Category Archives: Welfare Queen

Queenly Hot Air

Believe It Or Not

So, Saint Ronald Reagan’s infamous “Welfare Queen” has been fingered and her sins catalogued.

You remember her don’t you? During Saint Ron’s first honest-to-gosh presidential run in 1976, he made tons o’hay by railing against a woman who would become known as the Welfare Queen of Chicago. See, flamboyantly white people at the time not only were scared to death of the black penis, they also soiled their pants thinking about the fat, lazy mama raking in gov’t dole checks while she sat around in her house slippers, gorging on potato chips (bought and paid for with our hard-earned tax dollars), while watching soap operas on TV.

Reagan’s target market cared not a whit for poverty, the environment, wars here and there, or whether or not women made 69 cents for every dollar men made. Pish tosh. The paramount concern of the Archie Bunker crowd that Ronnie coveted — hell, their only concern — was whether it would be indolent black women or savage black men who would destroy our holy land first.

Washington Post Clip

Back in the 1950s, a shocking number of pols could feel comfortable saying, in no uncertain terms, that the niggers were coming. By the mid-’70s, that kind of candor was out. Candidates trying reach the then-“Silent Majority,” the one that would shortly morph into the “Moral Majority,” needed code words and misdirection to foist their fear-of-a-black-planet message upon a happily suspecting public.

The future Commander-in-Sleep claimed at a campaign rally in January, 1976, that the forces of good had discovered a woman who’d gamed the feds to a shocking degree. He said:

She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.

You can easily imagine RR’s facial expressions and the shifting tones of his voice as he ran down the laundry list of her sins, ranging from golly-gee, can-you-believe it? to righteous rage. He was, after all an actor. And, even though all politics is theater, The Saint was the first thespian-turned-pol to enthrall audiences on a national scale.

Within weeks of that speech, the Chicago Tribune had dubbed the woman, now revealed to be one Linda Taylor, the “Welfare Queen.” Saint Ronnie never had to say it but his crowds knew this in their hearts: There was nothing unusual about her. In fact, she was the archetype, not the outlier. All those lazy bums collecting welfare are living the life, man! They all know how to squeeze blood out of the system. The Reaganistas wondered in private conversations with each other, Why are blacks like that? Within 20 years, America’s attitudes had been so shaped by Reagan’s vivid imagery that a Democratic president would lead the charge for “welfare reform.” The Welfare Queen was dead.

Or, more accurately, the Welfare Queens. Plural. The millions and millions of them. Driving Cadillacs and eating lobster with their chitterlings, all paid for with food stamps and public aid checks. Why are blacks like that?

Through the years, liberal commentators have speculated that Good Old Ronnie had conjured his Welfare Queen out of whole cloth. Even so respected an observer as Paul Krugman once wrote that Reagan’s literal bête noire was nothing more than a “bogus story.”

Turns out Linda Taylor was not only real but her slurping at the public trough was even more criminal than Ronald Reagan implied. Man, oh man, you might marvel, Reagan was right.


Up With (White) People

He was and he wasn’t. Taylor was a cheat, a parasite, and a truly despicable figure. But there was only one Linda Taylor and Reagan knew it. He also knew his audiences wouldn’t care. They craved to believe everybody collecting welfare was a fraud. Men believe, Julius Caesar once noted, that which they wish to be true.

So Linda Taylor did well by herself, financially if not morally. Yet she inadvertently was responsible, in some small part, for the growing numbers of mal- and under-nourished schoolkids, the burgeoning homeless population, and the millions more medically underserved citizens of this great nation in this day than in hers. (Ronald Reagan, natch, was far more responsible.)

Her unique sins became the sins of the whole.

Funny thing is, at precisely the time Taylor was scamming the feds and the State of Illinois, another Chicagoan was engaged in an even more ugly evil.

Beginning in the mid-1970’s, Detective, and later Violent Crimes Commander, Jon Burge of the Chicago Police Department’s Area 2 headquarters on the South Side, carried out and/or oversaw the systematic torture of hundreds of prisoners to extract phony confessions from them, particularly in high-profile cases. Burge and the boys in the Area 2 HQ basement enjoyed beating, burning, and suffocating suspected lawbreakers, all in the pursuit of quick indictments and ultimate convictions. The reported incidents include the shooting of prisoners’ pets in front of them, snuffing out lit cigarettes on suspects’ skin, tying them to scalding hot radiators, and covering their heads with plastic bags until they passed out. They employed cattle prods, high voltage electroshock devices, and old reliable standbys like telephone books and rubber hoses to inspire their subjects to sing. They enjoyed using something called the “violet wand” which delivered a severe electric shock when pressed against a suspect’s anus or genitals.

Occasionally, the Burge boys used their more “enhanced” methodology on witnesses to crimes as well as suspects. The witnesses, it has been reported, were thus persuaded to testify in a manner that would please the officers.

One suspect, who eventually signed a phony confession that led to the death sentence for shooting a police officer, described a typical torture device used at Area 2 HQ: “It’s black and it’s round and it had a wire sticking out of it and it had a cord on it…. [Burge] took it and he ran it up between my legs, my groin area, just ran it up there very gently… up and down, up and down, you know, right between my legs, up and down like this, real gentle with it, but you can feel it, still feel it.

“Then he jabbed me with the thing and it slammed me… into the grille on the window. Then I fell back down, and I think that’s when I started spitting up the blood and stuff….”

Burge and fellow duly deputized officers of the law differed from Stasi agents or Gestapo officers only in the color of their uniforms.

And, speaking of color, all of the Burge crew’s victims were — you guessed it — black.

After nearly 40 years’ worth of charges and several headline trials, Burge finally was convicted of torture, obstruction of justice, and perjury. He’s now serving a 4½-year sentence at the federal correctional facility near Raleigh, North Carolina.

Chicago Sun-Times Cover

Which is the proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the many, many years dozens of tortured suspects spent in prison, at least 10 death penalty convictions leveled against others (since overturned, thanks to Burge’s convictions), and the nearly $100 million the City of Chicago has had to pay out in punitive damages.

Oddly, few outside the shifting boundaries of Chicago’s black neighborhoods thought to jump to the conclusion that Burge’s team might not be the only Police Department crew using cruel and inhuman methods to frame innocent people. Not even after reports issued by the CPD itself and the United Nations Committee against Torture suggested that Burge et al were not really outliers in the force, but archetypes.

No, nobody among the Silent and Moral majorities wished to believe their friendly men in blue, those who served and protected them, would actually torture prisoners. Why, that kind of stuff only goes on in East Germany and Communist China, for heaven’s sake! Not here in the land of the free and the home of yadda, yadda.

And since they didn’t wish to believe it, as Caesar pointed out, they simply didn’t.

The Pencil Today:


“We’re doomed.” — Rush Limbaugh


Ooh, we’re excited here at Bloomington’s favorite communications colossus!

First we’ve been authorized by the federal government to continue operation after President Barack Obama’s order to shut down any and all TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and interwebs sites that are deemed dangerous to the newly renamed United States of the World.

Huzzah! The Electron Pencil has been named a Communications Organ of the People!

We’ve always striven to be an organ of one sort or another.

Second, the Federal Emergency Management Administration wants us to pass along some vitally important directives to The People. FEMA’s notification is reproduced, in part, below:

Here is the gist of FEMA’s order:

♠ All guns being held by private citizens must be turned in no later than midnight, Saturday, November 10th, 2012 (that’s today, so hurry!)

♠ The new Tithing for the Poor program mandates that all working Americans must hand over 10 percent of their weekly income to the welfare queen or pimp of their choice

♠ Any and all registered Republicans must sign a loyalty oath to the New Order — it begins, “I pledge allegiance to the Social Bureaucracy of the United States of the World…”

♠ Tea Party members will be required to report to FEMA’s Attitude Readjustment camps by Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 — they will not be allowed to participate in Thanksgiving festivities as that racist, imperialist celebration has now been outlawed

♠ Grandmas of the USW will be required to report to their local Death Panels as soon as possible

♠ All public buildings must now prominently display the al Qur’an

♠ A United Nations representative will be visiting your home within the next few weeks — you are to cooperate fully with him or her

♠ All American women of child-bearing age must undergo an abortion procedure by the end of the year — those who are not pregnant at this time must become pregnant by December 1st, 2012 — those women who have difficulty finding a mate can apply for assistance from the USW Social Stud Service, staffed exclusively by men of African extraction

♠ American business owners must close their businesses by the end of the year

♠ All white males in excess of 50 percent of the population must leave the country — preference for those who are allowed to remain will be shown for weak, near-sighted, flat-footed males who exhibit a proclivity to enjoy showering with other males

♠ All Americans must engage in a minimum of one (1) homosexual act each year

We at The Electron Pencil are proud to do our share in the remaking of America. And we pledge allegiance to our Dear Leader!

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

FOOD ◗ City Hall, The Showers BuildingFarmers Market; 8am-1pm

ARTS & CRAFTS ◗ University Baptist ChurchBloomington Glass Guild Holiday Show; 10am-5pm

ART ◗ TC Steele State Historic Site, NashvilleMember Art Show; 10am-5pm

WORKSHOP ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Native American Beading; 10am-4pm

ARTS & CRAFTS ◗ First United Church of Bloomington27th Annual Fiber Art Show & Sale; 10am-5pm

FAIR ◗ Holiday InnBloomington’s Spirit Fair, Consult with psychics & tarot readers, Shop for New Age objects, Booths for numerology, astrology, reiki, crystal healing, and palmistry; Through Sunday, 10am-pm

ARTS & CRAFTS ◗ Bloomington Convention CenterBloomington Handmade Market Holiday Sale, Featuring 48 regional artists & craftspeople; 10am-5pm

BOOKS ◗ Howard’s BookstoreAuthor Terry Pinaud signs his book, “Chaos“; 11am-3pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Memorial StadiumHoosier football vs. Wisconsin; Noon

DEDICATION ◗ Monroe County Courthouse Square, East Side, The Redmen BuildingCeremony for the installation of the Susan B. Anthony historical marker plaque; 1pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallBassoon Studio Recital: Students of Bill Ludwig & Kathleen McLean; 1pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallMaster’s Recital: Steven Marquardt on trumpet; 1pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “Spring Awakening“; 2pm

CELEBRATION ◗ Trained Eye Arts CenterThe Big One: Trained Eye Arts 1-year Anniversary, Featuring live music, games, performers, studio open house; 3pm-Midnight

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallSenior Recital: Rico D. Hamilton, tenor; 3pm

STAGE ◗ IU Ivy Tech Waldron Center, Auditorium Comedy, “Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps“; 3pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford Hall — Voice Studio Recital: Students of Teresa Kubiak; 3pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Beau Travail,” Filmmaker Claire Denis will be present; 3pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallArtist Diploma Recital: Eun Young Seo on piano; 4pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Sweeney HallMaster’s Recital: Matthew Peterson on jazz piano; 4pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallHarpsichord Studio Recital; 5pm

VETERANS DAY ◗ Bloomington High School South — “A Tribute to Elvis,” Live music, Proceeds go to Disabled Veterans Wish Foundation; 5:30-7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallViolin Studio Recital: Students of Kevork Mardirossian; 6pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Two Angry Moms“; 6:45pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleMartha Burton; 7-9pm

LECTURE ◗ IU CinemaJorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series: French filmmaker Claire Denis; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallSenior Recital: Jamie Kim on clarinet; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheaterRyder Film Series: “17 Girls“; 7:15pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “Spring Awakening“; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, in the Rose FirebayDrama, “The Rimers of Eldritch,” Presented by Ivy Tech Student Productions; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ Bloomington High School NorthComedy/drama, “Ondine“; 7:30pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Buskirk Chumley Theater — “A Potpourri of Arts in the African American Tradition,” Featuring the African American Dance Company, the African American Chorale Ensemble, and the IU Soul Revue; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubRitmos Unidos; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallBaroque Orchestra, Stanley Ritchie, director; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ First Christian Church — “Masses & Madrigals: Ancient & Modern,” Performed by the Bloomington Chmaber Singers, Conducted by Gerald Sousa; 8pm

OPERA ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “Cendrillon (Cinderella),” Presented by IU Opera Theater; 8pm

STAGE ◗ IU Ivy Tech Waldron Center, Auditorium Comedy, “Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps“; 8pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Hahn; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Keep the Lights On“; 8:15pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallPiano Studio Recital: Students of Jean-Louis Haguenauer; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallSenior Recital: Jisoo Kim on piano; 8:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheaterRyder Film Series: “All Together“; 8:45pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdRod Tuffcurls & the Benchpress; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlacePiney Woods; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopAndy D album release party with Ursa Major, Beverly Bounce House, DJ Eade; 9:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Hahn; 10:30pm


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.

%d bloggers like this: