April rambling: Unbreaking America

Why Did the U.S. Government Pay for a Painting of Strawberries? Two-thirds of the paintings, in total, are by women. This wasn’t because women of the era liked to paint fruit.

No Room!
“Looking Backward,” drawn by the brilliant Austrian-born Joseph Ferdinand Keppler (February 1, 1838 – February 19, 1894) for Puck magazine, January 11, 1893

First image of a black hole revealed.

Slave Owners’ Names Are on Dorms at a SUNY School. That’s Changing. New Paltz is my undergraduate alma mater.

Why There’s So Little Left of the Early Internet.

Anderson Cooper speaks the “language of loss”.

Amy Biancolli: talking to the darkness.

“I Had Nothing”: How Parole Perpetuates a Cycle of Incarceration and Instability.

You Are Probably a Victim of the Largest Theft of All Time.

TEDx: we all should be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Weekly Sift: Mueller by Gaslight.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: the sinister sides of World Wrestling Entertainment and the Mobile Home Industry.

Behind Bars, Co-Pays Are a Barrier to Basic Health Care.

The Death of an Adjunct Professor.

An aging population and a declining birthrate among the native-born population mean a shrinking workforce in many areas.

The Stephen Miller Presidency.

What an Empire Built on Nazi Collaboration Says About Our Economy.

Political Notebook: Politics last week and this week.

FTC Data Spotlight Shows Steep Rise in Complaints about Social Security Scams.

Unbreaking America: A NEW Short Film about Solving the Corruption Crisis.

New Zealand Parliament bans assault weapons.

“Men do not learn much from the lessons of history and that is the most important of all the lessons of history. “
– Aldous Huxley

The Persistence of Attachment.

What can an ice mummy teach us about heart disease?

Watch The World Turn.

The reason we bake at 350F.

5 Things to Do When You Have Too Many Ideas and Never Finish Anything.

Bless Your Heart doesn’t mean what you probably think it means.

Inside Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon’s Unconventional Marriage and ten minutes with Fosse.

Remembering William Goldman.

Re: Dwayne Wade: Now this is a proper sendoff

Minor League Baseball announces pace-of-play rules for 2019 and this is what Major League Baseball fandom looks like across the country.

Now I Know video: This Guy Tastes Ice Cream For a Living.

Now I Know: Who is Dr. Fill and why are these people afraid of him? and This idea to augment the postal service was a catastrophe and Why You Shouldn’t Carpool with Winnie the Pooh and especially Why Did the U.S. Government Pay for a Painting of Strawberries?

MUSIC

Religion – PJ Morton feat. Lecrae.

Faith – Business Casual.

Dead Boys -Sam Fender.

Live from New York, it’s Aubrey Logan.

Heaven Is a Place on Earth – KT Tunstall.

Video Killed The Radio Star – Walk off the Earth feat. Sarah Silverman

My Heart Will Go On – Big Daddy

Les chansons des roses – Morten Lauridsen.

You Get What You Give – Scary Pockets.

Africa – Robyn Adele Anderson.

Pencil Neck Geek – Don Blassie.

Coverville: 1257: A Cover Chain with Birthday Covers for Stan Ridgway, Katrina Leskanich, Norah Jones, Mandy Moore, and Brian Setzer

FUV ESSENTIALS: Richard Thompson.

Sisters are doin’ it for themselves?

This policy consists of three laudable R’s: rights, meaning the promotion of women’s issues, including by countering gender-based violence and discrimination; representation, including support for women’s participation at all levels of decision-making, from parliament to private sector boards to the legal system; and resources, to ensure equitable allocation among people of all genders, whether in government budgets or development projects.

Sisters are Doin It for Themselves*One of the first songs I thought about after QoS died last year was Sisters are doin’ it for themselves by Eurhythmics and Aretha Franklin. It only went to #18 in 1985, but I thought it was anthemic, with Annie Lennox and Aretha trading vocal licks.

*I watched by this January 29, 2019 interview of Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. She “noted that the lack of diversity in top management positions runs counter to research showing that diverse companies perform better.”

What was most striking, though, is this exchange:

TN: There’s also a fascinating trend I’ve read about where sometimes women who are in positions of power seem to be the ones who block other women from progressing.

SK: … Absolutely. She’s got a name. She’s a queen bee. And I’ll tell you exactly why she does it. Because the business world she’s grown up in, she looks up and she says, “Oh, I see the leadership table. And there’s one woman there. Or there are two women there. There’s one person of color there. I got it. So in order to get to that seat, I’m not competing with all of you guys. I’m competing with her.”

*From the hardly liberal Foreign Policy: Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy, Long May It Reign. Stockholm should continue actively pursuing a foreign-policy agenda focused on gender equality. And the world should follow. BY RACHEL VOGELSTEIN, ALEXANDRA BRO

“In 2014, Sweden became the first country in the world to publicly adopt what it explicitly called ‘a feminist foreign policy,’ putting the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights at the center of its diplomatic agenda. This policy consists of three laudable R’s: rights, meaning the promotion of women’s issues, including by countering gender-based violence and discrimination; representation, including support for women’s participation at all levels of decision-making, from parliament to private sector boards to the legal system; and resources, to ensure equitable allocation among people of all genders, whether in government budgets or development projects…

“[Foreign Minister Margot] Wallstrom’s announcement of a feminist foreign policy was not simply rhetorical — it was also strategic. The government recognized that gender equality is critical to Sweden’s broader foreign-policy objectives, including economic development, prosperity, and security. There is a growing body of research at the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, academic journals, and military publications demonstrating a relationship between women’s inclusion and stability. A 2015 study by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies found when women participate in peace processes, agreements are more likely to last — and to be forged in the first place.

Improving women’s status is also imperative to economic growth. In a separate 2015 study, the McKinsey Global Institute… calculated the potential benefit of closing gender gaps in the workforce at a staggering $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025 — as well as an estimated 19 percent growth rate in Sweden alone — if women simply participated at the same rate as men.”

*Josephine Cochrane

War, singing, feminism, tribalism, Cinderella, Pinterest

I understand Pinterest the way someone understands a menu in a foreign language.

Answering those Ask Roger Anything questions. You can still play.

Denise Nesbitt, the doyenne of ABC Wednesday, noted:

What did you have for breakfast this morning Roger? I had boiled eggs – I often feature photographs of my wonderful hen’s efforts on FB, do I sound sad? lol – 2 questions there!!!!

Oatmeal a lot lately for breakfast. I must have asked you if you were sad about something you wrote. And around the same time, a very good friend of mine suggested that my “doing all right” responses were hiding some stuff, which was true. So maybe I was just projecting.
***
Thomas McKinnon, my old FantaCo colleague, remembers:

We once had a fun conversation about the Lesley Ann Warren, “Cinderella”, both of us having enjoyed it. Did you like the Brandy version? And have you ever seen the original Julie Andrews version in B&W?

Ah, yes, Lesley Ann Warren, a major crush in the day. I did like the Brandy version, though not as much as the others; seemed padded somehow. BTW, The Prince Is Giving A Ball, which I believe Jason Alexander performs in the Brandy iteration, is one of the toughest songs ever, because of all the names in the lyrics. We OWN the Julie Andrews version on DVD; The Daughter thinks the Wife looks like Cinderella; the Wife is flattered.
***
New York Erratic wonders:

What’s one song you’ve always fantasized about doing onstage, and what was the fantasy venue?

I almost never fantasize about singing on stage, because I’d rather sing backup, 20 Feet From Stardom, and all that. I hate listening to the sound of my singing voice more than I hate the sound of my speaking voice, which is quite a bit. Yet other people find it pleasant, so there’s that.

That being said, there are songs for which I wouldn’t mind singing the bass parts: Shower the People by James Taylor or The Longest Time by Billy Joel immediately come to mind; I’m sure there are others. If I had to sing alone, it’d be the Talking Heads version of Take Me To The River. The venue would be Carnegie Hall because I mean, why not?
***
Melanie chimes in:

After your many kind and thoughtful comments on my blog, I think I owe you a question to help you with yours. What is something you wish people knew about you?

As I’ve mentioned, it is true that I’m shy, even though I sometimes fake it well. I don’t really like to be in charge of things, though either I keep getting selected to be that (Olin family reunion, Friends of the Albany Public Library) or it defaults to me (Black History Month at church). I take it on because I must be Nature, and Nature abhors a vacuum. If someone else stepped up, I’d be THRILLED to step aside.
***
In retaliationresponse to all my questions for him, Jaquandor has a few for me:

George Carlin once opined that America gets in so many wars because we simply like war a lot. As the next one seems to be just revving its engines, to what degree do you think this is true? Would a country that really claims to dislike war really have a military and defense budget that dwarfs all others on the planet?
teddy_doodle
I’ve been watching the Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts, and there’s a LOT about war. It’s true that if there had been no Civil War, Lincoln would not have been LINCOLN. Great generals aren’t created in peacetime. They build few statues, few monuments to the peacekeepers, and far more to the war makers.

Our involvement in the Spanish-American War of 1898 was, as much as anything, to prove the US had cojones. American exceptionalism at work. Likewise with the Panama Canal, riling up the Panamanians against Columbia.

I’ve noted before that I thought the Iraq war was a mistake from the outset. But worse, I think our playdate there and our loss of focus in Afghanistan created the understandable war-weariness that has helped create the current situation. Maybe if we had stayed out of Iraq, there wouldn’t have been an ISIS. It’s all speculation, I suppose.

What’s not speculation is that the famous departing speech from Eisenhower that we need to be wary of the military industrial complex was totally on the mark.

Do you understand Pinterest? I don’t.

I understand it the way someone understands a menu in a foreign language. My greatest disdain for it, BTW, is that there seems – and someone may correct me if I’m wrong – to have no concern about intellectual property rights, such as copyright. I’ll just pin that picture because it meets my criteria.

Are women making progress in combating the “war on women”? Or are they losing ground?

Of course, they’re making progress. But it’s painfully slow. Check out the ACLU page on the issue.

I happened across this Daily Kos article which show how Republican strategists can find issues of women equality less than important. The Violence Against Women Act is unimportant because it’s not a “real” issue, like war.

Equal pay for women is unimportant because, well, I don’t really know. Is it they think women don’t need the money because they can depend on their husband’s income? Unless, of course, they’re unmarried, which a majority of young adults are.

And yes, it IS also about contraception. As long as the “right to life” seems to end at childbirth, as the GOP wants to continue to cut dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids, it’ll be about contraception.

I applaud Emma Watson’s effort to explain feminism, because the man-hating trope is getting extremely old. Conversely, see a tone-deaf GOP candidate’s ad (NOT from The Onion).

As bad as I think things are in the US, conditions for women are worse in some other parts of the world. It’s astonishing how much rape and the trafficking of women (see, e.g., Nigeria) is normative in some cultures. It enrages me.

How concerned are you about tribalism in America? In the world?

If I understand your meaning, there has always been tribalism in America. It’s often been tied to who is defined as white. When the Irish were the “other”, they clung together; likewise the Italians, the Poles, and others.

Robert Reich is worried about tribalism in the US. Is this so-called melting pot experiment called the United States viable anymore? We’re more divided than ever politically, and income inequality issues might well boil over into something violent.

I will admit to enjoying A Conservative Lexicon With English Translation, because, and I suppose I don’t say it enough, but most would peg me as a liberal, and I’m OK with that, but not inflexibly so.

On the world stage, I understand tribalism somewhat more. Why, to this day, the Kurds, e.g., don’t have their own country is an unfortunate outcome of the post-WWI carving up of the Middle East. About every other conflict in the world is related to tribalism, from the civil wars in Nigeria in the 1970s and in Rwanda in the 1990s, to the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia. The Basque in Spain and the Quebecois in Canada make noise for independence.

Of course, the whole nation-state is impossible without some shared values, and a sense of fairness. Which brings us to…

Should Scotland have voted the other way?

It’s not for me to say. I don’t know well enough how badly the Scots felt like second-class citizens to answer it with any contextual understanding. I’ve read people calling the NO (to independence) voter self-loathing Scots, which I thought was harsh.

I think the issue of having to develop a currency might have been the deciding factor because the polls I saw were neck and neck. I daresay the vote was a head-over-heart decision.

What’s that food you loved as a kid that now you see and think, “Ewwww, how did I ever eat that?!”

White bread. Marshmallow fluff.