A Poetry PSA: Vote!

tl;dr? If you’re not sure if you’re registered to vote, CHECK TODAY! This is the last day to register in a long list of states.

And November 6, 2018, VOTE!


A poetry Public Service Announcement: VOTE!

Today, we take time to remember that the struggle for a more perfect union is long. Protests and protesting can seem futile. This weekend the GOP steamrolled Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. In the wake of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, many laid down their own stories of sexual violence, assault, and rape on the track to slow or stop the train, but the Old White Guys and Gals persisted. Old age and treachery.

And so the long view. Some, poetry written, and read by Daniel Berrigan, (Hat tip: photo dropped by John Cusack on Twitter):

SOME by Daniel Berrigan

“Some walked and walked and walked” – Keep walking.

A few notes:

  • Poetry speaks to the soul. SOME reminds us that some battles are lost. Keep standing. Keep walking.  It’s the future, it’s not a war, and it might not be your future, but stand, walk, protest. Not once. Not twice. Continuous.
  • John Cusack tweeted this photograph of SOME on October 7, 2018, 5:19PM. His parents received this from Daniel Berrigan with a heart! and I thought how wonderful to receive poetry like this in the mail! From the poet!

And, who is Daniel Berrigan? And why do I not know this?

  • Slipping down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, Daniel Berrigan was a Jesuit priest, activist, and poet. He took an active role in the protest of the Viet Nam War, (Catonsville Nine), and he was born in Virginia, Minnesota! And so were we! But I digress.
  • I’ve seen John Cusack movies, BI – Before Internet. And so in this age of the internet, it is a totally pleasant surprise to find that John Cusack is a political activist with serious chops. His reasoning and arguments go beyond slogans. Agree or disagree with him, his arguments are thoughtful, weighty, considered.

And on that note, I’ll end with this rally cry: Buckle up!

Stand, walk. We’ve work to do.


General Election Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Vote. Vote. Vote.

(Actually vote once and only once, but VOTE!)

Let America Vote!

An exclamation of points! A sundry assortment.

Before we get started, in mathematical notation, n factorial is written n! For n > 1, n! is the product of all the integers between 1 and n. Example:

4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 or 24

Wowza! Factorials get pretty big, pretty fast. Let’s go!

• 1! For love of an exclamation point!

When learning to punctuate, we learn that exclamation points should not be overused. Exclamation points emphasize excitement! Whoops and hollers! Surprise! Etcetera! Overuse undermines their impact! See?

To which I say, bah! Humbug! As a matter of expressing my complete excitement and enthusiasm for friends, the punctuation I have opted to use in salutations and greeting for personal correspondence is “Dear Jane!” or “Jane!” (Substitute your name for Jane.)

Consider the difference in your responses between:

Dear your name,

-and-

Dear your name!

If we read past “Dear your name,” we might discover we owe money, we are in need of services we were previously unaware of needing. The comma is the punctuation of business, all business, just the business ma’am. And we hate being ma’am-ed and we head to the shredder or beat the ‘delete’ key. Of course, there is personal correspondence for which the comma ‘,’ is still preferred. After all, boundaries do need to be maintained. Good fences make good neighbors and all that.

But! An exclamation point engages and expresses my excitement not about what I’m writing, but about our relationship! Good things to come! maybe? Adventure is afoot! I hope. Read on! Dear your name!

• 2! FLOTUS photo. For reals?

This week a photo of FLOTUS holding a child in Africa whose skin is ebony-colored threw us off a bit because FLOTUS, Melania Trump, appeared to be genuinely happy in the embrace! Perhaps Occam’s B**bstraps is too simple an explanation and FLOTUS is not the racist we assume.

And we would be happy to be wrong but given the company she keeps, this could be just another gaslight lit on the way to making us all crazy. We’ll keep an eye on this.

• 3! or 6. Universe bends.

In a concurrent sign from the universe that I am approaching page n of my long-hand journal, the blue ink pen I was using, ran out of ink! Synchronicity!

• 4! or 24. Peak news week!

In a new news peak news week — Rosenstein-fired-not-fired, Kavanaugh, FBI investigation, FLOTUS jaunt to Africa, UPCOMING ELECTIONS – VOTE! it’s a long list — the NYTimes couldn’t contain themselves and dropped the story of Trump multi-generational tax fraud writ large.

Given the current political environment, my projections for possible outcomes:

  1. Housing subsidies are reduced to limit the money the Trumps of the world siphon off the public good.
  2. Increased regulation of rent subsidies.
  3. Or, my favorite: investigation and prosecution of white collar, briefcase crime!

You might have waited for a less busy news week, but that might have been a long wait. So, great reporting NYTimes! Tax fraud is what sunk Al Capone.

• 5! or 120. Clickbait.

It may interest you to know that blog posts get more attention if they include photos and references to food. This is not a photo of tacos:

img_6679

Morning coffee with Lupita.

• 6! or 720. Friends!

In other late-breaking photographic video evidence this week, we are saddened but not surprised to learn that Prescedense OTUS does not have any friends, acquaintances, aid. No one is close enough to him, concerned enough to tell him or help him, or interested enough in his appearance to inform him that there was toilet paper stuck on his shoe.  Between a bathroom, the tarmac, the stairs. No.one.said.a.word.

Return text to FEMA Presidential alert from all of us: Hard to make America great again with toilet paper on your shoe, you orange-redacted-redacted-redacted redacted.

But maybe it was intentional? The USA as the metaphorical unflushed toilet paper stuck to his shoe? I digress. If FLOTUS were not off in Africa? I’d bet the toilet paper would still be stuck on his shoe all the way up the stairs and onto Air Force 1. Just sayin’.

• 7! or 5040. Civic participation!

With the abysmal performance of SCOTUS-nominee Brett Kavanaughnaw under pressure, the limited FBI investigation, the rush by die.die.die Mitch McConnell to seat Kavanaughnaw when there are other suitably objectionable candidates, Kavanaughnaw’s sorry-sad-sack-abuse-cycle-continues statement in the WSJ, I am so.in awe at the number, quantity, quality, and responsiveness of protests arising around the country and especially in Washington, D.C.

Individually, we’re navelent. In aggregate, we are a civic American force to be reckoned with.

Exercise your civic force in full November 6, 2018. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!! 

• 8! or 40320. Mental health break.

With the advent of personal communication devices, is it any wonder interpersonal relationships suffer? We cannot compete. We do not operate in micro-nano-itsy-bitsy-mini second moments. We operate in tree time, in real life rings earned by trips around the sun, the slow build-up of experience, time expressed in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades. The slow patina of age. And we short-circuit all that age and grace with clickbait — the flying bits sent through space and time which do not require our attention but consume our thoughts.

With a touch of irony, I offer this bit of clickbait – a video by Edward Tufte of Inge Druckery –  a designer and educator. It is a lush production taken at a pace which encourages one to slow.down, to immerse oneself in a pursuit that does not have an immediate payback or maybe any payback at all. This video reminds me that thoughts should be sustained beyond the rush-rush of 24-hours news cycles and click bait. There is a long game. It includes thoughtful design and beauty.

I find even 3- or 4-minutes restorative. (The entire video is 37 minutes long.)

Enjoy! Or not.


• 9! or 362880. Happy Birthday, Ann!!!

 

A Sundry Assortment of CAPS LOCK ON!

Game on. Rage on. CAPS LOCK ON.

img_6663

Fire in reflection.

Bravery in the Face of Indifference

Before I get to raging, I would offer a CAPS LOCK ON, BIG BOLD THANK YOU to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. The perfunctory nod to a full vetting of a Supreme Court Justice nominee yesterday by the GOP-chaired Judiciary Committee was a sideshow shamshow spamshow. And yet she persisted. Silence would have been easier. Never say a word and she could watch her teenage attacker take a rightful hard-earned SCOTUS seat of white male privilege he assumes.

In the recount of her assault thirty-plus years on, the hurdles she had to leap to be seated in her seat of testimony, the emotions she still lives with, Dr. Blasey Ford is the face of civic bravery.

#IBELIEVEHER

#IBELIEVEDRFORD

Kavanaugh Circus Shamshow Spamshow

Yesterday women listened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee of the assault she experienced as a teen at a party with SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Women across the country listened. And wept. Vivid memories were recounted for the circus shamshow spamshow the GOP reluctantly hosted to demonstrate THEIR COMPLETE LACK OF RESPECT FOR WOMEN, CONSTITUENTS OR OTHERWISE.

Dr. Blasey Ford has been haunted 34 years by the sound of the laughter of her attackers as they walked down the stairs, back to the party. Laughter while she made a hasty exit. In the echo chamber of the internet void yesterday, the webs and live broadcasts filled with different stories, other lyrics sung to the same tune. Abuse, attacks, violence lived through and past and what they can’t forget. What sticks. What haunts.

The pain of the laughter of their attackers in retreat.

Laugh it off.

It.

Objects are ‘it’.

WOMEN ARE NOT ‘IT’.

Hacking Anonymity

The New York Times recently ran an article about Defcon 2018, hackers and anonymity. The tech world has been dissed in the last few years for being too insular, too exclusive. It has been difficult for women to gain a foothold in STEM technologies. Intelligence is not enough.

Concurrent with hackers losing anonymity, the formerly anonymous Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, isn’t. She had to rally her troops, tough it out, move, hire security. She requested the FBI investigate and corroborate her assault. Maybe a chance that she could remain anonymous, but no.

And so it seems fitting that the first portrait featured in the NYTimes article is Nico Sell, a WOMAN.

And I’m conflicted. I celebrate Ms. Sell’s achievements and recognition for dark web expertise.

I tend toward disgust that I think the NYTimes is pandering to the current women’s movement.

The Fall of Wisconsin, by Dan Kaufman

I read a review of the recently published The Fall of Wisconsin by Dan Kaufman.

Once we were a progressive state. I guess now we’re a regressive state. Roads here are the 2nd worst in the country to which I say, what else needs to be wrecked to take 1st place? It can’t be much more less. The Safe Transportation Over Politics (STOP) has renamed potholes “Scott Holes” in honor of current Governor Scott Walker, the self-serving political opportunist who grasps for the national brass ring, Koch money, FauxCons.

And it is Fall in Wisconsin! The leaves turn, the acorns fall, the squirrels chunk up, the sun barrels toward the solstice and rises later, sets sooner. The air is crisp. Cold enough for the furnace to occasionally kick in.

And so, as the winter solstice approaches with the speed of the earth around the sun, I hope November 6th brings with it a metaphorical political solstice. We have wintered through the Walker.

VOTE!

Calendars

I watched the Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday. Some thoughts and prayers:

  • Brett Kavanaugh is an angry man. Fuming, spitting angry with a disproportionate response for one who claims innocence. Definitely unbefitting, undesirable, unacceptable behavior for a Supreme Court Justice.
  • If he is seated, my prayers are with Justices Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor. If I were in their robes, I would choke the living spam out of him just on principle. And that is why I expect more of Supreme Court Justices. They are better persons than me.
  • Brett Kavanaugh has calendars. Calendars from HIGH SCHOOL! What the spam!? That was a Mitt Romney and ‘binders full of women’ moment.
  • Elaborating on small details from high school and then college, I could only think ‘guilty, guilty, guilty’ and if not guilty of the charge, guilty of something. He is definitely not SCOTUS material. Not temperament or character.
  • Under cross-examination, an exacting intellect, a kind personality, an individual intent on maintaining the independence and reputation of the judicial branch would not default to aggressive and defensive language. And Brett Kavanaugh was aggressive. When he was yelling — privileged, immune, elite, unaccountable – it was a short leap to imagine him as Dr. Blasey Ford described. I cry for her all over again.
  • Someone should check on Ashley Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh’s comportment and delivery of his opening statements seemed to be those of an abuser. Intimidation, outrage, denial, shifting of blame. His were the opening statements of an innocent man? Nope. Not buying it.

Based on his opening statements and comportment throughout the hearing:

  • BRETT KAVANAUGH DOES NOT BELONG ON THE SUPREME COURT.
  • BRETT KAVANAUGH SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM HIS CURRENT POSITION AS A FEDERAL JUDGE.
  • BRETT KAVANAUGH IS NOT A SAFE PERSON.

STILETTOS!

I end with this observation.

Women are taking big steps, huge strides forward to claim, inhabit, and create space for safety, sanctuary, equality.

#METOO will be self-hobbled by fashion if Net-a-Porter is any harbinger of trends, and it is. I flip through its pages looking for a sign that it’s okay to wear mom jeans again, and it is, but I digress.

The latest issue features the article Stepping Back Into Stilettos by Gianvito Rossi. Well isn’t that wonderful? What’s next? Corsets? Foot-binding?

WE WILL INTENTIONALLY HOBBLE OURSELVES FOR FASHION.

HOW ABOUT, LET’S NOT?

Vote like you can’t!

Free and fair elections, right? I mean this IS the United States of America. Democracy is our middle name. Democracy is in our DNA.  Democracy is a struggle for a more perfect union.

This week I heard a story about a farm visit and the invitation included the warning to stay out of the barn. The old, family-farm wooden barn.

Let’s face it. That sounds like a direct come-hither invitation to see what’s in the barn.

And so it was.


You were born here, a US citizen. Your residence has never been elsewhere. When you reached adulthood, ‘voter‘ was assumed as part of your identity.  That barn is not off limits to you. You can vote with impunity. ‘Voter’ is redundant with your standing as a lifelong citizen of the US.

Not so fast.

In the struggle towards a more perfect union, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 reminds us that the right to representation was not guaranteed for racial minorities. Until the 19th amendment was passed, approximately half of the population couldn’t vote. And prior to 1828, white male non-landowners weren’t represented in the struggling union either. Big legislative strokes were needed to include minorities, women, and white male non-landowners.

But “old age and treachery always overcomes youth and skill.” ¹

Not quite so immediate and identifiable, voter suppression laws now are more subtle. Strict voter ID laws² infer a voter has access to a government facility which issues valid ID, limited voting hours restrict those constrained by work requirements, limited voting locations infer access to adequate transportation to and from the polls, and the list goes on. Laws designed to keep you out of the barn. We may not be subjected to a poll tax, but the resources needed to get you to the polls takes its toll — hidden poll taxes in plain sight.

So check out that old, family-farm wooden barn while you can. They are falling apart all over.

And vote like you can’t! The union is struggling.


Check your voter registration status! Today! Many states have voter registration deadlines.


 

General Election Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Vote. Vote. Vote.

(Actually vote once and only once, but VOTE!)

Let America Vote!


¹ From Old Age and Treachery lyrics by Troy Harold Seals, Max D. Barnes, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson.

² Why It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Vote in the US, by Joe McCarthy, October 19, 2016, Global Citizen.

Chop wood. Carry water. VOTE!

General Election Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Vote. Vote. Vote.

(Actually vote once and only once, but VOTE!)

Let America Vote!


Chop wood, carry water. So Zen. Small, consistent actions win the day.  Enlightenment will be yours. Already enlightened?

Chop wood, carry water.

This week the New Hampshire Gazette – Admiral Fowle’s Piscataqua River Tidal Guide (Not for Navigational Purposes)¹ column contained this little gem dated September 28:

1891 – In New York a 72-year-old writer named Herman Melville dies in obscurity.”

Herman Melville died not knowing that 90 years later, in 1981, Moby Dick was force-fed reading for an American Literature course. And I was not the only one, it was not the only course, and it was not the only university. After Melville died, Moby Dick became a thread in the rich fabric of American literature. Speaking of fabric, another Melville quote:

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”

-Herman Melville

In life, Melville was not feted for Moby Dick. One-hundred-twenty-seven years after his death? Plays staged, movies made, and the Moby Dick Wikipedia entry looks to be a comprehensive Master’s thesis with 167 footnotes. Whoa!

You don’t know if what you do makes a difference. Do it anyway.

Chop wood. Carry Water.


I worked at an electric utility on the bulk electric or, to my way of thinking the supply-side of the house. Power was measured in units of megawatts. Every four (4) seconds at hundreds of meter points across the footprint, measurements were taken, calculations were made and generators set to respond would follow the load. In megawatts. For the sciencey, a megawatt is 10 raised to the 6th power, (10**6 or 1,000,000). By way of comparison, kilowatts are delivered to residences, consumption is billed in kwh, A kilowatt is 10 raised to the 3rd power or 10³, but let’s get out of this rabbit hole.

If you plugged in your Christmas tree lights on a hot muggy day in July, we wouldn’t notice. Air conditioners running full bore, your string of lights would be a drop in the ocean. Our attention was focused elsewhere. But! The first Monday after Thanksgiving, tens of thousands of homes have Christmas tree lights plugged in and ready to go. The sun goes down, the load goes up but not like the Monday before. In aggregate, those Christmas tree lights make a difference, and you have our attention. Everyone weighs in with more light.  And the point?

You might not be aware of the difference you make. Make a difference anyway.

Chop wood. Carry water.

VOTE! November 6, 2018.

Wisconsin Residents: Information at MyVote Wisconsin.


¹ My absolute favorite newspaper: The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 262, No. 26, September 14, 2018. Admiral Fowle’s Piscataqua River Tidal Guide (Not for Navigational Purposes) is on the back page.

Word mash: Pencesniffian

General Election Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Vote. Vote. Vote.

(Actually vote once and only once, but VOTE!)

Wisconsin Residents: Information at MyVote Wisconsin.


Oh whoa! Whilst lost down the rabbit hole investigating the etymology of feckless and complicit, I tripped across the word Pecksniffian — a word based on the character Seth Pecksniff in Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit.

From the Oxford dictionary: Pecksniffian – Affecting benevolence or high moral principles. 

And let’s be clear. It is the second definition affect² that is in effect — “pretend to have or feel something.” (Oxford)

Further character assassination of Seth Pecksniff from the good folks at Merriam-Webster,:

Seth Pecksniff “liked to preach morality and brag about his own virtue, but in reality he was a deceptive rascal who would use any means to advance his own selfish interests.”

Too good to be true, this word mash does write itself! Drop the ‘Peck.’ Pick-up ‘Pence.’ Keep the ‘sniff’. We see Pence holding his nose through this whole Trump circus s*its*ow.  Our new word:

Pencesniffian (adjective): imitating the benevolence and high moral grounds of Vice POTUS Pence. 

And! Again too good to be true, Plug-n-play. Merriam-Webster’s example of Pecksniffian in a sentence fits for Pencesniffian:

Graham is “a Pencesniffian pandering to religious conservatives, especially in the weeks before the election.”

Vice POTUS Pence continues to quietly, sanctimoniously, lovingly-shepherd herd, support, and vice the corrupt Trump administration toward destruction – “a deceptive rascal who would use any means to advance his own selfish interests.” Seth Pecksniff comes to life on the world stage.

Pence, Vice in title; vice in practice.


Aside: I was down a Lewis Carroll Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole investigating word etymology when this word mash popped up and I ran into Charles Dickens. I love English. I love literature. I need to read more.

A Sundry Assortment of Updates

General Election Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Vote. Vote. Vote.

(Actually vote once and only once, but VOTE!)

Wisconsin Residents: Information at MyVote Wisconsin.


A calendar check tells me that while I’ve been off not blogging, I have completed another trip around the sun! And although an annual holiday is a good time to reflect, review, and renew personally, here are some updates on previous posts as we, the US of A continue to struggle a more perfect union:


Kava-nah!

Brett Kavanaugh. From 7th-grade civics classes, I understood that selecting a Supreme Court Justice was a really.big.deal. Appointments are for a lifetime or the remainder thereof.

And then McConnell blocked any hearing at all for nominee Merrick Garland for 264 days or so and again, I was reminded that selection of a Supreme Court Justice is a really.big.deal.

And then Gorsuch was confirmed in record time and I learned that Mitch McConnell is a racist, treasonous, hypocritical lyin’-SOB and if karma is a bi*ch, a chunk of the rotunda would fall on him literally symbolizing his contribution to the death of our democracy but I digress …  

So the update is that after watching this political circus s*its*ow for a few decades, selection of a Supreme Court Justice is not as big a deal as I thought it was, or that Mitch thought it was during the Obama Administration. Mitch has matured past those archaic mores that Supreme Court justice picks are a really.big.deal.  He has embraced public life as the racist, treasonous, hypocritical lyin’-SOB he’s kept hidden under his white suit in plain sight but I digress …

It’s a race. The final race starting gun sounded this morning with confirmation hearings. Call your Senators – (202) 224-3121. Script:

  • Hi, my name is your name and I’m a constituent of Senator name calling from City, State.
  • I’m calling regarding President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh whose records have been withheld for review and whose stated ideology is out of step with the vast majority of Americans. 
  • I urge Senator name to oppose the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. He has a troubling record on guns, he would put reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, the environment, and health care for millions of Americans at risk.

Or say what you want. Script lines were lifted and modified from multiple sites.

Kava? Nah.


Where is Jeff Sessions?

Well, he’s still Attornery General.

Oh, a spontaneous word-mash! ‘Attorney’ plus ‘ornery’ gives us ‘attornery’.

After predicting that the penalty for Jefferson bull*hit-Beauregard-no-regard Sessions, III White Lying under oath would be that he would still be Attorney General in a month, I will state that I was so wrong! It has been 550 days and we’re still counting. I wonder what the odds were in Vegas?

Well, I’m sure as the target for Prescedense Orangangutang’s Tweets, Jeff Sessh is an attornery.

But he’s in good company: Don McGahn and Stefan Passatino are leaving or have left too! They can form a veritable firm of Trump attornerys.


C.K., I

Louis C.K. and do we even know what the C.K. stands for? Well, Louis C.K. decided his times up now,  he’s been bad but now he’s exited the penalty box to resume his day night job “without apparently grappling with what he done.[sic]”  The commentary at the end of this article “Standup Comedians Explain Why Louis C.K.’s Return Was So Infuriating” is everything.

Louis C.K.? Wrong. How about Louis I.C.K.? Just another OWG back to his OWG schtick.

Maybe keep it in your pants this time Louis.


C.K., II

Colin Kaepernick! After celebrating Colin Kaepernick’s standing up by way of kneeling down to protest systemic racism by putting the anthem run-up to his livelihood on the line, I wondered how much we would hear from or about him in the future. But GO NIKE! Yesterday, Nike announced they had kept Kaepernick under contract and that he is the face of their 30-year ‘Just Do It’ campaign!

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Colin Kaepernick, or Nike …

In contrast to C.K., I., C.K., II interrupted his career. The NFL put him in a permanent timeout-side-the-stadium penalty box. And Nike? sure, they’ll make millions but it’s a bigger world outside the stadium and Colin Kaepernick will continue to Just Do It — play, protest, be heard.

Make a difference for those left out of stadium seating.


Celebrate! The GOAT.

Serena Williams. Gonna end this on a positive note, I celebrated that Serena Williams is in the army supporting Fearless Girl come-to-life here. And when Serena was restricted from wearing a catsuit to play tennis, she sported a tutu. (And I’m not sure I can rock bumper Nikes with a tutu, but I’ll try. Frood, you have been warned.)

And here is a celebratory thread link to a Serena history lesson with pictures and video of why she is the GOAT. Enjoy!

(Twitter thread by @khalilmsaadiq, 2018 Aug 31, ThreadReaderApp unroll.)

Acronym GOAT: Greatest of All Time

Have a terrific day, why not?