Steve Pollock

Since 1963.

Category: Society (Page 1 of 2)

Eggheads

There is brilliance «here» by Matthew Stewart:

“Here’s another fact of life in West Egg: Someone is always above you. In Gatsby’s case, it was the old-money people of East Egg. In the Colonel’s case, it was John D. Rockefeller Jr. You’re always trying to please them, and they’re always ready to pull the plug.
“The source of the trouble, considered more deeply, is that we have traded rights for privileges. We’re willing to strip everyone, including ourselves, of the universal right to a good education, adequate health care, adequate representation in the workplace, genuinely equal opportunities, because we think we can win the game. But who, really, in the end, is going to win this slippery game of escalating privileges?”
The Atlantic

And this:

“In Trump, the age of unreason has at last found its hero. The ‘self-made man’ is always the idol of those who aren’t quite making it. He is the sacred embodiment of the American dream, the guy who answers to nobody, the poor man’s idea of a rich man. It’s the educated phonies this group can’t stand. With his utter lack of policy knowledge and belligerent commitment to maintaining his ignorance, Trump is the perfect representative for a population whose idea of good governance is just to scramble the eggheads. When reason becomes the enemy of the common man, the common man becomes the enemy of reason.
Did I mention that the common man is white? That brings us to the other side of American-style resentment. You kick down, and then you close ranks around an imaginary tribe. The problem, you say, is the moochers, the snakes, the handout queens; the solution is the flag and the religion of your (white) ancestors. According to a survey by the political scientist Brian Schaffner, Trump crushed it among voters who ‘strongly disagree’ that ‘white people have advantages because of the color of their skin,’ as well as among those who ‘strongly agree’ that ‘women seek to gain power over men.’ It’s worth adding that these responses measure not racism or sexism directly, but rather resentment. They’re good for picking out the kind of people who will vehemently insist that they are the least racist or sexist person you have ever met, even as they vote for a flagrant racist and an accused sexual predator.”
Ibid

And then he brings it home:

“No one is born resentful. As mass phenomena, racism, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, narcissism, irrationalism, and all other variants of resentment are as expensive to produce as they are deadly to democratic politics. Only long hours of television programming, intelligently manipulated social-media feeds, and expensively sustained information bubbles can actualize the unhappy dispositions of humanity to the point where they may be fruitfully manipulated for political gain. Racism in particular is not just a legacy of the past, as many Americans would like to believe; it also must be constantly reinvented for the present. Mass incarceration, fearmongering, and segregation are not just the results of prejudice, but also the means of reproducing it.”
Ibid

Where then shall we go thither?

“The United States, to be clear, is hardly the most egregious offender in the annals of human inequality. The European nations from which the colonists of North America emigrated had known a degree of inequality and instability that Americans would take more than a century to replicate. Whether in ancient Rome or the Near East, Asia or South America, the plot remains the same. In The Great Leveler, the historian Walter Scheidel makes a disturbingly good case that inequality has reliably ended only in catastrophic violence: wars, revolutions, the collapse of states, or plagues and other disasters. It’s a depressing theory. Now that a third wave of American inequality appears to be cresting, how much do we want to bet that it’s not true?”
Ibid

If I have quoted rather liberally, it is to be sure because the piece deserves to be quoted liberally across the land. Read the whole thing.

More Grief

This is kind of like how I feel about my (possibly four) upcoming surgeries: I don't want to do this, but I have to, and…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Monday, June 25, 2018

Rip, Gronk, Rip!

My very first animated gif:

via GIPHY

Sorry We Destroyed Your Life After You Saved Our Country

“I am certain that but for his work we would have lost the war through starvation.”

Lady Trumpington, 2013

Ooops. «Sorry about the whole castration/murder even though you were actually a major war hero, couldn’t have done it without you, thing.». Fags are cool, now. So. Yeah. Like, we good? We good here?

“Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker who took his own life after being convicted of gross indecency under anti-homosexuality legislation, is to be given a posthumous pardon.
“The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration.”

“The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

“The government threw its weight behind the private member’s bill, promoted by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Sharkey, after a debate that featured a contribution from a peer who worked at Bletchley Park. Lady Trumpington told peers: “The block I worked in was devoted to German naval codes. Only once was I asked to deliver a paper to Alan Turing, so … I cannot claim that I knew him. However, I am certain that but for his work we would have lost the war through starvation.”
“Turing broke German ciphers using the bombe method, which allowed the code-breakers to crack the German Enigma code. His colleague Tommy Flowers built the Colossus computer. Ahmad described Turing as “one of the fathers, if not the father, of computer science.”

“Sharkey said: “As I think everybody knows, he was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration. He committed suicide two years later. The government know that Turing was a hero and a very great man. They acknowledge that he was cruelly treated. They must have seen the esteem in which he is held here and around the world.””

The arc just bent a little more towards justice, in this case, only taking 70 years.

And?


“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
—Barack Obama

[Meanwhile, his “gay brothers and sisters” tap their feet, waiting impatiently. Well, then, hurry it up already!]

It is Difficult …

“How long? Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1965

… to keep up a blog like this one, which has, at various times in the past, been chock-a-block with details and observations from our lives. Living two years back in California, with the attendant extreme stresses, drained the blogging impulse from both of us. Plus, there was the whole medical drama on my part.

It would be great to have all kinds of observations about Nashville here, just as we did in Ann Arbor, but … well, we’re older and tired-er than we were in Ann Arbor. But still, we’ll try to do better.

Two things: Voters of Maine, except the quarter million who voted to stand up for marriage equality last Tuesday, … well, they suck. Marriage equality is coming to the United States and you will be embarrassed by this travesty of justice, this orgy of discrimination and hate, when the day arrives. I’m holding fast to Dr. Martin Luther King’s statement, “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” As the LA Times reported:

“It is “one of King’s most riveting lines, spoken in Montgomery, Alabama after the long and dangerous march from Selma in March, 1965. King said he knew people were asking how long it would take to achieve justice. “How long?” he asked, over and over, making listeners desperate for an answer — and then he supplied the answer. “How long? Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It was a refrain King came to use often, sometimes referring to the “arc of history,” sometimes to the “arc of the moral universe.”“

The arc is bending toward marriage equality. It will come, probably before my I leave the planet. And to that, I will hold fast.

Secondly, I finally summoned the will and physical ability to return to the classroom and do a half-day substitute teaching, first time in six months. I have another assignment lined up for next Tuesday. It was exhausting and it was my limit (I’m not ready for full days yet), but it was also fun and reminded me why I like teaching kids. I’ll get more and more into the daily grind until the end of school in May, then have some rest time and will start a second master’s degree program, to become certified in the early childhood autism special education and applied behavior therapy. That program at Vanderbilt starts in August, and I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, the beagles are fat and happy and having fun in the leaves. I found a largish tick on Fergus yesterday, that had to be removed before going to work; it was probably a souvenir of our tramps through the woods on the battlefield of Chickamauga last weekend. Otherwise, the boys are doing great.

And Nashville … an awesome place to live. We’re coming up on the first anniversary of the flight out of California to safety and haven of Tennessee. And don’t regret for a minute the decision. Plus, our landladies and neighbor and neighborhood and schools are far superior to what we left behind in Brentwood.

So, it’s all good.

Marriage Equality Arrives in Connecticut

The governor of Connecticut signed «marriage equality into law today». Equal protection under the law as provided in the U.S. Constitution was thereby affirmed by all three branches of the government.

‘Four years ago this week, Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill allowing civil unions. Today, with the stroke of a pen, she abolished them. Rell this afternoon signed Senate Bill 899, which incorporates the findings of the Kerrigan case into Connecticut statutes. That ruling, handed down by the state Supreme Court in October, paved the way for same-sex marriage. Both the House and the Senate spent hours yesterday debating Senate Bill 899, which passed only after an amendment was added that provides an exemption to groups who object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.’

Best quotes of the day:

““This bipartisan vote is a strong affirmation of the Kerrigan decision and the dignity and respect of same-sex couples and their families,” Anne Stanback, executive director of Love Makes a Family said in a statement. “Today, fairness won out over fear.”“

and

“Sen. Andrew McDonald, a Democrat from Stamford and leading gay rights advocate, hailed the new law. “Our legislature and our governor now have ratified the Supreme Court’s decision, and today all three branches of Connecticut’s government speak with one voice: discrimination has no place in our state and will be eradicated wherever it appears,” McDonald said in a press release.”

As Frank Rich of the Times said, marriage equality in America is inevitable. Good on yer, Connecticut!

The Bigots' Last Hurrah

It’s a great title for a great «column». Frank Rich of the New York Times sums up very thoroughly and very presciently the status of one of America’s favorite Culture War battlegrounds/sports grounds in which people like us are kicked around like political footballs (cartoon at left is from 2004, Steve Kelley of the New Orleans Times-Picayune).

Rich, who has long been a voice of reason and sanity in insane Bush world, starts by highlighting the hugely laughable and inept so-called ‘national organization for marriage’ gathering storm video, noting that the response, other than among those 22% who actually approved of George W. Bush as of 19-Jan-09, was either laughter or yawning. (By the way, that 22% approval rating is the lowest ever recorded for any occupant of the White House.)

Rich then moves on to the recent Iowa and Vermont victories and notes that resistance on the right is crumbling:

‘On the right, the restrained response was striking. Fox barely mentioned the subject; its rising-star demagogue, Glenn Beck, while still dismissing same-sex marriage, went so far as to “celebrate what happened in Vermont” because “instead of the courts making a decision, the people did.” Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the self-help media star once notorious for portraying homosexuality as “a biological error” and a gateway to pedophilia, told CNN’s Larry King that she now views committed gay relationships as “a beautiful thing and a healthy thing.” In The New York Post, the invariably witty and invariably conservative writer Kyle Smith demolished a Maggie Gallagher screed published in National Review and wondered whether her errant arguments against gay equality were “something else in disguise.” More startling still was the abrupt about-face of the Rev. Rick Warren, the hugely popular megachurch leader whose endorsement last year of Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban, had roiled his appearance at the Obama inaugural. Warren also dropped in on Larry King to declare that he had “never” been and “never will be” an “anti-gay-marriage activist.” This was an unmistakable slap at the National Organization for Marriage, which lavished far more money on Proposition 8 than even James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.’

Rich then points out the handwriting on the wall:

As the polls attest, the majority of Americans who support civil unions for gay couples has been steadily growing. Younger voters are fine with marriage. Generational changeover will seal the deal. Crunching all the numbers, the poll maven Nate Silver sees same-sex marriage achieving majority support “at some point in the 2010s.” Iowa and Vermont were the tipping point because they struck down the right’s two major arguments against marriage equality.’

He then rounds out the column with discussion about how the right’s ostensible 2012 candidates are still clinging to (yet one more) Lost Cause … and that it will probably hurt them:

‘In 2008, 60 percent of Iowa’s Republican caucus voters were evangelical Christians. Mike Huckabee won. That’s the hurdle facing the party’s contenders in 2012, which is why Romney, Palin and Gingrich are now all more vehement anti-same-sex-marriage activists than Rick Warren. … This month, even as the father of Palin’s out-of-wedlock grandson challenged her own family values and veracity, she nominated as Alaskan attorney general a man who has called gay people “degenerates.” Such homophobia didn’t even play in Alaska — the State Legislature voted the nominee down — and will doom Republicans like Palin in national elections.’

He then notes that more moderate (and sane) Republican leaders, including one in a very surprising place, are urging a move away from the madness. McCain-Palin 2008 campaign strategist has ‘come out’ this week in urging the party to endorse marriage equality, as has Meghan McCain, the candidate’s daughter, who memorably said this week, ‘Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past. [and] Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future.”

The surprise? Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a Mormon Republican presiding over the reddest of all American red states, who told Frank Rich:

‘“We must embrace all citizens as equals … I’ve always stood tall on this. … A lot of people gave the issue more scrutiny after it became the topic of the week,” he said, and started to see it “in human terms.” Letters, calls, polls and conversations with voters around the state all confirmed to him that opinion has “shifted quite substantially” toward his point of view.’

Did his stance hurt him in ultra-conservative, ultra-religious, ultra-red Utah? No. ‘Huntsman’s approval rating now stands at 84 percent,’ said Rich.

Rich then sums up the whole matter brilliantly in his final paragraph, sounding a much-needed note of optimism and hope:

‘As marital equality haltingly but inexorably spreads state by state for gay Americans in the years to come, Utah will hardly be in the lead to follow Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont. But the fact that it too is taking its first steps down that road is extraordinary. It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering. Only those who have spread the poisons of bigotry and fear have any reason to be afraid.’

That stands repeating: ‘It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering.

We currently second-class American citizens thank you and say god bless you, Frank Rich. But we’re still second-class citizens. And it will be hard to continue waiting at the back of the bus for America’s promised ‘equal protection under the law.’ But we’ll hang in there.

Rarin' to Go

Gavin Newsom, the man who presided over our first civil union ceremony when he was still a San Francisco supervisor, wants to get a jump on gay marriages «the evening of 16 June», instead of waiting for the next morning:

‘San Francisco officials have asked the state for permission to begin marrying same-sex couples a little earlier than scheduled, on the evening of June 16 instead of the morning of June 17. Mayor Gavin Newsom and other city officials are wondering when the state Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex nuptials actually takes effect. The state has told county clerks the ruling kicks in the morning of June 17. But city officials want to know whether they can legally begin to issue the marriage licenses at 5:01 p.m. June 16 – right after the end of the state’s workday.
“Unquestionably, we hope to extend beyond 5 o’clock. Why wouldn’t we?” Newsom said Wednesday. “People have longed for this for 30 and 40 years. I don’t think we should deny that just on the basis of a bureaucratic timeline.” Such a change would require permission from the state Office of Vital Records, which oversees the issuance of marriage licenses for all of California’s 58 counties.’
SFGate.com

Exactly. We’ve been waiting 30-40 years for this. Time to get on with it.

And about the ballot measure in November? Time to mobilize a big ol’ no vote.

Just Married

Thank you, Canada! And thank you Neil Hodgins and all our wonderful friends!

Pics are up: « The Wedding »

« The Reception »

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén