Monday, October 23, 2017

YES

Simon, Paul, and I penned a letter urging a YES vote on the Constitutional Convention.

We have been looking forward to a convention for maybe ten years. I hoped for a definition of "sound, basic education" and some truly forward-thinking school funding plans. Paul wanted to rid the state of the millions of dollars of waste caused by antique regulations. Simon had a vision of cleaning up Albany using a bulldozer instead of a blindfold and tweezers.

This year's "NO" brigade has been a solemn reminder of what the age of social media hath wrought: No thinking, just a lot of heat spread like lightning at the click of a button. Shame on public union leadership, which struck fear into members' hearts with threats of a disappearing pension when pensions have been disappearing since Tier 1 morphed into 2, and 3, and 4... and 7. Shame on organizations like NYCLU, who pretend to push until push comes to shove and they get cold feet and decide to stick with the devil they know. (Whoa, block that idiom!) Shame on anyone who mistook the Kochs' desire for a US ConCon for our own 20-year state vote, usually through application of poor reading skills and a desire to jump on any progressive-sounding bandwagon that would have him or her. Shame on everybody who pushed bullshit propaganda like the canard about "no vote equals a yes vote!" Shame on our elected officials for pretending that their despotic, restrictive means of putting amendments on the ballot is in any way good for the People of NY. Shame on New Yorkers who are appalled by the state of the state but use magical thinking to assume that the state can fix itself if only we squeeze our eyes shut and just... believe.

We are outnumbered, at least on the IJ editorial page and in the signs and messages we see. Enjoy the next 20 years, NY. We don't intend to stick around much longer to see the mess you've made.

Monday, October 16, 2017

#MeToo

I don't know why it took Harvey Weinstein to trigger people's memories, but the #MeToo on social media is just about unbearable. Simon shared a post from a friend who took her own experiences for granted but was powerfully moved to think that her daughter's experiences might differ.

I never took my experiences for granted, nor did I think they were okay, whether they involved early-morning frottage on a crowded subway, groping by strangers on an airplane or in a Caribbean bar, salacious questioning by the blind father of the shyster rabbis I worked for in Queens fresh out of school, or the pimping out of young editors to salesmen at a publishing company in my late 20s. I just got good at deflecting, shifting, moving, blocking, elbowing, ignoring, or finding the one nice married, middle-aged guy who just wanted to share a beer and some conversation.

I'm reading Roxane Gay's Hunger, which seems timely, because it's not just about how we inhabit our bodies, although it's very much about that, but it's also about violent sexual assault. Her story isn't my story, thank God, nor is my story anyone else's story, yet all the stories are the same, sad story, and none of them comes as a surprise.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Facts Are Hard

I read this Leonard Pitts piece today on "When ignorance is impervious to fact," and it resonated with me. This morning I had the following conversation with a Dryden resident (online, of course). He messaged the Dryden Democrat FB page a long screed about what the Dryden GOP claims is a 50% tax increase. I said that the problem was that they were talking about the levy and not the rate, so it was misleading. He said who did I think paid the levy. I said he and I and all the new developments in town, which was why we're not paying a 50% rate. He said even the real increase per year made it bad management. I said that the town has fewer employees than before the recession and cut appropriations $200K last year. I even pointed out that the new budget was aiming for a flat rate.

Whereupon he said, "Sorry not voting for your party this year. Time for a change. Let's make Dryden great again."

Whereupon I said, "Your side isn't talking about the cut in appropriations or the $3.6 million the town got from the state for bridge improvements based on stable finances—but you vote you! Facts are hard."

Whereupon he said, "Yes they are. Cut it however you want. Your party lost the presidential vote. Hopefully it will go the same in Dryden."

Which leads me to Pitts:
 But it is important to understand that the disconnect media face does not stem from failure to report the facts.
Rather, it stems from some people’s failure to want them.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Flagrant Sexual Hypocrisy

As Trump rolls back the birth control mandate, this article on sexual hypocrisy is pitch-perfect.
It’s a child, not a choice, abortion opponents tell us. Unless the pregnancy is embarrassing and super-inconvenient and an impediment to your political future, in which case it’s merely a clump of cells.

Monday, October 2, 2017

ConCon on the Ballot

Although I'd have liked to express my opinion, this is a bias-free history of ConCon. I did, however, pass on editing our assemblywoman's editorial against ConCon today. So you know where I stand.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Stand Up Sit Down Fight Fight Fight

I sort of sympathize with the Green Bay fans who didn't know whether to stand up and lock arms because they had lost track of the narrative and didn't know what it meant.

This football stuff, which we have been talking about for a week while Puerto Rico sinks under the waves, is out of control. I knew what Colin K was talking about when he took a knee. I wasn't 100 percent sure when other players started taking a knee. Could be about police brutality; could be solidarity with Colin K. Then came the linking of arms before the National Anthem, and now the linking of arms during the National Anthem, and you have to wonder what the hell. Is it now just about Trump's tweets? Does it have anything to do with police? Is it about racial divisions vs. togetherness in sports? Is it, as some clever talking head on the news opined, owners saying to Trump "Don't tell me how to run my fuckin' business?"

It didn't take long for that symbolism to break down entirely. Let's start over.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Whom Shall We Fear Today

My parents lived through the Great Depression and learned to fear the Nazis, who they thought might finish taking over Europe and head for the U.S.

I was a child toward the end of the duck-and-cover years, when we were taught to fear nuclear war, specifically war with the Soviet Union.

Today we are taught (although not in school) to fear climate change, with its accompanying floods, droughts, crop loss, famine, and potential civil unrest.

I just never thought I'd had to fear both climate change and nuclear holocaust at once, or that the Soviets would come roaring back, or that Nazis would again find a place in German politics. Can't we just fear one thing at a time, please?