After the 2016 election, Anne knitted herself a pink “pussy” hat that she wore in protest. That was then, this is now, nevertheless she persisted. Her pointy needle activism remains unrestrained. Cue her latest creation, an M-Peach-Mint cap. I mailed it off to Carl, who Anne credits the idea. I asked and she has enough yarn for another. Plus her favorite yarn store, Knitorius, is going out of business and she feels compeled to shop there at least one more time. Anyone want to help her out here? There is no guarantee that any such hat would be finished before the trial is over, but it should be done well before the 2020 election.

This week, the Virginia legislature ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Making it the 38th state to have done so. Normally, this is enough states to add an amendment to the US Constitution, but the ERA’s has a long and checkered history. Passed by Congress in 1972, it was given a ten-year window to reach ratification, which it did not make. Its critics declared it dead then, but its proponents did not give up. By this self imposed deadline only 35 states had ratified it. Subsequently, five states rescinded their ratification, but three new states eventually ratified it. So, a total of 38 states have ratified it.

The US Constitution is one of the oldest and shortest constitutions. It does not speak to the idea of a state rescinding its ratification, which could make such an act unconstitutional. The only time an admendment was ever reversed, as with prohibition, it took another admendment to do so. Similarly, the statue limiting the ERA’s period of ratification was enabling legislation that was not part of the amendment and is an idea that also has no support in the Constitution. Now that the ERA is purportedly ratified, any legislation limiting it could also be seen as unconstitutional. Hey, I’m no legal scholar, but on this blog, I like to play one. 

5G to Be or Not to Be

Mr. Pointy, Takashi Murakami, 2011

This last week at gyrotonics, I noticed a stack of flyers disclaiming the dangers of 5G. Luddites Unite! The gyro studio is accoutered with many new age artifacts and I assumed that these flyers dealt with a new age subject that I wasn’t familiar with yet. The flyer listed ten alternative facts warning of the health dangers caused by 5G, but according to the New York Times, this campaign against 5G is a Russian propaganda campaign, brought to you by some of the same trolls who rigged the 2016 Presidential election, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself. What is 5G?

5G is the next generation cellphone network communications protocol. I was a late adopter of cellphone technology (Luddites Unite!) and by the time that I took the plunge, they were already on a third generation network or 3G. Since then, we moved onto 4G, making 5G the next rung on the ladder. In addition to its detractors, 5G has also created a lot of positive buzz. Most of which is also fake news. There is a version of 5G, called 5G Plus that offers a 10X increase in data speeds over 4G, but cellphone providers are not going to go that way.

Now all you conspiracy theorists out there, take off your tinfoil hats. They have a valid reason for doing this. 5G Plus uses millimeter technology, with radio signals that are broadcasted at wavelengths that are shorter than an inch. All other cellphone radio waves have been on the order of a foot. The millimeter technology cannot penetrate buildings (no bars), while normal cellphone radio waves are doing pretty well. This limits the utility of 5G Plus to open air venues, like football stadiums, where we could see some application of this technology.

AT&T and Verizon, the two big US cellphone networks, have both announced their plans to rollout 5G nationwide in 2020 and Apple and Samsung plan on releasing 5G compatible phones this year too. So, what does 5G buy you, other than a good excuse for getting a new phone? In a word, less-latency. Latency is that interval of time, in-between when you hit return on a Google search and the first results appear on your screen. For activities like streaming movies, this isn’t a big deal, but for interactive activities like video game play or the controlling of other devices in the internet of things, this will have a profound effect. Cue your autonoumusly driving car that will now have a fast enough reaction time to get you home safely, by being able to timely communicate with all the other cars.

So, what is Russia’s deal with 5G? Russia doesn’t really have a dog in the 5G fight, but that doesn’t prevent it from being a dog in the manger and pooping all over our efforts. The country that can put up a fight is China. Like we need another China war. They have gone all in on 5G, but of course their version of it is not like ours. Naturally. Russia has aligned itself with China on 5G, with the hope of swaying Europe, who has been sitting on the proverbial 5G fence. We’ll have to wait to see how this all plays out for this year and in the years to come.

The Four Freedoms

At the Hirshhorn Museum are the above four images and the following text:

In his 1941 State of the Union address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlined his vision for a post-war world. One in which four freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom of speech, would become basic human rights for all. In 1943, artist Norman Rockwell responded patriotically with a series of four paintings depicting those freedoms. In 2018, the artists Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur reimagined these paintings and updated those images to more accurately reflect today’s more diverse US population.

I’ve always been a big Rockwell fan and enjoy this reinterpretation of his work. 

Last year, a New Yorker cartoon had the following caption, “Up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s the good billionaire.” This was a reference to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination. He was a late arrival to the Democratic field and was initially derisively dismissed, out of hand. Now, I see his anti-Trump TV commercials every night. With a worth valued at $56B, Bloomberg can easily out spend the Republicans, by five to one. New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait opined this week, “Winning the presidential election is starting to look hard. How about buying it instead?” 

Back on the ranch, Anne restarted her Early Childhood Center’s first grade gig this week, after the long Christmas break. ECC or more correctly Eck!, is now showing its true colors as plague central. On Monday she sent home a letter to the parents on the subject of head lice. Latter in the week, she sent home a letter regarding strep throat. Yesterday, after one of her students tested positive for influenza, a third letter was dispatched regarding the flu. So, what’s next? How about freedom from illness. Until then, she will go to work every morning, singing the praises of her nineteen (or less) little dwarves, Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to the plague I go. Heigh-ho…

All the Liberal Women

In these two paintings, upon a backdrop of adire¹ Nike Davies-Okundaye has portrayed women in their finest attire, engaged in nonviolent protest. She sought to show that “women are very, very powerful… Sometimes they are more powerful than their husbands… Women are stronger than they think they are.”

I have to say that I love the artist’s first name, Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. In mythology, Nike and her three siblings, Kratos (power), Bia (force) and Zelus (zeal) all represents ideas of strength and action. I have the good fortune to be married to such a woman. After the 2016 election, Anne knitted herself a pink “pussy” hat and wore it while she protested in the streets. She is currently working on an “Im-Peach-Mint” cap. You can guess its color combo.

  1. Adire, a tie-dye textile is the indigo-dyed cloth made using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques. It is a textile art form that historically is used by the Yoruba women of southwestern Nigeria to communicate symbolically.

Spirit Shields

According to the curators of the Smithsonian who prepared these two artifacts:

Native American warriors sought protection, strength and courage from spiritual beings that they worshipped and believed controlled their universe. If these beings manifested themselves to a warrior during a vision quest, the warrior would paint the visionary experience on his shield. Before a battle, he would respectfully call upon his spirit helpers for assistance. During the actual battle, a shield was the strongest spiritual protection a warrior carried. A warrior’s shield gave him specific powers. Only a shield’s owner had full knowledge of the symbolism, songs and rituals associated with it. The two bear paws painted on the first shield suggests that its owner invoked the spiritual power of bears. The second shield shows the battle exploits of Chief Hump. Hump was a prominent Lakota warrior at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

For Native Americans, in war, as in life there is a religious element. The same cannot be said for the current Administration. Last week, they wagged the dog, to distract from the latest doc drop related to impeachment. Missed it? Mission Accomplished! That’s OK, Cadet Bone Spur has marched us off to fight another unwinnable war, for his own personal interests. Why should I believe anything else? After he has told 15,000+ lies in office, why should I believe anything he says? You know how I know when he is lying? His lips are moving.

Now, good American men and women will die, just to serve his own private political benefit. He cares nothing for this country or anything, but himself. Before he was elected, he projected upon Obama, what he has just done himself, attack Iran to get reelected. Assassinating Iran’s number two man was an act of war and was way out of proportion to anything that was done to provoke it. He hopes to leverage this conflict to facilitate his reelection. He will do anything to get reelected. No criminal act is too low for him now and may God help us if he succeeds. Then there would not even be a prayer to shield us from destruction. 

Bombs Away!

Pelicans Approaching

Plop, plop, plop… Sondland sings. “Everyone knew.” “Trump ordered.” Pence denies. Pompeo planning to resign early, to save his reputation. Too bad that that ship has already sailed. Ken Starr floats President’s resignation on Fox. A Senate GOP trip to the White House might be in the offing. Trump says, “I WANT NOTHING” [to do with this anymore] “NO QUID PRO QUO” [time for me to go.] Bombshells were exploding all day long and President Pelosi was trending on Twitter. No one seems to like Rudy Guiliani and it looks like he is being teed up to take the fall, insurance policy or not. Except, how does an unpaid personal attorney halt $391 million in aid to Ukraine? Riddle me that Batman. Anyway according to Trump, the ambassador is “Not a man I know well.” And the week’s still not half over yet.