Category Archives: Resist

Hot Air: Friday Filibuster

Smooth Sailing For Norway

Someone posted this article link on soc. med the other day:

The article ran on July 10, 2018 in The Week and was written by the online mag’s reporter Ryan Cooper. It was classified as an Opinion piece. Cooper made the argument that scads of people are screaming to high heaven that a lot of the government-rescue policies being touted by leftists, especially Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who I’m gaga for, BTW — I’ve been waiting with bated breath for years for a Dem pol to shout unashamedly and proudly that she wants things like universal health care and countless other programs dozens of other industrialized nations provide their citizens) will lead to America becoming some kind of horrifying dystopia, something like Cuba, perhaps. Whether or not Cuba is indeed a horrifying dystopia — its citizenry is well-educated and, yes, it boasts of universal health care yet it also cracks down on dissent, restricts movement, and holds a thumb on its news media’s jugular — can be argued from now until the wee hours. But Norway, Cooper avers, is a shiny gem of a society where nobody goes bankrupt because they’ve contracted leukemia.

That may be true.

If it is, I’ll tell you why. Norway is a hugely homogenous society. The country doesn’t much have to deal with issues like racism, the social safety net, and other such interlocking posers. The day someone got the bright idea that Norway ought to provide universal, single-payer health care for its citizenry, of all the arguments against that proposal, the single most powerful was missing. That would be the oft tacit refusal of its majority whites to countenance sharing the wealth with dark-skinned people.

See, there aren’t enough dark-skinned people in Norway to scare the bejesus out of its whites. Africans and Arabs, and any other strains silly enough to have been born with a few extra melanin cells distributed throughout their epidermes (yes, that’s the plural of epidermis; I looked it up!) aren’t present there to rob the majority whites of their birthright privileges. The idea being, Hey, sure, let’s take care of our Norwegian sisteren and brethren; they look just like us!

Here in America, with all our diversity — and, yes, we’re the most diverse nation on the planet — whichever gang happens to have a stranglehold on a numerical plurality (read: whites) will have the ability to deny largesse to those gangs that don’t look like them-slash-scare them.

In other words, it’s easy for Norway to be so open-handed. It’s not for us.

Lotus Chatter

Did you miss yesterday’s Big Talk? The fairly-new exec. director of the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation, Tamara Loewenthal, joined me in the studio this week. With this year’s Lotus Fest (believe it or not, the 26th such iteration) set to kick off Thursday, September 26th, I thought it’d be the perfect time to find out how the Lotus folks do their thing. Believe me, it ain’t easy, from helping international acts get visas to feeding them while they’re here, Lotus staffers and vols go to heroic lengths to stage our town’s yearly signature event.

Here’s the link to yesterday’s podcast with Tamara.


Join me next week, Thursday, September 26th, at 5:30pm on WFHB, 91.3 FM for Big Talk with guest Hilary Fleck, collections manager for the Monroe County History Center. Fleck just scored a big grant to do research on and stage an exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in this holy land. Fleck’ll focus on the history of the women’s vote in this here county, which oughtta be a hoot.

Did you know, BTW, that this town’s first woman mayor was Mary Alice Dunlap, who was appointed to the post by the Bloomington city council in May, 1962. The previous mayor, Tom Lemon, had been tabbed by President John F. Kennedy to be postmaster for the Cincinnati area. When a mayor can’t or doesn’t finish out her/his term, the city council gets to pick a successor, meaning whichever party holds sway at that moment claims the seat. The city’s second female mayor, Tomi Allison, similarly gained office through a city council vote in 1983 when Frank McCloskey quit to become US Congressbeing from this district.

Dunlap ran for reelection in 1963 but lost to Republican Jack Hooker. Allison ran for election in 1983, ’87, and ’91 and won all three times.

The Monroe County History Center’s women’s vote exhibit will open some time next year, marking a century since the ratification of the 19th Amendment.


Hot Air: Thank Odin It’s Friggjar-dagr!

Separated At Birth?

A while ago (I’m too lazy to dig back and find out exactly when) I wrote something on the order of Marianne Williamson being the Democratic Party’s Donald Trump. Each is the negative image of the other. He represents all that’s kookiest about the Right, whereas she stands for all that’s most flaky on the Left.

Funhouse Mirror

Now, here’s the diff. between the two parties. Trump became the Republican candidate for president (and won the election on a technicality). Williamson has been weaned out of the Dem candidate pool already. You’ll note she was not invited to participate in last night’s debate. She was unable to poll well enough.

Hidden Messages

Another debate observation, but first I have to admit I never watch political debates, especially presidential candidate debates. They make me nervous. To be even more honest, all TV news-ish presentations make me nervous. It’s the nature of the medium I suppose:

Marshall McLuhan: The medium Is the message.

Anyway, I always follow the debate the next day, in the papers. That way I can muse on the ideas presented by the candidates rather be distracted by such Q’s as Who was more fidgety?, Who jabbed his finger most?, and Who “looked presidential”?, whatever in the goddamned hell that means.

I did a quick online scan this AM, covering social media, about a half dozen newspapers, some websites, and three or four TV outlets. Going solely by the headlines and pull quotes, I might conclude not one single debater last night brought up any policy issue at all, foreign or domestic. The debate, acc’d’g to that admittedly facile survey therefore, was about as relevant as the Wednesday dinner conversation among the members of a large, contentious family, none of whom wants to address the underlying issues that make them want to strangle half to three quarters of the others around the table.

Doing Good; Doing Well

In case you missed yesterday’s Big Talk, it was a compilation-type show. I cherry-picked six guests from the previous year, all of whom are involved in one kind or another volunteer/activist/advocacy organization. None of the chattering had been aired during the guests’ respective appearances on the weekly Big Talk, Thursdays at 5:30pm on WFHB, 91.3 FM.

Here’s the link to the podcast.

And here are pix of the six:

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Hot Air: Not So Fast

Keeping Up Appearances

First, my post about Mayor Hamilton’s bash this past weekend, decrying his use of a city-owned stage/reviewing stand plastered with Bloomington logos, elicited plenty of reaction. I’d say the response was fairly evenly split between people who think I was picking nits and those who feel the mayor would have been better off covering up city logos while he paraded his party’s candidates before attendees of his fifth annual Hamilton Family & Friends Picnic.

The candidates and the logo.

Geoff McKim provided us with a link to the City of Bloomington’s Event Permits & Mobile Stage Rental page. Anybody, apparently, can apply for and, within reason, expect to be able to use the mobile stage for an event.

So Hamilton wasn’t breaking any laws (not that I implied that) or committing any sin, mortal or venial. Bloomington’s chapter of Black Lives Matter can apply for and probably get to use the mobile stage and if someone gets around to photographing the group’s event, there’ll be the city’s logo, clear as can be. Said photo could then be taken to imply that the city endorsed whatever the event was. I suppose the KKK could also apply to use the mobile stage as well and, if they got it, wouldn’t that be a black eye for the city.

Simple solution: erase the city’s logo from the stage so that, in the future, anybody can use it and no one can be confused as to the city’s intentions. When the city wants to use the mobile stage for official events, simply attach to it banners emblazoned with the city logo.

So, was my post a nitpick? Perhaps. But optics is everything. Call my original post an optic-pick.

Ya Gotta Have Friends

You know what’s most remarkable about the Trump presidency? It’s the fact that any number of reprobates, bootlickers, lick-spittlers, numbskulls, fellow greed monkeys, villains, ogres, and general ne’er-do-wells have become something akin to heroic after leaving the employ of the man who fancies himself the Boss of America.

Anthony Scaramucci, for instance, prior to becoming — then un-becoming — Trump’s White House Director of Communications (read: squealer, as in Animal Farm) was as respectable as Chinatown‘s Noah Cross. Nicknamed, appropriately, The Mooch, he represents pretty much all that is distasteful and even downright dangerous about the Goldman Sachs outfit that, in league with several other syndicates, runs this holy land. Yet, when he was given the axe by the erstwhile lead character of “The Apprentice,” Scaramucci turned on his former capo with a vengeance, characterizing Trump as “horrific” and “despicable,” as if the poor naive lamb had no idea who the Stable Genius really was before taking a job under him. Nevertheless, Scaramucci suddenly became our pal once his Trump-disses aired over the last few weeks.

Then there were the likes of fixer Michael Cohen, inexplicable celebrity and token dark-skinned person Omarosa, and erstwhile segregationist Jeff Sessions, among others, who lambasted their ex-kingfish to one degree or another, either in books or during interviews with TV personalities. As each of them shredded Trump, our hearts became at least a little bit warmer toward them. After all, enemy of my enemy is my friend.

The latest fiend to become our friend is John Bolton, he of the itchy trigger finger. Bolton either quit or was fired yesterday because he basically wanted the president to, y’know, act like a president. Now he’s going public to characterize Li’l Duce as a liar and an impulsive lout, as if neither he nor we knew those things two days ago. Still, because Bolton’s bad-mouthing Trump, he’s becoming…, well, one of us.

Truth is, though, he isn’t one of us. Never was. Never will be. But as long as he’s teed off at President Gag, we’re coming thisclose to embracing him, even if we have take decontamination showers after doing so.

Not us, them.

With friends like these….

Is It Or Isn’t It?

The internet recently went a tad gaga over the breaking news that a couple of amateur researchers — just kids, really — have discovered a bacterium strain that can eat plastic and turn it into water. This is breathtaking news because our addiction to plastics has turned many of our planet’s open waters into so many dumps for the stuff. Turtles and birds and fish are being strangled by gazillions of six-pack rings that’ve found their way into the open sea. Huge islands of polymer are growing here and there. I read one story that said there’ll be more plastic in our oceans than fish by the year 2050, although the piece did not provide a link to any such research.

Which is a problem. I mean, in addition to plastic putting a chokehold on countless critters and fouling the blue expanses across the hemispheres. Like that prediction, much of the news we get about the environment is, quite frankly, full of shit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going all Trump on you (were that to happen, I implore someone out there to put me out of my — and the world’s — misery). Global warming and climate weirding are twin ills that promise to eff up the greater environment as well as human civilization over the next few decades unless some kind of miracle should occur. And the news that a couple of students just out of their teens have found a plastic-eating bacterium is indeed miraculous.

And, alas, probably not a thing.

Okay, background. Vancouver high schoolers Jenny Yao and Miranda Wang were futzing around in a lab and, apparently, bred the new strain. When stuffed to their gills w/ plastic, these new bacteria purportedly turn the stuff into water. How convenient! And fabulous!

Wang (L) & Yao

So fabulous that Yao & Wang won five science/entrepreneurship prizes from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a top-of-the-line business degree factory. The two were the youngest to win the Perlman Grand Prize of the 2016 Wharton Business Plan competition. They copped four other trophies or plaques or grants from the school for their discovery and subsequent creation of a business. They’re the co-founders of a Silicon Valley company called BioCellection, dedicated to plastic recycling.

If there’s anything the web-iverse loves it’s a deceptively simple solution to a gigantic problem. What could be more simple than pouring tankers-full of said bacteria into the ocean and watching them gobble up all the milk containers, McDonald’s straws, cell phone packaging, water bottles (don’t get me started on that scourge), peanut butter jars, innumerable Rubbermaid™ containers, and all the rest of the detritus our species has manufactured since the dawn of the Plastic Age (c. 1907).

It ain’t so. For any number of reasons, it would be impossible to turn the bacteria loose in, say, the great Pacific Ocean and thus wave bye-bye to all the plastic trash in it.

Yao & Wang are working feverishly to develop new plastic recycling technologies, though. As such they should be celebrated. But they’re not miracle workers — nobody is — and so, once again, the internet has missed the mark by a wide margin.

Me? When I first read the breathless posts acclaiming the so-called breakthrough, I immediately thought:

  1. This sounds way too simple
  2. Even if it works, there have to be unintended, unforeseen consequences

The next few years indeed should scare the bejesus out of us. When people are scared, they grasp at panaceas or the ravings of snake oil salesmen. Remember laetrile back in the late 1970s? Expect to read about many more internet shrieks of glee about this or that simple solution to the world’s pollution problems. Hell, I know social media posters who, if you read their rants long enough, seem to know the precise hour and minute civilization will crumble and all life on Earth will cease to exist due to climate change.

Some simple rules of thumb:

  1. There are precious few truths in this life
  2. Nobody can tell the future, especially when it comes to a complex, interconnected set of systems like the environment
  3. If it’s on the internet, take it with a grain of salt

More and more I’m coming to the conclusion that social media are good only for posting pix of your breakfast and cute poses you catch your cat in.

Hot Air: There I Go Again

I’ve already been lectured by a fairly high-ranking member of the John Hamilton administration for being too much of a smart-ass re: the man who runs this sprawling megalopolis.

Don’t all you wise guys, the lecturer snipped, realize being mayor is a hard job? It’s so easy, this person continued — not shaking a finger but, hell, they may as well have been — to snipe and throw bombs from the outside looking in?

I went home and said four Hail Mary’s and six Acts of Contrition as penance. My soul and conscience cleansed, I silently pledged to lay off the chief executive of Bloomington. By golly, I’d make these precincts a veritable safe room for man and his serious, hardworking crew.

A few social medium posts by Hamilton’s esteemed bride — whom he’s referred to as “the First Lady,” earning him my own finger-wagging herein — about his annual Hamilton Friends & Family Picnic has tempted me to commit venial sin once again.

First, scope these pix:

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I notice the stage for the Mayor and his fellow party office seekers is the city’s semi-trailer that serves as the reviewing stand for the Fourth of July parade and other official municipal events. The picnic, additionally, was held in Bryan Park, a public space for which, presumably, such elaborate events must be reserved and paid for (when necessary).

Dear me, I’m trying my damnedest to be a good Catholic (now where did I put that winking emoticon?) but the whole deal raises a few Q’s in my wise guy mind. To wit:

  1. Is the annual picnic a public event sponsored by the city, one family’s gala celebrating all of us in Bloomington, or a political event for the purpose of touting a particular party’s candidates?
  2. Why is city property (the semi-trailer) being used for what looks to any innocent eye as a pep rally for local Dems?
  3. Did Hamilton or the Monroe County Democratic Party pay for the use of the semi-trailer?
  4. Would the semi-trailer be available for use and/or rental for, say, an Andrew Guenther Friends & Family Picnic?
  5. Who paid for the set-up, resources usage (electricity, security, etc.), clean-up costs, and any other expenses incurred during the staging of the event?
  6. If either Mayor Hamilton or the Party ponied up for said costs, why were they allowed to use an item emblazoned with the city’s name and logo, essentially bestowing a government imprimatur upon the whole thing?

And 7. Does asking these questions make me a smart ass again?

Hot Air: Talk & Action

Quick Question

When Cory Booker looks in the mirror, does he see Bill Clinton?


Booker yesterday during CNN’s climate change town hall for the Democrats’ announced 2020 presidential candidates told the crowd that even though he’s a vegan, they should eat as much meat as they want. See, beef-on-the-hoof grazing is one of the top contributors to deforestation on this mad planet. Those fires in the Amazon rainforest? Clear-cutting for cattle ranching likely has made them much more the inferno than they might otherwise have been.

The message should be, Hey, knock off gorging on bovine steaks and roasts for ten seconds wouldja? I mean, we don’t have to ban red meat but, jeez, maybe we Americans can try to eat a stalk of celery every once in a while, just to save, y’know, the world. But no, Booker wants to show said world he can be all things to all people, just like his apparent role model.

That splitting-the-baby-in-half type of rhetoric certainly was a hallmark of the Clinton oratorical archive. And, considering the fact that Booker embraces more than a few things, as did Clinton, that make progressives feel uncomfortably itchy, well…, the comparison is apt, no?

In any case, should the unlikely occur and Booker gains his party’s 2020 nomination, I’ll more than happily vote for him over the Mussolini-lite that occupies the Oval Office today. I’d much rather verbally batter Booker over his venial sins than endure Li’l Duce‘s cardinal sins anymore.

Action Figures

We’re doing a dizzyingly quick turnaround on Big Talk this afternoon. Due to scheduling conflicts and unforeseen HIPAA issues, I’ll be recording today’s edition at 2:15pm at WFHB Tower, the world headquarters of the radio/online communications powerhouse that carries my hopefully-one-day award-winning program, editing and post-producing said interview, and shooting the resultant audio file over to hard-nosed new news director Kyrie Greenberg for airing at 5:30pm.


Oh yes, my guests. Two of them. They’ll be Tracey Hutchings-Goetz, community organizer for Hoosier Action, and Kassandra (Kass) Botts, interim exec director of the Indiana Recovery Alliance. The two groups are working together to defeat this state’s Medicaid work requirements.

Hutchings-Goetz (L) & Botts

You may recall Hoosier Action’s founder and current chief, Kate Hess Pace, appearing on Big Talk twice already, the first time back in August 2017 and again this past January. Since Kate’s first appearance on the program, she’s moved her base of operations to New Albany and brought on Hutchings-Goetz to handle business here in Bloomington. HA is a member-driven nonprofit that seeks to get people involved in legislative change and voter participation.

BTW: Ain’t that a stinging indictment of the electorate in this holy land? The fact that advocacy groups have to stand on their heads to get people to vote seems downright bizarre. I dunno about you, but I was chomping at the bit to vote in the years leading up to my eighteenth birthday and I don’t think I’ve missed an election since. If I have, it was entirely unavoidable. Other people, apparently, think it’s way too much effort to stand in line for thirteen minutes and then fill out a ballot indicating their preferences for the future of this locality/state/nation/world.

Anyway, HA’s got several new initiatives either ongoing or about to be. The Medicaid work requirement is just one. Hutchings-Goetz and Botts’ll fill listeners — and me — in on the rest of their respective organizations’ plans.

Here, in case you want some good background on the genesis and mission of HA, is the full length Big Talk featuring Hess Pace:

Big Talk airs every Thursday at 5:30pm on WFHB, 91.3 FM. The following Monday, we present an approximately-eight-minute feature called Big Talk Extra during the Daily Local News at 5pm. Listen Mondays for added conversation with the previous week’s guest. As always, if you miss Big Talk, come back here on Fridays (or whenever I get around to it) for a link to the podcast.

Hot Air: Women’s Places

Doug Storm, emeritus host and producer of WFHB’s Interchange, points out this piece in Jezebel, about a noted poet, an once-esteemed member of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop faculty, who was accused by numerous women of inappropriate behavior. His name is Thomas Sayers Ellis. He’d taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Case Western Reserve University. The author of the Jezebel piece, Jia Tolentino, called him “brilliant.”

Tolentino adds:

He’s charismatic and surprising, a protest poet, a real intellectual, unafraid to cause alarm. His style is enjambed, urgent, and rhythmically afire; in the late ‘80s, he founded the Dark Room Collective to promote writers of color, and he’s been known as an activist ever since.

In 2016, a number of anonymous women offered chilling testimony about Sayers Ellis’s sexual proclivities. Apparently, acc’d’g to several of these women, he likes to dominate, is into mild S&M, and has engaged in episodes of stalking and harassment.

After the accusations were published in VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Sayers Ellis was bounced from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Oddly, none of the so-called objective sources offering bios of him — Wikipedia, the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, the National Book Foundation, and more — raise a peep about the scandal that cost him his job. Only VIDA, The New Republic, and a website called The Rumpus seem to take the scandal seriously. The New Republic mentioned the Sayers Ellis situation in a report on an overall atmosphere of male misbehavior at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, calling it a “tradition [that] goes back a long way….

The New Republic piece even refers to the sainted Kurt Vonnegut telling incoming faculty that undergrads should be off limits but grad students were ripe, as it were, for the picking at Iowa.

Of Iowa, noted author Sandra Cisneros says of her time as a student there in The New Republic article: ““The teachers were completely fucked up.”

Both Tolentino’s and The New Republic’s pieces suggest men in artistic academia long have been grabby and entitled when it comes to trusting, naive young women sitting before them in classes.

The overall idea is writers and other artists who teach in higher education facilities across this holy land often are celebrities in their fields, honored and even adored by youthful, hopeful students who thus are prone to fall for their guy bullshit and get involved sexually or romantically (or both) with them or who find it extremely difficult to cope with the men’s bullying ways and pushy, oafish passes.

Being a guy, I can understand how the daily parade of young, attractive females in a college or university setting can make a middle-aged fellow think certain thoughts. And I’d suppose an honest, symmetrical relationship can indeed develop and even flourish between professor and student, as long as she’s of age. Yet too many of these old goats seem to want to till that fertile soil with their rusty old plows. And maybe they get off on being overbearing, power-wielding boors. Perhaps just getting down with a comely 23-year-old creative writing grad student isn’t enough; it could be that these would-be Cougats need to oppress and/or humiliate their prospective partners.

I mean, why in the hell else would a guy threaten a potential romantic/sexual partner with poor grades or lousy references? The sane among us realize such extortion rarely endears the object of one’s desire to one.

That power dynamic seems all too prevalent in all fields where men and women work together. And, sadly, too many of those fields have evolved a workplace paradigm wherein the only women who can get ahead, as a rule, are subservient, worshipful, and obsequious.

To wit: I’ve recently read a couple of books written by women who worked in anonymous-type jobs at the New Yorker. One, Between You & Me, by Mary Morris, is the author’s tale of working as a copy editor at the magazine. The other, The Receptionist, by Janet Groth, is a memoir covering the author’s stint in the title position there.

Maybe it’s just the New Yorker, but I doubt it. In any case, both authors gush about the males with whom they work to a point where I wanted to cringe. In fact, I wasn’t even able to finish either book because I found myself so put off by the slavish hosannaing of the authors vis-a-vis the deific men for whom they emended copy or took messages. Both women were — are — excellent writers but to hear them tell it, they could never, ever, ever, in this world or the next, begin to dream to approach the lordly men who, in their fetishistically humble opinions, were to the writer’s art as Einstein was to 20th Century physics or Jesus Christ to the Roman Catholic Church.

Before I tossed either book to the side, I continually wondered if any woman with a hair’s-width less idolatry of the strutting, pompous male asses with whom the two shared office air would have lasted a fraction as long as they did at the New Yorker.

Based on what I learned from both Morris and Groth, I’d have to guess the answer is no woman with a sense of self-worth and a full compliment of confidence would have lasted more than an hour and a half there.

Considering the revelations about workplace dynamics the last few years in every walk of life, I’d have to conclude further the average American — both male and female — expect women to dote upon the males with whom they work and to display, properly, a sense of inferiority to them.

Want more proof? In 2016 a woman stood up and said she wanted to be President of the United States. She said it loudly and in a deep, forceful voice. She didn’t ask for it. She said, flat out, I want it. For a nation that only twenty-some years before had seen its most notable woman, one nearest the locus of power, Nancy Reagan, gaze rapturously at her husband, the President, as if there could be no more delicious and achievable aspiration in this existence than to be a First Lady, Hillary Clinton’s ambition and refusal to play second fiddle must have been a kick in the balls.

Yeah, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. And yeah, there were 23 and a half other reasons why she came up short in the Electoral College tally, but surely up to tens of millions of votes against her were driven by the feeling that she didn;t know her damned place.

I’m guessing things’ll be different in 2020 should Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren or any other woman gain the Democratic nomination to run against the most lunkheaded creep ever to occupy the Oval Office since Andrew Jackson. It’s entirely possible Hillary Clinton had to take the bullet for all future female presidential candidates three years ago and now that the first one’s been put in her place, maybe we can look at the next one with a tad less terror.

Or maybe I’m just whistling past the graveyard. Time will tell.

Hot Air: Horror Show

Matt Tyrnauer did a bang-up documentary called “Studio 54” on the iconic, mid/late ’70s mecca for pathological narcissists. You can still catch it on Netflix — that is, if you can stand being repeatedly nauseated by the Me Gen’s horrifying excesses of money, drugs, sex, and self.

No lie, watching this thing’ll make you wonder, “What took the terrorists so long to strike?”

Funny thing is (as in not-so-funny), one of the partners in the Studio 54 descent into Dante’s Inferno, Ian Schrager, today is a successful boutique hotel developer, well-respected by those who judge people’s value only by how many millions they’ve made, proving once again that life is patently unfair.

Anyway, Tyrnauer, profiled in Sunday’s New York Times, watched “Studio 54” and kept seeing one name cited or referred to again and again. Roy Cohn. The young, ambitious, amoral attorney who helped Joe McCarthy try to turn these United States into the negative image of the Soviet Union grew up to rep mobsters, predatory capitalists, and Donald Trump. In fact, acc’d’g to Tyrnauer, Cohn essentially made Trump.

Joined at the hip.

With the 2016 election approaching, Tyrnauer couldn’t quite figure out why no one had made the definitive doc on Cohn, especially with his protege, Beelzebub Jr., in the race as the Republican candidate. Tyrnauer, though, like way, way, way too many of us, counted Trump’s candidacy as a fluke, that he’d be walloped by Hillary Clinton. Trump then’d go away like Y2K and the Symbionese Liberation Army. That being the case, no one would care about — nor would anybody finance — a movie on Trump’s dybbuk. But then…, you know what happened.

So now Tyrnauer has completed “Where My Roy Cohn?,” a doc to be released in theaters on September 20, and sure to be carried by one of the streaming services before the end of the year. I found this bit from the NYT profile fascinating:

In the documentary, Mr. Tyrnauer interviews one ex-lover of Mr. Cohn and three cousins, including the writer Anne Roiphe. They described Mr. Cohn’s mother, Dora Marcus, as a domineering woman who, when a maid in her employ dropped dead, stored the body under a serving table in the kitchen while she continued Passover dinner.

When Gary Marcus, a cousin, asked the first question of Passover, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Dora blurted out, “Because the maid is dead in the kitchen.”


So, I look forward to seeing this thing, considering I count Roy Cohn among the top American villains of the 20th Century, a list that includes the aforementioned McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, Fr. Coughlin, Henry Kissinger, and any and every Dixiecrat.

Here’s the kicker, straight from Tyrnauer’s mouth:

Roy Cohn did the impossible. He created a president from beyond the grave…. The basic lessons that Trump learned from Cohn were: Never apologize. If someone hits you, hit them back a thousand times harder. Any publicity is good publicity. And find an “other.”

That my friends, is the guy we elected president in 2016.


Tune in to the Daily Local News Tuesday at 5:00pm on WFHB, 91.3 FM for Big Talk Extra, the weekly feature including additional conversation from the previous week’s Big Talk. This week, I continue my chat with Courtney Payne-Taylor, founder of GRO (Girls Riders Organization), a nationwide women-in-sports empowerment advocate.

Payne-Taylor, winning the 2016 espnW/Toyota Everyday Heroes award.

And here’s the link to the podcast of the Thursday, August 29th, Big Talk with Payne-Taylor.

Hot Air: TalkLink

Hey, I invented a word!

What it means is you can click your way clear to hearing yesterday’s Big Talk featuring Courtney Payne-Taylor, skateboarder, motivator, and founder of GRO (Girls Riders Organization).

And here’s a vid from the GRO archives:

Hot Air: That One Thing

Many of us wish we had that one thing in our lives that made living worthwhile.

A vocation. A passion. A reason to wake up in the morning.

Some successful folks (really successful, in the I’m-reasonably-contented sense as opposed to phony successful as in I-own-a-lot-of-worthless-shit) usually find a way to fake it through life. Most of us find inspiration — or at least a reason not to swallow cyanide capsules — through our children and grandchildren. I know several people whose bodies are wracked with cancer yet still they hold on to life by their very fingernails because they couldn’t bear the idea of never seeing their progeny again.

Even those unlucky (or lucky) matriarchs and patriarchs must occasionally wonder how fabulous life would be had they discovered some intense devotion to…, what? Something. Some movement. Some idea.

Marie Curie had her radium. Joyce Carol Oates has her books. Greta Thunberg has her planet. Their lives were/are filled — sated, for chrissakes — by that one thing.

The thing that got them up in the morning.

Courtney Payne-Taylor has found her thing. It’s her skateboard. That one thing opened her life — her eyes — to a commitment to teach girls, young women, middle-aged women, and even old women how to keep their balance on the narrow, wheeled board. And how to pop back up when they inevitably fall. And how, in fact, to fall the right way.

The skateboard, Payne-Taylor has found, is the prefect metaphor for life itself.

The Bloomington GRO Crew (Payne-Taylor is in the red shirt).

So, she’s founded GRO (Girls Riders Organization). She actually spent years criss-crossing the country, solo, in her van, bringing skateboards to small towns and big ones, teaching girls and women — and, sure, boys and men, too — how to balance, how to fall, and how to balance again.

Payne-Taylor joins me on this week’s edition of Big Talk, today at 5:30pm, on WFHB, 91.3 FM.

She’s got plans, big plans, for Bloomington and the nation as she expands the reach and charge of GRO.

Join us to find out about her passion. And, if you miss it, come back here tomorrow for the link to the podcast of this week’s episode.

Hot Air: They’re Ba-a-a-a-ack!

The State Of Kate


Just putting the finishing touches on today’s Big Talk, featuring the Cardinal Stage Company‘s artistic director Kate Galvin.

She came to Bloomington just about two years ago by way of the vibrant theater scene in Philadelphia where she won awards for directing and a rep as a real musical theater comer.

The Cardinal’s 2019-20 season begins in precisely two weeks, on September 5th, with the opening of “The Great Gatsby” at the Ivy Tech Waldron Auditorium.

Tune in this afternoon at 5:30 for the Galvin chitchat on WFHB, 91.3 FM or come back here tomorrow for the link to the show’s podcats.

Quit Complaining

The students have moved back in, for the most part.

With Move-In Week just about in the rear view mirror, the complaint dept. doors have swung open so wide and with such vehemence that they’re about to turn into this:

BTW: I miss revolving doors, I don’t know precisely why. Maybe because it used to be so much fun watching people from Podunk, Iowa trying to navigate them.

Anyway, every second person you bump into in this town is carping about the traffic and the drivers who go the wrong way down one-way streets, and the New Jersey-ites with their massive, maybe even armored, tinted-windowed, black SUVs.

Here’s an example of how persistent the kvetching is: Last week, my beloved Cubs lost a gut-wrenching heart-breaker in the bottom of the ninth to the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the culmination of a stretch in which my erstwhile boys had soiled their undies time and again. I was so traumatized by the events of that final inning that I took to a social medium and posted “I hate them! I hate them! I hate them!” Most people caught the drift, knowing me and my obsession with the North Side nine, but one commenter replied, “Thought you meant the returning hordes of students!”

I don’t hate the students, primarily because they and the main campus of Indiana University itself make Bloomington what it is. It’s like saying the beach’d be a great place to laze around if it weren’t for all the water and sand. There are some things that, morally, you can’t complain about because you shoulda known when you:

  1. Moved there;
  2. Married them;
  3. Gorged on a sack of White Castles;
  4. Tried to squeeze your expanding backside into;
  5. Voted for when the whole rest of the goddamned world knew the guy was a talentless, crass, egomaniacal, megalomaniacal, borderline sociopath who lies only whenever he opens his detestable mouth.

Bloomington is a town full of lively coffeehouses, exciting theater companies, the rare independent bookstore, Lotus Fest, and Ross Gay. It’s one of the very few tiny islets of Blue in this crushingly Red state because of the +40,000 plus human beings who teach, study, cut classes, pontificate, bloviate, act, sing, write, dance, sculpt, paint, strum, blow, screech, and profess their undying love for humanity here.

You knew that when you moved to Bloomington.

You’re thrilled to tears in June and July when you can find a parking space and then get seated almost immediately at the Anatolia or Taste of India restaurants on 4th Street. Places like that don’t exist in, say, Martinsville. There’s a reason for that. Martinsville folk think Oreo’s rainbow cookies celebrating Pride Month will turn their sons and daughters into raving homosexuals. They’re afraid the cooks and bus staff at a place like Anatolia are secretly planning a second 9/11-type attack while preparing their scarily exotic dishes.

We embrace all that here because we’re the nine-months-of-the-year home to people from China, Kazakhstan, India, Niger, Seattle, and countless other strange lands. We tolerate single-sex couples occasionally ambling down Kirkwood Avenue holding hands because…, well, universities draw such a dizzyingly diverse mix of humanity. Hell, we even have our own local chapter of Black Lives Matters. (Note: There isn’t one in Martinsville.)

That, babies, is the whole package. Bloomington. Relaxed and nearly empty during the late spring and summer months, it gets packed in mid-August when its population, for all intents and purposes, doubles. If that didn’t happen annually, we’d be — sorry, gotta say it — Martinsville.

For a couple of decades I lived in what the real estate people like to call Wrigleyville in Chicago. When I moved there in 1984, I dug the idea of walking to the ballpark on any given day the mood struck me and copping a ducat for the baseball game. Of course, that was just about the time Wrigleyville along with Lansdowne Street outside Boston’s Fenway Park were just becoming the first “ballpark villages,” loci of overpriced restaurants and bars, music venues, boutiques, souvenir shops, cutesy furniture markets, and other such detritus attractive to young, urban professionals who flocked to the area, causing home prices and rents to skyrocket faster than the national debt under a Republican president.

Those folks (whom we used to refer to as Yuppies) shrieked loudest about the ungodly crowds milling around “their” neighborhood on game days. They formed groups and associations to fight every breath and motion of the baseball organization that made Wrigleyville or Fenway-Kenmore so desirable to them in the first place. Hell, they’d have been pleased as hell if the Cubs or the Red Sox suddenly decided to pull up stakes and move to Schaumburg or Foxborough.

No, you don’t get to carp and moan about crowds when you decide to move next door to a stadium.

Just as we in Bloomington don’t get to howl about how snarled traffic is for the three or four days of Move-In Week.

Sure, we can raise hell when over-served students deface storefronts or double- or triple-park on Walnut Street or act like horses’ asses toward waitstaffs, just as the denizens of Wrigleyville or Landsdowne Street can scream about people pissing in their gangways or bloodying each other in drunken fistfights on their front lawns.

But the crowds and the traffic come with the territory.

And the 40,000 Indiana University people are Bloomington.

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