Climate Update

The day after Thanksgiving, while we were still semi-comatose from overindulging on food and family, the White House quietly released the latest report on the state of the world’s climate. Friday afternoon is typically news-dump day, a day for the government to release information it hopes few will read. (You can read it here.) The current occupant of the White House has already gone on record that he doesn’t believe it.

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21st Century Minstrels?

From National Geographic

Thomas Dartmouth Rice, a white man, was born in New York City in 1808. He devoted himself to the theater in his twenties, and in the early 1830s, he began performing the act that would make him famous: he painted his face black and did a song and dance he claimed were inspired by a slave he saw. The act was called “Jump, Jim Crow” (or “Jumping Jim Crow”).

Megyn “Santa is white” Kelly reportedly has settled with NBC after her show was cancelled halfway through her three-year, $69 million contract. The stunning ignorance supporting her defense of wearing blackface for Halloween was not enough to invalidate the $30 million she will still collect on the deal.

White entertainers performing in blackface, caricaturing and demeaning people of color, amused white audiences. Black folks have been entertaining white folks in this country for a couple centuries. It’s a blurry line between the joy of performing and cynical pandering.

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Paradise Lost

The environmental expert currently occupying the White House was quick to assign responsibility for wildfires burning in California. Using the venerable Republican strategy of blaming the victim, he tweeted:

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.”

In fact, these fires are fueled mostly by grass and chaparral; forest land, not so much.

“Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost…. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

In fact, California each year sends more dollars to D.C. through federal tax payments than comes back into the state via Federal spending. (As is the case with most “blue” states.)

My former hometown, Santa Rosa, was devastated by wildfire in 1964. Continue reading “Paradise Lost”

One Hundred Years Ago Today

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 a quiet settled over the trenches of the Western Front, ending the four-year slaughter of the Great War. After nine million combat deaths, twenty-one million wounded and five million civilians killed, Germany signed an armistice agreement with France and Great Britain stopping the carnage.

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STFU or What I Learned in Arkansas

Johnny Cash grew up in Dyess, Arkansas, fifty miles northwest of Memphis. (Pronounced locally – somehow only one syllable – as “Dowus.”) Cross the Mississippi, turn north on I-55; exit at Highway 14, head west six miles, then left on 297 aka Johnny Cash Highway and you’re there. Johnny, known then as J.R., was three years old when he and his parents and four siblings moved into their new Dyess Colony home in 1935.

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