Category Archives: Queen

Hot Air

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Covenants

Just in case anyone was wondering if the police of this holy land are getting more trigger happy these days, or if our Officer Friendlies are any more bloodthirsty than their counterparts in other civilized nations, there is this:

The Unites States has failed to respect and protect the right to life by failing to ensure that domestic legislation meets international human rights law and standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers.

That’s the conclusion issued by Amnesty International researchers this past week. They studied how the legislatures of the 50 states write laws setting standards for cops taking target practice on the citizenry. Murrica, they found, is failing. Our lawmakers are not living up to the standards set in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — which we signed in 1992. The Covenant, essentially, set guidelines for cops using firearms and other force. We were all for it more than two decades ago, ergo our signature on the document.

But in everyday practice, our lawmakers as well as our deputized guardians of public safety have pissed all over the document.

Militarization of Police

Ready, Aim….

And the funny thing is, those folks who hoot and holler most about big bloated gov’t, the tyranny of federal guidelines, the coming disarmament of all US citizens, and the rounding up of Christians and Republicans into re-education camps, are those most likely to shriek that our cops should be able to fire their guns at will whenever folks sneeze.

If you care to — and if you’ve the stomach for it — here’s the full text of the report. BTW, if you click on this link to the Covenant itself, you’ll note that it was drafted and adopted by some 35 countries in 19-freakin’-66! So the US didn’t jump on the bandwagon for more than a quarter of a century. And among the original signatories were such bastions of gentility and civil rights as the Soviet Union, Romania, Rwanda, Chile, and Iran.

Keep in mind that during all that time, our soldiers were fighting for “freedom” in countless hot spots around the globe.

Welcome To The Show

In more pleasant news, Indiana University’s beloved fireplug and wizard with a bat in his hands, Kyle Schwarber, had a smashing cameo appearance in Major League Baseball this week.

Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber

Schwarber was selected in the first round of last year’s amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs and he’s done nothing but force professional pitchers to rethink their career choices since then. Through four levels of minor league ball thus far, Schwarber has demonstrated an uncanny ability to hit for average and power and control the strike zone. The Cubs are trying to make a Major League catcher out of him, an aim that most scouts say is problematic. But the kid’s such a spectacular slugger that the big league club might be satisfied if he only achieves mediocrity as a backstop.

Schwarber was brought up this past week because the Cubs played in two American League ballparks where the Designated Hitter is employed. The kid, ergo, was able to take his swings w/o being forced to lug the leather onto the field. As a hitter, he continued to amaze, hitting a home run and a triple, driving in six runs overall, and even going 4 for 5 in his first start at Cleveland’s Progressive Field.

The Cubs sent him back to the minors immediately after yesterday’s game. So, what does the future hold for him? Best case scenario is that, with proper tutelage, he can become an adequate Major League catcher by Opening Day 2016. Other possibilities include the National League adopting the Designated Hitter rule, making his defensive deficiencies moot, and the sad chance that the Cubs might use him as trade currency, shipping him off to an American League club in exchange for what ought to be a bushel-full of talent.

Puttin’ On The Ritz

A pal o’mine is heading up to Indianapolis as I type this. His errand? Picking up a stack of bumper stickers for Glenda Ritz for Governor. The Loved One and I have already put in our orders. We mentioned lapel buttons as well but my source tells us Ritz hasn’t got around to getting them made yet.

Bumper Sticker

Right now Ritz is trying to raise enough dough to make her quarterly financial report, due later this month, look good. She’s competing with John Gregg for Dem dollars. Now, I was happy to vote for Gregg when he ran in the last gubernatorial election against eventual winner Mike Pence, but I’d be even more thrilled to throw my lot in with a Dem who’s closer to my heart, as Ritz is.

Ritz

Ritz Wants You

[Photo: Kelly Wilkinson/Indianapolis Star]

She’s My Best Friend

It’s The Loved One’s annual Birthday Week, wherein she takes the week off work and celebrates her entrance into the world by mowing the lawn and scrubbing down the patio furniture [I know, she’s a weirdo.]

Anyway, I’ll be featuring vids of songs I’m dedicating to her for the next five days. The first, written by Queen’s bassist, John Deacon, came out in 1975. Deacon wrote the song in honor of his wife, Victoria Tetzlaff, to whom he’s been married for 40 goddamned years. The couple has six kids — actually, adults, now. Pretty neat for a rock star, no?

 

Your Daily Hot Air

Peace

Yesterday was the anniversary of the end of World War II.

V-J Day

I just happen to be reading the first book in historian Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn. It tells the story of Murrica’s first WWII ground action, the invasion of North Africa, nearly a year after entering the war at the invitation of Japan and Germany (Italy was handling the catering.) Imagine, it took just shy of twelve months for American soldiers to see action after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Oh sure, there’d been some monumental sea clashes, including Midway, during that time, but as for huge numbers of US Army men facing off against the enemy, it wasn’t until November 8, 1942 that Operation TORCH, the Algeria-Morocco landings, commenced. Throughout that year, Russia and the American military brass lobbied hard for an immediate Western Europe invasion. President Roosevelt and the British nixed that idea for fear a premature Allied D-Day would be crushed and, subsequently, the war might drag on for a decade or two.

Apparently, FDR and Churchill were right. The Russians (at a cost of some 20 million human beings) wore down the Nazis on the Eastern Front so that when the D-Date actually arrived in June, 1944, Germany was sufficiently softened up for the taking.

Anyway, Emperor Hirohito announced on August 15, 1945, three months after the Nazis had given up the ghost, that Japan was finished fighting. It wasn’t of course; sporadic violence took place here and there between the Japanese and the Americans and Russians. You know people.

MacArthur/Hirohito

Douglas MacArthur & Hirohito In September, 1945

That’s 68 years ago, for the mathematically challenged among you (and, believe me, I’m not being superior here; I had to use my laptop calculator to figure it out). So, nearly three quarters of a century has passed since humankind’s most cardinal sin finally was stopped. The US was drafting 18 year olds in 1945 so, conceivably, the youngest kid who saw action in Okinawa would be 86 years old today (again with the calculator). Suffice it to say there aren’t all that many souls left to whom the words Dirty Jap weren’t always a forbidden ethnic slur.

Still, many people in the corner of the world that was ravaged by Imperial Japan find themselves getting a little testy when the subject comes up. The Pew Research Center yesterday released results of a poll that shows significant percentages of folks in places like Korea and Indonesia want Japan to apologize even more than it already has. Remember, Japan is now ruled by the sons and grandsons and even great-grandsons of the bellicose ultra-nationalists who’d pushed that country into war. No matter, scads of people want some dramatic mea culpa-ing.

Here are results of the Pew poll:

Pew/Japan Atone

If I was Japan, I’d say, Sure, man, Great Gramps was a jerk. I can’t believe he was such an asshole. And, trust me, we’d never do crazy crap like that again. C’mon over for a visit. We’ll give you some discounts at restaurants and really posh hotels if you’d lost your Great Gramps or Grandma when my ancestors were having their psychotic spell.

In fact, I’d stage a daily atonement ritual in Tokyo, complete with the flags of victim nations and honored guests from those lands, just to show bygones can be bygones.

I mean, how can it hurt?

Just the way we Murricans couldn’t do anybody any harm by staging daily atonement rituals in Washington, DC for slavery and the Native American holocaust. Sometimes all people want is a simple acknowledgment that you’ve treated them like dirt.

All Bloomington, Some Of The Time

Fish/Dome

◗ Meters. Made.

We’re five days into the Great Parking Meter Era here in B-town. Most of the nearly 1500 meters scheduled to be installed in the central business district this summer were activated Monday.

The city says it’s raking in $5000 a day already. And this is without the expanded crew of ticket-writers actually writing parking tickets just yet. All those Day-Glo yellow-green-vested scribblers you’ve seen darting between parked cars are only writing out warning citations until the end of next week.

Courthouse Square business owners, who’d feared the collapse of Western Civilization once the meters went online, are fairly surprised to find that their busy-ness so far hasn’t fallen off.

Go to WFHB’s podcast of its Thursday, August 15, 2013, newscast for my story on downtown businesses and the new meters.

◗ Evacuate Bloomington!

I ran into good old Will Murphy at the East Side Kroger Wednesday night. The former General Manager at our town’s WFHB and Ft. Wayne’s NPR station, is now the Operations czar at Bloomington’s NPR outlet, WFIU.

As such, poor old Will Murphy has established himself as an acclaimed town baddie. I told him I’ve been hearing he is Hitler. He said he’s heard he is Satan. In any case, he’s Public Enemy Numbers 1 through ten, inclusive, here.

Why? Simple. Murphy cancelled the station’s live Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on Saturday afternoons last month. The news turned local opera lovers into, well, opera singers. The moaning and gnashing of teeth could be heard all the way in the uppermost office suites of the WFIU World Headquarters Tower.

Godzilla

Will Murphy Destroying Bloomington’s Cultural Institutions

With this town being the locale of one of the country’s more renowned music schools, things like opera mean a lot to certain segments of the citizenry. So much so that anybody who dares to mess with radio listener habits does so at his own peril.

Janis Starcs, a big mover and shaker on WFIU’s Community Advisory Board, came into the Book Corner the other day carrying a violin case. I told him I didn’t know he played the violin; he said he didn’t. So I asked what was in the case. “None of your business,” Starcs replied in a clipped tone. Speaking of clips, Starcs also wore a handsome pair of bandoliers, filled with shiny cartridges, natch.

Will Murphy

Marked Man

“Where ya headed?” I asked.

“To the Advisory Board meeting,” he said.

Next thing you know, WFIU’s men-behing-the-curtain are hanging plain old Will Murphy out to dry at the behest of the Adv. Bd. The Met cancellation has been reversed.

Now, the opera lovers and opera singers of B-town’ll have to dig deep for the dough that Murphy’d hoped his schedule change would generate in the coming years. We’ll see.

Bohemian Rhapsody

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