Category Archives: Lloyd Blankfein

Your Daily Hot Air

You Say You Want A…

Okay, if you want to overthrow…, um, what- or whomever, I’m with you. Count me in for the revolution as long as certain global archcriminals get scalped.

Case in point: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. I wish I had his address. I’d throw eggs at his front window, at the very least.

From arabianbusiness.com

Evil Prince

The Prince has sued Forbes Magazine in a British court for libel. The editors of that biweekly paean to wealth and two of its reporters, according to the Prince’s filing, wronged him when they stated that his net worth is $20 billion, rather than the more accurate (or so he claims) $29 billion. The bastards!

Honestly, what can you expect from a guy whose bazillions are laundered through a corporate entity known as Kingdom Holding Company? Really? Kingdom? He owns a hefty chunk of the right-wing media colossus News Corp. as well as slices of Apple and Citigroup. As the (alleged) 26th richest human on Earth, he’s not just part of the 1 percent, he’s of the .000000004 percent. Four freaking millionths of one goddamn percent!

Revolution, my friends, now.

Brilliant

This just hit me.

I want to sell T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers with this motto on it. Maybe even have it inscribed on my head stone. It is the single truest, most direct, punchiest thing any of us can ever say.

Here it is:

Bumper Sticker

This’ll Make Me Bazillions!

Of course, you can have your choice of jerk photos. Ayn Rand. Chris Brown. Lloyd Blankfein. Kim Kardashian. Anyone in power at Monsanto. You get the idea.

Simple. Straightforward. Don’t be a jerk.

Tarnished Genius

I’m no big fan of Bobby Kennedy. He and his bros had their political careers bought and paid for by Big Daddy Joe, whose fondest dream was to become the Boss of America through them. The Kennedy boys were entitlement personified. They treated women like dirt. They were so sexually acquisitive that they verged on being predators. They were in thrall to mobsters and wannabes. They were liberal when liberalism could get them votes, then they turned around and were conservative for the same reason.

But they were smart. And they did care about blacks and the poor. So I won’t throw the babies out with the bathwater.

After the whacking of JFK (by L.H. Oswald, alone, natch — I’m no conspiracy theorist), Bobby essentially had a nervous breakdown. He came out on the other side a different man. A better man, I might add. A man who had the courage to speak to what could have been an angry, potentially violent crowd one night here in Indiana.

Indy Star Photo

Bobby Kennedy Breaks The News

It was April 4, 1968. RFK was flying into Indy for a quick campaign stop. As the plane was about to touch down, the captain informed Kennedy and his staff that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated. Bobby’s handlers told him it would be suicide for a white man to tell a crowd of black people that one of their leaders, one of their heroes, had been killed. Let’s not land, they begged him. Let’s go somewhere safe.

And Bobby said no. The plane landed and he gave this speech on the tarmac, completely extemporaneous and without notes, one of the finest in the history of this very, very imperfect nation:

Ladies and gentlemen.

I’m only going to talk to you for just a minute or so this evening, because I have some, some very sad news for all of you. Could you lower those signs, please? I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause for the effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black — considering the evidence, evidently, is that there were white people who were responsible — you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization — black people amongst blacks and white people amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust, of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poem, my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget

falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair,

against our will,

comes wisdom

through the awful grace of god.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King — yeah, it’s true — but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love, a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past, and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

And let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Thank you very much.

Kennedy died of a gunshot wound to the head 45 years ago Thursday.

Revolution

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” — Robert A. Heinlein

A NOTE TO MY READERS

If I seem a little cynical today (okay, a lot cynical) don’t blame me. I’m only the messenger.

MEET YOUR BOSS

Make no mistake now. There is no longer any argument.

This holy land is not led by a president or a Senate or House. Nor is it run by Democrats or Republicans. Not even the combined forces of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines rival the most powerful entity in the United States today.

Kids Stuff

These Great United States, Inc. are ruled by the investment banking firm and criminal enterprise known as Goldman Sachs.

And that would make the emperor of this nominal democratic republic an unindicted hoodlum by the name of Lloyd Blankfein.

Dear Leader

The capo Blankfein and his underlings yesterday got a huge return on their investments in political bribery and economic blackmail when the Obama Justice Department announced it won’t be pursuing charges against them.

See, Goldman Sachs had been engaged in the selling of subprime mortgage securities for years, earnings ungodly amounts of money. Only Blankfein’s syndicate then went out and bet against the performance of those securities.

In other words, Goldman Sachs sold its clients — including retirement funds, states and municipalities, hospitals, and the like — a pile of shit and then went out and set up a sham insurance safety net protecting itself against the shit smears that would inevitably follow.

The original “Mob” used to have this scam down to an art. A couple of crooked-nosed Charlies would visit a restaurant owner and advise him he needed “insurance” should, god forbid, anything calamitous happen.

Aw, D’at’s Too Bad. Y’See What Can Happen?

The only flaw in the Mob’s plan was its inability to hold off the dogs of justice indefinitely. By and by, some squeaky clean prosecutor would slap the bracelets on the big boys and their underbosses.

But Lloyd Blankfein won’t be a guest of the state any time soon. In fact. the state is now his guest.

This is, after all, his country. Lock, stock, and barrel.

PROBLEM SOLVED

You know how Barack Obama is a socialist? And the Clintons before him?

Real red-underwear-wearing types, right?

At least that’s what the Right would have us believe.

So why is it that the number of people receiving cash assistance from government social welfare programs has fallen a full two-thirds since Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform? And the number of American families who get government subsidies for trivial things like food and heat has fallen by a half?

The answer, if you believe the Right, is they’ve all gone from the lazy poor to the self-sufficient middle class. Because, after all, it was their own fault they were poor.

The great thing about living in these United States is the fact that we don’t need complicated solutions to baffling problems. The answers, my fellow citizens, are simple.

Oops. I mean simplistic.

ANOTHER SIGN OF THE COMING APOCALYPSE

Everybody and anybody who had a hand in making this monstrosity a reality should have the living shit kicked out of them:

This is the brand spankin’ new high school football stadium in Allen, Texas.

You read right: High-freaking-school.

The new home of the Allen Eagles cost $60M. It seats 18,000. It has a 75×45-foot video screen scoreboard.

The story about this crime against humanity in Time magazine’s online newsfeed quotes some little bastard defensive back as saying, “We just have to [be] blessed and humble and not take it for granted.”

Go Eagles!

Yeah. Like the god that doesn’t exist gave it to you in lieu of doing anything about the flooding in India.

Texas, by the way, last year cut $5B from the state public schools budget..

Anyway, the best part of the story is the little teaser in red about halfway down: “MORE: Catastrophic Brian Injuries at All-Time High in High School Football.”

Nothin’ like seeing your boy’s cerebrum concussed into so much gray goo down on the field in a shiny new stadium, is there?

LIFE LESSONS FROM FOOTBALL

Yep. Football’s back.

Remember when Ma & Pa America were all aflutter over teenaged athletes using steroids and human growth hormones to build muscle mass?

The Horror

Heaven forbid our precious scions should risk the devastating side effects of performance enhancing drugs. Like acne.

No. It’s much better for them to suffer permanent disability due to head injuries suffered on the gridiron.

Oh, and thanks to our changing climate (which, I’d bet, plenty o’Texans think is the liberal bunk anyway) more and more high school football players are suffering serious injury and death from practicing in full pads through the August heat.

SCIENCE TAKES ANOTHER HIT

We don’t have cable anymore at Chez Big Mike but if we did, Animal Planet would be on all the time. The Loved One digs critters and I’m partial to two or three species myself.

The bad news is, Animal Planet is slipping and sliding away from real animals this coming season and becoming more about, well, bullshit.

Two of the cable networks big shows will be “Finding Bigfoot” and “Mermaid — The Body Found.”

According to the Washington Post’s TV columnist Lisa de Moraes, critics pounded Animal Planet reps when the network held its pre-season news conference. One asked if AP “had run out of real animals.”

When it comes to TV, though, no one can argue with the numbers. AP’s audiences love shows about creatures that don’t exist.

THE POWER OF MYTH

Great. As if I’m not discouraged enough by the direction in which this nation is headed, this poll comes out:

The site I Fucking Love Science opines: “Well, this is a little bit scary. Come on America, sort it out. You just landed on Mars!”

To borrow a term from the god-fetishists, Amen!

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

From I Love Charts

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present and CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Tiny, From The Daily Puppy

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

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsOpening reception: “Articulture” by Marco Zehrung; 6-8pm

Lake Monroe, Paynetown SRANational S’mores Day celebration, recipe competition and other activities; 6-10pm

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterWorkshop: Depression and Buddhism, presented by Ani Choekye; 6:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series: “Kumaré: The True Story of a False Prophet”; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Mizfitz; 7-9pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “To Rome with Love”; 7pm

Bloomington SpeedwaySprint cars, UMP super stocks, UMP modifieds; 7pm

◗ IU Woodburn Hall Theater — Ryder Film Series: “The Pigeoneers”; 8pm

Cafe DjangoSad Sam Blues Jam; 8-10pm

The Comedy AtticTim Wilson; 8 & 10:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series: “Polisse”; 8:30pm

Bear’s PlaceChris Wilson & Planet Earth, Charlie & the Groove Factory; 9pm

The Bluebird The Revivalists, Three Story Hill; 9pm

Max’s PlacePhoenix Down; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Amanda Webb; 9:30pm

Max’s PlaceHead Bread; 10:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th
  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Read The Electron Pencil everyday, especially now that we have daily event listings. Scroll down to our Go section. What are you waiting for?” — Big Mike Glab

WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK….

So, Bloomington has been blessed by Parade Magazine as the fourth-hardest working town in these Great United States, Inc.

I don’t know if Bloomingtonians are dancing in the streets just yet (I’m still sitting in my underwear in my garage office typing out this bilge, after all) but I’m going to have to dump some cold water on all the glee.

Typical Monday Morning In Bloomington

What in the world does this arbitrary list mean? Do the people of, say, Santa Clause, Indiana, which is not on the list, just sit around dreaming of Christmas? Does the populace of Hoboken, New Jersey refuse to work because they’re busy listening to hometown boy Frank Sinatra’s records?

“I Just Don’t Have The Time To Work.”

Here’s the most troubling thing about Parade’s survey and findings: Bloomington ranked so high mainly because our citizens are, as a group, the most willing in the United States to work weekends (“an astounding 15 points above the national average”).

Ever since unions started becoming unfashionable and workers rights turned into a pie-in-the-sky ideal in this Land of Reagan, Americans have been compelled to work longer hours and sacrifice more of their personal and family lives for employers who have been laying them off as never before. The weekend as well as the lunch hour and, for that matter, even an uninterrupted dinner have come to be viewed as luxuries.

I wouldn’t throw a party for the Parade ranking.

READ TO LIVE — LIVE TO READ

Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

Bet you didn’t know this holiday existed. Unless I missed the news, I don’t think there’ll be a parade down Kirkwood Avenue today in honor of it.

Why Not?

Here’s what I suggest you do — take your favorite book to work or school today and just give it to somebody. It could be a stranger or your best friend. No matter, just give her or him a book.

And if the loss of the book makes you feel deprived, I have a simple remedy for that, as well. Go to your local independent bookseller (he he) and buy a new one.

Simple, no?

WELL, I NEVER!

So, John Edwards goes on trial today for the heinous crime of conspiring to conceal his extramarital affair during his aborted presidential run in 2008. Additionally, the Secret Service/prostitutes scandal continues to race along.

This weekend whiny Joe Lieberman, Independent (read: incapable of commitment) senator from Connecticut, wagged his finger and revealed that one of the offending Secret Service agents actually stayed at the hotel where President Obama was scheduled to occupy when he arrived in Colombia. The horror!

Lieberman: They Had Sex, Those Fiends!

Other than obvious atrocities like shooting an unarmed black teenager on a dark street in a white neighborhood or Mel Gibson offering his opinion on anything, the worst thing you can do in this holy land is have anything other than missionary position sex outside the sacred bonds of marriage.

Ergo, Secret Service agents have been fired and may yet be prosecuted and a presidential candidate whose top talking point was the poor eventually may be sentenced to time in the joint.

Meanwhile, these fine citizens continue to roam the streets freely:

The Unindicted

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

◗ Bloomington, Citywide — IU’s Arts Week Everywhere 2012; Ongoing, various times

The Kinsey Institute Gallery“Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze,” exhibit, art by women examining men; Ongoing

From the “Man as Object” Exhibition

IU Memorial Union, State Room East — Lecture, Dr. Joseph Collentine, chair of Modern Languages at Northern Arizona University, “On the Compatibility between SLA Corpus and Variationist Research”; 2:30pm

IU Asian Culture CenterHenna 101 with introduction and hands-on application; 5:30pm

IU Auditorium“Spirit of Indiana Showcase,” annual student-athlete awards gala; 6:30pm

Bell Trace Health and Living Center“Life in a British Period Drama,” 4-session class on British class life; 6:30pm

Madame Walker Theatre CenterAuditions for “Queen Esther — A Fearless Shero”; 6-8pm

IU Hutton Honors College, Great Room — Indiana Review Editors Showcase; 7-8:30pm

The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase; 8pm

The BishopNo Requests with DJ Burke; 8pm

The BluebirdDave Walters Karaoke; 8pm

The BishopSpirit of ’68 Presents: WOODS with Mmoss & Apache Dropout; 9pm

The BluebirdLaidback Luke; 9pm

Laidback Luke

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” — Fran Lebowitz (h/t to RE Paris)

GOOD RIDDANCE, ANDREW BREITBART

“I’ve never killed a man but I’ve read several obituaries with glee.” — Mark Twain

Andrew Breitbart is dead. The Earth is now a better place.

Like Twain, I don’t care much for gloating when a bad guy dies but in this case, Whoopee!

Gone, Baby, Gone

Breitbart was a character assassin, an amoral ideologue, an agent provocateur, and, well, a dick of the highest order.

Here’s the difference between a warthog like Breitbart and a human being of decency. When Shirley Sherrod heard about his death, she said, “The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning. My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope during this very difficult time.”

Sherrod: A Gracious Victim

This from a woman whose career serving in government was derailed by a phony-assed, maliciously edited video produced by none other than Mr. Breitbart.

And speaking of phony-assed, maliciously edited videos, it was Breitbart’s airing of the ACORN footage that led to that social service organization’s eventual bankruptcy and demise. Nice work, Andy-baby, pissing on all those folks who need food, housing, and legal services for your own professional advancement.

Naturally, the Republican candidates for president are mourning his passing as though a great public servant is gone from the scene. Rick Santorum calls his death a “huge loss, in my opinion, to our country.” Mitt Romney remembers him as a “loving husband and father.”

“Aw, He Was Such A Nice Guy.”

Reminds me of when any notorious Outfit boss kicked the bucket back in Chicago. No matter that he’d been responsible for corrupting labor unions, forcing the Mob’s way into legitimate businesses, and murdering loan sharks, recalcitrant shopkeepers and potential witnesses, his neighbors would say he was such a nice guy and a real fine family man.

Hey, people, even A. Hitler was kind to his dog Blondi. That doesn’t excuse him for his evil acts.

Anyway, Breitbart — though not Hitler or a capo, but profoundly destructive in his own way — joins such luminaries as J. Edgar Hoover, George Wallace, Orval Faubus, Curtis LeMay, and Lee Atwater in the pantheon of dead evil Americans.

It’s irrelevant that he was “a loving husband and father.”

“Welcome To Hell, Andy!”

PAYING THE PIPER

Now that Mayor Mark Kruzan doesn’t have to worry about reelection for a while, he can level with Bloomington voters about the state of the city’s finances.

They ain’t good.

Kasey Husk of the Herald Times reports this morning that Kruzan says there are “dark clouds on the horizon” for us.

Potential Cover Shot For Bloomington’s Annual Financial Report

The reason Kruzan waited until now to drop the bomb on us, apparently, is the potential that voters could have blamed him for the economic mess we’re in. That would have been stupid, of course, but then again no one ever accused the electorate, either here or nationally, of being remarkably brilliant.

Smart Enough To Know We’re Not All That Smart

Hell, an entire major political party is fired up by proud anti-intellectualism. (I won’t even link to that party — you can guess which one I mean.)

So no, the city’s empty pockets aren’t Kruzan’s fault.

But we know where the blame primarily lies — all those clever, conniving, duplicitous investment banking house unindicted felons who played our economy for hundred of billions of dollars in fees and bonuses and left it dry.

Check out Michael Lewis’s book, “Liar’s Poker” for an early snapshot of the unregulated, greenback-worshipping, hyenas that populated Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Wall Street money-squeezers back in the mid- and late-80s.

Not a one of those reprobates has ever served a minute in jail. Yet guys like Mark Kruzan have to worry that voters may turn on them because of the sins of Wall Street.

We can only hope there is a hell so that Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, and the rest of their aiders and abettors can join Andrew Breitbart in it.

IT’S ALL RELATIVE

With Russia’s presidential election three days away and Vladimir Putin looking like a shoo-in, we’re being inundated by news stories and commentary about what a despot the former KGB spook is. Deep thinkers are howling about how un-democratic the supposedly-now-democratic heart of the former Soviet Union is.
No doubt Putin’s goons have had “meetings” with dissenting journalists, his spies have added a dash of “strychnine” to the soup of neighboring pols or fed polonium pellets to expat whistle blowers, and his PR flacks are hard at work manipulating the minds of Russian couch potatoes.

That’s all true. Plus, Putin is such a charismatic tough guy that when he met the notoriously untraveled George W. Bush, this holy land’s president-at-the-time tumbled into a deep man-crush over him.

Putin Porn

Yesterday, though, I caught another side of the story. Former IU writing professor Erlene Stetson and her husband visit us at the Book Corner nearly every day when they’re in town. Her husband was born in Germany and they keep homes in both countries.

The husband — whose name I never catch because we start talking about world events and history immediately, leaving little time for idle chit-chat and social niceties, so let’s call him Mr. Stetson — started ruminating about Putin and Russia.

“It is amazing,” Mr. Stetson said, “how things have changed in Russia.”

He was talking about the Russia of today vis-a-vis that of such sweethearts as Joseph Stalin and his successors.

Mr. Stetson pointed out that even if the Russian press and TV outlets are manipulated and intimidated now and again, they’re still a hundred-fold freer than the old state media apparatus was under the Communist General Secretaries.

He also says the recent mass protests against Putin and Russian voter fraud would never, ever have been tolerated in the Soviet days.

Russia, 2012

Eastern Europeans of a certain generation view the new Russia in a state of near-awe these days, according to Mr. Stetson. Not that they envy Muscovites and the like, just that the relative relaxation of traditional Russian authoritarianism is so jarring in comparison to the bad old days.

Of course, it’s easy to look good when the object of comparison is a tyranny that, under Stalin, murdered tens of millions of people to maintain discipline, advance ideology, and just for the fun of it.

This reminds me of revisionist historians who decry the so-called Fathers of Our Country for owning slaves and treating women as decorative appendages.

White men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did indeed “own” human beings, including their lovely brides.

“Property”

Viewed through today’s lens, Washington and Jefferson appear to be monsters.

In their own day, though, the framers of the US Constitution were the most progressive thinkers on the face of the Earth. They eschewed divine authority and legislated nobility out of existence. Yes, the only US citizens that counted were white male land-owners.

But that was a hell of a leap forward from previous social set-ups. We’ve been taking leaps in fits and starts ever since.

As the late, astute Molly Ivins once wrote, “It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.”

MERCEDES BENZ

“The Lord” and Money — perhaps this should be our national anthem.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” — Christopher Morley

BARRY’S OKAY — JUST OKAY

I have no idea why but I feel I must defend Barack Obama these days — tepidly, of course, because his presidency has been rather ho-hum, for my money.

For all the excitement he generated among the commie, pinko, homo, abortion-crazed, tax-happy, put-the-white-man-in-jail, apologize-for-America, femi-nazi, Manchurian-candidate-cabalist population of this otherwise holy land when he was merely candidate Obama, Boss Obama’s reign has been pretty much a let down.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Nightmare

Many of my lefty pals feel their blood pressure reach quadruple digits when the current POTUS is mentioned. The radical lawyer Jerry Boyle goes so far as to call him a “traitor” (to the left‘s cause — not, as the other side would have it, to the nation.)

How can a guy be a traitor when he was never part of the club?

If anybody had paid a bit of attention to how he voted when he was Senator Obama, they’d know he was, in truth, the biggest Rockefeller Republican since that very man who passed from this vale of tears at the age of 70 while banging his secretary on her desk back in 1977. (Yeah, yeah, I know — allegedly.)

The Original Rocky (Bust In The Senate Gallery)

Anyway, as I’ve pontificated before, perhaps my happiest day as a voter and taxpayer in this greatest nation in the history of our corner of the Solar System was when Barack Obama was elected president. Not that I expected him to outlaw guns in cities, care for the sick, tend to the poor, pull the soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan the next day, and order the summary executions of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, but because the election of a (half) black man demonstrated that these United States had grown up a bit since, oh say, the 1970s.

That and the fact that Obama wasn’t George W. Bush nor was he craven enough to have chosen as his running mate a MILF-y knucklehead from Alaska.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Dream

The fact that Obama has surrounded himself with so many unindicted felons from the Goldman Sachs mob makes me want to retch. Then again, I never expected him to name among his advisers Dennis Kucinich, Howard Zinn, and Rachel Maddow.

So, that’s my roundabout way getting to the fact that I am categorically, incontrovertibly, without question or fail, voting for Barry come November. As long as nobody better comes along.

You think I want to see Roe v. Wade overturned? And all those Wall Street baboons given free reign? The privatization and profit-ization of basic human services? The digging for oil in every citizen’s backyard? Rush Limbaugh smiling?

Hell no, babies. I’m a staunch(ish) Obama man from here on out.

TRUTH — REALLY

Bloomington author Julia Karr waltzed into the Book Corner Monday, carrying the galley copy of her forthcoming book, “Truth.”

It’s the follow-up to her successful 2011 release, “XVI,” a murder chiller set in a dystopian future.

‘Truth” will go on sale a week from tomorrow with a book release party Friday, January 20, at Boxcar Books.

Julia Karr

Karr brought in “Truth” for our town’s Book Babe R.E. Paris, who’s reviewing it for Ryder magazine.

I was chatting with another customer at the time, a man whom I don’t know. When I told him he was in the presence of a big time pen lady and then told him about all the other successful authors in town, he said, “No kidding? I had had no idea this was such a center for authors.”

It is, pal. It is.

BLOOMINGTON’S BOOK BABE LOOKS BACK AT 2011

Speaking of R.E. Paris, I mentioned yesterday that she looks at the year in publishing in the current issue of the Ryder. Peter LoPilato, the Ryder’s majordomo, has been kind enough to let us run selected pieces from the magazine in these precincts.

The Ryder

So, let’s take a look at R.E.’s retrospective, no?

2011: The Year in Books, by R.E. Paris

In which I discuss some interesting titles from 2011, note others, and leave out yet many more worthy of mention among the hundreds of thousands of books published last year.

Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, (Norton), is a very readable history of the intellectual inheritance of the Renaissance. Greenbaltt shows that history ties the modern world to the classical one…. read more

TRUE FAITH

New Order was born of Joy Division after that band’s lead singer committed suicide. Joy Divison had led the post-punk movement in the late 1970s and New Order took the sound to a new level with its incorporation of then-new electronic technology.

And, BTW, New Order has a bit of a Bloomington connection. The video for “Round & Round” featured the face of super-model and recent local divorcee Elaine Irwin (go to the 3:15 mark.)

Elaine Irwin Decorates New Order’s “Round & Round” Video

Anyway, here’s “True Faith”:

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