Friday, July 10, 2020

Good Riddance Teddy & the Horse You Rose In On!

July 10, 2020

Good Riddance Teddy
&
the Horse You Rode In On!


I cannot tell you how happy I am that the statue in front of the American Museum of Natural History IS GOING TO BE REMOVED!

When I lived in New York city from 1996 to 1999, it was in an apartment on the Upper West Side, not far from that gigantic institution. So I walked by this statue often, and I could not BELIEVE that it was allowed to continue to stand there, reminding us of the dominance of the Great Inventor of the Stuffed Bear over lesser clothed lesser beings.

I used to complain to people: "Why can't somebody do something about this? Can't all the black activists and all the indigenous activists get it removed??"

The response: "Believe me, we've tried."

"Why can't people get together and just pull it down?" Admittedly, this would have been a particularly daunting task. This is a HUGE statue not in the middle of a park but in the middle of... well... Manhattan. Would-be statue-destroyers would have been immediately heard and immediately arrested and then roundly booed by most New Yorkers for desecrating a beloved institution.

So, now that I think about it, I can understand why the black and indigenous activists chose to concentrate on other things.

At least somebody could have thrown a little paint on it. Why didn't throw a little paint on it? Then I would have been able to tell you now that I did it, with a link to the New York Times article recording the mysterious act by an unknown perpetrator. I would have been so PROUD.

I would have bought a big can of red paint, gone in the middle of the night with the paint and the little thingie that opens paint cans. I would have worn some kind of cape so that if I spilled red paint on myself, I could have thrown the cape away in the bushes and been able to walk home paint-free ... really stroll, not run... no, never run....

But what if I got red paint on my SHOES?? If I got paint on my shoes, then I would leave tracks all the way back to my apartment!! I might as well leave my business card! No, I would have to walk home in my socks... barefoot probably, because my socks would have paint on them too...

But I would inevitably step on something sharp and cut my feet, and then my BLOOD would be all over the pavement not far from the despised statue. And when the police found my shoes and socks in the bushes and noticed the blood on the pavement, they would put two and two together .... Again, might as well leave my business card....

Okay. I would have been caught. I would have been arrested. But then when I went to trial, all the black and indigenous activists would have demonstrated outside the courthouse for this white middle-class old woman who courageously... maybe....

Well, at least I was outraged and complained about it. That's gotta count for SOMETHING!

That's all there is for today, my dear Bloggelinis. Oh how I enjoy/need those eLetters from you. It makes me feel full of purpose and power, even though I never threw paint on Teddy. Much love, Terry

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

BAUMBLOG: What Would Fauci Do?

I often take the pups to State Street Playground, aka the Meadow, which is a friendly neighborhood park that's kinda hidden away and rarely crowded. The fog was rolling in, being very photogenic. As was Loulou. I FINALLY got an appointment for them at the groomer. Sadly, her hair was so matted, they couldn't keep the puff on the end of her tail. I'm so glad they gave her puffs on her forelegs, to compensate. She's very proud of them.

Half an hour later...No more fog!

I'll never forget the first time I saw Sutro Tower, long before I lived in its neighborhood. I was on Market Street, looked up.... and there was this red-and-white MONSTROSITY absolutely LOOMING OVER the beautiful view! I could not BELIEVE the enlightened people of San Francisco would allow such a horrible space-age spider to besmirch their glorious landscape!

But the truth is now I walk out my front door, see it and feel great affection for it. Our very own space-age spider.

Sutro Tower brought television to San Francisco. Before the tower was built, the hills prevented people from getting reception on their TVs. So San Francisco was the last city in the country where the population was seduced and tranquilized by the new medium.


The last time I saw this fence the voodoo doll was Trump! I must remember to bring some pins with me next time I take this walk,
I have walked by this magnificent and enormous Victorian so many times and never noticed it, because it was high above the street. This is really a mansion.

A crystal chandelier in a garden...... I'm thinking about my own little backyard paradise.... Hmmm... Anyone got a spare chandelier to contribute to a worthy cause? And to the left of this particular garden chandelier....
A political billboard in a San Francisco front garden. Rarely do I find a love of chandeliers combined with a passion for the political empowerment of every single oppressed person. Actually, never.

I particularly love "I want a president who has stood in line at the clinic, at the DMV, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gay bashed and deported."

I would too, but I'll settle for AOC as soon as she's old enough.

Thank you, chandelier gardener.


Left is the front door of the Caselli Mansion, 250 Douglass St., and right is what you see when you peek through the glass to see the entryway. When I first moved to 545 Dougalss St. in 1977, this huge building was abandoned and about to be torn down. At the last minute, a developer bought it and divided it up into apartments. When I'm taking people for walks in my neighborhood, I always take them up on the porch to peek at the beautiful woodwork. There's a lot of gorgeous carving high up that I couldn't capture with the camera through the glass.



A new addition to the outdoor art gallery that is 24th Street.
Look at the texture on this! This is an incredible amount of work!

I haven't gotten stoned in a very long time. I can't smoke anymore. My delicate lungs. I do like the candies. I think I'll get those nice chocolate coffee marijuana beans and take a slow stroll down 24th St. This is really a cosmic hippie kinda experience, this painting/collage/whatever.







"May this cement our friendship." Very clever. I like the hand too. Glad I caught this before it was completely obliterated.





Now, Bloggelinis, where else can you find helpful pandemic hints AND a walking tour that reveals a
city of ECCENTRICS?!? Admit it, nowhere but BaumBlog. Have a good and masked day. Terry

Sunday, July 5, 2020

HAPPY INTERDEPENDENCE DAY!


FOURTH OF JULY, 2020





HAPPY
INTERDEPENDENCE
DAY!








I was down in the Castro and saw Mollie Monster's latest chalk series for the Fourth of July:
Today, I celebrate

INTERdependence Day!

These chaotic times have made it abundantly clear that we are all intertwined with, and dependent on, EACH OTHER. For example, my decision to wear or not wear a mask has untold consequences on others.

I sit isolated in my room, alone over a hot computer to write my blog and then put it out out into the world. One could say I do this on my own, but untold numbers of people contributed to me being able to write this blog -- from my parents, the workers who built my house, all those involved in creating the computer...... Well, the list never ends.

You, I hope, receive the blog as a gift. And if you didn't receive it -- if no one clicked and opened it, I would not continue to write it. And then there's the eLetters I get from so many Bloggelinis that keep me going. I absolutely need YOU to keep going.

In Buddhism, the Giver, Receiver and the Gift are ONE! It's really quite a wonderful idea, and it's TRUE and definitely a reason to CELEBRATE!

Thank you, Mollie Monster, for keeping track of time passing, the seasons, the holidays. Your witty chalk drawings are a delightful addition to the street scene of my neighborhood and a gift to the community.

Mollie, you are truly generous
because you give without needing
to experience the appreciation of the receivers.

I doubt I'll ever get to that point.

I want to thank all the artists who have given themselves to entertaining, delighting, educating us-- without an expectation of being paid or even thanked. Your gifts have brought joy into my life during this very difficult time.
Dear Bloggelinis: Thanks to those of you who responded to the two very intense and heavy blogs that preceded this one.

I feel in community with you. That's very nice for me. I hope someday to have a Bloggelini party for all of us in my garden. Those Bloggelinis that live far away can attend on Zoom! Nice idea, huh?

TERRY


Thursday, July 2, 2020

BAUMBLOG: ONE DAY in the NEW YORK TIMES


July 2, 2020

ONE DAY in the
NEW YORK TIMES


I love the newspaper. I have always loved it. I'm talking about the paper paper with pages so big, you'd better sit down at a table to spread it out so you can read it. I subscribe to two newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. I believe that poring over giant page after giant page of newsprint day after day gives me my best chance of understanding what is actually going on in the world.

Thomas Jefferson famously said,
"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have
a government without newspapers
or newspapers without a government,
I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
and I have always tended to agree with him.

The June 27 edition of the New York Times does validate Jefferson's faith. Two articles in the first section, taken together, helped me grasp the deep hold white supremacy has on our criminal "justice" system.

ONE DAY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES:
FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2020:

The first story is about the suffering inflicted by the criminal "justice" system on Black men.
A man was murdered on a street in Queens in 1994. Samuel Brownridge spent 25 years in prison for the murder of that man. He was jailed in 1995 at the age of 20 and came out this year, when he was 45 years old. At Brownridge's exoneration hearing, he was declared "actually innocent." I use quotes because this is an official legal concept. It means that Brownridge isn't just Not Guilty.
"Actually innocent" means that there is no possibility that Samuel Brownridge murdered Darryle Adams on that night. There was no justification in the "justice" of his conviction:

  • The evidence that convicted him was totally compromised. For one example, one witness told police, immediately after the murder, that the gunman had a fade haircut (ie short). Later, under pressure from the same police, he identified Brownridge, who had a medium-length afro, as the killer. Now, you CAN commit a crime with a medium afro and cut your hair right away to a fade. But you CANNOT commit a crime with a fade and immediately grow an Afro.

  • Brownridge had a very strong alibi: He was watching television with his girlfriend and her mother 30 minutes away from the crime scene at the time of the murder. The women were never called to testify. 

  • When Brownridge appealed his sentence after five years in prison, three men present at the murder (including the fade/afro man) were willing to testify that he was NOT there and to name the actual murderer. But their official testimony never took place.

  • The evidence that another man was the murderer is so overwhelming that Brownridge's lawyer described it as "beyond a shadow of a doubt." That criminal was killed in a shoot-out with police in 2002, having murdered two more people in the interim.

The only evidence linking Brownridge to the murder was perjured testimony given under pressure from the police. Samuel Brownridge never should have been questioned, never should have been arrested, never should have been tried, and never should have been convicted. But no one in the criminal justice system seemed to care that they had the wrong man. And not only did Brownridge, and all who loved him, suffer. Two more people were murdered by the man who killed Darryle Adams.

A black man had murdered someone, and the D.A. put a black man in prison for the crime. Anyone have problems with that? Apparently not in Queens, New York. We're not talking Mississippi here, folks. We're talking New York City.

In his entire 25 years in prison, Samuel Brownridge fought to prove his innocence. At every level -- local, state and federal -- his plea was unheard.

As Judge Joseph Zayas said at his exoneration hearing“Mr. Brown-ridge, the miscarriage of justice in your case was monumental. It is therefore no surprise that large segments of our city and our country have grave doubts about our criminal justice system and its ability to deliver equal and fair justice to all. Cases like yours demonstrate that their anger is justified. Their anger is legitimate.”

There is a video of the entire half-hour exoneration hearing, which took place on Zoom, and I urge you to watch it. It is both terrible and beautiful. Terrible because of the 25 years Sam Brownridge lost. Beautiful because the judge and lawyer treated him respectfully, gently, even tenderly. They attempted to acknowledge the enormity of the injustice done him. At the same time, they said they knew they could never understand what he had been through. They actually tried to make this legal hearing a healing experience for Brownridge.

When Brownridge was too overwhelmed with emotion to speak, the judge said, "Mr. Brownridge, listen, we will take as long a time as you need. So don’t feel you have to rush through this. I know you just mentioning your mom was hard for you. Don’t worry about that. I want to listen to you, and I’m sure I speak for everyone on this call today. So if you need to pause, to take a break, wait a minute, we’ll wait for you."
The judge cried for the great injustice that had been done.


Samuel Brownridge cried that his mother had not lived to see him declared innocent.
"It's something you never will forget: years of my life, years of being a son,
a father, a husband, plenty of years and opportunities in life that I missed.
I was innocent. I can't just lay down."
His lawyer, Donna Aldea, cried when she spoke of her client's grace and courage: "Sam, I am blessed to have met you. You’re a better person than I could have been in your shoes.”

You may well ask: How did Brownridge's exoneration finally come about?

  • Attorney Donna Aldea worked for three years to put together the evidence to overturn his conviction. Her law firm paid her salary while she did this work.

  • Queens elected a new District Attorney, Melinda Katz, who organized a Conviction Integrity Unit to investigate cases such as this.

I don't think it's coincidental it was two women who created this opportunity.

How many Samuel Brownridges remain in prison? That's the question no one can answer. They're all waiting for a dedicated pro bono lawyer and a Conviction Integrity Unit to undo the crimes of our criminal "justice" system.


ON THE OTHER HAND, IN THE NY TIMES ON THE VERY SAME DAY...

The second story is about the criminal "justice" system protecting violent white supremacists.

THE SECOND STORY
Page A-21. Obituary:
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to over 250,000 people in Washington, D.C. Eighteen days later, on September 15, a bombing occurred at the 16th Street Baptist Church, a center of civil rights activity in Birmingham, Alabama. Four young girls were killed in the blast. Many others were injured.
The Four Little Girls: Denise McNair, Carol Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley
The force of the blast blew out
the windows across the street.


Sarah Collins, left, whose sister was killed, ended up losing an eye.

The news of this horrific crime reverberated throughout the country. I was 16, and I remember well my shock and outrage. The whole nation grieved for those girls. No one alive at that time will forget it.
As the Times said later, "The Birmingham bombing holds a special place in civil rights history because of the randomness of its violence, the sacredness of its target, and the innocence of its victims."

As you can see in the newspaper on the right, the F.B.I. was called in immediately to investigate the bombing. You can't do better than that. Right? Right?
WRONG!
From Blanton's obituary in last Friday's NYT: "Mr. Blanton was a suspect in the church bombing early on but escaped justice for decades, thanks in part to interference by J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the F.B.I., who in 1964 derailed efforts by the bureau's Birmingham office to bring charges against him and three other men. Mr. Hoover was said to have blocked the case because he thought a successful prosecution was unlikely."

And who should know better than J. Edgar if success was likely or not, since Hoover had decided to repress "incriminating recordings made by the F.B.I. that implicated both Blanton and another man." (from the NY Times)   The repressed evidence became known only in 1980, seventeen years after the bombing, and after Hoover had been dead eight years.

This is a terrible crime that roiled the entire country, and the F.B.I. at its highest level, decided not to pursue it -- even though they have evidence.
It seems to me the F.B.I. decided that killing black children by bombing their church was.... well, really not so terrible. Can this decision to repress evidence of a notorious and brutal crime be regarded in any other way?

If this is not white supremacy at work, then I don't know what is.

Even after the recordings became known in 1980NOTHING HAPPENED until 1997, thirty-four years after the bombing, when a group of black ministers urged the U.S. Attorney in Birmingham to open a new investigation. FINALLY, in 2001, thirty-eight years after the bombing, Blanton was convicted and spent the rest of his life in prison.

So Thomas Blanton, a white man, lived free for 38 years thanks to the white supremacist heading the F.B.I. J. Edgar Hoover PROTECTED BLANTON by repressing evidence that he had participated in the murder four black girls.

And Samuel Brownridge, an innocent black man, spent 25 years in prison because no one in the "justice" system gave a damn if they had the wrong black man.

These two cases created a climate of fear for all black people. What did it mean to all of those who knew Samuel Brownridge was jailed on trumped-up evidence? It meant that they lived in fear that it could happen to them. What did it mean to the black people in the entire nation that the perpetrators of the heinous and infamous crime of the church bombing were jailed 38 years late? It meant that they lived in fear that their children could be murdered, and no one would care about finding the criminals.

I have been reluctant to label manifestations of racism as white supremacy unless it referred to the actions of people who call themselves white supremacists. But I think both these stories taken together are emblematic of a white supremacy that infests our entire "justice" system, a white supremacy working to instill fear in all black people.

I'm grateful to the New York Times, the most mainstream of mainstream news, for giving me the information so that I could understand our country more deeply.

Whew. Bloggelinis, this is heavy stuff, isn't it? At least we know there are some compassionate judges and lawyers dedicated to turning the system around.

To go deeper into the history of white supremacy, here's a brilliant lecture: WHEN HERITAGE EQUALS HATE. (thanks, Rosalia) Terry