August rambling #2: how ridiculous xenophobia is

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

Syrian children

It’s not just Freddie Gray. The Justice Department’s new report shows how wide and deep Baltimore’s police problems are

My four months as a private prison guard, which has led to the US phasing out private prison use

US: The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing’ – she said, Nothing!

Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later

Does Henry Kissinger have a conscience?

At what point is it impossible to separate art from the artist? (Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation)

Tote bag proves how ridiculous xenophobia is

“Christian” groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children

If your pastor says “RACISM ISN’T A SKIN PROBLEM, IT’S A SIN PROBLEM” you need to find another church

Pew Research: Choosing a New Church or House of Worship; Americans look for good sermons, warm welcome

In today’s troubling times, where are our faith leaders? But Even Reinhold Niebuhr could not be Reinhold Niebuhr in 2016

YOU THROW, GIRL: AN OLYMPIC SHOT-PUTTER’S FEMINIST MISSION

Michael Rivest: The Wall That Heals

Cartoon: The future of climate denial

174 Heroin Overdoses in Six Days in Cincinnati

NPR is closing its comments section – can’t blame them

Flat earth Theories

When New Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots And Their Babies Get Brain Bleeds

Race and poverty

America’s wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it’s getting dangerously wider

Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation

The Original Underclass; Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’

Michele Bachmann: “White People Have Suffered More In The Last 8 Years Than Blacks Did During Couple Years Of Slavery”

Why Poor People Stay Poor -Saving money costs money. Period.

Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

The culture of the smug white liberal

What I said when my white friend asked for my black opinion of white privilege

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced; Here’s how she responded

The infamous Stop White Genocide video

Lottery of Indencency

Arthur’s Internet wading

When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose

Thurgood Marshall’s interracial love: ‘I don’t care what people think. I’m marrying you.’

Dashcam Video Captures Highway Pileup, Woman Rescued from Burning Car in Binghamton, NY

Larry Wilmore on the End of The Nightly Show and the Show’s Greatest Legacy

Arthur@NZ is getting better and his hospital bill; damn Kiwis!

Dustbury goes grocery shopping 2.0

At my alma mater at SUNY New Paltz, College mourns death of emeritus biology professor Heinz Meng, known for recovery of peregrine falcon – he was very cool

The only movies I’ve seen with Gene Wilder are The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and one of my favorite movies ever, Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote. They were all released between 1967 and 1980. But he was always excellent then and in a couple of episodes of Will and Grace early this century. Gene Wilder on The Truth | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios, plus Evanier and Tom Straw remember.

Steven Hill, D.A. Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order,’ Dies at 94

A Marvin Kaplan story

Jack Riley, RIP

‘I’ve had a good life’: Donna Wold, the ex-flame who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in ‘Peanuts,’ dies

Your Guide to the Fall Broadway Season

50 things about comics, featuring ME

The 10 most Influential Poets in History

Art is about surrender – Stop asking for it to be custom-tailored

Chuck Miller at the State Fair and Don Rittner at the county fair, and Jaquandor at the county fair

Now I Know: David’s Garden and Horse, Off-Course

Ken Levine HATES Robert Hall

The Casual Sex Project

Music

Harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, Known for ‘Sesame Street’ Theme, Dies at 94 and The Getaway – End credits – Quincy Jones – Toots; more Quincy and Toots; John Barry, Toots – Theme from “Midnight Cowboy” (mostly stolen from Steve Bissette’s Facebook)

U2 Live Albany New York – 13 November 1981

John Denver, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash & Roger Miller – Rocky Top

Herb Alpert Foundation to donate $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College — making studies for music majors tuition-free

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll – and sometimes it’s better in mono

35 Years Ago: Violent Femmes Discovered by the Pretenders While Busking in Milwaukee

March rambling #1: wipe out cancer in a decade

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 10.52.08 PM

Louisville doctor says the breakthrough treatment could wipe out cancer in a decade. Even better, one of the subjects in the story is my friend Eddie, the Renaissance Geek!

Keefknight Cartoon: Colon. One of my brothers-in-law died from colorectal cancer in 2002, at the age of 41.

Why I Left the Right: How Studying Religion Made Me a Liberal.

The White House Welcomes Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church. See this powerful documentary in full (60 minutes).

The Disappearing Soldier.

Kintsugi: The Art of Embracing Damage.

K Troop: The story of the eradication of the original Ku Klux Klan.

Agrippa Hull, Thaddeus Kosciusko, and how Thomas Jefferson didn’t hold up his end of the agreement.

Nancy Reagan rejected Rock Hudson’s plea for help with AIDS treatment sent just months before his death.

Seattle Seahawks Kam Chancellor Wanted to Buy a Gym and Gym Employees Called the Cops on Him.

Formerly freewheeling Aubrey McClendon, now deceased.

Disney is screwing American families.

I was a telemarketer for four months back in 1977. If you hate telemarketers, you’ll love this robot designed to waste their time.

Dan Van Riper: Some crappy-looking old junk from my buildings.

Actor George Kennedy, RIP, who I remember from Cool Hand Luke, Earthquake, the Naked Gun movies, and a whole lot of episodic TV.

Making rubber bands and bagels. There’s a point in the processes where the two batters looks very much the same. Seriously.

shaft
TIME Magazine names male author Evelyn Waugh on female most-read list. (HT to Shooting Parrots.)

Why It Hurts So Much to Step On a LEGO. “Resistance, shiny hardness, and mega-strength.”

Study: Chocolate Makes You Smarter. Of course.

The long and tangled history of Alfred E. Neuman, of MAD magazine.

Russ Heath’s Comic About Being Ripped Off By Roy Lichtenstein.

Music

Billboard: George Martin, and Beatles – She’s Leaving Home, Strings Only (1967) and Dustbury’s favorite George Martin production, other than Beatles material.

The five best soul albums of all-time, according to St Paul & The Broken Bones

When I was in college, I played that first Emerson, Lake and Palmer album a lot. I could do a fair representation of the Moog ending of Lucky Man, sans instrument. Also, listen to Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression. Now Keith Emerson, ELP Keyboardist, Dead at 71.

With “A Group Called Smith”, Gayle McCormick was best remembered for her release in AUGUST of 1969 of Baby It’s You. She lost her battle with cancer and passed away in ST. LOUIS, on MARCH 1st, 2016 at age 67.

Joe Cuba – Bang Bang. #63 in 1966.

I think Rossini’s overture to William Tell is underrated because it’s so familiar.

August rambling #1: Jon Stewart, and Roz Chast

the root of all evil
Nuclear arsenals.

Thanks to Reliance on “Signature” Drone Strikes, US Military Doesn’t Know Who It’s Killing.

John Oliver: Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools. Plus: DC Statehood; stay for the song at the end.

Here are 7 things people who say they’re ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ don’t understand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren to the GOP: This is 2015! Also, Jeb Bush’s Grandfather Was A Founding Member Of Today’s Planned Parenthood.

FactChecking the GOP Debate.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit is losing fans because of her anti-racist art. “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

Key & Peele: What if we were as crazy for teaching as we are for sports?

The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done.

Is this true? 2015 is the year the old internet finally died.

Michael Moore talks about his new movie.

Dealing with Diversity: Awesome Kid Graphic Novels.

David Brickman reviews Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at Norman Rockwell Museum.

Dan the Man writes about Her Eighth Triathlon. The Wife competes in what might be the last Pine Bush Triathlon, but she did not compete barefooted like some.
dailyshowfinale01
Jaquandor’s tools of the writing trade.

1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes by Small Potatoes.

Jon Stewart Started Small, Became Voice Of A Generation, and Exit, Stage Left. Also, from the last episode: Uncensored – Three Different Kinds of Bulls**t, and Our Moment of Zen.

Bob Crane, radio legend.

Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden

After Frank Gifford died last weekend, someone wrote, “Many happy memories sitting on the couch with my dad watching Gifford and the New York Giants on a Sunday afternoon.” True of my dad and me as well. Later, I watched him co-host Monday Night Football.

SamuraiFrog’s Weird Al rankings 20-16. I missed this: Weird Al gets Whiplashed.

From Bill Wyman, (correction) NOT the bassist for the Rolling Stones, All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. And The ESQ&A: Keith Richards Explains Why Sgt. Pepper Was Rubbish.

One of the very first CDs I ever bought was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, but this commercial for Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medicine, is wrecking my enjoyment of the song Walk of Life.

An escalator for a Slinky.

Muppets: Sesame Street on HBO. Plus Harvey Kneeslapper and Jungle Boogie and Cookie Monster in “Jurassic Cookie.” 1974: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog visit Johnny Carson’s show. The new Muppet TV show is a top pick for the fall, even though Kermit and Miss Piggy have split up. Not to mention a PBS special, An overview of the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career, which premieres Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

K-Chuck Radio: Tony Burrows versus Joey Levine versus Ron Dante.

Dancing with the Renaissance Geek.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are being chased by Elmer Fudd and escape into paintings in a museum, from the 2003 movie Looney Tunes Back in Action.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Arthur answers my questions about seeings things from the other side of the political and philosophical spectrum.

The near-twin is taking questions for Ask Gordon Anything through August 24.

I made Jacquandor’s brief trip ’round Blogistan, along with some other interesting pieces.

Dustbury notes The bigot on the front line.

Last Week at Trouble With Comics, plus this week’s edition.

Dustbury: Our fits grow ever hissier.

The case against The Case Against Liberal Compassion

This is some hope for you liberals who are feeling a bit… down after November 4.

compassionSomehow, I have received in the (snail) mail the current (October 2014) issue of Imprimis. The article, The Case Against Liberal Compassion by William Voegeli, the Senior Editor of Claremont Review of Books, arrived right after the 2014 midterm elections. He attacks “the five big program areas that make up our welfare state.”

Basically, it’s the same old trope about liberals using other people’s money to do good. He uses the Affordable Care Act, and specifically the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website as “proof”, ignoring the value of the actual program to the previously unemployed.

Of course, he does not once mention the major “welfare state,” corporate welfare. Even FORBES magazine, no liberal bastion, asked this year, Where Is The Outrage Over Corporate Welfare? Not to mention the cover-up of economic malfeasance.

In fact, I believe that it would be a very good thing to reduce the number of working families who are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which I knew as Food Stamps. Ultimately, the government is supplementing Wal-Mart and McDonalds and those other businesses providing less than livable wages to their employees, expanding the welfare state.

But rather than creating a blow-by-blow response, for which I haven’t the energy, I recommend to you the Weekly Sift’s Republicans have a story to tell. We’re stuck with facts. It does not actually deal with the Imprimis article, but was, rather, an antidote to it for me.

Everything the Democrats support is on the wrong scale: We want to raise the minimum wage, and subsidize your health insurance, and pay women the same as men, and cut back the war on minor drugs, and create jobs building infrastructure, and put a little less carbon in the air. All good stuff…

What the current Democratic strategy misses is precisely the caring-about-things-that-don’t-directly-affect-you that the Republican story inspires…

It may also provide some hope for you liberals who are feeling a bit… down after November 4.

Ultimately, though, I’m convinced that it’s not just the expenditure of government money that is at issue. That would not explain the increasing number of municipalities that are criminalizing the hungry and the homeless, because it would not “look good.” This made national news. This does not involve government, except as an agent of non-compassion.

Meanwhile, newly-reelected Wisconsin Scott Walker wants jobless and food stamp recipients to face drug testing, an exercise in other states, such as Florida, that is not only demeaning but actually costs more to do than the savings from cutting off drug users; a lousy use of the public dollar.

So, yes, I’ll still accept the liberal mantle. Unlike the straw horse argument by Voegeli, I DO value the implementation of efficiency. Too often, though, those “efficiencies” are implemented to either line the pockets of the connected or obfuscate the real problems.

I’ll opt for compassion.

What is patriotism?

Hyperpartisanship, which is rampant in America, often paints people like me as unpatriotic; this, perhaps unsurprisingly, really ticks me off.

American flag background - shot and lit in studioRight before Independence Day, PARADE magazine ran this poll of the “most patriotic cities” in the United States, which was actually based on Amazon.com’s “comparison of America-themed flag sales between Jan. 1. and June 24 on a per capita basis among cities with more than 400,000 residents.” I don’t find literal flag-waving to necessarily equate with patriotism.

Indeed, I was taken by this piece by Daniel Nester in the Albany Times Union, A flag stirs feelings of uncertainty, which is also about human relationships.

Flag-waving, depending on whom you talk to, is either something one overthinks or doesn’t think about at all…

I’ve never owned any flag, unless Phillies pennants or rainbow Gay Pride banners count.I’m not what you would call a flag-waver. Now that I had one, I felt more puzzled than partisan. What if I spilled something on it? Burnt it in the fireplace by accident?

This debate turned into an allegory for my relationship with my country. Right wingers like my father revere flags and distrust government; lefties like me find flag-waving an empty gesture and place more importance on public trusts. I was of the same mind as Samuel Johnson, who wrote that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

I’m rather of the same mind as Nester, who I have met in real life, though, in fact, I do have some little US flags in our house, almost all of them secured by The Daughter

Rex Smith, the editor of that same publication, what my friend Dan Van Riper calls the local Hearst rag, wrote on July 4:

Real patriotism demands accommodation of our vast differences. American democracy is fueled by disagreement: Losers and winners are equally entitled to express and hold their conflicting beliefs. You’ve got to love a country that really delivers on that promise.

So it’s hard not to view the rise of hyperpartisanship as an unpatriotic development. It’s not enough nowadays to argue passionately over issues. Now the path to victory usually includes character assassination and vows not to have anything to do with the other side. Instead of viewing issues pragmatically, and resolving conflicts with a solution that works best for the most people, politicians and thought leaders now pitch arguments as moral conflicts and demand dogmatic allegiance.

Hyperpartisanship, which I noted a few days ago is rampant in America, often paints people like me as unpatriotic; this, perhaps unsurprisingly, really ticks me off. I mean What IS American culture? I may spend the rest of my life figuring that out.

I’d probably be categorized as a liberal – though I wouldn’t necessarily write that in my Times Union blog, like Ken Screven did – I find it useful to read other points of view. That doesn’t mean that I need to read/listen to Rush Limbaugh, because I’ve deemed him an unreliable reporter, let’s say. Still, I find no need to sign online petitions to have his show canceled.

Wish I had written this: glorifying war is a sin.

I see myself as a patriot. I vote, ALWAYS. I do really well on those online citizenship tests, such as this one (50/50, thank you very much) and this one and even this one, as an old political science major should.

Blind allegiance, though, is not my thing. Which reminds me, I know the fourth verse of the Star-Spangled Banner, from memory, and more songs deemed patriotic than most – did you know Hail, Columbia [LISTEN] was essentially the national anthem before 1931? – a function of learning them in fourth and fifth grade.

Speaking of music, here’s Only in America, performed by Jay & the Americans from 1963, which was controversial in its creation. It was banned by some stations for the shocking suggestion that Only in America can a kid without a cent get a break and maybe grow up to be President, though it was embraced by the nascent Cuban refugee community.
***
“Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.” – William E. Simon (63rd U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Philanthropist)