Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Arduous Month of January 2017

January 2017. The semi-calm before the feces storm of Turmp as president. As always, these tweets are in reverse chronological order, and as much as possible, so are the topics. The whiplash was pretty extreme this month. So many important topics that lasted a few days and then were gone almost without a trace, replaced by some other outrage that would normally be the story of the month or the year. How can this last?

The month ended with the travel ban for refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries:

Let's also remember that the entire refugee program is suspended for 120 days for no apparent reason. Not only people from Muslim countries but people from China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Colombia, even Cuba. are not allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S. for four months.
Sandra Newman ‏@sannewman

The White House claims its travel ban was needed to "get ahead of threats." That's the exact same argument used to justify the Internment.
George Takei

Can't overstate how incompetent you have to be to fuck up Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Olivia Nuzzi

ACLU took in more money this weekend than any of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture did during their opening weekends.
Dorsey Shaw

Wow - Donald Trump has managed to make lawyers popular!
Maggie Fox ‏@maggiemfox

Here's a thought: maybe everyone could have been just a but more suspicious of a company called "Uber" in the first place.
@pattho (responding to the “drop Uber” campaign after Uber drivers were encouraged to pick up passengers at JFK while taxi drivers refused in support of protesters)

They're playing games with people's lives, the very foundation of American liberties. And it's obvious Trump doesn't understand that a president can't simply rule without encountering the boundaries of public opinion and law.
Jared Yates Sexton

So far, by my count, we've seen three or four different explanations of the immigration ban from this administration. They're winging this.
Jared Yates Sexton

Our immigration vetting for these countries is already extreme. Could easily have made it more extreme without creating such a spectacle. The spectacle has to be part of the intention. Again, makes me feel like this is the lead up to armed conflict. Very scary stuff.
Phillip Atiba Goff

Be wary of the idea that "the Constitution will protect us." Under the Constitution we still had slavery, Jim Crow, & Japanese internment. The Constitution is, and has always been, an aspirational document. And historically, it has often failed to live up to those aspirations.
Clint Smith ‏@ClintSmithIII

Make no mistake — Trump and Co. consciously mean to completely redefine who is a citizen and what protections and rights citizenship provides.
Rick Johnson ‏@WoodCowBooks

This executive order is a legal document, a piece of policy, entirely reverse-engineered around bigoted, knee-jerk campaign rhetoric. There was, as far as I can tell, *no* actual policy process that centered on: how do we best prevent violence? Instead it was: how can we make the president's campaign pronouncements into law? This will produce *disaster* if continued. Mark that.
Christopher Hayes

If Trump wants to ban those who can be radicalised by extremists, then he should start with anyone who voted for him.
Prince Charles ‏@Charles_HRH

Trump said he'd run America like a business. Specifically, an Alabama lunch counter in 1936.
Norm Wilner

I find it odd how the Bible is super relevant if you have to bake a cake for some gays but not if desperate people need your help.

This doesn't make us safer. This only inflames tensions. Gives people a reason to hate us more. This is unparalleled madness.
Jared Yates Sexton

The people angry at Trump's order ride subways & buses with Muslims every day. The people cheering it have never met one. Who's in a bubble?
Mark Harris ‏@MarkHarrisNYC

We shut the door on Syrian refugees on the same day we marked Holocaust Remembrance Day and the March for Life. "Never forget"? "Pro life"?
James Martin, SJ

Every single refugee and immigrant is vetted a hell of a lot more than Trump's cabinet nominees, but here we are.
Sejal Singh

Donald Trump is signing a refugee ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Steph Haberman ‏@StephLauren

this is from the 1920s:

worth noting that the guy depicted as a human bomb here is some white bigot's grandpa or great-grandpa
Saladin Ahmed

Of all the groups to scapegoat and vilify, scapegoating and vilifying refugees fleeing the horror of war is about as low as it gets.
Christopher Hayes

Total violent crimes committed, 2015: 1,197,704
Crimes committed by illegal immigrants, 2015: 6,911
Checkmate bitch @FAIRImmigration
THE LEGO BRO DUDE ‏@ironghazi [the anti-immigrant group FAIR is the previous employer of Trump’s new head of Customs and Border Patrol]

Trump wants extreme vetting of immigrants to ensure embrace "American values" but short cuts vetting of his cabinet.
Judith Browne Dianis (early January)
The issue of regulation was just getting started on the last day as Trump talked with representatives of pharmaceutical companies about gutting the FDA and rumblings continued about what he plans to do to the EPA:
Collectively, regulation has vastly increased GDP. Marginal regulations may (or not) expand GDP. Environmental regulations, for example, generally save lives. Costs show up directly in GDP, benefits show up elsewhere in system, hard to measure. Imagine a country without laws (say Somalia): how's GDP doing there? Enforceable law is a type of regulation.
David M. Levinson ‏@trnsprtst

When people say they're removing "regulations", ask "Oh, so you're against *protections* for ordinary Americans?"
Jon Foley ‏@GlobalEcoGuy
There were many tweets on Trump's charming personality and sterling qualities:
From now on, I will refer only to President Bannon.

She. Literally. Had. To. Explain. The. Geneva. Convention. To. Him.
Amir ‏@amiraminiMD (referring to Angela Merkel)

Reminder: 81% of White Evangelicals voted for a man who can't name a single Bible verse and stands against everything Jesus ever said or did.
Reza Aslan

Easily the most elaborate Russian Trump tribute yet:

max seddon

It’s much easier for Trump to make life worse for those he promised to hurt than it will be to make life better for those he promised to help.
Christopher Hayes

It's astounding how much damage can be done to the legal traditions, reputation & institutions of a country in the course of a single week.
Robert O. Simonson

It isn't just an issue of Trump's unsuitability, it's that the GOP is also criminally negligent for unleashing a sociopath onto the world.
Propane Jane™ ‏@docrocktex26

While easily mistaken for a *ridiculous* hairpiece, Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) can be found throughout Badlands National Park:

BadHombreLands NPS

It's so funny that Trump can't say "I'm a smart person" without saying "I'm like a smart person."

In other presidencies the last 48 hours might have spurred a cabinet vote over whether the president was functionally incapacitated.
Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm (and that was only on January 21)

Possibly the most appropriate spelling mistake ever:

Very Brexit Problems ‏@SoVeryBrexit

The Donald Trump that conservatives voted for is an entirely fictitious person they invented in their minds.
Jeremy Wilcox

I wonder how many of his fans realize the Trump Organization employs around 100 people. It's like electing the manager of a reasonably large grocery store, in terms of management experience. I don't think matters one way or the other for the Presidency, but his business qualifications are overstated at best.
Tom Tomorrow

The guy who ran for president on his ability to make and close deals could not successfully book a Bruce Springsteen cover band.
Chase Mitchell

Anyway, for context, Trump starts his presidency popularity-wise around where George W. Bush was post-Katrina.
Will Jordan ‏@williamjordann

Trump ran a campaign based on the dehumanization of POC, LGBT people & women and is now positioned as a victim of bullying from these groups. Maybe we need to stop talking about bullying and start talking about oppression. Oppression is structural and requires structural change.
Nelson Flores

Hello I am here to tell you from experience that "just ignore him" doesn't work for harassers, and definitely doesn't work for presidents.
Rose Eveleth

Professionally speaking, it's laughable that Trump disavowed #goldenshowers because he's a germaphobe--that's precisely how fetish works.
Jonathan Metzl

Being a fool doesn't make Trump less dangerous, but he sure is a fool.
Bree Newsome

Boing Boing

Please stop *acting* shocked at Saffron Satan's behavior/actions. THIS IS WHO THE MAN IS. Figure out how you'll resist & do that instead.
FreeBresha ‏@prisonculture

A president saying news organization is "going to suffer the consequences" for printing something he doesn't like is FUCKING UNBELIEVABLE.
igorvolsky (January 11)

he figured out that everything holding the legitimate State together is self-imposed. without will to persecute, he will keep winning. honestly, if it didn't mean likely world war III and the end of Planned Parenthood I'd be laughing. he out-whited white america.
Tressie Mc ‏@tressiemcphd

Q: Who describes their own business as an "empire"? A: Someone who thinks they are "emperor.”
David M. Levinson ‏@trnsprtst

forget policy, forget substance, forget rhetoric forget all that. how can his overall public persona be appealing? it's so weird to me.
There was lots of general angst and outrage about life in Turmp’s America:
Nothing that this administration is doing is a distraction. It is all oppression.
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

At this rate Bannon & co will awaken the sleeping giant -- the 50% who didn't care enough to vote. The majority of the country leans progressive. GOP quelled that by stoking apathy; "both sides" BS. Folks are seeing that it matters now.
N. K. Jemisin

Being ideologically committed to compromise just allows the people who aren't to drag the baseline in whatever direction they want.
Elizabeth Bruenig

Is it sinking in, yet? That you live in a society of inextricably linked individuals? That there's no way to hurt Them without hurting You?
Iron Spike

One silver lining to all this: Think of the revenue increases to USPS from all the postcards being sent to Congress.

The fact that we actually have to call our congressional reps to tell them "Hey don't let him burn down the country" is frustrating.
Awesomely Luvvie

Been doing a lot of thinking about history this weekend. We have always been a fascist country - for some. What's changed now is breadth. Now everyone is in danger, if they oppose T's regime. Customs has been giving *political* + religious tests. But here's the thing: We've been shitty, but *believe* we're better. Some of this is delusion. Some, tho, is aspiration. We *can be* better. My career exists b/c of the power of fantasy. Fantasy isn't just escapism. It can motivate. Belief in what *we should be* is powerful. So I'm... hopeful. That most of this country *does not want* this regime. That the fantasy of America will drive us to fight, make it real. I have to embrace a little fantasy to get thru these days. So I choose to believe that *some ppl* in our gov't have some goddamn principles. *Somewhere* there are federal employees who will defy this puppet's effort to turn us into Russia 2: Electric Boogaloo. Or Reconciliation 2. Or Internment 2. Or Trail of Tears 2. (Like I said, we've *been* fascist. Just selectively.) But goddamn it, it's the 21st century. We might not have flying cars, but we do have social justice theory. We can *think* like the future. And if we can think of it, we can fight for it. That's what's really got these mfs so scared: true equality is actually a possibility now. So we CANNOT despair. That's what they want. We can get overwhelmed, sure. Go recharge. Then come back and help overwhelm *them.* So embrace the fantasy. Remember where we've been, but focus on where we need to go. Fucking FIGHT.
N. K. Jemisin

How Nazis think:

Imraan Siddiqi

America won't need world-leading universities anymore once we all have coal mining jobs.
Matthew Yglesias

Breitbart is a tiny racist conspiracy website and somehow its publisher has taken over the most powerful government on earth.
southpaw ‏@nycsouthpaw

I used to think "Who are all these people who keep falling for the Nigerian Prince scam in 2016?" After Trump was elected, I had my answer.
Hari Kondabolu

New collective noun: a confusion of Steves.

I feel like none of us make it out of this life thing alive, so we might as well do something that means something to us while we can. It's not going to be the same for everybody, but now is the time to get quiet for a minute and really think about what matters to you.
Ashley C. Ford ‏@iSmashFizzle

2016: "Don't boo Mike Pence."
2017: "Don't punch Nazis."
2018: "Don't run so fast when Donald Jr. and Eric are hunting you for sport."
Amos Posner

Soon we'll be at a point where Trump says he's halved the deficit or even the debt and there will be no data to disprove him. His goal.

I bet Jamie [her husband] really looks forward to the time of day when he comes home from work and I yell at him about all the shit that’s on fire.
Sarah Mackey ‏@sarahjanet

Outstanding. A Trump fan tells Martina Navratilova, who fled Communist Czechoslovakia aged 18, to "educate yourself on Communism.”
Michael Deacon

With trust, approval in the President already so low, be very vigilant about national crises manufactured to rally the nation around Trump.
Wilfred Chan

I mean, seriously, who knew when fascism came it would be so transparent and pathetic.
Jared Yates Sexton

Conservatives call liberals overly sensitive but elected a president whose favorite pastime is crying about the media being mean to him.
Nelson Flores

In the past politics was about discussing the future, what avenues would lead to what results. Now it's an all-out war about present reality.
Jared Yates Sexton

The liberal order we are watching crumble was created because humans now have capacity to destroy all life on earth. We're at the mercy of fools.
jelani cobb

Donald Trump's alma mater, University of Pennsylvania's motto is "Leges sine moribus vanae." "Laws without morals are useless." Pretty damn ironic.
Angry Snowflake ‏@buckfruitt

Hopefully this whole ordeal will be the impetus for Democrats to fundamentally change its mission to actually listen to the people.

Me to a reporter today: "if we weren't all about to die it would be funny." Also my official comment on everything for foreseeable future.
Tressie Mc ‏@tressiemcphd

I'm holding on to this comic. I feel like I'll find use in showing it to people in the future. The muscular Congress is such a bonus:

Joseph Nathan Cohen

this is just to say

i have stolen
the presidency
you probably wanted
to go
to someone qualified

forgive me
i am so rich
and so white
Chaos ‏@chaosprime

1 crazy orange toddler, a herd of vultures, and all the millions of the rest of us. Adults. We are responsible for fixing this. We the people.
Xeni Jardin

My latest @theobserver cartoon: Trump in the morning; nation take warning:

Kevin Siers

These days, I’m more worried about incompetence than corruption and more about the environment than national security, just to switch it up.
emily nussbaum

EveryDAY something happens that 10 years ago would have rocked the nation. We are numb. and how can even we help it? It's all so much...
Sarah Silverman

Interesting to see comparison to Nixon go from being a terrible insult to a comforting analogy of survivability. "We got through Nixon..."
jelani cobb

Couple months ago I unplugged cable TV. Don't miss it, especially lap dog "journalist" rituals of Trump normalization.
Langdon Winner


Atossa Abrahamian
I only marked a few about Trump's lies and love of “alternative facts”:
[Sean] Spicer says there's been a "dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years." This is unequivocally false:

Christopher Ingraham

On his first full day in office, Trump and team tell at least seven falsehoods even as Trump berates the media as "dishonest.” Journalists are human. We make mistakes. But very few of us are dishonest. What is dishonest is to brand the entire news media as dishonest.
Steven Greenhouse ‏@greenhousenyt

There are real challenges in covering an administration with no regard for reality. But there is no excuse to keep putting Kellyanne Conway on TV.
Liliana Segura

“Alternative fact” means lie. Only it's worse than lie because it's a propaganda lie.
Kate Knuth

Fake news, tweeted the vaccine-truther birther who suggested his opponent's dad could have killed JFK.
There were some miscellaneous Trump-related tweets about decisions and appointments that went by in the blink of an eye:
The NEH and NEA get a combined $300 million a year. The GOP-led shutdown in 2013 cost the economy $1.5 billion a day.
Mark Harris

Reminder: two types of Trump appointments. Those wishing to destroy the agencies they run and those who wish to abuse coercive power of state.
David M. Perry ‏@Lollardfish

Kushner isn't taking a salary because his lawyers think it will get him around federal anti-nepotism laws. Also he's a billionaire. The President and his staff are supposed to take a salary because they work for us. The People of the United States are their employers. America shouldn't be a place where leaders don't take salaries bc they're billionaires who don't need the money and want to skirt the law.
Erika Heidewald

I think it is time to take the focus off Trump, and to focus on Congress's willingness to save the US from self-damage To my mind, Trump is now a known factor. All publicity and spin, no concrete plans and proposals. Congress now has to be held accountable Congress has the ability to block much of the damage Trump can inflict. If they don't act, they are complicit. It's their job.
Joseph Nathan Cohen (January 16)

House Republicans held a secret vote during a secret meeting on a national holiday in order to eliminate their independent ethics watchdog
And remember that charming news cycle or two about the suppression of science and facts in government agencies?
I don't know about you, but when it comes to picking sides, I'm gonna go with team national parks and *LITERAL ROCKET SCIENTISTS*
Emmy Bengtson

Trying to suppress facts and science is morally wrong. And it won't work. The dustbin of history is full of people who have tried.
Jon Foley ‏@GlobalEcoGuy

In Trump's first 4 days:
-A hiring freeze for federal employees
-Suspension of day-to-day work at the EPA
-Gag orders for USDA scientists
Eric Holthaus
Just after the inauguration, there was that moment when neonazi Richard Spencer got punched, and some people had thoughts about those who criticized that act:
Whether you agree or disagree with punching Spencer, let's try not to frame Nazism as merely a "different opinion." Libertarianism is a "different opinion." Nazism is an ideology of genocide; inimical to (and corrosive of) pluralist values. And it is not so obvious to me that "freedom of speech" requires treating Nazis as legitimate participants in public discourse.
Jamelle Bouie

Fascists do not seek to convince you of an opposing fact, but to debate and argue everything so you give up on idea of facts period.
The Ing Pope ‏@ingdamnit

*black ppl die*
*muslims die*
*LGBQT ppl die*
*a nazi gets punched*

If you expect marginalized people to quietly lay down their lives instead of fight because you like martyrs? You are in the wrong reality.
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia
Also right after the inauguration was the Women’s March:
Dissent and internal conflict is a feature, not a bug, of the women's movement- and it is to our benefit, says Rebecca Traister.
Tess Engebretson

Not getting arrested in a march doesn't mean you're better than anybody. The police state doesn't deem you a threat. So slow your roll.
wikipedia brown ‏@eveewing

Low arrest numbers aren't proof that the women's marches were virtuous. They're proof of a different mode of policing. And as the public and historical face of American innocence, we, white women, often benefit from American policing. Worse than that, to me, is the praise for a lack of anger, because anger against injustice is reasonable and rational and righteous. A lack of anger means you do not have the same level of investment in injustice. That's it. And that's nothing to inspire pride. Here's the thing: we should center the marginalized because it is morally right. But if that's not convincing, try this: We should center the marginalized because they know more about this than we do. Respectability will not save us. Etiquette is largely about maintaining an unjust social order. Many of us are socialized to be more outraged at breaches of etiquette than breaches of justice.
Krisandry Harridan ‏@KHandozo

For my white women friends at #WomensMarch + are thanking the police, reflect on your experience + that of Ieshia Evans:


Fellow white ladies: cops are usually nice to us because they are SUPER RACIST, not because they're usually nice or we're extra special.
EDW ‏@EmilyDWarfield

no one in a privileged group who actually exemplifies the truth of "not all [white people/men/etc]" has ever had to say or type "not all..."

This sign is relevant to my interests:

Mazel Tov Cocktail ‏@AdamSerwer

"I do not weep at the world. I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife." Zora Neale Hurston #WomensMarch
Ava DuVernay

Emboldened by the new President, someone threatened to bomb my 4YO niece's preschool this week. I will march tomorrow.
Jennifer Rensenbrink ‏@gradientgirl

The man on record as saying he sexually assaults women is eliminating the Office for Violence Against Women. See you Saturday. #WomensMarch
Jen Statsky
Trump’s inauguration was a big topic, from the concert to the crowd size to the speech to the protests against it:
“There may be two-word slogans that capture a profound… thought…‘America First’ is not one of them.” —Eric Black

Regardless of how many willing people attended this inauguration, there were still TOO MANY. Don't normalize a hateful, lying POTUS.
Angry Snowflake ‏@buckfruitt

A few abortion clinic bombers doesn't negate the prolife movement, but if any protestor litters then we can ignore their message.
Vicki Hartzler

Property destruction is bad, unless done by a illegal bank foreclosure or a drug search or industrial pollution.
David Kaib

After 18 months of the most negative, depressing campaign in history, what do you expect?

ian bremmer

Conservatives: I need guns so I can shoot the government if I get mad at it. Also Conservatives: A window broke, your protest is invalid.
Matt H. ‏@ShoesThenPants

The "American Carnage" speech, as it will be forever known, comes amid generationally low murder and crimes rates.
Andrew Cohen ‏@JustADCohen

Angry white young male supporters arguing with protestors, intimidating journalists, doing everything but listening to the Inaugural Address. It's never been about policy. Trump was right. It's about winning. It's about dominance.
Jared Yates Sexton (who spent Inauguration Day mingling with those attending)

-What vibe do you want for the inauguration photo?
-What if Frankenstein's monster went to the DMV and didn't understand what was happening?

Joseph Scrimshaw

John Roberts, who gutted Voting Rights Act & unleashed wave of voter suppression, fittingly swearing in Trump.
Ari Berman

Dr. Seuss 1941:

Russel Neiss

The overwhelming imagery today (crowds, choirs, Trump/Pence box) is of the restoration of a white world after an interregnum.
Anand Giridharadas

It's real, y'all. Donald Trump is about to take the oath of office. White middle-class voters got him there. What are you going to do?

ATTENTION ALL MEDIA: No matter how many times you say it, you cannot convince me that these people are having a good time:

W. Kamau Bell

tWhite people. Most celebrating Obama leaving, vocalizing Trump as revenge. They're reveling in sending him as punishment, not governance. Guy wearing a Confederate flag bandanna pointed to it as protestors with LGBTQ signs walked by and said, "This means you're not welcome.”
Jared Yates Sexton

It only took 8 years from the Financial Crisis for us to hand the country over to real estate moguls, hedge funds and Goldman Sachs.
Downtown Josh Brown ‏@ReformedBroker

Talia ‏@2020fight

Welcome to the age of plunder, bluster, and empty rhetoric. In other words, to the Age of Dumb. If you voted for him, you're responsible.
Stephen King

Put on your safety goggles because the American Experiment is about to explode.
Brian McFadden

Trump Era: sociopathic kleptocrats, neo-nazi propaganda mill, lapdog media, delusional narcissist at the helm, abused public crying in pain.
Langdon Winner

Trump putting up a gaudy Jumbotron that blocks the view of the Lincoln Memorial is a perfect metaphor for his administration:

My favorite picture of Trump at his inauguration today:

Faces in Things ‏@FacesPics
There were some thoughts on the Obamas, many in contrast with their successor:
Barack Obama was the best president of my lifetime. The guy replacing him isn't even the best game show host of my lifetime.
Frank Conniff

Goodbye to the President the GOP foolishly refused to admit was Christian, and hello to the President they foolishly insist is one.
Hemant Mehta

During Obama's eight years, not one administration official was indicted. How do the other President's stack up? Notice a party bias?

Pitt Griffin

I hope Michelle Obama has a hot tub to climb into with a glass of whiskey or whatever. A private beach, something. Bless that woman.
Kim Ruehl

The hilariously sad thing is so many people expected Obama to be a Magical Negro. When he was merely human the anger started & never stopped. Now people are blaming Obama for Trump winning instead of their own racism. It's fascinating. And horrifying. We'll all pay for it sadly.
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

And in a very real way, Obama *is* the president of a different country than Trump. I’m gonna fucking miss that place.
Ana Marie Cox

I guess my favorite thing about the @BarackObama administration was being able to sleep at night.
Rose Surnow

we're really about to go from a president who publishes law review articles to a president who publishes tweets with typos
Jonathan ‏@jnthnwll
There were still thoughts on how all this happened, some of it related to the idea of bubbles, who is in one, who is not:
There would be no GOP control without gerrymandered districts, vote suppression, FBI and Russian intervention. Those are facts.
Samuel Sinyangwe

53% of white women and 63% of white men voted for Trump. It was up to the rest of us white folks not to let that happen.
Michael Moore

What I'm hearing about how liberals made the country elect Trump is: if we don't allow implicit fascism, we get explicit fascism.
Alexandra Erin

sorry, but if you hate what America really looks like...you don't love America.
Nicole Chung

I think many think they have class consciousness but their conception of class is fake: pickup drivers, non-pickup drivers and "welfare people.”
Colb Hard Cosh ‏@BennyCarefully

i come from a small town. we all left to get out of the bubble. the ones who stayed stayed because they didn't want to leave theirs.
jalb ‏@jalbus

I'm beginning to think saying "This is why Trump won." is a way to get women, POC and LGBT to shut the fuck up about equality.
Desi ‏@DesiJed

What if... what if the people who live in diverse cities filled with multitudes of points of view AREN'T the ones living in a bubble?
Justin Marks

Any set of beliefs, including a religion, that led people to vote for an anti-fact fascist is a set of beliefs that is manifestly evil. People cite their faith like it excuses their behavior. No, it only implicates their faith in their crime.
Julian Darius
Just before the inauguration, there was Trump’s attack on Rep. John Lewis:
Intrigued by Trump's instinct to turn men of exceptional physical courage into passive people. McCain "was captured." Lewis is "no action."
Jennifer Senior ‏@JenSeniorNY (January 14)

It's going to take me a while to reckon with being a citizen of a country whose leader uses racism as a distraction from probable treason.
Franklin Leonard

Donald Trump was quicker to denounce John Lewis, a staple of the civil rights movement than David Duke, the head of the KKK. Telling.
Simar Ahluwalia

One of the people in one of these photos told one of the people in the other photo that they're all talk and no action:

Hend Amry ‏@LibyaLiberty

Rep. John Lewis knows what he's doing, has known all his life. Resistance is spectacle.
Matt Pearce

[John Lewis] calling Donald Trump illegitimate because of Russian interference is not the same as calling Barack Obama illegitimate because he is black.
Sarah McBride
Which makes a decent segue into the topic of racism, race, and intersectionality:
we have to be able to admit that
1. slaves built America
2. the immigrant success story is made possible by racism
profloumoore ‏@loumoore12

The truth is this: the romantic immigrant narrative in US history has always been one about becoming white or being "like" white people...
Imani Perry

Kellyanne Conway, Tomi Lahren and Ivanka Trump are fine examples of how white femininity is weaponized to spread and normalize bigotry.
Chloe Angyal

I know you're panicking, but don't say that "we're all descended from immigrants/refugees.” The indigenous/native peoples are the group who were robbed of their lands. The African blacks were neither refugees or immigrants.

weird how when a white guy kills a woman because he doesn't like who she slept with it's never an 'honor killing’. violence against women is pandemic and hideous. 'honor killing' is a western term that tries to make it a uniquely muslim problem.
Saladin Ahmed

At the height of lynching in the 1900s, people were saying "what about black on black crime."
Jamelle Bouie

In the United States, the prevailing feeling seems to be that our kids aren't ready to learn uncomfortable truths about this nation until... When? When are kids supposed to learn the truth? When they're teens - do we also then unravel the pretty little lies we've taught them, too? Here, at colleges and universities, where so much of our research and criticism gets denigrated as "pushing an agenda?" As "liberal bias?" After graduation, through our still-segregated life experiences? Through our (problematic) media? When are people supposed to learn history?
Ebony Elizabeth

Exaggerating crime of different races, ethnicities long been a tactic of white nationalist propaganda.
Southern Poverty Law Center ‏@splcenter

reminder: our president's mother was an immigrant. his wife is an immigrant.

We passed the Chinese Exclusion Act four years before we got the Statue of Liberty.
profloumoore ‏@loumoore12

White women who are angry at black women for pointing out that white women helped elect Trump would be wiser to direct their ire at THE WHITE WOMEN WHO HELPED ELECT TRUMP.
Melissa McEwan ‏@Shakestweetz

If your faith allows you to believe that Donald Trump is a God-fearing Christian and Barack Obama wasn't, your faith is white supremacy.
Keith Boykin

White women getting mad when women of color point out racism in feminism is like getting mad at being told there's junk in your teeth. ITS A FAVOR. FIX UR FACE.
Eliza Skinner

Repeat after me:
Feminism with out intersectionality is white supremacy.
Feminism with out intersectionality is white supremacy.
CallMeWin ‏@WintanaMN

Intersectionality is about inherent, immutable identities and socioeconomic situations that create differing oppressions. Intersectionality is NOT a mandate that feminism include people who want to take away reproductive rights.
Dianna E Anderson

Myth: Racism diminishes as time passes.
Reality: Racism fluidly adjusts, rises and retrenches in line with political interests.
Khaled Beydoun

"Playing the race card" = a person of color interrupted the norm of whiteness, perhaps even identifying acts of racial discrimination/violence. If Blackness is a card one might play, white supremacy is the whole damn game.
EricAnthonyGrollman ‏@grollman

Also "inner city" is simply euphemism for "where poor minorities live." Geographically, it doesn't get more "inner city" than Trump Tower...
Charles M. Blow

Somewhere right now a white man feels a shift in the force, "a black person doesn't understand race. I must correct them!"
Tressie Mc ‏@tressiemcphd

Funny how no one who thinks they can "fix" the hood can explain its present conditions in any other terms than the inferiority of Blackness
Ornamental Oriental ‏@Hermit_Hwarang

The New Jim Crow in one graph - America's direct response to gains made in Civil Rights Movement:


Trump won the White House because of an archaic technicality invented by slave owners and a Russian scheme to undermine our democracy.
Kaili Joy Gray ‏@KailiJoy

"Racial difficulties" — quite the euphemism for racism.
Samuel Sinyangwe

Lindsey Graham just asked Jeff Sessions how it feels to be called a racist. Once again, racist's feelings are more important than people harmed by racism.
Salena ‏@Salencita

Chicago: White victim's disability intensifies horror.
Idaho: Black victim's disability means rape was "bullying."
David M. Perry ‏@Lollardfish

I need my White followers to explain how Europeans enacted genocide/enslavement in search of spices but can't seem to use any when they cook

It's not your country. Stealing land & resources then getting mad that people won't passively accept it is racism.
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

"...my father was a slave...my people died to build this country...no Fascist-minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear?" –Paul Robeson
bryonn bain

Hitting your child to prepare them for the harsh realities of being Black in a racist society is not an effective liberation strategy.
Stacey Patton

Megyn Kelly and Ivanka: when will we stop reading beautiful, rich, white women with composure as automatic paragons of intrinsic moral good
Jia Tolentino

white people seem to genuinely think black intellectuals are mainly around to explain things to them
fairly bad cyber ‏@pninterest
Lots of talk about health care, the abortion funding ban, and the Affordable Care Act:
What we have in Australia is far better than ACA. Just spent an evening at the hospital with my sick niece. Emergency care was all free. Explaining to Aussies why GoP so determined to take away health care.They just stare. It does not compute. Even amongst conservatives here.
Justine Larbalestier

Representative crowd of Americans looks on while Trump signs anti-abortion executive order:

Bill McKibben

The middle class thinks Medicaid is healthcare for the poor. They don't realize most of it goes to pay for nursing home coverage for them.
Jon Schwarz ‏@tinyrevolution

Rand Paul: We need better risk pools.
Al Franken: "I tell you how we get a really big risk pool. It's called 'Medicare for Everyone.'"
Dan Diamond

Call it "Obamacare” and 85% oppose it. Call it "Insure Tennessee” and just 16% oppose it.
Sahil Kapur

Say it with me: you can never ban abortion, you can only ban safe abortions.
Jess Tholmer ‏@tholmz

Pro-life folks: Pregnancy is completely safe! Everyone should do it!
Insurance Industry: Pregnancy is a pre-existing condition like cancer
Emily Finke ‏@seelix

Oppposition I’ve heard to ACA:
• it cost me money
• it’s not perfect

• I would have died without the coverage it guaranteed
Casey Liss

An estimated 3,000 people per month died from lack of health coverage before the ACA. That's a new 9/11 every month. The GOP voted for this.
Bob Cesca

NEW LIVING WILL: If the cancer ever comes back, have my ashes thrown in the eyes of friends & family who voted for Trump and the GOP.
Janine Brito

Now trolls are trolling me for being a childhood cancer survivor who depends on the ACA. What truly good, patriotic Christians.
Janine Brito

So GOP will let people die on the one hand, but will defund Planned Parenthood on the other. Then NOT give health care to children.
Mo Gaffney

Applying the term "pre-existing condition" to people is evil. We are not damaged objects, we are human beings.
Summer Brennan

Didn't a congressperson say that contraception shouldn't be covered because pregnancy isn't a disease? So why cover prenatal care? And anti-vaxxers go hand in hand with home birth advocates. Just tell women to have babies at home. No coverage needed. I seriously believe we will see these arguments made.
Emily Metcalfe

Insurance as luxury commodity rather than human right is an obscenity I have grappled with.
Tom Tomorrow

I'm a cancer survivor. I was 4. Preexisting condition. ACA freed me from worry I'd be punished for it; GOP plans to strip-away that freedom. Why? So millionaires and billionaires can have just that much more. My life for their largesse.
Elias Isquith

When you watch room full of rich people cheering taking health care from 20 million Americans, always remember that Hillary sent an email.
Forever44 ‏@theonlyadult

Doctor wouldn’t tie my tubes because I wasn’t married and maybe someday my husband might want kids. Medically, my body belongs to a man I haven’t met.
Writey McScriberson ‏@afroSHIRL

The fact that republicans can run on the platform, "I'll take away peoples health insurance" and win is a symptom of a sick as fuck country.
Jamie Kilstein
And who can forget the supposed 3 to 5 million fraudulent votes and the all-to-real likelihood of voter suppression in response:
AP learns Donald Trump's voter fraud expert was registered in 3 states during 2016 presidential election.
The Associated Press ‏@AP

Four cases of voter fraud. Over 50 million Americans unregistered to vote. It's clear what the real problem is here.

Beyond his views, it's also just stupid politics to cast a vote for the guy who wants to undermine the voting rights of your national base.
Jamelle Bouie

Those "3 to 5 million illegal votes" claims tell us what would have happened had Trump lost the Electoral College.
Monika Bauerlein

Love the idea of a massive, unprecedented, insanely logistically intensive conspiracy to turn out millions of illegal votes that didn't realize how important swing states were.
Christopher Hayes

Stop making it sound like Trump is the only Republican who believes there is massive voter fraud. Every voter ID law is premised on the idea.
Joy Reid

I like how the number of made-up illegal voters steadily grew with Clinton's popular vote lead.
Nate Cohn

In Trumpland: Democrats sneakily ensure 3 to 5 million illegal immigrants vote Clinton but forget to put 77,000 of them in the states she needed to win.
John Hudak

How is Trump managing to be a sorer loser than the person who got 3 million more votes and didn't win?

If you’re going to the trouble of illegal votes WOULDN’T YOU SPREAD THEM OUT SO YOU ALSO WIN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE?
Sarah Mackey ‏@sarahjanet

Obama: "We are the only country in the advanced world that makes it harder to vote, not easier. That traces directly back to Jim Crow.”
Ari Berman

Counting incarcerated persons as residents in redistricting is a rejection of both common sense and fairness.
Education, including the Betsy DeVos nomination for Secretary of Education, got more attention than usual:
Dump DeVos:


School choice = SCHOOLS choose, NOT parents. School admits and expels based on whether or not child performs.
Anita Jiles

NO Betsy DeVos:

Dr. Pangloss ‏@junziforhire

Both parties have bad Ed. policy. But DeVos threatens to turn privatization/defunding into total destruction & hellish school experiences.
Imani Perry

Please, fellow liberals: don't use words like "broken" to describe public schools. Implies we're fine with destroying. "Imperfect," fine.
Jennifer Rensenbrink ‏@gradientgirl

If we really wanted to "teach the whole child" we would give them freedom while surrounding them with stimulating resources and conversation.
Sisyphus @Sisyphus38

One of these pictures is of a dramatic threat to public school students, the other is of a bear:


The real injustice is that as public schools are being gutted, unions are being blamed instead of shitty structures.
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

A vote for DeVos isn't conservative / Republican in any traditional way. It's an admission that qualifications don't matter for mega-donors.

Privatizing public education is a bipartisan effort. That's what allowed DeVos to destroy Detroit Public Schools.
Ella Septima-Hamer ‏@Jbrous14

I had to pay a six years-old parking ticket before I was allowed to join Department of Justice in 2009. But DeVos ignoring a $5.3 million campaign fine is a-ok.
Matthew Miller

Another study confirms rewarding students for achievement fails to improve achievement and also reduces interest in learning.
Alfie Kohn

Public education is not the free market. In the free market there are winners & losers. Why would you want a system like that for your kids?
Clint Smith ‏@ClintSmithIII

The question that is before us, I am afraid, is whether we as Americans believe in the PUBLIC part of public education or not.
Ida Bae Wells ‏@nhannahjones

DeVos testimony: Senator, I look forward to working with you to dismantle the American tradition of public education which I don't understand.
Langdon Winner

Public schools are oppressive institutions that squash creativity, but the solution is revolutionizing not dismantling public education. #DeVosHearing
Nikhil Goyal

School choice was invented for white flight. Few parents wanted choice until desegregation.
Steven Singer

What's the worst way for kids to develop decision-making and agency? Following other people's instructions all day.
Bruce L. Smith ‏@numbalum89

Meier’s Mandate: “No student should be expected to meet an academic requirement that a cross-sec'n of successful adults in the community can’t.”
Alfie Kohn
Back in mid-January, Martin Luther King was a topic around his birthday:
nb.: if how moderates remember MLK is any example, resistance requires a readiness to be called morally low now & be respected posthumously.
Brandon O'Brien ‏@therisingtithes

The line for acceptable non violent resistance just keeps moving further away from anything remotely effective for some of y'all. Don't march, don't yell, don't kneel, don't stand, don't interrupt..you don't want nonviolent resistance, you want sheep ready for slaughter.
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

First they criminalize you, then they kill you, then they act like they agreed with you all along...
IG: TechImmortal
As always, there were a few tweets on climate change and sustainable cities:
When people say they're removing "regulations", ask "Oh, so you're against *protections* for ordinary Americans?"
Jon Foley ‏@GlobalEcoGuy

To help understand how extreme this is, even *North Korea* signed on to the Paris agreement on climate change.
Eric Holthaus

Tolls can raise funds for transit AND reduce congestion AND change behaviour.
Cherise Burda

Which part of downtown is most focused on the automobile? Which part is the least successful? They are the same.
mike ‏@mikesonn

Moral: If you want bike riders to live, build safer streets. If you want bike share to die, require helmets.
Janette Sadik-Khan

Ever think about how we've decided to destroy the planet so that a small portion of us can have the perfect size baggies for 1/2 an avocado?
Jebsica ‏@aspiringcat

Climate change is like fascism. It happens slowly, then all at once.
Kameron Hurley

Make buses free and gradually increase tax on cars. This will reduce sprawl and growth.
Free Public Transit

We either succeed or fail as a planet at this point. We are all in this together. We don't have time to do anything but pursue truth.
Eric Holthaus

FFS: Hit-and-Run Chevy Tahoe Driver Struck and Killed While Fleeing, by Second Tahoe Driver, Who Also Fled.

Slow down cars, save lives. It's pretty straightforward.
jennifer keesmaat

if a baby on a plane annoys you just remember you're getting back at the baby by leaving a massive carbon footprint with your plane ride

Build free roads for suburbs, let cars pollute for free, and spend $8,000 per minute to kill Muslims for oil.
Free Public Transit
And finally, the other topics and things that don’t fit into categories:
One of many depressing things: knowing if Hillary had won, nobody would know the bullet that got dodged and would bitch about her nonstop.
Sarah Mackey ‏@sarahjanet

Compassionate conservatives are a myth. Like leprechauns and people who feel full after eating a handful of almonds.
Molly Hodgdon ‏@Manglewood

Weird how many mid-century American snacks had high-toned, country-club names: Ritz, Club, Town House. Class aspiration thru crackers.
Robert O. Simonson

"Libtard" has got to be the lamest piece of name-calling neologism ever. I get embarrassed just thinking about people actually using it.
Robert O. Simonson

You might remember hearing that Chicago can't afford to keep schools open. Why? We spent $662 on settling lawsuits [for police accused of brutality].
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

I don't know how America is going to progress as a nation if people don't stop believing that bad things only happen to bad people.
Alp Ozcelik ‏@alplicable

protip: people who call themselves provocateurs are usually just assholes
Saladin Ahmed

There are more books for sale on Amazon from the 1880’s than the 1980’s. The missing books are out-of-print but still copyrighted. Insane!


I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it's a very poor scheme for survival.
Kurt Vonnegut

"Fascism is openly against people-in-general, in favor of people-in-particular." -EB White

Compulsory voting is one reason Australia’s far right lacks the power of its European or American counterparts.
NYT Opinion

Jury duty compels you to register your judgment on criminals; compulsory voting just extends this to politicians.
Justin Wolfers

Why aren't people more moved by fiduciary rule? Maybe because so few have substantial financial assets, and those who do will turn a blind eye to it in order to support the party that champions regressive tax cuts. I would wager that the "tax" of deceptive retail finance practices on lifetime accumulation could outweigh tax cuts for the vast majority.
Joseph Nathan Cohen

US public: stop accepting wealth is earned, without dishonesty & inequity; the wealthy are not universal experts.
Paul Thomas ‏@plthomasEdD

Anti-choice rhetoric from people who won't fund SNAP, CHIP, or public schools never impresses me. They want control, not community health. The same people who would block access to birth control and sex ed will blame unprepared parents for having kids they can't afford. We know what America looked like without social safety nets. It was Triangle Shirtwaist fire, labor riots, and kids starving in the streets.
Mikki Kendall

"system" should not be a dirty word
Rachel Cohen ‏@rmc031

Paranoid Manhole:

Faces in Things ‏@FacesPics

If you're interested in decarceration, Prison Culture’s 3 point plan for the next 4 years is:
1. Work to abolish money bail and be suspicious AF of *reforms* focused on creating *new risk assessments.*
2. Work to decriminalize everything (drugs, sex work, etc. etc.). Stop supporting elected officials who keep adding more laws to the books.
3. Organize against *tough on crime* DAs. Vote in your local elections to oust them and support ones who are more progressive.That's it. No need for endless retreats/discussions to figure out *the way forward.* It's all there and has been discussed for decades.
FreeBresha ‏@prisonculture

I want a bumper sticker that says "Your Home Mortgage Interest Deduction Is a Government Handout."
Keith Harris ‏@useful_noise

Some of the percent of the White evangelical and Pentecostal vote can be explained by the preaching about the "spirit of Jezebel" in churches. Meaning of "the spirit of Jezebel" has been stretched beyond recognition to encompass any form of female agency whatsoever. Even in a CNN segment featuring black women from Detroit on the election, you heard one sista say she didn't think a woman should run the country.
Ebony Elizabeth

Increasingly, the basis for Western democracy (if we can still call it that) seems to be, "You have a right to work, not a right to live." The idea that most people can't work effectively, to their full potential or at all while struggling to live is not accounted for. People who won't pay for healthcare, libraries, hospitals, welfare etc but who want to live in a functional society? THEY are freeloaders.
Foz Meadows

Just passed a place called Vision Dental and I think they can solve either all or none of my problems.
Akilah Hughes ‏@AkilahObviously

Anyone who still thinks locking up juveniles is a good idea is either financially motivated or just ignores data.

Half of public housing residents stay in their subsidized home for less than 5 years. Almost 70% stay for less than 10 years. The public housing residents who stay +10yrs are mostly elderly, disabled, or concentrated in high cost, low vacancy markets such as NYC.
Diane Yentel

Evolution vs. intelligent design:


Another e-mail request, asking me to work unpaid. "But you do it on your blog." I dig my garden for free, too. Doesn't mean I'll dig yours.
Joanne Harris ‏@Joannechocolat

Anti-vaxxing is bad for herd immunity but also bad because it stigmatizes autism, which it often treats like some kind of demonic hex.
Abraham Riesman

"When violent crimes go unpunished while nonviolent ones hammered, many conclude the state seeks control, not justice."
Nikhil Goyal

Men think being an ally means standing up for a woman in front of her. Real allies stand up for women when none of us are in the room.
Alice Goldfuss

Beware anything that’s “just trying to start a conversation.”
emily nussbaum

99.99% of the time the conversation already exists and the would-be "starter" just isn't willing to travel there.
Dara Lind

"We wasn't expecting you.."

Faces in Things ‏@FacesPics

MAN-date: when you think you have permission but you really don't.

If the headline of your article includes "..and why it matters," it doesn't matter.
Robert O. Simonson

Expertise is good. Authority masquerading as expertise isn't. And expertise cannot tell us what our goals should be.
David Kaib

1. Do you know many people spend far longer in horrific conditions of jail, pre-trial/no conviction, held on bond, than they do in prison?
2. That their guilty plea is motivated by the desire to end the endless months to years of jail, to relatively better conditions and an outdate.
3. So "guilt" or "innocence" is meaningless, and the only legit place from which to declare either is relative freedom of pre-trial release.
4. Which is denied to most people held on bond in jail simply because they're poor, and for Black people, because bonds are statistically higher.
5. So system is unable to demonstrate guilt or innocence because it's design is to detain and convict poor and Black people, regardless of guilt
Holly Krig ‏@holidarity

White straight dude sexin' his way thru impossible adventure: What a heroic journey!
Woman of color having fun: Unrealistic wish-fulfillment Mary Sue!
Sarah Kuhn

I'm writing a story about dragons and fighting white supremacy for New Year's. What are you doing?
N. K. Jemisin

Gingerbread Fellowship of the Ring, courtesy of my husband:

Rainbow Rowell

I need a way to slap people with history books through the internet. Can one of you developers make that happen? Pretty please?
Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia

Monday, January 30, 2017

Simple-Minded Solutions

One of the many things that drives me crazy about too much of our current political discourse, including almost anything said by the Dear Leader, is that it oversimplifies the complexity of how things actually work in government. One obvious example is his current failure to think of how a sudden ban on travelers and refugees would affect real people.

Another can be seen in one of the letters to the editor in today's Star Tribune. The writer, Lindsay Turner of Minneapolis, is addressing a piece of legislation introduced at our Capitol recently that would increase penalties for blocking a road or highway during a protest (among a lot of other vague threatening language):

Protests and Penalties:
Cracking down comes with its own consequences, you know
The Star Tribune Editorial Board recently implied that it’s sensible to lock up protesters for a year for blocking traffic, because it agrees with some legislators that a 90-day penalty is proving to be too ineffective a deterrent (“Take prudent steps to keep protests safe,” Jan. 26).

I write as a former public defender, and I don’t want to talk about the First Amendment. I want to talk about practicality.

First, this is a really high-cost proposition. A living wage would earn someone around $30,000 a year. Jailing someone for a year: at least that. And then you’ve got to think about the lost taxes back to the state and lost revenue circulating in the community, and the high cost of reintegrating people back into society after a whole year behind bars.

Second, deterrence works only if there are other options on the table. I’ve counseled thousands of people who have committed crimes about why they did what they did, and what could get them to make better choices. Out of those thousands of interviews, I can count on one hand the number of times clients said that they stopped themselves from doing worse because they feared incarceration.

People do what they think they need to do in the moment to survive, to maintain their status, to feed their kids. And look at why people are in the streets: to demand the cessation of state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings of their community members, and for living wages and sick time for hourly workers. Americans everywhere agree that it’s abhorrent to put in an honest day’s work and fall further behind on bills, to lose your job because your kid got sick, to live in fear of the police. And Americans who are vulnerable to those problems, and the community of people that loves and supports them, are not going to stop asking for those basic rights.

So, what else is on the table: voting? Phone calls to representatives? Writing letters to the editor? If only those worked.
Ninety days in jail is plenty of deterrent if a deterrent could have any effect for folks who feel desperate enough to block a highway. This type of legislation is not intended to "keep protestors safe": it's meant to keep the roads open so most people can keep traveling in comfort without having to think about any of the issues Turner mentions.

Republican sponsors are out to get what they call the "professional protestor class." A separate bill has also been introduced to allow "cities or the state...to sue protesters for public safety costs spent on responding to them if they are convicted of unlawful assembly or committing a public nuisance."

It's clear that that bill is meant to suppress protests of all kinds, not just ones that involve civil disobedience like blocking a road or highway. It's notable that none of these bills are introduced by legislators from the cities where the road blockages have happened; they're all from suburban legislators who feel more strongly about the privilege of driving than the right to protest.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Little Things

I was planning to do a big serious post, but it's all so overwhelming, I just can't.

So instead for today I have some hand-drawn signs from one of our local family-owned cafes, Trotter's.

I don't know about you, but every time I see these they make my day a bit better.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Resurrecting "The"

You know how logo designers sometimes try to use a single large letter as part of more than one word in a brand name? (I've discussed this topic here and here.)

Well, what about the times where a sign doesn't do that, but it misleads you into thinking it did momentarily?

Today I noticed this church at the corner of Nicollet and 24th in Minneapolis and thought for a second it said THE IS RISEN... or maybe even THE TIS TRISEN.

Friday, January 27, 2017


I saw this on Twitter and it was so good I wanted to share it more widely than just retweeting:

Last three "elite cosmopolitan liberal" presidents:

- From Georgia, *actual* peanut farmer
- Raised in Arkansas, poor, by an abusive stepfather
- Raised by single mom and grandparents in Kansas/Hawaii

Last four "everyman, white working-class conservative" presidents:

- Hollywood actor from Illinois
- Son of borderline-royal Massachusetts [sic, should be Connecticut] family with banker/politician patriarch
- Literally the previous guy's son
- NY millionaire at birth and later reality show star
I guess it was written by musician Tommy Siegel, though I couldn't find the original on his Twitter feed.

Of the four Republican presidents, Reagan is the only one with any claim to any connection among "real" Americans, and that was pretty far in his past by the time he was elected.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Emergency, No Surprise

This is all I have for today.

Because you never know when you might need an image of an EMERGENCY sign these days. Feel free to reuse or email or comment for a larger version.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

One Good, Two Bad

This is one of those overwhelming periods. Right now I don't even know if Trumpkin has signed another executive order restricting refugees and visas or not. Before I check to see, I have to clear a few things off my desk and into the cloud.

First, a good idea: Want a new model for health care? The Germans do it right. Commentary in the Star Tribune by Steve Klingaman, a nonprofit consultant and nonfiction writer. He gives a great summary of how the German system works, how much it costs, and how it benefits the people there. A couple of key quotes: "It’s not socialized medicine — it’s socialized risk management." And, as a conclusion:
Why do we insist on ignoring their example? Is it due to our bias that no viable solution ever arises from beyond our shores — especially from “socialized” Europe? Is it that the wealthiest among us enjoy a fantastic health-care system? Are we willing to sacrifice the access to health care the 18 million people who will be left uninsured if Obamacare is simply repealed? There is no way to fix the problem short of universal participation and regulation. That’s the bottom line.
I find it interesting that the amount Germans pay for health coverage is 8 percent of their income — which is very close to the percent of income I found the other day when looking into ACA rates for people making under $60,000. Except Germans have no deductibles and other costs that pop up out of nowhere, which is a huge improvement, I think we can all agree.

Second, an egregious injustice: St. Paul cop charged with punching handcuffed teen girl. A 38-year-old male cop, Michael Soucheray (any relation to Pioneer Press caveman columnist Joe Soucheray?) was called to a shelter for sexually exploited girls back in early December. A 14-year-old was suicidal and so staff called police and EMTs. But the girl didn't want to go in the ambulance and was agitated. (Shocking, I know.) Soucheray and his partner handcuffed the girl (it doesn't say why) and then pretty much forced her into their squad car. When Soucheray "sat her up" in the seat, she spat in his face.

He responded by striking her twice with a closed fist right in the face, grabbed her jaw or neck, and called her an expletive expletive (let me guess... f$^*ing b$*&h?).

Soucheray has been charged with fifth-degree assault, which is highly unusual for police in any kind of circumstances. His lawyer says it was reasonable force, "a self-defense reaction" after she had "committed felony assault" on him.

No. We expect more from people who work for us and who wear guns. They should at least be adults when dealing with children.

I hope he's found guilty, gets anger management classes, and a new job.

Third, a local trial that's not getting enough attention: Remember when protestors were encamped outside the North Minneapolis police headquarters in late November 2015, and four armed men came and shot several black men? Yeah? Well, the main perpetrator, Lance Scarsella, is on trial right now.

Scarsella claims he feared for his life, but clearly he set up the whole situation through his own actions, especially bringing a gun in the first place. He may have feared being punched at that last moment, but he responded with bullets. A story from today's Star Tribune revealed he has a close friend who's a cop in Burnsville, a south metro suburb, and that the two had exchanged many texts using the N-word. The cop, who testified yesterday, described their texts as "locker room talk." Now where have we heard that before?

An earlier commentary in the Star Tribune sheds some light on the case: Implicit bias raises its ugly head in the Scarsella case. It doesn't address what happened in the shooting so much as what may happen in the trial, with its nearly all-white, all-male jury.
One prospective juror called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and another said blacks should “get off welfare.” Judge Hilary Caligiuri denied prosecutor Judith Hawley’s motions to strike both men for cause. Two black prospective jurors were stricken for cause.
The commentary doesn't say what the cause was for striking the two black jurors, but I'm outraged that at least the juror who said BLM is a hate group wasn't stricken from the pool. In case you were wondering, Hennepin County is 13 percent black; Minneapolis is almost 19 percent black. The jury is 0 percent black.

Scarsella's trial is taking place not long after the judge who was selected to oversee the trial of Jeronimo Yanez (the cop who killed Philando Castile) was challenged by Yanez's lawyers and replaced. The judge, Edward Wilson, was the second most-senior judge on the Ramsey County bench. Yanez's lawyers are not required to give a reason for their request. But if you guessed that Judge Wilson is black, you would be correct. He has been replaced with a white judge.

In the South Carolina trial of Michael Slager, the white cop who shot Walter Scott in the back in 2015, 21 percent of the jury pool was black, but the trial was held with just one black juror. The case ended in a hung jury and a mistrial.

When it comes time for the all nonblack jurors in the Scarsella trial to decide whether it was reasonable for him to shoot because he feared for his life, and there's not a single black person in the jury room to remind them black people are humans, how will that go?

I hate to say it, but I predict Scarsella will be found not guilty in this, a state that does not have a stand your ground law, a state that has a duty to retreat.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Let's Make Them "Flush with Cash"

Education may be the most overlooked issue in American politics, even more than climate change. When it's mentioned it's nothing more than a tag line. "School choice!" "Save our kids!"

Obama was bad on education, and every president before him was bad, too. Turmp [sic] will top them all on that front, I predict.

Our public schools were never perfect, since nothing humans do ever is. There are many great ideas for ways to change them to work better for kids who are left behind, some of which I've written about over the years and many of which are covered in the magazine Rethinking Schools or books by Nikhil Goyal (Schools on Trial) and Diane Ravitch (Reign of Error).

Unfortunately, instead we went down the No Child Left Without a Test path and adopted a misbegotten form of the charter school idea, and jointly, those two decisions are completely wrecking the joint.

Today's Star Tribune contained a commentary by Stephen Schroeder-Davis of Elk River, Minnesota, a retired teacher and university professor. It's one of the best short pieces I've read on education lately and I feel compelled to quote it in its entirety:

Of the 1,433 words in President Trump’s distressingly dystopian inaugural address, these 17 especially stood out to me: “an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge.” This indictment was followed 24 words later with: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

In just 17 words, our new president disparaged more than 3 million public school teachers, made victims of 50 million public school students, and closely linked the words education and carnage. Synonyms for carnage include killing, bloodshed, slaughter, massacre, bloodbath and butchery.

The president’s words failed to capture my experience during my 42 years in education and the thousands of enjoyable, affirming, tender and ennobling interactions I witnessed between teachers and the students we worked so hard to educate, nurture, protect, and, far too frequently, clothe and feed.

Is our education system “flush with cash”? Sadly, that depends almost entirely on where a school is located. The federal government supplies about 10 percent of school funding. Sources for the remaining funds for school operation are approximately evenly divided between state support, which fell dramatically during the recession of 2008 and have not fully recovered, and local resources, which are based almost entirely on property values and which also have diminished since 2008. One consequence of the recession is that nationally, we have lost almost 300,000 school staff while gaining about 800,000 students. Another consequence is that the gap between affluent and poor neighborhoods — and therefore schools — has widened yet again.

Cruel, overgeneralized and unfair condemnation of our schools will not improve student or teacher dispositions or performance. If President Trump wants to ensure that “our young and beautiful students [are no longer] deprived of knowledge,” here are three suggestions:

1) Greatly increase funding for quality day care and preschool programs, as impoverished students begin school already behind their more affluent peers.

2) Increase school nutritional programs — feeding students will close the achievement gap faster than testing, vouchers or privatization ever could.

3) Reflect on how it is that a mere one-hour drive can take one from a school that has computers, atriums, plush carpeting, and athletic, artistic and performing art centers to a school that keeps emergency clothing for students who sleep in cars, teachers who have to teach third-graders how to hold a book, and staff members who consistently, quietly spend their own money to feed their students.

American schools are neither “flush with cash,” nor guilty of participating in “carnage,” and asserting that they are reveals a profound misapprehension of the current state of education in this country.
Schroeder-Davis only addresses funding levels, but that's a start, and he does it with an accessible and clear message that comes from an inarguable base of personal knowledge. Thanks for writing.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome, Regretful Trump Voter, But Really?

I have yet to get to all of my tabs and the proto-tabs waiting in my email, but I read this article from Vox yesterday in real time: I voted for Donald Trump, and I already regret it. With a title like that, how could I resist?

The writer, Sherri Underwood, says she's in her 50s, in a small town in the Midwest, now unable to work because of fibromyalgia after what sounds like a lengthy career in law enforcement, corrections, and social service work.

Underwood says she voted for Trump because she was angry the Affordable Care Act didn't make her health care affordable enough. Her husband makes too much money for her to qualify for subsidies, his employer doesn't cover spouses, and her coverage would cost about $900. She is vague on specifics, though, and I have questions for her on all of this. She seems to think her preexisting condition makes her care more expensive, which is not true (unless she's a smoker, the only thing that increases your cost is age). I obviously don't know her market, but until 2017 there were no plans in Minnesota that cost anywhere near $900 a month for one person at her age. And hey, what would it have cost to buy into her husband's plan? Don't employers generally allow that?

Aside from arguing with whether her specifics are real or imagined, I also believe Underwood needed to think a bit harder about why she was in that predicament. Employer-based coverage gives way too much power to individual companies over a key part of our lives, and they don't always have our best interests at heart (since profit is their fiduciary responsibility). The ACA couldn't fix that because Republicans blocked better ideas, such as a public option, and they've refused to work on improving it, such as by raising the income cutoff for subsidies or changing the way high-risk folks affect everyone else's costs.

(By the way, I love that she describes the reason for her high premiums under the ACA this way: "This happened because I had to declare my husband’s salary as part of our household income, which put me in an earning bracket too high to qualify for any financial assistance." That language implies it's unusual to use household income to determine benefits. Yet she claims to have worked "helping to distribute food stamps and other services" in her earlier career? I think she's familiar with the way household income is used and shouldn't act so shocked.)

Underwood writes that she hated both candidates (though she never gives any reasons for hating Clinton), but that "In the end, I voted for Trump because he promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that was the most important issue to my own life." Somehow, she didn't look into what he said he would replace it with. Trump never had any policy statements on that, so if it's the most important issue in your life, you'd think you might see if he had anything to say but hot air.

She also claims to be a news and politics junkie, but she's woefully under-informed... or maybe she just lacks critical thinking skills. The thing that turned her against Trump was his 60 Minutes interview, just after the election, where he said he wouldn't prosecute Hillary Clinton. She writes,

...as I watched the interview, I saw with my own eyes who Trump really was as a person. He backtracked on one of his signature campaign promises: pursuing an investigation into the Clinton email scandal. It’s not that I want Clinton to be crucified or “locked up” — it’s the nonchalance with which he went back on his word after hammering it repeatedly during the campaign. The ease and quickness with which he reversed his position shook me to my core. I realized in that moment that I had voted for a demagogue. And it was sickening.
For someone who supposedly watched a lot of election coverage, how did she miss the obvious fact that Trump lies all the time? That he has cheated innumerable people out of money he owes them?

She also has just noticed Trump's
retaliatory and impulsive behavior, which I think I assumed was a campaign tactic, have carried over into his actions as president-elect. He now has the power to reward companies or countries that flatter him and destroy those that don’t with a simple tweet — just look at how he praises L.L. Bean and criticizes Boeing, causing their stock values to swing like yo-yos. His tweets about foreign powers lack restraint, and his treatment of the press whenever they say something he doesn’t like shows his vengefulness. He promised that he would be a president to all Americans, but all he has done is divide us.
Underwood still thinks Congressional efforts to repeal the ACA are a step in the right direction, by the way. Somehow she trusts that they will replace it with something better, based on no evidence whatsoever. Even though she has just figured out that Trump
doesn’t seem to be showing any interest in the mechanics of a new policy — he’s just out there making promises to the public with nothing to back it up. It doesn’t do much to offer me faith that he really wants to fix the problem.
All of this was completely obvious before the election to anyone who spends "much of my day reading news and watching C-SPAN."

I'm glad Sherri Underwood has realized some of the truth we face with this president who was elected by 46 percent of voters, including her. I just wish she had thought about all of this a little sooner. But welcome, Sherri. Keep learning new things.


I spent some time on the Kaiser Family Foundation health insurance calculator trying to see if I could reconstruct Underwood's ACA coverage price. I've already said I don't know where she lives; she just says a small town in the Midwest, so I tried out smaller cities and towns in six states.

These rates are for 2017 Silver plans, which are likely significantly higher than they would have been back in 2014 or 2015 when Underwood first looked into rates and found this outrageous $900 number. I set her age at 53 (60 is the age break for a premium increase, so it doesn't matter what year in the 50s I used) and assumed her husband's income was $60,000 per year. The calculator only has consistent data for nonsmokers (and again, I wonder if that's part of the problem with the rate she says she was quoted).

Canton, Ohio. $341 per month. The subsidy cutoff for a two-person family in Canton kicks in just above an annual income of $44,000, which is 275 percent of the poverty level.

Princeton, Iowa. $481 per month. In Princeton, the subsidies start kicking in just below $60,000 annual income.

Cullom, Illinois. A plan costs $636 per month, but with an income of $60,000, she would get a subsidy of $150, so the cost would be $485.

Royal Center, Indiana. $484 per month. As in Iowa, subsidies start to kick in just below $60,000 annual income.

Tekonsha, Michigan. A plan costs $576 per month, but she would get a subsidy of $91, bringing her cost to $485 per month.

La Plata, Missouri. A plan costs $746 per month, but her income nets a $261 per month subsidy, bringing the cost to $485.

Again, I realize I have no idea what her household income is, so picking $60,000 is arbitrary. But for a two-person household, that seems like a decent income (well above the median for a family of four, for instance).

And even if her husband's income is much higher and subsidies would never be available to her in any market, I  found no plans even close to $900 per month.

To test the accuracy of the Kaiser calculator, I ran my own family of three's stats (with one person each in their 20s, 50s, and 60s). Our monthly cost is just over $1,800, unsubsidized. The calculator came back with $1,787, which is within $50 of what we are paying, and the difference is attributable to specifics of my plan, especially the deductible I chose.

I have two thoughts on Underwood's claimed $900 monthly payment: maybe it was that high because she smokes (though even that seems unlikely for 2014 or ’15 rates) or she's misrepresenting her own history.


A few other folks have commented on Underwood's confessional. Wonkette tells us all to give her a break and welcome her to our side. I do, I really do, I just want some more information about the background of her story.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones points out that repealing the ACA means the maximum 3:1 age ratio on premiums goes away, which will do Underwood no good. (I had forgotten about that provision myself. Gee, thanks for reminding me, Kevin.) As he puts it, "Trump and other Republicans think this [ratio] ought to be 5:1. If it were, Underwood's premium would be over $1,000. Obamacare probably saved her something in the neighborhood of $2,000 per year." And, he reminds that the ACA means her obvious pre-existing fibromyalgia gets covered at all.

He also points out that the average annual health care cost for someone 55 years old in the U.S. is $10,000... so it's kind of amazing that the rates I found are as low as they are.

Drum ends with this:
If Republicans want to cover people like Underwood, they're going to have to spend more money than Obamacare. If they want to reduce deductibles, they're going to have to spend more money than Obamacare. If they want to increase subsidies for the middle class, they're going to have to spend more money than Obamacare. This is an iron law, and no amount of blather about state lines or tort reform or anything else changes it more than minutely. But Republicans want to spend less, not more. Even if Trump had been sincere, there was never any chance that Underwood would do better under his plan than under Obamacare.