The news distresses me

turning America into an idiocracy

distressesThe news distresses me. It has been true for a long while, yet even in a barrage of bad news, these trends got under my skin.

ITEM: “A North Carolina Republican congressional candidate floated a proposal to create a community review process that would determine whether survivors of rape and incest can get abortions.

“Bo Hines, the GOP candidate for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, wants to outlaw all abortions unless the mother’s life is at risk.

“‘He wants victims of rape and incest to be allowed to get an abortion on a case-by-case basis through a community-level review process outside the jurisdiction of the federal government,’ local news outlet WRAL reported.”

If you think a serious attempt at national legislation to ban abortion is impossible, that sounds like the conversation that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned before it was.

Anne Frank

ITEM: “Johnny Teague, who is running for Congress in a district that represents Houston, Texas, actually wrote a book in 2020 entitled ‘The Lost Diary of Anne Frank.’ In this book, which Teague claims is based on extensive and verifiable research, Anne Frank continues her diaries while under capture in Auschwitz, and her words now claim that she had accepted Jesus as her lord and savior – before eventually dying in the gas chambers.

“Let’s get one thing straight. This whole concept is pure, unadulterated horse…”

The number of antisemitic comments surged in 2021, and this is another banner year. It’s not just Kanye West or whatever he’s calling himself. Newsmax notes that ‘Antisemitism’ shot to the top of Google searches ahead of the midterms.

Alan Singer, a Long Island professor I’ve met, and a confirmed atheist, wrote I Am A Jew to take on the bigots.

ITEM: Herschel Walker and the Character Issue

“It’s this no-matter-what vote that’s really turning America into idiocracy. But it may be even worse than that. Whereas bad character and behavior used to be a political handicap, today it actually seems an asset.”

I watched Jordan Klepper Fingers the Midterms – America Unfollows Democracy last week. A scary half hour. Probably the weirdest bit was someone who insisted to Klepper that actor James Woods had replaced Joe Biden. What?

Crime

ITEM: Bail Reform: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (watch this!)

If you’ve seen Republican National Committee attack ads this political season, bail reform has been touted as the reason for increased criminality. This is despite the fact in almost all of the cases of violent crime cited, the alleged perpetrator was not out on bail.

The Republican candidate for governor, Lee Zeldin, falls squarely in that category. Frank Robinson noted why one ought not to vote for him. And my already-cast vote was definitely an anti-Zeldin ballot.

I’ve even seen it online, but also on the network news spewed by folks such as  Congressman Michael McCaul that Paul Pelosi’s assault is a sign that bail reform is terrible, even though the alleged assailant hadn’t even been arrested.

ITEM: This brings me to the item that triggered the post, the attack on Mr. Pelosi, which has garnered all sorts of BS conspiracy theories. One guy, djt, asserted that the window in the Pelosi home was broken from the inside, which he knows because… IDK.

A lot of the noise is on Twitter. I understand there has been a recent change in ownership. These are just some of the reasons why the news distresses me. Finally, a poem: A ‘plague on both houses’—still ends up a plague.

NY: released from prison? you can vote

Poll workers are needed

elon-voting-bars-buttonMy sister Leslie and I attended the service at Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton, NY, on October 9. During the announcements, it was noted that “if you are convicted of a felony and released from prison, you can vote. If you are convicted of a felony, and your sentence is suspended, you can vote. Visit the New York State Board of Elections website to register or re-register to vote.”

Read this information from nycourts.gov. “All other criminal convictions do not take away your right to vote. So, misdemeanor and violation convictions do not prevent you from voting even if you are serving time in jail.” The legislation that allowed this was passed in September 2021, yet I managed to miss it.

Moreover, “before being released from prison, you will be notified verbally and in writing by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”) that your voting rights will be returned once you are released. You will also receive a form of application for voter registration and declination form, help filling out the form, and written information on voting. You can submit your forms to the state or county board where you live or have the DOCCS submit it for you.”

I’ve long been frustrated by states who decided that a felony conviction permanently disenfranchised someone. Once someone has “paid their dues,” they should be given the rights of any citizen, if only so they can feel ownership in the society they are returning to.

Voting

In New York State, early voting starts on Saturday, October 29, and runs through Sunday, November 6. One must request an absentee ballot online or by mail by October 24 or in person by November 7. One must return the absentee ballot by November 8.

Poll workers are being sought in NYS for early voting, as well as on Election Day, November 8. And one gets paid! I worked for the general election in 2021.

But does it matter?

My great concern is that there are so many election deniers running for office across the country that the very fabric of our democracy is likely in peril. Their general narrative is “if I win, I won fairly, but if I lose, it was rigged.” This is particularly problematic when these are candidates for governor and secretary of state, who have a hand in certifying the state’s election results.

Other threats to democracy, such as gerrymandering and disinformation, are also problematic. I’ve read stories with the same basic facts; one says the candidate or official is “rattled” or “confused,” whereas another will make no such characterization.

In the NY governor’s race, Alan Singer notes that “MAGA lunacy is not just rampant in the Red States. Republican Party candidate Lee Zeldin is bringing his version” to the Empire State. True enough.

He’s running against the current governor, Kathy Hochul. Frank Robinson calls her the “Worst Candidate I’ll Have Ever Voted For,” and he’s not wrong. He concludes, “At least Hochul’s corruption is merely business-as-usual for New York, not as far down on the vileness scale.”

One of my US Senators, Chuck Schumer (D), is up for reelection. I’ve seen a couple of his warm-and-fuzzy ads. But I have NO IDEA who his Republican opponent is. (Who the heck is Joe Pinion?) There is also a LaRouche party candidate named Diane Sare.

Still, I vote. I ALWAYS vote.

January rambling: Room at the Table

Writing While Black

sunshield_2x
From https://xkcd.com/2564/

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer

Why the Tonga Eruption Was So Violent

A cold case team believes it has solved the mystery of who may have betrayed Anne Frank

One Year Later (Jan 6)

Writing While Black Under Scrutiny

Peter M. Pryor, the trailblazing Black civil rights lawyer, dies at 95

Hockey jersey is retired, 64 years after Willie O’Ree broke the NHL color barrier

Rachel Balkovec latest in a line of women shattering baseball’s barriers

Why Turkey Is Now Türkiye

How do you pronounce Kyiv, anyway? 

Service Providers: Are you Making This Big Sales Tax Mistake?

How Early Should You Get to the Airport, Really?

Can You Actually Work on Amtrak’s Free Wi-Fi?

54 years ago, a computer programmer fixed a massive bug — and created an existential crisis

A review of Pieced Together, the current exhibition at the Pine Hills Branch of the Albany Public Library,

Kelly’s Hawaiian adventures

Woody Allen’s ‘A Rainy Day In New York’ Secures Surprise Theatrical Release in China

Daniel Radcliffe to Play “Weird Al” Yankovic in Biopic

The 40th anniversary of Destroyer Duck, which I bought at the time

How Wordle Became The Internet’s Omicron Pastime

2021 Domain Insights and Trends

Flashlights 

Now I Know:  The Origins of the Football Huddle and When Fake Burps Have Real Consequences and  The Crime Tip from a Non-Tip at the Tip of the Nation and But The Cat Came Back and The “You Should Retire” Law of 1882

RIP

Louie Anderson, RIP. His first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 

Ralph Emery, Country Music Broadcaster, Dies at 88

Dwayne Hickman, Star of ‘The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis,’ Dies at 87

Howard Hesseman, Dr. Johnny Fever on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ Dies at 81

Kay Olin Johnson, who has been actively involved with the Olin Family Society (my MIL’s lineage) forever, passed away 1/22, just a week after attending the latest OFS council meeting, which I attended. I was extremely fond of her. She was a remarkable lady who will be sorely missed. She was mentioned at least once in this blog, here

Betty White -This is Your Life (1987)

NY Governor Kathy Hochul announced flags on state buildings would be flown at half-staff in honor of fallen New York Police Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. Flags were to be lowered to half-staff at sunrise on Jan. 28, the day of Officer Rivera’s funeral service, and returned to full-staff at sunset on Feb. 2, following Officer Mora’s funeral service.

Virtual DC Feb 7 2022

COVID

Seriously, Upgrade Your Face Mask

The Biden admin has launched a phone line for Americans to order four free COVID  tests per household, expanding availability to Americans who may not have internet access: 1-800-232-0233.

Fear of COVID Is Keeping the Vaxxed Out of the Workforce

It is killing Trump supporters by the hundreds each day

MUSIC

Room at the Table – Carrie Newcomer 

Tonight You Belong To Me – MonaLisa Twins

Theatrical Rock and Meat Loaf

Dragons – Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

The Family Madrigal – Stephanie Beatriz, Olga Merediz from Encanto 

Academic Festival Overture by Brahms

You Can Call Me Al – Peter Sprague

Coverville 1387: Cover Stories for Kings of Leon and Prefab Sprout and a Tribute to Ronnie Spector and 1388: The 30th Anniversary Tribute to Nevermind at #1

Take On Me – a-ha (MTV Unplugged, 2017)

Bad Wolves – Rebecca Jade featuring Jason Mraz, Miki Vale, and Veronica May was Song Of The Year at the San Diego Music Awards

Sedition – Randy Rainbow (2021)

Abhor-Rent: 525,600 Minutes Since The Insurrection from
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Death Don’t Have No Mercy – Grateful Dead

Miracle and Wonder: Paul Simon – Audiobook by Malcolm Gladwell (Chapter 1 – The Mystery)

MLK: Where Do We Go from Here?

seeking the highest good

martin-luther-king-jr-photo
Jan 15, 1929- Apr 4, 1968

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “Where Do We Go from Here” sermon at the annual convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on August 16, 1967. You can read the sermon in full in the book The Radical King, edited by Cornel West.

West wrote in the book introduction. “The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people in the class struggle taking place in capitalist societies. . . . The response of the radical King to our catastrophic moment can be put in one word: revolution—a revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life, and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens. . . . Could it be that we know so little of the radical King because such courage defies our market-driven world?”

MLK’s Concerns

“I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence, you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence, you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

“And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today.

“And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens’ Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear.

“I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren’t moving wrong when we do it because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.”

Echoes of 1 Corinthians 13  

“And so I say to you today, my friends, that you may be able to speak with the tongues of men and angels, you may have the eloquence of articulate speech; but if you have not love, it means nothing.

“Yes, you may have the gift of prophecy, you may have the gift of scientific prediction and understand the behavior of molecules, you may break into the storehouse of nature and bring forth many new insights. Yes, you may ascend to the heights of academic achievement so that you have all knowledge, and you may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent of your degrees; but if you have not love, all of these mean absolutely nothing.

“You may even give your goods to feed the poor, you may bestow great gifts to charity, and you may tower high in philanthropy; but if you have not love, your charity means nothing.

“You may even give your body to be burned and die the death of a martyr, and your spilt blood may be a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn, and thousands may praise you as one of history’s greatest heroes; but if you have not love, your blood was spilt in vain.

“What I’m trying to get you to see this morning is that a man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety may feed his pride. So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.”

In conclusion

“I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about ‘Where do we go from here?’ that we must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’

“And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society.

“We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. And you see, my friends, when you deal with this you begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the oil?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the iron ore?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that’s two-thirds water?’ These are words that must be said.”

And much earlier: Give Us The Ballot

Per Alan Singer: “‘On May 17, 1957, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the speakers at a Prayer Pilgrimage held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. King demanded that Congress pass legislation ensuring the right of African Americans to vote.

“He condemned Democrats for ‘capitulating to the prejudices and undemocratic practices of the southern Dixiecrats’ and Republicans for ‘capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing, reactionary northerners.’ In typical King linguistic poetry, he charged ‘These men so often have a high blood pressure of words and an anemia of deeds.'”

Also, from Jeffrey Cass: The Absurdity of Racists Co-opting MLK’s Legacy. Stop using King’s words to support oppressive systems

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