March rambling: 151 fictional species

Upstate NY climate haven?

Zoom meetingsWhat is the only country with Catalan as an official national language? What is the only officially bilingual province in Canada? Answers below.

United Methodist conservatives detail plans for a breakaway. Their leaders have unveiled plans to form a new denomination called the Global Methodist Church, with a doctrine that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

North Dakota Is About to Kill the National Popular Vote Compact.

Daily Kos very comprehensive guide to the 117th Congress, members, and districts.

Upstate NY cities named among the best climate havens as the world grows hotter.

Jeff Sharlet: All That We’ve Lost (COVID).

24 Cybersecurity Statistics During the Spiraling Panic Around COVID-19.

Wait at Least Seven Weeks After COVID for Surgery.

Heather McGhee – “The Sum of Us” and The True Cost of Racism | The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Judge blisters prosecutors as he releases 3 wrongfully convicted Black men after 24 years.

The African/American Table.

Vernon Jordan, Civil Rights Activist And Power Broker Dies At 85.

Roger Mudd, the longtime TV newsman, dies at 93.

Five things worth knowing about the Mars Perseverance Rover.

Tyranny of Choice.

Why spacing out is good for you.

Vlogbrothers: How Much Hope is OK?

Snow Days May Never Be the Same. As I’ve noted, boo, hiss!

Before You Blow Up on  YouTube | The Cautionary Tale of Jani Lane.

How to Delete Your Old Online Accounts (and Why You Should).

Deep Nostalgia photorealism on the MyHeritage site. Creepy.

Does Alcohol Really Burn Off When Cooked?

Cherry Blossom Cam – U.S. National Park Service in DC. The predicted peak blossom time is April 2-5.

Pokémon at 25: How 151 fictional species took over the world.

 We’re not in Kansas anymore. Or maybe we are.

Now I Know

Attempted Mann-Slaughter and Squashing the Garden and The Blues for Some Boo-Boos and The Soviet Plan to End the Weekend and The Not-Quite-Vice-President Who Was Almost Accidentally President and The Rock-Paper-Scissors Lizards and Arresting The Chief and  Why Blue Means Stop in Hawaii and The Other Harvard Makes a Bad Sale and The Genoa Exception.

MUSIC

Mr. Biden (Bring My Vaccine) – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

String Quartet in G Major – Florence Price

William Tell Overture (ending) – The Great Kat

Karelia Suite and Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.

Coverville 1348: This Day in Covers: February 25, 1976, and 1349: David Gilmour and “Girl” Groups.

Aquarius – Peter Lawford.

Let’s Hang On – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

The Rebecca Jade section

Home Made, Parts 10 and 11

Panda Remix.

Remind Me

Concert of Pat Metheny music, Live(ish) From SpragueLand: Episode 16, The Fields, The Sky.

Answers

Andorra; New Brunswick.

So much for Joe Biden to do on Day 1

climate change

joebidenI’ve been reading lots of people’s advice about what Joe Biden should do “on Day 1.” Most of it I tend to agree with philosophically. The trick is that his “first day” would have to be 2500 hours long.

Obviously, his initial focus will be the coronavirus pandemic, which is getting worse in the US every week. And the desire to get vaccines in people’s arms is of utmost importance. (My wife is getting her first injection in mid-February, me at the end of March.)

The related economic downturn also needs to be addressed. Bernie Sanders says $2,000 checks should be the “first order of business” for the new President and Congress.

Clearly, we cannot assume that the seditious violence we saw on January 6 has passed. Not only do federal authorities have to continue to find more folks to charge but to stem future attacks.

What on earth 

Beyond that, there will be a lot of Biden undoing what his predecessor did. He’s repeatedly promised on his first day in office to have the US rejoin the Paris climate accord. Fighting climate change has been a key priority on the campaign trail. The previous environmental policy has been a disaster.

djt “declined to tighten standards on industrial soot emissions, despite the evidence linking dirty air to respiratory illnesses.” For instance, the EPA reviewed standards. “The agency’s scientists warned of the links between the pollutants and deadly outcomes in respiratory illnesses (like COVID-19).

“It recommended tightening the current emissions rule set by the Obama admin in 2012. But EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to merit a change. The policy decision came as the admin has worked to roll back over 100 environmental regulations.”

I’ve wondered if Biden had a shadow Cabinet this past autumn. Undo, undo, reinstate, undo, reinstate. He will have the country rejoin the World Health Organization, part of the effort to protect our nation’s health.

I believe he should commute all federal death sentences. His predecessor was cranking up the gallows in his latter months.

Of the people, et al.

I’m all for reforming the government, “including expanding on and codifying into law an ethics pledge.” The policy had been instituted in the Obama administration. It “addresses lobbying issues and also any improper or inappropriate influence from personal, financial, and other interests.” Wow. I thought we had that already but certain people were just ignoring it.

He favors expanding early voting, allowing more time to register and request ballots, and letting voters track their ballots. New York State was very slow to get to the first two and hasn’t achieved the third yet.

Biden listed a number of other priorities on the campaign trail that, while worthy, may be more difficult to achieve in even 100 days. Advancing racial equity by addressing systemic racism. Expanding protections for union employees

The ACLU has its Civil Liberties and Civil Rights To-Do List, fortunately not all on the first day or even first 100 days.

All of this is to say, I’m planning to cut Joe some slack, just a little. Frankly, the outgoing guy is sucking up a lot of oxygen in the room, as he always does.

October rambling: showering less

Covita

abridged-cinema-the-wizard-of-oz
From https://wronghands1.com/2020/09/22/abridged-cinema-the-wizard-of-oz/

Thomas, Alito Urge SCOTUS to ‘Fix’ Marriage Equality

Climate Change Activists Warn California’s First Gigafire Is the Sign of Things To Come 

Policy Lab’s resource page specifically for clinical research associated with bullying and Cyberbullying in the Age of COVID-19 

Why People Dropped Out of the Labor Force  

The Final Five Percent re: traumatic brain injuries

He Faced Down Entrepreneurship’s Hidden Demons –and Emerged a Better Leader

Two Ticks  (voting in New Zealand)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:  Election 2020   

Debt Collectors Are Thriving This Year   — and Now They’re Filing Even More Suits

Flights to Nowhere Are the Weirdest COVID Trend  

How the English language spread around the world  

Shaun Rootenberg: profile of a romance scammer 

Grandson of 10th U.S. president dies at 95 

‘Clean’ Author Makes The Case For Showering Less  

The economics of vending machines 

Inside Cameo, the celebrity shoutout app hungry for fame and Notes from a user

Grapefruit Is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet  

Subway bread is not bread,  Irish court rules

Is Pandemic Brain Changing Your Taste in Music?  You’re Not Alone

Now I Know

The Other Watergate Tape and  Perpetual Stew and This Isn’t a German Fight Song and  Snow Reason to Think a Crime is Underway and The Extra Legs for the Last Leg  

Racial inequity

Documentary – Oscar Brown, Jr.: Music Is My Life, Politics My Mistress 

400 Years of Inequality

 Segregation in America   

Housing Segregation and Redlining in America: A Short History   | NPR

Exposing Housing Discrimination 

How deep-rooted systemic racism has such a profound impact on health  

Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths  

Dr. Camara Jones Explains the Cliff of Good Health  

The story of   Henrietta Lacks: Her Impact and Our Outreach   

bigger_problem
From https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/bigger_problem.png
Superspreader-in-Chief

Wayne Barrett’s ‘Without Compromise”, The Brave Journalism That First Exposed Him    

About Those Taxes  

Not the Man He Used to Be  

So many people who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19 describe his message with the same four words and  He Is the ‘Single Largest Driver’ Of Covid-19 Misinformation 

An infected president, a disease of the heart, an imperiled republic 

 Infectious disease icon asks CDC director to expose White House, orchestrate his own firing 

Covita and  Regeneron 

If Donald Got Fired  – Randy Rainbow (featuring Patti LuPone!)

MUSIC

Balm in Gilead  – MUSE/IQUE (vocalists Ben Harper and Maiya Sykes, drummer Jimmy Paxson, bassist Michael Valerio, violinist Charles Yang, and keyboardist Deron Johnson, joined by Herman Cornejo, principal dancer with American Ballet Theater)

Billboard:  Eddie Van Halen’s 15 Best Songs and Thanks, Eddie  (RIP)

Stir It Up  – Johnny Nash (RIP).

We’re All Doomed – Trump vs. Biden, featuring “Weird Al” Yankovic

K-Chuck Radio: The real debate … Helen Reddy or Mac Davis?  (Both RIP)

Live From SpragueLand Episode 11 – Peter Sprague Plays The Beatles   

Bass Quintet in G major, op. 77    – Dvorak | Yoo | Park | Ullery | Kim | Cahill

Piece for Chamber Orchestra by Edward Bland

Sounds from St. Olaf – Episode 1: A St. Olaf Ensemble Showcase 

Colors   – Black Pumas

American Standard:  Teach Me Tonight   – James Taylor

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life   – Julien Neel

Mad World   – Pentatonix

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing   -San Diego Master Chorale. Arrangement and solo by Zanaida Robles. Singing starts at 29 minutes.

American Tune  – Paul Simon

Coverville  1327: Human League Cover Story and Thomas Csorba Interview  and   1328: 50th Anniversary of Led Zeppelin III   

Gender gap on climate change

“green rage”

gender gap on climate changeThere is a gender gap on climate change issues. This ought not to surprise me, and yet it does. The New Republic ran an article in 2019 “citing research that suggests climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized.

“Many men [in the United States] perceive climate activism as inherently feminine, according to research published in 2017. ‘In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female,” explained researchers at Scientific American.”

The resulting “green rage” safeguards male dominance by punishing women who challenge the existing social order. I suspect it is at least one factor in the demonization of climate activist Greta Thunberg.

All around the world

And it’s not just an American phenomenon. One reason may be that women are more likely than men to feel the effects of climate change. “Women make up more than 80 percent of people displaced by climate change, according to United Nations data, and air pollution is a top threat to the health of pregnant women and their children.

“Women also typically hold less socioeconomic power than men, making them more vulnerable to such environmental disasters as floods, droughts, hurricanes and wildfires… Across 130 countries, women in government positions were more likely to sign on to international treaties to reduce global warming than men.”

This 2016 United Nations report states: “Women’s empowerment is key to the success of climate actions… Meaningful participation by women will enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of climate change projects and programmes and help address existing inequities while working towards fulfilling the respective international agreements calling for the equality and empowerment of women.”

When the world experiences the warmest ever January in 2020, when it hits a record 68F (20C) in Antarctica in February 2020, there’s no room for such parochial divisions. We need to fight climate change, yesterday. And in the main, it appears that women and girls may be best suited to lead the way.

The train, before the climate changes

guts the Environmental Protection Agency

trainKelly has provided more questions.

What is your favorite mode of transportation, regardless of destination?

The train, the train, the train. It’s civilized. I like the light rail in Charlotte, NC. But I LOVE it in San Diego. If Amtrak didn’t have to share the track with commercial vehicles, it’d be way better off. And if cities had spent more money over time with their mass transit – the NYC subway, and especially the T in Boston – it would be top-notch.

When I see stories about traveling out west to Great Basin Star Train, designed to see the stars sans light pollution, I say, “I would do that.”

One pipe dream involves going to a bunch of Major League ballparks by train, maybe Boston to New York (2), Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Miami and Tampa Bay. Then another route through the Midwest – Toronto to Cleveland, et al., and a third out west. I’ve gone to two games by train, from Poughkeepsie to the New York Yankees in 2018, and from San Diego to Anaheim to see the Angels back in the late 1980s.

I took the train when I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and to take the JEOPARDY! test in Washington, DC a week later.

150

Incidentally, I had planned to write something about the sesquicentennial of the birth of the transcontinental railroad on November 24, 1869. The heads of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drove a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history.

Most of my treks from Albany, NY to Charlotte, NC were by train. This includes a trip just prior to my mother’s death. That post, BTW, is the post on this blog that has gotten the most comments, bar none.

And I LOVE train-themed songs.

How pessimistic are you about climate change? (I am DEEPLY pessimistic about it.)

We’re doomed. We’re already seeing the changes, with more severe weather as the annual average temperature keeps creeping upward. If I thought the government had a strategy for attacking the problem, I might be cautiously optimistic. Instead, the US pulls out of the Paris agreement, promotes the use of coal, eviscerates the Endangered Species Act, guts the Environmental Protection Agency.

Check out Former EPA head Gina McCarthy knows why climate change activists aren’t getting their message across.