We are living in dark times. We have supposed leaders who are thriving, politically profiting off of sowing hate & division in our country. Whole communities are being belittled, denigrated & insulted. But I know better times are ahead — register now at https://t.co/MykJL0X5gt.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 17, 2018
Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Monday, January 15, 2018
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Friday, January 12, 2018
You don't have to read critical theory to understand the values, aims, and consequences of these decisions. They are plain to see. At a time like this it feels worse than useless to keep flogging the same painfully obvious points over and over again. Trump is an incompetent, intemperate, unqualified criminal and the Republicans are enabling him for tax cuts for the rich and to bully queers and people of color -- me, many people I love, many students I love and care for, millions I don't know, but from whose efforts and intelligence I benefit every day. If Republicans get their way I will die in a feudal slaughterhouse amidst greenhouse storms.
Republicans are dismantling our notional and ineffectual democracy and implementing a more plutocratic and authoritarian country from which Republicans imagine they will benefit. Many will die who would otherwise live, many will be lost to suffering and distress who would otherwise contribute to the support of society and progressive solution of our shared problems. The single best way to stop this development is to vote for enough Democrats to stop the Republicans from doing their worst. This is not to say Democrats are good or even good enough, of course it is just to say that voting Democrats into office is the single thing most of my readers can do to address the extremity of our present distress. As a queer ecosocialist feminist you will be unsurprised to discover that most Democrats regularly disappoint and enrage me even as I vote for them as the best alternative on offer as they almost inevitably are.
Now, set all that aside for a moment. I do want to say that there are worlds of deeper imaginative possibility that we should contemplate abstractly, concretely, aspirationally. If this is not only a time of distress and death -- it is also the time of revolutionary democracy. In a world in which Democrats re-assumed control, enfranchised all voters, strengthened social security by raising the income cap, implemented non-militarized accountable community policing models, provided Medicare as a public option onto universal coverage as a right, allowed bargaining to lower pharmaceutical costs, allowed post offices to work as non-profit savings and loans to provide equitable financial services for all, subsidized soil restorative agriculture programs and farmer's markets in urban and rural food deserts, raised taxes on the richest, invested in rapid rail, windfarms, solar infrastructure, burying wires and otherwise weatherizing our energy and transportation infrastructure, new possibilities emerge to address sustainability and inequity and open up the possibilities of discovery and diverse pleasures of which freedom significantly consists. Another such proposal, which I just read about this morning from the Roosevelt Institute, is to provide "baby bonds" to citizens at birth that are designed to redress radical wealth inequality and provide a basis for equitable growth and prosperity. It seems to me that "baby bonds" might be a rhetorically effective way to advocate for reparations for slavery and Jim Crow (understood as continuing on in current disenfranchisement, mass incarceration and police profiling, redlining and predatory lending, inequitable education, environmental racism).
The economy has room to grow, which means it’s the right time to think big about the social safety net. Roosevelt collaborators, economists Sandy Darity and Darrick Hamilton, are doing just that. As a way to combat rising inequality and level the economic playing field in the U.S., they propose (link is here) giving every newborn a “Baby Bond,” or a one-time deposit at birth tied to socioeconomic status. “The key ingredient of how successful you will be in America is how wealthy your family is,” Hamilton told The Washington Post. Every child deserves a fair chance. To build upward mobility for all Americans, big ideas are needed.Maybe we will claw back to a state of sufficient sanity to work toward such proposals. If we beat the Republicans back, maybe we can even push Democrats from the left into progressive transformation. My students are generationally devoted to civil rights, sustainability, diversity, secularity more than my own was as a general matter. If the heavy hand of the last generation of cishet white supremacist ablist consumerism doesn't manage to destroy the country or the world, I am eager to welcome and collaborate with rising generations to repair the harms of history and build a fairer freer world before I leave it. My bond, for the babies.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
The GOP is a shithole party.— 🌎Joshua Malina🌎 (@JoshMalina) January 11, 2018
Can’t wait until we get rid of this shithole president.— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) January 11, 2018
You can keep telling me that this man and support of him isn't rooted in racial hostility. I'll just keep reading what he says and watching you still support him. https://t.co/B0g0TuCPB1— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 11, 2018
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
The Koch Brothers Understand the Significance of Puerto Ricans Moving to Florida Even If Democrats Don't
It is estimated that 300,000 Puerto Ricans have moved to the U.S. mainland as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Large parts of the island are still without electricity or safe water, so few will be moving back soon, if at all. Puerto Ricans are American citizens, so as soon as they register in Florida or any other state, they are eligible to vote. The Koch brothers know this, so they have set up a massive outreach program to help these people, and not incidentally make sure they are familiar with the Koch brothers' favorite candidates and why these would be great people to vote for. It won't be an easy sell, though. Many of these people are aware of how much the Trump administration did for Texas and Florida and how little (basically zero) it did for Puerto Rico after all three were hit by hurricanes. Many of these people have family and friends already on the mainland, and these people may explain American politics to them, possibly in a different way than the Koch brothers. Nevertheless, the ESL courses and other aid the brothers are providing may win them some friends. At present, Democrats have no comparable outreach program.
Monday, January 08, 2018
Sunday, January 07, 2018
“Anndd wee mussttn’tt looose ourr sensses of hummorr,” Mrs Which said. “Thee onnlly wway ttoo ccope withh ssometthingg ddeadly sseriouss iss ttoo ttry ttoo trreatt itt a llittlle lligghtly.” A Wrinkle in Time— Madeleine L'Engle (@MadeleineLEngle) January 7, 2018
White millenials are 5x more likely to inherit money from Baby Boomers (where the country’s wealth sits) than people of color.— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) January 7, 2018
This puts the estate tax cut in an interesting and even more concerning light.
Saturday, January 06, 2018
I am the very model of a Very Stable Genius.— bob (@huntthesnark) January 6, 2018
I have a mighty button and no problems with my penius.
I have no time for television, golf, or social media
Since my brain is way way better than the best encyclopedia.
Friday, January 05, 2018
Thursday, January 04, 2018
California girds for its fight with Sessions. New details in this take. https://t.co/JHcH5QOFhF— Evan Halper (@evanhalper) January 4, 2018
Jeff Sessions has destructively doubled down on the failed, costly, and racially discriminatory war on drugs, ignoring facts and logic, and trampling on the will of CA voters.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 4, 2018
Have no doubt -- CA will pursue all options to protect our reforms and rights. https://t.co/0EuSp5GJ2z
We'll give Jeff Sessions our legal pot when he pries it from our warm, extremely interesting to look at hands. https://t.co/LF0RpdCiHG— Colorado Senate Dems (@COSenDem) January 4, 2018
VA Dems got a 55-45% majority in all House of Delegates contests combined in Nov. '17. 10% majority=landslide. They will get either 49% or 50% of the actual seats. And it looks like Rs will get Speaker's job and all committee chairs, regardless. Democracy, American style, 2018.— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) January 4, 2018
Wednesday, January 03, 2018
Unlike 2017, 2018 presents the opportunity to take back power.— Swing Left (@swingleft) January 3, 2018
By winning the House Democrats can finally ensure that Congress does the crucial job of checking the Trump administration.https://t.co/CDQMV2nDww
Tuesday, January 02, 2018
2017 has been a terrible year, that is to say a year full of terrifying events and greater dangers still. This has been a year of endless demoralizing Trump Republican atrocities of course. The racists and queer bashing bigots I escaped from Indiana and then from Georgia in my move to build a life in California are now demolishing professional and ethical and policy norms left and right across the country, abolishing regulations and social programs, destroying evidence and evidence-based policy-making, implementing obscene bigotry in immigration, healthcare, foreign aid, policing, escalating all the ongoing conflicts in our ongoing wartime occupations and undeclared conflicts while exacerbating new conflicts elsewhere, undermining every even notionally progressive advance from the Obama turning of the post-Reagan tide (and yeah, Snidely Whiplash, it was hardly utopia before, we all noticed that already). While the Resistance has been more effective than I feared it would, the Trump administration and straight white America has been exactly as bad as I feared it would. Also, this year Eric and I lost our cherished adorababy kitty Sarah.
Now, you may recall from last year's report that I spent much of that year in recovery from a life-threatening medical condition that continues to make its demands on me. As part of that recovery, I made a huge number of changes in my life, discontinued alcohol and most pain killers and sleep aids (which exacerbate my platelet condition), took up yoga and long walks with Eric, changed my diet, and so on. The brutal insomnia I have battled most of my life got much worse last year -- world and work anxieties and the loss of sleep-aids were a devastating one-two punch, for which medical cannabis is providing something a saving grace (while introducing a host of new issues with which I still grapple, from uneven effectiveness to muzzy-headed hangovers to worries about dependency). The results of all my efforts have been fairly amazing, and they have made this truly terrible year (for all the obvious reasons) not only terrible for me after all. On January 1st, 2017, I weighed 272 pounds, and on January 1st, 2018, I weighed 182 pounds. Yes, I lost nearly a hundred pounds this year -- a hundred pounds, a foot off of my waist, t-shirts from XL to M, and an ass on city buses transformed from clumsy wide-load to unobtrusive slim-fit. Whatever else I can say about this superannuated frame, I am a much less achy, slow-moving, hard-breathing mass now than I was last year, and in every way feel better, and occupy space more comfortably and less awkwardly than for years before.
All this has made such a difference for me. And while I have not been writing in public in my blog very much, this is not to say that I have relinquished my writing practice altogether -- on the contrary, I have rekindled important friendships through epistolary correspondence this year, confessing the distress and effort of these last months and working my way to a better place through it all. Again, this has been a year of pain and fear and loss -- and yet, the connections I have strengthened and the practices I have undertaken to cope have yielded up a crop of insights, and care, and sunlit days in loving company.
I have found teaching especially difficult in the midst of this distress. My students rightly fear for their futures and I wonder about the true value of what I strive so diligently to teach them: The insights of critical theory provided the material out of which I reinvented myself into a liveably queer version of myself and resist a world I would rewrite in the image of the queer equities ecologies and democracies I value, but does the language of critical theory really help everybody as it does and did me? Does it not alienate others, fetishize particular models of clarity and practice at the cost of other valuable ways of thinking and communicating? While critical theory can provide language for testimony to distress and to facilitate coalition building in the face of difference, it may also rationalize complacency, justify elitism, undermine pragmatism, create divisions. Are my art students doing theory when they are doing art, not just when they are talking about art? If so, shouldn't that change how I teach theory -- and not just to my art students?
In a post yesterday, I mentioned my personal resolution for the new year, "Where I am now fearful, I will strive instead to be more grateful or more helpful until the fear is gone." This is above all else a resolution about my teaching practice -- a resolution about making my teaching better for my students but also about making my life better through my teaching with my students. As a person struggling with depression and anxiety I have discovered that beyond the indispensability of self-care in the face of the demands of the world that other-regard facilitates self-care most of all, in turning from the text of my personal distress to the texts I explicate for my students, in turning from my fears that I will be unclear or forgetful or uninspiring to the actual needs and performance of my students I find I turn from the self-regard that threatens to inter me in my anxiety and despondency to no good purpose at all. Of course, as I mentioned earlier on in the year, after years of organizing, bargaining, negotiating, SFAI ratified a contract with my union, and I just secured a promotion, raise, and some welcome benefits as a result. For the first time in many years I feel a measure of recognition and support for the work I am doing in my institution, and it is in this context that I mean to devote myself ever more to my teaching practice as a practice of ongoing self-creation as well as the place I help others make progressive and expressive change in the world. Trump and Republicans and bigotry and greedheadedness will continue to make their blind bloody way this year, and I will continue to rant and rail and resist onward to what I hope is a restorative mid-term without still more new wars and greenhouse storms to derange history further utterly beyond hope of healing.