July rambling: Phonus-Balonus!

VeggieTales’ creator Phil Vischer’s viral video on race in America

Trevor Noah: Maybe not a great idea to take a victory lap in the middle of a pandemic.

60 Minutes Australia: Inside the wicked saga of Jeffrey Epstein: the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Defund the Poice: What’s in a slogan?

Why a Struggling Rust Belt City Pinned Its Revival on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can.

ADD has updated the Comic Book Galaxy blog for the first time in five years.

Stop microwaving books: Michigan library frustrated by damaged books.

Appreciating Letty Owings; the Reason I’m Here, By Greg Hatcher.

Meet 8-time JEOPARDY champion, Jennifer Quail Part 1 and Part 2.

Local galleries are reopening! Part 1 and Part 2.

Phonus-Balonus: 1920s Slang We Need to Bring Back.

A Brief History of the Lawn Chair”.

Riddle of the Week: The Gold Chain Math Problem and The Hen and the Egg.

Stop Doomscrolling. Ah, too late.

Now I Know

The Job That’s a Riot and The One Thing You Can’t Do in IKEA and When It’s OK to Lose Your Head and The Sweet Mistake and The Robutts That Protect Your Phone.

Race in America

VeggieTales’ creator Phil Vischer releases viral video on race in America (17 minutes, and very good).

Elijah McClain played violin for lonely kittens. His last words to police are devastating.

Facial recognition: “Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm”.

Racism, Disparities, and the Health of the Nation.

My denomination: PC(USA) General Assembly affirms that Black lives matter; pledges to work against systemic racism.

I thought I understood white privilege, then I married a Black man.

Man shares two lessons he learned from disrupting a racist joke in a group of white people.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo Wants White People to Stop Saying They’re Not Racist; she’s the author of White Fragility.

slave castles — and the weight of history.

Reparations.

Free online comic book – Henry Johnson: A Tale of Courage.

When The Klan Ruled In Freeport, Long Island.

This ‘Equity’ picture is actually White Supremacy at work.

Blackface: The Birth of An American Stereotype and Celebrities now apologizing for using the racist trope for laughs have no idea just how sorry they really are.

Frederick Douglass’ admonition on the moral rightness of liberty for all.

The rage and love of James Baldwin.

Diversity in business is about expanding networks

This Rocket Scientist Is Tracing Black Ingenuity Through Barbecue.

Blacklexa (at 1:28).

anti-racism

Full bibliography here.

IMPOTUS

In the Land of “No We Can’t”.

His ‘Roger Mudd’ moment augurs ill for his reelection. If he can’t explain why he wants another term, he shouldn’t expect voters to give him one.

Reverend reveals what evangelicals say privately about Trump.

Mary Trump: he is the product of a deeply dysfunctional family that makes him a uniquely destructive and unstable leader for the country; inside his psychopathology.

Family, Cronies Cleared For Millions In Bailout Funds, such as Elaine Chao’s family business.

A Shameful Moment: Formal Withdrawal From WHO as Covid-19 Cases Climb.

Lincoln Project: Benedict Donald and Comrade Trump and Whispers. More.

Randy Rainbow Devastates A “Poor Deplorable Troll”

Music

America by Rebecca Jade, Erik Canzona, and Alfred Howard. Rebecca Jade is the Artist of the Year at 2020 San Diego Music Awards.

Ennio Morricone, Prolific Italian Composer for the Movies, Dies at 91.

Coverville: 1314: Cover Stories for KT Tunstall and Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies and 1315: The Blondie Cover Story II and 1316: Ennio Morricone Tribute and Ringo Starr Cover Story.

Perdido, by trombonist Juan Tizol, performed by Wynton Marsalis.

Be Still – Beach Boys.

Ballade in A minor for orchestra by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Adagio For Strings – Samuel Barber – conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Fantasy on Themes from the Masque of the Red Death – David Baker.

Suzanne – Leonard Cohen.

Dancing in the Canebrakes by Florence Price.

K-Chuck Radio: Our Robot Overlords.

Music For The Movies: Bernard Herrmann (Documentary).

Blackface + time + change = redemption?

“When a politician’s positions on current issues already raise questions about racism, then evidence of racism in his or her past ought to have increased significance.”

Ralph Northam
Ralph Northam, elected Virginia governor in 2017
“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.” That was Abraham Lincoln in 1858 during a debate with Stephen Douglas.

Seven years later, he evolved, wanting to allow black soldiers – such as my ancestors – who had fought so bravely in the Civil War the ballot. Had he lived, who knows how much he may have changed, with Frederick Douglass whispering in his ear.

The notion here is rather obvious: people change. In The Mosque Across the Street – a video shown at the FOCUS churches service I attended this month – we see one Christian parishioner at a Memphis church weep as he realizes that HE was the problem in dealing with the new Muslim neighbors.

Jeff, a Facebook friend, wrote this recently: “Bob Zellner was a civil rights hero, a white organizer of SNCC. His father was a Klansman until he went to Europe in the 1930s, met up with a group of Southern Gospel singers and traveled with them. He wrote to his wife that at some point, he ‘forgot they were black,’ and he realized how foolish and awful he had been. When he got home he resigned from the Klan, traveled the South as an anti-Klan preacher… and his wife took his Klan uniforms and made much needed shirts out of them for the kids.”

As the very first line of his Oyez bio reads, “Hugo LaFayette Black refused to let his past dictate his future.” The Alabaman joined the Ku Klux Klan in 1923, but quit two years later. As an old poli sci major could tell you, Black was sworn in as an Associate Justice in 1937, and served for 34 years, supporting many groundbreaking civil rights cases.

People change. And we WANT and EXPECT people to do so. I’ve read a number of stories from white people, especially during this Black History Month, about how they, or those around them, were radically changed by interaction with people of different backgrounds.

One fellow from my former hometown wrote: “I changed from the young guy growing up in a backward community that still appears to show the same racist, bigoted attitude. Becoming educated, and allowing others to point out most of my misconceptions helped.”

So I am having some difficulty – OK, a LOT of difficulty – judging people solely based on how they dressed up in costumes – even racist, offensive costumes – decades ago. It does not necessarily make that person a bigot for life.

If people who were ACTUAL members of the Ku Klux Klan can be redeemed, some indiscretions of the past, even blackface – which must have been the state hobby among white Virginians at some point – can be contextualized.

What we need is some sort of formula based on the severity of the offense, the recency of the offense, the level of contrition, and most importantly, their current comportment. As a guy I know wrote: “I think that this needs to be decided by the group that he has offended, not white liberals.”

To that end, the subhead of this article from a couple weeks ago intrigued me: As Calls Mount for Ralph Northam to Resign, Some Virginians Mull a Second Chance. “Seems the average black voter in VA has conflicting feelings about all this. Maybe because they have seen a lot worse?

Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel had to quit recently. He wore blackface to make fun of victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I have no sympathy, and he needed to go.

As the Weekly Sift guy notes: “When a politician’s positions on current issues already raise questions about racism, then evidence of racism in his or her past ought to have increased significance.”

As a practical matter, I believe this is also true:

“I worry that we’re playing into Trump’s hands when we drum Ralph Northam out of the Democratic Party. As I interpret it, Trump’s message to wavering whites and men and anti-gay straights goes something like this:
“‘You’re never going to be pure enough to satisfy the liberals. So you might as well wear your MAGA hat and fly your Confederate flag, because no matter what you do, there’s never going to be a place for you on the other side'”.

Nation of Change recommends that Ralph Northam immediately resigns when the “lord of racism in the here and now” goes. THAT is a workable plan.

National/local news: Megyn Kelly, blackface

Fox News Says Megyn Kelly’s Blackface Comments Not Racist Enough to Get Old Job Back.

Megyn KellyIf you’re in the United States, you might be familiar with Megyn Kelly. She was a news personality for Fox News from 2004 to 2017. She was a panelist at one of the Republican “debates”, where she had a bit of a row with one of the candidates, the one who ended up getting the nomination.

I imagine it’s why she was hired by NBC to be their “conservative female journalist.” On her short-lived Sunday evening show, she interviewed conspiracy nut Alex Jones, which was not a popular move.

Then she was given the third hour of the four-hour block of the TODAY show, but she never fit in thematically, or, apparently, personally. Her rating were disastrous.

When she was in a discussion about Halloween and described that using blackface had been considered acceptable when she was growing up, a couple things happened. One was that she was heavily criticized, especially by her NBC colleagues.

She gave up an apology, acknowledging the painful legacy, but diminishing her statement by mentioning how she tended not being “politically correct.” She lost her post as host of the 9 a.m. hour of the “Today” show.

I wish there had been a bit more of that explanation, not merely that it was “offensive.” CBS News Sunday Morning provided Blackface: A cultural history of a racist art form.

Borowitz of the New Yorker, wrote, satirically, Fox News Says Megyn Kelly’s Blackface Comments Not Racist Enough to Get Old Job Back.

The other reaction was from where she grew up, which happens to be Delmar, Albany County, NY. Students from her high school alma mater condemned Kelly’s comments, saying she was not accurately describing their town.

One prominent Albany Law School grad complained that, largely based on her race-baiting arguments on Fox, the law school shamefully put Kelly, class of 1995, on the cover of its alumni magazine, hosted her book signing, and had her speak at a graduation.

Ivan Rodat, who went to high school with Megyn Kelly wrote a measured response in Blackface in the ’Burbs.

A good friend of mine told me that the family now lives in the house Megyn Kelly grew up in. I only recently learned that when NBC first signed Kelly, the network wanted the current owners to “meet cute” the former resident. That was, to say the least, a non-starter.