#MacArthur Foundation 21 Newest Fellows 2020: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

#MacArthur Foundation 21 Newest Fellows 2020: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential….Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the third time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows outnumber the male-appearing Fellows: 9 seeming males, 12 seeming females. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations (but still too many are from the coasts) for quite a while. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Again, LOVE this!

My fave recipient this year: speculative fiction author/social activist, N.K. Jemisin, who “received a BS (1994) from Tulane University and a MEd (1997) from the University of Maryland….The City We Became (2020) is the first in what will become her Great Cities series….Her additional books include The Inheritance Trilogy (2010–2011) and The Dreamblood Duology (2012), the story collection, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month (2018), and the comic book series Far Sector (2019–2021) for DC Comics. Pushing against the conventions of epic fantasy and science fiction genres while exploring deeply human questions about structural racism, environmental crises, and familial relationships.” Love her work!

Also glad to see author and changemaker, Jacqueline Woodson, as a recipient this year. “She is a frequent lecturer at universities across the country and was a member of the founding faculty of Vermont College’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She served as the Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature from 2018 to 2019…..Redefining children’s and young adult literature to encompass more complex issues and reflect the lives of Black children, teenagers, and families….[She is] a writer redefining children’s and young adult literature in works that reflect the complexity and diversity of the world we live in while stretching young readers’ intellectual abilities and capacity for empathy. In nearly thirty publications that span picture books, young adult novels, and poetry, Woodson crafts stories about Black children, teenagers, and families that evoke the hopefulness and power of human connection even as they tackle difficult issues such as the history of slavery and segregation, incarceration, interracial relationships, social class, gender, and sexual identity.” Very cool!

You can view ALL recipients of this Genius Grant (all Fellows): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/search/all

Love, hate him, but do not ignore Michael Moore about #45

Love, hate him, but do not ignore Michael Moore about #45
!
“MY PLAN FOR HOW TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE AN ELECTION, #TRUMP IS REMOVED, AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE GONE FOR GOOD”
by Michael Moore
“TRUMP HAS DECLARED WAR ON US AND OUR DEMOCRACY.
“IT’S TIME FOR US TO PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE, IF NECESSARY, AND TO MAKE HIM THE LAST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT OF OUR UNITED STATES.

remove Trump
“Trump, right now, tonight, is up to some very nasty, scary stuff — stuff we can’t even imagine — and of course we can’t imagine it because we don’t think like Trump. Our brains are wired for love, empathy, solidarity, compassion, freedom, person, woman, man, camera, TV.
“You know like I know that Trump has a devious, wicked plan to destroy this Election. We need to declare, immediately, that it is he and the Republican Party who have to go, for the sake of this country’s existence, they must be crushed and removed.
“Trump actually has an arsenal of plans already in action to ensure he never leaves office. He has them all in high gear — some visible, some not. If you could see them all you’d be so stunned, you’d have to immediately convince yourself that there’s no way he can pull this off.
“We are all caught in Trump’s Matrix, a mad web, the work of a psychopath-in-chief with tricks so devious that fascists of old, if alive today, would marvel at what Trump has accomplished.
“For the next 11 weeks — and then for the 12 weeks between the Election and the Inauguration — Trump is planning nothing but anarchy, chaos, a call to arms of his angry white male followers and the complete destruction of our democracy.
“You think I’m kidding? You think I’m overstating the case? Do you want to take the risk that I might not be wrong?
“Most of you, understandably, chose not to listen to me four years ago when I warned you Trump was going to win the Presidency by taking Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
“May I please ask that you now give me your serious attention for what I am about to say — because if I’m right again this time, there won’t be a next time. There will be nothing left for me to warn you about. There probably won’t be much left of me.
“Here’s how Trump plans to end our right to choose the next President and Congress. It will happen fast. I am also laying out here a battle plan for us to defeat this takeover of our democracy. We must act now.
“HERE ARE TRUMP’S 5 PLANS, ALREADY IN MOTION:
“PLAN #1: Create Chaos.
“Instill Fear. Fire Up the Base with Racist Vigor. Pandemonium Ensues.
“CHECK. DONE.
“PLAN #2: Suppress the Vote
“•Dismantle the Post Office.
“•Create 4-Hour-Long Lines by Drastically Reducing Number of Polling Locations.
“•Throw Black and Brown Voters Off the Rolls.
“•Stop Those Who’ve Served Time from Voting.
“•Place 50,000 ‘Poll Watchers’ at Voting Sites Around the Country to Intimidate Voters.
“VOTER SUPPRESSION IN ACTION AS WE SPEAK.
“PLAN #3: Postpone the Election.
“Place the blame on a ‘legitimate’ national tragedy or emergency — massive deaths from the pandemic, a terrorist attack, an assassination, a deadly hurricane, a civil war in the streets, one or both Presidential candidates falling ill to COVID-19 — anything that reasonable people, even people who are opposed to Trump, will agree that ‘we just can’t hold an election right now! We just need to postpone it for a couple days, a couple weeks (a couple months… a couple years…).’

“Or, perhaps he’ll just cancel the Election outright and see if he can get away with it.

“TRUMP READY TO PULL THE TRIGGER.
“PLAN #4: His September Surprise.
“His October Surprise.
“His November Surprise.
“His January Surprise.
You think you can guess what it will be, but trust me, it’ll be far worse. We need to be ready. Stay on high alert, my friends. Millions of us will need to act on a moment’s notice. It’s the grim reaper of Democracy at our doorstep.
“We made the mistake of letting Trump get this far — why wouldn’t he now think he can get away with everything??
“THE SURPRISE IS UNKNOWN. THAT’S WHY IT’S A SURPRISE.
“PLAN #5: He Will Not Leave.
“When #Trump loses, he will declare the Election invalid, rigged, stolen — and he will refuse to step down.
“So, what will we do then?
“HERE IS OUR BATTLE PLAN TO REMOVE TRUMP AND THE REPUBLICANS:
“1. Do Not Wait — Biden/Harris Should Start Running the Country Now.
We simply don’t have time to wait until January 20, 2021. Nearly 200,000 of us have already died from Trump’s reckless incompetence with the coronavirus. By Election Day it’s possible another 100,000 to 200,000 of us will have needlessly died. A total of 400,000 dead? That’s the equivalent of one hundred and thirty-three 9/11s! Or 532 planes being flown into 532 buildings. If something that horrific ever happened, and the President not only didn’t do anything about it, but tried to pretend it wasn’t all that bad – ‘it is what it is’ – he would be run out of the White House by an angry mob of millions of Americans, lucky not to have his head put on a spike on the Key Bridge over the Potomac.

Biden Harris 2020
“It doesn’t have to come to that. Biden and Harris should present to America a simple nationwide plan to end the pandemic — and then act on it immediately.
“They should call a meeting of all the Governors and ask them what help do they need — and then find a way to get them that help, going around Trump and just making it happen. They should ask industry, in lieu of campaign contributions, to produce hundreds of millions of instant-result tests. They should call their Heads of State friends overseas and ask them to send all the PPE they can spare. They should get 250 million Americans to take the ‘Face Mask Pledge.’ And they should promise the scientists in our top universities all the money and help they need once they’re in office. Ignore Trump. Treat him as if he’s irrelevant and get the job done.
“2. The Republican Party Must Be Crushed and Destroyed. Trump Must Become the Last Republican President.
“In the Michigan county where I live, the August primary this month set a record turnout for a presidential-year primary. In fact, more people this year voted by mail-in ballot than ALL those who voted in 2016 — by mail-in AND in-person combined. This is a highly encouraging sign for what we now need to do:
” • We must create an historic massive turnout between now and November 3rd — a tsunami of voters the likes of which have never been seen, and may never be seen again. In 2016, 66 million Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. This time, though, we have to WALLOP Trump with an electoral concussion, a blow so profound he won’t know what hit him. This must be a defeat so crushing, so humiliating, a whooping of such epic proportions that he will be forced to leave 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with his tail between his legs on January 20th.
“This mammoth landslide must not only ensure that no president ever behaves this way again, we need to see to it that Trump is the last Republican president. The Election Day Uprising must put an end to this party of Trump enablers and traitors. They had a choice. They chose Trump over Democracy. They chose Putin and Netanyahu over fair elections and freedom for all. They chose the 1% over the 160 million working Americans. They chose the NRA over the massacred children of Sandy Hook. They chose to rig our elections, our textbooks, our economy. Democrats helped them along the way, and we’ll take the stick to them and fix that.

“The Republicans, though, chose to let hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens perish from COVID-19 because loyalty to Party and to Trump was greater than their duty to the American people. For that alone, the Republican Party must be put out of business for good. Vote out every last one of them.

“Conservatives will have to form a new party, much like when the Whigs were sent packing in the 1800s. The Republicans must pay for their crimes.
“• We must flip the Senate —- and not just by the three seats we need for control. We should shock the pundit class and, as the Republican Party is reduced to ashes, grab a solid 55+ seat majority. Colorado, Arizona, Maine, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Montana and even Kansas, South Carolina and, yes, Texas (a state that is now 57% non-white) — are all possible Democratic Senate wins. Think about spending a weekend or a week helping out in one of these states. The Republicans will wish they had managed this pandemic better and had everyone busy back at work by now. All this ‘free time’ should make for their undoing.

vote blue 2020
“• Finally, we have to vote the local Republicans out of office, too. State Houses and Senates will be drawing the electoral map for the next ten years. We can’t let the cheating Republicans do this again. Do what you can to elect Dems in your state and local elections. The punishment of the Republican Party — a certified terrorist organization for having helped kill at least 200,000 Americans — is an imperative.
“3. Who Would Be Willing To, If Need Be, Put Their Life on the Line To Ensure This Election Is Held and EVERYONE Gets to Vote? I Would. Would You?
“These steps must be taken immediately:
“• The Secret Service, the FBI, the Capitol Police and the Joint Chiefs of Staff must be called before Congress and swear under oath that they will guarantee that the election will be held, they will enforce the Constitution they swore to uphold, and if he’s defeated but refuses to leave, they will escort the former President of the United States out of the White House.
” • Biden and Harris must put Trump on notice that if he does one more thing to interfere with the Election or issues one more threat to suppress the vote, they will turn him and his crime family over to the new Justice Department for prosecution.
” • Every single one of us must be strong in our publicly-stated resolve that there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON ON EARTH TO POSTPONE OR CANCEL THE ELECTION. That’s our unmovable and intractable position.
“No national tragedy, disease, threat or the melting of all of Greenland will cause us not to vote on or before November 3rd. Even if, God forbid, either candidate passes in their sleep between now and Election Day, the Election will continue — and the winner’s VP – or Nancy Pelosi – will become President on Inauguration Day.
” • Let’s all pledge that, if Trump tries to cancel the election or if he refuses to accept its results, millions of us will go to DC and encircle the White House, a thousand deep, until he backs down, resigns or is removed.
“• And, if you can, quietly make this commitment to yourself: ‘There are only a very few things I’d be willing to give my life for. This is one of them.’ I know. That’s dark. And heavy. And awfully sad because it shouldn’t have come to this. But if we can’t even say that, then what good are we? If we aren’t willing to make that sacrifice, then America is already over and we might as well just fold our tent and see if Canada will take the non-racist, non-homophobic, non war-mongering ones of us who have manners and get satire.
“4. Become an Election Defender.
“Each of you should form an urgent action group – a rapid response team – in your neighborhood or town and do the following:
“• Hold a daily protest at your local post office
“• Picket the home of your local Postmaster (he/she may be on your side, so bring them some baked goods)
“• Chain yourself to a local blue USPS dropbox if you can find one. Or chain it to something that won’t move.
“• Sign up with the city clerk to be a poll worker on Election Day – especially if you’re young. Because of the pandemic, polls will be very short of poll workers. If you’re told they have enough help, then call the local Democratic Party and offer to be a ‘poll watcher,’ the group of people from each party who get to oversee the voting to make sure there are no irregularities.
“• Demand your city create more voting locations. Convince owners of arenas, theaters, ball parks, malls – places with large open spaces – to offer their facilities as polling places so that everyone gets a chance to vote.
cant vote
” • Canvas your neighborhoods over the next month to get people to fill out the form you’ll have them sign to get a mail-in ballot — and if they want to vote in person, let them know when the first day is so they can do that. Make a list of who needs a Covid-safe ride. The earlier the better!
“5. The Uprising We’re In Is Only Getting Bigger. The People Will Now Call the Shots.
“Why wait for the politicians to fix the mess of a country we’re in when they helped orchestrate the mess in the first place? Why don’t we just declare how we want to live — a new way to govern and function as a country — and we will finally fulfill the promise of the American Dream that has never been realized.
“Life, liberty, true equality, a sharing of the wealth, being good citizens of this world and kind stewards of a fragile Earth.
“What have we learned from this pandemic? What we already knew: That employer-based health insurance can evaporate in an instant. Health care is a human right.
“That being told ‘we can’t afford that!’ (free college, free child care, free medical care – the things most advanced nations have) is total BS — the government CAN afford anything we decide we need!
“We’ve learned that teachers, nurses, the mailwoman, farm workers, mass transit drivers and the minimum wage workers stocking the grocery shelves at 3 in the morning are our most important citizens and they need the respect and income they deserve immediately. 74% of the country now believes a guaranteed annual income is a great idea — fifty percentage points higher than when Andrew Yang proposed it 7 months ago!
“We’ve learned to slow down, consume less — and that is what may be the path to saving the planet (when the 4% of its inhabitants [US] is no longer sucking up 25% of its resources and hoarding more than half its wealth).
“We’re about to go elect more women than ever before — a time to turn the reins over to the gender that stands a better chance of getting us through the deadly viruses of Covid, Capitalism and Republicans (R.I.P.).
“None of this will be launched by politicians. It will only come about through you and me taking action as part of the largest protest movement in our history — still growing, still going strong! — to end the racism, the abuse of the police state, the disgusting income inequality and the hateful misogyny that is going to come to an end in our lifetime.
“America, post-pandemic, must become a very different place. Let’s make this happen. Doing the above will be the best cure for the trauma of these past four years.
“Commit to being the change.

Be the change
“Organize your friends and family today.
“Make your plan to campaign in a swing state Sept. or Oct.
“VOTE AS EARLY AS YOU CAN—and take 5 people along with you!
“We can do this. Trump – we’re coming for you.
“I’ll be in the first U-Haul truck that pulls up to your door.”

MICHAEL MOORE

Michael Moore

#COVID19 / #Coronavirus Updates and Info Sources

#COVID19 / #Coronavirus Updates and Info Sources

As some of you know, my mom (almost 88, but mostly healthy) and I (65) live in St. Louis County, Missouri, USA, which just “confirmed” its first case of the #Coronavirus. It exists in a young woman who was allowed to return from ‘studying abroad” Italy last week unencumbered (!?!). She went to a hospital that is and therefore must live very close to us.

Who knows where she went, who else she contacted/infected, who her people are, etc.? No other info was made available, so I am feeling very cautious locally for the first time.

My mom, however, is in huge denial and refuses to cancel her four-times weekly mah jong gatherings/games with 4 – 5 elderly women (she is one of the youngest!) this week (3/8/20).

I, however, after reading up on all this, am beginning to ‘stockpile” toilet paper (not too much), tissues, non-perishable or less-perishable food, and put out the Hydrogen Peroxide spray and paper towels for her to use when she returns each day, to wipe down the handles of her cart and/or walker.

We are also going to cleanse her mah jong tiles each afternoon after she returns.
They eat lunch there twice/week, and use the bathroom frequently; plus, others use the same space (the condo’s “clubhouse”), so who the hell knows what anyone is carrying and/or shedding??). I begged her to demand that her friends to WASH THEIR HANDS every time they leave the table for any reason, before returning to play. She is pooh-poohing that request (so far).

I finally decided: if this is what kills her, so be it. At least she’s having fun. Not kidding. I’m a Buddhist, so we take a common-sense approach to everyone’s inevitable demise.

Not wishing death on anyone any time soon, but since these articles and stats are likely to be correct, we are ALL going to lose friends and loved ones, or our own lives, before this is “finished,” if it ever is…. Buckle up.

And, if you’re not sure if what you’re sneezing, coughing, or aching about is this virus, check here:
corona_virus_symptoms

So, FYI: Some great sources, in detail, below, and links, first, for more info.

Please make sure the info you “follow” is reliable, accurate, and trustworthy!

Stay safe and well. In case you are thinking: Oh, don’t be such an alarmist, read this, of the CLOSING DOWN of main population centers in Italy this weekend (3/7/20): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51787238?fbclid=IwAR2yMGdBkvhyn8Kyae9Xt6P_dSqebjXWGbsN31Ut8EZuRTaL5GQ8MFs06qM

When/if you are self-quarantined or hospitalized and want to read utopian, romantic, non-violent sci-fi, buy my 3 ebooks and/or paperback books! Give them as gifts. Why not? http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners

Sally Ember, Ed.D. (NOT A DOCTOR OF MEDICINE)


A) One excellent ongoing and frequently updated source, here, is Germ Info, http://germinfo.org  which is excellent. Read and share from there and/or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/germinfo/permalink/2311603802276736/

B) A little light in the tunnel, for this horrible time, from Stanford University Labs: a faster and soon-to-available corona virus test kit for USA use: https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article240974406.html

WHO-coronavirus-infographic-1

    C) This is a cogent list of info and tips, from a public health expert (Malia Jones, PhD, MPH), who posted the main part of this on Facebook and Google Docs.
******Anyone planning to travel in the next two-three weeks, or even 6-7 weeks from 3/8/20, read number 5!!!******
*************Keep reading, and share!
“What I think about COVID-19 this morning”
“March 5, 2020”
“Maybe I’m the closest thing you personally know to an infectious disease epidemiologist. Maybe not–I’m not an expert on this virus by any stretch, but I have general knowledge and training from studying epidemics that is applicable, so here are my thoughts.
“First and foremost: we are going to see a tremendous increase in the number of US cases of COVID-19 in the next week. This is not because of some new pattern in the spread of the disease, but rather due to a major change in the requirements to be tested. Until yesterday (3/4/20), if you had flulike illness but had not recently traveled to China, Italy, South Korea, or Iran, you could not be tested. This is just the way healthcare works, you get tested if you meet the case definition and the case definition included travel.
“As of yesterday (3/4/20), you can be tested if you are sick and have a doctor’s order to be tested. So expect things to feel a lot more panicky all of a sudden. We will see hundreds or thousands of new cases as a result of testing increases.
“Second: is that panic legitimate? Sort of. This is not the zombie apocalypse. The death rate of 30 deaths per 1000 cases is probably a wild overestimate. (The denominator is almost certainly wrong because it is confirmed cases–and we only confirm cases when we test for them). That said, even at 3 per 1000 cases, this would be a big deal. A very big deal.
“By way of comparison, the death rate for influenza is between 1 and 2 in 1000 cases. So, yeah. Roughly 0x to 30x worse than a bad seasonal flu year? That’s a problem.
“Unlike flu, COVID-19 is not *particularly* dangerous for children, so that’s some happy news. It is dangerous for older adults and those with lung conditions, so we need to be extra careful to protect those populations from exposure.
“Also, for millions of Americans, getting any serious illness requiring a hospitalization is a major problem because they can’t pay for it. And our health care system is probably going to struggle to keep up with it all. And with China basically closed, our global economy is going to take a huge hit and we’ll feel the shockwaves for years. Those are real concerns.
“What can we do? Our focus should be on *slowing down the spread* of this disease so that we have time to get caught up. Here is my advice:
“1. Wash. Your. Hands. Wash them so much.
The current best guess is that coronavirus is transmitted via close contact and surface contamination. A very small study came out yesterday suggesting that the virus causing COVID-19 is *mostly* transmitted via contact with contaminated surfaces.
“I have started washing my hands each time I enter a new building and after being in shared spaces (classrooms especially), in addition to the standard practice of washing after using the bathroom and before eating. Soap and water. Hand sanitizer also kills this virus, as does rubbing alcohol (the main ingredient in hand sanitizer).
“There is no need to be obsessive about this. Just wash your hands. A little bit more effort here goes a long way.
“2. Don’t pick your nose. Or put your fingers in your mouth, on your lips, or in your eyes. Surface contact works like this: you touch something dirty. Maybe it’s an elevator button. Virus sticks to your hands. Then you rub your eye. Then you touch your sandwich, and put the sandwich in your mouth. Now there is virus in your eyes and mouth. See?
“You may be thinking, ‘but I don’t pick my nose because I am an adult!’ An observational study found that people sitting at a desk working touched their eyes, nose, or lips between 3 and 50 times per hour. Perfectly normal grown-ups, not lowlifes like my friends.
“2a. There was one note that came out suggesting that face masks actually promote surface contamination because you’re always adjusting them–i.e., touching your face. I don’t know if that’s true. But face masks should not be worn by the public right now, unless you are the person who is sick and you’re on your way to or actually at the doctor’s office. The mask’s function is to prevent spit from flying out of your mouth and landing on things when you cough or sneeze. It flies out of your mouth and is caught in the mask instead. If you are the person who is sick and not on the way to the doctor, go home. Let the people who really need them have the masks. Like doctors.
“[ETA on 3/6/2020 honestly people I am getting so much push back on the mask recommendation!! The world is running low on masks. If everyone wants a mask so they can feel ok about keeping their Daytona Beach Spring Break plans and then hospitals in India can’t buy them anymore, shame on us.]
“Coronavirus does not appear to be airborne in the sense that doesn’t remain floating around freely in the air for a long time, like measles does. You are probably not going to breathe it in, unless someone is coughing in front of you. If someone is coughing in your face, feel free to tell them to get their ass home and move 6 feet away from them. (Yeah I know, if you have a toddler, you’re screwed.)
“3. Sanitize the objects you and lots of other people touch, especially people outside your family–like door handles, shared keyboards at schools (brrr), salad bar tongs, etc. Best guesses are that the virus can live on surfaces for 2-48 hours, maybe even longer, depending on the surface, temperature, and humidity.
“Many common household cleaning products will kill this virus. However, white vinegar solution does not. You can make your own inexpensive antimicrobial spray by mixing 1 part household bleach to 99 parts cold tap water. Spray this on surfaces and leave for 10-30 minutes. Note: this is bleach. It will ruin your sofa.
“4. “Social distancing.” You’re going to get so sick of this phrase. This means keeping people apart from one another (preferably 6 feet apart, and sanitizing shared objects). This public health strategy is our next line of defense, and its implementation is what will lead to flights and events cancelled, borders closed, and schools closed.
“For now, you could limit face-to-face meetings, especially large ones. Zoom is an excellent videoconferencing option. If you spend time in shared spaces, see #1. Ask your child’s school about their hygiene plan, if they haven’t already told you what it is. If I were in charge of a school setting, I’d be hand sanitizing the s*** out of the kids’ hands, including in and out of each space, and taking temperatures at the door. I am planning to email our school nurse right after this to ask if they need my volunteer help cleaning surfaces.
“If you can telecommute, do that a little more. If you are someone’s boss and they could do their job remotely, encourage them to do that.
“Avoid large gatherings of people if at all possible, especially if they are in an area with cases OR places that lots of people travel to. If you attend group events and start to feel even a little bit sick within 2 to 14 days, you need to self isolate immediately. Like for a tiny tickle in your throat.
“5. All your travel plans are about to get screwed up. If you are considering booking flights right now, get refundable tickets. ETA: most trip insurance will not cover cancellations due to a pandemic. Look for “cancel for any reason” trip insurance.
“Considerations for risks related to that trip you’re planning: how bad would it be if you got stuck where you are going for 3 to 6 weeks? How bad would it be to be isolated at home for 2-3 weeks upon your return? Do you have direct contact with people who are over 70 and/or have lung conditions? If those seem really bad to you, rethink your trip, especially if it is to a location where there are confirmed cases.
“6. If you are sick, stay home. Please! For the love of all that is holy. Stay at home. Your contributions to the world are really just not that important.
“7. There is a good chance some communities will see school cancelled and asked to limit non-essential movement. If someone in your family gets sick your family will almost certainly be isolated for 2-3 weeks (asked to stay at home). You could start stocking up with essentials for that scenario, but don’t run out and buy a years’ worth of toilet paper. Again, not the apocalypse. 2 weeks’ worth of essential items. Refill any prescriptions, check your supply of coffee, kitty litter, and jigsaw puzzles.
“8. I do want to remind everyone that when public health works, the result is the least newsworthy thing ever: nothing happens. If this all fizzles out and you start feeling like ‘Wah, all that fuss for nothing??’ Then send a thank-you note to your local department of public health for a job well done. Fingers crossed for that outcome.
“9. Look, I think there are some positives here. All this handwashing could stop flu season in its tracks! We have an opportunity to reduce our global carbon footprint by telecommuting more, flying less, and understanding where our stuff comes from. We can use this to think about the problems with our healthcare system. We can use this to reflect on our positions of privilege and implicit biases. We can start greeting each other using jazz hands. I’m genuinely excited about those opportunities.
“There is a lot we don’t yet know about this virus. It didn’t even exist 90 days ago. So stay tuned, it is an evolving situation. The WHO website has a decent FAQ. Free to email or text with questions, and you can forward this to others if you think it’s useful.
“May the force be with you.
Malia Jones, PhD, MPH
“I’m an Assistant Scientist in Health Geography at the Applied Population Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I study social contact of humans, and spatial patterns of infectious disease, among other things.”
“P.S. The number one question I am getting is, ‘did you really write this?’ Yes. I wrote this.”
“I didn’t write it for professional purposes, so I didn’t put my work email on it. It was really just meant to be an email to my friends and family in advance of what I expect to be an escalation in the panic level. But it was apparently welcome information and went viral on FB. I’ve decided not to edit out the swears, even though I wrote this with a much smaller audience in mind.
“Thanks for checking your facts! Go science!”

D) More good info about what to expect regarding the USA and global experiences of the #COVID19 pandemic (and a bit less discouraging in some places; more, in others), from Juliana Grant, MD, MPH:

“Coronavirus: an email to my family”
[not mine; this woman–info, below–who is a public health expert]

“Notes: I originally wrote this to share with my family and close friends. It’s now getting passed around so I’m posting it publicly. I have revised the language slightly a few times. This is the most current version.”

“Hi folks,

“A number of you have asked me what I think is going to happen with coronavirus (COVID-19) and what we should be doing to prepare. I have a few thoughts about what’s likely to happen and what you can do about it. For those of you who don’t know me well, I am a preventive medicine physician and infectious disease epidemiologist. I graduated from the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and have over 17 years of experience in the field, most of that with CDC.

“Wishing everyone good health,

“Juliana”

—“Who[m] should you listen to?”

“The CDC and your state health department are your best place for information about COVID-19. (Listen to them before you listen to me.) Be cautious about other sources of information – many of them will not be reliable or accurate.

—“How bad is this going to be?”

“It’s possible that COVID-19 will be similar to a bad flu year but there are a number of indications that it will be very much like the 1918 Flu Pandemic. To put that in perspective, the 1918 flu did not end civilization as we know it but it was the second-deadliest event of the last 200 years. It is likely that people you know will die from COVID-19.

“However, there is one critical difference between COVID-19 and the 1918 flu – the 1918 flu virus hit children and young adults particularly hard. COVID-19 seems to be most severe in older adults. Children and young adults generally have mild infections and we are grateful for this.

—“What can we expect?”

“This is not the zombie apocalypse. Core infrastructure (e.g., power, water, supermarkets, internet, government, etc.) will continue to work, perhaps with some minor disruptions.

“There will be significant economic disruption: a global recession is very possible and there will probably be significant shortages of some products. The healthcare system will be hit the hardest. The number of people who are likely to get sick is higher than our healthcare systems can probably handle.

“Daily life will be impacted in important ways. Travel is likely to be limited and public gatherings will probably be canceled. Schools will probably be closed. Expect health departments to start issuing these orders in the near future, especially on the West Coast.

“The acute pandemic will probably last at least for several months and quite possibly for a year or two.

—“What can we do?”

“We can’t keep COVID-19 from being a global pandemic but the more we can do to slow the spread of the disease, the less severe the impact will be. With that in mind, here are the things you can do:

—–“Stay calm but take it seriously. This will likely be bad but it’s not the apocalypse.

—–“Stay home if you’re sick or someone in your house is sick.

—–“Leave medical supplies for healthcare workers. You shouldn’t be stockpiling masks or other medical supplies. They are needed in hospitals to keep our healthcare workers healthy.

—–“Wash your hands. Get in the habit of frequently washing your hands thoroughly and covering your cough.

—–“Minimize your exposure. Now that we’re seeing community transmission in the U.S., it’s probably time to start cutting back on your exposure to other people. Depending on your circumstances, consider:

——-“Canceling non-essential travel

——-“Avoiding large-scale gatherings

——-“Working from home if possible

——-“Minimizing direct contact with others including hand shakes and hugs

——-“Reducing your trips out of the house. If possible, shop for two weeks of groceries at once or consider having your groceries delivered. Stay home and cook instead of going to a restaurant.

——-“Remember, keep calm and prepare. This is likely to be bad, but if we respond calmly and thoughtfully, we can handle it.

“Feel free to share this [email] as you see fit.”

from: https://www.julianagrant.com/blog/2020/2/29/coronavirus

E) If you’re ready for very sobering stats about the trajectory of this, that we are all facing NOW and soon:

“I am sharing this with you because many people have not yet started preparing. For schools being out. Work being out. No parties. No restaurants. No gatherings. No Uber. No eating out. This may make you panic or worry a lot. This is what I see happening. In 6 weeks from now. Not only in America. In every country.

“That’s why I tell you to cancel all you travel plans. Cancel any parties you are going to or organizing. I want you to protect your family. The only way to get ahead of this is to minimize human to human contact until we have diagnostics, vaccines, medications. I believe all schools should close soon. Very soon. Do not read if you are already panicked!”

“From Liz Specht on Twitter, @LizSpecht

“‘I think most people aren’t aware of the risk of systemic healthcare failure due to COVID19 because they simply haven’t run the numbers yet. Let’s talk math. Let’s conservatively assume that there are 2,000 current cases in the US today, March 6th. This is about 8x the number of confirmed (lab-diagnosed) cases. We know there is substantial under-Dx due to lack of test kits; I’ll address implications later of under-/over-estimate.

We can expect that we’ll continue to see a doubling of cases every 6 days (this is a typical doubling time across several epidemiological studies). Here I mean *actual* cases. Confirmed cases may appear to rise faster in the short term due to new test kit rollouts.

‘*** We’re looking at about 1M US cases by the end of April, 2M by ~May 5, 4M by ~May 11, and so on.

‘*** Exponentials are hard to grasp, but this is how they go. As the healthcare system begins to saturate under this case load, it will become increasingly hard to detect, track, and contain new transmission chains. In absence of extreme interventions, this likely won’t slow significantly until hitting >>1% of susceptible population.

‘What does a case load of this size mean for healthcare system? We’ll examine just two factors — hospital beds and masks — among many, many other things that will be impacted.

‘The US has about 2.8 hospital beds per 1000 people. With a population of 330M, this is ~1M beds. At any given time, 65% of those beds are already occupied. That leaves about 330k beds available nationwide (perhaps a bit fewer this time of year with regular flu season, etc). Let’s trust Italy’s numbers and assume that about 10% of cases are serious enough to require hospitalization. (Keep in mind that for many patients, hospitalization lasts for *weeks* — in other words, turnover will be *very* slow as beds fill with COVID19 patients).

‘By this estimate, by about May 8th, all open hospital beds in the US will be filled. (This says nothing, of course, about whether these beds are suitable for isolation of patients with a highly infectious virus.) If we’re wrong by a factor of two regarding the fraction of severe cases, that only changes the timeline of bed saturation by 6 days in either direction. If 20% of cases require hospitalization, we run out of beds by ~May 2nd. If only 5% of cases require it, we can make it until ~May 14th. 2.5% gets us to May 20th.

‘This, of course, assumes that there is no uptick in demand for beds from *other* (non-COVID19) causes, which seems like a dubious assumption. As healthcare system becomes increasingly burdened, Rx shortages, etc, people w/ chronic conditions that are normally well-managed may find themselves slipping into severe states of medical distress requiring intensive care & hospitalization. But let’s ignore that for now.

‘Alright, so that’s beds. Now masks.

‘Feds say we have a national stockpile of 12M N95 masks and 30M surgical masks (which are not ideal, but better than nothing). There are about 18M healthcare workers in the US. Let’s assume only 6M HCW are working on any given day. (This is likely an underestimate as most people work most days of the week, but again, I’m playing conservative at every turn.)

‘As COVID19 cases saturate virtually every state and county, which seems likely to happen any day now, it will soon be irresponsible for all HCWs to not wear a mask. These HCWs would burn through N95 stockpile in 2 days if each HCW only got ONE mask per day.

‘One per day would be neither sanitary nor pragmatic, though this is indeed what we saw in Wuhan, with HCWs collapsing on their shift from dehydration because they were trying to avoid changing their PPE suits as they cannot be reused. How quickly could we ramp up production of new masks? Not very fast at all. The vast majority are manufactured overseas, almost all in China.

‘Even when manufactured here in US, the raw materials are predominantly from overseas… again, predominantly from China. Keep in mind that all countries globally will be going through the exact same crises and shortages simultaneously. We can’t force trade in our favor.

‘Now consider how these 2 factors – bed and mask shortages – compound each other’s severity. Full hospitals + few masks + HCWs running around between beds without proper PPE = very bad mix. HCWs are already getting infected even w/ access to full PPE. In the face of PPE limitations this severe, it’s only a matter of time.

‘HCWs will start dropping from the workforce for weeks at a time, leading to a shortage of HCWs that then further compounds both issues above. We could go on and on about thousands of factors – # of ventilators, or even simple things like saline drip bags.

‘You see where this is going. Importantly, I cannot stress this enough: even if I’m wrong – even VERY wrong – about core assumptions like % of severe cases or current case #, it only changes the timeline by days or weeks.

‘This is how exponential growth in an immunologically naïve population works. Undeserved panic does no one any good. But neither does ill-informed complacency. It’s wrong to assuage the public by saying “only 2% will die.”

‘People aren’t adequately grasping the national and global systemic burden wrought by this swift-moving of a disease. I’m an engineer. This is what my mind does all day: I run back-of-the-envelope calculations to try to estimate order-of-magnitude impacts. I’ve been on high alarm about this disease since ~Jan 19 after reading clinical indicators in the first papers emerging from Wuhan.

‘Nothing in the last 6 weeks has dampened my alarm in the slightest. To the contrary, we’re seeing abject refusal of many countries to adequately respond or prepare.

‘Of course, some of these estimates will be wrong, even substantially wrong. But I have no reason to think they’ll be orders-of-magnitude wrong. Even if your personal risk of death is very, very low, don’t mock decisions like canceling events or closing workplaces as undue “panic”. These measures are the bare minimum we should be doing to try to shift the peak – to slow the rise in cases so that healthcare systems are less overwhelmed.

‘Each day that we can delay an extra case is a big win for the HC system. And yes, you really should prepare to buckle down for a bit. All services and supply chains will be impacted. Why risk the stress of being ill-prepared?

‘Worst case, I’m massively wrong and you now have a huge bag of rice and black beans to burn through over the next few months and enough Robitussin to trip out. One more thought: you’ve probably seen multiple respected epidemiologists have estimated that 20-70% of world will be infected within the next year.

If you use 6-day doubling rate I mentioned above, we land at ~2-6 billion infected by sometime in July of this year. Obviously I think the doubling time will start to slow once a sizeable fraction of the population has been infected, simply because of herd immunity and a smaller susceptible population.

‘But take the scenarios above (full beds, no PPE, etc, at just 1% of the US population infected) and stretch them out over just a couple extra months. That timeline roughly fits with consensus end-game numbers from these highly esteemed epidemiologists. Again, we’re talking about discrepancies of mere days or weeks one direction or another, but not disagreements in the overall magnitude of the challenge.

‘This is not some hypothetical, fear-mongering, worst-case scenario. This is reality, as far as anyone can tell with the current available data.

That’s all for now. Standard disclaimers apply: I’m a PhD biologist but *not* an epidemiologist. Thoughts my own. Yadda yadda. Stay safe out there.'”

 

F) What about a vaccine? Israel claims to be able to have one ready near the end of April, or by mid-May, 2020, but “Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (N.I.A.I.D.) [in the USA], spoke up. ‘A vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that’s deployable,’ he said. The earliest it would be deployable, Fauci added, is ‘in a year to a year and a half, no matter how fast you go.’”
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-long-will-it-take-to-develop-a-coronavirus-vaccine

Trials/testing take more than a year, but this just got released (3/8/20):

“Coronavirus vaccine ready for clinical trials in Seattle”

“Researchers seek 45 participants to help gauge the immune response of a new vaccine for 2019 novel coronavirus….
The goal of the first phase of the study is to learn about the vaccine’s safety and see how the immune system responds to it….
“Researchers said this vaccine is similar to vaccines developed for Zika virus and human metapneumovirus….
“Kaiser Permanente said participants will receive $100 for each of the in-person study visits….
“People who complete all visits will receive $1,100….
“[Participants must be] healthy adults between 18 and 55 years old. The participants can’t have certain health conditions, such as medical conditions that impact the immune system or be taking medications that affect the immune system….
“Participants must come to 11 in-person study visits in downtown Seattle and have four phone conversations over 14 months. Over the course of the visits, participants will be injected with the vaccine twice.”
FMI or to sign up:

https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-vaccine-clinical-trial-recruitment/281-a33490a2-e3e4-4911-94fc-60473c2d4fe7?fbclid=IwAR2h3B_6dEOPQUUBNV8EMntFJKuup3IkAubxVlpc0uYlo3yKpMqjGyBD1aE

 

USA #Primary and #Election #Reform: My Ideas

USA #Primary and #Election #Reform: My Ideas
election-reform-wordle
The USA “primary season” is ridiculous, if only a few million people get to decide, and so much money and so much time is wasted “up front.”
This is the 4th election in a row that “my” state’s primary ended up with almost no candidates left to vote for (and “mine” was eliminated). WTF?
Please put your thoughtful, respectfully worded ideas in the COMMENTS.
Primary season reforms :
——No one can “buy” their way into a debate or onto a ballot; donor types and total money raised are not relevant nor counted towards eligibility for debate participation or ballot inclusion
—We need to have ALL the primaries held within a few weeks of each other, perhaps all in March or April
—NO ONE IS ALLOWED to drop out of any race, once on a ballot, except for legal (criminal indictment) or health reasons, until all votes from all primaries have been counted
—NO MORE “caucuses,” either, since that system is based on a racist bunch of BS that excludes most voters in those states, anyway
—No candidate is allowed to outspend the lowest-spending candidate in any given primary, with all money accounted for and transparently received (from WHOM) and spent, tallied daily
—The entire “primary season” should be fewer than 6 months, from start to convention, allowing 4 months for campaigning, one month for primaries, and one month between final primaries and convention
—ALL legitimate party candidates are eligible to be selected during that party’s the convention
—No promises can be made to any candidate prior to the final election as to getting picked for Cabinet, appointed, judiciary, or other positions until after the election, and certainly not as a trade for dropping out of an election’s primary or ballot.
Major election reform:
—No more “super” delegates (only Democrats have this BS, anyway)
—No more electoral college: one vote counts as one vote
—ALL polling places are to be kept open/re-opened for ALL elections
—Polling places are required to exist and be open for 3 days before and on election day, for every election, in EVERY USA state and territory and its counties/parishes, with more than one place per region in those with difficult-to-traverse areas and/or populations that require it
—Voters should not have to wait in lines should take voters longer than one hour to vote
—No more voting machines. Period. All paper ballots, everywhere, always
— All legitimate state ID is accepted for voting, if ID is even required
—I’m open to NOT having ID required, since that disenfranchises some voters, and since “voter fraud” is a non-existent “problem”
—No registered voters are EVER to be “purged,” removed or eliminated from eligibility prior to ANY election, all such purged are to be immediately restored, since the “reasons” given for any purging are always bogus, anyway
—No VISIBLE electioneering allowed, no matter how many feet away, at any polling place: no signage, no banners, no petitions, no people asking questions of voters prior to or after voting, no one standing around wearing candidates’ or issues’ regalia, no confrontations of voters, no pressure of any kind to vote any particular way, ever, anywhere
—No “exit polling,” and, therefore, no influencing future voters by first voters by the media
—No public or online speculation by the media as to who or what lost/won until ALL voters have voted in every USA region
—No announcing “winners” or “losers” and no “concession speeches” or conceding until ALL votes have been counted, including absentee ballots, which takes days or weeks after each election
—No one who is running can manage that election (e.g., Georgia’s fiasco)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
To get involved, to donate, and/or FMI:
Stacey Abrams (who never conceded…), is operating Fair Fight, which focuses on improving voter access and restoring voting rights: https://staceyabrams.com/vision/voting-rights-public-integrity/
The Brennan Center for Justice provides Voting Reform efforts and info: https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/ensure-every-american-can-vote/voting-reform
Fair Vote proposes many reforms, including Ranked Choice, offers the Wasted Votes Tracker, and much more: https://www.fairvote.org/
Watch Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook: https://www.riggedthefilm.com/
Learn more about Approval Voting (Ranked Choice, elsewhere); https://www.electionscience.org/approval-voting-101/?gclid
And, why have only two political parties that are viable in such a large country, anyway? https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/19/us-democracy-two-party-system-replace-multiparty-republican-democrat/

Ideas from readers:

Heidi Henkel suggests:

—Public factual databases about candidates in easy to find places ex voting record if they are a congressperson, their own policy statements

—Polling locations can be moved with 6 months notice and the notice given very publicly in many forms.

—Adequate numbers of polling locations and ballots per population, and reachable by public transportation where public transportation exists.

—Election day is a national holiday and people who work on national holidays are given some time off in the 3 days before or the day of, to vote.

—Automatic voter registration upon other civic participation such as getting a driver’s license, registering a car, signing a lease, or paying taxes. Day of election voter registration.

—Voters who are confirmed by a medical professional to have died, can be removed from the voter rolls within one month of their death or their published obituary. (Individual voters who are dead may be removed around their time of death. No purges needed.)

When a voter registers to vote in a new place because they have moved, the new place can contact their previous city or town so they can be removed from the voter list.

—Voting machines can be used where they help people with disabilities to vote. The voting machine shall up produce a paper ballot that can be counted with the other paper ballots. Paper ballots are counted by optical scanning and are kept for possible hand counting. All election electronics are kept off of the internet at all times every day of the year.

— Ranked choice voting in primaries. No announcement of how candidates did in any primary until all primaries have been held. Exit polling is allowed if done by UN election monitors and kept confidential until all votes are counted. If someone is not able to get to the polling place and hasn’t done an early voting or absentee ballot ahead of time, two justices of the peace will bring them a ballot at their home or wherever they are so they can vote (if they’re sick or their car breaks down or whatever). This last one is practiced in Vermont.

Ranked choice voting: for every candidate who gets less than 10% of the vote, the second choice candidate on the ballot will be used; then if no candidate has a majority, find the one who has the fewest votes and use the second choice candidates on those ballots. Etc until there’s a winner.

How #Republicans Stole Every #USA #Presidential #Election They “Won” Since 1980 and How To Stop Them in 2020

How #Republicans Stole Every #USA #Presidential #Election They “Won” Since 1980 and How To Stop Them in 2020

rig-electionsfrom http://cps-news.com/wp-content/misc_html/gop-election-rigging.html

From The Washington Post to The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine to the League of Women Voters to many other independent, reputable sources (these and others quoted and linked, below), we now know how and which aspects of these elections have been rigged by Republicans and their cronies. What can we do? GET INFORMED and FIGHT BACK!

“‘This election [2016’s] was rigged.  And it needs to stop,’ said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States….’We are not talking about vigilante voter intimidation,’ said Carson. ‘We are talking about official, legal voter suppression by state legislatures and election officials.'”
This article, posted on 11/23/16, lists 13 states with KNOWN voter suppression tactics that were utilized.

“Millions of would-be voters didn’t participate because of obstacles designed to discourage them….Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, and 20 have had such restrictions put in place since 2010, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a group that opposes such laws….[T]he Leadership Conference Education Fund, a civil rights group, found that counties previously covered by the Voting Rights Act have closed down at least 868 polling places. The closures (often without adequate notice) disproportionately affect minority voters.”
From The Washington Post, 11/29/16.

On 3/20/18, we saw this headline: “Cambridge Analytica bosses were secretly filmed boasting about how they helped Trump win the US election.” By late summer, 2018, this “business” had been closed down/renamed, its managers fired and some indicted (including Mark Turnbull, the managing director, and CEO Alexander Nix), and many others under investigation who used their “services” have also been indicted/arrested via Robert Mueller‘s independent prosecution team looking into Russian AND OTHER MEDDLING in the 2016 elections, among other things.
From https://amp.businessinsider.com/cambridge-analytica-boasts-won-trump-election-facebook-data-2018-3

If you are a more visual learner, try charts and tables/graphics, which depict the extent and types of fraud committed during the 2016 election, posted on 9/18/17: “What Really Happened in 2016, in 7 charts”

And, don’t be fooled by all the Republican rhetoric: “Yes, Russian Election Sabotage Helped Trump Win; Republicans want you to think that meddling didn’t figure in the 2016 election result. Don’t.”   From 7/24/18. Very upsetting.

“[T]he modern-day swing of election rigging began with the 1980 Presidential Election. Democrat Jimmy Carter was President, running for his second term. Republican Ronald Reagan was the GOP’s nominee for President. However, the stage was set for rigging that election exactly one year earlier.

“On November 4, 1979, a mob of young Islamic revolutionaries overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran Iran, taking more than 60 Americans hostage. The Carter Administration worked for more than a year to free the hostages, getting a small number released, then attempting a failed rescue mission. The Americans were held for a total of 444 days, only to be released peacefully just minutes after Republican Ronald Reagan took office in 1981.

“Americans were surprised at the release; in particular, the timing. Why just minutes after Reagan took office? It would be a dozen years later before the general public would know the truth….

“Republicans conspired to delay the freedom of 52 American citizens and government employees for more than a year, endangering their lives in the process, in order to win an election.” from http://cps-news.com/wp-content/misc_html/gop-election-rigging.html

And, that’s just example number ONE.

The 2016 election was the first presidential contest in more than 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Voter suppression, which disproportionately favors Republicans, is something the Republicans have been working toward for decades, unfortunately, and they have been succeeding.

FYI, some terms:
—The popular vote = whether the candidate won the state or not; one vote, one person
—The electoral vote = how much that state was ‘worth (how many electoral college votes that state has)’ for that election.
—About the Electoral College:
——The District of Columbia and 48 states used to have “winner takes all,” meaning. whichever candidate has the majority of popular votes gets that state’s entire electoral college vote count.
——Two states in 2016 had “proportional winning,” meaning, each candidate’s percentage of popular votes received determines how many electoral college votes that candidate gets from that state for the electoral college’s total. More states are joining this group, as of 2007 (Maryland became the first state to switch), known as the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.”
Connecticut and other States Dump “Winner Takes All” for Electoral College Allocations
Election Fraud = conspiracy to alter election results on the part of individuals, organizations, political parties, and/or local or regional/state/federal governmental officials by a variety of tactics, using many types of (sometimes LEGAL, now) voter suppression, such as: eliminating same-day registration; tampering with/unfairly purging or not accepting voter registrations; tampering with/miscounting votes/falsely recording votes from voting machines; unfairly altering /closing polling locations or giving false addresses and / or restricting the polling places’ open hours; restricting early voting; creating unfairly discriminatory voter ID requirements; printing false (post-election) dates or incorrect mail-back addresses on absentee ballots; sending out absentee ballots too late or not at all; not counting all votes; forcing people to use “provisional ballots,” then not counting them; barring ex-felons from becoming eligible to vote after serving their time; falsely claiming individuals are not eligible to vote and then illegally not allowing them to register or to vote; overcounting /stuffing votes; diminishing voting effectiveness by creating paper ballots difficult to read, use, understand or mark one’s vote clearly on; making it a felony for anyone other than a family member or caregiver to collect a voter’s absentee ballot; lying about a candidate’s political party affiliations, names or positions in order to confuse voters; putting up dead or false candidates; threatening to and placing ICE, police and other intimidating individuals at polling entrances while making public threats to arrest anyone guilty of anything who comes to vote; and so many more awful methods. NONE of these is the fault or responsibility of the VOTER.

voting_rights suppression map_2018from https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/voter-suppression-wisconsin-election-2016/

Voter Fraud—of which there is HARDLY ANY—IS the responsibility of an individual voter or group of voters. This involves people who do or attempt to vote more than once, or in more than one location, or use fake IDs or fake names to register or vote.
***************************************

How Close Were the USA Presidential Elections?

Currently (2018), 270 Electoral College votes are needed to “win” a Presidential election in the USA. Each State is allocated a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. Representatives (which may change each decade according to the size of each State’s population as determined in the Census*).

2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore
—Electoral College: 538 total/271 “won”
—No. of popular votes Bush received: 50,460,810 = Bush LOST by 543,816 votes
—Election decided by a Supreme Court vote, which gave the “win” to Bush
History will most likely record this as the first known illegal take-over of the White House. Dozens of people were involved, but most remember only a few names. Jeb Bush – George W’s brother – was governor of Florida and Katherine Harris was Secretary of State. With her job as Secretary of State, Harris simultaneously co-chaired George W. Bush‘s Florida election campaign, served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and took time off from her “day” job to go around the country stumping for Bush.

“…Harris declared George W [Bush] the winner by just a mere 536 votes (.009786%) over Democratic opponent Al Gore. Florida state election law didn’t require the Secretary of State to order a statewide recount, not even in such a ridiculously tight election. But this article by The New York Times quoted a recount by the Miami Herald which said Gore would have won a flawless Florida election by 23,000 votes. Even if the Miami Herald was 90% wrong, Gore would still have won by more than 1500 votes….

“…Choicepoint and Database Technologies, two companies (later combined into one company) hired by Katherine Harris’s office to examine the legality of registered voters in Florida, had doctored the outcome. 57,700 legal voters were removed from the list and not allowed to vote. (Later, independent experts said most of those voters would have voted for Al Gore based on their party registration.)

“Choicepoint said 8,000 of those Florida voters were felons, thus negating them as legal voters. But as it turned out, those 8,000 Florida voters had committed only misdemeanors, not felonies, which did not negate their voting eligibility.

“There were several thousand more purged from the voting register simply because they had the same last name as convicted felons. Some were even purged because their personal computers had notes indicating they might commit a crime in the future.

“…Bush “won” in Florida by only 536 votes”

2004: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry
Electoral College: 538 total/286 “won”
No. of popular votes Bush received: 62,040,610 = Bush “won” by 3,012,171 votes
Just as the election of 2000 was exposed as “fixed” after that election, so was the 2004 election.

“Had Kerry won Ohio, he would have won the election, he would have needed only 59,301 voters to switch their vote from Bush to win the state. The smear campaign (remember the “Swift Boat,” anti-Kerry lies**?) against Kerry, among other heinous practices, definitely impacted many people’s ability to vote and their choice of whom to vote for.” 

“59 newspapers that had backed Bush in 2000 endorsed John Kerry in 2004. The Republican Party was split on Bush with some very powerful names breaking off.

“On a level playing field, Bush could never have won again in 2004. But since their 2000 tactics worked so well, and without repercussions, he and his party once again turned to illegal means, but this time it was coupled with a highly publicized immoral attack on their opponent.”

“The following is just a small sampling of the irregularities.

  • Almost 3 million people living abroad never received their ballots or received them too late to vote. The pentagon shut down their web site used to file registrations, but they could never account for the reason the site was shut down.
  • Sproul & Associates, a consulting firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six states, was caught shredding Democratic registrations. The company was headed by Nathan Sproul, the former executive director of the Arizona State Republican Party.
  • In Ohio
    • Officials purged tens of thousands of eligible voters and neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives.
    • Short changed Democratic precincts in voting machine allocation.
    • Some Republican precincts had a 98% voter turnout while some Democratic precincts had only a 7% voter turnout.
    • GOP election officials in Warren County invented a terrorist threat to keep the media from monitoring the official vote count.
    • One in every four citizens who registered in 2004 were not listed on the registration polls.
    • 80,000 votes for John Kerry was counted for George Bush.
    • 357,000 voters were prevented from voting or did not have their vote counted. The overwhelming majority were Democrats.
    • Phone calls were made from a hotel across the street from the Ohio Republican Party headquarters to Democratic voters threatening them if they showed up to vote.
    • Kenneth Blackwell was Ohio’s Katherine Harris this time around. Blackwell, as Secretary of State, was in charge of vote counting, yet he was co-chair of President Bush’s re-election committee. (Does this sound like déjà vu “all-over-again”? Why not, it worked in 2000.)

“Practically every irregularity of the 2004 election helped George Bush and hurt John Kerry. Pollster Lou Harris was quoted as saying ‘Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen.“‘

2008: John McCain vs. Barack Obama
Electoral College: 538 total/365 won
No. of popular votes Obama received: 69,498,516 = Obama won by 9,550,193 votes
If the grassroots organizations that “got out the vote” for Obama had been less successful, Democrats would have “lost” this as well. But, winning by over 9 MILLION votes is impossible to hide. 

2012: Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama
Electoral College: 538 total/332 won
No. of popular votes Obama received: 65,915,795 = Obama won by 4,982,291 votes
—“
About two weeks before the election, Anonymous released a video warning Karl Rove and his PAC, American Crossroads, that they were watching and if Rove and his group tried to rig the election through the electronic voting machines as they did in 2004, Anonymous would shut them down.

“When the election was over, ‘a group calling themselves The Protectors, believed to be comprised of Anonymous hackers, sent a letter to election transparency non-profit, Velvet Revolution, claiming to have thwarted attempts by GOP strategists to flip votes and rig the election in three swing states.’

“…[S]imple math produced by retired NSA analyst, Michael Dunihot:

“And mathematics showed changes in actual raw voting data that had no statistical correlation other than programmable computer fraud. This computer fraud resulted in votes being flipped from Democrat to Republican in every federal, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial election since 2008 (thus far) and in the 2012 primary contests from other Republicans to Mitt Romney.”

2016: Donald J. Trump vs. Hillary Clinton
Electoral College: 538 total/304 won
No. of popular votes Trump received: 62,984,828 = Trump LOST by 2,868,686 votes
—“Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were potentially manipulated, according to prominent computer scientists and lawyers who have spoken with the Clinton campaign”  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/wisconsin-michigan-pennsylvania-election-hillary-clinton-hacked-manipulated-donald-trump-swing-a7433091.html
—“
[S]tates controlled by Republicans across the country have enacted disenfranchising voting laws that unquestionably target non-Republican voters. By doing so, Republicans won’t have to work so hard to come up with new ideas of how to rig elections. If they can achieve their goal by reducing the number of ‘qualified’ Democratic voters to something less than Republican voters, then they are home free. No need for rigging elections anymore.”

Republican election Fraud
from http://www.politicsplus.org/blog/2012/10/13/gop-election-fraud-still-going-strong/

“Election Fraud is not a new tactic, Republicans tested voter suppression in the election of the 43 President, George w. Bush. Since then the morbidly rich has only increased efforts, will they be successful in the 2018 election?” The Thom Hartmann Program, “How Republicans Tested and Got Away with Election Fraud”

A video, for those who like those:

This election was one of the worst uses of Republican-funded and -managed voter suppression to defraud, obstruct, deregister, disenfranchise and block Democratic voters in US history. “The 2016 election was the first presidential contest in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), because the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that states with a long history of discrimination no longer need to have their proposed voting changes approved by the federal government. …14 states—including important swing states—had new voting restrictions in place.”

For example (and there are HUNDREDS like this): “Donald Trump ‘carried’ the state by 27,000 votes, but 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked the required forms of voter ID. Turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest level in 20 years and fell by 52,000 in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives.”
Historically, and particularly in 2016, African-Americans were expected to vote for Democrats, like Hillary Clinton.

Also,
“On Election Day, there were 868 fewer polling places in states with a long history of voting discrimination, like Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina. These changes impacted hundreds of thousands of voters, yet received almost no coverage in the media.”
Making voting more difficult to access (by having fewer polling places, putting them further apart geographically, closing polling stations for early voting, etc.) in areas that poorer people, elderly people and college students would vote (all individuals who ordinarily use public transportation or lack vehicles of their own) disproportionately affects Democratic voters adversely, as Republicans well know.

“[Trump‘s] campaign openly boasted that ‘we have three major voter-suppression operations under way’ to reduce turnout among African Americans, young women, and liberals….The election results showed that when more people vote, Democrats do better. That’s why the GOP is so invested in voter suppression.”
https://www.thenation.com/article/did-republicans-rig-the-election/

—“[A] report from the Government Accountability Office, …found that strict voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee had decreased turnout by roughly 2 to 3 percent, with the largest drops among black, young, and new voters.

“According to a comprehensive study by MIT political scientist Charles Stewart, an estimated 16 million people—12 percent of all voters—encountered at least one problem voting in 2016. There were more than 1 million lost votes, Stewart estimates, because people ran into things like ID laws, long lines at the polls, and difficulty registering. Trump won the election by a total of 78,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin….

“[W]hen Republicans took control of 26 state legislatures in the wave election of 2010, they passed a slew of laws making it harder to vote. Twenty-two states have adopted new voting restrictions since then, more than half of which first went into effect in 2016….Republican-controlled statehouses have already passed more voting restrictions in 2017 than they did in 2016 and 2015 combined. ”
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/voter-suppression-wisconsin-election-2016/
**************************************

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

The WORST thing any candidate can do early in the counting process is concede. That was the key mistake made by Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Once they concede, it doesn’t matter who actually “wins,” because concession means they have withdrawn from the race, formally. PLEASE tell your local and regional/state candidates: DO NOT concede, NO MATTER WHAT, until ALL legal challenges are finished and ALL votes are counted, which may take MONTHS.

Usually, it takes weeks to find out who actually wins any hotly contested races. For the 2018 mid-term races, due to the time it takes to count so many paper ballots and awaiting outcomes of legal challenges in “broken” states guilty of election fraud (polling location problems, broken machines, wrong ballots, illegal registration purging and discarding absentee ballots, etc), we could be looking at much longer.

More about the likely delays and their causes here, from 10/30/18:
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/10/this-election-will-never-end/
****************************************************************
RESOURCES

General voting info and help, here:   https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/States/eVAG.pdf
—Help track voting problems and report them here:  https://www.wral.com/how-you-can-help-track-voting-problems-during-the-midterm-elections/17905814/
If you or someone you know had their registration removed illegally/unfairly, were prevented from voting in some other way, were forced to use a provisional ballot (which may not ever be counted) or aren’t sure if your mail-in ballot was counted, here are places to call/email for help:
—For absentee ballot users, it may not be too late (postmarked on or before 11/6/18 is the rule in most states). Find out here: https://www.vote.org/absentee-voting-rules/
Protect the Votehttps://www.brennancenter.org/protect-the-vote
Provisional Ballot info here, state by state:  https://ballotpedia.org/State_by_State_Provisional_Ballot_Laws
and more info, here:
https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/verify/verify-should-you-ask-for-a-provisional-ballot-with-a-receipt-if-you-are-challenged-at-the-polls/85-606659301

—For people with disabilitieshttps://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/

protect the vote

“We are happy to connect with voters however they need! Call us at 866-OUR-VOTE or text ‘Our Vote’ to 97779 with your questions or reports of problems. We’re here through election day to

“What kinds of voting problems might you run into?
✦ A problem with your voting machine
✦ If you want to change a vote you made on your ballot/machine
✦ Having your ID challenged
✦ Your name isn’t on the voter list
✦ Polls closing early
✦ Being intimidated or pressured at the polling location

“If you run into these, or any other problems while voting, take action right away.

1) Talk to a poll worker BEFORE you finish voting and tell them about the problem. They are there to help you. 

2) If they don’t or can’t help you, ask for their supervisor.

3) If you still have a problem, call Election Protection Hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE.” 

from: https://politicalcharge.org/2018/10/26/how-to-report-a-problem-with-voting/


For more information about past elections, there are great stats, explanations and comparisons offered here:  List of United States presidential elections and stats


NOTES:

*The way the USA population is counted for the every-ten-years USA Census is hotly disputed right now (2018.  For the 2020 election (unless there is a special election prior to that, WHICH IS POSSIBLE), the Census’ totals will be THE deciding factor for every state that still has “winner takes all” for its Electoral College (see above). There are also security issues (cyber and other), issues of “citizenship” being contested and may suppress participation in the Census due to fears of being deported if “counted,” and other problems: “The 2020 Census Is Already in Big Trouble”
and “Why America’s next census is controversial”
[T]he most prominent census-related debate has been the growing conversation about gerrymandering. The enumerated purpose of the census in the Constitution is to use the data gleaned to redraw congressional districts and reallocate representation to fit the population. Over the past few decades, as politics and demographics have become increasingly intertwined, the institutional incentives to game that system have mounted. Especially as Republicans have embraced their status as a party for white men, they’ve become more and more adept at using the census, especially the redistricting process, in order to maintain partisan advantage. But that advantage has been built mostly with the census data already in hand—influencing the data itself, perhaps by biasing it against noncitizens, would add another potent weapon to an arsenal that’s already proven its dominance over American electoral politics. And that is to say nothing of the possibility that between foreign and domestic interventions in data quality, the census could be rendered unusable or unreliable for those political processes altogether. Without a census, there is no American democracy. 

**”Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, formerly known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, was a political group of United States Swift boat veterans and former prisoners of war of the Vietnam War, formed during the 2004 presidential election campaign for the purpose of opposing John Kerry’s candidacy for the presidency….[T]here was not a speck of truth to the allegations, and the Bush inter-circle was exposed as being behind the attacks. Even John McCain questioned the ad and condemned it as “dishonest and dishonorable”

#USA #Midterm #Elections are 11/6/18: OTHER Dates, Info, Rides, Resources

The USA Midterm Elections on 11/6/18 have never been more important than they are this year, 2018, when our democratic systems are STILL undergoing vicious internal and external attacks and many leaders are corrupt but still in office. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

retro-midterm-elections-vote-election-pin-button-badge-M759KY (1)

National Voter Registration Day is September 25, 2018, and LYFT is helping! See article, below.

Here’s a link to a candidates list for each race and the reasons that your vote matters.
—35 of 100 seats in the Senate are currently already held by “incumbents,” meaning, the Senator in that seat is running for re-election.
—Nine of these are Republicans: VOTE THEM OUT! They have RUINED our democratic process over the last 12 years. THEY HAVE TO GO!
—Twenty-six are Democrats, and some do NOT deserve to win, but voting for them DOES make sure a Republican will not win, so suck it up and vote for the less-worse candidate, PLEASE!
—“In the House midterm elections, Democrats need to flip 23 seats to capture the 218 seats necessary for control of the chamber. There are 194 likely or solidly Democratic seats and 175 likely or solidly Republican seats. The competitive races below are listed by state and district number. Get the latest updates here.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/us/elections/calendar-primary-results.html 

A reblogged article, below, is geared toward California voters, but info in it applies for ALL elections and has links to resources for ALL voters.  For example:

“’A candidate’s voting history is public. If the candidate is running for federal office as a representative or senator, you can find their voting record on Congress.gov. For those who have held state office, you can contact your state legislature website.’”

and

“You can find out who is on the ballot in your district using this sample ballot tool from www.ballotpedia.org. After doing some research and studying or comparing different candidates, you will then have a better idea of who you are interested in voting for.”

Link to article:  https://summitpsnews.org/2018/09/14/midterm-elections-are-coming-up-heres-how-to-make-an-informed-decision/

Remember: 

your_vote_counts

REGISTER! 
Find out your state/locality’s deadlines and get in BEFORE that date (between 10/1 and 10/16/18 for most localities), especially if you’re registration is happening by mail, especially if you’re out of the country (much earlier deadlines!).

GET INFORMED!
Go to the above resources or those listed in the article, or go to http:///moveon.org or other progressive sites for specific issues and candidate position information.

For non-partisan candidate information for every locality, go to your state’s League of Women Voters site, which will list debates/town halls/panels, ballots, registration information, polling place information, election days’ ride requests procedure, written candidates’ position papers, and more: https://www.lwv.org/

For female candidates info and to contribute: Emily’s List is the best site for that: https://www.emilyslist.org/ 

ARRANGE TO VOTE!
ABSENTEE:
If you must vote by mail, PLEASE check deadlines (which vary by locality/state)—some are up to 10 days prior to the actual election date, which  means your ballot must ARRIVE no later than 10/26/18 to be counted!
https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines/

IN-PERSON:
USE PAPER BALLOTS! They cannot be hacked!

You can find your local polling place here: http://www.vote411.org/
Get or give a ride! Check local announcements or the League of Women Voters site: https://www.lwv.org/

Also, LYFT is offering free and discounted rides to polling places on the day of the election! http://fortune.com/2018/08/23/lyft-free-ride-discount-election-day/ explains it, or go directly to http://lyft.com if you already have the app!  “Lyft will offer riders half-off rides booked anywhere in the U.S. on November 6. Organizations like http://Vote.org and http://TurboVote.org will help distribute a nationwide 50% off code that can be used within the Lyft app. The company says it will also provide free rides through nonpartisan, nonprofit partners like Voto Latino to help members of underserved communities who historically have had a harder time getting to the polls.”

We are all counting on each other! VOTE!

School drops archbishop’s name amid sex abuse report fallout — INKLING LEAGUE

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A Roman Catholic high school will shed the name of Washington’s archbishop, who was cited in a sweeping grand jury report as having allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated while he was Pittsburgh’s bishop. The Diocese of Pittsburgh said Wednesday that Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl made […]

via School drops archbishop’s name amid sex abuse report fallout — INKLING LEAGUE

“We’re going to need a bigger boat.” The great white shark that is the corruption that riddles and has riddled the Catholic Church, from top to bottom, won’t all be able to be hunted down and killed, nor can those who are “trying to do good” be confined to a few renamings of schools.

The Catholic Church’s institutional leaders have to do way more than that to manage the damage they’ve inflicted on hundreds of thousands over centuries. Pulling down statues of Confederate “heroes” in the USA will pale in comparison to the backlash that is already being felt all around the world.

Good luck with all that.

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General dead — CAPIIC

Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80. He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, and his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the Nobel Peace Prize. […]

via Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General dead — CAPIIC

 

Just lost another one of the great ones. RIP, Sec-Gen Annan.

The Lies Embedded in MAGA (“Make America Great Again”): America Was Never Great for Everyone

The Lies Embedded in MAGA (“Make America Great Again”): America Was Never Great for Everyone


image from https://andelino.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/america-was-never-great/

Please, could anyone tell me: when was America (the United States of America) “great,” and for whom?

This country’s roots are in repeated and ongoing genocidal elimination, unfair and homicidal immigration policies, stealing children from parents who are powerless to prevent these thefts, and forced involuntary incarceration of those in many groups:
—the indigenous peoples who already occupied these territories
—the Africans stolen from their home countries, imported like material goods, to be slaves and servants
—the poor and homeless people and orphans
—the disabled people, especially those with mental disabilities
—the Japanese who lived in the USA during World War II.


image from http://Historyplex.com

This country has a long and checkered history of unfairly treating women, those who do not own property (even males), anyone without sufficient financial and other resources via a prejudicial criminal justice system.


image from http://Vox.com

People from all backgrounds suffer (but not equally) in the USA by:

  • being excluded from voting by various means;
  • not being paid a “living wage”;
  • not having fair and equal opportunities for education;
  • not having sufficient shelter;
  • not having paid work available;
  • not having access to nutritious, sufficient food;
  • not being able to pursue their passions and dreams due to insufficient resources, advantages, connections and other unequally distributed privileges;
  • having more people, especially children, living in poverty than in many third-world nations;


    image from http://FollowTheMoney.com

  • not having access to adequate or any health care (preventive or treatment-focused);
  • failing to prevent or treat addictions of all types, with rising numbers of opioid addicts;
  • not being treated fairly within our policing and justice system, to the point of premature death and lengthy incarcerations for minor infractions, and having far too many wrongful convictions;
  • not having access to affordable housing;
  • being forced to drink, wash with and use polluted water and breathe polluted air;
  • becoming ill and dying—with little or no recourse or legal protection, once it is known to be needed—from industrial and military pollution of land, water and air;


    image from https://environmentalstudiesblog.wordpress.com/tag/environmental-racism/

  • having pensions, life savings, much or all personal wealth put at risk or eliminated by the still-unpunished and insufficiently regulated financial entities;
  • being at risk because of the USA’s very high rates of infant and maternal mortality;
  • being underserved veterans, with very high rates of suicide;
  • not having access to abortions;
  • being lied to about the “need” for USA’s involvement and not keeping promises made for those who enlist, and sometimes conscripted individuals into almost constant wars, causing many to lose loved ones, their own lives, their limbs, to incur brain damage and psychological trauma, for no apparent purpose except to enrich those who profit from military actions;
  • being lied to, misled, mistreated, abused, exploited, harassed and/or disrespected by almost every major and minor politician, business owner/leader, employer/manager;
  • being targeted unduly by those with authority and/or power in all types of businesses, institutions and police forces/sheriff’s departments


“If we lie to the government, it’s a felony. If the government lies to us, it’s politics.” —Bill Murray

So, please: at what point in the history or current configuration of this country was it “great” for EVERYONE?

Grateful for Musicians, Singers, Musical Leaders who “keep on keeping on” in “The Movement(s)”

Grateful for Musicians/Singers/Leaders
who “keep on keeping on” in “The Movement(s)”


from http://www.lovethispic.com/image/150339/keep-on-keeping-on

I spent a wonderful (but kind of sad; see below) evening last week (Friday, May 4), at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in St. Charles, Missouri, USA, listening to the fabulous Roy Zimmerman sing, talk, and cleverly satirize many social, political, cultural and legal developments and issues from the last several decades.


Roy Zimmerman, ReZist show, performing in St. Charles, MO, 5/4/18

Roy Zimmerman is the most recent addition to my life’s intentional collection of dozens of extremely talented and special musicians, writers, filmmakers, poets, playwrights, other artists and performers and, of course, political/social leaders who continue to inspire, encourage and demonstrate commitment to whatever movements they believe most in. These often outspoken heroes and heroines also collaborate with and support others day after day, week after week, year after year, decades on decades.

Is there a category—a title—for such a role in our culture? I wish I knew what it is or could invent one. IDEAS HERE, please: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

I wanted to take a moment, here, to name the ones I can remember best who have personally inspired, entertained, encouraged and led me, and without whom I would certainly have given up feeling optimistic and collectively working for positive change a long time ago.

“Big Mike” Lainoff

—My first and most treasured inspiration is the recently-deceased and much-missed former director of the four JCCA (Jewish Community Center Association [of St. Louis]) summer camps I attended as a child and teen: Camp Council (a day camp), and residential Lake of the Ozark area camps, Camp Hawthorn, Red Bud Camp and their successor, Camp Sabra, Harold “Big Mike” Lainoff (I wrote about him prior to this). In addition to being a recreation manager/leader, Big Mike was a gifted guitar player/singer/songleader and storyteller who could captivate, involve and educate a mess hall or a campfire of over a hundred rowdy kids, teens and staff for long periods of time despite pouring rain, high humidity, blazing heat and roaring wind. Amazing.


“Big Mike” Lainoff, circa 1965, Camp Hawthorn, Kaiser, MO (Lake of the Ozarks)

When I first heard Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie‘s songs and stories, I thought they had stolen them from Big Mike (I was 7 when I met Big Mike…). Later, I realized it was the other way around. But, who cares? Big Mike brought Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul & Mary, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, Tom Paxton, Donovan, Jackson Browne, Tom Lehrer, Judy Collins, Odetta, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell and many more USA civil rights’ and social activists’ songwriters’ lyrics and melodies directly to us—mostly Jewish kids, from the suburbs of St. Louis, in the 1960s—while we learned to swim, make campfires, pitch tents, hike, canoe, sail, waterski and so much more.

I grew to love these songs whose lyrics explained class differences, racial injustices, yearnings for peace and equality, deep and abiding love for each other and for a special person, recognitions of mistakes and ways to rectify them, inchoate longings for a better world and to be a better person. I learned the words and melodies and sang them to myself all year long, for decades. I still remember most of them: “Banks of Marble,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Respect,” “The Song is Love,” “Both Sides Now,” “Fountain of Sorrow,” “Changes,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Reel, Oh Reel,” “Oleanna,” “Ain’t Gonna Study War No More,” “Summertime,” “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “We Shall Overcome,” “There But For Fortune,” “The Draft Dodger’s Rag,” “Imagine,” “One Tin Soldier,” “The Sounds of Silence,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Universal Soldier,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Black and White,” “What Have They Done to the Rain?” “Oh, Freedom,” “Hair,” “The Power and the Glory,” “I Ain’t Marchin’ Any More,” “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” “Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends,” “The Circle Game,” “Fixin’ to Die Rag,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “We Shall Not Be Moved,” “Four Strong Winds,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “I Can’t Help But Wonder (Where I’m Bound),” “The Last Thing on My Mind,” “Ramblin’ Boy,” “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” “Eve of Destruction,” “How Can I Keep From Singing?” “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” I can’t ever list them all.

Big Mike helped create and then raised my social consciousness, informing without indoctrination so that we became subliminally aware of social/political music and key movements: 1963 was the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, and the middle- to late 1960s were the Vietnam War’s protests’ heydays.

I hadn’t yet heard of the Freedom Riders (which was going on every summer I was first at camp!), I was too young to march in anti-war protests (14 in 1968) even if I had known about them. I was old enough to understand “Jim Crow” segregation and discrimination laws in St. Louis, Missouri, and HATED them. Big Mike and other camp songleaders chose songs whose lyrics’ sentiments felt right to me. I needed to sing, to protest, to be wishing and working for everyone’s equality and freedom. I was excited that more people felt that way I did than I had ever known existed.

At the above-mentioned camps, joining and adding to Big Mike‘s contributions, were several talented musical counselors and staff: special shout-outs to the Kean brothers, Ron and the late Mike (“Nix”); the cook, Maxine; “Fitz“; “Howdy” (Howard Schwartz) and “Twinkle” (Laura Resnick), for international and Israeli folk dancing fun; and, so many more, for adding to the songs and artistic experiences.

Big Mike‘s stories and songs my nascent ideas about social justice, fairness, anti-racism, anti-war, collaborating for peace and practicing nonviolence were developed and nurtured first. Blessings on Big Mike and his inspirations as well as his heirs and successors, forever.

Some places and people are pivotal in our lives, right? These people formed the foundations for mine, preparinhg me for the ones who came later.


Further creating a foundation and launching me into adulthood was a group of people I met in several places in the late 1970s in New England. Many of these key people lived at/founded or attended events at Boston’s mid-1970s spin off of Project Place, the Another Place Conference Center in Greenville, New Hampshire, and its spin-off, Spring Hill, Massachusetts, were then and later became great leaders of artistic social and political movements, personal growth and community-building for me and many others. Here are the “stars,” below.

Robert Gass

—It was through Another Place that I got to go to Spring Hill and meet Robert Gass and The Wings of Song band. Briefly, I performed with and sang in the band’s chorus (I am listed as “Sallie Fleishmann [neither name spelled correctly] on their first album, Many Blessings, pressed in 1980). Singing with this chorus was my first experience of spiritual uplifting through song. It had happened without my understanding it through some camp songs; Robbie‘s songs were intentionally written and selected to raise up the singers and the listeners, the audience and the dancers. We were inspired, connecting, infused with desires to serve and to love.

Robbie and his wife, Judith Ansara (Epstein) and a few others, created the formats for the popular personal growth Opening the Heart workshops (which I attended with my then-partner in 1979) which morphed into their current work, Sacred Union. Robert (as he became known, later) still sings, makes albums and leads people to inner and outer growth (now living in Colorado). Judith is also a dancer and a poet.


Robert Gass, circa 1989

I still hum and sing some of Wings of Song‘s tunes/songs to myself, but I can’t find my favorite anywhere online or for sale. Sad.

“Not My Will, but Thine” is the first line of the chorus, but I don’t know what title the song actually has. Perhaps “Teach Me to Love,” or “Kindle my Heart’s Flame” (all in the lyrics)?

If you know where to find a recording of this song, please email me at sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

Medicine Story

—I also met Medicine Story (Manitonquat, Francis Story Talbot) at Another Place in 1978. He is an author and storyteller as well as Native American activist who also lived at Another Place. Story, with his then-wife, Emmy (Emilia) “Rainwalker” Ianniello and their first son, formed the nucleus of the second of my many communal households in New England. Story and Emmy introduced me and dozens of others to Native American sweat lodges (building, experiencing ceremonies in, learning about) and to living in wiki-ups (outdoor structures more sturdy than tents), as well as to praying and connecting with the earth and animals and many other sacred rituals, origin songs and songs/chants.

Add these sweat lodge experiences to my Finnish saunas in Rhode Island (1977-78) and the Dutch-esque saunas at Stepping Stone Farm in the 1980s. When I went camping with some friends in the 1980s and 1990s (before hypertension took me out of the game) who were offering sweat lodges, they wondered how a Jewish girl from St. Louis knew so much about how to build them, use them, be in them? Why was I so comfortable with nudity in high heat and various ceremonial rituals that involved sweating and chanting? I mentally thanked Emmy and Medicine Story.

We would go into the sweat lodge to settle conflicts, build teams, get inspiration, celebrate a birth or birthday, prepare for a marriage, strengthen commitments, purify, cleanse, dream, remember, honor, be grateful, grieve, pray, sing and chant. Some participants used mind-altering substances in small amounts before or during; I did not. Many would fast beforehand; it’s recommended not to go into a sweat lodge on a full stomach.

This photo, below, is of a sweat lodge that looks a lot like the ones we built.


image from and FMI: https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/sweat-lodge.htm

If you’ve never built, prepared and then been in a sweat lodge, it’s probably impossible to imagine how close relative strangers can get and the kind of bonding that occurs during such experiences: unmatched.

Story and his second wife, Ellika Lindén, a playwright, actor, director, and collaborator, created Circle Way and currently travel around the globe to raise awareness of earth-related preservation and community-building.


Medicine Story and Ellika Linden

Bill Whyte and Katie Schwerin

—Several other songleaders, ritual organizers and community activists lived at and were my friends from that era, including those who shared our first New Hampshire collective household with Story, Emmy and their first son. Katie Schwerin and Bill Whyte and Katie’s daughter joined our group to live in Sharon, NH, in 1978-79.

In addition to learning many songs and chants from each of them, I also credit them with showing me how to live collectively, since we shared a household for two more years after that in several SW NH locations. We were pregnant at the same time and had our two home births (Katie‘s second; Bill‘s first and my only) in one of those homes in 1979-80 in Stoddard, NH. Katie and Emmy, with Cindy Dunleavy, all lay midwives, then (Cindy still delivers babies), attended the homebirth of our son.

Katie, along with director an co-creator, Pamela Faith Lerman (also someone I met in 1978 at Another Place), with about eight other women and I were in a show in Peterborough, NH, in 1980 that included poetry, songs and dramatic scenes from many feminist artists and sources, a fundraiser for a women’s health center we were trying to start for the Monadnock region.

Katie and Bill also founded and, with two of their adult daughters, operate the family-friendly Badger Balm, a “B” (Benefit” Corporation, that “makes certified organic and all-natural body & skin care products including healing balms, natural sunscreens, skin moisturizers, muscle rubs, aromatherapy and other personal care products,” Bill Whyte and Katie Schwerin, who run the business with their award-winning two daughters, Emily Schwerin-Whyte and Rebecca Hamilton.


Badger Balm‘s 2016 founders, family and staff

Katie and Bill taught me a lot about organic food (gardening and cooking), herbal and natural healing, nutrition, raising children respectfully and living collectively, starting me on a life-long path in those areas, beginning in 1978. Bill also introduced me to creative visualization and “green” building via his company, Whyte Light Builders.

Additionally, Katie brought Waldorf education (Rudolf Steiner’s schools) and the Unitarian Universalist (UU) community into our family’s life. Because of her influence and connections, I was hired to accompany the Eurythmy movement program classes for one year, in 1987, at the newly created Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH, where we then lived. The following year, our son attended the Monadnock Waldorf School from 3rd – 8th grades (1988-1994). I took over the Director of Religious Education (DRE) position at the Keene UU Church in 1988 from her when Katie left on maternity leave and then to go back to school for her master’s in Waldorf education, where I stayed until 1990, when I decided to return school to get my master’s and doctorate in education myself.

FUN FACTS:
1) The Monadnock Waldorf School‘s Eurythmy teacher then is the mother of ER and The Good Wife star, actor, Julianna Margulies;
2) Before he became my Buddhist teacher, Wyn Fischel (Lama Drimed)’s first wife, Susan, was a Eurythmy teacher;
3) Before I met him, Wyn taught woodworking at the other nearest Waldorf school, Pine Hill, in Wilton, NH.
4) For several dramatic productions, both I and my then-partner, Christopher Briggs Ember, helped with music, blocking, directing, make-up and other aspects of the plays for Monadnock Waldorf School.

It is not an exaggeration to say that my entire adult life would have been different (and much smaller and less satisfying) had I not had the great good fortune to become involved with the Schwerin-Whyte family. I am so grateful to know them. We all had so much hope, optimism, energy, faith…

Mario Cossa

Katie is also a performer whose interest in drama brought me to my long-time collaboration with Mario Cossa, playwright, actor, performer, dancer, singer, lyricist, songwriter, director, choreographer, and nonprofit manager who became a counselor and then psychodramatist.

Mario Cossa is yet another person I met at Another Place in 1978 whose contact with me altered my life’s trajectory profoundly and for the better.

Because of and often with Mario, I was able to earn money through part-time and full-time work in areas I loved and have many amazing experiences, including:

  • working in several youth-serving nonprofits;
  • co-writing and -directing, performing in, narrating/facilitating audience-interactive performances for and touring with several plays and dozens of improvisational scenes (the play I wrote, Crystal Dreams, won a prize that featured a performance of it at a professional public theatre, the Portsmouth Theatre-By-The-Sea, in 1984);


    Cast of Crystal Dreams, 1984

  • learning to tap dance;
  • learning some A.S.L. (American Sign Language) and using it in a few plays;
  • learning to and performing as a clown;
  • becoming involved in Co-Counseling International (CCI);
  • meeting Caroline Myss, who became a close friend of mine for many years;
  • practicing and learning more about conflict resolution and mediation;
  • improving my storytelling and writing;
  • expanding my repertoire for improvisational acting;
  • learning about and leading prevention/mitigation and education groups on topics ranging from substance/alcohol abuse/use, pregnancy postponement, HIV/AIDs, suicide, teen homelessness/running away, Tourette’s Syndrome, learning and behavioral disorders to family systems conflicts;
  • co-leading groups for kids, youth & adults/families that utilized expressive arts;
  • participating in collaborations with other organizations and individuals;
  • becoming more familiar with and meeting/working with interns and faculty at Antioch/New England Graduate School who were part of the Dance Movement Therapy profession (which my daughter-in-law graduated from in 2016, over twenty-five years after my first exposure to it);
  • taking groups of students to see live musical theatre productions in Boston and New York City for several years (we saw Rent, Big, Miss Saigon, and a murder mystery audience-interactive play whose name I can’t remember);
  • conducting ethnographic research on gender and sexual orientation social identities that became the basis of my dissertation for my doctorate degree;
  • co-writing, editing and figuring out how to get our nonfiction book about improvisational scenework for educational groups published, in 1996 (my first traditional publishing credit): Acting Out: The Workbook–A Guide To The Development and Presentation of Issue-Oriented, Audience-Interactive, Improvisational Theatre
  • editing and assisting with other pieces and books Mario wrote which also were published in the 1990s and 2000s;


    Acting Out book cover

  • learning to write grants (to solicit funding from individual donations and family foundations for as low as $50 to multi-million/multi-agency federal proposals);
  • developing/designing and implementing program evaluations;
  • preparing and managing budgets; and,
  • working in outreach/marketing for nonprofits (something I did for many years for several other nonprofits).

Mario founded and runs Motivational Arts Unlimited, based in Bali, Indonesia, and travels around the globe doing psychodrama and sociodrama trainings, educational programs and certifications.


Mario Cossa, circa 2008

More in each about the impact, feelings, uses, singing spiritually

Holly Near

Ellen Fleischmann, my singer/songwriter, conductor/pianist middle sister, introduced me to Holly Near in 1978. THANK YOU, again!

I had told my sister that I was bored and needed music because I worked as a packer for a wholesaler/warehouse that packaged and shipped herbs, spices and essential oils to specialty and health food shops all around the USA, Attar, in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. I spent 30 hours each week NOT using my college degree in elementary education, having been burned by several jobs and needing a break. All day, I hefted huge barrels, bags and bottles and wrestled their contents into smaller containers/bags, boxed, labeled and prepared the boxes for shipping. I was usually there alone since it was a “mom-and-pop” shop and they had a young child. So, very under-stimulated, I craved music. Ellen sent me tapes from her dorm room at Brown University to play on my boom box.

—Oh, Holly! What a revelation it was to hear Holly Near‘s amazing voice, lyrics and energy pouring into my otherwise silent space. She also sent me tapes of James Taylor, Carole King and a few others, but it was Holly I kept coming back to and memorizing. “It Could Have Been Me,” from A Live Album, 1974, inspired by the government-sanctioned murders of college students at Kent State University in Ohio during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in 1970, made me cry, rage and want to continue to/return to ACT UP.

Her songs included sentiments about being bisexual and discovering her love for women for the first time in “Imagine my Surprise,” moved me because it spoke directly of my experiences. After my male partner and I had a child, her song “Started Out Fine,” made me laugh and cry. So many songs, so many inspirations, such great lyrics.

Holly‘s songs have supported and propelled movements, such as the “zipper” song (we can insert other lyrics in key places and keep singing): “We are a gentle, angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives,” which became the AIDS’ activists’ anthem and the LGBT-rights’ marching song. I also memorized and sang, often:

We will have peace;
we will because we must;
we must because we cherish life, and believe or not, as daring as it may seem, it is not an empty dream, to walk in a powerful path;
either the first nor the last, on the Great Peace March:
Life is a great and mighty march.
Forever, for love and tor life, on the Great Peace March.

from “The Great Peace March,” by Holly Near

I listened to Holly for several more albums/years, but never got to see her live. UNTIL I found out that my good friend, the dearly missed Jaye Alper (her death anniversary/Yahrzeit was this past Tuesday, 5/8/18; gone 6 years; I miss her all the time), had a connection. Her mother, Jackie Alper, had been an original member of the singing group, The Weavers, which had included Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman , and Pete Seeger (Jackie had left the group to stop touring when she became pregnant with Jaye and to help fight the HUAC (McCarthy-era “witch hunts”).


Jackie Alper, Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger,
the remaining Weavers, reunited, circa 1998.

Jackie had stayed active in the social justice/women’s music scene, having her own radio show (“Mostly Folk” on WRPI) for decades, helping start and run the Old Songs Festival (see below) in the Albany area, and staying friends with “Aunt” Ronnie, as Jaye knew her.

In the 1990s, Jaye contacted Ronnie, since Ronnie was performing, making albums and touring with Holly, and they were coming to the Boston area (where Jaye then lived). Jaye brought me backstage to meet them. I stood, starstruck, as Jaye and Ronnie hugged and talked. Holly was standing in the doorway, smiling at me and eating spaghetti, which she offered (I declined).

Holly Near, 1970


Holly Near, 2017

Holly started Redwood Records in 1972, “to produce and promote music by ‘politically conscious artists from around the world.'” She has included so many political activists/musicians on her albums, tours, and concert stages over the decades, many of which I was lucky enough to attend.

I learned a lot more about or heard for the first time the musicians affiliated with dozens of worthy causes around the world, their songs and political/social movements in the USA and elsewhere, that I never would have, otherwise, through Holly and her musical colleagues, including:
—the late Pete Seeger,
Arlo Guthrie,
—the late Mercedes Sosa,
Bernice Johnson Reagon (of Sweet Honey in the Rock),
Bonnie Raitt,
Jackson Browne
Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert and Pete Seeger performed as HARP to raise money for various causes,
Meg (Shambhavi) Christian,
Cris Williamson,
Linda Tillery,
Joan Baez,
—the late Phil Ochs,
Harry Belafonte,
Emma’s Revolution (which includes Pat Humphries), and
Inti-Illimani.

Beyond being a renowned and beloved singer songwriter, Holly is a former TV/film/Broadway star and ongoing political activist, still going strong at age 68. Holly Near has mentored dozens of others (see below) and continues to fill my life with inspiration and songs. THANK YOU!

In addition to introducing me directly to Holly Near, Jaye and Jackie Alper had invited me and my family to the Albany-area’s annual Old Songs Festival (officially, the Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music and Dance in Altamont, NY) where we got in free to help Jaye (as “Crystal,” the name she had gone by in the 1970s) sell iced tea and her famous baklava, chocolava and maplelava each June. The musicians there played music which has often been featured or discussed in Sing Out! magazine walked amongst and camped with us. We encountered, met, had lunches with and heard the late Utah Phillips, Sally Rogers, The Amidon Family, Arlo Guthrie, Pat Humphries, Cheryl Wheeler, John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin, and many more. Quite a scene, for a folk music lover like me!

Olivia Records

Beyond and including Holly Near, I met fans of “women’s music” through friends, lovers, colleagues and family members throughout the 1980s and 1990s, attending many concerts/performances and enjoying festivals outdoors when possible, which expanded my repertoire to include Margie Adam. “The Unicorn Song,” “We Shall Go Forth,” “We Are The Women We’ve Been Waiting For,” “Sweet Friend of Mine,’ and many excellent piano-accompanied songs became favorites I learned to sing and play on the piano (and lead in sing-alongs, sometimes).

After I moved to California in 2002, I went to many concerts and performances that featured Holly 9she lived about an hour from where I lived) and felt lucky to be able to see her perform and hear her speak so often. She was always on top of knowing what cause needed championing, available for fundraisers, awareness-raising shows and gatherings of all kinds. Holly always remembered me; in the smaller venues, she would smile and come over to say “hello” after her last encore. Before the spring of 2012 (when Jaye passed away), she had always asked about Jaye.

Both Jaye and Jackie had passed on before Pete Seeger (who left us in the winter of 2014), so I went to the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley to attend the tribute concert for Pete, which Ronnie, ill and using a cane, also performed in and which Holly was the emcee and main performer for; Holly and Ronnie had organized most of it. During intermission, Holly came over to me and we shared a few tears and a hug. What treasures these people are/were!

Cris Williamson, solo and with Meg Christian, Teresa Trull, Tret Fure, Barbara Higbie, Linda Tillery, Lucie Blue Tremblay, and many more great women musicians, brought me and my family the inspiring and beautiful, fun-to-sing songs from Cris‘ albums, The Changer and the Changed and the musical play, Lumiere, and other amazing songs, like “Waterfall,” “The Changer and The Changed,’ “The Rock Will Wear Away,” “Lullaby” (“Like a Ship in the Harbor”), and “Lean On Me (I Am Your Sister).”


Meg & Cris at Carnegie Hall, 1982, album cover

I learned so much about feminism, bisexuality, intersectionality, positive parenting, social activism, many types of love, community and collective efforts from these wonderful musicians.

—The talented brothers, the late Happy Traum and the late Artie Traum were some of the musicians I met when I worked at Camp Med-O-Lark in Washington, Maine, in the early 1980s, because of my enduring friendship with yet again a contact from Another Place from 1978, Zea Moore. In addition to getting me and my then-partner two wonderful summers with jobs at this camp (because her then-partner, Neal Goldberg, owned and directed it), Zea introduced me to Wiccan & Goddess Chants, Libana, and so much more of the newly emerging women’s spirituality music and rituals.

Civil Rights, Environmental/Social Activist Musicians & Storytellers

Thanks to these live music venues, without whom I would not have heard most of these singers live: The Folkway (Peterborough, NH), The Iron Horse (Northampton, MA), The Colonial Theatre and the Keene State College’s 1990s Coffeehouse (Keene, NH), The Common Ground (Brattleboro, VT), Temple Mountain Ski Area (Temple, NH, outdoor concerts in the not-snowy weather), Passim Coffeehouse (Cambridge, MA), Brighton Music Hall (Brighton, MA), The Freight & Salvage (Berkeley, CA), ACTING OUT’s 1990s coffeehouse series (Keene, NH), and many more.

PLUS, radio stations that play and support “Americana,” “Women’s Music,” “Folk Music,” and many other overlapping genres that play music to inspire and activate us all. Here are some: KPFA (“Across the Great Divide” and “American’s Back 40” are my favorites, there); KRCB (used to have many shows; now, not so many); other NPR affiliates, everywhere; KDHX; WRSI; college/university radio stations also often have shows/D.J.s that feature great music like this. Check our your local or online options.

SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC!
—If you haven’t heard Christine Lavin‘s story songs, parodies and other political music, please give her a listen!
Please also go find and listen to the songs of any of the amazing individual singer/songwriters/activitists who also sometimes play as the group that includes Lavin, 4 Bitchin’ Babes:


4 Bitchin’ Babes (Christine Lavin, Sally Fingerett, Megon McDonough, Julie Gold), 1993

Patty Larkin (“Not Bad for a Broad,” “Metal Drums”)
Megon McDonough (“Amazing Things,” “Wake Up And Dream”)
Sally Fingerett (“Home is Where the Heart Is,” “Here’s to the Women”)
Julie Gold (“From a Distance,” “America,” “The New World,” “Love is Love is Love,” “Goodnight, New York/Ellis Island”)
and others have comprised this fun, talented quartet.

Also, these musicians/singers/songwriters are great to find/remember:
Nanci Griffith (“Cold Hearts/Closed Minds,” “If These Old Walls Could Speak”),
Fred Small (who began his career as a lawyer and later became a Unitarian Universalist minister and climate change activist/leader; “Peace Is,” “Only Love,” “No More Vietnams,” “The Peace Dragon”),
Judy Small (unrelated to Fred, and a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia who was previously an Australian entertainer, folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Known for her feminist, often patriotic, and political songs, usually following a traditional theme, she produced twelve albums) (“You Don’t Speak for Me,” “How Many Times?” “Montreal, December ’89 (What is it about men?”),
—the late Rosalie Sorrels (“I am a Union Woman,” “Always a Lady,” “The Baby Rocking Medley”),
—the late Stan Rogers (“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” “The Mary Ellen Carter”),
RosenShontz, Bill Shontz and the late Gary Rosen (“Hugga Hugga,” “Share It!”)
Betsy Rose (“I Can’t Imagine Life Without … (Popcorn),” “For the Mothers,” “Welcome to the Circle,” and who shares others’ songs, such as, “Return Again,” “Sending You the Light”),
—the late Malvina Reynolds (“Little Boxes,” “It Isn’t Nice,” “Turn Around,” “What Have They Done to the Rain?” “Magic Penny”),
—the late Peggy Seeger (half-sister to Pete, full sister to Mike) (“I Want to be an Engineer”),
—the late Dave van Ronk,”The Mayor of MacDougal Street,” who re-arranged and covered many “traditional” and others’ songs so well,
Gould and Stearns (Stephen Stearns and Peter Gould),
Ani DiFranco, founder/owner of Righteous Babe record label, a la Redwood Records and Oliva Records,
Ruth Pelham, founder of “The Music Mobile,” which “brought singalongs, simple musical instrument construction, merriment and a message of hope to generations of youths at inner-city parks” in the Albany area for 39 years (“Look to the People,” “The Turning of the World,” “Under One Sky”),
Bill Staines (“The Roseville Fair,” “A Place in the Choir,” “Child of Mine,” “River”),
David Mallett (“The Garden Song,” “Open Doors and Windows,” Parallel Lives”),
The Roches–Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy Roche (“Dear Mr. Sellack,” “Another World”),
Eric Bogle (“The Band Played ‘Waltzing Matilda,'” “No Man’s Land/The Green Fields of France”),
Cosy Sheridan (“Quietly Led,” “The Losing Game,” “Sharp Objects”)
Catie Curtis (“People Look Around,” “Truth from Lies”),
Dar Williams (“When I Was A Boy,” “The Christians and the Pagans”),
Lucy Kaplansky (“This Morning I am Born Again,” “Reunion”),
Susan Werner (“Sunday Morning,” “Help Somebody,” “Heaven So Small,” “Did Trouble Me”),
Cry Cry Cry, = Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, with many others accompanying/doing back-up vocals (“Arrowhead,” “Ascent” — Shindell; “I Know What Kind of Love This Is,” “Fall on Me”—Cry Cry Cry),
Molly Scott—not the politician! (“Centering Home,” “We Are All One Planet”),
Si Kahn (“Gone, Gonna Rise Again,” “Aragon Mill”),
Sarah Pirtle (“Earth, My Body” and more, here: http://sarahpirtle.com/hope-sings/index.htm)
Susan Osborne, Paul Winter, David Darling and the rest of the Paul Winter Consort,


image of Paul Winter Consort band, circa 1978, from http://www.paulwinter.com/the-consort/

and many others previously mentioned in this post or which you find while wandering around YouTube and the internet listening to these. These singers/musicians share songs that are inspiring, moving, intelligent, funny, thought-provoking and insightful as well as musically very fine.

—There are many ministers, singers and song leaders I met through the Unitarian Universalist (UU/UUA) Association’s events and fellowships/churches, starting with Rev. Rick Paine (co-founder of Spring Hill and co-creator of the Opening the Heart workshops, with Robert Gass, Judith Epstein and others) and Rev. Sydney Amara Morris (co-founder of Another Place, with Bill Whyte and Mark Sarkady). Later, I met and sang with Nick Page (who doesn’t love to sing “More Love”?), and so many others. In 2011, the UUA published a great compilation of their music, 50 YEARS OF UU MUSIC, available here: https://www.uua.org/ga/past/2011/worship/185029.shtml , which features “Let It Be a Dance”). Also, check here: https://www.uua.org/worship/music and here: http://www.recessionals.org/ and here: https://www.uua.org/worship/music/hymnals

—Have to mention the great storyteller, singer, performer, Jay O’Callahan, since his stories and songs kept us happy on long car trips across the country in the 1980s, and we got to see him perform live in Boston during that time.

A Cappella Women’s and Other Choruses Respecting Socially Conscious Diversity

—I sang with and joined several choirs that are part of the Threshold Choirs as founded and formatted by Kate Munger,who led two groups I was part of in California in the mid 2000s. If you know someone ill, dying, or giving birth, that is the time these singers will come when asked (if there is a choir near you): A Capella singing at its best.

—The A Cappella singing of the singers of Sweet Honey in the Rock inspired many women to start community women’s choruses, and I was lucky enough to belong to two: the /Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, founded and conducted by Becky Graber, and Keene, NH’s Animaterra Women’s Chorus, founded and conducted by Allison Aldrich Smith (but now also conducted by Becky since 2016, after Allison moved to Maine), in the 1990s.

I miss those groups a lot and have never found any like them since then that met close enough to other places I have lived. If you are looking for a women’s chorus like these, check out this site and see if you get fortunate enough to live near one!

The Sister Singers Network is an international, “cooperative web of feminist choruses and ensembles, composers, arrangers, and individual singers working together to support and enrich the women’s choral movement.”
http://www.sistersingers.net/index.shtml#.WvNEeKQvypo

The Threshold Choirs (see above) are a part of this network, but have a specific mission.

[NOTE: I found and temporarily joined Charis: The St. Louis Women’s Chorus here in St. Louis, MO, and it is all females (except for the conductor, which I found odd), but the style, the music, the format, the ambiance weren’t at all like the A Cappella choirs in New England that I’d loved, so I dropped out after a few months. Not for me. Many love it, though, so if you’re local, you should try it out!]


As I said at the beginning of this post, this is what I meant when I said that attending and listening to Roy Zimmerman‘s lyrics and being at that performance was somewhat sad, bittersweet, in this horribly disappointing, discouraging, horrifying period in our lives.

Our generation, and specifically, some of the people I knew and admired enough to mention in this and other posts, HAVE accomplished a lot. However, so much of what we fought for and won is threatened, unraveling, already destroyed beyond repair: it’s happening RIGHT NOW.

What else can do besides sing, listen to and make music? VOTE! ORGANIZE! MARCH! OBJECT! RESIST! Please?

I end with this, one of my favorites, written by Sally Rogers, who also gives us “What Can One Little Person Do?” “In the Name of All of Our Children,” and so many more great songs,

“Love Will Guide Us”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xWMnf9SYjo or

#TEDGlobal2017 line-up, here

On August 27, 2017, an extraordinary group of people gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, for TEDGlobal 2017, a four-day TED Conference for “those with a genuine interest in the betterment of the continent,” said curator Emeka Okafor. As Okafor put it: “Africa has an opportunity to reframe the future of work, cultural production, entrepreneurship, agribusiness. We…

via Sneak preview lineup unveiled for Africa’s next TED Conference — TED Blog

Sexual Predators or Impatient Young Adults?: What to do with Adults who Date Teens?

Sexual Predators or Impatient Young Adults?: What to do with Adults who Date Teens?

And, what to do with “violators” when mores, laws, policies, attitudes and values change but behaviors are slower to “catch up”? How do we judge others when the context changes before the people do? What we have here is a conflict between Absolute and Relative Values, right?


from http://slideplayer.com/slide/1647742/

I ask for myself (see below), many men and some women caught up in the #MeToo explosion of accusations and reports, and a former student of mine (see below).

I welcome your considered opinions, but PLEASE don’t waste my time (and I will delete your comments) with diatribes or accusations of your own. I also am NOT inviting your stories of being victimized or being a perpetrator/violator. I am ONLY accepting and asking for actual suggestions on ways to handle these difficult categories of behavior during tough transitions in cultural norms.

Sexism/double-standards, ageism, and changing standards of what is legal and what is proper all enter into these stories.

Trying to decriminalize teen sexual activity is one thing; protecting teens from “adults” who prey upon teens who are only a few years older than they are is another. How much of an age difference is “too much,” and when does that change? Can one partner be 20 and the other 30? What about 23 and 53? What about 14 and 34? 60 and 30?

Does the gender of either partner matter? Why or why not?

Isn’t the policing of teens’ sexual activity mostly about prevention of teen pregnancy, which is really about policing teen GIRLS?

What about international age of consent differences? Regional USA age of consent differences?

Are people that different in maturity or their ability to give consent or “deserve” to be prosecuted merely by living in another location?

You see some of these thorny issues?


When I was teaching adults in the Brattleboro, Vermont, Corrections education program for parolees and probationers during the 1990s, I encountered a student whose crimes were difficult to understand. At first, I was disgusted, having only heard that he had been convicted and was now on parole for “L & L with a minor,” which means he had been caught having some kind of sex (Lewd and Lascivious behavior) but not intercourse (so not “statutory rape”), with an underage (at that time, under 16) girl in his rural area. When I met “Jack,” he was almost 40. I learned that he had committed this “crime” at age 34, when his girlfriend/fiance was 14. Sounds shocking, right?

So, I asked him, in the third or fourth class, once we had established a kind of rapport, what had happened? This is his story (paraphrased).

Jack lived in an area of Vermont that his family and neighbors had inhabited for many decades, perhaps over 150 years. According to tradition, males in that area dated and married “late,” which meant that boys and girls hung out in groups and went to dances or parties until well over 25-30 years old, with teens and peers in their 20s and 30s all mixing together at these events. Eventually, each male was expected to find a girl (yes, GIRL) of about 13 – 16 to get engaged to and marry, usually by the age of 35.

Generation after generation, this “May-December” arrangement had been their way. All were fine with it, supposedly, until the laws changed around them and no one had told Jack. Doing what everyone around him and before him had “always done” now landed him in jail for “L & L with a minor.”

What had he actually done? He said they had “made-out in my pick-up truck after every party and dance,” since they were engaged and that was what everyone did. No one who respected their ways and their partners went “all the way” until after the wedding. Jack and his teen sweetie had been adhering to that restriction with great discipline and pride, but a jealous girl who wanted Jack for her own AND who had paid attention to the changing laws had called the police and gotten him caught, arrested, jailed. Jack’s parents, his girlfriend’s parents and community members were outraged and spoke on his behalf, but “the law was the law” and that was that. He spent five years (!?!) in jail/prison, and had just gotten out when I first met him.

Jack’s story appalled and saddened me, and made me rethink my own prejudices and biases a lot. This all also had reminded me of one of my own stories, which was not all that different, in many ways, but had taken a very different turn, decades later.


When I was almost 24, I met an almost-16-year-old boy who was the son of a neighbor. Said neighbor, about 38 herself, was a long-time friend of the man I was newly dating/living with, who was then almost 34.

If you do the math, here, you’ll see that there was more of an age difference between me and MY partner (10 years) than there was between me and this teen boy (8 years), whom I’ll call “Alan.” If we had waited to be sexual 2 more years, no one would have looked twice at us, particularly if I had been the male and Alan had been the female.

My primary partner and I had agreed to have an “open” relationship (it was 1978) with regular communication and many opportunities to be with others that we optioned (temporarily, usually) while together as “primaries.” This agreement predated my meeting Alan by many months, but meant my considering having other sexual partners was not unusual at that time.

I lived near Alan for about 6 months; for the last three months or so, he periodically came on to me, begging me to have sex with him. At first, I had laughed; I told him “no” many times. As a middle-school teacher in the years prior to that, I told him, I had students his age. It felt too weird, I told him, and I just couldn’t manage to feel good about our age gap. He kept point to me and my primary and calling me a hypocrite, and I couldn’t totally disagree with that assessment.

As we continued to spend time together: we hung out, smoked pot (his), attended neighborhood birthday parties and other events with others and became friends, of a sort: we talked, sharing books we had read; I let him use my 1967 VW Bug to learn to drive a stick shift for his driver’s license; we took beach walks.

In early August, after Alan’s repeated requests for sex for weeks and our having gotten to know each other better, I relented. I told him that we could make out a little but nothing further. Plus, we could only do that after he turned 16 and I turned 24 (later that month).

I reminded him that my partner and I were moving out of state in September or October. He told me that was fine with him, since he was going to go to an elite boarding school that fall for his junior and senior years, also out of state. It all felt very casual and short-term to us both, I thought.

With a sense of “summer romance” cast over our time together and an impending separation, after both of our birthdays we had a few “make-out” sessions, but never intercourse, as agreed. Our sexual encounters were brief, seemingly fun, and mostly involved smoking pot (again, his) and talking.

That fall, we parted ways for our northerly moves.

Turned out that his boarding school was only a thirty minutes’ drive from where we moved, so we got in touch later that fall. I visited him once at his new campus. I saw his dorm room, took him off campus for dinner (a rare treat for a boarder and much-appreciated), brought him back. No sex nor a hint of it, just friendship.

My partner and I moved further north soon after that. Alan and I drifted apart, as people at different stages in their lives do. My partner and I intentionally became parents about a year later and moved in with several others to live in community for many years. I assumed Alan had graduated high school, had gone on to college and had had his own life. I was correct: my partner had kept in touch with Alan’s mother over the years and would update me.

A few years ago, when we were both in our 50s, I received a PR notice about a film and a book she thought I’d like, by another friend who didn’t know I had known Alan. Alan had become somewhat famous: he had written/published one book, and a documentary of his book and life had been produced. The film was available online, so I then watched it. After viewing it and reading some reviews of his book, I visited his website. I got his email address from that and wrote to congratulate him.

To my shock, I received an angry email from Alan. He claimed in his message that I had “sexually abused” him when he had been 14. He said that it had taken him “years to get over it.” He was indignant that I would “get back in touch as if everything were fine between us.” He said that I “should have been arrested.” He demanded that I never contact him again.

I was flabbergasted.

I reviewed my memories and considered how to respond. Then, I emailed Alan back. I told him that I was very sorry that he felt that way and that he was so upset with me, but that he had gotten the facts wrong.

I then informed him/reminded him of these facts:
—First, I hadn’t even known Alan when he had been 14. I had met him in the winter of 1978, when he had been 15 1/2. I had only lived near him for those 6 months, until just after his 16th birthday.
—Second, while I realized that many laws and attitudes had changed since 1978, at that time it had not been all that unusual and had certainly not been illegal or abusive for us to have had sexual contact.
—Third, we had been a part of a larger community that had multigenerational skinny dipping, nude-optional Finnish-style saunas and pot lucks afterwards, and many other events that put teens and young adults together socially.
—Next, he had pursued me.
—Finally, even though he had not been “the adult,” I had not been that much older than he had been at that time and I certainly did not prey upon him (or anyone else).

I also admitted that perhaps I had not used the best judgment in agreeing to be sexual with him a few times, but he had been persistent and I, too, was a survivor of sexual abuse and didn’t have a lot of clarity at that age. I apologized, again, for any pain I may have caused him.

I sympathized, I told him, because of my own history, and I had no doubt that something abusive and inappropriate must have happened to him when had been 14 or even younger, but that the perpetrator was not I. Somehow, he had conflated the two situations and people.

I ended by honoring his wishes: I agreed not to contact him further and I wished him well.

He wrote back that I was forbidden ever to contact him again, but he did not respond directly to my corrections or apologies.

I have not contacted him since then (this was about five years ago).

Having remembered and had extensive therapy for all the sexual attacks, harassment, assaults and other problems I have actually endured/suffered in my life, I now wonder: What should I have done differently when Alan emailed me those accusations? Should I have merely apologized and slunk away? Was it wrong or irrelevant for me to have corrected his “facts”?

Can someone retroactively be considered a sexual predator or to have broken a law that did not yet exist when the actions occurred?

What about intentionality? Mutuality?

Some say an older teen (15-17 years old) cannot “give consent” because only adults (18+ years old) can give informed consent. BUT many states allow older teens to have adult privileges: teens ages 14 – 17 can (or could, until recently) get married (some without parental/guardian permission), leave high school, attend college, become legally emancipated and otherwise function as adults.

As someone who knows how sexual abuse and memories can become distorted in one’s mind over time, I do believe that Alan had been abused by someone when he was around 14 (or, perhaps, even younger). I am sad for him, but I do not feel guilty about what we did nor did I cause him that trauma.

I feel some regret. I especially felt remorse once I knew (decades later) that he probably had pursued having sex with me because of his having been abused two years or more prior to having known me; confusion and sexual acting out occur a lot in abuse survivors.

But, I did not feel at the time nor do I feel now that I was a “sexual predator” who “abused” Alan at age 16 when I was 24. I also do not think Jack should have been jailed for having sex with his fiance when he was 34 and she was 14, but that age difference is a harder one to accept, still.


What do we do, how do we talk to and treat, these men and women accused in #MeToo? Some of these “perpetrators” are of a different generation, familial or corporate culture, one in which those behaviors, attitudes, values and choices used to fit but do not now find acceptance into current cultural norms. Some of them are even guilty now of breaking laws, but some of those behaviors were “de rigueur” for dozens of years prior to that.

I am NOT excusing rape, child sexual exploitation and/or sexual assault, drugging or forcing a sexual partner (especially one who can’t fight back, is unconscious, is intoxicated). I reject anyone’s engaging in coercing, threatening or exhibitionism that constitutes uninvited and unwelcomed sexual activity, regardless of anyone’s cultural norms. I also do not accept cat-calls, lewd gestures or other sexual “claims” or threats, especially when perpetrated on strangers or one’s students, step-children or employees.

But, what about the “grey areas” of confusion, getting caught in between major changes, meaning no harm but now being found guilty of harm?

What do you think?

Comments appreciated. https://wp.me/p2bP0n-24E or http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Let’s #Swear & #Curse without Demeaning Females, Gays/Lesbians/Transgenders, Sexual Body Parts or Acts, Bodily Functions

Let’s #Swear & #Curse without Demeaning Females, Gays/Lesbians/Transgenders, Sexual Body Parts or Acts, Bodily Functions

from RealLife English

I am very tired of hearing/reading the same old curses and swears which demean, degrade, insult and brutalize females, GLBTs and human body parts, functions or sex acts.

Can’t we please be more creative AND less hurtful to particular groups of people?

I have loosely grouped these by the intentions or origins of their degradation. Any I forgot? Please feel free to add to this list, in the comments (https://wp.me/p2bP0n-24n).

I hereby declare a moratorium on the following words and phrases (when used expletives or insults), and their abbreviations, translations or close cousins.

PLEASE STOP USING THESE AS SWEAR WORDS:

motherfucker, mofo, MF, mother
fuck (in all its forms)
fuck-all
fuck-face
pussy, puss
wuss, wussie
cunt
cunt-licker
cunny
muff-muncher
muff
beaver
beaver-eater
twat
whore, ho
douche
douchebag

ass
ass-hat
ass-face
asshole, A-hole
ass-fucker
ass-licker
reamer
butt
butthole
butt-face
butt-fucker
dick
dick-head
dick-face
dick-wad
cock-sucker
schmuck
putz
schlong-face
pecker
pecker-head
pisher
bugger, buggered
bugger-all

fucker
fuck-head
fuck-wad
fuck-face

jerk
jerk-off

girly, girl, girls
bitch (as a noun), bitchy, bitch-face
slut
girly-man
wimp
gelding (not referring to a horse)
sister
washboard (when referring to small-breasted females)


And, I want us to stop using insults such as these, which demean based on physical limitations:
dummy, dumbo
four-eyes
crip
gimp


I hereby am setting up a challenge:
Let’s come up with NEW ways to curse and swear that actually utilize disgusting traits, behaviors, and values/attitudes of those truly despicable. I’ll start.

Add “damn,” “damned,” “stinking,” “disgusting,” “awful,” “selfish,” etc., to any or all of the following, and combine them any way that feels appropriate:

hypocrite
liar
fraud
fake, faker
pretender
con
thief
cheater
abuser
molester
harasser
rapist
shooter
murderer
killer
creep
crook
criminal



from CollegeHumor

What do you think about the insults that focus on low intelligence or limited functionality? I have negative feelings about these terms, when used to degrade,and mostly do not use these, either:

imbecile
idiot
moron
dope (as an insult, not drugs)
stupid
retard
fuck-tard


Also, feel free to use religion-based swears, if you’re all right with those and no one around you is offended. Do check.

I may also be able to tolerate insults that revolve around bowel movements and their consequences, although I do object to vilifying bodily functions. However, what about:

shit, shitty
shit-head
shit-balls
shit-face (but, with a “d,” it usually means very drunk)
bullshit
bull
fart
fart-face
blow-hard
gas-bag
crap, crappy, crapper


from https://www.slideshare.net/ilmseekers/bad-words


Please feel free to comment here: https://wp.me/p2bP0n-24n or visit: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

#Sexual Coercion/Force vs. Sexual/Peer Pressure: #Assault or Regret?

#Sexual Coercion/Force vs. Sexual/Peer Pressure: #Assault or Regret?

With all the reports pinging us daily—almost hourly—from women and men who report having been sexually assaulted, intimidated, forced/coerced, raped, tormented and otherwise abused by those in power, and with my own personal and professional experiences to add to #metoo, I am a great proponent of #timesup and have posted about my excitement about this cultural change before this.

LINKS HERE to previous posts:
#metoo AND #justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen from October, 2017
https://sallyember.com/2017/10/16/justyournumber-and-wherewhatwhowhen/
and
REPOSTING: TEN Ways to Encourage #Victims of Any Age to #Report #Sexual and Other #Abuse, from December, 2017, and 2014 (original post)
https://sallyember.com/2017/12/07/ten-ways-to-encourage-victims-of-any-age-to-report-sexual-and-other-abuse/

HOWEVER, there are some cases in which an adult was NOT forced, not raped, not assaulted, but somehow felt pressured during or regret/remorse after a sexual encounter. Unfortunately, this person had apparently not verbally or physically clearly communicated to said partner their desire for the sexual activity to stop.

Those types of experiences are unpleasant for the person who felt less-than-good after the sexual encounter. However, these occurrences are NOT criminal or ethical violations of any kind and MUST NOT BE REPORTED as such.

I can’t emphasize enough how sympathetic and compassionate I am and hope others are for those who feel regret after having a sexual encounter. I certainly have had experiences like that, myself. BUT, it is unfair, illegal and inappropriate to blame, accuse or report to legal authorities that an incident was a sexual assault when it was not.

—Yes, we can, as adults (especially when younger, less powerful, beholden to the partner), feel intimidated and enter into sexual activity against our own preferences or better judgment.
—Yes, we, as adults, can and do feel or have been silenced by our own conditioning, wishes, emotions, family or trauma histories, into “going along” with someone else’s sexual lead.
—Yes, we, as adults, may frequently feel helpless, overwhelmed, unable to say “no” to sexual activity, particularly when we have been ambivalent about being sexual at that time with that person.
—We may repeatedly have gotten ourselves into sexual situations that we then regret but we were unwilling to leave or say “stop.”

BUT, the above situations (and their aftermaths) ARE NOT OUR PARTNERS’ FAULTS.

Who is responsible for the way we feel after being sexual with someone?

Ask yourself:

  • Was I clear?
  • Was I audible?
  • Was I putting into action what I said after I said “NO”? That is, did I leave, call for help, fight, yell? Unless we are being threatened with harm, these follow-ups are always options that should be utilized to enforce a “no” statement.
  • Was any force involved?
  • Was I threatened in any way?
  • Does this person have power over me, my job, my grade, my status, and therefore, made me feel forced to comply?

We can see which of these puts the responsibility onto us and which onto the other person. It should be obvious which are actually assault and which are not.

Here are some ways NOT to say “NO”: behaviors and statements that do not communicate “NO” clearly: and should not, by themselves, be expected to get our partners to stop or to know that we want to stop sexual contact or activity.

  1. Saying: “I’m pretty tired…” or “I’ve got to go…” and nothing else, then NOT LEAVING.
  2. Pushing our partners away but not getting up to leave when we physically can.
  3. Saying: “I don’t really want to…” but not getting up to leave when we physically can and not saying “NO, I don’t want to do that!” forcefully and clearly.
  4. Laughing when we say “Stop!” or “No!” or “Come on!” and only half-heartedly protesting (spaghetti-arms pushing instead of iron-arms pushing and punching, when necessary)—THESE are what make people think “NO” doesn’t mean “NO.”
  5. Crying but not saying anything, even when asked “Why are you crying?” Some people cry during orgasm, cry when in love and/or happy, cry when frustrated or otherwise upset but not objecting to sex. Clarify verbally and clearly WHY we are upset.
  6. Moving things along: Helping our partners take off our own or taking off our partner’s clothes, putting our partner’s hands on our body, kissing our partners and acting as if we like having sexual contact. These do NOT communicate “NO,” regardless of how little we actually enjoy(ed) the sexual contact.
  7. Telling our partners “I’m scared,” but not saying “I want to STOP… [sexual activity] RIGHT NOW!”
  8. Pretending we’re (or actually)
    —a) having our periods
    —b) saying that we are not feeling well
    —c) indicating that we have to leave early
    —d) showing that we have to take this call, etc.

    Any of these COULD stop sex, but may not, especially when we are NOT LEAVING when we physically can and have not said “NO” or “STOP!”

When we have not been clear with our partners, we cannot blame our partners for our dissatisfaction, unhappiness, regret or anger afterwards.


from http://whisper.sh/whisper/0519fe273aee4c114380778ad9cb73d2849864/Sexual-regret-is-not-rape-Anyone-that-makes-that-claim-should-be-prose

We HAVE TO communicate clearly and verbally when we do not want to be sexual at a particular time. Even once sex starts or even if we have had sex with this person before, we have every right to stop sexual activity, any time, anywhere. BUT, there is no way for our partner to be certain that they should stop if we do not SAY “STOP.”

I am very disturbed by this dilemma. I have heard reports from people I love, admire, respect and trust (and I do not trust many people, believe me!) who have told me that they have been falsely accused of sexual misconduct. I BELIEVE THEM (even though my first instinct is to believe those who claim to have been mistreated) because they tell me there was no communication that let them know that their partner was unhappy or wanted to stop the sexual encounter at the time.

We are complicated beings. We often have “buyer’s remorse” or we feel “morning after” regret after we have been sexual with someone. However, FEELINGS are not FACTS. Just because you felt pressured does not mean that you were forced.

Once we have our clearer-sighted review of our actions and the accompanying feelings, we could feel terribly sad or bad about having been sexual with that person. BUT, these feelings do not become actual reasons for us to accuse our sexual partners—quite unfairly and illegally—of having assaulted us. WE HAVE TO STOP DOING THAT.

Everyone who abdicates our own responsibility and falsely accuses someone of sexual assault puts all legitimate reports of sexual assault at risk of being disbelieved.


from http://whisper.sh/whisper/04f9efff45ae1599221816c2357ed4ad95bef/Were-you-forced-into-sexsexual-acts–Then-yesDo-you-regret-sleeping

If we decide to be sexual with someone and later regret it, or, even in the moment, feel ambivalent but continue, anyway, we have no one to blame but yourselves. We need to get some therapy, some personal support, not an attorney.

FREE ADVICE:

GET CONSENT! If the person you are wanting to be sexual with is a minor (not a legal adult), or is not in their right mind, or is passed out or asleep or otherwise unable to give consent, DO NOT HAVE SEX. Simple.

Stop being sexual if you are drunk, on drugs, too tired or somehow unable to advocate for yourself.

Be celibate until you can be responsible. THAT is a decision you will not regret.

#GoldenGlobes’ best #MeToo and #TimesUp Moments

#GoldenGlobes‘ best #MeToo and #TimesUp Moments

Maybe you, like me, don’t care at all about the awards shows and find them boring and ridiculous. BUT, this year’s Golden Globes Awards show had some great moments. IMO, #Oprah‘s speech was the BEST!

Someone put these speeches all together so you can watch just those and save yourself the time of fast-forwarding through the entire show to find these gems (which I already did):

https://soundbooks.org/2018/01/08/metoo-moment-leads-at-the-golden-globes/

and, another highlight reel: https://soundbooks.org/2018/01/08/2018-golden-globes-video-highlights-seth-meyers-monologue-oprahs-lifetime-achievement-speech-more/

2 personal and 3 national/global feasible #goals and some optimistic personal and national/global goals to reach by 1/1/18 or during 2018

2 personal and 3 national/global feasible #goals and some optimistic personal and national/global goals to reach by 1/1/18 or during 2018

My two personal #feasiblegoals to reach by 1/1/18:
ART: to have completed 365 #coloring pages for 2017 (I am at 354 for 12/16/17; began 1/1/17);
HEALTH: to have attained a body weight of and remain in “onederland” (I am 2 pounds away from that goal, 12/15/17), which represents a weight loss of at least 50# since April, 2017.


Prediction of environmental trends. Scenarios. Goals.
SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time.
Resources. Feasible but stretching.
Actions. Specific, clear, integrated, fit with goals.
Changes: flexible and creative.


from FOUNDATION OF PLANNING, by Shannon Cain, http://slideplayer.com/slide/5299846/

National/Global #feasiblegoals for 2018:
— for the USA Congress to defeat the outrageous “tax cut” bill
— for the USA Congress repeal/outvote the ridiculous, greedy FCC vote so that we can maintain Net Neutrality
— for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to have definitely demonstrated the complicity/treason and guilt of Trump and his sons, Kushner, and VP Pence, signing their subpoenas and guaranteeing their removals, paving the way for a special election in 2018

National/Global #optimisticgoals for 2018:


from davidjrogersftw

world peace/ending/preventing all wars and violent military actions, especially those with USA involvement
— an end to hunger and poverty around the world
— talks about a guaranteed personal annual income to have started in the USA
— cancellation of all student college debt and removal of all those who hold and offer such predatory loans
national healthcare with no limitations and no cost to/for all
— for the USA to implement compassionate addiction programs including the decriminalizing and release from incarceration for all drug and alcohol violations/violators that do/did not involve other crimes (like in Portugal), and more adequate social support and counseling provided, free


from A Green Road Journal, http://www.agreenroadjournal.com/2013/09/drug-laws-in-portugal-more-progressive.html

STOP all sexual harassers/assaulters (make sure they are all revealed, removed, incarcerated, stopped)
— all men removed from leadership/authority positions for sexual misconduct to be replaced by competent women (when possible) and non-offending men (when necessary)
housing for all, such as tiny homes, apartments, platform tents and other appropriate housing provided free to all those without secure housing around the world


from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/tiny-homes-madison-wiscon_n_6171634.html

freeing of all innocent and unfairly incarcerated individuals, and financial compensation provided to them for all time imprisoned and for losses (of family, jobs, reputation and mental/physical health)
STOP GREED: removal of all tax shelters, foreign bank accounts and other hoarding locations (extra housing, yachts, cars, jewelry) from all who gained their wealth illegally and immorally; release of these ill-gotten gains to pay for many of the above
— release of all “illegal” immigrants from incarceration, no more criminalizing immigration/immigrants. Granting immediate citizenship to all who seek it, unless they are known to be criminals; OPEN THE BORDERS
clean and accessible water and sufficient, healthy food for all those around the world

My personal #optimisticgoals:
WRITING: finish writing and acquire funds to cover the costs of the cover for Volume IV and make a lot of progress with Volume V of The Spanners Series

LIFE: make some more friends/have more of a social life
— do at least one 2-week Buddhist meditation retreat
earn more money! get a PT job and/or find another way to earn more money regularly, within “right livelihood” principles. Could be from editing/proofreading, selling my sci-fi books, writing coaching/tutoring, working at a nonprofit organization, teaching


from Tention Free


If you’d like to help support the attaining of my personal Goals:
please check out my PayPal donation button on my website, http://www.sallyember.com (look right);
or,
go to my Patreon #crowdfunding page: http://www.patreon.com/sallyember Some donations earn “rewards,” which are explained on my Patreon pages.


Your goals? Please comment! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017: Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017:
Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

Thanks to these scientists, researchers, activists and one writer, we can now enjoy advances and new inventions very soon in a variety of areas.
—With the “dumbing down” of the USA and many other places due to climate science-deniers, creationists and other cretins, we are indeed fortunate that scientific advancements are still being honored, supported and achieved around the world.
—Living in our current dystopian reality, we desperately need creative writers to help us understand where we went wrong and how to improve things before it’s too late.

This year, unfortunately, the winners were all men (big surprise, there) and one group. Check out their accomplishments!

2017 Nobel Prize Winners

  • Literature
    Kazuo Ishiguro: “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”

    Kazuo Ishiguro

    Kazuo Ishiguro is probably best known to USA citizens because he wrote the book, The Remains of the Day, which was turned into an award-winning movie (starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson) in the early 1990s. He refers to this process of creating Hopkins’ character and much more here, when he delivered his Nobel Lecture, “My Twentieth Century Evening – and Other Small Breakthroughs,” on 12/7/17 at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm. Watch/listen to it here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture.html
    Or, read it, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture_en.html

    My favorite parts:

    I could suddenly see an exciting, freer way of composing my second novel; one that could produce richness on the page and offer inner movements impossible to capture on any screen. If I could go from one passage to the next according to the narrator’s thought associations and drifting memories, I could compose in something like the way an abstract painter might choose to place shapes and colours around a canvas. I could place a scene from two days ago right beside one from twenty years earlier, and ask the reader to ponder the relationship between the two. In such a way, I began to think, I might suggest the many layers of self-deception and denial that shrouded any person’s view of their own self and of their past.

    and, I can relate to this next part very strongly, myself:

    I should say here that I have, on a number of other occasions, learned crucial lessons from the voices of singers. I refer here less to the lyrics being sung, and more to the actual singing. As we know, a human voice in song is capable of expressing an unfathomably complex blend of feelings. Over the years, specific aspects of my writing have been influenced by, among others, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Gillian Welch and my friend and collaborator Stacey Kent. Catching something in their voices, I’ve said to myself: ‘Ah yes, that’s it. That’s what I need to capture in that scene. Something very close to that.’ Often it’s an emotion I can’t quite put into words, but there it is, in the singer’s voice, and now I’ve been given something to aim for.

    and, also:

    …all good stories, never mind how radical or traditional their mode of telling, had to contain relationships that are important to us; that move us, amuse us, anger us, surprise us….[I]n the end, stories are about one person saying to another: This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I’m saying? Does it also feel this way to you?

    Best of all, and making my own points so well:

    It’s hard to put the whole world to rights, but let us at least think about how we can prepare our own small corner of it, this corner of ‘literature’, where we read, write, publish, recommend, denounce and give awards to books. If we are to play an important role in this uncertain future, if we are to get the best from the writers of today and tomorrow, I believe we must become more diverse. I mean this in two particular senses.

    Firstly, we must widen our common literary world to include many more voices from beyond our comfort zones of the elite first world cultures. We must search more energetically to discover the gems from what remain today unknown literary cultures, whether the writers live in far away countries or within our own communities. Second: we must take great care not to set too narrowly or conservatively our definitions of what constitutes good literature. The next generation will come with all sorts of new, sometimes bewildering ways to tell important and wonderful stories. We must keep our minds open to them, especially regarding genre and form, so that we can nurture and celebrate the best of them. In a time of dangerously increasing division, we must listen. Good writing and good reading will break down barriers. We may even find a new idea, a great humane vision, around which to rally.

    Thank you, Kazuo Ishiguro, for your insights, emotional authenticity, creativity and ongoing contributions to our literary and emotional lives.

  • Peace
    International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN): “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”
    ICAN is needed more than ever, it seems. Sigh.
    Find out more, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2017/ican-facts.html

    ICAN logo

  • Physics
    Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss, and Barry Barish: “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”
    Following up and proving one of Albert Einstein’s more “wacky” theories (about the existence of gravitational waves), these scientists and their teams have done some extraordinary work, here.

    Kip Thorne

    Rainer Weiss

    Barry Barish

  • Chemistry
    Jacques Dubochet, Richard Henderson, and Joachim Frank: “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”
    So, freeze stuff and we can see it better. Cool.

    Jacques Dubochet

    Richard Henderson

    Joachim Frank

  • The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; Economic Sciences
    Richard Thaler: “for his contributions to behavioural economics”
    In addition to being brilliant and innovative, Thaler is very funny! Check out some of his humor, here: https://quotefancy.com/richard-thaler-quotes
    Like, “The assumption that everybody will figure out how much they have to save and then will just implement that plan is obviously preposterous.”
    And, “I’m all for empowerment and education, but the empirical evidence is that it doesn’t work. That’s why I say make it easy.”
    For sure, this: “I think the people who’ve been the most overconfident in our business in the last decade have been the people that called themselves risk managers.”
    My favorite: “When an economist says the evidence is ‘mixed,’ he or she means that theory says one thing and data says the opposite.”

    Richard Thaler

  • Physiology or Medicine
    Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young: “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”
    If it helps people sleep better, I’m all for it!

    Jeffrey C. Hall

    Michael Rosbash

    Michael W. Young

Get more info here:
https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/year/?year=2017

All info, above, from: http://Nobelprize.org Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2017.

#TaxResistance2017: STOP PAYING USA TAXES or REDIRECT THEM!

The illegal administration of #45 and his cohorts in Congress—NOT actually elected by popular vote in many cases—are subjecting the American people to skewed, biased and illegal changes to the USA tax code that only benefit the rich. WE MUST RESIST!

We can do that in many ways, but I strongly suggest a time-honored method, tax resistance: #TaxResistance2017: STOP PAYING USA TAXES or REDIRECT THEM!

If you need inspiration…
“Some tax resisters refuse to pay all or a portion of the taxes due, but then make an equivalent donation to charity. In this way, they demonstrate that the intent of their resistance is not selfish and that they want to use a portion of their earnings to contribute to the common good.

“For instance, Julia Butterfly Hill [environmental activist famous for living in a threatened-to-be-cut-down tree, to save it] resisted about $150,000 in federal taxes, and donated that money to after school programs, arts and cultural programs, community gardens, programs for Native Americans, alternatives to incarceration, and environmental protection programs. She said:

“‘I actually take the money that the IRS says goes to them and I give it to the places where our taxes should be going. And in my letter to the IRS I said: I’m not refusing to pay my taxes. I’m actually paying them but I’m paying them where they belong because you refuse to do so.‘”


photo and quote from Julia Butterfly Hill
from Moved to Refuse | National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, http://www.nwtrcc.org

Above article and quotes from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_resistance

Or, to get encouraged…
Read some theories about how disastrous the newly altered tax code and provisions will be (if they do become law) for FUTURE GOP candidates (YAY!):
Blue-State Republican Revolt Over Tax Bill Could Come Back to Haunt GOP by Ed Kilgore, <em>New York Magazine, 11/16/17
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/blue-state-republican-revolt-against-gop-tax-bill-grows.html


shirt and image from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

If you are too afraid to refuse to pay or redirect your taxes but live in a state/district for which your GOP federal officials are up for re-election, VOTE in 2018!


image from Rachel Murphy Azzara

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.” The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years.

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope.

Their FAQs page states: “All of the participants in the selection process—–nominators, evaluators, and selectors—–serve anonymously, and we keep their communications confidential. Anonymity protects them from being inundated with unsolicited requests. In addition, our experience shows that people readily provide frank impressions if they have an assurance that their responses will not be disseminated beyond the program staff and Selection Committee.”

I’ve heard that each recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That award liberates Fellows to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEA!

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:
—Exceptional creativity
—Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
—Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Again, from the FAQs: “The MacArthur Fellowship is designed to provide seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors. We believe that highly motivated, self-directed, and talented people are in the best position to decide how to allocate their time and resources. By adopting a ‘no strings attached’ policy, we provide the maximum freedom for the recipients to follow their creative vision, whether it is moving forward with their current activities, expanding the scope of their work, or embarking upon an entirely new endeavor. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.”

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2017 cohort!

Anybody a fan of the CMT TV series, Nashville, as I have been? One of the recurring roles has been being played in 2015-2017 by one of this year’s recipients, Rhiannon Giddens, a gifted “Singer, Instrumentalist, and Songwriter,” who won for: “Reclaiming African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present.”

Sometimes, though, they do not pick the “thought-leader” in a particular area, but one who is using others’ work in new ways or places. I wish they’d give credit to the originators of this recipient’s work: Betsy Levy Paluck uses the thinking and program components of Community MattersSafe School Ambassadors program’s creators, Rick Phillips, John Linney and Chris Pack. I know this because I worked for/with them and helped write the book they created about their anti-bullying work over 10 years ago. Oh, well. Can’t win them all!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

This year’s recipients include artists/designers, social scientists/humanities scholars, physical scientists/mathematicians, writers, community leaders/ strategists/ activists, and more.

There are, as usual (2016 was an exception), fewer female (9) than male (15) recipients. Most are under 50 years old, but a few are older.

However, more than usual (15) are people of non-Caucasian/ non-Western European ethnicities. Click on this link for an interactive map showing each of the recipient’s place of birth or location at the time of their award: https://www.macfound.org/maps/2/

A few are academics or work in other large organizations, but most are independent owners/operators or work in small businesses or in the nonprofit sectors.

Want to know more? Check out these myth-busting responses: https://www.macfound.org/press/commentary/five-myths-about-macarthur-genius-grants/

2017 MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

The MacArthur Foundation named the 2017 MacArthur Fellows this week (10/10/17). Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“From transforming conditions for low-wage workers to identifying internet security vulnerabilities, from celebrating the African American string band tradition to designing resilient urban habitats, these new MacArthur Fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all.”

Visit the MacArthur Foundation website for Fellows’ bios and more info about each recipient as well as videos, the lists and descriptions/bios of previous years’ recipients, and the remaining FAQs/Answers:

https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/


#RESIST #FIGHT #NEVERAGAIN #whichsideareyouon #clearandpresentdanger #revolutionisneeded

#RESIST #FIGHT #NEVERAGAIN #whichsideareyouon #clearandpresentdanger #revolutionisneeded

fighting-fascism-is-a-social-duty

— stealing the election
— nominations that are now mostly approved of incompetent, inappropriate, illegal cabinet nominees
— putting Bannon where he does not belong and is not legally allowed to be and keeping him there, undeterred
— closing down/diminishing the power of protective government agencies, like the EPA
— the Jewish cemetery desecrations (now, 3)
— the bomb “threat” phone calls to Jewish community centers (over 40 in the last 5 weeks)
— the Nazi graffiti and online/TV/radio broadcasts demonizing Muslims and Jews (too many to count)
— the burning of mosques, the exclusion of media from the White House,the travel bans
— the “show me your papers” TSA and border patrol demands to random (targeted) people at many airports and exit/entrance points
— the violence against peaceful protesters and the demonizing of protests
— the ICE raids and imprisonment of the ill, the parents, the elderly immigrants
— defunding/discrediting public schools…
— the erosion of civil rights
— the attack on reproductive freedom
— the demonizing of LGBT individuals
and so much more.

These are all test runs, folks. And, so far, they are getting away with it all.

If too many citizens ignore these first 6 weeks of horrific #notmyPresident’s actions, if too many of us get “activism” or “compassion” fatigue, if too many get scared, if the privileged crawl back into private and protected bubbles (only coming out to protest when we personally are affected), the fascists will certainly escalate… and we’re all doomed.

This is the Hitlerian/totalitarian playbook, page by page, unfolding all around us.

I am 62 years old and partly disabled. BUT, I am seriously considering buying boxes of adult diapers, gallons of water and dried food so that I can stay in a long-term sit-in, chaining myself to a government office doorway or stairwell, until these attacks and this fascist regime are DONE.

Or, what? Welcome ideas, here. Petitions, marches, whatever we’re already doing is NOT ENOUGH.

crumpling-the-constitution

#CriticizeTrumpDaily: Make a Commitment! #FreeSpeech Use this list to help you!

#CriticizeTrumpDaily: Make a Commitment! #FreeSpeech Use this list to help you!

free-speech-civil-right
#NotMyPresident

Or, add to it! Send your own list to: http://www.sallyember.com/blog and put in the comments of this post. We can be SO CREATIVE! There are so many serious, funny, name-calling and behavioral aspects to draw upon, I’m sure we’ll have a lot more than 100, but let’s start with these.

truth_is_the_new_hate_speech
George Orwell had it all correct! “Truth is the new hate speech” meme, from Newstarget, captures this era perfectly! “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act!”

Want to know more how to be an effective #Trumpcritic? Read this, from 12/14/16:
BAD WAYS TO CRITICIZE TRUMP https://www.currentaffairs.org/2016/12/bad-ways-to-criticize-trump

and
Don’t Mock Trump: Refute Him!, also from 12/14/16: http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/20704/don-t-mock-trump-rebut-him

Also, use #GrabYourWallet http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-related-businesses-boycotted-2016-11/#6pm-1 and refuse to purchase ANYTHING from businesses that display or do business with Trump businesses/products (and most are chains, not local, so don’t shop there, anyway!), which include: 6 PM; Amazon; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Belk, Belacor, Bloomingdale’s; Bluefly; Bon-Ton and Carson’s; Burlington Coat Factory; Century 21; Dillard’s; DSW; Hudson’s Bay; HSN; Jet; Lord & Taylor; Macy’s; Marshalls; TJ Maxx; Neiman Marcus; Nordstrom; Overstock.com; Perfumania; Scion hotels; Saks Off Fifth; Stein Mart; Trump Golf Courses; Trump Hotels; Ivanka Trump’s clothing line; Trump Winery; Wayfair; Trump Grill; Zappos.

DO shop shoes.com (if you want), because they DID respond to requests to stop selling Trump items, in mid-November, 2016.

Over 100 Ways to Use your #FreeSpeech Rights to Criticize Trump (while we still have them…):
1. Liar
2. Cheater
3. Thief
4. Adulterer
5. Child Rapist
6. Sexual Assaulter
7. Without any actual skills
8. Buffoon
9. Foments hate
10. Hateful
11. Racist
12. Sexist
13. Heterosexist
14. Homophobic
15. Can’t spell
16. Can’t write well
17. Can’t speak properly
18. Doesn’t use complete, coherent sentences
19. Has a terrible vocabulary
20. Sub-normal emotional intelligence
21. Doesn’t read
22. Doesn’t listen
23. Unreliable
24. Failed business owner
25. Fraud
26. Arrogant
27. Ignorant
28. Obstinate
29. Soulless
30. Not amusing
31. Deceiver
32. Disrespectful
33. Mocks others
34. Threatens and bullies
35. Probably mostly impotent (especially in actions)
36. Unintelligible, usually
37. Spoiled rich kid
38. Lazy
39. Self-indulgent
40. Conceited
41. Blow-hard
42. Disloyal
43. Criminal
44. Law-breaker
45. Defamer
46. Slanderer
47. Libelous
48. Can’t understand simple science
49. Misrepresents facts
50. Can’t fulfill the role of President successfully
51. Malicious
52. Grudge-holder
53. Juvenile
54. Narcissistic
55. Self-aggrandizing
56. Nepotistic
57. Won’t admit when he’s wrong
58. Never apologizes
59. Immature
60. Ill-mannered
61. Two-faced
62. Promise-breaker
63. Vow-breaker
64. Can’t remember important things
65. Misogynist
66. Hypocrite
67. Delusional
68. Idiotic
69. Illogical
70. Overly-emotional
71. Can’t tolerate any criticism
72. Bombastic
73. Buffoon
74. Ridiculous
75. Reneger/contract-breaker
76. Retaliates unfairly
77. Files frivolous lawsuits
78. Obfuscates
79. Rude
80. Inflammatory
81. War-monger
82. Hate-monger
83. Spews idiocy
84. Draft-dodger
85. Anti-immigrant while marrying immigrants
86. Horrible father
87. Pseudo-religious
88. Coward
89. Easily thrown
90. Short attention span
91. Tantrum-thrower
92. Vindictive
93. Inconsistent
94. Nonsensical
95. Megalomaniac
96. Corrupt
97. Tax-evader
98. Briber
99. Panderer
100. Indulges in cronyism
101. Cynical
102. Misanthrope
103. Miserly
104. Exaggerator
105. Confabulator
106. Manipulator
107. Unqualified
108. Tyrannical
109. Fuels paranoia
110. Is unfamiliar with key USA government rules and documents
111. Won’t hold regular Press Conferences
112. Can’t discuss criticisms substantively
113. Can’t debate rationally
114. Illogical
115. Makes stuff up
116. Hyperbolic
117. Prevaricator
118. Deceiver
119. Ignoramus
120. Weak
121. Dense
122. Gutless
123. Blusterer
124. Felon
125. Crook
126. Rapist
127. Molester
127. Harasser
128. Unrepentant
129. Doesn’t learn from his own mistakes
130. Can’t tell friends from foes
131. Betrayer
132. Doesn’t understand purposes of policies
133. Flauts rules and laws
134. Temperamental
135. Unstable
136. Repetitive
137. Anti-choice
138. Disrespectful to almost everyone
139. Generalizes
140. Won’t admit when he’s wrong
141. Won’t admit his flaws and failings honestly
142. Dishonest in business and in life commitments
143. Doesn’t honor hard work
144. Doesn’t care about anyone outside of his family
145. Misleads people intentionally
146. Abuses power and leadership
147. Unpatriotic
148. Undisciplined
149. Unable to tell fact from fiction (or unwilling)
150. Irresponsible
151. Shirks responsibilities
152. Overly inflated sense of his own importance and competence
153. Distorted self-image
154. Low ego strength
155. Unable to make secure attachments
156. Can’t understand or follow simple logic
157. Oppressive
158. Disgusting
159. Unethical in every area of his life
160. Immoral in all ways
161. Asinine
162. Uncouth
163. Loser
164. Incompetent
165. Wrong
166. Misrepresents facts
167. Misunderstands facts
168.

ADD YOUR OWN in the comments, below. The more refutational rather than personal, the better, but any actual criticisms are accepted!

What #Issues are/were YOU are the “Right” side of?

Being on the “right” side of so many issues, for his/herstory, is exhausting but satisfying.

So, VOTE and make your voices heard in EVERY election, especially local ones.

voting-matters

Why?

First, they call us crazy.

Then, they say we’re “conspiracy nuts” (a less vague variation on “crazy”) because, of course, our government/ those priests/ the leaders of whatever institution can’t all be lying or wrong…

Next, “popular” opinion starts to sway because FACTS are on our side, but most people aren’t persuaded, yet.

So, the media starts to report that maybe, just maybe, we “outliers” and “extremists” could be correct.

The media’s hesitancy is paid for by the politicians and corporations who are promoting the other side/maintaining the status quo, so most still say we’re “unpatriotic,” or “angry,” or (when we are women) “bitches,” and when we are not white, “terrorists.”

Then, more FACTS on our side emerge, having actually (oh, horrors! so shocking!) been suppressed, denied, lied about and otherwise hidden from public view prior to having been irrevocably exposed, usually (now) by a hacker (or, in the olden days, by a brave reporter or other whistleblower who often ended up dead or imprisoned, as hackers do, now).

Then, lawsuits and riots and protests and demonstrations are occurring regularly, still mostly not covered or not covered accurately by the media. And, we are still RIGHT and now we are WINNING.

Finally, usually a long time before “popular opinion” completey changes, a few brave and prescient lawmakers create bills which pass into laws, or the majority of the Supreme Court happens to agree on a sane and rational decision (for a change), so laws force change. Slowly, and not without detractors, protestors, idiots and others who NOW are the “crazies” and “terrorists,’ society moves ahead.

AND (whew!), many dead bodies and ruined lives later, we “win.”

Yippee.

Then, see how they all relate? “Intersectionality” is the understanding that one oppression /one injustice links to many others—perhaps ALL others.

intersectionality

Add to my list of issues you are/have been on the “right” side of, here in the comments on my site: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

I WAS/AM WE ARE/WERE RIGHT ABOUT THESE ISSUES:

Pro Voting Rights and Access to Honest and Fair Elections for all

which goes with

Anti Dakota Access Pipeline

dap-protests

which goes with
Pro Environment = Pro Clean Air; Clean Water; Pro Arable Land; Anti Pesticides; Anti Poisons and Pollutants; Anti GMOs and Seeds Stealing; Recognizing Climate Change as REAL; Pro Organic/Healthy Foods, Medicines, Hygiene products, Household cleaners, etc.; Anti Vaccinations (until properly vetted and proven more beneficial than harmful); Anti Chemotherapy (until proven more beneficial than harmful)

and

Pro Alternative Energies/ Less reliance on oil/gasoline

and

Anti Fracking

and

Pro Green Burials and Cremations

and

Pro Green Housing/Offices

and

Pro Electric Cars

and

Pro better Public Transportation

which also go with

Pro Natives’/ Indigenous Peoples’ Freedom and Autonomy in the West and other countries/continents

and

Pro Black Lives Matter (and, no: it is NOT the same as “All Lives Matter,” so stop saying that!)

black-lives-matter

which goes with

Pro Civil Rights for all = Anti Racism

and

Anti Imperialism

and

Pro Freedom for Tibet

and

Anti Colonialism

and

Anti Apartheid

and

Anti Royal Rule/ Dynasties everywhere

and

Pro Palestinian Independence (if nonviolent)

and

Anti Israeli and Palestinian violence

and

Anti Sharia Law

which go with

Anti Imprisonment according to Race/Economic Status and the “Three Strikes” Laws

and

Anti The School-to-Prison Pipeline

school-to-prison-pipeline

and

Civil Rights also goes with

Pro Access = ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) = Anti Disabilities discrimination

and

Pro Marriage Equality

and

Pro Affirmative Action = Anti Racism/ Anti Classism / Anti Religious Discrimination

and

Pro Human Rights and Anti Human Rights Violators

and

Pro Women’s Right to Choose/Reproductive Rights of all kinds (birth control, women’s health check-ups, Planned Parenthood Clinics, abortions

and

Pro Single-Payer, Government-Sponsored Health Care for All

and

Anti Genital Mutilation of both males and females (“circumcision”)

and

Pro Women’s autonomy (access to individual credit, access to all types of work, equal pay, etc.) = Anti Sexism

and

Pro Regulation and Monitoring of Sex Workers /Legalization of Prostitution

and

Anti Weight Loss drugs and industries

and

Anti Brassieres/Bras unless necessary for sports/exercise and comfort purposes

ill-fitting-bras-symptoms Symptoms of Ill-Fitting Bras

and

Anti Make-up/Cosmetics (except for costuming/theatrical and fun purposes)

and

Anti High Heels

and

Anti Cosmetic surgery

and

Anti “Welfare Reform”

and

Anti “Right to Work”

right-to-work-is-wrong_issuebanner

and

Pro Affordable Day Care

and

Pro Free and Equal Public Education, from Pre-School through Community and state College levels

and

Anti Sexual Harassment

and

Anti Domestic Violence and “women as property” of husbands/men

and

Anti Child Abuse/Child Labor and “children as property of adults”

and

Anti Sexualization of Children

Pro Legalization of all recreational drugs, particularly marijuana

which goes with

Anti Addiction demonization and “treatment” industry

Anti War (all of them) and Pro Peace

peace-movement
Photograph by Leif Skoogfors, used with permission, 1970

which goes with

Anti Nuclear power plants and weapons

and

Anti Weapons proliferation

Anti Corporate greed and malfeasance, including “Citizen’s United” law

which goes with

Pro better Banks’ Monitoring and better Regulations and Enforcement

and

Pro Wall Street’s Monitoring and better Regulations and Enforcement

and

Pro Transparency

Pro Meditation

which goes with

Pro Emotional Intelligence

and

Pro Music and Arts Education

and

Pro Recess and Physical Education for Youth

and

Pro Science Education (especially for girls/women and minorities)

occupy-everything

New job report, 2 days in…

New job report, 2 days in…

HiSET FEATHER

FYI: rolling registration for “Doors to Success” High School Equivalency (HSE) “HiSET” (no longer called the G.E.D. in Missouri) exams preparation, academic skills improvement and life/jobs skills program for youth ages 17 – 23, in both Maplewood (mornings) and Hazelwood/Spanish Lake (mornings and afternoons), in St. Louis County, Missouri, USA, throughout the year! 314-415-4940 for more information and to sign up for an Orientation (occurring about twice/month). Also, Parkway area AEL has regular Adult Education and English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) classes year-round, too, in dozens of locations around the County.

1) role-played and coached a student on her first job interview (will find out today how she think the actual interview went);

2) explained to a student studying history what economic and social classes are, what defines them and how they impact politics as well as which groups were denied the vote in the USA and for how long;

3) collaborated with a student to choose her assignment topics for critical reading and vocabulary building and she chose to include a story about Uri Geller (friends, family members and readers of The Spanners Series by Sally Ember, Ed.D., Volume I, This Changes Everything, know why that is funny);

4) figured out how to and did “open” the space for the afternoon session (not uncomplicated);

5) went over pre-testing and class assignment results with two students and explained/discussed which questions were actually “wrong” because they didn’t know the answer and which were “I read it too fast or not carefully” issues;

6) explained to three students how test-makers try to trick test-takers and how not to be fooled;

7) when asked “What were things like for you when you were 17?” related the story of my taking several hours off from school to sit in our dad’s car and listen to the radio in the school parking lot, waiting to hear what lottery draft number was going to be assigned randomly to my one-year-older-than-I brother and my then-boyfriend. Told her how I sat there, alone, crying and praying they would get a high number, meaning, they would not be drafted for the war in Vietnam.

the-vietnam-war-13-728

I explained how that was horrifying because others I knew would and did get drafted. Got teary telling her what a scary, terrible time that was for all the boys and people who loved them.

She was very quiet and got teary, too, and then said; “I meant, what music did you listen to?” We laughed.

All in all, a good two days! Thanks, Parkway Area Adult Education and Literacy, for including me in your teaching staff for “Doors to Success”!

AEL logo real

P.S.: #7 reminded me (a little too late…) of an incident that happened to my dear friend and fellow parent, Bill Whyte (Badger Bill), with his daughter, Emily Schwerin-Whyte, when she was about four years old in the early 1980s.
Emily asked her father, a renowned expert on visualization, stress management, relaxation and such: “Daddy? What is ‘stress’?”
Bill, in his best fatherly voice, was about to launch into an explanation of stress fit for a 4-year-old when he has the perspicacity to ask: “What do you mean, Emily?”
She answered: “Oh, you know: like ‘seamstress.'”
He said that he blew out a long breath and was relieved that he hadn’t burdened his pre-schooler with his prepared, long, drawn-out explanation that she hadn’t really requested….

I should have remembered that!

What Matters

What Matters

As I approach my 62nd birthday (August 22), I reflect on the news stories I see/hear almost daily, now, that corroborate and validate most of my life’s choices, values and beliefs. Sharing, now, so you don’t all have to re-invent the wheel. Mostly I/we were right. Get with it.

Interactions matter. Treating all humans with respect and meeting humans needs (food, clothing, shelter, meaningful and well-paid work, safety) properly are right. Equality, egalitarianism, acceptance, compassion, kindness and respect are the right ways to greet, treat and live with all others, regardless of perceived or actual differences among us and changes in circumstances. Ending oppression, discrimination, bias, prejudice and all forms of subjugation must occur.

RespectKindness
image from http://www.tomvmorris.com
Respect

Government and economics matter. Democracy (when it works) and socialism are right: we must listen to and take care of each other.

Conflict resolution matters. War is wrong, especially war that only makes profits for a few corporations and individuals and ruins land, kills/maims people and destroys economies for everyone else. All the “police actions”/wars the USA has engaged in since World War II (and some of our actions during World War I and World War II) were/are horribly wrong. Millions have been harmed or died for NOTHING except to enrich a few. We must learn to communicate better, de-escalate, use diplomacy, engage in dialogue, compromise and yield.

Give-peace-a-chance-no-more-war1-e1442090350987
image from http://www.popularresistance.org
Peace

Health matters. Eating healthfully and organically is right: better for us, better for the farmers, better for the environment. Contact sports that cause head injuries must end: change the rules or close down those sports completely for children and teens and give adults information that allows them to make educated choices about participation. Sugary foods and drinks, salty and fatty snacks and other negative-impact foods should be made less available and/or taxed very highly so fewer people can eat/get them so readily.

Other beings matter. Treating animals with respect at all times if we are going to use, eat (which some would argue is wrong), imprison and otherwise subjugate them (less stress and pain during and before slaughter, while being raised and during captivity of all kinds) is right.

Consumers’ choices matter. Choosing to purchase items that are made by people who are paid well, treated well and free to come and go is right. Choosing to purchase items whose production (harvest/manufacture/acquisition) does not harm or destroy the planet, the economy, or the people involved is right.

you-can-make-a-difference
image from http://arabedrossian.org
Healthy planet

Parenting requires time, effort, knowledge, education and support to be done well. Childcare can be a positive aspect of young children’s lives as long as they also have good parenting.

Minds and bodies matter. Meditation, yoga, stress management, play, listening to each other better, being outdoors more and learning/listening to music/making art all help families, businesses, schools and individuals in every possible way. Beauty, nature and gratitude are important. Learn/include and do these. Drink a lot of clean water. Sleep more and in better conditions.

healthy body and mind
Healthy choices

Reproductive freedom and rights are integral to a woman’s dignity and independence and are the business of no one else besides each woman and her chosen medical team.

Religions whose leaders or principles restrict the freedom or impinge upon the safety of or intend to demean anyone, inspire divisiveness or hatred, or foment disrespect for non-believers or some members of their own sects because of gender, age, sexual orientation or other characteristics are not to be tolerated any longer and must be ended.

BigotryLifestyle550
image from http://www.patheos.com
Civil and personal rights

Facts are not subject to opinions. No one cares what anyone thinks about facts. Facts are not optional. People who misunderstand, misuse or misguide themselves or others regarding any facts (about the impacts of climate change, the dangers of fracking, etc.) are not to be given any credibility or listened to by anyone with even moderate intelligence.

Tyson quote
Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D., facts quote

Play time matters. Violence begets violence: video games, TV shows and films, music lyrics that demonstrate/engage users in repeated and frequent incidents of violence (personal, sexual, group) desensitize the viewers/players and generate much more violence overall in the culture. Games/shows that degrade women/girls and depict members of particular ethnic or other groups as “the enemy” or the objects of degradation cause users/viewers to adopt these perspectives and behave badly towards these individuals in actual encounters. Children’s and teens’ time using these games or watching these shows must be curtailed. Bring back more outdoor play, longer and better equipment for recess play indoors and outside. Sports and games that encourage coaches/leaders to discriminate among, exclude or otherwise demean participants or activities in training or play that cause players harm must be changed or stopped.

recess
Play

Excellence matters. Skills, talents, education and intelligence are not all equally distributed or acquired. We are not all the same even though we are to be treated with equal respect. Not everyone wins. Everyone is not equally good at everything. Not everyone can earn an “A.” 49.9% of any group is below average, by definition. Get used to it.

Collaboration matters. Governments, organizations/groups of all types and businesses of all sizes operate more successfully when they utilize collaborative, inclusive engagement rather than hierarchical, exclusionary dominance do better economically, have higher morale, have lower attrition/crime rates and better attendance/participation.

collaboration-background4
image from http://www.cptwebs.com
Collaboration

I could have provided a lot of research URLs to back up each of these claims, but I don’t need to, any longer. They are all true. YOU do the research.

Art Exhibit, 6/3 – 7/31: “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression,” St. Louis, MO USA

Art Exhibit, 6/3 – 7/31: “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression,” St. Louis, MO USA

My most recent #author guest on CHANGES conversations between authors Darian Wigfall (Episode 49, 6/1/16, on Google+ https://goo.gl/OYRt1H or YouTube https://goo.gl/x5IxVZ), is also an artist, activist and community organizer in St. Louis County. His #art is part of the exhibit that opens TONIGHT, 6/3/16, and runs through July 31, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA (yes, where #FERGUSON is), with that of many other #artists whose work interacts with #oppression, #activism, #intersectionality and #hope.

GO! TELL OTHERS! Free & open to the public during gallery hours.

Grand Center Arts & Entertainment District
501 N. Grand Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63103

(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Wednesdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Thursdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Fridays 11 AM – 9 PM
Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM
Sundays 12 PM – 5 PM

June 3 EXHIBIT OPENING, 6 – 9 PM

Poetry and interpretive paintings by Emily Timmerman exploring oppression in the areas of race, class, and gender.

About:
Oppression is being exposed all over the world. From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter, people are waking up to the fact that we are being oppressed by those who have the money to control the narrative about people and how they are punished.

These paintings are interpretations of the messages that our oppressors have handed down to us to keep us under control. Over time we have adopted these messages for ourselves, reinforcing and perpetrating the oppression against ourselves. The last piece in the 4 stanza poem is a warning that our comfortable lives will be destroyed by the forces that create the artificial comfort we enjoy.

Darian alone
Darian Wigfall

Darian art
image from gallery’s website

http://kranzbergartscenter.org/calendar/current-events/item/hidden-messages-the-subtlety-of-oppression

The Kranzberg Arts Center is a non-profit organization located in the heart of the Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District at 501 N. Grand Blvd. It houses three distinct, multi-use spaces: a gallery space dubbed the Kranzberg Arts Incubator, a flex-seat 100 capacity black box theater, and a 100 capacity cabaret/lounge performance space with pro audio & lights. The basement of the KAC is home to the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design Education Center while the Black Box is the home of resident theater companies UMSL & Upstream.

Connect:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kranzbergartscenter
Twitter/Instagram: @KranzbergArts

For Inquiries: chris@kranzbergartscenter.org

Share! Read! Act! #Refugees #Crises: Thanks, David Amerland, for aiding

SHARE! READ! ACT! If you’re not on Google+, you’re missing out on many things. David Amerland​’s “SUNDAY READS” are some of them https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/MVBSX : Read them all!

gplus-sunday-read-September-062015

Here is today’s. URGENTLY need you to read this and ACT!

My comments:
“My favorite of all your ‘SUNDAY READS,’ David Amerland, because you provide calls to action of many types and degrees, from opening up our minds and hearts to our homes to our wallets to our ‘mouths’! THANK YOU!

“We are not helpless, but we need reminding and we need direction.

“SHARE! READ! ACT! #refugees #crises”
and
“The irony and karmic balancing that brings German leaders to help Semitic peoples…perfect.”

David Amerland originally shared to SUNDAY READ:

“‘We are alone, there is no one, help us!'”

“The contextual basis of our existence never becomes more evident than when we face what we sometimes disparagingly call ‘first world problems.’ Over the last few weeks I have been buried in business reports the urgent and pressured changes being made to the draft chapters of a book going to print and the inevitable everyday pressure of emails, articles, requests for interviews, comments and quotes.

“My life, to all intents and purposes, has been circumscribed by the immediate needs being pressed upon me, the narrow context of something that I have to do in a very limited space of time. Meanwhile, at the back of my mind, every time I dip across the web I sense the change in the world around me.

“As the sum total of largely man-made disasters accumulates around the globe, for the first time in our century, we face a mass movement of people, an Exodus (http://goo.gl/fWIurF) that’s the largest since WWII: http://goo.gl/leWg1X

“As hundreds of thousands of refugees flooded cash-strapped and ill-prepared Greece which is struggling to cope: http://goo.gl/rdlHbq The Economist ran a piece on why this is happening: http://goo.gl/kWZYjM. Europe, one of the world’s richest areas, is paralyzed by the refugee crisis: http://goo.gl/V2AO7e unable to formulate a coherent policy, its leaders largely incapable of understanding the right thing to do instead of the politically expedient thing to say, are left floundering (again) – adrift in a situation that is evolving too fast for them to formulate a politically palatable soundbite.

“This has left the nation-state behaving like any system under siege, led by people who feel overwhelmed would: defensively. Hungary put up fences, ironically spending over 100 Million Euros (http://goo.gl/hlTg7Q) and using inmates to help keep costs down – its effectiveness already under question and its morality under attack: http://goo.gl/D5GUbc. Germany (http://goo.gl/D68U6r) and the UK (http://goo.gl/TF1c6w) have seen a far-right resurgence as the issue of immigration gets muddled with the refugee crisis and colored with anti-Islamist rhetoric (http://goo.gl/OFE0PZ).

“While politicians flip-flop on the issue and parliaments debate without anything being resolved the unfolding crisis gets deeper, its images, unrelentingly grimmer: 71 people die, suffocating in the back of a refrigeration truck in Austria: http://goo.gl/bs4oe9. A father, desperately trying to get his family to safety, left in charge of a sinking boat is left to pick up their lifeless bodies: http://goo.gl/XN3Ysl the picture of this seemingly insignificant tragedy in a massive tide of human pain, suddenly personifying exactly what’s happening: http://goo.gl/P8D5uc.

“Death, usually only takes on meaning when it can be given a human face: http://goo.gl/KqaPKf. Its story made to reflect the big picture (http://goo.gl/DYxw8E) behind it that made it possible to happen in the first place: http://goo.gl/XN3Ysl.

“You’d be forgiven for thinking that there is little hope. That the world is a dark, vile place (http://goo.gl/gVeb2v). That those we entrust to lead us betray us (http://goo.gl/qWaAbL). That we, might as we try, cannot change anything, that really – context and content, our ‘first world problems’ – our issues with efficiency, marketing, selling and buying. The lawns that need to be cut and the BBQs that need to be lit and the things that make our life ‘real’ are, should be perhaps, not just what we should worry about but what we must worry about. Our security blanket. The sedative we reach for to distract us from what we cannot change, what we cannot affect. What we feel powerless against.

“This not what’s happening here. The same ‘first world problems’ that make our attention sometimes focus on the seemingly inconsequential, also become the driver for creating social media tools and the motive force for forging new ways of operating.

“Against the frequently stated, kneejerk, absurd and intellectually impoverished charge of ‘social media distracts us from real life’ and ‘social media stops us from having a life’ stands the starkness of the impact of a crisis that’s being felt even through the many layers of the pressures that surround us daily.

“Social media, connectivity, technology – for all their imperfections, also make it impossible to switch off, impossible to ignore and impossible to deny. No more ‘I didn’t know’ (http://goo.gl/6N0sXL) defense lines. We now know and feel and understand and agonize and think.

“And unlike our elected leaders, refreshingly, we act. A US man ‘grabbed’ a ship and set off to do something about it: http://goo.gl/dcGtE6. Icelanders (whose government caps immigration to 50 a year) opened up their homes, actively offering to help take in refugees: http://goo.gl/EkkbPi. Buckling under pressure from home Germany and Austria opened their doors: http://goo.gl/bO90rn internet shaming having at least one positive effect.

“It doesn’t stop there.

“The Refugees Welcome website uses people power and crowdsourcing (the same idea that brought us Airbnb) to change the way we respond to the refugee crisis: http://goo.gl/11E1ty. Petitions (http://goo.gl/MDY4Bt) are having the desired effect as EU refugee policy is changing: http://goo.gl/0qNqpE. If you’re in the UK you can sign the online petition to increase support for refugees and asylum seekers: https://goo.gl/1fDi1k you can add further pressure by signing The Independent’s petition form: http://goo.gl/qcOJ45.

“This is not an EU problem (http://goo.gl/fsqRe8). It is a people problem. It is a global problem, which people, seeing people in trouble can help solve. In New Zealand you can add your voice to those who want change to the refugee quota: https://goo.gl/wCmxjy. On Facebook the ‘Open Homes, Open Hearts’ initiative helps US citizens add their voice to the tide: https://goo.gl/bZsLqJ and a petition on the White House website could really do with your signature: https://goo.gl/tZy3tT.

“This could have been a really dark, hopeless ‘Sunday Read.’ The issues raised here are deep, potentially divisive. They are the kind that our elected officials feel powerless to deal with quickly. Yet, the very same tools that allow me to somewhat flippantly talk about the need to have plenty of coffee at hand and a mountain of sugary treats, allow us to connect, share, and actually do something ourselves, first. Even something as small as sharing a petition in our social media channels to help raise its visibility and awareness.

“We may be small. But we are not powerless. We may feel alone, but we really are not. We may think that nothing changes, but here’s proof that things are. The world is connecting across lines that officials do not foresee and cannot control. We self organize (https://goo.gl/vgukwN), create forces of our own, drive change in ways that only our ‘first world concerns’ can prepare us for.

“We understand two things that government and institutions do not always grasp: As people we can act to do the right thing, first: http://goo.gl/tMuQ8R. As people we can make a difference because we are no longer alone and isolated.

“The title of this ‘Sunday Read‘ was taken from the heart-wrenching message of a Syrian woman to the Italian coastguard: http://goo.gl/leWg1X. Our message today to the world, to each other, here, to those who we feel need help, in any context is that the world is really changing. You are no longer alone. None of us is.

“Coffee, chocolate ice-cream, donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake. I know it seems facile, yet it’s a ritual that helps keep us together. Make us stronger. More effective, until even more join us. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.” 

NOTE: I do not usually share an entire post like this, but so many of you are not on Google+, I knew you wouldn’t/couldn’t go there. And, this post and these issues are so important, with so many points of contact, so much information, and significant and easy-to-follow calls to action, that I had to include the entire post.

Why I have Always Hated Independence Day in the USA

Why I have Always Hated Independence Day (July 4th) in the USA

I am not the only one, either.

Fireworks
I could enjoy the fireworks from a great distance and up high, only. Sometimes I could get to my own or someone else’s rooftop or high window and watch from afar and admire the colors without hearing the awful noises: those I could appreciate, somewhat. But, I never forgot, even as a little girl, that these contraptions are supposed to represent bombs and I hate bombs, I hate war, and I, according to my mom and my own memories, have always hated fireworks up close. Still do.

illusion of democracy fireworks
image from http://www.247newsworld.com

Troy Patterson REALLY hates fireworks: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/a_fine_whine/2009/07/fireworks_suck.html

Patriotism
I am deeply disappointed in this country and have been for as long as I can remember. How can anyone around my age (60, born in 1954), whose first clear memory of a President is the insane, lying criminal, Richard M. Nixon, be patriotic?

The USA, in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, drafted and then sent millions of my classmates (and they were BOYS) to their maiming, mental health breakdowns, drug addictions or deaths in Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia FOR NO GOOD REASON.

ALL the “wars” the USA has “fought” since World War II have been nothing but thinly disguised efforts to make some a-holes richer and further the political agendae of yet another group of ignorant buffoons that the people of this country keep electing.

It is shameful, embarrassing and horrible that the USA is STILL DOING THAT today in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere else the war-mongers can stir up enough jingoism to get people to volunteer.

When Barbara Streisand sang “America, the Beautiful” for Bill Clinton’s campaign show, I cried. Not because it was so wonderful or she was so great, and not because I was moved by Clinton (the women-exploiting, lying sack of sh*t). No. I cried because I cannot feel what I wished I could feel: I can feel no pride and no love for a country I have lived in all my life.

Whatever does anyone have to be proud of? What is there to love besides the lands’ natural wonders (the ones we haven’t yet ruined) and the people we already care about?

The USA shows up far too low or is the lowest on the ranked lists, lowest among ALL “modern,” or “Westernized” countries, in too many categories to count. I’m talking about our ratings on handling issues that really matter, like infant mortality, educational attainment (high school graduation), child poverty, racist police violence, racist incarceration, numbers incarcerated, numbers of addicts/alcoholics, gun violence/mass shootings, domestic violence, rape, homelessness: on and on and on.

Aaron Sorkin nailed this problem (our mistaken belief in the USA as the “greatest country in the world”) in the rant he wrote for Jeff Daniels’ news anchor character to give in the HBO TV show, Newsroom (responses start after audience-member’s question at 3:10; Daniels’ actual rant begins at about 4:40): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpn0vh2Rj0Y or https://youtu.be/Rpn0vh2Rj0Y

Are YOU an American and proud? How? I really want to know how you reconcile the actual dismal facts of this country’s historical record and current terrible policies and behaviors around the world with your desire to be a patriot: they don’t make enough booze in the world to drown out the noise of that cognitive dissonance for me.

Celebrating War
At its core, Independence Day, July Fourth, celebrates the Revolutionary War and the newly formed United States of America’s “victory” in it. As a lifelong pacifist who abhors violence and would avoid it in every case, except as a last resort or best tactic to prevent further harm and death (as in World War II), I deplore all uses of violence and especially warfare.

Scotland recently had a VOTE to determine whether or not it should become independent from Britain. Did anyone consider that option in 1776? I highly doubt it. Maybe it wouldn’t have worked; we can’t know. But I do not want to celebrate the deployment of violent methods to achieve something that may well have been attainable by nonviolent means and certainly was not necessary.

Hundreds of thousands of people died in the USA’s Revolutionary War and subsequent wars of “independence” around the world, due to the USA’s “shining example.” I am as ashamed of all of those wars as if I had started them myself.

I also DO NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS who currently serve in the USA military, since they serve as volunteers who decided to go kill people the USA and its deluded allies have no business killing, to destroy and steal property we have no business wrecking, and otherwise to wreak havoc in other people’s countries FOR NO GOOD REASON.

These “wars” have NOTHING to do with the attacks on the USA on 9/11/01 and have actually increased the terrorism in the world rather than helped it abate. If you don’t believe me, look at the rise in terror attacks and the growth of ISIS. How else do you explain those?

No one made them go. No one should have volunteered. If no one had volunteered, the “war efforts” would have died in one year or a few months. Truly.

NO ONE should have volunteered. Period.

Why would ANYONE “support” those “troops” and these activities? I really want to know.

The USA’s “image” or “brand” has been “slipping” in the world everywhere but Western Europe for over a decade because of our hypocrisies, torture training centers and usage of torture, pollution and degradation of the planet’s resources due to corporate greed and war-mongering at others’ expense. http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/chapter-1-the-american-brand/

That is another reason NOT to “celebrate” this country on July 4th.

Gratitude and Wishes
Whom am I grateful to? Bradley/Chelsea Manning. Julian Assange. Edward Snowden. Bernie Sanders. Daniel Ellsberg. Karen Silkwood. Rosa Parks. Bree Newsome.

Rolling-Rebellion-Taos-4th-of-July-Parade-gratitude1-e1405261595292
image from: http://www.globalresearch.ca

I Wish…the USA would join the world in better living and cooperation. Start with these:
–Sign the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.
–Provide universal healthcare for all citizens in the USA for free.
–Provide college educations at public universities to all students for free and eliminate/forgive ALL student loan debt right now.
–Sign the reduction in land-mines agreement.
–Sign the reduction in carbon emissions agreement.
–Sign all treaties that attempt to stop human trafficking, sex slavery, child abduction and forced human drug smuggling from occurring.
–Improve and provide housing, alternative health care, better education, enough food and actual public safety (better policing) for ALL our own citizens.
–Model caring, democratic living for the world.
–Stop all forms of discrimination based on religion, appearance, gender, sexual orientation, and other types of social identities.
–Stop all forms of rape, sexual attacks and domestic violence by enforcing the existing laws and making better ones everywhere.
–Reduce child abuse and child poverty by providing more opportunities for jobs and meaningful employment at living wages for all citizens who want to and are able to work.
–Provide free childcare and pre-school to all children.
–Stop all armed conflicts, destroy all mass weapons we own and stop producing them.
–Repurpose the military budget to serve our citizens better (see above).

rebellion-when-injustice-becomes-law-e1412174046276
image from: http://kellidgordonlibertyblog.wordpress.com

What do you wish? Comment here. http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Best to you on this weekend, whatever you’re doing. I wish I could celebrate. Instead, I will meditate on world peace.

Top 10 Characteristics #Presidential #Candidates for the #USA 2016 Race Should Have

We have more than a year to go and the field is crowded and, to me, depressingly unfit to run for President in 2016. In listening to, watching and reading about the current candidates, I despair. So, I’m dispensing FREE advice to them. I hope they listen and behave appropriately.

Top 10 Characteristics #Presidential #Candidates for the #USA 2016 Race Should Have

  1. Honesty. Seems obvious, but so far, every candidate from the two main parties, except Bernie Sanders, seems to be an inveterate, pathological liar. Bad start. Even worse are Presidents who lie to us: had way too many of those in the last few decades, right?
  2. Integrity. Also seems obvious. Again, sorely lacking in every mainstream candidate to date, except possibly Bernie Sanders. When is the last time we had a President holding office with integrity? Jimmy Carter? Pathetic crew we’ve had since then. Bums and liars, every one.

    See saw characterics
    image from http://www.free-management-ebooks.com

  3. Reliability. I want a President who can be relied upon to behave in consistent ways, espouse similar beliefs today as he/she will in four years and did four years go or more, and generally be somewhat predictable, while being open to learning and changing, when appropriate. Few candidates do exhibit this criterion, but it is fulfillable.
  4. Relatability. Have some qualities, experiences, life achievements that I can relate to, that we have in common. We don’t have to be exactly alike, but if a candidate has NOTHING in common with me except having a human body and being a parent, how can I believe that such a President would be able to consider and be empathetic to me, my circumstances?
  5. Advocacy. I want candidates who demonstrate strong passion, commitment, diligence, devotion and inspiration for their chosen causes, especially those that help people, geographic areas, other aspects of political life that have few advocates. I might not like what these candidates are supporting, but I would respect their ability to advocate and expect them to engage in advocacy successfully, when President.

    Characteristics
    image from http://www.viacharacter.org

  6. Ethics. This may seem redundant, but our Presidencies have been sorely lacking in all of the above characteristics for so long it seems we must be specific and particular, here. I want Candidates who hold strong moral positions and do not waver, even if those are based on their religious beliefs which I do not support or adhere to, myself. However, it is unethical for Presidents to impose their personal beliefs on the political system. I want them to know that and behave (and vote/veto) accordingly. “Separation of Church and State” is not just a bumper sticker. Marriage equality, anti-racism, compassion for the poor and downtrodden, equity, age/ability/gender/class fairness and anti-sexism are ethical positions my Candidates should also support completely. Do we have any like that, besides Bernie Sanders?
  7. Intelligence. Candidates must be educated AND intelligent. They must understand and employ science, logic, appropriate argument and rational thinking in all areas. A President must know what questions to ask, whom to ask, and when to say “I need more time and more information before deciding.” A President has to know whom to trust and which “research” is bogus. Is that so much to ask?
  8. Compassion. Kindness, empathy, sympathy, caring: emotional intelligence, or EQ, lead to and contain enormous compassion and are fundamental to the kind of person I want to run for President, critical for anyone actually getting elected. Not just for those “like us,” or for those we already care about, but compassion for ALL. That’s what I’m talking about. We have had many Presidents in the last few decades sorely lacking in compassion, with dire outcomes for us and the world that were caused by that deficiency.
  9. Humor. We really can’t have Candidates without a sense of humor. It’s not only boring, it’s scary when they can’t laugh at themselves, at appropriate jokes, at silliness. We need a President who isn’t afraid to be mockable, who will go on Saturday Night Live and be funny. Knowing when to be serious and when to be humorous are essential qualities for MY President!
  10. Health and Longevity. Here is where things fall apart for Bernie Sanders. What is the point of running if the candidate won’t be able to serve for more than one term? Not to be ageist, and I hope I’m wrong, but since he’s already almost 74, how could Sanders possibly serve in one of the most stressful, time-intensive jobs ever devised, as he goes into his early 80s? Serve well, I mean. Possible, but not likely, right?

Qualities
image from http://blogs.gartner.com

All right. If current Candidates (or future ones) do NOT measure up, BOOT THEM OUT! Demand better Candidates! Run, yourself, if you measure up!