19 June 2021

19 June 12021

610,117   is the current death toll here in America from the pandemic. Hope springs eternal and all that, but I would like not to have to lead with this any more. It’s still the biggest story around, though, even if I have long since run out of words to say on the topic.

Saturday, 19 June 12021 is World Sickle Cell Awareness Day—apparently a day on which we should strive to acquaint ourselves with the various challenges of people dealing with sickle cell disease. It is also the Day of the Independent Hungary (Hungary), Laguna Day (Laguna in the Philippines), Feast of Forest (Palawan in the Philippines), Labour Day (Trinidad and Tobago), Juneteenth National Independence Day (US Federal Holiday), José Artigas’ Birthday Memorial (Uruguay), and Never Again Day (Uruguay). On various calendars of the world it is JD 2459385, 9 Tammuz 5781, 10 Satsuki 2681, 6 (O.S) or 19 (N.S.) June 2021, 12 Säne 2013, 29 Jyaishtha 1943, 12 Paoni 1737, 9 Dhu al-Qadah 1442, and 29 Khordad 1400. On this day in history (in 11953) Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.

18 June 2021

18 June 12021

609,858   people are dead in the United States from the ongoing pandemic and we hear of frightening new variants appearing—not particularly reassuring for a successful termination of the catastrophe. We have, of course, Donald Trump and his little crew of defective magas to thank for the dismal results in our country, but some sort of termination looks to be in sight. Or so we can keep telling ourselves.

18 June 12021 is Autistic Pride Day. This is an observance supposedly proclaimed by people on the autistic spectrum themselves, and not some patronizing put-down by outsiders intent on eradicating the “disorder.” (I am not neurotypical myself, being unable to read social situations or even to recognize people if I meet them in unfamiliar contexts, and subject to anxiety or panic attacks when confronted with confusing or excessive stimuli.) It is also Human Rights Day (Azerbaijan), Foundation Day (Benguet), the King’s Mother’s Birthday (Cambodia), Constitution Day (Seychelles), and Waterloo Day (United Kingdom). In the United States it is a Federal day off for the newly proclaimed Juneteenth National Independence Day, now a Federal holiday. On various calendars of the world it is JD 2459384, 8 Tammuz 5781, 9 Satsuki 2681, 5 (O.S) or 18 (N.S.) June 2021, 11 Säne 2013, 28 Jyaishtha 1943, 11 Paoni 1737, and 8 Dhu al-Qadah 1442. And it’s Carolyn Wells’ birthday (11865), along with Paul McCartney’s and Roger Ebert’s (both 11942).

I am hoping to get the weblog back up and running again soon, but at the moment events associated with my having moved—under considerable stress—are slowing me down a bit. I may be out, but I’m not down, so please continue to watch this space.

16 June 2021

16 June 12021

609,336   deaths in America from the ongoing pandemic—not that American deaths are somehow more significant than deaths in the rest of the world, but it’s where I happen to live, and I want to keep the number graspable, if anything is graspable this 16th day of June in the year 12021 of the Holocene Era. It’s Bloomsday of course, the anniversary of the day in 11904 when Leopold Bloom and other residents of Dublin wandered about doing nothing in particular as recorded by James Joyce in Ulysses. It’s also Youth Day in South Africa.

On this day in history Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech in Springfield, Illinois, part of his unsuccessful Senate race against Stephen Douglas. The year was 11858, and the speech addressed the challenges brought by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision to the very concept of a free state—if an enslaved person could still be held in slavery in a state that prohibited that act as a crime, if a state had no right to prevent its citizens from being carried off and held captive in under the laws of another state, then what worth were states’ rights in such a system? Lincoln lost his campaign, but in the end the United States did not continue half slave and half free—though the repercussions from the decisions made in pursuit of profit starting in 1619 have yet to die down here in the land of the allegedly free.

06 June 2021

What the Fuck?

612,363   pandemic deaths in the USA so far, and for some reason unknown to me people are suddenly taking seriously the far-fetched notion that this pandemic somehow escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan. It seems that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is located in the same city where health authorities first identified the novel coronavirus. What more evidence do you need? I mean, other than any evidence at all. So far there’s been no indication of anything other than a low-grade coincidence. At any rate in any published account I’ve seen. We’ve been assured that intelligence agencies and politicians and other unqualified idiots (Tucker Carlson for example) have been taking it seriously all along, but that’s hardly reassuring as a reason I should devote any time to what appears to be another baseless conspiracy theory. (Child molesters in the basement of a pizza joint, anybody? You might as well look for a bicycle in the basement of the Alamo.)

And I see that some idiot judge has claimed “The evidence described so far proves that the ‘harm’ of an assault rifle being used in a mass shooting is an infinitesimally rare event. More people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California.” Since no-one has died from the vaccine anywhere, let alone California, the number of people who have died from mass shootings in California must be fewer than zero—an impossibility. And that impossibility shows that U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez is a driveling fool who ought to have his gavel confiscated so somebody can use it to pound some sense into his prematurely senile skull.

17 May 2021

The Illusion of Permanance (Guest Post by Nick Sutton)

[Guest post by Nick Sutton, 17 May 2021]

Maybe splitting up after 22 years together isn't so much a failed relationship as a relationship that ran its course. Maybe families aren't necessarily always permanent?

Maybe families can also be temporary groups which gather together for a common purpose and go their own way when the group is no longer needed.

Like many of my friends from school, who are still my friends, but that feeling that we were bonded like a family has faded over time. I still love and care for them and wish them the best, but also probably wouldn’t lay my head in their lap and say “pet me” if we hung out again. . . Because we're not THAT close anymore.

Maybe two people can come together to have kids, and raise those kids to the best of their ability, and maybe, like teenagers, they also change and grow and discover they want and need new/different things in their lives, and that change can be natural and healthy, and it’s not so much a “failed marriage” as a “completed marriage.” You came together to accomplish your goal, and ultimately decided to do something else.

Maybe instead of expecting people to become adults, date for a while, marry, have kids, raise kids, retire, and die all connected to the same familial unit, we can begin to approach the idea that this is a new era in our understanding of the family, and that a person will have many families through their life, some platonic and some romantic and none of it is really a failure, as it is just the natural course.

My point is, that as people continuously rethink the concept of relationships, and the many forms they can take, it might also be a good time to rethink the concept of family and its meaning and purpose, because humans are highly complex, and boiling everything down to simple binaries does not mesh well with that complexity? Maybe it is time to increasingly untether ourselves from groupings of beliefs, and ideologies, and accept the fluid and dynamic direction that life, all life, takes.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t be sad when a relationship ends, but maybe we place too much value in the permanence of relationships, when nothing’s really truly permanent, and maybe we’d adjust better to understanding that as a society, and still be sad when someone important choses to leave our lives, or take a different role than the one we want them in, but also understand that these changes aren’t really failings on our own part, but simply the whims and chaos of being human.

07 May 2021

August 1619 (Guest Post by Henry Wilson, 1872)

[Mitch McConnell says that 1619 is not a significant date in American History. Henry Wilson, one of the first historians of the Civil War and Republican Vice-President under President Grant, disagrees.]

God's Holy Word declares that man was doomed to eat his bread in the sweat of his face. History and tradition teach that the indolent, the crafty, and the strong, unmindful of human rights, have ever sought to evade this Divine decree by filching their bread from the constrained and unpaid toil of others. From inborn indolence, conjoined with avarice, pride, and lust of power, has sprung slavery in all its Protean forms, from the mildest type of servitude to the harsh and hopeless condition of absolute and hereditary bondage. Thus have grown and flourished caste and privilege, those deadly foes of the rights and well-being of mankind, which can exist only by despoiling the many for the benefit of the few.

American slavery reduced man, created in the Divine image, to property. It converted a being endowed with conscience, reason, affections, sympathies, and hopes, into a chattel. It sunk a free moral agent, with rational attributes and immortal aspirations, to merchandise. It made him a beast of burden in the field of toil, an outcast in social life, a cipher in the courts of law, and a pariah in the house of God. To claim himself, or to use himself for his own benefit or the benefit of wife or child, was deemed a crime. His master could dispose of his person at will, and of everything acquired by his enforced and unrequited toil.

This complete subversion of the natural rights of millions, by which they were “deemed, held, taken, reputed, and adjudged in law to be chattels personal to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever,” constituted a system antagonistic to the doctrines of reason and the monitions of conscience, and developed and gratified the most intense spirit of personal pride, a love of class distinctions, and the lust of dominion. Hence arose a commanding power, ever sensitive, jealous, proscriptive, dominating, and aggressive, which was recognized and fitly characterized as the Slave Power.

This slavery and this Slave Power, in their economical, social, moral, ecclesiastical, and political relations to the people and to the government, demoralizing the one and distracting the councils of the other, made up the vital issues of that “irrepressible conflict” which finally culminated in a civil war that startled the nations by its suddenness, fierceness, and gigantic proportions.

Half a century before the discovery of America, Portuguese and Spanish navigators had introduced African slaves into Europe. The English and other commercial nations followed their example. When, therefore, the Western Continent was opened to colonization and settlement, these nations were prepared to introduce slaves and to prosecute the African slave-traffic with vigor and on a large scale.

In the month of August, 1619, a Dutch ship entered James River with twenty African slaves. They were purchased by the colonists, and they and their offspring were held in perpetual servitude. Thus, at Jamestown, twelve years from the settlement of the colony of Virginia, and one year before the feet of the Pilgrims had touched the New World, began that system in the British continental colonies which, under the fostering care of England, overspread the land. So near in time, though remote in points of destination, came those two vessels across the sea, with elements at once so potent and yet so unlike,—the “Mayflower,” with its freight of learning and Christian civilization; the other, with its ill-starred burden of wretchedness and woe, bearing the seeds of a system destined, after a struggle of two hundred and forty years for development, expansion, and dominion, to light the fires of civil war, and perish in the flames its own hand had kindled.

Unfinished Post (May 12021)

588,620   people dead in the United States from the pandemic and still the clueless rage that the vaccines are going to turn us all into monsters as if we were living in an old fifties horror flick. Paging Drs. Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh. There are some things that man is not meant to tamper with—including gender, religion, and place in the social order as decreed from On High. Some of us are born masculine, some achieve masculinity, and some have masculinity thrust upon them, as Malvolio’s supposed friends might have told him. I mean, with the right assistance, none of us need go through an undesired puberty, but apparently a bunch of yahoo Arkansas legislators know better than physicians who have actual experience, or the children whose lives they’re setting out to ruin.

So I hear I’m wrong again—apparently George Floyd’s killer has been found guilty. **shrugs** I’ll believe it when the fat lady pulls the trigger. The judge’s obvious sympathy for the plight of the killer has not escaped me—nor the fact that the legal system is stacked in favor of the wealthy and their minions, including police and prosecutors. I am impressed that the jury somehow found the courage to defy their police-defined duty to acquit the killer, given the power of the thin blue line to exact revenge on the people they see as their foes—but the indiscriminate use of that power may be backfiring. When arrogance knows no bounds, there’s no downside to fighting back.

On the other hand I am not impressed by the current agreement on the part of those who have a right to an opinion—a right now conferred on the lucky few by the heirs of Murdoch—that Ma’Khia Bryant had it coming. It was her own choice, goes the story, that she ended up dead at the age of sixteen. If she’d really wanted to live, she never would have chosen to be a Black girl instead of a 100% American White Boy™.

18 April 2021

Typically Stupid

574,185   deaths from the pandemic here in the United States, and nearly three million worldwide—and the effort to get everyone vaccinated has had a setback with the use of one of the vaccines available for the job now suspended. In the meantime public attention has again shifted other topics—notably the trial of George Floyd’s killer, now in its final stages. I’m assuming that the smug bastard’s going to be acquitted after a brief deliberation by the jury before the judge awards him a medal for services to the Republic beyond the call of duty, but I could be wrong. The defense was typically stupid—the police were “distracted” by the large crowd of a half-dozen or so menacing women and children and the victim wouldn’t have died if he weren’t addicted to drugs. Pitiful, just pitiful, as Jed Clampett might observe. But of course the point isn’t to have a cogent defense of any kind—the point is to give the jury some excuse for the inevitable acquittal.

It’s high time we got rid of these gangs of armed thugs running around loose killing people and extorting money from the public under guise of “protection”. Don’t get me wrong, as a True Conservative™ I’m not in favor of defunding the police. Far from it. Nor do I think the police should mend their ways with some kind of reform measure—a toothless civilian review board or oversight committee or the like. That ship sailed before I was born. No, I’m in favor of going back a couple hundred years and abolishing the police altogether—handing their functions over to trained professionals in various fields—animal control experts, health care personnel, social workers, and so on—with a single paramilitary unit maybe to handle the occasional emergency. End this failed experiment originally intended at keeping the underclasses (whether enslaved or free) in their place and under control of their social betters. Terminate, or better yet, ex-terminate.

Why this grotesque overreach by local government continues to be tolerated is a legitimate topic for discussion. Likewise how we should enforce social conformity on the unwilling in the absence of paid armed thugs—and do we really need to go as far as we seem to have decided is necessary? But when an unarmed child with his hands up is killed by the police—and the officer doing the killing is lauded as a “hero”—I think we all should be able to agree that things have gone too damn far. If we can’t, we might as well chuck this whole civilization thing and let the cannibalistic dogs run the show.

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