When part of my past became a published undergraduate article (Non-fiction)

When I was a student at the University of Iowa back in the 1980s, I was a member of a radical leftist group called the New Wave. New Wave was at the forefront of many protests back then, including opposing CIA recruitment on campus, supporting gay rights, and speaking out against US intervention in Central America.

At first, I liked being a member, but then I started to become weary of the Maoist leaning of some of the most influential leaders of the group. Finally, due to several personal issues I was struggling with, along with disagreements with some of the members, we went our separate ways. It was a nasty split, with consequences that lasted for several years. But looking back, the experience did teach me about the dangers of political dogma, both on the Left and Right. As much as I wanted to fight for change, I had to accept that following the teaching of a 19th revolutionary and his followers was not for me. I had to find my own path. The one I did find lead me to the skeptical movement, and eventually to Freethought Blogs.

So, many years later, when I happened to stumble upon the 2011 article about New Wave, written by an undergraduate for the Iowa Historical Review, I decided to check it out. I opened it expecting a somewhat thorough history of the group. Instead,I found an article that tried to predict the future of the Tea Party movement by selectively citing New Wave’s history.

The author, Greg Branson, summed up his thesis this way: “What can the story of the New Wave Party tell us about similar reactionary groups like the Tea Party? Simply put, success will likely be their downfall.”

However, the history of New Wave can’t be used that way. The Tea Party was an Astroturf campaign mostly funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. New Wave started as a UI student senate political party that later transitioned into an activist group. While New Wave folks became members of the Progressive Student Network, (PSN) it was nothing like the Tea Party. PSN mainly shared information from progressive groups from around the country, while the Tea Party had a coordinated national strategy.

New Wave dissolved in 1992, but it wasn’t “because of the success of the group.” It’s demise can be attributed more to internal conflicts, the sudden departure of the group’s main thought leaders, the backlash against anti-war protesters during the first gulf war, and the community’s souring attitude toward New Wave’s tactics.

One of the major turning points for New Wave, in my opinion, was their “Intifada USA” rally on April 26, 1990. It was loosely a call for the then Daily Iowan Editor Jay Casini, a very conservative person at the time, to resign. Each co-sponsoring group had a representative give a speech for their cause. The overall message of the rally and eventual sit-in came across as “the world is terrible. Let’s march on the Daily Iowan!” The biggest problem with the protest was that Casini’s term as editor was about to end, and the Student Publications Board had already elected a new editor. The protest was therefore pointless and made New Wave members look like fools.

Since I was a contributor to the Daily Iowan’s Arts and Entertainment section at the time, I think I had the distinction of being someone who had marched with New Wave, yet was later protested by New Wave. Furthermore, New Wave never reached out to the liberal members of the DI’s staff who might have been sympathetic to them. Instead of building alliances, they alienated potential supporters.

While New Wave’s demise in 1992 correlated with the election of President Bill Clinton, it was not the cause.

Branson’s article should have focused more on the actual history of New Wave. He only cites the UI Library’s collection of old internal documents from New Wave, and even then, it seems like he only skimmed them. He could have cited the many newspaper articles and editorials about New Wave by New Wave members. He could have reached out to former New Wave members. He might not have found me, but there were other alumni that would have been easier to find.

In the end, I found the article to be a wasted opportunity, with a thesis that turned out to be false. You can’t always judge a political movement by the number of protests it stages. The Tea Party didn’t fade away when their protests. Arguably, they became the Republican Party. Their tactics are still used today, only now they’re used to fight mask mandates, and intimidate school boards. Conversely, California Governor Gavin Newsome fought off a recall effort thanks to strong turnout by Democrats in an off-year special election.

In one of my last journalism classes, I wrote a paper arguing that the trend in media was towards consolidation. My professor felt that my argument was too linear and I should have been open to more ambiguities, instead of trying to force all the facts to support my argument. Looking back, he was right. On the one hand, media companies continue to consolidate, but at the same time, more people now have the potential to reach large audiences through the Internet. Sometimes the answers aren’t so clean cut. It was a very valuable lesson, and unfortunately, a lesson that Branson hadn’t learned when he wrote this paper. I hope he did later on.

Overall, it felt odd that part of my life became a published article, even if the author never reached out to me. While the article wasn’t accurate, I can’t feel too bad, because my life isn’t over, and I still have more things to do. Maybe one of those things will result in a better article.

Harriet Hall strikes again (Non-fiction) (Link)

Months after Harriet Hall review of Irreversible Damage was pulled from Science-Based Medicine, she posted a revised version of it.  HJ Hornbeck compaires the revised version to the original and still finds it lacking.

If you haven’t done or aren’t willing to do your homework, you’re forced to either respond with an argument from ignorance or by moving the goalposts with an appeal for more data. Indeed, if the most common edit Hall makes is clarifying who’s speaking, the second-most common is adding appeals for more data.

 

Never Forget (Non-fiction)

On this anniversary of 9/11, I think this Giant If comic is close to how I feel:

Never forget…that we invaded a country that didn’t attack us without congresssional authorization based on a lie and which cost us 20 years, over 100,000 lives, at least $2 trillion, and many of our freedoms that we will probabily never get back.

Sources: Village considering ‘Texas-style bounties’ to combat ‘negative social media posts’ (Fiction)

Social media users who post ‘negative’ content about Bolingbrook might end up paying thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees.

Anonymous sources within Village Hall say the board is considering an ordinance similar to the Texas Fetal Heartbeat law. The ordinance permits lawsuits against anyone who “posts content that defames, diminishes, or in any way promotes negativity within or towards the Village of Bolingbrook.”

Supporters in Village Hall say it is a necessary ordinance to combat what they perceive to be an “unprecedented onslaught of negativity” against the village.

“Texas has shown us the way,” said Ted, a village employee who asked that we not use his/her real name.  “The Supreme Court is saying the government can do anything it wants as long as other people act on its behalf.  Why should a government limit itself to restricting abortion access? The Constitution can no longer stop us from doing what’s right!”

The text of the ordinance, provided by one of the sources, states that anyone in the United States “with any ties to Bolingbrook,” can sue anyone who posts “untrue, subjectively untrue, true but negative, and true but subjectively negative” content on social media about Bolingbrook.  If the complainant wins, they will receive $1000 plus legal fees.  If the complainant loses, they will receive $500 from the village and the defendant will still have to pay all legal fees.  Only members of the Bolingbrook Friends and Neighbors Facebook group, who are in good standing, are exempt.’

Jane, another source who asked that his/her real name not be published, insisted that the ordinance is not intended to punish opponents of Bolingbrook’s ruling First Party for Bolingbrook:

“Facebook is overrun with negative political groups and pages.  We’ve got Bolingbrook Politics, Bolingbrook Area Politics, Bolingbrook Politics Uncensored, Bolingbrook Friends and Neighbors uncensored, Bolingbrook United, Bolingbrook Independent Voices, and so on.  Bolingbrook runs on positive energy, and negative posts hurt all residents.”

Ted added: “If the Founding Fathers believed in free speech, they wouldn’t have allowed the Alien and Sedition Acts to become law.  This ordinance is perfectly in line with the original intent of the Constitution, and not the amended mess we have now.”

None of the village trustees could be reached to comment on the proposed ordinance.

A person who claimed to work for the Village Attorney said: “Oh, if we ever felt that such a law was Constitutional, you would be the first to know!”

Also in the Babbler:

White Bolingbrook resident claims Confucius was ‘anti-Chinese’
Village of Bolingbrook buys another ‘evacuation site’ near the Arctic Circle
Palatine Township Highway Commissioner honored for promoting ‘the freedom to infect’
God to smite Bolingbrook on 9/9/21

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Hidden Lakes Monster throws tantrum over possible sale of Hidden Lakes (Fiction)

A photo from 1999 of the Hidden Lakes Monster.

Bolingbrook’s Hidden Lakes Monster threw a temper tantrum after learning about the possible sale of both the Hidden Lakes Nature Center and Hidden Lakes to the Will County Forest Preserve District.  Three Will County staff cryptozoologists and two members of the Bolingbrook Department of Paranormal Affairs suffered minor injuries when the creature bumped into them.

“I don’t think she meant to hurt us,” said Beth Z. Delmar, a lake monster specialist employed by the Village.  “She was just upset by the news.  I would be too.”

Hidden Lakes is the smallest body of water known to have a lake monster.  The half-duck, half-sea serpent creature is believed to be the sole surviving member of its species.  Workers accidentally opened the cavern it was living in during the contraction of the four lakes that make up Hidden Lakes.  While most of the lakebed is shallow, some parts are up to a mile deep.  The creature sleeps in the deepest areas, then ventures to the shallow areas to eat weeds and plants.  Despite some accusations, no one has provided convincing proof that the creature has ever killed a human or eaten meat.

During its tantrum, the creature splashed water with its tail and made its unique sound, described as a combination of a hiss and a quack.  Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar, awoken by the sound, drove to Hidden Lakes to scold the creature.

According to eyewitnesses, Claar told the creature she was too expensive to continue to take care of.

Claar allegedly said:  “COVID infected the Parks District’s covert budget and they need to make cuts.  This time they can’t issue another bond and then and pass it off as a tax cut.  They have to make real cuts, and I’m not sorry, but invisible playground equipment for alien children is a better investment than you!  Now go to sleep and be happy that we didn’t cut you up instead!”

The creature responded by coiling around Claar and pulling him into the water towards the deep end.  It stopped when Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta and Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere arrived.  Alexander-Basta summoned the creature, who complied, and dragged Claar to near the shore.

“I’m sorry,” Alexander-Basta allegedly said.  “You may have hidden from my staff, but you must think of us as family. That’s why you’re so upset.  You think you’re going to lose your family and your home.  Let me assure you that you’re staying right here.  I’ll still visit you every week, and so will the residents.  You’ll just have different people taking care of you, that’s all.”

“I’ll be in charge of them,” added Traynere.  “You might not remember me, but when I was a little girl, I got lost and you guarded me until my parents came.  My parents thanked you with some very special birdseed.  I brought some for you today.”

As the creature ate the birdseed, Traynere added: “I’m the one who authorized the tunnel between Hidden Lakes and Lake Whalon.  Do you like it?”

The creature joyfully quacked.

“Good.  I insisted that they fill the lakebed with your favorite plant.  It cost extra, but you like it, right?”

The creature lifted Claar and used his body to splash water on Traynere.

“I know that splash,” Traynere replied with a smile.  “Yes there will be changes, but I think that a better-funded and more experienced governmental body can improve your home.”

Alexander-Basta then walked up to the creature, holding two bags of birdseed:

“You let the Mayor Emeritus go, and I’ll give you these two bags, plus twenty more.”

The creature released Claar.  After consuming the bags whole, it submerged and swam away.

Alexander-Basta helped Claar up, and said: “This is why Bolingbrook needs me as a mayor.”

Neither Claar nor Traynere could be reached for comment.

A receptionist answered Alexander-Basta’s phone and said she was dealing with a “tense situation.”

In the background, a man with a downstate accent said, “You must tell your Clerk to fulfill these 1000 FOIA requests within five days, or she must resign.”

A woman who sounded like Alexander-Basta said, “Well, I’m happy to serve you the papers—“

“It’s a trap!” yelled the man.  “You’re working for Bonnie!”  The man ran away.

“I don’t know who Bonnie is, but apparently she likes to serve too.”

Also in the Babbler:

Russians spare Bolingbrook from Hurricane attack
Last alien visitors from Afghanistan arrive at Clow UFO Base
Village Attorney confirms that the Bolingbrook Police cannot declare political parties illegal
God to smite Bolingbrook on 9/3/21

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Web Exclusive: Theater critic slams 8/24/21 Bolingbrook Board (Fiction)

Internet theater critic Sheri O. Roland must’ve believed she was watching a play when she reviewed the 8/24/21 Bolingbrook Village Board meeting. She wrote:

“This is not a production worth dying for. If you have to catch COVID, catch it by attending a Nickelback cover band concert. It will be more entertaining.”

According to the review, Roland believed she was reviewing a play called  “Positively Charged” staged by the Performance Art League of Bolingbrook.  The League isn’t a theater company but instead is an anonymous group of performance artists that “reappropriates” mundane events in Bolingbrook.  They infamously “reappropriated” the 6/9/09 and the 4/25/17 board meetings into the play, “Village of the Bored.”  Their last performance was “Restaurants Matter More Than You” in 2020 which was staged in a Bolingbrook restaurant that violated the pandemic indoor dining ban.

While the League’s announcements are banned from both Bolingbrook Events sites, some people, like Roland, are fooled into attending their “performances.”

During the 8/24/21 meeting, the Village Board announced the winners of 2021’s Bolingbrook’s Citizens of the Year awards and honored the retiring owners of Family Square Restaurant.  In her review, Roland described the announcements as “wasted plot points.”

“We have a woman who overcomes paralysis to become an advocate for LGTQ+ residents.  We have a photographer with fearless children.  We have two guys who traveled all the way from Greece to serve cream of chicken soup to the suburbs.  Each story could have been a separate play.  Instead, we’re treated to bland narration, and the characters themselves are hardly speaking.  The Greek characters had the stage stolen from them by the Mayor Emeritus character.  I’m sorry, but there’s no such thing as a ‘Mayor Emeritus.’ Did the writer not know the difference between a mayor and a professor?”

Roland described Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta’s “performance” as “competent, but uninspiring.”  She also described Trustee Michael Lawler as “playing a role that started out as comic relief but was rewritten at the last minute—Which was too bad, because this play could have used some comic relief.  The background characters should be cut because they don’t advance the plot at all.”

The ending, according to Roland, “fell apart,” and never recovered:

“Here we get the reading of invoices and rules that are never debated.  I thought we would finally see some drama when a letter accusing the main characters of poisoning Bolingbrook surfaced. Instead, that’s laughed off.  The bit about Bolingbrook losing power could have been an exciting twist.  Instead, it’s a line that should have been thrown away along with the rest of the script.”

She concludes her review by writing: “I can’t tell if this play is a depiction of an authoritarian dystopia or a piece of anti-democratic propaganda that denies debate and tries to inject the audience with a lethal dose of reckless positivity.  Either way, it doesn’t work.  I appreciate a suburb attempting to stage an original theatrical production during a deadly pandemic.  Sadly, in the end, it’s just like watching a cover band concert.  It tastes good, but the experience just doesn’t satisfy you like the original band’s performance would.  The only good thing about this production is the immersive sets.  Sometimes I really thought I was in a government building.”

Roland refused to be interviewed for this story.

When asked to comment, Alexander-Basta replied: “The critics said I would be Roger’s puppet and lose reelection.  Well—”

 In the background, a man who sounded like Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar said: “Hurry up!  WeatherTech wants to talk to us about building ten new helicopter pads by their factory.”

“I’ll be there in a minute,” replied Alexander-Basta.  “Now if I were a puppet, I wouldn’t have told our Mayor Emeritus to wait a minute.  Checkmate, foes of Bolingbrook!”

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Mayor Mary orders aliens to offer COVID shots during abductions (Fiction)

Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta (Image from the First Party for Bolingbrook site.)

By Reporter X

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 Delta Variant near Clow UFO Base, Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta ordered UFO crews to offer vaccines to their abductees.

“Nature has declared war on Bolingbrook,” said Alexander-Basta during a press conference with members of the interstellar media.  “Administering the vaccine is the key to dealing Nature a humiliating defeat!”

Starting immediately, any UFO licensed through Clow to abduct humans must offer either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.  Abductees are free to refuse the vaccine, but must still submit to the researcher’s procedures.  Clow is the first UFO Base on Earth to mandate UFO crews to attempt to administer shots.

“Only just over half of our residents are fully vaccinated,” said Alexander-Basta.  “That’s not good enough.  We’re holding pop-up clinics and even going to people’s homes to give them the shot.  Yet people are still hesitant to get vaccinated.  Even (Trustee Michael Carpanzano’s) propaganda pieces—I mean social media posts— aren’t enough to overcome some of our residents’ reluctance.”

Alexander-Basta feels that aliens might be uniquely qualified to overcome vaccine hesitancy:

“If you don’t trust me, or my TV show, or your doctor, or President Biden, or President Trump, you might trust a member of an interstellar civilization.  They probably know more about your physical health than you do.”

Alexander-Basta then introduced a man wearing a mask and a hooded robe that she identified as a member of the Illuminati’s Order of the Stairway.  He attacked the vaccine-resistant as “foes of Bolingbrook and humanity.”

“I’m sick of staying in my pod.  I’m sick of wearing a cloth mask when I’m not performing rituals, but most of all, I’m sick of the pro-COVID death cult in my party!  They claim to be pro-freedom, but I have news for you: Death isn’t freedom!  Dust to Dust?  That’s communism!  Do you think letting the weak die is masculine?  (Expletive deleted!) That’s like saying, ‘I carry a gun because I don’t want thugs to hurt me, but I don’t care about my family!’  How far would the gun rights activists have gotten if we’d made that argument? You say you’re not going to take the vaccine because you don’t know every ingredient in the shot?  Do you know the ingredients in all the COVID treatments?  They’re under the same emergency use authorization as the vaccines!  Do you think there’s a tracking chip in the vaccine?  You’re not important enough to be tracked!  And if we did want to track you, we’d track your smartphone!  Just like the New World Order did during the insurrection!  Trump is vaccinated!  Mayor Mary is vaccinated!  Everyone in the Fox News studios is vaccinated!  Don’t be one of those selfish hippies with a US Flag patch.  Get vaccinated, or get out of my village!”

As the man left the stage, he said to Alexander-Basta, “This is why you need a Mayor Emeritus.”

Following the announcement, Bolingbrook’s opposition parties, Bolingbrook Independent Voices and Bolingbrook United, released a joint statement criticizing her order:

“While we agree that the vaccines are safe and save lives, and encourage vaccination, abductees are not in a position to give their consent.  Abductees are in a state of mind similar to sleep paralysis.  They can’t consent to major medical decisions in that state of mind.  Plus let’s not forget why they are called abductees.  For decades, the First Party of Bolingbrook has tolerated the kidnapping of residents for outdated experiments and profited from licensing fees.  Some of us have always opposed this policy.  Some of us didn’t always oppose this policy.  One of us supported the policy before opposing it.  Now all of us are united in our opposition!”

When reached for comment, Alexander-Basta laughed and asked this reporter to join her for a video chat with covert social media operative Charlene Spencer.  When Spencer logged in, Alexander-Basta accused her of creating a front group called Suburban Residents for Higher Government.

Alexander-Basta: You won’t believe the trouble I went through to get your video pulled off of YouTube.

Spencer: What video?

Alexander-Basta:  Don’t play dumb with me young lady.  You know exactly which video I’m talking about.  The one you uploaded from our guest Wi-Fi network.

Spencer: As a taxpaying resident of Bolingbrook, I’ve used the Village Center WiFi to upload many videos.  You need to be more specific.

Alexander-Basta:  I’m talking about the one that accuses me of controlling the distribution of a deadly drug that kills 95,000 people annually, is more addictive than cannabis, causes organ failure, and drains a quarter of a trillion dollars from the economy every year.

Spencer: Well, since you’re the mayor, that also makes you the Local Liquor Control Commissioner. So technically—

Alexander-Basta ended the call.

Also in the Babbler:

Sentient COVID-19 Delta variant insists it was born in India, not China
Scientist predicts if nothing changes, COVID-19 will wipe out most Republicans by 2024.
UFOs escaping Afghanistan land at Clow UFO Base
God will not smite Bolingbrook this week.

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

‘We’re doing it live!’ Tenth Anniversary of Freethought Blogs YouTube broadcast (Non-fiction)

Join the members of Freethought Blogs, including me, as we reflect on the 10th anniversary of the network.  From its beginnings as a general atheist blog to its current reputation as the home for socially conscious bloggers. It’s been through the Deep Rift, the Trump Administration, and many personnel changes.  It’s had quite a history.  The one thing that has stayed consistent, in my opinion, are the bloggers’ desire to work for change, both in terms of speaking out for atheists, and advocating for a just world.  Because there is no invisible hand bending the arc of justice.  Humans have to work to bend it.

It will be live at 16:00 Central Time.  Come join us and feel free to ask your (reasonable) questions, or add a comment.

Trustee Troy Doris breaks the lunar triple jump record to win the Interplanetary Goodwill Games (Fiction)

File photo of Bolingbrook Trustee and interplanetary record holder Troy Doris.

By Reporter X

Bolingbrook Trustee and former Olympian Troy Doris won the Triple Jump competition at the Interplanetary Goodwill Games. His 102.6 meter (336.61 feet) jump shattered the official Lunar Humanoid Triple Jump Record.

“This is a year of firsts!” Doris said at a press conference following his victory.  “I won my first election.  I met my first alien.  I took my first trip to the moon.  Now I’ve won my first Unobtainium medal! And the year isn’t over yet.”

The Interplanetary Goodwill Games are held once every 20 Martian years.  Sentient species from around the solar system compete in over 200 games, including track and field.  Doris competed for the Clow UFO Base team, which was one of ten teams from Earth that qualified to compete in the games.

While Doris had hoped to compete in the 2020 Olympics, he was glad he chose the Goodwill Games instead.

“It seems like the Tokyo games are trying to kill you, kill your career, or kill your ability to compete.  Here, I don’t have to worry about any COVID variants.  I can focus on having one last great competition.  Then I can look forward to my new career as the token Democratic member of the First Party for Bolingbrook.  As long as I don’t make any waves, I’ll have a long career with them.”

Doris fouled on his first two attempts.  His first attempt ended when his first jump, the hop, caused him to crash into the domed ceiling.  Though the collision resulted in a large bump on his head, he vowed to keep competing.

“As long as I still had aerial body awareness, there was no reason for me to stop competing. I just had to get used to the moon’s low gravity.  It’s hard when you’re not wearing a 180 lbs. space suit.”

Doris made the record-breaking jump on his fifth attempt.  At the time he was in fifth place, and told the only way he could win was to break the Lunar record.  Posci, a competitor from Jovian moon Io, was the leader with his 90-meter jump.

“This time I wasn’t afraid that I was going to launch myself into orbit.  I could only do that on an asteroid or comet.  So I thought about the physics of my angles, imagined that (Former Mayor Roger Claar) was chasing me, and then ran like hell.  When I didn’t fall asleep after the hop, I knew I had a chance to break the record, and I did.”

After thanking his family, Doris also thanked Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta for allowing him to compete in the games and the staff of the Babbler for inspiring him.

“I remember reading about aliens in the Babbler and wanting to compete against them.  My mother said if I worked hard, and proved my loyalty to Roger, my dream could come true.  Today it did.  Thanks to the Babbler for inspiring me, and thanks to Tony’s Fresh Market for sponsoring the First Party for Bolingbrook and myself. No matter how long you’ve been in business, staying fresh is the key to success for both Tony’s and the First Party!”

A receptionist for Basta said she was working from home due to the “substantial spread of the Delta Variant in Will County.”

In the background of the video call, a woman in a biohazard suit walked up to Trustee Sheldon Watts, a member of the Bolingbrook Independent Voices party.

“Charlene,” said Watts.  “What are you doing here in that biohazard suit?  You’re vaccinated.”

“Not against the Omega variant,” Charlene replied.

“Omega variant?” asked Watts.  “There’s no such thing.”

“Not yet, and I’m not waiting for a vaccine-resistant COVID strain to evolve before I start protecting myself.  But let’s talk about the real reason I’m here.”

“I’m afraid to ask.”

“I’ll ignore that,” Charlene replied.  “I have a great idea to improve your standing among Democrats.”

“You know I’m trying to transcend both parties and be a truly independent voice for Bolingbrook.”

“And we know how that went over in the last election,” Charline replied.  “Anyway, you need to get #fercalicious!”

“What?”

“It’s the hottest thing among Democrats who want to work on their climate fitness.  Just listen to Representative Sean Casten!”

Charlene started playing a video on her smartphone.

“Hold up!”  Watts yelled.  “This is one of your deep fakes.  Right?  A middle-aged congressman imitating Fergie to promote the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?”

“You’re overthinking this!” replied Charline.  She then stepped next to Watts and held up her cellphone.  “Just channel your inner Will.I.Am and you’ll be a hit with the liberal residents on TikTok!  Mary and (Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere) will never put it down like you.”

Also in the Babbler:

Palatine resident burns yard to fight rose-killing vine
Trustee Carpanzano apologizes to the ghost of Mayor Rosenthal
Mayor Alexander-Basta sets record for most interviews with Egypt Today
God to smite Bolingbrook on 8/5/21

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group.