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.

Former Vice-President Al Gore turns 70

We’re seeing corporate, political, and societal mobilization against the climate crisis on a scale that would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago.

There’s a lot about Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of the United States, under Bill Clinton, that seems misunderstood to me.

It is suggested that he ran such a lousy campaign when he ran for President in 2000 that he lost his home state of Tennessee. But it is understood in some circles that
egregious intimidation and disenfranchisement of certain voters wasn’t limited to Florida.

The former college roommate of Tommy Lee Jones didn’t say he invented the Internet. The then-senator did create and introduce the High Performance Computing Act of 1991, which “led to the development of the National Information Infrastructure and the funding of the National Research and Education Network (NREN).

“The act built on prior US efforts of developing a national networking infrastructure, starting with the ARPANET in the 1960s, and the funding of the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet) in the 1980s. The renewed effort became known in popular language as building the Information superhighway.”

“A spirited defense of Gore’s statement penned by Internet pioneers Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf (the latter often referred to as the ‘father of the Internet’) in 2000 noted that ‘Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development’ and that ‘No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution [to the Internet] over a longer period of time.'”

There was the kiss of his wife Tipper at the 2000 Democratic national convention. From all reports he wasn’t the wooden figure he had been portrayed.

“Claire Shipman of NBC speculated… the kiss sent a message. It signaled that Al Gore (unlike some presidents we know) is a faithful husband. Excellent point; imagine what would have happened if the Clintons had dared such a scene. Though some viewers were charmed by the Gore kiss and others squirmed, no one doubted that it was based on reality. There you have what really makes it seem odd. The kiss struck everyone as a political gesture based on truth, and nothing is rarer than that.”

Then there’s his wonky slide show presentation An Inconvenient Truth, which won the Academy Award in 2007 as Best Documentary, Feature.

Did any of this actually ‘save the world?’ “OK, you got us. Ten years after the movie’s release, climate change is still a growing threat and a polarizing issue, with record-breaking heat unable to stop skeptics from tossing snowballs on the Senate floor.

“But we’re also seeing corporate, political, and societal mobilization against the crisis on a scale that would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago, and there’s no question the film played a big part in getting us there.”

As Albert Arnold Gore Jr. said recently, “In 2017, Mother Nature certainly got our attention with a series of devastating extreme weather events. Our thoughts continue to be with the people of the US Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, and California as they recover from the floods, powerful hurricanes, and wildfires made ever-more severe by our warming world.”

I is for information on the Internet

And I won’t even get into malicious disinformation.

As a librarian, I naturally rely on data that are credible. When answering reference questions, I am loath to give out inaccurate information.

When I hear/read something that doesn’t seem correct, I’ll often ask, “Where did you get that?” More often than not, they’ll say, “I saw it on the Internet.” Or “Facebook” or “Twitter.” But that isn’t the answer to the question. I’m looking for whether they got it from CNN’s website or FOX News’ Facebook page or the New York Times’ Twitter feed. This helps me to ascertain how much credence I should give a report.

Also, since I scan a LOT of news, I start to see trends. A few months back, I read that Kirk Douglas, the actor, died four days shy of his 101st birthday. But I never saw this in ANY source I had actually heard of, such as the Washington Post or Chicago Tribune. Immediately, I went to Snopes.com and discovered it was a death hoax.

This process helps me determine whether the things I read are true. I saw an unattributed graphic that said that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wanted to raise the Medicare age to 76. I had never heard that before. Sure enough, there was a 2016 story that Ryan wanted to hike the age requirement to 67, which is bad enough, but NOT 76. One’s antipathy for a politician may make the worst news seem plausible, though not necessarily accurate.

A friend of mine, obviously frustrated that she was asked an easily knowable thing, mused, “Doesn’t anyone Google anymore?” Assuredly they do, but it does not mean that it’ll be right. I Googled for the price of a current first-class stamp and the first item I found gave the information for 2015 rather than 2018.

And I won’t even get into malicious disinformation. Or the difference between fact and opinion.

Some people have said to me that being a librarian now must be easier because I have so much information at my fingertips. Others have said that we don’t NEED librarians now because EVERYONE has so much information at their fingertips. Neither of those assertions is true; librarians spend an inordinate amount of time separating the wheat from the chaff.

April rambling #1: Beyond Foolishness

I’ve seen at least a half dozen invitations on Facebook in 2017 from people I know IRL who are already “friends”.


It’s sort of what Leslie, the assistant administrator of ABC Wednesday called Life at light speed. The line from “Feelin’ groovy” – “Slow down, you’re moving too fast” – comes to mind.

So not being able to run the American government like a business is NOT a bug of the system, it’s a feature. We’re not “customers” of the government; we are, or should be, the board of directors.

The negation of the climate change initiatives are beyond foolishness. “They are an affront on God’s creation and on all of humanity.” I like that; unsubtle. A lot of Catholics are ticked off. And climate change will be an economic disaster.

That made Congress decimating Internet privacy rules only the SECOND worst thing that happened that day the last week in March, and it IS terrible.

Oh, and Obama-era LGBT protections were revoked, letting federal contractors discriminate.

At least the right-wing media helped Obamacare in spite of itself. Not that it’s adequate. Here’s a generally healthy young woman, under 30 and uninsured, who had untreated strep throat and is now coping with the consequences. Note that she ended up going to the emergency room, one of the cuts proposed in the Republican bill that failed.

In some poll after the GOP healthcare defeat, 14% each blamed the Democrats, the Republicans in Congress and Orange. 49% thought it failed because it was a bad bill, which it assuredly was.

Put another way, it is all transcendental solipsism. No wonder we need comedians to explain him.

Timeline: How President Obama handled Syria.

Satire: Ivanka appointed to head anti-nepotism task force.

Not satire: Financial trust altered on February 10, a month after announcing that DJT had isolated himself from his interests, to allow secret withdrawals any time he wants.

My buddy Amy Biancolli had done a TEDxAlbany talk You’re still here — Living after suicide a couple years ago. She’s been sampled! fragile – i want to be cold. She also writes about her sister Lucy, who committed suicide a quarter century ago.

My favorite Don Rickles appearances: In a 2-part Dick Van Dyke Show, he holds up Rob and a pregnant Laura in an elevator, then Laura and the writers perform at the prison he’s in.

Hope you can read this article about Glenn and Miriam Lawrence Leupold, my pastors. The ‘Religious left’ is emerging as U.S. political force.

On a more prosaic note, I’ve seen at least a half dozen invitations on Facebook in 2017 from people I know IRL who are already “friends,” including one from P K Miller, who died earlier this year. Here’s a piece on Facebook cloning, which isn’t being hacked, since changing one’s password doesn’t help.

I’ll be giving up running ABC Wednesday after the end of Round 20 around 4 July. Melody has agreed to take it over, with a new URL, and I’ve decided to stay on the team that visits folks. Melody sent me a card, all the way from the Netherlands, thanking me, which was very nice.

Dustbury has been blogging for 21 years. Who DOES that?

Finally, some more music: Emmylou Harris covering Chuck Berry, and Coverville 1165: The Chuck Berry Tribute.

The Internet domain of Colombia

Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s leftist president, seemed to bask in Assange’s bad-boy glow.

Chris asked in the previous round of Ask Roger Anything, albeit not until December:

Have you ever wondered why Assange is in the Ecuadorian embassy or all those fake news places are registered to Columbia? Don’t those seem like weirdly arbitrary choices?

Why Ecuador’s embassy?

Let’s take the Colombian connection first. The two-letter Internet domain for Colombia is .co, which looks a whole lot like .com or some new generic top-level domain. Go Daddy has put on the big push advertising these new domains Continue reading “The Internet domain of Colombia”