Florida Internet Finds It Happened to Me The Good Fight

Black History Month in Florida under DeSantis, captured in a single painting

Joey deVilla poses with his framed print of Jonathan Harris’ painting, “Critical Race Theory.”

Last year, I heard about a painting by Jonathan Harris, titled Critical Race Theory, pictured below:

The original “Critical Race Theory” painting on canvas.

It depicts Black people, led by Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Malcolm X, being covered up with white paint by an unidentified White man with a roller.

It’s the perfect painting for the present moment, when Florida under Governor Ron DeSantis is:

Jonathan Harris with his painting Critical Race Theory (2021).
The artwork and the artist, Jonathan Harris.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Harris.

Here’s Jonathan Harris’ bio, taking from his site:

Jonathan Harris (b. 1988) is a visual artist who was born and raised in the city of Detroit. After attending the Detroit School for the Fine and Performing Arts, he attended Henry Ford Community College, Antioch College, and Oakland University, where he majored in Graphic Design and minored in Studio Art. Oil paints, acrylics and charcoal are his media of choice. He has perfected and become known for an oil enamel technique, resulting in graphic, high contrast portraits, without the use of a brush.

Jonathan’s work is emotive, with a focus on current events and the African American experience. Bringing awareness to social and world issues, in addition to instilling pride in the Black community, are goals that he strives to accomplish through his visual and curatorial work. Harris and his works have recently been featured extensively in the press, including on PBS American Black Journal, PBS One Detroit, CBS Local, and in the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Chronicle and Oakland University Post. One of the artist’s latest paintings, Critical Race Theory, created in response to recent controversy over the same subject matter, has garnered responses and sparked conversations across social media platforms around the world.

Harris’ art currently resides in prominent collections, including the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts, David and Linda Whitaker, and Michigan State Representative Shri Thanedar. He served as a juror for Canvas Pontiac 2022, and his work has been exhibited at Swords to Plowshares Gallery. He has shown in and curated special exhibitions at Irwin House Gallery, as well as the BONDED exhibit at Beacon Park, along with a team of distinguished Detroit arts professionals.

In 2022 Jonathan Harris was named one of 2022’s Influential Artists To Watch by the Detroit News, and received The Spirit of Detroit Award from the City Council of Detroit, Michigan.

I ordered a signed print, framed it, and hung it up proudly in my home office:

My office, looking towards The Desk Where it Happens.
Tap to view at full size.

Want to know more about the painting?

Want to order a print?

You can order one (prices range from US$125 – US$200) on Jonathan Harris’ ecommerce site.

America The Good Fight

If pulling down a slave trader’s statue “ruins your way of life…”

Sign that reads: “If pulling down a statue of a slave trader ‘ruins your way of life,’ you are either (a) a racist (b) a pigeon.”
The Current Situation The Good Fight

When you’re aiming to BOTH offend AND be offended…

Tap to view at full size.

Music The Good Fight

The best way to support your favorite band is to buy their merch

According to iGroove’s recent study (original German version here, English interpretation here), a musician or band can expect to get paid 0.3¢ to 0.5¢ per Spotify stream, which means that they’d need somewhere between 200 to 333 streams of one of their songs to make a single dollar. Music may be what musicians make, but unless you’ve made it big, it doesn’t pay the bills.

Want to really support your favorite act, especially if they’re small? Go to their shows, see the live, and buy their merchandise. When you see artists live, you not only get a one-of-a-kind experience, but you also support them in the most effective way possible. Most  of the money from tickets and merch goes directly to the artists, rather than the “middlemen” — the record labels, distributors, or streaming services. 


Florida The Current Situation The Good Fight

The fake brochure that DeSantis used to con the migrants into boarding the plane to Martha’s Vineyard, and other facts about this cruel political stunt

DeSantis may have been inspired by a segment on Tucker Carlson’s show

A still from Tucker Carlson’s xenophobic “Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard” segment.
He should just ’fess up and call the show The Tucker Carlson White Power Hour.

A couple of days ago, Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz astutely tweeted that “when GOPers do depraved stuff it’s worth looking for the Fox host who suggested it.”

To no one’s surprise, the Fox host who suggested it was the host of Fox’s own White Power Hour: Swanson frozen foods heir Tucker Carlson, host of an old-timey whitefear-and-ragestoking evening show.

The migrants were given fake brochures about Massachusetts’ refugee benefits

DeSantis insists that the migrants boarded the plane voluntarily, but the migrants say that they were misled by a “blonde mystery woman” named “Perla,” who offered them McDonald’s gift cards, a free flight to a “sanctuary,” and other assistance. 

The newsletter Popular Information obtained a phony brochure written in English and Spanish that was provided to the migrants, pictured below:

Designed (poorly) to look like an official brochure, it says that migrants who arrive in Massachusetts would be eligible for a lot of benefits, including:

  • 8 months’ cash assistance
  • Housing assistance
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Transportation to job interviews
  • Job training
  • Job placement
  • Registering children for school
  • Assistance applying for Social Security cards

Popular Information got the brochure from Lawyers for Civil Rights, a Boston-based law firm representing 30 of the migrants.

DeSantis’ communications director Taryn Fenske told Florida’s Voice that the brochure was legitimate and that the information it contained was accurate. However, what she omitted is even more important:

  • The brochure was not produced by the State of Massachusetts, nor is it official. It’s a “homemade” document pieced together from cut-and-pasted text from various Massachusetts government sites.
  • While the benefits listed exist, the migrants to whom they were given are not eligible for them. While refugees are eligible for such benefits, these migrants are seeking asylum, and refugee benefits don’t apply.
  • The devil is in the details. In trying to provide DeSantis with a loophole, Fenske insisted “the brochure does not say migrants immediately have access to the benefits.” But it worked — the idea was to convince them that those benefits were forthcoming, and all they had to do was board the plane.

Boston-based immigration attorney Matt Cameron summed up the situation quite well:

“DeSantis clearly does not know the legal difference between refugees (who are eligible for resettlement benefits) and asylum applicants (who are not).

It’s legally no different than promising someone who you know to have had no military service that they will be eligible for veterans benefits.”

Cameron also said the brochures “are either evidence of criminal intent or criminal stupidity.” My feeling:

Loki: “Bit of both.”

FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) paid a secretive Oregon-based company to fly the migrants, and now that company’s website is offline

Here’s a record of a payment from FDOT to one “Vertol Systems Company Inc.” dated September 16, 2022 for the sum of $950,000. It’s courtesy of the @TampaniaBlog Twitter account:

They tweet:

In fact, if you go to the Transparency Florida site, you’ll see that FDOT has already paid Vertol Systems a total of $1.565 million dollars:

Vendor search result from Transparency Florida showing $1.565 million in payments to Vertol Systems

Typically, you’d be able to go to Vertol Systems’ site and see that they’re based in Oregon’s Hillsboro rather than Florida’s Hillsborough County and that they’re in the business of “specialized aircraft solutions specific to unique requirements.”

But you can’t. The site has been taken down…

…and quite interestingly (yet unsurprisingly), their LinkedIn company profile is unclaimed:

A Texas sheriff is launching an investigation into these flights, since they were a join operation with Texas

From the Daily Beast:

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar confirmed the investigation during a press conference Monday “to clear the air for everyone,” alleging that 48 migrants were “lured under false pretenses” to stay at a hotel for a couple of days, shuttled to a plane, flown to Florida, and eventually transported to Martha’s Vineyard, where they had been promised work and solutions to other problems.

From Sheriff Salazar’s Twitter account:

DeSantis’ plan is backfiring

And garbage human that she is, Christina Pushaw, Rapid Response Director for DeSantis’ reelection campaign tweeted this:

Here’s a screencap, just in case she deletes it, as she is wont to do:

The Good Fight

“Being a woman is kind of like being a cyclist in a city where the cars represent men.”

Screenshot of tweets: "Being a woman is kind of like being a cyclist in a city where all the cars represent men."
Tap to view at full size.

A very apt observation. Here’s the text:

  1. Being a woman is kind of like being a cyclist in a city where all the cars represent men.
  2. You’re supposed to be able to share the road equally with cars, but that’s not how it works.
  3. The roads are built for cars and you spend a great deal of physical and mental energy being defensive and trying not to get hurt.
  4. Some of the cars WANT you to get hurt. They think you don’t have any place on the road at all.
  5. And if you do get hurt by a car, everyone makes excuses that it’s your fault.

Thanks to Alison Armstrong for the find!

America The Current Situation The Good Fight

Just a reminder…

Black man wearing T-shirt that says “Stop pretending your racism is patriotism.”

For context: