There’s a Riot Going On

James Baldwin said “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” I keep this in mind as riots break out throughout the country in response to police killings of brothers.  Maybe we should ask not why they continue to happen though nothing changes, but why they don’t happen more often? The differential fatality rates of Covid 19 among racial groups has laid bare the results of racism in the health care system. The underlying racial (yeah I know there are other ways of looking at this) economic and social inequality is staring

Any sufficiently advanced technology …

Legendary Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated three “laws” or adages the third and most famous of which is “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Whenever a hear it I am am transported back to my first trip to Africa to do my dissertation research. I was doing research on the effect of a Lutheran mission on the religious beliefs in a village about a hundred miles from the capital. When we went there the foreign missionaries had been replaced by a home grown Lutheran church who were only to eager to rent a house on the

 Francois de La Rochefoucauld Quotes I have found to be true

Many, many years ago when I was studying French I was required to read the pithy maxims of French philosopher and wit Francois VI Duke de La Rochefoucauld. He was an elitist French nobleman of the seventeenth century who commented on the foibles of humans. He wrote hundreds of quotes some good, some too pessimistic and some that are just irrelevant or too relevant for my life. Reading them again fifty years later here are 20 I have found to be true:

 

“How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and

My Dinner with David Driskell

I have read many of the tributes marking David Driskell’s death and they rightfully mention his enormous achievements.  However as one who met him I just wanted to remind folks that he was a wonderful man too. Over the course of my career I have had dinner with many of the the celebrity African Americans who came to my campus to speak. I just saw it as part of the job. Some impressed, some did not. One I will always remember was an unofficial private dinner arranged through an art historian colleague who was a great friend of David Driskell.

Random Thoughts on Covid-19

What makes this pandemic different from the ones we have had before? Why the widespread panic in this one?

What happens when a person who believes that the Corona virus is a liberal (or Chinese or Democratic or media) plot gets sick? Don’t they take the medical precautions anyway e.g. quarantine? Ideology and fantasy meet reality.

Is Wall Street realizing that having an incompetent idiot in power, even if he is your idiot, is not good for them?

Toilet paper will not save you.

As much as nationalists want to withdraw from the world, we cannot.

If you fire, ignore, deny, and denigrate the scientists

Day after Super Tuesday

Everyone else is analyzing what happened so I thought I’d add my two cents for what it’s worth. Let’s first sum up. The Democratic primary voters have shown a preference for an innocuous, bland, no new ideas, oatmeal candidate who they feel is the most likely to defeat Trump rather than an insurgent candidate who they feel will alienate too many voters to oust Trump.  Barring some miracle it is now essential a two man (man used intentionally) race. I did not support either of the finalists, but I would vote for either in November. Both have shown weaknesses and

Now what happened was…

There is an African American narrative tradition in which a story begins “Now what happened was….” Once you hear this you know you are about to hear a long, convoluted tale that tells the story from the perspective of the storyteller and which only occasionally (and possibly never) has a connection to what actually happened. Here is a hilarious example of this storytelling tradition by Tiffany Hadish. The clip itself is about 8 minutes long but is so funny the time just flies by, however if you can sample just a minute or two you will understand the narrative tradition. 

Stuck in the Middle

I recently read a piece by Robert Reich the former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration which you can look at it (here) In it while not discounting racism as one of the driving forces behind Trump’s supporter, also lists anti-establishmentism as an additional factor. I have long been interested in those voters who voted for Obama and then Trump, two people who would seem to have little in common, except they were perceived by the electorate as outside the establishment. While both have proven that they were not outsiders, both promised the electorate that they would be. As

The Farce of Impeachment

I don’t think there is anyone who believes that Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will end in anything other than an acquittal along partisan lines. From even the limited evidence revealed so far there is no question that Trump withheld aid to the Ukraine authorized by Congress as in the national interest, in an attempt to extort Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Biden’s that would be in Trump’s personal interest in the 2020 election. The bigger game afoot is the 2020 elections. Republicans believe that their steadfast support of the president will aid them in gaining the votes of

Thoughts on impeachment

I recently had occasion to speak with a Trump supporting retired CEO who had a few dealings with Trump the businessman.  He said that those who call Trump stupid are way off base. For the record I have never called Trump stupid. Vain, narcissistic, corrupt, and a miserable excuse for a human being, sure, but never stupid. After all he was clever enough to take a fringe candidacy and turn it into a winning presidential campaign. That he did so through lies is just proof of his intelligence. He knew what lies to tell, how to tell them, and to