Category Archives: US Constitution

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“We have the best government that money can buy.” — Mark Twain

MONEY TALK

Those on my side of the fence seem giddy that the plutocrats who sank hundreds of millions of dollars into last Tuesday’s election pretty much threw their dough away.

Mitt Romney and a host of Republican and Tea Party candidates who were bankrolled by the likes of Karl Rove’s SuperPAC, Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch Boys went down to defeat. Oh sure, there were some GOP victors but if I’m a big-bucks big shot and I’ve invested a seven- or eight-figure sum in the contest, I want a clean sweep.

Adelson Tried To Buy A Government

The titanic cash outlays were largely a result, of course, of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Prior to the election about the only thing more terrifying to Dems and Progressives than a Romney presidency was the specter of corporate cash determining our elections forevermore.

I haven’t heard the words Citizens United or corporate contributions in the week since November 6th. You’d think that just because Dems looked good this election cycle that the problem of corporate financing has simply disappeared.

Not so.

If I know the moneyed cabal the way I think I do, they’ll be refining their strategies and, for all we know, becoming much more adept at buying the government of their choice.

I don’t know precisely how Rove et al will re-jigger their expenditures. Then again, I don’t know precisely how safecrackers do their thing. I only know that when they’re finished doing their jobs, the safe is empty.

The Kochs: Working On Plan B

Admittedly, the American political system virtually from the start has been protected from greedy, flinty-eyed corporatists by something far less secure than one of those cheap safes you can buy at Target. In fact, the plutocracy has more or less jangled the keys to the safe from its own belt since the Industrial Revolution took hold here — and that was only a few short years after the gang that wrote the US Constitution decided to begin it with the words “We the people….”

So don’t forget about Citizens United. This past election wasn’t its death knell but perhaps its birth slap.

YOUNG IS OLD

Speaking of the Constitution, those of us of a certain age can recall our history teachers always raving about how the United States was just a babe among the nations of the world. This whole democracy thing, they’d bleat, was a brand-spanking new take on the concept of government.

I don’t know why it was so important to position this holy land as a neophyte on the planet. Perhaps our cheerleader teachers wanted us to think of the US as the avant garde that would move the world into the glorious future of the 1980s.

Television In Our Glorious Future

But I came across an interesting factoid several times while googling the Constitution. This assertion is repeated time and again and, to the best of my knowledge, is true: The United States Constitution is the oldest national charter on Earth.

In other words, our nation is a geezer. It has been for many years. And it was even as our history teachers were telling us it was young.

Just another example of why high school graduates should promptly erase from their minds the lessons their history and civics teachers taught them.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

MUSIC ◗ Rachael’s CafeOpen mic; 5-7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallMaster’s Recital: Burke Anderson on horn; 5pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallArtist Diploma/Doctoral Chamber Music Recital: Eun Young Seo on piano and Jae Choi on cello; 5pm

ART ◗ The Venue Fine Art & Gifts — “The Artistry of the Great Scott,” By Scott Weingart; 5:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ Lake Monroe, Fairfax SRAStar gaze with the IU Astronomy Club, Telescopes set up at Check Station Field; 6-7:30pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money Series: Investing in Your Future, Long-Term Savings; 7pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Ballantine Hall50 Years On: Meeting the Beatles, What They Mena and Why They Matter,” Presented by Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone; 7pm

ROUNDTABLE ◗ Monroe County History CenterCivil War: Confederates Raid Newburgh, Indiana; 7-9pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryOrganize and Revitalize Your Book Club; 7pm

LECTURE ◗ Brown County Public Library, Nashville — “TC Steele and the Hoosier Group,” Presented by Rachel Berenson Perry; 7-9pm

DISCUSSION ◗ Monroe County Public Library — “Trans-Pacific Partnership: NAFTA on Steroids,” Sponsored by the Women’s Int’l League for Peace and Freedom, Southern Indiana Branch; 7-8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoJeff Isaac Trio; 7:30pm

GAMES ◗ The Root Cellar at Farm BloomingtonTeam trivia; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubBlues Jam, Hosted by King Bee & the Stingers; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Rachael’s CafeZumba Night/Salsa Night; 8-10:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts CenterSymphonic Band & Concert Band, Jeffery Gershman & Eric Smedley, conductors; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallGuest Ensemble: Génération Harmonique; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopJames McMurtry, Otto Mobile; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdHalfway Kooks; 9pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits through December 1st:

  • “Essentially Human,” By William Fillmore
  • “Two Sides to Every Story,” By Barry Barnes
  • “Horizons in Pencil and Wax,” By Carol Myers

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits through November 16th:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf
  • Small Is Big

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits through December 20th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners
  • Gender Expressions

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibits:

  • The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library“; through December 15th
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“This is my rifle. This is my gun. This is for fighting. This is for fun.” — Gunnery Sergeant Hartman

THE RIGHTS OF MEN

Jared Loughner. James Holmes. Wade Page.

Second Amendment Beneficiaries

Three mad hatters who found it easy to get their hands on guns.

FREEDOM

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

XKCD

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present and CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

By Samira Elk on Eat Sleep Draw

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Brown County Career Resource Center, Nashville — One day course: Basic photovoltaics, solar energy; 9am-5pm

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series: The Mizfits; 11:30am

◗ Corner of Sixth and Madison streets — Tuesday Farmers Market, Music: Shahed Rafiuddin; 4-7pm

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsDemocratic candidate for State Senate Mark Stoops; 5:30-7:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Indiana Boys All Star Jam; 6-8:30pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterRufus Wainwright; 8pm

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8pm

Bear’s PlaceThe Natives, Cocunuts, Mr. Hipster; 9pm

The BishopTerrapin Flyer with Tom Constanten of the Grateful Dead; 9:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; opens Friday, August 3rd, through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th
  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I’m a real rebel with a cause.” — Nina Simone

REBELS

Independence Day.

We consider ourselves free in this holy land, and I suppose we are when compared to the rest of the world.

But there is no freedom without bondage. The old baseball manager Earl Weaver once said you can’t be a true rebel unless you’ve lived under the yoke of one kind of imposed order or another.

We profess to have loathed the tyranny of the British Empire when in reality the yoke we bore back in the 18th Century was that of King George III’s mental illness. It can be argued we really had no profound disagreement with the British and regarding the concept of freedom.

We wrote “… that all men are created equal.”

Yes, men. They’re all that counted when our Articles of Confederation, our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution were written. White Men. White men who owned land.

White Men

The British themselves were slowly but surely coming around to the idea that male landowners ought to be able to govern themselves. We were just in a little bit more of a hurry about it all.

That was an amazing concept for the times. If we think it’s rather quaint — what about women and blacks and homosexuals and everybody else who isn’t Anglo, pale-skinned, and carrying X and Y chromosomes in their cells? — we have to remember that we’ve come a long way.

“It is possible,” Molly Ivins wrote, “to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.”

We’re still struggling. But, again, there is no freedom without bondage.

I’M FREE

… and freedom tastes of reality.

DREAMING

People talk about The American Dream as if there is such a thing; that is, one shared aspiration among our 300-plus million citizens and the countless others around the world who want to get in on our good thing.

I’ve met enough disparate people to know there are almost as many American Dreams as there are Americans.

Still, the mythmakers may be right. There is one overriding American Dream that supersedes all those other, idiosyncratic dreams.

For all the people who laugh at Donald Trump — his hair, his bombast, his “Hey Ma, look at me!” persona — virtually every one of them wants to be him.

American

That’s the true American Dream. To be rich. To be so rich you can tell the world to fk off.

To be so  rich you’ll never have to work another day in your life.

To be so rich that when the cable goes out you can bully the customer service rep on the phone and get someone out to fix it even on Christmas Day.

To be so rich you don’t even have to vote.

To be so rich beautiful young women or men (whichever you prefer) will be willing to see you naked despite the ravages of time on your body.

I saw a black guy once on the Fourth of July all decked out in red, white, and blue, his car festooned with American flag decals and the insignias of the unit he served in Vietnam with.

I was tempted to ask him why he was so demonstrably in love with this country. After all, he was old enough to remember when it was illegal in many states for him to have sex with a white woman. Illegal!

He was old enough to have seen Lyndon Johnson sign the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts in 1964 and ’65, laws that essentially recognized him as a human being — something this holy land had not done without reservation since its inception.

How in the world could a man who’d experienced so much insult, both institutionally and from his individual countrymen, be loyal to the state that made all that insult possible?

What is it that he sees in the United States of America? What would make him put his life on the line to prop up a corrupt little nation in Southeast Asia — one he’d probably rarely heard of before he was shipped out there — just because American politicians told him he ought to?

Why was he willing to dress up in that land’s colors?

We were at a gas station in Louisville, Kentucky at the time. He jumped in his car and drove away before I could talk myself into querying him. Too  bad.

And even if I had asked him all those questions, would he have answered truthfully? Would he toss around catchwords like freedom, independence, and liberty?

Maybe, just maybe, he loves America because he dreams that here he can become a rich man.

My dream? Only that we dream of something more.

YOU DREAMER, YOU

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

◗ Downtown Bloomington and around Courthouse Square — 4th of July Parade; 10am

◗ Courthouse Lawn — Independence Day concert, Bloomington Community Band; 11:30am

The BishopAmerica, Fk Yeah: A Night of America, For America; 4pm — patriotic films, “Red Dawn”; 8pm — “Rocky IV”; 10pm — “Team America: World Police”; midnight

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibit, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%” by John D. Shearer; through July 30th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibit, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts by Qiao Xiaoguang; through August 12th — Exhibit, wildlife artist William Zimmerman; through September 9th — Exhibit, David Hockney, new acquisitions; through October 21st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryKinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st, 11am

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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