October rambling: direct the whirlwind

Washington can’t be trusted

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Inside the most brutal dictatorship you’ve never heard of

America’s Forgotten Mass Lynching: When 237 People Were Murdered in Arkansas

Why Are Poor Countries Poor?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Compounding Pharmacies

Before He Animated For Disney, Willie Ito Sketched Cartoons In An Internment Camp

Diversity, inequality and prejudice

John Fugelsang: the enemies of Christianity

Edison and Tesla’s cutthroat ‘Current War’ ushered in the electric age

The amazing feat of extreme auto engineering by Frenchman Emile Leray allowed him to escape being stranded in a Moroccan desert in 1993

Annie Lennox: Maverick sat down with MSNBC’s Ari Melber at MASS MoCA

Are Expired Pregnancy Tests Accurate?

Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek may leave the show over cancer battle

You’re welcome, Arthur

Robert Forster, Oscar-Nominated ‘Jackie Brown’ Actor, Dead at 78

Rip Taylor, Flamboyant Comic and Host of ‘The $1.98 Beauty Show,’ Dies at 84

Facebook cloning scam; you were not hacked

MEANING: noun: Someone filled with energy, cheerfulness, and optimism.
ETYMOLOGY: After Tigger, a tiger in A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Earliest documented use: 1981.

Now I Know: The Kind of Amazing Thing That Happens When You Lose $13 and How Baseball Closed Its Tiny Loophole and When Speeding Won’t Get You There Any Faster and What Canada Has In Common With Romulans and How a Cute Cartoon Created a Catastrophe of Raccoons

Serena Versus the Drones


The family trekked to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport ME the first weekend in October 2019. We got to pass through four states – NY, MA, NH, ME – in less than five hours. Twice in three days.

We went to a nice little museum, with a historical house. When it was in danger of closing in 2011, President George H.W. Bush offered to have some of his memorabilia be collected in one large room of the museum. This saved the day. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Bushes, but this was a kind and decent offer.


Everything He’s an Expert In, According to Him

Mark Evanier has decided that until djt leaves office — and maybe even after — he “will feature one story each day about what he’s doing to The World, America, The Rule of Law, The Dignity of the Executive Branch and himself. He, of course, is concerned only with the last of these.”

His capitulation to Erdogan destroys U.S. credibility; by abandoning America’s Kurdish partners in Syria, the White House has sent a message to allies everywhere that Washington can’t be trusted. It’s just him being himself.

More Answers to Impeachment Objections

Alexander Hamilton warned that a man “unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents… despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty” might “throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.'” from “Founders foresaw Trump nightmare,” USA Today.com, October 7, 2019

Keeping Refugees Out Makes the United States Less Safe


Ginger Baker: A Jazz Drummer With a Rock Reputation

Viviane by Ernest Chausson

Beethoven: Symphony No.9 in D Minor, Op.125 – “Choral” – 4. Presto – Allegro assai · Jessye Norman · Reinhild Runkel · Robert Schunk · Hans Sotin · Chicago Symphony Chorus · Chicago Symphony Orchestra · Sir Georg Solti

Here, There And Everywhere – MonaLisa Twins

Hits from the Andrews Sisters’ songbook – Voctave

Jokerman – John Cruz

Coverville: 1280: Abbey Road 50th Anniversary Album Cover and 1281: Lindsey Buckingham Cover Story

Everybody’s Everything – Steve Winwood and Sheila E., Orianthi, honoring Carlos Santana at the Kennedy Center Honors

Once Upon a Time from The Princess Bride

Pitchfork: The 200 best songs of the 2010s; I own maybe a half dozen of them, and recognize perhaps that many more

The Unsolved Case of the Most Mysterious Song on the Internet

Not news: the racist Twit-in-Chief

Racism is sin

Stern.August 2017.Trump
The cover of the German magazine Stern, August 2017
While I was away in a low-news mode, the story about the Twit-in-Chief attacking four progressive congresswomen of color broke. “Go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came” was the message. The crowd chanted “send her back” at the North Carolina pep rally, referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

He later disavowed the chants, though he had paused during the shouting, looking on for several seconds, appearing to show approval. The next day, he dubbed the chanters “patriots.” Sycophants such as Veep Mike Pence and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “Oh, he’s NOT racist.” The truly dreadful Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “on to something” with those attacks on four congresswomen.

You probably knew all this, but I’m just catching up.

It got me to wonder: what on earth does it take to label an action racist in America and to have it stick? Or is it just impossible? Perhaps, for Republicans, “xenophobia and nationalism are completely fine — just don’t call it racism.”

Mark Evanier linked to what he cheekily called “that bastion of Liberalism,” the National Review. “David French writes that when Donald Trump says something divisive and racist, Republican leaders will not so much as give an ‘ahem’ to express slight disapproval…

“There are many GOP leaders who, quite frankly, understand that they criticize even the president’s racist speech at their own peril. The grassroots have spoken. Loyalty to the president must be absolute, or one risks a primary challenge.”

The Weekly Sift guy attributes this process to his friend and former editor Tom Stites:
Trump makes blatantly racist statements. The responsible press and responsible leaders use racist in describing it. Trump’s confederate supporters think, See? All those elitists are calling me a racist! This pushes their victim buttons and turns their anger on the responsible press and leaders.
Then Trump repeats that he’s about the least racist person you’ll ever meet, and he calls the Squad racists who hate Israel and the U.S. Trump’s racist supporters feel vindicated by their hero.
More of the press becomes confident using the word racist. Trump turns up the volume a bit and repeats his pot-stirring trick. The confederates respond.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
He’s a twisted genius at manipulation.

He, his fans and defenders are wallowing in the language of hate crimes. There’s a scary undercurrent at every one of his rallies: “It is language with a very familiar ring: The language of community defense and purification, driving from the body politic any foreign—and therefore innately toxic—presence or influence.” But does it matter?

Like much of our language, ‘love it or leave it’ has a racist history. “it sort of conveys—particularly to people of color—that this is not our home… Historically, when people of color criticize America, they’ve been deemed un-American and unpatriotic, but when white people criticize America, it is normal.” And it takes an increasing psychological toll.

The hardly-liberal Foreign Policy magazine notes in America’s Road to Reputational Ruin: “The decline in U.S. soft power didn’t start with Trump, but he accelerated it… with his racist tweets.”

Yup, the mainstream media HAS been increasingly willing to at least acknowledge when an action is racist. For instance, Fox News’ Chris Wallace Burns Down Stephen Miller Over Trump’s Racist Lies. The CBS reporting repeatedly called his behavior racist, while NBC used that mamby-pamby “that many are calling racist.” (I taped them and am watching now.)

Congressman Elijah Cummings declared he is a racist — ‘No Doubt About It’. Former Vice-President Joe Biden compares him to segregationist George Wallace. In case I’ve been too oblique, yes, I’ve long believed the Twit-in-Chief is a racist. As Sojourners notes, “Racism isn’t a partisan issue. It is sin.”

The thing is, none of this behavior should be surprising, given his history. We CAN wonder, though, what it means to the future of the United States. Does his race-baiting evokes the Nuremberg rallies? Or should we not panic?

What do you think? I tend to lean towards ire/panic.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial