Polly ticks, again

“Domestic terrorism” means activities with three characteristics.

mamas-768x385It’s been a very newsworthy period, and I haven’t been able to write about any of the polly ticks of it. I was mourning my friend. I’ve been ill.

So here is a potpourri of stories, some of which I think are interrelated.

I have been told to my face, “Racism will go away if we would only stop talking about race!” Exhibit #666 to the contrary is Rick Tyler For Congress, a third-party candidate from Tennessee, who has an unapologetic racist campaign. He has borrowed Donald Trump’s slogan and “improved” on it. There’s been outrage over the candidate’s “Make America White Again” billboard, which he has, reluctantly, taken down.

But it DOES point out the obvious: Not everyone enjoyed the past ‘greatness’ in America.

SCOTUS got one correct

Abigail Fisher’s Supreme Court loss: A massive blow to mediocre white people coasting on their racial privilege. Here’s the relevant piece of information:

“In 2008, 47 such students were admitted who had lower grades or test scores than Fisher. Forty-two of them were white. Only five were people of color.

“Fisher and her lawyer Blum were not challenging the admission of the 42 white students.

“Instead, Fisher’s argument was narrowly that she should have been admitted instead of one of those students of color. It was the case that collapsed any distinction between opposing affirmative action and demanding that white people be given preference.”

BREXIT

Now that UK has left the UN EU, we discover that people are surprised that the position they voted for – as a protest – actually is coming to pass.

There were huge Google spikes in search inquiries for “What is the EU?” in the UK, after the polling closed but before the results were announced. Of course, this doesn’t mean it was just the folks who voted for the annoying portmanteau Brexit who were looking it up; it may also been the 28% who didn’t bother voting at all. The fervent nationalism, anti-immigrant and anti-elite drove the anti-EU agenda.

The vote means a second Scottish independence vote ‘highly likely’. I was opposed to the first vote when Scotland stayed (barely); not so sure about the next one. And will Ireland unite?

The lesson of the Brexit: Take Donald Trump very seriously.

The House of Representatives sit-in

After the massacre in Orlando, there was a boring conversation about whether the events constituted terrorism. Naturallymit does. From the FBI:

“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:
Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

SO the church shootings in Charleston, SC: terrorism. But one should balk at limiting the term to those actions perpetrated by a Muslim.

Speaking of which: the National Rifle Association called civil rights icon John Lewis a terrorist “for giving a speech on gun control and staging a sit-in at the House of Representatives.” As the quote goes, “They know not of what they speak.”

This is clear when you hear the primary complaint about the sit-in, which is that it was just a publicity stunt. Obviously, they are not versed in non-violent direct action, for OF COURSE it was a publicity stunt. Most protests are.

Another complains that the Democrats didn’t have a sit-in for other issues. True enough. But sometimes things just reach a tipping point. As Lewis said, “The time to act is now. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over.”

Forty-nine people were murdered at the Pulse nightclub primarily from a Sig Sauer (modeled in the AK-47, for the pedantic who try to negate the gun control debate with semantics.) Then a Senator from Connecticut, who filibustered for four bills to be voted on; there was a vote, and they were all defeated. The sit-in created a tipping point.

The flaws in the various bills can be discussed. But I think there’s some reasonable bill that would ban assault weapons, get background checks for those buying weapons at gun shows, have a seven-day background check for those who are on the no-fly list to ascertain if they really represent a risk – the aforementioned John Lewis was once on the roster. The NRA has essentially blocked the Centers for Disease Control from getting funding to study the issue of gun violence on communities. A bill would require what has become a dirty word; compromise.

That the Democrats used the opportunity to raise money is definitely true, as I got my fair share of solicitations. But I’m used to both parties using any opportunity to pass the hat; I wish I could be more outraged. I think is true: House Democrats Didn’t Win The Battle, But They Are Preparing To Win The War.

damien flag

This is a picture of the remains of a banner set on fire on the front lawn of the Albany (NY) Damien Center’s temporary home at the city’s First Lutheran Church this past week. As the Facebook comment read: “In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, it is very disheartening to have this happen in our local community. We appreciate all of our community’s support and love extended and stand in unity with our LGBT community during this time.”

This Broadway sings for Orlando video always makes me verklempt.

News Cliche

My current pet peeve in news articles is the use of the phrase “that no one talks about” or the variation, “that no one is talking about.” For instance, ‘Richard Burr’s the most vulnerable Republican Senator that no one’s talking about’. It seems arrogant. The words suggest that Everyone Else has missed this important angle of a larger narrative, but that writer, singularly, is sage enough to have unearthed it.

December #2: Famous Monsters Chronicles, & EOY

The Great Songs :”Overlooked tracks from artists you know, obscure tracks from artists you may not know…

toon refugee.santaWeekly Sift explains the US polarized body politic: Small-government Freedom vs. Big-government Rights. Plus the Yearly Sift.

New York Times: For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions.

Deadliest U.S. mass shootings | 1984-2015.

Short video: A Conversation With Police on Race. Also, the Ferguson cop says life is ‘ruined’ after pointing AR-15 at journalists.

No Charges in the Murder of Tamir Rice and Why white people see black boys like him as older, bigger, and guiltier than they really are.

A girl narrates a letter to her dad as she grows up, and it makes rape culture obvious.

Shooting Parrots is blogging again! Why we’re hard-wired to believe conspiracy theories?

Latest Sunrise and Sunset Forecast in the US.

The city of Albany’s budget crisis.

Everyone on Earth is actually your cousin.

George Clayton Johnson, R.I.P. He was known for writing on the original Twilight Zone TV series, for co-writing the novel Logan’s Run and for writing the first-aired episode of the original Star Trek, among many things.

TEDx Grand Rapids talk: ‪”Valuable Bodies” by artist Riva Lehrer.

Second impressions By Tara Whittle.

Now I Know: The Jumping Frenchmen of Maine and How Panama United Great Britain and the derivation of the word “dude”.

The grilled cheese sandwich; you’re probably making it wrong.

Explain to me how it is that people who’ve been dead, usually exactly three years, seem to cycle up again in FB as recently deceased? Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck, just this month. Before that Andy Griffith. With Bob Denver, it was 7 years, so the feedback loop is shrinking.

Wide receiver Edgar Allan Poe.

Instagram Journalism, Internet Fame, & How to Think About Exercise, the former with Jeff Sharlet.

I wrote “Heaven forfend” to someone. My spellcheck does not like forfend?!

Kickstarter: The Official Famous Monsters of Filmland Chronicles Book from FantaCo.

Arthur celebrates the end of the year in search and words and phrases.

I LOVED to watch Meadowlark Lemon play with the Harlem Globetrotters.

The passing of Berowne of Savage Reflections at the age of 94, one of our regular ABC Wednesday contributors. He had a very rich life, but I’ll miss his weekly reflections.

A legendary Jerry Lewis film is reportedly about to join the National Film Registry.

Why West Coast Drivers Add ‘The’ to Their Freeway Numbers. “It’s not an affectation of the car-obsessed—it’s history.”

velveteen rabbit

Satire

Make America Great Again.

How to Misrepresent Global Warming in One Graph, for Dummies.

Lawyer for Martin Shkreli Hikes Fees Five Thousand Per Cent.

Parents Outraged Schools “Indoctrinating” Students Into Islam With Arabic Numerals.

Single Woman With 3 Young Children Unaware She Subject Of 984 Judgments Today.

Chuck Miller

Seven Star Wars movies in one day. And the British weather forecast.

What’s Japanese for “You’re so stupid”?

A TV show I barely heard of called Galavant returns; clips of the musical numbers makes me want to check it out.

Music!

The niece! Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright.

From imgur: Hosanna in Excel Sheets
hosanna in excel sheets
The Carole King tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors.

End of year musical mashups.

The Coverville Countdown: Best Covers of 2015, Part 1 and Part 2.

Pantheon Songs is dead. In its ashes: The Great Songs – “Overlooked tracks from artists you know, obscure tracks from artists you may not know, masterpieces, and other curios I’d play if I were an overnight DJ.”

The Sound of Silence- Disturbed.

The Artist Formerly Known As Terence Trent D’Arby.

At 90, Dick Van Dyke sings “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with Conan O’Brien and The Vantastix.

NPR: In memoriam, 2015.

Frank Sinatra’s Drummer Tells the Story of His Final Concert.

New Yorker: The Discovery of Roscoe Holcomb and the “High Lonesome Sound”.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. No YES? NO!

Animated

New group I joined on Facebook: Stephen R. Bissette, writer-artist. NOT started by Steve, BTW.

Evanier on Mel Blanc. Mark has been blogging for 15 years.

Extinct Attractions: Thurl Ravenscroft Documentary (2004) – Grinch, Haunted Mansion, Tony the Tiger.

Trouble with Comics: Favorite Holiday Comics.

I supported the Kickstarter for the documentary I Am Big Bird, but I did NOT know the BINGHAMTON connection of the early career of Caroll Spinney.

Today’s Video Link

Google alerts (me)

Like any rational person, Dustbury LOVES Pet Sounds. I’d love to see Brian Wilson at Tanglewood in June 2016.

How Arthur@AmeriNZ blogs.

Google alert (not me)

Roger Alin Green, 74, died Sunday, December 13, 2015, at his home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Let’s party like it’s 1812!

Interestingly, both Canada and the United States “emerged from the War of 1812 with a heightened sense of national feeling and solidarity, having repelled multiple…invasions.”


In 1976, there was this big bicentennial celebration of the United States Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Currently, the country is in the midst of the sesquicentennial of various events during the American Civil War.

But what is being planned for the bicentennial of the War of 1812, which started on June 18? I’ve heard nothing, quite possibly because almost no American understands exactly what the heck it was all about.

The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including “trade restrictions brought about by Britain’s ongoing war with France, the impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy, British support of American Indian tribes against American expansion, outrage over insults to national honour after humiliations on the high seas and possible American desire to annex Canada.” The British first engaged in military rope-a-dope, which allowed the US to gain “control over Lake Erie in 1813, seize parts of western Ontario, and end the prospect of an Indian confederacy and an independent Indian state in the Midwest under British sponsorship.”

But once the British dealt with Napoleon in 1814, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large invasion armies.” And if Americans know ANYTHING about the war, it is from this latter period. “The British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 allowed them to capture and burn Washington, D.C.” The image we have is of First Lady Dolley Madison saving the picture of George Washington from a burning White House.

“American victories in September 1814 and January 1815 repulsed all three British invasions in New York, Baltimore, and New Orleans.” Baltimore, of course, is where Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the Star-Spangled Banner, inspired by seeing the flag shown above. And New Orleans was codified in an old Johnny Horton song called The Battle of New Orleans [LISTEN!].

Interestingly, both Canada and the United States “emerged from the war with a heightened sense of national feeling and solidarity, having repelled multiple…invasions,” Canada from the US, and the US from Britain. This led, in the US, “a sense of euphoria over a ‘second war of independence’ against Britain. It ushered in an ‘Era of Good Feelings’ in which partisan animosity nearly vanished.” It also seemed to codify the “manifest destiny” drive to go “from sea to shining sea,” to quote a different American anthem.

At some level, it is this war that made a squawking bunch of states into a nation, back in the days when Congress actually declared war.
***
The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture…[was] written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1880 to commemorate Russia’s defense of Moscow against Napoleon’s advancing Grande Armée at the Battle of Borodino in 1812. Interesting that music [LISTEN!] associated with the defeat of the erstwhile ally of the US has become a staple of US 4th of July celebrations.

Q is for Queen Elizabeth II on stamps and coins

No living person can appear on US postage or money.

Because it’s been 60 years since she ascended to the throne in the United Kingdom, there have been a number of commemorative coins and stamps issued with the image of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012. But long before that, QEII’s image has been showing up around the world.

I came across The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, as they appear on World Banknotes, which is an interesting evolution of the Queen, now in her ninth decade.

Her portrait was first featured on coins in 1953 issued in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Fiji, Jamaica, Malaya & British Borneo, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. Whether or not she is wearing her crown depended on the monarchy’s relationship with the country.

Someone asked: How many countries coins has Queen Elizabeth II been on? The best answer seems to be from Sap, posted 1/27/2010, from which I will note here (since the permalink doesn’t work):

* circulation coins used to have Queen’s portrait but no longer do so today
# only commemoratives have featured the Queen’s portrait

Australia, Bahamas*, Belize, Canada, Cyprus*, Dominica#, Gambia*, Great Britain, Grenada#, Jamaica*, Kiribati#, Mauritius*, New Zealand, Nigeria*, Papua New Guinea#, Saint Kitts & Nevis#, Saint Lucia#, Saint Vincent & Grenadines#, Seychelles*, Tuvalu, Uganda*, Zambia*, plus Fiji (“a Republic and expelled from the Commonwealth but still has the Queen on all its coinage”). This doesn’t even count the various former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean (including current Guyana), Hong Kong, and what is now Malaysia and Singapore, all of which had had QEII on the money in the day.

Check out a timeline of the Queen’s appearance on Australian coins.

As for postage, you find useful Queen Elizabeth II: A Portrait in Stamps (Paperback) By Fay Sweet. The description of the book: “Since her accession to the throne in 1952, the Queen’s image on UK stamps has become one of the most familiar and reproduced icons of all time. This book illustrates the reign of Her Majesty as celebrated on Britain’s stamps.” Here’s a List of British postage stamps. This commercial vendor has a detailed QEII section.

In Canada, there is have been annual definitive stamps bearing the Queen’s likeness. I couldn’t find as definite a piece about QEII on stamps as I did for coins, but I expect a large overlap.

All of this is very, well, foreign, to me, since no living person can appear on US postage or money. There will postage stamps commemorating former Presidents a year after they die. The FDR dime and the JFK half-dollar were both issued in the year following their respective deaths (1946, 1964, respectively).

ABC Wednesday – Round 10