Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy Birthday to a Resister

I don't have the energy for a new post, so I'll share the poem I wrote for DZ's late-February birthday. It celebrates all resisters, really.

 With Apologies to S. T. Coleridge

At Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump
A tacky pleasure-dome decreed:
Where gilded port-a-potties stood
Near wardrobes of endangered wood
            On carpets gone to seed.
A golf course and a salad bar
With shrimp imported from afar
And there were sycophants with noxious tones,
Inventing policies to screw the common man
And neo-Nazis on their private phones
Delivering to Trump whate’er he’d need.

But oh! that sleazy Mafioso fortress
Atop a swamp mosquito-bit and rotten
A slimy place! As fiendish and as hopeless
As e’er upon Floridian coast was buttressed
By fake flamingos and goods ill-begotten.
And in this sewer, with ceaseless turmoil boiling,
Steve Bannon with demonic helpers toiling,
The plan for deconstruction was affirmed:
It would not take more than a four-year term
To make insolvent agencies galore
And prop up corporations by the score
So with a flippant pen stroke did his boss
Confirm the fact he did not give a toss.
For miles around the people stood defeated
And wondered why they’d voted for the man
Whose rage and bluster seemed to mask a plan
To injure most those people most mistreated.
And ‘mid this tumult Trump heard from afar
Town hall protestors prophesying war!
            The shadow of old Mar-a-Lago
            Blackened half the sun-baked earth
            Where was heard the jingling laughter
            Of the one-percenters’ mirth.
It was a miracle discussed by scholars,
A pleasure-dome supported by tax dollars!                        

A damsel with a cellular
In a vision once I scanned:
It was a Dutchess County maid
And on her mobile phone she played,
Calling her Congressman.
Could I just clone her daily
Her energy and ire,
In time my own inertia’d fail me
And with phone calls loud and long
I’d bring down that dome of Trump’s,
That irksome dome! those hideous fans!
And all who’d been down in the dumps
They all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His pig-like eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round the man,
And beam him to his Russian friends
For this is where the nightmare ends,
And we begin to breathe again.    


Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Sometimes crowdfunding appeals just make me happy.

College for All, but Not a Cent for Most

So the Gov is all over the airwaves encouraging the legislature not to add those millions to the budget on behalf of P-12 schools, because the federal budget is likely to be so lousy for NYS. Nevertheless, his "college affordability plan," being that it's a "modest outlay," can stay in.

College for all, if that were really what this was about, is just fine with me. But let's think about the failure of the state to live up to its required commitment to community colleges, not to mention its consistent and illegal failure to fund our elementary, middle, and high schools. For those who think that government should budget the way households do, this seems like saying, "Well, we don't have enough to pay the mortgage, but this vacation cottage costs a pittance, comparatively, and it will make everyone think we're super cool and ready for a national race!"

BTW, it's just us and North Carolina left in the pantheon of states-that-treat-16-year-olds-as-adults. Can we please stop that?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Running for Local Office

We pulled off 90 minutes on "Running for Local Office" despite all three presenters' being seriously under the weather. Over 40 attendees, about 35 of them new to me. Many eager to run, maybe, some thinking about it in the future, some looking at school board, some just there to learn.

We covered petitioning, caucusing, how the committee helps with finances and messaging, and how to deal with voter lists and door-to-door. It was a lot of information, but most people seemed interested rather than frightened.

Friday, March 24, 2017


You know the kind of book that is SUCH a thriller, you can't put it down? The kind that you read into the wee hours and can't wait to open again in the morning?

That's the kind of book we're in.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

As Homer Goes, So Goes the Nation?

In the Village of Dryden, which is probably 3-2 Republican, the GOP stayed home for the village election, meaning that our two Democratic trustee candidates won handily.

In Homer, a Democrat unseated the incumbent mayor.

In Interlaken, a Democrat won the mayor seat, and a Green was seated on the council.

Groton did not fare as well, but the numbers in Groton are hard to overcome. It remains to be seen whether this is a trend or a blip.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cry Bullshit, and Let Slip the Dogs of War

It's not just the President. Any number of people, it seems, are coming up with long diatribes backed by the flimsiest of "facts," and in this world of instant news, the diatribes go viral in minutes. The worst offenders, it appears, are generally labeled "Copy and paste, don't share," presumably so no clue of the dubious origin remains.

So, no, security for Melania and Barron will cost a lot, but not $184 million a year. And no, the budget doesn't directly eliminate Meals on Wheels, though it does cut block grants that may occasionally be used by states to fund programs like Meals on Wheels.

The point is that it's exhausting and honestly impossible to keep up. But everyone who copies and pastes these items reduces by a smidgen any credibility that our side has in facing up to the genuine, reprehensible actions going on daily. We have to call bullshit on the bullshit as we can; stop imagining that just because a trusted friend posted it, it's real; and fight the power, not each other. Plus do our own research whenever possible. It's hard. If we could run the country just by retweeting bullshit, we'd have no problem with the president we've got.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Beating 'Em Back in Europe

It may take months to put together a governing coalition, but at least the Dutch seem to have learned something from our troubles.The defeat of PVV and rise of GreenLeft can only be good news.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Drain the Swamp, Uproot the Reeds

It can't have been easy, but Congressman Reed waded into the thick of it at four town halls this weekend, starting at Southside Community Center in Ithaca. This Sun article describes the hour he spent there. He did talk to those left outside in single-digit temperatures on his way out, but his overall message was: I'm working for Trump voters, not so much for you.

Meanwhile, back in DC, the GOP needs to get its act together, because the message coming from Paul Ryan (Yes, some people will lose coverage) contradicts that of the HHS Secretary (I think even more people could be covered). But whether anybody notices or cares is another matter.

On to March Madness.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Trump Fires Bharara

Preet Bharara is one of the few heroes of NYS politics, a prosecutor who goes wherever the wind blows him and is responsible for the downfall of many a corrupt pol.

Now the most corrupt pol of all has ordered him to resign.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Okay, Who's FOR It?

Even Breitbart hates TrumpCare. Even Ann Coulter hates it. Who likes it? Possibly author Paul Ryan. Trump, who hasn't read it, despite its lack of length. Pharmaceutical companies? My congressman, whose reading skills are similar to Trump's. Anyone else?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy International Women's Day

Except that the TrumpCare plan, which is bad for everyone, is especially horrid for women.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pollyanna Trumps Debby Downer

A brief sojourn into optimism occurred in my monthly column.

Happening this week: A Tech Committee meeting Tuesday to talk about better voter lists, snappy websites, and even an app for driving voters to the polls. An Action Plan meeting on Thursday, in which we assign roles and set more detailed goals. And a mailing party Saturday to get postcards out to village voters for the March 21 election. Plus playoff hockey!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Step Up Step Back Step Away

So our Congressman is coming to do a Town Hall at Southside Community Center, at 8 AM on Saturday. He has been raising money on being the Brave Guy Who Stands Up to the Angry Mob, and it's totally working for him. We will no doubt have a ginormous crowd there, mostly outside, as the venue is again too small for the level of interest. Meanwhile, there's lots of grumbling about who should get to speak and who should just provide background chatter, and way too much in the way of attempts to control the event. I'm talking hours and hours of blather for a one-hour event in which Reed will probably field half a dozen questions.

I will head to Dryden and run a mailing party for the village election instead. Sorry if that makes me seem like a cranky old white person, but I'd rather do something tangible than be part of the news cycle. If I want to talk to my Congressman, I will go talk to my Congressman. In DC, if necessary.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Creeping Closer

Simon pointed out this desecration of a Jewish cemetery less than two hours from here.

Cheering from the Sidelines

Who isn't beside himself with schadenfreude at the sight of Sessions twisting slowly in the wind? The Washington Post hasn't been this dog-with-a-bone since pre-Reagan, and it's lovely to see. Trump's put-downs of CNN have even caused that frilly "news" center to return to its roots. I could not be happier.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Speech

You know what a low bar we've set when just the fact that the Prez doesn't veer off text and start ranting about himself earns him plaudits from left and right.

You know what a low bar we've set when George W seems like a model of sense and sanity. Or when McCain seems moderate.

But that's the world we live in.