fabrisse: (Default)
There's another try to ruin US health care. Unlike this summer, there aren't many calls coming into congress (per the New York Times) protesting this. Without the protests, it has a chance of going through.

So, since I don't have a congress critter of my own, I'm asking those of you who do to roll up that metaphorical newspaper and whack them across their noses. Call. Calls are logged. Email. Emails are logged. Write via snail mail -- that's considered the gold standard because it has a level of difficulty which implies commitment on the part of the writer.

Signing petitions is fine, but calling offices does much more.
fabrisse: (Default)
My great-great grandfather enlisted at 16 just in time for the siege of Richmond. My father heard stories from him and his sisters about the war when he was a small boy. (Ltc. Custer used the family farm as a base for a little while, too.) My family goes back to 1613 in Virginia. I went to boarding school in Richmond, and I think Monument Avenue is lovely.

These statues must go.

That's it. Whatever romantic notion of some grand civilization destroyed by manufacturing tradesmen from the north that you're hanging onto must go, too. The reality is that the South fired the first shots. The stated reasons for the war in the individual states' articles of secession included slavery, very often as the chief motive for seceding.

Our ancestors were racist. It's sad, but it's true. The best thing we can do is stop reinforcing this racism with public monuments to individuals who violated their oaths as officers in the Army of the United States. Too many southerners try to say the War was about honor. If that's true, why are we celebrating oath breakers?

(Adapted from a comment I made at Slate)

Be aware

Aug. 15th, 2017 11:05 am
fabrisse: (Default)
I am not seeing this covered as thoroughly as it might be. The Department of Justice has requested information on over 1.3m people who visited disruptj20.org. Gizmodo and The Verge seem to have the most coverage at the moment, but, in some ways, this is as disturbing as Charlottesville. The only reason to look at this site is because it is anti-Trump and organized protests for his inauguration. Asking to see information about the people who were arrested or seen near the violence would be a reasonable limitation on the warrant, but that's not what's happening. The DoJ want information on anyone who used the site, ever.

I can't swear that I never followed a link and ended up there by accident, even if I know I never went there deliberately. Can you?

Please be careful.
fabrisse: (Default)
Look, protesters, I love you. The guy in the White House deserves to be yelled at on a regular basis until he starts behaving like a real human being. Also, I know many of our fine hotels and restaurants appreciate your patronage. I can even handle some of the issues your presence creates around the Metro (meaning the subway only in this instance), although with our SafeTrack project continuing, you are adding a degree of difficulty.

Here's the problem: The people of the District are paying for everything.

This isn't coming out of your Federal taxes (as of last week's science march) because Congress CUT their contribution to handle protests. They gave us less money for the inauguration, which, barring all the jokes, had a lot of people, than the cities which held the conventions got even though the convention crowds were smaller.

As of the Climate March this past Saturday, every hour of police overtime, every penny of the cleanup (National Mall may have some funding left through the National Park Service), every bus line rerouted (and believe me we're coming back to that one), and every car needing to be towed so you can take the walk between the White House and Congress is being paid for by the people of the District of Columbia because Congress has decided not to fund it.

From Congress' point of view, in the words of Neotoma, this is a feature, not a bug. The people of the District don't appreciate Congress -- in their view. Here they are trying to make our world a better place by forbidding us to use our own money to fund needle exchanges -- which cut down on the HIV transmittal rate in a city where approximately 5% of the population is HIV positive -- because all that will do is encourage HIV drug use, and do we appreciate it? No, we do not. We don't appreciate so many of the things they try to do for us, like retrocede us to Maryland (pace Jason Chaffetz) or control the way our building look (seriously, the Commission for Fine Arts has got to go) or generally treat us like whiny children for complaining that we don't have representation in their august body in spite of being required to register for the draft, fight if conscripted, serve on juries and grand juries, and paid more in federal income tax than Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, and Vermont combined ($20.5b in 2015 for the four states named, $21.2b for DC).

One solution would be to raise the hotel tax, but that would mean people who have tight budgets might not be able to come to a protest which means a great deal to them. Believe it or not, we don't want that.

I don't know the solution. The biggest issue for me, personally, and my constituents is that the protests change the bus routes drastically. This can mean no groceries or no visiting an elderly relative or helping a young mother cope or... We need our buses and as long as you're using the National Mall, the major changes to the bus routes are going to continue. (It also doesn't help that four stops are Exit only during the march and Entrance only after the march.)

The financial issue includes my fear that the money spent now on cleanup will be taken away from my local middle school's renovation. It's been promised since before the recession and is finally budgeted for 2020, but if we spend too much of our resources now on protest cleanup, the money may not be there in 2020 and our middle schoolers will get shafted again. I was at the school last Monday for the Ward 6 budget discussion. I'm pretty sure the air conditioning units are so old (no, no central air, just individual window units) they might still use freon.

Can someone more knowledgeable than I am look into setting up a charity. People who can afford to contribute to the District's cleanup could do so, and the money could go to local projects which might be impacted by the cleanup funding. I don't think there's any way to give the money to the District, but mitigating some of the impact would be a great kindness.

Also, when you call your congress critter, remind him or her that they should be paying for this or remind them that the District still needs voting representation in Congress.


Mar. 17th, 2017 09:59 am
fabrisse: (Default)
I've been posting at Slate about this. The below is from my comments there.

A single Air Force Bomber costs $550 million. The National Endowment for the Arts annual budget is $146 million. The National Endowment for the Humanities costs $167.5 million.

Using the annual budget of $3.1 billion which is the amount of the CDBG block grants and multiplying it by .05 to get the 5% that most jurisdictions use on Meals on Wheels, I get $155,000,000. What are we going to do with the other $81,500,000?

One plane less. When people tell you that "guns or butter" arguments don't work, remember that 1 less bomber for the Air Force would cover the above. Cutting half a squadron, 6 bombers, would cover the CDBG block grants in full and still leave enough left over to fund the National Endowment for the Humanities and have $32.5 million left to play with.

The Air Force has requested 100 bombers.
fabrisse: (Default)
the term "bloated plutocrat" was both out-of-date and an insult?


Yes, I have been reading about the new healthcare bill, why do you ask?
fabrisse: (Default)
Several people have asked me how they can help DC protect itself from the ravages of the current congress and administration. I have an idea.

DCist has an article about the current abortion law before congress. There's also a link to a "death with dignity" law with which congress is trying to interfere and, though there's no link, mention of a gun law which the House, especially, has already tried to overturn. They've already interfered with our decriminalization of marijuana laws, leaving us in the awkward position of not being able to regulate a trade which, through taxation, would help us immensely.

Call your congress people and Senators. I don't care if you agree with DC's law. I disagree with the "death with dignity" law and the only reason I don't disagree on abortion is that someone who doesn't have bodily autonomy isn't a full citizen in the eyes of the law. I see anything forbidding the right to choose as a slippery slope to women no longer being seen as full citizens. After all, it's been less than a hundred years since we were seen as full citizens. The point is actually more powerful if you disagree.

The point is that we have Home Rule. The point is that congress is not allowed to interfere with Boston, Denver, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Memphis, Nashville, Seattle, El Paso, or Portland, OR all of which are cities within 50,000 of our population. If the US Congress passed a law that said only the citizens of Seattle had to turn in their personal guns, everyone would rightly be up in arms (no pun intended). If they passed a law that said only the citizens of El Paso were required to have a gun on them at all times, the NRA might be happy, but the rest of us would be up in arms.

The more conservative the state you live in, the more powerful the statement. It's primarily, though not exclusively, Republicans and conservatives who are putting their fingers in our pies. Many of them are the same Republicans who shout from the mountaintop that the Federal government shouldn't interfere in local laws -- like those "religious freedom" laws and "bathroom bills."

Call. Please call. Call often. Adapt one of the sample scripts from thesixtyfive.org. More than anything else, make certain that you say your are their constituent and that you support the District of Columbia's right to autonomy in local matters. It can also be phrased as support for the District's right to Home Rule. While you're at The Sixty-five, pick another call to make. This isn't going to be a short haul on any issue. If you call your congress critter on another issue, throw in a "and don't interfere in the District of Columbia's local laws" at the end of it.

Thank you. Spread this message any way you can.
fabrisse: (Sense8 Sun Fight)
I won my election. To clarify, I am now the first (unpaid) politician 2000 people will call if they have a problem. I hope the percentage of children too young to use email is high, but it's not likely.

What does this mean for me? Well, first of all, no matter what, I can't move to Quebec for at least two years. I mean, I hadn't planned to, but with our current President-elect, it was a possibility.
The struggle is under the cut. )
For the next two years, I'll have to worry about these 2000 people -- that they'll lose the little political autonomy they have, that they'll end up being forced to register on someone's list. And I'll have to fight. Mostly in small ways via forcing developers to adhere to zoning plans and pollution regulations, but I'm very aware that it may also be in big ways -- and that I'll need to be vigilant every day.
fabrisse: (Default)
In August of 2004, I was at a friend's birthday party. Someone came up to me and said that the people who lived in the middle of the country, the ones who were going to be voting Republican were, and I quote, "stupid." When I disagreed, he said, "What do you call people who vote against their own interests?" We then got into a discussion about totalitarianism's definition (he was using the word fascist when he meant totalitarian) and whether or not Bush was totalitarian (in my opinion, no, but Cheney probably was) until we finally circled back around to his original, "they're all stupid." He also called me a Republican and we had to have a side discussion on what independent means.

At that point, I said something along the lines of, "This is why you'll lose. You're not willing to find out why they aren't voting in their economic interests." More discussion.

Finally, I made my point, which is that the Democratic Party had a chance to reverse people's belief that it was made up entirely of elitists who didn't care about the middle of the country. What they needed to do was go out at a very grassroots level and talk to people door to door, set a spell on a front porch drinking the sweet tea that would be offered and ask about what's going wrong in America or in the neighborhood and take notes. Then go to the next front porch and do the same thing. At that point, we, and I'm counting myself there as an East coast elitist who is traditionally Liberal, had up to three years to figure out how to reach middle America and drop our elitist language.

We didn't. Obama won. And we forgot that this project still needed to be done.

Make no mistake, this is about class and privilege in the United States. While white privilege exists (hoo boy, does it exist), people who are in extreme poverty, without work, and with drugs devastating their communities don't see themselves as privileged.

Until and unless we build this bridge, we will lose the hearts and minds of the middle of the country and their kids. Seeing that Grandma's medicare doesn't get her the help she needs or that his children are more likely to find meth than a job, alienates people and they are told by the ministers they listen to that a thrice married sociopath is better than a God-fearing Methodist who's stayed with her husband because the "values" shared aren't tangible. It doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton isn't warm and fuzzy, that can be overcome. It matters that the Democratic Party is bad at pointing to the concrete actions they have done to help. It matters that the Liberals don't deplore abortion, for instance, while explaining why it needs to remain legal with human and relatable anecdotes.

I work with numbers. I've learned to respect statistics. But I'm also southern culturally, and nothing is really understood within my culture without a story to explain it.

In a Guardian comment, I once said: In my jurisdiction, most of the women who choose to abort already have two or more children. They are making the choice, in part, to make certain the children they already have will be fed, schooled, and reared with fewer financial constraints. This is not the choice for toys. This is a choice for children to have the essentials of life.

You want to end abortion? Then make certain there are programs which provide safe havens for abused women. Make certain that every child who is already here has a safe place to sleep and sufficient to eat. I promise you, the abortion rate will go down drastically.

That's a strategy that has a story to be told. Sharing that story could get middle America supporting the right to choose if it's framed right (I admit, I picked a tough one as an example.).

But Liberals can't tell these stories until we've set on a porch and listened to their stories.

When my cousin who was more like a grandmother to me was in her late 80s, I said something inadvertently which led her to ask me about "the gays." I approached my answer through the bible using the ten commandments, the New testament superceding the Old, and 1 Corinthians 13 to buttress my argument. She listened because I was family, in part, but also because I was educated, because I approached it through the book she loved and the religion she practiced, and because I listened to her whole question.

I don't know how we can do this, but I know that we must.
fabrisse: (Default)
From an article in The Washington Post, there are people becoming more vocal and public about their lack of support for Trump (and some are even voicing support for Clinton). If I may point out, I predicted back in August that Utah would go blue at the Presidential level. Let's see if it's true in 26 days.


Aug. 11th, 2016 01:53 pm
fabrisse: (Default)
I'm on the ballot. I have one person running against me. He just graduated university and bought a house. I think if I concentrate on the people in my apartment complex -- most of whom are poor -- I have a shot at winning. Money will be tough. My calculations are that I'll need a minimum of $650 for flyers, etc. But I can spread the cost out over two months (September and October, next week's paycheck is already spoken for).

Keep your fingers crossed.
fabrisse: (Default)

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

This is how I see it going with no states in play. The shade indicates whether I think it will be close in a state (paler means closer and I had the option of three shades for each). As an example, Louisiana is paler red because I think the gay and black populations will weaken the Republican base, but, ultimately, this is the state which gave us David Duke.


Aug. 4th, 2016 06:02 pm
fabrisse: (Default)
I have my temporary DC Driver's License. I have made certain my voter registration is current.

I picked up my petitions to get on the ballot for ANC, and I already have 12 valid signatures (and 7 invalid ones). I need 25 valid signatures total before 5 pm on Wednesday (which, by the way, is 90 days to the election).

Wish me luck.
fabrisse: (Default)
I'm looking at 270 to win, the Toss-Up map. It says there are 130 electoral votes in play. The guaranteed are 191 for the Republicans and 217 for the Democrats. I'm not certain I agree with some of their calls.

Read more... )
Here's my call to arms. If you can vote early without a crowd, please do it. If that's not possible, and you have a job which will allow it, take election day off, especially if you're in a "boots on the ground" state.

I'm going to leave this as is and revisit it on November 9 to see if I was prescient about anything.
fabrisse: (Default)
I was flabbergasted, as I think most of us were, to read of Prince's death. Like Bowie, I wasn't a huge fan, but it feels as if an important cultural influence has gone. In some ways, Prince was the cultural touchstone of the 1980s into the early 1990s in the same way that Bowie was to the 1970s-80s.

The song that I'm playing is Baltimore. It was performed publicly for the first time last year in Baltimore during the Freddie Gray riots. I'm still amazed that the Crips and Bloods did more to keep the peace during that week than the government did.

But the line that grips me from the song is "Peace is more than the absence of war."

In the mid-1980s I was working toward a Master's in International Relations and was required to take International Systems. One of the central texts was On the Causes of War by Michael Howard. In it, Howard argued that peace wasn't merely the absence of war, but absence of the threat of war. I was mocked by the professor for agreeing with Howard.

I still think it's one of the most important points, and may be part of the disconnect on "Black Lives Matter." Too many white people don't feel the threat of daily violence and so don't grasp that even when things are quiet, the neighborhoods aren't at peace.

fabrisse: (Default)
I'll put any spoilers under a cut, and I will probably wait until I have completed the book to write about it in detail.

In the meantime, Chapter 8. Even if the rest of the book turns out to be terrible, this chapter is perfect and, by some terrible coincidence, it has come to us at the perfect time. Go Set a Watchman is set in that never world between Brown vs Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act. The bus boycott has either happened or is in the process of happening based on a throwaway line in an earlier chapter, and just as the boycott happened in Alabama, so is the book set there.

This is the South in all it's warmth and friendliness and beauty. This is the South in all its viciousness and gossip and racism. The entire plot of To Kill a Mockingbird is in three paragraphs of chapter 8.

Had this book been released a month or more earlier, the shooting at the Charleston AME Mother Church would not have happened yet. The arguments over the Confederate flag would not have happened, and this book, this chapter, would not be ripping through me.

I am a daughter of the south as much as I am a daughter of the military. I value the history and sense of honor belonging to the highest ideals and best people in both cultures. But I am also, viscerally, a pacifist. My father, who I believe holds the highest ideals of both southern and military cultures, taught me that it was a hard row to hoe but an honorable one. (My mother has stated that she's ashamed of me for being pacifist and made it clear she finds it weak.) In the same way, I am viscerally honest about the horrors of the south.

The southern culture which is romanticized by its descendants was based on oppression and blood. While some of that oppression was of the women in its culture, the fact is most white women were at minimum complicit in the oppression and in some cases were the ones baying for blood. Jean Louise Finch, known as a child as Scout, has moved north and sees this clearly. She returns home to find that those who are still steeped in the south cannot see it at all. It's made clear this is nothing to do with age; it is literally black and white within the culture.

Gone with the Wind (the book, which I read the same summer I first read To Kill a Mockingbird) made it absolutely clear, in my opinion, that the southern planters brought their way of life down around their own ears by refusing to look at political and economic reality. Margaret Mitchell several times refers to the Civil War as a gotterdammerung instigated by the south itself. I have heard, just in the past few days, a South Carolina politician talking about the War of Northern Aggression and talking about the North invading the South, completely ignoring that it was the South -- his state, no less -- which fired the first shots and were the aggressors in that impossible war.

I know this is not my most coherent post. There is so much that struck me. But please bear in mind that there are eleven people in my immediate office. I am the only one who is WASP (two are Hispanic and I am not sure how they identify racially). Within my agency of 350+ people, I can name/number all the white people and only take off one shoe. I see the results of this moment in time that Lee describes every single day. Hearing white southerners talking about the "heritage" of the Confederate battle flag tells me that moment in time which Lee is illustrating has somehow been preserved in a bitter amber.

It must be dissected and disposed of.
fabrisse: (Default)
I'm yelling a big NOOOO! right now.

I know I've told this story before, but...

In 1967, my family moved to London. My mother has said that one of the things she wanted to see hadn't been possible: one of London's famous pea-soup fogs.

The last one was in 1962. Ten years earlier in December of 1952 a pea-soup fog covered London for four days. Twelve thousand people -- elderly, some children, other vulnerable populations -- died. They died from breathing the air.

In 1956, Parliament passed the Clean Air Act, and I as a child got to reap the benefits, even if it disappointed my mother.

While we were living there, the Clean Water Act was passed. It was assumed to take 100 years before the Thames could support fish again. When I went back to live in London, in 1982, tiny whitebait fish were being caught in the river. I wouldn't have eaten them, but by the 21st Century a whale was actually able to survive in the Thames for a few days.

The US clean air and water acts were passed a bit later. We waited for a river to catch fire before we thought, "eh, maybe it's time to look at pollutants." One of the key agents of change was the EPA -- created by a Republican president (thank you, Richard Nixon (not a phrase heard often)) -- which was able to regulate and enforce.

I don't want to go back to those days. Thanks to several bouts of pneumonia, I have weak lungs. But even if it weren't for the self interest, I don't want to go back.

This is wrong, and I don't know how to fight it.


Apr. 30th, 2015 12:47 pm
fabrisse: (Default)
Crikey. People are saying, quoting a remark by David Simon, that "there are now two Americas."

All I can think is, "Oh, honey, no." There have always been multiple Americas; it's just that white folks have always thought theirs was the only one that counted.

I watch demonstrations of white privilege every fucking day. I probably demonstrate my own privilege in ways that I don't fully comprehend because that's the problem of privilege: you don't always recognize it when you have it.

But. I'm more aware because I'm in the reverse situation from most people of color. I'm the only white person in my office. I'm one of fifteen or so in my 300+ person organization. When I tell my friends who work for the Federal government that I work for DC government, one of the first questions is about how do I feel about working with people that don't look like me. The questions are less direct than that, of course. None of us is a bigot. But aren't you worried that you live in a mix-raced neighborhood, go to that area of town, work with people who went to different types of schools... all of the subtle, and not so subtle codes.

I'm tired. I'm tired of the twenty-something white people going to Nats or Caps games who won't give up their seats on the Metro to an elderly black person or a pregnant black woman or a disabled black man. I know it's not general obliviousness, because they snap up and offer to white people with the same issues.

I'm tired of the rare white customer being so relieved to see me or requesting me when they get one of my colleagues in the rotation.

Baltimore's issues exist because we don't look at racism. We don't realize that Samuel L. Jackson, to give a famous example, was over 20 before segregation ended in the city where he was born. People remember segregation. AIDS policies were and still are geared more toward the gay community than toward the Black community, but AIDS for whatever reason spreads more quickly and more ways in Black communities. It's estimated that one in twenty people (5%) of the District's population is HIV positive. Some of this is due to poor education. Some of this is due to Congress not allowing needle exchange programs. We have a generation in this city reared by their grandparents because their parents died of AIDS.

Those of you in Boston remember busing. Imagine living with that fight every single fucking day and you'll have some idea of what being poor and black in Baltimore is like.
fabrisse: (Default)
A week or so ago, [livejournal.com profile] tediousandbrief mentioned the Falklands War in his lj, and it brought back memories for me. A blank front page on The Guardian (well, not entirely blank. Mostly though.), lots of references to "Argies," The International Herald Tribune being read by British people because the British press wasn't allowed to report accurately. (Found an interesting paper on jingoism in British journalism during the Falklands here.)

And The Flying Pickets.

They had a Christmas hit -- which is the one everyone always remembers in Britain; Americans tend to remember summer songs -- in 1983. They'd recorded an album (and I recently discovered a TV special) called "Live at the Albany Empire." The album had several politically pointed segments that were omitted from the TV special, but they both have a cover of "Walk Like a Man." (It's at about minute 31 on the special.) On the album, it's directly linked to the Malv... Falklands War.

What I hadn't known about them, though, was that they began as part of a theater group called 7 84. The name referred to the 7% of the population which held 84% of the world's wealth. And it hit me: As recently as thirty years ago, the 1% was 7%.

ETA: The album opens with Red Stripe (described as one YouTube Commenter as "Uncle Fester in eyeliner") saying, "People keep asking us, have we got a record, have we got a record they keep asking. I tell them, 'of course, we got a record. What'd you think we are? Choir boys?'"

ETA2: In a weird synchronicity, I got an email from someone I hadn't heard from since 2008. Our correspondence had been related to The Flying Pickets song (written by Rick Lloyd -- gold hat in the video) called "Remember This." Neither of us could figure out one phrase in the chorus. A month ago, he met Rick Lloyd and asked him. It turned out to be:
"Venceremos" is a Spanish slogan meaning "We shall overcome".

The lyrics are:
Remember this, nothing is sacred. We live right beside the abyss.
Remember this, there is no doubt that your name is on somebody's list.

Remember this, the cloud you live under is hiding the thunder to come
Remember this, truth's out of season, they'll try you for treason, my son
Remember this

Venceremos, they can't tame us, please remember this
Venceremos, we'll be famous, our names on every list

Remember this, requiems don't quite make up for the loss of a life
Remember this, southern bananas fall prey to piranhas by night.

Venceremos, they can't tame us, please remember this
Venceremos, we'll be famous, our names on every list

Lost out here in the market place with nowhere left to run
Too many people have disappeared to doubt what has begun

Remember this, locked in the stadium are people who've fought without fear.
Remember this, battered and broken for what they have spoken for years

Remember this...
fabrisse: (Default)
On the floor of the House

Congressional Staffers yesterday

Yale Black Men's Union

I have a hard time talking about this. I am a white person working in a predominantly black environment. It amazes me how many people assume that, because I'm white, I share their retrogressive or downright bigoted opinions.

So let me tell you that I am so proud of my colleague's son, who is number 22 on that Yale Black Men's Union page (look for the word "Minoritized"). Let me tell you that I'm angry that not one white colleague joined in the silent witness on the floor of the House. Let me tell you about the friends who've been stopped because they're driving a nice car or driving through a neighborhood the cops don't expect a person of color to live in. Let me tell you about my friend whose son was beaten so badly at a traffic stop that the policeman in charge of lock-up refused to let him in and immediately called an ambulance (and bless him for doing so). It's harder to find these stories among my friends and acquaintances who share my skin color.

Lives matter. All lives matter. Black lives matter.


fabrisse: (Default)

September 2017

17 18 19 20212223


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 03:20 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios