A bill has been passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress making Juneteenth (June 19th) a national holiday. President Biden then signed it into law in record time, leaving government offices scrambling to shut down on a moment’s notice. (Fortunately, most of them have had practice.)
For those of you who don’t understand the holiday: This date marks the anniversary of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. It doesn’t mark the end of lawful slavery in the U.S., mind; that took another year or two. But it was enough to start a regular celebration in Texas — Jubilee Day, first celebrated in 1866 — which gradually spread to other states.
President Obama had his detractors — some focusing on policy, others for far less admirable reasons — but he did have two qualities that I’m missing dearly right now: First, he was incredibly charismatic, capable of inspiring people; second, he was not merely capable of complete sentences but remarkably well-spoken.
If you missed the headlines over the weekend… well, as usual, you didn’t miss much. To no-one’s real surprise, the threat of filibuster was only a threat, and Mitch and Chuck have arrived at a power-sharing agreement. Later today, the Senate will convene as a court rather than a deliberative body, and Senator Patrick Leahy — the President Pro Tem, by tradition the longest-serving member of the majority party in the Senate — is expected to preside over Donald Trump’s second impeachment.
“Okay, fine. But why is that my fault?” I can hear you thinking this, perhaps a bit angrily, suspecting some sort of bait-and-switch. Don’t worry, it’s still your fault.
Oh, not the virus. That’s nature; that’s what nature does. There’s a reason we invented doors and windows and walls and things; it’s because otherwise nature will kill us. Plagues are just one of the more colorful weapons in its arsenal.
No, what’s your fault is that society has been continuing blithely along (more…)
When there’s a crisis, people tend focus on the present situation and ignore the abstract, regardless of the wisdom of doing so. This is reason enough for us to do the opposite. And so I pose for consideration the following question:
Of what use are property rights to a man who has no property?
You’re going to hear this asked a lot going forward. It’s an important question, and one well-deserving of an answer, but posing it directly risks missing the point of what’s been happening in Minnesota and across the country. Because there are only two reasonable answers immediately apparent, and neither holds up to scrutiny. (more…)
We send our thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Manchester concert bombing, and rightly so. Thousands have given direct material help, including a hegira of free cab rides and housing for displaced concert attendees. Ariana Grande, who we’d mainly thought of as a typical self-absorbed pop star, had a big charity concert to benefit the victims and in consequence is now generally acknowledged to be “probably human“.
Manchester was one of the first of the big bangs preceding this year’s Ramadan attacks. Thus far (more…)
President Donald J. Trump: The words are painful for many of us. This is understandable; his persona is not one that engenders trust and comfort, and we’ve had it easy for eight years. Obama was quietly charismatic and sought bipartisanship; Trump is almost diametrically opposite. So yes, it’s a bit of a shock.
Since the inauguration, Mr. Trump’s opponents both in the (more…)
There’s tons of articles about Trump’s character, how he won the election, obstructionism then and now, and so on. Yesterday the media message was all about fake news; right now the big thing is his cabinet confirmation process, and tomorrow there’ll be something else, depending on what people choose to be scandalized about. But in the mean while, things will be happening, and we shouldn’t lose sight of them amid all the hype.
So let’s boil it down to essentials: We’ve got a brand new president coming in, and his platform was Reform. (more…)