Category Archives: Islamic State

Hot Air

Learning Luxury

Bloomington’s not the only college town whose character is being radically transformed thanks to an influx of privileged snowflakes whose parents spend big dough setting them up in plush apts. Our own downtown, in the immediate environs of the erstwhile quaint Courthouse Square, has become a set of parallel mini-valleys of soulless condo blocks. The atmosphere around the Square, it follows, has changed profoundly. High end sports bars, chichi restaurants, and urban outfitters now do trade in storefronts that once housed, well, shops.

To understand what downtown Bloomington has become, consider this: You can’t buy a pen or a notebook, a package of batteries, or a small bottle of Advil anywhere within a radius of three quarters of a mile around the Fish on the Dome.

You’ll find, though, a choice of two stores from which to purchase that bush hat you’ve been dying to wear on your next expedition to deepest, darkest Africa.

NPR’s Morning Edition today ran a story on a similar transformation in the campus neighborhood surrounding Georgia Tech University in Atlanta. It, too, has seen an explosion of high-density, well-appointed apartment blocks erected for the children of wealth for whom dorm living or renting out a cramped house would be akin to having their fingernails pulled out by enemy prison guards. Announcer David Green said, “Over the past decade, investors have been cashing in on this growing market.”

Just like Bloomington.

Smallwood

Smallwood On North College Avenue (Jeremy Hogan/Herald Times photo)

One construction contractor told an NPR reporter he’s building “luxury apartment living catered towards [sic] college students” — a 25-story highrise featuring amenities like a rooftop deck with fireplace, a fountain, a glass handrail and a view of the Atlanta skyline, as well as stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, and laundry facilities within each unit, and a private bath in each bedroom.

Luxury indeed. Nothing can goose a GPA like truncating that interminable walk from bed to bowl at two in the morning.

Anyway, throw an ear at the report and take solace at least in the fact that we are not alone.

My Aim Is True

Speaking of the changing nature of our cherished downtown, City Council member Susan Sandberg was pounding the pavement drumming up voters for the county Democratic Party Saturday at the 4th Street Festival for the Arts & Crafts when two college boys approached her. One of them said, “Can I ask you a question?”

At this point, S-Squared was almost giddy. Huzzah, she thought, perhaps the youth of this holy land isn’t such a lost cause after all. Here are two lads hoping to learn about our sacred political processes.

Pledge of Allegiance

Um, No

Only she hadn’t noticed one of the two was videoing the encounter on his smart phone. Nor had she immediately sensed that the two were boozed up. The first college boy proceeded to inquire whether Sus. Sand. might contemplate performing certain acts of a carnal nature.

The normally eloquent S-berg was left speechless. The boys giggled and pranced merrily away.

I advised the tall blonde legislator that young men like those two possessed testicles just so she could take aim at said gonads with the toe of her combat boot. Miss S. replied she is loath to take such physical steps.

I can only wonder what’s wrong with the Democrats nowadays when we can’t even depend on our party officials to kick deserving louts in the balls?

Or Is Sandberg’s Aim Truer?

Rob Crilly writes today in Al Jazeera America that for the US to respond militarily or otherwise violently to ISIS’s latest video beheading is precisely what those ghouls want. Crilly writes that ISIS:

… [S]eeks to provoke more powerful enemies into rash actions as their publics demand that justice be done for the wanton act of violence against an innocent, and that the perpetrators be prevented from repeating the act. Thus the wave of pressure on Obama to come up with an Islamic State strategy on the fly, the complexities and challenges of combating the group in Syria and Iraq not withstanding.

So that masked man with the decap. blade is trying to play us, acc’d’g to Crilly. He goes on to say that when ISIS demands the US stop fighting them in Iraq and Syria or else there’ll be more beheadings, the al Qaeda splinter group is lying. Crilly writes:

… [I]s that [what ISIS] really wants? Does it want the US and its allies to back off, or is the group’s real goal to provoke sufficient outrage to provoke Western powers to launch another war in a Muslim land, helping to sustain its warped vision of jihad?

My own initial reaction to the beheadings is that we should dash back over to Iraq and kick the living crap out of ISIS, the way we should have finished off the Taliban in Afghanistan more than a decade ago. Only ISIS couldn’t ask for a better PR and recruitment tool than another US incursion into their backyard.

Screencap from ISIS video

An ISIS Captor And His Prisoner

Then again, maybe Susan Sandberg is right. Maybe a swift kick to the balls really doesn’t solve the problem.

All Schwarber, All The Time

Indiana University alum Kyle Schwarber, fast tracking his way to the major leagues in the Chicago Cubs organization, led his Daytona Cubs teammates to a 9-1 victory in their playoff opener last night.

Schwarber clubbed an opposite field grand slam home run during Daytona’s decisive five-run fourth inning. Daytona holds a one to nothing lead in its series against the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Schwarber

Schwarber Earlier This Year With The Kane County Cougars

So far as a pay for play athlete, the kid whose Hoosier teammates called The Hulk has done nothing but impress.

Hot Air

Fixing The Unfixable

As far as I’m concerned, we don’t need any more proof that unfettered capitalism has become our holy land’s Frankenstein monster. It’s now become as perverted as Marx’s Communism was under megalomaniacs like Joseph Stalin or Mao Tse Tung.

We don’t have a single bete noir we can blame for all the ills of free market madness, although Saint Ronald Reagan can play the role in a pinch. No, the greedy, acquisitive, sociopathic reprobates who’ve turned free enterprise into crushing corporatism and fundamentalist profiteering are many. The Wall of Dishonor includes such past and present hooligans as:

Kozloswki Party

Kozlowski Hosts A Birthday Party For His Wife

Boesky

Boesky

Success, it has been said, has a thousand mothers. The pantheon of big-time biz winners today, though, boasts as many motherfuckers.

So, what do we do? Overturn capitalism? Hah! Good luck. And, really, do we want to do that? Robert Reich, who served as Bill Clinton’s Labor Sec’y, the other day threw out a more subtle solution. BTW: it’s odd that a Clinton cabinet member should become such a hero of the Left as Reich; the 42nd Prez was about as guilty as Reagan was for creating the economic clime that gave us the various bubbles, the Wealth Gap, and the Great Recession.

Anyway, Reich tells the story of Market Basket‘s ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Market Basket’s board gave Demoulas the boot because he wanted the share the wealth, which is worse than child molestation in the corporate board world. Reich writes:

What was so special about Arthur T., as he’s known? Mainly, his business model. He kept prices lower than his competitors, paid his employees more, and gave them and his managers more authority.

Late last year he offered customers an additional four percent discount, arguing they could use the money more than the shareholders.

In other words, Arthur T. viewed the company as a joint enterprise from which everyone should benefit, not just shareholders. Which is why the board fired him.

Reich goes on to suggest that there are many more businessfolk-with-a-heart, like Arthur T. “[I]nterestingly,” Reich writes, “we’re beginning to see the Arthur T. business model pop up all over the place.”

Hmm. We’ll see. It’s nice to think that a growing number of modern corporate big shots might be slightly less immoral than a band of grave robbers, but is it realistic? Reich’s idea is that good people will triumph. I dunno: what if it’s not the people but the very system itself that’s crooked. We can pat people on the back and tell them how wonderful they are when they pay their employees a few cents more than starvation wages but pats on the back don’t drive boardroom discussions. Aggressive, ambitious people need to be reined in by laws and regulations, otherwise every leader, in business as well as politics, would be that guy who can kick the crap out of everyone else.

Ghandi was a great guy but he would have been chewed up and spit out by his competitors within ten minutes of accepting a job as a company’s CEO. He wouldn’t fit into the competitive corporate world no matter how much of a Mahatma he was.

I’m all for the good guys in business, only I fear they’ll always be the outliers.

Anyway, check out Reich’s piece.

Rice Is Nice

Nice piece on the Rice family farm in Spencer in today’s Herald Times (paywall). The Loved One and I have stocked up at its country retail outlet any number of times.

The very idea of driving down a gravelly road to get to a market in the middle of rolling farmland is part of what makes living in Bloomington such a source of happiness for me.

Rice Quality Farm Meats

Meat Market

The gist of the H-T story is Rice’s move away from producing so much beef. The farm family, acc’d’g to the piece, has done a lot of trade in the past processing beef cattle for private customers but with the recent rise in beef prices, that business may soon tail off. So Rice is diversifying, moving more into turkey and other fowl.

In fact, the existence of Rice’s retail ops was an early step in the farm’s hedge against a plummet in processing revenues.

If you haven’t been out to Rice of late, do yourself — and the Rice family — a favor.

Who’s Fooling Whom?

The very idea that the intelligence services and the military of this holy land were all caught off-guard by the ISIS advance in Iraq is preposterous. Either somebody’s lying big time or we have the stupidest spy agencies in the world.

ISIS

Hiding In Plain Sight

Papa’s Got The Same Old Bag

Gary, Indiana’s own Monroe Anderson points out that, with the exception of the actors, there were no blacks involved in the production of that new James Brown biopic playing in theaters now.

Movie Poster

Black On The Outside

Just thought you’d like to know.

 

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