As discussed previously, on Fridays, I present my weekly social media roundups. Note that toots of articles generally include header images from the articles, which I don’t include here unless their creators happen to have released them for use under a free license, and I notice. Most have not, or I don’t notice. But I now add my commentary here, where I don’t feel restricted by message length.

diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week

Also, I don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.

As of this week, I have started trying to remember to use hashtags on toots, because Mastodon doesn’t have great way of searching for keywords. I don’t think that it makes sense to include those hashtags in these blog posts—and the syntax looks a lot like Markdown headings, which might make life difficult—but I’ll reconsider that, going forward. Feel free to chime in, if you have an opinion either way.

5:13 PM – Sat 18 February 2023

Not great news:

Former President Jimmy Carter Enters Home Hospice Care from Voice of America

In recent years, the Georgia native suffered from several health issues, including an aggressive form of melanoma that spread to his liver and brain.

It amazes me how clearly you can see Carter’s administration as the test bed of modern Republican politics. Two Republican administrations handed him a country almost in tatters. The party opposed and outright sabotaged his actions, up to and including (illegally) delaying the Iranian hostage release, and then insisted on putting the responsibility for the original problems on him.

Instead of screaming about it and fighting to get back in office, Carter turned his efforts to charitable work, only speaking out when he felt it absolutely necessary. When he passes—and I hope that doesn’t come soon—history will remember him far more fondly than the overwhelming majority of his peers in the Oval Office.

As such, I made an exception to my usual posting habits and sent out the article on a Saturday evening.

9:04 – Mon 20 February 2023

Image Not Shown: Jessie Montgomery performs in New York in 2018

Black composers: Shaping America’s music from the Bureau of Global Public Affairs

In addition to discovering Joplin’s Treemonisha, Downes came across the works of Florence Price, the first African American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra, and William Grant Still, whose prolific output includes five symphonies and eight operas.

I went through a ragtime and Scott Joplin phase, many years ago, and I find it telling about how the music industry—and society in general—works, that I’ve never heard of Treemonisha. I’ll have to hunt down a presentation of it.

12:02 – Mon 20 February 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

What is scurrilously called ragtime is an invention that is here to stay. That is now conceded by all classes of musicians.

Scott Joplin

3:20 PM – Mon 20 February 2023

Content Warning: Fox News

Shared on Post

Since #FoxNews has been in the news for (allegedly) catering to #GOP talking points to “maintain viewers,” it seems like a good time to remind people that…that might not describe the situation.

Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News

The birth of Fox News

They exist to propagate right-wing talking points and push the GOP to the right. To the extent that they care about maintaining viewers, they need it to spread propaganda, not for money, because…the structure of cable TV means that they can afford to alienate viewers (which they do, with their nonsense) and increase the fees that they charge for their bundle of news, local, and sports channels.

Unfox My Cable Box

Much worse than everybody reports…

Honestly, as outlets cover the Dominion lawsuit, it feels increasingly bizarre that nobody seems to remember these straightforward and fairly widely reported facts. And that leads to people on social media giving Fox far too much credit, as they declare that the company “betrayed” its viewers. They didn’t sell out or find themselves exposed as hypocrites. They built the company on betrayal, choosing a path that makes the world a worse place, and built in a source of funding independent of ratings.

9:03 – Tue 21 February 2023

Content Warning: Christian nationalism

Image Not Shown: 'He Gets Us' billboards in Times Square, New York, in March 2022

‘Jesus was born to a teen mom’ — don’t believe the hype from openDemocracy

They build up to phrases like “Jesus was a refugee”, “Jesus was born to a teen mom”, “Jesus was wrongly judged” and “Jesus was cancelled too” (a phrase that, especially in the US, indicates a barely coded right-wing political agenda).

I find it odd how little attention the media has given this campaign, even if they somehow feel the need to support it. I feel like, usually, any Super Bowl ad (especially if the campaign already existed) not representing a product gets analysis from every angle, but nobody seems to have engaged with anything, this year. Maybe people have finally realized that it helps support the ecosystem of watching a sport that brutalizes mostly Black bodies and supports militarism “for the ads,” and that engaging with ads literally keeps the enterprise afloat. But I’d guess something more like a fear of appearing to criticize Christianity.

12:03 – Tue 21 February 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

In the apocalyptic vision, John describes a war in heaven. You have only to strip that vision of its gorgeous Oriental drapery, divest it of its shining and celestial ornaments, clothe it in the simple and familiar language of common sense, and you will have before you the eternal conflict between right and wrong, good and evil, liberty and slavery, truth and falsehood, the glorious light of love, and the appalling darkness of human selfishness and sin.

Frederick Douglass

9:05 – Wed 22 February 2023

Image Not Shown: Six one-eighth sections of a circle, each in a different color (blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, and green), laid out like a pie chart, with a translucent red calculator dropped into the empty quadrant

4th- and 8th-grade data literacy skills have declined from Futurity

There are large racial gaps in scores. These gaps exist across all grade levels but are at times most dramatic in the middle and high school levels.

They blame this on COVID-19, of course, but you might notice that this period coincides with right-wing groups ratcheting up their attacks on public education. When you have politicians threatening to jail teachers for making books available or telling the truth about the world, you’ll find kids struggling.

12:07 – Wed 22 February 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Superstition saw

Something it had never seen before:

Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,

Beauty so sudden for that time of year.

Jean Toomer

9:07 – Thu 23 February 2023

Image Not Shown: Supermarket shelving with a sign saying, "We accept SNAP/EBT. USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Putting Healthy Food within Reach." There is also a price for McCafe Premium Roast for $11.99 per pound, though that probably matters less...

Credit Card Holders Get Protection from Fraud. Shouldn’t EBT Users, Too? from OtherWords

Since it’s hard to check our balances, we may not know if the month’s benefits have been loaded — or if money’s been stolen — until a cashier at the checkout line tells us there’s no cash on our card.

Keep in mind that SNAP recipients need to go far out of their way to prove that they can’t survive without the help, by the way. Not giving them control over that help makes this even crueler.

12:06 – Thu 23 February 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Optics is an example of the different ways a human is able to see things in the world. The same goes for the color of a person’s skin and even though optics present that there are differences in color, these do not state that they should necessarily be treated as different.

Edward Bouchet

9:06 – Fri 24 February 2023

Image Not Shown: The interior of a shopping cart, mostly empty, with the customer placing a bag of rice on top of a package of chicken breasts, a lemon, and some unidentifiable herbs in a plastic bag

Extra SNAP benefits are ending as US lawmakers resume battle over program that helps low-income Americans buy food from The Conversation

A study from the Urban Institute, a think tank, estimated that the extra benefits kept 4.2 million people out of poverty at the end of 2021 and had reduced overall poverty in states still offering the benefits by 9.6% and child poverty by 14%.

What did I say about making this as cruel as possible? We managed to fix a significant part of a problem, so we’ll let the solution expire while companies take every excuse that they can find to jack up prices.

12:04 – Fri 24 February 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed —

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes

Bonus

Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, I drop any additional articles that didn’t fit into the one-article-per-day week, but too weird or important to not mention, here.

Content Warning: The Muskmelon

Image Not Shown: false

How to infuriate Elon Musk with this one not-so-weird trick from Daily Kos

If masses of people blocking Musk cause his engagement to drop again, those devs will surely just amp up that boost. But at the very least, if they have to do it, it means we’ve made Musk bitterly unhappy once again.

While I never condone harassment of any sort, do legitimate uses of social media exist that are not making powerful people uncomfortable with their terrible decisions…?

Follow Me

If you appreciate this sort of content, then you should probably follow me on Mastodon to get it as early as possible…and feel free to reply, at least to the good stuff.


Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty.