Friday Reads: Every Day People

Portrait Of Alice Neel by Fred W. McDarrah

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I feel like one of those cartoons with the spinning heads as news leaps from continued lies, conspiracy theories and freakshows from the previous guy and his cronies to the headlines coming out of the first 100 days of Status Quo Joe’ sudden leap into the headlines as the next FDR or LBJ and then to the absolute horrific tales coming out the Derik Chauvin Trial. It’s like the psyche of America is on full monte, naked display.

So, yesterday I saw this Washington Post article on the Artist Alice Neel and a notice of a retrospective of her work at the Metropolitan Art Museum in NYC. Some of her delightful portraits fill the white space today.  I found a lot of them a this link at the NYT under a the headline Alice Neel’s Love of Harlem and the Neighbors She Painted There”    You may also find more of her work here “The Life & Works of Alice Neel. Delve deep into the mind of the American artist, whose body of work demonstrates the intertwining of art and life, capturing what the eyes see and what the heart feels.”

‘Ginny and Elizabeth’, 1975,

While the Trump whack-a-dos are obsessing on Vaccine Passports and mumbling about the mark of some beast or another we’ll just take a look at Susan B. Glasser’s thoughts on Biden as the next LBJ or FDR at The New Yorker.  The headline is clickbait worthy but the lede is what is real. “Is Biden Really the Second Coming of F.D.R. and L.B.J.?  Proposing historic legislation is not transformative; passing it is.”  Well, the article was posted yesterday so maybe it was a little bit of April Foolery?  Read it and realize the first hundred days do not a presidential legacy make.  But, of course we knew that.

As for Biden, what I’m struck by is not so much the quite possibly overheated F.D.R. and L.B.J. comparisons as the radically different political circumstances that Biden faces in getting Congress to enact his sweeping big-government proposals. Yes, Trump was the first Republican incumbent seeking reëlection to see his party lose the White House, Senate, and House since Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover, in 1932. But almost everything else about the politics of today appears to be radically different for the new Biden Administration than it was for Roosevelt, from the nature and scale of the economic problems that he faces—the Great Depression was not just worse than our current predicament but much worse—to the realities of governing. The biggest difference is in Washington, where Biden will be trying to push through his agenda with the votes of only fifty senators and a House margin of only three votes. In 1933, by contrast, F.D.R. was working with a Congress in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the House three to one; in the Senate, they had a fifty-nine-vote majority. L.B.J.’s hand was even stronger; after his landslide election victory, in 1964, Democrats controlled sixty-eight seats in the Senate and picked up an additional thirty-six seats in the House, giving them two hundred and ninety-five seats and a sizable majority.

What a contrast with today. The truth, which the savvy hands in the Biden White House know all too well, is that the enemy gets a vote, as the military saying goes. In this case, it will get a lot of votes, because there is just no getting around the reality of near-parity between the parties in Congress. As the bills are hashed out on the Hill over the coming months, every faction of even one or two or three members will get a say, knowing that an entire bill could go down with just their votes. The lobbying that has already begun suggests a tough road ahead.

Alice Neel’s 1950 portrait of the playwright Alice Childress. Credit: Estate of Alice Neel, David Zwirner, New York/London; Collection of Art Berliner

Meanwhile, the prosecution and search for the Trumpist Insurrectionists continues.  This is one more reminder of why the previous guy is still a clear and present danger.  I was glad to read that more people threatened by the Insurrection Riots–now to include Capitol Police as well as Congress Critters–are suing the living daylights out of him.

This is from BuzzFeed News‘ Zoe Tillman: ‘The Lawsuits Against Donald Trump Are Stacking Up Over “Stop The Steal”‘

Lawsuits seeking to hold former president Donald Trump personally — and financially — responsible for the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 are stacking up.

This week, two US Capitol Police officers who said they were on the front lines at the Capitol on Jan. 6 sued Trump, arguing that he was liable for inciting the violence and for the physical and emotional injuries they sustained during clashes with rioters.

There are already two lawsuits filed by Democratic members of Congress — Reps. Bennie Thompson and Eric Swalwell — that accuse Trump and his allies of conspiring to interfere with their official duties by pushing the false claims of voter fraud that underpinned the Capitol insurrection. A fourth case, filed a few weeks before the January riot, accuses Trump and Republicans of violating federal civil rights law by focusing postelection challenges and fraud falsehoods on areas with large Black populations.

Trump has denied that he was responsible for inciting the violence of Jan. 6, and his defense against these cases is likely to feature an argument that his promotion of the “Stop the Steal” campaign — the lie that President Joe Biden’s win was illegitimate and that there was widespread fraud — was political speech protected by the First Amendment. His lawyers haven’t filed responses yet to the post–Jan. 6 cases, but they’ve already raised a First Amendment defense in the postelection civil rights case filed on behalf of Black voters.

There’s more potential legal fallout from “Stop the Steal” looming over Trump. Earlier this week, a lawyer for Dominion Voting Systems told Axios that the election tech company hadn’t ruled out suing Trump or anyone else who promoted false claims that Dominion and its products were involved in an election fraud scheme. Dominion and another voting systems company, Smartmatic, have already filed billion-dollar lawsuits against Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, and Fox News.

Alice Neel’s 1966 painting of a South Asian woman, her mauve sari covered with periwinkle diamonds, is among two dozen portraits in the show “Alice Neel, Uptown” at David Zwirner gallery.

Let’s hope all the injured parties can drain them all dry!  The Spawn of Trump are fairing no better.  Ivanka Trump’s project to globally aid women entreprenuers shows incredible signs of mismanagement.  This is reported by Glenn Thrush writing for the NYT. “A global aid program championed by Ivanka Trump has serious problems, a report finds.”   Pretty bad when a bored and dim socialite can’t even make a decent run at a charity but then, they all can’t seem to get the idea that a charity isn’t there to benefit them somehow.  That’s sort’ve a killer misperception.

One of Ivanka Trump’s top initiatives — a legislative overhaul of programs assisting small businesses run by women around the world — was so haphazardly managed by a federal agency that an independent watchdog was unable to determine whether it actually worked.

In a report released on Thursday, the Government Accountability Office found that programs funded through the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, which Ms. Trump, the eldest daughter of former President Donald J. Trump, helped usher through Congress in late 2018, were deeply flawed and hampered by poor oversight.

Officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which oversaw $265 million per year in spending on the initiative and an associated antipoverty program, never worked out “an explicit definition” of who was eligible to receive millions in aid, the report found.

The aid agency was also unable to determine the percentage of funding going to “the very poor and enterprises owned, managed and controlled by women,” the authors concluded after a 14-month audit, which covered actions taken during both the Obama and Trump administrations.

The G.A.O. recommended the U.S. Agency for International Development make six major changes to overhaul the programs. The agency’s leaders, who were appointed by the Biden administration, said they planned to implement them.

Ah, let me put a theme song to the paintings and what I want to sing every time I turn on TV and read about another Hate Crime.  I’m trying to work myself up to looking at the attempt to get Justice for George Floyd and to stop thinking about all those women who died in the spa shooting so maybe Sly will cheer me up and I can sing  ‘

‘We all the same no matter what we do’ .

Neel’s portrait of Mercedes Arroyo, from 1952.Credit…Estate of Alice Neel, David Zwirner, New York/London; Daryl and Steven Roth

‘and scooby dooby dooby …’

So, today the prosecution put more expert witnesses which are a hell of a lot easier to watch than the seriously emotionally damaged witnesses to Chauvin’s knew on George Floyd.  Joy Reid twitted this interesting fact about him:

The first officer who testified today in the Chauvin trial was interesting — the fact that he went through the community policing system under Obama’s 21st century policing program means he just has a different perspective from other officers. We need more of that.

This was the conclusion at WAPO just minutes ago: “Senior officer rejects Chauvin’s ‘totally unnecessary’ use of force against George Floyd”.  That pretty much backs up everything the witnesses up to date have said including the 9 year old.

An emotional week of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin concluded Friday with Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, rejecting the former officer’s use of force against George Floyd, calling it “uncalled for” and “totally unnecessary.” Zimmerman testified that once someone is handcuffed, “they are not a threat to you at that point” and the amount of force should be immediately reduced. “If your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill him,” he testified.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, argued Friday that police can use “improvisation” for “whatever force is reasonable and necessary.”

The Trial is on recess until Monday Morning so you have plenty of time to watch/hear the gut wrenching testimony of the witnesses as well as First Responders who arrived at the scene too late to be of use.

Neel’s drawing of Georgie Arce, from 1955. Credit: Estate of Alice Neel, David Zwirner, New York/London; Private Collection

I have to pace myself even when it’s just post coverage by the media. It’s so supremely shocking that even repeats of the film or watching witnesses cry on the stand as they try to recount it just makes me put my head in my pillow to scream.

‘Ooh sha sha
We got to live together
I am no better and neither are you
We’re all the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me
You know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in
I am everyday people’

And just so you know we’re still not out of  the woods yet …

and the suspect is in custody.

and then there’s this:

And with that I bid you to please have a happy and sunny weekend.  Please be safe!  We want to hear from you for a very long time!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  

23 Comments on “Friday Reads: Every Day People”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I’m off to another weekend full of grading! It’s a living!

    Hope you’ve got better plans than me!

    Take care!

  2. dakinikat says:

    So, this doesn’t sound so good …

  3. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Thoughts and prayers, with a tiny violin.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Remember how long it took them to find her? Karma babee.

        I do think we need a national prison overhaul and I’m sure the conditions are sub-human and need to be cleaned up.

  4. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Good luck getting the stank off pal.

      Does anyone else find it odd Gaetz has a 19-year old male immigrant who the family unofficially adopted at age 12, living with him? Never legally adopted. Gosh no hint of exploitation there right? I hope it’s on the up and up and the kid is alright.

      And is Gaetz still engaged? Wiki says he got engaged in December.

      A 38 year old man picking up young women on internet sites where sex is sold for “gifts” – hmmmm. Who wants to bet Gaetz has never and will never have a normal relationship with a woman for as long as he lives.

      • bostonboomer says:

        What family? He isn’t married.

      • NW Luna says:

        Yes, I find it very odd about that “unofficially adopted” at age 12 kid. Sounds more like a child bondservant. Doesn’t sound like his relationships with women are free of coercion either.

      • quixote says:

        And he pays them in his generous-partnery way, using CashApp. Jesus take the wheel. Gaetz is as dumb as he looks, and that’s not easy to achieve.

  5. dakinikat says:

    • djmm says:

      Good for them!!

    • Enheduanna says:

      Same here glad to see this.

      My guess is we the taxpayers of Georgia will have to subsidize that monstrous new stadium they built with our tax dollars on the white side of Atlanta for a few years.

  6. dakinikat says: