Now that I’ve driven my potential readers away, I’ll share what’s been on my mind: evolution. It’s an exciting topic, mysterious, and curious, so I’m hooked. The following excerpt is from Nigel Barger’s recent book, Evolution in the Here and Now, Prometheus 2020. “When gene expression is altered by the environment, there can be marked behavioral consequences….Children raised in stressful homes are significantly shorter in stature despite the fact that that height is one of the most genetically heritable traits. Psychological stress inhibits normal growth and development by changing the way that genes are expressed.” So a psychological (i.e., environmental) influence can alter gene expression , thereby shortening stature. (p 205) I’m wondering about the age factor–whether the stress transmitted in utero or during the bonding process might initiate the alteration of the gene expression. Have I not read about babies dying from lack of human touch? I’m assuming here that parents in those stressful homes would exhibit similar stressful and stress-inducing behavior behavior during the birthing process, and their hypothetical level of stress effect a compromised genetic expression. For the latter possibility, birth weights might differ. I posted this because it got my curiosity (“what if…”) going.
Now that so many Republican-controlled states are planning or hoping to ban the use of curriculum materials based on the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning “The 1619 Project,” it is refreshing to hear a contrary view.
Indiana blogger Steve Hinnefeld believes that “The 1619 Project” strongly affirms American values and hopes it will be taught in schools across the country.
Here is an excerpt from his post, which I found inspiring. I reacted to the work as he did.
I read the 1619 Project when it was published in 2019, and I thought it was one of the most powerful collections of writings about America that I had ever encountered. I reread parts of it this week, including Nikole-Hannah Jones’ lead essay, and I still feel the same way.
I’ve been mystified to see the project turned into a political lightning rod. Following the lead of Donald Trump, critics argue it is racially divisive, anti-white and anti-American, and that it seeks to make us ashamed of our country. (None of that is true). Some legislators want to outlaw teaching it in schools.
I can only assume that these people are making their arguments in profoundly bad faith, manufacturing outrage for the 2022 elections. As Notre Dame professor John Duffy writes, many of the critiques seem “cynically opportunistic – gasoline poured into the trash can fires of the culture wars.”
An ambitious initiative by the New York Times, the 1619 Project aimed to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” It examines 400 years of history through the prism of race and racism, starting with the arrival in 1619 of the first Africans brought as slaves to what would become the United States.
The project is big and complex. It includes scholarly articles, short vignettes, verse, visual art and a detailed timeline of significant, often overlooked events. Historians, journalists, critics and poets contribute content. There’s a 1619 Project curriculum for schools, developed by the Pulitzer Center.
Holding the piece together is the provocative lead essay by Hannah-Jones, who organized the project and won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for commentary for her work. “Our founding ideals of liberty and equality were false when they were written,” she writes. “Black Americans fought to make them true.”
Hannah-Jones frames her essay with her struggle to make sense of her father’s unashamed patriotism. Her father was “born into a family of sharecroppers on a white plantation in Greenwood, Mississippi.” The family moved north to Iowa, where they struggled to make a living and faced discrimination in housing, jobs and other areas. Yet her Army veteran father flew an American flag outside his house every day, something his daughter could not understand.
“Like most young people, I thought I understood so much, when in fact I understood so little,” she writes. “My father knew exactly what he was doing when he raised that flag. He knew that our people’s contributions to building the richest and most powerful nation in the world were indelible, that the United States simply would not exist without us.”
Hannah-Jones guides readers through American history seen, for once, from the perspective of African Americans. Many of the themes are familiar, but in combination they are devastating. Ten of the first 12 presidents owned slaves. For centuries, the law defined enslaved Black people as property, not human beings. Abraham Lincoln came reluctantly to freeing the slaves and did not champion equality. The brief flowering of freedom under Reconstruction was crushed by the Compromise of 1877, followed by 80 years of brutality and Jim Crow segregation. Most white Americans rejected the civil rights movement.
Black people not only endured but fought to make real the promise of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal,” Hannah-Jones writes. They marched and protested for equal rights. They fought the nation’s wars, serving in disproportionate numbers in the military. In an individualistic country, they embraced the idea of the common good. Their battles made possible freedom struggles by women, other people of color, Native Americans, immigrants and LGBTQ people.
As you know, many things currently threaten democracy. Many of you are doing what you can to address various of these things. By doing so we support each other.
My own focus at the present time is on the corrosive effect of our monetary system on democracy. Many shrug; it cannot be changed. But it can be changed and is, in fact.changing. How it changes has important consequences.
I’d like to draw your attention to an event of the Alliance For Just Money – the Just Money Festival – to take place over Zoom on Friday and Saturday, the 23rd and 24th of July. The announcement for it is here:
Home – What is Just Money – Alliance For Just Money (monetaryalliance.org)
It is an opportunity to better understand this issue. Thanks for your willingness to consider it. And thanks for all the good work you do to in support of democracy and of human dignity.
John Howell, Coordinator, Democracy Over Corporations
I’m tired, folks. I’m sick and tired of fighting to try to make people care about their own lives, their own future. I’m tempted to say, “To hell with you all! You want to die of COVID, then go right ahead. You want to be a racist, a homophobe, to hate people you don’t even know based on a single characteristic – then go ahead, limit your world to a handful of white bigots like yourself. You want to live in a country where chaos is the norm, where no laws benefitting you or anybody else ever pass, then fine … enjoy your petty, shallow life as a tool in the Republican toolbox!” I’m tempted to say that, and I can afford to, for my own life is in its twilight hours, but what stops me is that the majority of us have children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren who deserve better than the ignorant among us would subject us to.
With every passing day, there is more and more wrong in this country. The causes are two-fold: the greed of our politicians and the ignorance of the voting public. The majority of us still use our brains, still understand that the current situation is untenable, and are looking for reasonable solutions. But therein lies the problem … reasonable solutions to unreasonable problems simply don’t work.
The personification of this is a statement by a right-wing shock jock the other day …
“If you tell people you can’t have a Twitter account, you can’t have a Facebook account, well, what else is there to do but actually walk into the Capitol and go all insurrectional? If you can’t talk about it, you can only act.”
Wow … so, next time I get banned from Twitter, I should go into the Capitol with my gun and face-paint and threaten people’s lives? What rocks do these people come out from under??? Worse yet … how many people agree with his statement? How many people believe that if you don’t like something, you should simply shoot it, blow it up, or otherwise disable it?
Among my former ‘friends’ are a number of people who are simply giddy … yes, giddy … about the current state of affairs, the chaos and drama perpetuated by politicians on the Republican side of the aisle. It’s excitement in their boring little lives … to them it is akin to watching an exciting shoot-em up movie.
Folks, this is not a game, this is not a movie, this is not some country in the undeveloped world … this is the United States, once a respected republic, but now … now the laughingstock of the Western world. We are no longer respected, we are no longer trusted among our allies. Why? Need you ask?
While citizens in other nations are still under lockdown, still waiting for the vaccine to become available to them, the people of the United States are stubbornly proclaiming the vaccine to be akin to some nefarious plot by government, comparing it to Naziism, to Apartheid. Obviously, these people have no sense of history, do not understand either concept, and have no concept of how many innocent people died as a result of both. Ignorance, again.
I have to wonder … since we are obviously not teaching our children history, such as the history of South Africa or Germany and Europe before and during World War II, and since we have obviously NOT taught them to THINK for themselves, what the Sam Hell are we teaching them in school? Which leads me to another pet peeve … the Republicans denial of Critical Race Theory, which is not much more than the fact that racism is carefully embedded in our systems as a result of the racist history of this nation. The Republicans claim none of this is true … or, if it is, they don’t want the next generation to know about it. Let’s hide slavery, Jim Crow, police killings, the removal and murder of Native Americans, the Japanese internment camps, and more. Yes, let’s bury the evidence, not let our children know what evil has persisted in this nation ever since well before it was even a nation.
I am, needless to say, disappointed in the people of this nation. I am disappointed in any who can still believe in the Big Lie, who can support anyone affiliated with the Republican Party. I am disappointed in friends who are too shallow to even pay attention to what is happening in this nation, but instead focus on “being happy” to the exclusion of all else. If the people of this nation don’t wake up soon, it will be too late and this nation will find itself in the same situation as other nations under dictatorial regimes. The ignorance of people in the United States is rapidly driving us into a descent from which there may never be a lifeline. For my money, I am 70 years of age with likely only another year or two on earth, but I have loved ones who will survive me and for their sake, I still care. Damn me … I still care.
I keep running into words that move me. Such as the following excerpt from https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/nature-as-a-cure-for-the-sickness-of-modern-times:
We can get bored because we are in a tunnel which we’re mistaking for an open view. We can feel like we have explored everything we need to know. But we have only to recall that things are far weirder and more stupefying than we ever tend to think in the city – because we are sharing the planet not only with people we went to school with and high powered television executives but also flying squirrels, hyacinth macaws, vampire crabs, glasswinged butterflies, french angelfish, nicobar pigeons, okapis, rock agamas and tokay geckos – all of whom contribute to a gigantic call for us to take another closer, more wondrous and more enchanted look at what breathes around us.
which brings to mind an image from The Quantam Magazine.org/archive of smell receptors in a fly’s antennae:
I’m not bored…
A real service, Keith. Thanks!
Scams abound. At the dinner table when the kids were younger, we discussed with our teens that people want your money. So, you have to be vigilant and guard against them. Some want it by legitimate means – advertising to get your money for services rendered or products bought. Some want it through aggressive marketing to accelerate such purchases and some want to steal or trick it from you. The scams are the trickster part of the equation.
I had a new scam attempted on me this week which I will call the Electric Utility Scam. This scam was quite well organized with a sincere woman saying I owed money to the electric utility and they were on their way to cut off my power. I could stop them if I called Accounts/ Billing and gave me the number. I called and they asked for my last four digits on…
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Is NOT tattoos. Oh I know many tattoos have a happy theme, but I’ve suddenly gotten old and cantankerous and come to feel negative about tattoos. Thoughts come to mind, such as being at the pearly gates and telling God they perfected his original design, or children growing up to feel not sufficiently okay in their bodies, that they need to try and improve, or that getting a tattoo will be a good investment towards growing up, or an easy way to make a statement about their place in the alter culture, or express their anger, or hide their real vulnerable selves. I feel sad that the attitude towards females today–both of men and most women–has resulted in women placing so much of their self esteem into being “sexy” as opposed to being a human to be respected and taken seriously. I know evolution plays a big role in this behavior, but gosh, I still feel both sad and frustrated about it. Unfortunately, a number of insecure men appear to judge their own worth by their female following –or lack of following (see Incel). I wonder if the increasing number of transgender individuals reflects some of the situation. If you doubt that the number is increasing, take a look at Everything Teenage LGBTQ. Or perhaps it’s just that the issues are coming to the surface more. I remember reading that one F2M was surprised to be able to walk the street after dark without being hassled or threatened when he began presenting as his chosen gender (male).
Nuff said, maybe, so I’ll go onto other thoughts. NOW I’m onto another topic: Dreams. I found an apt, succinct statement about dreams I wanted to share, from Hall and Nordby’s The Individual and His Dreams.
“Dreams objectify that which is subjective, they visualize that which is invisible, they transform the abstract into the concrete, and they make conscious that which is unconscious. They come from the most archaic alcoves of the mind as well as from the peripheral levels of waking consciousness. Dreams are the kaleidoscope of the mind”. (p 146) Remember that the language of dreams is metaphoric.
Sweet child of hope…yes
Thank you Stine Writing for a great prompt – https://christinebialczak.com/2021/07/06/simply-6-minutes-welcome-to-the-challenge-07-06-2021/
Sweet baby fresh to the world bright eyes baby bringing new hope to the forests of Madagascar as each day habitats are taken away the money magnets chasing palm oil threaten ring-tailed mischief and haunting sifaka song sweet child of hope all lemurs salute you aye-aye baby
Excerpt re-blogged today: …jilldennison.com
At least 150 people fatally shot in more than 400 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend – CNN…
Yes, I know I’m spitting in the wind, preaching to the choir, and the gun nuts will go on being just that … NUTS. But I cannot be silent on this issue! This is one of the three biggest issues that is threatening to destroy this nation from within, the other two being racism and money in politics. And yes, I know that I’ve already said all of this before, more than a few times. But PEOPLE!!! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE GUNPOWDER!!! It’s right outside your door! Two of the fatalities this past weekend happened within a few miles of my home, likely a couple happened near you, too. Our children are not safe in their classrooms, and we are not safe even in our workplaces. How can the gun nuts even begin to justify this? More to the point, how can our elected officials, men and women who are supposed to have our best interests at heart, justify taking bribes from the NRA and refusing to even discuss laws that might save lives? Does anybody have an answer? Hell no, for there is no logical answer. It’s all about profit … profit for the gun industry, corporations such as Smith & Wesson, Glock, Beretta, Remington et al, and profit (money + power) for our not-so-illustrious elected officials whose salaries, I might remind you once again, WE PAY!
The right of a person to own a gun is about as far down on the priority list in my mind as anything could ever be. And yet, it is the defining ‘right’ of far too many fools in this country. The next holiday weekend will be the three-day Labour Day weekend, September 4th thru 6th. Anybody want to make any bets how many of us will end up dead by guns at the end of that one? (Jill Dennison: Filosofa’s Word)
Jill echoes my feelings, but I can’t afford to let myself get riled up about it (health concerns, so I’m selfish in that way.) The main sad-not-mad regret is that so many really good old boy hunters identify guns with their roots, and have come to fear invasion by imagined fellow Americans. What the world needs now is love, sweet love…and common sense, and the ability to see the reasonable life-affirming choice involved. If cave men had possessed guns we probably wouldn’t exist. The quality of life for our children is up for grabs, and grabs, and grabs…
dianeravitch The Worst Day in American History Today, as most people celebrate the Independence of our country, we think of the men and women who not only established our government but enabled it, prodded it, and compelled it—to live up to its ideals. On July 4, 1776, many Americans were not free; many did not have the right to vote or to own property or to be educated. Many did not have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We have still not lived up to the democratic ideals that the Founding Fathers put on paper. Currently, nearly half the states have enacted or intend to enact laws making it more difficult to vote, which is an attack on the fundamental promise of democracy: one man or woman, one vote.
We have only recently learned how fragile our democracy is. On January 6, 2021, a large mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to prevent the certification of the Presidential election of 2020. According to the U.S. Constitution, this ritual of certifying the results of the election is ceremonial; it is not an occasion to overturn the election results. The electoral votes from the states had been counted and certified. In some states they were recounted. The Trump campaign filed scores of lawsuits to overturn the outcome based on claims of fraud, but every such lawsuit was dismissed for lack of evidence, including two appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, even though it is dominated 6-3 by conservative Justices. Federal judges appointed by Trump, including three on the High Court, threw out his legal appeals
Despite the resounding defeat of Donald Trump in both the electoral college and the popular vote, Trump insisted that the election had been stolen from him. It came to be known as The Big Lie, repeated on a nearly daily basis.
As January 6 approached, Trump tweeted to his followers and asked them to come to Washington, D.C. on thay. He promised that “it will be wild.” As you know, he addressed thousands of his supporters that day to march to the Capitol and to “fight like hell.”
January 6 was the most shameful day in American history, the only day in which large numbers of Americans attacked the seat of their own government. They were seditionists, they perpetrated a violent insurrection, overrunning the U.S. Capitol, brutally beating law enforcement officers. It is almost equally shameful that members of Trump’s party, with only a few exceptions, have minimized what happened on that day. One member of Congress said it was akin to a normal tourist visit. Another described the violence as “peaceful protest.” Rep. Liz Cheney was ousted from her leadership role for acknowledging the seriousness of the insurrection. When asked to create an independent commission to analyze what happened that day, Senate Republicans refused to do so.
The forces of authoritarianism are rising, most notably in China, Russia, Brazil, Hungary, and Myanmar. We need to protect our democracy.
To understand what happened on January 6, please watch this video, created by the New York Times from the cameras of police, insurrectionists, and other sources. You may think you have seen it all. You have not. Watch. Then think hard about what you can do to restore our democratic ideals on this July 4.