Category Archives: G. Gordon Liddy

The Pencil Today:


“Obviously crime pays, or there’d be no crime.” — G. Gordon Liddy


Before I even begin this particular howl, I’ll remind readers that both the Republicans and Democrats have long, storied histories of stealing votes and even whole elections.

The Ballot Box That Put LBJ Over The Top

That caveat out of the way, I can barely control my indignation over the latest GOP dirty trick.

It’s getting personal now.

A little background: Saturday morning, the Boys of Soma were sitting around reminding each other through unverifiable anecdotes how clever, strong, and sexually potent we are. By and by, it sank in that if we continued to lie to each other loudly, some outside observers might begin to consider us liars. And that wouldn’t do.

So we settled into a brief quiet. And then Saunders piped up.

“I’m very disappointed in Nicole (not her real name),” he said, dolefully.

The rest of us glanced at each other. Nicole is an honorary Boy of Soma. Some consider her, in fact, the leader of the B of S because, well, she could probably kick the hell out of most of us. Okay, any of us.


Nicole is cherished for a variety of reasons. She’s smart, athletic, outspoken, direct, and one or two of the Boys has been known to become dreamy-eyed while watching her exit the coffeehouse. There is a general agreement within our ranks that her husband, Rod (again, not his real name) is a man to be envied.

No one has ever uttered a discouraging word about Nicole. That is, before Saunders piped up Saturday.

“What is it?” Tough Guy Mac demanded. “What’s the matter with Nicole?” I may be wrong but I think he may have balled his fists.

“Didja see who she’s going for in the election?” Saunders countered.

“No, who?” Mac and Irish Pat said as one.

Saunders dropped the bombshell. “Romney,” he said.

No, No, Say It Ain’t So!

We uttered a collective gasp. Even Barista Jericho’s iPod, heard over the room speakers at the time, stopped playing.

“Naw!” Tough Guy Mac said, waving Saunders off.

“Can’t be,” Irish Pat said.

“Whaddya talking about?” I said.

Saunders shrugged. “Look at her Facebook page,” he said.

So I pulled out the old machine and logged in. Sure enough, there it was, in a pretty display of electrons: “Nicole Magnuson Likes Mitt Romney.”

Can It Be?

Again, we fell silent. Gloom settled over our corner of the place.

“Well,” I said, “I’m gonna have to have some words with that young lady.”

“Somebody’s gonna have to,” Irish Pat said.

“I wish she was here right now so we could find out what the hell’s goin’ on,” Tough Guy Mac said.

“In fact, I’m gonna send her a message right now,” I said. Nicole at the time was out of town, in Cincinnati visiting her dear old mother. I clacked out a message telling her I was heartbroken that she’d disappointed us so.

Bang, a return message came back within seconds. “What? What’d I do?” she’d typed.

After a brief discussion during which the three of us at Soma marveled that even so backward a hamlet as Cincinnati now has the Internet, we agreed on the wording of our indictment.

Cincinnati Has Entered The 20th Century — Who Knew?

“We’re sitting here with our faces in our hands, weeping unashamedly,” I wrote. “None of us can believe it. You…, you…, you like Romney! There. I’ve said it!”

What followed was a long, outraged recount from Nicole of the dirty trick that’d been played on her. It seems someone’s busy these days hacking into people’s Facebook accounts and making them “Like” Mitt Romney.

Apparently, Mitt Romney is trying to get 8 million Likes. I suppose it’s some kind of weird political penis envy, considering that Barack Obama’s page has some 30 million Likes.

In any case, a dark, as yet unindicted soul within the Romney camp is behind this outrage.

Funny how one of Mitt’s talking points is that Barack Obama has been trying to turn people against each other. His own campaign almost came between Nicole and us.


When all was said and done, Nicole zinged me with this one: “I’m the one who should be disappointed with you. You should know me better than to think I’d go for Romney. I thought we were friends.”

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, outside WFHB StudiosPublic participation in creating a ten-foot sculpture called “The Angel,” Rain or shine; 9am-5pm

SALE ◗ IU Morrison HallKinsey Institute Library Book Sale; 9am-5pm

STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locationsThe Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October

CLASS ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryDating Your Old Family Photos; 4pm

CLASS ◗ Purdue Extension, 3400 S. Walnut St.2012 Monroe County Citizens’ Academy, Learn how county government works; 6-9pm

CLASS ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryLights, Camera, Write: An Introduction to the Art of Screenwriting, 8-session course; 6:30-8:30pm, through November 28th (except November 21st)

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleLloyd Wood; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoTom Miller; 7pm

LECTURE ◗ Monroe County Public Library — “Money in the 2012 Elections,” presented by Marjorie Hershey of the IU Political Science Department; 7pm

VARIETY ◗ Buskirk Chumley TheaterIU’s Got Talent; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Unity of Bloomington ChurchAuditions and rehearsal, Bloomington Peace Choir; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallFaculty Recital: Carl Lenthe on trombone, Kimberly Carballo on piano; 7pm

CLASS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryLifelong Learning Series: We’re Off to See the Wizard, On the life and work of L. Frank Baum, 3 weekly sessions through October 17th; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Gun Hill Road,” with personal appearance by actor Esai Morales; 7pm

FILM ◗ SoFA, Room 102 — “The Cove,” Part of the Animal Behavior Film Series; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Turn Me On, Dammit!“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubSarah’s Swing Set; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts CenterPhilharmonic Orchestra, David Efron, conductor, performs Mahler; 8pm

GAMES ◗ The Root Cellar at Farm BloomingtonTeam trivia, new night; 8pm

DANCING ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallDoctoral Recital: Ilya Friedberg on piano; 8:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, public viewing through the main telescope; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThe Main Squeeze; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopWilder Maker, Hotfox, Bonesetters; 9:30pm


ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists; through October 14th
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • Ab-Fab — Extreme Quilting,” by Sandy Hill; October 5th through October 27th
  • Street View — Bloomington Scenes,” by Tom Rhea; October 5th through October 27th
  • From the Heartwoods,” by James Alexander Thom; October 5th through October 27th
  • The Spaces in Between,” by Ellen Starr Lyon; October 5th through October 27th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits opening September 28th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

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The Pencil Today:


“Can we all get along?” — Rodney King


The alarm hadn’t even rung this morning. It was about a quarter past five. Yet I was awake.

The din outside my window was, considering the hour and my state of unconsciousness just moments before, deafening.

I should have been mad, no?

I wasn’t.

A countless variety of birds was whistling, clattering, gargling, hooting, chirping, yipping, and otherwise letting the world — and this no-longer-sleeping beauty — know they were alive.

It was the most beautiful cacophonic symphony imaginable. Like the birds, I was glad to be alive.


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During the dark days when the Republicans seemed to be the only party in this holy land with guts, with a vision (albeit repulsive to me), and with exciting candidates (at least to fellow Republicans), I longed for my Dems to, well, wake up.

I mean, honestly, Michael Dukakis?

Y’Wanna Vote For Me? Okay.

The late 80s was the nadir of the party. The GOP was constantly prowling and attacking and my Dems were always cowering in a corner. The tone was set when, during the 1980 presidential debates, Ronald Reagan listened patiently to incumbent Jimmy Carter (I mean, honestly, Jimmy Carter?) read off his list of particulars, accusing Reagan of being, you know, a Republican, and then, when it was his turn to speak, gave a sad little shake of his head and said, like a headmaster, a camp counselor, a disappointed father, “There you go again.”

Now You Listen To Me

Reagan needn’t have said another word. Carter was deflated. Defeated. Finished. He knew it. Reagan knew it. And America knew it.

The Republicans, particularly Reagan, had a way of withering the Dems with a single phrase.

I was embarrassed to be a Democrat back then. It was almost as bad as being a Cubs fan.

I longed for the day my party would rear up and fight back.

The Republicans through the years had had their Joe McCarthy, their Donald Segretti and G. Gordon Liddy. By the 80s, they had their Lee Atwater. All tough, no-nonsense guys who’d stick a shiv into the belly of any Dem at any time.

Tough, Albeit Deranged

Why, I wondered, couldn’t we have a guy or two like that?

Would we always be so touchy-feely, so accepting, so forgiving, so ready and willing to bear our necks and let the predators of the world go for our jugular?

It got so that the Republicans turned our passivity into their own campaign asset — they would argue, Do you want these softies “protecting” you against the commies and the brown-skinned people of the world?

And, really, who would want Walter Mondale, to be the wingman in an alley fight?

Don’t Worry; I’m Right Behind You

But the Dems were learning. In 1989, Lee Atwater floated the rumor that Speaker of the House Tom Foley lived in a “liberal closet” (wink, wink). Barney Frank, the advance guard of the nascent fighting Dems, came out swinging.

Frank announced to the press that if the Republican innuendos about Foley’s sexuality didn’t cease forthwith, he’d release the very next morning a list of five prominent Republican congressbeings who were secretly gay and do the same thing the next day and the day after that until all the GOP closets were empty.

The Republicans jumped like scalded rabbits. Atwater instructed the White House operator to track down Foley immediately so he could tell the Speaker the attacks were history.

Hello, Tom? C’mon Man, You Can Take A Joke, Can’t You?

And then, a miracle. Bill Clinton came out of the nowhere that is Arkansas. He was tough. He was ready and willing to throw some thumbs. Not only that, he had a snarling dog on a long chain next to him, one James Carville, a guy who could make even Liddy take a deep breath.

Clinton’s campaign headquarters became know as a War Room. The gloves were off. The fight was on. The Dems won the White House, woo-hoo!

The Republicans, of course, eventually came back with a series of rabid curs: Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and Karl Rove. They snatched away first the House of Representatives then the White House.


Then came Barack Obama with his own carnivore, Rahm Emanuel.

By the 2008 presidential election, it seemed the Democrats had reached parity with the Republicans in terms of toughness.

Still, the Republicans had their lunatic fringe fighters, the so-called Minutemen along the Mexican border, the abortion clinic bombers, the murderers of doctors who provided abortions, Michigan militias, and other terrifying creatures.

Now these really were people who could make the sane among us cower in a corner.

Somehow we always knew the guy flying the plane into a government building or the loner purchasing tons of fertilizer-based explosives would be a right-winger.

White Makes Right

And even if the Republican establishment tut-tutted these folks, I always got the feeling that puffy, paunchy chicken hawks like Rove secretly wished they too could bring a sidearm to a political debate.

We Dems could proudly say, Yeah, we’re tough now, but we aren’t psychotic.

That is, we could say it until now.

And the newest psychos come from right here in good old Monroe County.

You may have heard about the brutal attack on a gathering of white supremacists (perhaps the first time those words have ever been written together) in a Chicago suburb over the weekend.

See, a gang of five Bloomington-area men barged into a family restaurant in Tinley Park Saturday and beat the bejesus out of a bunch of old men gathered there to eat club sandwiches and tell each other how fabulous they are for being descendents of Eastern Europeans.

Attack Scene

The five were under the mistaken impression that the old men were part of a white supremacist organization.

It’s not known what feelings the old birds have in their heart of hearts for brown-skinned people, or even if they consider brown-skinned people people at all, but they swear up and down they’re not part of a Klan-like gang.

But let’s assume for a moment that they are, just for the sake of argument. Let’s assume they despise people who aren’t blessed by god with pasty skin. Let’s assume they met at the Ashford House Restaurant to discuss among friends how the darker people of this land are ruining it.

Even if that were the case, the five men who exploded into the restaurant carrying billy clubs, knives, hammers, and other instruments of mayhem are jerks.

Thought Police

They went into the place with murder in their hearts (trust me, when you carry a hammer into a brawl, you’re looking to kill someone), aiming to punish human beings for their thoughts.

Thought crime.

I thought it was a fictional conceit.

But the Sutherlin boys and their two pals from Bloomington, Indiana, have made it real.

Now, we of the left side of the spectrum have our own fringe fighters. We’d better do more to distance ourselves from our psychos than the Republicans did.


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