Category Archives: Great Recession

Hot Air

Veterans Day

The War Prayer, from Mark Twain:

Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth into battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

WW II

This is a good day to remember precisely what war is.

We’re All (Not) Gonna Die!

Well, whaddya know! This holy land is now scot-free of the deadly, dreaded, sure-to-kill-us-all ebola virus. The last remaining ebola patient in America was released, cured, from Bellevue Hospital in New York yesterday.

This is exciting news! Now we can look forward to the next the big thing that’s going to kill us all. I wonder what it’ll be. Let’s see, an asteroid hitting the Earth? Naw, that’s so 2013. E. coli? Uh uh — that’s last year, too. Sharks? Puh-leeaze, that’s way too old school. Ebonics? Nix; most police departments have military weapons and vehicles now so that threat can be neutralized in one bloody swoop.

Police Militarization

Pronounce Your TH’s Or We’ll Shoot!

Wait, I know! Robots.

Scourges, Real & Imagined

So, those annoying, silly, eventually-embarrassing-to-the-wearer, low-slung drawers may soon be illegal in Forest Park, Illinois, a western suburb of Chi.

The mayor of FP, Anthony Calderone, sez he’s tired of seeing young men’s bloomers, acc’d’g to Fox News 32.

Low Slung Pants

Criminals

The crime fighters of Forest Park’s town council are considering a ban on the wearing of pants so low. At long last, our civilization may be saved from this scourge.

Meanwhile, beginning in January Oklahoma’s James Inhofe will be sworn in as the new chair of the US Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee. He’ll be in charge of those who rule on federal laws dealing with the dumping of all categories of shit into our air and water. Oh, and global warming. You know, the thing that Inhofe believes is no scourge at all.

In fact, Inhoff insists, it’s a hoax.

I need a drink.

Stop, Thief!

Here’s Matt Taibbi and former JPMorgan Chase analyst and whistleblower Alayne Fleischmann ripping the cover off the investment bank’s racketeering pre-The Great Recession.

JPMChase’s banksters, acc’d’g to the two, defrauded investors, customers…, hell, the whole world, for that matter, by peddling their garbage mortgage-backed securities. Then that particular Money Mob fleeced the fed. gov’t out of hundreds of billions of USD in bailout dough.

No wonder business schools have been the biggest graduating classes at universities all around this holy land for the last few decades.

 

Hot Air

C’mon, Dems, Brag A Little!

For all our own mental and emotional well-being, I urge each and every one of you to thoroughly enjoy the lowest gas prices in four years. Acc’d’g to those who monitor such things, a gallon of gas costs, on average, $3.00 in these thirsty United States.

The link, BTW, updates itself weekly so if you go there in, say, a month, it may read something else. Here’s s screenshot of today’s reading:

EIA Gas Prices 20141031

US Energy Information Administration Report, October 31st, 2014

Now, allow me to dump of a bucket of ice water over our collected heads: Just think how gas prices are going to rebound over the next few weeks. Does four skins a gal. sound crazy? I’m no expert in how the energy racketeers strategize the systematic emptying of our wallets but based on the utterly unscientific and fairly undependable evidence of my memory, big dips in motion lotion prices generally are followed by even bigger soars.

So save those pennies, kids.

Oh, and today’s relatively cheap gas reminds me of something else. The Republican Party is clearly the superior of the two major political cliques in our holy land when it comes to self-congratulations. This is no bad rap: I respect and envy the ability of GOP-ers to scream to the world Hey, look what I did for you!

Had the Republicans been fully in charge of Congress today and had they somehow been able to wrest the White House from that notorious Muslim plant from Kenya in 2012, they’d have been singing hosannas to themselves for the low gas prices. And scads o’folks across the land would be telling each other how fabulous the Repubs. are for getting that gallon down to three bucks. Hell, you’d think Prez Mitt Romney himself had barged in to the CEO offices of the world’s oil giants  to demand they drop gas prices.

The Democrats? Well, y’know.

Political Science

Dems in 2014 could have run in this mid-term election on the three-pronged platform of health care, unemployment, and gas prices. They could have shouted from the mountain tops that millions and millions more of our fellow citizens now have health insurance under Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act. They could have robo-called the populace about how unemployment has dipped below six percent a mere six years after the greatest global economic trauma since the Great Depression. And, natch, they could have simply given stump speeches underneath gas station signs.

Gas Station

Nary a one of these things has been done. The dopes.

Instead, acc’d’g to political hall monitors, Dem candidates from sea to sea are too busy pretending they’ve never heard of this chap Barack Obama.

Fighting By The Rules

Some Democrats here in and around Bloomington are aghast that local Republicans are planting yard signs where they shouldn’t be! The horror.

Party precinct captain Pam Davidson was busted the other day by a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy for swiping Republican yard signs that she swears were planted illegally on public lands. The Richland Township precinct 3 party operative was allegedly witnessed pulling out a sign and tossing it in her trunk at the intersection of Curry Pike and SR 46.

The sheriff’s deputy took her into custody. No word yet on whether or not he slapped the bracelets on her.

GOP Yard Sign

Here’s my question: Why wasn’t Davidson planting her own yard signs — ones that say something simple like 5.9% Unemployment? You’re Welcome! or Obamacare, Like America, Works — right in front of those Republican signs?

You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. The Dems, it seems — both nationally and locally — have forgotten that simple rule of street fighting.

 

Hot Air

Capital Letters

I’ve worked at the Book Corner now for about four and a half years. In that time, we’ve sold our share of blockbusters. There’ve been the 50 Shades of Grey series, Go the F●k to Sleep, the Hunger Games trilogy, and, of course R.R. Martin’s Games of Thrones franchise. Add to those immediate splashes the ongoing flow out the door of the Freakonomics pair of books and anything by Malcolm Gladwell.

From our vantage point, the book biz is as healthy as can be. And the hits, apparently, keep on coming. The big deal these days is French economist Thomas Piketty.

Picketty & Book

Kids, Piketty’s huge take on that dismal science, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, is flying off the shelves. It’s big in sheer heft, coming in at 685 pages. It’s big in price —$39.95. And it’s big in sales, natch, moving out its entire first printing less than a week after it hit the streets. Piketty’s publisher, Belknap Press (an imprint of Harvard U. Press), is hustling out a second printing, due May 12.

Literary experts are scratching their heads over the Capital phenomenon. Economics books are about as sexy Donald Trump in a Speedo®. Piketty, though, earned the imprimatur of the liberals’ darling and this holy land’s No. 1 haranguer against the 1%, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman. New York magazine has called Piketty the “rock star economist.” Slate and The Nation are fawning over Piketty. Hell, next thing you know, Vanity Fair‘ll be doing a two-page, Annie Leibovitz spread of him in a Speedo®.

The Nation‘s reviewer quotes from Piketty’s Capital: an “…apparently small gap between the return on capital and the rate of growth can in the long run have powerful and destabilizing effects on the structure and dynamics of social inequality.” I consider myself a fairly smart potato but I have no goddamned idea in holy hell what that sentence means. Then again, I’m afflicted by a sort of economics retardation. On the third hand, how many people do you know actually understand the byzantine utterances of economists?

Much of the reason Piketty is breathing the same rarified air as Suzanne Collins and E.L. James is he actually offers strategies to ward off the oncoming crushing global oligarchy that’ll keep the rich ever richer and the poor ever poorer — and an ever-growing swath of the world population. Piketty, among other things, calls for taxing the bejesus out of obscene inherited wealth.

My guess is that millions of copies of Piketty’s Capital will be conspicuously left on coffee tables, the last 4-500 pages of which never being read. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was purchased for precisely the same reason some 25 years ago. People heard how exciting Hawking’s scribblings were and they dashed out out en masse get the book.

Problem was they found they had to actually read the damned thing which turned out to be a tad daunting.

I have no doubt most purchasers of Capital will come to the same conclusion.

Not that I’m getting all superior here: I probably wouldn’t get past page 63 of Piketty’s epic. The only diff. is I’m not going to buy the book in the first place. Economics, remember, is the dismal science.

Filthy Lucre

Speaking of wealth, if you’ve made your wad in the porn rackets, Chase Bank doesn’t want your dough.

Honest. One of the too-big-too-fail financial mobsters of the world has sent letters to depositors who work in porn advising them to take their bank accounts elsewhere.

AVN Awards

Porn Star Michelle Bombshell & Date At AVN Awards — Her Money’s No Good At Chase (photo by Nate “Igor Smith)

Imagine that! Chase’s parent co., JP Morgan Chase, made billions — shoot, hundreds of billions — defrauding customers by selling them bundles of mortgages that the bank knew were losers. Chase not long ago paid a record $13 billion fine for such activity, which largely caused the near global collapse of 2007-08.

Now, arts organizations, social service agencies, schools, libraries, and other cultural outfits are starving for cash and millions are still out of work. For that, JP Morgan Chase, rewarded its CEO, Jamie Dimon, to the tune of $20 million in 2013. Who sez crime doesn’t pay?

Anyway, if you take your clothes off for dough before rolling cameras, your deposits are dirty, as Chase sees it. The Chase gang, obviously, has an idiosyncratic sense of morality.

Piling On

Okay, let’s stick like glue to the arch-criminally wealthy. The Koch Boys fund the supposed grass-roots org. called Americans for Prosperity.

A for P stood on its head to stop Nashville, Tennessee’s proposed mass transit plan. Known as AMP, the $175 million project would improve movement into and around Nashville, cut down on auto traffic in the center city, and even clean up the air a bit. Natch, the Koch Monsters saw it as a commie plot to rob them of all their billions. Why? Who knows?

Koch Bros.

Aspiring Archcriminals

The Kochs, though, through their dummy assoc., leaned on the Tennessee state legislature to crush the Amp project — and any others like it.

These are the fellows, I remind you, on whose behalf the Reagan/Bush/Bush Supreme Court has turned American elections over to the plutocracy. Corporations are now people. Money is now speech. And the rich now run this holy land brazenly and without apology.

And if you need to take a bus to get anywhere in Nashville, well, fuck you. Go buy yourself a limousine like the Koch Boys did.

[Bonus anger-button issue: The Kochs of late have been standing on their heads again, this time to stop a tax levy to support the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo. Because, as you well know, animals are takers.]

Hot Air

The Mob

Ralph Nader quotes Jim Hightower in Saturday’s Huffington Post:

Assume you ran a business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, defrauding homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit card holders, violating US trade laws, and bilking American soldiers. Can you even imagine the punishments you’d get? Howe about zero? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. No jail time. Not even a fine. Plus, you get to stay on as boss, you get to keep all the loot you gained from the crime spree, and you even get an $8.5 million pay raise!

The hoodlum H-tower speaks of would  be the big boss of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, a man whom, Nader reminds us, proclaims for all the world to hear that he is “so damn proud of this company.”

Dimon

“Proud”

We keep forgetting that reprobates like Dimon were responsible for crashing the entire world’s economy back in the mid-aughts. It wasn’t socialism, or communism, or same-sex marriage, or legalized pot, or a Manchurian Candidate president from Kenya, or even god’s will that millions more Americans now live below the poverty line, millions are unemployed, municipalities are going broke, school budgets are being slashed, libraries are closing, and…, and…, oh, it’s all too depressing.

All those ills were brought to us courtesy of the Liar’s Poker, casino-mentality, degenerate gamblers in fancy Wall Street offices (and their coat-holders in Congress).

They all are the very definition of mobsters.

Trade Rumors

Here’s an idea regarding the development of some land along the B-Line Trail that cuts through central Bloomington. Habitat for Humanity wants to develop a little strip of woods along the Trail, just northwest of downtown B-town. So the city’s angling for a zoning variance to allow HforH to build a couple of dozen homes for the needy there.

Habitat/B-Line

Habitat’s B-Line Neighborhood Is Next Door To…

And, according to folks who don’t think much of the idea, the city’s positioning the question as an either-or: either you want to help Habitat do its good works or you don’t. The problem acc’d’g to some, is that Habitat’s property is the last lush green space near downtown. That, and it is apparently going to be difficult to develop.

Instead, say a group of petitioners, the city and Habitat should swap land. The city-owned Certified Tech Park butts up against the Woods parcel. The CTP already is zoned for high-density residential development, the argument goes, and much of the land is cleared.

Bloomington CTP

…Bloomington’s Certified Tech Park

The simple solution? Let HforH build its homes on the Tech Park site and let the city take over the Woods and transform that land into a Parks & Rec facility.

If you buy this argument, slap your sig. on the petition calling for the land swap.

Then again, if you think the city’s gonna let low-income folks live in its shiny new neighborhood, you must believe you live in a liberal college town.

A Dickens Of A Tale

Overheard at Soma the other day, a barista talking to a customer:

My parents told me my actual last name was Nintendo. When I was about six, they said I was the heir to the Nintendo family fortune but that my original parents disowned me because they didn’t like the way I looked. So I was adopted.

Does too much coffee do that to people?

The End Is Near — Maybe

And finally, it took a foreign newspaper to report on disturbing study by this holy land’s own NASA. Our Murrican space geeks have sponsored some alarming research with the help of scads of scientists from a variety of disciplines that show humanity’s present rate of consumption and excretion could potentially topple our whole house of cards within a few decades.

Fin

We’re using so much stuff and belching so much of our wastes into the air, the water, and the soil that our civilization itself could collapse of its own weight. Don’t laugh — countless civilizations before us have gone all to hell for a screwing up what they knew of the world a lot less than we are.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has submitted the study to the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for the Journal of Ecological Economics. That gang contemplates stuff like this; you know, how much it costs us as a species to make sure everybody’s got all the latest hand-held devices and to keep our petro-plutocracy in charge of, well, everything.

Natch, Murrican newspapers and TV news outlets haven’t touched this thing yet because it has nothing to do with Justin Beiber or a white man shooting an unarmed black kid. Those, of course, are the only topics of import in this mad, mad, world.

Anyway, the study doesn’t come right out and say we’re doomed, only that we could be. There’s a chance, see? Except folks who think scientists are a political party would pooh-pooh the report out of hand, if only they had the intellect to understand it.

Inhofe Book Cover

And here’s a conclusion the study makes that’s sure to make Ma & Pa Kettle bristle: We ought to stop having so many kids. Yup, overpopulation is strangling us, the study sez. There ain’t enough raw stuff on this planet to manufacture the products needed to satisfy all 7B of us. The conclusion is, those of us who have need to make sure that the rest of us have not; otherwise, we lucky few won’t have as much as we want.

Yeesh. So, when’s the last time you read the word overpopulation in your morning newspaper? Or heard the word uttered by a blonde, lacquered anchor lady?

Unseasonably Warm Hot Air

Comet, Heal Thyself

Too bad about Comet ISON, no? Goddamned Obamacare.

Comet ISON

R.I.P.

Zero From The ‘Aughts

Perhaps this is obvious to everybody else, but it just occurred to me this morning as I washed the dishes that the first decade of this 21st Century really and truly sucked.

Dig: The decade/century/millennium began with a double whammy of slam. The great tech bubble blew up, costing countless entitled middle- and upper-middle class white computer geeks their previously privileged spots atop the human pyramid. And a lot of middle class investors lost their little all after betting that tech stocks would carry them through their dotage. Then there was the non-election election of George W. Bush, a putsch pushed along by Supreme Court justices installed by his daddy-o and their patron saint, Ronald Reagan.

The next year, our holy land’s spies and spooks fell asleep at their CCTV security consoles and allowed a couple of dozen lunatic fundamentalist religionists to stage the scariest disaster movie scenes ever seen in New York City and Washington, DC.

What followed, natch, was an overreaction of monumental proportions as this holy land turned into a fighting, spying, hating-on-ragheads military machine. Now, I’d bet more money is spent on making sure American air travelers don’t sneak bottles of mouthwash onto airplanes than is earmarked for useless things like school libraries.

Meanwhile, Americans were urged by their popularly un-elected president to go back to shopping, chop-chop, just to show the world how much we love, love, love freedom. And Americans fell into line, buying anything and everything, including TV screens wide enough to display the entirety of the Grand Canyon. We Americans got so giddy pissing our hard-earned dough away that we began looking upon our happy homes not as safe harbors from the cruel world and anchors of our communities but as ostentatious, in-your-face ATMs-slash-McMansions. We bought and sold houses the way teenaged boys trafficked in baseball cards in the 1980s.

And then that bubble popped, leading to the greatest economic collapse since the Greatest Economic Collapse.

But wait — before that, the president, who, I might remind you, had been elected by a minority of voters, told us Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was perhaps a half hour away from decorating the skies above our greatest cities with pretty and colorful mushroom clouds. To prove his assertion, he sent out his minions and assistants to tell us and the world blah, blah, blah, blah — none of which had a whit to do with Iraq’s capacity to build nuclear weapons, and so we promptly fell into line and gave the Prez the go-ahead to commit our nation to a decade-long pointless war. We did get to see Saddam Hussein’s tonsils, though.

Hussein

Say Ah-h-h

Anyway, back to the housing bubble. Wall Street banksters, quants, and fellow travelers discovered fascinating new ways to fleece investors with mortgage-backed securities and, while they were at it, make scads upon scads of dough for themselves no matter whether their financial instruments were successful or not, preferably unsuccessful because…, well, it’s pretty much impossible to explain why, but the banksters and quants and the rest are sitting pretty right now while the rest of us are still dusting ourselves off.

The banksters and quants and the others were punished by being named to high-level economic advisory positions in the Obama White House and as regulators of the operations they’d transformed into casino games. That’ll show ’em.

Casino

“This Is A Sound Investment, Sir.”

So, today, municipalities that had invested in their crooked schemes are broke, school budgets are being slashed, social service agencies are closing their doors, and the poor are being blamed for all of it. The fiends.

As this was all going on, there arose in this great nation a grass-roots political movement dedicated to the age-old ideals of selfishness, savage competition, refusal to share any wealth whatsoever, anti-intellectualism, and reactionary demagoguery with a sprinkling of racism and misogyny thrown in. They called themselves the Tea Party, which seemed rather euphemistic. I might have suggested they call themselves a Bunch of Big Pricks.

Tea Party

Apple Pie Americanism

Working feverishly behind the scenes, this nation’s spies and spooks, embarrassed by their failure to nab the 9/11 plotters before they struck, expanded their capabilities to eavesdrop on your Thanksgiving email exchanges with your aunt in Kokomo. By the way, you might want to let her know that three cups of sugar in her cranberry orange sauce is a tad much.

And, hey, here are two unforgettable names from the -zeroes: Joe the Plumber and Terry Schiavo.

So, kiddies, that was the ‘Aughts in a nutshell.

You might think I’m being pessimistic but, honest, the future actually looks brighter to me. Things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

Could they?

You Can’t Handle The Hot Air!

Gaming The Game

It’s not often I like, respect, or even tolerate being in the same room with a big player in the high finance industry. Economists, business professors, money managers, investment bankers and the like are, by and large, glorified door-to-door salesmen.

From "Pee-Wee's Playhouse"

They sell hope. They swear up and down their primary interest in life is to serve you, the customer. They purport to foresee the future. Smugly and with stunning hubris, they convey the notion that they and they alone can understand the global economy. In that sense, they are as priests.

So, here’s a shocker: I really dig and respect a fellow named Steve Eisman.

Eisman

Steve Eisman

He gained a modicum of fame with his appearance in the Michael Lewis book, The Big Short. At the time Lewis wrote of him, Eisman was a financial analyst who studied the health and well-being of outfits like Household Finance Corporation and other reprobate entities that suckered millions of people into taking out subprime loans then turned around and peddled those loans to other suckers looking for a quick and easy buck. You know, the industry that nearly brought down the world economy six or so years ago.

While studying these firms, Eisman came to understand long before most other so-called experts that not only was the game rigged, it was designed to fuck the greatest number of participants possible. Its practitioners made hundred of millions — nay, billions — capitalizing on the ignorance, greed, and credulousness of others.

At one point, Eisman attended a luncheon conference at which the featured speaker would be the CEO of a big savings and loan. Eisman told Lewis someone in the audience filled with industry insiders and reporters asked the CEO what he thought about the free checking that many banks used as a come-on.

And he said, ‘Turn off your tape recorders.’ Everyone turned off their tape recorders. And he explained that they avoided free checking because it was really a tax on poor people — in the form of fines for overdrawing their checking accounts. And that the banks that used it were really just banking on being able to rip off poor people even more than they could if they charged them for their checks.

Eisman said to Lewis: “That’s when I decided the system was really, ‘Fuck the poor.'”

Now there’s a priest who’s looking to be defrocked.

Anyway, Eisman now works for a Morgan Stanley-owned subsidiary. He’s a senior portfolio manager specializing in shorting subprime home loans. But dig: He also works tirelessly to stem the growing tide of for-profit colleges and universities.

He said this to attendees pf a 2010 conference:

Until recently, I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the subprime mortgage industry. I was wrong. The for-profit education industry has proven to equal to the task.

Tell it, preacher.

Zeeda Explains It All

This dame is a beaut!

Miss Zeeda Andrews

He-e-e-ere’s Zeeda!

Miss Zeeda Andrews is one of the organizers of that failed Million-Trucker March that was s’posed to shut down Washington and the fed gummint (sorry, boys and girls, the Me Party-ers beat you to it). Turns out she makes the Birthers look like, well, sane people.

Miss Zeeda Andrews believes…, ready for it? Can you handle it? Sit down now!

Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden are the same person!

Woohoo! This is the freaking best conspiracy theory of all time!

Jesse Ventura — hang up your magnifying glass, meerschaum pipe, and your official Sherlock Holmes Double-Brimmed Detective Cap®! You ain’t got nuffin’ on Miss Zeeda Andrews!

Man, that’s seven exclamation points in the first ten sentences (and here’s another one)! This breaking news deserves five million EPs (shorthand for exclamation point, duh!) Hey, how ’bout if we change the name of this communications colossus to Exclamation Point!? Same initials and all, no?

Maybe not. Anyways, like all conspiracy theorists everywhere, Miss Zeeda Andrews adds two plus two and comes up with some number ju-u-u-ust about as long as the latest calculation of pi by those eminent math geeks Alexander Yee and Shigero Kondo, which, BTW, is 10 trillion digits. Yeah, that’s about the size of the figger that Miss Zeeda Andrews comes up with. To wit: Here she is referring to the tragic helicopter crash that killed a bunch of Navy SEALs not terribly long after other such highly trained Mission Impossible-y type dudes carried out the contract on ObL. Natch, the crash was a set-up so that…, oh, lemme let her explain it:

The fact that these soldiers were set up to die in a no-return operation is obvious; they had knowledge that Obama didn’t want leaked. This is the SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden. I don’t believe this story. He is alive. Call me crazy but Osama bin Laden is our President Obama. Do your research! The CIA has been preparing for this since he was a boy. They have the same height, bone structure, hand and ears. Both are left-handed. The Osama face was created by Hollywood. The fox is in the hen house.

Busted! You know, these arch-villain conspirators keep on forgetting that the Wingnut-iverse is chock full of the sharpest-eyed folks in the whole gol-durned world.

Miss Zeeda Andrews, who (we are told by Greta Van Susteren) is also a country singer, told The Fox News legal affairs correspondent the other day what the Zillion Trucker March would be all about:

We want the President of the United States removed from office. He is a threat to our national security. He is a threat to our way of life. He is a threat to our future generations.

So, by the time you read this sometime today (Sunday), former Prez Barack Osama bin Obama will be locked up in some max-security cell for the criminally brown, awaiting trial by the Posse Comitatus set up by none other than Jillion Trucker March organizer (and country singer) Miss Zeeda Andrews.

Before his trial begins, though I have some questions. The fox is in the hen house? WTF? Does this mean all good, white Murricans are lady chickens? And Barack Adolf Stalin bin Laden John Gacy Obama is a fox? And is that fox used in the 1970s, Burt Reynolds/Robert Redford sense? Is Miss Zeeda Andrews telling us that she gets turned on by the world’s most famous Kenyan? Can’t be, can it?

I did a little digging and found this on Miss Zeeda Andrews’ Facebook page:

Deranged Meme

She’s also a big fan of a fellow by the name of Joel Skousen, a survivalist who is certain that members of the US Gummint are aiding the Russkies and the Chinese in a plot to launch a nuclear attack against this holy land. He’s also the nephew of Cleon Skousen, who was a big John Birch-er and end-times fanatic.

Birds of a feather, y’know.

Fellow liberals, progressives, and coffeehouse radicals, this is the opposition! If we can’t beat these basket-weavers, we are a sorry lot indeed.

Miss Zeeda Andrews invites us to call her crazy. We are more than happy to comply.

[Big Mike Note: I cleaned up some of the grammar, usage, and punctuation of Miss Zeeda Andrews’ YouTube comment represented above. Apparently, Christian American is her second language.]


Your Daily Hot Air

Bennett Left His Soul In Indiana

Let’s not get all turned around by the revelation of what a pig Tony Bennett was here in Indiana.

AP Photo

Busted

Forget him. We have to focus on the real evil here and that’s the whole concept of schools for profit. It’s as eff-u’d as health care for profit, and we know how well that‘s working out for us in this holy land.

So, we know Bennett took a powder on his new job as barn boss of the Florida state school systems yesterday in light of breaking news that he’d jiggered a school’s efficiency rating here while he was the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. Turns out the woman who runs that school was a big time donor to Bennett and the Republican Party.

It doesn’t take a Superintendent of Public Instruction to calculate two plus two equal four.

Fine, Bennett’s paying the price now, having to give up his comfy job as penance. But we’re all stuck with charter schools. Who pays the penance for that?

My guess? Taxpayers and kids.

Some 71 charter schools are operating in Indiana, according to the state’s Department of Education. That includes the Christel House Academy, owned by GOP idolator Christel DeHaan. She made her fortune by starting a time share business with her husband, buying out his half of the business in 1989 after their divorce, and then selling the company for a cool $825 million in 1996. She opened her Indianapolis charter school in time for the 2002-03 school year.

DeHaan

DeHaan: An A+ Contributor

Christel House Indianapolis was graded C in 2012 by INDOE, even though Bennett had been running around telling anybody who’d listen that the school was an A institution. This just wouldn’t do, considering DeHaan had contributed $130,000 to Bennett’s political campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

Voila, the Christel House C became an A.

Money, natch, is magic.

And money is what drives many charter schools.

Not all charter schools are for-profit enterprises. Quite a few have popped up as alternative educational institutions where children can learn that the world is 6000 years old and that god doesn’t like Muslims.

No question our public schools need work. Many school systems are management top-heavy, have crushing bureaucracies, and reward too many teachers simply for being alive. Let’s work on those problems.

Let’s not turn the education of our kids over to profiteers and religious fanatics.

Absolutely Fabulous

At long last, some son of a bitch is going to jail for his part in the shell game that was collateralized debt obligations.

Or, as I like to characterize those intentionally byzantine financial instruments, legal larceny.

CDOs, credit default swaps, and other sleight-of-hand schemes developed by “creative” financiers set us up for the the Great Recession of 2007-08. And, no doubt, these same Wall Street shamans are working overtime to create another economic bubble. They’ll make their piles of cash upon which they’ll fall when the global economy tanks again while the rest of us hit nothing but concrete. Splat.

IBTimes UK Photo

Fabulous Fabrice

Anyway, it’s nice to see former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre get slapped with a guilty verdict in his federal fraud trial yesterday. “Fabulous Fab,” as he liked to call himself, sold a phony bill of goods to his investor clients, telling them a credit derivative plan he’d conjured up was a good risk, even though he knew it wasn’t. Financial organs like Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are trying to position this case as an outlier, that Fab Fab was a rogue.

They even assume the Who Me? stance that his sales spiel was rife with dense industry jargon that even they couldn’t penetrate. His patter was so dizzying, they imply, that investors were left only to understand two words out of his mouth: Trust me.

Problem is, Fab Fab wasn’t an outlier. He was normal. Goldman Sachs and other agents of Satan were stuffed to the gills with shysters like him. And WSJ and Bloomberg slobbered all over those slobs when they were making huge fees and bonuses back in the 1980s, ’90s, and ‘Aughts. The collective motto of reprobates like Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon was Trust Us.

I recommend Michael Lewis’s book Liar’s Poker as a primer if you’re interested in starting to learn about the fraud economy that sprang out of Saint Ronald Reagan’s deregulation heaven. And, by the way, don’t get me wrong, Saint Ronnie and the Republicans aren’t the only villains in the Wall Street Wild West mess we’ve found ourselves in. Dems from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama sold their souls to the devil, trading in deregulation and a wink-wink attitude toward the banksters’ excesses for a share of the campaign cash support that the GOP had monopolized for decades.

Book Cover

Lewis penned his tome in hopes young folk would begin to shy away from business schools, reversing the trend of the late 20th Century wherein those university biz factories were churning out millions of grads eager only to make a killing. Funny thing is, his book had the opposite effect.

Lewis wrote in Portfolio magazine in 2008:

I had no great agenda, apart from telling what I took to be a remarkable tale, but if you got a few drinks in me and then asked what effect I thought my book would have on the world, I might have said something like, “I hope that college students trying to figure out what to do with their lives will read it and decide that itʼs silly to phony it up and abandon their passions to become financiers.” I hoped that some bright kid at, say, Ohio State University who really wanted to be an oceanographer would read my book, spurn the offer from Morgan Stanley, and set out to sea.

Somehow that message failed to come across. Six months after Liarʼs Poker was
published, I was knee-deep in letters from students at Ohio State who wanted to know if
I had any other secrets to share about Wall Street. Theyʼd read my book as a how-to
manual.

So yeah, I’m glad Fabulous Fabrice took the rap yesterday. I hope he looks fabulous in prison orange. But I won’t be totally happy until more and more greedy biz school grads, Ayn Rand-ists, and investment bank con men are wearing the same color.

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Monday

THE QUOTE

Dave: “Did you ever go to confession?”

Moocher: “Twice.”

Dave: “Did it make you feel better?”

Moocher: “Once.”

— Dialogue from “Breaking Away

Publicity Still from "Breaking Away"

TERROR ALERT!

We really haven’t given much thought to the idea of domestic terrorism since the financial crash of 2007/08 — which, by the way, was a government-sponsored, systematic terrorist act all its own.

In the weeks following 9/11 every single one of us was scared to death that mad Arabs would be flying airplanes into skyscrapers of every big city and parking trucks full of fertilizer-based explosives outside public libraries from Bedford to Skokie.

Bedford (IN) Library

A Target?

Even I, the World’s Smartest Man, who was telling people within hours of the Twin Towers falling that the attack was a one-off, that nothing even remotely like it would happen again within the foreseeable future, still harbored in my heart an irrational, petrifying fear that we were in for it.

Then, of course, we flexed our muscles and marched headlong into a bizarrely truncated war in Afghanistan, with our president, who was being compared to Churchill in the aftermath of the attacks (no lie), deciding to cut off the pursuit of Osama bin Laden and send our soldiers into the meat grinder that was Iraq.

Before long, and after toppling the governments of two sovereign nations, we began to think of ourselves less as victims and more as the people who ruled the world.

And we were, militarily, culturally, economically — just about every which way you cared to look at it. Then the investment bankers and their pimps in Washington saw their double-downs and double-crosses blow up like…, well, like a terrorist’s bomb. With a recession bordering on depression staring us on the face, we had zero time to think about crazy Arabs attacking us.

Blankfein, Dimon, et al

Domestic Terrorists

Still, this holy land spends hundreds of millions of dollars — nay, billions — on blue-uniformed, inadequately trained, cheap labor to protect our airports, and bureaucrats, pencil-pushers, and wonks to man our Department of Homeland Security.

You’d think we’d just spent the past decade-plus enduring attacks from every side.

We haven’t. Not only that, we have been living, fatly, in the safest country in the world, in terms of wild-eyed outsiders coming here and blowing us up. Never mind that our own citizens are shooting each other up like those of no other nation in the history of the Earth.

It’s beside the point that crazy Arabs are as gnats compared to crazy Americans who prey on their fellow citizens.

Anyway, Reason magazine has run a compelling piece on terrorists and us. Here’s a taste: Did you know that fewer than 500 citizens of this holy land have been offed by outside terrorists since 1970? That, of course, is not counting 9/11, which many might counter is like saying the Hoosier men’s basketball team beat Coppin State by 87 points Saturday night if you just disregard the 51 points the Eagles scored.

On the other hand, our entire Homeland Security apparatus is based upon the outlier. It would be like Saint Tom Crean revamping the whole IU team and developing a new style of play because Coppin played tough in the first half and scored a few points.

Who knows, maybe the tens of thousands of people employed by DHS, the draconian Justice Department practices, and the PATRIOT Act have protected us from untold numbers of 9/11s. It’s impossible to know.

Read the piece, though. You won’t get any answers but, more importantly, it’ll raise questions.

COPPIN COACH’S COOL HANDLE

I know next to nothing about college basketball. Oh, I know that IU’s big gun is named Cody Zeller (did I spell his name right?) And, let’s see now, um, the Hoosiers are ranked Number 1 in the nation.

How could I live in this town and not know these two things?

Other than that, college hoops is played by somebody else’s kids, ergo I don’t care.

So I had to do some research to find out what the Hoosiers had done this weekend.

In doing so, I discovered that the coach of Coppin State has the coolest name imaginable: Fang Mitchell.

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Baltimore Sun

Fang Mitchell

Fang Mitchell! The only other human being I’ve ever heard of with the name Fang was Phyllis Diller’s husband. And that was a gag.

Oh, and one of Soupy Sales’ animal buddies was named White Fang. Here’s a description of White Fang from Wikipedia:

“‘The Biggest and Meanest Dog in the USA,’ who appeared only as a giant white shaggy paw with black triangular felt ‘claws’ jutting out from the corner of the screen. Fang spoke with unintelligible short grunts and growls, which Soupy repeated back in English, for comic effect. White Fang was often the pie-thrower when Soupy’s jokes bombed.”

From "The Soupy Sales Show"

Soup Sales & White Fang

Fang Mitchell’s got quite a moniker to live up to.

THE KID FROM BLOOMINGTON

Speaking of Hoosiers, The Loved One and I went out on a movie date Saturday night, while the rest of Bloomington humanity was crammed into Assembly Hall to watch IU crush Coppin State by 87 points (again, disregarding the 51 the Eagles actually scored.)

We saw “Lincoln” and T-LO cried at the end, natch, even though we already knew how it would turn out.

Anyway, we remained in our seat during the credits so the tomato could stem her leaking and, lo and behold, we learned that Jackie Earle Haley had appeared in the movie.

You remember him, don’t you? The geeky, short kid who played Moocher in “Breaking Away”?

Scene from "Breaking Away"

Moocher, Between Cyril (Daniel Stern) & Mike (Dennis Quaid)

Poor kid, he went and got married in the movie even though he was just a teenager. That scene of him going into the Monroe County Courthouse with his girlfriend sent a shiver down my spine.

Funny thing is, JEH actually did get married in 1979, the year “Breaking Away” was released. He was 18 that year.

Haley plays Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States of America, part of a trio of emissaries who seek to negotiate a peace with Lincoln.

Scene from "Lincoln"

Haley In “Lincoln”

Moocher was the perfect role for him. Haley was born and raised in suburban Los Angeles but, honestly, he should have been a Hoosier. More specifically, he should have been a son of Bloomington. Or, better, Ellettsville.

I’ve lived in these parts for more than three years now and I’ve seen several dozen Moochers around and about. The first time I saw “Breaking Away” (only last year, by the way) I felt certain JEH was some local kid the producers had discovered to play the part.

It turns out Haley was a child star with credits going as far back as “Marcus Welby, MD” and “The Partridge Family.” Still, he screams South Central Indiana for me, the way Peewee Reese screams Louisville and John Belushi screams Chicago, the other towns in which I’ve lived.

I suppose if I had to pick an actual Bloomingtonian to scream Bloomington for me, it’d be Hoagie Carmichael, and that wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.

He edges out that man about town, Leo Cook.

Leo Cook

Leo Cook, On Vogue In An Alternate Universe

ASTRO-FIZZIES

From Science Is A Verb, via I Fucking Love Science:

Science Is A Verb

If you missed it this morning, try to catch it just before dawn tomorrow. Take note, though, that people are spreading this viral piece of misinformation about the event. As usual, reality isn’t enough for Americans so we have to concoct nonsense to entertain ourselves.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“The Republican vision is clear: ‘I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.'” — Elizabeth Warren

WOMEN, SPEAK UP!

From a Harry Enfield skit: “Yes, overeducation leads to ugliness, premature aging, and beard growth.”

The skit shows a stuffy dinner party where the men pontificate on the economy and the women sit there looking pretty. That is, until one women decides to offer her opinion. Here’s a vid of the skit:

Harry Enfield is a British comedian who has appeared on the BBC since the late 80s. The skit comes to The Pencil in a roundabout way, originally cited by The Telegraph essayist Bryony Gordon and brought to these shores by Roger Ebert.

Gordon uses the skit to illustrate a surprising finding in a recent study. You might think, she writes, that women today are considered just as intelligent as men and capable of contributing to a discussion at any time and on any subject. How quaint Enfield’s little dinner party faux pas looks now.

Asks Gordon: “Right?”

Sez Gordon: “Wrong!”

Gordon

She quotes from the study published in American Political Science Review that indicates women keep their lips zipped still, even in these more enlightened times, when in the company of men.

Gordon says, “Women, this must stop! We must pipe up when we feel like piping down, and not presume that it will make us ‘frightening’ and ‘intimidating’ to men.”

As Ebert says, “Well, it’s true.”

SELF-CENSORSHIP

Funny thing is, a number of comments following Ebert’s posting of the Gordon essay were from women who said, in essence, Dear me, those brutish men we work with rarely let us cut in and when we do they say nasty things about us.

I’ll Never Speak Up Again!

To which I reply, So what?

BUILDING BULLSHIT

You know how the Republicans have been standing on their heads to make hay of Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment?

“It” Being The Billionaires’ Economy

Of course, the only way they could make their hay is by quoting it so far out of context he may as well have said, “I invented the Internet.”

Anyway, the whole We Built That meme goes all the way back to the last century. It’s long been the kill cry of corporate pirates, bloated plutocrats, and outright capital-sociopaths.

Take, for instance, the bleating of former uber-investment bank capo Sanford Weill. See, Citicorp in 1998 merged with Travelers Group. Only problem was, federal law at the time prohibited firms from being both investment banks and insurance companies. It all had to do with risk, securities, speculation, “creative” financial instruments — you know, the very things that crashed the world economy in 2007-08.

Sanford Weill

But the bosses of the new outfit figured, “What do we care for the law?”

They paid off a former president and a then-Treasury Secretary among many others to grease the merger through what was at the time sniggeringly referred to as the “regulatory process.”

So Citicorp and Travelers thumbed their corporate noses at the law of the land as well as the health of the economy for the rest of us and created the Frankenstein monster called Citigroup.

In other words, they created wealth through the cronyism, bribery, trickery, and criminal acts.

Yet when a very few dared question the machinations that created that merger monster, Sanford Weill, who became the chief boa constrictor in charge of the shiny new Citigroup toy, would balance his limbless body on a soapbox and cry out, “We didn’t rely on somebody else to build what we built!”

The Gang’s Hideout

Just like the leader of a home invasion burglary ring tells his gang that they’re, well, ambitious men who don’t let trivialities like the law stand in their way.

Keep beating the “We built that” meme into the ground, Republicans. You’re in great company.

[Just a reminder: After Citigroup lost its clients’ shirts in the big crash (for which it was partially responsible), it demanded and got some $45 billion in federal welfare. Yep, they built that.]

BE A BLASPHEMER

Today.

Awfully timely, no?

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

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

FAIR ◗ Monroe County Fairgrounds, Commercial Building West29th Annual American Red Cross Book Fair, +100,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, games, maps, sheet music, etc.; 9am-7pm, through October 2nd

WORKSHOP ◗ Dagom Gaden Tensungling MonasteryFree introductory course on Buddhism; 10-11am

SEMINAR ◗ Various venuesThe Combine, 3rd annual display of talent , innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, featuring speakers, workshops, idea pitches, and mixers; through Sunday, September 30th, today’s events:

The Sprout BoxFinish Day, participants complete their tech projects; Noon-10pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Northwestern; 1pm

OPEN HOUSE ◗ White Violet Farm, Sisters of Providence Center in Saint Mary-of-the-WoodsCelebrating National Alpaca Farm Days, see 53 alpacas and their caretakers; 1-4pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallBaroque Orchestra with director Stanley Ritchie, performing Fux & Handel; 2pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema“Sleepwalk with Me”; 3pm

MUSIC ◗ Oliver WineryAged to Perfection: Voces Novae chamber choir performs Bruckner, Elgar, Sullivan, & Verdi; 3pm

MUSIC ◗ Trinity Episcopal ChurchChoral Evensong, performed by choristers from Trinity & the IU Jacobs School, works by Walmisley & Hurford; 5:30pm

COMPETITION & BENEFIT ◗ Buskirk Chumley Theater6th Annual Bloomington Chef’s Challenge; 6pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubPenrose Trio; 6pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema“Road Comics: Big Work on Small Stages,” documentary producer Susan Seizer will appear; 6:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series; “Neighboring Sounds”; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ St. David’s Episcopal Church, Bean BlossomConcert for dedication of new church organ; 7pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticNeil Hamburger; 8pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “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:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

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

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

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

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” — Isaac Newton

MONEY WELL SPENT?

Bloomington’s big name Democrats will gather in Nick’s English Hut to raise dough for the party’s gubernatorial ticket tonight.

John Gregg and his ace in the hole, Vi Simpson, will press the flesh at the fabled old place starting at five. Mayor Mark Kruzan will host.

The Simpson Bump Won’t Be Enough

With the roll that Barack Obama is on leading up to the general election in November, Gregg’s got to be hoping he can ride the president’s coattails into a victory that six months ago seemed impossible.

The truth is a Gregg win still would be a jaw-dropper. The Huffington Post’s Election Dashboard has Pence up by anywhere from 13 to 18 points in its compilation of polls.

If you’ve got a limited amount of cash to toss at a political campaign, it might be better spent on the US Senate race between Dem Joe Donnelly and Tea Party sweetheart Richard Mourdock, which HuffPo rates a toss-up.

Donnelly Can Win

HARD TIMES, STILL

Conventional wisdom has it that when people are suffering economically, the sitting president’s going to be in hot water.

But like the Great Depression, this Great Recession has not been a conventional time. The electorate sees these bad money times as a result more of systemic failures than simply any single president’s policies.

And don’t let anybody fool you — we’re still in a big time slump. Take Indiana. More than a million Hoosiers now live in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau. That’s a nearly five percent increase from last year. Speaking of percentages, 16 percent of this state’s residents fall below the poverty line now.

Then Or Now?

Perhaps if the Republican Party wasn’t in the clutches of whacked-out ideologues and, simultaneously, hadn’t nominated a wishy-washy boob as its standard bearer this year, Obama would be looking at a monumental poll deficit.

With enemies like the GOP, the Dems have all the friends they need.

BATTY

Okay, let’s just say it and get on with our lives, Ann Coulter is mentally unbalanced.

HELP!

The Harridan of the Right told George Stephanopoulis on ABC’s “This Week” wagfest that gays and women and immigrants and, well, anybody else who’s not Ann Coulter don’t have civil rights. And, no, I didn’t mistype there. You might try to get technical and say, “Hey, wait a minute. Ann Coulter’s a woman!”

That would be true were she not a nightmarish product of the TV industry’s evil brain.

IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD PARTY

No, wait, let me amend that: the whole Republican Party is deranged.

A Tea Party candidate for Congress from Kentucky’s 2nd District has produced a campaign ad linking Barack Obama to serial killer Ted Bundy as well as Al Capone, Adolph Hitler, and the Muslim Brotherhood because he supports Planned Parenthood and has not expressed a desire to nuke the capitals of the Muslim world as yet.

Peas In A Pod: Adolph & Barack

A word of warning: the vid shows images of aborted fetuses and murdered adults.

THE MADNESS IS CONTAGIOUS

Wait, wait, wait! It’s CNN that’s psychotic! Dig these headlines from its online version the other night:

  • Decapitated woman lives to tell tale
  • Half-ton aunt too fat to be real killer
  • Fecal transplant saves woman’s life
  • Alcohol-enema case ‘shocks’ UT officials

That’s right — fecal transplant. I don’t even want to know.

A New Media Colossus?

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Friday, September 28th, 2012

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

FAIR ◗ Monroe County Fairgrounds, Commercial Building West29th Annual American Red Cross Book Fair, +100,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, games, maps, sheet music, etc.; 9am-7pm, through October 2nd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, outside WFHB StudiosParticipate in the construction of “The Messenger,” recycled metal sculpture to be installed at B-Line Trail; 9am-5pm

CONFERENCE ◗ IU Memorial Union, Walnut Room — “Where’s the ‘World’ in Popular Music?” Interdisciplinary presented by the Colloege of Liberal Arts & Sciences, click link for schedule of events, free and open to the public; 9am-5:30pm

SEMINAR ◗ Various venuesThe Combine, 3rd annual display of talent , innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, featuring speakers, workshops, idea pitches, and mixers; through Sunday, September 30th, today’s events:

Bloomington Convention CenterWorkshops; 9am

Bloomington Convention CenterVerge Power Pitch Session; 4pm

Bloomington Convention CenterTech Cocktail, mixer; 7pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — “Maria, Put the Tea Kettle on! We’ll All Have some Tea”; Anthropologist April Sievert discusses artifacts found at the Munson House at Spring Mill State Park in Lawrence County; Noon

LECTURE ◗ IU Art MuseumNoon Talk series: “Weston, Callahan, and Cameron,” presented by Garrett Hansen, guest curator of the Kinsey Institute’s exhibit, “A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners“; Noon

POLITICS ◗ Nick’s English HutFundraiser for Indiana Democratic gubernatorial ticket John Gregg & Vi Simpson; 5pm

ART ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectOpening reception for lobby exhibit, Stone Belt Art; 5:30-8pm

TEENS ◗ WonderLabTeen Night, 5:30-8:30pm

DANCING ◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterSalsa Under the Stars, part of National Hispanic Heritage Month; 6pm

OKTOBERFEST ◗ KRC BanquetsMusic, dancing, & food, featring the Hungry Five German Band, the Bloomington Bones, & the Bloomington Brass Band; 6pm

ART ◗ The Venue Fine Art & GiftsOpening reception for the exhibit, The Art of Fenella Finn; 6pm

RETREAT ◗ Bradford WoodsOne Diva Weekend, for gay/bisexual men; Begins at 6pm, through Sunday at 1pm

FILM ◗ IU CinemaDerek Jarman Super 8 Films; 6:30pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterBuddhism in Everyday Life Series: “What Is the One Most Important Thing on the Buddhist Path?” Presented by Ani Choekye; 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Meet the Fokkens“; 7pm

SPORTS ◗ IU GymnasiumHoosier volleyball vs. Illinois; 7pm

OPEN HOUSE ◗ IU Radio-TV Services BuildingWFIU Annual Listeners Reception; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleJoe Sanford; 7-9pm

NATURE ◗ Twin Lakes Sports ParkBats in the Park, learn about bats, presented by the Center for North American Bat Research & Conservation; 7pm

MUSIC & POETRY ◗ Sweet Claire BakeryJacqueline Jones LaMon, poet, & Erol Ozsever, classical guitarist; 7-8:30pm

STAGE ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectComedy, “RX,” by Kate Fodor; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “When the Rain Stops Falling;” 7:30pm

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU SoFA McCalla SchoolGroup exhibit, “Aufheben,” photographers presented by curators Zachary Norman & Aaron Hergert; 7:30pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Illinois; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheatreRyder Film Series: “Neighboring Sounds“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoMatt MacDougall Quartet; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Katy Perry: Part of Me;” 8pm

BALLET ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “Light and Shade,” Presented by IU Ballet Theater; 8pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Behrendt; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubThe Reacharounds; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceGrandview Junction; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine ArtsRyder Film Series: “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Rachael’s CafeWakefield; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Serendipity Martini Bar — Live Turkish music, Istanbul Breeze; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThomas Rhett; 9pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Blue“; 9:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Behrendt; 10:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Katy Perry: Part of Me;” 11pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Fleshpot on 42nd Street“; Midnight

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “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:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

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

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

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

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

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