Category Archives: Vietnam War

Hot Air

Anti-American

I don’t know, maybe I ought to stop reading the news. Maybe I should bury my head in the sand. Pretend it all doesn’t exist. Ignore it all.

Too much is making me too mad. To wit: conservative columnist George Will referred the other day to the plot hatched by Richard M. Nixon in the fall of  1968 to sabotage the  peace negotiations among this holy land and the two Vietnams, North and South.

The story of how Nixon, going through intermediaries Henry Kissinger and Anna (the Dragon Lady) Chennault succeeded in influencing the South Vietnamese not to okay a pending peace deal until after that year’s presidential election. Nixon won that fall, in part, because he’d promised a secret peace deal of his own This ugly tale long has been accepted as gospel by many  historians.

Nixon/Kissinger

War Criminals

Nixon apologists for just as long have said those who told that story were nuts. Now they can’t deny it anymore, not when one of the Near Right’s own, George Will, mentions it casually as if he were talking about Nixon’s ski nose or Kissinger’s way with blonde women. Recently released records, notes, and FBI files confirm the story. Some 20,000 US military personnel as well as several hundred thousand Vietnamese, both military and civilian, were killed following nixon’s now-verified machinations.

Oh, and the people of the US continued to be torn apart by the war (as well as poverty, racism, and a host of other ills that ran hand in hand with Vietnam.)

In other words, Nixon felt it worth perhaps a quarter of a million lives to get elected president. And he didn’t really care that the American people were taking sides — sometimes murderously — against each other. In fact, he capitalized on that schism. Nixon beat Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey that fall by only a touch more than half a million votes.

And the funny thing is, that’s not what’s driving my anger over this story. What is making me livid is that four years later, American voters reelected Nixon with the fourth-highest margin in US history.

So we returned to office in a landslide a man who at various times engaged in a criminal conspiracy, violated campaign finance laws, illegally attempted to use the FBI to harass political opponents, acted in contempt of Congress, and — we now know for certain — committed an act of treason.

Then as now, we hardly deserve to flatter ourselves by calling this nation a democracy.

Alibi

Just to make my position clear, I hold that it’s irrelevant whether or not Michael Brown strong-armed that convenience store guy moments before he was killed.

Ferguson

Screenshot From NBC News

Two reasons:

1) The officer who whacked had not been informed a young man resembling Brown was a suspect

2) Stealing a box of cigars is not a capital offense

Are we clear?

Busing

Let’s hope the new Bloomington Transit center at Walnut and 3rd streets improves bus service, helps the transit authority save money and gasoline, helps clear our air, relieves traffic snarls, heals the sick, comforts the poor, and is the final step toward achieving world peace because, otherwise, that son of a buck is one ugly edifice.

BTC

Photo: Jeremy Hogan/Herald Times

The place opens Monday (paywall) at 6:00pm.

Hot Air

And The Winner Is….

Let’s talk awards.

The Pulitzers Prizes are the Oscars of the newspaper and scribbling biz. If I were to reveal one dream that I’ve harbored all my life, it’d be that I’d win the Pulitzer.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Big Mike Glab.

Trips off the tongue, no?

Maybe. But it won’t trip off the Pulitzer judging committee’s collective tongue. Not at this late date. And there, kiddies, lies the bare-bones moral of pretty much every novel that’s ever won the Pulitzer itself. Dreams die.

Sigh.

Anyway, Donna Tartt won this year’s fiction P.P. for her book, The Goldfinch. It’s about 16,000 pages long, which makes sense, considering it’s only the third book she’s had published in her so-far 22-year pro career.

Tartt

Donna Tartt

I haven’t cracked open The Goldfinch yet but I did read Tartt’s The Secret History back in the ’90s. It was quite good even though it was about privileged, over-the-top neurotic white college kids. See, I’m not a complete bigot.

I may read The Goldfinch when it comes out in paperback, although I wouldn’t bet the mortgage payment on it if I were you. I shy away from exceedingly long books and movies these days. The Goldfinch actually is 784 pages in hardcover. That translates to at least two weeks of reading time. I just can’t see myself making that kind of commitment anymore.

As far as movies go, my limit is two hours. If you can’t tell me a story up on the screen in two hours, you can’t tell me a story.

The big news, as far as I’m concerned, is that the Washington Post and The Guardian US jointly won the public service award in journalism for publishing the Edward Snowden revelations. Long-time readers of this space know I find Eddie to be a repulsive little character but, just to show what a big man I am, I do allow that he performed an absolutely invaluable and heroic service for this holy land.

I just wish he hadn’t run off to hide in one of the world’s most repressive states after he did it.

For those of you who fret that our great nation is slip-sliding into a fascist, tyrannical police state, take heart in the WaPo/Guardian‘s award. It’s part of a long tradition of American news gatherers winning praise for embarrassing the bejesus out of, well, America. Think back to 1972 when the New York Times copped the prize for printing the Pentagon Papers. It could reasonably be argued that the Times‘s actions harmed Murrica.

Certainly the revelation that our generals, Defense Department officials, and even the President himself had been lying through their teeth about our ill-conceived war in Southeast Asia helped hasten the general populace’s demand that we get the hell out of there. In other words, the publishing of the Pentagon Papers just might have prevented our great country from maintaining its perfect score in the Mighty Nations at War League.

Now, gosh dang it, Murrica’s got that tainted 12-1 mark (not including our record in little exhibition excursions like Grenada).

Anyway, the Buck Turgidsons of the Pentagon in 1972 would have given half the medals off their chests to prevent the NYT from publishing Daniel Ellsberg’s photocopied documents. Instead, the Times got laurels.

From "Dr. Strangelove...."

Bomb The New York Times!

If America was a fascist state back then, it was a lousy one. Old Adolf H. would have called us a bunch of pansies.

Funny thing is, it’s more likely that invertebrate publishers are more responsible for quashing the free press than all the iron-fisted generals, FBI agents, and presidents combined. In 1966 Harrison Salisbury was the only American reporter resourceful enough to slip into Hanoi. His subsequent series of stories revealed that US Air Force bombs were hitting hospitals and schools and killing civilians. The Pulitzer jury the next year voted to award him their prize. The Pulitzer board of directors nixed Salisbury’s award because they didn’t want to risk the ire of the Pentagon and President Johnson.

The same type of thing could have happened this year. The Far Right would have us believe the Obama Administration is chock-full of jack-booted Nazi lesbian abortionists. Funny, though, how that despotic gang let the Pulitzer committee recognize the Snowden articles.

They must have been too busy having sex orgies in the Oval Office.

And the Pulitzer peeps aren’t even cowering in fear of the Obama Reich.

Some fascist state.

Anyway, huzzah for the Pulitzer committees, for the Washington Post and The Guardian US, and for Edward Snowden (even if he is a weird little fker). I dig my press free.

Happy Tax Day

Here’s an item that ought to make your red cells sizzle this AM. Apparently, the extremely profitable National Football League does not pay federal taxes.

That’s right; the org. that administers a $10 billion-a-year operation and whose chief profiteer, Roger Goodell, makes a cool $44 million a year, does not turn over any of that lettuce to the feds. This despite the fact that many of the NFL’s franchises play their knee-breaking, cranium-shattering games in palatial stadia bought and paid for by you and me, the people.

Just to clarify: the individual teams do indeed pay taxes on their kingly revenues. It’s the NFL office that doesn’t fork it over to the taxman. Still, we’re talking some hefty scratch that could be going to things like rebuilding Interstate Highway bridges, say, or fixing the ACA online sign-up system. The NFL office’s yearly take amounts to nearly $200 million in dues from its 32 teams plus whatever cuts it gets from licensing fees and other squeezes of the avg. football fan.

Total US tax bill: zero.

Football

Money From Heaven — Tax-Free!

You may wonder why. The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville explains: The NFL is a nonprofit. Yep. Just like Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County or WFHB’s parent, Firehouse Broadcasting. No lie.

What, you wanna argue with that? You think nonprofit status should only apply to crunchy, goo-goo, liberal-socialist outfits that, y’know, help people?

Pshh. What country do you think you live in?


Much Less Frigid Air

The War We Lost

So, yesterday was the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s declaration of War on Poverty.

It was one of the great moments in American history.

Loyal readers know how I feel about LBJ. He was an uncouth, bullying, macho, conniving political huckster. He also felt, deep within his heart and soul, a kinship with black human beings and poor human beings. And he acted on those empathies — for a precious moment.

LBJ

LBJ

Had he and the Congress allowed the resultant Great Society programs to actually eliminate malnutrition, lack of education, joblessness, and all the other ills of need that bedeviled this holy land, the richest on Earth, he would have gone down as one of the greatest three or four presidents ever.

Sadly, he got, to borrow a term he often used, his pecker caught in Vietnam.

This nation decided it was far more important to prosecute an unwinnable, pointless, poorly-executed war in the Southeast Asian jungles than to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters here climb out of despair.

Now, here we are, 50 years later. The gap between rich and poor grows daily. Commentators chirp that the economy is is churning once again after the Great Recession, yet it seems the only beneficiaries are moneyed investors and Wall Street casino players. Municipalities and social and cultural institutions are starving for cash. Unemployment remains remarkably high. And far too many of the available jobs are in the service industries, paying minimum wage.

In the War on Poverty, poverty won.

Mother Jones mag yesterday ran a piece on where we are, poverty-wise, now in the United States. A trio of authors suggest we’ve both won and lost the War. If we take the authors at their word, that the result was a mixed bag, then, really, we’ve lost. LBJ himself said, in announcing the War, “… [W]e shall not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on Earth can afford to win it.”

Check out the six charts illustrating the depths of American poverty in the 21st Century. Some things have changed for the better. Some things. That’s all.

The political debate today is no nearer to revisiting the ideas of the Great Society than it is to the consideration of dumping all our currency, stocks, and bonds in a huge pile, dousing it with gasoline, and lighting a match.

Poor people, you’re on your own.

To me, that’s a losing coda.

[h/t to Susan Sandberg for pointing out the MJ mag piece.]

The Big Interview

Hey, dig my interview with graphic novelist Nate Powell this afternoon on the WFHB Daily Local News.

Powell

Powell

It’s the first in a new series of conversations between me and people I find compelling and interesting. Each tête à tête will run as an 8-minute feature on WFHB and then as a full-out conversation in The Ryder magazine.

Powell is the illustrator of the graphic novel, March: Book One, about the life of Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who was a key figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Lewis got his skull broken by an Alabama state trooper on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965. That was the day voting rights activists attempted to cross the Edmund Pettis Bridge at Selma but were met and routed by local and state cops.

Powell has written and drawn a number of award-winning and big-selling comics and graphic novels including Swallow Me Whole, Any Empire, and The Silence of Our Friends. He lives in Bloomington now with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

Tune in at 5:30pm or catch the podcast (after it’s put up, natch) on the station’s website. The longer Powell interview will run in next month’s Ryder.

A Contrarian’s Rationalization

Loyal readers know I refuse to get a smartphone. Some folks look at me as if I’m from the moon when I whip out my trusty flip phone. I don’t care.

Yeah, a lot of it has to do with my fetish for contrarianism but, really, there’s thought behind my refusal to jump on the e-toy bandwagon.

Smartphone Users

Personal technology writer David Pogue laid out a good case for my narrowly-focused Luddism in last month’s Scientific American:

We all know that the cycle of electronics consumerism is broken. Because it’s an endless money drain for consumers to keep their gadgets current. Because the never ending desire to show off new features leads to bloat and complexity of design. And because all our outdated, abandoned gadgets have to go somewhere. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, we Americans threw away 310 million electronic gadgets in 2010 alone. That’s about 1.8 million tons of toxic, nonbiodegradable waste in our landfills.

See? I’m not a total lunatic.

Hot Air

Illumination

So, a guy lights himself on fire in Washington, DC. The rest of us figure the act must somehow be related to whatever lunacy Congress is up to these days.

From WPTV Ch. 5

Back in the mid-’60s, several Buddhist monks immolated themselves in protest against the corrupt regime that was running the non-nation of South Vietnam into the ground and whom we were about to send in half a million soldiers to prop up. The monks were seen as courageous martyrs.

Will the guy in Washington yesterday be seen as a martyr?

You bet he will, no matter what side of the fence he stands on. As for me, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I stick with Bertrand Russell on this one. He said:

I would never die for my beliefs because I could be wrong.

Russell

Bertrand Russell

Now It’s “Inefficient”

What with millions upon millions of people flooding the interwebs servers and phone lines of the bureaucracy that is running Obamacare, the Me Party-ists and their Republican coat holders in the US House of Representatives have to come up with a new fiction/myth/slander/prevarication…, er, um, lie to justify their rabid opposition to jes’ plain folks getting their hands on affordable health care.

Obamacare Web Error Message

Prior to this week, of course, the Me Team has screeched that the American people simply do not want Obamacare. Well, kids, tell it to all those millions and millions.

So, now what do they say? I heard a Tea Party squealer talking with Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition this morning. Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots told Simon, “[T]his law is not ready for implementation. All we’re saying is don’t spend our tax money on this law that clearly isn’t ready.”

Oh. Perhaps she’s referring to the flood applicants who got busy signals and error messages. Isn’t that sweet of her? Clearly she cares for all those poor uninsured souls. No?

No.

Big Mike Pronouncement: Tea Party-ists and their pals don’t give a good goddamn about anybody but themselves.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Tea Party-ists and the like would do better if they stopped couching their terms. For instance, why don’t they just come out and say it: If you’re poor, you’re unworthy. If you haven’t won big — or at least fatly and comfortably — in this jungle economy, you should shut up and accept your lot of shit in this life.

I’m telling you, this refreshing crystal clarity wouldn’t turn off a soul who already buys into their Randist, faux-Darwinist, execrable manner of “thinking.”

Anyway, here’s the definitive slapdown to Martin et al‘s dishonesty. A war toy manufacturer by the name of Lockheed Martin has been trying to develop a brand spanking new multipurpose stealth fighter for the US Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy as well as several of our bomb-dropping allies in Europe and elsewhere. The US alone was slated to buy more than 2400 of the airplanes. They’re to be called F-35s.

F-35

Not Ready

One of the selling points of the F-35 was that it would be inexpensive, whatever that means when one talks about the Defense Department and military contractors. Each of the fighters is expected to cost more than $150 million. Lockheed Martin’s hoped for invoice to the people of the United States would total approximately $360 billion.  Sheesh, if that’s inexpensive, I’d hate to see the Cadillac version of a stealth fighter.

Anyway, the production and design of the F-35 has, natch, caused eye-popping cost overruns. Not only that, the plane has so far been found to be unsafe, not all that stealthy, and, in computerized war games run by Pentagon geeks who love this kind of stuff, was roundly defeated by old fashioned Russian fighters.

In other words, to paraphrase Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, the F-35 is not ready for implementation.

Can we expect Martin and her cronies to sing out, All we’re saying is don’t spend our tax money on this airplane that clearly isn’t ready?

Neither Martin nor any other Me Party-ist has ever uttered such a line in reference to any war toy program. Nor will they ever.

They are as full of horseshit as anyone this mendacious holy land has yet produced.

Your Daily Hot Air

Two Rebels

Ironic, isn’t it, that on the 50th anniversary of Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous stand in the schoolhouse door it’s entirely possible that Nelson Mandela may take leave of this very, very weird proposition we call life?

Wallace/Mandela

Mandela’s in bad shape, laying in a South African hospital bed with a serious lung infection, surrounded by his family. His former wife Winnie even stopped by yesterday. You know, if you’re 94 years old, already sickly, in intensive care fighting a recurring lung infection for the third time in six months — and you’re ex-wife shows up to pay her respects — you’ve got to figure the curtain’s about to fall.

One more bad sign: South Africa’s current president, Jacob Zuma, says folks in that country ought to pray for the former prez. Politicians don’t pray for each other for because they have head colds.

Oh, just a reminder, it was the official position of this holy land during the administration of one Saint Ronald Reagan that Mandela and his African National Congress were terrorists. And, oh, guess what, Mandela himself wasn’t officially un-declared a terrorist here until July, 2008.

Mandela/Robben Island

Mandela’s Robben Island Home During The Reagan Years

July goddamned 2008!

Anyway, George Wallace dramatically blocked the entrance of a couple of black kids to the University of Alabama on this date in 1963.

Here’s the official text of Wallace’s speech at that door, delivered moments before federalized Alabama National Guard soldiers escorted Vivian Malone and James Hood into the school so they might become students there. It’s a long, convoluted argument for the sovereignty of his state and you might not have the time or inclination to read it all. So, as a public service, I’ll provide a condensed version of it here:

We don’t want no niggers in our white schools.

A mere five years later, George C. Wallace ran for president of the United States, carrying five states with nearly 10 million votes, or 13.5 percent of the national total. As if Wallace’s own philosophies about his fellow human beings weren’t hair-raising enough, his running mate, former US Army General Curtis LeMay, suggested late in the campaign that this beacon of democracy just might have to use nuclear weapons to settle its little tiff with the Vietnamese.

Wallace

The Youth Candidate?

You want more? Fine. Wallace and LeMay were the preferred ticket of the majority of young white men in the entire nation that year.

And you’re surprised Me Party-ists and other patriots are so freaked out over the presidency of Barack Obama?

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Wednes II

THE QUOTE

“When the civil rights battle was won, all the Jews and hippies and artists were middle class white people and all the blacks were still poor.” — Jonathan Lethem

Lethem

CARPE-ING THE DIEM

All the coolest things happened in the ten year period before I became old enough to participate in them. Here’s a list of events I’d have attended or been part of had I been 18 years old and not still terrified of being grounded for a couple of months by Ma or clunked on the head by Dad:

Summer of Love

I Wished

How I longed to have been there!

Accordingly, for the first few years of my youthful independence, I tried to do everything that I couldn’t when I was a tadpole.

I mean, I even burned my Selective Service System registration card the day I got it in 1974, even though the draft had been effectively ended at least a year by that time. I felt revolutionary. I must have looked like a dope.

Some six months before that great act of resistance, I concocted a foolproof cover story, bundled up some clothing, a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush, and pocketed the entirety of my wealth — some $12, IIRC — and set off with five pals for southern Indiana and the Erie Canal “Soda” Pop Festival.

Soda Pop Festival Ticket

Where Did I Get $20?!

It would be my first rock festival and, I was certain, would be as cool, as transcendent, as culturally significant, as oh wow! as Woodstock. I was 16 years old.

This was my cover story: I was a member of the Astronomy Club in high school. In fact, by Labor Day weekend 1972, I’d already been elected vice president of that august group. The only nerdier guys were the Chess Club members, some of whom were also members of our gang. The Astronomy Club twice a year would hold a weekend camp-out some 50 miles west of Chicago on one of our members’ uncle’s property where we’d set up our telescopes, keep running counts of meteors, and when we got too cold, huddle in cars and look at the Playboy magazines that one of us invariably brought.

I told my parents the Astronomy Club camp-out would be early that year.

“Okay,” Ma said as I shoved off. “Just be careful.” I nodded and walked a couple of blocks to a prearranged meeting point. There, in a rusty old black Ford blaring the 8-track strains of the “Concert for Bangladesh,” sat not my pimply-faced geeky brethren but three hippies named Bart, Karen, and Gaye. Behind the Ford was an even rustier faded blue Rambler containing two more hippies named Ronnie and Sunshine.

I never found out what Sunshine’s real name was. He’d earned his moniker because he was mad for Orange Sunshine, a type of LSD that made other kinds of acid seem like something your Mom would take.

Orange Sunshine

A Four-way Blotter Hit Of Orange Sunshine

Sunshine always had a faraway look in his eyes. Faraway.

Bart, Ronnie, and Sunshine were in their mid-20s. Karen, Gaye, and I were in our mid-teens. Bart and Karen were a couple, which we — self-regarded free-thinking and free-loving freaks — thought nothing of. I was madly in love with Gaye. She was the first white chick I ever knew who had an Afro.

As we barreled south on Interstate 57, I even tried to hold Gaye’s hand, which she allowed me to do for all of 13 seconds. The rest of the time she spent staring out the back window of the Ford, looking for all the world like a lonely puppy. I wouldn’t let myself realize it at the time, but she was mooning over Ronnie, following us in the Rambler. She was madly in love with him.

The Erie Canal “Soda” Pop Festival originally was slated to be held in Chandler, Indiana but county officials there quickly put the kibosh on that idea. After scouting around for a new site, the organizers discovered a piece of oxbow land just east of the the Wabash River called Bull Island, near New Harmony. Because the big river had changed its course over the years, Bull Island, originally part of Illinois, by then was on the Indiana side of the river. Ergo, Indiana authorities had no jurisdiction over it. And, like that, the festival had a new home.

Evansville Courier-Press Photo

The Way In

I took a hit of Orange Sunshine that Saturday night, my first acid trip. I’d hardly ever smoked marijuana to that point. In fact, I’d only drunk alcohol a handful of times. “Don’t worry,” Ronnie advised me, “this is gonna be freaky.”

Freaky was his word for wonderful.

A couple of hours later as Foghat played “I Just Wanna Make Love to You,” I looked down at my hands and discovered that I’d gashed them wide open. The gaping wound was big enough that I could have sworn I saw the very tendons and bones inside of me. “Oh God,” I shrieked, “I need bandages, quick!”

My plea was so desperate that any number of people leaped up and ran for First Aid supplies.

Evansville Courier-Press Photo

The next morning when I woke up, my pals were laughing at me. I considered this highly insulting; after all, I’d nearly severed my hands. Then I learned what had really happened. A guy was walking around passing out flyers. I stuck out my hand to take one and — wouldn’t you know it? — got myself a nasty paper cut.

That was the extent of my trauma.

Freaky indeed.

As we bathed in the Wabash River that morning, the sounds of Ravi Shankar’s sitar wafted over us. I’ll never forget that moment because it was the very first time I’d ever seen a nude chick. Thank heavens I was waist deep in the river. I loitered there for a long time, not just to catch sidelong glances at her and other unclothed females, but to allow certain parts of my anatomy below the surface to de-tumesce.

Did I mention I was 16?

Evansville Courier-Press Photo

Ravi Shankar At Bull Island

Anyway, Bull Island was a catastrophe. More than 200,000 people showed up; the organizers were prepared for 50,000. Much of the acid sold there was not just a rip-off, it was dangerous laced with strychnine. Before the acts arrived by helicopter, each was advised not to drop any acid purchased at the site. We were lucky inasmuch as Sunshine had dosed us from his personal stash.

Bull Island, the festival, lacked water, food, medical supplies, and toilets. A downpour of biblical proportions soaked the 900-acre site on Friday night. Trucks bringing food into the festival were looted and one was overturned and burned. A kid in a sleeping bag was run over by a car backing up on Sunday night. Three other kids drowned in the Wabash River.

Scheduled acts included Rod Stewart and the Faces, Black Sabbath, the Allman Brothers, and Joe Cocker. None of them performed. Instead, we were treated to the likes of Black Oak Arkansas.

After the festival was over, the stage was set on fire.

Evansville Courier-Press Photo

Aftermath: A Burned-Out Food Truck

I think of all this because I learned Ravi Shankar died yesterday. He was 92. He played at Woodstock as well as Bull Island.

Bull Island was not Woodstock.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I was born with a need to be the center of attention and, of course, you’re the center of the world when you’re acting.” — Julie Christie

IT WAS SEVEN YEARS AGO TODAY

Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill once famously said, “All politics is local.”

I, less famously, counter: “All politics is theater.”

Most of the Republican Party’s formula for success since the late 1960s has been its ability to present its standard-bearers as tough guys, strong men, and decisive generals. The GOP has acted more as a talent agent than a producer of statesmen for the last 45 years.

Richard Nixon won the 1968 presidential election because he told the nation he would stand firm against the madness in the streets. He’d beat down the savage blacks who were threatening to explode out of their ghettos. And he’d swiftly kick the crap out of the North Vietnamese and bring the boys home.

Save Us, Dick

We believed him. Just as many of us have believed pro wrestling is on the up and up and Judge Judy is our nation’s top jurist.

Ronald Reagan won the 1980 presidential election because he told us we were terrific and the 1984 campaign by telling us it was Morning in America. Ham that he was, he knew the Soviet Union was on its way out so he talked tough and thereby snatched all the credit for that empire’s inevitable collapse.

Make Us Feel Good About Ourselves, Ronnie

Theater.

George W. Bush’s role as resolute CEO of the Great United States, Inc. propelled him to victory over a couple of namby pamby Dem opponents in 2000 and 2004. The nation was terrified of presidents who liked blow jobs, college educated eggheads who’d ponder us into paralysis, and crazy Arabs who’d blow up our cities. Bush was the antidote to all those existential threats.

Be The Boss, George

But then came Hurricane Katrina and the theater went dark.

The worst natural disaster in America’s history presented Bush with a dramatic challenge he was unable to play. It was as if Kristen Stewart were cast in the role of Margaret Thatcher.

Streep As Thatcher; Stewart As, Um, Stewart

Katrina’s president was a role that was written for Bill Clinton. He’d have set up a second White House in New Orleans. He’d have hugged the storm’s victims until his arms ached. Had Clinton been in office when Katrina hit, people would have been marveling to this day about how fabulous the federal government’s response was to the tragedy.

And in the most practical sense, Clinton wouldn’t have done a thing different than Bush did.

Bush knew how to play the business executive and the military commander. He had a feel for the role of the manly hero who saves the day.

His greatest line before his downfall was, “They hate us for our freedoms.”

Which was, of course, as phony a line as, say, “Go ahead, make my day,” or “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

“Well, do ya, punk?”

But we in this holy land have always been a cooperative audience. We’ll forgive any political actor for chewing the scenery as long as it makes us feel good. It’s only when pols don’t make us feel all tingly and warm or bold and adventurous that we turn on them.

Witness Jimmy Carter’s malaise speech. Bye bye, Jimmy.

Bush’s Carter moment came when he uttered those unforgettable words, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

People were still sitting on rooftops waiting to be rescued when Bush said that. The Superdome was filled with refugees at the time of the quote. New Orleans cops were shooting up citizens.

Yet Bush found it important to bestow frat boy bonhomie upon his emergency response point man at that moment in time.

Bush Takes It All In From Above

And like that, Bush was finished. No matter that no government could ever have responded adequately to Katrina. Nothing like it had ever happened before in America.

But when nature sucker punches us in the belly, we have to blame someone. And it’s not just Americans who react that way. Be it an earthquake in Afghanistan or a flood in India, people will shriek “Where’s our government?” even as the government is digging itself out of the rubble.

At times like that, the first and best thing government can do is assure us everything will turn out alright. The boys in charge must tell us that they’ll move heaven and Earth to set our lives right again.

Bush didn’t know that. He was the wrong actor for the part.

Theater.

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.”

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/&/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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Barbara McGuire; 6-8:30pm

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterBuddhism in Everyday Life Series: Ani Choekye presents “What Are Realizations?”; 6:30pm

Unity ChurchBloomington Peace Choir weekly meeting, new members welcome; 7pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Stardusters; 7:30pm

Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

The BluebirdMusic: Rod Tufcurls & the Benchpress; 9pm

◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, public viewing through the main telescope; 9:30pm

The BishopMusic: Kentucky Nightmare, Panic Strikes a Chord, Dead Beach; 9:30pm

ONGOING

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “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:

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animation by Miek von Dongen; through September 15th

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; 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 CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie

CAIRO CREEPS

The world’s citizenry has plenty of reasons to be mad at the US.

In my lifetime alone there’ve been Vietnam, the Shah, the Contras, a couple of senseless wars with Iraq, and Lady Gaga.

Down With The USA!

That’s enough to make anyone hurl a shoe at the Secretary of State’s motorcade.

Which is what a gang of Egyptians did yesterday when Hillary Clinton passed through Cairo. They threw tomatoes at her entourage as well.

Apparently, the protesters were hot because this holy land allegedly has taken sides in their presidential election charade. I wouldn’t doubt that we are, considering the US puts its big nose into everybody’s business. That’s what empires do.

But the protesters also shouted “Monica, Monica, Monica” at Hillary’s limo.

You remember Monica Lewinsky, the most famous fellator in human history, don’t you? Also, in case you’ve forgotten, she was a walking humidor.

Quite A Bouquet

Anyway, I’d lay off the sexual references if I were the Egyptians. They didn’t exactly comport themselves well with women in the streets when they were in the process of overthrowing their tyrant leader, Hosni Mubarek.

An effort, by the way, the United States supported.

In fact, just the other week a crowd of Egyptians sexually assaulted a female British journalist covering the celebration for newly elected prez Mohammed Morsi.

THUMBS DOWN

Some observers of the Penn State University situation have said the NCAA has no authority over the institution in criminal matters not related to athletics.

Their “logic” goes that Jerry Sandusky’s sex life with children and Joe Paterno’s winking consent of same are not violations of the rules of the sacred game of football. Nor did they give Penn State an edge over its rivals in the playing of games.

The Little Girl Wisely Leans Away From The Nittany Lion

Maybe. Of course, if the NCAA’s lawyers find this to be true then we can only hope the National Collegiate Athletic Association shuts down its offices and goes out of business forever.

Me? I’m all for the NCAA giving Penn State the death penalty. Shutting down its football program for one or two years just might remind people in Happy Valley as well as in college towns around the nation that big time sports is not the reason universities exist.

COOL

Scientists have developed a device that can allow people to use their computers simply by moving their eyes.

This will be a miraculous boon to quadriplegics and amputees, among others.

The device, called GT3D, reads the user’s eyeball movements and translates that information into instructions to move a screen cursor. Users can play games, write emails, and do most of the things people with two usable hands can.

Click on the image below to see the video of a guy playing Pong with his eyes. Unfortunately, I can’t embed the vid.

The technology may one day be extended to wheelchair users. The device would be able to read the chair-bound user’s eye movements and cause the chair to proceed accordingly.

Some two decades ago I predicted that within fifty years we’d have implantable personal video and audio recording devices. Those of us who could afford it would have micro-devices surgically placed in our eyes.

Imagine how that would affect the criminal justice system.

Science, my friends, is cool.

SCIENCE CHICK

The above story reminds me of a woman I met last week at the Book Corner. Her name is Sarah and she was stocking up on science-y books for summer reading.

That’s right — rather than lull herself into a trance by reading, say, “50 Shades of Grey” or “A Stolen Life,” she opted to spend her time on good stuff like “Moonwalking with Einstein” by Joshua Foer and “The Mind’s Eye” by Oliver Sacks.

This Just In: Girls Have Minds, Too

I got to chatting with Sarah and she revealed she is here in Bloomington working on her doctorate in chemistry.

She admitted there aren’t many other women in her chosen field. She said she fell in love with chemistry thanks to an inspiring high school chemistry teacher, who happened to be a man.

Sarah was funny, extremely sociable, and curious about many things. And, again, she’ll soon have a PhD in one of the hard sciences.

The only downer is there are so few young women like Sarah running around the Great United States, Inc. these days.

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

Monroe County Public Library“It’s Your Money: Flapjacks & Greenbacks,” Learn to make pancake mix from scratch and other tips to save money; 7pm

Make Your Own

Cafe DjangoBloomington Short List, hosted by Marta Jasicki, variety show, ten acts, ten minutes each; 7pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Arts Festival: Chamber music students college audition; 8pm

The BishopMurals, The Natives, Chandelier Ballroom; 9pm

The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase; 8pm

◗ IU HPER, room 107 — Free ballroom dance lessons; 8:30pm

The BluebirdDave Walters karaoke; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ 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:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ 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 Cultures — Closed for semester break

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

“Well, the future for me is already a thing of the past.” — Bob Dylan

A PEEK INTO THE FUTURE

When I was a kid I would have this scifi-like fantasy that I’d been transported into the past, say, into my mother’s Little Sicily neighborhood on the Near West Side of Chicago or my father’s Polish enclave on the Northwest Side.

There, I’d be celebrated as The Kid from the Future, the one who knew all the answers, whom other kids and even adults would visit to learn about the wonders of the Space Age 1970s.

“Aw sure,” I’d say casually as my wide eyed audience would hang on my every word, “we sent guys to the moon. Nothin’ to it. We saw it on TV.”

Gasp

Or, “Everybody has a refrigerator and air conditioning, right in their homes. And our cars are low and sleek.”

This little conceit presaged “Back to the Future” by fifteen years or so. Only, unlike Marty McFly, I didn’t have to hide my true origins. I’d be a big shot. Newspaper reporters would flock around me, grilling me about events to come.

“Be prepared,” I’d warn dolefully, “there’s a horrifying world war on the way.” Reporters and kids alike would glance at each other in apprehension. I’d calm them. “But we survived it,” I’d say, as if I had experienced its horrors myself.

Gasp

So play along with me. Let’s pretend we’re the people from the future. We find ourselves in Bloomington in the year 1973. It’s January. It’s drizzly and the temperatures are hovering in the high 40s. We’re sitting at a table in a new little vegetarian diner called The Tao, surrounded by locals. They have a ton of questions.

The political science professor asks, “What’s going to happen with all this Watergate business?”

The campus ROTC officer asks, “Now that President Nixon has ordered a halt to offensive action in Vietnam does that mean the war is over?”

Newly-appointed Hoosiers football coach Lee Corso stops by. He asks, “Does George Foreman have a chance against Joe Frazier?”

A woman wearing a blue “ERA Now!” button asks, “What will the Supreme Court rule in the Roe v. Wade case?”

A soft-spoken philosophy major wearing long hair and a tie-dyed T-shirt asks, “Have the people of 2012 achieved a state of higher consciousness?”

We, of course, have all the answers. “Nixon’s going to resign in a year and a half,” we say. People’s jaws drop.

We continue. “Sorry to say, the war’s going to go on for a couple of more years.” The folks in our audience shake their heads.

“Put your dough on Foreman,” we advise the coach. He says, “Not so fast, my friend!” and points out that Frazier is a 3:1 favorite. “Trust us,” we assure him.

We turn to the woman wearing the blue button. She shifts in her seat excitedly.

“The Court,” we say, “will rule in favor of Roe.”

The woman thrusts her fists in the air, throws her head back, and shouts “Yes!”

The semi-circle of people around us begins to talk among themselves. The woman is giddy. So is Lee Corso. The ROTC officer speculates that with two more years of fighting, maybe — just maybe — the United States can pull out a victory in Southeast Asia. We haven’t the heart to set him straight.

“What else can you tell us,” someone asks.

“Let’s see. Oh, Ronald Reagan will be elected president in 1980.”

“Ronald Reagan?” the political science professor says, shocked.

“Yep. Not only that, he’ll be reelected in one of the greatest landslides in history. And get this: we’ll re-fight the Vietnam War in the ‘Rambo’ movies and we’ll win!”

Our National Do-Over

The young woman’s shoulders slump. “You’ve got to be kidding,” she says.

“Nope.”

On the other hand, the ROTC officer’s mood improves considerably.

“Cheer up,” the political science professor says to the young woman, “Nixon’s going to quit.”

We interrupt him. Nixon, we reveal, will transform himself into an elder statesman. He’ll write books about world affairs. When he dies, his successors in the White House, both Republican and Democrat, will eulogize him.

“That’s odd,” the political science professor observes. “The future looks awfully baffling.” He turns again toward the young woman. “Still, at least the divisive issue of abortion will be settled. You’ve won.”

Not So Fast

“Um, hold on a second there, Professor,” we say. “The abortion issue not only won’t be settled, it’ll be hanging over the country like never before. States will curtail access to abortions. Candidates will run on planks of little more than rolling back Roe v. Wade. In fact, as we left 2012 to come visit you here in 1973, the State of Indiana is fighting with the federal government over abortion. Governor Mitch Daniels and Republican legislators want to cut off Medicaid payments for low income women’s abortions. The feds say the state can’t do that but Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller has promised to fight for the cut off.

“In fact,” we add, “if states like Mississippi have their way, abortion will be outlawed, period.”

“But I thought you said the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Roe,” the young woman says, plaintively.

“Um, uh…, well, yeah,” we say. Then we shrug.

The people forming the semicircle around contemplate all this for a moment. Finally, the soft-spoken philosophy major  breaks the silence. “You haven’t answered my question,” he says. “Have the people of 2012 achieved a state of higher consciousness?”

You and I glance at each other. Someone’s got to break the news to him. “Well kid,” I say at last, “you really don’t want to know.”

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

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series, Scott Frye, acoustic country blues; 11:30am

Lower Cascades Park, Sycamore Shelter — Bloomington Serious Mac Users Group annual picnic; 5:30-8:30pm

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsThe Art & Poetry of Shana Ritter; 6pm

Jake’s NightclubKaraoke; 6pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Ken Wilson; 6-8:30pm

◗ IU Ford-Crawford Hall Summer Music Series, The Steve Houghton Trio; 7pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Music Series, Chamber music by the Cecilia String Quartet; 8pm

Cecilia String Quartet

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

The Player’s PubBlues Jam hosted by King Bee & the Stingers; 8pm

The BluebirdBloomington’s Got Talent, hosted by Leo Cook; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ 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:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ 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 Cultures — Closed for semester break

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 love America more than any other country in this world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” — James Baldwin

SOLDIERS AND MORE

I didn’t want to make a big deal of this yesterday mainly because I painted a less-than flattering portrait of the American Dream — on the Fourth of July, no less.

I didn’t want it to appear as though I were piling on.

It strikes me, though, that the vast majority of people we celebrate on the anniversary of this holy land’s birth seem to be soldiers.

Military Vehicles In A Fourth Of July Parade

Several of my most loyal readers are proud former soldiers so I don’t mean to insult them. One was in the regular Army and served in Iraq. Another was a Marine officer. Others served in the National Guard and the reserves. Much as I hate to admit it, there’s a need for people who are willing to go out and kill other people for the sake of the country. I’m glad there are plenty of people who can do that; I know I couldn’t have.

I’d have refused induction, deserted, or been thrown in the brig had I been drafted during the Vietnam era.

One of the most heroic acts in American history, I feel, was the stance Muhammad Ali took when he got his “Greetings” letter from the Selective Service System. He chucked his lucrative career as a world champion boxer, reported to his induction center, and refused to say “Here” when his name was called.

Muhammad Ali After He Refused Induction Into the Army

He explained: “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. They never called me nigger.” Later he said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from my home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

My own reasons for not wanting to fire deadly weapons at the Vietnamese included my refusal to participate in what I knew to be an arrogant, wrong-headed war, one that could only have been waged by a people who felt superior to all the other peoples on this weird, weird planet. That and the fact that I believe it is a superlative accomplishment to go through this mad life without killing, maiming, or otherwise injuring another human.

Sometimes, sure, there’s a need to kill another. Studs Terkel had the right idea when he entitled his oral history of Word War II, “The Good War.”

Somebody Had To Clobber These Dopes

You’ll note that there wasn’t as broad an epidemic of mental illness among the veterans of that war. Certainly the people who had to blow the brains out of Nazis and Japanese suffered emotionally and psychologically. But so many of the veterans of Vietnam, Iraq I & II, and Afghanistan have suffered profound emotional torture upon their return to this country.

Why? Perhaps because World War II veterans understood that they were fighting for a righteous cause. That can go a long way toward ameliorating one’s psychic fallout after participating in the brutality of war.

World War II vets could say to themselves, “I had to kill bad guys.”

What can the veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom say to console him or herself?

Why?

So, I’m not unmindful of the role the armed services have played in the existence of these United States.

On the Fourth of July, though, you can be excused for thinking the only people who have meant anything to this nation’s existence were soldiers.

Let’s not forget people who didn’t have to blow people’s brains out for the good of their country:

  • Jane Addams — Philosopher, sociologist, and settlement worker, she founded Hull House
  • Roger Baldwin — Co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union with Crystal Eastman and Walter Nelles
  • Ella Baker — Co-founder with Bayard Rustin of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, of which Martin Luther King, Jr. was president, she also helped organize the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Daisy Gatson Bates — Journalist, led the effort to desegregate Little Rock schools after the US Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision

Daisy Gatson Bates

  • Philip and Daniel Berrigan — Catholic priests and radical anti-war protesters during the Vietnam Era.
  • Nellie Bly — Undercover journalist, exposed conditions for the poor and marginalized people
  • Rachel Carson — Wrote “Silent Spring,” awakening the nation to the threat of environmental pollution
  • William Sloane Coffin — President of SANE/Freeze, anti-war activist, civil rights advocate, gay rights supporter
  • Dorothea Dix — Fought for insane asylum, poorhouse, and prison reforms

Dorothea Dix

  • WEB DuBois — Co-founder of the NAACP, the first black to receive a doctorate from Harvard University, an educator, author, historian, sociologist, philosopher, and poet
  • Marian Wright Edelman — Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and civil rights activist
  • Barbara Ehrenreich — Investigative, undercover journalist who exposes corporate and employer abuses as well as poverty conditions
  • Daniel Ellsberg — Delivered The Pentagon Papers to the New York Times
  • Matthew Gaines — A former slave, freedmen leader, and state senator, he helped establish free public schools in Texas
  • William Lloyd Garrison — Abolitionist, advocated women’s suffrage, co-founded the American Anti-Slavery Society
  • Alex Haley — Authored “Roots: The Saga of an American Family”
  • Mary Harris “Mother” Jones — Labor and community organizer, co-founded Industrial Workers of the World

“Mother” Jones

  • Seymour Hersh — Investigative journalist, exposed the My Lai Massacre as well as many government abuses
  • Hubert H. Humphrey — Forced the Democratic Party to adopt a civil rights platform at the 1948 national convention
  • Robert La Follette Sr. — Progressive senator, fought against the corporatocracy, an unapologetic liberal

“Fightin’ Bob” La Follette

  • Malcolm X — Grew to reject violence and separatism in the fight for civil rights
  • Biddy Mason — A freed slave, became a wealthy entrepreneur, donated huge amounts to charities
  • Lucretia Mott — Helped organize the Women’s Rights Convention, her home was an Underground Railroad station
  • Ralph Nader — Consumer advocate, fought against the corporatocracy
  • A. Philip Randolph — Labor leader, civil rights advocate
  • Bayard Rustin — Civil rights advocate who help organize civil disobedience protests, espoused nonviolence and pacifism, advocated for gay rights

Bayard Rustin

  • Mario Savio — Free speech advocate
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton — Advocate for women’s rights, abolitionist, universal suffragist
  • I.F. Stone — Independent investigative journalist, exposed racism within the FBI, revealed South Korean instigation of hostilities prior to the Korean War
  • Lucy Stone — Advocate for women’s rights, abolitionist
  • Sojourner Truth — Abolitionist and supporter of women’s rights
  • Howard Zinn — Iconoclastic historian, insisted on telling Americans what we’ve been rather than what we wish we were.

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

◗ IU Theater AnnexChildren’s musical,  “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs,” presented by Indiana Festival Theater; 11am

Monroe County Public Library“What It Was Like,” Fairview Elementary alumni share reminiscences of the school from the 30s-70s; 4-6pm

Bear’s PlaceDavid Linard Trio; 5:30pm

David Linard

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Kara Barnard & Chuck Willis; 6pm

Third Street ParkOutdoor concert, Hungry Dog Blues Band featuring Snarlyn Carlyn Lindsay; 6:30pm

The Player’s Pub The Blue Rivieras; 6:30pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz Theatre“The Taming of the Shrew”; 7:30pm

Cafe Django“Singing to Katmandu,” fundraiser for BloomingtonKatmandu exhibit featurng local artists and musicians; 7:30pm

The Comedy AtticRyan Singer; 8pm

◗ IU Auer Hall, Simon Music Library — “Quattro Mani,” Alice Rybak and Susan Grace perform Creston, Beach, Rzewski, Bowles, Bolcom, & Hovhaness; 8pm

Alice Rybak

Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

Max’s PlaceBluegrass, New Old Calvary; 9pm

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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