Protect civil rights or Mr. Potato Head?

Hippocratic oath, ignored

potato headThe Weekly Sift guy posits: If there’s a theme in recent political news, it’s that Republicans and Democrats seem to be living in different worlds.

“I live in the Democratic world, so the issues Democrats talk about — Covid; the economic effect of Covid on ordinary people; protecting the right to vote; repairing crumbling 20th-century infrastructure and building for the current century; climate change; racism, sexism, and various other forms of bigotry; mass shootings; and letting DREAMers stay in the country — look real to me.

“Meanwhile Republican priorities — making it harder to vote; keeping transgirls out of school sports; changing discrimination laws to increase conservative Christians’ opportunities to express their disapproval of other people’s lifestyles; encouraging more people to carry guns in more situations; more tightly regulating which bathrooms people use; not letting cities require masks; and protecting Mr. Potato Head from cancel culture — are all weirdly divorced from any problems I can see.”

He describes this in much greater detail. And it wasn’t always so, as he explains.

Anyway, while trying not to pay too much attention to a murder trial in Minnesota, some other things that caught my attention.

ITEM: A story about my home county:
Research reveals gaping racial disparities in suburban arrests
“A review of data by the Times Union provided by the Capital Region’s largest suburban police departments revealed Black people are arrested and ticketed at rates that far exceed their percentage of the population in the mostly white communities.

This should surprise no one around here. Of course, the black folks in Albany knew this. But some of the white people in my church have been telling me this for years, how they had received what they perceived to be preferential treatment.

The Talk, redux

ITEM: Asian Americans, many for the first time, are giving children and elderly parents ‘The Talk’ on how to protect themselves from hate
“Some parents have been putting off these uncomfortable discussions, but they’re now unavoidable after the targeted murders of six Asian American women in the Atlanta area.” The conversations with their children are about how to gird themselves against a wave of anti-Asian sentiment, violence, and bullying.

ITEM:  Arkansas Governor Signs Pro-Religious Discrimination Bill Allowing Doctors to Refuse to Treat LGBTQ Patients.
And here I thought doctors followed a Hippocratic oath to recognize their “special obligations to all my fellow human beings.” This is contemptible legislation.

ITEM: Lindsey Graham Accuses President Of ‘Playing Race Card’ On HR 1
There was a time, right after John McCain died, that I thought maybe this guy could become something better. Nope.

ITEM: From The Lancet, no less. Public policy and health in the Trump era
“Trump exploited low and middle-income white people’s anger over their deteriorating life prospects to mobilise racial animus and xenophobia and enlist their support for policies that benefit high-income people and corporations and threaten health.

“His signature legislative achievement, a trillion-dollar tax cut for corporations and high-income individuals, opened a budget hole that he used to justify cutting food subsidies and health care. His appeals to racism, nativism, and religious bigotry have emboldened white nationalists and vigilantes, and encouraged police violence and, at the end of his term in office, insurrection.” (49 pp, free with registration)

ITEM: SATIRE –  Georgia Governor Declares Water a Gateway Drug That Leads to Voting

On the other hand

ITEM:  Louisiana, Activists May Be Winning a Battle Against Environmental Racism
Analysts say the massive petrochemical complex proposed by Formosa Plastics is “financially unviable.”

ITEM: Brown University students vote to support reparations for descendants of enslaved people connected to the school
“Studying the issue doesn’t put money in Black folks’ pockets,” the student body president said. “It’s lovely and all, but how does that rectify what happened?”
Of course, the question is always, “How?”

June rambling: fragments of finality

new Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact!

Close but no cigarTheir billionaire descendants, who control Krispy Kreme, Stumptown and other brands, are grappling with the exposure of an unspeakable secret.

The Iranian People Are Not Our Enemy.

John Oliver: Mount Everest’s tourist industry.

Nearly 1 in 4 American adults are worse off now than before the Great Recession.

Forgiveness Is a White Privilege.

The “Moral Budget” is a plan for the future, because everybody has the right to live. Rev. William Barber: “Jeremiah 22 tells us that when political leaders abuse their office & hurt the poor, we must show up in person to deliver a prophetic indictment. Now is the time.”

Weekly Sift – Socialism: What’s in a word?

Best game show host. “Who is Alex Trebek?”

Mark Evanier’s Mayberry Monday.

Arthur’s Internet Wading for June 2019.

Now I Know: Why Frogs Ribbit and The Art of No Noises and Rudolph the Red Knows Undersea Warfare, Dear and The Everyday Hockey Superhero For Hire.

Fastest lawnmower.

HELP

Explosion science: an animated guide to building demolition

A Guide to Low Cost or Free Drug Rehab Options.

How to Make Your Bedroom Accessible for Disabilities.

The EARTH

U.S. Air Quality Is Headed the Wrong Way

‘Plasticrust’: A new form of pollution is forming on a Portuguese island.

LGBTQ+

Karen Oliveto — United Methodist Church’s first lesbian bishop. My wife knows Karen; Karen’s sister and my wife were college roommates.

Not everything we “know” about the Stonewall Rebellion is true; heck, just read Arthur’s blog all month.

New GLAAD Study Shows Decline in LGBTQ Acceptance In 18-34-Year-Olds.

Barbara Walters interview with playwright-actor Harvey Fierstein (1983)

djt

The Lawless Administration.

John Oliver: Impeachment.

Sulzberger wanted to reach the business leaders and conservatives who read the Journal.

Twitter Will Put Warning Labels On His Rule-Breaking Tweets

Kimmel Shows How His Campaign ‘Monetizes Stupid’.

The Most Serious Accusation Yet?

FATHER’S DAY

Bobmill: The final story and Fragments of finality.

Could Donor #2065 Be My Father?

Census Bureau Releases First-Ever Report on Men’s Fertility.

MUSIC

I Only Smoke When I Drink – Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact

Tiny Desk Concert – Sesame Street

Once Upon A Time – MonaLisa Twins, featuring John Sebastian

Coverville – 1266: Cover Stories for Alanis Morissette, and Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople and 1267: Cover Stories for Stereophonics and The Kinks.

The New Gospel of Rock.

Disney Medley on plastic bottles.

Don’t Send Me Away – Garfield Fleming.

How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic.

The Day the Music Burned.

The Lydster: Religious Ally at the Pride Parade

Most of the people on the parade route absolutely LOVE the fact that the faith community is so active in the parade

One of the MANY things I’ve worried about as a parent is, while trying to instill values, trying not to turn the Daughter into some sort of philosophical mini-me. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work.

Five or six years ago, when the LGBTQ Pride Parade was on Sunday, as it is this year, I took her along. I’m sure the marching and seeing all the people along the parade route was FUN. But was it really her choice?

The great thing about her getting older is that now I know she gets to make decisions for herself. Not only did she help decorate the church’s van, she helped led the Presbyterian Connection contingent.

When she was younger, she knew a friend with two mommies and thought that was fine. Now, though, she’s more aware of the bullying and discrimination that still takes place against LGBTQ people.

And she knows the world is not always a safe place. Back when we left the Tulip Festival in Albany’s Washington Park in May, she noted the concrete barriers at certain locations. These were deployed, no doubt, to try to prevent to ward off people using motor vehicles as weapons, as has happened in Nice, France; London, and elsewhere.

She expressed surprise that such measures weren’t used in the Pride Parade, given the increased backlash against equality. Indeed, during the parade, I’ve been long been wary of the intersection of Madison Avenue and Lark Street, where the religious resistance against the parade appears strongest. I waved at the guy with the giant 10 Commandments sign, but he scowled back.

Conversely, most of the people on the parade route absolutely LOVE the fact that the faith community is so active in the parade. And not just the Presbyterians, but the UUs and quite a few others.

It’s local election season, and a ton of political candidates actually led the parade.

I mentioned to one of our church members, who is gay, and suggested that I think the Pride Parade is more important than ever. He agreed, though five years ago, he thought the time might be right to abandon the event.

Next year, should the Daughter participate, I’ll know it is entirely her decision, based on her proudly wearing an Ally rainbow button.

Talking about the LGBTQ rights journey

His mother couldn’t understand his sudden distaste for orange juice.

During the first Sunday in June’s adult education class at church, a couple folks led a discussion on the journey we have taken individually in our personal understanding of issues involving LGBTQ rights. There were no right or wrong answers, just a safe place to share.

I talked about one guy, Vito Mastrogiovanni, who was “out” when I was in high school, although there were more gay men that I knew personally who were not out at the time.

There was the gay fellow in college, my next door neighbor in the dorm, who was openly hostile to me, seemingly for no reason. I later concluded that perhaps it wasn’t exactly my race but rather how especially judgmental black people, especially in the church, could be. And I was a nominal Christian at that point.

I mentioned being in Boys in the Band, and how transformative that was.

Others shared their stories. More than one told of same-gender couples who they knew. Though those pairings weren’t publicly couples in those days, most people knew.

One older gay man talked about acceptance, and sometimes lack thereof, from his family. In the 1970s, his mother couldn’t understand his sudden distaste for orange juice. I too mentioned boycotting it, over the fact that Anita Bryant was the spokesperson for Florida oranges.

One man was curious about the term “gay” when it used to mean happy. Some of the gay folks explained that it was almost like code, where it would mean different things to different audiences. (The Wikipedia article discusses its evolution. A reference to the Kinks song ‘David Watts’: “The lines ‘he is so gay and fancy free’ attest to the ambiguity of the word’s meaning at that time, with the second meaning evident only for those in the know.”)

Some in the group also mentioned how the term homosexual had become distasteful and anachronistic, rather like “colored” or “Negro” for black people. Moreover, homosexual, in a shortened form was a slur, and the word was a term that had been associated with a people who the psychiatric community had once called diseased.

It was, I must say, a very brave conversation, and I’m glad I was able to participate, only because the Gay Men’s Chorus was singing during the church service, which meant the chancel choir didn’t need to rehearse.