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?”

Louisiana perishes; I mean parishes

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Louisiana parish mapThe August 20, 2019 comic strip Pearls Before Swine has a Louisiana joke. Pig is explaining to Goat about studying the state’s administrative map for a class. Pig worries about what happens to a couple counties if the Mississippi River floods.

Goat: Parishes
Pig: That poor county
Goat: Never mind

Yes, Louisiana has parishes as its primary substate division, whereas most US states have counties. This is as a result of the state’s heavily Roman Catholic influenced past when it was controlled by France or Spain.

Laissez les bon temps rouler! And that’s in part why there’s Mardi Gras. Let the good times roll on Fat Tuesday, before becoming solemn for Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday.

When my daughter was learning the states, she always appreciated that Louisiana was shaped like an L.

LA Louisiana. The traditional abbreviation is La. The capital is Baton Rouge; the largest city is New Orleans.


I don’t think I’ve told this work story. In 1995, I was working for the New York Small Business Development Center. Per a contract with the Small Business Administration, we were providing business library reference for ALL the SBDCs in the country between 1992 and 1998.

Part of my job was to interact with all the statewide programs. My new boss did not seem to understand this. When she decided to go to the national (ASBDC) conference in New Orleans, she decided to bring her favored librarian, but not me. She said she couldn’t afford to have three of the seven librarians out of the office for three or four days.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend had achieved some significant designation through an insurance certification entity. She received a trip for two to Honolulu for the same time frame. She invited me, but I declined. If my boss wasn’t going to let me go to Nawlins when it was work-related, she surely wouldn’t allow me to go to Hawaii. Even asking my boss if I could go to the islands, I felt would undercut my argument that I should be going to Louisiana.

At nearly the last moment, my boss decided to allow me to go to the conference after all. This was not a function of the strength of my argument. It was her realization that she and the other librarian couldn’t possibly carry all the material she wanted to bring. In other words, I got the chance to actually do my job because I could schlep stuff.

It has been the only time I’ve been to Louisiana. I ended up having les bon temps, even though it WASN’T Mardi Gras.

There are a LOT of songs about the state and its largest city. Here are only a couple.
Goin’ Back To New Orleans – the late, great Dr. John
Louisiana 1927 – Randy Newman

L is for Louisiana for ABC Wednesday

Different take on the news

I need to get a different take on the news for a while.

You start writing a blog post, and sometimes, at some point, it just loses its joy.

Yeah, I was going to write about the lying Ryan Lochte and the other Olympic swimmers, and how he particularly was the Ugly American abroad. And Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada downplaying their actions may be a case of white male privilege– OK, probably is, while the black girls’ hair is analyzed.

And I was going to write about the Louisiana flooding and whether there was enough media coverage – the New York Times acknowledged it was slow on the story, but I saw it daily on TV – and which politician should visit when, and whether Obama was responsible for Katrina.

And there’s this story about Donald Trump’s health report that was released in December of 2015, when most people thought it was bogus. So why is it a big news story only NOW? Because there are folks with a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton’s health, which Trump has helped spread, which the Democrats are contradicting.

Plus stuff about Paul Manifort and the Russians, and California fires, and explaining that this story about Obama banning the Pledge of Allegiance is bogus. I had thoughts on all of it. But then I realized something, that was just for a while, a little more important to me.
That is: a team from Maine-Endwell, NY is in the Little League World Series, after going 19-0. The hamlet of Endwell is in Broome County, where Binghamton, my hometown, is the county seat. “It’s the first time in over 35 years that a team from anywhere other than New York City has represented the Mid-Atlantic region in Williamsport.”

M-E won its first LLWS game on Thursday, 7-2, over a team from New England, Warwick North (Rhode Island). The team will play today in the double-elimination tournament, which means that, if they should lose today, they’re not yet eliminated.

I need to get a different take on the news for a while and may take a hiatus from the cares of the world, especially on Facebook. Instead, I will concern myself with fastballs and turning the double play, for a little while. Well, except for the stuff I’ve already written, and if something REALLY big happens…

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