Wednesday, August 12, 2020


All day we've been waiting for Kamala Harris to appear with Joe Biden in Delaware.  It reminds me of a royal wedding, only in a high school gym instead of St. Paul's.  A while ago the Senator drove up in what appeared to be an old station wagon, like Frank from the Knights of Columbus was asked to pick her up at the airport.  A big official motorcade just arrived, so that must be Biden.  The crowd is mostly young, carefully distanced, interspersed with photographers -- the kind who still use cameras.

Inside the gym, flags everywhere.  Not much to be surprised by, again, like the wedding service.  Who will be first to mention Beau Biden?  What is she wearing?  Which JFK quote will we hear? 

Frankly, there are a lot of distractions today.  Was it Faulkner, that old racist, who said "The past is never over, it's not even past"?  He liked to take a drink, too, so maybe it made more sense to him than it does to me.  Maybe he was talking about how the old South still hung around Oxford, Mississippi, like Spanish moss (which is actually fungus, true story!).  I forgot where I was.  Oh, history.  This is lovely:  White storks have returned to West Sussex, UK, for the first time in six hundred years.  They had some human help, but that's only fair since humans probably destroyed them in the first place.  I hope this is not some folkloric portent, like the ravens in the Tower. 

In the years before the Great War, German colonizers did unspeakable things to the Herero and Nama peoples of South-west Africa in what now looks like a dress rehearsal for the Holocaust.  (Harrowing BBC documentary here.)  Germany is still trying to close the books on the twentieth century and has offered to pay ten million pounds in compensation.  Namibia turned them down, and I concur -- Germany can do a lot better than that.

Speaking of the Holocaust, today is the ninetieth birthday of George Soros.  Surely no other survivor has done more good or taken more shit for it.

This is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but even on this occasion Prime Minister Shinzo Abe couldn't be bothered to deliver two different speeches.  Survivors in the two cities are pissed:  "He just talks gibberish and leaves," said Koichi Kawano of Hiroshima.  "He's looking down on A-bomb survivors."  It's not just the rhetoric -- Abe's government is fighting a court decision that it must pay benefits to people exposed to radiation who lived outside the two cities.

Remember Bull Connor setting dogs on Black people?   You don't?  Don't worry, police in Salt Lake City are keeping up the tradition.  Jeffery Ryans was on his knees with his hands raised, but Tuco did as he was trained and bit him twice. "Good boy," said the officer.  Defang the police!

The Washington Post reminds us that Charlotta Bass was the first Black woman to run for vice president (the Progressive Party, 1952).  She and Vincent Hallinan finished third that year.  She did not debate either Richard Nixon or John Sparkman, but I get the impression she would have eaten their lunches.  I love history.


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