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All posts for the month February, 2022

REMEMBER THAT SONG?

Published February 24, 2022 by Nan Mykel

 

“I woke up this morning with freedom on my mind…”  In reality I woke up this morning with war on my mind, and a feeling that humanity has regressed — maybe that evolution  has touched third base and has turned around?   I remember the Age of Aquarius and how this century was going to blossom into love, spirit.  and miracles, not neighbor turning on neighbor and some neighbors turning on democracy.

Then I’m taking myself to task for having emotionally all but ignored the plight of the — how many is it now–refugees  in the world already.  It’s just closer to home now, in our face.   This in-the-wings planetary war finds us in a trough almost totally  pig-snorting and bereft of honesty and other ethical sensitivity.  Hats off to the sterling exceptions, but  by no means the majority.

I know I’m old and….what is it called, an outlier....and it’s much too late for hand wringing.  Is our newly created  space force not only reality but another harbinger of things to come?  I’m hand wringing I know and lucky if anyone is still reading, but… Sounds like “Yes, but…”  to me, I know.

Let’s see, how can I recapture your attention?  I wish there was still something to realistically pray to.  The Marxist visionaries haven’t done much better, have they?  Has that dream of equality (for some}  not ended with its leaders personally profiting, their riches in a clandestine bank offshore?*

Oh, I know:  I haven’t had my coffee yet.

 

 

*See Diane Ravitch’s blog today for Putin’s wealth.

RUMINATIONS

Published February 23, 2022 by Nan Mykel

 

 I realize I should add the word “headshots” to my list of “alien” and “dog”,  as the meaning of those words  have become derogatory in my mind.  When I read the word “headshot” in someone’s photo story I initially processed it as meaning the result of  someone being shot in the head.

Harpers magazine says one in three folks in the United States believe life is fair.  I wonder how many of those are 1-percenters.

I missed the reason cartoonists now portray Putin without his shirt on?

How did I miss this…The May 28, 2021 issue of The Week reports that a Dutch startup has trained bees to sniff out Covid-19.  Researchers cooled down 150 bees  to make them less active, strapped the insects into harnesses, and then used a Pavlovian conditioning method to teach them the unique scent of the coronavirus.  Each time the bees were exposed to a virus-positive test sample they were also given a delicious sugar water solution–which the bees drank by extending their tongues.  When they were given a negative sample,  they received no reward.  Within hours the bees were sticking out their tongues when presented with the virus, even when no sugar water was offered.  I feel  for the assistant who had to harness the bees.

As we seem to be dumbing down a bit as gullible creatures (many believing  far-fetched conspiracy theories), the same issue of The Week  reports that a young speech pathologist has trained her dog to communicate in English.  “Dogs are thinking a lot,”  she says. “They have opinions and are wanting to share them.”  Hunger’s new book is How Stella learned to talk.

 

 

 

 

Tid Bits – Fun and Horror and Etc.

Published February 22, 2022 by Nan Mykel

From Nan and/or the nytimes 2/18/2022:

I need hanging out to dry

every now and then…

When I sit imperious

as though impervious

to feedback curious,

sometimes furious.

_________________________________

The most disturbing efforts to monitor schools and teachers for wrong-think involve actual surveillance. Bills introduced in Iowa and Mississippi would install classroom cameras that would stream lessons over the internet for anyone to observe.

_______________________________________

A mammoth cargo ship believed to be carrying thousands of vehicles including 1,100 Porsches was on fire and drifting off the coast of the Azores on Thursday after its 22 crew members were rescued from the vessel.

The fire broke out on Wednesday morning in the cargo hold of the ship, called the Felicity Ace, which had departed from Emden, Germany, on Feb. 10 and was scheduled to arrive in Davisville, R.I., on Wednesday. The ship was about 200 miles from Terceira Island in the Azores, the Portuguese island territory, when Portuguese forces moved in on Wednesday to evacuate the crew.

No rescuers or crew members were injured in the “highly skilled and physically demanding” operation, which included a helicopter… The shipping company could not immediately be reached.  [I wonder what they were busy doing?]

WHAAT? WOW

Published February 18, 2022 by Nan Mykel

 Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine,  writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times today that “there is nothing more essential to the survival of a democracy than the orderly transfer of power, and there is nothing more essential to the orderly transfer of power than clear rules for effecting it. We should not depend on the fidelity and resolve of vice presidents to follow the intent of these rules; the law should be crystal clear on the parameters of the vice president’s powers and consistent with the very limited role set forth in the Constitution. Vice President Pence’s actions on Jan. 6 were heroic. But the peaceful transfer of power shouldn’t require heroes.

“Much debate has focused recently on the casting of ballots. Much more attention must be paid to the counting and certifying of votes. Our democracy depends on it. To prevent the subversion of the electoral process, Congress must reform the Electoral Count Act. A bipartisan group of 16 senators is working to do that.

“The ambiguously phrased Electoral Count Act must be amended to make absolutely clear that a vice president cannot manipulate or ignore electoral votes as he or she presides over this joint session of Congress. But other flaws in the law must also be remedied. For instance, the law’s threshold for triggering a challenge to the results of a state is far too low: Only one representative and one senator are required to object to a state’s electors. In the past, members on both sides of the aisle have challenged the vote without any real evidence of wrongdoing.

“Our group of senators shares a vision of drafting legislation to ensure the integrity of our elections and public confidence in the results. We want a bill that will be considered by committees, debated on the Senate floor, garner the support of the Senate’s two leaders and pass the Senate with 60 or more votes….”

“Our primary focus must be on avoiding another Jan. 6 by reforming the Electoral Count Act. That is the vital goal in itself, our duty to perform and a worthy mission that should not be derailed by good-faith but ultimately partisan provisions.

“We do not know if we will succeed, but we are trying to fix a serious problem.  The senators working on this legislation have philosophical, regional and political differences. When we disagree, we attempt to persuade one another — we cajole, haggle and even argue — but we do so with an eye on a common goal. That is the way it is supposed to work in a democracy. Maybe we could refer to the process as ‘legitimate political discourse’.”

For full article: nytimes.com

One Hundred Students Walk Out

Published February 15, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Thanks to Diane Ravitch for calling our attention to this item from Huntingon W.Va. :

Earlier this week, teachers told students that during a non-instructive class period called COMPASS, they had to go to an assembly where a Christian prayer revival was set to take place. At the assembly, teens were told to close their eyes, raise their arms in prayer and give their lives to Jesus Christ. They were also told that if they didn’t follow the Bible, they would go to hell after they died.  

WAITING

Published February 13, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WAITING

She prefers Tinker Toys to

Legos and logs, and devours

hours on her Jigsaw puzzles.

To what end?

 

She will not die with her boots

On, sad to say.  Tho she rejects

Meals on Wheels–she’s not that old!

Just marking time.

 

Time when sleepy, time when bored.

Time taking out hearing aids

To talk on the phone.  Oooh, she

Knows she  retired much too soon!

 

A coupla friends come and go

Tip toeing out to let her sleep

She needs batteries for the clock,

Now aint that a hoot.

 

She’s happy to be awaiting

Newly bought books, one being

Last words of the Executed, a second

What Is Time?  She’ll let us know.

 

For now she’s content to pout

That she’s lived so long poor thing,

Rising now to write a poem,

cheered while waiting for the

 

books to come.

A Special Keith Wilson Reblog

Published February 12, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Blackbird singing in the dead of night – a Paul McCartney encore

I wrote the following post about six years ago. Sadly, it is even more relevant today with efforts to hyper-politicize issues to garner votes under the guise of critical race theory, book banning and strategic voter suppression.

The title is from a line of The Beatles song “Blackbird” which is a tribute to the struggle for African-Americans for their civil rights. The song was sung by Paul McCartney with writing credits to both him and John Lennon, although McCartney was the lead.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Here is what McCartney said about the origin of the song in an interview in 2002.

“I’ve got a poetry book out called Blackbird Singing…..I was in Scotland playing on my guitar, and I remembered this whole idea of ‘you were only waiting for this moment to arise’ was about, you know, the black people’s struggle in the southern states, and I was using the symbolism of a blackbird. It’s not really about a blackbird whose wings are broken, you know, it’s a bit more symbolic.”

I added McCartney’s quote as I wanted the clarity around what the song means. African-Americans are still fighting an uphill struggle for their civil rights. What has happened in Ferguson, Cleveland, New Jersey, Charleston, Charlotte and Baltimore is tragic, but evidence of the disenfranchisement of African-Americans. The lack of opportunity, the malaise, the maltreatment, the deterioration of the neighborhood, the lack of respect given to people of color in our country continues.

I have noted before that Warren Buffett has said he was born lucky. He was born a white male in America. All three components of that phrase are important – white, male and America. Yes, he worked hard, but he was afforded opportunities that African-Americans do not get.  Not only do many whites like me have a hard time knowing the challenges of being black, but we also do not fully realize the advantages of being white. As I wrote recently, as a white man, there are not too many places I cannot go no matter how I am dressed. But, there are far too many stories of how a black man can be dressed in his Sunday best, yet still be stopped by the police and think “be careful as this may be the last thing I do on earth.”

I would encourage three things. First, please do not look at those committing violence and rioting as indicative of the African-American community. The community knows this is not the path forward. Second, people who look like me need to do our best to understand the challenges we have in America for people of color, but also for all people in poverty. Third, as always, talk is cheap. These issues are complex and solutions have to address many underlying concerns. There are no sound byte answers as some politicians have espoused.

I mention this last point as we must address the wide disparity in American between the “haves” and “have-nots.” This is not just an African-American issue. It is an American issue, as most people on food stamps are white. Please re-read this previous sentence. Poverty exists in urban areas, in rural areas and even in the suburbs. We have to stop the “war on poor people” and make this a “war on poverty.”

We must invest in our infrastructure and deteriorated assets repurposing them. This will spawn jobs as well in places where it is needed. We must revise our minimum wage to be consistent with a living wage for one person, which varies, but is just over $10 an hour. We must invest in education at all levels. We must embrace the Affordable Care Act as it is helping so many people and fully implement it through Medicaid expansion in the remaining 20 odd states. For some politicians to say we have a poverty problem and be against the ACA is hypocritical and shortsighted, especially when it is working pretty well.

Remember McCartney’s words and lets help these folks with broken wings learn to fly. To do otherwise, goes against what our country is all about and any of the teachings found in religious texts.

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