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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 167,180

Journal Archives

This Whiteness of Being By Connie Schultz


This Whiteness of Being
By Connie Schultz


I am a white woman who has never had a minute's worry that the color of my skin would lead to the cause of my death. What is my role in this moment as a professor, a colleague, a friend?

I try to take guidance from Black friends, students and colleagues. The instruction is pretty simple: Shut up. For the sake of all that is right and holy, just shut up for a while and listen. To ignore their pain is to magnify our indifference, and filling this space with our words, our feelings, is just another way to say, "I don't see you."


For all of my 19 years as a columnist, there has been no rival for the hate mail about racism from people who look like me. The message, sometimes cloaked in Scripture but often just raw with rage, is always the same: You have betrayed your people.

If your primary requirement for love or camaraderie with another human being is a matching skin tone, your world is but a thimble bobbing on a wondrous sea. My mother would want me to pray for you, just as many of you claim to be praying for me. She'd want me to mean it, though, so I keep trying.

It's Thursday evening now, and my mind is full of the thoughts my students have bravely shared in this sad week of never-ending pain. I am slowed by the weight of their words, struggling to imagine what it is like to be them right now.

I do not know because I cannot know, in this whiteness of being. But for them, I will keep trying.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 22, 2021, 09:47 PM (5 replies)

The Stupidest Debate In Washington


The Stupidest Debate In Washington
April 22, 2021 at 12:30 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Jonathan Bernstein: “Here comes the stupidest debate in Washington again. Yup: It’s the debt limit, which will need to be raised sometime this summer or fall.”

“Everything about this process is pointless. To be sure, there are legitimate arguments to be had over federal budget deficits, and about specific government expenditures and tax measures. The debt limit itself, however, has no place in those arguments. Nothing would change if there was no statutory ceiling on government borrowing. Policies would still produce the deficits, balance or surplus that Congress intended, and those totals would likely be exactly the same as they are now. All the debt limit does is require a vote that no one wants to take and create the unlikely but real possibility that the U.S. could default — a possibility so disastrous that it causes a drag on the entire economy.”

“In short, the debt limit should be abolished. Unfortunately, the politics involved have only become worse over time. It’s always been fairly normal for the out-party to vote against raising the limit, forcing the majority to supply the votes. Majorities have, in the past, fought back by attaching increased funding to some popular program, forcing the minority to either support lifting the ceiling or look bad for opposing something constituents want. A stupid piece of political theater on both sides, but mostly harmless.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 22, 2021, 12:57 PM (0 replies)

Buttigieg names transportation chief science officer


April 21, 2021 / 1:30 PM
Buttigieg names transportation chief science officer
By Clyde Hughes

April 21 (UPI) -- For the first time in about 40 years, the Department of Transportation will fill its chief science officer position, naming a former University of Michigan professor to the post, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday.

Robert C. Hampshire had joined the administration in January as principal deputy assistant secretary for research and technology. Before joining the transportation department, he focused on research and policy engagement as an associate professor at the University of Michigan's Gerald Ford School of Public Policy.

"Climate resilience and environmental justice are at the heart of this administration's mission to build back better -- and that effort must be grounded in scientific expertise," Buttigieg said in a statement. "We're thrilled to officially name Dr. Hampshire as our chief science officer, and look forward to his contributions to this historic effort."

Hampshire will report to Buttigieg on science and technology issues and will be charged with making sure the department's research, development and technology programs are scientifically and technologically sound.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 22, 2021, 09:48 AM (0 replies)

Elon Musk's $150 million charity spending spree

Elon Musk’s $150 million charity spending spree
Texas schools. A food bank. Now a climate-change prize. The Tesla founder discovers Big Philanthropy.
By Theodore Schleifer@teddyschleifer Apr 22, 2021, 8:00am EDT

Elon Musk is on a philanthropy spending spree.

In the months immediately after briefly becoming the world’s richest person, Musk has been transforming his profile as a philanthropist, appearing seemingly every few weeks bearing gifts — in public. That represents a departure from Musk’s penchant for privacy and his relatively thin history as a major donor, despite being one of the country’s wealthiest people for a decade.

In the last few months, the Tesla founder appears to have been on the most aggressive streak of charitable giving in his life, moving so fast that he sometimes fails to give the recipients a heads-up. He is making his largest public donations ever and at a pace that seems to outstrip any other point in his career. All of that activity will be highlighted on Thursday when Musk speaks at a buzzy rollout for his single-biggest donation, a $100 million jackpot for the winner of a climate contest he created.

Over just the first four months of 2021, Musk has committed almost $150 million directly to charities, according to Recode reporting and public announcements. That more than doubles Recode’s best estimate of all his charitable giving before 2021, which amounted to about $100 million based on available information.

And that’s not all. Behind the scenes over the last few months, Musk’s foundation has been spending more time reaching out to other major philanthropists and intermediaries to try and find ideas for grants and learn best practices, Recode is told.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 22, 2021, 09:05 AM (10 replies)

Manhattan DA Will No Longer Prosecute Prostitution


Manhattan DA Will No Longer Prosecute Prostitution
Jennifer Adams, Breaking News Intern
Published Apr. 21, 2021 12:39PM ET

Manhattan prosecutors will stop prosecuting prostitution and unlicensed massages, District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced Wednesday. Vance Jr. has asked a judge to dismiss more than 900 open prostitution cases and another 5,000 that involve charges for loitering for the purposes of prostitution, his statement says. Many of these cases have been pending since the late 1970s, when New York wanted to erase its reputation as a crime capital. “Criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers,” Vance Jr. said. Crimes related to sex trafficking and patronizing sex workers will still be prosecuted, according to The New York Times. Manhattan follows Baltimore and Philadelphia in deciding not to prosecute sex workers.

“The communities hit hardest by the continued criminalization of sex work and human trafficking are overwhelmingly LGBTQ, they are people of color, and they are undocumented immigrants,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray. “Sex work is a means of survival for many in these marginalized groups.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 21, 2021, 12:54 PM (0 replies)

The Rude Pundit: The Chauvin Verdict: Random Observations at the Beginning of a Long, Difficult Roa


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
The Chauvin Verdict: Random Observations at the Beginning of a Long, Difficult Road


4. Our failure to radically address the systemic racism and military tactics that our police forces use is a profound lack of imagination and a profound lack of effort by our political leaders at all levels.
I'm not going to get into the entire history of how the police became a paramilitary force or how the existence of police departments go back to slave patrols and as a white control on poor and Black populations in northern urban areas. But we have to know that it's all led to this moment of crisis.

5. We have to know that things must change. The verdict today is an early step in a long, difficult road that threatens to collapse under our feet at any moment. We have to conceive of a new way for law enforcement to engage with communities. We have to allow that an understanding of mental illness and drug addiction, something that is fairly recent in our history, must have an effect on how authorities handle so many cases. We must take funds from police forces and use them for mental health intervention specialists. (That's what most of us mean by "Defund the police." ) We have to conceive of a new way to train law enforcement, to come up with a new meaning for law enforcement itself. Perhaps most importantly, we have to acknowledge that the status quo is unsustainable and just plain wrong.

6. That starts with a very public, national reckoning on a few levels. The first is with systemic racism, especially with regards to how disproportionately non-white people are dealt with violently and abusively by law enforcement. Another is with the goddamn guns. The racism and the surge in gun sales go hand in hand. It's white panic against a completely made up enemy, and it's promoted by right-wing media for pure power and profit. Until we are ready to say that some things are objectively wrong - like that white officers are more likely to use their weapons in Black neighborhoods - and then act to make them right, we can't move forward. Until we are ready to vote out politicians who use racism as an appeal to foolish white voters, we can't move forward.

7. We must look at this day in another way: We're celebrating that a cop didn't get away with a murder that we all saw happen. That's perhaps the bare minimum a civilized society should expect. If you're video-recorded killing someone, you go to prison. It should be that simple. Yes, the Chauvin verdict might be the breaking of a dam on cases involving murder or assault by cops. But it's a sign of how low our expectations have become that, honestly, many of us, especially in the Black community, wouldn't have been surprised if Chauvin had been acquitted. What I'm expecting now is, at best, an assertion on the right of "See? Justice can be done" before proposing even more draconian crime policies. At worst, I expect a retrenchment by most of the GOP, a clinging to the old campaign tactic of showing scary Black people protesting while praising the clean, white police establishment.

8. The supposed good cops should be relieved at the verdict today. They should be glad that those who make them look bad, who make them look like racists, who make them look like bad apples might now be punished and make it easier for them to be the good cops they believe they can be. In fact, the supposedly good cops need to be encouraged, even rewarded, for turning in the bad cops. Or else let's finally admit that the whole barrel is rotten.

9. Finally, I want to end this with a moment to remember George Floyd, a flawed man, like all of us, who suffered so awfully before our eyes, who it's not hyperbolic to say died for our sins. But you can't remember him without remembering every single name, every Eric Garner, every Breonna Taylor, every Adam Toledo, and you can't remember them without thinking about all those whose names we never got to learn.

We can breathe where they can't. But we need to use that breath for something more than sighs of relief.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 21, 2021, 11:41 AM (3 replies)

Florida Sheriff Tells People Moving to State Not to 'Vote the Stupid Way You Did Up North'

Florida Sheriff Tells People Moving to State Not to 'Vote the Stupid Way You Did Up North'
By Alexandra Hutzler On 4/19/21 at 2:57 PM EDT

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd warned new Florida residents not to "vote the stupid way you did up north" during a press conference alongside Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday.

"This is what we enjoy in Florida. This is the Florida we know and love," Judd said as he held up photographs showing residents at Walt Disney World and the beach.

"We're a special place, and there are millions and millions of people who like to come here. And quite frankly, we like to have them here. So we only want to share one thing as you move in hundreds a day: Welcome to Florida. But don't register to vote and vote the stupid way you did up north, you'll get what they got," the sheriff added, prompting applause from the group of law enforcement officers, lawmakers and state officials gathered.

Judd's remarks were made moments before DeSantis signed the state's controversial "anti-riot" bill into law. The legislation, which was passed in Florida's GOP-controlled Senate last week, contains several provisions that crack down on protests in the Sunshine State.

The law will now define a "riot" as a public disturbance involving three or more people "acting with the common intent to assist each other in violent and disorderly conduct" that results in injury to another person, damage to property, or "imminent" danger of injury or damage.

The 61-page bill established new felonies for organizing or participating in a violent demonstration and enhanced penalties for crimes committed during a riot. It will also authorities to hold arrested protesters without bail until their first court appearance, as well as grant civil immunity to those who drive into protesters who are blocking a road.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Apr 20, 2021, 12:29 PM (12 replies)

Eric Boehlert: New York Times drives Both Sides journalism off the cliff


New York Times drives Both Sides journalism off the cliff
Stop doing this
Eric Boehlert
1 hr ago

Pushing the implausible claim that America faces symmetric threats to democracy today from conservatives and liberals, the New York Times' Nate Cohn on Monday uncorked a wildly misguided Both Sides foray that highlighted the anxious tradition of the Beltway media to position Republicans and Democrats are being equally at fault for today's political turmoil.

Instead of forcefully pointing out the conservative movement's dangerous and proud turn toward authoritarianism and paramilitary violence, Cohn tried to argue that what's happening with extreme polarization represents a move towards “political sectarianism," and that the right and left are now caught up in a ceaseless war featuring equal attacks from each side. At every turn, Cohn could only find examples of right-wing behavior that threatens our democracy, yet he insisted Both Sides were to blame.


What have mainstream Democrats done to cause Republicans to view them as monsters, to demonize them? Cohn doesn't provide a single example or insight, which suggests that's not what's happening with today's radical Republican Party.

In an effort to normalize the increasingly extreme and dangerous actions of Republicans, Cohn stresses, "the minority often poses a challenge to democracy in a sectarian society. It’s the minority who bears the costs, whether material or psychological, of accepting majority rule in a democracy. In the extreme, rule by a hostile, alien group might not feel much different than being subjugated by another nation."

In other words, conservatives and Republican supporters are anxious about being in the political minority under Biden, which is why they're acting out and posing a threat to democracy. Right, but Democrats just spent four years in the minority during the Trump presidency and Cohn can't point to a single instance of anti-democratic behavior by them.

The media's biggest challenge during the Biden administration is being honest and accurate about today's extremist Republican Party. It's a test the press continues to fail.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Apr 20, 2021, 08:57 AM (7 replies)

State Department Throws 130 More Countries on Its 'Do Not Travel' List


State Department Throws 130 More Countries on Its ‘Do Not Travel’ List
Jamie Ross, Reporter
Published Apr. 20, 2021 5:06AM ET

That big vacation still seems a long way away. The State Department announced Monday that it will massively extend its “Do Not Travel” guidance to cover about 80 percent of countries around the globe. That will mean adding around 130 countries to the list of of 34, which already includes places such as Brazil, Argentina, and Russia. In its statement, the State Department said there’s an “unprecedented risk to travelers” from the coronavirus pandemic, and added: “In light of those risks, the Department of State strongly recommends U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad.” The statement also said the changes will bring the State Department’s advice in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC notes on its website that “international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Apr 20, 2021, 08:45 AM (1 replies)

There's a Name for the Blah You're Feeling: It's Called Languishing

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing
The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021.
By Adam Grant
April 19, 2021Updated 1:18 p.m. ET

At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure” again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.


Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression — and in some ways it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.

The term was coined by a sociologist named Corey Keyes, who was struck that many people who weren’t depressed also weren’t thriving. His research suggests that the people most likely to experience major depression and anxiety disorders in the next decade aren’t the ones with those symptoms today. They’re the people who are languishing right now. And new evidence from pandemic health care workers in Italy shows that those who were languishing in the spring of 2020 were three times more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Part of the danger is that when you’re languishing, you might not notice the dulling of delight or the dwindling of drive. You don’t catch yourself slipping slowly into solitude; you’re indifferent to your indifference. When you can’t see your own suffering, you don’t seek help or even do much to help yourself.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Apr 19, 2021, 11:27 PM (29 replies)
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