Black Lives Matter

In Wednesday’s blog post I told you about the “debate” that the Tennessee state legislature was having about whether or not to keep a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and the founder and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, in their state capitol building. I told you that the Republicans were against removing the statue, which turns out to be a bust, not a whole statue.

Here’s how the “debate” ended: The bust is going to be kept where it is, in a place of honor (I got the info from the website of WMC, channel 5, in Nashville, TV):

A Republican named Jerry Sexton argued: “It was not against the law to own slaves back then,” he said. “Who knows, maybe some of us will be slaves one of these days. Laws change.”

A separate House bill to end the observance of the annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Day narrowly made it out of committee the same day. It must go before another House committee before it makes it to the floor.

Wait.

Tennessee has a holiday for this motherfucker?? But hold on, there’s more:

This story was updated at 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with more information.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee will continue to mark Nathan Bedford Forrest Day on July 13, but under a bill that won final approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday, Gov. Bill Lee will no longer be legally required to sign a proclamation designating the honor for the Confederate general and slave trader.

WAIT.

The governor used to call attention to this holiday by proclamation, as if was something to be proud of?

Hold on, there’s more:

The measure was approved 22-6 by the state Senate despite efforts by Democrats, whose attempts to eliminate the recognition were quashed by GOP senators who passed the bill.

Dear Readers, here’s what we can do about the shithole state of slave-loving Republican fascist Tennessee.

39.9% of the Tennessee’s general revenue comes from the federal government, which makes it a “taker” state of money that comes from our federal taxes. So, when we file tax returns this year, just add a note that you don’t want any of your tax dollars to go to the shithole slave-loving Republican fascist state of Tennessee. Of course it’s only a symbolic protest. But Jesus, can you believe that that’s how grown-ups act in Tennessee?

So that’s the landscape of America these days, even after everything we’ve been through in the past two weeks.

Some days, I just don’t have the energy to be my usual cheerful, friendly, people-pleasing self.

But for you, Dear Readers, I will step into the Way Back machine, to about an hour ago, before I searched for the update on Nathan Bedford Forrest, when I had castles on my mind.

I’ve been promising to show you a new castle that I made out of old books, which I cut up and re-assemble into “art”. This castle doesn’t photograph well, but anyway, here it is:

When I install the castle in a book, I will put a garden in that free space between the supports. Stay tuned.

The colored bits are from the many end papers I collected from books that I had to throw out, back when I co-managed the used book store for our local library:

End papers, those pointless pages between the hard cover and the actual book.

The book store has ben shuttered since March 15, as has our local library. The library can’t re-open in Phase One yet, so it’s just doing curb-side pickups and drop-offs. I have a library book that I took out in February that I should return, so I’ll be making my appointment for that soon.

And that’s my To Do List for today, Friday June 12, 2020. And I’m already exhausted.

But I can gather my strength for one final thought:

Oh, yeah; Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Twitter account is from a guy who has many cats, and he usually photoshops his cats into ridiculous battle scenes, but for this post he tweeted photos of his cats in their beds, which are boxes (because, CATS) with his cat’s courtesy titles written on them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. Maybe, if you have the time, you can write a letter to Tennessee state senate majority leader, Republican Jack Johnson, 11 Legislative Plaza, Nashville, TN 37243; email: sen.jack.johnson@capitol.tn.gov.

You might want to tell him that the Civil War is over, and that the score is Confederates, 0; US 1. And:

And for good measure, Fuck Trump.

 

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My county of Nassau on Long Island is in Phase One of re-opening. New York City is also in Phase One, meaning that construction and curb-side retail is open, and people can go out to eat in restaurants if there is outdoor seating, or indoor seating for no more than 25 ppl / 6 feet apart.

The most immediate consequence of Phase One is traffic. Suddenly, the roads are jammed again. I had forgotten the noise — I’d forgotten that in my backyard, you can hear trucks roaring on the Long Island Expressway (Exit 37 is one mile away). I am a little depressed that life is getting back to normal, as far as the everyday cacophony is concerned.

I’ve heard that literary agents are getting pitched all kinds of pandemic novels these days, but it’s not going to happen as a literary genre because everyone is weary of the subject. However, I predict that there will be all kinds of feel-good quarantine memoirs coming out next year, about spiritual epiphanies or precious family bonding experiences, personal insights or home renewal projects that transformed inner and outer realities.

I won’t be writing one of those books. Nope. Not for me. For I have learned nothing, I still hate most people, and my house still looks like two grad students on scholarship live here.

Top Cat had one pandemic project that matters. He has finally sorted out the several hundred vinyl records he’s been storing in the basement for 20 years. He’s actually thrown out some, has given most of them away to collectors, and saved about 50 for his own archives. We have a turntable, in fact we have two, but if he wants to play old Moody Blues or Quicksilver Messenger Service, I got to be waaaaaaay far away.

I have zero nostalgia for the music of my youth.

I know there is one Dear Reader here (*cough* Steve) who still listens to disco from the ’70s, and I am here to drag you into the post-pandemic 21st century. Consider it Phase One of Vivian Swift’s Return to the New Normal, in that I am back to bossing people around.

Dua Lipa has a whole new album called Future Nostalgia, which is all about her re-creating that disco sound with an update.

If you like old 1970s disco, you need to hear Physical. It’s my jam when I’m starting the fifth mile of my daily run, when I’m tired and I want a nap and I need something to keep me moving for those final 5,280 feet.

This has nothing to do with Olivia Newton John’s Physical.

If I can get one person to trade Doico Duck for Dua Lipa, I will be happy for about a minute, then I’ll revert to my normal pissant self because bitching about life is my main jam.

For instance:

Today, the Tennessee legislature is debating whether to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the KKK, from the capital, which, much to my surprise, is Nashville. Republicans are voting against the statue’s removal for “historical” reasons, and the usual bullshit about Southern culture. But here’s the thing: the statue was erected in…*checks notes*…1978.

So, yeah, there’s still room for “debate” on whether symbols of white supremacy have a place in public spaces in this country. Well for fuck’s sake, do I have to go down to Nashville to march?

And if I do, I’ll have Dear Reader Maryanne‘s phone number written on my arm. Good to her word, she did email me her contact #s, and an open offer to bail me out on my next social justice outing because she knows that if I called home, none of the cats would bother to pick up the phone. Thank you, Maryanne. Knowing I have bail makes me want to go out and be a little more ornery next time.

And that brings you all up-to-date on Phase One of the Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning, Whatever.

I hope you all are getting a peek at what your new “normal” is, and that you all like what you see.

And, oh yeah: Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This (above) is the Robert E. Lee memorial in Richmond, VA. The city council as been debating whether to take down this statue for five years. This is how it looks after the Black Lives Matter protest of June 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hang in there, Dear Ones. See you Friday.

 

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I’ve never been prouder to be a K-Pop fan:

This is from the Dallas Morning News, May 31, 2020:

On Sunday, the Dallas Police Department asked people to send in “video of illegal activity” from the Black Lives Matter protests in the city through the iWatch Dallas app, where people can submit photo, video, or text tips about possible crimes. Instead, it received a flood of pictures and videos of K-pop artists from hundreds of K-pop fans determined to break the app.

Within hours of the original tweet, the Dallas Police Department followed up with a tweet that the iWatch Dallas app was down temporarily “due to technical difficulties.”

If I could be specific here, the Texas K-Pop fans did not send videos and memes — they sent “fancams”, which, if you are a K-Pop fan you, already know what these are because you’ve seen thousands of them on YouTube and Twitter. If you are not a K-Pop fan (AND WHY AREN’T YOU??), a “fancam” is a cell phone recording of a live K-Pop concert.

Another thing about the Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area that I want to bring your attention to is this map (please embiggen so you can get the whole info):

 

The Dallas/Fort Worth metro area has a population of 7,573,136. Look how many states can’t muster up that kind of demo, yet they have the same number of senators as Texas (and New York, and California, and Pennsylvania, and Florida, etc etc), which translates into electoral college votes.

This is why we have to abolish the electoral college.

In the trivial life of Your Truly, Vivian Swift, this headline was the last straw:

Here’s the abridged story:

 

After I read about this, and saw the video, I knew I could not sit this one out.

As much as I loathe leaving the house, I had to get in the car, drive to the train station, get out at Penn Station, and go to Times Square last night (Tuesday, June 2, 2020) to Show The Fuck Up:

This is me:

Actually, I thought my sign was pretty shitty, and not at all up to my usual standards (because writing in big letters is hard) but people stopped and asked to take my picture about 30 times last night. I got interviewed for a local TV channel. Reporters from Italy and Israel and one Asian guy who didn’t identify where he came from asked to take video.

Maybe because my sign was big, and legible…maybe because I was the only protester with gray hair (aside from Top Cat, who took these pictures of me). Who knows.

A trick I have learned about holding big signs at protests is, you have to cut hand-holds into them. If you look at my sign, there are hand-holds near the “M” and the “R”. Please remember to do this if you head out to a Fuck Trump rally. It makes all the difference (it reduces the fatigue you will feel from holding your arms and hands above your head).

This is One Times Square, where they do the Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve. As you can see, the ball is still there on the roof. Huh. I didn’t know it was kept up there all year.

Here is another trick you need to know:

If you get arrested and the police confiscate your cell phone, you need to have written on your arm, in permanent marker, a phone number you call call for bail money (because who knows phone numbers these days?).

This proteser’s life line is in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (I blurred the rest of her info because I’m a decent human being).

It’s also smart for your sign to have lettering on the front and the back.

Don’t wear contact lenses or sun screen on your arms and face. Tear gas will stick to those surfaces.

Tuesday night was the night that hundreds of doctors came out in force from hospitals all over the city. They were  White Coats for Black Lives, protesting the number of patients they see in their ERs who have been injured by police, and against our health care system that institutionally denies basic services to people of color.

These are the New York City protesters that Trump has called “lowlifes and scum”.

The plan was to this group to meet up with a shit load of marchers coming up 5th Ave from Bryant Park at 6:30, do a Times Square rally until 7:15, and then head downtown to march across the Brooklyn Bridge to defy the 8:00 pm curfew. The amazing thing was, everything happened on time.

Top Cat peeled off around 7:30 to catch the 7:48 to Long Island, but I wanted to see how this was going to end because I think the curfew is bullshit.

We marched down Broadway to Union Square on 17th Street, arriving at the magic hour of 8:00 pm. That’s where we came up against an enormous line of NYPD, standing three-deep, on Broadway at the southern end of the park. Also, there was A LOT of press there, putting themselves between the marchers and the NYPD. Let me tell you, the NYPD in riot gear is very, very scary.

Since the police were blocking access to the south end of the park, the leaders called for white people to go to the front and link arms and the group headed west on 17th Street, only to come against another wall of NYPD. I happened to be near the front at this point,  right behind the first row of what people carrying my sign.

(I took photos, but I can’t get them off my phone, for some reason.)

That’s where the NYPD threw something that sounded like gunshot bombs into the crowd — no smoke or gas, just really loud noises. That was scary, too, and I stepped back. But then it stopped, and people seemed to be OK, so I re-joined.

Surrounded by police, the group ran south, on 6th Ave., which was clear of cars and cops. I stayed with the march as it took twists and turns to avoid the cops until 6th Street, but it was getting dark and I didn’t want to go to Brooklyn, so I split off and headed back uptown. I didn’t know exactly where I was, and I didn’t like being out on empty streets by myself in the near-dark, but luckily I found a subway station on 14th Street that was still open  and I was home on Long Island by 11:00 pm.

On the news I saw that the marchers continued on, and went across the Manhattan Bridge, not the Brooklyn Bridge, into Brooklyn, and it was peaceful. During my participation, I did not see anything violent or unruly, except for taunts to the cops (How Do You Spell Racist? NYPD!, and Whose Streets? Our Streets!) and I was surprised at how many doctors stayed with the group all the way to 6th Ave. Damn. NYC Docs are tough.

I’m checking to see if there is anything from Black Lives Mater scheduled for today (so far, nothing) because this is where I start Showing the Fuck Up.

Once again, this is not what I had planned to discuss with you all today, but then, none of us thought that we’d be here, in a police state in America, ever.

Welcome to Trump and McConnell’s America, where the worst pandemic and economic crisis in a century are only the 2nd and 3rd worst crisis of the week.

Do I even have to say it?

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there anyone surprised that the United States is on fire under a Trump presidency?

 

 

This is a still from the 2019 Oscar-winning Best Picture, Parasite.

It sums up 2020 perfectly.

This is from Occupy Democrats on June 1, 2020 about an event 93 years ago:

 

 

 

See you Friday. Let’s talk about kitty cats and castles for a change.

 

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