Daunte Wright: Geographical Context

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Once again, I find myself writing notes for interested parties on the geography of a killing, by police, of a black man. I lived a block from the site in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, where Philando Castile was killed. I wrote about that here. I did not ever live too near where Jamar Clark was killed, but I did live for a few years within gunshot sound distance from where George Floyd was murdered, which by the way, is a half block away from where Tyesha Edwards, at the age of 11, lost her life in gang violence while working on her homework, in 2002. But I digress.

Duante Wright was killed in Brooklyn Center. Brooklyn Center is on the Mississippi, bordering on Minneapolis, and has a population a bit over 30,000. It was at one time the Center of “Brooklyn Township” but incorporated as a separate city in 1911, so it is now bounded on the north and west by Brooklyn Park, and on the south by North Minneapolis and Robbinsdale. My fair city, Plymouth, is just to the west, about one kilometer.

Minneapolis is a very urban city, meaning, it as an incorporated entity does not include any significant non urban areas that are not parks (of which there are many). It is surrounded by a ring of “inner ring” suburbs, which either touch the city (like Brooklyn Park does) or, in a few cases, touch a city that touches the city. Without exception, these inner ring suburbs are not suburbs by the usual definition. They are as urban, or in some cases even more urban, as the adjoining areas of the city itself, and they generally reflect the adjoining areas of the city with respect to the overall nature and character of the streets and houses, the demographics, the predominant business, etc. So, for example, you can hardly tell the difference between the la-la-shi-shi parts of South Minneapolis, along “The Creek” and nearby “The Lakes” from Edina, a wealthy inner ring suburb (that’s where Al Franken is from, but from the days when it was less wealthy). If you stand on one of the key intersections at the boundary there, and you are very observant, you’ll notice that Minneapolis and Edina have different streetlights. The Edina streetlights are a bit nicer. That’s about it.

Brooklyn Center also adjoins Columbia Heights and Fridley across the river (where I lived for a year) across the river, and abuts North Minneapolis (part of Minneapolis proper). North, Columbia Heights, and Brooklyn Center together form a vast urban zone with primarily residential properties and a very high level of ethnic diversity. As Minneapolis developed in the 20th century, it became a highly segregated city, with North Minneapolis including a majority share of Black neighborhoods, and adjoining Columbia Heights and Brooklyn Center were eventually, in the 1980s and 1990s, to become spillover areas for the adjoining populations. However, as this spillover happened, these neighborhoods doubled down on diversity. In 2010 (according to the census) Brooklyn Center was majority-minority white (just under 50%), about one fourth African American, and the rest Hispanic/Latinx, Pacific Islands, Asian, and everybody else. Since then, the diversity has increased, I’m pretty sure, with fewer White people, more people of African diaspora links, Central and South Asian people, and others. Brooklyn Center and nearby Brooklyn Park is where you might want to go if you need African food stuffs.

This is the site of the homestead, now an historic site and conference center, of the locally famous Earle Brown, who was the founder of the Minnesota State Patrol and the first sheriff of Hennepin County. This important historical connection to policing in Minnesota will be lost on pundits and observers, but it is locally poignant. For me, I’ve been to education and science related conferences at the Earle Brown center, and our son’s pediatrician is right there, at the local health clinic.

The top local business in Brooklyn Center is Medtronic (you probably heard of Medtronic). The third biggest employer is Caribou Coffee.

Where does the name “Brooklyn” come from? The settlers of the earlier and larger Brooklyn Township came from Brooklyn, Michigan, a tiny village near the racetrack. Brooklyn Michigan is named after Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn is a versionized form of Breukelen, a town in the Netherlands. In Dutch, it probably means “Broken Land.” Which applies today to its namesake’s namesake.


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Do Androids Dream? And Longmire

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Suddenly available cheap from Amazon*, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: The inspiration for the films Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 by Philip Dick.

While we are on the subject of cheap books, did you know that the popular, and pretty good, “Longmire” of TV started out as a series of books? The Highwayman: A Longmire Story (Walt Longmire Mysteries) by Craig Johnson is also cheap on Kindle, which is the 11th point five in the series (apparently it is complicated). The first is The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery. (Kindle edition of the first in the series here.)


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Framing Is Greater Than Fishing

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Framing is a concept important in understanding how language works. It originated in anthropology, developed in sociology, re-employed in anthropology and linguistics, and is now a major part of communication science. It is the new thing. Framing is a verb that has come to mean correctly, or effectively, communicating a message in a way that is convincing. It isn’t, really. Framing is part of normal day to day linguistic communication, and I assure you, it is possible to “frame” something in an utterly disastrous way. So, “I did framing today” does not guarantee you did not screw up your message. “I was a good framer today” means you believe you didn’t screw it up, and maybe did a great job!

Here, I want to look at one example of communication to critique it from the perspective of framing, to give an idea of what framing is all about.

Have a look at this bumper sticker:

A bumper sticker from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).

Framing is always part of linguistic communication. Linguistic communication is a symbolic process, by which meaning is generated in a recipient, meaning that originated from another linguistic being, by reference to a commonly understood system of symbols and symbolic relationships. If I say the word “fish” you might think of some aquatic vertebrate animal easily available to your mind, maybe a trout. That is not because the word “fish” sounds, looks, or feels inherently fishish, but because we are communicating in a language in which “fish” is a shared symbol.

Which of the following words is not a word for “fish”?

se i?a
seekor ikan
hove
eng Geess

You would not know that the first three mean “a fish” while the fourth one means “a goat” unless you also know Samoan, Indonesian, Shona, and Luxembourgian. The link between the thing and the word is arbitrary. That is what makes the word a symbol for a fish, instead of, say, an icon for a fish (which would look at least somewhat like a fish, and might be hard to say out loud using voice).

But what if I meant the verb “fish” instead of the noun? Go get a fishing pole, a worm, and the other gear, and try to catch a fish. You would probably know the difference between the noun and the verb because of other parts of the sentence. Like I might say, “Hey you, go fish” (verb) as opposed to “Hey you, look at that fish” (noun).

The difference here is typically thought of as grammatical. The actual symbol being used is not really “fish” but rather the collection of words arranged in such a way to be identified as a noun, or a verb, or some other thing. This can be less obvious in English which tends to disassociate the grammatical elements compared to some other languages. (This is probably a feature of both Romance and Germanic languages generally). Thinking of words as distinct sets of letters set off by surrounding white space is a hindrance for English speakers when it comes to understanding the symbolic nature of language.

But what about this difference: I say to you “go, fish!” as you stand on the dock next to a boat loaded up with angling gear. This might compel you to get in the boat and start hunting for fish. But if instead of standing on the dock, we are inside sitting around a table and we have a bunch of playing cards in play, and I say “go fish!” we are probably playing the card game by that name, and your next move is to look for a card in the deck.

The difference between being on the dock and looking in the deck is a matter of framing. The symbolic utterance is “go fish” but it has multiple possible meanings. But there is something else involved in this act of symbolizing, that allows you to be more likely to correctly interpret my words. In this case, it is the physical context (out by the lake vs inside at the table) and the presence of certain artifacts (the paraphernalia of angling vs a deck of cards). That additional information keys the frame to either being about an outdoor activity involving fish or an indoor activity involving a deck of cards.

In the symbolic structure represented in the NCSE bumper sticker, what is the meaning of the three elements “EVIDENCE”, “>”, and “Misinformation”?

I believe you are supposed to take the “>” as a greater than sign, so EVIDENCE is greater than Misinformation. The details of the typeface (bold vs. not bold) reinforces this. The additional symbol, the Darwin’s Phylogeny drawing in the earthy sphere tells us this bumper sticker is about science and evolution, and is anti-misinformation, but never mind that for now. Just given the two words and the greater-than sign tell us all we need to know.

Or does it? Stick with the assumption that the symbols are symbols, ie., arbitrary in meaning. If so, why is “>” greater than? If this bumper sticker is meant to convince mathematicians that evidence is greater than misinformation, then yes, that makes sense, the meaning is clear, but this is also a waste of good paper and glue, because mathematicians, or sciency people who have some affinity to math, already know that. But what if the person interpreting this symbolic entity happens to be primarily a computer expert who programs in the scripting language bash? That might sound like a small, obscure, group, but it is not. Raise your hand if you know enough bash to know what two words with a “>” between them means! In bash, greater than is symbolized by “-gt” and the “>” symbol means something totally different. Like this, for example:

cat EVIDENCE

means spew the contents of a file named “EVIDENCE” to what is called “standard output,” which means onto the screen, normally. However,

cat EVIDENCE>Misinformation

means redirect from standard output, and copy the contents of a file named “EVIDENCE” to the end of the file called “Misinformation” and if that file does not exist, create “Misinformation” and fill it with the contents of “EVIDENCE”.

From the bash point of view, evidence is the basis for misinformation. This bumper sticker is, maybe, saying that evidence is bullpucky, or creates bullpucky, or the basis for bullpucky. This would be an example of the framing stepping big time on the message.

Here, the framing is pre-done, or primed, in advance. A person who is likely to see a “>” as a mathematical symbol understands the bumper sticker as meant. A person who spends all day with bash scripts may well get the same meaning, but their brain may alternatively go right to “>” as the redirect symbol, and figure that evidence becomes misinformation, or that misinformation is made out of evidence. That would be a bumper sticker fail.

On top of this, consider that even though the meaning of symbols is arbitrary, icons also exist as part of our linguistic communication. So, that green thing that looks like an arrow might be showing us that EVIDENCE becomes, or goes to, Misinformation. That is still a matter of framing, but in this case, more the absence of a key to set the frame up properly. The recipient of the message is simply trying to interpret what starts out as nonsense (as do all symbols until our brains figure them out), by giving a meaning of implied directionality to the thing that looks like an arrow, and coming up with a reasonably comfortable interpretation of the message. Evidence leads to misinformation.

I love the NCSE. I’m a big supporter. They have helped me greatly in the past. This bumper sticker, though … might be lesser than other options.


*Framing was originally formulated in the work of Anthropologist Gregory Bateson, though not everyone acknowledges (or knows) that. This was picked up and greatly expanded by Erving Goffman, and his work was sufficiently significant to attribute the origin of framing to him, though he was building on Bateson. Framing then spread as an idea across anthropology, linguistics, and philosophy, and was noticed by linguist George Lakoff and evile Republican strategist Frank Luntz, and applied to communication strategy. Biographies of the framing concept will vary, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.


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The Source Cheap

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I read The Source: A Novel by James Michener a long time ago, so I might have some of this wrong, but…

It is a fun read, not actually religious as some might suggest. The story starts at the beginning and the end at the same time. The end involves a group of archaeologists digging down in a tel (called Tell Makor in the book, but I’m told it might be closest the the actual Tel Dan.) The beginning involves a family of pre-Neolithic people who invent agriculture and domesticate the dog. (I oversimplify, as does in that are, the author.) The rest of the story is a rough approximation of the Old Testament history.

Anyway, relatively cheap for Kindle* (2.99) right now.

I should also mention* that The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, is still cheap ($4.99).


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How the Chauvin Trial Will Go, and other matters of White supremacy

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I don’t expect convictions in the Chauvin or Rittenhouse trials.

In both cases, it is about White supremacy. I don’t subscribe to the idea half of the country comprises batshit crazy right wing red hat wearing insurrectionist Nazis. Not half. But enough that in putting together a pool of 12 people, it is almost impossible to not get one or two. They will obviate any criminal jury decision. This will apply to these two trials as well as many of the Capitol attack/Jan 6th criminals as well.

I believe the following things are true, correct me if I’m wrong.

1) Criminal trials require a unanimous decision and for burden of proof, rely on the concept of “shadow of doubt.”

2) Civil trials require a majority decision, and for burden of proof, rely on the concept of preponderance of evidence.

4) Normally, day to day, when a jury trial happens, there is a conviction most of the time.

5) On the infrequent occasion when a trial is highly visible and the stakes include things like White supremacy or other socio-political issues, when a jury trial happens, there is a hung jury or acquittal.

(Those last two points are conjecture, but it feels that way.)

Given all this, I expect these trials to involve both acquittals and some sort of examination of our thousand-year old history of the jury system. (The latter will lead to nothing.) I expect that in a subset of these cases (including the murder of Mr. Floyd) there will be a civil trial, and the civil trial will produce the equivalent of a conviction. And yes, I do think the OJ Simpson saga fits into this pattern.

Fight me.


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Is it too late for Donald Trump to redeem himself by dying in his sleep?

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For several years after spending the majority of the months of the year, for a few years, living in a rain forest with people who did not speak English, I developed these habits: When I was warning people of an imminent danger (something about to drop, a car about to come too close, etc.) I would say “Keba!” Or, if I was out in the wilds with someone and I saw a snake, I’d say, “Keba, Nyoka!” Neither was effective in the American context, but the reactions were burned in to my head. They were burned in because in the rain forest there was no way to get the kind of help we Americans are accustomed to (like doctors and urgent care facilities and such) and there were some mighty impressive deadly snakes. My brain rewired. “Careful” became “Keba!” and “Look out for the snake!” became “Keba, Nyoka!”

The other day, at the beginning of March, I woke up for the first time in years without a sense of urgency as I grabbed my cell phone to check my email. I woke up and did not check my email even before I was fully out of bed. I checked later, and when I did, I was specifically looking for two or three emails from colleagues, about the HOA meeting later that day, or about a letter we needed to send to a guest speaker at an upcoming forum, or some such.

What I was not looking for, for the first time in years, was a news alert announcing that Donald Trump was dead, for one reason or another.

I stopped caring so much if Donald Trump died in his sleep on January 20th, about noon. I still care. It would still be nice, since he is still a threat to the entire world, and especially the United States. But his dictatorship is over, and the reckoning has begun, and I’m thinking he will have a hard time running an effective campaign for president from within Wallkill Prison.

I think that what I’ve been experiencing could be called PTSD, of a sort. Having experienced PTSD (following acts of terrible violence and/or maiming) I have to say it doesn’t feel just like that, but maybe there are different versions. And, maybe I’m still experiencing it. Maybe we all are still getting over Trump and, likely, that is going to take some time. Or, if not getting over, maybe growing used to the new situation where Trump is not the dictator, but still a boogeyman in the background along with the Proud Boys and other White Supremacist insurrectionists.

I say Wallkill, but maybe it would be Sing Sing. Sing Sing would be good.

Anyway, I’ve only spoken at length to one person who was in the Capitol at the time of the January 6th Republican Insurrection. He is a mild mannered guy in politics who had worked hard to get around party divides, and bring people together around issues of common concern. But after the insurrection, when he realized that it was the Republicans in the Capitol that were hoping for mayhem, destruction, and even death, even helping make it happen, he has had something of a Come to Jesus moment. I was there with the proverbial Jesus long ago. I stopped trusting Republicans way back, and my disdain has only grown, and I have railed against the “independent thinker” meme for years. (That’s, like, “I don’t vote on party lines. I look at the issues, then chose the candidate based on their stance on the issues,” said by someone who usually doesn’t vote.) January 6th did not change my mind at all. This person is, I think, likely to experience some really serious PTSD, having actually been in the building, to hear the screaming, the gun shot, the exhortation to remove identifying pins else be captured by the enemy that has breached the breaches…

I recommend that folks examine their own PTSD or quasi-PTSD — which may be mild and it may be strong, but is likely to be at least somewhat hidden — to see if there are any demons that need to be held down in the bucket until the last bubble floats up.

I have taken solace, and kept some degree of strength and sanity, with a particular idea. First, an idea that I don’t like, by way of contrast.

This is the domino or Ponzi idea. You and I decide that the best thing to do is to vote for a particular candidate. So we each get ten people to agree, and then, they get 10 other people to agree, and so on. If I do this with a particular idea here in Minnesota, within fewer than 7 iterations, I’ve convinced twice as many people as actually live here (including babies) to vote for my candidate! That won’t actually work, wont’ actually get past the first iteration.

A version of that is the domino effect. I push over one thing, it pushes over the next thing, and so on, until finally all the things are pushed over (figuratively). That doesn’t even work very well with actual dominoes. The reason why there are YouTube videos of it actually working with dominoes is that if you get this to really work impressively, of course you take a video of it!

Here is what I do instead. Imagine a heavy ball, like a bowling ball, suspended on a long chain from some object high atop the thing. It is motionless. Now, stroke it with a strip of 34 pound (heavy weight) paper. The ball will hardly move. But if you wait for it to ever so subtly move back to where you stroked it, and a little beyond, where it is about to swing once again in the away direction, and stroke it then, the next swing will be a tiny bit father. If you keep doing that, the heavy ball on the long chain will eventually be swinging so far that it will be hard to stop, certainly unstoppable with a strip of paper.

And that is what I do every single day, and it is what I’ve been doing every single day since Trump was elected. I was doing it a lot before, but every single day, sometimes multiple times, since then. Probably 5,000 strokes since November 2016.

Of course, I do things like send an email or make a call to an elected representative, or give 50 bucks to a candidate, or spend an hour on a phone bank, etc. But I like to do somewhat bigger strokes when I can. Like write a letter to the editor for my local kitchen-stop paper, that might get read by, I dunno, 100 people. I employ messaging skills to make that letter a little more effective, and I make sure it gets around on social media. Stroke, stroke, stroke, right there. Or I help organize 100 people to write an email or make a call. Or I recruit or help train a new volunteer who is going to go at that suspended ball in their own way. Tonight, three of us spent a couple of ours on a zoom with a hundred folks helping them craft excellent comments in support of a regulation that will increase the use of electric cars.

It is very important to pay attention to the timing and direction of each thing. Just doing something to feel good about it may not be ideal. Doing just the right thing at the right time can move the bowling ball. Real live activism requires less precision than the actual bowling ball stroking, of course. At the same time, we can calculate the exact effect of the paper stroke but with real live activism we are often shooting in the dark.

Anyway, every day since the day Trump was elected, through his inauguration and eventual departure, I have been pushing the heavy weight just a little bit at a time, enough that I know that I’ve moved it. I can not say that every act has had an effect, but I’m certain that several thousand, together, have.

Oh, and I should say this: There are a few million of us.

Of course, there are always the federal prisons. I hear Yazoo City is nice.

Anyway, this is not done. The future is dangerous and must be paid close attention to. Keba! Kazi yetu haijakamilika.


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Everyone in the US will be vaccinated by early August.

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Everyone eligible and who wants to, that is.

Have a look at this line. I call it “line going up.” Feel free to download it and use it for your own purposes.

This line. It is going up.

I ask you to consider the following questions. Assume the vertical scale on the y-axis is 10:

1) What is the average value of this line?

2) What is the average value of the last 20% of the line, over to the left?

3) Assume the “line going up” is in fact upward-going indefinitely. This is the first ten units of time. What will be the average value of the second ten units of time?

4) Given the same assumption, what is the average value of all 20 units of time?

5) If you were asked to predict the total magnitude (all the areas under the curve) for all of the curve, for the next 10 units of time only, what would it be?

Answers:
1: about 5.
2: About 8
3: About 15
4: About 10
5: A lot, but it runs from about 10 to about 20, so if it is that many units per day, about 150 (the average of 10 and 20 times 10).

I know you got all those questions right. So, now that we can do baby analytical geometry and statistics, have a look at this:

This graph shows an upward trend. We know the trend is somewhat open-ended up to about 7 million a day, with new vaccines coming on line. The drop before the recent mode, which casues an average that would have been about 2.0 million per day, was caused by a preternatural natural disaster (Texas). So, the best estimate of curent production is much closer to 2.5, not 1.7, and that rate will continue to go up so in about four weeks it will be closer to 4 million a day. This is not just based on me looking at the graph and sucking my thumb. This is what the experts are saying. April through July would be 600 million doses, many of which would be one shot doses of the newest vaccines. In other words, every eligible person in the US will be vaccinated by the end of July, comfortably.

That is a very conservative estimate.

Why to people take perfectly good data combined with clear projections from the health experts and turn them into bald face lies? Oh, it is not a lie you say, just a mistake. No, I reply, it is impossible to make a mistake like this and publish it in bloomberg. This is a lie, designed to get a rise out of the readership, and that lie regardless of its intent will contribute to the gloom and doom and that has consequences.


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It is a brave new world cheap

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And by that I mean* the Kindle book Brave New World: With the Essay “Brave New World Revisited” by Aldus Huxley is now on Kindle for 99 cents, at leas in the US.

Only vaguely related, but I thought you’s like to know about it, Dan Rather’s book What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, Kurt Vonnegut Junior’s Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust are also cheap at this moment.


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Roberts Rules: Protecting minority opinion, minimizing chaos

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As noted in Participedia,

Robert’s Rules operates under the idea of majority rule while still acknowledging and respecting minority opinion. The system of debate allows for this by ensuring equal speaking opportunities from all sides.

From Roberts Rules:

The application of parliamentary law is the best method yet devised to enable assemblies of any size, with due regard for every member’s opinion, to arrive at the general will on the maximum number of questions of varying complexity in a minimum amount of time and under all kinds of internal climate ranging from total harmony to hardened or impassioned division of opinion. [Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised [RONR (11th ed.), Introduction, p. liii]

There are three pragmatic principles at work here. First, debate is limited. Since different individuals will have different levels of access to a body, such as control of a newsletter or speaking opportunities, it is important to have the debate about a specific question constrained and confined to a well defined session following agreed up on rules. This is a problem when on line or email based discussions are happening, because those rules are hard to apply or comprehend, let alone enforce.

Second, there is the idea of majority rule. This seems obvious, but in fact, many decisions are made by subsets of individuals with more power than others, or subsets of individuals with access to the decision making machinery. It is not reasonable to assume, however, that majority rule is best (see below) in all cases.

Third, the voices of the minority, which are often not defined at the beginning of a debate, are protected. If a majority emerges early in consideration of an issue, and the minority lacks this protection, the majority is likely to prevail before deliberation is complete. It is not uncommon for minority opinion to prevail after after a fair discussion.

Majority opinion is not always the best when an issue for debate comes before a body that has been carefully considered by a trusted and representative subset of the body. It is not uncommon for the larger body to reify, or replicate the work done by the smaller group, but with less expertise and less time, and thus reject the opinions or recommendations of the subgroup, where those recommendations were actually superior to the larger group’s opinion. For this reason, I recommend that subcommittees or study groups avoid presenting the larger group with unordered options unless full deliberation and debate is expected. Within the context of rules of order, a strong and trusted chair might call for some sort of consensus vote on an issue and hear the “Yeahs” and “Nays” rather than allow extensive discussion, but that power can be abused and therefore, there are rules that would easily stop it from happening, thus giving lie to the “strong and trusted” assumption.

Note, however, that in order for rules of order to function, they have to be followed from beginning to end of a process, for obvious reasons.

So, for rules of order to work, the following is recommended:

1) Pick Robert’s Rules from among the various available rule sets that exist, because they are the most widely known.

2) Read the book. If nobody knows the rules, using them isn’t going to work.

3) Make every part of the process operate under the rules. This means using the rules as the default, and it means making sure that important steps (like voting, handling motions, etc) are clearly defined with respect to procedure.

4) Follow the rules carefully and strictly. For example, after a motion is made, always make sure there is opportunity for supporting and opposing views, and always follow the rules adopted as to how many speakers, and how much time. When a person is done with their statements, they may be tempted to jump in later to clarify after a different person has spoken. This is normally not allowed. When this is happening regularly in a meeting, the rules are not being followed, and the protection of minority opinion has probably been thrown out the window.

5) Follow through with the rules. Apply the rules (to develop procedure) before things are done, follow the rules while doing the things, but then keep following the rules after the thing is done. In other words, a meeting must be adjourned properly before casual conversation about an issue handled during the meeting starts. A change in what was voted on during the meeting can’t happen on the way out the door.

Suggested* resources:

Robert’s Rules For Dummies (Yes, it is quite useful, even if you are smart.)

Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition


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Black Vaccine Hesitancy and Tuskegee: A myth brought to you by MSM?

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It is commonly stated that Black Americans’ memory of the infamous and awful Tuskegee Experiment has induced a high rate of vaccine hesitancy. The hesitancy is there. One poll indicates that the average hesitancy rate for Americans is about 27%, but 26% among Whites and 35% among blacks. This has led observers who know about the Tuskegee experiments (read about them if you don’t know) to make the intuitive link, suggesting that Black Americans, in the light of Tuskegee and similar historical events, believe they are potentially in danger from the vaccine because those things happened then. This has even led some community leaders of color to amplify this idea.

However, this is likely wrong. Yes, sure, there are people making that link and thus making that particular decision. But a recent study (that I’ve not read but have on good authority) shows that people who have not heard about Tuskegee are more likely to distrust the medical establishment generally, and this distrust leads to vaccine hesitancy. I’m glad to hear this, because I was getting really annoyed about the Tuskegee link. People are not that stupid, to take a historical slight, single it out, and harm themselves and their family over it. The ease with with uncritical uncritical journalism has gone there is yet another example of systemic racism. Being distrustful of the medical establishment comes from inherent and demonstrable bias in that system, which does harm to people of color every day. And people see that, and know it.

I learned about this more informed perspective listening to Harriet A. Washington, author of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, who said “We’re dealing with an untrustworthy healthcare system. And we’re dealing with people’s reaction to that healthcare system, which is, unfortunately, a logical reaction” in “A Shot In The Dark,” an episode of the Codeswitch podcast.

You can too:

Oh, and finally: Get vaccinated everybody!


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How to reverse global warming

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The book* Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken is a must have resource if you want to have useful conversations, and carry out effective activism, related to Global Warming. I actually recommend you get the print version, but at the moment, the Kindle version available cheap (at least in the US) so I wanted to let you know about it. Two bucks, and also, lower carbon footprint (on the other hand, books are carbon sinks, right?)


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