June rambling: And They Lynched Him

1600 Black Lives Plaza

goofus and galliantMia Birdsong is the host of More Than Enough, a Nation podcast that uses the concept of universal basic income to start a conversation about dignity, deservedness, and the country America can and should be.

UMBERTO ECO: a practical guide for identifying fascists.

In Memoriam: Duane Ivan Todman.

Sudan: Anatomy of an internet shutdown.

People Who Tried New Quarantine Hobbies Tell Us How That All Worked Out.

Deciphering appliance error codes for washers, dryers, dishwashers, and ranges.

A Stroll Along State Street in Albany, New York, a stretch of road I know extremely well.

Kurt Thomas, U.S. gymnastics’ first world champion, dies at 64.

Triangles vs. Rectangles: What’s the Better Way to Cut a Sandwich? (it involves math)

She Gets Calls And Texts Meant For Elon Musk. Some Are Pretty Weird.

Ain’t it the troooth.

If you can’t find self-rising flour, just add 1.5 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt per cup of all-purpose flour.

Why Is It ‘Eleven, Twelve’ Instead of ‘Oneteen, Twoteen’?

Race in America

George Floyd’s Autopsy and the Structural Gaslighting of America.

The cascade of crises in black America.

The Mimetic Power of D.C.’s Black Lives Matter Mural.

Why The Small Protests In Small Towns Across America Matter.

The protests bring on a Me-Too reckoning and media reckoning on race.

This Is How It Feels To Be Racially Profiled.

From 2018, and still unfortunately relevant: Before You Call the Cops – The Tyler Merritt Project.

The Schomburg Center’s Black Liberation Reading List and Anti-racism books (NYT).

CNN/Sesame Street town hall on racism.

Lots of resources here and here.

What You Should Keep In Mind About COVID-19 If You’re Protesting.

Fox News apologizes for segment linking stock market gains to the deaths of unarmed Black men.

vlogbrothers.

Iowa Republicans Vote Out Rep. Steve King, the most overtly racist member of Congress.

Ella Jones Elected to Serve as Ferguson’s First Black Mayor.

The myth of the kindly General Lee.

#IMPOTUS

Blessed are the poorIf He Goes Even Lower, We’d Better Be Prepared.

The Regime Is Beginning to Topple.

History Will Judge the Complicit Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president.

Cockwomble (noun) – A person, usually male, prone to making outrageously stupid statements and/or inappropriate behavior while generally having a very high opinion of his own wisdom and importance.

This is your America.

NYTimes Op-ed warns of a ‘vaccine’ October Surprise.

The unemployment rate is really 3% higher than claimed.

Lincoln Project ads: Leadership and Steps and Mattis.

An idea: buy a postcard, send it to Temporary Occupant, 1600 Black Lives Plaza, Washington, DC 20500 (ZIP Code should get it there), and send your message of disdain. (Postage is 35 cents, but hey, spend 20 cents more, slap that first-class stamp on it, and support the USPS.)

The Bunker Boy – Randy Rainbow.

Now I Know

The American Civil War of World War II and Giving a Word a Different Spin and They Called it “Massive Resistance” and A Step Too Far? and Cherries, Helicopters, and Hair Dryers and High Altitude Flatus Expulsion and It Doesn’t Stand for “Eradicating Dangerous Mosquitoes”.

MUSIC

And They Lynched Him On A Tree by William Grant Still.

Lift Every Voice, Karen Briggs violin rendition.

Rise Up – Andra Day.

EK Ellington, W Marsalis, O Wilson.

No One – Kevin Flournoy ft. Rebecca Jade.

Jungle Love – Morris Day and The Time.

People Get Ready.

Lizzo.

Coverville 1311: Cover Stories for Outkast, Lauryn Hill, and Jack Johnson.

Took The Children Away – Archie Roach.

Flivver Ten Million by Frederick Shepherd Converse, performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Let The Sunshine In from HAIR Virtual Corona Version | 2020.

Sound of Silence – Dana Winner.

21st Century Schizoid Man – Toyah & The Humans, A tribute to Bill Rieflin.

Smile – Voctave A Cappella Cover.

Once in a Lifetime – Kermit the Frog.

Mr. Ed Theme Song, in German.

Why I’ll never vote for the Donnybrook

A kakistocracy.

Trump endorsementThere is a known problem with noting my disdain for Donald J. Trump every year. It will convince no one, I realize. Those who love the Donnybrook – which I find inexplicable – will still love him. Those who despise him will continue to so.

For the record, I write about it anyway. Every year he’s been President, on his birthday I write. It’s also Flag Day, of course, so it’s likewise a reflection of how the country is doing.

In this regime, the Justice Department doles out mercy and second chances to the undeserving, the rich, and the powerful, and his cronies. But this is seldom afforded to others. A study shows that the Department of Justice prosecutions of white-collar criminals is at an all-time low.

The tax law, passed in late 2017, provided more breaks to the wealthiest Americans while doing little or nothing for everyone else.

The turnover rate in his regime has been massive. The absence of expertise in top government jobs is especially dangerous during emergencies. Also, “when positions are filled they have not necessarily gone to the strongest candidates.”

I’ve long wondered whether this is a flaw or a feature in the process. Picking a known enemy of education to head education, of the environment to lead EPA, et al. was no accident. And by keeping the administrative plates always spinning, the chance for a Cabinet to toss him out using the 25th Amendment becomes less likely.

If he had released his taxes, perhaps there would be fewer questions about him enriching himself. Most of his controversies are vehicles for self-justification, self-preservation, and self-enrichment.

His actions have damaged U.S. credibility and influence abroad. “America first” has hurt America, except with fellow authoritarian leaders.

Corona catastrophe

But the single biggest disaster of his regime has been his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, his response is like what he does a lot in other areas. He refuses to take responsibility for the surge of cases in March or people ingesting disinfectant. Even when he claims absolute authority, he dodges any culpability.

He had shut down the White House pandemic office back in 2018. And his team had been briefed before his inauguration about the threat posed by pandemics. Intelligence warnings in January and February from U.S. intelligence agencies were ignored. After the disease hit, the regime waited 2 months before bolstering medical supplies. This forced states and other entities to bid against each other to obtain them.

He picked the four men responsible For America’s COVID-19 test disaster. Among them, Mike Pence, a known science denier. The standard lie about the availability of testing became untenable.

But he always spread lies and disinformation. Early in the crisis, he said that the coronavirus would simply vanish. “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.”

Exhausting

There are so many more examples of incompetence and/or greed, I have literally lost track. The purge of Inspectors General should be a national scandal. It’s always about him, as he threatens the press and his other so-called enemies.

The result of all of this is that the man is making us worse people. “He is draining the last reserves of decency among us at a time when we need it most.” From today’s Boston Globe: The nationalist president and the white supremacist. “In June 2015, Donald Trump and Dylann Roof ushered in a new era of racist violence and white resentment.”

In other words, Donald Trump Is the “Worst President Ever.” He has surpassed James Buchanan. And that is a low bar indeed.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Stupidity

a brief and minimal reduction of maximum personal freedom

quackery
Quackery: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a noted German theologian and resister. “So despondent had been the German people after the defeat of World War I and the subsequent economic depression that the charismatic Hitler appeared to be the nation’s answer to prayer — at least to most Germans…

“Hitler’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions intensified — as did his opposition, which included the likes of theologian Karl Barth, pastor Martin Niemoller, and the young Bonhoeffer.” You should read the whole passage, as it is instructive. “On April 9, 1945, one month before Germany surrendered, he was hanged with six other resisters.”

Now his biographer, theologian Charles Marsh has brought these words to our attention. “You can apply them … as you see fit.”

“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force…

“Against stupidity we are defenseless; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed, and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one.”

A couple things I read recently came to mind. One was from a friend of mine IRL that she had posted on Facebook. It started: “From Yale Epidemiologist Jonathan Smith: As an infectious disease epidemiologist, at this point I feel morally obligated to provide some information on what we are seeing from a transmission dynamic perspective and how they apply to the social distancing measures.” Then 16 more paragraphs of rational thought about how to fight COVID-19.

He blinded them… with science!

Yet I wrote: “Yeah, science, blah blah blah. The audience who believe this already knows. And the ones who refuse to listen, you lost them at ‘Epidemiologist.'”

Opposing Social Distancing Isn’t About Freedom, Tim Wise wrote. It sure the heck isn’t about science either.

Scenario One: For the next six months, everyone masks in crowded public places such as stores, restaurants, and office buildings. It’s a minor irritant that no one enjoys, but it helps reduce infection, saves lives, and makes more people willing to go out and engage in commerce. This, in turn, puts us on a path to economic recovery, at the cost of just a brief and minimal reduction of maximum personal freedom.

Scenario Two: For the next six months, people are allowed to mask if they want to, or not, in crowded public places, and many — chanting freedom and liberty — choose not to. As a result, there is more infection, more illness, and more death of persons with underlying health issues (but who nonetheless have to do things like getting groceries and who engage with otherwise healthy people who may spread the virus to them).

And as a result of a much slower reduction in COVID cases, commercial activity returns more tentatively as many people remain afraid to venture out for much of anything beyond necessities. This, in turn, slows the recovery but maximizes the personal freedom of those opposed to masking (even as it reduces the true freedom of everyone else by forcing them to take greater risks).

Is there any doubt what the Gadsden Flag wavers and MAGA faithful would choose? Of course not.

Do unto others…

Tim Wise calls those people sociopaths. “What do we call those with such a cavalier attitude about the well-being of others? What is the word for persons who lack a seemingly functional conscience about the consequences of their actions?” While I’m not yet willing to slap that label onto these people. I will say they are, apparently intentionally, woefully ignorant.

The number of cases begin to rise worldwide as restrictions are lifted. But this isn’t just a function of pandemic exhaustion. There was an article, “I’ll do what I want”: Why the people ignoring social distancing orders just won’t listen back on March 24.

I’ll stick with Dietrich Bonhoeffer on stupidity as the root of the problem. Not just here and now, but crossing time and place. Or to quote the philosopher Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”

Random thoughts on life in the now

Altering their path

face maskIn the now, I have three homemade masks that I rotate. I had preferred to pick a color that would make me look less sinister to the general population than the dark brown one. Unfortunately, it was the one that fits me best.

This is a function of the fact that, apparently, I have a big head. No, I don’t mean I’m conceited. I mean my pate is large.

I first realized this as a kid when caps were often tight. Then when I graduated from high school, I was told my cap size was 7 7/8, which I gather is unusual. My cap was actually pinned into place. Then when I had to take it off for the national anthem, I couldn’t really get it back on.

I venture out infrequently enough that I forget to put on the mask until I’m on the front porch and then lock the door. And I need the mask to protect me from the folks who neither physically distance or wear their own masks. The worse are the runners, who not only don’t wear masks but just CANNOT alter their path for any reason.

The very few times I’ve gone into a building since mid-March was into a convenience store. It REALLY needed arrows on the floor because the queue to the counter was in the same direction as the exit.

The one thing I HATE waiting for? People buying lottery tickets. It’s not that I oppose folks wasting their money on them. It’s that they spend a lot of time speaking a language I simply do not understand. “Box” something or other, and the purchase seems to take forever, even pre-COVID.

Zooming

My wife said recently that she was going to a Zoom meeting for school. In fact, it was a WebEx webinar. She unnecessarily apologized for her imprecision. I’m fascinated that Zoom has become the genericized term for all of those electronic meetups such as Google Hangout. The newer technology may have filled the linguistic slot that the much older technology Skype used to hold.

As a big advocate of mass transportation, it’s weird to note that I haven’t been on a Capital District Transportation Authority bus since Thursday, March 12. This is true even though one now enters the rear of the vehicle. When I had to get bloodwork, we took the car.

Like many people, I’m having vivid dreams. They’re not usually nightmarish. Sometimes they’re so intense, I’m convinced for several minutes afterward that the events actually took place.

May rambling: Mount St. Helens + 40

Many per capitas

murder hornets
Yeah, right
U.S’s oldest living WWII veteran celebrates his 110th birthday. Sometimes, when people talk to Lawrence Brooks, he has to tell them “there’s no need to yell, I can hear you just fine.”

Conservative victimhood complex has made America impossible to govern.

John Pavlovitz Official YouTube channel, including An Honest Conversation About Disciples of the MAGAChurch.

You Can Have A Black Friend, Partner, Or Child And Still Be Racist.

Leonard Pitts: When a child goes missing, you call the police. You don’t grab a gun and try to push your way into the wrong house.

Larry Kramer obituary: American playwright, author and Aids activist best known for The Normal Heart.

Jelle’s Marble Runs, sponsored by LastWeekTonight with John Oliver, starts again June 21.

Ken Osmond & Eddie Haskell & Insincerity As an American Art Form.

I was aware that Phyllis George, who recently died at age 70, had been crowned Miss America in September 1970. The pageant was a whole lot more culturally relevant then than it’s been this century. Still, I was surprised when she became a sportscaster in 1974, and joined the cast of The NFL Today a year later. She was a trailblazer, and many women now cover major sports in the United States.

Mount St. Helens, 40 years later.

Messed up things you never noticed in your favorite ’80s movies by Mick Martin.

Mark Evanier is now interviewing tons of his friends on his YouTube channel, including Cheri Steinkellner, Scott Shaw!, Paul Levitz, and a Cartoon Voices Panel.

Catherine O’Hara: The Queen of Schitt’s Creek.

Top TV ratings from 1951-2019.

Former White House employee who served 11 presidents dies of coronavirus at 91. Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, who began working at the White House in 1957.

Trevor Noah and The Daily Show Aren’t Just Surviving—They’re Thriving.

COVID-19

100,000 dead in America and Earlier Lockdowns Could Have Saved 36,000 Lives.

Universal Testing Is the Answer to Social Distancing.

Inflamed brains, toe rashes, strokes: Why the weirdest symptoms are only emerging now.

Huge Study Throws Cold Water on Antimalarials such as hydroxychloroquine; Remdesivir Data — “Not a panacea” or a “cure-all”, seems more effective when given to patients who weren’t as severely ill.

Masks, Men, and the Exhausting Pursuit of Desperate Masculinity.

JESUS IS MY VACCINE has a millennum-long history rooted in anti-Semitism.

Amy Biancolli: faith, fear of death, and fatheads.

Me and we: Individual rights, common good, and coronavirus.

I Think You May Be Wasting Freedom.

Getting richer during the pandemic.

Double bubble buddies: How to choose the first household you’ll socialize with. SO Canadian.

New Zealand went from Level 4 to Level 2 lockdown, and Arthur reports it all.

Alas, the last of the posts from Notes From The Pandemic.

self-quarantine-jeopardy

Donnybrook

Running America ‘Like A Business’ Is A Road To Ruin.

How he became the GOP’s ‘new normal’

Many per capitas.

He tried to troll Michigan’s Secretary of State on voting laws. It didn’t end well for him.

Nine Questions For The White House Physician On His Use Of Hydroxychloroquine.

He Has No Endgame.

Promoting Posts From Racist and Sexist Twitter Feed.

It Shouldn’t Take A Disaster For Us to Recognize a Disaster.

Fortunately, there is the Environmental Protection Network.

Distraction – Randy Rainbow.

Now I Know

The Poison Squad and The Silvonze Medalists and Music in the Key of K and The Speed Trap That Trapped Itself and Les Gardiens de Zoo Accidentels and The Big Brick Loophole.

bread-making-instructions

MUSIC

This Too Shall Pass – Mike Love with John Stamos.

You Can Close Your Eyes – James Taylor and family.

At Times Like These – Live Lounge Allstars.

Mother – Roger Waters.

Symphony No. 50, Mount St. Helens, by Alan Hovhaness.

Coverville 1309: Tributes to Kraftwerk and Little Richard and 1310: The Devo Cover Story III.

Overture and incidental music from Rosamunde, by Franz Schubert.

Shakespeare In Love composed by Stephen Warbeck.

RIP: JIMMY COBB, LEGENDARY JAZZ DRUMMER (1929-2020).


Wrong Hands: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License.