As I sit here, looking out at the cold snow, watching Oliver watch the birdies outside the window, wishing for a sign that spring is near, and pondering the meaning of life, I decided today was a snippet sort of day. I considered building a nice fire to ward off the chill, but the management here doesn’t allow it … just because we don’t have fireplaces. Silly, I know, but there you have it. So, wrapped up in a blankie with a purring creature in my lap, it’s either fall asleep or write.
No, Mr. Watson, you are NOT correct!
James Dewey Watson, age 90, is a nasty little man. In 1962, he won the Nobel Prize for outlining the double-helix structure of DNA. Okay, an achievement that has provided useful information for medical science. Sorry, James, but that doesn’t exonerate you from being a racist.
In 2007 Watson, a molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist, claimed that black people were less intelligent than white people and the idea that “equal powers of reason” were shared across racial groups was a delusion. In response, he was suspended from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he had served as the laboratory’s director and president for about 35 years, and later he assumed the role of chancellor and then Chancellor Emeritus.
It wasn’t only people of African lineage that he disparaged, however. He had little respect for women or obese people. A couple of quotes …
“Whenever you interview fat people, you feel bad, because you know you’re not going to hire them.”
“If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease. The lower 10 per cent who really have difficulty, even in elementary school, what’s the cause of it? A lot of people would like to say, ‘Well, poverty, things like that.’ It probably isn’t. So, I’d like to get rid of that, to help the lower 10 per cent.”
And then, two weeks ago, he iced the cake. Appearing on a PBS Documentary “American Masters: Decoding Watson”, he revealed that his scientifically unsupported views on race and genetics have not changed “at all” since 2007. To their credit, the Cold Spring Harbor Lab has revoked his honorary titles.
“Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions Dr. James D. Watson expressed on the subject of ethnicity and genetics during the PBS documentary ‘American Masters: Decoding Watson’ that aired January 2, 2019.”
I repeat … James Watson, brilliant though his work may have been, is a nasty little man.
Let the courts decide …
Section One of the thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads …
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Last week a group of federal employees working without pay during the partial government shutdown filed a lawsuit accusing Trump and their bosses of violating the 13th Amendment. The lawsuit is one of several that have been filed by groups of federal employees who are being forced to work without pay as Trump continues his childish temper tantrum that has kept parts of the government shut down for nearly a month now. But this one differs in that it is the first such lawsuit to invoke the 13th Amendment.
The group’s lawyer, Michael Kator, said …
“If this is not resolved soon, affected employees may find that beginning February 1 they will no longer have health insurance. And, if this lasts ‘months or even years’ as [Trump] has suggested, there will be defaults, foreclosures and even bankruptcies. A promise to pay back pay will not forestall those consequences.”
Sadly, legal minds aren’t offering much hope that the lawsuit will succeed, but my hat is off to the group for trying. It is, I think, unconscionable to expect people to keep working for no pay, especially given that there are a couple of very simple solutions to this problem: Trump could come down off his high horse and sign the damn spending bill, or the Senate could find their cojones and pass a veto-proof bill.
If the approximately 420,000 federal workers who are expected to work with naught but a ‘promise’ of back pay decide to walk off the job, this nation will be plunged into chaos … planes will not fly, trade between the U.S. and Mexico will cease, Secret Service protection to the current and former presidents will cease, U.S. embassies will close, food inspections will be halted, weather forecasts will cease, and more.
Trump claims that the wall is “essential” for national security, but this shutdown is putting national security at risk in ways that immigrants never have, never could.
Canadians have heart …
Let’s finish this post on a positive note, shall we? A Canadian friend sent me this on Facebook this morning …Air traffic controllers from Atlantic Canada directed a fleet of special arrivals into the New York Air Traffic Control Center on Friday night, as a gesture of solidarity and respect.
And each was covered in a layer of gooey melted cheese.
The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association units in Gander, N.L., and Moncton, N.B., ordered pizzas for all of their colleagues at the control center on Long Island, who have been working without pay since the partial U.S. government shutdown began on Dec. 22.According to Doug Church, deputy director of public affairs with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in the U.S., there are currently 14,000 controllers working without pay.
And they’re thrilled about the pizzas.
“It’s just a really good shot in the arm of positive energy and positive emotion to know that, ‘Hey they’ve got our back,’ On behalf of the entire NATCA and air traffic control around this country, we extend our thanks and our gratitude.”