of the ERA, Section 1, was precisely 24 words long. Ignoring the two sections of the proposed amendment dealing with enforcement and date of effect (each of which contained less verbiage than the first section), the ERA said, simply:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

That’s it, babies. The Right spent tens of millions of dollars and created an environment of fear, mistrust, and hysteria to defeat it. It was a simple, declarative sentence that was not approved by enough state legislatures to become a part of this holy land’s Constitution.

Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly Rants Against The ERA

BTW: the US Senate bill passing the Amendment on to the states was sponsored by Indiana’s Birch Bayh. The Amendment itself was endorsed by none other than President Richard Nixon. Oh, and Indiana was the final state to ratify, number 35, in 1977. Still, the thing was seen as too radical, to dangerous, too liberal.

Thanks anyway, Gloria.

 

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Women are all female impersonators to some degree.” — Susan Brownmiller

SHE♥S A GIRL

Do American women really want pink cars?

I suppose there are those who do, but do enough of them crave advertising the fact that they have the XX chromosome that it’s worth it to Honda produce millions of the new pink Fit She♥s?

Haven’t we gone beyond this stuff?

BTW: that’s precisely how Honda’s styling the new model’s name, with a cutesy little heart rather than an apostrophe. Ick. And another thing, what would be the purpose for an apostrophe in that position anyway? The whole thing is a mess, I tell you.

Pink Car? Flowers In Hand? Proof She Has A Vagina

Terrifyingly, the new Fit She♥s have windshields designed to minimize facial wrinkles (I’m not making this up) and the AC system helps prevent bad skin.

Oh, you gals!

Back in the early 70s when women’s lib was becoming sort of acceptable, Phillip Morris Company marketed Virginia Slims cigarettes. They were longer and narrower and had pretty little packaging.

The ads for the smoke were everywhere. You’ve come a long way, baby, the brand’s tagline, became part of the cultural landscape.

But that was then. Sassy women were fresh and exotic — that is until they started making noises about earning the same salaries as men — then they had to be squashed. Just a few years later, Phyllis Schlafly and her gang of upright simians successfully stymied the Equal Rights Amendment. Before the decade was out, women’s lib became a couple of dirty words.

Somehow many females in this holy land got themselves elected to Congress and even were named CEOs of big corporations. Heck, there are more female university students than male in the United States today.

And, mirabile dictu, they’re not just going to college to look for husbands.

So even though the wording of our Constitution was never changed to accommodate one half of our population, women seem to be making big strides, even if the Right Wingers and Christian fundamentalists would like them to make little pitti-pat strides in bare feet.

I feel uncomfortable around anybody who needs to blare to the world what shape their genitals are. Suffice it to say I don’t keep company with any woman who’d be hot for one of these pink cars.

In fact, it was The Loved One who insisted on black when we bought our then-new car a few years ago. She’s cool by me.

Who Am I To Argue With The Loved One?

INNER CITY BLUES

So, our friends in the Bloomington Common Council last night OK’d the plan to build a 168-room Hyatt hotel on Kirkwood just west of the Courthouse.

Yeesh. I smell a pile of Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Coldwater Creeks popping up around that area quicker than you can say gridlock.

Bloomington Tomorrow?

This ain’t Memaw and Pepaw’s Bloomington anymore.

FREEDOM! WELL, A LITTLE BIT

In the lead-up to last year’s scheduled NATO and G-8 summits in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, cooked up a law banning the recording of cops doing their jobs on the city’s public streets.

Protesters and civil liberties advocates screamed to high heaven that the new law would allow the cops to act with impunity during rallies and marches. It would be, they feared, 1968 all over again.

Reporter & Protester, Bloodied By Cops During The ’68 Convention

Rahm and Alvarez, whose position is analagous to that of Chris Gaal here, figured they’d be protecting the identities of cops who might subsequently be targeted at their homes for retribution or merely for the hell of it.

It’s possible. Problem is, whenever public officials or law enforcement officers are allowed to work in secrecy, they tend to do things that they really need to keep secret. Like clunking people on the head with their nightsticks.

A Convincing Argument

So, what’s more important? Keeping cops safe in their homes or keeping citizens safe from the cops?

I know where I stand. Police work is a dangerous business. You take your chances when you take the oath. That doesn’t mean anyone who messes with the home or family of a cop isn’t a stinking rat. But we have laws to protect any citizens — including cops — from criminal attack.

We always have to be vigilant against the chilling effect of authority and tyranny on public speech and demonstrations. That trumps most other considerations.

And guess what? The US Supreme Court agrees! Huzzah!

The Court, still dominated by Reagan/Bush/Bush conservatives — believe it or not, refused to overturn a lower court ruling yesterday that Emanuel and Alavarez’s new law was too broad and unconstitutional.

They Got It Right This Time

Next time there’s a mass demonstration in Chicago — or anywhere else in this free country — protesters will be able to record the doings of the cops, just in case the boys in blue have an urge to dent some skulls.

[A Note: The NATO summit was eventually moved to another location where organizers wouldn’t have to worry about mass protests.]

FOGIES

In other Supreme Court news, the Rolling Stones now are older, on average, than the nine members of the highest court in the land.

Early Humans

And that includes Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who in March will celebrate her 169th birthday. She is the only living human to have attended both inaugurations of Abraham Lincoln.

The team of mathematicians who calculated the astronomical figures have said they did not take into consideration the fact that Keith Richards has lived the equivalent of hundreds of years. Had the Richards factor been added to the algorithm, the math geeks say, the average age of the Stones would have exceeded that of the ancient redwood trees of California.

Just Kids

 

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Well, the future for me is already a thing of the past.” — Bob Dylan

A PEEK INTO THE FUTURE

When I was a kid I would have this scifi-like fantasy that I’d been transported into the past, say, into my mother’s Little Sicily neighborhood on the Near West Side of Chicago or my father’s Polish enclave on the Northwest Side.

There, I’d be celebrated as The Kid from the Future, the one who knew all the answers, whom other kids and even adults would visit to learn about the wonders of the Space Age 1970s.

“Aw sure,” I’d say casually as my wide eyed audience would hang on my every word, “we sent guys to the moon. Nothin’ to it. We saw it on TV.”

Gasp

Or, “Everybody has a refrigerator and air conditioning, right in their homes. And our cars are low and sleek.”

This little conceit presaged “Back to the Future” by fifteen years or so. Only, unlike Marty McFly, I didn’t have to hide my true origins. I’d be a big shot. Newspaper reporters would flock around me, grilling me about events to come.

“Be prepared,” I’d warn dolefully, “there’s a horrifying world war on the way.” Reporters and kids alike would glance at each other in apprehension. I’d calm them. “But we survived it,” I’d say, as if I had experienced its horrors myself.

Gasp

So play along with me. Let’s pretend we’re the people from the future. We find ourselves in Bloomington in the year 1973. It’s January. It’s drizzly and the temperatures are hovering in the high 40s. We’re sitting at a table in a new little vegetarian diner called The Tao, surrounded by locals. They have a ton of questions.

The political science professor asks, “What’s going to happen with all this Watergate business?”

The campus ROTC officer asks, “Now that President Nixon has ordered a halt to offensive action in Vietnam does that mean the war is over?”

Newly-appointed Hoosiers football coach Lee Corso stops by. He asks, “Does George Foreman have a chance against Joe Frazier?”

A woman wearing a blue “ERA Now!” button asks, “What will the Supreme Court rule in the Roe v. Wade case?”

A soft-spoken philosophy major wearing long hair and a tie-dyed T-shirt asks, “Have the people of 2012 achieved a state of higher consciousness?”

We, of course, have all the answers. “Nixon’s going to resign in a year and a half,” we say. People’s jaws drop.

We continue. “Sorry to say, the war’s going to go on for a couple of more years.” The folks in our audience shake their heads.

“Put your dough on Foreman,” we advise the coach. He says, “Not so fast, my friend!” and points out that Frazier is a 3:1 favorite. “Trust us,” we assure him.

We turn to the woman wearing the blue button. She shifts in her seat excitedly.

“The Court,” we say, “will rule in favor of Roe.”

The woman thrusts her fists in the air, throws her head back, and shouts “Yes!”

The semi-circle of people around us begins to talk among themselves. The woman is giddy. So is Lee Corso. The ROTC officer speculates that with two more years of fighting, maybe — just maybe — the United States can pull out a victory in Southeast Asia. We haven’t the heart to set him straight.

“What else can you tell us,” someone asks.

“Let’s see. Oh, Ronald Reagan will be elected president in 1980.”

“Ronald Reagan?” the political science professor says, shocked.

“Yep. Not only that, he’ll be reelected in one of the greatest landslides in history. And get this: we’ll re-fight the Vietnam War in the ‘Rambo’ movies and we’ll win!”

Our National Do-Over

The young woman’s shoulders slump. “You’ve got to be kidding,” she says.

“Nope.”

On the other hand, the ROTC officer’s mood improves considerably.

“Cheer up,” the political science professor says to the young woman, “Nixon’s going to quit.”

We interrupt him. Nixon, we reveal, will transform himself into an elder statesman. He’ll write books about world affairs. When he dies, his successors in the White House, both Republican and Democrat, will eulogize him.

“That’s odd,” the political science professor observes. “The future looks awfully baffling.” He turns again toward the young woman. “Still, at least the divisive issue of abortion will be settled. You’ve won.”

Not So Fast

“Um, hold on a second there, Professor,” we say. “The abortion issue not only won’t be settled, it’ll be hanging over the country like never before. States will curtail access to abortions. Candidates will run on planks of little more than rolling back Roe v. Wade. In fact, as we left 2012 to come visit you here in 1973, the State of Indiana is fighting with the federal government over abortion. Governor Mitch Daniels and Republican legislators want to cut off Medicaid payments for low income women’s abortions. The feds say the state can’t do that but Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller has promised to fight for the cut off.

“In fact,” we add, “if states like Mississippi have their way, abortion will be outlawed, period.”

“But I thought you said the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Roe,” the young woman says, plaintively.

“Um, uh…, well, yeah,” we say. Then we shrug.

The people forming the semicircle around contemplate all this for a moment. Finally, the soft-spoken philosophy major  breaks the silence. “You haven’t answered my question,” he says. “Have the people of 2012 achieved a state of higher consciousness?”

You and I glance at each other. Someone’s got to break the news to him. “Well kid,” I say at last, “you really don’t want to know.”

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

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series, Scott Frye, acoustic country blues; 11:30am

Lower Cascades Park, Sycamore Shelter — Bloomington Serious Mac Users Group annual picnic; 5:30-8:30pm

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsThe Art & Poetry of Shana Ritter; 6pm

Jake’s NightclubKaraoke; 6pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Ken Wilson; 6-8:30pm

◗ IU Ford-Crawford Hall Summer Music Series, The Steve Houghton Trio; 7pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Music Series, Chamber music by the Cecilia String Quartet; 8pm

Cecilia String Quartet

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8pm

The Player’s PubBlues Jam hosted by King Bee & the Stingers; 8pm

The BluebirdBloomington’s Got Talent, hosted by Leo Cook; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “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:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ 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 Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

WHICH TURKEY DO YOU WANT IN THE WHITE HOUSE?

My left-tilting friends and acquaintances seem to be divided into two camps these days.

Some of them are hanging on to the Democratic Party by their fingernails, holding out hope against hope that the electorate can keep enough Dem legislators in the halls of power so that, for instance, women aren’t forced to wear some Christian version of the burqa.

Others have given up completely on the jackass gang.

Bloomington Common Council member Susan Sandberg, for one, is firmly entrenched in the former group. Well, natch, she feeds at the public trough, living high on the hog, shouting “Let’em eat cake!” as her carriage careens around the corner at Kirkwood and Walnut. It’s shocking how the princely sum of $14,000 a year can corrupt a person.

She’s the Dems’ darling in this micro-lopolis.

Then there’s my old pal Jerry Boyle, the radical attorney from Chicago. He’s so down on the Democrats in general and their standard-bearer, one Barack Obama, aka POTUS, that he’s washed his hands of the lot of them. He’s gone so far as to call Obama a “traitor” to the left, which would make sense only if Obama had been a leftist at one time or another. I’ve yet to come across evidence he’s ever been.

Those as ancient as I am remember the term “Rockefeller Republican” from the sixties. There can be no better modifier of the man in the White House today.

Now, Susan Sandberg will be standing on her head during the next 49 weeks, trying to convince voters to put Dems in office. Jerry Boyle already has publicly advocated letting Obama et al flop next November. In fact, Jerry has hinted that maybe the smarter vote is Republican. His reasoning? Let the GOP be in charge when the whole house of cards tumbles so they can take the rap for it.

Which seems to me akin to cutting your nose to spite your face as well as the faces of some 308 million other poor souls.

I’m not thrilled with the Obama presidency. He’s proven himself much too comfortable cozying up to the unindicted corporate and banking felons who whipped the economy into its current grave state.

Obama: “Some Of My Best Friends Are Robber Barons!”

He’s less a leader than a consensus-seeker, which might be an asset if the other side had any inclination to consent. They don’t. It’s better, on Planet GOP, to demonize Mexicans who sneak into the country, to throw around terms like “socialist” without knowing what it means, to blame all our problems on NPR, and to wring hands obsessively over the very idea of two men tongue kissing.

That said, I’ll vote for Obama no matter whom the Republicans nominate. For one thing, I have to keep up my lifelong record of never having voted Republican. Go ahead, tell me I’m close-minded — you bet I’m close-minded. I long ago slammed shut my cranial door on the party that could fight tooth and nail against something so innocuous as the Equal Rights Amendment.

It’s one thing to have an open mind but you can’t have it so open that your brains fall out.

So, I’m thankful today that we have a (half) black president who is nominally a Democrat. He ain’t everything I’d want but, then again, neither is life.

%d bloggers like this: