Sunday, April 18, 2021

1952 Vincent Black Lightning


Been on a bit of a Richard Thompson tear lately.  You can't go wrong with a song about a cool motorcycle and a red-haired girl in black leather.  That's Suzanne Vega and Loudon Wainwright watching Richard play.


The Importance Of A Man

Even before integrating major league baseball in 1947, Jackie Robinson was breaking down the wall of segregation.  Listen to all of this story told by Buck O'Neill, Jackie's former Negro Leagues teammate. Robinson was raised in Southern California in an area where, while he encountered discrimination, was nothing like that seen by many Negro League players who grew up in the South or in highly segregated Northern cities.  But what Robinson did encounter he refused to accept whether in civilian life or during his military service.

Buck O'Neill (1911-2006) is one of the most beloved figures in baseball history.  A Negro Leagues ballplayer from 1937 to 1950, mostly with the Kansas City Monarchs, who he also managed from 1948 to 1955, Buck became the first black coach in MLB with the Chicago Cubs in 1962.  Prior to that he'd been a scout for the Cubs, signing future Hall of Famer Lou Brock.  O'Neill served on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee from 1981 to 2000 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, which is well worth a visit.

The Kansas City Royals created a Buck O'Neill Legacy Seat at Kauffman Stadium and also have a legacy seat dedicated to Buck at their spring training park in Surprise AZ which I discovered when sitting in the row behind it in March 2020.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Romans Always Win!

 Graffiti is nothing new, nor is rooting for the home team.


The Jibal Hisma range is in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia and the inscription is further evidence of the extent of the Roman Empire at its peak in the 2nd century AD.  This is what it looks like:

Jibal Hisma (photo: Florent Egal) 

For more on the Roman occupation of this remote area read Madain Saleh and The Farthest Outpost.

Xi And Biden Agree On America

Last month's meeting in Alaska between China and U.S. officials got a bit tense.  I want to specifically focus on a couple of remarks by Chinese Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi. (You can find the full transcript here.)

Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States, and they have various views regarding the government of the United States.

On human rights, we hope that the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights, and the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the U.S. itself as well . . . And the challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter. It did not come up only recently.

Although the American officials responded to some of the Chinese comments, they did not directly respond to the comments quoted above.

They didn’t because the Biden Administration agrees with these criticisms by China.

In the past, American administrations with critical views of prior administrations, or of American history, have always addressed this using expressions such as “America straying from its values” or “yes, America has sometimes fallen short of our aspirations but we are always trying to improve.”  In other words, any supposed defects can be corrected by referring back to the aspirations of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the words of the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln.  Even President Obama, as annoying and deceptive as he could be at times, used this rhetorical device.

That approach is not available to those representing the Biden Administration.  With its continued statements regarding the need for “equity,” the adoption of the principles of Critical Race Theory, and its nomination of appointees saturated in CRT, the Biden Administration is promoting an entirely different view of America.  Simply put, America never had legitimate aspirations or values; the “ideas” of liberty, freedom, equality, self-governance, even the idea of democracy, were just smokescreens for the permanent seizure and holding of power by white people and used to maintain white supremacy.  There were no legitimate ideas or principles behind the Founding.  It was simply a power grab.  In Biden’s view, this rotten history means we are no longer anchored in core principles, instead America must be reconstructed on a completely different basis.  The Administration believes China is correct in asserting “the challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated” because it believes our very Founding was illegitimate.

The Biden Administration is promoting a radical repudiation of traditional American values.

Politico has an article explaining that Secretary of State Blinken is “racing to address a 232-year-old problem, the department’s overwhelming and entrenched whiteness” and has appointed a Deputy Assistant Secretary “in every departmental bureau to take charge of diversity, equity and inclusion issues.”  There you have it; AmeriKKKa; evil at the beginning, still evil today.  No wonder he didn’t respond to the Chinese.

We received further confirmation in the recent speech our new ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, made on April 14, which received some media attention because of this line:

I have seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles.

However there is so much more wrong with Thomas-Greenfield's remarks (full remarks can be found here).  The speech was given at the 30th Annual Summit of the National Action Network, an organization founded and still led by Al Sharpton, who made his reputation as a race hustler, con artist, and Jew-baiter, before becoming President Obama's go-to guy on race issues and being blessed with a featured show on MSNBC.  Despite his tawdry history, the ambassador lauds Sharpton with these words, "Your lifetime of activism is an inspiration to us all".(1)  She also makes sure to make multiple references to the need for "equity".(2)

That the ambassador has become well-versed in the language of Critical Race Theory can be seen in this passage:

We have to acknowledge that we are an imperfect union – and have been since the beginning – and every day we strive to make ourselves more perfect, and more just. In a diverse country like ours, that means committing to do the work.

In CRT speak, "do the work", means white people need to come to grips with white privilege and supremacy and not question the premises of CRT.  

She also obediently gave the nod of approval to Black Lives Matter, providing special privileging to an organization dedicated to the overthrow of American society, the establishment of a new race-based order, and the destruction of the nuclear family.

Just look at the way the Black Lives Matter movement spread this past summer.

All of this explanation in service of explaining why the United States is reengaging with the United Nations, a morally compromised and corrupt organization dominated by dictatorships and anti-Semites! 

As to her key passage, which I will requote:

I have seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles.

This is pure CRT and 1619 Project stuff.  CRT is a repudiation of the Civil Rights Movement which used our founding documents and principles to move the conscience of white Americans.  The 1619 Project seeks to eliminate 1776 and 1789 as the founding dates for the United States because those dates represent the illegitimate racist founding of the Republic.  It's why the 1619 Project makes only passing reference to Frederick Douglass, who famously spoke of the founding documents as anti-slavery, and minimizes the role of Reverend Martin Luther King, who spoke so eloquently of the principles embodied in those documents.

Instead, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield supports CRT which embraces the theories of John C Calhoun, the South Carolina politician who proudly proclaimed slavery a positive good and promoted the theory that the Declaration and Constitution only applied to white people, a theory adopted by Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision.  Even some Confederates found Calhoun's theories far-fetched.  In his famous 1861 Cornerstone speech, Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens noted that the Confederacy's new Constitution corrected the great error of the founding documents which had asserted "all men are created equal" by adding language explicitly limiting that concept to whites and eternally protecting the property right of whites to enslaved black people.

How strange and dispiriting to have an American administration in the 21st century reverting to the theories about the American founding of a white supremacist who died in 1850.  Maybe not so strange given the reactionary and race-based nature of Critical Race Theory.

I've begun to realize that those who invoke CRT seem to fall into three categories.

(1) The true believers and haters.  I think Kristen Clarke, Biden's nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, fits in this category.

(2) The political opportunists who see CRT as just another arrow in the Democratic Party's quiver in order to keep black voters paranoid about white people and Republicans, while instilling a continued sense of futility and powerlessness in order to maintain 90+% of their vote.  Kamala Harris and Joe Biden fit here.

(3) The final category are those who don't fully understand the implications of CRT and just see it as another way to fight racism.  They believe the multiple false narratives woven about race in America by the media, academia and progressives.  Many Democratic voters and some public figures fall in this category.  People of good intentions which CRT then twists to its purposes.  And some of them have trouble intellectually following a logic trail (though CRT tells me that is a trait of white supremacy).  My sense is Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield falls in that category.  I think she is a person of goodwill but with cloudy thinking.  Carefully reading her full speech it is difficult to make logical sense of it.  It is a collection of bromides that don't seem to mean much when read together.  

But the bottom line is I doubt any other UN Ambassador from any other country is running around making statements like this about their own country.  If she thinks this will somehow strengthen her posture at the UN she is sadly mistaken.  China and other countries will know how to turn her own rhetoric against her, as we have already seen from what happened last month in Alaska.

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(1) "Activism" means "radical left ideology".

(2) "Equity" is a term from Critical Race Theory, which has replaced "equality" which was the goal of the Civil Rights Movement.  Equity is based on the conspiracy theory that any statistical difference in any outcome between racial and ethnic groups is because of deliberate acts by white supremacists (a term that encompasses all white, including Jews, and, depending on the circumstances, can also include Asians and Hispanics).  Inequities can only be cured by dismantling the system of white supremacy and imposing numerical quotas.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Good Move

Since I disapprove of pretty much everything the Biden Administration has done so far, believing it to be the most radical in American history, I thought I'd give the man some credit for his announcement today of the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, a decision I completely agree with for the reasons set forth in this post from January 2020.  I also agreed with President Trump's draw down of forces and his plans to complete withdrawal this year.  There is no good purpose in keeping our military there and it is an action that should have been taken many, many years ago.

Two other notes:

I think it baffling and insulting for President Biden to set the withdrawal date for September 11.

It is ironic for him to claim the mission is over since we pursued Bin Laden to "the gates of Hell" since then VP Biden opposed President Obama's 2011 decision to go after Bin Laden in Pakistan.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

I Feel So Good

 And this is just so good.  Richard Thompson with some witty lyrics and great guitar playing.