Boycott? Twitter, World Cup

Qatar

boycottAs someone who appreciates a good boycott, I feel rather meh about Twitter. The truth is that, after all of this time, I’m not sure I GET Twitter. I used to retweet work-related items but have rarely gone there since I retired almost two and a half years ago.

Actually, I’ve been rather irritable about Twitter’s societal impact for a long time. I stopped watching ABC World News Tonight back when Diane Sawyer was the anchor when they added a daily report about what was trending on Twitter. If I wanted to know that, I’d go to the site. So I learn about what’s on Twitter from the mainstream media – “Joe Blow tweeted…” – without actually having to interact with the site.

Frankly, I think Twitter will implode. This article suggests that #RIPTwitter will take place sooner or later. Now, if Twitter’s demise is freaking you out, you may be somewhat relieved to know how to save all of your tweets.

I know that several of my friends and acquaintances have moved to Mastodon such as Chuck and Kelly, and I totally respect that. Its site indicates that its Monthly Active Users are now 2.3M, up 545%. But I haven’t moved there yet because, in an extremely cursory look, I don’t quite grok it. Maybe next year.

I’m more taken by this piece in Vanity Fair. Specifically, the subtitle spoke to me. “As Twitter spirals out of favor—and closer to some inevitable end—maybe, instead of Discord or Mastodon, it’s time to consider a digital DNR.”

World Cup

Truth to tell, I’m much more concerned about the World Cup in Qatar. While I’m not heavily invested in it – and think the beer ban and the reaction to it is hysterically funny – this year’s event still unsettles me.

As PBS notes, “The first World Cup to take place in a Middle Eastern and Muslim country remains dogged by more than a decade’s worth of questions and controversies. Among them: a global corruption scandal, the astronomical price tag of building the necessary facilities, serious human rights concerns about the country’s treatment of migrant workers, and outrage over Qatar’s treatment of women and LGBTQI+ people.” I read some 6,500 died building the venues.

But as Bloomberg suggests, the World Cup is “Too Big for Brands to Boycott.” What does me not watching Games do, really? Probably nothing. I’ll pass on them anyway.

The news distresses me

turning America into an idiocracy

distressesThe news distresses me. It has been true for a long while, yet even in a barrage of bad news, these trends got under my skin.

ITEM: “A North Carolina Republican congressional candidate floated a proposal to create a community review process that would determine whether survivors of rape and incest can get abortions.

“Bo Hines, the GOP candidate for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, wants to outlaw all abortions unless the mother’s life is at risk.

“‘He wants victims of rape and incest to be allowed to get an abortion on a case-by-case basis through a community-level review process outside the jurisdiction of the federal government,’ local news outlet WRAL reported.”

If you think a serious attempt at national legislation to ban abortion is impossible, that sounds like the conversation that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned before it was.

Anne Frank

ITEM: “Johnny Teague, who is running for Congress in a district that represents Houston, Texas, actually wrote a book in 2020 entitled ‘The Lost Diary of Anne Frank.’ In this book, which Teague claims is based on extensive and verifiable research, Anne Frank continues her diaries while under capture in Auschwitz, and her words now claim that she had accepted Jesus as her lord and savior – before eventually dying in the gas chambers.

“Let’s get one thing straight. This whole concept is pure, unadulterated horse…”

The number of antisemitic comments surged in 2021, and this is another banner year. It’s not just Kanye West or whatever he’s calling himself. Newsmax notes that ‘Antisemitism’ shot to the top of Google searches ahead of the midterms.

Alan Singer, a Long Island professor I’ve met, and a confirmed atheist, wrote I Am A Jew to take on the bigots.

ITEM: Herschel Walker and the Character Issue

“It’s this no-matter-what vote that’s really turning America into idiocracy. But it may be even worse than that. Whereas bad character and behavior used to be a political handicap, today it actually seems an asset.”

I watched Jordan Klepper Fingers the Midterms – America Unfollows Democracy last week. A scary half hour. Probably the weirdest bit was someone who insisted to Klepper that actor James Woods had replaced Joe Biden. What?

Crime

ITEM: Bail Reform: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (watch this!)

If you’ve seen Republican National Committee attack ads this political season, bail reform has been touted as the reason for increased criminality. This is despite the fact in almost all of the cases of violent crime cited, the alleged perpetrator was not out on bail.

The Republican candidate for governor, Lee Zeldin, falls squarely in that category. Frank Robinson noted why one ought not to vote for him. And my already-cast vote was definitely an anti-Zeldin ballot.

I’ve even seen it online, but also on the network news spewed by folks such as  Congressman Michael McCaul that Paul Pelosi’s assault is a sign that bail reform is terrible, even though the alleged assailant hadn’t even been arrested.

ITEM: This brings me to the item that triggered the post, the attack on Mr. Pelosi, which has garnered all sorts of BS conspiracy theories. One guy, djt, asserted that the window in the Pelosi home was broken from the inside, which he knows because… IDK.

A lot of the noise is on Twitter. I understand there has been a recent change in ownership. These are just some of the reasons why the news distresses me. Finally, a poem: A ‘plague on both houses’—still ends up a plague.

April rambling: shadow docket

1950 Census

John Roberts joins dissent blasting extremist Supreme Court conservatives for abusing the shadow docket

Ginni Thomas Debacle Is a Warning That Trumpism Lives On in the Halls of Power

Battle Against School Segregation in New Jersey

Weekly Sift: Elon and Twitter; will Elon regret the purchase?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:  Police Interrogations and
Data Brokers and Truckers and Harm Reduction

Florida Eliminates Disney’s Special District

He Was an Ex-FBI Serial Killer Profiler. Then His Lies Caught Up With Him

Viewers Feel Overwhelmed by Too Many Choices, Nielsen Survey Finds and What Happens When an Industry Becomes a Squid Game and Behind the Scenes of CNN+’S Stunning Fall

Lily Tomlin THR interview

Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian, ‘Aladdin’ Star Dies at 67 from a   condition called myotonic dystrophy. In the documentary called Life, Animated (2016), about a child who learned to communicate by watching Disney films, the young man Owen had a club and he invited Gilbert to one of their events. Gilbert was such a mensch.

Bobby Rydell, Pop Singer, ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ Actor, Dies at 79

Robert Morse, Two-Time Tony Winner, and ‘Mad Men’  Star, Dies at 90

Bruce Willis’ Aphasia

How Colorblind NHL Players See The Game

Comics For Ukraine

The Most Beloved Comic? How and Why Calvin and Hobbes Disappeared

The (Edited) Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto

Chuck Miller changes his name

Human connections light up This Brilliant Darkness by Jeff Sharlet

Making popcorn

The remarkable brain of a carpet cleaner who speaks 24 languages

How Come People Say ‘How Come’?

A poem about libraries

A puzzler from Presh Talwalkar.

That Old Twitchy Feeling – linkage to linkage

Information, please

The Census Is Broken. Can AI Fix It?

Fertility Rates: Declined for Younger Women, Increased for Older Women

Official 1950 Census Website

How Many Humans Have Ever Lived?

State Tax Collections per Capita, Fiscal Year 2020

100+ Statistics and Trends in Social Media

Maps of Albany

Now I Know

Indiana Jones and the Porcelain Throne? and When Belgium Flipped the Coin at France and We Shouldn’t Forget Ignaz Semmelweis and Why Doctors Wear Green (or Blue) Scrubs and The Walls (and Book) That Can Kill You and The $64,000 Fake New York City Tourist and Why You Shouldn’t Hold in a Sneeze and An Initial Reaction to Disaster Relief?

MUSIC

Rebecca Jade was gearing up for San Diego Music Awards performance; she won two awards, Best Video; and Best R and B, Funk, or Soul Song for What’s It Gonna Be.

Possibly Neil Diamond’s most significant Sweet Caroline performance, Fenway Park in Boston, April 20, 2013.

Elmer Bernstein at 100

Rest in peace, C.W. McCall

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by Khatia Buniatishvili

Good Day Sunshine – MonaLisa Twins

Three Visions by William Grant Still 

Town Of Tuxley Toymaker

Le Palais Hante by Florent Schmitt.

Coverville:  1396 – Tribute to Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and 
1397 – The Elton John Cover Story IV and 1398 – The Hollies Cover Story II

Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland 

Twelve cellists from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra play the theme from The Pink Panther

 The Crown of India by Edward Elgar

Introverting – The Holderness Family

Amadeus clip

All By Myself – Eric Carmen

John Denver

K-Chuck Radio: You mean they’re not related?

 

The former Cuomosexuals

Ch-ch-ch-changes

cuomosexualsMy daughter pointed out that after Andrew Cuomo agreed to resign as governor of New York, Trevor Noah was trending on Twitter. Otherwise, I never know what’s trending on Twitter.

The talk show host was being mocked for declaring himself one of the Cuomosexuals in 2020.

“’Never let Trevor Noah forget this,’” the rightwing pundits proclaim when including “a 2020 video of Noah praising the governor for ‘crushing it the most right now’ when it came to his pandemic response…

“While Noah changed his tune since news of the sexual assault allegations and nursing home scandal broke, even posting a celebratory tweet following Cuomo’s resignation, conservatives want to ensure Twitter does not forget the late-night hosts’ initial take.”

Fascinating, he said, in his best Mr. Spock voice

My takeaway here is that, according to these folks, one is not allowed to have an opinion about someone, then to change one’s mind when new circumstances arise or when additional information becomes available.

OK, got it. That is plain stupid. We’re supposed to feel about, say, Bill Cosby in 2018 as we did in 1988?

Many people were comforted by Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings. They felt that he was attempting to tell them the truth about the coronavirus infection rates, and the latest science, even when it was not particularly good news. This was in drastic contrast with the daily briefings in DC when whatever things Drs. Birx and Fauci et al. said were often countermanded and undermined by their boss.

There were LOTS of Cuomosexuals all over the country, notably the parodist Randy Rainbow. This is explained well in this New Yorker article.

I was recently reading an issue of the magazine The Week from June 2021. The experts suggested that the decline of COVID-19 was on track. No, they did not predict the level of vaccine resistance nor the speed of the delta variant – those two factors being related – so that now mask-wearing indoors is recommended, even among the vaccinated like me.

Changing their minds

It’s also OK to change one’s mind. Back in 2007, Kathy Hochul – pronounced HO-kul – “while serving as the Erie County clerk… threatened to arrest undocumented immigrants who applied for driver’s licenses.” But in recent years, the future New York State governor has supported “the state’s so-called Green Light law.”

Even as President, Barack Obama evolved on the issue of marriage equality. Initially, he opposed same-gender marriage, but his position evolved.

As a person growing up in the church, I’ve seen the changing roles of women, laypersons, and others. The church I attend now only had male ushers, dressed in a certain way, when I was born.

Frankly, people who believe that God, whoever They may be, never changes, so that we need to be doing the same thing, regardless of the needs of the people, make me damn angry.

 

Say nothing and close his Twitter

“The American people demand equitable results.”

no twitterIt is my considered opinion that if the incumbent wants to be reelected to stay in the White House, it wouldn’t be that difficult. All he has to do is say nothing and close his Twitter account. OK, that’s a bit hyperbolic. Still, I do believe that, even in 2020, every time he doesn’t say or tweet something amazingly wrongheaded, he’s accused of finally becoming Presidential.

Fortunately, this appears to be utterly impossible for very long. The item that’s gotten the most play recently is his interview with Axios National Political Correspondent, Jonathan Swan. It was conducted on July 28 but aired on August 3. on HBO It is worse than I could have possibly imagined. The answers were just bizarre. And, as is usually the case any time he speaks, PolitiFact needed to fact-check 22 claims from the interview.

Twitter and Facebook removed recent false claims of his about COVID-19. not for the first time. His assessment of the Beirut explosion seemed to be based on talking through his hat.

Are his recent executive orders even legal? Or actually executive orders? Kevin Drum posits that “the stuff that’s legal is unimportant and the stuff that’s important is illegal.”

Something he has promised, since before Day One, is a better health insurance plan. There is NO plan. He hires people with great hyperbole and fires them with even more.

His record has initiated a series of The Lincoln Project advertisements, often quoting the man’s own words. Chuck Miller describes the evolution of the snake, a story djt told quite frequently. It’s odd; often, what he describes of others is what he does, who he is.

He’s the butt of some pointed satire. Here’s an Honest Government Ad, a “message from the White House.” Borowitz in the New Yorker declares Americans Support Using U.S. Postal Service to Ship Him to Different Address.

Lest We Forget

“Early in [his] term, McSweeney’s editors began to catalog the head-spinning number of misdeeds coming from his administration. We called this list a collection of his cruelties, collusions, and crimes

“It felt urgent then to track them, to ensure these horrors — happening almost daily — would not be forgotten. This election year, amid a harrowing global health, civil rights, humanitarian, and economic crisis, we know it’s never been more critical to note these horrors, to remember them, and to do all in our power to reverse them. This list will be updated between now and the November 2020 Presidential election.”

Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism?

In the September 2020 Atlantic, Ibram X. Kendi posits that IMPOTUS “has revealed the depths of the country’s prejudice—and has inadvertently forced a reckoning.” Hmm.

Back in 2019, “Trump now faced reporters and cameras. Over the drone of the helicopter rotors, one reporter asked Trump if he was bothered that ‘more and more people’ were calling him racist. ‘I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,’ Trump replied, hands up, palms facing out for emphasis.” He says that a lot.

Kendi, the author of How To Be An Anti-Racist, suggests the current regime “has paved the way for a revolution against racism.” The “denialism has permanently changed the way Americans view themselves. The Trump effect is real and lasting. The reckoning we have witnessed this spring and summer at public demonstrations transforms into a reckoning in legislatures, C-suites, university-admissions offices.

“On this path, the American people demand equitable results, not speeches that make them feel good about themselves and their country. The American people give policymakers an ultimatum: Use your power to radically reduce inequity and injustice, or be voted out.”

My, Kendi is more optimistic than I. Has America truly embraced an anti-racist agenda for the long term? Or will they have moved on to some other concerns come November? Je ne sais pas.

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