Hello all,

I know it’s been forever since I’ve last written.  Today, I went to one of my favorite restaurants and the waiter told me that if we leave a tip with a card, the owner takes the tip and that employees only receive tips if they are in cash.

I felt so horrible, since I didn’t have any cash on me.  And I thought, this is so wrong. This has to be illegal.  Not enough that businesses can technically legally pay waiters under minimum wage, under the reasoning that they get tips.  Only to then take those tips.  That’s double dipping.  And abusive.  Plus, not to mention that these days, a lot of people only pay with cards.

I looked it up and it is currently illegal for an employer to take an employee’s tips. Under the Fair Labor and Standards Act of 2018.

(not to mention that the Trump administration tried to allow employers to do this with a 2017 proposal.  due to public outcry, this was fortunately reversed with the 2018 proposal)

So I went and created a petition about this.  …I’m not even trying to change legislation here, just allow current laws to be enforced, so that these waiters are allowed to have their tips.

Will you sign my petition?

thank you.


written this morning:
…I think my mood is basically pessimistic. of course, I’m a pessimistic person by nature.
Two years.  (three if you count horrible 2015-2016 election season) Two years of the Trump admin. being as bad or worse than people feared. Muslim ban (in effect). Children in cages. pulling out of the Paris agreement and the Iran deal. cozying up with potential enemies and alienating historical allies. dog-whistling to white supremacists. fear-mongering. in the response to school shootings, saying teachers should be armed. not providing adequate aid to Puerto Rico because, you know, “big water” (and they’re not white). decimating the department of education (rolling back protections for transgender students and sexual assault survivors), decimating the EPA and the environment. setting things in motion for another recession. causing a trade war – which caused Harley Davidson to consider relocating overseas and caused major losses to midwestern farmers due to China’s retaliatory soy tariffs (you’d think that’d hurt Trump’s base). the vileness, meanness, flat out incompetence. and not to mention blatant crime and corruption: cronyism, nepotism, tax fraud, possible treason, on and on…. so much bad news that you can’t even remember all the bad news, because the next week is something even worse. the blatant upfront hypocrisy of McConnell vis-a-vis filling the Supreme Court, and the Kavanaugh debacle. and on and on.
and then two years of Resistance. Two Women’s Marches. countless marches/protests/rallies. yes, the left/Dem. side is divided internally between moderates (and “let’s appeal to white blue collar people”) and progressives (“screw that, let’s double down on focusing on women, LGBT, Muslims, people of color”). People are saying that that was a “strategy” that played well in the suburbs, poorly elsewhere, and a “strategy” to get the House but lose the Senate.  (I don’t really think it was a conscious strategy, more just a naturally occurring fallout of how things have been heading)  Two years of a whole lot of people doing more activism than they have ever done, and really putting in a lot of work to create a grassroots movement. and an intersectional movement. i.e. a diverse platform that covers topics from environment to civil rights for all to healthcare.  You had Justice Democrats (and others) pushing for candidates that would not be beholden to superpacs and dark money. You had groups pushing for Independent candidates. You had Women’s March Movement. MoveOn. Indivisible. all kinda working with each other. (if, often, at odds with the DNC and DCCC)
…and there were some reasons to be encouraged. Bernie Sanders possibly invigorated the youth. (though, I personally saw younger people also backlashing into alt-right and anti-sjw.) The Parkland students finally taking matters into their own hands and really trying to hold legislators’ feet to the fire. More women running, hands down. plus Native Americans, African-Americans, and LGBT people.
..we dared to hope for a “blue wave,” for some landslide victories. this thinking of how could it not be? even moderate republicans have to be incensed by this.  one small personal victory for me, my hardcore far-right white middle-aged suburban evangelical mother, who used to think “liberal” was a dirty word, etc., voted democrat.  (mostly democrat. hey, I’ll take it.)  If my mom flipped, surely other Reps. must have.  Even evangelicals have been divided amongst each other.
and turnout. surely there was larger turnout for this than any other midterm.  (but I don’t know. My county is saying 55% turnout. and I want to say that’s slightly above average?)
But I don’t think I saw a blue wave.  I think I saw a lot of near ties.  Not only did the GOP keep the Senate, they gained seats: Indiana (Donnelly lost), North Dakota (Heitkamp lost), Missouri (McCaskill lost).  I want to say that Heitkamp lost because they (the republican state legislature and the republican supreme court) kept Native Americans from voting. But that’s speculation, I don’t have the actual statistics.  (update: actually, I just read turnout was high, here.)  I do know there was a push, by Four Directions and others, to unite various tribes and try to get everyone to vote. I know the McCaskill race was one of the tightest in the nation.  and maybe Kavanaugh really was galvanizing for the Republicans…Heitkamp lost and she was anti-Kavanaugh and Manchin won (but, screw him) and he was pro-Kavanaugh. (I think he put his own election ahead of the good of the country.)  …maybe anti-abortion is just that important to people…?
 I was hoping for a landslide sweep of both houses. instead, I got the GOP gaining seats in the Senate, but at least the House went to the Dems.
I guess one thing I should be looking at, and might be overlooking, is local state legislatures.  These have been generally Republican strongholds, I guess. thanks to orchestrated efforts and gerrymandering.  So did the Dems have a blue wave in state legislatures?  again, I don’t think I saw any landslides.  and just close races. …however, maybe the news outlets only covered close races, because that might be more “exciting.”
So I feel generally let down. but not really surprised.  first, people elected Trump. meaning that people were a lot more stupid and mean than I wanted to believe. and then, rather than eventually realizing they made a mistake and this really is bad…nope…the same old support is still there. so maybe we are still at square one, a lot of people feeling strongly on the left…and a lot of Trump-support feeling strongly on the right.
ok, well, down to specifics.
ok, good news and bad news.
Of the people I personally knew and campaigned for, the one I campaigned for the most lost, albeit it a fairly tight race.  One other person I knew well won.  Either way, interesting, because these are two women were part of my huddle, were regular people (whatever regular means.) and, after a time, they decided to run for office in local state legislator positions, where the entrenched incumbent Republican politician had been running unopposed. and then they ran.  and the elections were very close.  and I personally knew these people. From before they had the idea to run to now.  And the third person, who I know less well, but still know, the election hasn’t been called yet.  Believe this, right now, there is only a 12 vote difference. 12.
Illinois-specific news:
Lauren Underwood beat Hultgren in the 14th
Casten beat Roskam in the 6th
Pritzger (at least Rauner’s out)
good news:
Kim Davis – that Kim Davis – is out
Kobach is out (that super-racist anti-immigration, anti-latino, muslim ban guy)
Scott Walker is out
don’t know yet:
Stacey Abrams in Georgia (looks like she’s losing, potential run-off)
bad news:
Heitkamp, Donnelly, and McCaskill
really bad news:
Ted Cruz won (TX)
Steve King won (IA)
but IA flipped two seats..maybe Iowa is almost blue or purple again
notes on representation:
not only is Lauren Underwood black and fairly young, at 32, she is actually the first female – ever – to represent the 14th
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez might be the youngest person in Congress, and she’s notably progressive
I think Deb Haaland, NM, might be the first Native American woman in Congress (there are 2 Native American men in Congress, from Oklahoma).
Back in the primaries/special elections, I was glad Danica Roem won, possibly the first openly transgender person (Virginia legislator), and the African immigrant refugee who won mayor in Montana, Wilmot Collins.
written this evening, after a day spent analyzing results and glued to analysis of results:
I’m more depressed.  Go figure.

Heilemann and Wagner make some interesting points.  About how the remaining Republicans in Congress could be Trump loyalists.  How the country could be bracing for tougher more hyperpartisan divides ahead.  But also how Democrats should be encouraged and not dismiss the wins, despite some heavily spotlighted losses.
I guess I’m in kindof a numb state, thinking over the past 2, well 3, years. and in an anticlimactic state. Like the main focus of everything I’ve worked for over the last two years is over. and kindof a meh, at that, perhaps. after so much effort by so many.  …and remembering the angst and fear and anger and pain in 2015 and 2016, leading up to the 2016 election. and then, with hindsight, how those fears weren’t really all that misplaced and that, little would we know what would be awaiting us in the coming months, and years. hell, Muslim ban was like day one…
But I guess, in a broader, more personal, sense, me evaluating my life. …I have pretty severe depression too, so of course I’m not going to come to any rosy conclusions. What have I done with my life? I haven’t amounted to anything.  I’ve failed at most things, large, small, personal, impersonal.  Maybe I’ve done something good here and there, or in the past, or in pockets. but overall? or anything recently?  Mostly I just exist in what seems to be a near catatonic state of depression, self-pity, and alcohol. …I try to walk the line between standing up for what I believe in, and not being proselytizing, though I’m still labeled an sjw by all but two of my friends. (and all the friends I see face to face) …kinda beside the point.  Though me being political and standing up for my beliefs and trying in what I see as standing up for civil rights, has cost me one friendship.
I was in a bad place November 2016.  I was also in a bad place fall of 2008. …hell, when am I not in some degree of bad place? whether through external events or internal ones.
even when no big “event” is happening, then it’s the malaise of my dissatisfaction with myself, work, everything.  the last eight years that I worked retail, what was the point to any of that? I worked…though that’s pretty much all I can say.  I’m not working now.  I was too miserable and I had to stop, otherwise I felt I’d be there forever.  And I wanted to take some time (lucky, to be able to take some time) to think about how to proceed next, because I need to work, and it has to pay “enough,” but I don’t think I could take retail. though it may be the only thing I’m capable of/qualified for (having thoroughly shot myself in the foot with other formerly promising options…long story. blame depression)
and now I’m rambling.
but one of the things I had poured myself into over the last couple years, was politics. like I said, I even lost a friend over it.  and it kinda feels like it was for nothing. …which then, with that snowballing tendency I have, then I start to think about how a lot of things in my life, i.e. namely the last 8 years, were for nothing. absolutely nothing. only to evolve my status from understandably down-on-their-luck to yeah-they’re-a-loser.
sorry, readers, that I don’t have some hopeful bit here. so I guess I’ll just trail off.
some links:

overheard on Vintage Rock on the radio tonight. (I’ve heard it before.  But now, it seems timely.)


I thought I needed to put in something whimsical.  I like mechanical things. and whimsy. and creativity.

“I Feel, therefore I Am,” Paul Spooner

“It’s an Uphill Battle,” Conquergood Creative

“A Horse of a Different Color,” Conquergood Creative


… I got sidetracked into thinking about instruments.  which are always a fascination for me.  and landed upon the hurdy gurdy.  Maybe, some other time, I’ll do a write-up on it.  for now, I’ll just be lazy and link some videos.  I figure it could fit here, speaking of mechanical creations.  …and credit to a show I used to follow, House, for having a hurdy-gurdy reference.


and just saw this.  hell yes.  love the traditional, acoustic, and medieval.  but also love experimentation and finding a way to rock the hurdy gurdy.



11/27/17 update: well, there goes one of my favorite magazines:


Hey devoted readers and passersby,

Sorry for not being on top of the blogging.  On of many reasons being, you know, the election.  I took it seriously, did the homework, studied the debates.  and, you know, fucknut won anyway.  So then I went into protest mode.  and then, for various reasons and influences, the do something more mode – met with a senator, do huddles, what else.  and still try to have those conversations with people who think differently.

on that last front.  I feel I at least try.  I feel I am getting nowhere.  but I feel I at least try. (but also not enough.  I should be canvassing right now and haven’t.  I work and am either too tired after work, or the few days I have off work, it’s been raining.  so I don’t.  but I feel awful.  How the hell is she supposed to get 500 signatures in a week to just get on the ballot?  so, personalish stuff)

but, moving on, cutting to the chase as they say:

so my point for this, the media.  it’s as if I woke up one day, that day being maybe two days ago, with this thought that maybe I (an American, i.e. US) am no longer in a democracy.  in the sense that maybe there is no such thing as the free press any more.

ok, so, for starters, the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

ok, so this conservative bias taking over local news and many outlets.  This broadcast was months ago and it’s only gotten worse.

ok too, the attackers, those who say, but the “liberal media.”  yeah, I know.  I know all too well.  I’ve done my own informal tests, and, in short, they depicted a spectrum from Breitbart to Fox News, through ABC/CBS to CNN to MSNBC to Democracy Now.  and I personally settled on NPR and BBC as the most neutral.

ideally, no news outlet would have any bent.

But ok, so Sinclair, with its conservative bias, is swallowing up local news.  And now it’s in talks to buy Chicago’s local WGN news and Chicago Tribune paper.  I personally like the Tribune.  it’s one of my last go-to’s for trusted news.  I still buy the Tribune paper.

And then there was something else about a maybe ATT Time Warner merger? or something? and it would otherwise go to anti-trust.  I didn’t know they even enforced anti-trust anymore.  But that the Trump admin. jumped in on it and said they would approve it, if they got rid of CNN.  You know, the network that has shown Trump in a not so good light (I’d argue the truth), a network that Trump has repeatedly attacked.

for starters:

and then Colbert ran a thing where he talked about how maybe CBS could buy CNN, but I’m too lazy to find the relevant clip.


ok, so Sinclair, conservative group, with “must run” propaganda, buys local news.  Even maybe the Chicago Tribune and WGN.  There is talks of buying out more news and the Trump admin. saying it could allow it if it gets rid of a station that may favor them negatively.  (not to mention the “state run” pro-Trump, digital station the Trump admin. started airing awhile back)

and now I hear that the Koch brothers, rich zillionaire conservative backers, are thinking of buying out Time magazine.  i.e. they are thinking of buying Meredith, which owns Time.  I like Time.  I haven’t thought that Time was particularly liberal.  I have always thought Time was pretty decent journalism and always read it when I get the chance. (sad to say I haven’t so much as bought a subscription, but it was my first go-to choice to must-read in a hospital waiting room type situation.  I have had subscriptions off and on.)  maybe a little left.  but I still feel it is quality work.

so to think that my go-tos, like Chicago Tribune – potentially bought out by Sinclair, and Times – potentially bought out by Koch.  so, then, where to do I go for news?

I am not going to start with the social media.  obviously facebook is crap.

so that leaves NPR.  but who, apart from me and a few sparse devotees, even listens?

and not to mention the other tactic: convincing the public not to trust


b) journalists

Where does one proceed from there?  that I can debate someone and show them all the facts, only for them to say that they basically don’t believe in science or facts.  or I can cite sources, only for them to quote “fake news,” or for them to say they don’t trust any of that, “the liberal media” or whatever.

so, sadly, kudos.  If you get your populace to distrust all journalists and all scientists.  right… so, the few rest of us.  us isolated well-read scientific types.  I can give you the data.  I have studied history and how you have to get to first-person sources and check for biases and so on.  but if people just blatantly disregard it, because..  then there is no counter, that I know of.

as I have been saying for years now, are we ushering in the new Dark Ages?

but yeah…

so… happy dreams and all?