1619 to eight encouraging minutes

I need SOMETHING to hold onto

It’s very easy for me to become discouraged about issues of race and ethnicity in America. Every once in a while, I say, “Ooo, I like that!”

HISTORY

1619.first Africans in VA
Both the New York Times and National Geographic have extensive pieces on the year 1619, 400 years ago, when “enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia.”

A New York Times magazine article suggests America Wasn’t a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One, by working towards its 1776 ideals. It’s a slow process: Here’s, for instance, the shameful story of how one million black families have been ripped from their farms.

Meanwhile, their U.S. roots date back centuries, but some Latinos still wonder if it’s enough.

Check out the funny-if-it-weren’t-so-pathetic When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers.

NOW

It’s to a point where most Latinos now say it’s gotten worse for them in the U.S.

This Week Tonight with John Oliver unpacks Bias In Medicine, based on both gender and race.

Voter suppression is as alive now as it was in the 1960s and earlier.

The conservative Foreign Policy suggests that white supremacists want a dirty bomb, and the regime “is letting them get dangerously close to acquiring one.” It’s no surprise that the Department of Justice HID a 2018 report on white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

When you talk about these things, those who disagree accuse you of just being PC. It has become “a rhetorical reflex.”

AND YET

I watch the Vlogbrothers’ four-minute videos a lot, and it’s not just because their surnames are Green. The authors have an outsized influence on their online community of Nerdfighters.

I was surprised and pleased when John talked about How I (barely) Passed 11th Grade English, which includes a paean to Toni Morrison. Then Hank responded in …Not My Proudest Moment, which was eerily similar in some respects. In both cases, they acknowledged their privilege and part of that was a result of their skin color.

Undoubtedly I’ve said before that I LOVE it when white people talk about white privilege. When black and brown people talk about it, too often it falls onto deaf ears.

I KNOW it’s a small thing, in the grand scheme of four centuries of racialism in what we now call the United States. Still, I need SOMETHING to hold onto, some sliver that it’s getting better, not worse.

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.

Gallery of the Louvre: gallery of my office

“Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!”

gallery of the louvreAt work, I’ve got an office for the first time in 12 years. I’ve been in cubicles, and for more than two years in a part of a storage space; long story.

*The only thing on the wall in the latter location was a picture of John Lennon c 1972 which my friend Rocco of FantaCo gave me decades ago.

My wife and my daughter decided to rectify that situation. Most of the items were in the attic, not getting the love they needed.

*The largest item is a print my wife had of Gallery of the Louvre, 1831-33 by Samuel Finley Breese Morse. Yeah, the guy who invented the telegraph was also an artist.

It appeals to me, a picture of pictures in a picture. But I also appreciate that one can be an artist and an inventor too.

*My friend, the late Raoul Vezina, did a pencil drawing of me as the duck and had it framed. The large word balloon reads “SURPRISE, ROGER!” The thought balloon was of me thinking, “Is it time for Agronsky and Company already?” That referred to a news talk show I watched regularly.

The duck is reading a New York Times Magazine, which featured the actual content of the issue dated Sunday, March 7, 1982, SELF-SEARCHING IN ISRAEL by Michael Elkins. I think Raoul gave it to me the next day. The picture reminds me of Raoul, of course, who died in November 1983, but also FantaCo, and my birthday.

*A little picture of a pear in the foreground. The caption: “‘Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!’ exclaimed Red Ball.” My wife tells me it’s suggestive. Whatever.

In a WTEN (Channel 10, Albany) interview of me before I appeared on JEOPARDY! in 1998, I noted that passing the test doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be on the show. The interviewer said what makes the difference between appearing and not. I said, cheekily, “I don’t know, charisma?” And for about five years after that, one of my work colleagues noted that I had CHARISMA.

*There’s a tiny photo of the top of Binghamton (NY) City Hall, which my friend, and ex-girlfriend, gave me. My hometown.

*The last piece is abstract so difficult to describe. I expect from the color scheme it was from Central America. We got it as a wedding present, I believe.

Anonymous op-ed, Vichy collaborators, 25th Amendment

The revelations from Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear, which SHOULD be remarkable, merely confirm what’s we’ve already heard.

anoymous op-ed from the New York Times headlineI’ve been away again. Any news?

Last night, the family was watching two episodes of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. In one of the monologues, I had to pause the TV because my wife was so in agreement with the commentary. Specifically, in light of the New York Times anonymous op-ed piece, the notion that there are members of the administration are reigning in the regime’s excess was NOT making her feel more secure.

As Frank Rich Frank Rich noted in New York Magazine:

“If we are to believe Mr. (or Ms.) Anonymous, he and his fellow in-house Trump resisters are the ‘adults in the room’ and ‘unsung heroes’ who are ‘working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.’ This is no doubt how Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and all the rest of the president’s Vichy Republicans see themselves too.”

And, Rich notes, this is utter BS. These are NOT profiles in courage. As the Boston Globe noted, “Cabinet members shouldn’t be applauded for resorting to extralegal measures in response to Trump’s erratic behavior when the Constitution provides a legal recourse.”

Sadly, the Times piece and the revelations from Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear, which SHOULD be remarkable, merely confirm what’s we’ve already heard, a White House “riddled with resistance, madness, and sheer lunacy,” led by a person of what appears to be erratic behavior and instability. Naturally, the counterattack violates federal regulations.

Guessing the author of the piece has become a parlor game. I’ve heard/read convincing arguments for several. Slate makes the case for the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, my favorite GOP Presidential candidate in 2012.

The regime has called on the Department of Justice to find the writer, which is funny because Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an obvious possibility. Has anyone been so publicly ridiculed by his boss for so long and kept his job, so far?

Counselor Kellyanne Conway says her boss thinks it’s someone in national security. For what it’s worth, both my daughter and I thought it might be her. She’s very crafty and could write a piece using phrases suggesting that Vice-President Mike Pence is the author.

The anonymous writer says the cabal he or she represents dismissed invoking the 25th Amendment in order to avoid a constitutional crisis. Based on the evidence, we’re already there.

Time’s Up: “Silence helps the tormentors”

“Neutrality helps the oppressors, not the oppressed.”

Jodi Kantor, New York Times
Beyond being gratified that the #MeToo/Time’s Up movement has come to pass, I have been fascinated how it seems to have really come together only in the past six months.

I’ve seen Jodi Kantor, one of the New York Times reporters along with Megan Twohey, who broke the Harvey Weinstein story, several times on TV, usually on CBS This Morning but also on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And it was the Weinstein scandal, not only his reported illicit behavior but also the cover up, that unleashed the torrent of responses.

As Kantor has assessed the revolution: “My colleagues Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt had done the story about Bill O’Reilly, his long trail of settlements with women. That was a light bulb moment. Editors at the Times…ask[ed] the question, ‘Are there other prominent male figures in American life who have covered up serious problems with treatment of women?'”

And she sees how the momentum built. “You could make an argument that the women who came forward about [Bill] Cosby affected the women who came forward about the men at Fox News, who affected the women who came forward about President Trump, who affected the women who came forward about Silicon Valley, who affected the women who came forward about Harvey Weinstein,” who was less well known than the women who reported his actions.

A week after Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech – ““I want all the girls watching to know a new day is on the horizon” – she spoke to seven powerful Hollywood women for CBS Sunday Morning and explored how much pain some of them still have with their #MeToo experience.

Winfrey asked Reese Witherspoon, who had “spoken of being assaulted on one of her first movies, at age 16,” how speaking out has “led to a greater sense of empowerment and control over it?”

“Well, I don’t know if I’ve gotten to that place yet,” Witherspoon replied. “As you can see, I’m very emotional about it. But I keep going back to somebody sent me this Elie Wiesel quote that said, ‘Silence helps the tormentors, it doesn’t help the tormented. And neutrality helps the oppressors, not the oppressed.'”

America Ferrera had posted about an incident when she “was nine years old being assaulted by a man who I was then sort of forced to see afterwards for a long time. And what struck me about my experience was his certainty that I would be silent. And he was right. He was right for 24 years.”

TV producer Shonda Rhimes says what most of the women were saying: “At a certain point there has to be room for reconciliation in a world… But a lot of people don’t think that right now — and a lot of women have the right to not feel that right now.”

Men need to understand that when women have been aggrieved for a VERY long time – Ferrera put it well: “Speaking of this moment, as a culture we’ve gone from not listening, hearing or believing women, and how were we going to skip over the whole part where women get to be heard, and go straight to the redemption of the perpetrators? Can’t we live in that space where it’s okay for perpetrators to be a little bit uncomfortable with what the consequences will be?”

I suppose this kind of sucks for men. But the status quo for women has sucked far, far longer.

Jena Friedman on Conan O’Brien’s show