Friday, March 31, 2017

Susan B. letters found

Susan B. Anthony 1820-1906

In 1869 women were still trying to get the right to vote.  Slaves had been emancipated four years earlier with the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. A 14th Amendment in 1866 clarified the rights of citizenship.

Women had been divided earlier on whether to focus on abolishing slavery or on women's suffrage.  Many believed that change comes sooner if you work on only one issue at a time.

The issue of 1869 was whether to support a proposed 15th Amendment to the US Constitution giving black men the right to vote.  

Lucy Stone said yes.  

Susan B. Anthony said no--unless women of all races were specifically included in the rights of citizenship.

In 2016 a box of old letters dated 1869 to 1880 was found, and now it has been acquired by the University of Rochester, New York, where Susan B. Anthony lived.

Thank you to Jennifer Schuessler of the New York Times for this report on the letters documenting a crucial period of the movement for women's voting rights.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/arts/womens-suffrage-collection-susan-b-anthony.html?_r=0

For so long the question has been which should come first: black men? Or women of all races?

Many saw the election of Barak Obama and the defeat of Hillary Clinton as proof that progress for women is harder to achieve than progress for black men.

Times have changed in some ways since 1869--but in too many ways, changes have been small.

Women's History Month ends today--but women's history continues with new discoveries and old battles.



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Soap Opera in DC


And now for today's episode of the D.C. soap opera, "Your Government in Action!"

I'm totally addicted...  Can't start the day without it.

That's what I tweeted this morning while watching the hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was amazing.  

I was shocked to hear Clinton Watts connect Russia's disinformation campaign directly to dt.  Russia's goal was to discredit our election and our democracy; dt made that goal easy to achieve by claiming that the election would be rigged, that Barack Obama was foreign born, that noncitizens were voting, etc.

Watts also said that Russian attempts to influence our election are related to assassinations of high-ranking Russians.
"Follow the trail of dead Russians," he said.
"There have been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation," he added. "They are dropping dead, even in Western countries."http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-follow-the-money-and-the-trail-of-dead-1490889366-htmlstory.html

It was a soap opera before Michael Flynn--former NSA director, former lieutenant general in the US Army, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency--announced that he would be willing to testify before Congress in return for immunity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/michael-flynn-congress-immunity-russia.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/31/politics/eric-swalwell-michael-flynn-immunity-testimony-don-lemon-cnntv/

It was an episode of The Godfather before the New York Times identified two White House officials as the ones who invited Rep. Devin Nunes to the White House to help defend the president's claim of surveillance against him and his team.

Several current American officials identified the White House officials as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer who works on national security issues at the White House Counsel’s Office and was previously counsel to Mr. Nunes’s committee. Though neither has been accused of breaking any laws, they do appear to have sought to use intelligence to advance the political goals of the Trump administration.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/devin-nunes-intelligence-reports.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

All this drama was before VP Mike Pence cast two tie-breaking votes to allow states to withhold funds from Planned Parenthood.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-planned-parenthood-20170330-story.html

All this on just Day 70 of the dt presidency.  

Good News for Women--for a change


Women's ice hockey at the national level just got some respect, reports Christine Brennan in USA Today sports.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/christinebrennan/2017/03/29/womens-hockey-team-usa/99769990/

After a 13-day strike and some tough negotiation, the women's hockey team got a good contract from USA Hockey

The result of this unprecedented show of solidarity was an equally unprecedented four-year deal with compensation of about $70,000 per player per year, a stunning jump from the equivalent of the pathetic $1,500 per year the players were getting. Throw in the new performance bonuses USA Hockey agreed to pay the players and their income could rise to six figures annually if they win the Olympic gold medal or world championship.
The women’s team also will receive the same level of travel arrangements and insurance coverage as the men’s team, for the first time ever, and there will be maternity support. There also are provisions to advance women’s and girls’ hockey at the youth levels, a cause that was very important to the national team players.

Thanks to my friend Diane for letting me know about this (Christine is her cousin).




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Blessed are the peacemakers..."

Painting of the Last Supper by John August Swanson
http://www.johnaugustswanson.com/

Two UN peacemakers gave their lives about two weeks ago in efforts to persuade militants in eastern Congo to end a relatively new armed rebellion.

The bodies of Michael Sharp, a Mennonite Christian from Kansas, and Zaida Catalan of Sweden were found yesterday in shallow graves.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/world/africa/missing-un-experts-congo.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fafrica&action=click&contentCollection=africa&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=sectionfront

As we approach Good Friday and Easter, let us remember these two innocents who lived and died like Jesus.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God," said Jesus (Matt. 5:9).

The report is written by Somini Sengupta, who covers the UN for the NYT.  She describes Michael in action:

I remember him from a reporting trip to a village called Kigogo on a Monday in June 2014. He had been in the Democratic Republic of Congo for two years, and he was trying to persuade militia members to put down their guns. He accompanied me into a hut to meet the commander of the notorious Rwandan militia known as the F.D.L.R., blamed for the Rwandan genocide. I suspect the only reason the commander tolerated my questions was that he trusted Mr. Sharp.

A tribute to him from Rachel Sweet, another UN researcher:

“Michael told me one time: ‘Rebels go to church. You build a relationship with them there.’”  Mr. Sharp, 34, had been in Congo for five years, with an enviable network of rebel commanders and local leaders, most of whom he had met in church. 

A tribute to Zaida by her friend Professor Brian Palmer of Uppsala University:

“She was not at all shy to talk about difficult questions,” he said. “She had come to see the people that she was trying to help as her equals and her friends and had very much loyalty to them.”






Woman asking "Why?"

Photo by Ivor Prickett for the New York Times

This photo shows an Iraqi woman in Mosul, open mouthed with stretched out arms, clearly asking "Why?"

Her son died as the result of an American bombing of homes in West Mosul.

Thank you to Ivor Prickett for traveling to Mosul to document the bombing and fighting there, and thank you to the New York Times for placing the photo front and center, occupying almost half of the top half of today's front page. 

"U.S. Concedes It Played a Role in Iraqi [civilian] Deaths" reports an accompanying article by Michael R. Gordon.  

"The United Nations has said that at least 61 people were killed in the March 17 strike in Mosul. Amnesty International said as many as 150 might have died," reports Gordon.

Today's photo evokes that classic photo at the Kent State demonstrations against the Vietnam War--Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling with outstretched arms and open mouth.


Pulitzer-Prize winning photo by John Filo in 1970
The UN and others are raising questions about the methods and types of bombing done in US and coalition strikes:  ..."Iraqi and coalition operations “failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/world/middleeast/un-iraq-airstrikes.html?mabReward=CTM2&recp=1&moduleDetail=recommendations-1&action=click&contentCollection=Africa&region=Footer&module=WhatsNext&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&src=recg&pgtype=article
Once again: 

  • a war primarily organized by men in the US government and carried out by men.
  • death of peaceful civilians just trying to live their lives
  • a woman calling attention to the human loss and asking why

Once again:  War does not determine who is right — only who is left. 








Hillary Rises Again

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary is back in public with a smile and encouragement for all of us as we endure the clownish dt presidency.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/politics/article/Hillary-Clinton-in-California-for-first-11033496.php

"Resist, insist, persist, enlist,"  she said, speaking to the Professional Businesswomen of California in San Francisco. "You just have to keep going."

Thank you to Ellen Knickmeyer of the Associated Press for this report.

I wish I had been there to hear her and cheer her.

She won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes.  She should be our president.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Joy for Kidnapped Girls

Photo by Brenna Daldorph

What joy to hear that some of the Boko Haram kidnapped girls now find themselves in very happy circumstances.

Thank you to PRI's The World with Marco Werman, to reporter Brenna Daldorph, and to KCRW, the public radio station that broadcast this report in Los Angeles today at 89.9 FM.

https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-03-28/some-chibok-girls-are-getting-education-and-new-future

The world has mourned and prayed for the 276 girls kidnapped from their school in the Chibok village of northern Nigeria in April 2014, and for some of the girls those prayers have led to educational opportunities that anyone would envy.

They are now studying at the American University of Nigeria in Yola, Nigeria, with full scholarships.

Margee Ensign, president of the school, decided to offer these girls a refuge and an education. Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Reg Braggs was assigned to build a program for them because as high school students, they needed training before entering the mainstream of AUN. 
... Braggs was creating a whole new world for the girls — a specialized program called the New Foundation School. They were all housed on one floor of a residence hall. They received new clothes, computers and laptops so that they would be on the same footing with other students. Braggs set up activities for them. He found university students to become their mentors. The girls began coming out of their shells.
Then, there were the academics. The school the girls had attended in Chibok actually wasn’t very good. Glory says the teachers often didn’t show up and the students, left to their own devices, would just sit in class, sewing and braiding each other’s hair.
“We didn’t know how to read or how to concentrate on our books,” Glory says. “We never actually did our assignments.”
At the American University of Nigeria, school is serious business. Even activities like talent shows and debate nights are meant to help the girls cultivate public speaking and critical thinking skills. For Braggs, this is what an American-style education is.
Now the girls have hope for a future in which they can change their world.

Instead of Western education being forbidden, which is the meaning of the words Boko Haram, these girls are drinking deeply from wells of knowledge that flow from east and west, north and south.

Other resources for educating those kidnapped girls who have been rescued:

David Oyewolo Leadership Scholarship for Girls:
http://www.geanco.org/scholarship-for-victims-of-terrorism.htm

Monday, March 27, 2017

Gorsuch = Hobby Lobby

Fifty shades of grey melting into black

Resist the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as our next justice of the Supreme Court.

I heard his explanation of why he voted in favor of the owners of Hobby Lobby--and against any female employee who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and needs health insurance.

I wish I could picket the hearings of the Senate Confirmation Committee with this sign--Hobby Lobby.

Pro-corporation.

Letter of the law vs. compassion, just as in the "frozen trucker" case.

Never let the Senators forget:  Neil Gorsuch = Hobby Lobby.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Rest in Peace: Miroslava Breach

"Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach spent her final days documenting murders," begins the story in the LA Times, March 25, p. A3.

On Thursday she too was murdered, reports Kate Linthicum.

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-journalist-murders-20170323-story.html

Miroslava had worked for La Jornada, a large national newspaper in Mexico, for 15 years.

She was the third journalist assassinated in Mexico in March.

Mexican authorities admit that she was "likely" killed for her work as a journalist.

Other difficult facts:


  • One of her three children was with her in the car in the early morning as she pulled out of her garage.
  • "Mexico is the third deadliest country for journalists in the world, with 120 murders in the last 25 years."
  • Only Iraq and the Philippines have had more journalists killed in that time.
  • There were 4,254 murder victims in Mexico in January and February of this year.


New Hymnal for Women

Altar for Women-Church, Claremont CA, March 26
Are you tired of singing hymns that are all about the Father, He, and Him?

Is your God bigger than that?

The Reverend Elizabeth A. Moore has published a hymnal without all that male gender language.

God Is Still Speaking, We Are Still Singing: New Hymns with Familiar Tunes is the title.

And not to worry, those of you who are not comfortable addressing God as Mother, She, and Her.  The lyrics written by Elizabeth are for you, too, and she uses the tunes of the familiar hymns used in many churches.

Instead of gendered language, her hymns include words like Creator, You, Your, the One, Woman Spirit, God the I AM, Quilter God, Head Gardener, Word of Life, God the Searcher, God of Love, etc.

The Reverend Elizabeth A. Moore leading worship
From left to right: Peg Linnehan, Elizabeth, ________,  Wendy Baer

To avoid overuse of Son and male pronouns for Jesus, she uses Christ, child (vs. son in Christmas carols), God-with-us (the translation of Emmanuel), and God's Own.

You can order the hymnal for $12 by email at lizmopp@gmail.com or by US mail:
The Reverend Elizabeth A. Moore
Pilgrim Place
Claremont CA 91711

"There is no copyright," she says.  "Use the hymns, adapt them, write your own!"

Elizabeth breaking the bread
Elizabeth led our monthly Women-Church worship service today using these songs from the 99 included in her hymnal:

  • "Come Search with Me" #25
  • "Like Martha" #18
  • "Woman Did They Scorn You?" #24
  • "When My Prayer Flies Unheard" #25
  • "I'm Like the Woman Jesus Healed" #17
  • "The Bent Woman Stands Straight" #19
  • "Mary Brought the Costly Oil" #34
  • "In Praise to God" #94


My favorite is "Like Martha," which uses the tune of "The Church's One Foundation").  It begins:

Like Martha, I'm distracted;
I fail to take the time
To listen, learn from Jesus,
To make Your promise mine.
Beyond her sense of duty,
Where serving might suffice, 
She was a true disciple;
She named him as the Christ.

In her lyrics titled "Mary Brought the Costly Oil," Elizabeth pairs Mary of Bethany and Jesus as the two named foot-washers of the Bible (in addition to the anonymous women in Luke 7:36-50, Matthew 26:6-13, and Mark 14:3-9).  She also pairs the two times Jesus spoke the word "remember"--once at the Last Supper after foot-washing and once in predicting that the anonymous foot-washing woman will be remembered:

Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her. - Matthew 26:13

I felt uplifted by Elizabeth's lyrics identifying the women foot-washers with Jesus both in their act of love and in the remembering of that act--just as Jesus washed feet and said "Remember me" on the last evening of his life.

Another woman who writes new, nonsexist lyrics to old familiar hymns is The Reverend Jann Aldredge-Clanton.  She offers two hymnals with new lyrics to old hymns: Earth Transformed with Music! and Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice, as well as one with both new and old tunes, Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians.

See her website at http://www.jannaldredgeclanton.com/.  

Another resource is the website of Evangelical & Ecumenical Women's Caucus - Christian Feminism Today: https://eewc.com/ .

Language that avoids making God into a male (or Christians into men and brothers)  is called inclusive language.  See Nancy Hardesty's article on this subject:
https://eewc.com/inclusive-language-is-important/

See also Nancy's book and another by Carolyn Bohler:

Inclusive Language in the Church by Nancy A. Hardesty.  Atlanta: John Knox Press,  1987.
 
God the What?  What Our Metaphors for God Reveal about Our Beliefs in God by Carolyn Bohler. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2008.  See also an online profile of Carolyn Bohler and her work on metaphors for God and a review of God the What? 



Maureen Dowd keeps calm and carries on

Thanks, Maureen, for fighting the good fight against our incompetent president.

I enjoyed your letter to 45 in today's New York Times.

For anyone who missed it, here's a link:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/25/opinion/sunday/donald-this-i-will-tell-you.html

Here are a few of her quips:

Instead, you dragged that motley skeleton crew into the White House and let them create a feuding, leaking, belligerent, conspiratorial, sycophantic atmosphere. Instead of a smooth, classy operator like James Baker, you have a Manichaean anarchist in Steve Bannon.
You knew the Republicans were full of hot air. They haven’t had to pass anything in a long time, and they have no aptitude for governing. To paraphrase an old Barney Frank line, asking the Republicans to govern is like asking Frank to judge the Miss America contest — “If your heart’s not in it, you don’t do a very good job.”
...It took W. years to smash everything. You’re way ahead of schedule.

The Indivisibles


Hooray for everyone who stopped the GOP "repeal and replace" bill from passing in the House of Representatives this past week.

First I heard that the town hall meetings had played the biggest role in stopping AHCA.

Then I heard that many of those meetings were organized by those in a new, grassroots organization called Indivisible.  (See my blog post on March 24).

Today there's a front page story in the LA Times titled "Meet Indivisible, the young progressives leading the resistance to President Trump."
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-indivisible-protests-20170325-story.html

Of course, the movement started online--with a public Google document, followed by a twitter storm, fueled in part by celebrities such as George Takei of the television series Star Trek.

Here's the website for Indivisible:
https://www.indivisibleguide.com/

Its core document is “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,”

I pledge allegiance to the USA, one nation indivisible...

LAT goes on record against Gorsuch

Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii

Thank you to the LA Times for its editorial today arguing that Neil Gorsuch should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

I agree completely.  

After refusing to allow Merrick Garland even to be questioned in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it's immoral for the GOP to roll ahead with Neil Gorsuch's nomination as if the situation is normal.

It's not.  Actually, it's a SNAFU --Situation Normal All Fucked Up.

Gorsuch is a textualist, as the LA Times points out.  I learned that by listening to him defend his "frozen truck driver" ruling and his Hobby Lobby ruling.

In both those cases, Gorsuch ruled against the little person and in favor of a large corporation.

Corporation?  Or truck driver fired for saving his life by abandoning his load for 30 minutes?

Corporation?  Or pregnant employee of Hobby Lobby who needs health insurance that includes abortion?

The answer is clear.

Another question that the LA Times did not ask:  

Do we want a SCOTUS nominee by a respected president who has served 7 years and still has one year to go?

Or a nominee by a lying president on the 12th day of his presidency, who is under investigation by the FBI, the House Intelligence Committee, and soon by the Senate Intelligence Committee?  
If he's out of office in his first year, he still would have swung the balance on the Supreme Court.  If he becomes, like Nixon, a despised criminal, how can his Supreme Court pick still be regarded as legitimate?

I call on other newspapers to speak out against Gorsuch and raise these issues.

Thank you to Senators Al Franken, Dianne Feinstein, and Mazie Hirono for exposing Gorsuch's flaws during televised hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee.






Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Jokes and Re-hash

There are so many good jokes making the rounds of Twitter and other internet watering holes after this past week of each-day-crazier than the last in the nation's capital.

Here's an amazing behind-the-scenes glimpse of Thursday afternoon from Politico:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/obamacare-vote-paul-ryan-health-care-ahca-replacement-failure-trump-214947

...members of the House Freedom Caucus were peppering the president with wonkish concerns about the American Health Care Act—the language that would leave Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” in place, the community rating provision that limited what insurers could charge certain patients, and whether the next two steps of Speaker Paul Ryan’s master plan were even feasible—when Trump decided to cut them off.
"Forget about the little shit," Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room. "Let's focus on the big picture here."

To "the little people," whom dt claimed to champion, "the little shit" matters.

Like how much insurers can charge, whether maternity leave stays in place, and whether people addicted to opiods can get treatment.

Another great scene is dt's bullying of Rep, Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus.  It backfired, not changing his vote.

Then Politico gives us an almost-in-the-tunnel scene between the author, Tim Alberta, and Mark Walker, chair of the Republican Study Committee, an hour before news broke of cancelling the vote.  

A former minister, Walker is by nature relaxed and genteel, but his face was burning red and his voice trembled as we discussed the bill's defeat.
“I’m very bothered. I'm disappointed,” he said, measuring his words.
It must have been quite a day in Washington because I felt the tension three thousand miles away on the West coast.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Vote Cancelled on GOP Bill

Congratulations, Americans!  You can keep your health care insurance.

Time to start betting on how many days the presidency of 45 will last.

Move on to 46.

The Republicans can't pass a bill--even with control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.

"Repeal and replace..." All those chants during the GOP rallies last year.

Yeah, right.

"Why would you schedule a vote on a bill that is at 17% approval?" asked Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker, earlier today.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/health-care-vote-the-latest-news/

Many are crediting the town hall meetings with congressmen and women and other grass roots efforts with stopping the proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/03/24/left-out-of-ahca-fight-democrats-let-their-grass-roots-lead-and-win/?utm_term=.dfc620085331

See this list of 50 major organizations opposing the GOP plan, along with statements from each group--presented by Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee.

https://cooper.house.gov/groups-opposing-republican-health-plan

Latina and Muslim

Thank you to Cindy Carcamo of the Los Angeles Times for her report on Latinas who are also Muslims, headlined "You never feel at home in either place."

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-muslim-latinas-20170324-story.html

It's not easy to be a member of a minority group--it's much harder to be a woman and a member of two minority groups, one by religion, one by ethnicity.

Babble--before a vote?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

1:30 pm in Washington, D.C.  

10:30 am in California.  

I'm listening to Sean Spicer babble in response to questions from the media.

2 pm in Washington.  I'm listening to news commentators fill space while waiting for the vote that dt insists has to be today or never.  They're saying it will happen at 3:30 pm.

MSNBC says that Paul Ryan's rushed trip to the White House at 1:45 pm is a sign that "repeal and replace" is not happening.  Word is that Ryan was "frank" with dt.

3:30 pm in Washington.  No vote.  Closed door meeting of all Republicans.  MSNBC said today is "the most consequential day in Trump's presidency."  Count is 34 House Republicans saying they will vote NO on ACHA.  

3:35 Bill is pulled.  Vote will not be today.  Even dt does not want to embarrass all those GOP folks in the House.

I loved Nancy Pelosi's comment yesterday that dt is "a rookie" who doesn't know that first you line up the support, then you schedule the vote.  Not vice versa.

Here's a full quote from Vox:

Plan A was to hold a vote on the AHCA for March 23, a date that was picked well before Republicans had rounded up the necessary votes or even finalized the bill’s text. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today characterized this as a “rookie mistake” on Trump’s part, though as she also said, the calendar appears to have been driven by symbolism. The original Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was passed on March 23, 2010, after more than a year of agonizing debate, and Republicans liked the idea of passing repeal on its seventh anniversary.

http://www.vox.com/2017/3/23/15039404/ahca-updates

The Democrats worked on the details of the Affordable Care Act for more than a year.  President Obama participated in the writing of it.  Back in the '90s Hilary and Bill Clinton began serious work on trying to get a health care bill.

But now the Republicans throw something together in a few weeks, Trump okays it, and both houses of Congress are supposed to vote on it--today. 

"Or else" says dt.  

What a joke.

Trucker vs. Frozen-Hearted Gorsuch

Alphonse Maddin - AP Photo by Mike Householder

What a nice guy Neil Gorsuch seems to be as he grins and says "Gosh golly" in answer to questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But the lawyer for Alphonse Maddin aka "the frozen trucker" is speaking out on how heartless Gorsuch is.

When Maddin was fired for abandoning his trailer for 30 minutes to avoid freezing to death, and sued his employer for wrongful termination, Gorsuch sided with the employer.

Maddin was never employed again as a driver.

I first heard about this case on Tuesday while listening to Democratic senators question Gorsuch.

It turns out that the shortened version of the story pales in comparison to the actual details of the life-and-death situation as described by Maddin's lawyer.  Listen to it in this link from Robert Fetter's interview yesterday with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/3/24/attorney_for_frozen_trucker_neil_gorsuch

Maddin had curled up to sleep in his cab in 20-degrees-below weather.  He was wakened by a phone call from his cousin.  He was incoherent in the phone call.  

His feet were so frozen he could not feel them.  He realized he had to drive to the nearest gas station to save his life.

On Tuesday I listened to Gorsuch explain his ruling against the trucker.  It was all about the technicalities of the order by the dispatcher: "Don't drive away."  He did drive away with only the cab of his truck because the brakes on his trailer (of frozen meat) were frozen.  He went for help.  He returned 30 minutes later after hearing that the repair vehicle--delayed over three hours--had finally arrived at the truck.  

I don't want a Supreme Court justice who hews so closely to the letter of the law that he agrees with this man being fired.  I don't want a justice who in this case, Hobby Lobby, and many others has sided with the business owner, not the employee.

Here's Maddin commenting this week on what it's like to be part of public hearings on the Supreme Court nominee:

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/22/gorsuch-trucker/99519750/

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/mar/23/neil-gorsuch-supreme-court-frozen-trucker-alphonse-maddin




Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Peaceful Day...

I woke up this morning with a sense of peace, for the first time in months.

I knew nothing terrible was going to happen.

dt has passed the high point on his ride around the wheel of fortune, and he's on the way down.

Monday: The FBI is investigating his campaign for possible collusion with Russians.  Good!  

Tuesday:  His nomination of Gorsuch to a seat on the Supreme Court is in jeopardy because 45 himself is in jeopardy.  Even if the nomination got out of the Judiciary Committee, even if he were approved in the House, still Senate Democrats will filibuster for a month or two--and in that amount of time, dt's presidency may become so discredited that everyone will recognize he doesn't deserve to have his nominee approved.

Wednesday:  An independent investigation of dt campaign collusion with Russian spies is all but guaranteed after the televised spectacle of Rep. Devin Nunes putting the House Intelligence Committee on hold to run off and brief 45 on upcoming bad news.

Thursday--today:  Word is that Republicans don't have enough votes to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.  In fact, by late afternoon the vote had been postponed "until Friday."  Whether Republicans can agree on some kind of replacement plan by tomorrow evening is doubtful.  

As a result, today was a peaceful day.  Don't worry, be happy.

Vanity Fair summed up the general mood of the nation with this article, "The Trump-Russia Scandal Is Beginning to Snowball" in its March 23 issue.  Thank you, Abigail Tracy.

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/donald-trump-russia-investigation

I worked on my memoir for the first time since January 31.  (When the government is in chaos, I can't write.)


Japanese relocation: 75 years old today.

This sunny day--March 23, 2017--in southern California is probably much like March 23, 1942.

On that day Japanese Americans from Los Angeles, Seattle, Sacramento, and elsewhere in the US were first rounded up for removal to America's own concentration camps.

Thank you to The Writer's Almanac and Andy Liberman for making me aware of this sad fact.

Unfortunately, Muslim Americans are now under pressure from our government.

Today marks the first day in 1942 when the U.S. government began moving Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to internment camps. Between 110,000 and 120,000 people were forcibly relocated.
Some Japanese-American men were drafted into the War even as their families remained incarcerated. The camps remained open until 1945.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Don't Bother Me!

Congressmen want your input--until they don't.

The staff of Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho got tired of the group of liberal seniors who routinely came by their congressman's office--probably to fight for their health care.

So staff member Scott  Carleton reported the group to the US Capitol Police.

The group, Lewis-Clarkston Valley Indivisible, is affiliated with national Indivisible.us, which encourages town hall meetings with members of Congress.

The message? "Just vote for us--don't ask us to listen to you once we're in office."

Thank you to my friend Brenda for this tip from the DailyKos.com.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/03/21/1645789/-GOP-congressman-s-staff-filed-police-complaint-against-group-of-senior-citizens-over-weekly-visits?detail=email&link_id=3&can_id=1b88fd8cd3cbce55c958ccf189c1da43&source=email-the-real-bombshell-of-the-house-intelligence-trump-russia-hearing-happened-in-the-hallway&email_referrer=the-real-bombshell-of-the-house-intelligence-trump-russia-hearing-happened-in-the-hallway&email_subject=the-real-bombshell-of-the-house-intelligence-trump-russia-hearing-happened-in-the-hallway



WSJ: "Falsehoods... fake President"

We're passengers on a bus without a driver.

If the Wall Street Journal calls out your lies and calls you a "fake President," you know your credibility is low.

That is, unless you are dt, in which case this editorial does not penetrate the layers of unreality you have built around yourself.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-presidents-credibility-1490138920?mod=wsj_review_&_outlook

This statement made by a conservative newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch confirms the realization I came to on Tuesday evening: we have no president.

We are passengers on a bus that has no driver.  No capable person has hands on the steering wheel, a foot on the gas but ready to move to the brakes.

No driver is watching signals, stop lights, and other traffic.

That's scary because if something serious happens in the world that requires US attention, no one is there to analyze, make a judgment, and organize an appropriate reaction--as the WSJ notes in the first sentence of this editorial.

Another scary factor is that a crazy person such as dt or Steve Bannon could grab the wheel or clomp on the brakes or make a sharp turn at any point.

Every day has held an unprecedented event for about a year now, but here's another: the WSJ comparing 45 to a drunk.

The editorial says that although FBI director James Comey exposed dt's wiretap tweet as a lie, " the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims... that perhaps the Obama administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence."

It's not a political rival making this comparison.  It's the conservative, usually, Wall Street Journal.  Anything can happen these days.





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Now he's not anybody's president

Nice guy but not SCOTUS material

Yesterday I felt trapped by the unrolling drama in Washington, D.C., in the House Intelligence Committee.  

I couldn't turn it off, but I couldn't believe my ears.

Today I turned on MSNBC and became equally engrossed in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as senators quizzed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

I felt favorably disposed toward Gorsuch as the day began.  Yeah, he's conservative, but he's from Colorado (cue: Rocky Mountains, blue skies between thunderstorms, mining towns, farming  & ranching, ski runs, wildlife).  He's handsome in an old-guy way.  He seems like a nice person.  He's the best nominee we're likely to see during the dt presidency, so he's a shoo-in.

But then he opened his mouth.  He explained why he made a ruling against truck driver Alphonse Maddin, who was fired from  TransAm after briefly abandoning his truck on a sub-zero winter night.  

Gorsuch said that the driver's only options were to stay with the truck (and possibly freeze to death) or drive the truck with stuck brakes.  Instead the driver unhitched the cab and drove it in search of help, returning in 15 minutes.  Gorsuch agreed with TransAm; Maddin remained fired and never got trucking work again.

https://thinkprogress.org/watch-al-frankens-shut-down-gorsuch-s-cruel-decision-in-the-frozen-trucker-case-601ffbc39118#.rdi83xtrv

Next Sen. Orrin Hatch invited Gorsuch to explain why he wrote a concurring opinion in the Hobby Lobby case.  Gorsuch explained that HL is owned by a family that plays Christian music in the stores, keeps stores closed on Sunday, etc.  If they wanted to avoid any link to abortion funding for their employees, they had that right because a "person" has religious rights and in this case the HL corporation was a "person... like other religious institutions."  

Once again, Gorsuch stretched to interpret the letter of the law, not its spirit.  I decided that I am against him being confirmed, even if he is the most reasonable candidate Republicans can find.  He focuses on technicalities and ignores the spirit and meaning of the law.

 https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4662465/senator-hatch-questions-gorsuch-hobby-lobby-rfra&start=514

Meanwhile, I tweeted.  By reading other tweets, I learned that, however great a judge Gorsuch may be, many Democrats resent his being interviewed for the job:

1) after being nominated by a president who may have been elected while his campaign team worked together with Russians

2) after being nominated by a president under investigation by the FBI for this possible collusion with Russians,

3) after being nominated by a president who promised long and loud to nominate someone who would oppose abortion rights and do his best to overturn Roe v. Wade, and

4) after Republicans refused to allow President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, to come before any committee or the full House or Senate for questioning and a possible vote on his nomination--for 293 days, more than twice as long as any previous person nominated to the Supreme Court.

I did some errands.  I went to see my therapist.  I listened to some analysis of the last two days of hearings.

By 10 pm I realized that the US no longer has any president at all.  There's no one with a hand on the helm of this ship.  

It's crazy to allow this illegally elected president to tip the Supreme Court to the right.  

Republicans held up Merrick Garland for 293 days, and now they want Democrats to listen and vote on their unstable president's nominee.  Forget it.  

You only have a nominee if a legally elected, sane president makes the nomination.

We have a circus going on this week--FBI, NSA, DOJ, an attempt to push through an unjust new medical plan.  Rushing through a SCOTUS decision on top of all this is crazy.

Wait until dt's election is validated, his lies stop, and his mind becomes clearer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Turning Point: FBI v. the Prez

J. Edgar Hoover, FBI chief 1924-1972

What an astonishing day.

I turned on the television at 7:30 am and landed in the middle of FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers speaking out against the 45th president.

First Comey confirmed that neither the FBI nor the DOJ can find any evidence behind dt's claim that President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower before the Nov. 8, 2016, election.

Then Comey revealed that there is an on-going investigation of whether persons on the Trump team colluded with Russia's efforts to influence and harm the election.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/20/watch-comey-testimony-house-russia-hearing.html

I'm a child of the 1950s.  In that world, J. Edgar Hoover was right next to God.  He was unquestionable, the Director of the FBI.  

He ruled from 1924 to 1972.  Everyone lived in fear of him, kids included.

Thus to hear FBI director Comey tell the world that the Trump campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with Russia is, for me, earth-shaking.

NBC called this event  an extraordinary public hearing.

I regard Comey as quite fallible--he probably cost Hillary Clinton the election.  

But still--the FBI director calling out dt's lies?  

Now I have no doubt that 45 will not last four years.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How to make a right wing nut

Yet another article featuring little Stephen Miller: "What College Teaches Conservatives" is the front-page story on today's NYT Sunday Review.  

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/opinion/sunday/how-liberal-colleges-breed-conservative-firebrands.html?_r=0

Yes, it's interesting how these young conservatives turn into hard-boiled eggs while simmering in their liberal high schools or colleges.

May this kid live to regret his headline-grabbing youth and come to have some kindness and regard for his fellow humans.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

In Memory of Beth Woo (1915-2017)

For women's history month, read this life of Beth Woo (1915-2017), American-born child of immigrants to California from China.  

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?n=beth-woo&pid=184426077&fhid=13787

What courage, what contributions!  

World War II interrupted her life in many ways--she ended up in China for most of it-- but she survived with courage.

She volunteered with the Asian Pacific Family Center.

Her son Mike served on the LA City Council 1985-93.

Her daughter Elaine is a writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Praise to God for this beautiful life!

St. Nick on Paul of Ryan

Nicholas Kristof is always worth reading.

His parody of Jesus handling Paul Ryan is hilarious.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/opinion/and-jesus-said-unto-paul-of-ryan.html?_r=1

Paul explains the parable of the Good Samaritan by praising the first two men who look at the wounded traveler, concluding

"So it’s an act of mercy for the rich man to hurry on and ignore the robbery victim.”

Here's another excerpt:

[Ryan speaking} "But let’s drop this bleeding heart nonsense about health care as a human right, and see it as a financial opportunity to reward investors. In this partnership, 62 percent of the benefits would go to the top 0.6 percent — perfect for a health care plan.”
Jesus turned to Pious Paul on his left and said: “Be gone! For I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; and I was sick, and you did not help me.”



The word from Feinstein


Not to worry.  In answer to a question Friday about "How are we going to get Trump out?" Sen. Dianne Feinstein said:

"I think he's gonna get himself out," the California Democrat and member of the Senate intelligence committee replied.

Feinstein has been my idol since November 27, 1978, when she took over the helm as San Francisco's mayor after George Moscone and Harvey Milk were shot down in cold blood.

If she believes Trump will get himself out of office one way or another, I have hope.

Her comments indicated that he "may disqualify himself from office over potential constitutional breaches and conflicts of interest," according to Los Angeles Times reporter Kyle Kim as posted on Politico today.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/feinstein-trump-ouster-quote-236217?utm_content=buffer022b7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

I also appreciated another post on Politico about White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney explaining why cutting out Meals on Wheels and other health and education budget items is
“one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/mick-mulvaney-donald-trump-budget-meals-on-wheels-236144

With compasssion like this, who needs enemies?



Friday, March 17, 2017

Women's history of being attacked

This is supposed to be women's history month.

Here's the history recorded by the Los Angeles Times for today.

1) Denise Huskins, kidnapped and raped and held for ransom in March 2015, survived but her case was called a hoax by the Vallejo CA police.  Yesterday her attacker was sentenced to 40 years in prison in a Sacramento courtroom.

2) A 24-year-old woman was typing on her cell phone on the second-floor balcony of a small mall in Koreatown.  A man approached her and asked "Are you Korean?"  Then he beat her with a hammer.  She is a South Korean in the US with a J-1 visa for an internship.  He came to the US in mid-February and speaks little English.

3) The article about this attack references misogyny in South Korea and an attack in May 2015 in which a 23-year-old woman was stabbed to death in a public restroom in Gangnam by a stranger who he said he felt "ignored and belittled" by women.

All of these crimes are a major part of women's history.  

Virginia Woolf was asked why women haven't written anything as great as the plays of Shakespeare.  Her eloquent answer is contained in A Room of One's Own.  

I realized today that part of the answer is that women have not been safe.  You can't write plays that touch the heavens if you're always looking over your shoulder.

Graphic view of dt's budget


This graph made by Kyle Kim of the Los Angeles Times says it all.

Not much more one needs to know about Trump, except that he lies and that the Russians helped to elect him.

More spending for war, walls, and veterans.

Today his secretary of state threatened North Korea with US "pre-emptive action."

North Korea already fears us.  No need to amplify their fear.

That is, unless you want another war.  

Wars help presidents to get re-elected.

The last time we took "pre-emptive action" was a big mistake.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Who are the Gang of Eight?


Wikipedia reports various sets of the Gang of Eight, but in the context of this week's investigation of whether Russians hacked the 2016 US election or whether the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower, these are the legislators who form that group:

In the Senate:
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, 
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Republican Sen. Richard Burr, and
Ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat Mark Warner.
In the House of Representatives:
House Speaker Paul Ryan, 
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, 
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (Republican of CA), and 
House Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (Democrat of CA).
Make your calls and send your letters to these eight leaders.

93 people per day--->guns

from the BradyCampaign.org

Every day in the US, about 93 people are killed by guns.

In Santa Monica, a young man who had just graduated from high school in June 2016 was shot and killed on February 26 about half a mile from where I live.

Juan Castillo, may you rest in peace.

36,252 Americans were killed by guns in 2015.

Our gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than that of any other developed, prosperous nation.

Why?  Because we allow guns to be made and sold everywhere.  

Some of these deaths were accidental.  141 children were killed in unintentional shootings in 2015.

Go to the Brady Campaign's website for more information.

http://www.bradycampaign.org/

The website has t-shirts in memory of the Pulse nightclub shooting and various bumper stickers.

It has good news, too.

A federal appeals court struck down an NRA-backed Florida law that prevented doctors from talking to their patients about the risks of guns.

In fact, 9 out of 10 guns used in crimes can be traced to just 5% of the gun dealers in the US.

Do your part to reduce gun crime.

http://www.bradycampaign.org/sites/default/files/Taking-On-Bad-Apple-Gun-Dealers.pdf