Move to pardon Bayard Rustin will display more than apologies

The nation can count on the veil drawn aside from the discrete racism, homophobia, all the private bigotries of American conservatives and today’s Republican Party.

Ten years before the March on Washington in 1963, Bayard Rustin was arrested…Rustin — who would later go on to become one of the most prolific organizers of the civil rights movement, including as the mastermind behind the March on Washington — wasn’t booked for his activist work, however. He was arrested over his sexuality.

That January night in 1953, Rustin was having sex with another man in a parked car in Pasadena, California. He was jailed on a “morals charge,” and served about two months in jail. The offense landed him on the sex offender list.

The charge cost him jobs, and though Rustin didn’t necessarily hide his sexuality, it was used against him. Former Sen. Strom Thurmond, a segregationist, read Rustin’s arrest record on the Senate floor and used it to delegitimize the civil rights movement, calling him a “pervert.

“If that wasn’t enough, the record was reportedly supplied to Thurmond by J. Edgar Hoover, who at the time was the director of the FBI.

Now, California lawmakers are attempting to right the wrong.

RTFA for a sense of what needs to be done.

What the article doesn’t confront is the range of opposition this simple act will encounter. Please, don’t be naive and think that pulling at the thread of bigotry tied to American conservatism will only release a modicum of honesty and justice for Bayard Rustin. The stink of racism and homophobia within the minds and lives of America’s rightwing heart is only disguised, diminished in its perception – not its roots and persistence.

Robot tanks on patrol but not allowed to shoot…yet!

In 1985 the US pulled the plug on a computer-controlled anti-aircraft tank after a series of debacles in which its electronic brain locked guns onto a stand packed with top generals reviewing the device. Mercifully it didn’t fire, but did subsequently attack a portable toilet instead of a target drone.

The M247 Sergeant York…may have been an embarrassing failure, but digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have changed the game since then.

Today defence contractors around the world are competing to introduce small unmanned tracked vehicles into military service.

Interesting article even if the BBC reporters had to repeat the mantra of “a human must always be in the loop to decide on the use of lethal force”. That will last until the day someone in the field decides they can’t wait for an assigned officer – and turns an armed robot loose to do what it’s intended to do. Provide deadly force on its own.

Will Any Crap We Put into Graphene Increase Its Electrocatalytic Effect?

Stop the Madness!

‘It seems that whatever “crap” we put into graphene, electrocatalysis increases.’ That’s according to Martin Pumera, University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Czech Republic, and colleagues, whose experiments prove their point.

Pumera’s team has added bird droppings to graphene electrodes, and in doing so improved the efficiency of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen electrochemically…But the invention is not intended for serious use. Instead, it’s a final attempt to draw attention to how meaningless studies are that try to improve graphene’s electrocatalytic efficiency by adding other elements. They stress that there are up to two million combinations for any four of the 84 reasonably stable elements from the periodic table. They question the value of such studies. ‘Stop this never-ending doping madness,’ says Pumera…

Pumera now says that this is ‘the final point of my decade with graphene’…‘My goal was to inspire people to be more critical in general and I hope I at least in part succeeded.’

‘Nuff said! RTFA.

Detroit police called on man for banking while Black

A US man is suing a bank in Detroit after employees called the police when he tried to deposit cheques at their branch.

Sauntore Thomas had attempted to put in money he had won after settling a racial discrimination lawsuit against his former employer.

But the bank allegedly said they would have to verify the cheques. As Mr Thomas waited, the police arrived.

TCF bank has since apologised to Mr Thomas…

The bank said they could not validate Mr Thomas’s cheques and said they take extra precautions when large sums of money are involved.

But Mr Thomas, a US Air Force veteran, is now prosecuting the bank. “They discriminated against me because I’m black. None of this would have happened if I were white,” he told the Free Press.

He called his lawyer who provided them with proof of the settlement…they still wouldn’t accept his deposit…and called the cops.

Same as it ever was…


Click to enlarge

“On my wall a wooden mask
Face of an evil Japanese fiend, lacquered in gold.
I see with sympathy
The swollen veins on his brow, showing
How exhausting it is to be evil.”
(Bertolt Brecht, 1942)

Different wars, different time. Not much else has changed.

NC town rejects solar panels — fear they “suck energy from the sun”

Members of the public in Woodland, North Carolina, expressed their fear and mistrust at the proposal to allow Strata Solar Company to build a solar farm off Highway 258.

During the Woodland Town Council meeting, one local man, Bobby Mann, said solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not go to Woodland, the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald reported.

Jane Mann, a retired science teacher, said she was concerned the panels would prevent plants in the area from photosynthesizing, stopping them from growing…

She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

Yes, there are plenty of folks throughout the whole United States as ignorant, backwards and foolish as the citizens of Woodland, North Carolina. Still, the Solid South remains a leading candidate for out-of-date, out-of-time, out-of-the-running for the advancement of any business or project that’s progressed beyond a 19th Century skillset.