Category: Proud Democrat

Bipartistan Baseball Outreach

I’ll be rooting for the Republican congressional baseball team on Thursday. (The Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park has not been cancelled despite the shooting.) Since this is hard to do from a distance, I’ll pretend to like Kevin Costner’s character in Bull Durham. BUT ONLY FOR 24 HOURS AND THEN I’LL GO BACK TO THINKING HE IS THE WRONG MAN FOR ANNIE. He does give some good baseball advice, and that’s clearly something she values.

Advertisements

Statehood for Puerto Rico

many Republicans are wary of adding a 51st state that could add two Democratic senators and seven Democratic electors to the Electoral College.

Others, noting the examples of Alaska and Hawaii, both added to the union in 1959, say it can be difficult to predict how territories will vote as states.

“Those are the same people that 60 years ago said that Hawaii was going to be a super Republican state and Alaska was going to be super Democratic, and that’s why we brought them in together,” said José Fuentes Agostini, the head of Puerto Rican Republicans in the states.

—”Puerto Rico goes to the polls for statehood,” Rafael Bernal, The Hill

WHAT

who thought that
was that a thing people thought

WHAT

(Am myself rooting for PR statehood, for reasons that have little to do with shifting the electoral college and everything to do with getting proper rights and representation for 3.5 million disenfranchised American citizens)


Rachel says:  But if Puerto Rico becomes a state, they won’t get to enter all those international sporting events anymore…

Romie: True. I should form my own microstate, becaus that is the only way I am going to be chosen to represent a country, sports-wise. Nation of one Romie, competing to represent Romie, making full use of the official Romie training facilities. My country will consist mainly of a two-by-two square hole I stand in as a reverse podium to honor my eternal last place status, plus a flagpole and someone to play my national anthem backward (I and I alone will understand it is being played backward).

Horseshoe Theory

So far, horseshoe theory has about the same track record as looking for your keys under the streetlight when you dropped them somewhere else. When the far-left fringe kills us, it’s going to be due to weakened antivax herd immunity and/or the rejection of essential food sources as “toxins.”

There is a third scenario in which I decide I’d rather stop breathing than listen to one more word about chemtrails, but I like to think none of you would do that to me.


Mark says: The actual antivax people I know in my life are all libertarian, so I sometimes think progressives get fingered unfairly for that. But the food issue: absolutely. Enjoy that GMO-free mass starvation.

Romie: By all means, Not All Progressives (or even most). Mainly, I don’t think there’s evidence that “the far left” is just as dangerous as “the far right” when it comes to domestic terrorism, even though earnest lefties keep warning that “it could be us next.” Kind of a waste of energy. There is a lunatic left, but it doesn’t much resemble a paramilitary.

Jacob: Well. The left believes in gun laws. ‘Cause we fear guns. So…that may be a small part of that. And our strength/weakness is our “I’m ok you’re ok” Cat Stevens mentality of our community.

Romie: It’s not just guns. The far left (and the right that’s not batshit) don’t do this:

Far right raises £50,000 to target boats on refugee rescue missions in Mediterranean” (Mark Townsend, The Guardian)

I keep running into variations of “both extremes are awful, the middle is good” where one extreme is whiny about pronouns and the other extreme fundraises in order to murder tens of thousands of fleeing civilians, predominantly women and children. I thought we’d figured out this “treat both sides equally” thing didn’t work when we allowed climate change denial to go mainstream, and then I thought we’d figured it out AGAIN after “Hillary and Trump are both bad, just in different ways,” but apparently no.


Nic says: When I was younger and first saw the (not particularly great) film Sphere, I was so infuriated at the end when they decide to forget everything because humans aren’t ready for the power. “No!” I shouted at the TV “Just think what you could do with it! Stupid Hollywood pat cop-out endings!” Then a few years ago I was on the internet and it suddenly struck me that I felt about the internet in the exact same way. It’s an amazing power that technology has bestowed on us and much as I’d love us to be, we’re just not ready for it. Wishing it away though is just a Hollywood fantasy, it turns out.

I just mention it here because I feel these kind of ‘theories’ would never reach any kind of critical mass without the internet linking vulnerable and impressionable people together in the absence of any kind of critical intermediary (add to this every ‘alt-right-read-fascist’ echo chamber message board and conspiracy hysteria). The internet has allowed amazing growths of expression and given voice to people who have been genuinely empowered in a way that benefits us all. But I wish we were able to handle the darker side of that power.

One-Party Rule

More authoritarian dictator shenanigans. If you’re from a state or district which is represented by Democrats in congress, know that as of now, executive branch agencies have been asked to behave as though your representatives are not members of the U.S. government.

In an expected bit of doublespeak nonsense, “A White House spokeswoman said the policy of the administration is “to accommodate the requests of chairmen, regardless of their political party.” There are no Democratic chairmen, as Congress is controlled by Republicans.”

White House orders agencies to ignore Democrats’ oversight requests” (Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey, Politico)

Hillary and Me

I’ve always had trouble talking about how much I love Hillary Clinton, because it’s uncomplicated. To me, her greatness is totally obvious, and has been for the 25 years I’ve known about her. But I mostly keep quiet about it, because my admiration doesn’t seem to persuade anyone who doesn’t already like her.

That’s a strange thing, by the way. People who usually trust me to know what I’m talking about go into sudden berserker mode, like I’ve said the magic words to summon Beetlejuice. I concluded some time ago that one of the best ways for me to support Hillary Clinton was to rarely speak about her directly.

I don’t brag on myself very much either, you may have noticed.

I like this quote from communications director Jess McIntosh, one of Hillary’s campaign strategists:

“Should she have showed more emotion? I don’t know. We don’t know whether women who show less emotion get to be the president. Should she have been less hawkish? I don’t know. We don’t know if we can elect a pacifist woman president. We can’t point to where she diverges from a path that other women have taken because she was charting that path, and that might fuck with your analytics a bit, as it turns out.”

—”Hillary Clinton Is Furious. And Resigned. And Funny. And Worried.” (Rebecca Traister, The Cut)

I have been glad to have somebody to copy from for the last couple decades. Because I know, even if some other people can’t seem to make the connection, that a lot of the likeable things about me are cribbed from somebody else who I saw act that way.

Betsy DeVos and the Legacy of Separate but Equal

This congressional hearing [link is to C-Span video] happened yesterday (May 24). I want you to watch Betsy DeVos saying that in no case—none at all—would she deny a school federal funds for discriminating against black students, gay students, special needs students. Not even in the case of a specific (real) private school which expels students for the crime of having a queer or gender noncomforming relative. (Contamination!) Betsy DeVos still wants to give that school taxpayer money via vouchers.

DeVos’s slogan that we need to ditch a “one-size-fits-all” education is just a gloss on “separate but equal.” Which was itself code for “get your gross kids away from mine.” And it is hugely, hugely disrespectful to the millions (millions) of teachers and administrators who spend every day forging personal, individual connections with their students—listening to their fears, cheering on their accomplishments, and tailoring every lesson to their individual needs.

I want you to also watch Katherine Clark, the blue-suited woman asking the questions, who is one of my favorite people in the House of Representatives. (She happens to be my Rep. She’s the stuff.) You can tell she’s an attorney. Specifically, she used to be Massachusetts’ general counsel for the state Office of Child Care Services. She also chaired a local school board. She is not somebody who smiles at vague, time-wasting evasions about whether kids are being protected. She came loaded for bear. (No, I have not forgotten Wapiti.)


Nic says: Things like this are why I really hate the “politicians are all the same, liars, cheats blah blah” narrative. I am mostly in awe of people like this who are well informed, spectacularly clever and using their intelligence and strength to fight for the people they are there to represent. And I don’t think they are a minority. Just like I think most backbench MPs in Westminster are there solidly working for their constituents.

I think there’s some kind of success bias where a proportion of the bad ‘uns rise to the top maybe because they’re not so concerned with their actual responsibilities. But then again maybe not and it’s rising to the top that warps your moral compass, just as coming into huge wealth can completely change how you see people who are struggling. In any case thanks for so often sharing these great examples. And honestly if I was a hard working MP or Representative and constantly having to listen to people say what scum politicians were, I might think “well fuck em” and start doing what I could for myself. The fact that I might act that way is why I’m not a selfless enough person to become one in the first place though.

Bob Massie for Massachusetts Governor

The next Massachusetts gubernatorial election isn’t until November 2018, but candidates on the Democratic side have started fundraising and forming exploratory committees. (On the Republican side, it’s assumed incumbent governor Charlie Baker will be the candidate.) One of the early declarers is Bob Massie.

There is probably nobody in the U.S. with more experience combatting climate change through legislative and business initiatives. (Executive director of Ceres for almost two decades.)

Also, he has had hemophilia from birth, so you know he cares about protecting people with pre-existing conditions. (Also, he was on the ethics advisory committee of Boston Children’s Hospital. Also, he’s an Episcopal minister, and this is core Episcopalian stuff.)

Also, he’s a Fullbright scholar who wrote the go-to history of U.S.-South Africa relations during Apartheid.

This guy, I’m telling you—check him out. His face is boring, but his biography is not. If anything, Governor of Massachusetts seems like too small a job for him.

Here’s his twitter.


Sonya says: I’ve heard him speak. Not a lot of flair, but solid intellectual content, which right now I am much more for than style. Also, that biography is ridiculous.

Romie: Yeah. If he was in some SF I was editing, I’d tell the author to split him into three characters. And even then, tone some of it down.