Category Archives: Texas

Hot Air

Hell-ary

I didn’t watch last night’s Democratic candidates debate but I understand Hillary insisted it be conducted in Afrikaans. Yet another craven attempt to sabotage Bernie Sanders, whom the vast majority of America prefers and who holds a triple digit lead over her.

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Clinton: “Ons sal julle vermorsel!”

Like It Is

On a serious note, for all the bluster about which candidate speaks her or his mind and which one will dare to utter one or another truth, it was Martin O’Malley last night who was bold enough to say what the sane among us know:

What our nation needs right now is to realize that, while we face a terrible danger, we also face a different sort of political danger. And that is the danger that democracies find themselves susceptible to when unscrupulous leaders try to turn us upon each other.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during a roundtable interview in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, the first day of the 2014 legislative session. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

O’Malley (AP/Patrick Semansky)

We will rise to the challenge of ISIS and we will rise together to the challenges that we face in our economy. But we will only do so if we hold true to the values and the freedoms that unite us, which means we must never surrender them to terrorists, must never surrender our American values to racists, must never surrender to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.

Unscrupulous, racist, fascist, and a billionaire with a big mouth. Yeah, that’s pretty much a capsule summary of Donald Trump. And, hell — let’s take the gloves all the way off — he’s a terrorist, too.

Another Brown Bomber

Are you freaking kidding me? Yet another brown boy has been busted in Texas for the heinous crime of carrying something that some fever-delerious pack of scared bunnies thought was a bomb.

Yep. Last weekend, a 12-year-old kid named Armaan Singh Sarai was held in juvenile detention for three days in Fort Worth because some white boy miscreant told the schoolteacher he was going to bomb the school.

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Ka-Boom!

The teacher reacted — oh-so-reasonably, natch — by immediately calling the cops, who came to the school, took Sarai in, and locked him up from Friday through Monday. All on the say-so of some adolescent dickhead. Sarai’s parents, BTW, were not told of his whereabouts while he cooled his heels in stir.

It turns out Sarai has a backpack with a solar panel on it so he can charge his electronic device while carrying it. A dopey-assed clown in his class pointed it out to Sarai and told him he was gonna tell the teach it was a bomb. Sarai laughed and the dopey-assed kid laughed. But, mirabile dictu, the dopey-assed kid dropped a dime on Sarai anyway and paranoiac psychosis ensued.

The whole damned incident could have been no-harm, no-foul, except Sarai was incarcerated for the entire weekend and — get this! — he is suspended from school, must wear an ankle monitor, and still faces unspecified criminal charges.

No mention is made of the teacher, the cops, or any sane authority figure simply eyeballing the solar panel backpack and, once establishing it was not an weapon of mass destruction, kicking the class clown in his white-boy ass.

Kicking kids in the ass is forbidden in schools these days.

Putting them behind bars — especially when their melanin level is more elevated than the average Cauc. kid’s — ain’t.

‘Specially in the Lone Star State. Do us all a favor, Tex: Secede.

Wissing Well

A quick update: Doug Wissing’s new book, IN Writing: Uncovering the Unexpected Hoosier State, is flat-out flying off the shelves at the Book Corner. Grab it while you can, kiddies.

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Douglas A. Wissing

Your Daily Hot Air

Bureaucrats’ Big Night

So, the great state o’Texas whacked yet another prisoner last night.

Texas, home of many, many, many fiercely proud, independence-minded, anti-government types, has killed more than 500 people since the death penalty was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1976. Today, some 298 prisoners languish on death row in Texas prisons.

The guy who took the collar last night was a Mexican national. Few people would suggest he didn’t pump three slugs into the skull of a cop who’d arrested him after a drunken brawl in 1994. The only real controversy in the case was why Texas prosecutors denied him the opportunity to get legal help from the Mexican consulate.

Texas long has been known as the execution king of this holy land. Them good ol’ boys sure love to tie nooses, aim rifles at people’s hearts, or watch with glee as doctors inject lethal drugs into people’s arms.

Death Chamber

Your Room Is Ready, Sir

Which is really ironic since everybody involved in a state-sponsored execution is…, well, an employee of one government or another. Papers must be shuffled, reams and reams of them. Food must be served to death row inmates. Their medical needs must be taken care of. Arrangements must be made, deadly drugs procured, and undertakers must be called.

All done by bureaucrats. From the time a suspected capital criminal is hauled in to the time he or she is separated from this vale, payrollers from the city, the county, the state, and, eventually, the federal government* get involved.

[*Capital punishment cases almost invariably are reviewed by the US Supreme Court.]

Funny that Texans — who are well-known to be suspicious of government-run health care, are petrified that the government has a secret plan to seize citizens’ shootin’ irons, absolutely loathe the fact the tax moneys are spent on food, education, and housing assistance, and, in general, fervently wish all governments would simply disappear from the face of the Earth — depend so passionately on bureaucrats and operatives paid for with our precious tax dollars to carry out state-sponsored homicide.

Texas, babies, is a weird country.

Cabin Fever

I will brook no argument against the following pronouncement:

This has been the worst winter I’ve experienced since The Loved One and I left Chi. in March, 2007.

Bloomington Winter

Kirkwood Avenue (Herald Times/Jeremy Hogan photo)

One of the reasons I was convinced to leave that November-through-March hell was the prospect that I wouldn’t have to endure sub-zero temps and crushingly gray January days.

I’d always said that if my beloved former hometown didn’t have depressing, dangerous, often fatal winters, its population would at least double and possibly triple.

There’s nothing in the world like a late spring morning walk along Chicago’s lakefront. The waves lapping the shoreline, the sun rising over the distant watery horizon, the spectacular skyline opposite — why, it’s a slice of heaven. There are, I might reasonably estimate, two, perhaps three, such days to be had in each Chicago year.

So, my two years in Louisville followed by four mild winters here in Bloomington have convinced me we made the right move. Until now.

B-town, you’ve got a lot of making up to do.

Big Science

Natasha Mura will talk about the Science of Obesity at the next session of the Bloomington Science Cafe, Wednesday, January 29th, 6:30pm, at the Root Cellar Lounge, underneath Farm Bloomington.

Science Cafe czar Alex Straiker sez Mura  is “quite passionate” about obesity. Odd that: she’s as thin as a rail. I probably could fit three of her into a single pair of my billowy dungarees.

Bloomington Science Cafe People

The Science Cafe Gang*

In any case, I’ll be dropping by the Root Cellar to find out the scientific reason why I warp the floorboards. I hope to see you there, too.

[* (l to r) Jim Wager-Miller, Alex Straiker, Natasha Mura, and Marta Shocket.]

Much Appreciated

Thanks to everybody who has extended warm wishes and support as my family and I facilitate my mother’s journey out of this mortal coil.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” — Ann Richards

THOMPSON AND KEATON

What a blast in Bloomington tonight!

British songwriter, guitarist, and all-around good guy Richard Thompson plays the Buskirk Chumley Theater at 8pm. And if you’re a film buff, hie over to the IU’s Jacobs School of Music, Auer Hall, also at 8, for a showing of Buster Keaton‘s comedy, “Spite Marriage.” John D. Schwandt will accompany the silent movie on organ.

Bloomington Tuesday Night Stars: Thompson & Keaton

By the way, the tall Thompson (he can give our own Tall Steve Volan a run for his money) came into the Book Corner yesterday. I was fairly busy at the time so I hadn’t taken notice of the celeb in my midst. Only when I ran his credit card did it occur to me that, holy smoke, it’s Richard Thompson!

I showered him with fan praise and — whaddya know? — Thompson showered the Book Corner with his own plaudits.

If you’ve got tix for his gig, you’re in for a big treat.

THE STRIKE: DAY 9

Fingers crossed that Chicago’s teachers approve the proposed deal with the school board this afternoon.

If done, classes will resume tomorrow. If not, the howling from the anti-unionists will become deafening.

Bosses: The School Board’s David Vitale & The Union’s Karen Lewis

The idea is starting to filter out that much of the teachers’ quibble stems from their rigid opposition to the trend toward privatization, not only in Chi but around the nation.

Just a reminder to those who dig privatization: we call them public schools for a reason.

NOT SILVER-TONGUED

Quick question: Is Willard Romney on the payroll of the Barack Obama reelection campaign?

I mean, the guy is running for president, sure, but if he sabotaged himself any more we’d have to grant him honorary membership in the Bluth family of “Arrested Development.”

Mitt Romney Would Fit In Nicely Between George And Lindsay Bluth

Romney washed his hands of responsibility for half the nation at a Boca Raton fundraiser in the spring. He characterized that half as tax non-payers, bums, gold-diggers, and welfare queens. Someone had sneaked a video camera in and caught him in the act.

See, that’s the way Republicans today look at the people of this holy land. The POG had better jump down off its high horse soon or else they’ll be losing a lot more races.

Anyway, Romney’s big mouth makes me think of that great quote (at the top of this column) delivered by Texan Ann Richards at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. She was referring to another patrician Republican running for president at the time, George H.W. Bush.

Somehow Richards became the Texas governor in 1991. How a plain-speaking, unabashedly liberal, feisty female could grab the reins in that antediluvian state is beyond explanation. The Pan troglodytes of Texas came to their senses four years later when they threw her out of office in favor of — oh, my aching head! — George W. Bush.

Had Ann Richards been a pol in, say Illinois, Pennsylvania, or even Nebraska, she just might have become president herself.

NEW SAN ANTONIO ROSE

Here’s a pretty good quality recording of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys‘ 1940s Texas Swing hit.

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