February, 2019 archive
Put a new spin on politeness.
Authorities say the accidental shooting took place during a birthday party at the man’s home for his 16-year-old daughter.
The Roanoke Times addresses the blackface controversy currently surrounding my governor and actually does some research. It traced down the text books that were in use when when Governor Northam was in school and points out that they grossly and purposefully misrepresented slavery, the Civil War, and the war’s aftermath.* Here’s a bit:
For instance, Northam is now under fire for referring to the first Africans in Virginia as “indentured servants.” Technically, he may be correct. Historians still debate the precise status of the first Africans brought to Virginia, because slavery was not codified until l662. In fact, that’s what the state’s textbooks taught: “At first, the Negroes were treated as indentured servants.” There is no mention of the fact that, whatever they were called, they weren’t free — that they’d been kidnapped from Africa and transported against their will across the Atlantic and in some cases treated as indentured servants “for life,” which is slavery by another name. Meanwhile, Virginia students were taught that those held in slavery were happy about their lot.
This is, of course, no excuse for being so stupid as to put on blackface in the first place, but it could be a mitigating factor for not realizing the full implications of doing so.
*They did. I had some of those same text books and, indeed, remember the lie about “indentured servants.”
But I was a history major in college, where I unlearned Virginia’s lies. I doubt that Mr. Northam, as a prospective med student, had one-twelfth the number of history classes that I did over four years of college and a year of grad work (which taught me that, however much I may have loved the study of history, I was not cut out to be a professional academician).
The cartoon above highlights the obvious self-serving nature and irrationality of Donald Trump’s wall call (as when he declares a “national emergency” while saying he doesn’t need to do so, leading persons to wonder, “Where’s the emergency?”).
But this is not a game. Will Bunch warns against ignoring the implications of Trump’s action, however shallow-minded and short-sighted Trump himself may be. A snippet:
We shouldn’t give Trump a free pass for all that craziness, but it’s critical not to take our eye off the ball. After a long era in which U.S, presidents have expanded and occasionally violated America’s constitutional limits on executive power, Trump has plowed through that democratic guardrail at 100 mph, and any system of checks and balances now teeters on the edge of the abyss. . . .
Image via Job’s Anger.
During the party, people decided to compare their tattoos. The owner of the gun opted to take his gun out of the holster so he could remove his pants to show a leg tattoo. He handed it to another male subject, who passed it off to a third male subject, who began to show it to the 20-year-old woman who was holding the infant at the time.
The man holding the gun accidentally discharged it, with a bullet going completely through the infant’s leg before striking the pelvis of the woman, according to police.
Bloomberg reports on how Big Data is trying to steal all privacy. Here’s a bit:
For several years, Amazon and Google have collected data every time someone used a smart speaker to turn on a light or lock a door. Now they’re asking smart-home gadget makers such as Logitech and Hunter Fan Co. to send a continuous stream of information.
In other words, after you connect a light fixture to Alexa, Amazon wants to know every time the light is turned on or off, regardless of whether you asked Alexa to toggle the switch. Televisions must report the channel they’re set to. Smart locks must keep the company apprised whether or not the front door bolt is engaged.
This is not good.
My friend’s cousin called from the West Coast with some family news earlier this week. She was taken about when he started asking her about Governor Northam’s yearbook picture; she hadn’t realize the reach of that news story.
My local rag today carried an excellent backgrounder on the place where Ralph Northam (and I, twenty years earlier and twenty miles farther south) grew up. I commend it to your attention.