Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Where do we go from here? (05:41PM)

I'm having Random Thoughts(tm) about all of this activity.

We're doing a lot of protesting and shouting and anyone whose eyes have left foxnews for thirty seconds in the last three weeks can't help but know that there's an outraged and vocal section of the populace on the move.

I'm wondering what we'll see when the shouting stops.

What the end-game, people? What concrete results are we fighting for?

It's not enough to want X, Y, and Z out of office. At this point, there's no guarantee that their replacements will be any better. Or that we won't be right back in this position in a very few years.

It's unquestionable that the Republican Party is in full monkey-mode. They see no protesters and hear no voices and, if someone gets in their face about it, they claim it's all paid harassment by Soros (a longtime demon for the Right).

With their majority in Congress and their firm determination to implement their racist, misogynistic agenda, regardless of what the voters want, it's clearly useless for us to look for the checks & balances of our system to rein in 45 & his puppetmaster, Bannon.


Say we impeach 45, whether the Republican Senate likes it or not. That leaves us with Pence, which is not what I'd call a major change for the better.

Granted, we won't have to worry about Bannon--Pence can do all the damage he wants to do, without any help. And, believe me, he wants to do some damage. He's not as unstable as 45, so he's not going to be as easy to whip up protest against. but he's dangerous to those who care about civil liberties. And Pence isn't likely to roll back any of 45's changes. He's not going to put the KKK back on the Hate Group list or make any major public demonstration of repudiating white supremacists or reinstate the committee that has oversight of keeping voting machines unhacked or anything like that.

I don't think he's dumb enough to get himself impeached, though, which leaves us two years of maintaining watchfulness before we get a chance to change the Senate majority through the vote.

Assuming, you know, we're able to do that. Gerrymandering, you know. "Safe" districts that allow Colorado's Senator Gardner and others like him to ignore voter protests.

I say, that's where we start. By taking control of the redrawing of Congressional Districts for our states*, and by passing laws that require nonpartisan committees doing the work, in place of politicians. This move is good for everyone, Right or Left, except the politicians, so it shouldn't be too much of a battle to sell it to the voters of the 50 states. The more competitive your district, the more attention your elected official(s) have to pay to your opinion if they want to get reelected. Open competition produces responsible politicians.

After that, we need to restore the Voting Rights Act, together with all of the protections is provides for all of the voters of this country. No more mass purges to rid the voter's roll of unwanted names, no more "out of order" signs in poorer neighborhoods, etc. And no more electronic voting machines. I say we all go back to paper ballots--mail-in ballots with a one or two-week window of opportunity to get your ballot postmarked.

When everyone who can vote and wants to vote is able to vote, with confidence that their elected official will be responsive to their ongoing concerns, then I think elections will reflect a much more honest view of our population.

I was going to go on and talk about the Electoral College but we all know that song and I'm tired of listening to myself talk for one day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

* Squares or rectangles, as much as possible. No more of these free-form, snake-like wriggles to carve a "district" out of a block here and half a block there.

:: Comments left behind ::

Sunday, February 5, 2017

It's always "us" vs "them" (10:36AM)

A lot of rambling thoughts.

Just today, I was directed to read an interesting WaPo post from Jan 24, after the Women's March but well before this stream of continued protests.

Schumer's dilemma: Satisfying the base while protecting his minority

The article started several trains of thought for me.

First, Dems clearly believe we can't reelect them if they help us fight this battle. That's worrying. We need to have our agenda be theirs and vice-versa. When Schumer (and others) are splitting their focus between listening to us and protecting themselves, they can't be as effective as they could be.

This "us" & "them" divide is the result of treating politics as a business--of having some concern for your "shareholders" but being equally or more concerned for your own jobs/paychecks and the future of your "company." As distasteful as I find this corporate approach to politics, I suppose it's inevitable in this country in this time. And, to be clear, I don't blame the politicians for this. With such a large percentage of the population almost totally disengaged from the governance of this country, it's hard to see how else politicians could treat the situation.*

We-the-people can't change this, but we can certainly make use of it. We can be majority shareholders, entitled to a large say in strategy and willing to throw our weight (votes) behind the management that supports our position.

And let them know it. Schumer needs to know we are and will be behind the reelection efforts of everyone who works with us in this struggle.

Or, you know, we could each take up the responsibilities of citizenship, along with the benefits, and pay some damned attention once in a while.

Ahem. Sorry.

Second, and aside from that reciprocal relationship, what occurred to me very strongly as I read this article was that a large part of the gap between the voters and our elected officials was we-the-people's perception of how the Federal government should work, as opposed to how it works in reality.

If #45's Administration so far has done nothing else positive in the last 2-1/2 weeks, they've certainly taught me (and others, I presume) how fragile is the system of checks and balances our Republic rests upon. The system relies largely on people of "good will" respecting it and working within its boundaries. Having installed a President who respects nothing but himself (and ratings), we're seeing cracks start to show.**

Politics is not a game. It's a shitty job, but someone has to do it. We're best off when we find and support people of "good will" to fill political offices. When we stay connected with these people and engaged on the issues, even during the peaceful times when there are no mass injustices to protest.

The Republican party leaders seems to be functioning on a level of "power for us at any price." They spent decades nurturing this tsunami of hate and bigotry, for no other reason than to get themselves into power. This is dangerous and damaging to the country.

And, you know, stupid for them. The more they courted the neo-Nazis and White Supremacists to swell their voter base, the further Right their candidates had to move, until they had not one, but two candidates pushed into the White House after having lost the "popular" vote. And the more, I don't doubt, the Party leadership itself shifted to represent these dangerous interests, until now it actually is the party of racism, intolerance, bigotry, and everything else we are supposed to be standing against.

The Republican strategy wasn't covert or hidden. We've all watched them pushing this agenda for decades.

And most of us did nothing.

Some of "us", like myself, didn't really believe there was enough fuel for this "fringe" group to become a serious political/social threat. The haters will always be with us, it's human nature and something we have to live with. Some of us were happier and more comfortable just knowing that we and our friends weren't among that number.

Third, I have to reluctantly admit that Republicans could not have coaxed this fire into existence if there hadn't been fuel for it already. The racism, misogyny, fear, and frustration that kicked #45 into office were already in our society.

As I've been digging through 20th C US social history in the last couple of months, it's been made clear to me that much of what I was taught in school was not only incomplete, it was deliberately misleading. We have never been the country that I thought we were. Massacres, atrocities, individual acts of hate and bigotry abound in the history of our last fifty years. There is and always has been an underground river of sewage tainting our so-called liberty.

In the article, Schumer mentions that he did an informal, 4-hour poll among the women in the Washington March on Jan 21. Twenty percent of the women he talked to had not voted in the recent election. Another ten percent voted, but not for Hillary. Some had voted for Trump but others had chosen other candidates.

I'm most concerned about the 20%. How do you make people care--make them understand that voting is important? Make them keep caring the day, the month, the year after the March?

Gerrymandering is responsible for a lot of voter apathy, of course. When your district is "safe" for one Party or the other, people from both sides of the aisle don't see the point in voting. Gerrymandering is not in the voter's interests. It makes politicians in those districts less responsive to our concerns.

Plus which, political parties can use prison populations to help themselves to unearned votes. Check out a description of the problem here:

In many rural county and city governments, substantial portions of individual districts consist of incarcerated people, not actual residents. In a number of places, we've found elected officials who owe a majority of their clout to prison populations.

One of those places is the small city of Anamosa Iowa, which became a national symbol of prison-based gerrymandering when the incumbent retired, no one ran for office and Danny R. Young was elected with two write-in votes.

Admittedly, this publication is 4+ years old and some places have redrawn the lines to eliminate the problem in their locations, but not all affected areas have. This can give rural or non-metro locations larger "populations" than the actual voter base should represent, adding Congressional districts and giving disproportionate weight to those voters.

This 2016 article from an LSAT prep website shows the problem has not been eliminated.

...prison-based gerrymandering has the effect of enhancing the voting power of the rural, mostly white communities where prisons are located at the expense of the urban, mostly black and brown communities where the majority of prisoners come from.

This is how a presidential candidate can win the White House without winning the majority of the actual votes.

A very thoughtful discussion of the subject, from 2015, can be found in this Alex Mayyasi Priceonomics article.

Gerrymandering happens at the state level. Paying attention to state and local politics is every bit as important as national politics. Maybe more so.

And, in closing, as I glance through the voting patterns of the last election, it seems pretty clear to me that black women are the most sensible demographic in the country. We should be electing a lot more of them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

* This isn't a perfect analogy, but it can work as a framework for how to think of your relationship to the government, if you can't take a citizen's full responsibility of being part of the government through your actions and inactions.

** It's not just elected officials, you know. Every Federal employee swears an oath to the Constitution--to uphold it and to protect it, from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Dissenters aren't protesting against #45's actions because they're liberals. They're pushing back on what they see as unConstitutional actions.

:: Comments left behind ::

Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March on (fill in your location) (12:36PM)

Yes, I marched.

And, yes, I intended to stay active, but that's not why I gathered y'all here today.

What struck me hardest on Saturday was that we weren't having "a" march. We were having about a dozen marches, with all of the participants lumped together in one huge crowd in each city.

In Denver, we had anti-Trump marchers, Equal Pay marchers, Stay-Outta-My-Womb marchers, anti-Sexual Predator marchers, anti-White-Women-Trump-Voter marchers, anti-Russian marchers, feminist marchers, pro-LGBTQ+ marchers, environmentalist marchers, and a bunch of other groups I can't at this moment remember, including one subset of marchers who just pleaded for a general return to sanity. Overall, a very inclusive group. No one squabbled and we all shared each other's chants fairly equally.

It probably lacked the sheer energy of 100,000 people gathered for a single purpose, but those people showed up, waited patiently as we dealt with crowds three or four times larger than expected, then moved out and marched in their turn. They were committed.

Not everyone shared the same experience.

A group of Indigenous women in DC were treated with appalling insensitivity by some of the women around them. (Was this a failing of "feminism" to be educational and inclusive or just normal human stupidity on display?)

I've read that some of the WOC (Women of Color) were insulted by the pink hats since not all women have pink vulvas.

Seriously. Neon pink was not chosen because it's the color of white women's genitalia, it isn't, but because of the whole blue=boy, pink=girl thing.*

Some women were insulted by the pussy hats since not all women have vulvas.

Pussy hats were not chosen because the march was only inclusive of people with a certain configuration of genitalia. They were a response to the Chump's offensive, demeaning "grab 'em by the pussy" comment.

The intent was not racist or sexist or genitalist (if there is such a word).

The objections bothered me, though. I was--disturbed to realize that a number of groups took the hat idea (and the coloring) as a personal slight--as excluding them from the moment.

Was there a better symbol for a Women's March at that moment in time?

I honestly can't think of one.

Was there a better color to denote "women"?

Not in this society, no.

And yet, a significant subsection of the marcher population were offended by the symbolism, offering interpretations that would never have occurred to me, any more than it would have occurred to me to have objected to the neon pink because my own, personal woman-bits don't actually glow in the dark.

I am--discouraged.


* I think it was a good choice. This way, the Chump's staff can't steal any of the images and reuse them to his advantage, the way they did the Obama inauguration photo. Those seas of hot pink hats are unmistakeable.

:: Comments left behind ::

I saw hats in a variety of colors: nobody was enforcing pink.
But the other complaint is a little more interesting, I think, because I did see signage that really did equate genitalia to femininity and legitimacy (as well as signage that explicitly included trans women).
We didn't have a march at all, but a rally, though the post-rally exodus did kind of turn into marching at a few points.

:: Jonathan Dresner January 23, 2017 09:05 PM

Yes. Lots of different marches, all lumped together.

The more I thought about it all, the more it bothered me. There are too many groups of women who feel marginalized within the overall "women's movement" (if such a thing actually exists).

I agree that in some cases, these groups were actually treated very poorly by some of the other women. (Cultural insensitivity does seem to be a hallmark of US society.) What I don't understand is if there's anything I can do about it, as a white woman, other than draw attention to the occasions.

It occurs to me, somewhat belatedly, that I should have included links to specific examples.

:: Anne January 24, 2017 10:30 AM

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Some interpretations (11:20AM)

First, WaPo has pulled down their paywall through Saturday and I encourage everyone to read this sampling of responses from people invited to tell us why they voted for Trump.

Summary: Because he's more Godly than the Clintons, because of Clinton-fatigue, because the MSM (and the Democratic leadership) took it for granted that Clinton would win, because they really believed MSM stories that implied Hillary Clinton had done something criminal at some point, because they think he cares about farmers, because they think he wants to keep everyone--gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, etc.--safe and happy, and (a recurring theme) because a lot of people mistakenly think this is a country founded on capitalism and that we need a CEO, not a President.

My favorite was the guy who thinks the Supreme Court is an "unelected oligarchy rewriting the Constitution." Gotta love people who have strong opinions on subjects they are clearly unqualified to discuss.

On the same theme, Leon Weiseltier encourages us to Stay angry. As he says (I've said it before, and I'll say it again--told you so), the country is now reaping the harvest of hate that the Republican Party has spent decades cultivating. An interesting read.

:: Comments left behind ::

Thursday, November 17, 2016

On and on I go (11:48AM)

The whole previous post was inspired by this article I read. Specifically, this part:

The undeserving included racial minorities on welfare but it also included lazy urban professionals like me working desk jobs and producing nothing more than ideas.

This comes up more than once in the article. People who work with their brains instead of their hands are "lazy." Which is saying that work of the "body" is of value and work of the "brain" is not.

Having been raised by big believers in the whole Protestant Work Ethic kind of thing, I can empathize with where they are coming from. My parents believed in education, but as an active thing. You walked to school, physically wrote notes, walked home, physically did homework, etc. When you were done with those "activities" then you got up and did something physical, like chores.

Nothing was more likely to get you into trouble than sitting and thinking about something. Or more likely to get you labeled as "lazy."

So I get it. I do. I don't agree. with them, but I get where they're coming from.

However, the interviewees' bias shows in that they have one view of "the good life" and how you're supposed to achieve it, and they are absolutely prejudiced against people who have a different view or who choose a different path. The fact that this seems to be a much larger segment of the country pisses them off.

The world around them has moved. Instead of moving with it, they're planting their feet and screaming, "but it worked for my great-grandfather!

The level of ignorance (not stupidity) of the complexity of modern life on display by the people quoted in the article is a bit frightening, but no one wants to read a digression on that topic. My point is that these particular Trump voters are ignorant and biased, but their bias isn't just a racial thing. It's a social/class sort of thing. They feel they're a minority and they feel disrespected.

A lot of people should be able to empathize with that.

Also, attacking groups seen as "other" when you feel your social identity is, itself, under attack is normal human behavior.

It's not our most attractive characteristic.


If the people conducting polls think they are ignorant, racist sexists, why would they be obligated to answer pollsters’ questions truthfully?

So they lied to the pollsters and placed ignorant votes for a racist, sexist candidate, what? Out of spite?

I'm being unfair, I know, and this is important. What they really seem to have been envisioning was Trump bringing Mayberry back again. Or maybe Big Valley. Simpler places and times where the sweat of a man's brow proved his worth.

Time does not go backward, people. You cannot erase it's effects and any attempt to do so is sure to produce ten times the chaos.

Your perception that you're not getting "your share" in some way is just that. Your perception. That doesn't make it true.

Also? This is Real Life. Real Life is often unfair. If you want things to be more fair, you have to do more than make a protest vote once every four years.


Also, I'm wondering how this ill-prepared, unqualified, conflicted, and half-panicked new president who is rapidly accumulating an absurdist staff of lunatics is going to look to them in a year's time?

It still mystifies me that so many people didn't see what I saw so clearly--that Trump's candidacy was trump de l'oeil.

He wanted the attention and publicity of running. He didn't want or expect to win, and he certainly wasn't prepared for it. His entire strategy for the last month or so has been about laying the groundwork for a massive, years-long, headline-grabbing sulk about how cheated he was.


Seriously, am I just constitutionally incapable of having one thought, following it through to a natural conclusion, and then just shutting up?

It's starting to seem unlikely.

:: Comments left behind ::

The fact that "time does not go backward" is what gives me the most hope nowadays. Too many genies are out of their bottles. The arc of history bending toward justice and all that. That said, it's sure going to be a rough four years...

:: Elayne Riggs November 21, 2016 01:52 PM

Sadly, while time doesn't go backwards, progress is not a smooth arrow upward, either. More of a jagged arc.

I very much fear we're in for a jagged four years.

:: Anne November 22, 2016 09:39 AM

I'm back on Cartesian Dualism (11:05AM)

I disagree with a href="" target="new">the closing paragraph of this description of Cartesian Dualism.

This concept is difficult to accept for those with a secular humanist, materialist, and evolutionist worldview because accepting it is accepting supernaturalism. Consequently, Bible believers accept dualism and people with the opposite worldview find themselves obligated to reject it.

I'm not a Bible believer and have never thought of the concept in religious terms. Nor do I find thinking of my "mind" as an actual thing, separate from my body, a particularly superstitious act.*

Superstition: a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.

I'd say trying to assert that the human mind is completely divorced from "reason" or "knowledge" is absurd. Our minds--thoughts--patently exist. We have knowledge that they exist--the whole cogito ergo sum thing.

The question of a related/associated "soul" of some kind is what's superstition, and the existence of our brains in no way implies that a "soul" exists, but I think there's no question but that "thought" is a real thing. A thought can implement and experience change. It can act upon or be acted upon. That's pretty real.


* I don't think anyone who has ever tried to lose weight or quit smoking would deny that they have a mind and it's not always on the side of what's best for their body.

:: Comments left behind ::

Friday, October 14, 2016

Just appalled (10:15AM)

Trump's crazy supporters are "unfazed" by reports of his sexually assaulting multiple women.

At the same time, they "take umbrage" at reports that Hillary Clinton swears a lot. (And, unsurprisingly, since they don't seem that smart, continue to believe she's some kind of master criminal, in spite of the evidence to the contrary.)

Meanwhile, the infamous Chris Christie tries to persuade voters that anyone is a better presidential choice than a woman.

The level of sexism on display in this campaign is shocking and appalling.


i'm almost sorry I gave up regular politiblogging in favor of having a life. :) I could have had a field day over the last year.

:: Comments left behind ::

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

See? (08:26AM)

Remember what I said about Trump's candidacy being a joke, and that he really did not ever intend to be a major contender for the Oval Office? (here)

Apparently, Michael Moore agrees with me.

And, from what he says, so does Trump.

:: Comments left behind ::

I wish Moore had some evidence to offer. Sarah Kendzior's argument that he's positioning himself for a Fox-style media recreation afterwards seems more plausible at the moment than mere buffoonery.

:: Jonathan Dresner August 17, 2016 10:53 AM

I actually don't think what's driving Trump is "mere buffoonery."

I think that he had no idea he might get this far with his campaign--having undertaken it purely for publicity purposes--and that the publicity has electrified his already-inflated self-esteem. He's lapping up the attention, seeing his name on billboards, yard signs, and all the major news sites. Everyone talks about him--every hour of every day. For a man with his ego, that's got to be intoxicating.

Does he secretly want to be President? I can easily imagine that any common sense he might have is at war with his ego over the subject.

In fact, from the little I've actually paid attention to news reports of him over the last couple of decades, I've always had him pegged as a typical con artist. Always bombastic, huckstering, whitewashing, and moving between projects so quickly that the dust hasn't settled from the last one before he's loudly describing the wonders of his latest scheme.

Have you ever seen, in old Westerns, when the "medicine man" comes to town, with a wagon full of magic "cure-alls" to peddle to the public? He makes his sales, then leaves town fast (usually without paying his outstanding bills), to avoid fall-out from disappointed customers.

That's Trump, in a nutshell. IMO

:: Anne August 17, 2016 01:07 PM

That's not the point.

:: nba 2k17 mt August 27, 2016 12:13 AM

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I told you so (10:40AM)

The G.O.P. Created Donald Trump

Of course they did. I bin sayin' it for years--someday, the Republicans were going to reap the crop of anti-intellectualism (see this The Stupid Party column, which also says things I've been saying for a long time) and hatred they've been sowing for the last half-century. *

This Cohen column seems to accurately describe the condition of the world today, and goes a long way toward explaining what we're seeing.

As a casual student of history, I've read accounts of various kinds of mass hysteria that have gripped various cultures over the years. Sometimes these waves have been political, sometimes not.

(Although, I think the "end of truth" really started when FOX News successfully defended their position that, as a news outlet, they were not legally obligated to print the truth. But, of course, I've said that before. Often.)

Trump has been a political joke for decades, it being generally accepted that his frequent attempts to run for public office were rooted in his ego, a desire to see himself as the center of the world. No one's laughing now, are they? Especially not the party that built his platform.

Bear in mind that if the "hanging chad" debacle taught us nothing else, it reminded us that every vote counts. Mark your ballots clearly in November, people.

(And, if you're one of the unfortunates whose voting precinct uses electronic balloting, vote by mail instead, if you have the option. If you don't, it's not too late to stand up and demand safeguards and accountability for the electronic voting process.)

Never forget that today Trump is saying that Obama is the founder of ISIS and that Hillary Clinton helped. A couple of days ago he suggested that 2nd Amendment supporters might decide to take Hillary Clinton's candidacy into their own hands. This is more stupidity than even the Stupid Right should be able to swallow.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

* I've long thought--and I'm pretty sure I've said this before--that ever since the time of the "Industrial Revolution", the human race has been splitting into two major groups. Those who can cope with "progress" and those who can't.

There are a lot of Can't-ing voices (<--see what I did there? heehee) on the Trump bandwagon. (A similar group was responsible for the U.K.'s bewildering Brexit vote.) People who think they can somehow put the genie back in the bottle.

Reality doesn't work that way. The world has changed. Short of a major natural or man-made global disaster, it's not going back.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear delusional Trump supporters:

No, your kids aren't going to get the highly paid manufacturing jobs you had back in the day. Get over it.

Instead of trying to bring back the '50s, why don't you stand up at a local school board meeting and demand that your kids be given an education that fits them for more than running a forklift or packing auto parts into cardboard boxes for shipping?

Your kids could be engineers. Scientists. Astronauts. Airline pilots. Software designers. Pro ball players (included for those who like that sort of thing) or movie stars. Concert pianists. Surgeons. Archeologists.

Parents are supposed to want better for their kids than what they had.

Embrace the future. It will be here tomorrow.


:: Comments left behind ::

:: heh ::

:: Constantine August 11, 2016 01:01 PM

Write more.

:: Charlie August 12, 2016 05:11 AM

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Well? (01:36PM)

Am I the only one who looks at Trippy Trump's behavior and realizes that he's desperately trying not to get elected?

It's possible that no one's more surprised and alarmed than he is to find himself where he stands today.

He's been "running" for the nomination for years and people have always understood that he was just a very bad joke wrapped in a giant ego. This year, for whatever reason, the media loved him and covered his every move, granting him a legitimacy that nothing in his so-called platform or history deserved. So, you know, maybe no so much with him having self-awareness.

Part of me is smirking--having lived through the meltdown and re-emergence of the Democratic Party, I'm not sorry that the Repubs are getting their turn in the stocks. (The Dems moved toward the middle when they reconstituted themselves. Here's hoping the Repubs do the same.)

But mostly, since politics and politicians have become so much more crazy in the last fifteen or twenty years, I'm fighting the urge to send apology notes to everyone else in the world, promising them we're not as crazy as we look at the moment and that we will, eventually, get our shit back together.


P.S. Our system works people. But it only works if we all vote.

:: Comments left behind ::

There's been a lot of discussion on twitter about whether Trump was really a Clinton supporter, or trying to get out from under his Trump U lawsuits, really. The 'trying to lose' thing sounds like a great movie, but I have the same reaction to that that I have to the "ulterior motive" theories: I don't think he has the character or stamina for a Long Con. He's shown us too much of himself for too long, and as Maya Angelou said, "When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

:: Jonathan Dresner June 8, 2016 08:34 AM

I don't think he was trying to pull a Long Con. I think he was as surprised as anyone when he started getting traction this time out.

And now, I think he's just hanging on, desperately, saying whatever comes to mind (as he always has), and riding his ego.

He's tapped into that vein of frustration felt by a lot of people in this country who don't understand "what went wrong" and who want a magic bullet solution. These are the people who are willing to believe that all our problems are caused by Someone Else and who think that shoving all the Someone Elses out the door and locking it after them will somehow, magically produce a different reality.

That's long been my annoyance with the modern Right, you know. Their determination to believe that reality is what they want it to be, instead of what it is. It started with Reagan and has been a feature of the Republican Party's platforms ever since.

:: Anne June 8, 2016 10:39 AM

You are very much not the only person who's been thinking this. I've suspected it for some time. He's the epitome of the internet troll, why wouldn't he be trolling the country?

:: Elayne Riggs June 8, 2016 07:24 PM

Monday, March 28, 2016

Children learn what their parents teach them. (03:38PM)


(Found here.)

:: Comments left behind ::

Hooray! Anne's yearly post! Some of us still thrill at seeing you...

:: Elayne ariggs April 3, 2016 07:57 PM


Lovely to hear from you!

:: Anne April 4, 2016 08:56 AM

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sorry, no comments (10:39AM)

Comment spam is overrunning the blog and I've had to shut comments off. My apologies.

Obviously, I'm far overdue for upgrading this blog to new software that isn't so inviting to spammers. I don't post that often and may not bother--but if I decide to start a new blog on a less spam-ridden platform, I'll post a note here. (Assuming I wind up needing to change my domain or something.)

:: Comments left behind ::

Thursday, November 7, 2013

So, I'm thinking with half my brain (10:06AM)

If you lean back and squint just right, recent developments in society worldwide almost seem to form a pattern.

It's like--the human race is splitting into two different species. Homo mos maiorum is linear, cautious, and has their mind fixed on what they might find for dinner. Much as our species (and others) have been throughout the millennia. They seem--not so much unwilling as unable to grasp change in their environment. (I'm not talking about painting the living room blue--I'm talking social events and cultural shifts.)

Large-scale changes in their environment freak them out disproportionately. They have their place in the world and are only comfortable when that place and the other places that help to define theirs, remain constant. They know their role, they know what's expected of them, and they have a fundamental understanding of how to get to their goals. They resent being made to think about these things--and are certainly not prepared to rethink them every couple of years--or every few months. More then resenting it, they seem to lack the perceptual framework that allows them to accept change without undue cognitive dissonance.

This could be set off against, for want of a better phrase, Homo ad astra who not only accept change but welcome it--finds it invigorating and exciting and is always willing to try to adapt and look for new possibilities. When society undergoes a sea-change around them, they find it interesting, not threatening. These are the people who agitate for change when they think they perceive a change that could be for the better.

(Admittedly, they don't always think that deeply. They have the insatiable curiosity of the elephant's child and are generally willing to try something and discard it five minutes later if it doesn't turn out to be an improvement.)

It's not an age thing. I'm elderly (okay, maybe not, but I just had a birthday and I have wrinkles in my neck!), let's say, "not young any more," and I'm certainly not adverse to change. I know people ten or fifteen years younger than I am who are still freaking out about not living in the world their grandparents knew.

Is it a class split? I know people who come from families of comparative wealth who are Homo mos maiorum not because they are worried about finding dinner but because abundance in their youth sheltered them from the necessity of learning to adapt or, indeed, spared them any sense of what it might mean to struggle.* They're simply not prepared for change because they were raised with the kind of day-after-day stability that wealth can provide.

I don't think wealth is a factor, though. At the other end of the social spectrum are the Have-nothings who cling just as tightly to "how things are" for fear that any change will cause them to lose what little security (whether it's social, mental, or economic) they already have.** More than that, they think they understand their place in the world and (whether or not they like that place) can't deal with the idea of that "place" changing.

It's not education. I know people with and without higher education, I've known people who struggled and failed to get through the basic K-12 education the US offers, and all of these groups contain both Homo mos maiorum and Homo ad astra types.

Is it a personality split? Maybe those who are "people-people" are much less comfortable with change--maybe because their "people skills" are founded on their perception of a class/social role structure that is, these days, always in flux? But, no. Because not all of my people-person acquaintances are that way. Some of them adopt change with enthusiasm--treating it as a new way to connect with other people.

It's not a leader-follower thing. I'm not a leader, not by any stretch of the imagination. I'm also not a follower. (That is, I don't follow if someone isn't leading somewhere I want to be.) But I'm--adaptable, when it comes to social/environmental change. So, it's not that Homo ad astra are leaders and Homo mos maiorum are followers. The leader/not leader quality is independent of the two types. We all know that, across society, there are "leaders" who are trying to "lead" people backwards to some idealized version of yesterday. Or at least to "lead" people into freezing the world today until they've all had a chance to get comfortable with it all.***

Meanwhile, today's Homo ad astra are impatiently shaking off tradition and custom, rolling their eyes at the limitations of the past, and trying on new possibilities with the enthusiasm of a kid in a costume store.

Is the divide--the chasm between these two long-standing populations really getting deeper or is the pace of change in contemporary society becoming so fast that these differences are simply highlighted more than ever before?

I have no answers. I'm just avoiding productive work at the moment. And I probably should have read back through this more thoroughly before making it public, but I console myself with the realization that one one reads entries on a long-dormant blog.


* Some of these scions of wealthy families cannot use email. They are not comfortable with technology and are essentially computer-illiterate.

**Maybe it's perceptual. My perception, I mean. Because you couldn't have much less than these Ethiopian children and their families (and here), but something brand-new and unexplored came to them as a fascinating game, not a thing to fear. In fact, they were fearless.

*** My mind keeps floating to the image of the people who settled the planet's frontiers. There's a section of US society these days who like to compare themselves to those "pioneers" and who, in some cases, use pioneer life & society as the measure of how we should be living today.^ (Indoor plumbing aside, one presumes.) This amuses me--because it's inevitably Homo mos maiorum holding the pioneers up as role models for society--but any thought at all will tell you that those pioneers had to be Homo ad astra.

^ (Seriously? Is that what it takes? 200-300 years, and then Homo mos maiorum is ready to accept that where Homo ad astra went was a good place to be?)

:: Comments left behind ::

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Listen To the Generals (04:04PM)

Generals: Get real and cut Pentagon spending

Too often, the Pentagon spending debate is ensnared in the outmoded ideology of past wars and driven by legions of lobbyists for parochial interests in the military-industrial complex.

America's power is more than a massive force structure and numbers of ships, tanks and planes. A national security strategy must be based on current and future threats, not past war doctrines.

In 2008, a National Intelligence Estimate declared the economic crisis, not terrorism, as the greatest threat to national security. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullin, along with other senior military leaders, endorsed that assessment.

The bottom line? An ever-increase stockpile of nukes or yet another super-expensive jet fighter are not what we need and not what the military wants.

:: Comments left behind ::

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Reform What Ain't Broken (09:47AM)

My current topic of rant is "reform" math which, no matter what I read about it, convinces me that we're currently raising the worst-educated generation of kids in US history.

See this CBS article or even, this American Thinker" article for info. (The political 'tude in the second one is absurd, of course. There is no 'Progressive' or radical left-wing plot to keep kids from learning.) I can't think highly of any system of teaching math that doesn't teach a kid what 10 - 7 =.

Maybe it's rote to memorize multiplication tables, but it's not terminally boring, and no one ever died of having to learn long division.

Also, calculators in second grade? I guess a child is never too young to learn they don't need to use their own brain for anything, are they?*

Okay--I won't go on. I'll just say that I'm glad I'm childless and don't have to worry about any offspring of mine being educated into stupidity.

Ever since I heard about this "reform math, I've been thinking about The Feeling of Power, a thought-provoking short story by Isaac Asimov (found a link here) that suggests we're not smart enough to use math wisely anyhow.

:: Comments left behind ::

the problem with education is the fear of segregation by intellect, the segregation would leave a disproportionate number of minnorities in the slower clases and though that would be the case it has to be done in the interest of all, all the recent 30 year studies have clearly shown that blacks are 20 iq points behind caucasians, latinos are some 10 iq points behind, accept fact for fact and move on in life, the forced depreciation of education of those more capable because of the asquied notion that somehow we have to make every one equal to another when in reality what is doing is commiting crimes against those that are being cheated out on their right to a quality of education

:: chris October 19, 2012 07:36 PM

On the contrary, recent studies have not (necessarily) shown that non-Caucasians are 'naturally' more intelligent. Reputable studies have shown that there are biases built in to IQ tests--and those biases penalize nonwhite individuals.

Moving past that fallacy, I agree that, in the US, there is a pronounced anti-intellectual bias; a tendency to assume that, since intelligence can't be legislated into a democratic average for all, that superior intellect is suspect and probably dangerous. This bias has been introduced into our society by the Right, who have demonstrated a significant pattern, in the last 30 years, of screaming about the danger of electing people smarter than ourselves to political office. (To be fair, the current crop of Republicans didn't invent anti-intellectualism, but they've certainly institutionalized it.)

:: Anne October 20, 2012 08:41 AM

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