Category Archives: Sheriff Jim Kennedy

Hot Air

Hard Work Doesn’t Pay

Running a racist society takes a lot of work. Hard work. You’ve got to hand it to the folks who’ve marginalized and demonized people who are brown, black, or even slightly tanned after the company picnic last weekend.

Hell, not only do they have to crush the hopes and dreams of an entire segment of the population, they have to keep them docile while they do it. Then times change and next thing they know they have to pretend they’d never intended to keep those people down. In fact, they must holler to high heaven that no one is so near and dear to them as (pick one) the red man, the black man, the brown man, the yellow man, or — if they’re trying to appear particularly open-minded — the woman of any dusky hue.

In any good, progressive society wherein the appearance (if not the reality) of racism is frowned upon, leaders must work overtime to assuage their consciences and convince the general pop. that — horrors! — de facto disenfranchisement is the last thing they’d want. Even if it is an article of faith among many leaders that a lot of dark people don’t particularly care to work.

Sometimes all that hard work can lead to unforeseen problems.

Take, for instance, that ugly child molestation ring authorities in the United Kingdom announced they’d cracked yesterday.

Allegedly, a group of men conspired to abduct, rape, beat, and traffic upwards of 1400 kids, some as young as 11, acc’d’g to an inquiry commissioned by the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. The men had been engaged in this pastime at least since 1997.

Prof. Alexis Jay, author of the inquiry’s report, wrote, “It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered.”

Alexis Jay

Prof. Jay Searches For The Words

Now you may ask how this gang got away with it for so long. After all, 1400 youngster gone missing might tend to raise an eyebrow or two even if the mass snatching took place over more than a decade and a half. The Rotherham report actually acknowledges that upper-level police officials and many elected officials had heard about the scheme but declined to take action for a variety of reasons including disbelief, institutional inertia, and indifference. (The report did not mention anything about officials partaking of the services of the ring so neither will I.)

One significant reason why authorities looked the other way as the men threatened kids with guns, forced them to watch rapes to intimidate them, and snatched their innocence from them was the fear of being labeled “racist.”


Yep. The men in the ring were described in the report as “Asian.” NPR reported yesterday they are Pakistanis. Here’s how the report explains things:

Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.

See, maintaining a veneer of kumbaya trumps a little child rape, you know. Families torn asunder, lives ruined, the standards of civilized society pissed upon with glee — none of these things were as pressing as the need to appear not racist.

No doubt the functionaries who turned a blind eye to this mess will be criticized, fired, perhaps even prosecuted. It’s a damned shame. Doesn’t anybody want to reward hard work anymore?

Please Police Me

It’s high time we realize we’ve got a bit of an unrecognized treasure here in Bloomington.

Doug Storm hosts a fab talk show called Interchange on WFHB radio. On it, he delves deeper into issues than any other ten gabfests put together. Take last night, for instance.

Storm corralled Monroe County Sheriff Jim Kennedy as well as University of Wisconsin-Whitewater sociology prof Greg Jeffers. The three (Storm incl.) hashed out what we want from the police , especially in light of the ongoing and decades-long militarization of local police forces. The Q., as Storm posed it, is Do we want officers of the law or of the peace?


Sheriff Kennedy

It’s not the first time Storm has tackled the eggshell issue of policing America. He has links to previous shows on his program webpage.

Go here to hear the program. And try to catch it live whenever you can.

Me, Yelling At Clouds

I’m going to pose a question here, one that I’ve been asking for a good decade or more. And still I haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer.

Who is everyone talking to on their cell phones?

This puzzlement first came to me when I’d be driving early in the morning back in Chi. around 2003 and 2004. I’d see scads of people yakking on their phones even though the sun had barely risen. I’d be behind a driver for a couple of miles on Pulaski Avenue, say, and all the while she’d be pressing her phone to her ear. Believe me, driving a couple of miles on Pulaski during morning rush hour can take anywhere from a day and a half to three weeks. Yet all that time, the driver ahead of me would be conversing.

With whom? About what?

And Why?

From "The Simpsons"

I loathe humanity in the morning. If I had my finger on the nuclear button a 7:45am, the Earth would be a burned-out cinder. Hell, if my mother’d called me that early in the morning to tell me she loved me and that I was the jewel among all her children, I’d have hung up on her.

Morning is for misanthropy and coffee, in that order.

Yet there people were, chit-chatting away.

And, then as now, they’d do it all day long.

Even after my coffee, my tolerance for my fellow humans only rises slightly.

There was a time when I imagined a lot of people with phones pressed to their ears while in their cars, walking down the street, waiting in line at the grocery, or while ordering lunch might be engaging in something wholesome and constructive — phone sex, perhaps. Husbands, wives, lovers of any sort, even those who hadn’t yet crossed the nudity threshold in their nascent affairs, all of them titillating each other via Verizon — that I could understand.

I’ve spent many an hour (back when I was a randy oats-sower) asking the person on the other end of the line what color nail polish she was wearing. The mind, mind you, is the most powerful sex organ any of us possesses.

Phone sex is so 1999, though. (Too bad, I might add.) The looks on people’s faces as they gab indicates nothing so scintillating as aural eroticism is going on.

Unless you’re talking a fellow neurosurgeon through a Novalis® Shaped Beam Surgery procedure on the brain of the President of the United States or you’re inducing tumescence of one sort or another in that special someone, what is so important that you must be on the phone all day long?

Beam Surgery

So, What Do I Do Next?

You should thank me for not asking about all those people texting.


The Pencil Today:


“Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (But who will guard the guards themselves?)” — Juvenal


So now Monroe County Auditor Amy Gerstman is facing another charge: She hasn’t been taking minutes at county meetings, as she’s required to do by state law.

This, of course, is on top of the charges that she used credit cards issued to her office for personal expenses like groceries, gifts, and even her kids’ private school tuitions. The county board voted to censure Gerstman yesterday.

The Soon-To-Be Ex-County Auditor?

Board members say Gerstman has been notably absent from board and committee meetings even though it’s her duty to record their proceedings. For her part Gerstman says she’s entitled to send a proxy to do that grunt work.

That would be fine if, say, Gerstman came down with the flu on the date of a meeting. But, if county board members are to be believed, this “flu” has lasted a long, long time.

I suppose we can’t blame Gerstman for not wanting to show her face at public meetings, considering the silly and embarrassing things she’s been doing with county dough. Admittedly, she has paid it all back but, as I cracked earlier, the bank robber who tries to return the sack of cash he took at gunpoint still is a bank robber.

Gerstman didn’t show up to work yesterday, indicating she may be contemplating doing the right thing. That’s resigning.

I mean, honestly, the woman is the auditor, for pity’s sake. Her job is to make sure the county’s money is being spent correctly. The Gerstman saga is the equivalent of learning that Sheriff Jim Kennedy runs a local crime syndicate.

And, BTW, Gerstman hasn’t been the only official who feels the county’s credit cards are really hers. Human Resources Director Rhonda Foster quit her post abruptly last week after it was learned she, too, had played fast and loose with county plastic. If not the flu, then something‘s going around the Showers Building.

The Ex-HR Chief

A regular county commissioners meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at City Hall at 9:00am. The smart move is for Gerstman to submit her resignation at the meeting and, perhaps, issue a heartfelt public apology at the same time.

We’re forgiving folks around here. We’re happy she’s paid back the money that she used for personal expenses. We hope she’s learned her lesson and will go on to thrive in the private business world.

But we know this: We don’t want Amy Gertsman watching our public funds anymore.


Yes, I realize I may be run out of town for this statement, but I’m glad somebody’s giving Indiana University a pile of cash for something other than a sports cathedral.

Kelley School of Business Dean Dan Smith and IU President Michael McRobbie are patting each other on the back for scoring a $33M grant from the Lilly Endowment for an expansion and renovation project. Kelley’s undergrad factory will gain an additional 71,000 square feet and will be decked out with all the latest hi-tech gadgets by 2015.

Excessively Straight-Backed Biz Students Watch Vid Screens In Their New Digs

That thirty-three large will be thrown in with some $27M already collected from alumni and other donors to round out the planned $60M job. The Lilly grant is the largest the Kelley has ever received as well as one of the biggest in the university’s history.

Smith says: “The new facilities will allow the school to more fully execute an experiential learning approach to business education.” I think he means the new plant will make Kelley students smarter.

Which I’ve always thought was the aim of a major university. Or even a minor one, for that matter.

See, I only arrived on the scene a couple of years ago. Native Bloomingtonians may be used to it, but I was shocked at the size and scope of IU’s sports facilities. And the area’s deep-pocketed usual suspects, like the late Bill Cook and the still-kicking John Mellencamp, seem always to be donating bread for another towering, sprawling gym or shower room.

How clean do our “student-athletes” need to be after a workout?


WFHB Music Director Jim Manion dropped by the Book Corner yesterday. He’s still crowing about his daughter Riley’s nomination to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in December.

They say pride is one of the deadly sins but when a guy is walking on air because his daughter has been named to one of the most prestigious academic societies on the planet, well, that ain’t no sin, baby.

Riley (l) And Jim Manion

The Pencil extends its warmest congrats to Riley and Jim.


Barrett Strong‘s “Money…” can be considered the granddaddy of all Motown hits. Start-up record impresario Berry Gordy, Jr. released the 45 in 1959 under his Tamla label and it became a hit in early 1960. Its success spurred Gordy to incorporate under the Motown banner that spring.

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