Oh, Those Stupid Scientists

(Before the coronavirus crisis) people used to look to the United States with a degree of reverence. For democracy. For our moral leadership in the world. Supporting science and using technology to travel to the moon. Instead, what’s really been exposed is how anti-science we’ve become.
-Dr. Cedric Dark, emergency physician, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas


When I was in school, one of my least favorite subjects was science. I just wasn’t into it that much.

Apparently, a great many Americans, including our president, are still not.

Leading scientific experts on climate change and the coronavirus have been ignored, mocked, silenced or contradicted by donald and his minions. Their steadfast refusal to face the reality of either crisis has been, to put it mildly, appalling.

If you guys really have no use for science, then don’t bother seeing a doctor when you’re sick, because it’s science that leads to a diagnosis and a remedy.

Don’t bother watching your big screen TV at home, because it’s science that produces the audio and video.

Don’t bother driving your pickup anywhere, because it’s science that makes it go.

You see where I’m going here, MAGA men? Science is part of our everyday life. You can’t just ignore or reject the parts you don’t agree with. The facts are what they are. And there are plenty of qualified people who study those facts, and who know what to deduce from them. And it’s their expert advice you’re rejecting, putting as all at greater risk.

And I’m telling you to cut it out.

We’re looking right in the face of two serious threats to our health. We’d best pay attention to the people who know how we must deal with them, if not for ourselves, then for the generations to follow.

Like it Was Yesterday

(Four years ago, I submitted this post in remembrance of the events of 9/11. Today, I offer it again, updated, on the 19th anniversary of the day that changed us forever. Never forget…)

Nineteen years ago…
The brilliant cerulean skies over Manhattan
Suddenly, shockingly were interrupted
By the smoke from a misguided burnt offering,
Offered by impassioned false prophets
To a Prophet they never really knew.

Nineteen years ago…
A throng of innocent, ordinary faces
Stared in utter horror and disbelief
At the face of death, approaching them swiftly
In the guise of a great, winged demon,
Its once perfectly resplendent skin
Now engulfed in the flames of Hell,
The air redolent of burning flesh and jet fuel.

And then – this time, before a captive audience – it happened again.

Nineteen years ago…
Desperate, hopeless, sorrowful voices
Left tearful, heartfelt goodbyes
On cold and sterile answering machines
For the ones they would leave behind
To play back again, and again, and again,
Frozen in their grief, their loneliness, their rage,
With merely a voice to hold through the long, sleepless night.

Nineteen years ago…
Knights in shining armor ascended,
Disappearing into the smoky blackness,
Staring down fear, resolute in their mission
To rescue those who were helpless,
Only to become helpless, themselves
As the once proud and mighty towers
Crumbled spectacularly to the ground,
And we witnessed the Baptism of Dust.

Nineteen years ago…
Another winged demon crashed into a Pentagon,
And still another into a pastoral Pennsylvanian field,
And we all shook our heads in shock and bewilderment and terror,
As we helplessly watched what we believed
To surely be the beginning of The End.

Nineteen years ago…
I saw grown men weeping openly:
Television news anchors, stoic and detached,
Now utterly flattened by the sheer relentlessness
Of report after stupefying report
And image upon horrible, graphic image;
Police and firefighters, hearts irreparably shattered
By the overwhelming number of fallen comrades
Who sacrificed everything in upholding
Their sworn, sacred duty;
Business executives who lost scores of dedicated employees,
Just ordinary people, going about their ordinary work,
Gone, all gone;
Office workers, pained with guilt
Over deciding not to go to work that day,
And resolved to earn every subsequent day of life given to them.

Nineteen years ago…
I heard “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Played, of all places,
In front of England’s Buckingham Palace
At the ceremonial Changing of the Guard,
In a remarkably touching display of sympathy and solidarity.
I heard Congressmen, gathered on the Capitol steps
Performing an impromptu, earnest and defiant rendition
Of “God Bless America”…

And I felt the embrace of the world.

Nineteen years ago…
So many other things happened that September day;
So many acts of courage, of strength,
Of sacrifice, of compassion.
Of Love.

And nineteen years later, I remember it all,
Just like…

The Mail Option

This post from https://politicalcharge.org/2020/09/09/vote-by-mail-the-latest-news-you-can-use/ is chock full of useful information about voting by mail in this year’s election. If you are even considering this option, I recommend reading the post, and clicking on the links contained in it, to be as informed as possible.

Do NOT let anything stand in the way of you casting your vote this year. It’s much too important.

Later, y’all.

One More

Jacob Blake. A Black man.

Shot eight times by police.

At close range.

In the back.

In full view of three horrified children.

Incredibly, he’s still alive, though paralyzed from the waist down, perhaps permanently.

And the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, are filled with the now familiar sights and sounds of anger and frustration, manifested in protests, rioting and destruction of property.

I don’t, by any means, condone the violence that has occurred since Blake’s shooting.

But I can’t condemn it, either.

 

Because there’s no way I could say I would react any differently if I was a Black man in America.

Jacob Blake is yet another name to add to the ever-growing roster of Blacks being shot, and usually killed, by the police. Add the strangulation of George Floyd to the list, and it’s hard not to understand why the outcry for justice is so passionate as to spill over into acts of violence.

And all our government is interested in is maintaining law and order, i.e., shutting down the protests. Why not address why they’re protesting in the first place? Why not act to prevent all this excessive force used by police? Why not acknowledge the undercurrent of racism in the history of law enforcement?

No, we’ve got to crack down on these protesters, instead. Great, that’ll solve the problem.

I can’t possibly understand the fear Black people live in every day in this country. Knowing that one wrong move, even a perceived one, can get them killed.

That’s why I can’t just judge them for their reaction whenever one more of them gets added to the list of victims.

Even when the only attention it gets is riot squads and tear gas.

Blake family, I’m sorry for what happened. I’m sorry those three boys were eyewitnesses to it, and forever will be in their memory.

I’m not sorry somebody got video of it on his cellphone. Would America have ever known what happened otherwise?

Justice, and peace, require effort from all of us. Now is the perfect time.

“With Liberty and Justice for all,” it says in our Pledge of Allegiance. It’s long past time for that to be a reality.

 

 

 

 

 

John Lewis’ Final Words …

Everyone, everywhere, needs to read these words, and apply them. God rest your soul, John Lewis.
Larry

Filosofa's Word

John Lewis knew he had few days left on this earth, and he left a powerful message to us all to be published on the day of his funeral, today.  I let his words speak for themselves …


John-LewisWhile my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following…

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What Makes A Nation Great — Part III

My friend Jill has written a brilliant three-part essay on America as it is vs. America as it should be. This is the third part. Do yourself a favor and read Parts I and II first, and see how much you agree with it. I agree with all of it.
Larry

Filosofa's Word

In Parts I & II of this project, I spent a great deal of time pointing out the things that, in my view, keep the United States from being ‘great’.  In truth, the word ‘great’ is a superlative that sets my teeth on edge anyway, but it’s something we should always strive for.  If we strive for greatness, perhaps we can at least achieve ‘goodness’.

Make no mistake … despite its many flaws, some potentially fatal, there are good things happening in this nation, there are things that should give us hope for the future.  I didn’t want to end this project without pointing those out too.

A nation is only as good as the people who inhabit it, and we have, in this nation, millions of good people.  Every Wednesday, I write about some of those good people.  Most all of the people I know in this country are…

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