June Rambling #2: some more social justice


You can’t compromise with bs

Is Trumpism becoming a new religion?

When The White House Can’t Be Believed

The 2017 Comprehensive Plan For Reorganizing The Executive Branch is codified in the June 2018 Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century. They’re DOING all of it, or trying to. (HT, Steve Bissette)

* Family Separations: Should we be horrified, relieved, or just confused?

This Isn’t the First Time the White House Attempted to Cut the Dept. of Ed.

The corporate tax cut will never trickle down

Space defense will be a major concern for the U.S., but the “Space Force” is not the answer

Browser extension to fix the NYT’s squeamishness about calling him a liar

Reporter is raising her daughter to speak three languages; a stranger demanded she ‘speak English’ to her

Living While Black

More than one percent of Oklahoma’s population is in the slammer

Last Week Tonight with John OliverXi Jinping

We could use some more social justice when it comes to fandom

Father’s Day for children of abusive fathers

“In moral crisis” or “immoral crisis”?

Judge tosses Kansas law that disenfranchised thousands of eligible voters, orders KS Secretary of State Kris Kobach to take remedial law classes

Sales tax: Different items are taxable in different states

You don’t really know who Bernie Sanders was in the 1960s

Anthony Bourdain interviewed on The Daily Show, January 2018

RIP Dan Ingram

A natural gas power plant with no carbon emissions or air pollution

How does Disney World control mosquitoes?

‘I had to guard an empty room’: the rise of the pointless job

The Curious Origins of 16 Common Phrases

Now I Know: The Radio Reporter Who Found a New Voice, Literally and Why Is it Named Idaho? and The Tractors that Turn Farmers into Hackers and the Sound of Sneezes and The Man Who Takes Apostrophes Very Seriously and the National Animal of Scotland

The patron saint of the tacky

The LESLIE Chronicles

This is the picture of my sister’s bicycle after her accident on June 4; you can’t really tell that the handlebars are sheared off.

Leslie’s still in the hospital, getting incrementally better. Great strides in the past week, actually. She’s had a fourth surgery this week, on her palate. She has a coterie of friends tending to her, besides the hospital staff.

Most notably, I was able to talk with her this week! She has these different colored caps that cover the trachea incision that allows her to be audible. She was tired but coherent and rational. THAT is a very good sign.

If she were not wearing a helmet, there almost certainly would have had have been a different outcome. So if you are riding a motorcycle or bicycle or scooter, wear the damn helmet.

MUSIC

We’re Not Gonna Take It – Dee Snider (stripped down version)

77 Cover Songs – “Weird Al” Yankovic

Art of the song parody

Still A Friend Of Mine – MonaLisa Twins

99 Luftballons – Kaleida (Atomic Blonde Soundtrack)

Whitney Avalon sings again!

Anema e core – Pier Angeli

Just A Song Before I Go – Graham Nash (original demo)

John McElrath of the Swingin’ Medallions died at 77

Why Modern Music Is Awful

Music throwback: Rebecca Parris, RIP

There’s a performer you’ve probably never heard of named Rebecca Parris who died at the age of 66 this week. She grew up in the Boston area and the Globe described her as a jazz singer of uncommon range and emotional depth. “Ms. Parris wove together jazz inflections, freewheeling scat singing, andan endless palette of vocal shadings into something all her own.”

The New York Times explained her “problem” back in 2000. “She’s a New England favorite who hasn’t quite been able to develop a national constituency. And that’s unfortunate, since the veteran… singer has quietly evolved into a highly skilled jazz artist… Parris sang a set of familiar standards with the confident musicality of a performer with both the talent and the imagination to fully express her ideas.”

The singer experienced some physical ailments, making it hard to sing while standing up early in the century, but as this 2006 Globe story suggested, ‘It’s been a drag,’ but it’s spring, again, for Parris.

From a November 2007 review in the New York Times: “If Rebecca Parris … who is playing a rare New York engagement at Birdland, were a blues-rock artist, she would belong to the school of gutbucket mamas whose delivery is the vocal equivalent of wielding an ax. Her voice, a rich contralto with a baritone resonance, is so commanding that when a song’s attitude is combative, she can scare you. But when the mood is playful, she can also enfold you in a musical bear hug.

“Most revealing was a rendition of the old Doris Day hit “It’s Magic,” in which Ms. Parris’s stressing of the words “the magic is my love for you” transformed a girlish swoon of enchantment into the narrator’s grown-up awareness that she is creating her own happiness.”

I have two of her albums, My Foolish Heart and It’s Another Day.

Listen to:

My Foolish Heart

Over The Rainbow

Rebecca Parris On Piano Jazz (with Marian McPartland, NPR, 2008, 56 minutes)

Actress Kathy Bates turns 70

Though Kathy Bates had been working regularly on film since at least 1977, and I undoubtedly had seen her in some of those shows and movies, the first place I really recognized her was in the 1990 movie Misery.

“I’m your biggest fan” undoubtedly affected readers of the Stephen King novel, but to see her Annie Wilkes interact with Paul Sheldon (James Caan)… let’s put it this way; I haven’t seen that movie since I viewed in the cinema, and it STILL makes me shudder. She captured the Best Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe.

My favorite scene of hers, though, was in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), the bit in a parking lot here or here, when Evelyn Couch got tired of being treated like an old davenport. The vicarious pleasure I felt was surprisingly strong.

From IMBD: “Kathleen Doyle Bates was… raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls… One of her ancestors, an Irish emigrant to New Orleans, once served as President Andrew Jackson’s doctor.

“By the mid-to-late 1970s, Kathy was treading the boards frequently as a rising young actress of the New York and regional theater scene… She took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980’s ‘Goodbye Fidel,’ which lasted only six performances. She then went directly into replacement mode when she joined the cast of the already-established and highly successful ‘Fifth of July’ in 1981.

I have enjoyed her work in several other TV shows and films, including:

* a prostitute in Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog (1991)
* the unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic (1997)
* the villainous Miss Hannigan in a Disney version of Annie (1999)
* quirky, liberal mom Roberta Hertzel in About Schmidt (2002), for which she received a Best
Supporting Actress nomination
* well-to-do Jo Bennett in the latter stages of the US version of The Office (2010-2011)
* Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)

Kathy Bates turns 70 on June 28, 2018, and by the look of her upcoming credits does not appear to be retiring any time soon, despite living with lymphedema. She has been the national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network.

Dear Mayor Sheehan – I would have posted your response

Dear Mayor Kathy Sheehan:

We’ve met a few times, most notably at my church’s adult education class on March 4, 2018. That’s me on the right, my fellow choir member Tim on the left, and you (of course) in the middle. After I introduced you, unfortunately, Tim and I had to run off and make music.

You talked about the City of Albany Poverty Reduction Initiative (CAPRI) program which “aims to better align public and private resources with community-based interventions and build partnerships with community leaders, municipal and state government, direct service providers, the faith community, local employers, and, most importantly, the people impacted by poverty in order to develop sustainable strategies that address the unique needs of the community and reduce poverty in the City of Albany.”

Subsequently, as Chuck Miller noted: “There have been recent protests in Albany by the Poor People’s Campaign. These protests, which have disrupted traffic in the downtown Albany area, are designed as a non-violent alert to the systemic problems of racism and police brutality and pay inequality. Noble effort, to be sure.

“The City of Albany sent the organizers of the Poor People’s Campaign a bill for $1,451, a bill for police coverage and the mitigation of disruptive public services.” I thought that was not warranted in that the police action disrupting traffic was far greater than the protesters’ behavior warranted.

The Times Union, rightly in my view, excoriated you the selective imposition of the fine, in an editorial Albany’s free speech fees.

And yet I also disagreed with the TU’s decision not to run your rebuttal. You posted it on your own site, which was picked up by Medium.com, ironically giving you a far bigger platform.

And I STILL disagree with your argument, Mayor Sheehan. But here’s the thing: if you had but asked me, I would have posted your response on my seldom-used Times Union blog.

Ah well, maybe next time.

Sincerely,
Your constituent,
Roger Green

Lydster: tragic news is reported every day

When 17 people were killed at a Parkland, Florida high school on Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday 2018, the Daughter was understandably upset. She had unfortunately seen many stories like this in the past five years or so, when she started watching the news.

Interestingly, she also felt empowered by the protests since that event. Moreover, she’s participated in a couple herself. I’d say that I have no idea where she got this activism streak, but I suppose that would be a lie.

Still, she felt really terrible after the May 18 killing of 10 at a school in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Terrible as in scared; I understand that. My wife, who is a schoolteacher, CERTAINLY understands that.

But, I think, it was also a function of disappointment, that her actions, and the activities of millions of children across the country ended up with the same old results.

Goodness knows that I get THAT. When you fight against racism and war and poverty and violence, and racism, war, poverty, and violence remain, it is easy to become discouraged that the efforts are pointless, or one hasn’t done enough.

Now, the Daughter received The Triple C Award at her moving up ceremony this month, given “to students by the New York State Attorney General’s Office,” which “celebrates students who display courage, character and commitment in their daily lives at home and in school.”

Still, USA.gov sent out this email after Santa Fe: “Tragic news is reported every day. Sometimes these events can cause distress to people of all ages. Although you may try to avoid having your children see upsetting reports about violence or natural disasters, you can’t always be successful. Use these resources to help you navigate a difficult conversation:

“Learn how children perceive the news and how to talk to them about what they see with these tips from KidsHealth.
Call SAMHSA’s DistressLine for immediate crisis counseling. If you or your child needs support, call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs”to 66746 for help 24/7 in English, Spanish, and for those with hearing disabilities.

From the former resource: “If older kids are bothered by a story, help them cope with these fears. An adult’s willingness to listen sends a powerful message.” I must say that my wife picked up on the Daughter’s distress after Santa Fe more quickly than I.

In the midst of the chaos, we have to remember to be good to each other.

Y is for not so young: Medicare

In the year before I turned 65, I realized that I had to apply for Medicare. If I had not known this, the wealth of solicitations, including multiples from the same few companies, that I received made it abundantly clear.

Technically, I had to apply within the 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, which:
Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
Includes the month you turn 65
Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

I waited until May and applied online. In short order, I received my Medicare card dated March 1. “Most people should enroll in Part A when they turn 65, even if they have health insurance from an employer. This is because most people paid Medicare taxes while they worked so they don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A.” Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.

“Certain people may choose to delay Part B. In most cases, it depends on the type of health coverage you may have.” Since I’m still working at a job with decent health benefits, I am presuming I can postpone signing on to that section, which covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

I HOPE that’s correct because “you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty, and you may have a gap in coverage if you decide you want Part B later.” And the penalty is 10% per year.

I know a friend of mine who signed to Part B when she did not have to. And once you’ve signed on, you can’t UNsign.

In anticipation of this, I’ve been going to every doctor I’ve thought I should have seen years ago. My podiatrist has provided me with a pair of shoe inserts that compensate for my pigeon-toedness that I’ve experienced at least since I was in 7th grade.

My dermatologist checked my skin for irregularities and discovered actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous condition, on the tip of my ear, which she sprayed with liquid nitrogen. So I’m redoubling my effort to use sunscreen ALL of the time, SPF 70 or better; and wearing a floppy hat, not just a cap that covers my pate. This is why I’ve been wearing long-sleeved shirts, even in the summer, for the past 15 years.

For ABC Wednesday

Cruelty in the name of God

One of the Rob Rogers cartoons that got him fired

On my way to a friend’s retirement party this past Flag Day, I came across a sizable demonstration of folks protesting the cruel and barbaric policies of the current regime, separating children from their parents at the border, including those coming to the border for sanctuary. If I wasn’t already engaged, I might have joined them.

The regime has cited the policy as a negotiating tool in congressional negotiations. It also has worked to block victims of gang violence and domestic abuse from claiming asylum.

Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

The Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible in defense of breaking up families. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

The beginning of Romans 13 is fairly infamous, one of the passages used to defend slavery in the 1840s. The use of St. Paul to justify acts of cruelty is reprehensible, as he was an apostle not of laws, but of Christ.

Still,late night talk show host, and devout Catholic, Stephen Colbert noted: “If he just read a little bit further into Romans 13:10, it says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.'”

Members of Congress protested the separation of families at the border. Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA 4) recently said, “I don’t care what you believe, who you vote for or what you think about the nuances of immigration reform. These kids need to be with their parents, just like every child. That’s it. That’s all there is. Anything less is cruelty in its purest form.”

Ezekiel 47:22 “You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.”

SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas turns 70

Among the many dreadful aspects of Clarence Thomas becoming a member of the US Supreme Court is that he succeeded Thurgood Marshall. Marshall founded and served as executive director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, arguing several cases before SCOTUS, including the landmark “Brown v. Board of Education, which held that racial segregation in public education is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”

Thomas, on the other hand, served as chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and “halted the usual EEOC approach of filing class-action discrimination lawsuits, instead pursuing acts of individual discrimination,” which are much more difficult to prove. He had little judicial background when George H. W. Bush nominated him to the high court.

The confirmation hearings were reopened after “an FBI interview with lawyer Anita Hill was leaked… Hill, a black attorney, had worked for Thomas… She testified that Thomas had subjected her to comments of a sexual nature, which she felt constituted sexual harassment or at least ‘behavior that is unbefitting an individual who will be a member of the Court.'”

Thomas denied Hill’s allegations, and famously said: “From my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves… and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”

In a post-#MeToo era,The Boston Globe asked in 2018 Why is Clarence Thomas still on the Supreme Court? New York magazine suggests impeachment.

And the grounds wouldn’t just be over sexual harassment. Back in 2011, we learn that Thomas doesn’t just do unethical favors for wealthy right-wing donors — they also do expensive favors for him. Both he and his late colleague Antonin Scalia probably should have recused themselves in the toxic Citizens United case.

And this from 2013: “Common Cause uncovered that Virginia Thomas earned over $680,000 from the conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, from 2003 to 2007. Justice Thomas failed to include it on his financial disclosure forms… Once he was caught, Thomas amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include details of his wife’s income.”

A couple yeas ago, an article from Oyez painted a picture of the justice: “Clarence Thomas is known for his quiet, stoic demeanor during oral arguments and his conservative viewpoint that challenges, if not surpasses, even Scalia’s originalism.

“While many justices use questions to show their opinion on an issue or communicate with the other justices as to their feelings on a case, Thomas remains silent… He has shown his opinions to lean farther right than any other justice on the bench today.”

Birthday is June 23

Musician Todd Rundgren turns 70

Guitar Player, 1977

As I am a big fan of the eclectic, I love the music of Todd Rundgren.

I discovered Nazz, or the Nazz, his first, Philadelphia-based band after the group had already broken up. “‘Open My Eyes’ gained belated recognition thanks to its inclusion in Nuggets (1972), the genre-defining anthology of American 1960s garage punk and psychedelia.” He put out many albums, under various band monikers, reportage of which is a task too convoluted to note here. Check the Wikipedia.

Nor am I going to get into all the albums he produced for other people, including for Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Meatloaf, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and XTC – look here.

Here’s somebody’s list of The 10 Best Todd Rundgren Albums To Own On Vinyl, FWIW.

Listen! All by Todd Rundgren, unless otherwise indicated; chart action is from Billboard Top 100:

Open My Eyes – Nazz, #112 in 1968
Hello It’s Me – Nazz, #71 in 1969, #66 in 1970 – these songs were the flip sides of each other
Loosen Up – Nazz, parody of Archie Bell and the Drell’s Tighten Up

We Gotta Get You a Woman – Runt, #20 in 1971; it’s unclear if this was a real band or just Todd

I Saw the Light, #16 in 1972
Hello It’s Me, #5 in 1973

Love in Action – Utopia, 1977
Can We Still Be Friends #29 in 1978 – I always find this song extraordinarily sad

Bang The Drum All Day, #63 in 1983; based on his comments playing this with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, Todd thinks this is a really dopey song

Coverville 1222: The Todd Rundgren Cover Story II

Now we get to “the albums that Roger owns on vinyl” section of this post:

Deface the Music – Utopia (1980) – “The concept of the album was to pay homage to The Beatles and create songs which sounded very similar to the Fab Four’s tunes throughout the various stages of their career.” If you appreciate the Rutles, you should get this album.
I Just Want To Touch You
Life Goes On
Everybody Else Is Wrong

Swing to the Right – Utopia (1982)
Swing to the Right
One World

A Cappella (1985)
Something To Fall Back On
Pretending To Care
also
Real Man, from the “A Capella” tour

Ask Roger Anything – well, not THAT

The limitations to what I shall, or shan’t, write in this blog is determined by some inner gauge. What I will write about myself has been increasingly not an issue, although I generally don’t indicate, “Hey, here I am in Times Square,” more as a matter of privacy and security than anything. This restriction insures that I will never be one with the zeitgeist, and I’m actually quite good with that.

But I seem not to be particularly concerned about paring my topics. My politics are what they are, and I don’t see them changing any times soon. Indeed, writing about them helps define my feelings. It’s quite liberating.

Writing about others is trickier. The Daughter, I decided, I would tell her what I was going to write about her. Some stuff she actually WANTS me to post, such as the letter she wrote to the building contractor that our next-door neighbor used. If I mention I want to acknowledge how well she did in school, she rolls her eyes and sighs. But if she were to truly object, I wouldn’t let it see the light of day.

Every three months or so, I ask you all to Ask Roger Anything. I SUPPOSE I don’t mean ANYTHING anything, but, to date, you haven’t made that an issue. I AM curious what you have in mind. In fact, I’ve already received a couple questions.

When you ask anything of me, I am required by my internal code to respond, generally within the month, to the best of my ability. I have not had to use obfuscation very often, though it is allowed – my blog, my rules. You are indeed a polite people.

Per usual, you can leave your questions below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.