September 3, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 7:31 PM


Posted by orrinj at 7:27 PM


Joe Biden seeks to soothe city on edge after speaking with Jacob Blake (AFP, 9/03/20)

Joe Biden called out the "underlying racism" in America Thursday as he sought to soothe the protest-scarred Midwestern city of Kenosha, where the presidential hopeful spoke with a black father shot in the back by a white policeman.

Biden sat down for a private talk with Jacob Blake's father and other relatives, and revealed later that he had spoken for about 15 minutes by telephone with Blake as the 29-year-old was recovering in hospital.

"He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up," Biden said of Blake, whose lawyers say he is likely paralyzed from the waist down.

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Describing himself repeatedly as an optimist, Biden -- speaking through a face mask -- told a small community gathering in Kenosha that the majority of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality.

But he also warned that President Donald Trump has fueled the racial animus which has roiled the nation in recent months.

"Not all his fault," but Trump's heated and racially charged language "legitimizes the dark side of human nature," Biden said at Grace Lutheran Church, where a crowd of mostly-masked supporters gathered outside.

The president's rhetoric has exposed "the underlying racism that is institutionalized in the United States, and still exists, and has existed for 400 years," he added.

Posted by orrinj at 7:10 PM

Posted by orrinj at 3:25 PM


Poll: Biden leads Trump by 8 points in Pennsylvania, 3 in Florida (MATTHEW CHOI, 09/03/2020m Politico)

In both Pennsylvania and Florida, those polled overwhelmingly said they had made up their minds with little chance of changing who they support on Election Day. In Florida, 93 percent of respondents said they were sure of their choice, while 94 percent said so in Pennsylvania.

Posted by orrinj at 1:11 PM


I am a Republican vote for Biden (Rick Snyder, 9/03/20, USA Today)

Forty-four years ago, I celebrated my 18th birthday at the 1976 Republican National Convention as part of Gerald Ford's national youth group. At that convention, I had the honor to watch two great leaders in action -- Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. I have remained a lifelong Republican and proudly announced Michigan's support for Mitt Romney in 2012 from the front row of the Republican convention in Tampa.

I will continue to support and stand up for Republican policies and values, and support Republican candidates, but I will not support Donald Trump for reelection.

When elected to office, you do not represent only your supporters, you represent all of your constituents. That is your job. I was at the nation's Capitol when Trump gave his inaugural address. I had hoped this first speech as president would be a message to unify a divided nation. Instead, I heard a speech directed at how he would help the people who supported him. And sadly, that is how President Trump continues to govern.

Posted by orrinj at 1:00 PM


Grateful to Gorbachev (Richard Vinen, September 4, 2020, TLS)

Given the frequency with which he is favourably compared to the present incumbent of the White House, it is worth recalling what his contemporaries thought of Ronald Reagan. Mikhail Gorbachev told the Politburo that they were dealing with a "caveman". Margaret Thatcher turned to her Foreign Secretary after a meeting in the White House and said, tapping her head, "there is nothing there". George Shultz, the US Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989, told Reagan, after a summit with the Soviet Union: "You cannot just sit there telling jokes". The astonishing thing, though, is that, on the central issue of his time, Reagan was right and almost all his numerous moral and intellectual superiors were wrong. In 1983, he said that communism was a "sad bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written". Compare this prescience with a British ambassador who remarked in February 1985: "There's one thing we all know, the Soviet Union isn't going to change".

Robert D. Kaplan put it best:

(In perceiving the Soviet Union as permanent, orderly, and legitimate, Kissinger shared a failure of analysis with the rest of the foreign-policy elite -- notably excepting the scholar and former head of the State Department's policy-planning staff George Kennan, the Harvard historian Richard Pipes, the British scholar and journalist Bernard Levin, and the Eureka College graduate Ronald Reagan.)

Of course, the other key guy who realized the USSR was toast was Andropov.

Posted by orrinj at 8:46 AM


Portland Police Oversight Board Members Resign, Say There Is No Accountability (ANA DE LIZ, 9/3/20, Newsweek)

The three members have rescinded their place in the 11-person Citizen Review Committee, which serves as a volunteer advisory board to the Independent Police Review--the city's police oversight agency that investigates complaints made against police officers.

"The events of this past weekend were a tipping point for me," wrote member Adam Green in his Wednesday resignation letter.

Last weekend, a Portland resident called Aaron J. Danielson was shot and killed when supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with protesters against police brutality.

Following the shooting, protesters gathered outside of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's home and called for his resignation. On Monday, video emerged of a police officer repeatedly punching a protester on the ground while trying to detain him.

"We continue to witness excessive force used by officers on the streets. Members of the media continue to be threatened. Armed Trump supporters are allowed to parade through downtown Portland while pointing guns at people that aren't wearing Trump gear."

"These are just a few examples of a failed system with failed leadership. I can no longer support this system in any way," Green, who was appointed as a recorder at the Citizen Review Committee in April of this year, said.

For the Right, the Blue exists to murder blacks.

Posted by orrinj at 8:40 AM


Louis Armstrong's Rapturous First Tour Through the American South: Ricky Riccardi on the Musician's Enthusiastic Reception in New Orleans: excerpt from Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong by Ricky Riccardi  (Ricky Riccardi, September 3, 2020, Lit Hub)

About to embark on a southern tour for the first time, Louis Armstrong was leaving behind the comfort of the police escort that kept him safe in Chicago. He needed a bodyguard and decided to hire a friend from his past, drummer "Little" Joe Lindsey. Armstrong was once the cornetist in Lindsey's Brown Skin Jazz Band, one of his first professional experiences as a musician. He also invited his down-on-his-luck New Orleans friend--and "one of the all-around gamblers of that period"--"Professor" Sherman Cook to be his valet and serve as something of a personal secretary. New Orleans was his eventual destination and it would help to have two homeboys to keep him safe in the south.

Kentucky was the first stop for what was billed as "Louis Armstrong of Screen, Stage and Record Fame and His Okeh Recording Orchestra"; multiple advertisements played up Armstrong's appearance in Ex-Flame, further proof of the importance of this film at this point in his career. They played a dance date on May 15th at the Club Madrid, the night before the Kentucky Derby, and followed that with a "Kentucky Derby Ball" in Louisville.

"We were the first colored band ever to play that, and that was some engagement," saxophonist George James recalled. Collins had to take gigs wherever he could find them, which meant following the Kentucky sojourn by traveling back up north to Detroit to play opposite McKinney's Cotton Pickers at the Graystone Ballroom and Jean Goldkette's Orchestra at the Blue Lantern.

Armstrong's reed-heavy band cooked on stage, and in guitarist Mike McKendrick they had a good "straw boss" to discipline the members and make sure they were always ready when they needed to be. Bassist John Lindsay of New Orleans (no relation to Joe) joined in Detroit, a solid addition who locked in with drummer Tubby Hall to form a potent rhythm team. But what the band really needed was a music director and in Detroit, they found one in trumpeter Zilner T. Randolph.

Posted by orrinj at 8:36 AM


Trump looks alone on the world stage as international leaders line up to condemn the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexey Navalny (Thomas Colson and Adam Bienkov, 9/03/20, Business Insider)

Donald Trump looks increasingly alone on the world stage, as he fails to join the growing international outrage over the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader, and leading critic of President Putin, Alexey Navalny.

Posted by orrinj at 8:14 AM


Hard to pardon: why Tenet's muffled dialogue is a very modern problem: Christopher Nolan's latest blockbuster is already infamous for its barely-audible exchanges. As sound technology advances, why are films getting harder to hear? (Ralph Jones, 3 Sep 2020, The Guardian)

There is a wonderful exchange in Christopher Nolan's latest film, Tenet, between Robert Pattinson and John David Washington. "Hngmmhmmh," says Pattinson. "Mmghh nmmhhmmmm nghhh," replies Washington. Marvellous.

This is how much of Tenet sounded to viewers in cinemas. The film's dialogue has been criticised by reviewers and audience members for often being impossible to make out. Given how hard Nolan's blockbuster would be to understand even if all the dialogue was crystal-clear, it is curious that the director has made it doubly difficult to hear the story of a screenplay he supposedly spent five years writing.

But it isn't just Nolan's films. It's a much-repeated claim that movie dialogue is becoming harder and harder to hear. What is going on?

Mathew Price is a production sound mixer who has worked on The Sopranos and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. "When they take the sound we record on set and kind of undermix it, it feels like, 'What did we try so hard for?'" he says. Price believes the problem is partly that modern directors have so many more tracks to play with, causing "track overload", the result being that "the dialogue gets short shrift a lot of the time".

Films don't just look better on your home screen, you can also turn on the subtitles.  Why would theaters ever re-open.

Posted by orrinj at 8:03 AM


Chester Changes Marketing Message To Reach COVID Refugees (HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN, SEP 1, 2020, VPR News)

Bloomberg News reported this week that Vermont leads the nation when looking at the percent of people moving into the state compared to those moving out.

An ongoing UVM study is also finding that more than a third of the people who came here at the start of the pandemic are planning to stay.

And so towns across Vermont are noticing.

"I don't ever want to say that a pandemic is an opportunity, because I don't feel that way," said Chester Town Manager Julie Hance. "But I do think that now is the time that we need to start getting ourselves out there."

Hance just asked her town's select board to spend $10,000 on a marketing campaign targeting COVID refugees.

Posted by orrinj at 7:34 AM


Tom Seaver transformed the New York Mets and transfixed their fans (David Schoenfield, 9/02/20, ESPN)

Fifty-one years later, it might still be the greatest baseball story ever told. The Miracle Mets of 1969, never having finished above .500, going from ninth place in 1968 to the World Series title. The hapless, bumbling, laughingstock New York Mets, most famous for the time Marv Throneberry hit an apparent game-winning triple only to have missed first base, with the Mets instead losing the game. Those luckless, atrocious Mets, whom Casey Stengel explained had selected a certain catcher in the expansion draft because they needed somebody to prevent the ball from rolling to the backstop.

That's how the Mets were born and, boy, were they bad. They lost 120 games that first season in 1962 and followed up with seasons of 111, 109 and 112 losses. In 1966, they climbed out of last place for the first time -- all the way up from 10th place to ninth. The fans in Queens loved them nonetheless. Even though the Mets lost 95 games that year, they finished second in the major leagues in attendance.

The transformation from lovable losers to champions began in 1967. It began with Tom Seaver.

Why Tom Seaver was the only poster on my wall (Tim Brown, 9/03/20, Yahoo Sports)

He won 311 games. Three Cy Youngs. He went to the Hall of Fame. He became baseball royalty.

More, way more, he was the best player on the only favorite team I'd ever have.

When the Sunday newspaper came with one of those iron-on decals, and this week it was him, and I'd come downstairs with the biggest white T-shirt I could find, thinking that was the one I'd grow out of last, and then stand next to the ironing board in my Toughskins while my mom waited for the iron to -- click-click-click -- warm. When I'd sit out in the bleachers and there he was, tiny, but there he was, and then everyone around me was just as taken as I was, and it was OK to be a Mets fan. When in the pictures in the paper he was so young and seemed so happy, always caught laughing, like there was nothing to worry about, that he'd be fine, that the Mets would be fine, that I could sleep soundly under his image on the wall.

I don't know how you're supposed to replace that in your soul. Fifty years later, he's what the game looks like for me on its best days. Not because he had a low ERA. Not because he was a great pitcher and one of the best ever. But because there are moments on those best days for baseball, no matter who you are or how long you've been watching, no matter how hardened you've grown, that you wholly believe in. Mike Trout against a fastball. Max Scherzer on a hot night in late September. Joey Votto at 0-and-2. Mookie Betts getting his legs under him with a man at third base. Fernando Tatis Jr. from the hole.

If Tom Seaver and a bunch of other guys (I could give you all of their names) can win a World Series and steal a 7-year-old's heart forever, then what else could you believe in?

Just about anything.

Yeah, your team picks you. You grow old with any luck. And then one night you say goodbye. And thanks.

I literally cried when they traded him.