Remember to Vote in November

Remember Remember to vote in November
Or earlier, if absentee

The nation is falling for fascism’s calling
And now we must act to be free

The right wing is trying to stop you from voting
With lies, propaganda and threats

Remember that curse about interesting times? It’s
As interesting now as it gets

It’s time to be brave since we know we’re in danger
by flag waving bigots with guns

But don’t let them stop us. The stakes are too high we
must think of our daughters and sons

So vote we must do now in gigantic numbers
to make it much harder to cheat

Of course they’ll still try and they’ll cry “Rigged Election!”
when finally they’re faced with defeat

If we do not beat them this coming election
Then maybe it will be our last

Though greatly imperfect we’ll miss our elections 
When they are a thing of the past

Our leader’s the basest of nasty, cruel racists
a dishonest, stupid old dote

We must rid ourselves of this terrible menace
So go do your duty and vote!

American Greatness Before Covid-19

Here’s part of an unemployment chart from the Federal Reserve which includes a few years before Donald Trump’s inauguration and a couple of years after, stopping before Covid-19 hit us. Can anyone point out when Donald Trump showed up and made America great?

And here’s one of GDP, a few years before Trump and a couple of years after. Can you pick out when Trump’s policies took over?

This one might be tricky. It’s the labor force participation rate. You might think you can see the turning point where Trump took over and stopped the fall, but you might be wrong.

You can see these charts and more at the Federal Reserve Economic Data website.
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDP
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART

For all of Trump’s deal breaking and tariffs, he kept the economy improving at about the same rate it was improving during the Obama administration.

I’m not saying Trump’s good economy was all Obama’s doing. Trump kept it going for longer than most of us said he could. But he did so by taking reckless chances, antagonizing our trading partners, increasing our deficit with no end in sight, and sacrificing our credibility. All that for the same rate of improvement that was happening before.

With all the Donald Trump’s reckless policies, even without Covid-19, something bad was bound to happen.

If only we had dropped some bombs

The 9/11 attacks killed abut 3% of the Americans that Covid-19 has killed, and we lived through invasive personal searches at airports, more data being collected on us when applying for licenses and services, and more power given to our intelligence agencies to tap our phones, search our emails, and review our library activities.

Now a lot of the same people who approved of these measures are freaking out and threatening murder – in some cases following through – over being told to wear a mask. The difference is we’re not dropping bombs on anybody.

If we started bombing China first and then told people to wear masks, these people would be in balaclavas and shooting people for disregarding their patriotic duty to cover up.

Image source: https://openclipart.org/detail/1086/masked-man-with-slingshot

Rep. McEachin’s At-Home Education Panel 4/28 @5:30PM

This is an extremely challenging time for parents and caregivers who are working hard to make sure their children are keeping up with their school work at home. In order to bring parents some at-home learning tips, tricks, and best practices, Congressman McEachin will be hosting an At-Home Education Panel.

Join Congressman McEachin and a wonderful group of education experts on Tuesday, April 28th at 5:30PM for an At-Home Education Panel.

Congressman McEachin will be joined by:

Secretary Atif Qarni, Virginia Secretary of Education
Mr. Jason Kamras, Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools
Ms. Kathleen Eastman, Director of Child & Family Services at YWCA

Mr. Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year
Mr. Ryan Sykes, 2019 Milken Educator of the Year, Assistant Principal at Carter G. Woodson Middle School in Hopewell

& More

This event will be held on Zoom, and registration is required. Please register today at https://bit.ly/VA04Education.  

A quick note about the Director of the CDC

The Washington post has a new article about the poor lab practices which slowed the CDC production of Covid-19 tests. Reading that article got me poking around and I found this gem of an opinion from Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2018:

“What one wants in a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity. What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda”

Peter Lurie, Director CSPI
https://cspinet.org/sites/all/themes/custom/cspi_theme/logo.png

Oh, and here’s a nice quote from Wikipedia:

He was nominated for the post by President Donald Trump, after the President’s first appointee resigned in scandal. His nomination was considered controversial, and was opposed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which cited Redfield’s lack of experience administering a public health agency, his history of scientific misconduct, and his religious advocacy in response to a public health crisis

Wikipedia

A Trump Sonnet

A racist and a rapist, a philanderer, a cad
Malingerer, small fingerer, bad singerer. so sad!

An air polut’n tool for Putin lov’n Russian spies
He dallies, holds his rallies, where his fans all cheer his lies

A bankrupter, corrupter than a 13 dollar bill,
A blunderer and plunderer who’s hand is in the till

He steals from children’s charities, he disrespects our vets,
He de-funds our defenses and he doesn’t pay his debts

His deals remain undealt with and his promises are broke
He pleases right wing bigots like that unkempt English bloke

He likes his penthouse golden and his showers just the same,
A deviant vulgarian who brings our nation shame

We must with all our energy remove this horse’s rump
along with all who helped elect the stupid, evil Trump

Support the New Downtown Library at the City Council Meeting

On a recent shift on the floor at the Morgan Memorial Library,

  • I helped a woman find book about writing a business plan.I helped a man find and print up tax forms
  • I helped a woman fill out, save, and print out a Visa application
  • I helped a man get a copy of his old resume from a CD, and email it to himself so he can edit it.

In a typical moment at the library, there are teenagers participating in youth activities, parents and toddlers making use of children’s spaces, men and women quietly reading newspapers, and working folks making use of books and public computers to improve their value to the workforce.  

At Morgan Memorial Library, all that goes on in an area about half the average size of a new home.  

Also, in a typical shift at the library, I spend a lot of time telling teenagers not to gather in hidden corners behind the stacks or in the tiny area that we set aside for studying.  They’re not causing any trouble usually, but there isn’t a lot of space so we have to make sure that space for finding books and for studying isn’t clogged up.  Whatever you feel about teenagers these days, you might be surprised to know that a lot of them are still interested in reading books.

We have one meeting room at Morgan and when it’s free, it’s available to be reserved. But it’s also used for youth activities, classes, and staff meetings.  Because the library is pretty small, sometimes the noise from activities in the meeting room and the children’s area spill out into the lobby.  More space and few extra rooms would be very helpful.

A new Morgan Memorial Library with well designed spaces and room to hold various functions without interference would better serve the community. It would be more effective at keeping kids occupied with educational activities, at helping adults stay informed and engaged, and would be better at helping people find jobs.

In addition to all that, it would help beautify downtown Suffolk and attract business.  

The benefits of a new library have been extensively studied. You can find more information at www.suffolkpubliclibrary.com/291/New-Downtown-Library.

Tonight, ( Wednesday, Feb 20 ) you can show support for a new Morgan Memorial Library at the City Council meeting.  I’d love to be there but I’ll be working at Morgan, doing what I can to help people out.  

Community Meeting at City Hall July 11, 2018

It is the job of the president to execute the law

I’m throwing this out here with full acknowledgement that I’m no constitutional expert. If I’m wrong about this, let me know in the comments.

It is the job of the president to execute the law.

In 2013, Obamacare was the law and Republicans tried to block enforcement of the law by defunding it. By presiding over a government shutdown, Obama temporarily suspended some government operations, but his goal was to enforce the law.

Also, Obama’s standoff didn’t last long enough to prevent government agents from carrying out their duties. We don’t know what Obama would have been done had the enforcement of law been seriously compromised.

Today, there is no law to build a wall. You can argue that the wall will make it easier to enforce existing law, but not everyone agrees about that. And there is a difference between making a law easier to enforce and fulfilling your duty to enforce it. I can ask my boss for a new workstation to make my job easier, but that’s not the same as doing my job.

Today’s standoff is seriously affecting our agencies’ ability to enforce the law. For example, as noted in ABC News’s website, “FBI and ICE agents are trying to track criminals and terrorists, but can’t pay informants, pay for travel or even cover investigative expenses.”

What we had before was the president trying to enforce the law, and shutting down the government for a little over two weeks in order to get funding to do so.

What we have now is the president trying to get funding for something that is not a law by holding the government in limbo for long enough to diminish the execution of the law.

It is Congress’s job to make law and it is the president’s job to execute it. This standoff doesn’t put Congress in violation of their constitutional duties, but it puts the president in violation of his.

Donald Trump is failing in his constitutional duties to enforce the law of the land. In doing so, he is violating the Constitution and breaking the law. Again.

It seems like I’m among a large group of people who got the Covington/Native Drummers thing wrong.

I don’t like the idea of defending a kid in a MAGA hat, but if I wanted to be a reactionary ignoramus who ignores evidence that conflicts with my initial assumptions, then I’d get a MAGA hat of my own.

If you look at Nick Sandmann’s “smirk” in the context of a kid who stood still as an elder, Nathan Phillips, walked up to him and chanted in his face, then the smirk becomes more like what the kid described in his statement – a smile showing that on the one hand, he’s not going to back down but on the other, he’s not going to do anything aggressive. Had it been an old man in a MAGA hat who walked up to a kid who smiled in return, we would be cheering that smile.

In this case, it was the kid who was wearing the MAGA hat. And his friends were laughing at adults.  That all sucks.  But this kid, who so many doxed and vilified, didn’t do what so many of us assumed he did.  He didn’t get in the face of a Native American elder.  The elder got in the face of the kid.   

He’s still just a kid. He’s no older than the kids who the right wing vilifies for speaking out after the massacre of their classmates. He’s no older than many who are murdered by authority figures before wingnuts in MAGA hats assume without evidence that they must have deserved it

If we don’t admit when we’ve made assumptions that were later contradicted by evidence, than we become like them. I’d rather defend one of them than become one of them.

Editing note: This post was extensively expanded. The original was just one paragraph.