"The blog has made Glab into a hip town crier, commenting on everything from local politics and cultural happenings to national and international events, all rendered in a colorful, intelligent, working-class vernacular that owes some of its style to Glab’s Chicago-hometown heroes Studs Terkel and Mike Royko." — David Brent Johnson in Bloom Magazine
Despite all the efforts of Indiana University boss Michael McRobbie and his viceroy, Mark Kruzan, to turn Bloomington into a gargantuan megalopolis along the lines of, say, Karachi or Lagos, this burgh still remains, to some little extent, a small town.
Long Gone, Mostly
To wit: Yesterday while The Loved One and I enjoyed a spectacular dinner of grilled swordfish (still on sale at Kroger for $7.99 a pound!) at a neighbor’s home, Bloomington chief of police Mike Diekhoff rang the bell and delivered a still-warm plate of berry cobblers made from scratch by his lively bride, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff. And even though our hosts had promised their own homemade key lime pie, we felt compelled to dig into the cobblers as well after finishing up all our vegetables.
One historian specializing in African American studies presents a fascinating argument that the American Revolution was more a war to preserve slavery than a landmark for liberal governance in human history. Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman last week interviewed Gerald Horne of the University of Houston. Horne posits that the British were close to pushing for abolition in the colonies in the lead up to the Revolution. Reps of the slave colonies became panicky, acc’d’g to Horne’s argument, and thus the decision was made to take up arms against the King.
George III: Abolitionist
I imagine the landed slaveholders of Virginia, Georgia, et al might have been driven to join the cause of independence because of the Crown and Parliament’s burgeoning anti-slave sentiments, but I doubt one can credit/blame the entire Revolution on the effort to preserve the slave trade.
The contender for the most evil American of the 20th Century, J. Edgar Hoover, kept a thick dossier on King’s sex life. Yep, King did those tawdry things outlined in the file. To people like Hoover, that file defined King.
To tens of millions of Americans who can now vote freely and don’t have to worry about not getting a job or being turned away from a hotel or restaurant because they’re the wrong color or sex, King was incapable of such “sin.”
Both views insult the man because they deny the fullness of his humanity, the good in him and his failings, his high principles and his base urges.
Me? I respect King all the more for knowing he battled with and often succumbed to temptation. He was just a guy — but what a human being!
Imperfect Men; A More Perfect Nation
Here’s all you need to know about the state of national politics in this holy land. Jon Huntsman today will endorse Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president.
Best Friends Forever
Huntsman is dropping out of the Republican primaries six days before the South Carolina vote and almost a week after he came in third in the New Hampshire beauty contest, a finish he told his supporters was a springboard to South Carolina. He made the decision this weekend.
Up until yesterday, his website listed chapter and verse as to why Romney is unelectable in November. Or, I should say, was unelectable. Romney is (oops again — was) a flip-flopper, a shark, a pretty boy, a man with no real philosophy.
Man, you’d have thought a Romney presidency would almost have been as devastating to America as the presidency of Barack Obama — who, by the way, was Hunstman’s former boss. The only thing Hunstman didn’t accuse Romney of was being a secret Muslim, but there’s only room in the political conversation for one of those, apparently.
Sunday, the keepers of the Huntsman website made all references to Romney’s evils vanish.
Hunstman’s Suddenly Mitt-Free Website
Politics would be a funny game if it didn’t make me so glum.
VOTE FOR ME — I’LL SET YOU FREE!
How weird is it that Rick Perry has suddenly positioned himself as the defender of the people, calling Mitt Romney a “vulture capitalist”?
Perry’s panicked. The man who has sold his governorship to any corporate entity that waves a check in his face, clearly figures the only bullet he has left in his cylinder is to accuse Romney of being a greedy capitalist pig.
Which Romney is — but so is Rick Perry.
It goes to show that the most powerful influence on politics is the virtually pathological ego that spurs a person to want to become a national leader.
Perry: “I’m The One.”
Perry gave up his precious economic philosophy in the snap of a finger when he felt himself in danger of losing out on the ultimate job promotion.
I’ll vote in the presidential election, sure, but I can’t shake the feeling that anyone who wants to be president of a nation of +300M people with some 5600 active nuclear weapons at his command is, well, a bit off. Why would any sane human being want that kind of responsibility?
Oh Yeah, I Can Handle This Thing — Don’t Worry
Just trying to meet the needs and desires of our massive population is daunting enough. Knowing that the ace you have up your sleeve in dealing with the world’s nations is an arsenal that could ignite at any moment a global holocaust makes the job desirable only to a crazy man or woman.
LOCAL POLS: LESS PHONY, JUST AS NUTTY
I spoke with Tim Mayer, the Bloomington City Council’s new president, last week. He’s refreshed from a nice holiday vacation and looking forward to picking up the gavel.
I apologized to him for not playing “Hail to the Chief” when he walked into the Book Corner and he graciously forgave me. “How does it feel to be the Commander in Chief of such an august body?” I asked.
He spun on his heel, pointed to the middle of his back and replied, “The target’s hanging right here.”
Mayer Was Comforted By Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff After He Was Sworn In
Mayer became serious and said he’s looking forward to the task. In fact, he claimed the best part of being a council member is hearing the citizenry during the public comment sessions at the meetings. At which point I told him he needs psychiatric treatment.
Mayer is still sane enough to say I was probably right. Then he recounted the tale of a particular well-known citizen gadfly who attended every meeting and had a blustery opinion on every proposal. This man was a shrewd provocateur who knew just how far he could go when raising his idiosyncratic Cain — he knew, for instance, that he could get away with uttering the word shit during his comment period but not the F-bomb.
Anyway, Mayer remembered that the man was familiar enough with the personalities on the Council to be able to get under any of their skins. He knew how to rattle one female former Council president by saying repeatedly, “Listen here, girlie….”
The former president’s hair would stand on end at such moments.
BTW: as for last year’s Council president (and I’m not necessarily saying she’s the one referred to above), doctors in the decompression ward report that Susan Sandberg will be released from her straitjacket soon and should recover nicely, save for the occasional nightmare.
“This preposterous idea, that things must pay their way or be dispensed with, is perhaps the most intractable legacy of the Thatcher years, so much so that it has become received wisdom even among many liberals. But when you think about it even for a nanosecond, it is perfectly obvious that most worthwhile things don’t begin to pay for themselves. If you followed this absurd logic any distance at all, you would have to get rid of traffic lights, schools, drains, national parks, museums, universities, old people and much else besides.” — Bill Bryson
Author Bill Bryson & Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
CREEPY, SPOOKIE, ALTOGETHER OOKIE
Cartoonist Charles Addams was born on this day in 1912 (h/t to Google). His work graced the pages of The New Yorker magazine for many years. His fictional “Addams Family” eventually became the eponymous sitcom.
Well, fictional to an extent. It’s said both his wives looked uncannily like Morticia Addams. And by the way, if you’re making a list of very hot female sitcom stars, Carolyn Jones as Morticia has to rank at least in the top five.
Gomez And Morticia
SPEAKING OF GHOULISH WOMEN
Back to Maggie Thatcher. Is it my imagination or is her image is being remade these days, thanks in part to that new movie, “The Iron Lady,” starring Meryl Streep?
All of a sudden it seems Thatcher is being repositioned as a great icon in the history of the advancement of women. Never mind that she rose to the top employing all the mannish characteristics that have pushed the world to the brink of catastrophe time and again. She was stubborn, insensitive, bellicose, nationalistic, and smug. She cared far more for an economic philosophy than for trivial things like human beings.
When she pushed her country to go to war for some godforsaken piece of rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I observed that she was merely trying to show the world that her dick was as big as any man’s.
In fact, there’s a scene in the movie dealing with the lead-up to the Falklands War. The character playing US Secretary of State Alexander Haig, himself a former Army general, cautions her against being so gung-ho about sending battleships full of soldiers to fight over the little islands.
Thatcher: “We will stand on principle or we will not stand at all.”
Hiag: “But Margaret, with all due respect, when one has been to war….”
Thatcher (interrupting): “With all due respect sir, I have been to battle every single day of my life. And many men have underestimated me before!”
Need I mention that there’s a huge difference between breaking the glass ceiling and a “principle” which cost 907 lives, 1843 wounded, 11,428 taken prisoner, a cruiser, 2 destroyers, a submarine, two frigates, four cargo vessels, a half dozen other sea craft and 75 aircraft?
By the way, British warships and submarines that were part of the expeditionary fleet were armed with tactical nuclear weapons, just in case, I suppose, the Argentinians failed to grasp Thatcher’s “principle.”
Argentine Dead After The Battle Of Goose Green
As of last night, one woman remained in People’s Park, refusing to leave despite Mayor Mark Kruzan’s eviction order. She’d chained her tent to a tree and stayed inside, refusing to come out when city workers descended on the scene to clear away any personal belongings that were left by the protesters.
Apparently, the city is not going to force her to leave just yet. Officials are hoping to avoid an unpleasant scene.
City officials lauded the Occupiers for the most part, saying many of them helped city crews clean up the park.
Now Bloomington police will again enforce the regular 11:00pm-5:00am park curfew.