Category Archives: Sheila Kennedy

Hot Air: Literally

Smart Woman

Here’s a good gag from my old Whole Foods Market pal, David Staples:

Science professor: “Does everyone here know what Watson and Crick discovered?

Voice from the back of the hall: “Yeah, Rosalind Franklin‘s notes!”

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Unsolicited Advice

Personal to Hillary: As long as you’ve demonstrated the ability to wear a variety of political cloaks depending on how strongly the wind is blowing, you’d better don the very liberal/progressive raiment ol’ Bernie’s pushing you toward. Y’know, the one the Republicans have been accusing you and your husband of wrapping yourselves in ever since you came out of Arkansas? The one, BTW, you’ve never really worn despite what the Far Right imagines.

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Look Left

America’s Shart, Donald Trump, has the angry white guy vote all wrapped up. Now, you’ve got to nail down the angry everybody else vote. And there’s getting to be a lot more of everybody else than there are of angry white guys.

It’s just simple math.

Bernie’s Gotta Build, Redux

Sheila Kennedy, who’s one of the smartest folks around, writes today, citing the opinion of Ed Brayton, about how Bernie ought to start building up his movement, as opposed to focusing solely on gaining the Dem nom — which he’s not going to get.

Now I realize Bernie Nation is going to have apoplexy when they read what I’ve just typed (the he’s not going to get part) but that’s okay. It’s clear these days Bernie’s most rabid fans like having apoplexy. In any case, she writes the same thing I did yesterday in these precincts.

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Kennedy

Kennedy calls herself a Republican, although I have no idea why. She positions herself a tad to the left of Hillary. I suppose she’s holding fast to the notion that there have to be at least two teams going strong in this holy land and she’s going to do her level best, as an IUPUI Law and Policy professor and respected observer of the political landscape, to keep the dual party concept going.

I read SK’s blog posts every day and so should you. And thanks to Susan Sandberg for turning me on to her.

Journalism Royalty

How very cool! Historian Rick Perlstein will interview legendary journalist Seymour Hersh at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chi., Saturday, June 11th.

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Hersh

Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre and cover-up story back in 1969, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He’s written scads of books tearing the covers off the lousy tricks our gov’t likes to pull. For his part, Perlstein has written a thoroughly engaging series of books on the birth and growth of the modern conservative movement that began with the national ascendancy of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and has resulted in the rise of you-know-who, America’s Shart, today.

The PRLF has been going strong for 32 years as a street fest for the hyper-literate. Over the years, notable and fascinating authors from Augusten Burroughs and Chuck Palahniuk to Rick Bayless have appeared for panel discussions and readings at the event, formerly known as the Printers Row Book Fair. Each year hundreds of antiquarian and rare booksellers as well as publishing industry types and independent authors set up tables and booths on a five-block tract just south of Congress Street. Printers Row is an historic old Chi. district that used to be the center of the nation’s printing industry. It’s towering, elephantine old structures were built super-strong to bear the load of thousands of rotogravure machines and multi-ton rolls of paper. Now the buildings have been transformed into chi-chi apartments and condos for the new urban middle class. And, it being Chicago, there’s loads of food to be eaten at the fest.

Among the big names scheduled to appear this year:

  • Buzz Aldrin — The second human to walk on the moon and author of Magnificent Desolation and No Dream Is Too High
  • Sidney Blumenthal — Senior advisor to Bill Clinton and author of The Clinton Wars and The Permanent Campaign
  • Amy Goodman — Journalist, co-host of Democracy Now!
  • Ethan Hawke — Screen actor and director who dabbles in writing
  • Steve Inskeep — NPR Morning Editon co-host and author of Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
  • Sebastian Junger — Author of  The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea  and War; directed the documentary film Restrepo
  • David Maraniss — Pulitzer Prize winner and author of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton and When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi
  • Terry McMillanWaiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Getting to Happy
  • Ruth Reichl — The last editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and best-selling cooking writer
  • Marilynne RobinsonHousekeeping, Gilead, Home, Lila
  • R.L. StineGoosebumps and other children’s series
  • Vu TranDragonfish: A Novel
  • Andi Zeisler — Co-founder of Bitch magazine

If you dig books and street fairs take in the PRLF.

May 5th Birthdays

Søren Kierkegaard — Danish philosopher and notorious buzz-killer

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Karl Marx — The original Marxist

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Nellie Bly — Muckraking journalist born Elizabeth Seaman, exposed harsh conditions in mental institutions

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James Beard — Bestselling cookbook author specializing in American cuisine

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Leo Ryan — Member of the US House from California, was killed by Jim Jones’s People’s Temple cult in Guyana in 1978

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Sylvia Fedoruk — Physicist specializing in cancer treatment, politician, and member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

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Tammy Wynette — The First Lady of Country Music, sang “Stand By Your Man”

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Michael Palin — Member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and author

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Adele — Chanteuse

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Hot Air

Money For Nothin’

Try as I might, I can’t seem to find a Las Vegas over/under line on when the first Article of Impeachment against Barack Obama will be passed by a House committee.

Inpeach

You know it’s coming as well as I do. I just want to get my smart money down on it now.

A Good Woman For The Job

Congrats to Efrat Feferman on her promotion to Assistant Director in charge of finance over at Pat Murphy’s City of Bloomington Utilities Dept.

Feferman

Feferman

With Efrat keeping an eye on the operation’s checkbook don’t expect anybody to get away with purchasing $100,000 oriental rugs for their offices or solid gold sinks for the exec. washroom. She started off in the accounting department when she first went to work for Utilities some years ago and has been handling Utilities Board relations of late. Her new gig begins Dec. 1st.

Brrrrrr…, GRRRRR!

Hey Bloomington, WTF? I left Chicago to get away from this kind of weather!

Frost

Just in case you’ve forgotten, the official start of winter is more than a month away.

Self Abuse

You know those ridiculous “ear plugs” — AKA “lobe gauging,” or “tribal piercing” — where people, mostly guys, get their earlobes punched out and stretched by inserting cylindrical thingies into them? Well, a number of people who’ve had it done are now regretting their decisions. Duh.

Cosmetic surgeons in Great Britain say trade in earlobe repair due to this misguided mutilation is robust. And even though Brits report more gauging ruers than their American counterparts, plastic surgeons here have noticed an uptick in the procedure as well.

So far, the only thing docs can do is slice the saggy, droopy lobe loop off and refashion the remaining flesh to look somewhat natural.

Lobe Loop

Loopy

My back office at Soma Coffee affords me ample opportunity to see guys with ear plugs. They don’t put me off my feed as much as they once did, familiarity breeding numbness, as it were. I do remember a guy who took the gauging thing to a whole new level of bizarre. One of my old coffeehouse hangout/back offices was called Bic’s Hardware Cafe on Halsted Street down by 18th Street in Chi.’s East Pilsen neighborhood. A fellow who came in to the place on occasion not only had ear plugs but his loops were so big you could have fired a gun though them and still missed hitting him in the head. He’d looped the septum of his nose as well. He was, I’d suppose, a gauging savant.

So much so, in fact, that he’d actually had his ankles looped. Yep. Here’s how it worked: He’d pierced the skin and flesh between his Achilles tendons and his lower leg bones. Somehow — perhaps surgically — he’d had the apertures looped so that you could actually see the space, perhaps an inch or so, between sinew and bone. Natch, he had a cylindrical bangle dangling from each hole.

Ankle Hole Location

I was wearing a hat the first time I saw him; it popped up the top of my head.

Now, defenders may say these gaugers have a right to do whatever they wish with their bodies and I guess that’s true. On the other hand, it’s like a developer building the ugliest skyscraper in the skyline. It’s an imposition on the senses and sensibilities of the rest of us. Just as I’m forced to have my eyes violated by the architectural monstrosity below, the man at Bic’s Hardware Cafe forced me to view the gap between his Achilles tendons and tibiae.

Grand Lisboa

The Grand Lisboa Hotel In Macau

Love & Hate

My pal Susan Sandberg has a dame crush on IUPUI prof and blogger Sheila Kennedy. Not to be outdone, I have a guy crush on Chicago Sun-Times columnist and blogger Neil Steinberg. Of course, you would know this if you’ve visited these precincts the last…, what is it now — two and a half years? Yeah, that’s it. I left The Third City in August 2011, circumnavigated the globe as a merchant marine for six months and then started up this communications colossus.

Anyways, Steinberg thinks much like I do, meaning he’s sensitive, intelligent, rational, and right. He pointed out yesterday a bumper sticker he saw on an SUV in a northwest suburban restaurant parking lot. It read GTFO.

The O was Barack Obama’s old campaign logo. Meaning the prez of this holy land should Get the Fuck Out. Which, I suppose, might disappoint in some slight way the plurality of voters who twice elected him to park his wingtips on a desk in the Oval Office.

Steinberg went on to muse about people who are so madly in hate with Obama. In the process of which, he pointed out that there’s a whole cottage industry of products, services, and miscellaneous shit revolving around said hatred and the countdown to that sacred day when the current C-in-C leaves office, January 20, 2017.

(As an aside, my guess is they won’t be happy that day either as the next president — a human being with a vagina — takes office. Then again, the entrepreneurial spirit being what it is, a whole slew of new products, services, and miscellaneous shit will come to market counting down the days until January 20, 2021.)

So, I figured I’d embark on an interwebs reconnaissance mission to search for things similar to that GTFO bumper sticker (as Steinberg himself did; although he did not itemize his findings.) Here’s what I’ve found:

More Bumper Stickers

Bumper Sticker

Bumper Sticker

Bumper Sticker

Emphatic

Bumper Sticker

I Must Be a Double Asshole!

Bumper Sticker

Naw — This Isn’t Racist One Eensy Bit!

Bumper Sticker

Huh?

Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clock

Countdown Clock

T-Shirt

T-Shirt

Simple & Elegant

Mints

Mints

 

For That Bad Taste In Your Mouth

Toilet Paper

Bumper Sticker

Toilet Paper

These last two are fascinating. Imagine, every time a guy goes into his bathroom — even if it’s only to wash his hands — he sees the face of Barack Obama staring at him. How much hate does one have to have in one’s heart to want to see the object of his odium every time he brushes his teeth, clips his toenails, or drops a deuce? The bathroom, in my world, is the second most important room in the house. I desire peace, tranquility, surfaces free of muck and mire, a clean towel or two, and some comforting reading material in that special place. Anything that might roil my blood would be taboo. Then again, perhaps I don’t hate enough.

Presumably, all the people who buy and display these tchotchkes would profess they’ll be happy — deliriously so — when Barack Obama leaves office. I get the feeling, though, that they’re never happy.

Hot Air

The Right’s Mr. Right

Sheila Kennedy is one of those precious few Republicans who make a pile of sense. It follows, then, that she wastes few opportunities to lambaste her GOP sisteren and brethren for their most egregious examples of stupidity. And there have been plenty of those in the last few decades. Plenty.

Tuesday, she took on the Right’s recent surreptitious fling with Vlad Putin, the bare-chested strongman of Russia. They dig him the most, preferring him to that scrawny Kenyan, the current phony Prez of the US. Natch, they won’t admit their infatuation with a Russkie but, believe me, he’s Mr. Right for the Right.

Putin

Russo-Romeo

A little bit of self-back patting here. I radar-ed the Right’s googly eyes for Vlad months ago — months, I tell you! See here and here.

As for Kennedy, she’s a professor in the School for Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI as well as director there of the Center for Civic Literacy. She puts out a daily blog in which she tells humanity what’s what. In fact, Kennedy’s like a bizarro-world image of me: she’s a woman — I’m not, (ICYDK); she’s a college prof; I’m a college dropout; she’s a Republican — I’m Democrat(-ish). Our similarities, though, outweigh those contrasts: We’re both keyboard clackers, we both have a compulsion to tell the world what we think, and, because we agree on so much, we’re both fabulous intellectuals. (Obvious, no?)

Anyway, start reading her blog daily (after reading mine.)

[h/t to Susan Sandberg.]

No Wed In NOLA

Well, the same-sex freight train was slowed down a tad yesterday, what with a court ruling that Louisiana’s ban on it is cool.

Funny, isn’t it? When wits and wags try to speculate which state will be the last to okay SSM, they usually guess Mississippi. So, natch, the first state in the last 20 that has had its ban blessed by a court is right next door.

An even funnier thing: Notice how the anti-SSM gang is huzzah-ing the ruling as a triumph for “state’s rights”? The state’s rights argument is used by people who pretty much don’t dig any part of the US Constitution except the good ol’ 2nd Amendment. Most of those same folks believe a state’s right to deny rights to individuals and couples is paramount.

Wallace

George Wallace At The Schoolhouse Door

Sometimes I even wonder if A. Lincoln did the right thing by forcing the South to stay in the Union.

When The Lie Becomes The Truth

How about this from the Columbia Journalism Review? The media watchdog yesterday reported that an Indiana University study called “Truthy” has been savaged by Fox News-heads of late. Truthy is a long-term look into how info spreads on social media, specifically Twitter. One of Truthy’s areas of concern is the viral spread of false information.

From "Pinocchio"

Disney’s “Pinocchio”

Truthy’s been at it for three years now. The project’s report page is chock-full of revelations about how facts and lies are disseminated throughout society. Ironically, Truthy itself is now the object of a disinformation campaign, the likes of which can serve as a textbook example of precisely what Truthy’s looking into.

Not terribly long ago, one small publication carried an article that Truthy was responsible for helping the federal government create a database of its domestic enemies under the guise of tracking hate speech. In other words, Truthy was acting in concert with authorities to carry out a fascist plot. Well, this kind of thing is red meat to the wingnut Right so — wouldn’t you know it? — people Tweeted it like mad and then everyone from the Libertarian Reason magazine to the evil brietbart.com jumped on the story.

The thinking seemed to go Obama’s a fascist? Of course! The Truthy story has to be true!

Tens of thousands of Tweets became tens of thousands more and then even more conservative-leaning media outlets picked up on the story until, finally, Fox News harrumphed over it on several of its programs.

The only problem was the story was entirely untrue.

The whole incident perfectly illustrates one of Truthy’s findings: That after a certain tipping point, misinformation is repeated so often on Twitter and the like that news outlets begin treating it as fact.

The researchers leading the Truthy project couldn’t have fabricated a more appropriate example to illustrate one of its points.

[h/t to Rea (last name withheld.)]

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