Category Archives: Pat Robertson

Hot Air, Cold War

More On The War

A little more than a hundred years ago, the Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers did their best to make sure a war between the USA and Spain could proceed as scheduled. The final casus belli was the the sinking of a battleship in Havana harbor. William Randolph Hearst — the Charles Foster Kane of his day, tehee — splashed the incendiary slogan Remember the Maine; To Hell with Spain on his front pages.

From "Citizen Kane"

War Is Swell!

Next thing you know, this holy land was stomping the bejesus out of the Spaniards.

Flash forward to November, 2013. A battle has been brewing in the teapot that is the Bloomington community radio community (redundancy intended). So this bastion of yellow e-journalism did its best to pour gasoline on that glowing ember. (Are you digging my orgy of metaphor so far?) The apparent cas. bel. in this contretemps was Friday’s second posting (here’s the first) wherein the Pencil helped one respected and very active WFHB volunteer lay out an indictment whose list of particulars seemed to damn the new Firehouse Broadcasting general manager, Kevin Culbertson, to the eternal flames of hell.

Pencillistas responded en masse and the battle was met. By midnight, the Facebook Theater of Operations was littered with corpses.

Trench Warfare

The Enemy Advances

Allow me to clear up one important point here. Many anti-Kevin-ists have expressed concern that he’s going to come in here, stack the Board with acolytes of his choosing, and transform WFHB into a beacon for Jesus.


Try to chill, folks. Look, I’m not throwing a party to celebrate the anointing of Culbertson. I would have preferred the board to have selected a new big boss from, well, the community.

But Culbertson cannot alter the composition of the Board. Period. According to Firehouse Broadcasting’s by-laws, the general manager serves at the pleasure of the Board. They are, in effect, his bosses.

Not only that, there are only two ways for any poor sucker who actually wants to get on the Board (a desire, BTW, that should be ample evidence the applicant is short on sanity) to do so.

  1. The applicant must present her/himself to the Board and make a case that s/he is a swell human being, at which point the Board will either approve or deny the request, and then pass the applicant on to a vote of the general membership
  2. If there is a sudden Board vacancy, the board can listen to those lunatic asylum patients who want to fill said vacancy, and then pick the least deranged (or most qualified) applicant and appoint her/him to serve the remainder of open Board member’s term.

That’s it, peeps.

The GM has nothing to do with the process. Can a mole/spy/saboteur whisper into the ears of enough Board members to sway a vote? Sure. But that can happen whether Kevin Culbertson, Pat Robertson, or the Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei occupies the claustrophobic general manager’s office.


Not Just Yet

It’s a good bet WFHB will not soon become an outlet for Bryan Fischer‘s fundamentalist rantings.

That said, Hondo Thompson’s piece on Culbertson’s past is compelling and worth keeping in mind while we watch the Kevin Era unfold.

I Lied

Chatting with a WFHB-er who played a key role in the GM search Friday night, I promised not to write about the station and Culbertson again in these precincts for a long time to come. I was, I admitted, tired of the strife.

Hah! the person said.

Well, I got a bit huffy. What do you mean? I demanded.

The person told me I’d be writing another post on it all before I knew it.

Hah! I echoed, hoping to sting the rotter. You just watch. I’m finished with this thing. I’ve got plenty more to write about.

And, of course, the person said Hah! again, as did I, which caused the person to do the same, and so on until we Hah!ed ourselves offline.

I’m proud to say I kept my promise for an entire day and a half. That’s pretty good for a hot air balloon like me.

Lie To Me


The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Thursday


“Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” — Pat Robertson



I figure my first brush with sophistication came on a summer night in, oh, 1966, when I was ten.

The windows would be open throughout my family’s Natchez Avenue bungalow. If the wind were blowing just right, I’d be able to hear the clatter of a distant el train on the Lake Street line.

My father would be comatose in his recliner, his toes covered by his half rolled-off socks, an occasional snort emanating from his open mouth. Ma was already in bed. It’d be about 12:45am or so, and I’d be laying on the living room floor on my belly, craning my neck to see the TV screen, free as a bird.

In those summer vacation days, no matter how late I’d get to bed, I’d be sure to be able to wake up the next morning before the sun even climbed over the trees on Nagle Avenue, a block to the east. But I still had more TV watching to do. “Night Beat,” the WGN-TV late news show sandwiched between the 10:30 movie and the Late Show would be on.

Nightbeat, WGN-TV

The old anchor, Carl Greyson, would sign off and then the strains of the most adult music I ever was happy to hear would come on, the intro to that late, late movie. See, WGN would run a fairly recent movie at 10:30, something not too moth-eaten, like “Marty.” Then, after Night Beat’s house fires, shootings, and obligatory clips of Mayor Daley (the first) butchering the English language, there’d be a really old movie, often a hard-boiled detective feature from the ’40s.

For some odd reason, “The Dark Corner” sticks in my mind. Made in 1946, it starred Lucille Ball as a private eye’s hot tomato secretary who insists on helping her boss with his cases because, natch, she’s in love with him. It opens with shots of the big city, probably New York, but at that age I didn’t know the difference between The Loop and Broadway; so I dreamed of growing up and having my own office in some downtown Wabash Avenue building, where I could smoke, banter with pretty dames, and occasionally pull out my shoulder-holstered pistol just to see if it was still loaded.

Scene from "The Dark Corner"

Lucille Ball’s Got It For The Boss In “The Dark Corner”

That image gets mixed up with the intro strains of the Late Show, a jazzy thing, very subtle and smooth. A sax and a piano, mainly. In my dream it’d be playing repeatedly throughout my day in that office after I’d grown up.

It was Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.”

That was sophistication. That’s what I had to look forward to as I reached manhood.



For a while there, nobody screamed hard-boiled Chicago like David Mamet. The author of many plays including “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” “American Buffalo,” “The Water Engine,” “Speed-the-Plow,” and “Oleanna,” he copped a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1984 for “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Mamet’s dialogue was the thing. Loud, profane, often (too often, some have groused) obscene, it was the dialogue of men without the company of women, men who say the word fuck again and again simply because it sounds as good as it feels to blurt out. His characters are known to converse (or, more accurately, orate past each other) in something that has come to be known as “Mamet-speak.”

The only consideration of morality in Mamet’s plays is his obvious assurance that no one is moral, merely exigent. The whole gang of office brutes in Glengarry is as likable as a pack of stray dogs.


The Original Broadway Cast

In recent years, Mamet’s stage output has fallen off and he’s turned his attention to TV commercials and cop shows. He also has decided that this holy land needs straightening out because it’s become immoral — remember, he would know immorality or the lack of it. He released a book in 2011 entitled “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture.”

The book documents the handbasket-to-hell America has become, mainly because liberal Hollywood stars are actually press agents for some nefarious cabal, or something.

I tried to read “The Secret Knowledge” but I couldn’t get past the first three pages. It’s as hysterical as a Glenn Beck book without any of the charm. When your prose is less seductive than that of a borderline lunatic, your worldview is grim indeed. This comes as no surprise from a man for whom the effort of smiling appears agonizing.



Mamet this year got back on Broadway with a new play called “The Anarchist.” He lined up Patti Lupone and Debra Winger to play a radical leftist convict and a nebulous corrections department nabob, respectively. The two parry for a little more than an hour over right and wrong and those who managed to stay awake through the closing curtain reported it to be less than riveting. One reviewer called it “a short, brittle, stripped-down debate-club exercise on a stopwatch.”

And that was among the less crushing pans of the production. Accordingly, “The Anarchist” is closing after a little more than a month of performances, including 17 previews.

"The Anarchist" Marquee

And how soon will Mamet begin blaming the critics for the show’s demise (which would be like blaming a restaurant patron for suffering food poisoning)?

But isn’t that the way with the Right? Radicalized Republicans, Me Party-ists, Libertarians, and other such creatures crow about self-reliance and responsibility every chance they get but the moment they screw up they point fingers in 360º sweeps.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Mamet asks for a federal bailout now.


Mamet, like so many in the Nouveau Droit is made itchy by feminists. For instance, he battered Gloria Steinem for applying feminist criticisms to the idolatry of Marilyn Monroe. Steinem wrote that Monroe was essentially forced to play the infant and Mamet responded that Marilyn was the second coming of Madame Curie.

Mary Elizabeth Williams writes in Salon that female celebs from Katy Perry and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy to Marissa Meyer and Melissa Leo are climbing all over each other trying to proclaim to the world that they’re not feminists.

I suppose it makes sense that Perry, for one, a woman who relies upon the size of her breasts for much of her fortune, would be less than Susan B.-ish about things. But why are so many other accomplished women willing to eschew the tag, feminist?


A Different Kind of “Firework”

Is it merely ego? As in, I did it all on my own and I never needed Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem to fight any battles for me. It reminds me of the righteous indignation of newly-muscled baseball players after they’re accused of using performance-enhancing drugs; hey, I’m good — I don’t need no stinkin’ drugs.

Yes, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were good. That didn’t mean they didn’t think they needed a pick-me-up now and again. Same with the female CEO of Yahoo!. Marissa Meyer is talented, sure, but she is standing on the shoulders of giants.


And wouldn’t it be the coup de grace for Ashley Judd to oust jowly, humorless, and philosophically flatulent Mitch McConnell from Washington?


Out With The Old, In With The New?

Not only would the Republicans have to rethink their stance toward Latinos, but toward women as well.

According to a number of sources, the former actress is doing her due diligence in preparing for a possible US Senate run from Kentucky.

Fingers crossed.

The Pencil Today:


“Virginity is the ideal of those who want to deflower.” — Karl Kraus


Humanity has accomplished many great things. We’ve built spaceships and traveled to the moon. We’ve mapped the human genome. We’ve cured diseases. We’ve painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We’ve written “An American in Paris” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

We’ve even almost forgotten who Paris Hilton is, although that supreme triumph will take much more agonizing labor. Still, I have no doubt we can do it.

We’re Trying

That all said, we’re really a bunch of idiots.

Here’s proof (and h/t to funnyman Aaron Freeman for pointing this out): there exists a website selling a product called the Artificial Hymen.

That’s right, for all you gals who wish to position yourselves as virgins — even long after your first bonk has taken place — there is now a simple, inexpensive device designed to snow any proud man who values such things, as long as he doesn’t peer too closely at your nether geography (which, by the way, virtually no such man would be wont to do, if you get what I mean).

The Hymen Shop (No, This Is Not A Joke)

We forget that even in this modern day many of our brethren and sisteren still live in a fantasy world, circa the year 1437. You know, where men bashed each other over the head with maces and a young woman’s virginity was her most cherished possession.

One might suspect that even though certain men might demand their future wives be pristine, the females among us might simply laugh those benighted souls off.

Uh uh.

Many a woman, apparently, is buying the Artificial Hymen, inserting it into her previously visited special place, and neglecting to disabuse her current man of his smug assurance that he is the first guest to enter the vestibule in question.

I mean, honestly.

Along with Colm Tóibín‘s new book, “The Testament of Mary,” the Artificial Hymen just might signal a new fascination with virginity.

Weirder things have happened.


Speaking of sexual displays, both surreptitious and flamboyant, our cousins the bonobos, who reside in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are masters of the art. At least the males are.

Sex is a big part of bonobo socializing. Apparently, they dig sex the most, rather like the characters in a late-70s Woody Allen movie. Their social groups are among the most bonhomous in nature, with sex being a primary mechanism by which they convey to each other their neighborliness.

Bonobos, Happy As Usual

Bonobos are among the rare primates (residents of Monroe County and most of the rest of humanity being the others) who engage in face to face kissing and coupling, oral sex, male and female homosexuality, tribadism, and — hold on to your hats, Hoosiers — “penis fencing,” performed by two males, each of whom is hanging by his arm from a tree branch. (I’m confident I don’t have to draw a picture of this little pastime for you.)

Anyway, bonobo dudes often walk around their social groups waving their bright red erections hither and yon. As in any animal’s social group, showing off the real Man’s Best Friend not only signals a willingness — nay, imperative — to begin humping but it is an advertisement of their rank, vigor, and power.

We’re told by geneticists that human DNA differs only minutely from that of the two Pan species (bonobos, Pan Paniscus, and chimps, Pan Troglodytes). This must be true considering the fact that certain members of a subspecies of Homo Sapiens sapiens — GOP Reaganensis or “Republicans” — are currently strutting around Washington DC waving their own bright red erections.

In Their Natural Habitat

See, Republicans earlier this month suffered a humiliating embarrassment. For the better part of more than three decades, Republicans have owned DC. But after the 2012 election, their philosophies, pronouncements, and shrill alarm calls don’t seem to impress much of the pack anymore. Heck, even one of the Republicans’ own dominant figures, Pat Robertson, recently has announced that the Earth is much, much older than that portrayed in the Bible.

His flock, it is presumed, sat slack-jawed in front of their TV screens as Robertson uttered this radical idea. The non-fundamentalist Christians among us are staring at this tableau in a state of shock.

It’s the equivalent of researchers peering through foliage at the sight of a bonobo teaching juveniles the basics of differential calculus.

In any case, many other members of GOP Reaganensis must adapt to this new environment as well. But first they must reinforce their standing within the social group. And, as I’ve indicated, they’re waving their bright red erections around.

How else can we explain the flap over Susan Rice?

Ayotte, McCain, & Graham (Not Pictured: Their Bright Red Erections)


Do you realize Madonna Louise Ciccone is now 54 freaking years old?

The Pencil Today:


“Let’s face it; god has a big ego problem. Why do we always have to worship him?” — Bill Maher


Bill Lichtenberg of Forest Park, Illinois feels I took too strong a position yesterday on the venial nature of the Chicago Teachers Union strike.

In case you missed it, I said the strike is not about children, it’s about pay and workplace conditions.

He’s a strong supporter of teachers unions, as am I. But we come to our stances via different paths.

Striking Chicago Teachers, September 11th, 2012

His path, I suppose, wound through the neighborhood of the angels. Me? I’ve always taken shortcuts through the alley.

Bill sent me a link to the CTU’s dissertation on what the Chicago Public Schools system needs to do to ensure that every student gets, in the union’s words, “the same quality education as the children of the wealthy.”

Make no mistake, I’m with the teachers on that issue as well. I just know that unions usually don’t go on strike for high-minded ideals.


I’ll be at Rachael’s Cafe tonight listening to physicist Michael Snow talk about antimatter.

It’s the season’s first gathering of the latest incarnation of the Bloomington Science Cafe.

I’d post an image illustrating antimatter but, well, I can’t. And if I have to explain this gag, you ought to come to Rachael’s tonight at 6:30pm to find out why.


Religious fundamentalists in Egypt and Libya are having apoplexy over some amateur video that purportedly insults Muslims or their god or whatever.

Word just came in that the US ambassador to Libya was killed in an attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. It was one of several such attacks in the two countries.

Demonstrating His Holiness

The film reportedly was made by an Israeli-American but certain people in Cairo believe it was actually made by Egyptians Copts living in the US. The Copts are a favorite minority for Muslim fundamentalists upon whom to vent whatever rage they happen to feel on a given day.

So now the Copts of Cairo are coming out into the streets to shake their fists at anyone who insults anybody’s religion.


I suppose I understand why the Copts are joining in on all the fun. It’s better than getting the bejesus beaten out of them for something they didn’t even do.

In any case, it apparently doesn’t matter who made the film, only that wild-eyed fundamentalists get to whack the crap out of somebody to show how much they love god.

You know, we’ve got out own religious lunatics in this holy land. The Rev. Fred Phelps jumps to mind. Gasbags like Pastor John Hagee and TV plaster saint Pat Robertson have done their share to foment hate as well.

Phelps Is Deranged But He’s Not A Murderer (As Of This Morning)

But it has to be said we don’t have mobs running around snuffing out lives to demonstrate how spiritual they are.

Today’s events remind me of a controversial riff delivered by Bill Maher a couple of years ago, comparing Muslim extremists to other god fans. “When I make a joke about the Pope,” Maher quipped, “he doesn’t send one of his Swiss Guards in their striped pantaloons to stick a pike in my ass.”

Much as I loathe defending the Pope on any topic, I have to agree with Maher on this one.


No Big Mike’s Playtime: Fun on the Interwebs today. I’m in too much of a hurry.

The Pencil Today:


“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X


What a coincidence!

Only two days after Forbes Magazine released its yearly list of the world’s billionaires, we at The Electron Pencil proudly present our inaugural annual roster of broke Americans.

Forbes Got Nuthin’ On Us

(We are working with our crack legal team to determine if we have a case against Forbes. It is our assertion that Forbes intentionally scheduled its release to upstage our eagerly awaited list of the Penniless. Stayed tuned for more developments.)

Several of the Forbes select few have expressed displeasure at having information about their personal finances splashed all over magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV. Our lucky few are circumspect as well. In fact, each of them has pleaded with us not to reveal their identities or net worth.

Forbes Porn

But we are nothing if not tireless, intrepid journalists. Our commitment to unearth the truth no matter the consequences must trump their desire for privacy. As a compromise, we will not use the full names of our honorees.

Now then, here is The Annual Electron Pencil Penniless List:

  • Ronald H.: A talented jazz saxophonist, Mr. H. recently moved out of his cozy pied-à-terre on the west side of Bloomington. He is now “traveling.” In other words, he is homeless. Mr. H. was ousted from his position as Vice President of Facilities Maintenance for a local elementary school last spring. He was a casualty of school budget cuts. He carries the entirety of his possessions in his backpack which has a missing zipper. Sharp-eyed passersby can catch glimpses of Mr. H.’s holdings when his backpack flap flips open. He is considered among the most open and transparent of our 2012 honorees.
  • Miranda P.: She and her two children — Zach, 5, and Lily, 3 — also are “traveling.” Mrs. P. is currently in the process of dissolving her partnership with Joshua P., who last December attempted a hostile takeover of her finances. Mr. P. at the time was putting together a straight cash transaction for sub-legal pharmaceuticals. When Mrs. P. rejected his entreaties for her cash, he threatened and eventually carried out a night-time assault upon her face. Mrs. P.’s jaw was wired shut and the discoloration around her eyes lasted well into the new year. Middle Way House now serves as temporary headquarters for Mrs. P.’s break-away firm.
  • Jeremy M.: Mr. M.’s home was ranked number one in Car and Driver’s 1992 Best Selling Cars list. His curbfront domicile is known popularly among neighbors as as “that damned red Taurus.” He inherited it from his grandfather who passed away in 2006 while Mr. P. was finishing up his master’s degree in fine arts. Mr. P. is looking to diversify by applying for work at Rally’s Hamburgers, Kroger on 2nd Street, and the Subway at Walnut and 6th streets. Some observers say Mr. P.’s total wealth has been adversely affected by his ill-advised leveraging of student loans to acquire his degree. Mr. P. has responded that his degree has been valued in certain quarters at $1.7 million over his lifetime, as opposed to his total debt load of $53,000. Mr. P. was recently seen purchasing a rare pair of red Chuck Taylors at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on North Rogers Street.
  • Kevin W.: A pioneer in the field of bipolar disorder patientry, Mr. W. visits the four corners of Bloomington on his daily perambulations. He is known far and wide as an often accessible member of the local penniless community. He has made enemies, though, during the days before he receives his monthly dosage of lithium. Mr. W. impresses with his ability to identify the day of the week of any random date a questioner might suggest. Some analysts believe this indicates he also possesses a form of Asperger’s Syndrome which would help solidify his inclusion in future Penniless lists.
  • Jana C.: A long-time leader in the local physical pleasure industry, Ms. C. recently became affiliated with Narcotics Anonymous and has indicated she may be looking to move on to other fields. Her ambitions may be tempered by the pressing needs of members of the housing, utilities, and grocery industries for immediate remuneration for services and goods. When her liquidity sank to an all-time low in February, Ms. C. confided to close friends that she may never be entirely free to leave the sex industry.

We salute our Penniless achievers.


Speaking of the penniless, our go-to researcher R.E. Paris points out that Lester Chambers of the 1960’s power soul group, the Chambers Brothers, has fallen on the hardest of times.

Chambers posted an Occupy Wall Street-type letter on You Tube describing his unfortunate state this week. The post went viral.

Chambers says the recording contract he and his band mates signed in the mid-60’s screwed him out of royalties. He writes, “Only 1% of artists can sue. I am the 99%.”

The Electron Pencil ran a video of the Chambers Brothers’ hit, “Time Has Come Today,” earlier this year.


So, the spectacularly crazed Pat Robertson has come out in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Wild, huh?

Maybe no so wild when you think about it. Perhaps the human race’s pipeline to the creator of the universe has concluded that too many of his hard-pressed contributors are turning to pot harvesting for him to continue being a prohibitionist.

Pat Knows: You Can’t Contribute If You’re In The Joint

Frankly, this development bums me out, man. I’ve been for the legalization of pot for decades. Sadly, now that Pat Robertson is as well, I’ll have to change my position.


Come to think of it, doesn’t he look sorta high in the photo on the link?


Roger Ebert digs the new HBO movie about Sarah Palin. Actually, “Game Change” is supposed to be about the failed 2008 run of John McCain for president but, honestly, McCain wasn’t the story at all.

I’m tempted to watch the movie but the casting of Julianne Moore as the winking dolt is problematic for me: I like Moore and I’d hate to have her associated with the New White Oprah from now on.

No, Julianne, No!

Too bad the producers couldn’t get Palin to play herself. Ebert describes her as “the greatest actress in American political history.”


Patti Smith, babies.

Across the country, through the fields,

You know I see it written ‘cross the sky.

People rising from the highway

And war, war is the battle cry

And it’s wild, wild, wild, wild.

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