Friday, September 30, 2016

Twitter as September Grinds on

This month is only 30 days long, and I even added the first day of September to my August Twitter post. But still, there were a lot of tweets about you-know-what and -who.

Most recently, there was the first presidential debate, both during and after (and a little bit of the worrying before, listed here in reverse chronological order):

What type of president do Americans want? An unstable insomniac, probably.
Josh Barro

Trump thinks doing a sex tape makes you disgusting but being a proven sexual harasser like Roger Ailes makes you a friend and top advisor.
Frank Conniff

"Go watch that fat pig's sex tape" – the nominee overwhelmingly supported by Evangelical Christians.
joe mande

At some moment, while we were all still asleep, female weight gain became a plank in the GOP platform.
Jennifer Senior ‏@JenSeniorNY

Oh for fucks sake I really need people to stop:
1. fat-shaming the people who are fat-shaming, and
2. saying “but she isn’t even fat!”
It’s not outrageous that Trump said that shit about Miss Universe because “she wasn’t even fat.” THAT IS MISSING THE POINT. Like, “oh, it’s okay if he says that shit about someone who is ACTUALLY FAT, this is just offensive!” No. Stop it.
Sarah Mackey ‏@sarahjanet

Funny how Trump touts cyber polls where people can vote 15 times, but supports voter suppression laws...
Tony Jordan ‏@twjpdx23

If you're a working person, YOU KNOW THIS GUY. You know a version of this rich cheap prick. And you're going to let him run the country?
Andy Richter

I didn't pay taxes because you would have squandered it:

David Waldman ‏@KagroX

When asked why he doesn't help pay for our military, or taking care of vets, or paying for police, Trump said: “That makes me smart.”
Michael McFaul

How does Donald Trump expect the government to do so much when he thinks that smart people don't pay taxes?
Rainbow Rowell

unable to face a level playing field, apoplectic in the face of facts, full of hurt feelings — Trump is everything he claims the PC crowd is
Saladin Ahmed

Trump denying black folks housing based on race then criticizing the state of the neighborhoods black folks live in is America in a nutshell

Most of us don't realize the extent to which very wealthy people avoid taxes, people whose income comes from financial transactions, not labor. Maybe people think, "Yeah, that's what I'd do if I were rich, keep it all for myself. Fuck taxes." But taxes pay for everything good and necessary! It's working people, paying taxes who make this country great. Not wealthy people who only look out for themselves.
Rainbow Rowell

Complete silence from either candidate about Native people, Native issues, Indian law, Indian summer, Jeep Cherokee #NoDAPL

Debating while female, in one graphic:

Sarah Kliff

We all have to admit Donald Trump is the Whitest White man to ever White. Dude showed up to a Presidential debate. Wingin' it and confident.
Elon James White

Takeaway from tonight: Reality TV editing can make anyone look good.
Hemant Mehta

Donald Trump may destroy the American experiment in democracy, and god help us all, but history will remember him as a pathetic evil shit.
Tom Tomorrow

whenever trump says "that's not very nice" he sounds exactly like a tv serial killer about to claim a victim
Saladin Ahmed

Take a moment to consider how much money you'd be able to amass if you just didn't pay your bills and then got people to forgive you for it.
Arielle Brousse ‏@thewordunheard

The Trump Look:

Ann Telnaes

Trump runs out of gas pretty quickly when he doesn't have a howling racist mob egging him on.
Chris Dashiell

If Trump wants to make America great again, he should make sure he pays his workers and pays his fair share of taxes.
Steven Greenhouse

Guy who is proud of not paying taxes is mad NATO members aren't paying their fair share.

I literally think Trump has never had to listen to a woman for this long in his life.
Paul Musgrave ‏@profmusgrave

Trump doesn't have any political experience but he has lots of experience berating women so this debate could be close.

The moderators are begging off of fact-checking Trump at the debate, putting the onus on Hillary. This is setting Hillary up for failure. Trump presents a blizzard of lies. If Hillary fact checks all, she'll have time for nothing else.
Judd Legum
Not to mention the election generally:
White working-class economic frustration is never not about race. To fall economically is to be drawn closer to black people and blackness.
Brent Staples ‏@BrentNYT

The worse Trump gets, the clearer it is that the attraction of him for many is not love of Trump so much as hate for those who hate him. I think Trump's opponents haven't internalized this deeply enough.
Anand Giridharadas ‏@AnandWrites

The worldweary position that criticisms of Trump are worthless unless they change his staunchest supporters' minds is facile and unhelpful. Nothing is going to change their minds. Set them aside. Anything that gets out the vote against him is worthy.
Erin Kissane

I hope Gary Johnson and Jill Stein eventually find the Christopher Guest movie they belong in.
Una LaMarche ‏@sassycurmudgeon

Voting third party is the electoral equivalent of "thoughts and prayers."

DonaldTrump's pick for EPA transition chief likes global warming because 'people die in blizzards.'
Bill McKibben

Trump is such a weird combination of bully and crybaby.
Robert Wright

A challenge for the left: to pay heed to kernels of genuine anti-globalism and anti-neoliberalism on the vast, often-racist cob of Trumpist anger.
Anand Giridharadas ‏@AnandWrites

Can't decide between the racist promising WW3 and the person who used home email at work? Maybe voting is too hard for you.

Let us remember that if Donald Trump had not been born into massive wealth and power, he would essentially be unemployable.
Jason Pinter

The repudiation of alt-right racism by keeping deranged lunatic bigot Donald Trump out of office is America's greatest test since Jim Crow.
Bill Madden ‏@activist360

Trump hasn't created a "resurgence of racism," he's just given white folks the permission to be unapologetic about it.
Broderick Greer

Don't vote to "send a message." It won't be heard. Cast a vote for the candidate who will best advance equality, justice and climate change.
George Takei

Does anyone have any doubt that Trump would view the Presidency primarily as a way to enrich himself?
Christopher Hayes

How weak do you have to be to think Donald Trump is strong?
Hemant Mehta

"I am sorry. I was wrong. I will learn more and do better." Such powerful words and yet, so rarely used.
Jess ‏@JessLif

Political correctness imposes the greatest constraints on odious people, so those who complain loudest have the weakest case against it
Josh Barro

I hate this election with a burning passion that is also full of dread and exhaustion.
Tom Tomorrow

Maybe Trump is afraid to say he believes Obama was born in the U.S. because the next question will be "what changed your mind?" There is no way for Trump to say he's no longer a birther without implicitly admitting to being a moron. There is really no good answer to "what changed your mind?" The long form birth certificate? Which he continued to question for years?
Josh Barro

Trump calls those who turn other cheek "fools." He is for revenge, says making others miserable makes him happy.
David Cay Johnston

Art inside the Trump/Pence headquarters at Trump Tower in NYC:

Ines de La Cuetara ‏@InesdLC

Trump promising to end regulations of "food production hygiene" and "inspection overkill" doesn't seem politically (or substantively) wise. He risks illustrating something important: "regulation" in the abstract is expensive and annoying, but specific regulations serve purposes.
Josh Barro

Gary Johnson's wild popularity with under-30s should reduce one's confidence that the Bernie people were ideologically committed socialists.
Matthew Yglesias

Donald Trump: "So many of my friends who are black say, 'You are the least racist person.'"
Yamiche Alcindor (New York Times reporter)

To which Alex Burns, also from the New York Times, responded:
Trying hard to imagine the circumstances where a black person would say this to a white person they're friends with.

Trump has privately held companies. He can set policy. None of Trump's companies offer paid maternity leave as he now proposes. #AreYouKidding
stuart stevens

Mike Pence, who said discrimination against LGBT people ought to be legal, just condemned Clinton for treating people with "contempt."
Hemant Mehta

My theory is that Trump envies and admires Putin's success as a kleptocrat.
Tom Tomorrow

Washington Post: How will history judge America if it elects a madman because his opponent used work email at home?
Nicholas Thompson ‏@nxthompson

If in 2008, Senator Barack Obama had praised Putin as a better President than the American, Republicans would have demanded he quit race.
stuart stevens

Just a reminder: In 2003 the Dixie Chicks were boycotted and crucified for saying they were ashamed of President Bush.
Maggie Jordan ‏@MaggieJordanACN

"Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man." – Sarah Hagi

I don't know who democrats are appealing to when they lift Reagan up as an example of a great presidency but it surely ain't me.
Bree Newsome

Gary Johnson is guileless. In a way, it's refreshing. But I think we want a president with at least a little guile.
Josh Barro

Fine, it's better to be honest when ignorant than lie, but it's even better to not run for president if you don't know what Aleppo is.
Kelsey D. Atherton

NBC News Commander in Chief Forum. How Trump answers in 3 steps:
1. repeat the problem,
2. criticize someone,
3. state no plan.
Lauren Victoria ‏@LVBurke

One of the things that's really striking about Trump is the utter lack of acknowledgement of trade-offs or that any decisions are hard.
Christopher Hayes

What Bill Clinton did post-presidency isn't illegal, it's very DC-business-as-usual. But that business-as-usual is what voters hate.
amy walter

This is the year the media taught us that racism, sexism, and homophobia aren't as bad as charitable foundations and private email servers.
Frank Conniff

Third parties exist to flatter people. We should stop pretending it's a replacement for the boring work and hard compromise of actual elections.
Clay Shirky

Sure, Trump is authoritarian racist, but the Clintons have a foundation that provides health care to AIDS patients, so they're the same.
Ian Millhiser

Christians shaming Clinton for her husband's actions are the same people who say divorce is bad. Pick a lane. You can't say divorce is bad and that Trump is the candidate of morals without looking like a fool.
lyz lenz

"Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.” [Said by] his African American outreach director. Americans don't bow to presidents.
David Cay Johnston

To him,"sexually undesirable" is the worst thing a woman can be. Every woman he wars with is "ugly" or "fat" or "look at that face.” Whereas the way he compliments *his own daughter* is to say she's hot and he'd date her.

Don't tell me "gender isn't a factor" when Hillary Clinton is more despised for being cheated on than Trump is despised for cheating.
Rachel Held Evans

Trump has no real talent in making money. His talent is all in borrowing and spending it.
Josh Greenman

Trump gambled that GOP politicians would value their own ambition over his heresies, insults, and outrages. He won the gamble.
Yoni Appelbaum

Does it really not matter that the Republican candidate is relying on advice from man accused of harassing female employees over decades?
Rebecca Traister

Reading polls about Clinton is revealing; she wins on all substantive measures, but people have "doubts." This is how job discrimination works
Darren Hutchinson ‏@dissentingj

So I don't know about you guys, but I genuinely resent all the time I've had to spend thinking about Mr. Trump. I'm thinking we've got a class action lawsuit here, for intentional emotional distress on a mass scale.  Who's with me?
Tom Tomorrow

Trump's strategy to lie faster than the media can fact check was pioneered by Joseph McCarthy. And it hasn't stopped working.
jelani cobb

I think people are over-thinking why Trump is competitive. He's the GOP nominee and he's winning about 90% of Republicans. That makes you competitive! If you win a major party's nomination you've got a good shot to be president!
Christopher Hayes

It’s also difficult to see folk who’ve scarcely conceded racism’s deformative power now rush to discuss the additional “nuances” of Trumpism.
jelani cobb

Trump's only policies:
1. Build a wall and deport all Latinos
2. Ban all Muslims
3. Stop and frisk every Black person in public.
Marcus Hassan ‏@smoothkobra

Jamelle Bouie replied:
It's almost as if Trump's core message is that nonwhites are inherently suspect and dangerous.

One big problem with Russ Douthat's column is it conflates two separate discourses about political correctness (Trump's and academic). If you listen to Trump's speeches (which you should do!), when he says PC he doesn't mean trigger warnings of liberal cable news shows. By political correctness Trump means the end of Christian cultural hegemony (Happy Holidays!) and respect for human rights (no waterboarding).
Jeet Heer

Is there any meaning left to one person, one vote when a billionaire donates $100 million in a campaign cycle?
Steven Greenhouse

As a kid, I used to wonder how people would ever allow Fascism to take over. Then, I grew up and started watching and learning.
Johnny Argent

I found Reagan's mythical Welfare Queen! It's Donald Trump:

Tim De Chant

Bree Newsome responded:
It happens exactly like it's happening right now. Economic anxiety + public hysteria + cultural scapegoating + weakened press

The Trump kids would last about 19 seconds in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
Scott Weinberg

Wait. What percent of <gun owners/Syrian refugees> pose a mortal threat to Americans? What percent makes it sensible to ban <guns/refugees>?
Joseph Nathan Cohen

I get so freaked out about this election sometimes, and then I remember how thoroughly black and brown women get shit done. (And then I scream into a bag, send money to support get out the vote, and get back to work.)
Erin Kissane

Most of what Trump says boils down to "I would act the role of President well. I'd make President sounds. You would think 'He's President.'"
Mark Harris
There were enough tweets specifically about Hillary Clinton’s "basket of deplorables" specifically to warrant their own section:
If you are investing writing and ink in trying to make racists that are "nice" not deplorable, you're missing the point about racism.
ProfB ‏@AntheaButler

There are obviously some deplorable views that society views as automatically disqualifying. That people don't think racism is one is telling.
Vann R. Newkirk II ‏@fivefifths

It's pretty simple. If you aren't deplorable, she isn't talking about you. Are you mad for your deplorable friends or something?
christine teigen

What an election year. The anti-PC crowd are triggered and suddenly want a safe space.
Keith White ‏@keethers

Tell me we’re smart enough not to get into a debate about whether calling someone a bigot is more bigoted than actual bigotry. Please.
Jamil Smith

funny how these 'no filter' dudes never respond to militant feminists with SHE MIGHT BE OUTRAGEOUS BUT AT LEAST SHE SAYS WHAT'S ON HER MIND. NO SPIN! NO SUGARCOATING! but when I post harsh things about America these dudes don't admire my lack of filter, they call me a sand nigger
Saladin Ahmed

Deplorables on police brutality:
meh, there's always a few bad apples BLUE LIVES MATTER

On refugees:
it only takes one BAN THEM ALL
Tony Webster

Twisteth this not: White people – and almost no one else – are voting for Donald Trump. This is a racial issue.
Broderick Greer
I look forward to the day when I don't have to include a section on Black Lives Matter, racism, and the killings of unarmed black people (this month, the killings were in Charlotte and Tulsa... oh yes, and San Diego this week, too), but this is not the month. This section also covers the quiet protests of the Star Spangled Banner inspired by Colin Kaepernick:

Dave Zirin ‏@EdgeofSports

Shoutout to the non-Black people on Facebook writing heartfelt paragraphs for non-adopted dogs but being silent on Black deaths. Truly amazing.
Ivie Okechukwu-Ani ‏@ivieani

"the officer discharged his firearm" is the most disgusting rhetorical term.
Linda Tirado ‏@KillerMartinis

Even when structural racism is acknowledged, its ambiguity and enormity frighten us out of action.
Rich Benjamin ‏@RichBenjaminUSA

White folks be like: It's people like you who keep the races divided. But that falsely presumes this country was ever united in the first place.
Stacey Patton

Haven't seen a photo or sign that sums up this country's policing crisis any better than this:

Dave Zirin ‏@EdgeofSports

Racial justice isn't a zero-sum game: white communities don't have to be deprived of rights & resources to equalize communities of color.
Stacey Patton

The paradox runs deep in the U.S.: the man who wrote "all men are created equal" also owned 607 people.
Christine Folch

"Not seeing color" isn't the answer! My color isn't a problem, being treated differently because of it is.

2016: 70% whites disagree with Kaepernick's stance
1966: 85% whites think civil rights movement "hurts the negro"
Christopher Petrella

"What is the alternative? We do the work because we have to." —Melissa Harris Perry on facing crushing systems of oppression.
Sasanka Jinadasa ‏@lankanfeminist

interesting how uncomfortable conservatives get when you start talking about racism in the United States. I mean, if you think racism is over and we should all just get along, why do you feel the need to silence those who disagree?
ProfB ‏@AntheaButler

For racists, the definition of reverse racism is having to treat people of color fairly and with respect to the point where it feels uncomfortable.
Stacey Patton

I swear people talk about MLK like he died in his sleep at a kindly old age.
Jemele Hill

If you care more about the flag than the freedom it represents, you're missing the point of America.
Rainbow Rowell

The effects of racism on the lives of black people are material and measurable and it needn't be powered by any explicit, verbalized animus.
Gene Demby

The longer I go, the more I realize: the biggest obstacle for white people with racism is realizing it's not just a personal failing.
Andrew Lipsett

My freedoms depend on dissenters and protestors, not soldiers.
David Kaib

Apparently fighting against America should be celebrated, but peacefully protesting shouldn't:

Black Aziz Ansari ‏@Freeyourmindkid

if the anthem requires compulsory observance, doesn't that cheapen the supposed patriotism underlying standing for it?
Gene Demby

All the anger at Kaepernick is easy to grasp once you understand that many people do not believe blacks face any particular disadvantage.
Jamelle Bouie

What's in the best interest of young black people is at odds with the established socioeconomic power structure of the USA
Bree Newsome

You'll be surprised at how many companies/institutions/ politicians still benefit from the profits of slavery. Lloyds Bank, founded in 1688, insured many of the trading fleets in the transatlantic chattel slavery. I don't see Lloyds going bankrupt. If Swiss banks paid £680 million in settlements to the victims of the Nazis, why is Lloyd's not doing the same for the victims of chattel slavery?
Kamil_Kamikazi ‏@TheKamikazi

White supremacy isn't cops violently manhandling black girls in school.
It's that doing so is perfectly legal
5'7 Black Male ‏@absurdistwords

Protip: lust for Black bodies is not pro-Black. It does not help our liberation. It has often, in fact, been used to further enslave us.
Phillip Atiba Goff

On Colin Kaepernick: "I wish that my country didn't demand fidelity; I wish that it would instead, earn it." – Melissa Harris Perry
Sarah Colome

Every time I hear "Why isn't there a white [version of this People of Color thing]," it really means "How dare you have anything. Anything at all. Ever."
N. K. Jemisin

When you think about structural racism as an imbalance of risks along racial lines, everything makes sense
Vann R. Newkirk II ‏@fivefifths

Poisoning Native water is a basic humanity issue. Police killing black folk is a basic humanity issue. You don't treat humans like that.

The Charlotte protests aren't black people against whites. They're black, white and brown people against systemic violence.
Steven Greenhouse

America you are f*cking testing my patience. I'm sick of your fearful, incompetent racist policing and the excuses and bold-faced lies. You kill us with impunity and expect us to kiss your weak a$$ fear and bolster you up by pretending you're better than us. Insanity. Let me be clear. This nation will implode if police don't get a grip. How long can this go on without a reckoning? Look, the thing you fear most, white people, is black folks exacting judgment for your evils against us. Keep fueling the racism and hate... You may reap what you've sown. And don't come into my timeline with "not all white people" BS. I know that, I teach the civil rights movement. I want you all to understand this constant loop of Black Death is not going to make your streets safer. I want you to understand that we can't stand for a flag that has choked us, disrespected us and killed our dreams to honor yours. Most importantly I don't love your white nationalist Jesus. Your patriotism and false Christianity hides the hate you have for my people. Your fear and weakness are killing generations of Black people. Get a damn grip.
ProfB ‏@AntheaButler

If they don't want to speak out against police violence? Vote 'em out. Not an election year? Keep score. Don't forget.

Racists view anti-racism as anti-white people... because they're racist. That's why they call whites who do anti-racism work "race traitors"
Bree Newsome

Dr. King literally sat in jail and wrote an entire letter expressing disappointment in the very white people who now quote him out of context.
Clint Smith ‏@ClintSmithIII

we have to destroy a system that normalizes sending SWAT teams to deal with petty warrants and uses the police to terrorize. [Referring to Korryn Gaines, killed by police in her own home in Baltimore]

I don't subscribe to the "bad apples" theory, but the difference is telling. Teacher unions are targeted, police unions are protected.
Brian Jones ‏@brainyandbrawny

Again, slavery never ended. Codified in 13th Amendment, it has evolved into the prison industrial complex. Police brutality is one part of it. What we have today isn't chattel slavery, of course, but it's actually a more evolved, efficient system of political and economic control.
Bree Newsome

Police are employees, can be demoted, fired, etc. If their employers wanted them to stop killing black people, they could make them stop.
Brian Jones ‏@brainyandbrawny

being black and living in a constant state of grief and anger is confusing and hard. it's difficult not to just numb yourself to it all
is that nut? ‏@jadaaaolsen

White people, your fear of black people is going to destroy us all. Think about it. Change. #TerranceCrutcher [killed in Tulsa]
ProfB ‏@AntheaButler

Every time one of these police killings happen without consequence, it is not simply giving sanction, it is *encouraging* officers to repeat.
Imani Perry

I have a collection of parody Don't Tread On Me flags I've saved from the Internet:

Smol and Sweet ‏@Blueloid
There was a good grouping of tweets about the environment and climate change:
Planning a post-petroleum world doesn't mean
1) we rid ourselves of all oil usages ASAP or
2) there aren't good uses. It means "planning."

18 months ago, we cheered when solar broke below 6 cents/kwh. Today a new record: 2.42 cents/kwh, and still falling.
Bill McKibben

Food waste and too much protein (especially animal) are the key issues facing the world's food system. Not yields.
Jon Foley

Exxon = Philip Morris, except that instead of taking people out one by one they do it a planet at a time.
Bill McKibben

Cars or biosphere. Choose. Now.
Free Public Transit

40% of food wasted globally. 75% of agricultural land devoted to feeding animals. – Jonathan Foley
Ensia ‏@ensiamedia

Americans are nice people. If they knew people are being killed to support their car-dependent life, they would be upset.
Free Public Transit

Environmental racism is affordable public housing policy dictating buildings being built next to toxic waste sites. Environmental racism is when Nestle gets priority on profiting off of water systems but rainwater catchment is deemed illegal.
Someone, Somewhere ‏@CapobiaNB
And even more about sustainable, livable cities and pedestrian safety:
Stop signs are a requirement brought on by cars, not needed by bikes.
Erik Griswold

It is a mainstream opinion to think government has no business feeding hungry children yet has a social mission to provide adults with parking.
Rik Adamski

kids can't play outside because of the miniscule chance they'll be kidnapped. at age 16 they get keys to a 2000-pound machine powered by fire
Josh Fruhlinger

Abolishing cars is the lowest hanging fruit for degrowth. Ask leaders why they're so quiet on this.
Free Public Transit

[I saw] multiple options of good public transit in Warsaw. People who use cars spend 25% of income in mobility. Non-car: 5%
Gil Penalosa

Billions of words have been written to support capitalism. Basically, they add up to "stealing is ok."
Free Public Transit

I don't know, maybe don't drive a SUV the size of a small bus around in urban areas or speed and you wouldn't need 14' lanes. *shrug*
mike ‏@mikesonn

People aren't going to stop using their phones, so the only real solution is to have them stop using their cars.
William Lindeke

It is amazing the things you see if you sit at an intersection for 2 hours. I wish we could get Public Works and elected officials to do it.
mike ‏@mikesonn

Pipelines will stop when there are too few customers, not before.
Free Public Transit

Density is the natural progression of cities, not single family homes. So it actually takes a vast government system to build/maintain/subsidize single family homes.
mike ‏@mikesonn

"It continues to amaze me that we view 38,000 deaths every year as merely 'the cost of doing business.'"
Strong Towns

Focus on the most vulnerable citizens: Children, Older Adults, Poor. Equity. Prioritize PUBLIC space.
Gil Penalosa

Sidewalks are a symbol of [the quality of] our democracy" – Gil Penalosa
AntonioGomez-Palacio ‏@aurbanist

Ten garbage trucks have come down my little street already this morning. Ten. This represents freedom to some people.
Matt Becker


William Lindeke

How to get kids to walk and bike? Get parents to walk and bike. Lead by example. If possible, do it through parks, health.
Gil Penalosa

When I am in most suburbs, I spend most of my time reflecting on how depressing they are for anyone outside of a vehicle.
la flaneuse

Conservative Americans think they are voting for "values." They are. The values are: racism and slavery to the car.
Free Public Transit
1st generation smart transportation thinking knows streets move people, not just cars. 2nd generation thinking knows streets do much more than move people.
Brent Toderian

Owning a home doesn't entitle you to free on-street parking any more than renting does and neither does paying car registration fees.
Second Ave. Sagas ‏@2AvSagas

“Nobody goes to a city because it has great highways.” Tourism is pedestrian. People walk, have a cappuccino, walk, wine, walk...
Gil Penalosa

Bike infrastructure is already there. It was stolen by cars. Let's take it back.
Free Public Transit

Cities would move forward much faster if they spent less money on studies and more on DOING. Usually more studies are a way of delaying decision.
Gil Penalosa

Jane Jacobs rejected modernist visions of the city, arguing that they get better as they get messier, more chaotic and more human.
jennifer keesmaat
This time, I am combining tweets about children with tweets about rethinking schools:
“Reflection journals” to encourage “metacognition”??? If you were TRYING to make young people hate their lives, you’d invent that.
Carol Black ‏@cblack__

Yes, the most compliant kids often get rewarded the most. Funny, though, because compliance rarely named as great leadership trait.
mitch center

Everyone wants to express themselves; they only despise writing when they aren't allowed to do that honestly.
Roger Schank

Why are people blind to this? School works pretty well for 1/3, it's "eh" for 1/3, and it's incredibly destructive for 1/3. That's not OK.
Carol Black ‏@cblack__

Where is the justice when a quarter of children live in poverty and many more go hungry in the richest country in the history of the world?
Nikhil Goyal

I believe that public education means that it is public—not for sale—and education—the whole child, music and sports too.
Zephyr Teachout

Chicago laid off 500+ teachers this summer and now plans to hire 500 cops in the next two years. This ain't what the city needs.
jewels ‏@YungJeanRalphio


Ryan Dow

Spanking isn't just a private act between parent and child. It's a social experience where parents are complicit in perpetuating community violence.
Stacey Patton

Meg Murray [from A Wrinkle in Time]: Patron Saint of Awkward, Angry, Non-Femmy, Nerdy Little Girls.
Maggie Koerth-Baker

The belief that teenagers are intrinsically rebellious and unstable is EXACTLY equivalent to the belief that women are naturally “hysterical.”
Carol Black ‏@cblack__

It's important to understand that high stakes testing is a combination of federal overreach and billionaires who want to privatize public education.
Zephyr Teachout

I take some comfort knowing that no girl or boy today would consider looking at a magazine:

Chris Steller

Our assessment of the risk of leaving a child alone is colored by (our moral judgment of) the REASON s/he's left alone.
Alfie Kohn
And finally, there are the best of the rest:
The thing about eugenics is that its biggest adherents are always the poorest arguments for genetic superiority
Adam Weinstein

"Government is so wasteful!"
"Why not work for the government and help fix it?"
"Are you kidding? The salaries are awful."
Matthew Burton

Curiosity dies when you understand something. Unfortunately, also when you FALSELY believe you understand. While that's when you need it most.
Ola Rosling

Nearly all digital media jobs require journalists to move to three of the most expensive cities in the U.S. Self-defeating business strategy.
Sarah Kendzior

People who aren't well-read often fail to realize that anyone can find any book that will support their own argument.
the ratchet preacher ‏@msbond2u

Oh, hell yes:

Tiff Fehr

I find it so interesting that funders, elites etc... do not ask for *evaluation* from prisons, police and surveillance. They shovel $$ there
#FreeBresha ‏@prisonculture

The decline in teen births is an incredible public health trend. Imagine obesity went down 50% in seven years. That's what's happening here.
Sarah Kliff

I have such a love-hate relationship with yoga. Stop telling me about breathing in glowing light and just show me how to bend! I need yoga for sarcastic people. They’re always so EARNEST.
Sarah Mackey ‏@sarahjanet

Today I helped a woman in Peoria find her lost car keys. 4,286 kids starved to death while I was occupied with that.

Gonna hear a lot about crime stats today. Specifically, murder, rape, and aggravated assaults are all up since 2014. Here's the thing...  Every one of them is lower than 2008. And most of the rise is attributable to 5 to 7 cities. Doesn't mean they don't matter, but the increase is not historic. Our relative level of safety, however, is. During the Presidential debate, remember: Violent crime is DOWN since Obama. The new 2015 stats deserve our attention—but not our fear.
Phillip Atiba Goff

Teachers and police are unfairly tasked to fix social ills they did not produce: poverty, homelessness, malnutrition, mental illness.
Nikhil Goyal

‘Why do so many churches have statues of jesus dying? they should show him, like, playing on the monkey bars.'
Saladin Ahmed

People pretending to be better than they are is what holds society together.
Josh Barro

"Economics failed us with slavery, child labor, trashing the planet, etc. That's why we need ethics training, too." – Jonathan Foley
Todd Reubold

If a man tells you obvious lies, it means he thinks you're an idiot. If you believe him, you are an idiot.
Josh Barro

The Periodic Table of Elements Scaled to Show The Elements’ Actual Abundance on Earth:

Ninja Economics

News = events (usually bad), not trends (sometimes good), so readers miss the major positives, e.g. the decline in global poverty,
Steven Pinker

Bemoaning the loss of "areas once considered relatively apolitical" is basically a plea for safe spaces for conservatives.
Gabriel Snyder

I had a professor who instructed us to immediately disregard anything attributed to the ambiguous "They," as well as the person saying it.
jelani cobb

I get irrationally angry whenever I see "penned" used to mean "wrote."
Josh Barro

Imagine a world where more girls wanted to be President than Princess.

Saladin Ahmed

We give terrorists power by pretending they're not mostly chancers and jerkoffs.
a bad idiot ‏@markclapham

terror alerts are useful because they stoke the fear of manipulable chickenshits AND allow macho racists to feel like terror cops on the hunt. meanwhile, the things that are actually killing americans in real numbers all get commercials instead of terror alerts
Saladin Ahmed

One lonely bra at clothing swap, who brought, who tries, who tells your story?
Aparna Nancherla

Avocado: not ripe
Avocado: not ripe
Avocado: not ripe
Avocado: I'M RIPE NOW
Avocado: okay you were in the bathroom so I rotted
Elspeth ‏@elspetheastman

"Just deserts" theory can be seen as very naive because it presupposes there is a general agreement on who owns what.
Branko Milanovic

It is now easier to carry a gun than vote in Missouri. —Denise Lieberman
Judith Browne Dianis

Standardization and surveillance, the enemies of happiness. True of doctors. True of all professions.
John Warner ‏@biblioracle

I wish people better understood how much oppression is killing people. Slowly but literally.
northern transplant ‏@colocha_rachel

White people can’t ever let go of 9/11, a single day in our history, but want you to get over 300 years of racial oppression lol
elexus jionde ‏@Lexual__

The Wall Street Journal publishing an op-ed by Dick Cheney on 9/11 is like the Post Office issuing a Unabomber stamp.
Frank Conniff

Matt Levine on Wells Fargo [fined because it employees were creating fake customer accounts in order to meet quotas] is delish:
1. You get what you measure.
2. The thing that you measure will be gamed.
Matt Cutts

One reason everybody is watching your videos with the captions on is because we would have preferred to just read the story.
A. Dash ‏@anildash

By far, the greatest way Americans are less safe since 9/11, is the 24% suicide rate increase between 2002 and 2015.
Micah Zenko

If you build big, universal social programs, you create constituencies that will defend them.

Bhaskar Sunkara ‏@sunraysunray

America should have a Congress that is responsive to people, not big donors. People get that. We CAN change the way we fund elections.
Zephyr Teachout

I don't hate men. I want them to be better humans.
science lab ready ‏@blowticious

There's really only one test for a journalist or newsroom. How committed are they to describing reality, as best they understand it?
Nate Silver

Maybe I’ll have a gender reveal party where we open a box of “gender is a social construct that can’t be determined by ultrasound” balloons.
Sarah Mackey ‏@sarahjanet

Over the past decade, cities have adopted more criminal justice reform, while rural areas stuck with failing approaches from DAs and judges.
Piper Kerman

Inclusion is important. It doesn't start with more panels about it. It starts with paying people from marginalized communities for the work.
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

Among many other things, the fight against the Dakota pipeline is inspiring powerful art #NoDAPL:

Bill McKibben

Police departments and unions want to hide the ugly truth of police officers who see coerced sex as a "benefit" of job.
Barbara Arnwine ‏@barbs73

Wishing all the hateful people would talk amongst themselves and get out my timeline. I don't want to be in the way when God strikes at them,
Judith Browne Dianis

You didn't know what you know today, two years ago. If more people remembered that, we'd all be more generous to each other.
#FreeBresha ‏@prisonculture

The aranha-flor flower spider is incredible!

Strange Animals (Photo: Geoff Gallice)

It sickens me every time prison rape is used as a punchline in entertainment and media.
Doc Sportello ‏@dogstar7tweets

Unlike a solid, a liquid has a readiness to flow and no fixed shape. It therefore takes on the shape of any container:

Dick King-Smith HQ

A draft unified theory of complimenting children and adults: Focus on what they've chosen to do, not what they were born with. (Assuming you have standing to speak to them and are respectful, and they're not wearing headphones and/or beaming loathing at you.)
Erin Kissane

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Angel of Infantilization

One of my all-time favorites, Clay Shirky, has taken to using his Twitter account to retweet pro-Trump tweets he finds particularly outrageous... or entertaining... or something. I think Shirky sees it as his job to make sure anti-Trump folks don't stay inside a bubble of support.

That said, here's his most recent retweet:

It's time 4 a President that respects R 1st responders& Vets & military~Only Trump loves them all & promises 2 make life better 4 them all~♡
By Fran Cifelli ‏@FranCifelli
That mess of letters, numbers, tildes, and hearts was accompanied by this disturbing piece of artwork:

Aside from the tackiness of the concept — with its Photoshopped stars and bars on what I assume are supposed to be angel wings (unless that's a WWE feather cloak) — this image synthesizes the extreme version of how white people generally think of police: They protect us.

We are like children, nay, like little blonde girls clutching teddy bears, sheltered within the hug of their mighty masculinity. Meanwhile, in the background, the hellscape of dystopia awaits.

Do black people in America generally see police this way? Not a chance.

And while I don't want this idealized infantilization to be the image anyone has of police as they relate to the citizens of a democracy, the fact is that some significant number of white people probably identify with it, while almost no black people do (and for good reasons).

And that's a problem those same white people don't recognize.


Speaking of which, this from NPR: A wide gulf persists between black and white perceptions of policing

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A New Term: Forcemanteau

Somewhere in my almost nine years of blog posts, I know I've written about business names or signs I saw where someone thought they were being clever by grafting two words together. The result, in these unfortunate cases, turns out not to be clever but pathetic... trying too hard, unintelligible, or worse.

Well, I just found out that someone has created their own clever word for those instances: forcemanteau, a play on the term portmanteau. Examples of portmanteaus (portmanteaux?) we no longer notice include smog and motel. More recent ones are infomercial and turducken.

Here are a couple of examples of forcemanteaus from the ever-great Twitter account of Minneapolis writer Chris Steller:

I know it's  hard to see in the photo, but along the top of the van it says "Have a Paws-tastic Day!" Which is mostly stupid, not really cringe-worthy.

While this business name, Eyenique Vision, makes my face squinch up in pain. I'm not kidding.

The hashtag #forcemanteau was started by Art Allen (Twitter account: @punconsultant). Examples he identifies include sharknado and bridezilla. But it looks like the term came from local writer Christeta Boarinia in this Daily Planet article from 2013.

However it got started, I think it's a useful word, and if, in the future, I spot one, I plan to use that hashtag so we can build the library of forcemanteaus for Twitter eternity.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Democratic Values (with a Capital D)

According to Doug Muder at The Weekly Sift, Elizabeth Warren spoke at a recent get-out-the-vote rally in New Hampshire. Her summary of Democratic values was:

  • Every young person is entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.
  • No one who works full-time should live in poverty.
  • After a lifetime of hard work, people are entitled to retire in dignity.
  • “Let me say something that is deeply controversial in Republican circles: We believe in science, that climate change is real, and we have a moral obligation to pass on a livable Earth.”
  • Equal pay for equal work and a woman’s right to choose.
  • When Wall Street CEOs break the rules, they should go to jail like anyone else.
  • Money should not own our government.
Add in something to cover mass incarceration and racist policing, and the list would cover my range of values, too. I'm sure I'm forgetting something important (as always), but distilling a list like this is helpful. And the overriding thought behind all of this is that people, through government, can make these things happen so that the average person shares in the bounty of this country.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

There Are Only So Many Covers Possible, I Guess

Or that would be the obvious conclusion for anyone browsing bookstores these days. I've already noted one repeated design trope on fantasy covers, but yesterday I saw two others on mainstream fiction while wandering the aisles at Common Good Books. Come to think of it, it's not so much as two tropes as two variants on a format.

First there's big type with the linespacing fairly wide, and little dectorative doo-dads partially obscuring the the letters:

The designs most often use type that could be 19th century wood type, as on the right-hand cover (though even the type on the left-hand cover could be a sans serif wood type). There were at least a dozen other books within about 10 feet in the store that fit into this category.

Then there's the subset where the title and author name aren't quite so big or spaced out, the type is more of a plain geometric sans serif, and the doo-dads are smaller:

Really, did they pay two different designers to create these covers? Why not just pay the first person who did it and then replace the type?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

No More Polar Fleece

You may have heard about micro beads, which are little pieces of plastic put into facial cleansers to help exfoliate the skin. Of course, it turns out they get washed down the drain and end up in our water after treatment since they're, you know... plastic. They are already well on their way to being banned.

Unfortunately, it turns out there's a lot more plastic than that washing into the Mississippi and other rivers, and it will be a lot harder to get rid of than those silly micro beads. It comes from Polar fleece, the nice warm fabric many people wear (and even make into blankets and bed sheets).

Polar fleece is made from recycled plastic bottles, you see, which I used to think was a good thing. It's manufactured in America, too. But every time you put your fleece through the wash cycle, it sheds tiny bits of itself and they're ending up at the bottom of the river, where they
absorb toxic chemicals like PCBs and are eaten by fish, mussels and even phytoplankton.

“There have been documented effects on reproduction, growth, hatching rates and liver toxicity,” said Austin Baldwin, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, which conducted the sediment study. “They can get to a size where they can pass through gut walls and cell membranes, into the circulatory system and cause damage.”
 Filtering out the tiny fibers during the water treatment process is cost-prohibitive. That must be some cost, since the alternative (aside from banning the fabrics, which no one has yet mentioned) is to "design fabrics and products so they are biodegradable or don’t fragment." Well, yeah, duh, but what does that cost, and what do we do in the meantime?

No more washing Polar fleece in my household, at least.


Photo by iPowahFX Studio from the Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mid-September Tabs

The browser tabs are crushing and crashing yet again.

I think I'll start with a post I read a little while ago, and that keeps popping into my head. How to be polite. So little goes so far.

Which makes me think of this post by Anand Giridharadas, who tried to politely engage a respondent named James who thinks Giridharadas is a rebelliously-haired man/boy who should shut his cultural-Marxist mouth if he can't assimilate into James's idea of America. Then it turned out James's parents had been Christian missionaries in Japan, and Giridharadas couldn't help pointing out the irony:

When your parents went to Japan, did they assimilate into local religious traditions, or did they try to get people to celebrate the new they were bringing? Just wondering.
James replied that his parents' case was different, of course, since they went to Japan for the express purpose of changing the Japanese view of things, while immigrants to the U.S. are not doing that. (Irony number two:  Giridharadas was born in the U.S. and James was born in Japan.) Giridharadas replied,
Your missionary/immigrant distinction makes no sense, because it is designed for self-justification. By your logic, a missionary is a category of immigrant who is entitled to bend local culture to his or her tastes, and a plain old immigrant is any non-missionary person not entitled to do so. So basically a missionary is an immigrant who auto-exempts himself or herself from the duty (as you see it) to assimilate. This goes to show that the missionary position is not only boring but also sometimes wrong.
Giridharadas followed that line of reasoning with this: "What culture did the early colonial settlers discover in America, and do you believe they were bound to assimilate into it? And did they?"

Then there was this triad of good energy news stories:
And this less-good news on the reality of confronting climate change, also from Dave Roberts at Vox: Is it useful to think of climate change as equivalent to a world war?

Switching topics, I got a lot out of reading Reaganomics killed America's middle class, by Thom Hartmann on Salon. High taxes on wealth lead directly to greater equality and an expanded middle class, but this also happens, according to Hartmann:
When wealth is spread more equally among all parts of society, people start to expect more from society and start demanding more rights. That leads to social instability, which is feared and hated by conservatives, even though revolutionaries and liberals like Thomas Jefferson welcome it.
The right-wing legacy of Lewis Powell and what it means for the Supreme Court today. From Truthdig. (This isn't the first time I've mentioned Justice Powell.) Powell is the architect of the modern business-funded think-tankocracy and had a hand in the Court's 1970s decisions that money equals speech, the necessary forerunners to make way for Citizens United.

Trump's blood libel against immigrants and the press's failure. By Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. The best summary I've seen of Trump's misrepresentation and exploitation of the immigrant crime "problem."

And here's a post I love by education writer Paul Thomas, because it combines biking/transportation and social justice: "Share the road" is about more than bicycles and cars:
It is a message to be heeded every moment: See the other in a way that is listening to the other, in a way that honors the dignity of every human being. Driving a car as if only your life matters reveals a great deal about the driver, but the consequences are often suffered by the innocent other.
McMansions 101: What makes a McMansion bad architecture? Unbalanced massing, too many voids, no notion of rhythm or proportion... From the aptly named site, Worst of McMansions.

You may have already seen this, but I have to save it for posterity: the recent XKCD comic showing 22,000 years of global temperature change and history, and just how anomalous the past 100 years have been (I'm showing only the most recent years here, but please view the whole thing if you haven't already):

Here's another thing we've been lied to about since the beginning: what happened at Attica in 1971. That's according to a new scholarly book, Blood in the Water, based on suppressed New York State documents. "Several reviewers have noted that they had to stop reading at several points, to breathe and to wipe the tears from their eyes."

If, like me, you've managed to avoid knowing there is such as thing as Sandy Hook trutherism... I'm sorry to report New York magazine has posted a grim but gripping account of people who think it was all a fake so Obama can round up the guns. Yes, that includes thinking parents of the dead children in Connecticut never had those kids in the first place.

Should the emails of government employees be treated as if they were printed letters or as something less formal, like a phone call? Matt Yglesias at Vox argues for the latter.

We passed the 20th anniversary of the date when Bill Clinton "ended Welfare as we know it." There were a lot of good articles on the aftermath:
Another topic that got a lot of attention was what some people call "white trash," a group of people who are much in the news because they are perceived to make up a large chunk of Donald Trump's voting base. Here are some of the stories that appeared:
Finally, there were (as always) a bunch of interesting posts from Pacific Standard on a range of topics:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Four Photos for the Election, Sort of

As seen on the streets these days: First, an interesting case of cohabitation:

It's possible these windows are from separate apartments on the second floor, or possibly it's a single inhabitant who doesn't know what the rainbow flag usually signifies.

The simplicity of the design on this woman's shirt hit me suddenly:

I'm not a big fan of pink, generally, but if it appeals to a few more little girls that way, I'm okay with it.

This shirt was also pink, but, again, it was the message that made me run after this unsuspecting woman to take a photo of her back:

A big YES! to that sentiment.

And finally, this book:

It's hard to read, but the subtitle at the bottom reads, "The Way to Life and Happiness." An odd companion for a book called The Battle of Armageddon. But it seems kind of fitting while we live under the threat of a Trump presidency.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wilmington on Fire

A new documentary is coming out soon about the Wilmington Massacre, the only armed coup d'etat in U.S. history. I wrote about that historical event awhile ago, and look forward to seeing this film, called Wilmington on Fire, so I can learn more.

The film is being made by a guy whose family is from Wilmington, who grew up hearing about it through the oral tradition of black families in the area. You can see the trailer here. The release date is listed as November 10 on the film's Facebook page.

The fact that almost no people (especially no white people) know about this travesty is predictable, but telling.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Keep Your Paws to Yourself

Appropriating Native American regalia for a human person's Halloween costume is bad enough, but this is... words fail me:

(As seen in the most recent Parade magazine.)

The copy reads in part, "Wearing his majestic ceremonial headdress with pride and casting an all-knowing, green-eyed stare your way, 'Chief Runs with Paws' is the chosen guardian of the spirit world...and the mysterious secrets held within."

Ironically, each cat ($29.99 plus $8.99 shipping) comes with a certificate of authenticity

I couldn't find a photo of what the 4.5" figurine actually looks like, but in searching, I did find out the cat is part of a larger set of "chief" animal figurines: Chief Barks a Lot, Chief Little Paws... Since there are only two dogs and one cat on offer currently, I imagine more will be on the way. What do we have to look forward to? Chief Slobber No More, Chief Drinks from the Sink, Chief Begs for a Bone...

As my sisters and I used to say to each other when we were kids, keep your paws to yourself, Hamilton Collection designers.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Weaponizing the Flag

This morning, NPR reminded me that this photo was taken 40 years ago, in spring 1976:

It's Boston, of course, during the battle over busing. What I didn't know was that the black man being assaulted had nothing to do with the protests. He was just hurrying from his parked car to a meeting at city hall.

The white man with the flag used as a weapon was a high school student, let out of class by officials who wanted to foment unrest against busing.

The fact that the black man, Ted Landsmark, was a Yale-educated lawyer while the white man was not yet out of high school shouldn't go unnoticed. Landsmark's three-piece suit marked him as educated, even if no observer could have known the extent of his class elevation over the typical white Bostonian.

"The first person to attack me hit me from behind, which knocked off my glasses and ended up breaking my nose. The flag being swung at me came at me just moments after that and missed my face by inches," Landsmark recalls.

"The entire incident took about seven seconds."
This 2008 article argues the flag was not being used as a weapon, but it felt that way to Landsmark. A 2006 article from Smithsonian makes it clear that the attacker, Joseph Rakes, was trying to hit Landsmark with the flag, but not spear him with it. Which is soooo much better, right? (Rakes was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and received a two-year suspended sentence.)

There's no sharper representation of our recent controversy about athletes standing or not standing for the national anthem. The flag or another overt symbol of patriotism is being used to undermine equality and freedom of all people, not just white people.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Car Tabs

I just found out about another book I have to read: Edward Humes' Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation. But until I get around to it, here's some of what he has to say in an interview with the New York Times.

First, generally,

We drive these vehicles that weigh 4,000 pounds and are built to carry five people and eight suitcases, and most of the time, it’s just one person and this giant machine going to work. We’ve got transportation overkill.
Then more specifically,
In the book, you write about the car as if it were a social problem.

And a health problem. And an economic problem.

Next to our home, the car is our single largest household expense. We’re paying for it round the clock. Yet, it sits idle for 22 hours a day. Plus, it’s horribly inefficient in how it uses energy. The average car wastes about 80 percent of the gasoline put into it. By comparison, an electric vehicle uses about 90 percent to actually move the car.
And that's not mentioning the 38,000 people killed in or by cars each year in the U.S., or the 4.4 million injured. The latter part of the interview focuses on why there aren't speed governors in our cars.

Pair that interview up with these other recent posts on transportation topics:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Unclear on the Concept

As seen adjacent to the side door of an out-of-the-way office building in St. Paul:

So many things to say to autism. How would one even start? And why wait until after hours?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I Have to Remember This

Thought for the day, from Dessa:

There is somewhere between rage and patience that I am trying to go, because that's where things get done.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Where the Real Conversations on Race Happen

Shhhh. If you’re polite and listen, you can hear black people talking honestly about racism on Twitter. Here’s part of one conversation that’s been happening since Hillary Clinton dared to use the word “deplorables” to describe some of Donald Trump’s fans (as demonstrated through their words and actions).

Robert L. Reece, @phuzzieslippers, a graduate student in sociology at Duke, started it off with this:

The most whitypical thing about the "deplorables" talk is the rush to demarcate "racists" vs. "non-racists" as if it's a useful distinction. Deciding who is and isn't "racist," as if it matters, is an exercise in white appeasement. They're always so excited to label other people as racist because it assures them that they're not.

It lets "regular" whites off the hook. It lets them vote for racist "tough on crime" and charter school policies while being sure that they, themselves, aren't "racist." You'll say my school is bad. You'll avoid "bad" neighborhoods. You'll use home search apps that ignore black neighborhoods. That's racist!
To which Gene Demby, ‏@GeeDee215, one of the journalists responsible for NPR’s Code Switch podcast, responded,
…one of the reasons I'm reluctant to use "racist" in writing is that it invariably becomes a quagmire. We have to then have a whole conversation about the contours of someone's soul and what their intentions were and then come to a consensus.

And the threshold for racism gets defined up to, like, "objectively monstrous." Nothing short of racial terrorism meets the standard. Cliven Bundy thought black people would be better off as slaves -- but was adamant that he wasn't a racist. Lots of "good liberals" [live] in places where black people are legally relegated to inferior schools and subjected to abusive policing. You don't need to call anyone "nigger" or burn a cross when housing policy can do that work for you.

You can see conversations become about individual actors every time one of these police abuse cases pops up. "Most cops good but some bad apples." And invariably, a Department of Justice report comes out like, "actually, this case rests against a whole pattern of targeted abuse of black people in Town X." And it always just so happens that the black people in Town X live far away from the white people in the same town, who think the police are dandy. And those white people have no idea what policing looks like on the black side of town but they feel confident in declaring it fair and just. And the black people on the other side of town, with their inferior schools and abusive policing, say: this is neither fair nor just. "Why, you might even call the thoroughly unequal distribution of resources and protections in our town...*racist.*"

And then the discussion becomes about how the local lawmakers are outraged at that characterization and have black friends or whatever. And now the people of Town X are trapped in this bog of inanity around "divisive language" and "playing the race card." Someone bizarrely invokes Martin Luther King in some ridiculous comment about bringing people together. And so on.
Catherine Young, ‏@battymamzelle, a black feminist pop culture writer, said,
If racism is internally motivated rather than a system we actively participate in, then it's binary. Either you’re racist or you're not. And racists are bad people, so if you're a good person you're not racist. Ta da! Not racist. But if we frame racism as a collection of actions, then it becomes something you DO or DON'T DO.

This is why I'm cool calling people who express racist ideas racists. They DID A THING and the thing was racist. Speech is also an action. It's a verb. A "doing word" as my primary school teacher used to say.

I dunno how or why but we let white people define "racism" as strictly "racially motivated physical violence" and nothing else. Because by that definition, very little is racist, and therefore very little require introspection about systemic effects. To me the key is in pointing out that racism is a thing you can NOT do. If you're not a racist then don't DO X things.
Then Presidente de China, ‏@RSGAT, a white public defender named Josh Michtom from Hartford, Conn., came back with this:
Thing is, you don't even need to say "racism" for people to shut down and stop listening. Most segregation discussions with white people boil down to two things: (1) they don't want to sacrifice what they have and (2) they need to believe they deserve what they have. "Racism" has become shorthand for "you don't deserve all this," which leads inexorably to "fairness demands that you give some of this up."
Finally, writer Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia took it in bit different direction:
I don't understand this weird argument that white racists are too fragile to be told they have fucked up. Black kids don't get that. Children of color are assumed to be old enough at birth to face racism. White adults can be told about their racist bullshit every day. The myth of white fragility is just more racism in action. You're racist enough to give cover to oppression? You can be told you're trash. White people don't have more sensitive feelings. Or thinner skin. Racism just taught them their feelings matter more than our lives.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Is There an Other America?

I never managed to post about the phenomenon called "rolling coal" back when I first heard about it a few years ago. I was so revolted and disturbed, I think I blocked it out of my mind.

Dave Roberts at Vox has done a recent write up of it, spurred by a quote he read from a particular coal-roller. You'll have to go to the link to read that quote, but here are some of Roberts's words:

Entire dissertations could be written about rolling coal. Even more than Trump’s ascension, it seems to perfectly capture a moment in time, an inarticulate yawp of protest from angry white men. They feel disdained and overlooked and they will blow thick black smoke in your face until you pay attention.

There’s no faux nostalgia involved. Unlike with, say, hunting, there’s no tale of rugged rural self-sufficiency to draw on. This is not some sturdy heartland tradition with which meddlesome elites want to interfere.

Rolling coal is new; it just caught on a few years ago. It does not improve the performance of a truck. It has no practical application or pragmatic purpose of any kind. It is purely aggressive, a raw expression of defiance: I can pollute your air, for no reason, and no one can stop me.
It's the perfect crystallization of some part of America that I do not belong in, which is the real subject of this post. In his article, Roberts also shared this graphic from Rush Limbaugh's site:

Are there really people who believe that science is part of universe of lies, while Rush Limbaugh represents the universe of reality? How can that possibly be?

I don't know, but there are also people who self-select in such a way as to end up with a poll result like this:

This poll was taken among Frank Luntz's Twitter followers, so it's not too surprising they skew right-wing and anti-Obama. (The poll was done around the same time that a scientifically sampled poll of Americans found Obama with a 58 percent approval rating.) But still. Am I the only one shocked by this?

What is wrong with white people (since we all know that's the vast majority of all the people who populate this Other America)? When did we get to be so whiny and butt-hurt? Is it really because we're reacting to no longer being the absolutely dominant force in society? Didn't we learn the lesson about sharing back in kindergarten? Or did that only mean sharing with people who looked like us?

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Better Beefless Burger

I have no idea what goes into it, but a company called Impossible Burger has developed a ground-beef-like product that tastes just about as good as a beef burger when cooked. Written up fully by Pacific Standard, the Impossible Burger
uses one-ninth the water and one-twelfth the land and produces one-quarter of the greenhouse gases as a beef burger. “It isn’t that our process is so brilliant or’s that when you’re competing against cows, you’d have to be deliberately trying to fail to be as bad as they are.”
The founder of the company, a former Stanford biochemist and geneticist, plans to get the company's production to scale so they can take on big meat and win:
“The livestock industry is intrinsically fragile,” he suggested. “It’s got small margins, it’s got very long planning cycles, and it does not deal well with instability.” His voice had the flat, declarative tones of somebody explaining the law of gravity. “The fundamental economics of it are completely unsuited to 2016,” he said. “And that means it’s not going to exist in several decades.”
Interesting stuff.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Herd Mentality: Letting Art Speak

It's hard to know what to do in a world where it seems you/I/we can have no effect and the political overwhelm never stops. Printmaker Ruthann Godollei has channeled all of that into a new show that just opened at the Soo Visual Arts Center in South Minneapolis called Herd Mentality.

Somehow, Godollei came upon the idea of connecting our current situation with research at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and the results are just what I needed to see.

Most of the work is all or primarily black and white, including this monoprint (reproduced digitally to archival paper) called Amok (Elephant with Howdah):

Other pieces combine black ink monoprints with small amounts of color from screen printing:

This piece, titled High Striker, was perhaps my favorite. (Click the photo to enlarge it.) The accompanying text reads,

Since the nineteenth century the High Striker has been a mainstay of circuses and carnivals. Barkers lured arrogant contestants with cries of “Test your skill! Test your strength! Try to ring the bell! See if you measure up.” Candidates take the mallet and slam down as hard as they can. Onlookers wonder who will be able to ring the bell and claim bragging rights. Will they only make it barely move and have to walk away in shame?
The calibration marks along the way to the MAKE AMERICA goal at the top are labeled, starting at the bottom: Great, Huge, Cave Man, He-man, Equal, Equitable, One.

Other pieces related to national or international politics are Jumbo in His Palace Car, commemorating the P.T. Barnum parade when the largest elephant in the world was brought to the U.S. as a commentary on Donald Trump; a monoprint called Guantanamo Circus Wagon; a bottle of Snake Oil; Brexit (through the gift shop) as a brightly colored silk screen print; and Crank Smarmy, a patent medicine poster updated for our current situation.

In two pieces, Godollei printed onto yellow plastic to comment on the local killing of Philando Castile and the protests afterward:

This piece, called Bunting (Welcome to Our Town), includes phrases like:

Welcome to our town
Mind the gap
A militarized police zone
Protest permit application - see other side
We ask questions later

In the gallery, the bunting is just around the corner from this piece, called Caution Tape:

The back of the yellow tape, just visible in this picture, carries the usual words, CRIME SCENE DO NOT ENTER.

The Herd Mentality show is up through October 22, and the gallery hours are Wednesday 11:00–5:00, Thursday and Friday 11:00–7:00, and weekends 11:00–4:00.