Wednesday, May 27, 2020
This is America
In 2018, Childish Gambino released the single This is America and the video that was meant to not just supplement the song, but to be part of it. The video and lyrics are a powerful statement about how blacks in America live in a state of constant fear of the potential for institutional failure, whether that failure is with the government that is supposed to create a safe environment, or with the law enforcement agencies that are supposed to enforce the laws fairly and equally, or with the members of the general community, who say they want to live in the land of the free but who often act like the land of the free was only meant to belong to certain groups.
Interestingly enough, when the single won the Grammy awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Music Video, and Best Rap/Sung Performance, Donald Glover, the creative force behind Childish Gambino, was not there to accept the prizes. He was nowhere to be seen. Of course, I can only speculate as to what led to his decision not to attend, but if I had one guess, it would be this: he didn’t care about being recognized; he just wanted people to listen to the message.
I’m troubled by the repeated reminders, so many over the last few years, that a lot of people not only haven’t listened, they don’t even want to hear it. When people of color complain about the systemic inequities, pointing at extreme but repetitious examples, those who should be listening default to their echo chambers and shoot off false axioms (“there must have been a good reason”, “cops lives are hard”, “maybe if the person hadn’t done...” and on and on).
So it’s already started with two very notable stories in the news yesterday.
In the first, a black man wisely decided to start recording a white woman who was becoming aggressive towards him in a relatively secluded portion of Central Park called The Ramble. There are a few things to note:
1. The encounter began when Christian Cooper, the man, asked the woman, Amy Cooper (same last name was only coincidence), to leash her dog in accordance with posted rules of the park. Other areas of the park allowed dogs to be off-leash, but he was there specifically to bird watch, a known hobby in that area of the park and exactly why the leash rule was posted.
2. In the video, Ms. Cooper tells Mr. Cooper that she is going to call the police and “tell them that an African American man is threatening my life.” This, to me, requires the most unpacking of the whole event. First, instead of leaving (which is what any sane person would do if they felt their life was threatened), she took the time to call the police on her cell phone, while holding her dog up in the air by its collar, and tell the police exactly what she said she would. But before the call, she didn’t say “I’m going to tell them that YOU threatened my life” but “an AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN is threatening my life.” That distinction should be clear to anyone: it was an unveiled threat to use racial profiling as a weapon. This is the “white privilege” that people talk about in disgusting clarity.
3. She kept approaching HIM while making ridiculous comments about how threatening he was (which was clearly the trigger for him to start recording). And STILL people say “well, we don’t know what he said to her. She may very well have felt threatened.” No, she was angry that HE didn’t feel threatened by HER. Her control mechanism wasn’t working, and so she resorted to threatening to call the police. And when that that threat didn’t work either, she DID call the police.
In the second story, a black man named George Floyd was killed on video by a police officer who refused to lift his knee off of the man’s neck, even as the man pleaded with them to let them know he couldn’t breathe, even after Floyd became non-responsive, even as onlookers pleaded with the officer to take corrective action, even after the cop looked directly into the camera and knew he was being filmed. A couple of notable things:
1. Video taken from a surveillance camera shows the police detaining the man with handcuffs and walking him to the side of the building. At no point on this video does Mr. Floyd appear aggressive, confrontational, or resistant.
2. The alleged crime? Forgery. He wasn’t suspected of violence, he wasn’t suspected of carrying an illegal firearm, and nobody in the surrounding area could attest to him behaving violently.
The message to be heard from these events is this: we have to honestly ask ourselves if we hold a different standard for people who look different. Why is it okay for police to treat one person brutally but if they do it to someone with lighter skin, they’ve overstepped their bounds? What gave that lady the idea that a black man needed to do what she wanted (to let her break the posted rules) or she could call the cops on him? What was she hoping for? That he be treated the same way that George Floyd was treated?
Another thing to remember: both of these incidents occurred in cities in the historic Union, not in the south, where racism seems to be more expected. Minneapolis and NYC are both very liberal, filled with the types of people who like to virtue signal on this type of thing.
Apparently, when it matters, signaling virtue is not the same as having it.
Sunday, January 5, 2020
Name Loc Rating Beer Selection Rating
Here's a link to the Master Restaurant Spreadsheet
Columns are Restaurant, Location, Rating and Beer Selection Rating.
Locations: Park - Park Circle, DT - Downtown, NK - North of 17 Downtown, Var - multiple locations, MP - Mount Pleasant, MN - Middle of Nowhere (Outside Holly Hill in this case), WA - anywhere West of the Ashley, NC - North Charleston
Rating - 1 to 5 scale (5 being best (gotta be perfect to get a 5 - 4 is a perfectly great score and 3 is reliably good))
|1||No beer or little good beer (or a bad brewery)|
|2||Below Average (or a mediocre brewery)|
|3||Some locals and other good brews (or an OK brewery)|
|4||Excellent (or a good brewery)|
|5||Best (or a great brewery)|
Here's an incomplete short description of some places worth mentioning...
Failure to talk about a place doesn't mean it wasn't great...
Binky's is a new oyster bar with a great menu from the owner of Coda del Pesce and Trattoria Lucca
Azul is a casual Mexican restaurant with a great mix of classics and innovative dishes. The Molcajete is a great variety dish suitable for multiple eaters.
Maison is a great new French place on Upper King with a great bar staff.
Charleston Bakery and Deli has great breakfasts and sandwiches with a Jewish Deli twist.
Jackrabbit Filly is a new restaurant on Spruill brought to you by the geniuses behind Short Grain.
Matt's Burgers is a tiny place in Summerville with great value and delicious burgers.
Coast Brewing is still my favorite brewery. They have not succumbed to modern brewery fads (not that those are a bad thing) but instead continue to produce their classic styles with a smattering of innovations. Hop Art IPA, Boy King DIPA, 32/50 Kolsch and Blackbeerd Imperial Stout are some of the best examples of their respective styles.
Baker and Brewer is the bastard child of EVO and Holy City. Everything great from both combined in one location.
EVO is a slam dunk for pizza and an awesome local beer selection. The Pork Trifecta is the best pizza and is perfect reheated in the morning with a runny fried egg on top. Make sure to visit The Brew Cellar for an excellent tap list and brilliant selection of cans and bottles to drink on presence or take home.
Five Loaves Cafe has become a bit more "chainy" than before, but still serves good food with decent service. It is a good choice for Summerville due to somewhat limited options in the area.
Husk remains one of the best downtown restaurants, with a modern take on classic southern cuisine. Great for out of town visitors. The bar is a perfect option if you can't get in the restaurant since its menu is basically the Husk Greatest Hits menu.
Jeni's has some unique ice cream flavors, but make sure you pay attention to ensure you get dairy if you want it as it can be a little confusing.
Malagon is a grazer's delight. It's where Artisan Meat Share used to be and is a great replacement. Small plates and shareable entrees are the feature.
Melfi's has outstanding pasta and Italian food. They have parking nearby which is nice. The staff is very knowledgeable of what they are serving and why. Pasta is homemade.
Swig and Swine Summerville has reopened!!!! I really love this place, especially since it's so close to me. Not the best barbecue in the area, but extremely good.
The Ordinary still has amazing oysters and cold fish selections, along with excellent seafood options. Get reservations or arrive before it opens.
Wine and Company is still the best wine bar in Charleston with an incredibly knowledgeable staff. You can also buy bottles to go and they can help find what you want. They also have a phenomenal beer selection to go or drink on premises which most people don't know about. The beer list is very well curated. Located at Meeting and Spring, it's a great stop before or after dinner. Also great cheese and charcuterie.
Wiki Wiki Sandbar is a HUGE Polynesian restaurant with some great bars and a good selection of classic dishes mixed with some local standbys.
Basil is a reliable Thai restaurant with more options for non-Thai food fans than other places. I like the Garlic and Beef dish.
Maui Tacos does a good job of replicating the original. They are a good choice if you are bored with the cookie cutter Mexican that is way too prevalent in our town. Great beer selection. If your out of town family insists on going to Hyman's tell them you'll be at Maui Tacos waiting for them to finish being disappointed.
Steel City Pizza has a good beer selection. That's why they get a 2. You do the math...
Sweatman's has managed to maintain great barbecue standards despite the ownership change a few years ago. Still the best barbecue in the area. Visit Biedler Forest on the same day, since it is located in the same middle of nowhere. Better yet, do dinner and a Biedler Night Walk on the full moon Saturday of the month (not affiliated with each other - just a good evening plan).
The Codfather has outstanding Fish and Chips and Meat Pies. You can get the meat pies to go.
Check out my tax blog if you want to see why I'm so popular this time of year! www.supertaxgenius.com
You may wonder why very few places got a score below 3. There's an explanation on the spreadsheet. In fact, there's a ton of information on the spreadsheet. But to answer the question, we go places we expect to be great. I'm not here to confirm that a mediocre restaurant is actually mediocre. So 2's will be rare, and 1's will be a catastrophic failure in planning.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
I'm an advocate of concealed and open carry...
I think it will save lives in the aggregate...
But let's not delude ourselves into thinking there won't eventually be a tragic mistake...
Nothing is perfect...
It is all about the balance of benefits and costs...
We suck at this...
Gun rights advocates like myself need to be ready to admit it if the negatives outcomes outweigh the positives (this doesn't mean we have to abandon our support for a fundamental right).
I am also acutely aware that people on my side of the criminal justice reform debate are blissfully ignoring the fact that crime has plummeted during the mass incarceration years and we need to be prepared if it turns out that criminal justice reform dramatically reverses this trend...
Ending the drug war with a shift to treatment could also have more negatives than positives...
But I think we should try (or at least the Feds can get the f out of the way and let some states try)