Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2020

Sometimes the Crocodile Eats the Appeaser First

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:04 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Those of you who take the Churchillian admonition seriously will find yourselves shaking your heads sadly at this story:

Patrick Harrington spent nearly two decades building up his series of yoga studios in the Denver area which operate under the name Kindness Yoga. When the COVID-19 shutdown went into effect, Kindness Yoga received $300,000 in emergency aid from the government, which it used to pay its employees for eight weeks. With Colorado businesses beginning to reemerge, Mr. Harrington had hoped the worst was behind them and that business could gradually return to normal with a July 1 reopening date planned.

But not in these banal and cruel days. Instead of reopening, Kindness Yoga has announced its permanent closure, a victim of the hyper-sensitivity around race and gender issues. A detailed article, which appeared in a journalist-owned publication called the Colorado Sun, is a fascinating read — detailed, perplexing, depressing, infuriating — so if you have ten or fifteen minutes I recommend reading it all, but here is a taste:

Harrington, a straight, white guy who expanded Kindness to nine studios and 160 employees across metro Denver, announced last week that he was closing them all after a handful of yoga teachers, including a Black woman and a transgender man, called out Kindness on social media for “performative activism” and “tokenization of Black and brown bodies.” The teachers’ public comments, following a Black Lives Matter post on Kindness’ Instagram page that they termed too little, too late, evoked a backlash that was fierce and immediate.

Within 48 hours, as the nightly protests over police violence unfolded around the Capitol in Denver, just three blocks from Kindness’ Capitol Hill studio, the yoga company received nearly 400 emails from students who were upset, including many wanting to cancel their memberships. A week later, the emails had reached 800 and counting. Harrington has yet to read all of them, but with each one he opened, the direction his already precarious business was heading grew ever more clear.

The owner of Kindness Yoga, and one of the most well-known yogis in Denver, is struggling to piece together the words to explain what happened — in the span of a week — to his once-stellar reputation and his 19-year-old business. He is stunned, though remorseful. He is eager to speak up, yet on edge for fear of saying anything that could make all of this any worse.

”My goal is to represent our attempts at being a diverse, inclusive place where people felt like they belonged,” he begins, slowly. “I may not say things perfectly … I’m practicing learning how to speak in a way that is more inclusive and caring of diversity.”

Already operating in the red, Kindness was struggling to make it through the three-month pandemic shutdown. The membership cancellations were more than the business could withstand. Harrington and his wife, Cameron, are now putting their Denver home on the market to dig out of the financial hole.

Lest you think that Mr. Harrington is just another troglodyte right-winger like — well — like I am, know that from the very beginning Kindness Yoga has hosted “people of color” exclusive yoga sessions in which “white allies” were asked not to attend. From the very beginning the studios used gender-neutral bathrooms, long before they were a progressive fad, and they held LGBTQ yoga workshops to earn their rainbow merit badge. Though the business did run on a membership model, they also accepted drop-ins who were asked to pay a session fee of whatever they could afford, with some struggling yoga adherents paying as little as one dollar to participate.

But nothing is ever really entirely ducky in the world of grievances, is it? Even as Mr. Harrington and crew thought they were building a progressive yoga studio, beneath the placid surface there were rumblings of discontent:

But outside the public space of yoga class, some teachers who identify as gay or trans or as BIPOC (Black or Indigenous people of color) were asking for change and said they got no meaningful response from management.

The grievances aired on social media in the last several days described — with few specifics — a culture where the voices of minorities and LGBTQ teachers were not heard. In interviews with The Colorado Sun, yoga teachers Jordan Smiley, who is Indigenous and transgender, and Davidia Turner, who is Black, said the white management team at Kindness was not willing to put in the work to make change.

For example, Turner said, the board of directors declined to hire an outside diversity expert as she suggested, instead “cherry-picking” certain diverse members of the staff that they felt comfortable talking to about race and inclusivity. After hearing that Kindness’ website was too white-centric, management then invited people of color and other minorities to an hours-long yoga photoshoot. They were accused of “tokenism.”

And of course social media plays a starring role too. Kindness Yoga, like I suppose most companies whose customers are active consumers of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik-Tok, and the like, employs an outside firm to help with social media, and it would appear that the firm oftentimes schedules social media posts for weeks in advance. Thus, in the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd killing and the subsequent mass protests the company’s Instagram page featured a banal post asking the company’s followers to divulge their favorite game. Unsurprisingly, this frivolity didn’t go over well with the activist crowd.

As you read the article, it becomes clear that it was Ms. Turner and Mr. Smiley (ironic name alert) who were beating the drums the loudest to punish Kindness Yoga for its transgressions (pun unintended). Both instructors are of an age where they almost assuredly grew up surrounded by participation trophies, and neither one strikes me as a good candidate for empathetic understanding of life experiences outside of their own. Indeed, both of them now plan to open their own yoga businesses, so we can only wish them well as they navigate the world of studio leases, licensing, incorporation, insurance, and taxes. Naturally Ms. Turner wants to have a yoga studio geared towards people of color and Mr. Smiley wants his clientele to heavily include the LGBTQ community, so three cheers for woke segregation. And in the perfect capstone to the entitlement mentality, let’s not let this paragraph escape notice:

Neither Smiley nor Turner talked directly to Harrington about their complaints before the Instagram posts. Turner said she followed the “chain of command” and talked to other managers instead. Smiley said talking to Harrington “would be a danger to my mental health.”

It would be a lot easier to be fully sympathetic of the situation in which that Mr. Harrington finds himself, were it not for the fact that he seems to be far too obtuse to internalize any real lessons from the loss of his business. Though the article quotes other minority and LGBTQ employees of Kindness Yoga lamenting the closure and questioning the motives of the two disgruntled instructors, Mr. Harrington appears to be intent on marinating in white guilt:

Harrington, who filled up the room when he taught a yoga class, says now that he didn’t understand the depth of Kindness’ role on racial issues.

“I didn’t realize the responsibility that our organization had to be a voice for matters of race,” Harrington said. “And it happened so fast that when we tried to speak … it showed up as performative, or too little, too late.”

No, Mr. Harrington, your responsibility was to provide a competent and productive yoga experience for your customers, not to be crusaders on matters of social justice. Maybe if more companies understood this simple fact they wouldn’t be torn asunder by the predictable drama from the snowflake crowd. I suspect that deep down Mr. Harrington actually gets it, but he’s far too committed to the plot to go off-script:

“Did our community in Denver gain something by Kindness Yoga closing its doors?” Harrington said. “I struggle to understand the benefit of this outcome for white people, people of color, LGBTQ+ people. I don’t see the benefit of taking us down this way.”

After a beat, he added: “My privilege could have me blind to that. I’m trying to learn.”

Sometimes the crocodile eats the appeaser first.

– JVW

THE LONE WARRIOR Strikes Again!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:00 pm



[guest post by Dana]

My guess is that, in the midst of civil unrest, a pandemic that won’t end, and a stalled economy, he wants to make sure that we don’t forget who he is…in his own eyes. While one’s work and accomplishments usually reflect the individual’s efforts on behalf of others, Trump is compelled to remind us in bold letters that he is TRUMP, The LONE WARRIOR!:

I don’t care about the tweet, per se. But I do think it reflects Trump’s sense of desperation. He knows his poll numbers are slipping, he is ensnared in new scandal with the Russian bounties and officials claiming that he was briefed about it in 2019, he made a serious misstep in retweeting one of his supporters yelling “white power” during a time of racial strife, and he continues to be unable to effectively lead the nation during a pandemic. In fact, he seems to believe that if he wishes the pandemic away and acts like it’s over with, everyone else will believe it’s over with too. Given all of this, he is obviously having trouble finding a working strategy for re-election. And with in-person rallies now delayed or on hold, and given his low-energy rally in Tulsa and the ruckus surrounding it, he is desperate to find something that gets his campaign off the ground. And amusingly, all Joe Biden has to do is to continue sitting in his basement and wait for the next inevitable misstep by the president. Trump is literally writing Biden’s campaign ads, and possibly providing him with an election win.

Anyway, is there any winning election strategy for a president so beset by difficulties, both of his own making, and difficulties not of his making but made worse by his decisions?

P.S. According to the Urban Dictionary, a lone warrior is an individual who makes sacrafices for a spiritual or moral reason. An idividual who is not selfish, greedy, or disrespectful. A survivor or hero in some eyes.

–Dana

Follow-up On St. Louis Couple Protecting Their Home From Protesters

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:18 am



[guest post by Dana]

I wanted post the interview the husband, Mark McCloskey gave to KSDK News in St. Louis:

A couple of things to note:

1) McClosekey says that he initially told protesters that they were on private property, which enraged protesters.

2) Protesters broke the locked gate in half to enter the neighborhood.

3) Some protesters were wearing body armor.

4) They were threatened with their lives. Per McCloskey: “One fellow standing right in front of me pulled out two pistol magazines, clicked them together and said, ‘You’re next.’ That was the first death threat we got that night”.

5) They were told that their house would be burned down, his office building would be burned down, and even the family dog’s life was threatened.

6) McCloskey says that everything inside the gates in Portland Place is private property, nothing is public property. He equated it to being inside one’s living room.

7) McCloskey says that he was worked on a number of civil rights cases in his decades-long career as a lawyer. He is currently representing a “man seen on video being kicked by a now-former Woodson Terrace, Missouri officer after a carjjacking in May 2019″.

8) McCloskey also confirmed that his wife does not know how to shoot a gun.

Also, State representative Rasheen Aldridge, who helped lead the protest, claims that the “protesters were peaceful and no threats were ever made”.

When asked why the group marched on private property, Aldridge said, “Just like in many disobedient protests, even in the ’60s, you break laws, make people feel uncomfortable. We’re not doing anything where we’re hurting anyone or putting anyone in danger.”

“As a leader, [Mayor Krewson] you don’t do stuff like that. … It’s only right that we visit her at her home,” said state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, a St. Louis Democrat, speaking into a megaphone at the march.

Estimates put the crowd size anywhere from 300-500 people.

–Dana

The National Security Law Podcast on Flynn, Berman, and the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I wanted to pass along to my readers my love of the National Security Law podcast. It is a podcast hosted by two University of Texas at Austin School of Law professors, Bobby Chesney and Steve Vledeck.

They are a fun mix and they each remind me of myself (if smarter) in different ways. Chesney is more of a center-right guy who shares my longstanding political views. Unlike me, however, he is amiable and easygoing and likes to give political actors the benefit of the doubt when possible. He’s less active on Twitter and is perhaps a little less neurotic. Vladeck is excitable and can’t stand Trump (like me) and tends to view Trump administration actions with a little more skepticism (as I do) but his overall politics appear to be center-left and reasonably to the left of mine.

They’re professors in the same areas of law, they’re clearly friends (and even neighbors) and it’s just a fun listen. The latest episode addresses several topics of interest to me, and is worth your time. Especially if you’re a legal nerd, whether a lawyer or not.

Beginning at about 8:23,* they discuss the D.C. Circuit panel decision in the Flynn case. Vladeck says many of the same things I have been saying here for weeks, but more effectively, and with more detail about why the panel decision’s blithe discarding of usual mandamus standards is such a serious breach. Pro-Flynn people should really listen. To them, I say: I’ll put up Vladeck’s expertise and knowledge against that of literally anyone you’ve been following online who has tried to convince you this panel decision makes sense.

They also discuss Bill Barr’s recent fumbling attempt to install a political appointee as the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY. Again, you’ll hear echoes of what you’ve read here, but with more detail and legal discussion.

Finally, in news ripped from today’s headlines (although they recorded the podcast on Friday, I believe), Chesney and Vladeck discuss the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act, which was invoked by President Trump in this tweet:

What the statute addresses is “attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States.” Does the George Washington statue referenced by Trump count? Well, according to the New York Post, there are two:

The early 20th-century statues — one of Washington as the nation’s first president and another depicting him as general of the country’s Revolutionary War forces — bled red as they dripped with the still-fresh paint just before 8 a.m.

Sounds like one might be covered by the statute and one might not!

(By the way, no way this statute protects statues of Confederate Army generals.)

Enjoy the podcast. It’s great.

*One thing you’ll either find charming (as I do) or annoying is that these guys get along so well that they sort of chat it up as they introduce what they’re going to talk about, and it can take them a while to get to the substance.

6/29/2020

St. Louis Couple Points Guns At Protesters

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:35 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here’s video of the run-in between St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s neighbors and protesters, who were on their way to protest at the first-term Democratic mayor’s home:

(Well, they’re scared of hundreds of people marching past their home…)

President Trump retweeted ABC’s clip this morning, which shows the confrontation from a little bit different angle:

ABC News reports:

St. Louis police confirmed on Monday that they are investigating a confrontation caught on cellphone video of some white neighbors of Mayor Lyda Krewson pointing guns at protesters marching by their mansion on the way to the mayor’s home.

The episode occurred Sunday afternoon, when hundreds of demonstrators entered the gated Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, banging drums and chanting for Krewson to resign and “take your cops with you.”

Cellphone video that went viral on social media showed a white couple—a man armed with what appeared to be a semiautomatic rifle and a woman wielding a silver-plated pistol with her finger on the trigger—emerging from their five-story limestone home. They were pointing the weapons at the protesters and yelling at them that they were on a private street. Demonstrators are heard in the videos telling other protesters to keep moving toward Krewson’s home and to ignore the couple.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department [SLMPD] told ABC News on Monday that the couple, who police described as the victims, placed a “call for help” at 7:23 p.m. and that they are investigating the confrontation as a “trespassing/assault 4th intimidation” case.

From the police summary of the incident:

“The victims stated they were on their property when they heard a loud commotion coming from the street,” according to an incident summary of the ongoing investigation provided to ABC News by the SLMPD. “When the victims went to investigate the commotion, they observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs.

“Once through the gate, the victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing and told them to leave,” according to the couple’s statement to the police included in the summary. “The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”

The couple released a statement through their attorney today. In part:

“The peaceful protesters were not the subject of scorn or disdain by the McCloskeys,” the statement reads. “To the contrary, they were expecting [sic] and supportive of the message of the protesters. The actions of violence, destruction of property and acts of threatening aggression by a few individuals commingling with the peaceful protesters, gave rise to trepidation and fear of imminent and grave harm.

“Both Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey acted lawfully on their property which sits on a private gated lane in the City of St. Louis,” the statement reads. “Their actions were borne solely of fear and apprehension, the genesis of which was not race related. In fact, the agitators responsible for the trepidation were white.”

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced that her office is investigating the matter:

I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protestors were met by guns and a violent assault. We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.

Protesters had been marching toward Mayor Krewson’s after she doxed constituents on Friday who had written letters supporting the move to defund the police:

During her Facebook Live on Friday, Krewson was asked about a meeting she had with protesters outside City Hall. Krewson grabbed submitted letters and read them, including the names and both partial and full addresses of those calling to defund the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

As a result of Krewson’s actions, an online petition calling for her resignation has garnered more than 40,000 signatures.

After the incident with the gun-toting couple, protesters eventually wound up at the mayor’s residence, and painted a large RESIGN sign on the street in front of her home.

Just a couple of things. This story is exhausting because it represents yet another effort for one group to portray the other group as the absolute worst of. To claim that the homeowners were scared of their own community is to intentionally ignore the fact that most of us would be unnerved, at the very least, to see hundreds of protesters marching past their home, especially if their home was located on a private road in a gated enclave. And because their neighbor happens to be the mayor of their city. I don’t find their concern unreasonable. But. The couple could have just as easily left the patio where they were dining, gone inside their home, called 911, and waited for the police to arrive. Given their exclusive location, they would have undoubtedly seen a quick response time by the police. The couple also could have gone outside and tried to engage with the crowd, and assure them of their support for the protesters (as they claimed they did in their statement) to help defuse the situation. [Ed. This was said sarcastically because I don’t believe that the couple really supported the protesters, in spite of their statement that they did.] And most definitely, the couple could have left their guns inside the residence, because brandishing firearms was surely seen as a provocation, especially when the woman was waving her gun around and pointing it directly at the crowd. If they wanted to send a message to the protesters that they were protecting their home, why not remain on the front porch with weapons in hand? Weapons, that I am convinced neither one knows how to properly use, given their carelessness with them. Look, I understand being concerned – and even fearful – when hundreds of people are in front of one’s home, yelling and chanting. And the couple did claim that some protesters were armed. I understand how that could feel threatening. I guess the question is, was this that? Were the homeowners exercising their legal rights? And what about the protesters?

ADDED: In spite of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner assessment of the incident, here is Anders Walker, a constitutional law professor at St. Louis University, discussing Missouri’s Castle Doctrine, and whether the protesters were trespassing:

…Walker said that although it’s “very dangerous” to engage protesters with guns, the homeowners broke no laws by brandishing or pointing weapons at them because Portland Place is a private street. He said the McCloskeys are protected by Missouri’s Castle Doctrine, which allows people to use deadly force to defend private property.

“At any point that you enter the property, they can then, in Missouri, use deadly force to get you off the lawn,” Walker said, calling the state’s Castle Doctrine a “force field” that “indemnifies you, and you can even pull the trigger in Missouri.”

Luckily, Walker said, no one got shot.

“There’s no right to protest on those streets,” Walker said. “The protesters thought they had a right to protest, but as a technical matter, they were not allowed to be there. … It’s essentially a private estate. If anyone was violating the law, it was the protesters. In fact, if (the McCloskeys) have photos of the protesters, they could go after them for trespassing.”

–Dana

Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Clinic Law

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:30 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The law would have provided protection to women having surgical abortions at a clinic by ensuring that the abortion doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics:

A divided Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, reasserting a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era.

Chief Justice John Roberts and his four more liberal colleagues ruled that the law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals violates abortion rights the court first announced in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

In a detailed analysis, Yuval Levin takes on Justice Roberts and his reference to Edmund Burke:

“The question today,” Roberts wrote, “is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case.” The answer should be ‘yes,’ he insisted, on the basis of the principle of Stare Decisis, by which prior decisions of the Court are adhered to by default absent strong reasons to regard the underlying matters differently. To defend this particular application of Stare Decisis, Roberts pointed to several venerated voices, including Alexander Hamilton (in Federalist 78) and a number of prior decisions of the Court. But he began these references to sources with Edmund Burke…

It was Justice Thomas who correctly said:

Despite the fact that we granted Louisiana’s petition specifically to address whether “abortion providers [can] be presumed to have third-party standing to challenge health and safety regulations on behalf of their patients,” Conditional Cross-Pet. in No. 18–1460, p. i, a majority of the Court all but ignores the question. The plurality and THE CHIEF JUSTICE ultimately cast aside this jurisdictional barrier to conclude that Louisiana’s law is unconstitutional under our precedents. But those decisions created the right to abortion out of whole cloth, without a shred of support from the Constitution’s text. Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled. Because we have neither jurisdiction nor constitutional authority to declare Louisiana’s duly enacted law unconstitutional, I respectfully dissent.

(emphasis added)

This:

–Dana

AP Reports That Trump Had Been Briefed About Russian Bounties

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:44 am



[guest post by Dana]

Intelligence officials are contradicting the president’s claim that neither he nor the vice-president had been informed about Russia’s bounty plan:

The intelligence officials told the AP that Trump was briefed on the bounty matter earlier this year; Trump denied that, tweeting Sunday neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed. Trump tweeted Sunday night he was just told intelligence officials didn’t report the information to him because they didn’t find it credible.

The intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter insisted on anonymity to discuss the highly sensitive matter.

Here was Trump’s denial, posted yesterday:

From the AP report:

The intelligence assessments came amid Trump’s push to withdraw the U.S. from Afghanistan and suggested Russia was making overtures to militants as the U.S. and the Taliban held talks to end the long-running war. The assessment was first reported by The New York Times, then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and two others with knowledge of the matter.

In early 2020, members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000. The recovered funds further solidified the suspicions of the American intelligence community that the Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and linked associations.

One official said the administration discussed several potential responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step.

The intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter insisted on anonymity to discuss the highly sensitive matter.

The White House National Security Council wouldn’t confirm the assessments but said the U.S. receives thousands of intelligence reports daily that are subject to strict scrutiny.

Both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have directed Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel to provide a briefing to Congress. Pelosi claims that not even the “Gang of Eight” had been informed of the bounties, and said about Trump, “With him, all roads lead to Putin”:

“Congress and the country need answers now,” wrote Pelosi, a Democrat from California. “Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable. The Administration’s disturbing silence and inaction endanger the lives of our troops and our coalition partners.”

Along with Lindsey Graham, Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted that the White House needs to inform Congress who in administration knew about Russian bounties on U.S. troops, and when they knew:

Senate Republicans are pushing for more information from the Trump administration, including Jim Inhofe, Senate Armed Services chairman:

“We’ve known for a long time that Putin is a thug and a murderer, and if the allegations reported in the New York Times are true, I will work with President Trump on a strong response. My number-one priority is the safety of our troops,” Inhofe tweeted Monday. “Right now, though, we need answers. I have asked the administration to share what it knows, and I expect to know more in the coming days.”

[Ed. While the vast majority of Americans recognize that Putin is indeed, both a thug and a murderer, it’s questionable if Trump sees Putin with any clarity, given his bromance with him.]

UPDATE: According to reports, there will be an Afghanistan briefing at the White House today – but only for House Republicans.

–Dana

6/28/2020

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 111

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am



It is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 10:40-42:

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

What my God wills always occurs,
His will is the best,
He is ready to help those
who believe firmly in Him.
He gives aid in need, this righteous God,
and punishes with measure.
Who trusts in God, builds upon Him firmly,
God will never abandon.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

6/27/2020

Foster Brooks as a Dentist

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:57 pm



I had forgotten about this guy but someone reminded me about him on Twitter.

If you can get through this without laughing you have a colder heart than I.

MORE:

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:49 am



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items you might find of interest. Please feel free to share what’s on your radar these days. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Welp, if he gets a second term, it looks to be…uh…yeah…something:

Sean Hannity: (35:55)
Let’s talk about a second term. If you hear in 131 days from now, at some point in the night or early morning, we can now project Donald J. Trump has been reelected the 45th president of the United States. Let’s talk. What’s at stake in this election as you compare and contrast, and what is one of your top priority items for a second term?

Donald Trump: (36:17)
Well, one of the things that will be really great… You know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that, but the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meeting. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, “This is great.”

Second news item

Regrets from Texas:

Gov. Greg Abbott…took his most drastic action yet to respond to the post-reopening coronavirus surge in Texas, shutting bars back down and scaling back restaurant capacity to 50%.

He also shut down river-rafting trips, which have been blamed for a swift rise in cases in Hays County, and banned outdoor gatherings of over 100 people unless local officials approve.

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said in a news release. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”

Untitled

Also, Harris County sent out an alert to residents Friday afternoon, warning that the Covid threat level was elevated to LEVEL 1 (RED) SEVERE.

Third news item

Young author self-cancels before others do it for her:

Alexandra Duncan has canceled her young adult novel Ember Days mere days after its cover reveal on BookPage. An hour after Duncan posted the cover reveal for the book, which was slated for a March 2021 release from Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, to her Twitter feed, an author questioned the representation within the novel, which was noted in the book’s description: “Naomi is the granddaughter of a powerful Gullah conjure woman, sent to Charleston to combat an evil force circling the city and hiding in plain sight as Deidre’s protégé.”

Duncan acknowledged the concern, responding, “I definitely struggled with whether it was okay for me to write about a culture outside my own and especially about the difficult topic of passing, which Naomi does for part of the book while going undercover in an all-white magical society,” further explaining that her decision to write from the perspective of a character with Gullah Geechee heritage stemmed from an interest in writing about folk magic traditions from “her area of the South.”

Fourth news item

Should racism be allowed to stand on public land?

GAZETTE: What about the slippery slope argument? Many of America’s founders — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson — owned slaves. Does removing statues of Columbus or Confederate officials pave the way for action against monuments honoring those who helped create the United States?

GORDON-REED: I suppose, if people want to, everything can pave the way to some other point. I’ve said it before: There is an important difference between helping to create the United States and trying to destroy it. Both Washington and Jefferson were critical to the formation of the country and to the shaping of it in its early years. They are both excellent candidates for the kind of contextualization you alluded to. The Confederate statues were put up when they were put up [not just after the war but largely during periods of Civil Rights tension in the 20th century], to send a message about white supremacy, and to sentimentalize people who had actively fought to preserve the system of slavery. No one puts a monument up to Washington or Jefferson to promote slavery. The monuments go up because, without Washington, there likely would not have been an American nation. They put up monuments to T.J. because of the Declaration of Independence, which every group has used to make their place in American society. Or they go up because of T.J.’s views on separation of church and state and other values that we hold dear. I think on these two, Washington and Jefferson, in particular, you take the bitter with sweet. The main duty is not to hide the bitter parts.

Fifth news item

House passes bill to make D.C. 51st state:

The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would make Washington, D.C., the 51st state, though Republicans and the White House have voiced their opposition to the measure.

The bill, aptly named “H.R. 51,” passed on a mostly party-line vote of 232-180. One Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted against it.

Sixth news item

He had wanted to help mend the racial divide:

The mother of former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng, now facing charges of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd, told the New York Times that her son had joined the police force to bridge the gap between races. In a painfully sad interview, Kueng’s white mother Joni Kueng said she raised him alone after his father, who was from Nigeria, left. She said he was troubled after a Black sibling was harassed by police and decided to join the force. “He said, ‘Don’t you think that that needs to be done from the inside?’” his mother said, referring to increasing police brutality against Black offenders. “That’s part of the reason why he wanted to become a police officer—and a black police officer on top of it—is to bridge that gap in the community, change the narrative between the officers and the black community.” Floyd’s death occurred on Kueng’s third shift as a full officer with the Minneapolis Police Department.

But of course he is most concerned with himself:

At the same time President Donald Trump insists that it is OK to reopen America, he is privately scaling up anti-COVID-19 protection measures around him out of fear that contracting the virus would be a bad look, according to CNN. The White House has phased out mask wearing and temperature taking in the West Wing to show that the country is moving forward, but the relaxing of protective measures has not extended to the president’s inner circle. While he refuses to wear a mask in public, he reportedly has insisted that any room he will be in is scrubbed and sanitized and that his staff and those close to them are constantly tested.

Have a good weekend.

–Dana

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