Monday Reads: And the Beat Goes On …

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I’ve been staring at this white page on my computer screen for several hours now. I’m going back and forth between Twitter and Memeorandum, sorting out the headlines we’ve lived with for over a year. It’s just a riff on the days and months before.

The news on the Insurrectionists continues to be grim, with yet another Republican refusing to testify before a committee. This time it’s Gym Jordan who swears he knows nothing, nothing! This is from Steve Benen, writing for MSNBC.

It was nearly three weeks ago when the bipartisan panel first reached out to Jordan, not with a subpoena, but with a written request for information. The far-right congressman soon after appeared on Fox News, saying he was unlikely to cooperate. “I got real concerns about any committee that will take a document and alter it and present it to the American people — completely mislead the American people like they did last week,” he argued.

In reality, the committee did not actually mislead anyone and Jordan’s complaint was difficult to take seriously.

Yesterday, Jordan moved on to a new list of concerns, claiming in a written response that the request from investigators “is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”

So much for “if they call me, I got nothing to hide.”

In case this isn’t obvious, the Republican is in a unique position to help shed light on the events surrounding last year’s political violence. The New York Times recently reported, for example, that Jordan attended crisis meetings at Trump campaign headquarters as early as Nov. 9, just two days after Joe Biden became president-elect.

Nicolas Wu reports this bit of breaking news today in Politico. As we all know, Trump was a very busy boy trying to dump election results. Now, we are beginning to see the extent of it.

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The public focus of Congress’ Jan. 6 investigation, so far, is what happened in Washington, D.C. Behind the scenes, the probe’s state-level work is kicking into overdrive.

The House committee investigating the Capitol attack has gathered thousands of records from state officials and interviewed a slate of witnesses as it attempts to retrace former President Donald Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election, particularly in four key states that swung the presidency to Joe Biden. They’re getting ready to take their work public, possibly as soon as the spring.

“We want to let the public see and hear from those individuals who conducted elections in those states,” select panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview. He described those witnesses as particularly important given their mandates to keep elections “fair and impartial” while hailing from one political party.

The voluminous documents state election officials have sent the Jan. 6 committee, obtained by POLITICO through open records requests, underscore the depth of Trump’s pressure campaign directed at the typically lower-level administrators of presidential balloting. The emails, texts and phone recordings also add consequential context to previously reported incidents, such as Trump’s call to Georgia’s top elections investigator and Mark Meadows’ outreach to Georgia election officials.

Trump really mistook all those state public servants as foot soldiers in his campaign to be President-for-Life. It shows how urgent the situation will be if any more Trumpzies get into the office at any level.

The Washington Post has a most exciting database and analysis of ng “Who owned Slaves in Congress.” As a descendent of 6 signers of the Declaration of Independence and two signers of The US Constitution, I continually deal with the idea that my family–at one point–owned people. All of my greats that fought in the Civil War were on the Union side; still, farther back, were everything from prominent plantation families from Virginia and South Carolina to small farmers owning a couple and their children. It’s still something I try to wrap my head around.More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were and how they shaped the nation”. The Washington Post has compiled the first database of slaveholding members of Congress by examining thousands of pages of census records and historical documents.” This is also how my mother dug up our family history.

The biggest shock came for me after the murder of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who I realized was most likely a family member. He was murdered in 2015 by a white supremacist along with other parishioners. Mother always was a little weird when explaining the relationship between the signers of the Constitution from South Carolina. She would always point out that the Governor was just a great Uncle while our “direct” ancestor was the other. I’ve known this since high school but only delved deeper into that history after that horrible massacre in the Mother Emanuel AME church. I found that great Uncle Charles Pinckney helped write the Fugitive Slave Act. This haunts me and the knowledge that every black American with that name has ties to that family plantation. It grounds me in history in a significant way. The interactive database is quite interesting.

The country is still grappling with the legacy of their embrace of slavery. The link between race and political power in early America echoes in complicated ways, from the racial inequities that persist to this day to the polarizing fights over voting rights and the way history is taught in schools.

The Washington Post created a database that shows enslavers in Congressrepresented 37 states, including not just the South but every state in New England, much of the Midwest, and many Western states.

While teachers are now discouraged from teaching actual history including our roots in slavery and the slaughter and displacement of Indigenous peoples, one GOP State Senator from Indiana has a really abhorrent policy suggestion. “An Indiana GOP state senator said teachers’ need to be impartial’ during lessons about Nazism and fascism” I’m thrilled my father didn’t live to see this coming out of the Republican Party.

On Wednesday, during an Indiana state Senate committee hearing about a proposed bill that would ban “divisive concepts” in school classrooms, Republican Sen. Scott Baldwin said teachers’ lessons about fascism and Nazismshould be impartial.

“Marxism, Nazism, fascism … I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of those ‘isms,’ ” said Baldwin, who co-wrote the bill. “I believe that we’ve gone too far when we take a position. … We need to be impartial.”

Baldwin backtracked those comments Thursday following criticism. In an email to the Indianapolis Star, Baldwin said he was focused on the “big picture” of preventing teachers fromtelling students “what to think about politics.”

“Nazism, Marxism and fascism are a stain on our world history and should be regarded as such, and I failed to adequately articulate that in my comments during the meeting,” Baldwin said. “I believe that kids should learn about these horrible events in history so that we don’t experience them again in humanity.”

These are the same people that insist their take on Christianity be forced on everyone, including other Christians. They’re still continuing to try to kill public education.

Here’s why they hate anyone who teaches critical thinking skills like yours truly. (via Eudhanna). This is from the New Daily of Australia. “Conspiracy theorists lack critical thinking skills: New study.” It was initially published last July by John Elder.

The French researchers ran two studies, where they assessed the critical thinking skills of 338 undergraduate students using a French version of a teaching and testing tool known as the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test.

They then scored the students’ tendencies towards conspiracy beliefs and their personal assessment of their critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of a situation – and requires a number of cognitive skills.

These include the ability to think systematically, see other perspectives, change your mind when new evidence arises, identify relevant versus irrelevant information, identify and discard logical fallacies, be aware of biases and avoid them, and look beyond the obvious.

None of this is particularly easy.

What the researchers found was a strong association between lower critical thinking skills and an increased tendency toward believing conspiracy theories.

This isn’t a new idea – instead, it persuasively builds on previous research.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues unabated.

.Caitlin Owens–writing for Axiosbelieves that “The Biden administration has a COVID credibility crisis.”

A series of messaging missteps is threatening the credibility of federal health agencies, and critics say the White House isn’t doing enough to manage the fallout.

Why it matters: While much of the unvaccinated population is unlikely to be persuaded by any messenger, large swaths of the public are still receptive to expert guidance, but federal health agencies, particularly the CDC, may be squandering their credibility with this population.

  • “The administration in general has lost the confidence of people who would be their natural supporters,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert and former Biden administration advisory board member.

State of play: Months of convoluted guidance hit a breaking point over the winter holiday, when the CDC became a viral internet meme amongst frustrated Americans who could no longer take the agency’s guidance seriously.

  • The CDC’s new guidance on how long COVID patients should remain in isolation was mocked by thousands of internet meme-makers. The CDC responded by saying the changing guidelines are motivated by “fast-moving science.”
  • “It’s never good to be the butt of jokes,” former CDC director Tom Frieden said in an interview.

Context: The CDC and the FDA also waited months to make booster shots available to all American adults. Those shots have proven especially important against Omicron, and many states, pharmacies and individual patients ignored the CDC’s more limited initial recommendations.

  • Recommendations about masking have fallen flat for months.

What they’re saying: “The CDC is facing a real crisis of trust,” said Leana Wen, a physician and professor at George Washington University.

  • And some experts say CDC director Rochelle Walensky should shoulder much of the blame for the administration’s messaging mess.
  • “The primary problem is the policy and how insular Walensky has been in setting it,” Wen said. “She and the others are great communicators but no one can communicate a bad policy.”

The next part of the piece is basically a rebuttal if you want to read the counterpoints.

So, you can always take the Q-Anon/Anti-Vaxxer’s take on things, including taking horse pills and drinking piss. This is from the Daily Beast. “Anti-Vax Leader Urges Followers to Drink Their Own Urine to Fight COVID.”

Anti-COVID-19 “Vaccine Police” leader Christopher Key has a new quarter-baked conspiracy theory for his anti-vax followers to use to cure themselves of COVID-19: Drink their own urine. “The antidote that we have seen now, and we have tons and tons of research, is urine therapy. OK, and I know to a lot of you this sounds crazy, but guys, God’s given us everything we need,” Key said in a video posted over the weekend on his Telegram account after being released from jail over a trespassing charge. “This has been around for centuries,” he added. “When I tell you this, please take it with a grain of salt,” the anti-vaccine advocate warned while saying people might now think he is “cray cray.” “Now drink urine!” he continued. “This vaccine is the worst bioweapon I have ever seen,” he concluded. “I drink my own urine!” Reached for comment by The Daily Beast on Sunday night, Key doubled down on what he calls “urine therapy” and railed against “foolish” people who took the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe and effective.

No critical thinking skills here at all, I’d say!

So, the last thing I want to mention is the Bronx fire that has killed 17 people, including children.

And with that, I leave you.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


7 Comments on “Monday Reads: And the Beat Goes On …”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Have a great week!

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    This is why I avoid Jefferson Parish:

  4. NW Luna says:

    Quelle surprise!

    strong association between lower critical thinking skills and an increased tendency toward believing conspiracy theories.

  5. NW Luna says:

    …the headlines we’ve lived with for over a year. It’s just a riff on the days and months before.

    One of the reasons why I’m feeling a mix of apathy, frustration, foreboding and anger lately.

  6. dakinikat says: