Update, 22 September, 2020:
Lucas Acosta. “Amy Coney Barrett is an Absolute Threat to LGBTQ Rights,” HRC, 22 September, 2020.
Due to technical difficulties, I have fallen behind in my postings. And by “technical difficulties,” I mean that my daughter, who tries to make sure I take care of my assorted devices, told me that there was an iOS update and that I should download and install it. So I did that, and I saw that my iTunes button had turned red and that there was now a magnifier button on my screen, and I’m hoping to get Meredith to explain the new Privacy settings to me, but everything else seemed pretty much the same. That is, until (dramatic music here, maybe from a tragic opera or a truly frightening horror movie) I tried to upload my recent photos for my next blog post, and WordPress told me, and I quote, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” I figured that I had just not given the photo enough time to latch onto the WordPress media library and tried again. And WordPress said, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons,” though it sounded snarkier and more smug this time.
I thought maybe there was something wrong with the photo itself, so I took a new picture of the page, re-edited it, and tried to upload it to my media library. And what did WordPress say? “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” This time I think it was gloating. It may have stuck its tongue out at me, but it happened too quickly for me to be sure.
Obviously, I needed help. So I tried the WordPress fora. I immediately found an old thread started by someone who had had exactly the same problem with which I was struggling. I was sure that I was on my way to resolving my difficulty, but alas! All the thread had to offer was that, at the time the question had been asked, WordPress itself was being glitchy and the WP Fairies were working their magic to smooth out the bump. I couldn’t find anything more recent (and I was getting frustrated), so I sent my daughter a message, a cry for help, a plea for a light in the darkness of my blogging.
Now, Meredith is rather busy these days. She’s working full-time, going to school half-time, and volunteering with her local CASA organization. It is, therefore, not unreasonable that it took her a couple days to respond to me. But here I encountered a wrinkle I had NOT seen coming: Meredith didn’t know the answer. All of you who rely on your children to help navigate the often stormy seas of modern technology will understand how flummoxed I felt.
In desperation, I opened a browser window and typed in “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” One of the links I followed offered a list of file types that WordPress deems sufficiently innocuous to allow to cross its borders. “Huh,” I thought, “maybe I should make sure my photos are still JPEGs.” So after sifting through menus and sub-menus and randomly clicking on obscure options, I finally got my computer to confess that my new photos were NOT, in fact, JPEGs any longer. They were now something called HEIC. Apparently this new format saves space or something like that. I didn’t really care. I just wanted my JPEGgy photos back.
The next logical step, it seemed to me, was to find out how to change my HEIC photos back into nice, tractable JPEGs. So back to my browser I went to ask it how to effect such a transformation. My research revealed that it was possible to do this in fifteen simple steps that I would be able to understand as soon as I got a degree in computer programming. This sort of “solution” is why I like my pens and copy machine.
Even if I could have figured out how to take my poor image through these multiple stations, I don’t have the time to go through that process for every photo I want to upload to my blog. I was not happy. So I went to bed.
The next day I looked again for ways to re-dress HEIC photos in JPEG clothing, and after poking around on the ‘Net for years — well, maybe months, possibly days —OK: a couple hours, I FINALLY stumbled on a link that told me I COULD GO TO THE SETTINGS OF MY PHONE AND TURN OFF THE HEIC OPTION AND GO BACK TO TAKING JPEGS. And here, my friends, I realized that I had once again fallen prey to one of the persistent problems with my brain: not knowing what question to ask. (I once spend two weeks trying to order a new power cord for my computer and could NOT find one anywhere. Eventually I found out that what I wanted was a power cable, but I didn’t know to ask for one of those.)
In conclusion, I switched off the HEIC and restored the JPEG setting, re-took and re-edited the photos, and will now resume my “30 Inks in 30 Days” listing of a month of reasons to vote (really, if anyone is considering not voting, whether you agree with my views or not, please re-consider and vote. We all need to know what we, as a country, as a society, see as the direction in which we should take ourselves).
Thank you for reading. Stay well and safe and healthy.
And for those who want say, “Well, President Obama did it first,” please read
Betania Palma. Snopes.com, “Did Obama Admin Build Cages That House Immigrant Children at U.S.-Mexico Border?“. 2 July, 2019.
I’m not saying it was right to do it at all, but Obama did not use these “cages” in the same way nor for the length of time that the Trump administration has been using them.
UPDATE, 18 September, 2020: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. It is exceptionally painful that she did so on Erev Rosh Hashanah, a time that is supposed to be focused on renewal. At the moment, I feel as if my hope has vanished. The federal judiciary is already stuffed with TWO HUNDRED white, male, ultra-conservative judges who are lifetime appointees — ten of whom are considered unqualified by the ABA¹ — and who will inexorably make their way up the ranks, gaining more and more power as they go. We don’t feel it much now because the current judges in the upper echelons are more centrist or liberal than the ones snapping at their heels. The damage will affect generations to come — if our country, our species even lasts that long. Justice Ginsburg made it known. that
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told her granddaughter just days before her death, according to NPR.²
Despite this last wish of a revered, iconic hero, despite McConnell’s conveniently forgotten assertion that justices should not be confirmed in an election year,³ McConnell and Trump have already declared that they WILL shove another judge onto the bench.
I am terrified. I see the erosion and eradication of reproductive rights, women’s rights, and voting rights, the suppression of social justice for Black/BIPOC Americans, for the LGBTQ+ community, for those of us who adhere to minority religions or no religion at all. I see support for corrupt politics that are driven by wealth, the continued degradation of the environment in get name of “the economy,” as if we can have an economy if we can’t live on the planet.
Call your senators. E-mail your senators. Write. your senators. Drop in on your senators. And VOTE.
The constant denigration by elected officials of our leading researchers, of those who base their arguments on reason and evidence, erodes confidence in the science and research that produce the tested cures we need, that keep us safe from chemicals and pollutants, that track the food we eat. Remember last year when there was a sudden decision to shift USDA researchers from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City? That was an ill-advised move because
“Moving these researchers out of Washington puts them out of earshot from policymakers. A lot of the research that scientists and economists do at [the USDA] has policy implications, and members of Congress need this information and need to have face-to-face meetings with these researchers,” Rebecca Boehm, with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Hill.
“It keeps science out of the policymaking process. And we’ve seen many times that this administration doesn’t like facts or research that isn’t convenient or [is] an impediment to their agenda, so I think moving them away helps accomplish that,” she added.³
This separation of policy and science is outlined in a list compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It includes, among many other items, “EPA refuses to Regulate Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water,” “White House Demands Rewriting of CDC’s COVID-19 Guidelines for Schools,” and “Trump Administration Disavows Own Meteorologists for Issuing Factual Statement on Hurricane Dorian.”4
The dangerous disrespect the current administration and other representatives show for the wisdom and advice of science have led to Scientific American, for the first time in its one-hundred-seventy-five-year history, to endorse a candidate for office, and its nod went to Joseph Biden. In the October 2020 issue, the editors explain that
Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.
The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.5
Finding out that SA felt it necessary to speak out and take a side feels monumental to me. I appreciate that way that, in normal times, many organizations stay out of politics. But sometimes there is no virtue in silence and neutrality, and we are living in such times.
I’m a humanities person, but I understand the vital role science plays, should play, must be allowed to play in our lives and society. So vote for science, for representatives who respect science and research and who will encourage and support with both words and funding the scientific leaders whose voices must be heard loudly and clearly for our society to survive.
Monteverde Fire Opal