September rambling: demand decency

“I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing”

The Illegitimacy of a Conservative Supreme Court.

Demand decency.

Staying Sane in Anxious Times (without being useless).

A Catholic’s Case Against Amy Coney Barrett. Plus The Supreme Court: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Pasco’s sheriff created a futuristic program to stop crime before it happens. It monitors and harasses families across the county.

Uninsured up from last year and pandemic likely to exacerbate this trend.

Renewed calls for diversity and inclusion in ballet.

A Texas County Clerk’s Bold Crusade to Transform How We Vote.

The Twisted History of Cursive Writing.

How to Make Your Writing Funnier – Cheri Steinkellner.

NFL Legend Gale Sayers Dies at 77: CNN and NPR.

Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock has died at 81.

Secret ‘Man Cave’ Discovered in Room Beneath Grand Central Station.

NANCY is again a comic strip?

Ken Levine interviews Michael Uslan, The Man Who Saved Batman, Part One and Part Two.

Dick York After ‘Bewitched’.

The Judy Jetson controversy.

Tomato quick bread recipe.

Now I Know

The Original Scapegoat and The Final Frontier of Telemarketing and The Last Confederate POW and Why Roosters Don’t Deafen Themselves.

Antiracism Challenge

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman on race, injustice, and protest.

A series of short films about identity in America.

The Speak Up Handbook by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

What Is Privilege?

‘Intergroup anxiety’: Can you try too hard to be fair?

Racism is Trauma.

Allegories on race and racism – Camara Jones, TEDxEmory.

ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

IMPOTUS

His Rage Is Worse Than You’ve Heard.

Every Lie Is a Confession.

He Fuels March Toward Fascism With “Anarchist Jurisdictions” Edict.

He Says Coronavirus ‘Affects Virtually Nobody,’ As U.S. Has World’s Highest Death Toll.

His HHS ad blitz raises alarms.

Blacks have themselves to blame for inequality, and Jews ‘are only in it for themselves’.

DOJ Unveils Proposal That Would Make It Harder for Twitter and Facebook to Block His Dangerous Posts.

He Is $1.1 Billion in Debt.

They got Al Capone for tax evasion, too…. cf I Found Joe Biden’s Tax Returns.

He celebrates violence against his enemies as recurring rally theme.

Shock (?) Over His Refusal To Promise ‘Peaceful Transfer Of Power’.

Barbara Walter Interview on ABC’s 20/20 – August 17, 1990.

I Won’t Vote Trump – Randy Rainbow.

MUSIC

RIP, Toots.Zooming in with Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert — the Legend Who Literally Invented “Reggae”. Bam Bam and 54-46 Was My Number and Sweet and Dandy and Pressure Drop.

I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door I’ll Get It Myself) – James Brown

I’d Rather Go Blind ~ Rebecca Jade at Spaghettini.

Tiny Desk (Home) Concert – Phoebe Bridgers.

With God On Our Side – NEVILLE BROTHERS.

We Have All The Time In The World – Louis Armstrong.

Virtual Sabbath Prayer.

Coverville 1324: Cover Stories for Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars and 1325: 50 Years After…After the Gold Rush (Album Cover) and 1326: Jimi Hendrix Cover Tribute.

Attention by Pamela Z.

4’33” by John Cage.

Without the Beatles.

Notorious: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women have the right to open a bank account without a man’s signature

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quoteWhen I heard that the “notorious” Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, I uttered one of those Anglo-Saxon four-letter words aloud, to no one. Soon my email was inundated with tributes and commentaries. I read about how her “voice from the bench sealed her legacy as a women’s rights crusader. [She] knew that federal laws and constitutional principles were the very tools she and other judges could employ to fight against gender discrimination.”

Yet, she “never saw her focus on women’s rights as contrary to her oath to ‘faithfully and impartially’ administer justice according to the Constitution and federal law.” And she regularly pointed out “injustices facing women and members of other marginalized groups. And the dissents drew the attention they demanded,… even spurring lines of ‘dissent collars’ sold by retailers in honor of the neckwear she’d choose for the occasions.”

Her whole life was a mirror of the discrimination women faced. “Despite finishing first in her law school class at Columbia University, no law firm made her an offer.” She was famously rejected by dozens of New York City law firms based on her gender, but also because she was a mother and Jewish.

So she began “teaching at Rutgers Law School and co-founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter… She was even part of a class-action lawsuit against Rutgers after she discovered that her salary was lower than those of her male colleagues.”

They used to DO that?

As the Skimm noted: “She founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, where she won several landmark cases before the Supreme Court on gender equality. Her work helped make changes like giving women the right to open a bank account, have credit cards, and a mortgage without a man’s signature.” These are rights people now take for granted.

“On the Supreme Court, she authored key decisions… including the 1996 ruling requiring Virginia Military Institute to accept women or lose its funding. She issued scathing dissents on issues such as abortion rights and unequal pay for women— the latter dissent spurred Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

She championed women’s rights against discrimination on the basis of sex (United States v. Virginia and Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co). She pushed for everyone’s right to vote (Shelby County v. Holder). She supported the rights of those with disabilities (Olmstead v. LC), the right to access health care, including birth control (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores).

Has any associate justice left such a mark that she should be parodied on Saturday Live Live and turned into a doll an action figure? She was known for her inspiring workout videos, her passion for opera, and her relentless fights against the cancer that claimed her life.

Notorious, indeed

Here are articles from the ACLU and NPR. And watch Ruth Bader Ginsburg enchant a crowd of thousands in Little Rock, September 2019. One senator recalled a Hebrew phrase, “May her memory be a revolution.

Much of the news I was aware of from the great documentary RBG and the OK movie On the Basis of Sex. RBG said: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

The rule, except when it’s not

When Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, it was 269 days before the 2016 election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the nomination to move forward. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Fast forward to less than 50 days before the 2020 election Day in 2020. His own precedent seems to have flown out of the window.

The conservative rationale appears to be this. The rule to wait only applies when the White House and Senate are held by different parties, thereby potentially causing deadlock. With Republicans in the White House and controlling Republican Senate, none of those concerns presumably exist. I don’t buy the argument. Political parties were not mentioned in the Constitution nor anticipated by the Founders.

Confronted by his hypocrisy, Ted Cruz, who was on a SCOTUS list recently, just makes something new up. Lindsay Graham, as recently as 2018, defended the 2016 action and said he’d feel the same way if a similar circumstance took place this year.

In other words, is it hypocrisy or just lying? The National Memo lays out three steps to stop McConnell from replacing Justice Ginsburg now. So far, a couple Republicans will oppose the noxious GOP effort.

I was so mad

Speaking of Mitch, I sent Amy McGrath money for her Senate campaign against him in Kentucky. She “served 20 years in the Marines, flew 89 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and overcame the odds to become the first woman Marine to fly a combat mission in an F/A-18 fighter jet.” There was a more progressive candidate running in the Democratic primary, but he lost, barely.

I may contribute to the campaigns of more folks running against these hypocrites. Graham in South Carolina is probably next. And maybe some others.

July rambling: Yecch, indeed

stale gum

cliff hang
Courtesy Patty Huang, Angry Art Director

The Boomers Ruined Everything.

Chief Justice Roberts OKs Minority Rule.

Complaints about Government Imposter Scams Reach Record High.

How To Game Google To Make Negative Results Disappear.

The Meritocracy Myth: Why “Success” is More Complicated Than You Think.

Burned out? You’re not alone. And the world is finally paying attention.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Warehouses, such as Amazon’s.

When PEPSI had a navy.

6 tips you need to know to help you spot fake news. All pretty obvious yet often ignored.

Hear, hear, Becca.

The musical Something Rotten national tour, Rob McClure’s town-by-town video diary.

Eugene Schieffelin and the European Starlings.

Necessity’s Child.

Now I Know: How Four Dollars Can Unlock American History and When Yellow Cars Became Protest Vehicles and Why It May Make Sense to Draw Eyes on Cows’ Butts and Badge Boys, Badge Boys, Whatchu Gonna Do?

DEPARTING

Twitter helps reveal deadly toll ocean plastic takes on sharks and rays.

They welcomed a robot into their family; now they’re mourning its death.

The New York Times cuts all political cartoons, and cartoonists are not happy. Nor am I.

MAD magazine: meanderings and Yecch, indeed and Maybe Alfred should finally worry.

Dustbury is winding down at work.

Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think.

It was a really bad month for the Internet.

djt

His nationalism has nothing to do with patriotism.

The military parade only furthers his vision of a dumbed-down America that may no longer be up to the task of global leadership.

Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with djt and wjc, explained.

UNABASHED PLUGS

Go to Catskill, NY’s adventurous Bridge Street Theatre and see Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen’s acclaimed Off-Broadway hit musical “The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World”. Based on the true story of three sisters from rural New Hampshire whose father forced them to form a rock band, and who recorded an album back in 1969 which has since become a cult classic. I saw it last Thursday and it is a revelatory experience. Yes, it features one of my nieces as one of the sisters.

“The Shaggs” will play for four more performances, Thursday through Saturday, July 18-20 ant 7:30 p,m. and Sunday, July 21 at 2 p.m. in BST’s intimate 84-seat Mainstage.

If you’re going to the New York State Fair August 21 – September 2, 2019 in Syracuse, NY, check out Sheila E. on Sunday, September 1 at 2 p.m. Backing vocals by Rebecca Jade, my first niece.

I’ve known Larry Shell since at least since 1981 when he put together the Alien Encounters package for FantaCo. He’s doing a GoFundMe campaign to get work on his house repaired before July 20. “Failure to comply could lead to heavy fines or even the condemnation of the home I’ve lived in for 44 years. The house is livable, it just needs a lot of fixing up,” which he can’t do himself because of health issues.

MUSIC

Manic Monday – Prince.

L.A. – Aubrey Logan (Live Studio Version with niece Rebecca Jade on backing vocals)

The theme from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon show – vocal quartet called Midtown.

Ur So Beautiful – Grace VanderWaal.
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Vox Maris by George Enescu.

Underground – Lindsey Stirling.

Sensemaya by Silvestre Revueltas.

Coverville 1268: The Jackie Wilson Cover Story.

The national anthem – Device Orchestra, played on seven credit card machines.

K-Chuck Radio: a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.

You Don’t Own Me, A Feminist Anthem With Civil Rights Roots, Is All About Empathy.

Hello Out There, Hello! – Johnny Mercer w/ Billy May (1952) / Looney Tunes Cartoon 2019 A.D.

SCOTUS Census citizenship vote

It SHOULD have been 9-0

citizenship questionLast week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to refuse to approve the citizenship question on the 2020 census. More accurately, SCOTUS referred the case back to a lower court. I’m glad for the outcome, but I thought the dissent was disingenuous.

“‘For the first time ever, the court invalidates an agency action solely because it questions the sincerity of the agency’s otherwise adequate rationale,’ said Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented separately.”

Adequate rationale? Well, no.

“On May 30, the plaintiffs [revealed that a] central portion of the Justice Department’s rationale for the question was apparently written by Thomas Hofeller, the GOP’s longtime gerrymandering mastermind. In a 2015 study, Hofeller wrote that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census would be ‘advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites’ and “a disadvantage to the Democrats.’

“He also explained how Republicans could justify inserting a citizenship question by claiming, falsely, that it would aid enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Multiple passages in Hofeller’s study appeared verbatim in the 2017 Justice Department letter that provided a legal rationale for the question’s addition.”

While the “Justice Department responded with indignant denial,” the nefarious conspiratorial linkage is quite clear, in far more detail than I can get into here. If the ruling had gone the other way, it could have dealt a grave blow to democracy.

Even those who voted correctly misrepresented the ‘pedigree’ of the citizenship question. “Never in the 230-year history of the census has the complete-count questionnaire (or its equivalent) asked for the citizenship status of everyone in the country.”

Several companies had filed a brief to the Supreme Court arguing that “The inaccuracy resulting from the Citizenship Question will harm businesses, because Census data can play a role in many decisions by large and small businesses alike.”

This is not to say the decennial Census process is now out of the woods. A report by the Urban Institute notes that “new ways of conducting the U.S. census… have not been thoroughly tested and could pose another risk to the count’s accuracy. These methods include allowing all households to complete an online form…

“The study found that new operational changes being implemented in 2020 like ‘internet self-response’… were ‘insufficiently tested in a decennial census environment’ and that “best evidence suggests they will disproportionately improve the count of those who are already easiest to count, leaving the hard-to-count population a lingering challenge.'”

The average person might think the Census folk only work on the Census in the immediate run up to the event, but not so. Particularly in the 60 months before the decennial, the Bureau is testing questions and methodologies.

“Uncertainty in funding in recent years” – blame Congress and the White House for that – “has led the Census Bureau to cancel field tests for the 2020 census, including test runs designed for rural and Spanish-speaking areas. This could still lead to the worst undercount of black and Latinx people in 30 years.

Of course, the folks at Census are aware that not everyone is online, and will offer alternatives, including mail, phone, and when necessary, in-person visits, though each of those attempts come as an added expense.

An inaccurate count affects redistricting for a decade and affect other data sources. It also guides community funding decisions. Learn more about Census data at the Census Academy.

If I tend to believe her over him, is that partisan?

judge shall actSure, Brett Kavanaugh would not be the Supreme Court justice I would prefer on policy. But I sincerely believe my current antipathy towards him stems from two issues:

1. I tend to believe Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation regarding him. We still live in a legal system that fails to identify, prevent and redress the widespread sexual assault and mistreatment of women. “We must account for that failure in parsing these events and allegations. For decades, these systemic inequities have barred people from reporting assault and receiving justice.”

Blasey Ford’s well-documented records were generated long before Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Her compelling testimony of sexual assault reopened old wounds for other victims Her description of how memory works matches what I’ve experienced.

Prior to testifying, she received death threats. She wouldn’t put herself and her children in peril over a fabricated story about a sexual assault which would prevent only this particular conservative judge from being put on the Supreme Court.

The fact that some Democrats are surely “being political” about this does not negate her truth.

2. Brett Kavanaugh is a recognizable type. Greg Hatcher wrote Watching the Douchebro Death Spiral: I Was That Guy. Fillyjonk had an epiphany, as quoted by Dustbury: “Party culture”? Totally a thing.

Like his sponsor, Brett Kavanaugh seems to lie about almost everything, including stupid stuff, traceable stuff. Kavanaugh lied about getting into Yale only on merit. His grandfather was an alum..

Politifact fact-checked his Senate confirmation hearings and found him veracity lacking.

His 1982 calendar does NOT exonerate him, but rather, points to the fact that Brett is Mark Judge’s boozy friend Bart, a belligerent and aggressive drunk.

That woman on CNN who said, “Tell me what boy hasn’t done this in high school?” rather broke my heart. BTW, not me, for one. The passage of time doesn’t erase youthful mistakes in the criminal justice system, for most people of a different race or class.

I’m happy the Senate forced the extension of the FBI probe of Kavanaugh. If we’ve made any progress since the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas debacle, it as that the character assassination foisted upon Hill does not seem to be sticking as much to Blasey Ford. Meager progress in 27 years, but it’s something.
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Brett Kavanaugh: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Testifies Against Brett Kavanaugh | The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Nah, I don’t believe his response to the Blood Alcohol Chart question either.

NY Times opinion piece: An Injudicious Man, Unfit for the Supreme Court. “This was a job interview, not a criminal trial. Kavanaugh, in his fury and pathos, failed the test.”