Time to close out some tabs I’ve had open for a while:
A look at the unbelievably fascist document that is the official platform of the Texas Republican Party:
The fundamentalist religious fervor perhaps extends most strongly to gay rights and others of alternative sexual lifestyles. The platform directly declares that “Homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice” and that “We oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity.” §§ 143–144 (p. 21). The Republican platform seeks to ban gay marriage.
And that’s just one example of the awfulness therein.
The press does not want to have a direct conversation with you about what’s really at the heart of Republican messaging. As a former Republican who now consistently votes for the Democratic Party in US elections, I will. When I came to realize what the true message of the Republican Party was, I was out, and have been voting Democratic ever since.
Here is the Republican message on everything of importance:
- They can tell people what to do.
- You cannot tell them what to do.
This often gets mistaken for hypocrisy, there’s an additional layer of complexity to this (we will discuss this later in the piece), but this is the basic formula.
By 1982 America was agog at the “new ideas” this newly-invented GOP was putting forward. They included radical tax cuts, pollution deregulation, destroying unions, and slashing the support services the New Deal and Great Society once offered people (because, Republicans said, feeding, educating, or providing healthcare to people made them dependent).
Their sales pitch was effective, and we’ve now had 42 years of the so-called Reagan Revolution.
It’s time to simply say out loud that it hasn’t worked.
I don’t see the path out. Even if we were able to pack the Courts with jurists who believe in now outdated concepts like stare decisis all that would mean would be that we would be acknowledging that the Supreme Court is an unelected super-legislature. It actually always has been, but before this there were recognized limits on how far the Court could go. That’s gone now.
Increasingly we’re in a place where the only way to really fix things is to blow it all up and start over with an all-new Constitution, and when you consider how the one we have was a messy document full of compromises and good-enough’s that none of the rich white men who wrote it even liked very much, well, what are our chances of getting it right?
This has been an interesting phenomenon to watch unfold the last month or so: a song by 80s singer Kate Bush featured prominently in an episode of the new season of Stranger Things, which has in turn led to an enormous resurgence of interest in Bush herself. The Internet and social media have exploded with discussions of Bush and her songs. I am always happy to see older cultural material get another crack at the limelight; we are too focused on the new-and-shiny as a culture, and it depresses me that lots of good things disappear if they don’t have their Big Moment quickly enough when they’re new.
In my particular case this is helpful because somehow I managed to completely miss Kate Bush in the 80s. I have no memory of her music at all, none whatsoever. I don’t know how this came to happen, but I have a few suspicions, and it had to do with (a) the music I was consuming in 1985 or so, and (b) how I was consuming it. I liked rock and pop a great deal back then! I spent too many hours in front of MTV, and I owned a lot of rock and pop records. But even so, most of my music listening around that point focused strongly on classical, and that didn’t let up until…well, it hasn’t, actually, though I’ve added other genres along the way.
My consumption of rock and pop had nothing at all to do with the usual way of hearing such music, the radio; in the Southern Tier there wasn’t all that much radio at all other than what was powerful enough to reach that far from Buffalo, and when we were driving around, my father asserted the “Driver chooses the music!” rule, which meant country music a lot of the time. So as far as pop and rock went, if I didn’t hear them on MTV, I didn’t hear them at all. I don’t know if Kate Bush made music videos, but I don’t recall seeing them much, if she did.
And that just means I have something new to explore!
:: Meet Jillian Hanesworth, Buffalo’s new–and first ever–poet laureate!
:: And finally, fireworks…in space!!!
Not fireworks, actually:
Since July 4th is a time when many enjoy fireworks, here is this image of a supernova that looks a lot like a fireworks explosion. Explosions of actual stars are a focus for scientists who hope to better understand their births, lives, and deaths and how they interact with their surroundings. Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2015, astronomers have studied one particular explosion that may provide clues to the dynamics of other, much larger stellar eruptions. This is an image of GK Persei, an object that became a sensation in the astronomical world in 1901 when it suddenly appeared as one of the brightest stars in the sky for a few days.