And if you float you burn

And if you float you burn August 1, 2016

• We know how to do some things. We should choose to do what we know how to do:

Moody’s Analytics released a report concluding that Clinton’s economic plan would create 3.2 million jobs and accelerate growth of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). By contrast, earlier this month, a similar (albeit contested) Moody’s analysis of Trump’s economic plan estimated that it would reduce employment (by about 3.5 million jobs), reduce economic output, and prompt a painful recession.

• If you’re feeling nostalgic for the 1990s, you might try signing up for Comcast’s Xfinity broadband service. Soon your browser will be showing you phrases you haven’t seen in years — “Waiting for …” and “Contacting …” — and you’ll be transported back in time to the glory days of dial-up. Remember back in those days waiting impatiently as a 40k jpg file gradually revealed itself, row-by-row and line-by-line? With Xfinity, you won’t have to remember — you can experience the same thing now, in 2016, so vividly that you’ll almost imagine you can hear the discordant pyongyang-gyang-gyang of an old modem grinding away.

• Francie Diep, “Two Decades of Research Suggests Sending Kids to Adult Courts Doesn’t Prevent Crime.”

It’s outrageously Orwellian to look at a child and simply declare, by fiat, that they will be “tried as an adult.” What that means, of course, is that they will be tried “as [if they were] an adult” — as if reality and the objective fact that they are not an adult were something our justice system can justly ignore. This is the logic of the statutory rapist, and it is no less odious and predatory when it comes from a “tough on crime” judge or prosecutor.

• From Juiblex via TwitterPh’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn …


• The voter suppression law passed by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature has been overturned by a federal court because: A) the effect of the law was not to reduce voter fraud, but rather to suppress voting by black citizens in North Carolina; and — far worse — B) the intent of the law was not to reduce voter fraud, but rather to suppress voting by black citizens in North Carolina.

The amazing thing here is that this illegal discriminatory intent was not simply something the court deduced and determined on its own — it was asserted, admitted and argued by North Carolina officials themselves, as Christopher Ingraham reported this weekend for The Washington Post:

Most strikingly, the judges point to a “smoking gun” in North Carolina’s justification for the law, proving discriminatory intent. The state argued in court that “counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black” and “disproportionately Democratic,” and said it did away with Sunday voting as a result.

“Thus, in what comes as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times, the State’s very justification for a challenged statute hinges explicitly on race — specifically its concern that African Americans, who had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, had too much access to the franchise,” the judges write in their decision.

What’s most astonishing here is that many of North Carolina’s white Republican officials still don’t seem to understand that they did anything wrong. They earnestly believe that black votes are not legitimate, thus, in their minds, legitimizing their attempts to avoid counting those votes.

• “Perhaps in My Father’s Time …” (via Undine, esteemed curator of the strange). In the 1970s, an old man recounts a local mining tragedy. The story, a creditable account, turns out to be 300 years old.

What’s fascinating to me here is the way this story endured — unwritten — without being translated into song, ballad, or ghost legend. This echoes what we talked about here recently in “Stonehenge, Yucca Mountain, and the Bible,” and it recalls, for me, the fascinating case in my local community of the massacre at Duffy’s Cut — a history unrecorded, but yet preserved as a bit of fantastic folklore. The ghost story remembered what the histories had overlooked.

There are larger issues here that seem pertinent for those of us who revere a book that includes 3,000-year-old stories purporting to describe 4,000-year-old events. But it’s also an intriguing reminder that it’s always worth asking this: Why do we tell this story? What is it we’re trying to remember?

• Also via Undine, I learn something new about vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine: As governor of Virginia, he overturned the conviction of the Witch of Pungo. Better late than never.

Somewhat related to that … today is Lughnasadh, prompting historian Philip Jenkins to muse about “Dark Majesty and Folk Horror.” History, like theology, struggles to disentangle itself from folklore, but this can be a difficult task given that our folklore often carries that history and theology, feeds into it, and reshapes it accordingly. Was Grace Sherwood “really” a witch? Well, she was really tried and convicted as one, and that complicates how we are able to answer that question.

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