Posts Tagged ‘Weekly Sift’


Change Can Happen Faster Than You Think

Sierra Club secures 24,000 pages of EPA emails, calls logs, and documents which expose the culture of corruption in and around Scott Pruitt

NYSUT congratulates Albany Med nurses on the decision to unionize

Waging Peace: Two Billboards Outside Albany, New York

Speaking in Code: Two phrases that no longer mean what they used to

Roy Cohn, the Original Donald Trump

America’s Word is Worthless

‘Project Trumpmore’ to Carve President’s Face into Melting Iceberg

Federal Employees Face Cuts To Retirement Benefits And Pay Freezes

Cartoon: Circular Sarah

What ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah means by ‘the 5:30 curse’

The point at which the US politics firmly pivoted toward the Right

It’s A Toxic Myth That Celibacy Makes Men Violent

Monica Lewinsky: What We All Can Learn from My Disinvitation Debacle

Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest

New Yorker cartoon: Late at night is my sacred time to catalog every single instance of when and how I am a terrible person

Is this the loneliest generation?

She was the first woman senator. Her term lasted exactly a day

Culture Cruise: ‘Homer’s Phobia’

Did Little Syria in Lower Manhattan Consist of Asian-Americans?

Their Ancestors Were on Opposite Sides of a Lynching. Now, They’re Friends

Free press: the future of Boulder, CO’s Daily Camera

The architecture of First Presbyterian Church in Albany, an article by Warren Roberts, who died this week, struck by two cars in Florida.

Science Marches On

Wait But Why: A thing happened while I was at the coffee shop

This Video is about Red-Eyed Tree Frogs? and How to Win

Ken Levine on the state of network TV

Internet Wading: The return

“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

Why Whales Got So Big

Gone to the dogs

Names list offers origins, statistics and popularity rankings for people names

Now I Know: The Color Changing Building (and Democracy Experiment) and The Accident and the Musical Savant and Why Dippin’ Dots Never Became the Ice Cream of the Future and When the NBA Doubled Its Money and I Can’t Believe It’s All Butter

Magnolias In The Park

Credit and Debt Management

The Best Coffee in Every State

MUSIC

Confounds the Science – parody of Sound of Silence

My Last Day Without You – Nicole Behari

Dire Straits’ “Sultans Of Swing” Played on the Gayageum, a Korean Instrument Dating Back to the 6th Century

Birdsong – Kina Grannis

I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You – Louis Armstrong

I’m Not in Love – Don’s Mobile Barbers (UK surf act)

Slow Turning – John Hiatt

Coverville: 1215: Cover Stories for Adele and Captain & Tennille and 1216: The Irving Berlin Cover Story

Uptown Funk- Big Daddy

When I’m Sixty-Four -MonaLisa Twins

The Hamilton Polka – The Casts of Hamilton

Black Water – some Doobie Brothers and the Playing for Change Band

Riley B King – Keb’ Mo’

In The Mood – Henhouse Five Plus Two

Beatle For 13 Days

Hit Parade: The B-Sides Edition

There have have always been nativism movements in the United States. Seldom has been as blatant as it’s been the past year and a quarter. In February 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna announced that the agency changed its mission statement from:

“USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

To now:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

The aspirational angle has been lost.

By contrast, “During the 1940s, America basically underwent a nationwide sensitivity training program. Zoe Burkholder, a historian of education, writes… that a ‘forced tolerance’ movement had begun frothing a decade earlier as educators feared that scientific racism—the pseudoscientific ‘Master Race’ theories brewing in Germany—could waft overseas.” A reasonable worry, evidently.

Thus the story about the Superman pic shown. (Hey, wasn’t he an illegal alien?) What I do know is that the current regime’s attitude is troublesome.

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn notes: “The part where Jesus says to welcome the stranger is not a suggestion, it is a directive.”

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein writes that Ronald Reagan “not only celebrating the concept of welcoming people from all sorts of places during his kickoff of the fall campaign, but arguing that it was immigrants who helped build the country and it was the dream that they embodied that was what made America great.” The GOP icon didn’t believe in nativism.

In other words, the US Needs ‘sh*thole’ countries, not the other way around. “America’s prosperity and security are greatly dependent on the goodwill and cooperation of other nations, developed and emerging markets alike.”

That would include chain migration, or family reunification.

Read former President Obama on immigration from September 2017

A pastor friend of mine noted recently, “I am thinking this morning of good people, great Americans I know, who have come here from Haiti, [various African countries], Pakistan, Philippines. These Americans contribute to the greater good of the US… [they] have worked hard, learned to live in an often-less-than-friendly new place, raised strong families, and sent their kids to college so they can also contribute to society… You ARE the American People.”

As Flow of Foreign Students Wanes, U.S. Universities Feel the Sting.

The Weekly Sift guy nailed it when he wrote about The Real Immigration Issue: “‘Illegal’ immigration has always been a red herring. The more fundamental question is whether the United States will continue to be a country dominated by English-speaking white Christians.” Will nativism continue to push back?

For a brief historic perspective, read Becoming a Citizen: Naturalization Records, 1850 – 1930

For ABC Wednesday

Amy Biancolli: Slave castles, and the weight of history

The lost children of Tuam: Ireland wanted to forget

After I Adopted Two Black Babies, I Realized My Church Was Full Of Racists

Chaz Ebert: My daughter loves country music

I Want ‘Allahu Akbar’ Back

The Billie Jean Republicans

Every scandal plaguing him

A LOT of smoke

‘I want the government…to bring kindness back’ – Alas, not here. Jacinda Ardern sworn in as Prime Minister of New Zealand

When he was a kid, he said, they didn’t use the word autism, they just said ‘shy’

Floods: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Saudi Arabia issues first non-human citizenship to humanoid AI robot Sophia and Are We Ready for Intimacy With Androids?

Why This Cardiologist Is Betting That His Lab-Grown Meat Startup Can Solve the Global Food Crisis

The ‘good guy with a gun’ theory didn’t work out well in Colorado

Philip Schuyler’s Last Project: Before the Erie Canal

Effective November 30, 2017, AOL will no longer offer the ability to add new usernames or restore deleted usernames to an account

How Betsy DeVos Became The Most Hated Cabinet Secretary

Why you hate contemporary architecture

The Hotel at the Center of the World – I’ve been there

Judi England: Life is change (redux)

Born this month (1954)

Goodbye Katie Lee

Robert Guillaume RIP; Benson theme; SOAP- Stop in the Name of Love

Farewell, 747

David Letterman reflects on Harvey Pekar

Creating Saturday Night Live

Back To The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling’s Binghamton

Frank Oz news

Woody Woodpecker cartoon called The Bird Who Came to Dinner redux

Now I Know: How a Minnesota Town Body Slammed Its Neighbor and Stolen Smile and The Problem with Seven Eights and When Ice Was a Hot Gift

How Pringles Potato Crisps are made and how do they make crayons?

MUSIC

(Earth is) Not OK – Ingrid Michaelson -October 25, 2017 Full Frontal on TBS (language)

The Story Behind Devo’s Iconic Cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”

Good For Me – Aimee Mann from season 3 of Supergirl

K-Chuck Radio: Edison Diamond Discs and Until we get power again…

Coverville 1192: The Cover Me Interview

Lorena -John Hartford, written in 1856

It’s Not Your Nationality (It’s Simply You) -Billy Murray (1916)

The Oz medley

All Through The Night – the Mystics, with Jerry Landis aka Paul Simon

Rumble – Link Wray

Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin

Neuroscientists Discover A Song That Reduces Anxiety By 65 Percent (Listen)

NOLA The Cat Performs John Cage’s 4’33”

Ringo Starr Talks New Album, Reuniting With Paul McCartney

The Unlikely Return of Cat Stevens

Sex, spies, and classical music: The BSO scandal

In this whole Niger/condolence controversy, people are correct to point out that almost no one, certainly those in Congress who should have been in the loop, knew that the United States even had troops in the western African country.

The intelligence was so insubstantial that four US service members were killed, and that needs to be thoroughly invested. The body of one Green Beret, that of Sgt. La David Johnson, was not recovered until two days later, and that hasn’t been explained either.

I suspect General John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, advised the Donald not to make calls because he knew that wasn’t in his skill set. Kelly tells Trump the touching, inspirational words of his friend who said, “(your son) knew what he signed up for and he was surrounded by the best men in the world, doing what he loved.” The message goes in, comes out sideways.

Responding to media criticism, he calls the sergeant’s widow, Myeisha Johnson, quoting General Kelly’s words without any real feeling or personal experience and bollocks it up. At Mrs. Johnson’s request, her friend, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, was listening in, and later noted the insensitive response.

NOW he lashes back, and not with just with his Twitter war, when he refers to Rep. Wilson as “wacky” at least thrice, presumably because she always wears hats in honor of her grandmother. He claims to have proof that the member of Congress, and presumably Myeisha Johnson, are lying. Or as Borowitz satirically put it: Trump Says He Is Only President in History with Courage to Stand Up to War Widows.

Compare this response to that of George W. Bush, who accepted a grieving mother’s anger.

While condolences are being rush shipped out, he deploys John Kelly to the briefing room. As the New Yorker notes:

“The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments.
1. Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military…
2. The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his general told him to do…
3. Communication between the President and a military widow is no one’s business but theirs…
4. Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country…

“When Kelly replaced the ineffectual Reince Priebus as the chief of staff, a sigh of relief emerged: at least the general would impose some discipline on the Administration. Now we have a sense of what military discipline in the White House sounds like.”

The Weekly Sift quotes other critics of the general. “Vox’ Dara Lind compares his attitude to Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men… ‘He actively thinks that they have America wrong, and that they will never understand it in the way those who serve it will.

“Charles Pierce sees Kelly’s lying defense of Trump as ‘a terribly sad moment. Everything and everybody this president’ touches goes bad from the inside out.

“Matt Yglesias had another depressing thought. ‘Kelly’s performance… should be a wakeup call to anyone who still thinks there are ‘adults in the room’ who’ll save us.” We’re down to Mattis, I suppose.

Equally chilling is WH spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders who suggests that one ought not to challenge the word of a four-star general, even when he’s wrong. It’s part of the increasingly authoritarian response to criticism.

And THAT is what I think is another takeaway from this debacle.
***
THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH, OCTOBER 23, 2017 – John Kelly lies about a congresswoman while defending President Trump; Gold Star father Khizr Khan

If there’s something I DON’T want to write about, it’s cultural appropriation. It’s a no-win topic. So why tackle it? Because it keeps bubbling up in my circle of friends and acquaintances.

In response to a New York Times article, an NPR piece stated Commentary: Cultural Appropriation Is, In Fact, Indefensible. And it’s from there that I’ll describe the phenomenon:

“Writer Maisha Z. Johnson offers an excellent starting point by describing it not only as the act of an individual, but an individual working within a “‘power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.’

“That’s why appropriation and exchange are two different things, Johnson says — there’s no power imbalance involved in an exchange. And when artists appropriate, they can profit from what they take, while the oppressed group gets nothing.”

This distinction is important, and I believe addresses Frank S. Robinson’s post about “the newest gambit of politically correct grievance agitprop.”

The phenomenon is not new, actually. According to the Washington Post, the term goes back to the 1970s or ’80s. Bo Derek’s cornrow hairstyle in the 1979 movie 10 was a REAL issue to some folks, but I’ll admit I didn’t get it.

Weekly Sift had this:

“Cultural appropriation is when somebody from a dominant culture tries to acquire fame and fortune (or just look cool) by using stuff created by a dominated culture…. Sometimes it’s done with respect and a share-the-wealth attitude. (Paul Simon didn’t just steal the South African sound, he toured with and helped popularize authentic South African bands.)” [There are some who would disagree.]

“Sometimes it’s annoying and disrespectful, but relatively harmless (like Anglos who have no idea what Cinqo de Mayo commemorates ‘celebrating’ by drinking too much tequila).

“And sometimes it results in a significant injustice, like Elvis becoming a musical icon while the black pioneers he imitated couldn’t get radio time.” Presley became a source of conflict in my own household growing up.

My father HATED Elvis, but I thought he was bringing his own rockabilly sensibilities to the mix. (Now, if you want cultural appropriation, look at Pat Boone, whose vapid Tutti Fruiti squeezed Little Richard’s version out of the marketplace.) I had none of Elvis’ music until I went to college.

I saw this article about a Portland, OR “burrito eatery being shut down after the two white women who ran it were criticized for making food from a culture that wasn’t theirs.” I believe one or both of them jokingly suggested they “stole” the recipe, which helped generate outrage. I find that was a most unfortunate outcome.

I would suggest that the denigration of a culture, especially knowingly, such as Ted Nugent’s headdress in this context could also be seen as cultural appropriation.

So I believe cultural appropriation, different from cultural exchange, exists, and it’s undesirable. But I accept I don’t always know where the line is drawn.

For ABC Wednesday

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