Day: February 9, 2017


For day 9 of black history month, I’m thinking of a bunch of people whose names I’ll probably never know because they were bought and sold and forbidden to read or write or marry or own property. They worked without end and without credit and when they couldn’t anymore they were discarded and forgotten, and if we’re lucky we know a little bit about them based on their chain of ownership.

But they managed to pass knowledge down anyway, person to person, and to innovate, and to hold on to an idea of home through music and dance, and today I am thinking of how many individuals were involved in creating and refining and preserving the okra dishes I love, which are so similar to West African cuisine. I am thinking of the everyday defiance of saying “I want to eat what I want to eat” no matter how many times you’re told that it doesn’t matter what you want.


Perhaps a Juice Box?

Sanity check: If you ever find that you are arguing against democratic elections and representatives directly appointed by and accountable to the governed, you need to step back for a second.

I know how attractive it is to have secret knowledge, and some kind of God view of “the way things really work.” I get it. I feel that too. But when your desire to be a superior smarty tells you we should accept backdealing by a shadow government, or tells you that aristocracy would be better than mobilizing “stupid” voters, you have stopped being one of the good guys. You maybe need to look at some kitten pictures for a second, drink a juice box.

Literally the entire legitimacy of our government rests on the consent of the governed. That’s what democracy is, power granted by the people. We’re not a theocracy (power granted by god) or a monarchy (power also granted by god, divine right of kings) or a dictatorship (power by military force).

When you start saying something like “but they followed x rule so it’s ok,” and x rule doesn’t in any way tie to consent by and accountability to the governed, that rule is not ok and needs to be challenged. If you start “getting realistic” and saying the popular vote doesn’t matter and that approval ratings don’t affect somebody’s mandate to enact an agenda, you are saying you have given up on living in a democracy, and would rather play “hop when somebody says hop” games.

Does that mean the majority gets its way all the time? No, because the minority is also part of the governed. But “the people in power can do whatever they want” – no. Not as a legitimate government, no. This is not hairsplitting naievity. It’s not their power. It’s something they’ve borrowed. Dust off your high school memories, and I am sure you will find the words “social contract” rattling around, no matter where in the US you were educated. It is more important to know than any single law that we’ve written, the Constitution included. (It is chiefly why we have amended the Constitution.)

Matt says: Where do I sign up for kitten pictures and juice boxes? Because I’d like both.

Romie: If we start production immediately on a line of “sophisticated, adult” juiceboxes with kitten pictures on the front, I think we can establish a dominant position in that market segment within about 7 months.

Based on some cursory market research I can say (with dismay) that it seems like nobody is currently doing a juice box subscription box.

Alabama, Get Your Senator

I’m not from Alabama, but if I was, I’d be raising hell right now, because Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said in January that he won’t hold a special election to fill Senator Jeff Sessions’ seat. He’s going to appoint someone to fill in. For TWO YEARS.


In Massachusetts, my state of political residence, you know what happened in 2012, when President Obama appointed our senator, John Kerry, to the cabinet, with less than two years left on his term?

WE HAD A DAMN ELECTION. Immediately. Even though it was a weird time of year. You know why? Because Amendment 17 of the U.S. Constitution says Americans have direct election of senators, and specifically:

“When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.”

Temporary. Until the people fill by election. Governor Bentley “shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.” He doesn’t get to pick whether that happens. And if he doesn’t get with it, it’s the job of the legislature to step in and direct. The gov’s ability to even appoint somebody in the interim is purely at their pleasure, not any power of his.

Also, there’s speculation that Bentley will appoint the Alabama AG as a way to delay that AG’s investigation of guess who Governor Bentley.

Call the Alabama statehouse and demand they schedule that special election ASAP, not way off in 2018. Direct election of Senators is your CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.

Come on, Crimson Tide. Flood those guys.

Not for nothing, same thing happened in 2010, when Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy died with a couple years left on his term. SPECIAL ELECTION STRAIGHTAWAY.