Jun
02

happiness is hard… I relate to this video… I just can’t escape one bad political thing after another.

Advertisements
May
30

caveat: I know the following video is the full album, when I really just wanted to feature “Over the Edge,” the title track, but this video does seem to have the best quality that I’ve seen in a youtube search.

I heard the following on the way to work today.  I think this is the fourth Ruby song I’ve heard…?  anyway, sweet song, aww moments, and then the next line of lyrics…wait, what?…and the next line of lyrics…jesus… so…enjoy

I heard this coming back from work (different station).  For a moment, I thought it was Gossip, until the vocals kicked in.  The bass seemed very similar.

To see what I’m talking about, hear rather, some Gossip as follows.  Years ago now, an old friend of mine, at the time, described them as homemade disco.  I’m not sure if that’s my takeaway, but we discovered the band simultaneously – on MTV of all places, who knew?  and fell in love with their raw minimalist awesomeness.

May
16

Ok, so I deleted my late night drunken I-hate-work-and-everything-is-shit rant from last night.  But I’ll replace it with this.  This guy gets it.

May
14

May
12

I have had this song really stuck in my head for the past few days now.  good song.  enjoy.

have a good day all.

May
07

To my followers, I updated my Action for the Day page.  I’m not sure if I will keep that particular page updated past the first 100 days mark.  but I updated it for now.  check it out here.  have a good night/day.

May
05

caveat/warning: foul language

So I guess the latest Trump-bashing from Colbert has gotten some people upset.  I think the comment in question is that he said, regarding Trump:

“The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c— holster.”

Some are saying, presumably those on the right, that this goes too far in mocking Trump.  Others are saying – I don’t know if left or right – that, nevermind Trump so much, this comment is an anti-gay slur.

Is it? I’m not offended.

(I can’t make the pics bigger, but you can click them to see the larger version.)

“suck my dick” is often a pejorative phrase, although I don’t think I necessarily saw it as homophobic/anti-gay, more a male dominance thing… I am alpha male, I am implying you are the beta male…but, you know, vulgar.

I guess… I guess if taken literally. that sucking dick is seen as insulting and thereby gay maleness seen as an insult and so on.  or at least that the “catchers” are subservient to the “pitchers,” but also in a negative way…you know, no one analyzes insults this literally…

the overarching point is more…

to the Trump supporters: you have no high ground here.  You can’t tell me that you want a late night comedian fired for basically saying “suck my dick,” a comedian… on late night, while voting to be the president of the country a person who begins the campaign calling Mexicans rapists and POWs cowards and ends the campaign saying he can grab women by the pussy.  so no, Trump supporters, no high ground.

hence the following, from people who were pro-free-speech to those pointing out the hypocrisy:

Colbert article here (msn.com).

and they say misogyny doesn’t exist?

And to those who think Colbert is homophobic, you haven’t been following him for his 20 year plus career.  From empathetically playing a closeted, though I suppose self-loathing, character on Strangers with Candy, to his tongue-in-cheek antics on Colbert Report, exposing and satirizing conservative homophobia.  You could say, too, I suppose he has a long history of using gayness for humor, but I think, to be fair, his portrayals/usage were more empathetic than contemporaries at the time, who played it more vaudevillian.  As more himself on the Late Show, he has shown upfront support of LGBT rights, followed the progression of gay marriage legalization, and then there was his moving speech after the Orlando Pulse massacre.

on a serious note, on the Orlando Pulse massacre:

Switching gears from Colbert, more disconcerting should be Trump’s latest anti-Johnson amendment executive order or aka “What now?!” Signing an executive order such that religious pastors, religious personnel can preach their political opinions in church (something one is not allowed to do at work, if you are a regular run-of-the-mill worker and/or civil servant, by the way), and can donate openly to political candidates and still keep their tax exempt status.  gotta have that money and evangelical vote… and also, one more block knocked down in the barely-there wall separating church and state.  i.e. separation of church and state is a joke in this country.  (also, by religious freedom, they might as well be upfront and say Christian)

One would think this is bad enough, at the very least from a campaign finance transparency anti-corruption perspective.  But the state of our nation now is, nope, not hardcore rightwing enough.  (echoes of the health care AHCA bill… they didn’t bring the more moderate one to a vote for fear of losing face that it wouldn’t pass, given the divisions between the hardcore GOP and the moderate GOP, so they revised it.  instead of, say, making the bill more moderate, to reconcile with moderate Republicans, be more public-friendly, and literally god-forbid sway some Democrats, no they made the bill more hardcore to appeal to the farther right – and it worked)  but back to religion… Churches are now allowed to endorse candidates and keep tax exempt status.  But they complain this didn’t go far enough, they wanted some anti-LGBT wording in there.

I know enough now to know that “religious liberty” is code for LGBT discrimination.  and that the religion for which they want liberty is, and only is, Christianity.  I mean, really.  it’s hard to hide that.  at least in America.  You don’t see large swaths, I mean voting blocs, of Hindu or Jewish practitioners spewing out anti-gay rhetoric.  (Islam, granted.  but in America, the religious liberty laws, I’m sure, are not crafted with the intent to protect Muslim people, far from it.)  oh bigotry…

sorry… sources:

Trump to sign executive order making it easier for churches to support political candidates, The Washington Post

Trump’s executive order disappoints religious conservatives, Yahoo News

and to put this aside and reminisce of earlier times…

and before Strangers:

(note, it’s supposed to repeat, like they’re redoing the take)

 

 

May
03

 

I like the concept of this bit, speaks to me and my – I feel older while realizing I’m not that much older – sense.  I’ve been known to get on a couple “kids these days” soapboxes, and perhaps reminisce about a prior time – that was not that long ago.  Maybe things change faster now. or maybe that’s a reflection that comes with age.

“back in my day:”

They used to make things that lasted… fridges, appliances, turntables, furniture… things were made of quality.  not plastic and junk that will fall apart in a couple years.  Or, technology-wise, the throw-away culture… you have a perfectly good phone, and yet you need to get the latest one because it’s the latest one?

or, back in my day, I remember a life before the internet.  “Kids these days” are born now with the internet, smart phones, etc. already in existence. or, for that matter, born after 9-11.

I’m not a comedian so I doubt I could phrase any of mind remotely comedically.

Back in my day, if you wanted to ignore someone face to face, you wouldn’t look down at your phone, you’d put on headphones.  (or, ever classic, just silent treatment them and pretend they’re not there.)

(can’t find the clip, but when Amy Sedaris was doing the late night rounds promoting her crafts book Simple Things: Crafts for Poor People, she showed up with a fake knitted cell phone, which she used as a prop – I found it delightful.)

back in my day… hmmm…. back in my day, if we wanted to angrily vent about the world, we didn’t get on the internet and blog about it, we drank a half pint of something and yelled at the wall…

no personal experience whatsoever…

 

 

May
02

My current favorite legislative tracking site, Countable.  It explains bills, past and current, in layman’s terms, bipartisan pros and cons, allows me to weigh in, allows me to send my representative and senators a message on whether I am for or against, and gives me my representatives’ voting record in real time.  Hopefully this is more handy than petitions.  (also an app, for those so inclined)

I guess, for no particular reason, starting off very divisively…

Abortion:

The climate surrounding this feels like they’re saying, “It’s legal, but exploit every loophole you can so it might as well not be…”
H.R.7 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017
and summarized in layman’s terms, pros and cons, on countable, here

and/or, “This is beyond abortion, this is about tanking Planned Parenthood’s other services as well…”

I suppose it’s ultimately about shoring up the evangelical Christian base to secure votes.

Should a Regulation Preventing States From Defunding Abortion Providers be Overturned?
conclusion: yes.  passed house (230/188), passed senate (50-50), president signed into law 4/12/17

Congress passed and now enacted an overturning of a law that would have protected federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  Bear in mind that federal funding already can’t go towards abortion due to the Hyde Amendment.  So this legislation will make it legal to deny funding for other services Planned Parenthood provides (contraception, pap smears, etc.).
[see their website for a long non-abortion list of services, including cancer screening, trans health, STD testing, help with body image dysphoria, etc. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/]

moving on to the topic of:

Congress

Those things don’t count because the President was in his last year and/or days of office…because, why again?

This (above) is one example of legislation under Obama being swiftly overturned, more easily than usual, by implementing the Congressional Review Act.  (and yes, this act was signed into law by Bill Clinton, but while it was only used once prior to 2017, it has currently been used 13 times by the current administration)  My hunch is that this act was originally meant as part of a check and balance review process, to keep a check on legislation after it’s been passed, to “review” it.  But that now this act is being intentionally exploited as a tool to undo what the Obama administration did.

Given making it easier to reverse legislation from the past 60 days (which could be up to a year as they only count the days in which Congress is in session), and given the Republicans not even holding a hearing for Merrick Garland, because he was nominated by Obama when Obama had one year left in his presidency, it makes me think that the opposition party believes that the last year or so of a president’s tenure don’t count, for some reason.

I say, whether a party platform I like or dislike, that the president’s entire tenure – presuming they are not impeached – counts.  Decisions made in the 11th hour should be just as valid as decisions made within the first 100 days.  Now, granted, say this means Trump’s administration passes something atrocious two days before he’s out of office.  and these loopholes could mean that maybe if the Dems win the next presidency, they could more easily undo that than earlier policies.  even still, it doesn’t make much sense to me.  I say all days of the president’s term count.  So I think that (a) we should overturn the Congressional Review Act, since it is being exploited for this purpose, and (b) enact legislation that says that Congress must hold congressional hearings for Supreme Court nominees – as is their job – no matter when in the term the presidential nomination is made.

Next up: Climate Change (links and stuff)

 

 

Information about climate change has been removed from the EPA website to “reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.”  This a day before the climate march.

National Geographic:
their climate change hub

National Geographic’s 7 things to know about climate change (a little simplistic, but maybe that was the point – i.e. “it’s here, stupid.”)

6 major indicators of climate change, Popular Science

an NPR radio hour/podcast on the “anthropocene” – mankind’s changing the earth so much geologists argue it could be a new geological era

Hance, J. (4/5/17). Climate change impacting ‘most’ species on Earth, even down to their genome. The Guardian, MSN, (msn.com)

Some data from NASA, so it looks like we’re not quite at the 440ppm or 2 degree thresholds, but at 405.6 and 1.7 respectively.
https://climate.nasa.gov/

How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies…

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change, New York Times, more detailed than Nat Geo’s starter bit
————————————————-
peer reviewed journal articles:

marine life is declining with climate change as predicted:
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n10/abs/nclimate1958.html

climate change will make water more scarce, (I presume potable drinking water for human population):
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/9/3245.short

increased extinction rates:
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/abs/nclimate2113.html
————————————————–

on the upside:
technology:

stalling strategies:
geoengineering, Popular Science

robots scrub carbon, Popular Science

bacteria that can eat plastic, Science Alert

 

 

Apr
19

 

“So what good is protesting anyway?”

A legitimate question I hear now, and from “both sides of the aisle,” “opponents” and “compatriots” alike.” I have heard this question a lot these days.  So much so that I felt I needed to answer, while also knowing this question is complex and I don’t feel I have an answer.  so, to rephrase, I wanted to put out my response.  I think this is a valid question.

where to start?

I feel opponents say this in mockery and blindsightedness.

a dichotomy of either protesters are unemployed sore losers just trying to get on TV who have nothing better to do or real hardworking folk trying to make a say and taking a stand for what they believe in…

so much bias.

First, I feel I should address my own.  I feel I have been blogging about protest for some time, so  a compilation.  More seriously, I think my views have drastically changed over the years.  In short, from being pro-violence to non-violence only.  And to be be self aware and in all truth to address that.

Also, by “violence” and any support of violence I may have had, I only meant in terms of perhaps vandalism, property damage, and would never condone people hurting each other.

So I went back through my blogs to find what all I said in chronological order.  Before I delve into that, I think it’s probably best to start with defining some terms.

semantics (my personal definitions):
Protest: a gathering of large groups of people in a public place to make a public display of a kind of political statement; could be violent or non-violent

Violent protest: when protesting becomes offensive, angry, and there is vandalism and property damage

Non-violent protest: when protesting is peaceful, more passive…or an active kind of passiveness, you can be angry, but restrain that anger to shouts and chants, no pushing, shoving, no looting, vandalism or property damage, if there is resistance, it is peaceful resistance, such as by blocking a road or sitting down

March: some, notably the Women’s March, are using the term “march” instead of protest, I think to have even more peaceful connotations, and/or to connote marching for something as opposed to protesting against something
https://www.womensmarch.com/mission/

Riot: this could either be a form of a violent protest or not a protest, I tend to think the difference is that protests have a message they are trying to convey, whereas rioting, I think has lost sight of the message or never had a message – anger for anger’s sake, essentially; associated with violence and destruction

so, chronologically:

8/9/11
Punk and protest alive and well…?

I had said:

London riots –
“For many, it’s simply a chance to blow stuff up, steal some stuff, and get a “bit of the old ultra-violence”.  But riots usually don’t start without cause and, though I’m no sociologist, I’m willing to bet it’s a reflection of poverty and anger against a state that doesn’t care.  The only question is whether violence and vigilantism are merited.”

I wrote then:
“The final question, I suppose, is whether rioting actually accomplishes anything.  And I say it does.  From the point of view of the rioter, it’s a long-needed venting, and perhaps provides a sense of purpose.  As a society, perhaps it’s a needed release valve.  Give the masses their revolts every once in a while to keep them in check.  And as noted in the “sympathetic” article earlier (Fletcher, NBC), it grabs public and political attention.  Whether it will elicit political change or improve conditions for the working poor, I doubt it.  But better than nothing.”

In the fairness of pointing out my hypocrisies and/or change of opinion, now, in 2017, I believe protesting has to be non-violent.  And I see why.  If you loot, vandal, break things, the only message you are potentially sending is that you are the bad guy.  and/or you encourage negative stereotypes against you that your opposition may have already had.

I think whether or not to riot is a more complicated issue than to only look at it dualistically.  There may be some potential pros to rioting.
(and again, for the record, if I ever do write that I advocate violent protesting, I am thinking of the word violent only as it applies to property damage, never to people…which, by the way, is again why I shouldn’t use the word violent…)

ok, so I think there may tentatively be some pros towards either rioting or violent protests, with the caveat that the violence in question only occurs to property and not people, living beings…
1) it grabs attention; people argue that they have peacefully protested again and again and again and never got news coverage, but once there was violence, news coverage
2) a societal release valve, which, historically, societies have needed, to keep the masses and governance in check, a release valve to let out tensions with socioeconomic classes etc. which might keep anger from getting so high that revolutions occur

but cons to violent protest and/or riots
1) you get news coverage, but negative news coverage; and maybe that’s worse… instead of sending a message to your opposition that you want change, you unintentionally send the message to your opposition that you are the bad guy, and it strengthens their position, not yours
1b) as they say, don’t become the hate you are fighting against
1c) some argue that peaceful protest can be more powerful and send a stronger message
1d) if there is a large group of people peacefully protesting and a small group inciting violence, they ruin it for everybody due to what the media is going to focus on and exploit and then the public thinks all the protesters were violent
2)ok, you do need some kind of release valve, but yelling and screaming and breaking things is likely not to elicit change to solve the problem… I think, on a personal level, you need to allow yourself to be angry or sad and let it out in some kind of way – maybe for some that’s getting drunk, or others going and punching a heavy bag, or going to a protest to chant… but then, after getting the rage out, move on to figure out how to channel that towards now fixing the problem instead of only complaining about it… it is very easy to criticize and very hard to create solutions…

 

10/19/11
remember Occupy Wall Street?

I think the problem with Occupy Wall Street was that they were too vague.  They intentionally didn’t want to have a leader so as to speak against the hierarchical power structure, and to be a co-op instead.  But how can a movement coalesce without a leader?  (maybe it couldn’t then, but is now, notably with Black Lives Matter, but also the Women’s March Movement, groups that are more co-op than revolving around one leader)  Occupy Wall Street fell apart, I think, because they didn’t coalesce around specific principles and a specific platform.  So it did become an umbrella for people who were angry, about any number of things, and was too general to be able to push to the next stage of trying to change the system.  or so it seems.

3/5/14

Pussy Riot!
They were mentioned on NPR just yesterday when the speaker was talking about how protesting can be effective with even just small numbers of people.

Pussy Riot today, KQED, NPR

and that brings me to somewhat the present, the 2016 election and its aftermath:

11/20/16
protest and participate:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/protest-and-participate/

1/10/17
bitterness right after the election:
January 10th, 2017
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/venting/

January 20-21, 2017
Inauguration Day Protest and Women’s March Protest

1/30/17
protesting the 1st Muslim ban:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/actions-against-muslim-ban/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcxGPjtV3DY

Tax Day protests:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/tax-day-march-chicagoland/
Naperville, Chicago suburb:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-trump-tax-rally-naperville-st-0416-20170415-story.html
Chicago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC30rRnpQDM

violence in Berkeley, CA and protests nationwide:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyJkh7utzf4

planned protests for

4/22/17, Scientists’ March/Earth Day March
https://www.marchforscience.com/

4/29/17, People’s Climate March/1st 100 Days
https://peoplesclimate.org/
—————————————————————————

So many protests, so little time.  So what’s the point?  Beyond being cathartic for the participants, and/or a means to feel you are doing something, if nothing else, they are a visual display to the outside world that some of the public disagrees with various policies and political regimes.

As to the actual message being sent out, again, as above, it gets muddled.  By the news coverage.  and by the bias of those perceiving it.  whether you are inclined to believe that these are people speaking out against something or whether you think they are angry sore losers.

The violence that occurred with a small group at the DC Inauguration tended to disproportionately dwarf the thousands of peaceful protesters who were there, more or less.  But also, the Inauguration protests were dwarfed by the massive Women’s March the next day.  (which I’m ok with)  My experience, having been at both, was that the Inauguration was the anger and despair and frustration, whereas the Women’s March was positive, encouraging, enthusiastic, a sense of unity and people standing for something, as opposed to against something.

But even still… what of it?  I think the Women’s March was big enough and peaceful enough that it couldn’t be ignored.  I think it has merit in turning that momentum into a movement and ushering many people to continue to be politically active moving forward: forming meetings in your neighborhood, attending townhalls, writing congressmen, etc.

“Why still have protests?  He’s elected, what’s done is done.  we get it, you don’t like it…”

well, maybe to continually keep up the momentum, instead of just accepting things as they are.  and there are continual ongoing issues to be upset about, from civil rights to climate change to healthcare to various legislation.  Maybe the protests are a way of keeping the momentum going.  You need to be doing other things (townhalls, writing congressmen, etc.) but the protests can be events that continue to generate energy, continue to show public resistance visually.

I guess what I’m coming around to is that you have to do more than protest, to really make effective change.  but that protests can be useful for getting people involved, keeping people involved, and showing the public how many feel. But yes, we need to do more.  and also work on what image is being projected (specific platforms, nonviolence).

To that end, I’ve written about other actions to take, as well as maybe trying to bridge some of the divides through discussion with opposing sides:
.
generating conversation:

switched at birth discussing racism
Indivisible Radio (npr)

actions to take:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/action-for-the-day/
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/specific-legislation/
———————————-

I think that’s about all I’ve got for now.

p.s. I kinda feel like Lewis Black: