Remembering the night two atomic bombs fell—on North Carolina (National Geographic)

U.S. Airforce image shows undetonated nuclear bomb with deployed parachute entangled in some tree branches adjacent to a cotton field in rural eastern North Carolina.


Sixty years ago, at the height of the Cold War, a B-52 bomber disintegrated over a small Southern town. An eyewitness recalls what happened next.

Source: Remembering the night two atomic bombs fell—on North Carolina

Proverbs 17: 22 and Other Foolishness or: “Wipe Yourself with the Rich!”

My daddy sent me a link to this video, which has, I’m sure, made the rounds of the sometimes charming redneck circles he moves in ( currently sheltering in place) in Western N.C. The part that tickled me the most is the deadpan delivery of the line from the King James Version of the Book of Proverbs, which I had to look for online to recognize.

22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

The utility of this particular proverb, which goes on to countenance shutting up and letting the princes take care of things, is probably best left to the ancient Israelites who decided to write it down originally; but the genius and also the wisdom of the redneck duo quoting it in the present moment lies in their willingness to remind their listeners of a time in living memory when indoor plumbing (let alone toilet paper) was a luxury broad swaths of America couldn’t afford. After all, “there are all kinds of ways you can clean yourself,” including leaves, grass, or the coveted Sears Catalog. Less than a century ago, and perhaps now, once again, “toilet paper is for the rich!”

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these ridiculous (if somewhat talented) heehaws do what major network news media are all failing to do: they point out the class ramifications of the current global crisis.

Trump throws paper towels in Puerto Rico - CNN Video

Here Trump doles out paper towels in the wake of massive hurricane damage in Puerto Rico in 2017. I want so badly for this to become America’s “let them eat cake” moment– a symbol of the decadence of the current regime in the face of overwhelming poverty. I want people to finally connect Trump’s imbecility with the greed and bigotry that capitalism always foment. So, among the new rituals of hygiene we have all begun practicing– replace “social distancing” with SOLIDARITY and instead of toilet paper, maybe we can just wipe ourselves with the rich!

NC judge throws out voter ID and income tax constitutional amendments from News & Observer

North Carolina’s voter ID and income tax rate constitutional amendments were thrown out by a Wake County Superior Court judge who said the General Assembly is unconstitutionally elected due to gerrymandering.

Source: NC judge throws out voter ID and income tax constitutional amendments

Twitter Version: If you’re not an “activist” judge, you’re not doing it right.

Kudos to NC’s Liberal Establishment for answering the legislature’s nonsense from last session.  The framing of this as a “democracy” issue by the chief justice is really wise and will hopefully be an important signal for other citizen activists and politicians in Raleigh who can hopefully free the current government from the thrall of capital.

The Mythical Whiteness of Trump Country | Boston Review

Source: The Mythical Whiteness of Trump Country | Boston Review

This is a fantastic critique from the Boston Review of J.D. Vance’s bestselling HIllbilly Elegy.  I ordered copy of this book about a year ago after Trump’s victory, but it ended up being out of stock, and I never re-ordered it.  Now I’m kind of glad I didn’t bother.  It would appear that Vance is a little light on progressive populism, and his ethnography is weighed down by a racist mythology of the Scotch-Irish settlers of Appalachia.  Elizabeth Catte rightly points to the diversity of this region, which Vance apparently erases in puffing up his “‘hillbillies’ as a unique specimen of white woe.”

Trump executive order called ‘disturbing’ by Duke University leaders, who say they won’t release student data without subpoena | News & Observer

Duke University President Richard Brodhead and Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth seek to reassure students and faculty, calling president’s executive order ‘confusing’ and ‘disturbing.’

Source: Trump executive order called ‘disturbing’ by Duke University leaders, who say they won’t release student data without subpoena | News & Observer

Stephen Colbert’s Story of How He Met His Wife Is As Adorable As You’d Imagine

Stephen Colbert’s Story of How He Met His Wife Is As Adorable As You’d Imagine

By Matthew Dessem

Over the long weekend, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert posted this wonderful clip from the audience Q&A to its Facebook page, in which Colbert is asked how he met his wife. His answer is far-ranging, charming, and erudite. While visiting his family in Charleston, South Carolina, to try to decide whether to marry a woman he’d been dating for years, he went to the premiere of Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg’s chamber opera Hydrogen Jukebox at the Spoleto Festival.*His wife to be, Evelyn McGee, was there too, and the rest was history.

All love stories are the stuff of poetry, but this one has more than the usual amount: not just Ginsberg but Homer and Chuck Sullivan. Other topics addressed include the difficulty of judging sincerity in the South, home of “the Hitlers of politeness,” strawberries, line etiquette, and fateful sneezes. It’s the most romantic TV host love story since Milton Berle met Aimee Semple McPherson. Which, honestly, wasn’t very romantic at all—so if Colbert does a whole show about his courtship of his wife, he’ll lock down the title for all time.

Source: Stephen Colbert’s Story of How He Met His Wife Is As Adorable As You’d Imagine

Queer in Rural America | Boston Review | Hugh Ryan

Karis Wilde at Radical Faerie gathering in Tennessee, 2010 / Photograph by Gui Mohallem

Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies
Edited by Mary L. Gray, Colin R. Johnson, and Brian J. Gilley
New York University Press, $30 (paper)

The queer rights movement has created a plethora of memorable slogans: Silence = Death, Gay Is Good, Out of the Closets and into the Streets. But my favorite is the deceptively mild We Are Everywhere. To homophobes, it evokes horror-movie tropes, half Invasion of the Body Snatchers, half “the call is coming from inside the house.” To queer people, however, it whispers of a community hidden in plain sight, of queerness bursting forth unexpectedly like water from the rock at Rephidim. The political plasticity of “we” makes it the perfect basis for queer organizing, as it evokes a sexuality that is expressed not via particular actions or identities, but solely through solidarity with other queers—yet therein also lies a problem. If the foundation of our organizing requires placing a premium on our sexuality or gender identity as it has been defined by a largely white, urban, bourgeois queer movement, what happens to same-sex loving, gender non-conforming individuals who can’t, don’t, or won’t fit the mold? Are they less queer, or simply less considered? As neighborhoods, nonprofits, and social-justice movements get built by and for those whose primary identification is around a particular vision of queerness, it becomes harder and harder to see the needs, ideas, or very existence of other queers. And because this kind of organization requires aggregation, it tends to happen in cities and lionize urban life, whose sexual skyscrapers cast long, obscuring shadows over the towns and fields of rural queerness.Indeed many see queer sexuality as inseparable from famous gayborhoods such as New York City’s Greenwich Village, San Francisco’s Castro, and Chicago’s Boystown. In the biomythography of many American queers, the countryside is the place we escape from, the grim before to our urban happily-ever-after. However, this stereotype obscures the fact that many queer Americans, either by chance or by choice, dwell in small towns and rural places. Overlooked by the national gay rights movement and underrepresented in the media, they have rarely been seen as important subjects for scholarship and political representation. And when they are, it is often after some tragedy, such as the murders of Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard.For many gay Americans, the countryside is a place we escaped. But what would it mean to consider rural queerness in a positive light?A new anthology, Queering the Countryside, joins a growing body of literature that seeks to offer a corrective to this metro-chauvinism, turning attention to the daily lives of queer rural Americans. In their introduction, the editors emphasize that “‘rural America’ in neither a monolith nor an apparition.” In particular, they seek to pivot away from the popular sentiments that “rural” always connotes whiteness, conservatism, or cisgender identity; that rural spaces in America are only important in the past, not the present; and that the only healthy, happy way to be gay today is as an out urbanite.

Source: Queer in Rural America | Boston Review

Why We Are Protesting in Charlotte – The New York Times

Why We Are Protesting in Charlotte


Charlotte, N.C. — Since a police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday afternoon, the ensuing protests have dominated national news. Provocateurs who attacked police officers and looted stores made headlines. Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard joined police officers in riot gear, making the Queen City look like a war zone.

Speaking on the campaign trail in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Donald J. Trump offered a grave assessment: “Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the world’s leader. How can we lead when we can’t even control our own cities?” Mr. Trump seems to want Americans to believe, as Representative Robert Pittenger, a Republican whose district includes areas in Charlotte, told the BBC, that black protesters in the city “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”

But Charlotte’s protests are not black people versus white people. They are not black people versus the police. The protesters are black, white and brown people, crying out against police brutality and systemic violence. If we can see them through the tear gas, they show us a way forward to peace with justice.

On Thursday, I joined 50 Charlotte-area clergy members who were on the streets this week. Yes, a few dozen provocateurs did damage property and throw objects at the police, after being provoked by the officers’ tear gas, rubber bullets and military-style maneuvers. But as we saw, thousands more have peacefully demonstrated against the institutional violence in their communities.

Protesters demonstrating against police brutality in Charlotte, on Wednesday. Credit Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

That systemic violence, which rarely makes headlines, creates the daily traumatic stress that puts our communities on edge, affecting both those of us who live there and outside observers who often denounce “black-on-black” crime. We cannot have a grown-up conversation about race in America until we acknowledge the violent conditions engendered by government policy and police practice.Anyone who is concerned about violence in Charlotte should note that no one declared a state of emergency when the city’s schools were resegregated, creating a school-to-prison pipeline for thousands of poor African-American children. Few voiced outrage over the damage caused when half a million North Carolinians were denied health insurance because the Legislature refused to expand Medicaid.

When Charlotte’s poor black neighborhoods were afflicted with disproportionate law enforcement during the war on drugs, condemning a whole generation to bad credit and a lack of job opportunities, our elected representatives didn’t call it violence. When immigration officers raid homes and snatch undocumented children from bus stops, they don’t call it violence. But all of these policies and practices do violence to the lives of thousands of Charlotte residents.

As a pastor and an organizer, I do not condone violent protest. But I must join the Charlotte demonstrators in condemning the systemic violence that threatened Mr. Scott’s body long before an officer decided to use lethal force against him. And I must condemn the militarization of Charlotte by the authorities who do not want to address the fundamental concerns of protesters. For black lives to matter in encounters with the police, they must also matter in public policy.

The North Carolina N.A.A.C.P. has called for full transparency in the Scott case, including a Justice Department investigation. There are still many unanswered questions, which is why we demand that the governor release video from body cameras recording the shooting. And we want accountability for officers who did not have their body cameras on when they confronted Mr. Scott while he was waiting for his son to get off the school bus.

Our protests are about more than the Scott case. Every child on that bus — every person in Mr. Scott’s neighborhood — is subject to systemic violence every day, violence that will only increase if Mr. Trump and others continue to exploit the specter of violent protests for political gain.We have seen this before. After the civil rights movement pushed this nation to face its institutionalized racism, we made significant efforts to address inequality through the war on poverty. We did not lose that war because we lacked resources or met insurmountable obstacles. We lost it because Richard M. Nixon’s “Southern strategy” played on white fears about black power by promising to “restore order” without addressing the root causes of unrest.

In the Scriptures, the prophet Jeremiah denounces false prophets for crying “peace, peace when there is no peace.” We cannot condemn the violence of a small minority of protesters without also condemning the overwhelming violence that millions suffer every day.

Instead, let’s look again at the vast, diverse majority of the protesters. This is what democracy looks like. We cannot let politicians use the protests as an excuse to back reactionary “law and order” measures. Instead, we must march and vote together for policies that will lift up the whole and ensure the justice that makes true peace possible.


Source: Why We Are Protesting in Charlotte – The New York Times

I don’t want to vote for the Republican-affiliated incumbent.  But I can’t vote for you, Alan Ditmore.

Only contraception can save the world, or Buncombe. This means that among things that can’t save Buncombe are bike lanes, solar panels, wind generators, vegetarianism, organic farming, stream bank mitigation, stormwater management or manure management sheds. A big reason most of the above list can’t save Buncombe is because they require steel to make, as does contraception; and the steel requires steel mills, which pollute heavily. But contraception factories require vastly less steel per dose than any of the above, even vegetarianism as normally practiced here and now.Currently, the Buncombe Soil and Water Conservation District fails to take into account the environmental cost of the steel mills required to build the things they build, and because of this, and their tendency to draw funding and attention from vastly more resource-effective options like local contraception funding; I feel they are doing more harm than good.Local contraception funding saves local school tax and the environment. The SWCD has a small local fund which I believe can be used directly for this purpose via the Buncombe Family Planning Clinic or Planned Parenthood; but even if this idea fails, unspent SWCD funds will roll back into general funds, and even the tiny percentage of general funds that are then reallocated to contraception will help the environment more than the Buncombe SWCD is currently helping. This is why I am running for Buncombe Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor, near the end of the ballot on November 4.

Alan Ditmore, Leicester


As some of these recipients have a special interest in retirement funding, I will volunteer my thoughts even though I doubt the SWCD can do much about retirement plans.Some third world overpopulation activists report that retirement plans are important to preempt excess breeding because in the absence of retirement funding common in the third world, many people have children for the purpose of getting retirement support from those children. If such motives for childbearing are also not rare locally, then the environment, class sizes, and low school taxes depend greatly on doing what is necessary to preempt such motives; and that includes reliable retirement support. That said, I am also a strong believer in death panels. Modern technology has made a number of lifesaving treatments absolutely too expensive for large scale use. Thus the amount of money that can be put towards keeping intensive care patients alive, though high, is absolutely limited and finite. Those financial limits on lifesaving treatments must be publicly faced and set as a matter of consistent public policy.

Source: Candidacy for Buncombe SWCD (Facebook)