Week 4 (Bonus): Random clippings from the cutting floor

Week 4: Digital Storytelling Bootcamp – A Walk Down Virginia Avenue

2020 Election Journal addendum

More explanation from Seth Keshel:

Complete election fraud heat map of the United States.

I rushed to get this done for War Room tomorrow. I will go back through a few of the early states and probably reclassify some reds/yellows to scale for population size. This is probalby 95% finalized.

Valedictorian: IA

Honor Roll: ID, WY, AR, SD, ND, MS

Crime Kingpins: CA, NY, NJ, AZ, WA, OR, MA, PA, MI, WI, GA, NV, MN

Week 3 of Digital Storytelling Bootcamp – Summer 2021 session

Independence Day tweets

Lift Every Voice and Sing

By James Weldon Johnson

“A group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. My brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and I decided to write a song to be sung at the exercises. I wrote the words and he wrote the music. Our New York publisher, Edward B. Marks, made mimeographed copies for us, and the song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children.

“Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds. But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country. Today the song, popularly known as the Negro National Hymn, is quite generally used.

“The lines of this song repay me in an elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children.”

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46549/lift-every-voice-and-sing

Lift every voice and sing   
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.   
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;   
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,   
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,   
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy might   
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,   
May we forever stand.   
True to our God,
True to our native land.

My letter to the editor got published!

Opinion: Removing statues is whitewashing history

Here is a link to the original article

A bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Old Supreme Court chamber in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
A bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Old Supreme Court chamber in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

July 2, 2021 at 5:06 p.m. EDT

The House voted Tuesday to remove the bust of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney from the Capitol [“House votes to remove Confederate statues from Capitol,” Politics & the Nation, June 30]. Though I don’t doubt the good intentions of members of the House, for they are all honorable men and women, I question their logic and their reasoning.

Slavery existed in the United States. You can’t wash that away. It’s part of the fabric of our national history. It’s also part of the foundation of our national economy. My own great-grandfather, Caswell Maxwell, was born in slavery in 1823. Many leaders of our nation at the time, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, even presidents held the same debased theories as Taney. These are not niceties, but they are historical facts. Compromises were made at our nation’s founding to accommodate the “peculiar institution.” Again, historical fact. You can’t wash away history by removing statues. History should be researched. Historical facts should be honored as signposts for good and bad behavior.

Removing statues of people we don’t like now whitewashes history and dishonors truth. I’d prefer to keep Taney’s bust in place to explain just how bad the Dred Scott decision was for the country. I fear with the current haste to remove statues that history will soon be forgotten, lost, misplaced.

Historical fact is historical fact — the good, the bad, the ugly. It is our truth. We should stand on our truth, not on some contrived falsehood. Statues are historical landmarks, for good and for ill.

Raymond Maxwell, Washington

not a poem . . . . yes, an epic poem

#ThisIsMyPoetryBlog

I have discovered that most recordings of the famous Frederick Douglass 1852 speech, What to the Slave is the 4th of July,” are abbreviated, curated, and otherwise shortened for convenience. Moreover, most transcripts and texts available and accessible on the internets are similarly selectively curtailed. Let’s face it, people gave very long speeches back then, more like the Sunday sermons I grew up being subjected to in my Baptist/Methodist youth.

All that said, here is a link to the whole Douglass speech. It is, as the Portuguese would say, vale a pena (worth the pain) to review and study in its entirety, all 18 pages. And below is a Youtube audio of the entire speech read aloud. Enjoy!

View original post

How disgusting to conflate the Tuskegee Airmen with the infamous Tuskegee experiments conducted by the US Public Health Service

I originally posted this on LinkedIn July 24, 2021.

On Thursday, June 24, 2021, President Biden referenced “Tuskegee Airmen” in his comments about black reluctance to get the COVID vaccination. We need to clear the air. The so-called Tuskegee Experiments had absolutely nothing to do with the Tuskegee Airmen. That was just a stupid mistake made by our Commander-in-chief and possibly misinformed by his staffers.

But further, the so-called Tuskegee Experiments were not conducted by Tuskegee Institute. Instead they were conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service, a forerunner of the CDC, i.e., the US Government. Of course, it was federal money, and very likely that colleges and universities with medical programs played a small role in the research, because that is the nature of federally funded programs.

A good book to read on the subject is Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid: the dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present.

And here is a link to a recent article on race-norming:

https://www.vox.com/22528334/race-norming-medical-racism

*

According to news reports, this is not the first time the president has conflated (1) the so-called Tuskegee experiments (US Public Health Service) on tracking the progress of syphilis among a group of black men well after penicillin had been developed and (2) the famed Tuskegee Airmen. I am beginning to believe it was not a mistake at all and instead, an attempt to erase a critical episode of African American and World War !! history. The argument can be made, of course, that the president is not clever enough to execute such an erasure. A most convenient hiding place.

https://thefederalist.com/2021/06/25/joe-biden-conflates-tuskegee-airman-with-tuskegee-syphilis-study/

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/05/26/gaffe-joe-biden-mistakenly-blames-black-vaccine-hesitancy-tuskegee-airmen/

https://www.history.com/news/the-infamous-40-year-tuskegee-study

*

Mixing the two separate events is beyond disgusting. In one fell swoop, the important contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen to our nation’s success in World War II are discounted on the altar of the president’s failure to hit a significant milestone for promoting the “success” of an experimental vaccine for COVID. In fact, I might call it raw and brutal racism if that word were not so overused these days.

*

There are several interesting asides to this story. I learned from my work as an archivist processing papers of medical faculty that in the pre-planning stages of US involvement in WWII, a lot of research was done on the physical fitness of American young men to actually successfully fight a war on several battlefronts. There was a huge prevalence of syphilis among young male Americans of all races that would have disqualified them medically for the draft. There was a big push in the medical community to rush the development of cures for syphilis that resulted, by the 40’s, in the widespread use of penicillin as a curative for early detected cases. There was similarly a concern in the overall physical fitness of young American men and an emphasis on physical fitness programs to prepare out-of-shape Americans for eventual enlistment and battle. One is forced to confront the consideration that present rates of opioid and fentanyl and general drug use and abuse and all this talk about gender fluidity may have an adverse impact on military readiness from a purely physical fitness perspective.

Tweets on flag protocol at embassies overseas

Biden and Blinken can do whatever they want. They can play fast and loose with the rules all they want. They are the boss for now. But if I were an ambassador or a management counselor advising an ambassador overseas, I would stand on 2 FAM 154, which ONLY mentions flying the national flag. There is NO mention of a BLM flag or a Pride flag in the Foreign Affairs Manual.

Article 20 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states, “The mission and its head shall have the right to use the flag and emblem OF THE SENDING STATE on the premises of the mission, including the residence of the head of the mission, and on his means of transport.

Satow’s Guide to Diplomatic Practice, the international diplomat’s bible, so to speak, section 10.10, makes no provision for any flag EXCEPT the official flag and emblem of the sending State in terms of the duties and authority of the receiving State to protect it from insult or damage.

postscript. I challenge anybody at the Department of State to get State’s Legal Office to sign off on a FAM change necessary to fly those flags officially. That decision memo will die before it leaves the home bureau, quicker than a swatted fly.

Holding news and information producers accountable

Wouldn’t it be something if we could hold news people accountable for their deeds? I mean, other professions seem to be able to be held accountable. Why not the people and entities who bring us information?

OK. let’s try that from a different tack.

When I was a young budding electrical engineer, I took a course called Modern Physics. The textbook, Fundamentals of Physics, was a huge tome by guys named Halliday and Resnick. I’ll never forget those two. Among other ideas that stuck with me for life, there were the concepts of accuracy and precision. Accuracy was represented by hitting the bulls-eye of a target with an arrow. Precision was hitting the same target over and over again. Accuracy included the idea of truth, scientific truth, that is. Precision was concerned I seem to recall with repetition.

We seem to have an awful lot of precision when it comes to information these days. The writers, the producers, and agencies that purvey the news can hit the same target again and again. But it seems that when it comes to the truth, scientific truth, reproducible truth, there is a gross deficiency. Every day we hear about retractions, we hear about folks getting stuff wrong, about information not being properly sourced.

When I was a wee pup, I worked in an agency that monitored various sources of news around the clock. When we thought some item of news rose to the level that it might interest our principals, we cranked out spot reports or even did rounds of phone calls. If we sent misdirected information to the top, we got in a bit of trouble.

I noticed that the only televised source of news reporting in those days got it wrong about 50% of the time when they were dealing with “breaking news.” So it became wise for us to wait beyond the “breaking news” point if it wasn’t a true emergency, to let them get it right.

Here is what I propose. Give each pundit, each writer, each news agency, each producer a public information accuracy quotient, IAQ. The IAQ would be a ratio of the number of times they issued information (precision) divided by the times their reports were true (accuracy). So, for example, if Joy Reid said various things seven times in a day for seven days in a week, the numerator would be 49. But if all the things were true, if they met the standard for accuracy, the denominator would also be 49, and her IAQ for the week would be 1. A perfect score. But as things became proven to be false, the denominator would shrink over time, slowly approaching some lower number, with a consequent rise in the overall ratio. Of course, the golden IQA, the standard for precision and accuracy, would always be 1, or unity. They would be required to display their IAQ on the website and, where applicable, on their television screen for all to see.

That way, when CNN or MSNBC or Fox News or any individual news reporter presented a IAQ greater than one, everybody would know. And people could use the IAQ to determine if they wanted to listen to or trust a particular source of news. Or shun them. A kind of a social ranking with consequences.

Is it really too much to ask?