Linky Friday: Oh, What Fresh Hell Is This Edition
As always, all the pieces in Linky Friday are for discussion purposes and do not reflect the opinions of Ordinary Times.
Our friend and occasional Ordinary Times contributor Genya Coulter has a thorough review of HR1, the voting rights package congress is considering:
If voting rights are your predominant concern, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2021, or H.R. 4, is unquestionably the strongest bill that currently exists to protect voting rights for voters who have been subject to discrimination and abrogation of their right to vote. H.R. 4 can stand alone, can draw at least some bipartisan support and doesn’t really need H.R. 1, although the two are frequently bundled together in the media. It’s a shame to see an elegant, well-written, and laser-focused piece of legislation like H.R. 4 overshadowed by the media circus that follows H.R. 1.
At least three articles covering H.R. 1 have referred to it as a “message bill”. In other words, it passed the House by party majority, everyone knows it can’t get the 60 votes in the Senate, and it will quickly be relegated to partisan onanism. That bothers me. Why create a legislative Leviathan that tries to be everything to everyone, refuses to compromise on so much as a single semi-colon, and doesn’t really provide guidance, clarification, or consistent funding for lasting election reform? H.R. 1 has the potential to be a bill worth signing into law, but it doesn’t seem like anyone in Congress is willing to do the dreary and unpleasant work of negotiating, editing or separating the bill into smaller and more agile bills that can address two to four relevant concerns?
It’s difficult to determine whether H.R. 1 is a necessary overcorrection to several new and unreasonably strict state level voting laws that have multiplied over the past three months. Many of the new proposed state laws fill my stomach, and the stomach of anyone who truly cares about protecting the rights of voters and the integrity of elections, with existential dread. Many of these laws, state and federal, are on a constitutional collision course and the judiciary will spend the next few years sifting through the wreckage, determining what gets salvaged and what goes to the scrapyard of well-intentioned but ultimately doomed legislative graveyard.
(Editor’s Note: You can read the full text of HR1 here:)
Jim Swift went there so you didn’t have too, and the “Election Integrity Conference” and Grifter (virtual) Expo at Regents University:
Because I am a masochist, I subjected myself to a cavalcade of crazy yesterday. I watched / listened to much of the seven hours of a nutso livestream from Regent University masquerading as an academic forum on “election integrity.”
Enough falsehoods were spewed by the speakers sponsored by Pat Robertson’s school yesterday to merit two-dozen rebuttal articles—but in the interest of time, I’ll just give you some broad strokes.
First, I would like to note that the emcee of the event was former Republican congresswoman, failed presidential candidate, and dean (!) of the Robertson School of Government, Michele Bachmann.
This is a woman who, after election day last year, asked God to #StopTheSteal in a prayer. I am not kidding:
Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann calls on God to "smash the delusion, Father, that Joe Biden is our president. He is not." pic.twitter.com/gqoFP97ipT
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 9, 2020
Her opening statement yesterday was . . . really quite something. Do our votes even count anymore? she wondered. Did the pilgrims give us Biblical principles that are no longer being followed today? What about the elites and their pursuit of continued power? Is cancel culture coming after people who question the results of the 2020 election? (Brad Raffensperger, don’t answer that.)
Already I knew it was going to be a long day.
This story shouldn’t die, and good to see someone taking it up.
After wrapping back-to-back projects in Los Angeles, friends who had relocated to North Carolina persuaded David to move to the East Coast around 2019. That’s when David met her landlord, who told her about the problems NHCS was facing. David was skeptical of what she was hearing.
“I thought, ‘No, that doesn’t happen in this day and age,’” David said. “That’s, that’s impossible.”
David’s landlord connected her to a few active members of the community who caught her up on the issues in the district. Based on those conversations, she chose to start rolling and “see where it goes.”
Still, she was hesitant about whether she was the right person to tell the story of New Hanover County Schools, especially as a newcomer to the area. But a friend of David’s convinced her.
“She said, ‘Well, who better to tell this story? You’re completely unbiased. You don’t have a dog in this fight. You love children. You’re just trying to get to the bottom of this,’” David recalled, “and hopefully you’ll find out it’s a massive misunderstanding.’”
In the beginning, David was looking into the alleged racial discrimination in Forest Hills Elementary’s Spanish Immersion program. The district was accused of favoring white kids with the program’s “first-come, first-serve” policy. Percentages showed the program was majority white, but the district denied any wrongdoings and the principal resigned in 2016.
David dug deeper and connected the Wilmington coup of 1898 to present times. In an on-camera interview ahead of the 2020 election with David Zucchino, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Wilmington’s Lie,” he described how the socioeconomics and political climate leading up to the massacre was almost a mirroring image of today.
By early 2020, administrators were dropping from the central services office following the announcement of the SBI investigation. David connected with survivors of sexual assault, social activists and legal professionals. She kept her crew small and intimate to allow people more comfort while opening up.
“It was a mountain of information coming at us,” David said. “Our job was to sort it out, to make something make sense of it when we couldn’t make sense of it ourselves.”
When you’ve already lost everything, then what you have left is set on fire…
A devastating fire that tore through a sprawling Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh killed 15 people and left tens of thousands homeless, the United Nations said Tuesday. More than 550 people were injured and 400 remain missing.
The fire began Monday afternoon at Balukhali camp, one of several such settlements in Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh, which is home to nearly 1 million Rohingyas who fled from neighboring Myanmar.
Videos on social media showed thick, black smoke rising from the fire that ravaged the shanties in the densely populated camp.
“I was in my house when I saw the fire,” said Abdur Rahim, a refugee. “Many people who had their shelter burned down spent the night in the open.” One of his nephews is missing, he said.
A witness told the BBC she had never seen such a “devastating fire,” while another described how thousands of settlements had been “reduced to ashes.”
Louise Donovan, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Cox’s Bazar, said that at least 10,000 shelters were damaged and that nearly 45,000 people were displaced. The cause of the fire was not clear.
I keep telling folks that reading “The Box” by Marc Levinson is one book that explains how the modern world works better than just about anything else…
The stranded mega-container vessel, Ever Given in the Suez Canal, is holding up an estimated $400 million an hour in trade, based on the approximate value of goods that are moved through the Suez every day, according to shipping data and news company Lloyd’s List.
Lloyd’s values the canal’s westbound traffic at roughly $5.1 billion a day, and eastbound traffic at around $4.5 billion a day. The blockage is further stressing an already strained supply chain, said Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation.
“Every day that the vessel remains wedged across the canal adds delays to normal cargo flows,” he said, adding that the trade group’s members are actively working with carriers to monitor the situation and determine the best mitigation strategies. “Many companies continue to struggle with supply chain congestion and delays stemming from the pandemic. There is no doubt the delays will ripple through the supply chain and cause additional challenges.”
The Suez Canal, which separates Africa from Asia, is one of the busiest trade routes in the world, with approximately 12% of total global trade moving through it. Energy exports like liquified natural gas, Crude oil, and refined oil make up 5% to 10% of global shipments. The rest of the traffic is largely consumer products ranging from fire pits to clothing, furniture, manufacturing, auto parts and exercise equipment.
“The key to this problem hinges on how much longer it will take to move the Ever Given,” explained Alan Baer, President of logistics provider, OL USA LLC. “USA importers face arrival delays of three days right now and this will continue to grow as long as the disruption continues.”
Horn of Africa
The Suez has provided some relief for global importers as they increasingly relied on it last year to avoid massive congestion at West Coast ports in the U.S. that added days, if not weeks, to some deliveries coming from Asia.
Baer, who has containers on vessels stuck in both lanes of the Suez Canal, said if it stays closed, vessels will be diverted and go around the horn of Africa, which adds an additional seven to nine days to a trip.
According to BIMCO, the largest of the international shipping associations representing shipowners, the bottleneck will only continue to grow and impact supplies.
“Everyone is making contingency plans as we speak,” said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO.
“Carriers run a third of their Asia trade strings to the U.S. East Coast via the Suez and two-thirds via Panama Canal,” said Baer. “Disruption is also hitting the import trade from India as well as the Middle East.”
Joe Biden was Joe Biden for an hour live on TV, which folks reacted to based on what they thought of Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden on Thursday held his first official press conference since taking office in January.
Biden faced tough questions on his administration’s response to a rise in unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. The president said his administration is working to safely house children, calling the conditions they face in overcrowded facilities “unacceptable.”
Biden said he would grant media access to the facilities, but declined to give an exact date. He dismissed questions about whether his policies were encouraging families to send their children on the perilous journey.
Biden said the increase in migration is rooted in difficult conditions in Central America, and blamed the overcrowding at U.S. facilities on former President Donald Trump.
The president also suggested he would support ending the Senate filibuster if Republicans completely block his legislative agenda. Democrats are currently trying to pass sweeping legislation to expand voting access. Biden condemned Republican efforts to restrict access as “un-American.”
On foreign policy, the president said the U.S. likely wouldn’t meet a May deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan. However, Biden said he didn’t see troops remaining there for another year.
The president also indicated that he intends to run for re-election in 2024. He would be 81.
Watch it for yourself here:
The term “Fox News Cinematic Universe (FNCU)” is a good one, put it in your rotation:
The new president soundly defeated both economic and cultural progressives in the Democratic primary. He opposes single-payer healthcare and calls for increasing police funding. He displays a moderate disposition, advocates unity, and stays out of the culture wars. At a town hall in February, he refused to cancel $50,000 of student debt. You’re welcome to dislike Joe Biden, but a left-wing radical he is not.
Biden is an old, white Catholic. The bigoted attempts to other him, which worked to some degree with Obama or Hillary Clinton, aren’t available. Attempts to attack him indirectly, via his son Hunter, have fallen flat. And accusations that Biden is not of sound mind set a low bar he has easily cleared over and over—in debates, town halls, and speeches.
Yet the Republican party and right-wing media are committed to opposing Biden, to pushing the Big Lie that his election was illegitimate, and to casting their supporters not as people who disagree with the president, but as perpetual victims living under existential threat. So they retreat further into their bubble, fixating on hyperbolic dangers posed by, for example, Hasbro slightly rebranding Mr. Potato Head (they still sell Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, but the whole line is now called “Potato Head”).
That’s as unimportant as it sounds, but GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz goes around lamenting that Mr. Potato Head “got canceled,” Fox News host Greg Gutfeld claimed Mr. Potato Head got “neutered,” and Sean Hannity put together a panel to discuss the “controversy and confusion.”
Because their base is so deep in this bubble, and so committed to the Big Lie about mass voter fraud, the Republican party has essentially given up on winning a majority of voters, and is trying instead to restrict voting. GOP legislators in Georgia, Arizona, Texas, and other states are attempting to pass bills reducing early voting, creating new hurdles for mail-in voting, and even banning passing out water to voters waiting on long lines. The intention is unmistakable: fewer voters casting ballots.
The right-wing media bubble isn’t new, but it’s gotten deeper, more self-referential, and less accessible to outsiders. With a fictional universe, that can make for a fun fan experience, allowing more complicated storytelling with a greater variety of characters.
This Week at Ordinary Times:
Within the Sarcophagus of Virtue by John David Duke, Jr
What about forgiveness? Who has the power to forgive Freddie deBoer? More importantly, who has the authority to forgive him?
Sunday Morning! “The Fugitive” by Marcel Proust by Rufus
There are many readers for whom “The Fugitive” is their favorite volume because it’s a psychologically rich depiction of heartbreak and its recovery, something to which we can all relate
Game of Thrones: GRRM, Fan Fiction, and the Pearls of Irritated Oysters by Kristin Devine
In my eyes, Game of Thrones & George RR Martin have done but one unforgivable thing, and that unforgivable thing is dissing fan fiction
What Does Getting Vaccinated Have To Do With Freedom? by Ed Dolan
What does getting vaccinated have to do with freedom? It depends on what you mean by the word “freedom”…
Top 10 Films of 2020 by Garret Stigler
While the “Oscar year” was extended through February 2021, I decided to limit my top 10 films of 2020 to the calendar year.
The Twisted Tale of One Eric Greitens: Read It For Yourself
The obsessively ambitious never give up, they just regroup like nothing ever happened. Read For Yourself what did happen with Eric Greitens
Hate is Hate: The Toxic Brew of Race, Sex Workers, and Hysteria in Atlanta Shootings by Michael Siegel
When you boil the Asian massage shootings down to misogyny & hatred of sex workers, there’s plenty of evil left to attribute to racism.
On Our Incessant Need For A Big Bad by Andrew Donaldson
We do love us some Big Bad, don’t we? Socially, politically, historically, interpersonally…life is just simpler when there is a Big Bad for us to crusade against.
Wednesday Writs: Krispy Kreme Donuts and HIPAA Edition by Em Carpenter
Krispy Kreme donuts are HIPAA covered entity & their “free donut with proof of vaccination” promotion is a HIPPA violation…
9th Circuit Ruling on Open Carry Laws: Read It For Yourself
The 9th Circuit has ruled that states can restrict the open carry of firearms without violating the 2nd Amendment. Read it for yourself.
Mini-Throughput: The Voyagers by Michael Siegel
What’s really amazing about The Voyagers is that not only are they functioning after 40 years, but they are also still doing science
The Race For The 93rd Best Picture Oscar: The Contenders Luis Mendez
The favorite to win Best Picture Oscar is a cursed place to be since the preferential ballot and the expansion of nomination slots became a reality.
Utah Strikes A Pose on Porn Filters: Read It For Yourself
Utah Gov signed a bill requiring porn filters on cell phones and tablets…For the children, of course. Read it for yourself here.
Weekend Plans Post: Shaking My Head Like I’ve Napped Too Long by Jaybird
Since this is going to be a big summer, this weekend will be spent doing the usual Safe At Home kinda stuff (since we still have to get to there from here).