A sundry assortment of tidbits.

Credit where credit is due.  My father loved the phrase “sundry assortment” with its embedded redundancy. An assorted assortment with its, oh, I don’t know, je ne sais quoi quality to it.  This post feels like just such an assortment.

Robert Mueller: The Sartorialist

It was reported with much humor that Robert Mueller had Paul Manafort’s closet and suits photographed.  Haha!  (The Daily Show, Trevor Noah)

And I celebrate Mr. Mueller’s tenacity. A suit — especially color, texture, weave, cut — could triangulate with surveillance and other information to confirm the identify of Mr. Manafort meeting with low friends in high places.

Snap Elections & Campaign Fatigue

I am curious about and a little bit jealous of countries whose governance allows them to call for a snap election. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is the most recent example. Teresa May called for a snap election for confirmation of Brexit proceedings.

Meanwhile, stateside in the US two (2) days after inauguration, Precedense Trump started his 2020 Presidential election campaign.

And so I would posit that voters in the US suffer from campaign fatigue. Politicians should have a defined period of campaign silence after an election to focus on the work of governing.

Voters are more than hamsters on a treadmill. We need a break.

Tribalism

First, there was the boozy story that (Wisconsin) Badger fans drank the two bars in Provo, Utah dry.  Turns out the fans only hit it hard during the football game with BYU (Brigham Young University, Utah).

Ah, those Wisconsinites.  A cheerful, libatious tribe of good tippers!

And Andrew Sullivan, my favorite former social-political editor-blogger-writer, wrote a longer piece for the New York Magazine – “America Wasn’t Built for Humans.”

The entire article covers a whole lot of ground and is well worth the read if you have time but to support our ‘Tribalism’ heading above:

“One of the great attractions of tribalism is that you don’t actually have to think very much.  All you need to know on any given subject is which side you’re on.”

If you factor Citizens United and campaign fatigue in with tribalism, we will continue to get more divided.

Throwing money at the hamster voters, lets them off the treadmill.


(Aside note from me, to me): Mr. Sullivan’s commentary on Ta-Nehisi Coates is especially telling given that he left full-time blogging to pursue longer form journalism. It reads as Andrew’s justification to leave blogging before it wrecked his writing as compared to the arc of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ career who has wrecked his writing. Really? I don’t think so.

Also, Trump? Really, Andrew? You think Trump is part of the solution? I.don’t.think.so. One word: gaslighting.

And I have had a hard time forming my own opinions since Mr. Sullivan abandoned The Daily Dish. Not so much because I agreed with him, but because the variety of high-quality comments he published from his readers on topics far and wide were an education to me.)

I. Remembering …

President Carter. No, as of today, he is still with us.

I remember President James Earl Carter as the first POTUS I watched actively and avidly. During his administration, the Iranian hostage situation went on for so long, that in high school Physics class, another student wrote a problem story of Godzilla using a catapult to free the hostages for an assignment complete with equations, and solution. It was politically incorrect, but we were high school students tired of the counting of the daily counting of the days and after all, wasn’t it President Carter who brokered the Camp David Accords?

Yes, President Carter brokered the CDA. And President Carter talked of his wife Rosalyn and the other women he had looked at with thoughts and we believed that was honest, and prude, but TMI; and he talked about Amy – BTW, where is Amy now? – and if that helicopter hadn’t crashed in the desert on the way to rescue the hostages, he would have been a hero. There might have been no Reagan Administration.

And Reagan. I became an independent adult during the Reagan Administration. Life was more complicated due to many factors.

But I remember Carter and his decency toward … human beings and the human condition.

II. Remembering …

President Obama.  And no, as of today, he is still with us too!

And my heart is warmed knowing that there were many children, teenagers, young adults whose formative memory of national politics was made during the Obama Administration.

And in the slow arc of history, I hope those children, teenagers, young adults remember to bend toward decency and justice for all … human beings.

Hmmm, Part III. Ch-ch-ch-changes.

Climate model changes. Well, this is good news.¹

Or not.²

It seems a group of scientists have found more time in their studies for humans to respond to global warming/climate change.

Hmmm, really?  For your consideration, I’m going to drop some thoughts, ponderances, and questions on global climate change and science here:

  • The recent discovery that Mars has unexpected weather.³ The nights are cold, cold, cold. While this information might ‘help future explorers colonizing the planet’, may I suggest that it could be useful in understanding the colonization we have on Earth already?

“It’s a bit like a Russian doll,” planetary scientist Paul Hayne from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who wasn’t involved with the study, told Nature, “with each successively higher-resolution model fitting inside the other.”³

I like this quote. It illustrates that climate scientists have a very difficult job. Peeling away the layers, uncovering the next doll. They are working with a very complex system and small changes in modeling, make measurable differences in projected results.

  • I’m totally gobsmacked when I read ” … we have more than 700 billion tons left to emit to keep warming within 1.5°C. ‘That’s about 20 years at present-day emissions,’ Millar said.” ¹

Well, hold the phone even though it’s ringing, statements like this released into the wild give us permission to continue bad habits that harm the environment. My individual contribution to 700 billion tons is just puny. I could jump up and down on that scale and it wouldn’t register so not my fault, right?²

I’ll be as cold, cold, cold as Mars at night here, but human life on earth may be a passing age regardless of any action we take. Regardless of any scientists, politicians, soothsayers, sooth-nay-sayers, we may all be doomed regardless of any action we take.

As evidence, the K-Pg event which sounds like a children’s show was actually a cosmic collision of the earth with an asteroid or comet. It extincted the dinosaurs.  “In the geologic record, the K-Pg event is marked by a thin layer of sediment.” Whoa! Big dinosaurs time left a geologic thin layer. Humans en masse? A geologic smudgy smear. Maybe. Who will know?

So regardless, let’s do the right thing.  Governments will argue, politicians will posture, manufacturers will whine about fairness, et cetera et al ad nauseum.

Let’s bring back “pollution”, the word, not actual pollution. Individuals can identify pollution and change pollutive habits and consumption. Personal actions and changes done by the millions have a HUGE measurable impact on the environment. (See also, plastic continent at the bottom of the ocean.)

And as we start environmentally hygienic habits and start trends designed to leave a smaller footprint, we unwittingly become consumer activists. (See also Hmmm, Part II. Remeber the Aerosol!) Rather than wait for government regulation and limits, dirty manufacturing cleans up due to market demand, clean-up happens because consumers require it.

And we remain the enthusiastically skeptic gardener.


¹Mooney, Chris. “New climate change calculations could buy the Earth some time — if they’re right.” Washington Post. 18 September 2017. Web. 19 September 2017

²Viva Nostradamus predicts that any time humans have gained by this news is just another distraction for politicians, governments, businesses, et al to argue about cause, effect and blame.  So, if you’ve read this far, just do what you can do today.  Stop polluting as you know it to the extent possible.  Trust me.  Micro actions in macro numbers makes a difference. To the planet.

³ Dockrill, Peter. “We Have First-Ever Evidence That Mars Gets Intense Snowstorms in The Dead of Night.” Science Alert. 22 August 2017. Web. 19 September 2017.

A sundry assortment of snapshots.

Here’s a sundry assortment of snapshot thoughts taken over the last week. Enjoy!

Or not.

Where I was on 2001.09.11.

The radio announced the plane hitting the first World Trade Center tower on the drive to drop my Kindergartner off at school.  And I thought ‘how could a plane not miss the one of the towers?’ what a tragic failure of air-traffic control? How …’ and I tried not to think of it further. The school drop-off zone can be brutal and requires focus and safety.

Continue reading

Racism & James Baldwin.

I’m visiting video documents of James Baldwin to further my knowledge of systemic racism – what was identified in my youth, what has not changed, what it is like to reside in a country that would rather you were somewhere or someone else.

These videos were filmed on film using film and all the chemicals for production when I was a child of a single-digit age.  Although it’s tempting to express outrage that these artifacts were unknown:buried:concealed:hidden from me, I will take this moment to reflect that the tech which allows me to reach through the webs and communicate did not exist until ARPANET grew up into internet and Bill Gates and the Cisco kids could bring it all home.

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PSA: Nov. 15 – December 15, 2017 HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment

Public Service Announcement (PSA)

The Open Enrollment period for health insurance for 2018 is

November 15 – December 15, 2017

Sign up at HealthCare.gov. 


August 31, 2017 – The Trump administration cut the advertising budget for outreach to voters eligible for an Affordable Care Act health plan (Obamacare).  Trump has stated he wants Obamacare to implode and fail from lack of participation. (‘Let Obamacare Fail’, nytimes.com) Continue reading

The view from my safety pin.

I started wearing a safety pin in the wake of the election of Donald Trump.  A trend started after the vote to Brexit in the UK, it is a small outward sign that one is a “safe” person. It is a sign of solidarity between the “to-the-privilege-born” and the not.

My safety pin. It is my advertisement that I am an accepting face, a safe space, a zone of comfort. And every day I pin up, I pray I do not need to step up to support my safety pin. Continue reading