Monday, February 11, 2019

Poem: You Can't Have It All by Barbara Ras

by Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg conspiracy theories debunked

The exhaustive conspiracy theories about Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, explained and debunked
by Newsweek
Adapted by Daffyd ap Morgen

  1. The entire Hogg family is connected to the CIA, FBI and CNN
    1. Like many conspiracy theories, these likely started with a tiny kernel of truth: 
      1. Hogg’s father is a retired FBI agent-information that the teen volunteered offhand during a television interview.
  2. Hogg or his mother is a CNN VIP who is "pimping" her son 
    1. This developed after a photo surfaced of Hogg and his sister, Lauren, touring the studios as children. 
    2. According to Snopes, the family was actually on a $35 VIP tour. 
    3. Rebecca Boldrick, the mother of the Hogg siblings, works as a school teacher, which the Broward County School confirmed.
  3. Hogg didn’t attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
    1. A picture from a different yearbook with another student named David Hogg is used, 
    2. Others circulate a mugshot from a 26-year-old California man named David Hogg as proof. 
    3. The two don’t have same eye color or look alike.
  4. Hogg wasn't at the school when the shooting took place 
    1. Conservative blog Red State falsely claimed Hogg wasn’t on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus during the February 14 shooting. 
    2. As evidence, the article pointed to an interview in which Hogg said he arrived on campus at 6 p.m. on the day of the shooting, which was hours after the suspected shooter was captured by police occurred.
    3. Hogg actually spoke about returning to the campus at 6 p.m. 
    4. Hogg actually documented hiding with other students while the school was on lockdown.
  5. Gonzalez ripped up the Constitution
    1. In fact, the picture was a doctored image of from a photoshoot Gonzalez and a few other students did for Teen Vogue.
  6. Gonzalez admitted to bullying suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz
    1. It uses an out-of-context snippet from a speech Gonzalez gave in Florida on February 17, in which she  responded to President Donald Trump's suggestion that the shooting could have been prevented with adequate mental health care.
    2. Her full remarks are as follows:
      1. "There is one tweet I would like to call attention to. 
        1. ‘So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities again and again.’ 
      2. We did, time and time again. 
      3. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter.
      4. Those talking about how we should not have ostracized him, you didn't know this kid! 
      5. OK, we did. 
      6. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. 
      7. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife."
  7. 18-year-old Gonzalez attacked a Second Amendment supporter's truck at a March for Our Lives rally 
    1. C'mon. It's literally Britney, b*tch.
    2. This meme was most assuredly created to mock conspiracy theorists, particularly ones born before 1981. 
  8. Whether jokes or not, the conspiracy theories have serious consequences—from harassment to stalking to physical violence. 
    1. Erica Lafferty, whose mother, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung was shot and killed at Sandy Hook, said conspiracy theories are part of a “new normal” for victims caught in the crosshairs of politically charged debates. 
    2. "I cannot count the number of times that I've been called a 'crisis actor,” Lafferty, who now works for Everytown For Gun Safety, told Newsweek. 
    3. “Unfortunately, this is the new normal for survivors of national tragedies—we're told that our loved ones never existed and that our grief is just pretend."

Yet again: we need a clear message

To Do Next for the #NeverAgain Movement: Settle on a Clear Demand
Social Justice and Activism
by Ted Rall | April 5, 2018 - 5:22am
Adapted by Daffyd ap Morgen

  1. A huge turnout will not lead to new gun legislation.
  2. Victory is achievable when rallies sharpen their focus.
  3. Movements need enthusiasm and careful strategizing to sustain and grow.
  4. Congress and the president ignore one-off events of large groups of Americans carrying signs, and chanting slogans. 
  5. Sustained movements must be organized around a message.
  6. Social media can bring large groups of people together quickly. 
    1. But they also need a simple, coherent, bumper-sticker-ready demand message.
  7. The 10 printed demands for the March on Washington remind us of American society’s failure to address the needs of the poor and oppressed since 1963. 
    1. They had a clear, coherent set of demands, beginning with: “Comprehensive and effective Civil Rights legislation from the present Congress — without compromise or filibuster — to guarantee all Americans: 
    2. Access to all public accommodations, decent housing, adequate and integrated education, the right to vote.” 
    3. The Civil Rights Act was passed.
  8. The March 24th March for Our Lives did not articulate a precise demand or set of demands.
    1. Mission statement: “School safety is not a political issue. 
    2. [We] demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”
    3. Congress won't effectively “address” this issue. 
  9. A movement must have an area of clear focus, 
    1. #NeverAgain has that part down pat.
  10. An effective movement must have the solution to a problem. 
  11. Having a clear solution entails risk. 
    1. #NeverAgain advocating for a comprehensive gun ban will push away allies who prefer a compromise approach. 
    2. Yet a moderate approach will generate less excitement among those in favor of a radical solution (and moderation generally elicits less enthusiasm). 
    3. It’s better to go into battle with half an army than a whole one riddled with confusion and no idea why they’re fighting.

Ted Rall, the editorial cartoonist and columnist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.”

Monday, April 2, 2018

Maine: Never Was & Never Happen

Rank-choice voting sabotaged in Maine.

From Daily Kos:
ME-Gov: A huge mess is unfolding in Maine, after Secretary of State Matt Dunlap told legislators on Thursday that the state could not conduct its June primaries using instant-runoff voting (IRV) due to a legal issue first pointed out by the state attorney general's office. Confusingly, though, Dunlap later said his department would nevertheless proceed with implementing the new system, which was passed by voters in 2016, claiming that election officials "do not have time to do anything else."​
​The legal dispute is highly arcane but it leaves the state in a precarious position. Both Dunlap and state Attorney General Janet Mills, who is a candidate for governor, urged the legislature to correct the problem, but that's simply not going to happen, since Republicans and a number of Democrats are opposed to IRV.
That means the issue is headed to court, though it could play a role on the campaign trail, too: One of Mills' opponents in the Democratic primary, former state House Speaker Mark Eves, accused her office of trying "to veto the will of the people in a way that benefits the electoral prospects of the Attorney General."
Under Maine's traditional system of awarding nominations to the candidate who wins a plurality of the vote, Mills might indeed prosper, since she likely starts the race with the greatest name recognition. In response to Eves' charges, Mills released a memo dated last year "laying out the process" for establishing an "ethical wall" between herself and her office's elections department. It's not clear from the Portland Press-Herald's writeup, though, whether this wall was ever put in place.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I refuse to accept this new "normal."

"Maryland School Shooter killed by Armed School Resource Officer." Let's unpack this:

  1. A student brings a gun to school. 
  2. The armed student opens fire on other students, wounding two students. 
  3. The armed student specifically targets a young female. 
  4. An armed school resource officer intervenes. 
  5. Both fire at each other. 
  6. The armed shooter dies in EMR. 
  7. The armed school resource officer is lauded as a hero. 
  8. We shrug and say, "Too bad." 
  9. The armed school resource officer is now touted as proof that we need armed school personnel to counter the threat of rage-student-revenge shootings. 
I can't go any further than this because the sheer insanity of this, the mass hysteria of this, is mind-numbing. We shrug, and this is the new normal. And of course the answer is more guns.

  1. The student doesn't have a gun to bring to school. 

This horrible syllogism, this mad freight train of conservative mythology stops in its tracks. There is no need to "Step Up" (whatever that is). the Marshall Dillon school resource officer disappears, the mass murders stop. Yes, it's that simple. Gun nuts spend millions to fool us into thinking this simple and effective response—the rule of law—is "overreach," so all these deaths are right and natural and normal, part of our modern lifestyle, inherent in our culture, "too bad." We must resist this lie. We need to regulate guns. We start by banning assault rifles. Once we all see the murder rates plummet after this ban (especially males killing females), we'll realize gun laws work, and we can reduce the violence.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

White supremacists is not a bridge too far, but tariffs are?

Driftglass quoting Michelle Goldberg on Meet the Press:

MICHELLE GOLDBERG: I mean I am maybe a very naive person because I just cannot get my head around the psychology that there are good people among the white supremacists is not a bridge too far, but tariffs are, right? And that I can kind of suck up the white supremacy for a tax cut, but this is my red line. I mean I just -- you know, I will go to my grave not understanding the mentality not just of the Gary Cohn but all the people that collaborate with these people.
TOM BROKAW: I don't think that's being fair to Gary Cohn.
GOLDBERG: What? You think Gary Cohn has collaborated with this foul, disgusting government for a tax cut?
JOHN PODHORETZ Yeah. He is the economics person. He's not the Charlottesville person. And he could say to himself, you know, "I'm trying to serve the country. I think this is a good thing to do, to do the tax cut." He did the tax cut and then the policy that's in his bailiwick, that's in his portfolio, comes down the pike that is indefensible. I'm not arguing that people who would have resigned over Charlottesville wouldn't have been doing a noble thing, it's just, you know, he thought -- you know, do you want people who are able to work in a White House?

Poem: You Can't Have It All by Barbara Ras

YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL by Barbara Ras But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands gloved with green. You can have t...