392 “Educational Intimidation” Bills Have Been Introduced in the US Since 2021
How the Myth of Colorblindness Endangers France’s Future: The refusal to gather data on race and ethnicity is exacerbating inequality, increasing social segregation, and preventing badly needed reforms.
How did Frederick Douglass become a conservative spokesman?
A New Monument to Emmett Till Doesn’t Measure Progress, But It Does Matter?
A raid on a Kansas newspaper likely broke the law, experts say. But which one?
Ingenious librarians: A group of 1970s campus librarians foresaw our world of distributed knowledge and research, and designed search tools for it
The little search engine that couldn’t. A couple of ex-Googlers set out to create the search engine of the future. They built something faster, simpler, and ad-free. So how come you’ve never heard of Neeva?
India lands a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole, a first for the world as it joins an elite club. WAY cool.
Brain-reading devices allow paralysed people to talk using their thoughts. Two studies report considerable improvements in technologies designed to help people with facial paralysis communicate. But the devices must be tested on many more people to prove their reliability.
Why do upstate New Yorkers call it city chicken when it isn’t even made of chicken?
Now I Know: The Translator That Sucked The Life Out of Dracula and Ulysses Subtracting (Land) Grant? and You Can’t Eat Here (And Don’t Really Want to Anyway) and The Man Who Lives on Cruise Ships and The Fans Who Saved The Day (For the Bad Guys) and The River Race that Doesn’t Like Water
Jerry Moss, A&M Records Co-Founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, Dies at 88
From Newsweek: Evangelical leader Russell Moore said that he saw Christianity in “crisis” because the teachings of Jesus were being viewed by a growing number of people as “subversive” to their right-wing ideology. The idea of “turning the other cheek” and other teachings of Jesus are being rejected as “liberal talking points.” Theologians described it as a rift within the conservative Christian faith that had come to be defined by support for djt.
It’s a dichotomy between theological evangelicals concerned primarily with Christian character and “political” evangelicals intent on winning the culture war, experts told Newsweek. See also: Daily Kos.
djt has a “plan” for America called Agenda 47, and it’s a helluva thing.
Albany Public Library
Proceeds from the event benefit library programs and services. Purchase tickets here.
Tuesday noon book reviews at Washington Avenue large auditorium: I suppose I should plug September 12 | The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green. Reviewer: Roger O. Green, MLS, retired librarian, NY Small Business Development Center, & current board member, FFAPL.
September 5 | Two Photography books: Uncommon Places by Stephen Shore & Empire by Martin Hyers & William Mebane. Reviewer: David Brickman, exhibiting photographer, art critic, & FFAPL treasurer.
September 19 | The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet by Jeff Goodell. Reviewer: Richard King, retired attorney.
September 26 | A Conspiracy of Mothers, a novel by Colleen Van Niekerk. Reviewer: Miki Conn, author, poet, artist, storyteller.
Whether or not you enjoyed the movie Theater Camp may depend, at least in part, on one’s experience at summer camp, especially in upstate New York, and/or hanging out with musical theater nerds. A knowledge of musical theater might make the experience richer, but it’s not required.
I liked the mockumentary a lot, and I laughed quite a bit. The script played it as though the story was real. Those kids and their counselors were believable, in my view. I was on the stage crew in high school, so I KNOW these people. Also, I worked at a non-theatrical summer camp before my senior year in high school, and the dysfunction was palpable.
So it seems plausible that when the camp’s founder and inspiration, Joan (Amy Sedaris), becomes seriously incapacitated, her decidedly non-theatrical-nerd adult son Troy (Jimmy Tatro) tries to save the day. He has a few ideas that he is trying to implement.
Among the staff, the stars are former campers Amos (Ben Platt) and Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon), who are writing an original musical dedicated to Joan. The other counselors have their own quirks and secrets, notably Janet (Ayo Edebiri).
Poor, overworked, exhausted stage manager Glenn (Noah Galvin of The Good Doctor) tries to jerry-rig the aging camp infrastructure and fix all the set-related problems.
The campers included several young and highly talented performers. Indeed, the movie could use more of them and less of some of the grown-ups.
Even an unfavorable review noted that the film’s last twenty minutes were a revelation. Rotten Tomatoes pegged it as 84% positive with the critics and 81% with audiences.
There was an 18-minute short, also called Theater Camp, in 2020, which I have not seen. It was directed by Nick Lieberman, written by Galvin, Gordon, and Lieberman, and starred Platt, Galvin, and Gordon. The 2023 iteration, at 92 minutes, was written by the same team and directed by Lieberman and Gordon.
My wife liked the movie less than I did. She felt that the character Amos didn’t change; I’d counter that he never needed to until he did. It was the reverse of our opinions regarding Shortcomings, which we saw two days earlier, whose I thought the male lead was stuck.
As someone who has struggled with my weight for a good chunk of my life, I was fascinated by this article in The New York Times in November 2022. Scientists Don’t Agree on What Causes Obesity, but They Know What Doesn’t. It should be sharable.
“That’s not to say the researchers disagreed on everything. The three-day meeting was infused with an implicit understanding of what obesity is not: a personal failing.” That messaging had been pervasive most of my life.
“No presenter argued that humans collectively lost willpower around the 1980s, when obesity rates took off, first in high-income countries, then in much of the rest of the world. Not a single scientist said our genes changed in that short time. Laziness, gluttony , and sloth were not referred to as obesity’s helpers.”
The stereotypes have been… unhelpful in getting most people to shed pounds. Yet it seems as though “well-meaning” people would offer unsolicited “advice.”
Starving doesn’t work
This piece from Mount Sinai about diets for rapid weight loss is true in my experience: “People who lose weight very quickly are much more likely to regain the weight over time than people who lose weight slowly through less drastic diet changes and physical activity. The weight loss is a bigger stress for the body, and the hormonal response to the weight loss is much stronger.”
NYT: “In stark contrast to a prevailing societal view of obesity, which assumes people have full control over their body size, they didn’t blame individuals for their condition, the same way we don’t blame people suffering from the effects of undernutrition, like stunting and wasting.
“The researchers instead referred to obesity as a complex, chronic condition, and they were meeting to get to the bottom of why humans have, collectively, grown larger over the past half-century. To that end, they shared a range of mechanisms that might explain the global obesity surge.
“And their theories, however diverse, made one thing obvious: As long as we treat obesity as a personal responsibility issue, its prevalence is unlikely to decline.” In other words, fat shaming is counterproductive.
I’m happy that there has been a degree of acceptance in fashion, even in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue starting a few years back.
Led a 10-year drive to organize the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) and served as the organization’s first president. He directed the March on Washington
We’re gathered here for the largest demonstration in the history of this nation. Let the nation and the world know the meaning of our numbers.
We are not a pressure group, we are not an organization or a group of organizations, we are not a mob. We are the advanced guard of a massive, moral revolution for jobs and freedom. This revolution reverberates throughout the land touching every city, every town, every village where black men are segregated, oppressed and exploited. But this civil rights revolution is not confined to the Negro, nor is it confined to civil rights for our white allies know that they cannot be free while we are not.
We want integrated public schools, but that means we also want federal aid to education, all forms of education. We want a free, democratic society dedicated to the political, economic and social advancement of man along moral lines. Now we know that real freedom will require many changes in the nation’s political and social philosophies and institutions.
taking to the streets
And so we have taken our struggle into the streets as the labor movement took its struggle into the streets, as Jesus Christ led the multitude through the streets of Judaea.
The months and years ahead will bring new evidence of masses in motion for freedom. The March on Washington is not the climax of our struggle but a new beginning not only for the Negro but for all Americans who thirst for freedom and a better life. Look for the enemies of Medicare, of higher minimum wages, of Social Security, of federal aid to education, and there you will find the enemy of the Negro.
In the struggle against these forces, all of us should be prepared to take to the streets. The spirit and techniques that built the labor movement, founded churches, and now guide the civil rights revolution must be a massive crusade.
When we leave, it will be to carry on the civil rights revolution home with us into every nook and cranny of the land, and we shall return again and again to Washington in every growing numbers until total freedom is ours. We shall settle for nothing less, and may God grant that we may have the courage, the strength, and faith in this hour of trial by fire never to falter.
National Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
To those who have said, “Be patient and wait,” we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now! We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler, “Be patient.” How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now. We do not want to go to jail. But we will go to jail if this is the price we must pay for love, brotherhood, and true peace.
I appeal to all of you to get into this great revolution that is sweeping this nation. Get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until the revolution of 1776 is complete. We must get in this revolution and complete the revolution. For in the Delta in Mississippi, in southwest Georgia, in the Black Belt of Alabama, in Harlem, in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and all over this nation, the black masses are on the march for jobs and freedom.
They’re talking about slow down and stop. We will not stop. We must say: “Wake up America! Wake up!” For we cannot stop, and we will not and cannot be patient.
National Director, Congrees Of Racial Equality, imprisoned in Louisiana; Floyd McKissick (1922-1991) of CORE reads
From a South Louisiana parish jail, I salute the March on Washington for jobs and Freedom. Two hundred thirty-two freedom fighters jailed with me … also send their greetings. I wanted to be with you with all my heart on this great day. My imprisoned brothers and sisters wanted to be there too…
You have come from all the nation and in one mighty voice you have spoken to the nation…we will not stop our demands for freedom now. We will not slow down. We will not stop our militant peaceful demonstrations. We will not stop until the heavy weight …of oppression is removed from our backs and…we can stand tall together again.
While intelligence, maturity and strategy dictate that as civil rights agencies use different methods, we are all united as never before on the goal of first class citizenship for all Americans now.
That we meet here today in common cause, not as white people nor as black people, nor as members of any particular group is a tribute to those Americans who dared to live up and practice our democratic ideals and our religious heritage. That we meet here today is a tribute also to all black Americans, who for 100 years have continued in peaceful and orderly protest to bear witness to our deep faith in America. In this method of protest, to affect change. That we meet here at all however, is to the shame of some who have always blocked the progress of the brown American.
The evils of the past and the guilt about it cannot be erased by a one-day pilgrimage, however magnificent. Nor can this pilgrimage substitute for an obligation to tomorrow by these same citizens.
And so this march must go beyond this historic moment. We must support the strong. We must give courage to the timid. We must remind the indifferent, and we must warn the opposed. We must work together even more closely back home where the job must be done to see that Negro Americans are accepted as first-class citizens and that they are enabled to do some more marching.
They must march from the cemeteries where our young and our newborns die three times sooner and our parents die seven years earlier. They must march from there to established health and welfare centers. They must march from the congested, ill-equipped schools, which breed dropouts and which smother motivation to the well equipped integrated facilities throughout the city. They must march from the play areas and crowded and unsafe streets to the newly open areas in the parks and recreational centers.
And finally, they must march from a present feeling of despair and hopelessness, despair and frustration, to a renewed faith and confidence due to intangible programs and visible changes made possible only by walking together to the PTA meetings, to the libraries, to the decision making bodies, to the schools and the colleges, to the adult education centers for all age groups, to the voter registration booth. The hour is late. The gap is widening. The rumble of the drums of discontent resounding throughout this land are heard in all parts of the world.
The missions which we send there to keep the world safe for democracy are shallow symbols unless with them, goes a living testament that this country practices at home the doctrine which it seeks to promote abroad. How serious our national leaders are will be measured not by words but by the speed and sincerity with which they pass necessary legislation, with which they admit to the tragic injustice that has been done our country, and its Negro citizens by historic discrimination and rejection.
Executive Secretary, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
First of all, I want to thank all of you for coming here today because you saved me from being a liar. I told them you would be here. They didn’t believe me because you always make up your mind at the last minute. And you had me scared. But isn’t it a great day?
Remember that this has been a long fight. We were reminded of it by the news of the death yesterday in Africa of Dr. W.E. B. Du Bois. It is incontrovertible that at the dawn of the twentieth century, his was the voice that was calling to you to gather here today in this cause. If you want to read something that applies to 1963, go back and get a volume of the Souls of Black Folk by Du Bois published in 1903. Well my friends, you got religion here today. Don’t backslide tomorrow.
As Americans we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of inequality and injustice which make a mockery of the great American idea.
As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a two-fold experience — one of the spirit and one of our history.
In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man’s dignity and integrity.
From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years we say:
Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe . Our modern history begins with a proclamation of emancipation.
It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people of America that motivates us. It is above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience.
the greatest problem
When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.
A great people which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder.
America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent. Not merely black America , but all of America. It must speak up and act, from the President down to the humblest of us, not for the sake of the black community but for the sake of the image, the idea and the aspiration of America itself.
Our children, yours and mine in every school across the land, each morning pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands. They, the children, speak fervently and innocently of this land as the land of “liberty and justice for all.”
The time, I believe, has come to work together – for it is not enough to hope together, and it is not enough to pray together, to work together that this children’s oath, pronounced every morning from Maine to California, from North to South, may become. a glorious, unshakeable reality in a morally renewed and united America.
Dancer, singer and actress, who participted in the French resistance during World War II
Friends and family…you know I have lived a long time and I have come a long way. And you must know now that what I did, I did originally for myself. Then later, as these things began happening to me, I wondered if they were happening to you, and then I knew they must be.
And as I continued to do the things I did, and to say the things I said, they began to beat me. Not beat me, mind you, with a club—but they beat me with their pens, with their writings. And friends, that is much worse.
When I was a child and they burned me out of my home, I was frightened and I ran away. Eventually I ran far away. It was to a place called France. I must tell you, ladies and gentlemen, in that country, I never feared. It was like a fairyland place.
And I need not tell you that wonderful things happened to me there. Now I know that all you children don’t know who Josephine Baker is, but you ask Grandma and Grandpa and they will tell you. You know what they will say. “Why, she was a devil.” And you know something…why, they are right. I was too. I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America too.
When I was young in Paris, strange things happened to me. And these things had never happened to me before. When I left St. Louis a long time ago, the conductor directed me to the last car. And you all know what that means.
But when I ran away to another country, I didn’t have to do that. I could go into any restaurant I wanted to, and I could drink water anyplace I wanted to, and I didn’t have to go to a colored toilet either, and I have to tell you it was nice, and I got used to it, and I liked it.
return to the US
Then after a long time, I came to America to be in a great show for Mr. Ziegfeld, and you know Josephine was happy. You know that. Because I wanted to tell everyone in my country about myself. I wanted to let everyone know that I made good, and you know too that that is only natural.
But when I got to New York way back then, I had other blows—when they would not let me check into the good hotels because I was colored, or eat in certain restaurants. And then I went to Atlanta, and it was a horror to me. And I said to myself, My God, I am Josephine, and if they do this to me, what do they do to the other people in America?
You know, friends, that I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more. But I cold not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad. And when I get mad, you know that I open my big mouth. And then look out, ‘cause when Josephine opens her mouth, they hear it all over the world.
So I did open my mouth, and you know I did scream, and when I demanded what I was supposed to have and what I was entitled to, they still would not give it to me.
So then they thought they could smear me, and the best way to do that was to call me a communist. I was hounded by the government agencies in America, and there was never one ounce of proof that I was a communist. But they were mad. They were mad because I told the truth. And the truth was that all I wanted was a cup of coffee. But I wanted that cup of coffee where I wanted to drink it, and I had the money to pay for it, so why shouldn’t I have it where I wanted it?
Friends and brothers and sisters, that is how it went. And when I screamed loud enough, they started to open that door just a little bit, and we all started to be able to squeeze through it.
Now I am not going to stand in front of all of you today and take credit for what is happening now. I cannot do that. But I want to take credit for telling you how to do the same thing, and when you scream, friends, I know you will be heard. And you will be heard now.
But you young people must do one thing. You must get an education. You must go to school, and you must learn to protect yourself. And you must learn to protect yourself with the pen, and not the gun. Then you can answer them, and I can tell you—and I don’t want to sound corny—but friends, the pen really is mightier than the sword.
I am not a young woman now, friends. My life is behind me. There is not too much fire burning inside me. And before it goes out, I want you to use what is left to light that fire in you. So that you can carry on, and so that you can do those things that I have done. Then, when my fires have burned out, and I go where we all go someday, I can be happy.
You know I have always taken the rocky path. I never took the easy one, but as I get older, and as I knew I had the power and the strength, I took that rocky path, and I tried to smooth it out a little. I wanted to make it easier for you. I want you to have a chance at what I had.
Ladies and gentlemen, my friends and family, I have just been handed a little note, as you probably say. It is an invitation to visit the President of the United States in his home, the White House.
I am greatly honored. But I must tell you that a colored woman—or, as you say it here in America, a black woman—is not going there. It is a woman. It is Josephine Baker.
President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free; one hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination; one hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity; one hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.
So we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the worn threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy, which has engulfed the Negro community, must not lead us to a distrust of all white people. For many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.
There are those who are asking the devotees of Civil Rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
1. If animals could talk, which one do you think would complain the most about their day?
Bee drones. “They don’t do much in the hive as they wait to mate with a queen bee from another colony. That means they are eating resources and taking up space. When the colony starts getting ready for winter, the worker bees, all female, kick the drones out. Sometimes, it’s swift, and I will find their stung dead bodies in the front of the hive.”
2. What do you think cats dream about during their epic naps?
An endless supply of food.
3. If squirrels organized an Olympics, what events would they have?
A decathlon, perhaps augmented. Surely, they can run, long jump, high jump, jump hurdles…
4. Do you think penguins are jealous of birds that can fly?
No, because they feel grounded. After all, they evolved from flighted birds. Seriously, I worry about penguins because per Smithsonian: “The research suggests that the tuxedo-wearing waddlers might struggle to adapt to and survive the planet’s current rate of global warming.”
5. If animals had their own social media, what kind of posts would we see from them?
I’ve been fascinated by the Simon and Garfunkel song At The Zoo, which I wrote about here. It’d be just as annoying as the human variety.
6. What would be the title of the autobiography of a lazy house cat?
Caterwauling to Right Living
7. If you had to choose an animal to be your personal bodyguard, which one would you pick?
A panther: quick and strong, like the late T’Challa.
8. Do you think dogs secretly judge us for not being able to sniff out everything they can?
Absolutely not. Dogs have evolved into being people pleasers. They like to be helpful, like Presbyterians.
9. If animals could wear clothes, which would have the best fashion sense?
I suppose I should ask someone from the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals or SINA, who require clothing for “any dog, cat, horse or cow that stands higher than 4 inches or longer than 6 inches.” Racehorses already wear colors, so I’ll go with them. It wouldn’t be penguins or peacocks who are naturally snazzy. On a serious note, when it’s 110F (43.3C), as it was in Phoenix, AZ, for a month straight, it’s dangerous for dog paws.
10. If a group of owls started a band, what would their music style be?
The choices are two. One is obvious: a hootenanny. The other is funk; since a gathering of owls is a parliament, I suggest they would emulate Parliament Funkadelic.
11. What do dolphins think when people swim with them?
The serious answer is that the interaction may benefit humans. However, “Dolphins… are wild animals, and human interaction can be detrimental. Getting into a tank with a dolphin is theoretically no different than getting into a cage with a lion. Dolphins are apex predators and have the capability of killing a shark.” So, it’s generally a bad idea and unethical, especially when they are in captivity.
12. What do you think squirrels gossip about when they chatter to each other in the trees?
The location of food, dogs, and traffic; the site of the Olympic tryouts.
13. If elephants played hide-and-seek, where do you think they’d hide?
In plain sight, trying to pretend to be a wall.
14. What do you imagine a llama would say if you asked it about the meaning of life?
Llamas have attitude, so they’d probably ask why you bother them with such a silly question.
The Lama – Ogden Nash
The one-l lama,
He's a priest.
The two-l llama,
He's a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn't any
15. If you could swap places with any animal for a day, which one would it be, and why?
A cheetah, because being the fastest land animal in the world sounds cool.
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