October 30, 2020

Big news on the literary scene! Pitt has acquired August Wilson’s papers! 450 boxes of pure gold. As an archivist it makes my heart sing, but as an August Wilson scholar it is a dream come true. Scholarship had reached some limits and demand for his papers was high. Here are a few links:

https://www.playbill.com/article/august-wilsons-archives-to-be-housed-in-pittsburgh-playwrights-hometown

https://triblive.com/aande/museums/pitt-library-system-acquires-august-wilson-archive/

https://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/2020/10/29/August-Wilson-University-of-Pittsburgh-buys-literary-archive-Pittsburgh-Cycle-Pulitzer/stories/202010280135

One more day in October. So perhaps one more day for the springing of an October surprise. I have had enough surprises for one election cycle so I’m good. What I need is more poetry but what I don’t need is more smug intolerance from the literati elite. I enjoy the being with the congregation, yet everything in life has its limits.

The top news of the week was University of Pittsburgh landing the August Wilson archives. Sorry, Hunter Biden’s laptop came in a distant second. I immediately cranked out an email to the Pitt special collections guy to see if they were taking volunteers. I’d love to spend a couple of weeks helping out with the processing effort, even on my own dime. The answer was short and sweet. No volunteers during the pandemic. The scourge of our time wins again. Broke my heart. I’ll try again in January.

Things are pretty calm in the nation’s capital. BLM and Antifa have stopped their night rioting in DC for the time being. Perhaps the National Guard presence in Philadelphia has had a bit of a chilling effect. One can only hope.

Busy day at work and I have plumb run out of gas. I stayed up late last night to catch a west coast Bob Kaufman tribute but the transmission was not quite up to snuff and it was already late because of the time difference and I fell asleep. Sorry Bob. To make up for it, here is my favorite Bob Kaufman poem, Believe, Believe.

Believe, Believe

By Bob Kaufman

Believe in this. Young apple seeds,
In blue skies, radiating young breast,
Not in blue-suited insects,
Infesting society’s garments.

Believe in the swinging sounds of jazz,
Tearing the night into intricate shreds,
Putting it back together again,
In cool logical patterns,
Not in the sick controllers,
Who created only the Bomb.

Let the voices of dead poets
Ring louder in your ears
Than the screechings mouthed
In mildewed editorials.
Listen to the music of centuries,
Rising above the mushroom time.

p.s. Happy birthday, Ezra Pound!

October 28, 2020

Six days and a wake-up, they would say in the Navy. Six days to perhaps the most consequential election in U.S. history. Lucky us – right place, right time.

Riots in downtown DC last night by BLM and Antifa crowds mimicked simultaneous rioting in Philadelphia following visit by the infamous community organizer. If the polls are correct and Biden is so far ahead in Pennsylvania, why is Antifa and BLM acting up and leading riots in Philadelphia?  None of this makes any sense to me.

The Bobulinski interview (link to transcript, videos removed) on Tucker Carlson last night got the highest rating (no. of viewers) of any cable TV program in history

We voted this morning at School Without Walls Francis-Stevens. Got in the mood early by listening to the Malcolm X speech, The Ballot or the Bullet. Just coincidentally, Francis-Stevens is named for Thaddeus Stevens, abolitionist and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, and Dr. John Francis, medical professor at Howard U medical school and Freedmans’ Hospital. There were no lines and we were in and out within minutes. So much for the long lines theory.  Links will be added later.

Two important speeches occurred since the last post. Monday Archbishop Vigano spoke by video to the annual Catholic Identity Conference in Pittsburgh on Pope Francis and the deep church. Enlightening, inspiring and revealing talk. Vigano calls our attention and our contemplation to the struggle between the classical, the traditional, and elements of modernity in our religious and cultural life and how that tension, or the results of it, seeps into our political conversation. He is one of the world’s great thinkers on the scene today.

Then, in a special report from DOJ about the arrest of Communist Chinese agents in the US harassing American citizens, FBI Director Chris Wray actually said words to the effect that the CCP was seeking world domination, not just regional hegemony per traditional textbook international relations doctrine. Quite a dramatic departure, though very low keyed and almost under the radar mast except for those in the know. In both aforementioned cases, important historical milestones were reached.

Had a nice social media reunion with some old shipmates from my “tin can” days. Friendships forged in hard work and dedication are not soon forgotten. N​o​thing like being connected by a common effort​, a deep love, ​and a great enthusiasm. Joining th​e​ Navy was a good thing in life.

I was getting ready for a work call, drinking coffee, when a stray motion of my hand sent coffee everywhere, including on top of my keyboard. Keyboards don’t like coffee. I think it may be lost. At a minimum, the space bar does not work. There is no moving forward without a space bar. I’ll get a cheap replacement to tide me over, but ultimately I’m gonna have to fork out the cash and get an official Apple replacement.

Ended the day with a Zoom meeting with FAMU alumni in the DC area. Another nice social media reunion.

How about some music?

October 26, 2020

Every-other-day comes around so quickly. And there is so much in the news environment. And so little, actually. Today I have a reflection from my teen-age years somewhat pertinent to today.

Let’s go back in time. Way back. 1972. Mrs. Proctor’s US Today class, a social studies elective focused on current events at Dudley Sr. High. Why I was back home for my junior year is a whole different subject that you’ll have to read about in my memoir to fully fathom. Dudley and the rest of Greensboro were under court-ordered busing to achieve a racial balance of 70% white and 30% black in every high school, even though it had been historically Greensboro’s black high school. My grand uncle, Ernest Rankin, known around black Greensboro as Ice Man, brought my father and his sister from Browns Summit to live with him to attend high school. Also another story, but let’s not digress. Nixon’s re-election campaign was in full swing even though the Watergate break-in was out there and everybody knew Nixon was guilty as sin. (This is history, y’all!

In Mrs. Proctor’s class, every day’s discussion ended up being about Nixon and busing and race. About half the class, the white half, anxiously and whole-heartedly supported Nixon. I’d look at them and just shake my head. I mean, Watergate? Really? in the best case, the most they could come up with was “He’s not a bad guy. It’s those plumbers that went rogue on him.” 16-year old me was like, “Come on, y’all, the guy’s a crook. Stevie Wonder can see that!”

But for them it was all about race, about riding that bus, about being in that black school. Some of y’all remember. Me, I walked to school, less than a block away after crossing through the PT field and Bluford’s campus. Our neighborhood was called Dudley Heights! And my father was a Dudley alum, Class of ’31, Dudley’s first graduating class, so I fully belonged there. But I digress again. The point is, fueled by whatever, these kids were supporting Nixon no matter what, because for them it was about something else altogether. 

Are y’all hearing me?

So in the end, Nixon was re-elected. I can’t even remember the Democrat’s name but I believe it was nearly a clean sweep in the Electoral College. Let me look it up. Yep. Clean sweep. Nixon won every state except Massachusetts, the only state McGovern carried (and that wasn’t even his home state!).

The rest is pretty much history. They voted Nixon in anyway, overwhelmingly, and in clear view of all his crookedness, as least as far as I could see. The Watergate hearings happened the following summer, 1973, and we watched it every day at Governor’s School. Nixon’s VP, Spiro Agnew, resigned the following year and I don’t remember the exact reason why. He selected a member of Congress, Gerald Ford, as VP. The following year, 1974, following impeachment but short of actual removal from office, Nixon himself resigned, in disgrace, and spared the country the pain of a bipartisan removal from office and reversal of a near unanimous Electoral College victory.

Now, don’t get twisted about the party labels. Nixon was a Republican. This year the clearly evident crook is the former VP, a Democrat. I’ll not go into any of the gory details here because it’s just too yucky and some things, once you see them, cannot be unseen. Yet folks are backing him anyway because again, it’s not about what it appears to be on the surface.

I don’t know how this tale ends, but either way, the winner will be my President. I will salute smartly and carry on. That’s what patriots do. And I am a patriot. Nor will I bitch and moan and groan like some many did after the 2016 election and for the next four years.

OK, that’s it. Y’all still with me?

Hold on to the blog post, because where history may not repeat itself, so it is said, it certainly rhymes. And this history is poetry, epic poetry no less.

Postscript. The polls open tomorrow in Washington, DC for early voting. We will cast our ballot early Wednesday assuming that lines will be long tomorrow. Trump got 4% of the black vote in DC in 2016. The latest prediction is that he will get slightly over 9% of the DC black vote this year. That’s double. Hillary got 91% of the black vote in 2016. Latest predictions are Biden will get 88%, a 4 point drop. When we have the final tallies we will add a second postscript to this post. MAGA!

October 24, 2020

You’ve already heard enough about the final debate, so I won’t beat that dead horse. But I do have one unanswered question. VP Biden said in the debate that we were heading for a dark winter. He said it twice, as if he had rehearsed it, as if he really wanted us to get it. Anybody heard the term before, “Dark Winter?

I have. Operation Dark Winter was a bio-terrorism war game performed/conducted over two days in June 2001. Senior level military and foreign policy practitioners participated with limited overseas involvement. Closely held at the time, it was OBE’d (overcome by events) with the 9-11 attacks later the same year. Joe Biden remembered it, and pulled it out in the debate. But was it appropriate? Or was it just a cheap shot at subliminal fear mongering?

Some of my friends “in the business” will publicly accuse me of conspiracy thinking. But they know.

One more thing and I am going to let it go. Listening to the pundits in the aftermath of the final debate, more and more are focusing on the leveraging influence of the black vote. 10 to 15 percent of the electorate can certainly swing a vote on the national level and particularly in the so-called battleground states. If Biden wins, black women will get the credit with very little payback. If Biden loses, black men will be blamed for blexiting to Trump.

Hillary was able to capture the woman vote in ways that Biden will have to struggle to achieve, especially with his “handsy” reputation among women. Hunter Biden’s laptop issue, along with the “crime family” shenanigans may not shift any voters, but it may cause some voters to not bother and the not-botherers may turn out to be critical in ways none of the pundits have acknowledged. Either way, the real analysis on the Hunter-effect won’t emerge until well after the election, for better or worse.

Our poetry group met today. We began with a poem by one of our group members, entitled October 2020. In addition to Louise Gluck and Ted Kooster, I submitted a Bob Kaufman poem and one of mine inspired by Kaufman, which I was both thrilled and honored to read. Nonetheless, I’m learning that the poetry group actually has a low tolerance for thought diversity. Not everybody, just a very vocal few. That’s unfortunate, because it means we have to tip-toe around everyday subjects that some of the extra-sensitive folks might find objectionable. C’est la vie. You choose your poison. Still, I like it and will continue to participate.

postscript. We will go to the voting station at Judiciary Square to vote early next week. But we won’t be wearing any hats or gear to give away our preference out of fear of physical harm. Such is the reality of 2020 in the nation’s capital. More Monday.

October 22, 2020

Short post today. Let’s start with a human interest story. I turn 65 next month. We are getting phone calls, emails, mailings, you name it, about Medicare and Medigap plans I should buy from all over. Some are high​-​pressured. They are the worst. Some are smooth as silk. Watch out for them​ particularly. ​After hearing about plans F​ and G and all the rest, and all their deductibles (which I have concluded is money that goes directly into the pockets of insurance agents. It must, they push it so), we decided to stick with the coverage from work that is comprehensive and still very affordable. The work coverage also reimburses Medicare Part B premiums and there are NO deductibles and it covers everything that Medicare doesn’t (the infamous 20%). Wife figured it all out. Love that girl. Lucky, lucky me.

Spouse of a childhood friend passed away from COVID19. My first direct experience with death from the pandemic. It’s real.

Atlanta Fed predicts 35% growth in GDP for the third quarter. Good news. A guy I knew many moons ago at Stanford runs that operation. Smart guy. Good guy.

Les Payne’s book, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, completed by his daughter, Tamara Payne, after his untimely passing hit my mailbox this morning. The Guardian review from a couple days ago ain’t too shabby. I am putting every other book on my reading list on hold and moving it up to the top of the list. In my teenage years I read and loved The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Read it twice, once in the summer before 7th grade and again in Mrs. Coley’s Black Literature class in high school. Still, most of it I wouldn’t fully understand until years later. Ultimately, while still a teenager, I acted on that reading, somewhat to the dismay of family members and childhood friends at the time. It’s a pattern I would continue throughout my life, reading, then acting on what I read. For what it’s worth, I have no regrets.

President Trump held a rally in North Carolina Wednesday night.. Gastonia. I try to catch all the NC rallies. Greensboro actually got a couple of shout outs. “Esse quam videri,” the NC state motto, is a Latin phrase from Cicero’s essay “On Friendship,” meaning “To be, rather than to seem.” There’s no place like home. There is no place like home. Keep saying it.

Michael Goodwin’s opinion piece in today’s New York Post, along with the attached letter from former Hunter Biden business partner and my shipmate Tony Bobulinski is damning and disturbing. Not sure how the Biden camp can survive it. As my former mentor, uniquely qualified as a physician and a politician used to say, “Politics is a contact sport. If you can’t stand the sight of blood stay out of it.” This Frontpage piece by Daniel Greenfield is also a real humdinger.

The day is young. In fact, it’s a brand new day. There may be addendums (addenda?) to this post before the day is over. Especially with the final Presidential Election debate scheduled for tonight.

October 20, 2020

Why don’t we start off real slow? You all know I finished the James McBride book, The Good Lord Bird, this past weekend. And you know from my previous posts that it was a fictional account of John Brown’s incident at Harpers Ferry. Of course, that’s an understatement. But it has a direct bearing on what I want to say today about the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings. We’ll get to that.

What I haven’t mentioned about The Good Lord Bird is a subtle little subplot that continuously breaks the surface of consciousness in the flow of the narrative, but in an unobtrusive way. The narrator of the story throughout is John Brown’s adoptee, whom he calls Onion. John Brown would have us believe Onion is a little girl he orphaned in a shootout with her slavemaster in which her father was killed by a stray bullet. But Onion is not a girl. He is Henry Shackelford, a 12 year-old boy, but he goes along with the deception, initially because he sees Brown as his new master, and, you know, you give white people what they want. As the plot thickens, Onion enters puberty, and while he wears a dress and a bonnet and accepts all the privileges of girlhood, he pretty much constantly struggles with the deception. Eventually, he falls head-over-his-heels in love with one of Brown’s daughters and reveals his secret to her as they part.

Meanwhile, every time Onion is in the company of black people, slave or free, they see right through the ploy, and go along with it, all except Frederick Douglass, who appears to have a small thing for prepubescent girls when slightly inebriated. But I’ll leave that story for your enjoyment when you read the book. Spoiler alert: Onion doesn’t die in the end.

Ok. Let’s put it in historical context. The subject is the Supreme Court case, Brown v Board of Education. ACB rightfully described Brown v Board as a super-precedent, a decision so overwhelmingly correct that it will never be overturned. OK. So Democratic senators tried to make a case that Roe v. Wade was similarly a super-precedent, to back ACB into a corner. Well, I ask, in no uncertain terms, how the fuck is there a similarity between Brown v. Board and Roe v. Wade?

Brown overturned a century of badly decided law. Yes, sometimes the Supremes get it wrong. Mind you, I am not a lawyer, nor have I ever spent a day in law school. President Frederick Humphries, when he addressed our honor society at FAMU in the mid-1980’s, mentioned three cases that all blacks should know. I made it my personal duty to get smart on those three cases.

Dred Scott made the determination that blacks, enslaved or free, “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The dissenter in the case, Justice Benjamin Curtis, at the time the only member of the Court with formal legal training, actually resigned his seat on the Court out of principled protest regarding the decision. The only one ever to resign a seat on the Court in protest over a decision.

Later, Plessy v Ferguson, also wrongly decided on several legal grounds, enshrined both a caste system and a type of racial apartheid that was legally enforceable throughout the country for the next 70 years, give or take.

As an aside, the Chief Justice on Dred Scott who died at the end of Lincoln’s first term while Senate was out of session, Roger Taney, was replaced on the very day that Senate came back into session. No, President Lincoln did not “wait and do the right thing” as claimed wrongly by Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, et.al. Senate was out of session for the election, and back in their states, and as soon as the senate reconvened, that very day, the antislavery attorney Salmon Chase was confirmed to the seat and appointed by Lincoln as Chief Justice.

Brown v Board overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and in some ways sought to remedy the Dred Scott decision, both wrongly decided by all accounts, and both of which had plagued this country for several decades if not centuries.

I know Roe is important. But Roe doesn’t overcome a provision in law that was universally applied to all citizens. Not even for all women, since not all women are seekers of the relief it grants. I have read accounts in the archives at Howard University of how medical doctors on the staff of their renown medical school were arrested, charged, and convicted for performing abortions in their off time in the 1950’s (though the biggest stink was only when they were caught performing abortions on young white girls, but that is another issue altogether). I have read about back alley abortions pre-Roe and how Roe made them unnecessary (even though they still continued). I am also aware of the number of black babies who have been killed since Roe was decided in 1973 but I won’t mention that here. Check out CDC figures at my August Wilson blog when, in King Hedley II, the wife of the protagonist was hellbent on aborting her baby. Also, Roe doesn’t overturn law that had been enshrined in the Constitution for decades. In fact, the Constitution never mentions abortion. Brown and Roe are not equal, not equivalent, not congruent, not even remotely similar on any grounds.

OK. That was a mouth full that it will likely get me in trouble. Good trouble. Come back and read this again later after I’ve had the chance to put in hyperlinks if you are one of the early birds.

Please feel free to comment in the comment box below. I’ll be watching.

October 18, 2020

I am just about ready to swear off social media. Twitter censors you whenever they feel like it, and while I have had no censorship issues with Facebook, we really can’t be sure how Facebook may be monetizing data and information on their users. Further, Facebook “friends” cannot defend their political position without attacking yours, then have no qualms about attacking your person if they disagree with your politics. It’s the new level of civility. OK, swearing off may be extreme, and I am very likely going to try to tweet up to and including November 3rd.

Got up this morning at the crack of dawn, put on some coffee, and set a goal to finish reading The Good Lord Bird, a historical novel and soon to be a series on Showtime by James McBride. Late in the story there is a second appearance by Frederick Douglass that is not at all flattering (his first appearance was equally unflattering), a passing chance meeting with abolitionist Martin Delaney, and a short appearance at the end by Jeb Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee at the siege of Harper’s Ferry. In an interesting technique of novel writing, the chapters towards the end get shorter and shorter, in effect compressing time itself, drawing the reader through the ending events and to the conclusion that we already know and yet, the reader is kept on the edge of his seat until the very end.

The cool thing about reading fiction, even historical fiction, is getting the opportunity to engage in that time-bending process. I’d be interested in knowing what research has been done on how the brain influences and is influenced by the reading process. And along those lines, how about reading poetry? And plays? Does the actual mental process vary?

Speaking of “actual mental process,” my iMac is slowing way down. It’s going on six years old, and that is six hard years, a 2013 model I bought at the Apple Store at Friendly Center in Greensboro, NC over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2014 and transported to Cullowhee, NC where I placed it in service. I love it more than a man should love a machine, and being basically a monogamous kind of guy, when this machine dies I will get an updated version of the exact same machine.

OK. No political commentary today. There is plenty to comment on, but it all tires me. Plus, everybody know where I stand. And there is tomorrow.

Meanwhile how about a poem! Bob Kaufman, a beat poet from New Orleans, took a Buddhist vow of silence after learning of the JFK assassination. He ended his period of silence when the Vietnam War ended in 1973 with this poem.

All Those Ships That Never Sailed

All those ships that never sailed
The ones with their seacocks open
That were scuttled in their stalls…
Today I bring them back
Huge and transitory
And let them sail
Forever.

All those flowers that you never grew-
that you wanted to grow
The ones that were plowed under
ground in the mud-
Today I bring them back
And let you grow them
Forever.

All those wars and truces
Dancing down these years-
All in three flag swept days
Rejected meaning of God-

My body once covered with beauty
Is now a museum of betrayal.
This part remembered because of that one’s touch
This part remembered for that one’s kiss-
Today I bring it back
And let you live forever.

I breath a breathless I love you
And move you
Forever.

Remove the snake from Moses’ arm…
And someday the Jewish queen will dance
Down the street with the dogs
And make every Jew
Her lover.

October 16, 2020

No particular theme today, just rambling and musing.

It is the 161st anniversary of the Harper’s Ferry Raid by Osawatomie John Brown, the noted and still in some quarters infamous American abolitionist. I don’t remember if it was because of the way I heard his story the first time, or what, but growing up John Brown was one of my heroes. Then, when, in my twenties I read W.E.B. DuBois’ very detailed biography, the image and the thought of that bearded radical were forever cemented in my mind. At some point along the way I stumbled across this Herman Melville poem (I know the reader may be surprised because Melville was not known for poems, but he did write some), The Portent.

Hanging from the beam,
      Slowly swaying (such the law),
Gaunt the shadow on your green,
      Shenandoah!
The cut is on the crown
      (Lo, John Brown),
And the stabs shall heal no more.

Hidden in the cap
      Is the anguish none can draw;
So your future veils its face,
      Shenandoah!
But the streaming beard is shown
      (Weird John Brown),
The meteor of the war.

We may come back to this subject. “The dogma lives loudly within me.”

I missed last night’s dueling town halls. Other fish to fry. Today the pundits are weighing in. The consensus seems to be that Biden got softballs pitched to him while Trump, to extend the pitching metaphor, got inside curves and fastballs. No surprises there. But it is pretty incredible that Biden was not pressed on any of the leading news story of the week, Hunter Biden’s laptop, emails, photographs, videos, and documented evidence of pay-for-play shenanigans straight from the Hillary Clinton playbook. An earlier video is proving to be eerily accurate and this evidence would be both damning and disqualifying under any set of normal circumstances. We shall soon see how far we have fallen.

A professor I was/am fond of working with called and asked me to help her prepare a presentation on the intersection of archives, libraries and race. I am intentionally not a “race” man; I see race for what it is, a social construct for perpetuating division. But I will enthusiastically help her with the hope that a good presentation will result and perhaps spin itself off into a paper or a series of presentations.

Speaking of race, the black Woodberry Forest alums met on Zoom last night along with the current headmaster. Woodberry Forest was/is the Virginia prep school I helped to integrate back in 1970 – 1972, the years inclusive of my attendance. Although fifty years ago, the place continues to occupy a prominent place in my psyche, as evidenced in blog posts here and here. You know how impressionable one can be at 14 and 15. Well, it (the school) was and continues to be a world onto itself in so many ways, a safe and secure microcosm of a world to come, a heterotopia of sorts.

Big weekend coming up. Poetry group and Octavia Butler group are filling up Saturday and independent study Sunday. Good times!

October 14, 2020

Well, we are two days closer, two days closer to Armageddon the way some folks tell it. The confirmation questioning ends tonight. Tomorrow the committee deliberates, the committee vote will likely be delayed for a week, next week it goes out of committee, and the week of October the 26th the vote hits the complete floor and boom, confirmation of the newest Supreme Court Justice. Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She clearly has a superior intellect, superior at least to the folks questioning her on the committee. And on a personal level I love her large Catholic family and the fact that she is Catholic. If you have been listening you already know I am going through a bit of a late-in-life conversion to Catholicism, just like many of my heroes in life. Blame Catholic education.

I also want to say a word in this post about how competitive this job market is. I left a decent job at Howard, at least pandemic furlough proof, for a short term gig as a contractor. And now, two months into the contract, I find myself bombarded with offers and work opportunities. And that’s not to say that it is only a seller’s market. Two universities in this vicinity are cranking out dozens of librarians and archivists every semester, which also makes it a buyer’s market. So what happens when you have a perfectly competitive seller’s (of labor) market AND a perfectly competitive buyer’s (of labor) market? The first answer is wage and price equilibrium. But what actually happens is an interesting market segmentation, in fact, a market segregation, where those few sellers of labor possessing other assets, like additional degrees, certifications, project management experience, (and sometimes race, age, or sex preferences of the buyers) face a different and more favorable set of market forces. I think they used to call it labor market segmentation, a useful euphemism. Two interviews this week. We’ll see how it goes. (Note: I always thought when I retired I would do the easy thing and continue with State as a a retired annuitant. The path I took of actually acquiring new skills and taking them to the market has been much more fun and fulfilling but I do miss the travel.)

A ton of anti-Biden propaganda/information hit the streets last night. There is actually a photo of his son, Hunter, asleep with a crack pipe hanging from his lips. Old allegations of rape are re-surfacing accompanying the publishing of a book by his accuser (whom I believe). And there are reports of misdoings regarding the Obama/Biden stewardship of the Benghazi mess, which I trust and know to be closer to accurate than otherwise. Otherwise, the phantom Biden leads in various polls are shrinking like cheap cotton. Look, I never trusted those polls and I remember how off they were in 2016. Why should they be different in 2020? Same biased media, same biased pollsters.

Meanwhile, the market keeps chugging along. Advances are leading declines in all my categories. The TSP balance keeps heading North to the Promised Land. I am halfway through The Good Lord Bird, those chapters where John Brown meets Frederick Douglass in Rochester and Harriet Tubman, referred to by Brown affectionately as “the General” at a meeting in Canada. Wow, can’t wait to see what Showtime does with that one! And just received Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, right on time to take a deep dive before Saturday’s poetry group meeting.

Finally, I am quite torn regarding the South Carolina Senate race. On the one hand, it would be so symbolic for South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union, to be represented by two black senators! So symbolic! I would be thrilled to see Scott take Harrison under his wing and show him the ropes. On the other hand I wouldn’t want to see the Republicans lose leadership of the Senate, and a loss by Lindsey Graham would be an inestimable loss of knowledge in and by the Senate body politic. I am torn.

Retweeting this: Election Interference? Facebook and Twitter Suppressing New York Post Bombshell Story Of Damaging Hunter Biden Emails https://americantruthtoday.com/politics/2020/10/14/election-interference-facebook-and-twitter-suppressing-new-york-post-bombshell-story-of-damaging-hunter-biden-emails/?utm_source=sprklst&utm_campaign=americantruth-election-10_14-mid#.X4dsq1oGuDo.twitter

https://nypost.com/2020/10/15/emails-reveal-how-hunter-biden-tried-to-cash-in-big-with-chinese-firm/

postscript. My poetry blog is exploding, thanks to a retweet by a friendly journalist. It is a poem a clef, a sonnet based on an IM received from a friend calling me out on my Facebook posts. Check it out: https://thisismypoetryblog.wordpress.com/2020/10/11/on-sunday-morning-full-measure-is-better-than-meet-the-press-a-sonnet/

October 12, 2020

I’m not much of a day counter. In Baghdad we had the Baghdad Donut, a circular calendar that counted down the days from arrival to departure a year later. I lost track and overstayed by about a week. But fact is, we in the US have a very consequential election in less that a month, and I hope to mark the time to Election Day with these blog posts.

I am still a docent at the Library of Congress, though we haven’t actually done tours since the COVID lockdown in March. There is an interesting set of murals by Elihu Vedder, five in all, that highlight various aspects of the significance, importance, integrity and sanctity of the ballot and the voting process. I’ll not include all five here, but one is especially pertinent. These murals are strategically positioned in the foyer to what used to be the entrance to the main reading room to remind legislators of their responsibilities to the body politic.

Elihu Vedder mural. Library of Congress.

The mural shows, on the right, a youth dropping his ballot into a voting urn on his way to school, enshrining the direct voting process as an essential part of the American system of governance. On the left, a young woman winnows wheat above the voting urn, a metaphor to the voting process that separates the wheat from the chaff, or good candidates from bad ones.

OK. enough for the tour guide urge in me.

These blog posts are not going to be long, it I can help it.

Simultaneously, I am glued to the C-SPAN coverage of the Supreme Court Justice nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. It’s an understatement to say the Democrats are not happy about this nomination confirmation hearing just weeks before the election. I am not a saint to their devotion. I wish Amy Coney Barrett fair winds and following seas in the confirmation process. At the end of the day, she will be confirmed.

And, at the end of the day, I will go out on a limb and predict, President Trump will be elected to a second term. That is not necessarily a partisan statement. I think it is a logical one.

Finally, Happy Columbus Day! Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! And be of good cheer. We will get through all this.