“[Connie] Bernard told The Advocate that what people saw on her laptop was an accident, a pop up ad that she failed to close. She said she was struggling with technology Thursday, going back and forth between a district-owned and a personal computer.”

When you’re helping run what is arguably the worst public school system in America, openly shopping online for dresses during important school board meetings really says I want to make this situation better. And what a special role model for the children of your district you are as you lie about what you were doing.

Arthur Pania of Baton Rouge, who attended Thursday’s School Board meeting, took to Facebook Saturday afternoon to rebut Bernard.

“I personally watched her for about eight minutes, attempting to decide between a beige and red dress,” Pania wrote. “The only thing I had issue determining from my sight was if it was a short dress or nightwear.”

Of course anyone who teaches at a university that allows students to bring laptops to class knows what it feels like to be, say, sweating your way through a careful presentation of Kantian philosophy and notice some guy in the front row watching pornography while you talk. (What alerted you to something amiss? His erection.) So while the bruised and aggrieved and long-suffering people of Baton Rouge discuss racism, this school board member tries to decide between beige and red. As with the panting guy in the front row, it’s a spectacular way to say hey lol fuck you.

The simple expedient of telling school board members not to use laptops during meetings never occurs to the ninnies who run schools into the ground.

‘Džeimss Džoiss’ Celebrated in Latvia and Around the World.

Yesterday was Bloomsday, an event UD has in the past celebrated in very high style (see her posts about it); but this covid year has meant a much quieter commemoration. As in, she stood for around five minutes late last night in her new garden (dedicated to Mr UD‘s sister, whose willingness to buy our share of our country house freed up funds for the project)

and thanked whatever gods there be for James Joyce, for Ulysses, for the late night scene in Bloom’s garden when two damaged sensitive men pee together.

The trajectories of their, first sequent, then simultaneous, urinations were dissimilar: Bloom’s longer, less irruent, in the incomplete form of the bifurcated penultimate alphabetical letter, who in his ultimate year at High School (1880) had been capable of attaining the point of greatest altitude against the whole concurrent strength of the institution, 210 scholars: Stephen’s higher, more sibilant, who in the ultimate hours of the previous day had augmented by diuretic consumption an insistent vesical pressure.

I have said that the mad, sad world should never settle us into despondency; but, you know, easy to say that when you’ve been blessed by – those same gods? – with a silly, high-spirited disposition. Art and nature are, however, there for all of us, sorrowful and euphoric.

**********************

I mean, man oh man. Listen to Saul Bellow read the end of Henderson the Rain King (start at 37:30) and try not to weep with joy.

The fate of Ocean City, Maryland, where UD’s family has had a business presence for over a hundred years…

… is appalling. Keep in mind while reading this short chronicle of the last few days that the city has itself to blame for the escalating violence. (It’s sheer dumb luck no guns have been involved; but that luck will certainly run out.) It has done little to make the place unattractive to violent people. No curfews; plenty of late-night bars with cheap booze; insufficient police patrols.

Boardwalk violence used to be about crowds of drunk frat boys (see my posts about OC sister-city Myrtle Beach); but while that of course still goes on, the really scary stuff now is about gangs.

Around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 7, the OCPD responded to a fight involving multiple people on the Boardwalk between 6th Street and 7th Street. During that incident, one unnamed individual was stabbed and was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. The victim’s status in unknown.

Last Tuesday, OCPD officers responded to two simultaneous serious assaults on the Boardwalk, one at 11th Street and another at 15th Street. Around 11:20 p.m., OCPD officers responded to a reported stabbing that had just occurred. The victim was transported to PRMC for treatment and severity of the victim’s injuries are not known.

Just after midnight last Wednesday, the three-day spree reached a crescendo when a fight broke out on the Boardwalk between large groups of young adults. At least one young man was punched repeatedly in the face while sitting on a Boardwalk bench to the point it appeared he fell unconscious. Other skirmishes broke out during the larger altercation which carried over to the beach area. A video of the incident captured by a witness and posted on social media went viral and left many in the community with more questions than answers…

Just after 5 p.m. last Thursday, two individuals entered a West Ocean City restaurant and were asked by employees to leave because they were not wearing masks or face coverings in violation of state COVID-19 directives. The individuals did leave as directed, but returned a short time later with a third individual and allegedly confronted employees and threw bottles and other items around the restaurant before fleeing on foot. One individual, identified as Roger Ja’Mil Brown, 19, of Severn, Md., was arrested a short time later and was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and disturbing the peace.

Around the same time last Thursday, another man was reportedly attacked randomly while shopping at the outlets in West Ocean City. The victim and his girlfriend were allegedly attacked from behind by five unknown assailants in broad daylight. The victim reportedly suffered multiple facial fractures including a broken cheek and a broken eye socket.

Back in Ocean City, the violence erupted again on Friday night with multiple altercations up and down the Boardwalk throughout the night. The situation reached a crescendo on Friday when law enforcement was forced to deploy pepper spray or a tear gas-like substance to break up the crowds.

On Sunday around 2 a.m., police broke up a fight among a group and apprehended at last two suspects on the Boardwalk.

On Sunday afternoon, the Alaska Stand on 9th Street announced on social media it was closing its doors early due to customer problems. Additionally, some other downtown businesses, such as the Crabcake Factory Poolside, did not even open Sunday due to concerns over safety.

In its social media message, the Alaska Stand wrote, “We are closed! … we have had more than enough this weekend dealing with a whole new level of disrespect to our staff, our business and our town and we are tired of being the brunt of undeserved verbal abuse by the public when ordering and picking up … we will regroup and try again … get it together OC … we apologize to our beloved and well mannered customers, we cherish and appreciate you to no end.”

*****************

By some measures, Ocean City has for some time been the most dangerous place to live in Maryland. Fixing the problem will make the place feel even less carefree and vacation-like: Extreme police presence; curfews; huge numbers of new rules; a general air of suspicion and threat. It’s sort of like what has happened to soccer (feast your eyes) in certain European countries: Organized gangs were allowed to proliferate, and now the game setting is one hundred percent male (women and families have abandoned the arenas; it’s only police and young male fans now) and way violent. Ocean City is getting there.

Imagine what she’ll negotiate if he’s re-elected.

She’ll be worth the entire GDP of Slovenia.

In 2018, it ranked as America’s most dangerous city.

Monroe, Louisiana ain’t what you’d call a premier destination, and students who attend the University of Louisiana Monroe ain’t got much to be proud of.

And, now that we’re all paying attention, the school boasts a couple of quite proudly out-there racists. Nursing professor Mary Holmes (who studies “why men sperm count has decreased 40% over the last couple of decades”) calls our last president a “monkey.”

The Genius of the Carpathians (as UD calls him, in a nod to one of his predecessors, Nicolae Ceaușescu) must be sweating insult-pellets this morning.

First he had to crap all over Jim Mattis; now, hours later, he has to strain to shit out a second doodoo, over John Allen. Fucking military heroes!

[T]he president … tweeted that he intended to designate [antifa] a terrorist organization—never mind that he has no authority to designate any domestic movement as such. Those of us who’ve looked closely at homegrown violent extremism do, in fact, agree that a domestic terrorism statute should exist. And were such a statute to come into being, the obvious targets for designation as domestic terrorists are, first and foremost, violent white supremacist groups and individuals who provide material assistance to these groups. And even if antifa is found to fit the statute as well, let me be clear: White supremacists have murdered, lynched, tortured, terrorized, oppressed, and discriminated against black Americans from the beginning of the idea of America. They have killed black Americans by the thousands, often in the most horrific ways imaginable. Far more damage to the United States has come from these terrorists—fascists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis, all feeling newly empowered today—than those who have opposed them.

A sociopathic willingness to use the institutions of the state to destroy innocent people who have angered you.

That’s what it looks like Amy Cooper harbors, now that a second instance of her calling the powers of the law down on a man who has angered her has surfaced.

[Martin] Priest said Amy developed a “fascination” with him when they worked together at Lehman Brothers and filed [an expensive] lawsuit against him in 2015 with “fabricated” claims. “I never had a romantic relationship with her, period. She purposely engineered false allegations against me. And she made up allegations targeting my family’s physical safety,” Priest told The [Daily] News. … The lawsuit was dismissed in March 2018 after all parties failed to appear at back-to-back hearings, online court records show.

Right, so she’d done her thing, made her point, scared the shit out of the guy, and now her work was done. No need to expose her lies to scrutiny in court.

Precedents? I’ll give you one real, and one fictional. Whenever another Amy — Amy Bishop — got mad, she went hard against the person who made her mad and then boohooed to the cops that a frail innocent well-bred person like her could never do anything violent. Even more crazily, there’s Fatal Attraction’s Alex Forrest — another highly educated, impressively employed urbanite who didn’t take it well when a man angered her.

More violent than Cooper? Sure. But who knows what a cop might have done if Cooper had stayed at the scene and continued to make her hysterical claims against Christian Cooper?

Larry Kramer, who won the right to die at an advanced age, has died, age 84.

I mean, he won it. He fought hard for it and won it for himself: a full life. And he fought to win it for everyone else too.

Opening my copy of Reports from the Holocaust: The Making of an AIDS Activist, I go right to his 1987 speech to the Boston Lesbian and Gay Town Meeting – the beginning of Gay Pride Weekend. You want Larry, that’s where you get Larry.

… I believe this gay community of ours has a death wish and that we are going to die, because we refuse to take responsibility for our own lives… What’s the number of dead friends at which you can decide to stop just sitting quietly like the good little boys and girls we were all brought up to be – and start taking rude, noisy, offensive, political action? One? Ten? One hundred? … If I use gross language – go ahead, be offended – I don’t know how else to reach you, how to reach everybody. I tried starting an organization: I cofounded GMHC, which becomes more timid as it becomes richer day by day. I tried writing a play. I tried writing endless articles in the Native and the New York Times and Newsday and screaming on “Donahue” and at every TV camera put in front of me. I helped start ACT UP, a small bunch of too few very courageous people willing to make rude noises. I don’t know what else to do to wake you up! … “You want to die, Felix? Die!” That’s a line from The Normal Heart. In his immense frustration, Ned Weeks yells it at his dying lover. That’s how I feel about all of you… I am telling you they are killing us and we are letting them! Yes, I am screaming like an hysteric. I know that. I look and sound like an asshole. I told you this was going to be my last tirade and I am going to go out screaming so fucking rudely that you will hear this coarse, crude voice of mine in your nightmares. You are going to die and you are going to die very soon unless you get up off your fucking tushies and fight back! Unless you do – you will forgive me – you deserve to die… [Y]ou are saying that your lives are worth shit, and that we deserve to die, and that the deaths of all of our friends and lovers have amounted to nothing.

This woman fucked up on SOOOO many levels that the word amycooper will surely become part of our language.

As in I did an amycooper/I amycoopered, when we perform such extensive wrongness in the course of one brief continuous action that we actually manage to ruin our lives. This New York City business executive decided she was entitled to be (in the precisely correct word of her victim) an obnoxious “scofflaw.” Why should she leash her dog in a part of Central Park where leashing is the law? Let lesser people obey rules. And here comes this nobody to ask her to leash her dog. Begone, nowhere man!

This man, in fact a rather famous birder, wanted to bird-watch unimpeded by a loose animal, and he did not back down.

Mr. Cooper, 57, [no relation to Amy Cooper,] a Harvard graduate who works in communications, has long been a prominent birder in the city, and is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society.

Words were exchanged, and rather than demonstrating the simple civic understanding that would entail her apologizing and leashing her dog, Cooper became hysterical, called the police, and said a black man was threatening her. Although she is intelligent enough to have graduated from the University of Chicago, she behaved in this way knowing full well that her adversary was filming her.

“I am pretty adamant about not being a participant in my own dehumanization,” [he later explained in an interview].

His film attracted more than 40 million views in fewer than 48 hours.

*************

There’s an interesting footnote. Christian Cooper, clearly a deeply decent person, is unhappy that the woman’s life has been destroyed.

“It’s a little bit of a frenzy, and I am uncomfortable with that,” he said. “If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal.”

He is absolutely right; and though it’s hokey as hell, one way out of her total destruction would be for the two of them to meet again and shake hands. For him to accept her personal apology.

And THIS is how you repay us for decades of overlooking your welfare fraud, electoral fraud, internecine violence, and failure to educate your children!

The poorest town in America, where living conditions are so crowded and squalid that in 1992 seventy percent of their children got hepatitis A, thanks this country for its willingness to let it live a welfare-dependent, scofflaw existence by breaking virus-containment laws and endangering hundreds of children, as well as the people of neighboring communities.

I wonder. If local and state authorities had ever, over the course of the last fifty years, taken the endemic law-breaking of this locality with real seriousness, I wonder if it might have stopped spreading epidemic illnesses among its children. (Don’t even talk to me about measles! Or vaccinations!)

Now that the Mat-Su Alaska School Board has Changed its Mind about Banning All them Nasty Evil Novels from their …

classrooms, Texas motivational speaker Eric Hogue steps up to ban not books but women. In his capacity as mayor of a small city, Hogue has decreed that women may not lead prayers at city council meetings onaccounta the Bible done said they caint.

Now ah don’t know much bout Christian invocations afore civic meetings, ahm a big ol’ blue stater, and round these parts the idea of praying together afore a town council meeting is pretty fucking weird, and, you know, making sure the prayer always happens to be Christian is even fucking weirder. But you caint quarrel with Mayor Hogue’s Bibleology – the Good Book do indeed go on bout how stupid and pointless women are, and how they better shut up ifn they know what’s good for them.

And I for one am ready to bow down to the superiority of men like Mr. Hogue to the female race. Just look at the guy and ask yourself if you could ever (I mean, ifn you’re a woman ask yourself) hope to accomplish all that he has accomplished. Start with his picture. (Scroll down.) The man is a Clown for Christ, bringing the Good News About Women, in a chock-full of chuckles format, to young people all over America. He has even self-published a clown book – Clinky The Clown (not to be confused with the very similar-sounding, very famous, Blinky The Clown) – which you can purchase. And he’s a magician!

What woman could hope to compete, invocation-wise, with a clown-magician who takes every single word in the Bible literally? Mayor Hogue, the stage is yours.

“[R]emote education is nowhere near the caliber of the on-campus experience.”

Duh. Any idiot knows that online instruction, while sometimes okay, is never great, never anything like face to face real time real world classroom education.

Not that UD didn’t constantly hear, at campus meetings (long before the virus) devoted to onlining more and more of her university’s offerings, that online was “exactly the same quality as in-class.” People actually said this. They said it confidently. They said it as if prefacing it Everyone knows that… As if anyone who might be thinking about demurring might want to keep their trap shut.

The drama, spontaneity, and challenge of other smart human beings sitting around you discussing an issue? The intensity-packed emotional/intellectual presence of a flesh and blood professor in love with her subject and excited by her students’ responsiveness to it? That cherished moment after class when some of her students come up to her and want to keep talking into the hallways and into her office? Meh. Meh! Feh. Feh! Who needs it!

******************

The university told a whopper. It made a Whopper.

Eh alors. Universities tried to keep the Online Whopper fresh and sizzling, tried to make it a tenderly expertly fashioned Beef Wellington rather than a … Whopper… But all it took was some scrutiny by a few people uncynical and serious about their education to reveal the sesame bun under the puff pastry.

****************

And lo! Behold the lawsuits all over this land as people realize that $30,000 a semester for techno-fumbling, anonymity, and emotional disengagement is on the high side.

Accepting providence, the haredi way.

[Recent] mass arrests [in Israel] are the latest incident in a global trend with dangerous consequences — a small but committed segment of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community from Israel to London to New York refusing to obey social distancing orders… About 50% of Israel’s coronavirus cases have been in largely ultra-Orthodox municipalities, according to a CNN analysis of Ministry of Health data through May 12. The country is about 14% ultra-Orthodox… Though some communities have been hit hard, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel may look at the pandemic and think: “That’s what providence wanted and I accept this as it is…”

And how nice that they are accepting it also on our behalf.

*****************

Christopher Hitchens:

With a large part of itself, [messianic religion] quite clearly wants us all to die. It wants this world to come to an end. You can tell the yearning for things to be over… The contempt for the things of this world shows through … So that the painful business of living as humans and studying civilizations and trying to acquire learning and knowledge, health and medicine, can all be scrapped and the cult of death can take over… [What] a hateful idea.

***************

“[I]n the first days he was told that this virus was just a rumor, something that had nothing to do with the world of the Torah and the haredi way of life.”

“He” is one of many clueless coots running the haredim and everyone they come in contact with into the ground. Literally into the ground. All because Israel has allowed – encouraged – a large group of people to live in contemptuous ignorance of a world of other people.

Israel as a Jewish gathering-in. Quite the joke. At the moment it’s a Jewish cult-factory, and that country is living – dying – with the consequences.

Brutal Coronavirus Rates Among the Benighted: Looking on the Bright Side.

Paysach Freedman, a Jerusalem-based Haredi rabbi who runs a crisis helpline, said that the reality in his community has been dire, but suggested that it should be kept in proportion. “There isn’t a feeling that there’s a plague with people dying on every street.”

Could be worse, man!

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