Juneteenth and other rambling; Smilin’ Ed

When Languages Go Extinct.

deer
Pic was taken by a friend’s SIL in June 2021 and used with permission

‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High

The Delta variant is serious. Here’s why it’s on the rise. and The Perils Of Covid Complacency

Former WH adviser Fiona Hill considered pulling a fire alarm during Helsinki Summit—to shut Trump up.

The Political, Legal, and Moral Minefield That Trump Left for Merrick Garland and Cleaning Up After Him.

In 2020, 881 active Secret Service employees were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Why Has Local News Collapsed? Blame Readers. Despite all the impassioned pleas to salvage local news coverage, the reality is there’s a demand-side problem.

How Some Americans Are Breaking Out of Political Echo Chambers

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison Heat and PACE, a program meant to pay for environmentally-friendly home renovations.

When Undoing Is Not Enough — Repairing Harms Inflicted on Immigrant Children.

How the world ran out of everything.

Juneteenth/Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory is the New Boogeyeman.

Why do people hate Cathode Ray Tubes so much?

Cartoon: Attack of the critical race theory and Cartoon: History for white people.

How New York’s capital city splintered along racial lines and Black elders in the Capital Region sit down with a young journalist of color to share their stories, experiences, and reflections on being Black in America.

The sad story of southern slave owners, as told in 8th-grade history books

Tulsa isn’t the only race massacre you were never taught in school. Here are others.

Juneteenth is symbolic. Don’t confuse it with racial justice.

GOPUSA Eagle: A Federal Holiday Isn’t Enough; Mayors Commit To Reparations.

Per Newsmax – Sen. Cotton: Juneteenth ‘Fitting Addition to Our National Holidays’ So Let’s Celebrate Momentum of a Growing Racial Justice Movement.

The rat

Staying up too late? Welcome to revenge bedtime procrastination. People are so desperate for time to call their own — even if it comes at 2 a.m. — they’re exhausting themselves. (I’ve done this in 2021. Not recommended.)

What is the only cardinal number whose letters are in alphabetical order in English?

Smilin' Ed complete

I was at my local comic book store recently and I saw copies of the Smilin’ Ed collection pictured, by Raoul Vezina and Tom Skulan. Diamond Distribution is now carrying the book, so you can buy it from a source other than Amazon. Guess which duck has the last word in the book?

A piece about Don Rittner, who, among other things, worked on an environmental cartoon with Raoul.

Fire tore through historian John Wolcott’s documents, maps. I’ve known John and Linda Becker for years.

Slipping of the Mother Tongue: When Languages Go Extinct.

Jeopardy!’s Apology for an ‘Outdated, Offensive and Inaccurate’ Clue.

The Beatles: Get Back — An Exclusive Deep Dive Into Peter Jackson’s Revelatory New Movie.

I absolutely adored Spock. Loving Dad was much more complicated.

Theater needs comedy, Ken Levine says. But I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

On Ned Beatty and HEAR MY SONG

Frank Bonner, WKRP in Cincinnati’s Herb Tarlek Dies at 79.

Danish Road Safety Council:  Helmet has always been a good idea.

Now I Know: Who is Q (James Bond Version)? and Why You Probably Prefer  European Chocolate and The Man Who Jetted to Millions and When The Faucets Ran Red and When I Learned A Lot About Doughnuts and When Multiple Streams Can Be Taxing.

MUSIC

The New Classics  – virtual Broadway and Broadway’s back

Coverville 1361: Cover Stories for Cole Porter and Tony Levin.

Club 27 – MonaLisa Twins.

An American Symphony by Michael Kamen, from the score to the film Mr. Holland’s Opus.

See You in September by several different artists.

The Way We Were – Aubrey Logan.

Answer: 40

January rambling #2: Robert Mueller action figure

Code Switch podcast from NPR: Intrigue At The Census Bureau

Three Holocaust survivors open up about the rising tide of anti-semitism

What’s Behind Our Obsession With Political ‘Likability’

Here’s the Robert Mueller action figure you’ve been waiting for

Weekly Sift: The End of the Shutdown and Extortion Tactics Have No Place in American Democracy

Research suggests his election has been detrimental to many Americans’ mental health

The Religious Left Is Finding Its Voice

Code Switch podcast from NPR: Intrigue At The Census Bureau (January 24, 2019)

Many Voters Think He’s a Self-Made Man. What Happens When You Tell Them Otherwise?

Impeach him

The World Economy Runs on GPS. It Needs a Backup Plan

The economy is great for billionaires, not for working people

Weekly Sift: My Wife’s Expensive Cancer Drug

Millions of Americans Flood Into Mexico for Health Care

My life after a heart attack at 38

In Newly-Found Audio, Bayard Rustin Says Coming Out ‘Was An Absolute Necessity’

Misty Copeland, Calvin Royal III and the rarity of a black couple dancing lead roles

Former Northwestern PhD student accused of stealing his own car settles with Evanston

Civility - #drawninpowerpoint
Civility: #drawninpowerpoint – original comics, published occasionally by Craig Froehle. Creative Commons license “Attribution-NonCommercial”

Geographical dystopiary

RPI Model Railroad Club Getting Derailed?

The Christmas watch

A Girl Is Born

A Deadly Tsunami Of Molasses In Boston’s North End (1919)

How to rescue your car from two feet of snowbank

A profile of Mr. Eric Idle

Comic book artist George Perez retires; I hired him once, for the FantaCo chronicles for the Fantastic Four

Considering the new DC Universe streaming channel

Alan Alda Just Wants to Have a Good Conversation

Fallacies of composition and division

Now I Know: 150 Years After the Civil War, They’re Still Paying the Bills and How Tesla’s Death Ray Killed a Bill and The Intentionally Bad Novel That Became a Best Seller and Harry Potter and the Uniform of Temporal Distortion and The Man Who Inched Away at History

Becoming a digital near-native. Or not

MUSIC

Shed a Little Light – The Maccabeats and Naturally 7

Feed the Birds – Richard Sherman

Loving You With My Eyes – The Starland Vocal Band

Lola – Lake Street Dive

I Want You Back – Twice

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Cariccio Espagnol with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Sweet Child O’ Mine – Scary Pockets

Hazy Shade of Winter – Gerard Way, featuring Ray Toro

Running Up That Hill – Candy Says & Marc Canham

Coverville: 1248: Cover Stories for the Yellow Submarine 50th and Crash Test Dummies and 1249: Covering the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

K-Chuck Radio: Our Native Brothers and Sisters

Grammy-winning soul legend James Ingram dead at age 66

Land of Confusion – Genesis

The economics of streaming is making songs shorter

U.S. Vinyl Album Sales Grew 15% in 2018, Led by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, David Bowie & Panic! at the Disco

October rambling #1: Naturalist At Large

A Poem Can Help End a War

Roy Moore is a lawless theocratic lunatic

Scientology and the cult of tRump

The Rules of the Gun Debate: The rules for discussing firearms in the United States obscure the obvious solutions

My Daughter Was Murdered in a Mass Shooting. Then I Was Ordered to Pay Her Killer’s Gun Dealer

Sandy Hook mom: ‘We value guns, flags & fake acts of patriotism over people, pain’

Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns

Just What We Needed: More Inequality, Bigger Deficits

From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories

Forensic Science: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Statistical indicators of President Obama’s eight years in office

The Day Donald Trump Watched An Octogenarian Bleeding To Death And Did Nothing To Help

Adjunct professors in America face low pay and long hours without the security of full-time faculty. Some, on the brink of homelessness, take desperate measures

The Five Stirring Stanzas That Proved a Poem Can Help End a War

“The Closet” where a black camper slept is preserved in Schroon Lake, NY

How to Protest Without Offending White People

Comic: Back to the Future of Racism

Chuck Miller’s two-week boycott of ESPN

Finding Your Roots: Bernie Sanders and Larry David (may be available only in the US and until 31 Oct)

Free counseling for those affected by Hurricane Harvey from BetterHelp.com for up to three months

Want Change In Education? Look Beyond The Usual Suspects (Like Finland)

How to handle being “unfriended” on Facebook

Naturalist At Large environmental cartoons by Don Rittner and Raoul Vezina (1983)

“Mr Brunelle Explains It All” Cartoon Gallery

The Vast Influence Of Donald Duck

How one election changed Disney’s relationship with Anaheim

EU English

The Mary Tyler Moore Show Fall Preview

Y.A. Tittle dies at age 90. He was the first New York Giants quarterback of my youth

Sputnik’s 60th birthday

30 Of the Most Amazing Images from Electron Microscopes

Now I Know: The Town that Drives Itself and Why We Yawn and Why Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop and The Ben and Jerry’s Flavor that Left a Bad Taste Behind

Floss Firstenberg Alper Obituary: Floss was an amazing listener, a trusted confidante, the focus of many people’s erotic dreams, an oft-invited dinner guest and irreverent as hell

MUSIC

Waiting For The Waiter – MonaLisa Twins ft. John Sebastian

Coverville 1187: Cover Stories for Gerry & The Pacemakers and Everything But The Girl

Magic Moments – Perry Como

Merrily We Roll Along – Eddie Cantor

August rambling #2: how ridiculous xenophobia is

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

Syrian children

It’s not just Freddie Gray. The Justice Department’s new report shows how wide and deep Baltimore’s police problems are

My four months as a private prison guard, which has led to the US phasing out private prison use

US: The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing’ – she said, Nothing!

Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later

Does Henry Kissinger have a conscience?

At what point is it impossible to separate art from the artist? (Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation)

Tote bag proves how ridiculous xenophobia is

“Christian” groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children

If your pastor says “RACISM ISN’T A SKIN PROBLEM, IT’S A SIN PROBLEM” you need to find another church

Pew Research: Choosing a New Church or House of Worship; Americans look for good sermons, warm welcome

In today’s troubling times, where are our faith leaders? But Even Reinhold Niebuhr could not be Reinhold Niebuhr in 2016

YOU THROW, GIRL: AN OLYMPIC SHOT-PUTTER’S FEMINIST MISSION

Michael Rivest: The Wall That Heals

Cartoon: The future of climate denial

174 Heroin Overdoses in Six Days in Cincinnati

NPR is closing its comments section – can’t blame them

Flat earth Theories

When New Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots And Their Babies Get Brain Bleeds

Race and poverty

America’s wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it’s getting dangerously wider

Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation

The Original Underclass; Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’

Michele Bachmann: “White People Have Suffered More In The Last 8 Years Than Blacks Did During Couple Years Of Slavery”

Why Poor People Stay Poor -Saving money costs money. Period.

Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

The culture of the smug white liberal

What I said when my white friend asked for my black opinion of white privilege

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced; Here’s how she responded

The infamous Stop White Genocide video

Lottery of Indencency

Arthur’s Internet wading

When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose

Thurgood Marshall’s interracial love: ‘I don’t care what people think. I’m marrying you.’

Dashcam Video Captures Highway Pileup, Woman Rescued from Burning Car in Binghamton, NY

Larry Wilmore on the End of The Nightly Show and the Show’s Greatest Legacy

Arthur@NZ is getting better and his hospital bill; damn Kiwis!

Dustbury goes grocery shopping 2.0

At my alma mater at SUNY New Paltz, College mourns death of emeritus biology professor Heinz Meng, known for recovery of peregrine falcon – he was very cool

The only movies I’ve seen with Gene Wilder are The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and one of my favorite movies ever, Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote. They were all released between 1967 and 1980. But he was always excellent then and in a couple of episodes of Will and Grace early this century. Gene Wilder on The Truth | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios, plus Evanier and Tom Straw remember.

Steven Hill, D.A. Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order,’ Dies at 94

A Marvin Kaplan story

Jack Riley, RIP

‘I’ve had a good life’: Donna Wold, the ex-flame who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in ‘Peanuts,’ dies

Your Guide to the Fall Broadway Season

50 things about comics, featuring ME

The 10 most Influential Poets in History

Art is about surrender – Stop asking for it to be custom-tailored

Chuck Miller at the State Fair and Don Rittner at the county fair, and Jaquandor at the county fair

Now I Know: David’s Garden and Horse, Off-Course

Ken Levine HATES Robert Hall

The Casual Sex Project

Music

Harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, Known for ‘Sesame Street’ Theme, Dies at 94 and The Getaway – End credits – Quincy Jones – Toots; more Quincy and Toots; John Barry, Toots – Theme from “Midnight Cowboy” (mostly stolen from Steve Bissette’s Facebook)

U2 Live Albany New York – 13 November 1981

John Denver, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash & Roger Miller – Rocky Top

Herb Alpert Foundation to donate $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College — making studies for music majors tuition-free

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll – and sometimes it’s better in mono

35 Years Ago: Violent Femmes Discovered by the Pretenders While Busking in Milwaukee

How God wants us to vote

“Any talk of using the Bible should start with a few acknowledgments, the first of which is that the Bible is not a book, rather it is a collection of books.”

KenScreven.plus
A little over a year ago, a few of the bloggers of the Times Union newspaper met at the home of retired television news reporter Ken Screven, in the foreground of this picture. All the other bloggers I knew: historian/environmental activist Don Rittner; photographer Chuck Miller, and Unitarian minister Sam Trumbore.

The person I did not know was Liz Lemery Joy. She was a very charming and articulate woman. Her blog focus is “A Biblical stance on political/legislative issues.”

In March, she first promised to write about Christians and voting. “We’re going to go to the Word of God, and I’m going to show you what God says about the political and legislative issues we’re facing as a state and a nation.”

Later that month, she declared that It’s the Christians fault our country is in such a mess, because they do not vote in sufficient numbers.

Finally, she described Ted Cruz, a breath of fresh air in Upstate! He is, she describes, a “level headed candidate, who actually respects the Constitution, come and address voters in our area. People in upstate are hurting economically and the power-hungry Albany machine has done nothing to help.”

Her chief issue, though, is his opposition to abortion: “How a person values other people’s lives absolutely determines how they will govern in office. Why? Because how they regard the worth of another human life, determines where their moral compass is and how they will carry out everything they do in political office… If a leader doesn’t value life, they will also disregard and be callous to other matters of governing and legislating that require principle and virtue.”

This, unsurprisingly, generated lots of comments, many of them unrepeatable. TU blogger Heather Fazio, who disagrees with Liz, solicited, then summarized some comments about Liz’s posts here and here.

A TU blogger named Michael Rivest declared The Bible does not tell us how to vote, pointing to the scriptural inconsistencies in the arguments of people from both sides of the political fence.

While I certainly would not come to the same conclusion as Ms. Joy did, I tend to agree with her premise, so I don’t think Mr. Rivest is correct either. Cherry-picking Scripture, one can “prove” anything, or nothing, about how God wants us to vote, or anything else.

Walter Ayres addresses this point quite well.

Any talk of using the Bible should start with a few acknowledgments, the first of which is that the Bible is not a book, rather it is a collection of books. It is more like a library and, just as libraries do not all contain the same books, neither do Bibles… These books vary in nature; e.g., some are historical, some are legalistic, some are poetry.

Many times, when people claim that the Bible says something, what they really mean is that a particular book of the Bible says something. Another book of the Bible may say something else.

This brings us to the issue of proof-texting, a method of claiming Biblical support for a position by choosing selected texts, often out of context, to support a particular position. One example is using select verses to support or oppose to the death penalty without regard to the original intent of the author. Proof-texting does not lead to good theology.
Bernie in ALB
And it gets more complicated…

In other words, interpreting the Bible in not always as easy as it might seem. People of good will can reach different conclusions. And we all should be very careful before we claim to speak for God.

What he said.

In a follow-up post, Ayres, who is a self-described Roman Catholic, quotes Pope Francis when he wrote: “An authentic faith… always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it.” He also writes about four principles of Catholic social teaching in the document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.

In the New York Times magazine article Donald Drumpf, American Preacher, Dartmouth professor Jeff Sharlet writes:

Drumpf…returns [faith] to the roots of Christian business conservatism, which is where he has been all along: Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 best seller, “The Power of Positive Thinking”…

“Positive Thinking” isn’t about serving God; it’s about “applied Christianity,” using God to achieve “a perfected and amazing method of successful living.” The method is like a closed loop, a winners’ circle of the soul. “The man who assumes success tends already to have success,” Peale writes, a tautological spiritual­ity as instantly recognizable in Trumpism as the drumbeat of his words: “success,” “amazing.” Peale’s message resonated most with the upper middle class — those, like Drumpf himself, who saw themselves as winners. The prosperity gospel recasts the same promise to those, like Drumpf’s followers, who feel lost.

On the surface, the prosperity gospel is a simple transaction. The preacher is blessed, and you can be, too. All you have to do is invest. How? The usual way: You give him your money. Only, your money is just a metaphor. The good news is that faith will be repaid in kind. The deal — belief in return for relief, belief as a form of relief — is as old as religion, too fundamental to human consciousness to dismiss simply as a con. Pray for rain, sacrifice to the gods, keep kosher — you needn’t believe to recognize the power of trading devotion for the hope of well-being.

My fortnightly church group has been slowly reading Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. They write: “Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal and powerful.”

It’s no secret that on Tuesday, I’ll be supporting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Presidential primary, who is the gold standard in presidential politics “on matters of economic equality, social justice, combatting poverty and human rights that Pope Francis has placed before the world and at the center of his papacy.” For ME – no, I’m NOT telling you how to vote – he is my clear theological choice.

Or maybe the “Ted Cruz” in this parody article is right, that Jesus IS too liberal to follow:

The most disturbing thing about Jesus, said Cruz, “is his obsession with caring for and hanging out with a bunch of losers, like poor people and homeless beggars, sick and unemployed people, strangers and immigrants (some of them undocumented!), and even prisoners.”

“I’m not making this up,” Cruz continued. “He — the real Jesus — is as radical as any longhaired punk camping out with street people in Boston or Philadelphia. If you don’t believe me, you can go read it for yourself, in the Gospel of Matthew, 25:31-46. Check it out. And don’t miss the part where Jesus says that showing kindness and generosity toward the least fortunate is the same as showing kindness and generosity toward Jesus himself. Now that’s just dangerous left-wing nonsense, worse than Obamacare.”