Truth in the Stars

Four blue stars on Arkansas flag defined
The symbolism of the four blue stars on Arkansas flag is explained.

It’s been embarrassing.

The state flag of Arkansas includes an explicit reference to the Confederacy. The overall design can be seen as having similarities to the Confederate battle flag of the American Civil War. The early 20th-century legislation establishing the banner sets four large blue stars within a diamond to refer to the nations to which Arkansas has belonged: a triangle indicating Spain, France and the United States, and separately and uppermost the Confederacy.

During the 2019 General Session of the Arkansas Legislature, a Democratic Little Rock representative proposed dropping the Confederate reference and making a star symbolize the indigenous tribes that dwelled here before the European conquests. It was twice defeated in committee.

Why take the state’s word on such a matter? Why not as citizens proclaim the four blue stars be both inclusive and accurate? This detail might not make a sanctioned state history textbook, but a nongovernmental group could promote an alternative symbolism in defiance of accepted and prejudicial dogma.

Local 965 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees approved such a resolution March 28, 2019. I wrote the text, being a union member, sitting on the board as recording secretary and communications director. [A similar post is on the 965 website.] The rationale is that nearly all Local members are directly and indirectly workers in education. A modern flag is a teaching device, presenting facts and concepts. Educators have a vested interest in symbols that we use to impart knowledge and values.

Star Crossed: A Symbolic Act of Civil Disobedience

That Local 965, AFSCME, promote a fair and historically accurate representation of the official Arkansas State Flag.

Since 1923, the Arkansas Legislature has held that its fourth, separate blue star signifies the state’s membership in the Confederacy, the other three blue stars in place from 1913 representing the nations having held the territory from which Arkansas was carved — Spain, France and since 1803 the United States. (Reference)

The four-year Confederacy being considered a sovereign state comparable to the Republic, not to mention European nations, pales in comparison to how indigenous tribes dwelled in the region for centuries before, primarily the Quapaw, Osage and Caddo. (Reference)

Continue reading

2,000 Words

Photos of Trump about to welcome Clemson football team with silver setting, lit candles and prepackaged fast food, and a photo from Snopes of Roger Stone's Nixon face tattoo
Main photo NBC News, inset photo Snopes.com

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

This is my Facebook profile photo and cover photo for Sunday. Can’t stomach it for more than that nor wish others to deal with it longer either.

“Revulsion” is not an impeachable offense for Donald J. Trump, but these snapshots should convey revulsion and the facts behind DJT’s unfitness for office. These photos should imply the extent of who he is, was and will be.

The balance of power has moved away from DJT and the Republic Party and its leadership, with the Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives. That leaves the GOP, which dares not utter opposition publicly to the president, his policies or administration, controlling the Executive Branch, the Senate and increasingly the Judiciary Branch.

We’re probably stable as a nation until a huge calamity — a natural disaster bigger than the worst hurricanes of this century OR a terrorism attack greater than 9/11.

I fear the Democrats will feel they have no choice, in such circumstances, to give the current administration whatever it wants, comparable to 2001-02.

Let’s pray and think good thoughts, shall we? Simultaneously we citizens can further restore the balance of power in the nation’s capital and state capitals.

Any updates to the post will identified as such.

Consent Degree

Bullies surround us. Always. All of us, 100 percent. Accept it, you know it’s true, and choose your battles. Making dark jokes helps. Also, they’re not always on the prowl.

Two young antelopes spar or play in front of elephant
Credit: StockSnap

This isn’t about bobcats or coyotes. Although like humans, kitty cats and puppy dogs if the predator instinct remains strong and they’re given the chance play with their prey. Sometimes human bullies feel a need for something their victims have, but often enough it’s more gratuitous. While compulsion is strong, humans have more power of choice than other animals.

This is not to say all of us are victims AND all of us are bullies — maybe just latently cruel or maybe just sometimes. I don’t see that in myself and others. Some people are bullies, and the majority of us have to deal with that.

But 100 percent of us can do ugly things.

Among bullies, some are lifers. Sickos keep at it year after year. Others bully a few times or within a span of a few years — late childhood or early adulthood — then seem to retire from it.

Louis C.K.’s stand-up never has done much for me. The routines (culture, family, relationships) are more provoking than funny. But I relished his sitcom Louie. With overlapping plots and major and minor characters, he covered much of the same ground, with greater impact. Thus, I hope to someday see I Love You, Daddy, his film satire whose release got scuttled with his expose.

The hashtag #metoo has been a digital key this fall inspired by journalism reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual threats by famous or successful people. The victims in these cases often are not typical victims in terms of helplessness but at times ambitious and with early successes in their own right. What these victims have done best is bring the type of bullying that beset them — sexual — to light. Light, air, candor, specifics.

I read in social media the #metoo’s of people I know. If every person could in full confidence post #metoo, it’d be 100 percent. Surely every girl gets the talk from someone: Be careful with men. The threat’s universal. Continue reading

Q: WTF? A: Hi-dee Hi-dee Hi-dee Ho

“Anthony Scaramucci, the short-lived White House communications director, is making the rounds on TV next week. Scaramucci will be interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. Then he’ll appear on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS on Monday.” — CNN.com

Treble clef symbolFolks, here’s a story about Tony the Moocha’
He was the red-hot Scaramucc(a)
The roughest, toughest gym-ripped male
Ain’t no way is he gonna end up in jail

(Call and response chorus)
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi (hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi)
Whoa-a-a-a-ah (whoa-a-a-a-ah)
Hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee (hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee)
He-e-e-e-e-e-e-y (he-e-e-e-e-e-e-y)

Anthony Scaramucci
Anthony Scaramucci, Wikimedia Commons

Mooch took the call, sold stocks, his wife just gone
Fame’s ahead — what could go wrong
Left the Street named Wall for an Office that’s Oval
Won’t bury Caesar, but he packed a shovel

(Call and response chorus)
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi (hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi)
(Similar scat improv for lines 3 and 4) Continue reading

An Ajar Letter to Arkansas Electors

Graphic of hand dropping ballot into slot
OpenClipArt

To the Honorable (Arkansas elector)

Dear M-. _______,

I am a native of our state, now living in Northwest Arkansas. This letter is to request you vote for any presidential candidate besides Donald J. Trump when the state’s electors meet Monday, Dec. 19.

This request does not come from partisanship but from consideration of the man Mr. Trump has shown himself to be personally and professionally through his adult life, since he declared his candidacy 17 months ago and, especially, the two weeks before and two weeks since the Nov. 8 general election.

Of the last period in particular, Mr. Trump

  • Has dropped promises he repeatedly and consistently made to woo voters
  • Continues or allows subordinates to engage in business that profits from his federal standing
  • Nominated individuals to top Executive Branch positions who lack sufficient competence in the areas they are to lead (yes, some seem OK)
  • Displays a lack of shrewdness and self-control when reacting on social and news media to mere criticism
  • Exhibits other serious character flaws as reported in reputable journalism organizations, so well covered that you don’t need me to further list

None of us has a crystal ball, but Mr. Trump will need far less than the four-year term as Commander in Chief to — at the least — bring shame to the people of the United States of America. Indeed, it is reasonable to foresee domestically economic turmoil or internationally greater risk of military or terroristic upheaval during his administration. Greater risk, that is, than with any of the other top candidates of either major party.

This is not a plea to vote for the Democratic Clinton-Kaine ticket. By your helping to drop Mr. Trump’s electoral total below the 270 simple-majority votes — by choosing anyone else or abstaining — you will prove your patriotism. Please let the Constitution guide the next steps, in Congress.

You were selected as an Arkansas elector because you are a longtime loyal Republican. You may find “disruptive” or “overwhelming” — as the Democrat-Gazette quoted two electors Nov. 20 in “State GOP Electors: Changing Trump Vote Out of the Question” — citizens contacting you about the Electoral College. Perhaps this is because you were appointed by your party, not by the state nor by voters. But by the Constitution, U.S. Code and state law, you do help select the president of this democracy.

Continue reading

Hang Separately

America is not a nice country. Hardly any of the other countries think so. If they say the U.S. is a nice nation, that’s for show, to stay on our good side. It’s just to be nice.

Animation of light going through a prism
Click for animation. John Roland Hans Penner, Wikipedia Commons. Creative Commons 3.0 license

We are a nation led by elected officials, often compromised by “contributions,” as we call them.

We are a nation of laws tented by a tarp of unalienable rights. If Americans love to love its laws, we continuously labor to subvert those proclaimed rights. Our truths turn out not to all that self-evident in each generation.

We are a nation of immigrants, all of whom on occasion fall into reasons to hate. (Blacks are descended from non-voluntary immigrants. The earliest migrants forded the Bering Strait.) After all, my mom can whup yours, my family is better, my clan is tops, my tribe has it down, and America Tis of Thee right or wrong love it or leave it, pry the flag pole from my cold dead hands.

When in the course of trying to figure things out, the democratic preamble rambles.

This mess of trouble will get worse. The lone gunman’s terroristic shooting up of historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in historic Charleston, South Carolina, during Wednesday evening Bible study June 17, 2015, is merely the latest attack.

It’s not just them.

It’s not just us.

Nine died in Charleston. Three people were killed April 13, 2014, in the shooting spree of a lone gunman outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Another long gunman is awaiting trial for the Feb. 10, 2015, slaying of three young Muslim adults in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The KC suspect killed no Jews. The North Carolina suspect found rationale with parking.

Lone is the only number you’ll ever do. Just because these are not conspiracies doesn’t mean mass delusion isn’t real enough to cowboy up.

Continue reading