Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Blur of May 2018 on Twitter

May is a blur. Looking through the tweets, I see a reappearance of general Trump-related rage and angst and analysis. Lots about school shootings, guns, men who shoot people with guns because they can’t manage to find someone to have sex with, police actions, “free speech” for some but not others, and children in danger from ICE. Meanwhile, the death toll in Puerto Rico is now estimated to be 7,267 percent higher than the until-now official number.

First, there's the general Trump agita:

Most Americans work very hard. So adding the full-time job of keeping track of the outrages and abuses of this Administration is time none of us really could afford to spare. Less time for family. Less time for curiosity. Less time for helping others. No time for peace of mind.Dan Rather

Trump has been fully engaged in a lifelong con game, in which he makes money through bullshitting every single person and openly talking about how he is bullshitting everybody.  This isn't a debate or a question or a mystery. Certainly not to him. He loves talking about it.
Adam Davidson

Chris Zaberto

Rachel Maddow asks: "Why isn't this a bigger story in news? James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence for seven years is saying Donald Trump is only in power because another country illegally installed him. That's a huge story." Agreed, the biggest story in US history.
Allen Marshall

Memorial Day irony: Getting lectured about patriotism and morality by people who support a draft-dodging bigot tabloid scandal king, third rate t.v. celebrity and criminal who conspires with our enemies, obstructs justice, lies constantly,and pays hush money to porn stars.

It's absurd that journalists quibble over "lies" while Trump openly admits he is at war with the truth. As he explained attacking the press to Leslie Stahl: "I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you."
Lauren Duca

They may think they’re negating or undermining him, but that’s not how human brains work. As a cognitive scientist, I can tell you: repeating his messages only helps him.
George Lakoff

"One of my teachers at Columbia was Joseph Brodsky...and he said 'look,' he said, 'you Americans, you are so naïve. You think evil is going to come into your houses wearing big black boots. It doesn’t come like that. Look at the language. It begins in the language." –Marie Howe
Aleš Kot

Let me get this straight. The President staffed his campaign with two indicted tax frauds/money launderers (one pled guilty already), an agent of a foreign power (Page), and an unregistered foreign agent (Flynn), among other things. And the scandal is that the FBI was concerned?
Bradley P. Moss

Do not repeat the language of propagandists. They win via repetition, not by convincing you.
Phillip Atiba Goff

It is kind of funny to me to see how many folks have psyched themselves into thinking that it is bad tactics to focus your fire on the unpopular president with his unpopular policies and rampant and unpopular corruption.
Jamelle Bouie @jbouie

The strangest moment in my entire career was when Trump's attorney, Sheri Dillon, asked me to allow Trump's financial disclosure form to be the *first* out of all of the millions filed not to contain the filer's certification that its contents were true.
Walter Shaub

Just a reminder that we currently have no reliable information about the physical health or financial obligations of the President of the United States.
Seth Masket

The entire world is enrolled in Trump University.
Chris Hayes
On Trump’s statements about “taming” North America and describing MS-13 members as animals:
When "tamed" is a euphemism for "genocide," "murdered," "pillaged," "stole" –@Dallas_Hunt
Hal Dockins

When Trump says "tamed" he means "murdered" and "enslaved."
Paul Thomas

Whenever a human wants you to think of another human as less human than you (or they) are, and therefore less deserving of human compassion, It's because they want you to help them or look away as they commit murder.
Ashley C. Ford @iSmashFizzle

Here's the thing some of y'all seem unable to say, so I'll say it: Drug dealers aren't animals either. 'Criminals' aren't animals. They're human beings. It matters to say that.
Saladin Ahmed

Before enslavement Africans were called “apes”
Before the Holocaust Jewish people were called “rats”
Before the Rwandan genocide Tutsis were called “cockroaches”
Calling undocumented people “animals” as the president just did is gravely serious. It’s not just an offensive word
Clint Smith

When the president uses dehumanizing language about entire groups of ppl it can’t be understood only as offensive, but as the type of thing that’s always preceded enslavement, genocide & mass expulsion. To see it *only* as offensive is to misunderstand its potential ramifications
Clint Smith
More thoughts on Trump voters and how to not alienate their delicate sensibilities:
Can pundits stop saying that there are “extremists” in both parties? On the right, an “extremist” denies science and embraces white supremacy. On the left, an “extremist” is a woman who wants health care for all Americans. These ... are not polar extremes.
Matt McDermott

Stop trying to convince Trump voters that they are wrong or misguided. Ignore them. Focus your energies on convincing the 100+ million Americans who didn’t vote in 2016 that their voice matters. Bring a friend to the polls who hasn’t voted in the past.
The Next Dems

"I voted for Trump because I thought he would hurt OTHER people, not me!" is a flourishing genre.
Mark Harris

"Accusing Trump and his supporters of being racist only backfires and makes them double down." LOL This is only possible if they're racist to begin with. How is the problem described as being created by those acknowledging the racism and not the racists themselves? Folks who argue that talking about the racism of Trump admin only serves to inflame his base would've opposed the Civil Rights Movement for the same reasons. White moderates made the same arguments against MLK.
OHHHHHHHH I SEE. You thought we could have reconciliation, justice, peace and equality in this country while ensuring there is absolutely no discomfort for white racists or those who empathize with them in the process. Yeah... No.
Bree Newsome

Another day. Another op-ed from the New York Times blaming liberals for a bunch of fuckers voting for a goddamn white supremacist. I’m so sick of people blaming everyone but the people who voted for trump for trump being president. Fuck alladat. I’m not even going to link it.
Imani Gandy

Any argument about Dem/liberal behavior driving more people to the right founders on the reality that more people *aren’t* moving right. But in the US system, people who dislike the left have power disproportionate to population, and Dems haven’t figured out how to deal with that.
Alex Burns

Liberals are too sensitive. Also, if a liberal says something I don’t like I’m going to become a nazi.
Adam Serwer

an underrated element of asymmetric polarization is that "normal" conservatives only consume media that is exclusively radically right-wing and "normal" liberals consume media that marginalizes the far-left and very purposefully elevates certain conservative voices
Official Centrism @pareene
On racism, white supremacy, police brutality…
What do people think the ’30s in Germany were like? The Nazis didn’t take power overnight. It was a process. When you give a platform to racists, you are aiding the creep of fascism. Read a book, for fuck’s sake.
Wendy Molyneux

A reminder of how recent events unfolded:
-US elected 1st Black POTUS
-Racist backlash immediately followed including Trump-led birtherism mvmt
-Supreme Court gutted 1965 VRA
-Trayvon Martin was lynched
-There was eruption of mass Black protest and uprisings in MO, MD and NC
-Obama admin tried to tamp down protests and deemphasize race as an issue
-Trump ran on openly white nationalist platform
-There is now a constant effort by power establishment (conservative and liberal) to rewrite the narrative as though racism took a pause between MLK and Trump
Bree Newsome

"White racial resentment" = racism
"Racially charged" = racist
"Racially insensitive" = racist
"Racially discriminatory" = racist
"Implicit bias" = racism
"Economic anxiety" = racism
"What some are calling racist" = it's probably racist
Bree Newsome

White people invented the term “racially charged” so they wouldn’t have to call each other racist.
Samuel Sinyangwe

Michelle Wolf merely mentioned Sarah Sanders eye shadow and people LOST THEIR DAMN MINDS. Roseanne just called a black woman an ape, AN APE. And yet those same people are silent. Silence says a hell of a lot. And right now it’s saying y’all are some trash ass people
Dewayne “Not Dwayne” Perkins

I’m almost done with season 1 of The Handmaid’s Tale and what I‘ll say is this: it’s effective as a horror story for white women because in it, men do exactly to them what America has done to Africans and other people of color. My criticism is that the show isn’t aware of this *at all.*
Natasha Oladokun

Let me correct folks about white privilege: It’s not measured by the absence of struggle among white people. Some white people struggle too, obviously. But privilege is measured by whether people born into sim circumstances, with sim talents and sim work ethic have sim chances.
Charles M. Blow

Don’t tell me that your racist relatives are “the product of their time.” If they’ve figured out how to use cellphones and the internet, they can figure out how to not be racist.
Hari Kondabolu

People of color have been alive in every time period — they knew that racism against them was wrong. White people could have been (and some were) anti-racist in every time period. To view racism as products of certain eras is to imagine a false historical landscape without people of color.
Julianne Weis

"If black people chose another way to protest, I would be right there with them."
Said by people who have never ever supported a black protest ever in their whole lives ever.
Rafael Olmeda

I can't be the only one who's noticed that the same class that expects perfect diction from us and snottily corrects us for pronouncing some multisyllabic Latinate surname wrong can be extremely hypocritical when it comes to the pronunciation of NON-European names and words.
Ebony Elizabeth

Fans are quick to tell black athletes they don’t have a right to speak up about anything because they’re rich. But they’ll gladly listen to rich white guys all day who they have nothing in common with, who wouldn’t give them a sip of water if they were dying of thirst.
Jemele Hill

“Overpopulation” is white supremacist propaganda perpetuated by wealthy white people who are unwilling to act sustainably and expect brown people to change their behavior to accommodate their selfishness.
prosecute ICE @lieholepiehole

Native Americans
•We suffered 500 years of genocide
Black Americans
•We suffered 400 years of slavery
Japanese Americans
•We suffered concentration camps
Straight White Male
•Being called exactly who we are is the Genocide, Slavery, & Concentration Camps of this century
Qasim Rashid, Esq. @MuslimIQ

Defeating white supremacy requires making it socially unacceptable to be a white supremacist. There have to be real consequences including losing friends, jobs, status. It’s exactly what should happen when these monsters expose themselves, and no one should feel sorry for them.

We live in a country where white people once watched Black people, hang from trees as a form of entertainment. Their descendents aren't outliers, they are carrying forth a tradition.
Charlene Carruthers

I love when cishet white people act like racism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia etc. are simply “positions” with which one agrees or not. It’s ridiculous.
Imani Gandy

I've written thousands of words on why there aren't more black libertarians. This facebook post from the vice-chair of the Libertarian Party reminds me I only needed one: libertarians”


So tired of people talking about the "treatment of the Native Americans" in past tense. Y'all still mistreating us. It is on•going. No more past tense. That's done.

The passive voice seems to have been designed for colonialism itself, a system premised on the non-being of the colonized, who aren’t killed but simply die. Today’s corrected New York Times headline [about Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers] shows both that this is true but that it also has its limits when confronted w/ reality
George Ciccariello-Maher

As someone who's been pleading with folks to stop calling 911 over every little thing for years, I just want to make sure we're completely real about something in the current dialogue: Calling the cops over every little thing is a gentrification tactic.
Dystopian Scribe @MsKellyMHayes

The burning cross is a little known symbol of economic anxiety throughout our nation’s history.
Phillip Atiba Goff

There’s a difference between white people being under attack and white supremacist ideology being under attack. Every human being, including those who profess to follow Christ, should desire and seek the eradication of white supremacist ideology.
Be A King @BerniceKing

Whenever the cops kill an innocent Black person, people say “It’s not all cops, it’s a few bad apples.” I wish the cops viewed Black people the same way before firing their guns.
Hari Kondabolu
On sexism, patriarchy, and men’s inviolable right to women’s bodies as (with a side of Jordan Peterson):
the reason little girls get obsessed with princesses is because that is the only role in which girls are protagonists
S.I. Rosenbaum

The conspiracy theories that infect this country all have one thing in common: that women and minorities are conspiring to topple patriarchal rule to the detriment of our culture.
Jared Yates Sexton

Middle aged man: If I don't get paid to say whatever I want wherever I want it, I am oppressed.
Woman: *Apologizes to a chair for bumping into it."
Jennifer Wright

A man can say sorry once for troubling behavior and he is a  reflective antihero. Women apologize for nothing their whole lives & it’s still their fault.
Aparna Nancherla

Sometimes people hear “toxic masculinity” and think the term is anti-men. It isn’t. It’s anti-telling-men-they-have-to-repress-emotions-and-be-dominant-alphas-to-be-considered-real-guys. It’s pro-men. Thinking, feeling, resilient, strong, awesome men.

One thing Barbara Ehrenreich wrote that has stuck with me. More women go to college because women are so disadvantaged in the non-professional fields.Many of the jobs that pay well that don't require a college degree — police officer, firefighter, building trades — have been effectively closed to women for a long time.The non professional jobs that are dominated by women — early childcare, secretarial work, some food service — offer miserable wages.
Angie Schmitt

In my fiction I try to show cishet white men being empathetic and valuing the contributions of women, people of color and other marginalized groups. Not to deny the real problems of toxic masculinity, but to show decent behavior does happen. We need to model it in our stories.
Charlie Jane Anders

NFL is pretty chill when it comes to violence against women and brain damage but i guess free speech is where they draw the line

Women's dating advice: Go to therapy. Go to the gym. Fix your problems. Fix your self-esteem. Learn a new skill. Devote countless hours to becoming the best version of you. No one can love you if you don't love yourself.
Men's dating advice: You were born so you deserve a woman
Julia Claire

As Charlotte Bunch and others teach us:
1. "Feminism is not just incorporating women into existing institutions."
2. "Feminism is an entire world view or gestalt, not just a laundry list of women's issues."
3. Feminism is about "ending domination and resisting oppression."

Notice how Jordan Peterson frames men as so volatile they must be placated with regular sex to keep from going berserk, yet he doesn’t extend that argument to the logical conclusion that men are too unstable to be trusted with policy decisions, corporate leadership, etc?
Jamie Killen

If you’re using lobster behavior to justify existing human social hierarchies, you’re less interested in lobster behavior than you are in maintaining those social hierarchies.
Bailey Steinworth

You're a slut.
You're a slut.
You're a slut.
You're a disgusting, easy, filthy slut.
Now fuck these men who hate you, because they'll shoot people if they're angry.
There's a good girl.
Girl on the Net

-women should be free to choose their sexual and romantic partners
-anyone who thinks or argues otherwise is a vicious misogynist
-true freedom includes not having to worry about being shot for rejecting someone
Talia Lavin @chick_in_kiev
On sustainable cities and climate change:
You're an urban business. No one is patronizing you for the ease of parking.
Adam Miller

Non-walking planners all seem to think people walk for it's own sake, as a hobby, not to actually live life and get the errands done.

Painting and repainting crosswalks is a small price to pay to save lives. We don’t hesitate to pay significant costs to keep roads cleared of snow; why not spend a fraction of this same amount to create safer streets?
jennifer keesmaat

To create a liveable city, it is essential to reduce vehicle speeds. Doesn’t cost much. Doesn’t take much time. Designs exist, elsewhere, that every city can embrace.
jennifer keesmaat

There’s a predominately baby boomer strain of environmentalism that views low density housing with lawns as good for for the environment. It’s not. Building dense compact cities and aggressively preserving natural areas is the best thing we can do for the environment.

I lived in the building on the right, a two-and-a-half story elevenplex, for four years. The mansion on the left takes up almost as much space but houses one family instead of 11:

Becky Zosia Dernbach

I don't understand people who live in urban neighborhoods for their suburban qualities, but we seem to have a lot of them.
Adam Miller

Holy sh*t. New research out of Stanford calculates that limiting global temperature rise to 1.5° rather than 2° costs ~$300 billion more, but could produce ~$20 TRILLION in additional benefits. A 30:1 benefit-cost ratio! Decent.
David Roberts

Hi, as someone who travels almost exclusively by car, I need to say this; Cyclists are the not the problem, people driving cars who think they're in a fucking hurry are the problem. Trust me, that five seconds you need to spare to overtake safely will not make a difference to you.

Something I don't think gets talked about enough: *Pollution* from cars kills more people than even car accidents. Getting cleaner cars and fewer cars on the roads is an environmental and public health necessity.
Jesse Piedfort

Making green choices individually is good but working for collective climate action is better. Doing both is the best!
prosecute ICE @lieholepiehole

Who’s gonna tell Americans that gas should be at least $12 a gallon?
Bicycle Lobby

The idea that the urban version of an American Dream is a 3,000 square foot detached single family home on a 5,000 square foot lot near a light rail station or frequent bus route has to change during a housing crisis and during a climate crisis.

Following systematic racism and woefully inadequate history classes, car-centric government policy is a top contributor to the inequity we're experiencing today.
prosecute ICE @lieholepiehole
Too much of our housing debate is concern trolling about affordability from well-off people who'd never agree to pay an extra penny in taxes to help anyone too poor for market rate housing.
Wedge LIVE!

“What population are you catering to?” This is the worst question you can ask about transit, because it subtly leads us to plan for demographic segregation. High ridership is diverse ridership, and you get there by thinking of all populations.
Jarrett Walker

It's time for progressive policy to be firmly anti-car. Cars are a tool with a limited best use — moving people quickly across large distancesProgressive policy should be to minimize the need for that use. Policy should encourage and facilitate living closer to stuff and shopping closer to home. We should be trying to maximize the number of people who do not have to drive. We do that by investing in transit, reclaiming street space for people on bikes and on foot, and allowing enough density for local retail to thrive. We make it easier to not drive than to drive, for everyone who is able. Cars kill cities. The evidence is overwhelming. Let cities be cities again. And that's all just quality of life stuff. Cars are also killing people and the planet.
Adam Miller

LOL people who weave extreme vignettes about how "you can't take a kindergartner 300 miles to dialysis on a bike" or "your grandma can't carry Thanksgiving dinner for twenty (20) on a bike" to excuse 99.44% of them driving three (3) blocks to park at Wawa for a submarine.
Phila. Bikes

No one is for density for density's sake.  We're for affordability and walkability and community and corner stores.
Zachary Wefel

I recently read an argument that zoning, rather than the automobile, is what is responsible for bad urban form.  But, one could also make a decent argument that, in many ways, the automobile is responsible for zoning.
Jason Segedy

Your local news headlines today are just a list of terrible car crashes. Every day it's like this. Having a society built on driving cars all the time is insane.
William Lindeke 
Right Turn On Red was legislated in the 1970s to save gasoline by degrading pedestrian safety. It has no place in people centered cities or commercial corridors. It’s removal is frequently opposed to appease a traffic model. #VisionZero
Bill Schultheiss

At minimum, we could use more research about the safety implications of right-turn-on-red, especially in urban areas
Angie Schmitt

The collective yawn of the media to the revelation that Trump may have faked his medical records especially after he made Clinton's health an issue is the latest reminder that he gets to play by different rules than any other politician.
Dan Pfeiffer

It’s weird that the answer to “Not everyone can bike” isn’t “Well, make public transit better.”
Doug Gordon @BrooklynSpoke

I think this is quite accurate. If you add density but do not add the infrastructure to ensure it is liveable — transit, bike lanes, parks,  schools - then the backlash from existing residents should not be surprising. Density must be tied to infrastructure improvements.
jennifer keesmaat

The United States is now producing more than 10 million barrels of crude oil per day -- the most of any country at any time in human history. Last year, transportation passed electricity as the number one source of U.S. emissions. We are addicted to oil.
Eric Holthaus

"Spreading homes and businesses out across the landscape is really expensive. Driving for every daily need is really expensive. We’ve locked ourselves into an incredibly expensive way of living without any real fallback position..."
Strong Towns

The problem with cyclists:
-They go too fast
-They go too slow
-They won't get on the sidewalk
-They won't get off the sidewalk
-They are rich hobbyists
-They are folks who can't afford a car
-They are entitled and demand bike lanes
-They take the lane when there's no bike lane
Peter Flax

"the single biggest factor in the carbon footprint of our cities isn't the amount of insulation in our walls, it's the zoning."
Alex Steffen

Keep bike lanes from contributing to gentrification by building full bike network at once. So impacts and benefits are spread broadly and not focused in one place. Demand is high for #completestreets but constrained supply increases the price of walkable/bikeable n’hoods
Eric Rogers

The most sustainable parts of the country won't let new people move to them. The least sustainable parts of the country welcome newcomers but can't get a handle on sprawl. This is a recipe for climate disaster.
Angie Schmitt

This is the kind of public space the U.S. has been most invested in building over the last half century. Not great parks. Or great waterfronts. Spaces that disperse people, rather than bring them together. (This, and well, stadiums, to be fair):

Angie Schmitt

April 2018 was the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-average global temperatures. I'd say that's either a trend we should look into, or a pretty amazing coincidence.
Eric Holthaus
On immigration, ICE, and separating children from their parents (and losing track of children):
People act like ICE is a pillar of American law enforcement, but it’s only been around since 2003. Monster energy drink has existed longer than ICE. Life without it is possible. We can and must eliminate its funding and dismantle its entire operation. We should also abolish ICE
Peter Miller

Nearly 1,500 migrant children go "missing" and it's barely news. One white kid murders 10 people at school and there's a debate over whether he's a victim. This is a violently racist country, and always has been. Insist on fighting for change. The other option is to be complicit.
Lauren Duca

"Barron Trump could not be pulled out of his super expensive New York school last year to go to a different super expensive Washington school because it would be too traumatic for him...but whatever..."  Credit to Bill DeHoff for this observation  #ICE
Carolyn Porter

Pew asked Americans if the U.S. had a responsibility to accept refugees. No group — racial, by age, religious or political — was less supportive of that idea than white evangelical Protestants.
Philip Bump

There are 3, maybe 4, Bible verses that address same-sex activity, and those are debatable. By contrast, there are HUNDREDS that call for justice and mercy for “strangers” — immigrants and refugees. Evangelicals need to stop claiming biblical fidelity as a distinctive when it’s not.
Rachel Held Evans

Remember when Republicans thought Hillary Clinton was involved in a child sex ring in the basement of a pizza place that had no basement and one even brought an assault rifle to “protect” them? They’re awfully quiet about protecting the kids now:

Brian Tyler Cohen

Since the Right loves Leviticus so much, we offer this: "When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself..." Lev. 19:33-34
Catholic Democrats

In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in Nigeria; world was rightly outraged. ICE "lost" 1500 children in America. Where is the outrage?
Michael Ian Black

It isn’t easy for a man to rip a screaming child away from his mother. Most of us couldn’t do it. This is where “animals” comes in. Declare he isn’t really a child, she isn’t a woman. Now it’s like pulling a piglet from a sow. This has always been how states enable savagery.
Radley Balko

This country doesn’t care about children. Not the children being murdered in our schools, not the immigrant children who are here for a better life, not the poor children, not the homeless children, not the sick children. This is a human rights violation. And they don’t care.
Alexis Isabel

One day we'll look at ICE's treatment of people of color in the same way we view 1930s Germany's treatment of Jews, and the fact that there's not more outcry against it is morally reprehensible.
prosecute ICE @lieholepiehole

I would love to sit down with Tim Pawlenty and have him explain to me exactly what he thinks sanctuary policies are and who he thinks “illegal” immigrants are because I guarantee he has no idea.
Kara Lynum
On guns and gun violence:
So half of the right is arguing for door control, and the other half is telling teenage girls to have sex with any boy who wants it to prevent mass shootings. Welcome to the modern American conservative movement.
@ js_edit

If keeping your hobby [guns] legal kills 35,000 people every year then well fuck your hobby.
Mikel Jollett

Imagine being moved to political protest by store clerks speaking Spanish or people identifying as another gender, but not by children regularly being slaughtered.
David Roberts

Also, when people like this talk about how guns can protect “you,” they don’t mean protesters or people of color. They support guns as a tool for maintaining existing power in an unequal system, namely their own

ollie north is actually the perfect representative for the business end of a cult of white patriarchal manhood that defines "liberty" as the freedom to inflict violence with impunity
Jamelle Bouie @jbouie
On education:
Here's a controversial opinion: Private schools should be banned. The rich shouldn't be able to buy their kids a better education. The fact that this is *is* a controversial opinion says a lot about our society, to be honest
Cynthia Bro @55Counties

One of urban transportation planning's biggest problems is that we still largely plan only for commute trips, because that's the data we collect best. However, it's only 20-25% of trips!

The hilarious thing is that what's "naive" and "romantic" is the idea that if you teach all this stuff to kids, they will learn it. One look at the Common Core standards and I'm like, "Y'all are living in a completely imaginary world."
Carol Black

If the success of public education rests on us solving poverty first we'll all die in the poverty of mass ignorance before seeing a working system of education.
Citizen Stewart

If educators are not teaching through a lens of justice and equity — they too have made a choice. That choice is not "neutral" or "normal" — it is an active decision NOT to examine the impact of curriculum on the multiple student identities in our classrooms. That choice means perpetuating years of whitewashed curriculum never designed for the success of all students. It leaves texts in need of disruption without it.
Christie Nold

“If we deliberately tried to come up with a way to widen the achievement gap, we might just invent homework” –Deb Meier
Alfie Kohn

Lol. I like all the Common Core standards. I would also like it if every child had a 90 mph fastball, was a Top Chef, and could sing like Aretha Franklin. What else should we put on the list of things kids can fail to do?
Carol Black

Public school parents who expect in a majority black and brown and low income school system to attend schools that are majority white and rich, I would argue, are on the dole. You are getting a private school education for your kids for free. And that is immoral and undemocratic.
Ida Bae Wells @nhannahjones

Biggest predictor of low test scores among kids: unstable housing situations.

Told students the five-paragraph essay doesn't really exist in the real world. Response: What?! Why are they teaching us writing that's not REAL? Me: Good question.
Ben Boyington

I loved coaching wrestling. I loved helping the kids that truly wanted to get better and I loved getting to know the kids that just wanted to be part of a group and kinda wanted to get better. Wonder how hard it would’ve been if everybody in the school had to be a wrestler.

"In 2012, more than twice as much money — $297 million — was awarded to charter schools from the country’s largest foundations as was given to community colleges, even though two-year colleges educate nearly four times as many students."
Nikhil Goyal
And once again, there’s the best of the rest:
On applying emotional intelligence: “It has never happened in human history that somebody changed because someone else told them how stupid they were.” –Christ Tippett, “On Being”
Phil Kalina

In 20 years, children will write DBQ’s on what this photo says about the state of our nation. America 2018:

danimiller345 (the photo shows students dying-in at a Publix Market, protesting school shootings)

Too many Obama-era bureaucrats refused to take bold, decisive actions for justice because they were afraid of rightwing backlash. It happened anyway, just not in the way they imagined. When you’re in power, BE BOLD. The GOP is, but for oppression.
Alexis Goldstein

Should we be surprised that rich people like Elon Musk are greedy?
Dean Baker

The thing about marginalization and trauma is that sometimes you cannot separate the trauma from yourself as an identity and there is no functional way to be dispassionate about it.
Sydette @Blackamazon

There are no Tony Starks. There are only assholes who take everyone else’s ideas, put them together and claim they are Tony Stark.” -Cory Doctorow
Michael Senft

"Patients Entrance," York, England. I love the little dragon dude between the two words:

Carolyn Porter

Questions I regularly ask myself when I'm outraged about injustice:
1. What resources exist so I can better educate myself?
2. Who's already doing work around this injustice?
3. Do I have the capacity to offer concrete support & help to them?
4. How can I be constructive?

Why do the worst men have to call each other “Bro”? It taints the idea of Brotherhood. Couldn’t they call each other something more accurate like “Jock,” Spotter” or “Defendant”?
Hari Kondabolu

The hubbub around weddings is capitalist garbage and a huge waste of money (even if I do cry at like every wedding I attend)
prosecute ICE @lieholepiehole

all pieces by a rich person who spends a week on food stamps are hereby required to be paired with a piece by a person on food stamps who gets to spend as much of the rich person’s money as they want for that week
Nicole Cliffe

Watching Elon Musk seamlessly moving from "the free market solves everything" to "trade unions sow social division among classes" and "we need a watchdog to discredit lying journalists" is like watching capitalism decay into fascism in real time on twitter.
Existential Comics

It's amusing how confident and overly-simplistic people can be about the housing market, which rivals the health care market for its mind-blowing complexity. Many wrong things are delivered with such dismissive authority.
Matthew Desmond

Bitcoin is the most selfish libertarian bullshit i've seen in years. You've destroyed the PC parts market and you're tormenting the world energy supply all in the name of trying to win free money

Jared Kushner has updated his financial disclosures at least *40 times* since March 2017 and faced no consequences. Matthew Cortland forgot to put his apartment number on a form to get food stamps and it could cost him his life.
Jeremy Slevin

The three (3) types of British crime shows:
- title is a surname, makes you sad
- title is a place name, makes you sad
- “gosh isn’t murder positively beastly, oh well mustn’t let it ruin the village’s Paintings of Fences & Sheep competition, it’s the 50th anniversary after all”
Emma Wortley

I was legitimately stunned "The Florida Project" wasn't nominated for Best Picture. Then I remembered it's a gritty, unromantic look at poverty that forces the viewer to recognize conditions that actually exist in this country for millions of children.
Charlotte Clymer

Not quite sure why the Met Council deserves blame for homeless people on the train. It’s like blaming schools for poverty. We criticize the institutions who have to cope with problems dumped on them, beyond their mission.
David Brauer

Can we revisit how Kimberlé Crenshaw actually defined and intended “intersectionality?” Because I don’t think stacking oppressions like Lincoln Logs and using whoever has the tallest tower as the indicator of moral and political righteousness was the idea.
Ari C. @lit_ari_ture

“Don’t do things that you know are morally wrong. Not because someone is watching, but because you are. Self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself. You’ll always know.“ —@naval
Paulo André

happy mother's day to all the moms in YA books who have to die for the plot to work
kat o'keeffe

When you’re inclusive but still hate the poor:

Isaac Azuelos

"It's like everyone imagines that if they were poor, they would make the best poor person and actual poor people are doing it wrong"--my sister on those weird shaming articles about how easy it can be to feed a family of four on $100/week and meal prepping or whatever
Kaitlyn Greenidge @surlybassey

"It’s increasingly clear that many people who go to prison are incarcerated because they are ill, and also that poverty erodes agency and wellness in a way that creates conditions for crime, violence, and addiction."
Nikhil Goyal

One thing I hope we take away from all this “consulting” stuff is that a lot of rich people get paid for being rich and knowing other rich people and not for doing anything reconizable as work
Adam Serwer

If the 20th century was a time of ascendent democracy, the 21st marks the rise of global oligarchy. At the end of the Cold War both the USSR and USA shed the cherished political principles that the conflict was supposedly about. Both have become flagrantly oligarchical schemes.
Langdon Winner

Insisting on the right to convert every US political leader into a heroic & noble saint upon death, while condemning critics as gauche & classless, is propaganda. It's easy to dismiss all the deaths McCain has caused because they're distant and invisible, but they still matter.
Glenn Greenwald

Since the 1970s, productivity has grown nearly 6 times the rate of pay. The EPI points to the erosion of worker protections and weakening of union power as major culprits.
Economic Policy Institute

People who can't distinguish between etymology and entomology bug me in ways I cannot put into words.
Tal Waterhouse

When did it become okay to be more offended by what someone with no power says than by what someone with power does?
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Do you think the people who founded GoFundMe understood they were starting a healthcare company?
anne v clark

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bees: A Honeyed History

I recently saw a cool picture book about bees. The artwork and the whole thinking process that went into it are wonderful.

It's oversized, with an arresting cover. Nice type choice, too!

Then there are the end papers, with this nifty repetitive pattern.

The inside does not disappoint, either. It varies between heavily illustrated spreads and more text-heavy layouts, but even those are well-designed and accessible.

Some of the illustrated spreads:

Which came first, the flower or the bee? And why?

A good explanation of how pollination works, with excellent flower images.

These flowers are shown a bit less cartoonishly, since they are meant to represent specific plants that are favored by bees.

Other pollinators get a few pages, too.

And I especially liked the illustrations of the many kinds of bee hives that humans have created in various places and times.

Thanks to author and illustrator Piotr Socha for all of his beautiful work on the book, and to Abrams Books for translating it from Polish and publishing for English-speaking children.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Roosevelt Was Hated, Too

With all of our political divisions, it's easy to think the past was much better. FDR, for instance — he was universally beloved by the people, if not the Republican leadership, right?

Not so much, according to a newspaper article my sister had hiding in an old book we found recently in her basement:

The image is a mural, painted in 1934. This is what the accompanying story from the New York American says:

This savage mural, bitterly satirizing President Roosevelt, his family and the New Deal, created an uproar when hung at the Westchester Institute of Fine Arts in Tarrytown. The President, top center, is shown with a fishing pole in one hand, the other entangled in microphones. Mrs. Roosevelt, beside him, drops a mass of papers, and on the table two dolls drop dolls of opposite sex into a waste basket — presumably symbolic of the two divorces in the Roosevelt familiy.

Top left, is a crucified Uncle Sam, and top right William Green, of the A.F. of L., balances Secretary of Labor Perkins. Flanking the President are gargoyles, supposedly "braintrusters," dropping funds into the public trough where the silk-hatted pigs are feeding.

Across the bottom, starting at the left, you see Secretary of Agriculture Wallace strangling Ceres, Goddess of Agriculture; a tax collector stripping Mr. Citizen of his last shirt, and Secretary Morgenthau juggling money, while hands from below reach up in supplication for aid. A down-trodden mailman supports Postmaster General Farley, who scatters mail and post office contracts to the four winds, and the fiery General Johnson is in action at the right.

The artist left the [Bald?] Eagle out of the picture, using a vulture instead. If you look closely, right center, you'll see a reformer chasing the [unreadable] out of the movies. The artist calls his picture "The Nightmare of 1934." He has signed it "Jere-Miah." Through a friend he informed reporters, "I don't dare let my name be known."
When the writer says the AFL's William Green "balances" Frances Perkins, what he means is Green is shown balancing her on his shoulder like a ventriloquist's dummy. There are several other parts of the painting that are not mentioned, perhaps because they were too extreme for a family publication: between FDR and the crucified Uncle Sam, there appear to be death-headed figures with their hands in chains, and he doesn't mention that the goddess Ceres is partially nude, arrayed like an odalisque, as Wallace chokes her.

The painter was clearly of minimal talent, and the reproduction is both black and white and on newsprint, so it's a bit hard to discern. But wow.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Robert Frost's From Snow to Snow

Here's another find from the basement (of my sister):

It's a thin book, stamped with metallic silver.

This is the first edition, I believe.

This is the most interesting part: you can see that at the top of this photo, in blue ink, is a Robert Frost signature. You can see the darkness of the ink varies, as it would with handwriting and a fountain pen, rather than the way it would look if done with a rubber stamp or something like that. (At least, in my non-professional estimation.) In the lower half of the photo is an image of Frost signature from the interweb for comparison.

I have to include these two pages from the book...

The book belongs to the school library my sister works in, and she has turned it back to them to see if they want to sell it or what. It was donated to the school in the late 1980s (according to a bookplate in the front), and she says it was sitting unnoticed in some barristers' bookcases for years before she found it. (It has no printing on the spine, which helped it escape detection.)

Possibly a find, my dear. And it came from the basement.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Old Chalk and More

Here are a few items that are not literally from my basement, but could have been:

 I recently saw this packaging at an estate sale. Love the color scheme and the lettering!

This physician's sample tin is about 1.5" wide. It contained Iodex ointment, whatever that was. (It contained "the organic iodine compound moniodo-oleic acid," you see). I find the typesetting amusing: let's hyphenate every word in the description for no reason!

Finally, check out this little blue thing, stamped with the name of Sunbeam Bread. What do you think it contained?

It came from my sister's basement. We used it with our Barbie dolls as a purse or picnic basket or something like that.

Here's what it held: a thin, plastic hair bonnet, which folded up to about an inch cubed of space. It was meant for women to use to protect their hairdos from the rain.

I imagine those are no longer made.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Names (and Signs) that Are Bad for Business

I can't get over this brand name for fresh fruit, which I saw adorning a pile of cardboard trays at a supermarket:

Gesex? GESEX? Genetically engineered sex? What?

I was afraid to Google it to find out, but persevered. It's a Chilean company, so maybe there's a translation problem here, kind of like Chevrolet and its Nova model ("nova" means "doesn't go" in Spanish). But really... GESEX?

Then there's this sign for a chiropractor in Highland Park, St. Paul. The name is fine, but look at that sign. You have to spend a lot of money for a lit box sign: maybe you should reserve a tiny amount of cash for designing what the sign looks like.

This shop, which sells vaping products in Northern Virginia, is as unconscious of its odd terminology as the owners of Endwell Animal Hospital. This sign may not be bad for business (the intended audience may be happy to breathe the vapors of liberty), but it's bad for the English language.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Two Options from Tony Carrillo

Another classic from Tony Carrillo and his F Minus daily strip:

I both identify with this and believe it is true of the "other" side.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Car as Weapon, No Consequences

This was shared publicly on Facebook by Carin Mrotz, executive director of Jewish Community Action:

Yesterday I participated in a Poor People's Campaign action at the Whipple Federal Building. This is the building from which van loads of immigrants being deported are transported by ICE, and the goal was to block the parking lot those vans exit from in order to slow down, at least for one day, a few of these vans. To make it harder for ICE to deport people for at least one day.

One of my jobs at this action was to stand in a line to block traffic, to tell drivers to turn around and use one of the parking lots immediately to the right and left of them, before they got to the point where other protestors had the road blocked. To create a second line of traffic blockers to stand 30 feet in front of the line of protestors. This was a necessary role, because before we set up that second line, at least two cars hit protestors. And once we set up the second line, the line I was standing in, folks in my line were hit as well.

I do not believe anyone was hit with enough speed or force to be seriously injured, but to be very clear, people in their cars encountered a line of unarmed, nonviolent people chanting and singing about immigrants’ rights and were triggered enough to immediately drive their vehicles into those peoples’ bodies. The ask, again, was to park in one of the lots immediately to their left or right instead of the one we were blocking, an inconvenience similar to what you’d expect if the lot was full or being re-asphalted (this happens annually in Minnesota). And their response was violent and instantaneous. They drove their cars into people. One man yelled at us, “You break the law, you get what you asked for.”

We can disagree about protest and about blocking roads. Whether it’s useful, meaningful. This is a conversation I have all the time and we don’t all agree. But I simply can not accept the contention that the appropriate punishment for blocking a road should be being hit by a civilian in their vehicle. And it’s part of my greatest concern about the wave of anti-protest legislation, which increases the criminal penalties for actions associated with protesting, like blocking highways. We’ve watched anti-protest laws move across the country and saw one passed in both the Minnesota House and Senate (by Republicans as well as Democrats) before our governor promised to veto it.

Anti-protest legislation itself is redundant – when we block the road we are breaking the law and expect to be arrested. We accept the consequences of that. Most research says that increasing the penalties for a something that’s already a crime isn’t an effective deterrent. So why then? When these laws are introduced and campaigns waged for their passing, what’s happening is that lawmakers are elevating into the public consciousness this narrative: protestors are criminals and they must be punished. And repeating it. And again. It has nothing to do with the law.

And this is the narrative: The people in the street are criminals and must be punished. It is not: Let’s do something to address what’s driving people into the streets. Doing that would get us out of the streets, but let’s not pretend that’s what anyone passing anti-protest legislation cares about. They want us there, because we are a hook to hang their faux exasperation on. They raise a lot of money on their outrage. The current administration uses the same tactics to dehumanize undocumented immigrants. They are not people, they are criminals and they must be punished.

Yesterday I watched a man literally roll his SUV into the bodies of three people who were standing in the street to protest the dehumanization and deportation of undocumented people. He didn’t engage on why we were there, he didn’t care. Our presence triggered him so quickly to violence, and eventually the police came and blocked traffic themselves to keep protestors from being injured. Many people were arrested for blocking the road, none that I saw were arrested for driving their cars into our bodies. We must not all get what we ask for. Maybe we need to ask different questions.
(Emphasis added.)

This protest was covered in the Star Tribune, reporting that both Blue Line trains and the entrance to a parking lot were blocked. The reporter mentioned nothing about people being hit on multiple occasions by drivers of cars (whether intentionally or not). Given that these actions was documented by legal observers, how does the Star Tribune account for that omission? Was the reporter actually present at the protest?

There are 420 comments on the Star Tribune story and I don't dare read them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Good and Bad Ideas

I have collected a few random images of things that are either a good idea or a bad one.

First, there's a nice design that, in a moment of recursion, is about ideas:

Then there's a bad idea:

Dogs need to be taught... to swim?

And then one final good idea to balance that out:

I am also pretty sure!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What We Have Done?

From Damian Carrington, an environmental editor at the Guardian, some facts on life on Earth.

To start, the human race is just 0.01% of all life but has destroyed over 80% of wild mammals.

Bacteria are a major life form – 13% of everything – but plants dominate, with 82% of all living matter. All other creatures, from insects to fungi, fish to animals, make up just 5% of the world’s biomass.

60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are human and just 4% are wild animals. Farmed poultry makes up 70% of all birds on the planet, with just 30% being wild.

Since the rise of human civilisation, 83% of wild land mammals, 80% of marine mammals and 50% of plants have been lost.

Viruses alone have a combined weight three times that of humans, as do worms. Fish are 12 times greater than people and athropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans) 17 time more. Bacteria outweigh humans by 1200 times.

Oh, and life in the oceans turns out to represent just 1% of all biomass. The vast majority of life is land-based and a large chunk – an eighth – is bacteria buried deep below the surface.
The full article can be found here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hope Community, 40 Years!

I recommend to you the work of Hope Community, a 40-year-old community development corporation in Minneapolis. They are unusual among CDCs, however, since they don't actually build housing themselves, for the most part. Instead, they partner with other CDCs and even management companies to run the residential aspects of their buildings... and spend their time creating community among residents, providing youth programming, and working with immigrant adults on reading and other life skills.

This is not supportive housing, however. All programs are optional and therefore have to be attractive enough to exist without a forced audience. They have a great community garden program, for instance. They have a summer camp program geared particularly to kids who live in their four large, new apartment buildings and dozens of duplexes and single-family homes arranged around the city block where they started decades ago.

Here are three quotes from their history that are now part of a large collage on one wall of a gathering space in the building they call the Children's Village Center:

Shannon Jones, their recently named executive director, was herself a Hope resident about 15 years ago. I look forward to seeing what she, the staff, and community can achieve together in the next 40 years.

Shannon Jones (left) and Hope founder Char Madigan (right), with an image from decades ago showing what is now the Hope Community neighborhood.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Twenty Is Plenty

Hey, did you know that a pedestrian hit by a car going 20mph has about a 1 in 10 chance of dying, while a pedestrian hit by a car going 40mph has a 4.5 in 10 chance of dying?

And did you also know, given that those are averages, that an older person hit is much more likely to die than a young person (a 70-year-old has a 7 in 10 chance of dying in the 40mph scenario)?

That's why I like this sign:

It's an unauthorized use of a city pole, but it looks totally official. Good job, guerrilla sign-makers!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

This Is Minnesota

It's not a great photo or a particularly charming setting, but it represents life in Minnesota these days:

Note the business name, Midwest Market, which features Halal meat. Then on the left door, there's a sign that says Hot & Fresh New England Coffee Served Inside.

I find that sign much stranger than the Midwestern Halal meat. Coffee doesn't come from New England and I don't even know what those words mean as a marketing phrase. Are they supposed to make us think of Dunkin' Donuts or something?

New England coffee. What is that?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Puzzle Picture

My awareness of light and shadow is not that great compared to my artist friends. But I did manage to capture this last night:

A not-bad puzzle picture, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Safer Streets

Today, I have the confluence of two posts about street safety.

First from Streets MN, Unsafe Streets Are Unequitable: For Vulnerable Road Users, "Doing Everything" Isn't Enough. It's the story of a white, male attorney who was hit by a car while riding his bike, and how hard the process was even with all of his advantages.

Second, there's Jason Kottke summarizing a New York Times article called What America Can Learn from Europe About Redesigning Urban Traffic Patterns. My favorite points that Kottke excerpts:

  • The best way to slow cars down is to throw away all the techniques that traffic engineers developed to make traffic flow quickly.
  • When drivers slow down to 20 m.p.h. or below, they are less likely to hit people and much less likely to seriously injure or kill people if they do hit them.
  • Improving public transit gets you the result of fewer cars. Quoting Bogata mayor Enrique Peñalosa: “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport.”
My only argument with the original post is that the writer uses the term "congestion pricing," which is in common use, of course, but he should know that it makes a lot more sense to call it "decongestion pricing" since that is the result.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Well Said

From today's Star Tribune letters to the editor, just one sentence from letter about CIA director nominee Gina Haspel's history with torture:

It is hard for me to understand that we could survive the existential threat of a world war with a certain level of humanity and then when presented with a threat (terrorism) that is not existential, we would begin to mirror our enemies.
Well said, Dana Post of Minneapolis.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Free Food in Minneapolis

I didn't realize the Chef Shack Ranch restaurant in Minneapolis had this little red box on one side of its building:

The words on the box say "FREE STREET PANTRY."

Some people take the sharing economy more seriously than others.

Monday, May 14, 2018

On the Media on the Poverty Myths

I haven't had time to listen to it yet, but the little part I heard of yesterday's On the Media episode made me want to give it some time.

This is the way they wrote it up for their website:

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016, we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series.

1. Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted, on the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech, former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for covering inequality stymies our discourse around poverty.

2. Jill Lepore, historian and staff writer for the New Yorker, on the long history of America's beloved "rags to riches" narrative and Natasha Boyer, a Ohio woman whose eviction was initially prevented thanks to a generous surprise from strangers, on the reality of living in poverty and the limitations of "random acts of kindness."

3. Brooke [Gladstone, cohost] considers the myth of meritocracy and how it obscures the reality: that one's economic success is more due to luck than motivation. 
I'm looking forward to hearing it. The three stories listed above can be listened to as one episode or separately here.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Katherine Hayhoe Thinks About Why and Why Not

If you care about the effort to limit climate change, you probably already know about Katherine Hayhoe, atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Christian University. She's one of the most prominent people trying to connect her fellow Christians with climate science.

She recently created a tweet storm that's worth quoting in full on all the reasons climate change is so hard to avert.

Why is it so hard to wean ourselves off fossil fuels in time to prevent serious impacts from climate change? It’d be nice if there were just one reason: but there isn’t. There are political, economic, cultural, social, psychological, even physiological barriers.

First, some economic reasons. Fossil fuels are woven through our entire global economy, and 7 out of 10 of the richest corporations in the world depend intimately on fossil fuels for their success, and so have every reason to preserve the status quo. [with link to a list]

Then, political reasons. Money = campaign donations = power. Plus, Republicans oppose “big gov” and climate solutions are typically presented as such. Then there's Citizens United, gerrymandering, many other factors that also play a role in preventing change.

Now some cultural reasons. Climate solutions require acting together, yet culturally the U.S. is one of the most independent countries in the world. Pointy-headed scientists are the messengers; it's no accident this book [Anti-Intellectualism in America by Richard Hofstadter] won the Pulitzer in 196.

More cultural reasons. There is an active disinformation campaign that takes advantage of long-standing cultural divides to paint it as a liberal/anti-christian issue or simply to sow uncertainty — which is just as effective in delaying action.

Then there’s the fact that we as humans are pretty good at immediate threats, but generally terrible at long-term challenges. We already don't save enough to retire or eat what we should. What’s more long-term than climate change?!

Can’t forget emotional reasons: guilt, that nearly every action we take contributes to the problem; anxiety, knowing that even if we do our best, we can’t fix it by ourselves; insecurity + tribalism — we want to belong, so we reflect the opinions of those around us.

False balance in the media, the politicization of religion, the fact that our brains remember weather but not climate, the fact that change is harder than no change...the barriers go on and on.

When you look at it that way, really it's a miracle we've gotten as far as we have!

What's missing from this list? And — more importantly — what do you think are the most important counter-balances to these barriers?

Oops — can't miss the fact that, until recently, the most obvious negative impacts were not occurring where most people live ... but this is changing!

This is why "just tell them the scientific facts" will not change too many minds; "lack of scientific understanding" did not even make this list!

Bottom line: we need to connect the dots between climate change + what people already care about.
All of that and more, but it's good to have her thoughts on this for reference.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Go Co-op!

Literally, go co-op!

From the Vault of the Atomic Space Age (via Cory Doctorow's Twitter feed).

Friday, May 11, 2018

More of Cortland, and Meet Homer

I've written before about Cortland, N.Y. A more recent visit resulted in more photos to share.

First, some with 20th-century commercial interest:

I liked this boarded up painted-block building even before I saw its cornerstone:

I wanted to rescue it and turn it into something... not sure what.

I stopped in at the county historical society, which was pretty interesting. This was maybe the coolest thing I saw:

The label says "The Single Handed manufactured by Wickwire & Garrison, Cortland, N.Y.," and the docent told me it's a vaccum cleaner. There is no information about this object on the interweb... searching Wickwire and Garrison gets you this photo of two buildings in downtown Cortland:

The one on the left is the Garrison block and the one on the right is the Wickwire block. Not sure if one of them housed the factory where these vacuum cleaners were made.

On the north edge of Cortland, you come to the Village of Homer. First you see this octagonal building:

I heard someone is about to renovate it for business use.

I'm glad it will be saved, but its current state of weathering is beautiful in its own way...

...including this hand-written sign on the door.

Just up the street is this place, which used to be the Gunroom, I guess:

At some point, someone rubbed out the G and made it into the Unroom:

It has that fake-brick asbestos siding I associate with rural poverty in upstate New York, and this great weathered partial billboard:

Homer itself is a quaint village with a two-block brick downtown business district that still houses a clothing store and village market, plus a restaurant/bar and a few attempts at chi-chi (an olive oil bar). It was clearly well-to-do in the 19th century, as shown in these engravings from an old atlas:

This last house (note the hitching posts along the street edge) was the residence of Jacob Schermerhorn and is still easy to spot today...

...though the fence is greatly simplified.

Here it is from the other side, showing the carriage portico.

And here are the hitching posts in front.

Another house memorialized as it looked some time in the 19th century is called the David Harum house:

His actual name was David Hanum, and this is the house today:

Love that weeping tree!

David Hanum was a local banker of some repute, and may have been the source for a fictional character called David Harum. He was the subject of an eponymous 1899 best-seller, which was the source of the expression "horse-trading." Homer seems to be a bit confused as to whether Hanum or Harum was the one who lived in their town.

Near these two houses along main street are a number of others that caught my attention:

This one was built in 1816. A close-up of the door:

This brick house was the 1832 birthplace of Andrew Dickson White, cofounder and first president of Cornell University (1866-1885):

A close-up of the gate on the left side of the yard:

I'd like to sandblast that and see the detail under all that paint. Note the broken-off axe on the left side of the symmetrical design.

A few more houses just because they were cool:

There was another house I didn't get a photo of that had a history plaque in front, which read "William Osborn Stoddard, assistant personal secretary to President Lincoln. Born here 1835, died 1925." And remember, Homer had another illustrious resident I've written about before, Amelia Bloomer.