Friday, August 14, 2020

POTD: Egyptian Lamp Pendants

From 2019 11 18 Old Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from a sidewalk display of traditional Egyptian lamp pendants in old Cairo, Egypt.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Do "Black Lives Matter" in Richardson? As the old saying goes, put your money where your mouth is. George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police on May 25, touching off a national movement with the slogan, "Black Lives Matter." There were protest marches nationwide, including two in Richardson (at Berkner Park and at City Hall). The Richardson City Council invited Richardson Police Chief Jim Spivey to brief them on the department's policies, training practices, community engagement, and transparency initiatives. The briefing took almost two and a half hours. I was pleased to learn that RPD's use-of-force policies are already broadly in line with the recommendations of the #8CantWait campaign to reform police departments.

But (there's always a but, and if the council members themselves can't voice it, they aren't doing their jobs), I had some concerns as well. In two-and-a-half hours with Chief Spivey, no one uttered the words "Black Lives Matter." Maybe they all felt that was all taken care of two weeks earlier, when the City Council approved a statement condemning racism. Still, no one identified any specific areas for improvement in Richardson. No one called for change. No one put any money behind the sentiment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Umbrella Academy - Season 2 (TV 2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Umbrella Academy - Season 2 (TV 2020): It's 1963. The siblings face another apocalypse. Time travel, civil rights, religious cult, JFK conspiracy, office politics in the commission maintaining the universe's timeline, and more family issues. Fast-paced. Never predictable. B+

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Richardson's Budget - Black or Red?

It's August and that means it's time for Richardson budget roulette. Will the proposed city budget be balanced? You'd think that would be a simple question. Isn't the city required by law to have a balanced budget? Well, yes, but it all depends on the meaning of "balanced".

When I looked at this question three years ago, I concluded that the city's 2017-2018 budget was indeed balanced and didn't require use of that sneaky asterisk ("plus reserved fund balance and other financing sources"). After watching this over a number of years, I found that the amount the budget is in the red or black each year is always small. Whether it happens in any given year seems to be a matter of chance.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Women Weren't Given the Vote. They Took It.

For a country that prides itself on its democracy, the United States has forced a lot of its citizens to fight for the privilege of voting. August 18th marks the centenary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which declares that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” That milestone is sometimes described as having “given” women the right to vote. It wasn’t a gift; it was a hard-won victory on the part of suffragists who’d been agitating for it for more than seventy years, on the basis of their common humanity with men.
Thank you, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Thank you, Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. Alice Paul especially was a real badass. She organized a march for women's suffrage down Pennsylvania Avenue the day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. Anti-suffrage rioters disrupted the march while police stood idly by, giving no protection to the peaceful marchers. Then Alice Paul organized pickets in front of the White House designed to prod the president into supporting women's suffrage. The civil disobedience campaign lasted months. Paul herself was arrested several times and finally sentenced to jail for seven months. She went on a hunger strike and was force fed raw eggs through a feeding tube. The publicity of the horrible treatment of her in jail kept the cause in the public eye. After passage of the 19th Amendment, Paul said, "It was shocking that a government of men could look with such extreme contempt on a movement that was asking nothing except such a simple little thing as the right to vote."

Friday, August 7, 2020

POTD: Boys from St. George's College

From 2019 11 18 Old Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cairo, Egypt, and shows a group of boys from St. George's College, located in Cairo's Nasr City district and one of the oldest private English-language schools in Cairo. The boys are on a field trip, visiting the same sites we were, and by the looks of it, having as much fun as we were. Kids are kids all over the world.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Upzoning Galatyn Park Station

Galatyn or Khrushchyobka?

The Richardson City Plan Commission unanimously recommended approval of an upzoning request for 140 additional living units over and above what the current zoning permits for a new development next to the Galatyn Park DART station.