Category Archives: Uncategorized


Anti-Racism Task Force First Pres Church Alb, 2.5 blocks away

Resource: Michelle Alexander. “The New Jim Crow.” The New Jim Crow- Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, The New Press, 2010, pp.178-220

The New Jim Crow examines the mass incarceration of black people and its intersectionalities with profiling and police bias, and the prison industrial complex. “More are disenfranchised today than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote based on race.”

The New Jim Crow fits into the prison industrial complex by analyzing how the country has moved from slavery to low-wage sharecropping to low-wage menial work in prisons. The documentary The 13th is was based on this book.

Resource: Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
Reviewed by Carol Green

If you’re wondering how to start your anti-racism journey, I highly recommend reading this book by a white woman who discovers how much she doesn’t know about race and racism. This relatable account of the knowledge and experience she gains and the “cringeworthy” mistakes she makes had a big impact on me. I was shocked to learn how some government benefits, such as the GI bill, had been withheld from Americans of color, resulting in generations of lost wealth. The discussion of white privilege is clear, and Irving’s personal examples of the role of white privilege in her life

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
Here’s the video:
Here’s my blog post from a couple of days earlier:
Here are the maps of redlining and urban renewal, among others:

People ask me why antiracist? that’s so negative. There should be a more positive term.
Well, maybe, but I haven’t heard one.
I DO have an idea why

Ibram X. Kendi 2019
RED – inside flap

intro – p5 last sentence before break
p7 para 4, 5, 6
he still has nightmares
cf Cosby
p8 afterb para 2
p9 para 2
cf colorblindness;

p 24 def
parents trying to fit to that white space
p28 last para/p29 para 1
p29 last para
p31 last para
cf aboriginal people in Australia, 1st Nations in Canada

ch3 p 35 def
p 37 para 4
told race is a social construct
p41 para 1,2

ch 4 p 44 def
Curse of Canaan – p50 break 1st para
p54 para 1,2
Census tracking income, health outcomes, et al

ch 8 behavior
p95 para 1
p97 last para
p 203 last para
William raspberry December 7, 1993 Colin Ferguson opens fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train from New York City, killing 6 and injuring 1

ch14 gender
p 183 para 1
p187 Barbara Smith, Frances Beal
p 189 para last
Ebony October 1946 Germany Meets the Negro Soldier

ch9 color
p 109 para 1, 2
p 110 para 1
imitation of life
p114 para 2 v 115 para 1
Africans don’t consider me black, or my daughter

ch 13 space
p 172 last para
p 175 para 1
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?’Beverly Daniel Tatum 1997/2017
One reason students from similar racial backgrounds may gather together, Tatum said, is that “connecting with peers who are having a similar experience as your own serves as a buffer, as a protective force. … [It] is also a way of affirming your identity.”
p179 para 1 MLK

p17 para 1,2
p18 para 1, s1
para 2, 3

ch 5
p 57 para 2 oj
p57 para last – slavery
p64 para 1

ch 7 culture
p90 para 1

ch10 white
p128 para 2

ch 11 black
p140 para 1, 3

ch 12 class
p 152 para 2

ch15 sexuality

ch16 failure

Floss Firstenberg Alper Obituary

Our wild and wonderful Floss Firstenberg Alper passed away peacefully at home on June 5, 2017, in the presence of loving family and friends. She was 95.

Floss, a.k.a. Florence, a.k.a. Flossie, arrived on Planet Earth on October 14, 1921 in Brooklyn, NY to Jacob and Rose Firstenberg, and older sister Caroline.

Both parents had a strong aesthetic sense; Rose owned a dress shop and Jack traveled annually to Europe on shopping trips for his advertising novelties business. Artistic sensibilities came naturally to Floss and would be an ever-evolving passion. Starting at NYU at the age of 16, she studied design and merchandising, and worked at Lord & Taylor, a high-end department store in Manhattan. From early on, Floss showed an equally ardent streak when it came to social justice, attending protests against Southern universities that refused to play NYU’s racially mixed football team.

After college, Floss lived the “high life” in 1940’s Manhattan, working as a secretary to Howard Dietz, a famous songwriter of the day, as a leg model showing hosiery at the Plaza Hotel, and as the beauty editor of Cue Magazine. She saw Frankie Sinatra and Billie Holliday perform live, and attended the original Broadway shows of Death of Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire. She roomed with her friend Felice and they absorbed New Yorker magazine, which Floss read continually for 80 years. She also met her future husband, Max Alper, on a blind date.

Floss and Max married and moved to southern California in 1949. Floss identified fully as a displaced and dissatisfied New Yorker for the first several decades but eventually came to love her adopted home. Max and Floss shared an equal passion for art and politics. They actively supported the civil rights movement, artists, ending the war in Vietnam, a progressive state in Israel and many other causes and individuals.

Over the years, Floss exhibited her various talents as she managed the Watts Jazz Quintet, of which Horace Tapscott, the renowned West Coast pianist, was a member; designed dresses; learned from daughter Laurie to make elaborate batik fabrics; and managed family-owned commercial and residential property.

Floss was an amazing listener, a trusted confidante, the focus of many people’s erotic dreams, an oft-invited dinner guest and irreverent as hell. Max and Floss built a beautiful house and garden, filled it with Max’s and other artists’ work, threw many a wonderful party and/or fundraiser, and welcomed the world into their home. Said a friend, “The world just got a lot less interesting without Floss.”

Floss’ beloved Maxele passed away in 1999, after 50 years of marriage. Floss is survived by son Joshua, daughter Laurie and granddaughter Grace. An unabashed lover of sparkles, from glitter to diamonds, Floss has burst into a million everlasting sparkles herself, watching over us. We love you Flossie. You are sorely missed.

Donations may be made in Floss’ name to Southern Poverty Law Center or Doctors Without Borders.

Published on from Sept. 29 to Sept. 30, 2017

The Seth Abramson Trump Tweetstorm

1/ We need to never again discuss this man with respect to policy—it’s become more than clear in 9 months that he holds no policy positions.

2/ So if you support Donald Trump because of any view you claim he holds, I don’t ever want to hear from you again. The man holds no views.

3/ There is no position Donald Trump has ever taken that he has not, at some point in the past or present, taken the opposite position to.

4/ We mustn’t ever discuss this man as someone “challenging the system” or any similar bromide. His White House is the most corrupt ever.

5/ Not one story of honorable conduct has emerged from this White House. Instead, it’s been lies, deception, corruption, graft, propaganda.

6/ But the most important thing is this: this is the first U.S. president to systematically and willfully terrorize his own populace daily.

7/ His changeability is intended to keep us anxious and on guard. In fact, he’s admitted publicly, many times, that this is a tactic of his.

8/ His corruption is equally studied: his business model has always been “get away with what you can,” and that’s exactly how he’s governed.

9/ He saw that he had a GOP Congress—and knew that his worst-case scenario was not getting re-elected to a job that he never really wanted.

10/ That’s why he hasn’t eliminated his conflicts of interest, delivered on his promises, “drained the swamp,” acted as any kind of leader.

11/ His presidency is a criminal enterprise designed to enrich his family and give him the attention his father clearly denied him as a kid.

12/ He has no beliefs, no ambitions, no morals, no principles, no guidelines, no plans, no expectations. He simply needs to sow chaos daily.

13/ What Trump knows better than most is that America is a chaos machine—you feed it and it spits out attention, headlines, sometimes money.

14/ I want to be very clear here: Donald Trump is a toxic human with a toxic public presence and—worst of all—he wants to poison his people.

15/ His reign will go down not just in U.S. history but human history as a reign of uncommon cruelty in the democracies of this millennium.

16/ It’s *more* than that he’ll go down in our history as the worst president we’ll ever have—he’ll go down as one of our greatest villains.

17/ Benedict Arnold tried to betray America for a prior sovereign—Trump is trying to *torture* a nation that was good to him his whole life.

18/ Have you noticed a change in your mood since January? I mean a change you can’t seem to escape? Anxiety, anger, fear, confusion, doubt?

19/ The most ubiquitous man in your nation is trying to poison you daily—because it gives him power—and no one’s stopping him from doing it.

20/ I’m not using hyperbole: you’re under attack. A deliberate, unprovoked, systematic, and—yes—evil attack. And it’s working. We’re losing.

21/ When humans are endangered, confused and hopeless, there are certain things we turn to—all of which Trump is deliberately stealing away.

22/ Our fight or flight instinct—which Trump activates—can be quelled if we’re given respite, which is why Trump ensures we have no respite.

23/ That’s why his tweets—which are intended to terrorize, and *do*—come in a daily barrage of needless conflict, warmongering, and cruelty.

24/ He must never stop tweeting, because his tweets now activate our culture in a way so *inescapable* that we’re almost like his prisoners.

25/ You think he’s attacking North Korea in his tweets? No—he’s trying to terrorize *you*. The NFL? You. Segments of America? No—all of us.

26/ When humans are confused, we seek the stability of truth, trusted institutions, neighbors. He’s destroying those anchors systematically.

27/ “Fake news” isn’t about getting re-elected—it’s about controlling your fight-or-flight instinct by giving you no safe harbor in “truth.”

28/ Every institution we like or trust, he’s undermined. The media. Government. Unions. Hell—even the NFL. Veterans (when he feels like it).

29/ He’s enabled by the GOP—but he’s no Republican. He wants to destroy any politics or politician whose world he’s not at the center of.

30/ He’s a malignant narcissist, and his *only* ambition is to spread his toxicity nationwide in whichever ways feed his perverse pathology.

31/ If you’re a Trump voter, by all means laugh it up. You’ll be caught in wars, recessions, and international collapse like the rest of us.

32/ He has 35% support because Americans love to be right/see fools suffer—and Trump voters think they’re on the right side of the equation.

33/ Time will show that we were all the fools—and whatever temporary satisfaction the Right got from annoying the Left wasn’t worth America.

34/ Because the last thing—of the three I mentioned—humans look for in a crisis is hope, and he’s systematically taking *that* away as well.

35/ We don’t have hope future elections will be fair. We don’t have hope our government is working in our interests. We don’t have hope…

36/ …we can trust and love our neighbors and they’ll trust and love us back. And we don’t have hope things will start to make sense again.

37/ But only a fool fails to see that the pain and suffering that comes from having a madman as a leader is soon coming for every one of us.

38/ Things are going to get very bad. And many fools will say, “Well—that’s America.” And America *is* deeply flawed. But we weren’t *this*.

39/ One in every few generations in the West, a leader arises *so vile* that he can draw out the evil from his population and weaponize it.

40/ Trump is *not* Hitler. There was only *one* Hitler. But Trump is the *sort* of Hitler that America in 2017—at its very worst—can breed.

41/ Everything evil a man can do to a country like this, at a time like this, in a span of four or eight years, Donald Trump will try to do.

42/ He’ll try to make the vulnerable live in fear. He’ll position himself as unreviewable by the media and government. He’ll sow confusion.

43/ And when his crimes are uncovered—and he’s been a villain and criminal his whole adult life—he’ll try to stoke violence to save himself.

44/ Trump is the most dangerous American of all our lifetimes—he’s so dangerous we can’t fully apprehend the danger or how to respond to it.

45/ He’s an actually evil presence that hangs over your life—and the life of a nation you love—every single day. And he may be unstoppable.

46/ Is there any reason to trust future election results—now that we know Russia is hacking/interfering and Trump’s doing *zero* to stop it?

47/ And is there any reason to think the damage Trump has done to our political system can be solved in just a single American generation?

48/ And as he plunges us deeper into our Longest War and tries to start World War III in Asia, can we be certain lasting doom isn’t ahead?

49/ My point: there is only one fight in America today that matters, because all other fights are ultimately a direct corollary to this one.

50/ If we want to save ourselves—and our country—Trump must be legally, peacefully and transparently removed from a position of power. ASAP.

PS/ It’s OK to finally indulge the idea that everything is as bad as you think it is if hitting rock-bottom gives you the courage to FIGHT.

From HERE.


I have mentioned Chuck Miller’s departure from the Times Union blogs, and him starting his own blog.

What I didn’t get into was the harrumph of the Times Union. As quoted by a non-TU blogger named DelSo:

“A community blog hosted by falsely reported Saturday morning that Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, would be the commencement speaker at the University at Albany. As soon as we were alerted to the post, we removed it from our site and suspended the blog. We apologize to anybody who was misled by this post, which was not written by a Times Union staff member. Even on April Fools’ Day, there’s no place for fake news under the Times Union banner.”

And the WAMC Roundtable on 3 April was likewise SHOCKED. The “bogus link” they referenced was Chuck’s senior year on the local TV quiz show for high schoolers, which he’d written about ad nauseum.

Yes, I am humming, “It’s a scandal, it’s a outrage.”

In fact it was only a year earlier that Chuck had written on his TU blog, “Uber reaches agreement to come to Albany!” which made the Washington Post’s April Fools’ Day pranks: 2016’s comprehensive, updating (and upsetting) list. The TU seemed to enjoy hitting on the zeitgeist.

If memory serves, Chuck did NOT slap an April Fools label on it, though at some point, the TU must have. This was fine, and would have been fine this year, in lieu of suspension and blocking him from his site.

Meanwhile, there is another TU community blogger who wrote in March, apparently in all seriousness, that the White House has been closed to visitors since 9/11 until 2017. I won’t link to her because she’s guano crazy. But Heather Fazio mentions her.

Since he’s done a joke blog EVERY YEAR for 8 YEARS, I’ve been forced to conclude that there is something else at play here with Chuck Miller’s suspension. I have to think he got under the TU’s skin once too often. He often advocated for more recognition for the community bloggers, including appearances in the paper, which went away and then came back, as a direct result of his nagging. Early in my tenure as a TU blogger, the TU ponied up for pizza for its unpaid community writers, but no more.

Perhaps the tipping point was him pointing out some oblivious remarks, such as he did on Thursday.

Before I get started with this week’s recap of the great writing by the Times Union’s crew of independent and community bloggers, I must address something.

It was a comment made in a staff blog earlier this week, and it still bothers me today.

In her blog last Monday, TU staff blogger Kristi Gustafson Barlette wrote a piece about certain thoughts in the Capital District, a “When I think of…” recap…

The part that irked me? This portion.

“When I think of great blogging, I think of Amanda Talar (who is coming back to the east coast). I also think of Matt Baumgartner and really, really miss his blogging.”

Wow. When Kristi Gustafson Barlette thinks of “great blogging,” she references two people who haven’t blogged for the TU in YEARS. Not taking anything away from those bloggers – they have written amazing posts in the past – but it totally ignores the fantastic writing and observations of the Times Union’s current bloggers and raconteurs and observers and writers. Whether you agree or disagree with their topics and thoughts, they at least deserve your attention and consideration.

Maybe if Kristi Gustafson Barlette took a few moments and actually read these blogs, she might indeed find some new favorites. Some new “great blogging” examples.

I think THAT was the last straw for the TU, and his ANNUAL joke – and I will say, Kellyanne, by definition is NOT funny – was just the excuse they were looking for.

Or the TU can explain that how it punishes an obvious attempt at humor while supporting actual fake news on its community pages.

Mandated Workplace Violence training


<strong>All of us SUNY Central employees were required to register for, and attend, a 90-minute Workplace Violence training session back in August.

“In accordance with NYS Law, SUNY System Administration has implemented required/mandatory Workplace Violence training to help ensure a safe working environment. This training extends to all employees who work within our System Administration locations, inclusive of our Research Foundation and Construction Fund colleagues.

“Even in the absence of any identified risk, employees should be knowledgeable about measures they can take to protect themselves in the workplace. Learn how to:<!–more–>

• Identify Risk Factors
• Prevent Workplace Violence Incidents
• Enhance Personal Safety
• Increase Survivability in Critical Incidents

“Be a part of our pro-active preventative approach to keeping the SUNY community safe!”

I had the idea that the workshop would spend more time diffusing a potentially volatile workplace situation. There was lip service about recognizing someone in a workplace situation who might be “ready to blow.” But it wasn’t the primary focus.

Instead, it was a lot about how you might live if an active shooter situation. There was a lot about flight or fight – flee if can, fight if getting away or hiding is not an option.

The speaker managed to namecheck all sorts of mass shootings, from the school kids and educators in Newtown, CT, to the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords in an Arizona strip mall that left six dead and the Congresswoman gravely wounded to the shooting in Binghamton, NY that killed 13. But there were a whole lot that you never heard about.

The takeaway, my colleagues all agreed, is where the heck would you hide, or run to, if you had to? Those folks with doors were subsequently issued door stops, but those with partial glass walls were less than comforted by this.

As someone with no office door, where I would run would to would depend on what direction the disturbance was coming from. The offices are in one big circle, and I am near the diameter.

For the next two days, it was all we talked about; if that were the intent, it worked. But it mostly made me depressed as hell. </strong>

The 10th anniversary of this here blog

10th AnniversaryToday being the tenth anniversary of the start of the Ramblin’ with Roger blog, with new content every single day, I thought I would describe how I started blogging in the first place. I’m sure I’ve told bits and pieces of it before, but like some oft-told tales, the details either become clearer inr focus or muddier over time.

I had heard about this thing called the weblog – it was in all the standard press – in the early part of this century. However, I had not actually READ any blogs. Therefore, I concluded, without a single strain of evidence, the same thing that most “everyone” else was saying, that blogs were self-indulgent bits of drivel designed for people far more self-absorbed than I.

Then, in October 2004, I see my friend Rocco, who I knew from my FantaCo days. He says to me, “Have you been reading Fred’s blog?” Of course, I had not been reading what our mutual friend Fred Hembeck had been writing, and in fact I had fallen out of touch with him over the previous decade.

So I checked out Fred’s blog Continue reading The 10th anniversary of this here blog

The library meme

book_RoomPer Chuck Miller, my fellow Times Union blogger:

“The System”: In the main, the books on music, movies, television are on the shelf in front of me. Behind me: almanacs/trivia; church/faith/religion, including hymnals; the recently acquired unread; bio/autobio; classics (Shakespeare, Grimm, Twain); politics; Beatles. Off to the right, and also upstairs, comic book/comic strip stuff (Marvel Masterworks, Doonesbury collections, Elfquest collections, Life Is Hell). This is imperfect, and I’m much less fussy than I used to be.

Favorite female writer: Rachel Carson. She changed my life.

Favorite male writer: Nelson George.

Bought on location Continue reading The library meme

Les & Trudy

les and trudyA few months ago, on a Binghamton listserv I follow, I was a tad startled to read, seemingly out of the blue, in response to someone else’s comment:

Q: Do you know who Leslie Greene is/was? he was born in 1927 became very close friends with my parents, he was black, his wife was white…I believe he was elected commissioner in the 70’s.

John (who’s about a decade older than I, and went to my church): Sadly the LESLIE GREEN that I knew passed away some years ago. His son Roger Green is a member of the I AM FROM BINGHAMTON NY site. Knew LES & his Wife as the GREEN Family was a major part of our TRINITY AME ZION CHURCH and active in the general African American Community and the General Binghamton NY area… Continue reading Les & Trudy