LBJ on Civil Rights Law

Written by Scarabus

Can’t help wondering. Could these circumstances and this speech ever be repeated in our nation? Or have we sunk too far? My God! I wish I didn’t know what I do. I wish I could reclaim the honest, trusting faith in our nation’s goodness and honor I had as a kid.

Oh, yes! I had taken courses in American history. But those were whitewashed, watered down versions of our history. Would I have lived a more aware life if I had read books like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States? Would I want my 11 year old granddaughter to read such a book? Or would I prefer to allow her a blissful ignorance for as long as possible? (She’s too sharp not to catch on eventually.)

Next post will focus on blissful ignorance. Until then, listen to this at least once, and reflect on it.


Yoho? …or Bozo?

Written by Scarabus


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Congressman Tells Black Constituent He’s Not Sure The Civil Rights Act Is Constitutional

By Scott Keyesbird_blue_16.png on April 15, 2014 at 9:22 am

GAINESVILLE, Florida — Last week, former presidents and dignitaries celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, which bans many forms of employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters, among other things. This week, a Republican congressman declared that he’s not sure if the Civil Rights Act is even constitutional.Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), a freshman congressman aligned with the Tea Party, held a town hall Monday evening in Gainesville where he fielded a wide range of questions from constituents. One such voter was Melvin Flournoy, a 57-year-old African American from Gainesville, who asked Yoho whether he believes the Civil Rights Act is constitutional.

FLOURNOY: Do you think that any part of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 [sic], do you think any part of that is constitutional? And then if you’d discuss why. [...]

YOHO: This country grew through a lot of growing pain. We’re going through it again. As we grow as a country and prosper, we’re going to go through it again in the future. That’s why I’m so thankful for the Constitution because it allows us to do that. Is it constitutional, the Civil Rights Act? I wish I could answer that 100 percent. I know a lot of things that were passed are not constitutional, but I know it’s the law of the land.

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How to Troll for Wingnuts

Written by Scarabus


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How to Troll for a Big-Mouthed Conservative

By Hans Zoroastrian Anderson

Trolling is an effective way to cover slime and catch wingnuts. The method involves trailing a lure through a blog post or comment. It is sometimes productive for fishing morasses with which you are unfamiliar. Some chain-yankers do nothing but troll; others troll until they catch a big-mouth blowhard or two. At that point they stop trolling and make casts to the area, hoping to catch even more blatherers.

Things You’ll Need

  • Access to the internet
  • Links to blogs
  • A selection of radical right lures



  1. Choose the proper trolling equipment. The best trolling rods are 7-feet long and have a medium to heavy action. Attach to the rod a posting/commenting reel spooled with 8- to 10-pound monofilament line. The lighter the line, the deeper the lure will run.
  2. Decide on a lure for trolling. The most productive lures for bigmouth bigots are crankbaits. These baits are shaped like typically rational progressive observations, but include details rightwing nuts find irresistible. The more the details, the deeper the bait dives. A crankbait with lots of wiggle often is best in warm-weather months.
  3. Tie the crankbait to the line using what wingnuts call a “politically correct” knot. (Yes, they’ll recognize the knot, but they won’t be able to resist it any more than Roger Rabbit could resist completing the “Shave and a haircut” cadence).
  4. Find areas in which to troll. Focus especially on weedlines, slime pits, and fetid muck. A fear/hate finder is helpful in locating these areas
  5. Troll until you catch a big-mouth blatherer. Troll through the area a second time. If you catch another blatherer, mark the spot and kill the motor. Cast your crankbait through the area, and hook the cranks when they swallow it.


[Apologies to eHow. They have nothing to do with this. I merely adopted the format from a legitimate (and very good) entry on trolling for bass.]

Grayson disturbs the sleep of Spiro Agnew

Written by Scarabus


Some younger readers might not remember Spiro Agnew. It’s convenient for many politicians that neither they nor their constituents know much about American history of the past 50-60 years. And what politicians want is what students are taught. (Long story. For another post.)

Anyhow, Spiro Agnew was elected as Richard Nixon’s vice president. He was known for his quick wit and pithy quotes, often involving alliteration. Unfortunately, he was also known to criminal investigators for bribery, conspiracy, and tax fraud. He was indicted, but plea-bargained to resign the vice presidency in exchange for avoiding jail time.

Why did this matter? Because not long after that Nixon himself was impeached and indicted. He too cut a deal with Congress, resigning from office rather than enduring trial and certain conviction by the Senate. That meant the vice president would succeed him as president. If Agnew hadn’t committed felonies while governor of Maryland – and been caught and indicted! – he would have become President of the United States. Instead, it was the House Minority Leader, Gerald Ford, appointed by Nixon, who assumed the office.

Anyhow, enough divagating. Point is that when I got his regular email newsletter this week, I found Grayson – 180 degrees opposite Agnew in both politics and personal character – using language that reminded me of Agnew’s when he was at the top of his form:


Republican “ideas” – don’t they just stink? Don’t they just stink out loud? Like with a bullhorn – that loud?

And bear in mind that this is not some Monty Python proposal, put forth by the People’s Front of Judea, or even the Judean People’s Front. No, this is a resolution written by the gentleman who might be Vice President today, if Mitt Romney weren’t such a fop.

The weather was very nice in Central Florida this weekend. I could have spent the time at the beach. But duty called, so instead I read though [Paul Ryan’s proposed budget] that compendium of cruelty, that syllabus of stupidity, that oeuvre of offal, that digest of dreck.


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So… This afternoon I saw the following commercial for Western Digital.

Written by Scarabus



And then this evening I get the following letter from “President, WD Subsidiary”:


Dear Customer,

At WD, our commitment to you is reliable, secure and easily accessible storage for your most valuable content. This past week you may have experienced a service disruption for our personal cloud products. If you have been directly affected by this, I want to extend my personal, sincerest apology.

…While your data has remained safe and accessible in your home or office, the service disruption may have temporarily prevented some of you from remotely accessing that content. We’ve dedicated the past week to restoring your remote access as quickly as possible.

…Your feedback to us has been invaluable. All of us at WD are committed to minimizing downtime and ensuring the service information we provide is valuable and frequent. We already have implemented important changes to our infrastructure and network capability. While we have validated the vast majority of your remote connections, we continue our focus on providing uninterrupted access from your phone, tablet or computer. Your content deserves nothing less.


Jim Murphy
President, WD Subsidiary


Several thoughts.

I couldn’t help laughing. What a nice juxtaposition! (Mind you, I’m sorry for those who were affected.)

This was not an instance of “guvmint ineptitude.” Problems like this are endemic to projects of this size and complexity. Like, I dunno… The break-in period for on-line registration with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

Lots of people are clueless about this “cloud computing” thing. For example, I heard a U.S. senator say to a TV interviewer, “You know, to store data in the cloud is not like storing it on a physical server. It’s a lot safer.”

WTF? Does she think the data’s stockpiled in some safe corner of Aristophanes’ Cloud Cuckoo Land? Guarded by birds, percept? Sorry, Senator. The “cloud” is leased space on a “server farm,” quite possibly in a foreign country. Yeah, physical servers.


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Plutocrats checking on the security of their cloud-stored essential data.

Close relatives

Written by Scarabus


Notice from the “keep track of your relatives” service Geni:


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Wayne Dickson takes a photo of his close relative Wayne Dickson …

while Wayne Dickson takes a photo of him.

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Crow #1

Written by Scarabus




My wife Jewel took the snapshot of a crow from which this was built. The picture was shot in Arizona a few years back, when she was attending a convention for directors of museum docent programs.

I increased the contrast to the point where I could cut out the tree and bird. I put that aside and created this background using a program called Amberlight.  Difficult to explain unless you know what stuff like vectors and algorithms and bézier curves and such are about. If you do know, it’s still easier to experience it than have it explained … especially by an amateur like me. It’s available in both Mac and Windows versions.

And, yes, I’m an admirer of Edgar Allan Poe, quoth the raven.

Justice is blind? Ha! Not in the U.S.

Written by Scarabus


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On Friday I received this email message from Morris Dees, founder and in some ways emblem of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Don’t let the “Southern” in their name mislead you. While their focus is here in the South, they use the court system to fight all over the country for the rights of those who are victims of hate crimes and injustice.


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March 21, 2014

Dear _____,

I hope you saw the news today about the important new Department of Education data on the crisis that’s playing out in our public schools.

Here’s the bottom line: African-American children are three times more likely to be suspended and expelled from school than their white peers.

Of course, this comes as no surprise. We’ve been fighting the “school-to-prison pipeline” for years, bringing case after case to reform “zero tolerance” policies that amount to a war on our nation’s children.

Outrageously, many children pushed out of school are sent into juvenile lockups for trivial offenses. Too often, they’re traumatized, brutalized, isolated, and neglected in these facilities.
The message we send to them is that no one cares.

And for what? In a great number of cases, they’ve done nothing but violate school rules. 
In one of our cases, a student in Mobile County, Alabama, was suspended for 50 days because his shirt was untucked. In another, a 14-year-old in Meridian, Mississippi, spent several days locked up because he had too many pockets on his pants.

We need to do better for our children – and for our country’s future.

We must keep children in the classroom and stop criminalizing typical adolescent behavior. We must work harder to create safe, nurturing learning environments. And, yes, we must recognize and combat the insidious role of racial bias in school discipline.

On May 17, our nation will mark the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board, the landmark Supreme Court decision that outlawed school segregation.
There’s much to celebrate.
But, as this data shows, even after six decades, traces of Jim Crow segregation continue to linger. And it’s devastating to African-American communities, who see their children’s futures cast aside as they are earmarked for dropout and incarceration.
We can do better. For all of our children’s sake, we must.



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