Category Archives: Radio

1000 Words: Old Joe, Crazy Ron, & Radio Dies

What If…?

Old Joe Biden sure is looking…, well, old these days.

My pal, the Clay City farmer/economist Eli (whose purchase of a Prius last year branded him among his geographical peers as the bastard child of Karl Marx) says Biden’s physical appearance at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania this month reminded him, a bit, of Roosevelt at Yalta.

For the history-deprived among us, the Big Three — Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Franklin D. Roosevelt — met in the Crimean resort town of Yalta in February 1945 to discuss carving up Germany once the Allies finished kicking the hell of of them. Roosevelt at the time was damned lucky to be alive. His blood pressure regularly was topping 200. He looked wan, lifeless. His complexion sallow. His eyes sunken. Roosevelt’s perilous medical condition was well-known among those close to him but was well-concealed from the public.

It was a public, after all, that largely did not know Roosevelt was a cripple. Of course we live in a different day and age now. In fact, even going back almost 40 years, the general populace was apprised of the number of polyps removed from President Ronald Reagan’s colon during a routine colonoscopy. Some 20 years later, we were fully informed about President George W. Bush’s battle with alcohol abuse. In between, we learned about President Bill Clinton’s fondness for cigars innovatively marinated.

Anyway, Biden certainly doesn’t look as bad as Roosevelt did in the waning months of WWII, but he sure doesn’t look like a guy with a long future ahead of him.

Leading me to wonder what will happen if Old Joe keels over in, say, April or May, at the end of the primary season. What’s the Democratic Party going to do? Simply pass the mantle on to Kamala Harris like the Dems did in 1968? The party that year lost by assassination the candidate with the most momentum, Bobby Kennedy, after he won the last primary in California. They screwed over the candidate with the most delegates, Eugene McCarthy, and gave the nod to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, pretty much throwing the election to Richard Nixon. The nation wanted change and Humphrey sure wasn’t it. The backroom kingmakers, though, cared little for what the nation wanted.

This time around, though, my guess is the nation doesn’t want change, especially if the economy remains un-tanked. And should Old Joe turn in his keys to the White House any time between now and, say, this coming November, then a few ambitious Democrats’ll just declare for the primaries and the party’ll select a nominee in more or less normal fashion.

In any case, I hope party sachems are thinking long and hard about these possibilities. I figure they have to be if they’re paying any attention to Biden’s appearance these days.


Florida’s state board of education this week adopted teaching guidelines that assert American slavery wasn’t all that nasty. In fact, by golly, slaves in this holy land actually benefited from their chains. Gosh dang it, slavery, under these teachings, just might turn out to be yet another example of this country giving all the advantages to black people.

Y’know, the canard that lunkheads have been shrieking about for decades now. The canard that reached a deafening roar when a certain incurious, unprepared, insensitive, uncaring, un-read, greed monkey somehow was elected president in 2016 and hasn’t subsided since.

People like Ron DeSantis saw how imbecility paid dividends for the 45th president and the FL Guv has clearly determined to go the multi-indicted pussy-grabber one better. One better? Hell. One hundred times better. The Florida school board was hand-picked by him and he had to have known precisely what they would do once they got their thumbs all over the state’s book learnin’ policies.

So, after musing on the mortality of the sitting president above, I now turn to the potential for the aspiring next president to demonstrate further lunacy. Clearly, he’s doubling down on appealing to the anencephalic mob that loves him. Usually, when people run for president, they tone down their previous edginess. I fear DeSantis, should he remain in the race through the GOP primaries, will only go further.

Don’t be shocked if by this time next year, DeSantis will have carped, espoused, fretted over, or executive ordered the following:

  • Florida’s unemployed and underemployed citizens will be inducted into slavery where they can “develop skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
  • Germany’s Nazi Party will be honored by Florida for establishing concentration camps where Jews gained a sense of unity, pride, and determination
  • In an effort to reinforce the sanctity of binary genderism, all Florida males must wear trousers that expose their genitals (Be proud, Florida men!)
  • All Florida females must have their genitals sewn shut (to be unsewn only by husbandly order)
  • Specialized trucks will begin spraying Florida’s neighborhoods with the COVID-19 virus — what better way to strengthen Florida citizens’ immune systems?
  • Florida’s children will be limited to one hour or less of book reading a month so they may do more shopping and praying
  • Florida’s air will be taken over by private industry and made available to breathe for the affordable price of $10 a day per person.
  • DeSantis will declare that should he win the presidency, his replacement as Florida governor will be a daily revolving cast composed solely of Florida Man.

Wither Radio?

It’s a damned shame. WHPK, the student-run radio station of the University of Chicago, is facing hard times. Real hard times.

The university’s Program Coordinating Council has slashed the station’s funding from a requested $57,000 (peanuts, really) to $20,600 for the 2023-24 school year. The station is appealing the cut but don’t hold your breath.

College radio has been the birthplace of countless professional DJs, show hosts, and administrators as well as big music acts. The reason anybody outside of their own families ever heard of REM, De La Soul, the B-52s, Nirvana, the Cure, Sinead O’Connor, or any of a hundred other eventual big acts is their early airplay on college radio.

It’s unknown how WHPK will weather this withering.

Hot Air: Ksander Knews

Perhaps the voices most familiar to me, other than those of The Loved One and Sally the Dog — who never stops yapping from the moment I let her out in the back yard first thing in the AM — are Annie Corrigan, David Brent Johnson, and Yael Ksander.

And now there’ll be a lot less of Yael’s warbling to comfort me on WFIU. (Nancy Hiller describes her voice as “voluptuous.”) She’s moving on to write speeches for Lee Feinstein, the big potato over at Indiana University’s School of Global and Int’l Studies. Her last day at the NPR affiliate will be March 31st.

Too bad for us. Good for her. She’s excited about the new challenge. But dang, mang, her still-new showgram on Saturday mornings, “Café Indiana,” is some of the best stuff on the local airwaves these days. IDK what will become of the Café but w/o her, it may well sound awfully different.

In any case, Yael will continue to do her “A Moment of Science” bits. Honestly, how much science programming is there on electronic media these days? A: Next to none at all. AMOS is a treasure we need to hold onto like a stout branch in a raging flood.

Ksander And AMOS Colleague Don Glass

[Image: Hannah Sturm]

BTW: Feinstein has quite the history. He was an arms control wonk in the early ’90s when he was was hired by Bill Clinton’s Defense Dept. to work on making sure the planet didn’t blow itself up. In 1995, he moved over to the State Dept. until the end of Clinton’s term and when the incoming Bush gang made it clear that peace and nuclear-nonproliferation would be viewed as childish frivolities he went back into private wonkdom. When Barack Obama took office, he tabbed Feinstein as his Ambassador to Poland. Feinstein ditched that position in 2012 and in 2014 he came to Bloomington to become the very first Dean of the GIS outfit.


And Yael is no slouch herself. A painter who earned her MFA after studies at IU, Columbia University and the University of Virginia, she was raised in the DC area where her daddy-o, Polish émigré Yuri Ksander, eventually settled. He’d fled Poland for what was then known as Palestine just before World War II. Old Man K earned degrees in physics and electrical engineering and then worked as a geophysicist and seismologist for the United Nations in the ’50s. He moved to Washington in 1963 to work for the likes of the fabled RAND Corp. He raised a daughter whose own science chops are impeccable. She wrote and did the voiceover for the documentary Appalachian Spring (2012) about the work of biologist and bird behaviorist Ellen Ketterson. She also VO’d for the doc Rowan and the Junco (2012). Both docs came about as a result of the Ordinary Extraordinary Junco project, funded by the National Science Foundation and IU. One undergrad chum once said of Yael: “She’s incredibly well versed in so many topics — literature, art, cinema, languages — the woman is a treasure. And she even has the nerve to be humble, in an almost Diane Keaton-esque self deprecating way.”

Hell, Yael can even vamp it up as a model. Here she is Vogue-ing in a Filiz Cicek-designed look, “Bride & Groom”:

[Image: JoAnn Latvaitis]

Good luck, YK — a little bit of you on the radio is better than none at all.

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