Category Archives: Hillary Clinton

Hot Air: Sunday Sundries

History In The Making

I don’t know why this hasn’t occurred to me before but, no matter what, the Dems this summer will nominate either the first woman or first Jew as a major party candidate for president.

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Either Way

The Republicans, meanwhile, are going with the guy who calls women “fat pigs” and who has the support of KKK-types who believe the nation — and the world — are run by a secret cabal of Jews.

Yeah, there’s no diff. between the parties. Nah.

I’m surprised nobody’s making a big splash about this. It speaks well of the party, no? Then again, nobody wants to speak well of the party — either party — these days. Too bad.

Of course, the parties have nobody to blame but themselves.

Private Benjamins

Let’s just all agree right here and now that privatization is a dirty word, okay?

Case in point: The city of Seattle has hired a private firm at $240 and hour to tear down, sweep up, and otherwise trash homeless encampments. Yep. Hat tip to my old Ever-So-Secret Order of the Lampreys pal (and leader thereof) Kenneth Morrison for the tip.

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So, the city many of us view as the nation’s model of progressive goody-goodness would rather spend its dough thusly than on, say, maybe simply providing shelter for the poor souls who can’t afford a home.

Nah. That’d be government overreach, wouldn’t it?

Getting To Know Me

I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’m driven not to be driven. I suppose that’s why I never got a college degree or won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Nah, That’s Okay. I Don’t Need One. Thanks Anyway.

Yeah, sure, that’s it.

Getting Better All The Time

Another landmark in my recovery process. Yesterday afternoon I yelled at another driver for the first time in months. I was thrilled; my voice was strong and my tongue sharp.

The background. It’s been my experience that scads of left-turners in this sprawling megalopolis are loath to pulling out into an intersection on the green light while waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. This leads, often, to just one car making the left turn, which is criminal.

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So, yesterday I was intending to make the left turn onto Covenanter off southbound College Mall Drive to get to the Kroger Theme Park. The black Infiniti in front of me was going to make the left as well and, just as we hit the red light, it turned green. Fine, right? I’d make this light, right behind him.

Only he would not pull into the intersection. I gesticulated dramatically, hoping he’d catch my drift in his rear view mirror but, alas, he wouldn’t bite. But, I figured, I could tail him closely when he did make the turn at least after the light would turn yellow.

The light did turn yellow and he wouldn’t budge! So neither of us made the turn. I bellowed: “Fer chrissakes! Get out there you numbskull! Make the goddamned turn! Jesus Christ in heaven!”

Again, he wouldn’t bite. No glance in the mirror. No satisfying flash of the middle digit in response. No nothing. He must have had the windows rolled up. The jerk.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the satisfaction of reaming him verbally even if he couldn’t hear it.

Slowly but surely, I’m getting back into the swing of things. Wahoo!

Okay, Mother’s Day

Here are Ma and Daddy-o in 1945 with the old man home on a surprise leave. He looks like a kid in a candy store and she’s got that dewy-eyed look straight out of a romance novel.

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BTW: Daddy-o returned to his base to help the Allies win the war by scrubbing garbage cans and making sure his bed was properly made.

Priorities

Hey, we’re not the only country that’s tackling terribly important social problems (from Atlas Obscura):

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Hot Air: Literally

Smart Woman

Here’s a good gag from my old Whole Foods Market pal, David Staples:

Science professor: “Does everyone here know what Watson and Crick discovered?

Voice from the back of the hall: “Yeah, Rosalind Franklin‘s notes!”

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Unsolicited Advice

Personal to Hillary: As long as you’ve demonstrated the ability to wear a variety of political cloaks depending on how strongly the wind is blowing, you’d better don the very liberal/progressive raiment ol’ Bernie’s pushing you toward. Y’know, the one the Republicans have been accusing you and your husband of wrapping yourselves in ever since you came out of Arkansas? The one, BTW, you’ve never really worn despite what the Far Right imagines.

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Look Left

America’s Shart, Donald Trump, has the angry white guy vote all wrapped up. Now, you’ve got to nail down the angry everybody else vote. And there’s getting to be a lot more of everybody else than there are of angry white guys.

It’s just simple math.

Bernie’s Gotta Build, Redux

Sheila Kennedy, who’s one of the smartest folks around, writes today, citing the opinion of Ed Brayton, about how Bernie ought to start building up his movement, as opposed to focusing solely on gaining the Dem nom — which he’s not going to get.

Now I realize Bernie Nation is going to have apoplexy when they read what I’ve just typed (the he’s not going to get part) but that’s okay. It’s clear these days Bernie’s most rabid fans like having apoplexy. In any case, she writes the same thing I did yesterday in these precincts.

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Kennedy

Kennedy calls herself a Republican, although I have no idea why. She positions herself a tad to the left of Hillary. I suppose she’s holding fast to the notion that there have to be at least two teams going strong in this holy land and she’s going to do her level best, as an IUPUI Law and Policy professor and respected observer of the political landscape, to keep the dual party concept going.

I read SK’s blog posts every day and so should you. And thanks to Susan Sandberg for turning me on to her.

Journalism Royalty

How very cool! Historian Rick Perlstein will interview legendary journalist Seymour Hersh at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chi., Saturday, June 11th.

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Hersh

Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre and cover-up story back in 1969, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He’s written scads of books tearing the covers off the lousy tricks our gov’t likes to pull. For his part, Perlstein has written a thoroughly engaging series of books on the birth and growth of the modern conservative movement that began with the national ascendancy of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and has resulted in the rise of you-know-who, America’s Shart, today.

The PRLF has been going strong for 32 years as a street fest for the hyper-literate. Over the years, notable and fascinating authors from Augusten Burroughs and Chuck Palahniuk to Rick Bayless have appeared for panel discussions and readings at the event, formerly known as the Printers Row Book Fair. Each year hundreds of antiquarian and rare booksellers as well as publishing industry types and independent authors set up tables and booths on a five-block tract just south of Congress Street. Printers Row is an historic old Chi. district that used to be the center of the nation’s printing industry. It’s towering, elephantine old structures were built super-strong to bear the load of thousands of rotogravure machines and multi-ton rolls of paper. Now the buildings have been transformed into chi-chi apartments and condos for the new urban middle class. And, it being Chicago, there’s loads of food to be eaten at the fest.

Among the big names scheduled to appear this year:

  • Buzz Aldrin — The second human to walk on the moon and author of Magnificent Desolation and No Dream Is Too High
  • Sidney Blumenthal — Senior advisor to Bill Clinton and author of The Clinton Wars and The Permanent Campaign
  • Amy Goodman — Journalist, co-host of Democracy Now!
  • Ethan Hawke — Screen actor and director who dabbles in writing
  • Steve Inskeep — NPR Morning Editon co-host and author of Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
  • Sebastian Junger — Author of  The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea  and War; directed the documentary film Restrepo
  • David Maraniss — Pulitzer Prize winner and author of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton and When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi
  • Terry McMillanWaiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Getting to Happy
  • Ruth Reichl — The last editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and best-selling cooking writer
  • Marilynne RobinsonHousekeeping, Gilead, Home, Lila
  • R.L. StineGoosebumps and other children’s series
  • Vu TranDragonfish: A Novel
  • Andi Zeisler — Co-founder of Bitch magazine

If you dig books and street fairs take in the PRLF.

May 5th Birthdays

Søren Kierkegaard — Danish philosopher and notorious buzz-killer

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Karl Marx — The original Marxist

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Nellie Bly — Muckraking journalist born Elizabeth Seaman, exposed harsh conditions in mental institutions

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James Beard — Bestselling cookbook author specializing in American cuisine

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Leo Ryan — Member of the US House from California, was killed by Jim Jones’s People’s Temple cult in Guyana in 1978

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Sylvia Fedoruk — Physicist specializing in cancer treatment, politician, and member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

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Tammy Wynette — The First Lady of Country Music, sang “Stand By Your Man”

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Michael Palin — Member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and author

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Adele — Chanteuse

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Hot Air: Advice For BS… And More

Personal To The Winner Of The Indiana Primary

Bernie, baby, please, please, please: Start organizing a slate of allies running for US Congress, governorships, statehouses, city halls, county boards, and dogcatchers.

Who are your cohorts? Who will help you make this hugely popular so-called revolution happen? The real revolution only will come when your ideas, your aims, will be put into effect across the nation by legislators and political executives all the way down to the most local levels.

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Who Are You With? Who’s With You?

I want to know who’s going to push through your revolution. I want to know who’s going to make the revolution an official part of the Democratic Party platform. Start acting like the effective leader of a movement. Make my vote for you count.

Shelli!

Congrats to Shelli Yoder who took the Dem nom for Bloomington et al’s 9th District US Congress seat. I like her. I also like the fact that Todd Young, who benefitted from the Tea Party mania that remade Congress in 2010, won’t be in the House come January. I worry, though, he may simply walk down the hall to get sworn in to the Senate.

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Yoder, Left

I can only hope the apparent coronation of America’s Shart, Donald Trump, as the Republican standard bearer in November, will depress GOP turnout and sabotage the hopes and dreams of Young and the rest of his Me Party brethren and sisteren.

Civil War

This day, 46 years ago, student protestors faced off against Ohio National Guardsmen on the campus of Kent State University. By the time the confrontation was over, four people were dead and nine wounded.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young even got a hit song out of the affair:

The killing of students and other protestors appalled Americans, natch. That’s the myth we’ve come to believe. What we forget is the sheer numbers of citizens of this holy land who cheered the shootings and said the scruffy “unpatriotic” kids got just what they deserved. That swath of the Murrican electorate went on to help reelect unindicted co-conspirator and noted psychological piece of work Dick Nixon in one of the greatest landslides in the history of the United States.

Another thing we like to forget is the killing of two students on the campus of Jackson State University in Mississippi just eleven days later. Jackson State, like many campuses around the nation at the time, was beset by upheaval, including vandalism, arson, and attacks on uniformed law enforcement officers and firemen. The dramatic lawbreakers squeezed out the many more serious protestors, civil rights activists, and war resistors for news media attention. As at Kent State, authorities were itching to respond to the lot of them with overwhelming force and on the evening of May 11th, 1970, they did so. Some 40 Jackson city cops and Mississippi state patrolmen opened fire with shotguns and sidearms at a women’s dormitory building, killing two and injuring a dozen. Police claimed they’d been fired upon first by a sniper from a window in the high rise but a subsequent investigation found no evidence that any shots had come from the dormitory.

Mind you, this incident occurred long before the Black Lives Matter movement so the dead and injured were swiftly forgotten. They were black. The Kent State kids, OTOH, were white and so they live on in our collective memory. Such a shame, bleeding hearts may say, that youngsters had been cut down in their idealistic youth. Hardliners say, well…, you know what the hardliners have said for some five decades now.

No pop or rock stars, BTW, managed to get themselves a hit thanks to the Jackson State killings.

Winning For Losing

If Hillary is indeed the Dem frontrunner, as many wits and wags continue to insist on believing, she’s the most inept frontrunner I’ve ever seen.

I guess I grasp her supposed strategy: She and her strategists are certain they’ve got the Dem nom all wrapped up so they’re forgoing expending any time, energy, and — most important — dough on state primaries that’ll do little to pad her delegate numbers. Still, the seemingly constant onslaught of primary and caucus losses makes her look like nothing more than a loser. And believe me, her GOP opponent, Donald Trump (by god in heaven, I still can’t believe reality compels me to type those words) will hammer her with the L word every day and night from now through November.

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Strategist

No matter what makes strategic sense, anybody involved in a competition must maintain at least the appearance of, y’know, competing. How do Hillary’s various state volunteers and paid campaign workers continue to give their all when their candidate is shrugging her shoulders? Will Hill and her peeps be able to ramp up their ardor and work habits when crunch time comes versus America’s Shart?

Hillary’s likely to beat Trump in the general election. Or maybe that’s just me whistling past the graveyard. I dunno. What I do know is this 2016 presidential beauty contest is the most depressing, uninspiring national race I’ve ever seen. It certainly is no good advertisement for democracy.

Close One

My beloved hometown, Chicago, just may be losing its chance to be the site of a proposed George Lucas museum on the lakefront. Plans had called for the razing of the oldest of the McCormick Place exposition facilities, the Lakeside Center, and the construction in its stead of a modernistic-looking home for the paean to the man who imposed Star Wars upon the human culture.

I saw the original Star Wars at a movie theater in the summer of 1977 when it came out. I remember next to nothing about it other than understanding it was a cowboys and Indians picture set in the distant future. I’m not anti-Star Wars; I only suggest it was only a nice little light entertainment that helped me pass the time one night. Some people take a harsher view on what has became an American — and world — cultural touchpoint. Historian Rick Perlstein posits that Star Wars, along with the original Rocky, helped transform us into a nation of pollyannish eight-year-olds. Me? I figure we’d been eight-years-olds for decades before Han Solo and Princess Leia became known to every human being, dog, higher primate, and parrot in existence.

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Lucas, Right

Not that I dismiss Lucas out of hand. His American Graffiti was a revolutionary film, its continuous oldies pop hits soundtrack changing the way directors have made movies to this day. Now, rather than depend on old school mechanisms like story, character development, editing, or visual makeup of the scene (mise en scène), a movie’s music consultant simply plugs in an appropriate chestnut from our hazy, dreamy past to convey mood and advance narrative. AG‘s slice-of-life, featuring and glorifying otherwise utterly unremarkable high school kids, set the stage for scads of knock offs — some even far superior to Lucas’s effort; Barry Levinson’s Diner, for instance. We now gladly accept spending a couple of hours and upward of $15 skins a ticket to see hundred-million-dollar productions about people normally no more interesting than your thirty-something niece, her boyfriend, and their circle of friends. Call it the triumph of the humdrum if you’re a cynic; a long-needed celebration of the common folk if you’re…, well, a pollyanna.

Lucas became this era’s Frank Capra, another director whom I’ll grant was proficient and worthy of attention, but — like Lucas — spoonfed us happy horseshit, blurring the line between what we wished we were and what we are.

Since Lucas has been elevated to the Capra pantheon level, he’s become a zillionaire. He and his wife decided they should fund the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and staged a little competition between cities for the honor of hosting it. Chicago “won.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel took a break from fighting school teachers and enriching his Wall Street and LaSalle Street pals and granted the Lucases prime real estate on the city’s world-renowned lakefront for their ego monument.

When the original McCormick Place was built on the shores of Lake Michigan back in the late 1950s, public-spirited citizens kicked and hollered, citing architect and city planner Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan for Chicago. The Burnham plan, co-authored with Edward Bennett, called for Chi. to become a “Paris on the Prairie” with parks within walking distance of every citizen’s home and — the key here — a lakefront that would forever be free and clear of industry and development. Burnham and Bennett saw the lakefront as a lush green collar on the shimmering lake, open to all, its views unimpeded by smokestacks or ritzy apartment buildings.

But Chicago Tribune publisher Col. Robert McCormick and then-mayor Richard J. Daley wanted the huge exposition hall built on the lakefront at 22nd Street so Daniel Burnham, Edward Bennett, and public-spirited citizens be damned. Today, the Lakeside Center sits next to the water like a steel and glass aircraft carrier in drydock.

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McCormick Place Lakeside Center

(The original McCormick Place exposition hall, BTW, was destroyed in a spectacular late night fire in January, 1967, the second greatest conflagration in the city’s history next to the Great Chicago Fire, and was replaced by a more modern structure in 1971.)

The almost-original McC. Place hall is woefully out of date, so say the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority bureaucrats who run the place. Tear it down they say, most likely cued from offstage by Rahm. The Lucases appeared out of nowhere and last year granted Chi. the privilege of being home to their homage to himself. We’ve got just the site for you, Rahm told them, grinning.

Now, the Friends of the Parks, another gang of public-spirited citizens, one that carries a bit of clout as well, has filed suit in federal court to prevent the construction of the museum. If the Lakeside Center is to be torn down, many suggest, why, there’s our opportunity to reopen that stretch of the lakefront per Burnham and Bennett’s vision.

Lucas’s wife, Mellody Hobson, is a big shot, high-rolling investment banker who serves on the boards of Starbucks, the Sundance Institute, Estee Lauder, and DreamWorks. And, man, is she ticked off. Hell, she complained yesterday, the poor little “black and brown children” of Chicago will suffer now because they won’t get to go downtown to see exhibits on great modern art. To which, obviously, she’s referring to movies like Antz, American Beauty, Shrek, and the forthcoming Ready Player One. All of which have been or are being produced by DreamWorks. Did I mention Hobson sits on the DreamWorks board?

Anyway, she says she and her hubby are taking their ball and going home. “We are now seriously pursuing locations outside Chicago,” she told the Tribune yesterday.

Good. Take your monument to your husband and your favorite movie production company’s movies and go somewhere else. This is the second bullet Chicago has dodged in the last few years. The first being the decision of the International Olympic Committee not to grant the 2016 Games to the city back in 2009.

There are world class cultural institutions and there are international quadrennial events. There are, too, monumental headaches and blights on the city’s front yard. Chicago can do quite well without the latter two.

May 4th Birthdays

Bartolomeo Cristofori — Invented the piano around the turn of the 18th Century. Acc’d’g to one history, Cristofori wanted to name his invention the arpicembalo. Lucky for us he didn’t get his way.

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Audrey Hepburn — The only actress who could have played Holly Golightly.

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Pia Zadora — Child star of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and, later, a much-maligned grown-up actress and slightly-less-criticized singer.

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Zadora, Right

Will Arnett — GOB

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GOB, Left, With Buster

Erin Andrews — ESPN sportscasting figure who was surreptitiously videoed in the nude through a peephole in her Nashville, Tennessee, hotel room. The video went viral and Andrews suffered emotional trauma. This past March she won a $55 million judgement against the hotel chain (hotel employees had provided the videotaper the dates and times she’d be staying). The videotaper, a weasel named Michael Barrett, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

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Hot Air: Flotsam And Jetsam

This Just In…

Today is World Press Freedom Day, proclaimed in 1993 and celebrated every year on May 3rd by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization).

The news media may indeed exist in a horseshitty state here in this holy land in the year of our lord 2016 — what with Fox News, the dumbing down of the Murrican public, our fascination with ciphers like the Kardashians, and other insults to my intelligence — but, still, if you dig deep enough, you’ll get the info you need to come to rational, reasonable conclusions about the condition of this mad, mad, mad, mad world. You just have to do a little work.

And since I lack the personal resources to visit Homs province in Syria or grill Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on a daily basis, I depend on those imperfect, under-seige news bureaus and reporters from NPR, the New York Times, the BBC, Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!, the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi, Barbara Ehrenreich, the Guardian, ProPublica, PolitiFact, and dozens of others to keep me straight about the psychoses and sociopathic impulses of my fellow species-mates.

We may be blissfully ignorant these days in America, but w/o a free press we’d be awfully dumb.

Eerie Erotica

Yesterday, Lauren, the delightful barista at Hopscotch Coffee (okay, they’re all delightful, but she is in her own inimitable way), wore a dress that reminded me of Morticia’s on “The Addams Family.” So we talked about Morticia and Gomez. I said they were the only couple on TV who acted as though they actually loved each other. Hell, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. No other TV couple had ever suggested that they had a physical relationship with each other.

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Wedded Bliss

Other than M & G, TV couples until “The Brady Bunch,” which premiered in late September, 1969, all slept in separate single beds. Man, because of that I thought my parents, who shared a bed, were gross. In fact, really early on, I figured they were too cheap to buy two beds.

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The Bradys, Though, Didn’t Seem All That Frisky

In any case, Morticia and Gomez obviously had a rollicking, rewarding sex life. The lesson TV conveyed? Only monstrous ghouls would be so overtly sensual.

Update: It occurs to me that Lily and Herman Munster also slept in the same bed! That’s right — both mid–sixties monster sitcoms featured married couples who had normal, natural marital relations.

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Monstrous

How in the world did we of a certain age survive our TV upbringing?

Numbers

I notice that Hillary is three million votes ahead of Bernie when all the primary figures to date are added up.

Yet Bernie’s idolators still cling to the notion that the Clinton campaign is benefitting from some kind of anti-democratic (note: small d), voter-repressing, Nazi, Vlad the Impaler, Tyrannosaurus Rex crushing of the will of the noble citizenry.

Now, I voted for Bernie in the IN primary because I wanted to give my modest imprimatur to his aims and philosophies. I can only hope his goals become part of the Democratic Party’s plank come convention time this summer. But his most ardent followers came thisclose to turning me off to him, what with their obsessive aggrievement, their righteousness, and their pathological demonization of Hillary.

Many so-called progressives are citing and linking to Right Wing websites to spew slanders against Hillary. Suddenly, apparently, lefties are reading The Daily Caller, Breitbart, and Drudge just to get the mud on Hill. I’ve even seen WND attached to some social media smears on the former Sec’y of State. You can’t get more wingnutty than that. Well, maybe if you click on this.

Still, the Bernie-istas are so frothy for their guy that they’ve joined forces with the Dark Side that’s been libeling and smearing the Clintons since the moment the couple came onto the national scene in 1991. And, believe me, the Clintons have never needed anybody’s help in looking slippery.

The Bernie crowd — that is, the hyper-super-ardent wing thereof — reminds me of nothing so much as the Tea Party-ists now. Everybody’s against us, they both claim. We won’t compromise. If you criticize us or our guy you are, de facto, part of the massive, secretive, evil, jack-booted cabal that rules our nation and world.

The two gangs are a tiring lot.

May 3rd Birthdays

James Brown — The Godfather of Soul and The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business.

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Frankie Valli — Falsetto-voiced front man for the Four Seasons and himself one of the godfathers of the New Jersey boys sound.

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Valli (bottom center)

Niccolo Machiavelli — Author, The Prince.

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Jacob Riis — Photographer and muckraker, he forced Americans to acknowledge the poverty in their midst.

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Golda Meir — Israeli prime minister, 1969-1974. It’s claimed she was moments away from launching her nation’s nuclear weapons against its Arab enemies during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

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Norman Corwin — Radio dramatist of the 1930s and ’40s, he presented social issues to the listening public. He served as the inspiration for the likes of Orson Welles, Rod Serling, and Norman Lear.

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Pete Seeger — Blacklisted during the McCarthy years, he and his group, the Weavers, sang about working people, race, democracy, and repression. He wrote “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”

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Ron Popiel — “Wait, there’s more!” Sold Chop-O-Matic, Veg-O-Matic, and the Pocket Fisherman nightly on TV. Was fond of declaiming, If you want dine with the classes, you have to sell to the masses.

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David Koch — One of two brothers who, because they inherited a billion-dollar empire from their daddy-o, believe they can purchase the US Congress and 50 statehouses.

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Hot Air

One Shot, One Year

For my money, this is the picture of the year, 2015:

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[Image: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune, November 25, 2015]

That’s a young fellow named Lamon Reccord, a participant in street protests against Chicago police brutality and the killings of black people in general around this holy land. The protests broke out this fall in the aftermath of the release of a video showing a CPD officer shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times on a South Side street some 13 months earlier.

This particular confrontation took place at the corner of State and Randolph streets in the Loop the day after the video footage was released. Reccord already had gained national notoriety when he was video’d staring down another Chicago cop the day before. He’s either a symbol of morally-justified resistance to police racism and the use of deadly force or he’s a troublemaking punk, depending on where you stand on police/black relations in Murrica these days.

Loyal Pencillistas know where I stand.

Insurrection?

Correct me if I’m wrong, lawyers and military experts, but if Sy Hersh is right about this*, Gen. Martin Dempsey has committed a clear violation of military chain of command, putting the himself at risk of court-martial, incarceration, and even death. It seems like treason, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter if the president’s decision is right or wrong. That’s not how the military works. In fact, it borders on a coup.

And, really, haven’t you been expecting one or another Obama opponent to lead some kind of mutiny, even at this late date in his presidency?

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Dempsey (L) & Hersh

Remember when the big panic going around held that Obama was secretly planning to get us involved in a big war or some such emergency so that he could declare martial law and remain in office even after his term(s) expired? Then again, that particular paranoiac delusion might well have gotten lost in the flood of all the other psychotic reactionary hallucinations to Obama’s election. There were so many of them, after all.

In any case, at least one reactionary was sure to commit some act of overthrow, given all the panic surrounding the first black prez.

[ * Just in case you’re too pressed for time to read the piece, Hersh asserts in the January 7, 2016 issue of the London Review of Books that Dempsey engaged in a secret plan to lure the Russians into the Syrian civil war and simultaneous battle against ISIS. Further, he ignored the White House’s strategy of attempting to remove Bashar al Assad from power. Dempsey, acc’d’g to Hersh, thought Obama was all wet in his Syria strategy so he freelanced his own plot.

Hersh, BTW, is a dogged, fearless investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War and the US Army’s abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. He also occasionally cooks up the occasional crockpot conspiracy theory. The question, then, is where does this latest revelation fall in Hersh’s spectrum? ]

Cashing In

CBGB’s in New York City’s Bowery district was the chic-est place for punks to hang out in the late 1970s and into the early ’80s. The seediest bar imaginable, run by a guy named Hilly Kristal on a side street rife with the homeless, junkies, broken glass, and discarded syringes, the place introduced the world to the likes of the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Television, Blondie, the Dead Boys, Patti Smith, and countless other heroes of punk.

cbgb-1983-nyc-billboard-650

Even inside the place, CBGB was littering with trash, vomit, dog shit, and strung-out mainliners. The very ugliness of CBGB became its selling point. Punk — and CBGB — symbolized a violent reaction to Middle American sensibilities, corporatism, advertising, music marketing, and the use of personal hygiene products.

CBGB served food, after a fashion, because its liquor license demanded it do so. Nobody went there to eat, believe me. The place has been closed for years now, its frontage now redone a la gentrification moderne.

Nevertheless, an entrepreneur named Harold Moore is opening up a CBGB restaurant in Newark Int’l Airport. Moore says he’ll serve $9 deviled eggs, an $11.50 iceberg lettuce salad, and a $14 hamburger to travelers hoping to recreate the Bowery/punk experience. The only thing is, Moore isn’t going to be serving Hilly’s legendary chili which, acc’d’g to lore, usually contained cigarette ash, spit, and other bodily fluids you can only imagine.

Need I remind readers that this holy land is one weird fking place?

Duh!

FactCheck.org has named Donald Trump its political liar of the year. The truth-digging organization selects an annual top lying bastard and, really, who else could it be in 2015?

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Our National Shart

 

Girl Cooties

Ugh! Hillary’s got lady parts. And stuff comes out of them! Gross.

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Please, Click This Link — It Gets Better!

Okay, can we all admit now that Donald Trump is the worst excuse for a human being this holy land has produced in many, many a year?

Okay then.

 

Hot Air

Hell-ary

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

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Clinton: “Ons sal julle vermorsel!”

Like It Is

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

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

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

O’Malley (AP/Patrick Semansky)

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

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

Another Brown Bomber

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

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

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Ka-Boom!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wissing Well

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

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Douglas A. Wissing

Hot Air

Municipal Takeover Blues

Say, the former democratically-elected leaders of Flint, Michigan may have mismanaged their town into bankruptcy but they didn’t lead poison their children, did they?

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Situation Ethics

Man, we are all full of horseshit, no?

Our guy screws up and we stand on our heads rationalizing, deflecting, denying. Their guy screws up and we’re aghast at the collapse of decency, civility and fair play.

To wit: the Democratic National Committee data breach. First off, I don’t know if Our Great Nation is in danger of toppling from this but one or more Bernie Sanders operatives spent some quality time eyeballing and perhaps harvesting proprietary info gathered by the Clinton campaign.  You might ask, So what? So would I, but, apparently, loyalists of the two main contenders for the 2016 party’s nomination for president are pointing fingers at the opposition and accusing same of some of the worst atrocities ever committed in the name of democracy, or at least of the Democratic Party, which isn’t always the same, natch.

I would have figured that party folk would be happy to share info with each other but the truth is politics is a cutthroat business and any intelligence the Clinton gang has amassed at great cost and effort must not, can not, and will not be shared with anyone else in this holy land lest Hillary’s coronation be imperiled.

I also would have thought that the Sanders campaign was populated, at least in large part, by people who know the rules of the game and wouldn’t be so oafish as to get caught peeking into data files they did not produce and therefore knew were off limits.

<> on December 13, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Gee, We Didn’t Know

Read the arguments put forth by each side and your understanding of the concept of time will be sorely tested. Sanders apologists say the operatives spent, oh, 30 minutes…, no, 20 minutes — wait,  wasn’t it just a quick glance? — looking at the Clinton data. Clinton’s army, though, characterizes the eyeballing as something akin to the amount of time cryptologists spent poring over the Rosetta Stone after it was first discovered. Listen to a Clinton supporter tell the tale and you’ll come away thinking it was 45 minutes verging on several eons.

To the Clintonistas, the Sanders people are sneaky rats. To the Sanders faithful, Clinton’s bunch are brownshirts.

Now the DNC has denied the Sanders campaign access to the party’s NGP VAN database — even its own intelligence stockpiled there. The Sanders campaign has reacted by suing the DNC.

(Update: Sometime after midnight, the DNC and the Sanders campaign announced a deal had been reached to restore the candidate’s access to the database.)

Just as the Republican candidates for the 2016 nom. are cannibalizing each other, trying to find ways to out-he-man each other, now the Dems are commencing internecine warfare. I’m telling you, if this hat-brim-bending results in an election victory for some science fictional creature like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, or Ted Cruz, I’m gonna have to move to another planet.

Anyway, here’s the reaction of the Hillary-loving run-on sentence specialists at Wonkette:

Far be it from us to ever criticize the strategies of the Sanders campaign, but stealing Clinton’s voter information because it was just so easy to do, and then acting like it was for some greater good because come ON, it’s Bernie Sanders, after all — while still firing a guy for doing a naughty thing the Sanders campaign at the same time maintains was not really naughty, but kind of was, but for the greater good — seems, shall we say, problematic.

Phew.

See, the Sanders side sez its tech geek did indeed espy Clinton’s supposedly-protected data but, golly gee, that really isn’t such a crime considering, well, it was right there waiting to be espied upon. Nevertheless, Bernie’s campaign fired the tech geek. Nevertheless further, the campaign insists the tech geek wasn’t transom-craning to benefit his boss but to reveal to the DNC how in-secure its data files were.

Got it?

Now let’s look at the Sanders-side reaction. Here’s the pic of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz that accompanied the Daily Kos‘s take on the contretemps:

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DWS Of The DNC

Clearly, the woman who’s making the news show rounds complaining to high heaven about how dastardly Sanders-ites are is nothing more than a harpy, witch, bitch, ball-buster who surely possesses a carpenter’s vise in place of a normal human woman’s genitalia.

The above image bears as much real resemblance to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as this one does to Bernie Sanders:

Cute-or-Sad-

The Daily Kos, of course, loves them some Bernie.

To many of the Sanders true believers, there isn’t a hair’s breadth diff. between Hillary and, say, Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. Or even Joseph Goebbels, for that matter.

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Same Thing

I’ve been reading the ramblings of computer geeks regarding this dust-up and can only conclude that what Sanders’ tech operative did while he had his fingers in the data pie is either flat-out highway robbery or nothing at all. Great. Thanks for the clarification, kids.

(In any case, here’s a decent-enough lay person’s explication of the basic plot.)

It’d be swell if both Dem sides could play nice and share their info with each other but that ain’t the way it goes. Not when the presidency of this holy land is up for grabs and hundreds of gazillions of dollars are spent on each polling percentage point difference between aspirants.

Bernie’s people are rats. Hillary’s are tyrants. That’s what it comes down to now.

Democracy. Y’gotta love it.

Don’t Mess W/ Hillary

BTW: the swift reaction of the DNC to cut the Sanders campaign off from the data fountain sure seems a tad heavy-handed.

We know already that Debbie W-S is in Clinton’s corner and that Stu Trevelyan, the fellow who runs NGP VAN, has worked with the Clintons for nearly a quarter of a century. It isn’t much of a leap to conclude that once Sanders’ tech geek had been caught red-handed, these two heavyweights would be more than happy to pummel the only potential impediment to Hillary’s scheduled beatification.

If there’s one thing we know about Hillary, it’s that she’s tough as nails — and the people she surrounds herself with are jungle cats. Were she a dude, we’d fall all over ourselves praising her for such vim. She’s a dame, though, ergo her carnivorous nature is unsightly.

Man, we Murricans are backward when it comes to gender roles.

A Simple Precaution

You’d think Sanders’ tech geeks would be savvy enough to keep a back-up of their own intelligence in their own database.

It’s ludicrous to think all of Sanders’ voter dope has been dumped in the NGP VAN database and exists nowhere else. If Sanders’ geeks had taken that apparently elementary step, the Sanders campaign wouldn’t be in bad shape as we approached the primaries.

Why, then, the outcry over being cut off?

Could it be that Sanders’ people have grown accustomed to peeping at Hillary’s data. And that, perhaps, Hillary’s people do the same with Sanders’ intelligence? Therefore, this whole pissing match was nothing more than an opéra bouffe?

Ipecac

If this 2016 presidential campaign hasn’t already made you nauseated, you have an awfully strong stomach indeed.

 

Hot Air

Choice?

What’s more depressing — the possibility that the 2016 presidential campaign will be between two near-doppelgänger dynasts, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, or the fact that a farceur like Donald Trump’s entry into the race is taken seriously enough that the New York Times covers it?

Clinton/Bush

Pick ‘Em

Me? I’d almost welcome Scott Walker’s nomination by the Party of God because at least he’s an ideologue. He’d offer us a clear choice between him and anybody else in terms of who we want to be as a nation. Then again, I say “almost” because, honestly, I don’t want him to get the nom. I mean, what if he wins the election?

Race War Vs. Class War

With the meme of Gen. Colin Powell decrying the racism within his Republican Party making the rounds again on social media, my pal, the Lake County Republican, poses the following Q: Why does Powell remain a Republican? Why doesn’t he just quit and join the Dems? Now, while the LCR fully agrees that the racists and chronic racism within the GOP are abhorrent, he believes there’s a greater underlying philosophical reason why the Republicans are the better party. After all, the LCR himself hasn’t quit the GOP.

Here’s the LCR’s explanation:

I think it is because the actions of a few [Democrats] are despicable [and] the ethos of the Democratic Party is even worse. They appeal to the base human instincts of envy and resentment of those better off….

This, among other things, the LCR posits, makes the Dems “even more corrosive to the nation” than the racism within the GOP.

That’s quite a charge. My take: I’ll bet Colin Powell himself can’t fully explain why he remains a Republican. It may be inertia. Powell grew up at a time when the most virulent racists and segregationists were Democrats. Harry Byrd, George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox all were Dems. That, of course, was before Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy folded the Neanderthal wing of the Democratic Party into the GOP.

Now then. The LCR’s charge that the 99% appeal (which precious few Dem candidates are embracing in any case) is worse for this holy land than the racism that has torn it apart since the early 1800s. Sheer lunacy, my friend. Peeps aren’t screaming bloody murder because others are successful or “better off.” They’re hollering because the game is rigged. The way the system works now, those who have dough get more at the expense of those who haven’t got it. The plutocracy more and more controls policy and legislation via lobbyists and campaign moneys. Too many Richie Rich’s didn’t earn their dough; they inherited it. And far too many millionaires and billionaires didn’t get that way through hard work and the production of goods and services that somehow benefit, y’know, people. They’ve been degenerate gamblers who gamed the system to rake in their dirty dollars.

Mr. Moneybags

A Crooked Game

And both the Democrats and Republicans are responsible for this economic world of shit.

Better Late Than Never

My delayed reaction to Bloomingfoods‘ divorce from long-time GM George Huntington and the subsequent axing of a nearly two doz. mid-level managers at the co-op’s three locations:

Both are good moves, albeit anywhere from two to 10 years too late.

Huntington

Bloom Mag Photo Of George Huntington By Amber Lynn Brown

My rec. for B-foods’ next good move? Shut down the East Side and the Elm Heights stores before tomorrow morning. Concentrate on the Near West site and make it a viable local alternative to the new Lucky’s Market and the to-come Whole Foods Market.

Hot Air

A Stand Up Guy — Finally

At long last.

Prez Barack H.O. the other day finally — finally! — called out the idiotic climate change deniers in Congress and the Right Wing media. He was especially hard on the elected deniers who’ve tried to erect roadblocks before every gov’t attempt to stem the flow of crap into our air and water.

Of cerebral titans like Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who, while not overtly denying the science,  still play along with their partisan confreres who do, Obama said: “There are some who duck the question by saying, ‘Hey, I’m not a scientist.’ Let me translate that for you: what that means is, ‘I accept that man-made climate change is real, but if I admit it, I’ll be run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot.”

The Kenyan-born secret Muslim mole who has stolen the White House from its rightful heirs for all intents and purposes told a crowd of University of California-Irvine graduates Friday that climate change deniers are full of horseshit.

Obama/UC-Irvine

“I Must Say They’re Full Of Horseshit.”

What took you so long, Barry?

Oh right, you haven’t wanted to alienate these folks because you have to work with them. As if they’ll work with you whether you alienate them or not.

Anyway, Obama stood up for something for a change. Personal to the C-in-C: Keep it up.

A Cheesy Regulation

The interwebs this week have been buzzing with news that the federal Food and Drug Administration might want to ban the aging of cheese on wooden board, a practice that’s been going on since the first splotch of milk started going sour.

Cheesemaking

Cheese Aging On Wood Boards

Huzzah! The FDA has issued a clarification that says, in essense, Hey, don’t sweat it. The feds, it turns out, won’t be crushing artisanal cheesemakers with the heels of their jackboots by banning wood board aging after all.

I’m sure this apparent reversal has more to do with Open Carry cheesemakers advancing on Washington, DC than anything else.

Open Carry

… The Right Of The People To Age Monterey Jack…

Cinderella?

Back to presidents, the next one has taken some heat of late for her statement that she and her hubby Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House in January, 2001.

Bill Clinton, of course, came from poverty but Hillary grew up in the very comfortable and privileged Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. As such, she has no idea what the term “dead broke” means.

Clintons

We’ve Got To Pay That Electric Bill

When Bill said “I feel your pain” back when he was running for prez the first time, you could believe him. Hillary, though, had better not say any such thing because she has no idea. This is not to say she can’t be an effective and powerful voice for the poor when — if? Naw, when — she takes the Oath of Office in Jan. 2017. Only that she’s never had to scrimp or save or eke for anything at any time in her life.

In this sense, her statement was as offensive as Ann Romney’s in 2012 when she bragged that she was a working woman because she’d raised kids at home. I wrote at the time that it’s doubtful she’d ever had to worry about scrubbing the toilet, mopping up a spilled gallon of milk, or cleaning up a splash of puke. If she did it would be because the help was off and the emergency household chore thing was sort of a lark.

Personal to Hill: Ixnay on telling the world about your financial struggles; you’ve got enough credibility problems already.

The States Of Hate

Thanks to Helen Harrell and Carol Fischer for pointing this out from the Southern Poverty Law Center:

SPLC Map

Go ahead and check the site for a more detailed look at this plotting but a quick glance shows how hate seems to be centered in a certain area of this holy land. The southeastern quarter of this nation is rife with people who so despise The Other that they’ve joined groups to do something about it.

Just a thought: Indiana seems a tad over-represented in relation to its size, doesn’t it?

 

Hot Air

Inflexible Moralizing

Glenn Greenwald made a name for himself around the world by hitching his wagon to the Edward Snowden runaway horse. Greenwald, of course, is the reporter who published, via the Guardian US, Snowden’s revelations that this holy land is nosy about every single email you’ve ever written and every cell phone call you’ve ever made.

Greenwald

Greenwald (Photo by Kin Cheung/AP)

Rightly so, we were aghast that our heretofore simon-pure leaders were attempting to peek over every transom in America. So Prez Barack H. O. had to toe the dirt in front of him for a few uncomfortable moments and get all apologetic for wanting to look under the socks in our collective upper right hand drawer.

[That’s three metaphors in one graf; is that my record?]

Snowden, meanwhile, started thinking he was the protagonist in a cheap spy novel and fled to Russia where freedom reigns eternal. And Greenwald found himself the hottest investigative reporter around.

Now, loyal Pencillistas know my feelings about Edward Snowden. Basically, he’s a dildo who somehow found himself in a position to do the rest of us one act of good and then proceeded to go back to being a dildo. As for Greenwald, I never thought much about him one way or the other, although I had a suspicion he might be a tad overzealous in view of the USA as this planet’s most odious villain. As in, we’re Nazi Germany sans the swastikas. In fact, Greenwald is skeptical of those who pooh-pooh Godwin’s Law practitioners.

Now we learn Greenwald is four-square against the United States sending police or military resources to Nigeria to assist that nation in finding its kidnapped 300 or so young girls.

His rationale? Well the US has done a lot of crappy things in its day so who are we to try to be good guys now? That and any expeditionary force, no matter how limited, surely will be the advance guard of an imperialist takeover of that oil-producing land.

Perhaps I’m naive but I believe Glenn Greenwald is full of horseshit.

A great number of Far Left radicals also buy into Greenwald’s reasoning. They’re calling any American effort to go over to Nigeria to help in the search “neo-colonialism.”

Nigeria

Click Image For Full Article

They, too, are full of horseshit. Nigeria is suffering under the threat of those Boko Haram nitwits. And the president of the country until very recently was more concerned with silencing parents and their supporters calling for a stronger government effort to find the girls than actually finding the girls.

BTW, Nigeria in recent years has criminalized homosexuality. Oh, and most secondary schools in the state of Borno have been closed due to the menace of Boko Haram which means, literally, western writing is sinful.

The big shots in charge of Nigeria might not need neo-colonialism but they sure need a swift kick in the ass.

Jet

From the very first time I ever rode an el train to downtown Chicago alone — in the summer of 1972 — there’d be kids walking from car to car hawking copies of Jet magazine. And, sure enough, they’d find at least one passenger in each car who’d buy the little, digest-sized mag. It cost 35 cents at the time.

In fact, I’ve found the cover of the first issue of Jet I ever saw:

Jet

That’s Angela Davis, the era’s chic-est revolutionary. She was smart, determined, a college professor, a rebel, and gorgeous to boot. I already had a huge crush on her when the kid selling that month’s issue came through my car. I saw the cover as he neared me, repeating the mantra, Jat, Jat, Jat….

I would have paid a dollar and 35 cents for a copy, that’s how smitten I was with Angela Davis.

The discovery that black people had their own magazine was a revelation to me. Funny thing is, I was too scared to buy one from the kid. The only folks who bought them on the train had dark skin. I was certain the kid would snicker at me or some older black person would give me a dirty look. I never even opened a copy until my first bookstore job in 1977.

By that time, I knew white people were allowed to read Jet. Only they didn’t. We’ve come a long way.

Jet soon will publish its last print issue. Beginning in June, it’ll go online exclusively. I’m not going to cry phony tears over this transition. Working at the Book Corner (where we don’t carry Jet), I’ve come to understand that the vast majority of mags simply don’t sell. People are reading online now. I’m reading online now. Perhaps we can save a tree or two.

The only thing I’ll miss is those young black newsboys threading through the cars of an el train intoning, Jat, Jat, Jat….

Wake Me When It’s Over

Are you as underwhelmed as I am by the prospect of Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush in 2016?

Clinton/Bush

Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z

Well, one good thing. We’ll have our first woman president. No, make that a great thing. Alright, alright, I’ll stay up for the race.

Indiana Ear Candy

The Indianapolis alternative weekly NUVO has released its 100 Best Hoosier Albums Ever.

You’ll recognize plenty of the artists: everyone from David Baker to Hoagy Carmichael to the Jackson Five and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. But those big names are really the minority. You’ll discover a hell of a lot of great new music if you study the list and take a listen to some of the choices you’re unfamiliar with.

I have a feeling it’ll be a better experience than being earwormed by The Lion Sleeps Tonight (wink, wink, Susan Sandberg!)

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