Memorial Day: revisionist history

Almost a year ago, Demeur sent me an article about the history of Memorial Day.

[Historian David] Blight’s award-winning Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001) explained how three “overall visions of Civil War memory collided” in the decades after the war.

The first was the emancipationist vision, embodied in African Americans’ remembrances and the politics of Radical Reconstruction, in which the Civil War was understood principally as a war for the destruction of slavery and the liberation of African Americans to achieve full citizenship.

The second was the reconciliationist vision, ostensibly less political, which focused on honoring the dead on both sides, respecting their sacrifice, and the reunion of the country.

The third was Continue reading

August Rambling II: Smart is sexy and stupid is not


The New York Times’ prophetic 1983 warning about the NSA, which naturally leads to Glenn Greenwald killed the internet.

My Feelings About the Harriet Tubman Sex Tape in 10 GIFs.

Invisible Disabilities Day is October 24. I have this friend with rather constant neck pain, but she doesn’t LOOK sick, and therefore feels diminished by those who actually don’t believe her. Conversely, The Complexities of Giving: People with Disabilities as Help Objects.

Photos of the worldly goods of inmates at the Willard Asylum. I backed the Kickstarter for this and wrote about it a couple years ago.

“Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.” Often, America’s cover is quite, well – different. I had noticed this before. I don’t know that it’s “stunning,” but it IS telling.

The Peanuts gang meets The Smiths, in which This Charming Charlie masterfully blends Charles Schulz’ comics with lyrics by The Smiths. Continue reading

July Rambling: privilege, and 12-tone music

Watch the important documentary Two American Families online at Bill Moyers’ website. In the same vein, To Rescue Local Economies, Cities Seize Underwater Mortgages Through Eminent Domain.

From Meryl, the graphic novel expert: The Armageddon Letters and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also, Zahra – from Paradise to President. Published in 2011, its story takes place in Iran, June 2009.

Brief Thoughts on Shelby County v. Holder by Mark S. Mishler. (But the actual title is TOO long!)

Daniel Nester writes about privilege. I found it interesting, in part, because it reminded me of certain white sociology students Continue reading

ARA: Sports and superheroes

Chris Honeycutt asked:

Do you like sports other than baseball? Which ones?

I like to play volleyball and racquetball, but haven’t played either for a while. I like to bowl, but my knee is inhibiting that.

I enjoy watching football, and believe it is the PERFECT sport for instant replay. But I tend to follow the NFL, rather than college, and generally only from the end of World Series on.

Basketball I don’t watch until Continue reading

Disappearing text, and pictures in blogs

My text can go here. Yahoo! This is so easy.

This is in response, not so much to a question, but to a comment. Chris said, in response to this post, “That ‘highlight the text to avoid an accidental spoiler’ is absolutely brilliant.”

How did I do that? Well, some years ago, I saw it done on someone’s blog (Mike Sterling? Greg Burgas? I don’t remember) and asked, “How do you do that?”

If I cut and pasted the code, then you wouldn’t see it because it would be invisible. Continue reading

Revealing deep dark secrets

Amy, who wields that Sharp Little Pencil wrote:

If you were a tree… oh, never mind.

I’ll tell you anyway. It’s a chestnut tree. In my neighborhood, I remember collecting horse chestnuts, which were inedible, because they were a pretty dark brown, and so smooth. I’d collect them for a while, and then dump them to pick new ones in the new season.

How about this: If you had one of those “shameful secrets,” would you speak out about it?

I only wonder because I write a lot about being a survivor Continue reading

If nominated, I will not run

The intrepid Chris asked: If you could start a political party, what would be its planks?

Let me first make it quite clear that I have zero interest in actually running for political office.

When I was in high school, I was president of student government. Someone wrote in my yearbook that I was a great President, and she was looking forward to when I was President of the United States! [Her exclamation point.] THAT’S not going to happen.

It’s odd that being a political science major has made me LESS likely to seek elective office. Meanwhile, one of my classmates at New Paltz, Kevin Cahill, has been in the NYS Assembly for a number of years, and doing a fine job, it appears.

Anyway, I started writing down my values and positions, but discovered that it was TOO HARD for writing a blog post. Coming up with the right verbiage was WORK. So I’m cheating.

I looked up the platform of that political party named after me, the Green Party. I found the 2012 platform, and found that much of it I agree with. This begs the question, why am I a Democrat, rather than a Green? Because the way the system is shaped, a Green can’t win very often. Indeed, that is one of the issues.

I’m going to excerpt parts of the Green platform. My non-inclusion of other parts doesn’t mean I necessarily DISAGREE, but that it wasn’t a primary issue for me in the time I was compiling my positions.

Democracy: Our citizens must not permit usurpation of their authority by acts of individuals and government agencies that isolate or insulate government from their oversight and control. Citizens of a democracy must have the information and ability to determine the actions of their government. Vast concentrations of wealth and power that have occurred in recent years are inherently undemocratic. The deregulation of corporate activity and the decentralization and underfunding of the regulatory structures that remain – accompanied by the centralizing of big money – has been a disaster for our country. The true owners of the public lands, pension funds, and the public airwaves are the American people, who today have little or no control over their pooled assets or their commonwealth.

A. Political Reform:
*Comprehensive campaign finance reform, including caps on spending and contributions, at the national and state level; and / or full public financing of elections to remove undue influence in political campaigns.
*A rejection the present method of election without a majority. Accordingly, we call for the use of Instant Runoff Voting where voters can rank their favorite candidates (1,2,3, etc.) to guarantee that the winner has majority support and that voters are not relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils.
B. Political Participation
*A call for citizen control of redistricting processes and moving the “backroom” apportionment process into the public light. Give the 10-year redistricting process to the Census Bureau or an independent agency.
*All persons convicted of felonies shall regain full citizenship rights upon completion of their sentence.
*To protect against fraud, previously proprietary voting machine source code must be open for public inspection and verification before and after an election.
C. Community
*Support for Head Start and Pre- and neo-natal programs
*Seek opportunities for citizens to serve their communities through non-military community service, such as a Civilian Conservation Corps
D. Free Speech and Media Reform
*Provide broadband internet access for all residents of this country, so that access to information is a right, not a commodity.
*Ensure net neutrality, so that Internet users can access any web content they choose and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or limitations imposed by their Internet service provider.
*Ensure free and equal airtime for all ballot-qualified political candidates and parties on radio and television networks and stations.
*Provide generous public funding for Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television and National Public Radio (NPR) to ensure high-quality news and cultural programming with the widest possible range of viewpoints.
E. Foreign Policy
*Our government does not have the right to justify pre-emptive invasion of another country on the grounds that the other country harbors, trains, equips and funds a terrorist cell.
F. Domestic Security
*Strict enforcement of our First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association and petition. Federal, state and local governments must safeguard our right to public, non-violent protest.
*End torture, such as in prisons like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other U.S.-controlled facilities.
*Restore habeas corpus, a legal action to obtain relief from illegal detention. End the use of indefinite detention without trial.
*Revoke the USA Patriot Act.
*Enact a constitutional amendment affirming that the rights outlined in our Bill of Rights are human rights and do not apply in any way to corporations.
*Oppose the death penalty in the United States and worldwide.

Geez, that’s just the DEMOCRACY section! I agree with most of the SOCIAL JUSTICE section, with special emphasis on consumer protection, a single-payer health insurance, and alternatives to incarceration; re: abortion, I quoted Hillary Clinton’s “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Ditto ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY, focusing on recycling and also transportation’s mass transit, bicycles and pedestrians. I don’t necessarily disagree with the ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABILITY section, but none of its tenets made my first draft, except the elimination of hunger.

The rest of your questions will have to wait, Chris.

Flying v. reading minds; talking about racism; baseball

Chris from Off the Shore of Orion starts off the Ask Roger Anything jamboree with:

You can only have one of these three powers: infinite strength, the ability to fly, or the ability to read minds.

Which one would you pick, why, and what would you use it for?

I decided to deconstruct this. How often have I said, “Boy, do I wish I were stronger so I can do X?” Not that often, in the grander scheme of things. Maybe during my many moves, but many hands make light work. Besides, I’d probably end up schlepping stuff for others far too often

I’ve wanted to fly since I was a child, had the flying dreams and everything. It would save time, and time is a finite, not a fungible, commodity. Thought that would be it.

However, the idea of the ability to read minds was too intriguing to pass up. Continue reading

Technology is my friend, or a fiend

Chris from Off the Shore of Orion, whose been off her blog, but on other social media, wonders:
What piece of technology would you hate the most to lose? Which piece of technology do you wish would just disappear?

The former is quite easy; the latter, not so much.

I am a lousy typist. I used to use tons of Wite Out and those weird little strips that would take up a letter from the already-typed page. But it was tedious and exhausting. Clearly, my favorite technology that has been developed in my lifetime is the word processor. It has made the creative process INCREDIBLY easier. Oops, I typed an n when I meant an m; no problem. Backspace and correct.

I remember having this Sears typewriter Continue reading

I do/do not understand

A bit ago, Chris wrote What should I expect others to know and understand? It was based, initially, on a comment she made on Facebook, though her article took its own direction, as articles often do. She also mentioned a piece, Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, from the CIA.

“How can you not know that?” How often have you said those words, either out loud, or silently, in your mind? How often have others said that about you?

The struggle is that we have developed a wide range of opinions about what one OUGHT to know. Continue reading