Rejected, Then Recycled

Well, I see that Notre Dame (the University, not the Cathedral) has hired Paul Ryan, former Speaker of the House. Evidently, Ryan will teach economics–despite the fact that he consistently elevated ideology over evidence and was routinely criticized by actual economists for clinging to long-debunked theories.

Some people resemble that bad penny that inexplicably keeps coming back.

Closer to home, the Indianapolis Business Journal has announced it has added Gary Varvel to its roster.

Over the past years, the IBJ has eclipsed the Indianapolis Star in the amount of actual news published. The Star, which is (theoretically) our city’s general interest newspaper, has reported less and less information about local government, and less news in general; the IBJ has increasingly filled the gap. The IBJ has also “picked up” reporters, columnists and others who have been downsized or otherwise left the Star. (Disclosure: I’m one of them–I moved to the IBJ a few years ago.)

Most of these additions have added to the depth of Business Journal coverage. And virtually all of them–Left or Right–have displayed civility and respect for those who hold contrary opinions. The paper’s Forefront feature, especially, adds to readers’ understanding of contentious issues by including opposing perspectives by political figures and others with knowledge of the matters being considered.

Then there’s Varvel, long a cartoonist for the Star, and more recently given an occasional column that was not well-received, according to one editor with whom I spoke.

I don’t know Varvel personally, but I’ve seen his work and heard the stories.

I still recall a conversation I had years ago with a friend, a Star reporter who worked alongside Varvel. The reporter’s sister had given birth to a highly anticipated baby who died shortly thereafter, and the family was grief-stricken. Varvel took it upon himself to explain to my friend–evidently at some length– that the death was God’s will.

To say that this tone-deaf intrusion did not endear him to his coworker would be an understatement.

That said–whether it was Latinos coming through the window to invade the home of nice white folks, or the portrayal of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford demanding M&Ms and roses (for which the Star issued an apology), or the columns defending Trump, attributing gun violence to moral decay and not the wide availability of guns, or objecting to a school’s policy requiring respect for transgender students–you certainly always knew where Varvel was coming from.

As a column in NUVO, Indianapolis’ alternative newspaper, put it after the Latino cartoon:

It’s no surprise that an editorial cartoon by The Indianapolis Star’s Gary Varvel was removed from the newspaper’s website over the weekend. The cartoon portrays an Hispanic family climbing in through the window of the home of a white family celebrating Thanksgiving. The white father, with a plate full of turkey in his hands, wears a glum expression as he says, “Thanks to the president’s immigration order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving.”

Considering Varvel’s often bigoted opinions on politics and race, I’m surprised this kind of thing hasn’t happened before.

Since the IBJ has championed the importance of inclusiveness and diversity, the decision to add Varvel ranks right up there with Notre Dame’s decision to treat Ryan as an economist.



  1. Why in the world would a prestigious university like Notre Dame hire an Ayn Rand (fiction) ideologue to teach economics? Does he have a doctorate? No. Has he ever taught before? Certainly not anything worthwhile while working in government. So, is Notre Dame so hard up for flash and big-buck students that they have to hire this guy? I’ll bet the faculty there is re-reading their standards and ethics manual. Ridiculous.

  2. is varvel paying the ibj to work there? as i run along the liberal lines,sometimes i have ro wonder if, the conservatives pay the news papers to hire certain writers… like fox,only the best treasonest journalists,get to sit and ratchit jaw live on t,v. i just had to ask..

  3. “Rejected, Then Recycled”

    Pardon me while I ROFLMAO as I remember the news reports of Steve Goldsmith’s arrest for spousal abuse while Deputy Mayor of New York City but, lying to the NYC Mayor about his residence address, living in Washington, D.C., was allowed to resign from that position. The last I heard of Herr Goldsmith he was teaching at Harvard; I lost all respect for Harvard learning that fact. I ended my decades of subscribing to the Indianapolis Star for the reasons Sheila listed, including Gary Varvel.

    McConnell has announced is bid for reelection; let us hope he is “Rejected, Then Recycled” back to them hills and hollers of Kentucky from whence he came. That rejection would be the greatest aid in rejecting and recycling Trump and his offspring. We can hope the national and international publicizing of Trump’s mental imbalance and ignorance will follow him back into the business world and his towers of cards will collapse.

    “Since the IBJ has championed the importance of inclusiveness and diversity, the decision to add Varvel ranks right up there with Notre Dame’s decision to treat Ryan as an economist.”


    Some things in this life, like Climate Change and Global Warming and the election of Trump, simply defy explanation.

  4. Shame on Notre Dame but the school has always placed money before principle even though they would refute this adamantly. Paul Ryan probably comes with an annual donation from the Koch brothers who have planted economists (trickle-down Friedmanites) in over 150 colleges around the country. Many operate “think-tanks”. Think, Ball State’s Michael Hicks and Cecil Bohanon among others.

    I am amazed that varying perspectives hasn’t occurred to a Gannett run newspaper. LOL

    I reached out to our local Gannett rag which reads like a police and crime blotter than an actual newspaper. They’re not interested. They just lost their sports writer, so I suspect they will lose even more subscribers. If they didn’t count all the newspapers handed over to retail stores as “Papers sold”, they would have few readers.

    Personally, I’ve never found Varvel funny or amusing. I’m very surprised IBJ drafted him to fill their pages with trash. As for their diversity, I have to laugh because as long as it’s pro-capitalism, it’s okay. LOL

    If it includes the GOP and DNP “perspectives”, that doesn’t make it diverse. As long as you sing the praises of business, you’re good. 😉

    One other note, I saw where your boy, David Brock, is leading the pack to attack Bernie Sanders once again to eliminate him from the primary. Surprise, surprise!

    The owners can handle another 4 years of Trump versus having a progressive in the White House.


  5. Todd,
    “…as long as it is pro-capitalism, it’s OK.” Therein is the bottom line of all institutional decision making in the country today.

  6. Political hacks who make a name for themselves almost always end up at universities. The saddest day in Purdue history was the hiring of Mitch Daniels as President. At least Ryan won’t be leading ND. As I think back, I don’t recall any noted economist among the ranks of ND’s professorial staff, so it seems Mr. Ryan will fit in nicely.

    As for Mr. Varvel, he belongs on the trash heap of history, where, in a just world, he would be accompanied by Michelle Malkin (or as I like to call her, Malkintent). They represent the worst journalism has to offer.

  7. Perhaps if Don loses in 2020 and stays out of jail he can leave his businesses to his kids and contract for a tenured full professorship in International Relations at Harvard. Just imagine all the visiting lectures he could attract from such as Putin, Kim, and various dictators ranging from Egypt to Brazil to the Philippines! Think of the big bucks that would come from DeutscheBank, Zurich and various shell corporations organized in Delaware that would flow into Harvard’s Endowment Fund (the country’s largest)! Such a bonanza would mean that those Harvard people in charge of admissions could even start requiring ID for SATs from rich kids prior to acceptance, or alternatively, up the price to the kids’ one-percent parents. Welcome to America’s future.

    I’m a bit cynical today while awaiting Barr’s report on Mueller’s report after hearing from Barr that his report would only “lightly” redact Mueller’s report. “Lightly” by whose standards? Barr’s? This AG not only wants to frame content; he wants to sugarcoat our ingestion of his spoonfed conclusions. GRRRR!

    Finally, while I am seething, I note that Trump (in truncated sentences) suggested to the French that they use airplanes to drop water on the burning Notre Dame Cathedral (an idea which one French fire executive called stupid). I also note that Mayor Pete offered the French his condolences, as one writer put it, in “eloquent” French. The lesson from these exchanges with the French frames our choice of stupidity versus eloquence nicely. I’ll take eloquence.

  8. Notre Dame has recently hired both Joe Donnelly and Paul Ryan. I see no indication here at all that Notre Dame is trying to gain (or keep) financially powerful connections in DC. Nope, not at all.

    Rather than executing their money and power begging in private and behind closed doors as they have done so in the past, they have decided tothrow caution to the wind and let the public and their donors know that they intend to stay close to the power brokers in DC.

  9. re: Ryan.
    Interesting that a ‘Christian’ university in Indiana would hire a disciple of an atheist noted for her ramblings and sets up the devil’s works as the ‘good’ for humanity to emulate.

    re: Varvel. Note the Ted Cruz Tweet about Disney’s contribution to the cathedral in Paris.

  10. Varvel had a talent for letting his personal ideology override any nuance or subtlety in his handling of his selected subject matter. Paul Ryan is an accomplished liar and seemingly a hater of poor Americans. Their new employers could have done so much better as noted by some earlier commenters.

  11. The environmental reporting done by the Indianapolis Star makes it worth dealing with the conservative drivel. I wonder if the public disclosure in the press helped stymie the effort to keep power companies from converting from coal to wind, solar and gas.

  12. I can understand a news paper airing different points of view in the editorial section. It is when the editorial views skew the actually news reporting. Varvel was and is a talent-less, pure ideologue, who will not be confused by facts.

    Todd, makes a good point on David Brock and the Corporate Democrats leading the fight against Bernie Sanders.

    From an article in Common Dreams: “Brock, a former Republican “media hitman,” is just one of many prominent Democratic operatives and deep-pocketed donors who are “agonizing” over the possibility of the Vermont senator becoming the Democratic presidential nominee, according to the Times.”

    Side Bar – a former Republican “media hitman,” that has now found a home in the Democratic Party. Nothing is worse than a “reformed whore”. Brock is still pimping for the Wall Street Elite only now he is a “Centrist Democrat”.

    Further from the article: From canapé-filled fundraisers on the coasts to the cloakrooms of Washington, mainstream Democrats are increasingly worried that their effort to defeat President Trump in 2020 could be complicated by Mr. Sanders,” the Times reported.

    The Times added:

    The matter of What To Do About Bernie and the larger imperative of party unity has, for example, hovered over a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz. The gatherings have included scores from the moderate or center-left wing of the party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader; former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., himself a presidential candidate; and the president of the Center for American Progress (CAP), Neera Tanden.

    From Wiki on David Brock: National Review has called him a “right-wing assassin turned left-wing assassin”and Politico has profiled him as a “former right-wing journalist-turned-pro-Clinton crusader”.
    The new classic rejected, recycled candidate for the Corporate Democrats in the DNC and McMega-Media is Joe Biden.

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