“Get in good trouble” – John Lewis

“necessary trouble”

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

John Lewis, who died July 17, tweeted that in 2018. But he used the term “good trouble” a lot. I heard him recite it on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart back in 2015. In fact, there’s a new documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble. It has been streaming since July 3, though I’ve not seen it yet.

I HAVE read March, Books 1-3, a series of graphic novels with Lewis as a co-author. It covers his life up to the twin victories of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. Then it fast-forwards to the inauguration of one Barack Obama.

A casual reading would suggest that Rosa Park refused to stand, Martin Luther King gave a speech, Obama was elected, and voila! We HAVE overcome. Of course, this was not true for a variety of reasons, including the mass incarceration fueled by the drug wars.

The war on voting

Worse, there has been a real retrenchment of voting rights. In 2013, the Supreme Court eviscerated a key provision of the VRA. Section 5 of the law required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to obtain approval before changing voting rules.

The Court held in Shelby County v. Holder “since the coverage formula was last modified in 1975, the country ‘has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.'” In other words, IMO, the Court decided that America was post-racial.

Just this week, SCOTUS allowed limits on felon voting in Florida. This action was taken in spite of the wishes of a majority of Sunshine State voters.

Google voter suppression 2020. In Rolling Stone, read The Plot Against America: The GOP’s Plan to Suppress the Vote and Sabotage the Election. The Minnesota Daily reminds us that in 2018, “gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, then Georgia’s Secretary of State, was blocking 53,000 voter registrations in Georgia,” and essentially stole the election.

Wisconsin voters in 2020 were forced to cast their ballots in the midst of a pandemic. Long voter lines, often in communities of color, are the result of selectively closing polling booths. It’s critical to continue to fight for the right to vote and run for office.

I just sent some money to FairFight.com. Also, I’m supporting the HEROES Act to safeguard our elections regardless of the pandemic. This will allow millions of voters to vote safely this November. Related, support the United States Postal Service from someone’s personal animosity.

As someone once said, “If voting weren’t important, they wouldn’t spend so much time keeping us from doing so.”

Fortunately…

Right now, there are groups of people recognizing the systemic injustices that continue to take place in the United States. Many are young, though there are a few gray hairs among them. They are every racial and ethnic grouping you can imagine. The timing couldn’t be better. I’m sure they’ll easily be able to find their own issues to address.

As friend Arthur wrote: “To really honour the man, the country should rededicate itself to finishing Lewis’ life’s work. That’s not just the good and right thing to do, but a moral imperative, too.”

In his 2017 memoir, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America, John Lewis wrote something we need to remember about the struggle. “Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”

Health reports: how can we keep from singing?

I’m giving a talk about March, Books One, Two, & Three>, graphic novels by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell for the Friends of the Albany Public Library Tuesday at noon.

singingYou may recall that my sister Leslie had a serious bicycle accident back on June 4, 2018. She missed about six months of work recovering and has had a number of medical procedures.

On April 8, 2019, she had a couple more surgeries, around her eye socket and nose. They were done more or less simultaneously, in order to minimize the total time of recovery. She’s doing well.

Meanwhile, I’m recovering from whatever health thing that I had. You know you’re unwell when you have to stop and rest walking DOWN the stairs.

On Sunday past, I barely got out of bed, except to watch two recorded basketball games that had been on the day before. And I couldn’t view anything more than 30 minutes at a time. It was impossible to focus enough to read or write.

Even back at work this week, I felt… loopy. I was still taking meds all week, including one at night that contained codeine. And I couldn’t ride my bicycle for the same reason.

I’m glad my wife finally submitted the paperwork for the taxes to get done. Usually, that process starts in the third week in February, during the school break. But because of our extreme busyness, worse than usual, it didn’t begin until the last week in March.

It’s just as well. Last year we got back around $700 federal; this year we PAID about the same. I was happy that all those early filers girded me for what I thought was a likely outcome.

Even though I’ve not seen five minutes of Game of Thrones – it’s just not my thing – I find myself skimming all episodes, RANKED BY TOMATOMETER; I blame my pharmacist. There are even GoT Oreos.

And speaking of religious behaviors, it’s Holy Week on the Christian calendar. Monday: I get my annual physical. This is a fortuitous occurrence, as it will be the follow-up to the treatment for my illness. I think the yo-yo weather is wreaking havoc with my allergies as well.

Tuesday: My daughter’s heading to Montreal on a ONE-DAY trip, which means getting her to school by 5:30 a.m., and picking her up around 10:30 p.m.

Also, I’m giving a talk about March, Books One, Two, & Three, graphic novels by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell for the Friends of the Albany Public Library.

Wednesday: Get my teeth cleaned.

Thursday: Sing.

Friday: Not sing, but attend service.

Easter Sunday: sing, a LOT, if I still have a voice left.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

May rambling #2: a controlled descent of a vertical drop


Online Privacy Guide for Journalists 2017

How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind

Race and education make a bigger difference in who you vote for than ever before

Voting Rate for the Non-Hispanic Black Population Dropped in the 2016 Presidential Election

John Lewis: “Get in the way”

vlogbrothers: Your Neighborhood, Your Life Expectancy

Cartoon: Freedom to be screwed, 2017 edition

Are we monsters?

Quora: Before Obamacare, when insurance companies denied people for pre-existing conditions, did that mean people who had them couldn’t get insurance? (The short answer is “yes”, over and over.)

Climate of Propaganda

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality II; last 4 minutes are true about people on the Internet

The statement issued by 50 prominent Republican national security experts in August 2016 pointing out that a man who would not, under normal circumstances, ever be given a high-level security clearance was unfit to be President

#37 counsels #45

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” – Dante

“Closer Look” with Seth Meyers, maybe the sharpest political comedy on TV these days

The 5 Worst Dressed Men on Capitol Hill

Narcissistic personality disorder

He is what he appears to be

Pence embodies what’s wrong with Washington

‘SNL’s’ Yuuuge Year

Danth’s Law is an Internet axiom which asserts that if a person has to insist that he or she has won an Internet argument, it is likely the said person has lost

Mark Evanier writes about palliative care for Carolyn Kelly

Mauno Koivisto, president who led Finland out of Soviet shadow, dies at 93

Steve Palermo, Umpire Whose Career Was Ended by a Bullet, Dies at 67

Internet Archive cited for Lifetime Achievement at the 21st Annual Webby Awards

See Old New York in Stunning Photos

You Use Algebra All The Time (Even If You Don’t Realize it)

Find Percentage With Percent Increase Online Calculator ; I’ve had to use this to explain a point this year

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

Word of the week: An abseil (/ˈæbseɪl/ or /ˈɑːpzaɪl/; from German abseilen, meaning “to rope down”), also called a rappel after its French name, is a controlled descent of a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope. Climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection. Pronounced AB-sale. As seen here.

The Mystery of the Mysterious Glass

Now I Know: The Self-Aware Conference Call Line and The Off-Color Golden Arches

The sandwich alignment chart

MUSIC

Walter O’Brien: The Man Who Never Returned by PETER DREIER and JIM VRABEL. “In 1949, the Boston People’s Artists wrote ‘MTA’ for a left-wing candidate. The song became a hit — the man behind it disappeared.”

Visions, by Jules Massenet

Baltimore – Audra McDonald

Coverville Cover Stories 1169: Badfinger and Tommy James & the Shondells and 1170: Talking Heads

Julie London singing Cry Me A River and…

The great songs: Time Is Tight by Booker T. & the M.G.’s

Meet the critic who panned ‘Sgt. Pepper’ then discovered his speaker was busted; he’s still not sorry

TheDowntown.church, Springfield, MO

Yes, I DID have a happy birthday, thank you

I find that the most efficient venue to write is a public setting, near the guy making wheezing noises, and the guy with the peculiar laugh.

Each month, when there’s a birthday in our office at work, someone, usually the boss, will ask, “What did you do on your birthday?” I thought I’d write it down while I can still remember.

My bride and I got up and had breakfast at a sandwich shop nearby. We might have opted for a more leisurely locale except that: 1) she had to report for jury duty and 2) I had a massage scheduled, and they’ve moved to a place I wasn’t exactly sure of. But find it I did, and it was especially needed.

I walked home, read some newspapers, watched a little TV, notably CBS Sunday Morning, which I never watch actually on the Sabbath, when The Wife came home around noon. Apparently, the court impaneled enough people before they even got into the courtroom.

I went to the library for an hour to blog. For some reason, I find that the most efficient venue to write, in a public setting, near the guy making wheezing noises, and the guy with the peculiar laugh.

The three of us went out to dinner at a family-style restaurant recommended by a bus driver I know. It had been opened since 1996, and I must have passed it dozens of times, but I had never even heard of it. It was good food, though, interestingly, the chicken parm was better as leftovers.

When we got home, PRESENTS! This included Odetta singing Dylan from the 1960s, though the CD version was released around the turn of the millennium. I also received March Book 2, the last of the trilogy penned by Georgia Congressman John Lewis that I received. I got Book 3 as a review copy and Book 1 for Christmas.

Oh, Jaquandor wrote a blog post in my honor!

The following Saturday, I held my annual hearts card game. It’s useful to do this in part because it forces us to clean the house more thoroughly. We talked a lot, ate a lot, and even played cards; I even won one, and by “shooting the moon”, taking all the points, on the last hand.

To paraphrase some song, a splendid time was guaranteed for all.

Book review: March, Book Three

An interesting aspect of the book is the appearance of one Barack Obama.

march-book-three-coverBack when Jon Stewart was hosting The Daily Show, he had on Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), the lion of the civil rights movement. He was plugging March, Book Two, which continued the description of the “historic events he participated in as a leader of the civil rights movement,” sharing “his desire to inspire the next generation of activists with his graphic novel trilogy.” I said, “I should get that,” but did not.

Recently, Lewis returned to The Daily Show, now hosted by Trevor Noah, promoting March, Book Three. So when I got a chance to review that book, I took it.

If you saw the movies Continue reading “Book review: March, Book Three”