Reminder to white people

Gin and Truth podcast

I am loving this new-ish podcast by Robert Reed, whom I follow on Twitter (@RCReed40). The description says it all, “A steady stream of ramblings from this rat’s nest I call a brain.”

The great thing is that I seem to agree with Robert on just about everything he talks about. Maybe you will too.

Check it out: Gin and Truth.

First Dose of Moderna

Today, my wife and I each got the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Thanks Dolly!

So far — some nine hours later — no side effects to speak of. The injection site feels about as sore as a seasonal flu shot makes you feel. I can tell you that, again, so far, this injection is closer to the seasonal flu shot than to say the Shingrix shingles vaccine (which itself, was not bad).

So please, unless you have an underlying health condition that would prevent you from getting a COVID-19 vaccine, I would urge you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Regardless, let’s all stay the course and kick this virus in the ass: stay safe, wear a mask and social distance when in public or when with people who don’t live with you, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and wash those hands with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available).

Call me crazy…

The Myth of Trump’s Judicial Success

The subheading says it all:

During his administration, President Trump appointed many conservative judges–but on balance, he set back conservative legal values more than he advanced them.

Billy Easley writing at libertarianism.org:

On the surface, the Trump administration was a boon for the conservative legal establishment for all these reasons. But scratch under the surface: look past the appointments and the legal victories and you can see the rot in the foundation. Consistently throughout his administration, President Trump undermined the universal values conservatives advocate, and it has set our movement back. At the same time the President worked to don black robes on a fleet of principled, conservative lawyers, he undermined the values conservatives have worked so hard to defend against a resurgent left and an emboldened populist base. (emphasis added)

Thank you! I’ve been making this very point to any so-called conservative who would listen for almost four years!

I want the conservative legal movement to succeed. My career reflects that. But the way it succeeds is not merely by gaining power or putting the right people in place. We have to support politicians who reflect our values and demonstrate that the political process is not a never‐​ending war of all against all without any guardrails. At a minimum, we have to support the democratic institutions that bind our country together and leaders who don’t undermine them. If you believe our society is too polarized for persuasion to work or that the left can only be defeated through accumulating judicial and political power, then there may be nothing I can say to dissuade you.

And far too many so-called conservatives have, sadly, reached this point.

But I will try: Look where the conservative movement is now. We have lost the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. When gaining power and “owning the libs” is the only thing you care about, this is what happens: you lose. You lose because you shred your credibility, undermine the system that helped you secure your victories, and you convince observers that they’re suckers if they care about the rules. Conservatism is not about winning. Nor is it about the number of judges you appoint. It is about supporting our democratic institutions, the rule of law, and empowering people. If we focus on sowing those principles, the country and our movement will be much better off. (emphasis added)

Hear, hear.

Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson collaborates on cover of Big Star’s “The Ballad of El Goodo”

Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson recently teamed up remotely with Jody Stephens, founding drummer of the influential power-pop band Big Star, and other musicians for a rendition of the 1972 Big Star gem “The Ballad of El Goodo,” during a virtual benefit event hosted by Memphis’ famed Ardent Studios.

You can check out a video of the performance, which also featured ex-Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed and current Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit lead guitarist Sadler Vaden, at Vaden’s official YouTube channel.

Love Big Star + Love Cheap Trick = a real treat.

The Day the Music Died +61 years

As a huge Buddy Holly fan since I was a kid, I try to mark The Day the Music Died, in one way or another, just about every year. And while I often link to the excellent Wikipedia article, this year I’ve searched and found some other interesting articles, including this one at Biography.com, as well as the one linked in the article title from grunge.com:

The Day the Music Died was Feb. 3, 1959. That was the morning that a small chartered plane crashed in a cornfield in Iowa and killed three of rock n’ roll’s biggest and brightest upcoming stars. All three had only recently kicked open the door to stardom, and in spite of their relatively short careers, they left an undeniable mark on the world of music. What they may have done, had they lived, is unimaginable.

Unimagineable. Gone, but not forgotten.

Amanda Gorman: The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration:

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

I’ve watched and listened to this maybe a half-dozen times now, and it is truly breathtaking, the way the best art always is.

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Sworn in as 46th President of the United States

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over… Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.”
— President Gerald R. Ford, remarks after taking the presidential oath, 9 August 1974.

 

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has taken the oath of office and has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States of America.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, taking office at a moment of profound economic, health and political crises with a promise to seek unity after a tumultuous four years that tore at the fabric of American society.

With his hand on a five-inch-thick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Mr. Biden recited the 35-word oath of office swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” in a ceremony administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., completing the process at 11:49 a.m., 11 minutes before the authority of the presidency formally changes hands.

 

As of Noon Eastern today, Donald Trump is no longer President of the United States. Halle-fucking-lujah.

Just the thought that an adult is at the wheel again, as opposed to the spoiled, pre-tween little girl that we’ve had at the wheel for the last forty years1.

Now, I’m no particular supporter of Joe Biden. I wish him well, of course, just as I wished Trump well four years ago. I sincerely hope that Joe Biden rises to the challenge and becomes a better president that I think he’ll be2. But I have substantial differences of opinion with President Biden.

Then Senator Joe Biden spoke at my law school about a thousand years ago. I remember thinking at the time that our political opinions are pretty substantially different, but that he was a man who would make a good president. He was presidential in his manner, and he certainly had gravitas.

And so, here we go. Hopefully Biden will be successful in his earnest attempts to unite the nation. Trump, of course, only paid lip service to uniting the country and took divisive steps and spoke with divisive rhetoric every chance he had.

Good luck to us all.

yeah, in a minute…
1 Oh wait, that’s right, it only felt like forty fucking years that Trump was in office…

2 Of course, my identical hopes for Trump four years ago never came to pass, and in fact, he was a much, much worse president that I had feared.

Chappelle on Saving America from Itself

Recently rewatched some Dave Chappelle standup.

Dave Chappelle, Sticks and Stones (2019) at 40:39:

I’ve given this a lot of thought. I don’t see any peaceful way to disarm America’s whites.

There’s only one thing that’s gonna save this country from itself – the same thing that always saves this country from itself. And that is, the African-Americans. That’s right.

And I know the question that a lot of y’all have in your minds is, ‘should we do it?’ Yeah, fuck yeah we should do it. Listen, no matter what they say or how they make you feel, remember, this is your country too. It is incumbent upon us to save our country. And you know what we have to do – this is a fucking election year, we gotta be serious.

Every able-bodied African-American must register… for a legal firearm. That’s the only way they’ll change the law.