owlmoose: (lost - hurley dude)
  • A presidential appointee to an EPA leadership position is stepping down because staffers won't play along with his climate change denial agenda. "They’re here for a cause," he said. A cause, like, say, protecting the environment? WHO KNEW.

  • The New York Times and The Washington Post Are at War, and Everyone Is Winning: when two major news organizations are trying to out-do each other in their investigating efforts, there can be no losers (except maybe the Republican administration).

  • I could share a lot of links about the Day Without Women, the strike scheduled to coincide with International Women's Day last week, but I already wrote a whole post about it, so I will limit myself to this New Yorker piece, The Women's Strike and the Messy Space of Change.

  • Ever wonder why the big news always seems to break at night? The Atlantic has a good explainer; the short version is that newspaper publishing deadlines are at night, we're just now getting the stories as soon as they're filed, rather than having to wait for the next morning to read them.

  • Some professors at NYU staged a gender-swapped version of the three Clinton-Trump presidential debates, and did not get the reactions they were expecting from the audience. There's a clip from the rehearsal, which is fascinating to watch. I'd be really curious to see the whole thing.


For your Thursday funny/cute, I commend you to Olly the Terrier have the time of his life at a dog show skills competition. The announcer's affectionate amusement makes it even better.
owlmoose: (quote - questions)
I have returned! Yet another successful FogCon: in the books. Probably jamming two days into one post is too much, but no matter how much I tell myself I can wait for tomorrow to write about today, the fact is I'm very unlikely to do it.

My first panel of the day might also have been the best of the con, and certainly the one that I heard the most people talking about over the rest of the weekend. It was entitled "When Do You Pick Up A Blaster?" and was about revolution: how revolution is depicted in speculative fiction, what fiction gets right and wrong, what can we learn about real-life uprisings from fictional ones, and what is, or should be, the tipping point for the decision to use violence as a tool. One of the panelists, guest of honor Ayize Jama-Everett, suggested that there are types of violence other than physical, namely social and economic violence, and said that the "objective of violence is free the colonized mind from the colonizer. How you define violence is an interesting topic -- another panelist said that he doesn't consider property damage, like bombing empty buildings and shattering store windows, to be the same thing as violence, and although I'm not convinced I agree, it's an interesting point. (Or going back to the previous point, you could consider it a form of economic violence against the property owners). To cover the discussion property would take better notes than I took, but a few other points I wanted to consider: a definition of revolution as when the unimaginable becomes commonplace; the suggestion that you should be willing to risk dying before you risk killing; that you lose something when you fight, even when you win (sometimes it's worth it, but take the costs into considerations); revolution will always take longer than you think it will. As you might imagine, I got a lot to think about here, and took more notes than during any other panel. Lots of discussion centered around the Black Panther Party, and although I'm going to save most of my book recs for another post, I wanted to make note of one here: Black Against Empire, a recent history of the Black Panthers.

Lunch was the annual FogCon banquet, where I sat with friends old and new and chatted about a number of things -- for one, I ran into a fellow Dragon Age fan, and then we decided to stop boring the rest of the table to death and talk about the Hugos instead. Then my afternoon consisted of two guest of honor events. First was an interview with the other guest of honor, Delia Sherman, who talked about her writing process and her stories. After that, Ayize Jama-Everett gave his GoH presentation, a conversation with Afrofuturist Lonny Brooks. The theme of the talk was Jama-Everett asking Brooks to help him imagine a future that isn't bleak. A challenging project in these times, but I think also a worthy one. Some of Brooks's ideas included looking at Peter Diamandis and his thoughts on abundance, platform cooperativism (a worker-centric alternative to the so-called sharing economy promoted by companies like Airbnb and Uber), and diverse communities that celebrate difference rather than fighting against it or practicing separatism.

After dinner -- I crashed an event for members of a writing message board, and had a great chat with a doctor from Illinois whose name I unfortunately cannot remember -- was my one panel of the con, "Between the Pixie and the Crone: Middle Aged Women in Speculative Fiction". Other members of the panel included the aforementioned GoH Delia Sherman and the always-entertaining Ellen Klages, so that was not intimidating at all. Unrelated in any way to the panelists (they were all great), the discussion got tense in a couple of places, which I think is a risk with any panel on a topic that deals in a trope about women at a con that tries to be feminist -- it's going to hit too close to home for some people, feel completely off the mark to others, and it's easy to fall into talking stereotypes. But overall I think it went pretty well. Folks seemed engaged, asked good questions and made good recommendations, and almost no one left before the end, which are all positives, and I got to make most of the points I had planned, including a comment about not falling into the trap of defining all women by their relationship to motherhood, even including women who are mothers, which got a little "whoop!" from someone in the crowd. Last up was a panel on podcasting, which focused almost exclusively on fiction podcasts and never even got to fannish pop culture reviews, although I did get to rec Black Tapes and found a few new shows to look up. Afterwards I wandered by the bar, where I hung out for a little bit before bedtime.

Today I took it a little easier, as I usually try to do on the last day of the con. The first panel of the morning was the guest of honor reading, which I always try to attend and almost never disappoints. I was completely sucked in by Ayize Jama-Everett's reading and bought all three of his books (the only other time that's happened was all the way back in FogCon2, after Nalo Hopkinson read from The Chaos). For lunch I walked over to the farmer's market with [personal profile] forestofglory, and after I went one last panel on how to write dystopian fiction in the age of alternative facts. The panelists agreed that, for all the stories where false information is commonplace and fed to people by the government, no one ever saw coming that we would impose the world of wrong facts on ourselves, without a repressive regime forcing us into it. The discussion was mostly about real-world information bubbles and info overload, less about fiction, but it was still interesting. As usual in this type of conversation, I walked away convinced that librarians are more necessary than ever, and I need to do a better job of turning my information literacy skills into political activism.

Next up: WisCon! Two and a half months away, and I can hardly wait.
owlmoose: (CJ)
Happy International Women's Day!

I hope that today's events lead both to a continuing groundswell of the progressive actions that have been going on for years but came into focus for many more with the Women's March in January, and to a greater recognition of International Women's Day in the United States. Interesting reading: this Slate article on the history of International Women's Day, which discusses its roots as a day of strikes and pro-worker action through a defanged and commercialized holiday somewhat akin to Mother's Day. (Also an excuse for self-styled wags and MRAs to complain that there's no International Men's Day. Which: 1. shut up; 2. November 19th, in case you actually care; 3. It's during White History Month and Straight Pride Week, duh.)

Although I'm wearing red today, and ate breakfast at home instead of going out as I often do on workdays, I haven't varied my routine much otherwise. I contemplated not working, but since I'm on a major deadline and had a couple of meetings, I decided it would inconvenience the wrong people without sending any useful messages. I felt a little bad about it, but I also firmly believe that every person needs to decide this sort of thing for themselves. I have heard and sympathize with some of the criticisms that not every woman is in a position where they can afford to take a day off work and/or care-taking; I think that's legit, but I've also seen too many women -- and by this I mean the well-off white women who could most likely take the risk -- use that criticism as an excuse not to participate. In the end, if trusting women is important -- and I believe that it is -- then we need to trust women to evaluate their own lives and know what actions are appropriate for them. We can critique the larger meaning of an action without getting too bogged down in the choices of individual women. I'll be interested to see if any statistics come out about the aggregate effect of Day Without a Woman, and if the strike tradition continues.

(Post title is from a Peter Gabriel song, "Shaking the Tree".)
owlmoose: (think)
Anyone else think that they referred to last night's speech as an address rather than his first State of the Union as a ploy to keep expectations low? Just me? Okay.

  • If it was intentional, it sure seems to have worked -- mainstream media spent last night and today falling all over themselves to congratulate the president for his ability to read words off a teleprompter without melting down. Way to set a high bar, folks. At least some articles, like this commentary from NBC, pointed out his lack of substance and a fair number of the "alternative facts" contained in the speech.

  • Meanwhile, the known rabble-rousers at USA Today posted an editorial calling for Congressional Democrats to get serious about potential impeachment.

  • This week in "I Miss Jon Stewart": Stewart's appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert on Monday, 2/27, in which he compared the media's relationship with Trump to a bad breakup and advised them to move on. Nice analogy. I wonder how long they'll wait before taking it to heart?

  • A special election for three seats in the Connecticut state senate was a wash, with all three seats remaining in the hands of their original party, but both Democratic-held seats were won easily, while the race for the GOP-held seat was more competitive than it had ever been. Democrats also held a state senate seat in Delaware, won narrowly in 2014, by over 10 points on the strength of 33% turnout -- which is huge for a special election. There's plenty more of these coming, so keep your eye out. Here's an article about some upcoming US House races in Montana and Georgia -- the Georgia seat, especially, could be key to gathering momentum for the midterms.

  • I would say the dominos are falling when Darrell Issa -- terrible GOP rep from Southern CA, who led some of the worst investigations of Obama and Hillary Clinton, and was largely responsible for the California recall election that brought us the Governator, and who came very close to losing his seat in a district that Clinton won in 2016 -- is calling for a special prosecutor to look into the Russia shenanigans, but he walked it back just a day or so later, so.... *shrug* Talk is cheap, folks.

  • My main feeling about the election of a DNC chair is to be glad its over, so now the party can buckle down and get to work. But what really elevated the whole thing to a non-event to me was Tom Perez, immediately and without rancor, naming Keith Ellison vice chair to unanimous approval. This way, we get both of their voices in party leadership, and Ellison gets to keep his seat in Congress (although nothing prohibited him from staying on, he had promised to resign if he'd won). As far as I'm concerned, this is a win-win. As for the people who tried to turn this into a proxy battle to re-litigate the primary, meh. If you're leaving the party over this, you were looking for an excuse to go. See ya bye bye now.

  • One of the big stories last week was members of Congress ducking constituent town halls during their recent recess (mostly Republicans, but not exclusively -- I don't think Pelosi or Kamala Harris had one, and I know Feinstein didn't). Lots of folks are calling them out, but none better than Gabrielle Giffords.

  • Another thing you might have heard about was the Department of Education pulling guidance to schools that explicitly protected the rights of trans students. Bad as this news is, no laws have actually changed here, just the federal government's mandate to interpret them a certain way. The National Center for Transgender Equality provides a FAQ explaining what it all means.


Lastly, for today's bit of fun: here's a livetweet of a cow escape in upstate New York. Watch the gifs, revel in the puns, and read all the way down for a happy ending.
owlmoose: photo of little owl in a stocking cap (owlhat)
I'm trying to keep these to stories and links that I think have long-term use, rather than responding to whatever particular outrage has happened within the last fifteen minutes. There's just no way to keep up with a White House and Congress that's churning out stuff at the rate things are coming in a long-form journal, so I'm not even going to try. I do my best to keep up on Twitter, which is the best source for whatever is the latest and "greatest" anyway.

Anyway, have some links.

  • From former Congressman Barney Frank, a guide on how to make your opinions known to your elected representatives. There are some good points here, but one of the things I appreciate most is that he doesn't try to claim that one and only one contact point is the "right" one. There are many useful ways to engage; pick the one that works for you, or take a multi-pronged approach if you like.

  • "Our Part in the Darkness": this opinion piece, by Rabih Alameddine in The New Yorker, isn't a comfortable read, but I think it's an important reminder that we Americans should not attempt to distance ourselves from our country. Like it or not, support it or not, fighting against it or not, these things are happening here, and while 45, his minions, and his strongest supporters may be extreme examples, less stark examples of their beliefs and actions have always been part of the American landscape. Although not addressed directly, this article gets at why I'm not comfortable with the "not my president" formulation -- I may not have voted for him, I may have done my damnedest to keep him out of the office, but now he's here and he is the president, and I can't look away from that reality.

  • Two on the upcoming fight over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, one from Politico and another, much angrier but with a similar takeaway, from journalist Kurt Eichenwald. The short version, with which I agree, is that this is where Democrats need to take their stand. If they lose the filibuster, so be it. A stolen Supreme Court seat is worth making a fuss over, and although I wish they had pulled out the big guns while Obama was still in the White House, better late than never.

  • Good advice on living the resistance from Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. I've been seeing this circulating without attribution quite a lot, so I wanted to make sure to get a direct link in here.

  • While I'm thinking about it, can I just complain about how much I hate the "cut and paste this text on your Facebook page" methodology that's gotten so popular for sharing essays and action items? I understand people's security concerns about not making FB posts public -- I almost never do it myself -- but it's a nightmare for source verification. There's got to be a better way.

  • Going back to Coretta Scott King, I know I just said I wanted to stay away from outrage of the day in my linkspam posts, but this thing where Elizabeth Warren was barred from speaking in the Senate for reading King's letter laying out the proven racism of then-nominee for Attorney General Pete Sessions is so egregious that I have to bring it up. First, a Tweetstorm on the history of the gag rule in the Senate, which was created to keep abolitionists from as much as mentioning slavery on the floor. Second, if you haven't already seen it, the full text of the letter is available in a lot of places now; this link goes to the Boston Globe (which also has an overview of the story). Finally, you've probably seen the new Nevertheless, She Persisted meme -- based on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's exact words when asked why Warren was silenced -- which is possibly my favorite rapid response weaponized meme yet. If you haven't looked at the Twitter hashtag yet, I highly recommend it.

  • From Vox, why the president is not an evil genius, and why that doesn't matter. I agree with both the initial premise of this (if the man and his top advisors were actually evil geniuses, the Republican administration would not be nearly so chaotic right now), and the upshot, which is that the outcome of the administration's actions is more important than their reasoning behind each one. This, for what it's worth, is why I avoid the "distraction" rhetoric that we hear so often these days -- "don't pay attention to this thing, it's just a distraction from that other more important thing!" Everything they are doing is terrible, and it all matters. Of course there's too much for all of us to focus on all the time -- we each have to triage for ourselves. But as the wise [twitter.com profile] sophiebiblio says, we shouldn't shame people for having different priorities.


  • If only. If only...
owlmoose: (otter)
Welp, here we are. Day 7. Here's hoping we make it the rest of the way.

  • More proof that California is not remotely fucking around: Governor Jerry Brown's State of the State address. He's previously had some strong words on taking action against climate change, but he laid down the law on a bunch of other issues too: immigration, healthcare, etc. California has 10% of the nation's population and the world's sixth largest economy; that's a lot of weight to throw around, and I fully support doing it. I have friends who keep making noises about a "Calexit", but I think that's both mean-spirited and short sighted. We need to be leading the charge against Trumpism, not running in the other direction.

  • Protest Works: Jamelle Bouie on the power of the 1/21/17 Women's March and why it proves we need to stay on the offensive.

  • Fortunately, it looks like there are a lot more protests in the works: The Scientist March (no date set yet, but they seem to be moving quickly), the Tax March on April 15th, a National Pride March on June 11th (I might even try to get to DC for that one). I think a big protest every two months, with rapid response gatherings in response to specific things like the immigration rallies yesterday and the GOP gathering in Philadelphia today, sounds about right. I hope we can keep it up.

  • As these protests, marches, and rallies come together, I hope that we can be mindful of the many legit criticisms of the Women's March around intersectionality. This is one example, on race issues, but there are many, many others. We can celebrate the good aspects of the march while still listening to the critiques, learning from them, and trying to do better next time.

  • From 2016 but always relevant: Why Rep. John Lewis is not to be trifled with.

  • One of my favorite pieces of resistance (much as I hate that it needs to be done) are the "rogue" Twitter accounts being created by government employees to get around the limits that the new administration has been placing on the spread of information. Unofficial accounts for the National Park Service and individual parks, NASA, the EPA, the USDA, and over a dozen others have started popping up. [twitter.com profile] StollmeyerEU is maintaining an updated list here. Who knew that, when the revolution came, that the National Park Service would be leading the way? (Well, maybe this lady.)


And for today's bit of fun: remains of giant prehistoric otters have been found in China.
owlmoose: (think)
I went to the Women's March in San Francisco today. Because there was an anti-abortion protest earlier in the day (organized months earlier -- they do a march here on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade every year), city officials asked the organizers to make their event later, so the rally started at 3pm. It was a little weird, being at home and watching all the pictures and reports coming in on social media when my march was still hours away.

I ended up only walking about half the march route, for two reasons: rain, and T came along with me despite crowds not being at all his scene, and I didn't want to push him into overdoing it. Still, even if I didn't participate as fully as I could, I'm so glad I had the chance to be part of this amazing and historic event.

Some pictures I took are posted on my Tumblr, and I linked to a few others.

I haven't been to many protest marches, but I always leave them feeling supported and invigorated. Now to turn those feelings into action, tomorrow and every day that follows.
owlmoose: (narnia - edmund coat)
I probably need a catchier name for this project....

Not much this time because I actively avoided posting news and politics links while I was in Hawaii. A few gems, though.

  • A quick rundown of the attempt of Congressional Republicans to defang House ethics rules and the almost immediate reversal. The two main takeaways: public outcry sometimes works, but we have to keep watching them like hawks.

  • I found this Tweetstorm on this history of reconstruction from [twitter.com profile] arthur_effect (Arthur Chu) to be both informative and thought-provoking, in terms of what might happen next in this national backlash to progress on civil rights issues.

  • Another on the "Third Reconstruction," from Rev. William Barber, the leader of North Carolina's Moral Monday movement. Moral Monday is an excellent model for liberal resistance, and I hope more of us can adopt it.

  • Very good takedown of the idea that Hillary Clinton lost "working Americans". It largely boils down to the media's limited definitions of "working" and "Americans" (i.e. white men in very specific kinds of jobs).

  • From Brookings, a blueprint for what path the media should follow to cover the incoming administration.
owlmoose: (da - alistair)
This will be my last link collection for the year, since I'll be out of town the week after Christmas.



Today's bit of fun: I was reminded of one of my favorite pieces of meta-media: the fake Lucas Lee movie posters from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, featuring Chris Evans. Sadly, the original article with Evans's own commentary no longer seems to be online, but there's a screencap here, and larger versions of just the posters here.
owlmoose: (ff13 - lightning)
  • Here's a pretty fascinating look at how different state boundaries would have affected the Electoral College results. Based on such things as commute patterns, phone call patterns, states of equal population, etc. A good reminder of how arbitrary the Electoral College is as a way of deciding anything.

  • The always-excellent Jamelle Bouie writes about Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns and how they might serve as a blueprint for Democrats to strengthen their economic message without sacrificing social justice issues.

  • Good piece on what it really means to empathize with conservatives, and what that means for moving forward.

  • This article on fake news and media credibility is a little harder on the mainstream media than I would be, but it's a thought-provoking perspective nonetheless.

  • Speaking of fake news, here's an interview with the creator of a browser plug-in that detects and flags dubious sources, called (appropriately) BS Detector. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I'm curious. Could be a valuable tool if it works, although I worry that the people who most need it are the least likely to install it.


And for today's fun link: The San Francisco SPCA partners with the downtown Macy's every holiday season, creating a store window display of cats and dogs who are available for adoption. I try to get there at least a few times every year to witness the adorable in person, but this year they've added three webcams. (Requires Flash.)
owlmoose: (quote - flamethrower)
I've been thinking I'm sharing most of the best resources I find on Twitter and Facebook these days, and given the speed at which things have been happening since the election, good stuff sometimes gets lost in the social media firehose. If I noted the best of those links and posted them here, say on a weekly basis or so, would people find that useful and/or interesting?

I'm a librarian; curating and sharing information is what I do. If I can take that task on in a way that helps people, I feel like I should. So I'll try this for now, but if folks have feedback or suggestions, definitely let me know.



And now for something completely different: NPR's Monkey See blog is putting together a Pop Culture Advent Calendar, sharing one perfect pop culture moment from 2016 per day. I love this idea, and perhaps in its spirit, I should make sure to include at least one happy or uplifting thing in each links collection. We can't have four years of unalloyed misery, no matter how bad things get -- that way lies burnout and despair. As I've said before, we need to take our bright spots where we can get them, even if it feels like trying to keep a candle lit against a firehose. This is my candle, and I will do whatever it takes to keep it burning.
owlmoose: (BMC - juno)
The busy holiday weekend is now over, and I expect a somewhat rude re-entry into real life thanks to a dentist appointment first thing tomorrow morning (getting a cavity filled; not my favorite thing ever but not too terrifying either). And December is booking up quickly, what with social events and cultural events and a trip to Hawaii for a wedding the week after Christmas. So I want to settle in to something that feels like a normal life, but it's difficult to contemplate given the state of national events.

I had really been looking forward to the 2016 election being over. Turns out it will never really be over, but I still feel the need to draw a line under the election, accept that its happened, and move on to the work of fighting the president elect and his cronies. Reportedly, on a call with Democratic party volunteers a week or so ago, President Obama informed them that they had until Thanksgiving to mourn, and then he expected everyone to get back to work. Seems reasonable to me. So despite the specter of recounts and audits and the (extremely slim) possibility that Electoral College will pull something unexpected, I want to make some effort to get back to some semblance of normal. Not complacency, not ignoring what's going on, but finding the balance of paying attention to what's happening, and pushing back where necessary, without letting it consume my whole life. In the words of wise Tumblr poster:

We’re in this for the long haul. It’s a marathon not a sprint. It’s also a relay race not a singles event.


We need to pace ourselves and work together. And if you're ever in a place where you need to hand me the baton, just let me know.
owlmoose: (Obamoose '08)
President Obama gave one of his final press conferences today. The transcript is an interesting read, and this version has some annotations from Washington Post reporters. I'd call his tone guarded but hopeful, particularly in terms of the future prospects of the Democratic Party:

I believe that we have better ideas. But I also believe that good ideas don't matter if people don't hear them.... We have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grassroots level, something that's been a running thread in my career....

And the challenge for a national party is how do you dig in there and create those kinds of structures so that people have a sense of what it is that you stand for. And that increasingly is difficult to do just through a national press strategy. It's increasingly difficult to do because of the splintering of the press. And so I think the discussions that have been taking place about, how do you build more grassroots organizing, how do you build state parties and local parties and school board elections you're paying attention to, state rep races and city council races, that all, I think, will contribute to stronger outcomes in the future. And I'm optimistic that will happen.

For Democrats who are feeling completely discouraged, I've been trying to remind them, everybody remembers my Boston speech in 2004. They may not remember me showing up here in 2005 when John Kerry had lost a close election, Tom Daschle, the leader of the Senate, had been beaten in an upset. Ken Salazar and I were the only two Democrats that won nationally. Republicans controlled the Senate and the House, and two years later, Democrats were winning back Congress, and four years later I was President of the United States.

Things change pretty rapidly. But they don't change inevitably. They change because you work for it. Nobody said Democracy's supposed to be easy. It's hard. And in a big country like this, it probably should be hard.


Considering that Obama has already said that he plans for his main political cause post-presidency to be getting Democrats elected locally and fair redistricting for the House of Representatives, I think he's going to put his money -- and his time -- where his mouth is on this one. And I hope to support this effort every step of the way.

Although I haven't read it yet, he did an extensive exit interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin in September's Vanity Fair, and apparently in that interview he suggested that once he's out of office, the gloves are coming off. I think we've gotten a bit of a preview in the last couple of years, and I can hardly wait for the rest. (Except for the part where I really, really don't want him to leave. Especially not now. *clings like a limpet*)
owlmoose: (Default)
I spent far too much time today posting to Facebook about the election. (I actually made a post apologizing to my friends for getting all up in everyone's notifications to yell about the Voting Rights Act.) But I also came across a few gems, which I would like to share here. Hopefully soon I will have brainspace to think about other things, but not yet.



That's all for tonight. I shared a number of these on Twitter, which seems to be my main home for linkspamming these days. If people are interested, I'll try to do the occasional round-up, but for the latest-greatest, follow me over there at [twitter.com profile] iamkj
owlmoose: (don't boo)
But probably still a little scattered, since I didn't get much sleep last night.

1. I wasn't expecting this because nobody was expecting this. Reportedly, even the GOP's internal polling showed Donald Trump heading for defeat. And yet, here we are. Between this massive miss and Brexit, I hope polling organizations put some work and thought into figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it. Or, if polling is broken past the point of fixing, come up with something to replace it.

2. I do not want to see a single TV segment, article, thinkpiece, Facebook post, or Tweet discussing the issue of low turnout (and it was VERY low for a presidential election, not much over 50%) that does not mention the Voting Rights Act. Voter suppression wasn't the only factor, of course. I don't want to oversimplify the situation. But 2016 was the first presidential election since the Supreme Court effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act, and the 2016 president-elect is a white nationalist. This is not a coincidence.

3. Relatedly, we white people have got to step up and own the truth that Trump is our problem. There is no way to shirk the blame anymore. I'm sure you've all seen the maps going around: how women voted, how Millennials voted, etc. But those maps are lacking some important context: no matter how you slice and dice the demographic data -- by age, by gender, by education, by income -- in every category, more white people voted for Trump, and more people of color voted for Clinton. (The only exception I could find was white college educated women, who just barely went for Clinton. That's a pretty narrow demographic.) None of us get to shirk responsibility on this one. We need to do a better job of educating our friends, our families. I know it's hard. I know it sometimes hurts, especially when it means confronting people we love. But it is long past time for us to step up. Although I'm still figuring out what this means in my own life, considering that I live in a pretty liberal, anti-racist bubble even among the white folks I know, including most of my family, I am committed to finding some way to do more.

4. In some respects, I'm not entirely sure where to go from here. I suspect a lot of people are feeling this way. It should not have taken the election of the worst presidential candidate in American history to be a wakeup call -- that's another mistake we need to own. But, again, here we are, and my preference is always to focus on what comes next. I hope the Democrats can manage to pull together and present a united front rather than lining up for the usual circular firing squad. Unfortunately, I've already seen a number of attempts to point fingers around inside the left. I'm not saying that it isn't useful to figure out what mistakes, if any, might have been made (see above re. polling). But if we are to fight for the future, and we MUST fight for the future, we need to do it together.

Stay safe, everyone. Mourn, heal, and get ready. Hillary Clinton may have lost the presidency, but I still believe we are Stronger Together. May that be her legacy, and may that be how we move forward.

Well, fuck

Nov. 8th, 2016 11:41 pm
owlmoose: (quote - flamethrower)
I'm too deeply in shock to say much of anything yet. Maybe I'll be ready tomorrow.

Be kind to yourself for as long as you need. Then when it's time, we get up and keep fighting. The voices of hate and fear may have won today, but I'm never going to stop shouting back.

In the bank

Nov. 7th, 2016 12:10 am
owlmoose: (Default)
Although calling people I don't know on the phone is, like, number five on the all-time list of things I most hate to do, I bit the bullet and spent some time today phone banking for Hillary Clinton, with a few friends. The process was largely automated -- I didn't dial the calls myself, but entered my phone number in the system and the system then called me, and continuously connected me to voters -- and I had a script. It was still a little intimidating, especially at first, but once I got into the swing of things it was okay. It helped that we were mostly calling likely supporters, such as registered Democrats and people who have a history of voting Democratic in the past. I was actively calling for a little less than two hours, and I probably spoke to about twenty people, not counting hangups and disconnections. (Since California is beyond safe at this point, we called voters in Ohio. They're probably pretty sick of us by now, so I can't 100% say I blame anyone!)

Not everyone was supportive -- I got a couple of outright Trump supporters and one obvious Hillary hater, and a few undecideds who weren't willing to talk about their concerns. There were also a few people who said they were uncomfortable discussing their voting choices, which I more than understand. But I reached enough people who were enthusiastic about casting their vote for Clinton to make up for it. Like the 90-year-old lady who proclaimed she would never vote for Trump, "not for a million dollars." And the man who reached excitedly for the phone when I told the woman who answered that I was with the Clinton campaign, and informed me that his whole family were Hillary supporters. "God bless Hillary Clinton," he said. "She's going to be the next president of the United States." "I surely hope you're right," I said, and couldn't help smiling. There was also the boy sharing a table with us in the call center. He couldn't have been more than twelve, and he was brilliant: following every detail of the script, talking with such conviction about his support for Clinton and sharing his enthusiasm with every supporter he reached. His mom sat next to him, beaming with pride, and we all beamed back at her. That kid, and every kid like him, is hope for the future.

I know these two hours I put in isn't much, compared to the many, many hours and days of volunteering that some of my friends have undertaken. But I'm glad I did participate today. It was good to get down there, spend some time with fellow Clinton supporters, and get an inside glimpse at just how well-oiled a machine this campaign is.

Just two more days to go. I can hardly believe it. I can hardly wait.
owlmoose: (B5 - londo oh dear)
It was... something. I'm very glad I watched with friends, both IRL and online, with Twitter almost continuously open. It was really validating to know that other people were WTFing at the exact same things as me.

Obviously I haven't been talking much about this presidential campaign. In a way, there's both too much and not enough to say. Right now it feels like there isn't much left to do besides continuously reload 538 and pray.
owlmoose: (stonehenge)
You've probably noticed that I've written very little about this presidential primary season -- my last and so far only post on the subject was in November. That doesn't mean I don't have thoughts, of course. I've shared plenty on Twitter (by far my most active social media presence these days), and sometimes Tumblr posts as well, and it's all but taken over my Facebook feed (although I took a break from posting election-related content myself from about March through Clinton mathematically clinching the nomination). But my journal hasn't really seemed like the venue to share them. Until now.

Because there's no way I'm letting a milestone like this go by without marking it down for posterity. On Thursday night, July 28th, 2016, I had friends over to watch Hillary Clinton become the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major political party, giving her a very real shot to become the first female President of the United States of America. We cheered and we cried and we broke out a bottle of champagne. As I watched her speak, I thought about the generations of women who worked and fought and died for this moment. I watched women and men basking in the glory of a victory they may have never expected to see. I looked at the faces of girls in the audience, rapt with attention and brimming with possibility. I took it all in, and I relished it. Sure, it's not exactly a surprise -- this has been the anticipated outcome of the 2016 Democratic primary since at least 2008 -- and yet there's a part of me that couldn't believe it was happening, that still can't quite believe it's real.

I've always hoped to see a woman become president in my lifetime, but for many years I assumed that the first female president would be a Republican. My reasoning? It seemed more likely to me that a moderate Republican woman (think Elizabeth Dole, or Christine Todd Whitman) could attract support from moderate Democratic women than the other way around, and that such support would be necessary to offset the people who simply couldn't vote for any woman as president. Also, any viable female presidential candidate would need to project a tough image: in particular, be a strong supporter of the military. And until not so long ago, those were policy positions associated with the Republican Party. So I thought it made sense that a centrist Republican would be more likely to break through this particular glass ceiling.

And the truth is, I would have raised a glass to that theoretical Republican, too. Chances are I wouldn't have voted for her, but I still would've cheered her accomplishment. The fact of a woman, any woman, being poised to take the highest office in the land is a blow against sexism. A small one, to be sure, if the woman in question campaigned on a regressive platform. But a blow nonetheless. And whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, her policies, and the trajectory of her political career*, you cannot argue that she hasn't made promoting equal rights for women and girls a priority throughout her life.

This isn't the end of the battle, of course. Electing a female president wouldn't end sexism any more than Barack Obama's election ended racism. We need more women and people of color -- especially women of color -- at all levels of government, from local positions to the White House and beyond, before we can truly say that we've won anything. (I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her vision of an all-female Supreme Court.) But just as Obama's candidacy was an important step along that path, so is Clinton's, and I hope we can hold this progress going forward.

*Which is not something I intend to argue about here. I'm happy to have substantive debate about Clinton as a politician and a candidate on another day, but that's not the point of this post. This is a moment to celebrate, for me and millions of others, and I intend to make the most of it.
owlmoose: (think)
As I'm sure anyone who's known me for even a little while knows, I'm a liberal. I embrace this term whole-heartedly, unlike a certain political party that's been running from the word for as long as I can remember. Despite this, I have always been and intend to remain a registered Democrat. The Democratic Party has been a part of my identity as long as I've been aware of politics (and that's about as long as I can remember -- my parents are both political, both Democrats, and have always talked discussed the issues through that lens). I have my issues with the party, to be sure, but they do a pretty good job of putting issues I care about at the center of their platform, and I want to support that.

Still, I am pretty far to the left of the party on most of the substantial issues, especially economic issues, so you would think that I would be a lock as a Bernie Sanders supporter. But I'm not -- in fact, I'm still very much on the fence regarding whether I will vote for him or Hillary Clinton in the California primary. Fortunately, this is several months away (March 2016), so I have plenty of time to decide. Somewhat ranty aside. ) As I consider my options, I offer this advice to all the Sanders supporters I know: as you spread the word about your candidate and how much you love him, consider your target audience.

It seems to me that the strategy of Sanders supporters so far has been to reach out to disaffected voters: younger people who have never voted, independents, and others who feel like no one in politics is standing up for them. I am all in favor of this type of outreach! I think it's really important, and something that the Democratic establishment has not done very well in the past. But it won't be enough. If you want your man to win the Democratic nomination, and especially the general election, you are going to need the support of people who are engaged with the party establishment, and to win over not only undecided voters, but some percentage of people who currently support Hillary Clinton.

Here are some ways not to try and win me over:

  1. Painting Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party as evil conservative forces that must be destroyed. This is a bad strategy for several reasons, first because you are going to alienate those of us who identify with the party and/or Clinton as a candidate. Second, putting these kind of wedges between the left and center-left is bad for the general election, when we need to come together behind whoever wins the nomination. I can't believe that anyone who supports Sanders would rather see any of the GOP candidates in the White House than Hillary Clinton. Finally, it's just not true. Like most Democrats, Hillary is center-left, and she's actually more liberal than Sanders on a few issues (gun control, abortion, civil rights in some areas). If you look at her actual positions and record, she and Sanders are really not that far apart.

  2. Confusing Hillary with her husband. Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton. She has her own viewpoints and way of doing things, and showed her own style of leadership as Secretary of State. And she is NOT responsible for anything he did while he was in office. (Even if she publicly supported his initiatives at the time -- could the First Lady have realistically done anything else?) This is a terribly sexist thing to do, because it suggests that she doesn't have ideas of her own and/or that he's really going to be in control if she's elected. So just don't do it.

  3. Just -- anything that comes off as sexist, okay? We had enough misogyny in the 2008 campaign. There's no reason to sink to it.

  4. Anything that's not focused on the issues, really. I said up above that Hillary and Bernie aren't that far apart, but they're far enough apart that there is a meaningful conversation to be had about their differences. They have different priorities, and different ideas about the details of how they would tackle the problems this country is facing. If that were the conversation, I'd be dreading the all-out primary season a whole lot less.


  5. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this in the coming months (and months and months and months), but I'll leave it here for now. I look forward to an actual productive debate on this topic. Let's hope that's even vaguely possible.

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