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Reading: Donald Trump rushed to reopen America – now Covid is closing in on him

From Donald Trump rushed to reopen America – now Covid is closing in on him

Robert Reich, at The Guardian, is more on top of things than the current admin. We’re not adding jobs; we’re not even catching up to where we were:

The US economy isn’t roaring back. Just over half of Americans have jobs now, the lowest figure in more than 70 years. What’s roaring back is Covid-19. Until it’s tamed, the American economy doesn’t stand a chance

And it’s not getting better:

Brace yourself. Not only will the virus take many more lives in the months ahead, but millions of Americans are in danger of becoming destitute. Extra unemployment benefits enacted by Congress in March are set to end on 31 July. About one in five people in renter households are at risk of eviction by 30 September. Delinquency rates on mortgages have more than doubled since March.

An estimated 25 million Americans have lost or will lose employer-provided health insurance. America’s fragile childcare system is in danger of collapse, with the result that hundreds of thousands of working parents will not be able to return to work even if jobs are available.

This picture is too big for trump.

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Reading: Play This Stuff I Made – @samplereality

From Play This Stuff I Made – @samplereality

Mark Sample posted his recent work. Lockdown, isolation, resistance, despair. All good, but The Infinite Catalog of Crushed Dreams (April 2020) is my favorite – a mid-summer report on the state of the nation.

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Reading: Is this a racist image, or is there a more complex account?

From Is this a racist image, or is there a more complex account?

How to read an image: historical foundations of some artistic conventions.

The Star worn by a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) at first sight shows a white man crushing the head of a Black man. Except those aren’t men at all, but have bright green wings. In fact, the standing figure is the Archangel Saint Michael, and the head he is crushing is that of Satan.

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Reading: National Mask Mandate Could Save 5 Percent of GDP, Economists Say – Slashdot

From National Mask Mandate Could Save 5 Percent of GDP, Economists Say – Slashdot

Discussion continues – but at 6’ separation, please.

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Reading: US hits 40K COVID-19 cases in a day, experts brace for rise in deaths, Pence delivers an encomium to a virus

From US hits 40K COVID-19 cases in a day, experts brace for rise in deaths, Pence delivers an encomium to a virus

As Ars reports it, Pence’s encomium for a virus stirs up some deep deception.

“As we see the new cases rising—and we’re tracking them very carefully—there may be a tendency among the American people to think that we are back to that place that we were two months ago, that we’re in a time of great losses and great hardship on the American people,” Pence said. “The reality is we’re in a much better place.”

How so?

Pence also noted that though cases are increasing, deaths are decreasing. He noted that treatment and care have improved for severely ill patients and many new cases are seen in people under 35—who are at less risk of developing severe disease and dying.

There’s something both irresponsible and reality-denying about this. It certainly smacks of Trump’s trope, “just lay back and enjoy the ride.” But put a mask on, ok?

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Reading: Poll Highlights Sobering Toll of Coronavirus on Students

From Poll Highlights Sobering Toll of Coronavirus on Students

“Dire” is an understatement. Mn State Universities haven’t yet mentioned how they are going to address the main educational concerns. I trust they are thinking about it, but haven’t mentioned that, either.

The fallback is to trust the faculty for advice and advising. Get students connected with their instructors, face-to-social-distance face, or video call. The faculty can then advise the administration on what to try.

Then there’s 15 Scenarios

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Reading: When Punk & Reggae Fans Launched the “Rock Against Racism” Movement and Pushed Back Against Britain’s Racist Right (1976)

From When Punk & Reggae Fans Launched the “Rock Against Racism” Movement and Pushed Back Against Britain’s Racist Right (1976)

Open Culture reminds us that where we are is where we were before.

The Rock Against Racism Carnival brought together punk and reggae bands, and fans of both, starting a tradition of multi-racial lineups at RAR concerts into the 80s that featured X-Ray Specs, the Ruts, the Slits, Generation X, Elvis Costello, Steel Pulse, Aswad, and Misty in Roots, among many others. “When you saw a band like ours jamming with Tom Robinson or Elvis Costello,” says singer Poko of Misty in Roots, who played more RAR shows than any other band, “it showed that if you love music we can all live together.” That message resonated throughout the country and the sound systems of the streets. At the first Carnival, Fortnam writes, “phalanxes of police held back counter-demonstrating skinheads” while an estimated 80,000 people marched through the streets chanting “Black and white unite and fight, smash the National Front.” Rock Against Racism became a massive movement that did create unity and pushed back successfully against far-right attacks. But it wasn’t only about the politics, as photographer Syd Shelton recalls below. It was also a fight for what British punk would become—the music of fascism and the far right or a synthesis of sounds and rhythms from the former Empire and its former colonies.

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Reading: Blacking up was of a piece with ‘comedy’ that dealt in contempt

From Blacking up was of a piece with ‘comedy’ that dealt in contempt

Not the first call for WPA 2.0 but a persuasive one. The private sector is part of the problem.

Any account of what needs to be done to avoid the destitution of large parts of society must begin with confronting the prejudice that poverty is the fault of the undeserving poor. The young need to go to and stay in universities and further education colleges until the storm passes or find work on local authority job creation schemes. Higher education and councils will need to be seen as deserving of public money, if they are to help them. The Resolution Foundation and other leftish thinktanks are telling the government that the private sector on its own will not be able to revive the economy fast enough. They are proposing that the state should bail out depressed regions in their entirety and that the emergency increases in universal credit benefits, introduced in April, should become permanent. Readers who believe the Tories are evil disaster capitalists will be surprised to hear that they are getting a fair hearing, although whether this government has the competence to act on what ministers are hearing is another matter. Meanwhile, readers who believe the electorate will not cheer on a government if it turns on the victims forget the lessons of the recent past and the unshakable prejudices the 2000s displayed.

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Reading: Tom Morello Responds to Angry Fans Who Suddenly Realize That Rage Against the Machine’s Music Is Political: “What Music of Mine DIDN’T Contain Political BS?”

From Tom Morello Responds to Angry Fans Who Suddenly Realize That Rage Against the Machine’s Music Is Political: “What Music of Mine DIDN’T Contain Political BS?”

Josh Jones writing at Open Culture reports on the coming-to-political-awareness of a music fan as a beacon of a hopefully broader awareness: culture is all political.

… the disgruntled former fan is not just one lone crank who didn’t get it. Many people over the years have expressed outrage at finding out there’s so much politics in their culture, even in a band like Rage that could not have been less subtle. Many, like former lever-puller of the Machine, Paul Ryan, seem to have cynically missed the point and turned them into workout music. Morello’s had to point this out a lot. (Ditto Springsteen.)

Uncritical and numbing consumption has led to the blind belief that political statements foul the entertainment pool.

The adjective [“political’] is weaponized against art and culture that makes certain people who have power uncomfortable. Saying “I don’t like political bs in my culture” is saying “I don’t care to know the politics are there.”

If, after decades of pumping “Killing in the Name,” you finally noticed them, then all that’s happened is you’ve finally noticed. Culture has always included the political, whether those politics are shaped by monarchs or state agencies or shouted in rap metal songs (just ask Ice-T) and fought over on Twitter. Maybe now it’s just getting harder to look away.

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Reading: Trump rally sign-up includes disclaimer about potential COVID-19 exposure | TheHill

From Trump rally sign-up includes disclaimer about potential COVID-19 exposure | TheHill

I have attend caucuses and primaries and city and county meetings and labor strikes and sit-down protests and anti-war and CND and anti-fascist demonstrations w/o a request for a liability release. These rallies must be risky.

Bah. Rally at your own risk. Admission of contagious situation.

The page for guests to sign up for free tickets to the event includes a disclaimer related to the virus.

“By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present,” the statement reads.

“By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.”