Monday, January 14, 2019

sometimes karma seems like a thing

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Approaching Christmas, a Ringing in My Head

Triggered, I think, by Advent readings in the book of Revelation, there's a persistent ringing in my head that’s not so much like sleigh bells as a fire alarm.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Read it Yourself | A Proclamation + Invitation to Thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln | 1863

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State 

Monday, November 05, 2018

If nothing else, I hope they’ll vote on healthcare

If nothing else, vote on health care.

If some people are not ready to vote down racism, misogyny, corruption in the White House Cabinet and Staff, torrents of abuse and spectacularly flagrant lying by the chief executive, and/or a know-nothing/do-nothing Congress — all outlined and helpfully linked by Greg Sargent [] — I hope they will at least vote on health care.

Consider what Rachel Maddox carefully documented on October 23 []:

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: In Wisconsin, preexisting conditions are covered. And as long as I`m governor, they always will be.

MADDOW: Actually, under Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin is the lead named plaintiff on the federal lawsuit that would eliminate Obamacare, including specifically its protections for people with preexisting conditions.

JOSH HAWLEY (R), MISSOURI SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I’m Josh Hawley. I support forcing insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions.

MADDOW: Actually, Josh Hawley is the attorney general in the state of Missouri who is personally handling that state’s part in the federal lawsuit to kill Obamacare, including its protections for preexisting conditions.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I support forcing insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions.

MADDOW: Actually, under Florida Governor Rick Scott, his state is suing to allow insurance companies specifically to no longer cover preexisting conditions.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Everyone agrees we’re going to protect preexisting conditions.

REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R), ARIZONA: I want the voters to know I’m committed to protecting people with preexisting conditions. I’m fighting for it. I fought for it, and I voted for it.

MADDOW: Nope. Martha McSally, no, you did not. You actually voted to get rid of Obamacare, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions. So did you, Ted Cruz, Texas senator up for reelection. So did you, Dean Heller, Nevada senator up for reelection. So did you, Dana Rohrabacher, Russian congressman up for reelection. So did you, Congressman Kevin Cramer, running for Senate now against Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

You all voted to end insurance coverage for people with preexisting
conditions. You all voted for it. You all voted to kill Obamacare,
including that provision of it.

And, Jennifer Rubin reminds us [] that, having blown a massive hole in the budget with unwarranted high-income tax cuts, on October 16, Mitch McConnell told us what he wants to do to gut healthcare protections as leader of the Senate majority "If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it," McConnell said. "But that depends on what happens in a couple of weeks…."

The G.O.P. is not, at present on our side. Only we can send them back home in sufficient numbers to get their attention, and remind them of the common good.

Friday, November 02, 2018

The president finally gets his military parade.

Deploying active duty service members against a grave national threat as footsore asylum-seekers inch their way toward the U.S. border (only 900 hundred miles to go!), Donald J. Trump finally gets his military parade — and just in time for the midterms!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Geo. Washington’s Letter to Jews in Newport R.I.

Excerpts from President George Washington’s August 1790 letter to Jewish leaders in Newport, Rhode Island
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.
G. Washington

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bullies don’t work alone.

Imagine there was a bully at your school who was surrounded by flunkies who harassed and hounded the bully’s targets, and egged him on, and told baldfaced lies to cover for him.

Next, imagine you had the power to turn the flunkies into homeschoolers, just like that. And just like that, the bully was left to fend for himself....


Now, imagine there’s a bully in the White House ... and imagine the White House bully is surrounded by flunkies who do what he says, and egg him on, and cover for him the way flunkies do.

And imagine you have the power to send the flunkies home ... so, just like that, the bully is left to fend for himself....

We have that power.

Send the flunkies home. November 6 2018.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Sudden Onset Male Gender Dysphoria | A Story

“I look in the mirror and just hate what I see.”

Early that Fall, there was a run on thrift stores.

It seemed to spread from high school boys and young men to their older brothers, uncles, dads, and grandfathers… but it happened fast, so who really knows….

What it was was all sorts of men all of a sudden buying and wearing clothing and accessories they found in the women’s section in places like Goodwill and Salvation Army. A scarf, a brooch, a hat, a skirt, a full ensemble ...  more Annie Hall than RuPaul in most instances, but always, always sober; always respectful.

As it gained velocity, preachers — ever hungry for sermon spice — swallowed half-digested news reports and social media overreactions, then spit them back out as culture war battle cries. (Though not all … in one congregation, when the head usher — and chairman of the board — showed up in a plaid skirt and navy blazer to honor his granddaughter one Sunday morning, the minister is said to have cut a couple of paragraphs from his homily on the fly.)

A bro clothing company rolled out a line of Toxic(TM) Brand wife beaters. The gag was met with eye-rolling and wisecracks, or simply ignored. In the end, more bros bought the undershirts than actually wore them. 

What caught many observers by surprise was the clarity with which so many men described their choice.

“It was my wife’s,” an old man said, his fingers rising to touch a sparkly brooch at his lapel. “She was molested by her grandfather — for years. After he died, people in the family said they knew something was up… but did they say anything at the time? No they did not. He was respected in the community. People looked the other way while he was violating a child. Now I’m saying something. The coverup is over.”

“I’m sick of it,” said a man with a flowered scarf. “I’m sick of men expecting women to kowtow. I’m sick of men expecting deference from women, and then playing the whiney victim when that’s questioned. There is no male prerogative to treat people that way. The clock is winding down on every institution that supports that.”

“Look, I’m not ashamed to be a man,” a guy in a pleated skirt told his friends. "What I’m ashamed of is that I accepted toxic masculinity as a substitute for manhood. So that’s on me, and I’m done with it,” he said, "I’ve starting to make amends."

A man wearing a small Ellen James Society button his daughter helped him find on Etsy, said, “I look in the mirror and just hate what I see. I look in the mirror and the jowly man looking back is my father. I was in my 30s before I understood how badly he treated women — I mean, I should have seen it, but I didn’t. I went along with his whole shtick — the whole ‘Women! Huh? Am I right boys?’ 

"One day, I thought about the women I’ve known, and the women I know… and I realized, ‘No, Dad, you’re not right ... you were never right about this. I mean, I guess I could blame his parents for raising him to raise me so poorly…. I bought the whole thing — at first because he was my father, and then because, you know, privilege is not having to mind ... not needing to even think about things unprivileged human beings have to think about every day, all day, because they’ve learned what not paying attention can cost them. So, no, Dad. I may look like you now, but I’m not you … not anymore. And I will never again treat women and girls the way I learned from you. This little button I’m wearing is a down payment on the debt I owe the women in my life.”

Whatever it was, the impulse peaked on Halloween, at workplaces and after-hours parties all over North America where men wore something that signified their pledge to stand alongside women and girls, and all sorts of marginalized people.

The peak was on Halloween, but not the end. Six days later, they went out and voted. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Polls

In August of 1972, I was so angry, troubled, and alarmed about the policies of my government that I traveled hundreds of miles, slept outdoors, tried and failed to hold my breath through clouds of tear gas, and was very nearly arrested, while protesting at the Republican National Convention in Miami. 

Three months later, in November, I did not vote. 

I had just moved ... I was unclear on voter registration requirements, and ... blah, blah, blah.... Excuses, all of it.

It turned out I was right about the corruption of Richard Nixon and the cynics who enabled him, seeking power and profit at the expense of poorer, less educated, more vulnerable people. 

I had good reasons to be angry, and troubled and alarmed. I had good reasons to push through the tear gas and resist those people and their abuses of power.

I had good reasons to vote.

I’m pretty sure I was smart enough, even without the internet,  to get all that sorted in a timely manner. As a freshman, I managed to stand on line for hours to get into college classes I wanted. As a sophomore, I managed to talk my way into a new college a week after classes began. But, as a junior, after the tear gas and drama of public protest, somehow I didn’t manage to hit the voter registration deadline

Those days in Miami stand out as my most memorable days of protest against injustice and corruption. But my most meaningful days of protest of positive action in the cause of liberty and justice for all — are the days when I registered to vote in each state where I lived after 1972 — Georgia, Colorado, California, back to Colorado, California again, and Washington — and the days when I’ve voted in local, state, and national elections.

I would face tear gas again. I’ll never again face a fellow citizen, or someone who wished she could be a U.S. citizen, and say my voice didn’t matter enough to solve whatever puzzles I had to solve in order register and vote.

Are you registered to vote at your current residence? You can register here