July rambling: Phonus-Balonus!

VeggieTales’ creator Phil Vischer’s viral video on race in America

Trevor Noah: Maybe not a great idea to take a victory lap in the middle of a pandemic.

60 Minutes Australia: Inside the wicked saga of Jeffrey Epstein: the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Defund the Poice: What’s in a slogan?

Why a Struggling Rust Belt City Pinned Its Revival on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can.

ADD has updated the Comic Book Galaxy blog for the first time in five years.

Stop microwaving books: Michigan library frustrated by damaged books.

Appreciating Letty Owings; the Reason I’m Here, By Greg Hatcher.

Meet 8-time JEOPARDY champion, Jennifer Quail Part 1 and Part 2.

Local galleries are reopening! Part 1 and Part 2.

Phonus-Balonus: 1920s Slang We Need to Bring Back.

A Brief History of the Lawn Chair”.

Riddle of the Week: The Gold Chain Math Problem and The Hen and the Egg.

Stop Doomscrolling. Ah, too late.

Now I Know

The Job That’s a Riot and The One Thing You Can’t Do in IKEA and When It’s OK to Lose Your Head and The Sweet Mistake and The Robutts That Protect Your Phone.

Race in America

VeggieTales’ creator Phil Vischer releases viral video on race in America (17 minutes, and very good).

Elijah McClain played violin for lonely kittens. His last words to police are devastating.

Facial recognition: “Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm”.

Racism, Disparities, and the Health of the Nation.

My denomination: PC(USA) General Assembly affirms that Black lives matter; pledges to work against systemic racism.

I thought I understood white privilege, then I married a Black man.

Man shares two lessons he learned from disrupting a racist joke in a group of white people.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo Wants White People to Stop Saying They’re Not Racist; she’s the author of White Fragility.

slave castles — and the weight of history.

Reparations.

Free online comic book – Henry Johnson: A Tale of Courage.

When The Klan Ruled In Freeport, Long Island.

This ‘Equity’ picture is actually White Supremacy at work.

Blackface: The Birth of An American Stereotype and Celebrities now apologizing for using the racist trope for laughs have no idea just how sorry they really are.

Frederick Douglass’ admonition on the moral rightness of liberty for all.

The rage and love of James Baldwin.

Diversity in business is about expanding networks

This Rocket Scientist Is Tracing Black Ingenuity Through Barbecue.

Blacklexa (at 1:28).

anti-racism

Full bibliography here.

IMPOTUS

In the Land of “No We Can’t”.

His ‘Roger Mudd’ moment augurs ill for his reelection. If he can’t explain why he wants another term, he shouldn’t expect voters to give him one.

Reverend reveals what evangelicals say privately about Trump.

Mary Trump: he is the product of a deeply dysfunctional family that makes him a uniquely destructive and unstable leader for the country; inside his psychopathology.

Family, Cronies Cleared For Millions In Bailout Funds, such as Elaine Chao’s family business.

A Shameful Moment: Formal Withdrawal From WHO as Covid-19 Cases Climb.

Lincoln Project: Benedict Donald and Comrade Trump and Whispers. More.

Randy Rainbow Devastates A “Poor Deplorable Troll”

Music

America by Rebecca Jade, Erik Canzona, and Alfred Howard. Rebecca Jade is the Artist of the Year at 2020 San Diego Music Awards.

Ennio Morricone, Prolific Italian Composer for the Movies, Dies at 91.

Coverville: 1314: Cover Stories for KT Tunstall and Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies and 1315: The Blondie Cover Story II and 1316: Ennio Morricone Tribute and Ringo Starr Cover Story.

Perdido, by trombonist Juan Tizol, performed by Wynton Marsalis.

Be Still – Beach Boys.

Ballade in A minor for orchestra by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Adagio For Strings – Samuel Barber – conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Fantasy on Themes from the Masque of the Red Death – David Baker.

Suzanne – Leonard Cohen.

Dancing in the Canebrakes by Florence Price.

K-Chuck Radio: Our Robot Overlords.

Music For The Movies: Bernard Herrmann (Documentary).

Three TEDx videos: acknowledge your biases

America works overtime to create a colorblind society, but does this colorblindness perpetuate, rather than resolve, racism?

biasesFriends of mine, a couple at my church, have shown, just in the relatively few years I’ve known them, how amazingly aware they are of cultural biases. It was they who led the adult education discussion at church about Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race and other discussions about white privilege.

There are few discussions more dreadful than black people discussing white privilege. No matter how sensitively presented, hackles are almost always raised. But when white people talk about white privilege, it can be a very different conversation.

Did I mention this couple was white? They moved from a very nice suburban home to a lot in the “inner city” of Albany, where they built a very nice house. When asked about that, they waved it away saying it was no big deal. They’re wrong, but they’re so right about other things, I let it pass.

They had been attending some workshop recently and emailed these three TEDx videos. The first two were cued to a specific point in the presentations, but you should listen to all of them in toto as your time permits.

The Exceptional Negro: Fighting to be Seen in a Colorblind World – Traci Ellis

America works overtime to create a colorblind society, but does this colorblindness perpetuate, rather than resolve, racism? Despite a growing racial divide, attorney, activist and author Traci Ellis says the time is now to have the courageous conversation about the damage done in the name of colorblindness.

Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? – Beverly Daniel Tatum

When her 3-year-old son told her that a classmate told him that his skin was brown because he drank chocolate milk, Dr. Tatum, former president of Spelman College and a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service, was surprised. As a clinical psychologist, she knew that preschool children often have questions about racial difference, but she had not anticipated such a question.

How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them – Verna Myers

Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we’ve seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Verna Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable.

Welcome to Black History Month 2017

“:Unfortunately, though unsurprisingly to me, that ‘post-racial America’ failed to materialize.”

black_history_month_logo_250Last year, in the summer of all that is orange, a friend who is a minority woman, but not black, wrote, “I actually don’t enjoy talking about being a racial minority…” for all sorts of good and understandable reasons.”

I related. I wrote, “I LOATHE talking about being a minority. And do so at least once a year – you know the venue – because I think it’s important.”

“And I rail at not being considered ‘black’ by white people or ‘black enough’ by black people because of the way I speak or write.” Interesting that in one of those several exit interviews Barack Obama had last month, Lester Holt of NBC News asked the outgoing President PRECISELY that question. Most of you have NO idea what a PITA that is, not the question, but the experience.

I got that vibe a LOT when I first got the job I now have. For the first six years, our library provided reference service for the whole country, not just New York State. Most of our work was on the phone, and mail.

When people got to meet me at the annual conference, I often got two different responses. From the white people, it was a surprised look, trying NOT to say with their eyes, “I didn’t know you were black.” From the black people, it was more an overt “Hey, brother! I didn’t know you were black!”

In this month’s church newsletter about Black History Month 2017, I wrote:

“Back in 2009, during Black History Month at FPC, I remember quite distinctly a conversation during adult education about how much longer we would be doing the event. After all, the United States had just elected a President who identified as black. Surely, the solutions to the problems of racism were just around the corner.

“Unfortunately, though unsurprisingly to me, that ‘post-racial America’ failed to materialize. The divide between races seems as sharp as ever. Happily, FPC has continued to attempt to address issues of race, class, and other attributes that keep us apart.”

I should specifically note that I am THRILLED a white couple in my church will be leading the discussion of the book Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving, which the Presbyterian Church USA has recommended as part of its “One Church, One Book” project aimed at jumpstarting discussions about race.

My friend also wrote about how people not of her culture tried to teach her, and others, the more “authentic” pronunciation of HER OWN NAME. This reminded me of this old segment of Saturday Night Live featuring Jimmy Smits, where all the Anglos in the newsroom overemphasize their Spanish pronunciation.

Reconciliation: black & white, gays & the church

There were people who believed that once the bigots die off, then a more tolerant, more enlightened next generation would take over.

More questions from Arthur:

Do you personally chafe at the name “Liberal Christianity”, or do you see the name as a necessary counter-balance to the assumption that all Christians (Protestants in particular) are conservatives?

Interesting that after you asked the question, someone linked to Social Justice Is a Christian Tradition — Not a Liberal Agenda. The person who posted wrote: “Many Christians are wary of participating in social justice because of a deep-rooted fear of being labeled ‘liberal,’ ‘progressive,’ or ‘secular.'”

I replied: “I am a Christian, and I have ZERO fear of being labeled liberal, though I prefer progressive.” Yes, we need SOME designation to counter the narrative. You KNOW I’ve spent a lot of space in this blog both claiming my faith and saying, essentially, I’m not “like them,” so I’d rather make a positive assertion, rather than be anti a negative one.

I happen to believe actual Bible reading is likely to turn one into a liberal, unless you cherry-pick like the woman upbraided by President Bartlett on The West Wing.

Given how awful Christians—conservatives in particular, but even mainline Protestant churches—have treated LGBT people in the past (and fundamentalists still do), how do you think reconciliation could be achieved? Could that be a model for reconciling other segments of society that are divided because of past antipathy?

The churches that are accepting just DO it, not without a great deal of deliberation, mind you because that’s the Presby way. The Presbyterian Church USA has a More Light designation, which I happen to think is a terrible name, because almost no one outside the denomination gets the reference. But it involves providing an opportunity for full participation, from having LGBTQ pastors and lay leaders to same-gender marriage, conversation in adult education, and yes, participation in the gay rights parade, which, as I’ve noted in the past, is much more important now than ever, given the backlash. People will make mistakes in the process, but they need a safe space to do that.

The Daughter is not confused by her church friend who has two moms, e.g. A lot of the membership in my congregation is LGBTQ and the leadership of elders and deacons reflects that.

The United Methodist Church, of which I am a former member, has ducked the issue, for now, the last major Protestant denomination to do so, I think, fearing a schism. But the schism will happen whether they vote yea or nay in 2020.

Let me throw in a question from Reader Wil here:

How do we have to deal with racists? Whenever I want to tell about people who are discriminated against, there is always someone who denies it.

Oy, that IS a tough nut to crack. Lots of people seem to think that racism is over when I see no evidence of that being true, in the United States at least. I know I was more hopeful eight years ago than now. In the US, even the systems that had protected voting rights based on race – Congress and the courts – have let us down.

One of the great things I’ve seen, though, since Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement, is the sheer number of WHITE people who seem to “get” it, that mass incarceration hurts not just the black community but all of us. It has always been thus, the need for white allies (or straight allies or male allies).

There were people who believed that once the bigots die off, a more tolerant, more enlightened next generation would take over. That may still be the case, but it’s going to take longer than I would like. Race, and specifically black/white in America, has a long historic framework. Just as you think you’ve torn it down here (Confederate flag moved from the SC capitol), it rises up there (the racist, often pro-Agent Orange tirades, post-election.)

I’ll say this: it’s heartening when white people talk about white privilege because it says that the problem of racism is NOT a black problem, it’s everyone’s problem. After the nine people were killed in a Charleston, SC church, the congregations of a couple of churches in that city, one black, one white, but with a common history, started meeting together, and it created greater understanding. THAT’S reconciliation, and we need more of that.

But it’ll be a slow go. Especially when courses designed to address the issue are fought.

I know it’s not much, but we have to keep on keeping on, embracing the “other,” as often as we can. I’m impressed how, in New Zealand, people of every ethnicity have adopted some Maori terms. I can’t imagine a lot of American people using some native American culture – “talk American!” – other than to denigrate it, but maybe I’m too cynical.

August rambling #2: how ridiculous xenophobia is

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

Syrian children

It’s not just Freddie Gray. The Justice Department’s new report shows how wide and deep Baltimore’s police problems are

My four months as a private prison guard, which has led to the US phasing out private prison use

US: The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing’ – she said, Nothing!

Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later

Does Henry Kissinger have a conscience?

At what point is it impossible to separate art from the artist? (Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation)

Tote bag proves how ridiculous xenophobia is

“Christian” groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children

If your pastor says “RACISM ISN’T A SKIN PROBLEM, IT’S A SIN PROBLEM” you need to find another church

Pew Research: Choosing a New Church or House of Worship; Americans look for good sermons, warm welcome

In today’s troubling times, where are our faith leaders? But Even Reinhold Niebuhr could not be Reinhold Niebuhr in 2016

YOU THROW, GIRL: AN OLYMPIC SHOT-PUTTER’S FEMINIST MISSION

Michael Rivest: The Wall That Heals

Cartoon: The future of climate denial

174 Heroin Overdoses in Six Days in Cincinnati

NPR is closing its comments section – can’t blame them

Flat earth Theories

When New Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots And Their Babies Get Brain Bleeds

Race and poverty

America’s wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it’s getting dangerously wider

Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation

The Original Underclass; Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’

Michele Bachmann: “White People Have Suffered More In The Last 8 Years Than Blacks Did During Couple Years Of Slavery”

Why Poor People Stay Poor -Saving money costs money. Period.

Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

The culture of the smug white liberal

What I said when my white friend asked for my black opinion of white privilege

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced; Here’s how she responded

The infamous Stop White Genocide video

Lottery of Indencency

Arthur’s Internet wading

When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose

Thurgood Marshall’s interracial love: ‘I don’t care what people think. I’m marrying you.’

Dashcam Video Captures Highway Pileup, Woman Rescued from Burning Car in Binghamton, NY

Larry Wilmore on the End of The Nightly Show and the Show’s Greatest Legacy

Arthur@NZ is getting better and his hospital bill; damn Kiwis!

Dustbury goes grocery shopping 2.0

At my alma mater at SUNY New Paltz, College mourns death of emeritus biology professor Heinz Meng, known for recovery of peregrine falcon – he was very cool

The only movies I’ve seen with Gene Wilder are The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and one of my favorite movies ever, Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote. They were all released between 1967 and 1980. But he was always excellent then and in a couple of episodes of Will and Grace early this century. Gene Wilder on The Truth | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios, plus Evanier and Tom Straw remember.

Steven Hill, D.A. Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order,’ Dies at 94

A Marvin Kaplan story

Jack Riley, RIP

‘I’ve had a good life’: Donna Wold, the ex-flame who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in ‘Peanuts,’ dies

Your Guide to the Fall Broadway Season

50 things about comics, featuring ME

The 10 most Influential Poets in History

Art is about surrender – Stop asking for it to be custom-tailored

Chuck Miller at the State Fair and Don Rittner at the county fair, and Jaquandor at the county fair

Now I Know: David’s Garden and Horse, Off-Course

Ken Levine HATES Robert Hall

The Casual Sex Project

Music

Harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, Known for ‘Sesame Street’ Theme, Dies at 94 and The Getaway – End credits – Quincy Jones – Toots; more Quincy and Toots; John Barry, Toots – Theme from “Midnight Cowboy” (mostly stolen from Steve Bissette’s Facebook)

U2 Live Albany New York – 13 November 1981

John Denver, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash & Roger Miller – Rocky Top

Herb Alpert Foundation to donate $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College — making studies for music majors tuition-free

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll – and sometimes it’s better in mono

35 Years Ago: Violent Femmes Discovered by the Pretenders While Busking in Milwaukee