Sunday Reads: Coke and a Child

Good morning, I guess the memes make themselves up nowadays.

Cartoons from Cagle.com

All this mask freedom…is a bit premature…

The fat lady hasn’t even started to warm up, she won’t be singing anytime soon.

I thought Benji was out? Or would be out soon?

Meanwhile in Mississippi:

There is a new case of police brutality…this one is torture.

Remember the name Jamal Sutherland…because he will become the next George Floyd.

I tried to watch the video, but I could not. My disgust is overwhelming and I am seriously thinking about going to Charleston to March in the protest.

I’m ending this with a few nice things:

This is an open thread.


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?  


Wednesday Reads: Me worry?

And good morning to you…

Some hard hits there…as usual, the political comics bringing the point home.

First tweet I saw when I started to write this post:

This is one of my favorite pictures…please click on that link and read more about Raymond Cauchetier.

Now for some news updates:

And one last thing…

#FuckBernieSanders

( And #FuckJoeManchin too!)

Ugh…

Try and stay safe today…


Sunday Reads: Whitelash

This attempted coup is disgusting…here are a few thoughts on the violence this past week.

I think it all stems from the fact that a black man was elected President some years ago….tRump supporters have something in common. They are white supremacist, bigoted assholes.

This thread:

Just waiting for…

This is an open thread.


Juneteenth Reads !!!

See the source image

Happy Juneteenth!

Yes.  This is a regular post here at Sky Dancing!  It’s not something we all just discovered.  I went back into our archives and searched for the Juneteenth tag and discovered that Mona, JJ, BB, and I had all written posts for the occasion.

That link goes to the one I wrote in 2017 and it includes pictures, history, and a link to Black Lives Matter plus a police brutality case in Seattle where police shot and killed a mother of four waving a knife around.  There is also a link to the outrage in the Twin Cities over the acquittal of officers involved with the death of Philando Castille plus bonus links on gerrymandering in Wisconsin and how difficult it is to climb out of poverty.  It’s like reading headlines today with different names and none of the Trump chaos and malfeasance.

This link has some exciting news for a history nerd like me. “An original ‘Juneteenth’ order found in the National Archives. The handwritten document informed the enslaved in Texas they were free on June 19, 1865.”  This is via WAPO.

The National Archives on Thursday located what appears to be an original handwritten “Juneteenth” military order informing thousands of people held in bondage in Texas they were free.

The decree, in the ornate handwriting of a general’s aide, was found in a formal order book stored in the Archives headquarters building in Washington. It is dated June 19, 1865, and signed by Maj. F.W. Emery, on behalf of Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free,’ ” the order reads.

“This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

So, if only we did a better job living up to the promises our country made to every one.  Jamelle Bouie writes this for the NYT: ‘Why Juneteenth Matters. It was black Americans who delivered on Lincoln’s promise of “a new birth of freedom.’

Neither Abraham Lincoln nor the Republican Party freed the slaves. They helped set freedom in motion and eventually codified it into law with the 13th Amendment, but they were not themselves responsible for the end of slavery. They were not the ones who brought about its final destruction.

Who freed the slaves? The slaves freed the slaves.

“Slave resistance,” as the historian Manisha Sinha points out in “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition,” “lay at the heart of the abolition movement.”

“Prominent slave revolts marked the turn toward immediate abolition,” Sinha writes, and “fugitive slaves united all factions of the movement and led the abolitionists to justify revolutionary resistance to slavery.”

Juneteenth this year will have a different feel.  This is from the AP:

For many white Americans, recent protests over police brutality have driven their awareness of Juneteenth’s significance.

“This is one of the first times since the ’60s, where the global demand, the intergenerational demand, the multiracial demand is for systemic change,” said Cornell University professor Noliwe Rooks, a segregation expert. “There is some understanding and acknowledgment at this point that there’s something in the DNA of the country that has to be undone.”

Friday’s celebrations will be marked from coast to coast with marches and demonstrations of civil disobedience, along with expressions of black joy in spite of an especially traumatic time for the nation. And like the nationwide protests that followed the police involved deaths of black men and women in Minnesota, Kentucky and Georgia, Juneteenth celebrations are likely to be remarkably more multiracial.

And from WAPO:

This year, invigorated by weeks of protests that began after the police killing of George Floyd, more than 20 rallies, marches and events are scheduled for Friday in the District — with hundreds more in at least 45 states, according to the Movement for Black Lives.

Starting about 8 a.m., protesters will gather at symbolic landmarks, including the U.S. Education Department, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Freedom Plaza, the African American Civil War Memorial, Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park) and the White House. Other rallies, vigils and demonstrations in the Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs also are planned.

Here’s some hopeful news:

Amy Walter / The Cook Political Report:  New 2020 Electoral College Ratings  —  With just under five months until the election, President Trump is a severe underdog for re-election.  Polls show that voters do not trust him to handle the two most pressing issues of the day — the coronavirus pandemic and race relations — which has helped drive his job approval to 41 percent.

Cat Zakrzewski / Washington Post:  Twitter labels Trump video tweet as manipulated media, continuing its crackdown on misinformation  —  The label marks the fourth time Twitter has added labels to the president’s tweets.  —  Twitter on Thursday evening took the rare step of appending a warning label to one of President Trump’s tweets …

So, the first reference I found to our Juneteenth blog celebration was from 2010 and Wonk wrote it.  She’s from Texas so she has a lot more familiarity with the holiday than most of us did but yet, we all found out about it way before Donald Trump and way before the sudden interest of white people in its celebration.  Today, I think about the number of black Americans dying at the hands of police, black women dying from  inadequate pregnancy care, black elders with comorbidities that should not exist in a country as rich as ours dying from COVID 19.

I think about all the systemic hurdles our country has placed in front of the black community. I think about the hope of the Emancipation and the Dream of MLK and the basic justice and equality built into the US Constitution that never quite becomes true for all of us at the same time.

See the source image

Perhaps, this is a Juneteenth that serves as a new Emancipation watermark. However, just looking back on the last 10 years I realize that it’s going to take a hell of a lot more legislative action to make any of those Promises and Dreams a reality.  Which brings me to Mitch McConnells’ reign of terror in the Senate. We could’ve done a lot more without him.

At a time when Confederate symbols are being removed from public places it’s time to think about what we can do to get rid of the NeoConferates in the Senate like Mitch (and Lindsey too). He’s taken cover behind Trumpist chaos to block all legislation except those huge horrid tax cuts and a few minor others.    He has worked tirelessly just to put unqualified judges with NeoConfederate ideology on federal benches in life time appointments.  None of the hard work of getting laws passed is going to get through him if he can help it.

We need to get rid of these old NeoConfederates in the Senate this year or it’s going to be another log slog down the road to freedom and justice.  The struggle continues.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?