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Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,730

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Seven Bridges Road---Tracy Nelson

Tracy Nelson -- Ruler of My Heart

The Wuhan lab leak theory is more about politics than science

If Joe Biden’s security staff are up to the mark, a new report on the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic will be placed on the president’s desk this week. His team was given 90 days in May to review the virus’s origins after several US scientists indicated they were no longer certain about the source of Sars-CoV-2.

It will be intriguing to learn how Biden’s team answers the critically important questions that still surround the origins of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Did it emerge because of natural viral spillovers from bats to another animal and then into humans? Or did it leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology? And, if so, had it been enhanced to make it especially virulent?

These are important questions – to say the least. If we want to prevent another pandemic, it would be very useful to know how this one started. However, given the paucity of new information Biden’s team will have unearthed over the past three months – while the Chinese authorities have continued to provide little extra data – it is unlikely hard answers will be provided this week.

Although allegations of a leak from the Wuhan institute had been aired by Donald Trump, and rejected flatly by the Chinese, little credence was given to the claim until May, when 18 leading scientists sent a letter to the journal Science in which they claimed both spillover and leak theories were equally plausible. They also accused a recent World Health Organization investigation at Wuhan of not giving a balanced consideration to both scenarios.

But you'll never convince the deniers....or the RepubliQans!

Explaining George Jones, a 'Haunted House of a Human Being'

When I was growing up in the ’90s, whenever I heard people claim to like all kinds of music, they tended to qualify it with “except for country and rap.” Other than sounding dumb and more than a little prejudicial, this was a superficial gloss of two genres that have plenty in common, as Ice-T once pointed out. They’ve both become solidly mainstream, but casual listeners often neglect the music’s intricate social, aesthetic, and political histories. As a music nerd, I must admit that I was a country music dilettante, a mostly Hank-and-Cash fan, until only recently.

Tyler Mahan Coe, son of the outlaw country singer David Allen Coe and half of the duo behind the fun podcast Your Favorite Band Sucks, is working to set the record straight. His celebrated podcast Cocaine and Rhinestones engagingly distinguishes between country music’s fact and fiction. C & R’s first season offered deep dives into the life and work of some of country music’s crucial but perhaps less widely known figures: Spade Cooley, The Louvin Brothers, Ralph Mooney, and others. As Coe explains, “I’ve been hearing these stories all my life. As far as I can tell, this is the truth about this one.”

As with many genres, country often suffers from the distorted projections and misapprehensions coming from both within and outside the community about what’s “real” country and what isn’t. Coe passionately defends his subjects against accusations of inauthenticity or reactionary posturing. There are also vivid, informed, and occasionally harrowing tales about what went on behind closed doors. It’s a crash course that subtly encourages the listener to explore further. And it works—I might not be theologically on board with the sentiment of the Louvin’s Satan is Real record, yet it still gives me the existential shivers every time.

Season two brings the listener into the world of George Jones, aka Old Possum, aka No-Show Jones. Jones’s turbulent life and wrenching songs—give “The Grand Tour” or “A Good Year for the Roses” or “The Window Up Above” a spin to find out why he’s so revered—are already pretty much canonical. But that only means that he can be an entry point into so much else.

I may have to investigate the podcast, because 35 years in E. TN meant being pretty familiar with two distinct strains of country music---what I heard on radio and TV, and what ai heard from local musicians, many of them older folks but some young

Tennessee radio host and vaccine skeptic Phil Valentine dies of COVID

Phil Valentine, a conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine skeptic until he was hospitalized from COVID-19, has died. He was 61.

"We are saddened to report that our host and friend Phil Valentine has passed away," Super Talk 99.7, who employed the popular conservative talk radio host, wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers."

Valentine had been a skeptic of coronavirus vaccines. But after he tested positive for COVID-19, and prior to his hospitalization, he told his listeners to consider, “If I get this COVID thing, do I have a chance of dying from it?” If so, he advised them to get vaccinated. He said he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he probably wouldn’t die.

I guess you weren't listening, Phil. You died.

Georgia governor enables businesses to reject COVID-19 mandates as hospitals overflow

Georgia businesses won't have to comply with local COVID-19 measures like mask or vaccine mandates under a new executive order, as the state's hospitals continue to be stretched to their limit.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Thursday that will keep businesses from being forced to follow COVID-19 ordinances put in place by local jurisdictions. The Republican governor said the order was issued to protect recovering businesses from "another round of shutdowns." It doesn't prevent businesses from complying with local orders, but the ordinances won't be enforced, he said.

"Local governments will not be able to force businesses to be the city’s mask police, the vaccine police or any other burdensome restriction that will only lead to employees being let go, revenue tanking and businesses closing their doors," Kemp said during a press briefing announcing the order.

Several cities in Georgia have reinstated mask mandates amid rising COVID-19 cases. Last month, Atlanta issued a mandate requiring mask use in public indoor spaces, including private businesses. Nearby, Decatur issued a similar mandate, though businesses can opt out. Savannah has issued a mask mandate for some indoor public spaces, though it doesn't include businesses.

GQP governors are Pro-Covid. Never forget that.

Who actually started the Afghan war -- and who'd like you to forget it

The neoconservatives who launched the war in Afghanistan would very much like you to know the war’s ignominious ending is someone else's fault.

In The Atlantic, Tom Nichols wrote a piece titled, “Afghanistan Is Your Fault,” saying the loss of the war should be blamed on American voters. Former Bush administration speechwriter David Frum said we could have won the war in Afghanistan with this one little trick (namely killing Osama bin Laden in December 2001 instead of May 2011). Eliot A. Cohen — a founder of the infamous neoconservative group Project for the New American Century — said now was a time for “for meticulous soul-searching” that is “without recrimination.”

But very few people in American history are as due for recriminations as the neoconservative cabal in then-President George W. Bush's administration who drove us heedlessly into decades-long conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sober analysts at the time made clear that remaking Iraq and the “graveyard of empires” into Western-friendly, capitalist, liberal democracies was a fool’s errand.

As we evaluate the failures of those efforts today, we must recognize the problem was not in the execution of the wars, or the withdrawals, but in the very idea of committing American lives and wealth to forcibly “rebuilding” nations across the globe to fit neoconservatives' vision of society. Their hubris and greed cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives — and did more to diminish American power than our stated adversaries ever could.


Raw sewage polluted this Black community. Now residents are fighting back

Bobby and Sharon Smith haven't flushed their toilet normally in more than a year.

On heavy rainfall days, floodwaters encroach on the modest home they've owned since the 1980s in southwestern Illinois. Even during dry weather, raw sewage can clog the pipes, leaving a foul, lingering stench and requiring perpetual repairs with which the couple, in their 60s, can barely keep up.

"It's horrible," Sharon Smith, a local school district employee who also shares the home with her two children, said recently. "My floors, they buckled up. In my kitchen, the bottom of my sink is rotted out, and it's starting to sink in."

The Smiths' struggle to live free from chronic sewage pollution is common across their section of Cahokia Heights, a small, predominantly Black suburb located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis and formed earlier this year from the merger of three communities strained by population loss and aging infrastructure.

The environmental challenges have spiraled into what the group Centreville Citizens for Change says is a crisis, prompting the federal government to step in twice this month and more than two dozen residents, including the Smiths, to file a federal lawsuit in July alleging that "decades of government failure to ensure basic sewage and stormwater services ... have created an environmental injustice for this Black community."

Of course it's a BLACK community. They'd never let this happen to a white community unless residents were too poor and apathetic to fight back.

Red Summers--How racist propaganda inspired riots in America's biggest cities

Hundreds of miles apart, two of the worst instances of racially motivated attacks in American history occurred within days of each other during the 1919 Red Summer.

Twenty-two-year-old Elsie Stephnick, the spouse of a white, US navy aviator was allegedly assaulted by two Black men near 15th Street NW and New York Avenue on 19 July in Washington DC. At the time, the four major white-owned newspapers, including the Washington Post, were publishing increasingly sensationalistic articles framed to instigate white violence against Washington’s Black community. White veterans and civilians began randomly beating and detaining Black residents in the street and on public transportation. Carter G Woodson, founder of “Black History Month” and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University, witnessed a mob grab a Black pedestrian and shoot him to death. “They had caught a Negro and deliberately held him as one would a beef for slaughter, and when they had conveniently adjusted him for lynching, they shot him,” Woodson recounted.

Refusing to declare martial law to stop the riot, President Woodrow Wilson eventually relented and activated troops stationed nearby. In the interim, Black people took control of their safety, buying $14,000 worth of weapons to repel white invaders. Guns and ammunition were bought in DC stores, pulled from closets where they had been stored after the first world war, and covertly transported from Maryland. Sharpshooters positioned themselves on rooftops watching for white drivers entering Black neighborhoods, and civilians remained on alert behind partially drawn curtains. By the time troops, and heavy summer rain, stopped the fighting on 24 July, an estimated 15 people were killed – 10 of them white – and 50 people were critically wounded.

Three days later on 27 July, the death of 17-year-old Eugene Williams in Chicago at the hands of George Stauber, a white European immigrant, led to what many historians considered the worst racial unrest of the Red Summer. Floating in Lake Michigan on a 14ft x 9ft raft built with a group of friends, Williams inadvertently drifted into a swimming area near 29th Street unofficially considered to be “whites only”. Stauber spotted Williams in the white swimming area and threw stones in his direction, striking the teen and causing him to drown. The responding police officer, Daniel Callahan, refused to arrest him, despite the protestations of Black beachgoers and onlookers. When a Black officer attempted to do so other white officers prevented him and instead detained the Black witnesses, lighting the spark for mass violence.


Levelling up Pompeii: grave shows how a former slave went far

The inscription on the gravestone proudly attests to how far Marcus Venerius Secundio, a former slave of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, went in life. In order of importance, he lists his achievements after being liberated. The first was his role as custodian of the Temple of Venus, built soon after the creation of Pompeii as a Roman colony.

He also joined the ranks of the Augustales, a college of priests who were in charge of a form of emperor worship. But perhaps the most telling indication of his eventual status was that he financed entertainment events in Greek and Latin.

“Being a slave is humiliating, you are in the possession of someone else,” said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director of Pompeii’s archaeological park. “So here we see evidence of a transformation in social ranking … he is showing that he became a different person, that he made it in life.”

Secundio’s partially mummified remains, including white hair, bones and a partly visible ear, were recently found in a monumental tomb located in a prime spot at the necropolis of Porta Sarno, which was one of the main entrance gates into ancient Pompeii.

Humanizing history makes it much more interesting
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