Has it really been twenty years? (Non-fiction)

Twenty years ago this month, I was renting a basement room in Bolingbrook, not far from Mayor Roger Claar’s home. At some point during the evening, I wondered what writing a Weekly World News style tabloid would be like. So I wrote a story, added some HTML tags, and uploaded it to my personal web page. 

Bolingbrook Babbler 1999

Despite what a certain podcaster believes, the Babbler really does date back to the 1990s.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had written the first story of what would become the Bolingbrook Babbler and the start of the most extended writing project of my life. In the fifteen years I’ve actively been publishing, my stories have been praised by a Congressman, Bolingbrook politicians, and residents in the western suburbs.  Being accepted into the Freethought Blogs network was a great honor and a reflection on my stories.

When I started writing the Babbler, two of my interests were secular issues and speaking up about Roger’s near-total rule of Bolingbrook.

I became active in the skeptical and atheist movement and gained some notoriety. Some of my heroes at the time, including James Randi, praised my work.  When the great rifts started, I was surprised to learn that many of the people I had admired in the skepticism had views I found abhorrent. I may have lost some readers when I drifted away from the community, but I rediscovered humanism.  Once I was mildly critical of PZ Myers.  Now I’m proud to be a part of the network he helped create.   

Roger is still the Mayor of Bolingbrook, but now a member of the opposition party sits on the Village Board, and the Bolingbrook United party will be running a full slate in the April elections.  Bolingbrook residents finally have a choice at the ballot box for local elections.  Over the years, I’ve had some friendly meetings with Roger and some tense ones.  I’ve also received a couple of midnight emails from him.  I recall looking at my analytics program and realizing that someone from the Village Hall network went through almost every page of the Babbler.  (Somehow, a person from California managed to access the village network to view my pages.)  Today, I think we’ve learned to co-exist.  Still, the memory I will have of him is from a speech he made after winning a recent election by roughly 150 votes.  He divided Bolingbrook’s voters into “residents” and “foes.”  Instead of choosing to heal the wounds from that election, he sought to delegitimize his opponents.

It’s been an adventure, and I suspect there are more adventures ahead.  President Trump and his fellow authoritarians are threatening the pillars of our government. They are going so far as trying to delegitimize the last election.  The next election in Bolingbrook could be between those who want to be the next Roger Claar and those who wish to end one-party rule altogether.  Plus, there are lots of stories going on in Chicagoland, not just Bolingbrook.

I also want to thank my wife, who wishes to remain anonymous on these pages, for her help, her support, and for putting up with my writing schedule.  I love her, and we make a great team.

To my fans, old and new, I say thank you for your support, and I hope to keep writing the Babbler for at least another twenty years.  Although I may no longer live in Bolingbrook, I feel like part of me never left.

William Brinkman
The real person behind the Bolingbrook Babbler

Web Exclusive: ‘Where’s my (expletive deleted) coup?’: A Babbler post-election special report (Fiction)

The following stories are from our team of reporters covering the 2018 mid-term elections:

Illuminati forsakes Mayor Roger Claar

When the Illuminati’s expected coup didn’t happen on election night, Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar called the Illuminati’s Inner Circle during his watch party.

“Where’s my (expletive deleted) coup?” Claar yelled.  “You promised me a coup, and I promised Alyssia Benford she would be appointed to the emergency Illinois legislature!  What do you mean you canceled it?”

According to sources within the Illuminati, the Inner Circle canceled their coup plans due to resistance from the New World Order, and the belief that they could create more chaos with a Democratic-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate.

“We like Roger,” said an Illuminati leader who asked remain anonymous.  “He did give us Clow UFO Base.  However, we’re not in the business of rewarding our allies.  We’re in the business of creating global chaos that we can exploit.  The voters in the United States presented us with an opportunity, and we decided to exploit it.”

Other Illuminati leaders agreed and added that they were delighted with Benford’s efforts to disrupt the DuPage Township.

“She does have a future in the Illuminati,” said another anonymous leader.  “Maybe after she finishes destroying the Township we can find a new opportunity for her.  As for Roger, we think this election will provide him with plenty of opportunities to slam Democrats.  He should be happy that he can now attack the County Clerk, Treasurer, and Sheriff as well as Commissioner Jackie Traynere.”

Benford refused to be interviewed unless she wrote the article.  The Babbler rejected her request.

This reporter also heard one of Claar’s allies offer a solution to the Republican’s losses in Will County:

“The Republicans have held the Clerk’s office for 80 years.  Therefore we still hold the office and (County Clerk-elect Lauren Staley-Ferry) is trying to steal it—”

“Shut-up!” snapped Claar.  “And learn about the Genetic Fallacy!

Aliens celebrate Sean Casten’s US House victory

by Reporter X

Sounds of joy filled Clow UFO Base’s stadium as Sean Casten, a former employee, defeated Rep. Peter Roskam in the Illinois Sixth Congressional Race.  

“I remember when Sean was a quiet biochemist,” said Xop Logot from Komat Empire.  “Now he’s an outgoing leader of humans.  He’s come a long way.  Now I hope he can save Earth from runaway global warming.”

Casten later addressed the aliens via teleconference:  “I hope my victory shows the Interstellar Commonwealth that there are good people on this planet who want to fight for the future of our species.  I didn’t run for Congress just so I could hang out with all of you.  I ran so I could fix our country’s problems, and help humanity become worthy of full membership.  My work has just started.”

Casten then led the aliens in singing “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen.

A spokesperson for Roskam said he was unavailable for comment.

In the background, a man who sounded like Roskam cried: “Map!  My beautiful gerrymandered map.  I loved you, and you betrayed me!  Holly whatshername seduced you, didn’t she?”

Naperville Police prevent Election Day Riots

Sources within the Naperville Police Department say that they turned around buses filled with alleged  Brookes Brothers rioters.”

“We know the DuPage Election Commission stinks,” said an officer who asked that we not use her name.  “The last thing we need is a bunch of rich men from out of state invading our county.”

Organizers of the bus insisted that they weren’t rioters but were “aggressive poll watchers” who couldn’t believe that Lauren Underwood had a chance to win the election.

“I told them we would find out tonight,” said the officer.  “But rioting wasn’t going to help.  Turns out she won fair and square.  It’s weird that all of Naperville’s Congressional representatives are Democrats.  I guess that’s what the voters want.”

A spokesperson for Underwood pointed out that Underwood grew up in Naperville and denounced the rioter assumptions.  “We’re Naperville.  We have a reputation to uphold, and Lauren is part of that reputation!”

Note:  This is a work of fiction.

The election of our discontent: Our readers speak out (Fiction)

By Doug Fields
The Reader’s Editor

Election season is almost over with, and this one will probably go down as one of the most important in US history.  Will a blue wave of liberalism sweep over the country, or will a red tide of fascism rise up?  You, the readers, will decide.  We’ve mostly been getting generic form letters from supporters of each candidate, but I found a few original ones worthy of being published:

To the Editor:

#Blexit is dishonest and old school.  Kanye West has shown me the true path to liberation: #Yeexit!

What does #Yeexit mean to me?  It means not supporting a political party just because one of them passed the Civil Rights Act over 50 years ago, or because the other freed the slaves over 150 years ago.  It asking what each party will do for blacks.  It also means looking at each candidate’s positions and their current conduct.  

#Yeexit has a simple message for politicians of all parties:  Don’t take us for granted.  Earn our vote, now!

Claude Z. Washington
Bolingbrook, IL

That’s good advice for everyone.

For some reason, we’ve been getting some suspicious letters from the Sixth Congressional District.  Here’s the most interesting one.

To the editor:

I’m a tax-loving pansexual transgender Hillary Clinton Democrat who believes global warming is real because it was hot last summer.

I won’t be voting for Sean Casten because he denied five women the opportunity to run for Congress!  I’ve also conducted my own research on the Internet, and I keep seeing the word “Stupid” pop up.  He makes me mad!

He also said he admires a man who refuses to date women!  How hateful is that?

Peter Roskam once said he supported the Violence Against Women Act.  That’s good enough for me!

I also heard that there will be many liberals voting for Peter Roskam and that will include #metoo!

Insert Female Name here
Don’t use Wheaton, IL
Don’t send until approved by Peter.

Oops.  

For the record, all the women who ran against Casten later endorsed him.  We’ve even heard that some are campaigning for him in the general election.  He admires Dan Savage for creating the “It Gets Better” campaign.  Savage won’t date women because he’s gay.  Congressman Peter Roskam voted for the Violence Against Woman Act before he voted against it.  I guess he’s from the John Kerry school of voting.  Lastly, Casten has undergraduate degrees in molecular biology and biochemistry.  He also has a masters’ degree in both engineering management and biochemical engineering.  So pardon me if I doubt the Koch Brother’s description of Casten.

Closer to home, we also have quite a few people commenting about the Bolingbrook Park District’s referendum.  First the Yes side:

To the Editor:  

Did you know in this election, you can vote to give the Park District more money, and to lower your taxes at the same time?  Is it magic?  Is it an act of God?  Who cares!  I urge all voters to put the Bolingbrook Park District first and vote yes on the Park District Referendum.

Mitchel Troutkowski
Bolingbrook, IL

Now the No side:

To the Editor:

The Bolingbrook Park District has sunk to a new low in their effort to sneak their new tax increase by us.  I was going to put up some yard signs opposing the next tax, but then I saw someone had beaten me to it.  So I decided not to make the signs.  Then one day I decided to go to the URL on the No signs.  The website is actually for the Yes side!

This is evil.  Residents should be enjoying the full savings from the Park District paying off a bond.  Instead, the Park District is sneaking in a new tax and hoping we don’t notice it because our tax bill will drop slightly.  

Don’t be fooled!  This is a tax increase, and taxes are evil!  Resist evil.  Vote no and unite against the Bolingbrook Park District.

Sam Z. Peterseim
Bolingbrook, IL

This is almost as fun as reading the Bolingbrook Politics on Facebook.  Seriously, it comes down to this: Do homeowners want to save a little money, or do they want to save a lot of money?  We will find out this week.

Remember:  Soldiers and activists died so you could vote.  Don’t waste their sacrifice.  Vote on November 6th.

Also in the Babbler:

Mayor Claar:  No plans to place armed citizens at polling places
Alien election observers arrive in Bolingbrook
Editorial: Lack of sex isn’t an excuse to kill people
God to smite Bolingbrook on 11/7/18

Update on the GoFundMe campaign to defend against Richard Carrier’s lawsuit (Non-fiction)

Richard Carrier’s lawsuit against FTB and others is still ongoing.  Which unfortunately means our legal defense fund needs more money:

The lawsuit is ongoing. Stephanie’s second birthday since the lawsuit has come and gone — she was served on her birthday, did you know that? — and we’re still entrenched in the battle with little hope of quick resolution. As of a few days ago, all the money in this fund has been spent on our lawyers, and the legal bills we have at present total about $29,000. That means, sadly, I’m going to have to raise the fundraising goal again — to defray our personal costs and hopefully build a bit of a war chest against the ongoing suit.

I’m so very grateful to those of you who’ve shared and donated and posted words of encouragement, and I’m so very sorry that we keep having to spend money on this utterly unabashed attempt at silencing the critics of Richard Carrier, who’s admitted publicly to the behaviour we’d criticized and who persists in slandering the defendants publicly. I can only hope that the longer his lawsuit continues, the more word spreads of his actual character — one where he’d admit to not following a conference’s rules about solicitation of conference-goers, and then sue the people who might dare say that’s creepy.

And he calls himself a feminist and a free speech advocate.

We need your help to stay afloat and weather this blatant use of the legal system to silence criticism of an entitled white man who feels his honour is besmirched.

Please help, if you can. If you’ve already donated, thank you so much — please spread the word.

More details can be found on the GoFundMe page.

Clow UFO Base bans political display ads on spacecraft (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Bolingbrook’s Clow UFO Base announced it is banning all UFOs from displaying political ads on the outside of their spacecraft, and from showing them during abductions.

“I don’t know what (Mayor Roger Claar) was thinking,” said acting administrator Aplodoxage Glomox during a press conference.  “Actually, I have my suspicions, but this is not the place to talk about them.”

Two UFOs flying over I-88.  Each is displaying a political ad.

A rare photo of two UFOs with political ads. They were photographed flying over I-88.

Since 1989, Bolingbrook’s Department of Interstellar Affairs has allowed aliens to sell political advertising space on their spacecraft, provided they did not violate visibility rules.

“Depending on the time of day, a craft may be visible to the naked human eye,” said Paul Z. Coker, spokesperson for the department.  “All the visibility windows vary, but they’re all less than a minute long.  A lot of political campaigns will pay good money for those few seconds.”

Clow UFO Base staff will not provide a list of ad buyers. They insist that all the human buyers have permission to contact aliens.  Sources confirmed that off-world “political influencers” have bought ads, but refused to provide more details.  Ads could only be paid for using Interstellar Credits.

Glomox said the display ads are inconsistent with the Interstellar Commonwealth’s policy towards Earth:

“We are supposed to be subtly guiding humanity towards full membership in the Commonwealth.  Political ads on our spacecraft are as subtle as the rings of Saturn.  Besides, there are only two types of ads:  Either ‘this candidate is perfect’ ads or ‘this candidate is evil’ ads.  Neither are helpful.  Some humans worship us. So we have to take our role as guides seriously.”

Posslot, a resident of the Barnard’s Star solar system, is disappointed in the ban: “Sure I made a fortune off of the ads, but they’ve also helped my research.  Running (Representative Peter Roskam’s ads) proved to me that you can raise your constituents’ taxes all you want as long as you call yourself a Republican and call your opponent a Democrat.”

Stizaleek, a resident of Pluto, said she was going to stop putting ads on her UFO anyway:  “I like Lauren Underwood, and I wanted to help her.  So made my own video ad, and displayed it on my craft.  One night I flew over her house and sent her a message telling her about my ad.  At first, she didn’t know what to think of about my craft, but then she replied that if I was going to run ads, she couldn’t talk to me.  Something about being against the rules to coordinate with political action committees.  Well, I don’t want to be a political action committee of one.  So I stopped running the ads.  I still hope she wins.”

A receptionist for Claar said he was out of the office for the rest of the week.

In the background, a man who sounded like Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz said: “Charlene, did you hack my Facebook account, and were you the one who told (Trustee Rick Morales) that I wrote that fake post?”

“Not now,” said Charlene.  “I’m in the middle of something, Bob.”

A man who sounded like Trustee Sheldon Watts yelled: “That’s not how the Universe works.  That’s not how anything works!”

“Charlene, what’s going on?” asked the man who sounded like Jaskiewicz.

“Roger asked me to help Sheldon get ready for next year’s campaign.  So I decided to help toughen him up by locking him in a room with Kanye West.”

“Does Roger know you’re doing this?”

“He said that as long as I get results, he doesn’t care how I do it.”

The man who sounded like Watts yelled: “Charlene, get me out of here!”

“You still have 57 minutes left.”

“I can’t take it anymore.”

“I’ll let you out if you refuse the holy spirit.”

“You’re evil, Charlene!”

“You’re so judgmental, Sheldon!  I identify as amoral.”

A man who sounded like West said, “You can’t leave now.  I still need to talk to you about Drew Peterson.”

The man who sounded like Watts screamed.

Also in the Babbler:  

Men in Blue defuse anti-matter bomb at Clow UFO Base
Mayor Claar denies Bolingbrook will invest in a lunar golf course
Bolingbrook Politics administrator denies 99% of members are Russian trolls
God to smite Bolingbrook on 10/31/18

Note:  This is a work of fiction. 

How and Why (Non-fiction)

After the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, I saw this blog post by Rabbi Adam Shalom, Rabbi for Kol Hadash and the Dean of North America for the International Institue for Secular Humanistic Judaism from 2013:

This time, however, it’s just the wrong question. When tragedy happens, there is no why, no cosmic reason behind personal pain. Tragedy happens because life is not a script with a happy ending. Gravity and plate tectonics do not care about one’s moral worth. Humanity should care, and should strive to counteract the indifference of the universe. But that will still not answer the “why.”

To respond to the immediate need, however, we need a more direct approach. We can honestly respond to another’s grief with, “We’ll probably never know” (which is true), or even more powerfully, “We can be supportive by our presence.”

When I decided that I no longer believed in a God, I stopped looking at the events around the world as part of God’s game.  Terrible things happen not because we angered a god, but because the universe is not sentient.  So I agree with Rabbi Shalom’s more significant point that there is no ultimiate reason why these specific people were murdered.

That said, we are not entirely at the mercy of an uncaring universe.  We can stand up to anti-Semitism and bigotry in general.  We can work to vote out politicians who pander to hate groups.  We can work to strengthen gun laws.  Our actions may not eliminate mass murders, but we can try to limit their frequency.

 

 

From the Webmaster: Video from the future? (Mixed)

By Wendy Onofrey
Webmaster for the Bolingbrook Babbler.

ApexTV recently posted one of their interviews with a time traveler.  This traveler showed what he claimed was footage from the year 2045.  I jumped to the part where he reveals the video.

ApexTV asks their viewers to decide for themselves what they think about this video.  Here are my thoughts:

  • Apparently video camera quality will decline over the next 27 years.
  • Smartphones design won’t change either.
  • He doesn’t have much time because other time travelers are after him, yet he has no problem spending five minutes talking about the future.
  • Why not show his “robot” parts instead?
  • How will we progress from the current trend of Nationalism to letting AIs run the world?

I have a problem believing this one.  What do you guys think?

Acting Clow UFO Base administrator considers accepting transgender refugees (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Clow UFO Base could soon allow transgender humans to apply for refugee status.

“If Donald Trump and the Illuminati enact their plan to erase transgendered humans,” said acting administrator Aplodoxage Glomox during a press conference, “Then, under Interstellar Commonwealth policy, my staff is required to consider permitting transgender refugees into Clow.  I just ordered my staff to start their review and to make a recommendation by the end of next month.”

Glomox said she ordered the review after receiving intelligence reports from the Interstellar Commonwealth, and after reading a New York Times article about the Trump Administration’s proposal. The proposal defines a human’s gender identity only by their genitals.  Such a decision would revoke guidelines established by the Obama administration that protected trans individuals against discrimination.

“I would like to say that this decision represents primitive binary human thinking,” said Glomox.  “But many humans know that biological sex is a spectrum, not a binary. One cannot base their gender identity solely on biology.”

Mayor Roger Claar, who is also an Illuminati leader, did not dispute Glomox’s scientific claims.  “Since First Contact in the late 1940s, the Interstellar Commonwealth has never granted refugee status to any human or human grouping.  Never.  Why now?  I don’t understand.  I am very disappointed to see that Trump-phobia has reached the stars.”

Claar also added that he attended the Bolingbrook Pride event, and his interstellar charity, Humanoid Corrective Learning, does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender identity.  

Then he said: “I’m concerned that this could lead to caravans of transpeople converging on Bolingbrook.  The refugee screening process can take up to two years.   That means thousands of people congregating in Bolingbrook with no interest in buying a home.  They’re going to rent, and that means lower property values for the rest of us.  I told Aplodoxage this, but obviously, my voice doesn’t matter anymore.  I’m only the longest severing mayor in Bolingbrook’s history. Why should it matter?”

Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz, a member of the New World Order and Bolingbrook Pride, said people of all sexualities are welcome in Bolingbrook.

“If Roger doesn’t want a refugee crisis in Bolingbrook, maybe he should tell the President not to create one in the first place.”  He later added, “Bolingbrook needs to be an example for Illinois and the rest of the world to follow.  Part of that example should include acceptance of our residents and visitors, regardless of sexual orientation or identity.”  He then turned towards Claar, and said: “You can consider that part of Bolingbrook’s United political platform.”

Glomox said all refugees who pass the background checks would be resettled throughout the galaxy.  Unfortunately, most would never be allowed back on Earth.

“I agree with Bob.  It would be better if humans stopped treating their trans members as debate topics and started treating them as full human beings.”

Also in the Babbler:

Peotone UFO base on track for January opening
Editorial: Not every Will County politician or activist is guilty of a crime
Barrington’s estate owning residents worried about increased UFO traffic
God to smite Bolingbrook on 10/25/18

Tony Thompson could use our help (Non-fiction)

Tony Thompson runs The Progressive Pub over at The Orbit.  He lives about 24 miles from Mexico Beach, FL which is where the eye of Hurricane Michael made landfall.  He posted this update on his Facebook page:

Our home lost power, but no substantial damage (other than tiles from the roof and panels from the side). We also have no running water. Electricity may be up and running around the 20th. Hopefully.

We do have a generator with a supply of canned food and other dry goods.

We are not in dire need of anything at the moment. Money will be an issue when this is more or less done, but thats a later concern.

If you want to help him out, you can send your donations to his PayPal account.  You can also donate to one of these charities to help out in general.  Hopefully, he, along with the other residents of the Florida Panhandle will recover quickly from this disaster.

DuPage Township Trustee Oliver defects to New World Order (Fiction)

During a secret executive session of the DuPage Township Board, Trustee Maripat Oliver announced that she is leaving the Illuminati, and joining the New World Order.

“It was fun being a Knight of Chaos for the Illuminati,” said Oliver.  “It reminded me of my younger days.  Of course, I was also on the wrong path back then.  Now, I think creating global chaos is the wrong path.  So I offer my apologies to the NWO, and I hope they will accept me into their ranks.”

Supervisor William Mayer, a member of the NWO, accepted Oliver’s defection. He then blamed Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar for the turmoil in the Township:  “Years ago, Roger said I had to join the New World Order if I wanted to hold any leadership positions in Bolingbrook.  I did and things worked out.  When Roger defected to the Illuminati, he ordered me to defect.  I saw no reason to.  I like it when things are in order.  (Bolingbrook Village Clerk Carol Penning) gave me a warning back in January, and I still said no.  We’ve said a lot of things, skipped meetings, gotten sued by a staff member, and are now being torn apart by a secret war.  Let’s move forward, and set aside secret society politics — so that we can get back to the job of caring for elderly Republican voters, and helping people in general.”

Trustee Alyssia Benford, who is running for the Illinois House of Representatives, laughed:  “My fellow knight (Trustee Dennis Raga) and I laugh at your pathetic speech.  Roger is Bolingbrook.  When Roger told me to run for this board, I ran.  When Roger told me to join the Illuminati, I did.  When Roger told me to become a Knight of Chaos, I did.  When he told me to run for the State House, I did.  After the election is suspended, I will be appointed to the State House, and you will burn in the fires of chaos I will ignite.  Bill, you used this township to build your power.  I used this township as a ladder, and I am now burning that ladder so no one can follow me.”

Raga added, “We will be the greatest Knights of Chaos in the history of the Illuminati.  We know the true power of booze, boobs, EDM!  Booze, Boobs, EDM!”

“Enough!”  complained Trustee Ken Burgess.  “Why couldn’t the seniors take me on their trip?, After all I’ve done for them, the least they could do is to rescue me from all of you?  We were once an award-winning slate.  Now, look at us!”

“It’s not too late to be saved,” Benford said to Burgess.  “Swear loyalty to the Illuminati, and I will write an article in the Will County Gazette exonerating you.  If you don’t, either my followers will drop pumpkins on you, or the Edgar County Watchdogs will arrest you.  Ford!”

“It’s pronounced ‘Fnord,’” said Mayer. “Even I know that.”

“Roger told me to pronounce it ‘Ford,’” said Benford.  “Anyway, can we get this meeting over with?  All of you are boring me and wasting my time.  Roger says I’m destined for greatness!”

Also in the Babbler:

Republicans stunned as Democratic congressional candidate Sean Casten vows to lower property taxes
Mayor Claar rules that zombies must pay local property taxes
Ghost whispers ‘wallpaper’ after visitors use Mayor Claar’s bathroom
God to smite Bolingbrook on 10/17/18