Category Archives: Big Damn Heroes

Dear White Conservatives: Stop It With The MLK Lying

 

Martin Luther King Jr. leading a Poor People’s Campaign march demanding more to be done to end poverty, which, you know, is a very conservative thing to do.

Americans continue to their mind over critical race theory, led by the Reasoned Very Serious Middle, a nest of punditry that seems to believe that being a centrist means occasionally Tweeting “tsk-tsk” about something Trump did while mostly demonstrating a deep hatred of liberals and progressives. Plus, for being the Bastions of Reason, they often demonstrate a tenuous grasp of history.

A fine recent example of this is a piece over the weekend by Reasoned Conservative Marc Thiessen of the Washington Post, who raged about critical race theory, again, and did a very common thing that so many white conservatives do: bastardized the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Michael Harriot, writer with The Root who is pretty much done playing around with your dumb ass, called him on it:

As someone who is in the Native community, this sort of thing is all too familiar. White Americans, as a whole, love to soil the history and memory of people they used to fight. It’s a whole cottage industry. Native Americans doing things like protesting pipelines hear laments of non-Natives demanding they be the Mystical Savage of the movies.

With Dr. King, it’s incredibly bad.

Each MLK Day, you have a litany of conservatives who take advantage of the moment for some gaslighting. They tsk-tsk modern Black activists for “not being more like Dr. King,” which means being more like this bizarre recreation of King created in one of Lee Atwater’s fever dreams. The idea of MLK that these professional liars create bears little resemblance to the real Dr. King. Take a look at a few of these more common lies about the man:

– King was never argued America was systematically racist: Harriot nicely buries Thiessen’s claim that King never believed that America was poisoned by racism. King certainly did believe America had a systematic race problem. He wrote about how “everyone must share in the guilt as individuals and as institutions.”

– King was a beloved figure because he didn’t push things “too far.”: This is demonstrably not true. Gallup found that two-thirds of Americans disliked him, and some polls found that number to be as high as nearly 75%. The irony of this is the people making this claim no doubt would be one of the ones who hated him. The reason he was hated is due to some things that have been whitewashed by history, which leads me to…

– King was actually a conservative: This is a mind-boggling, but fairly common claim. Just looking at the next project he was about to launch in earnest before he was killed, the Poor People’s Project. Pretty much, the best way to describe King was a democratic socialist. In fact, a big reason for King’s unpopularity was people believing he was a communist.

– King opposed affirmative action: Conservatives love love love to take King’s words out of context, so they use a line from his most famous speech to claim he was anti-affirmative-action: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Curiously enough, they ignore quotes like: “If a city has a 30% Negro population, then it is logical to assume that Negroes should have at least 30% of the jobs in any particular company, and jobs in all categories rather than only in menial areas.” Or “a society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro.” Not really an anti-affirmative-action stance?

And so it goes now with critical race theory. Barry Deutsch brilliantly skewers this approach here.

After a while, it becomes harder and harder to not see these people as being nothing more than dishonest.

The last word goes to Stevie Wonder, who recognized King’s legacy in one song better than 100,000 conservatives ever will:

 

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How You Can Help

I’ve meant to do this for several days but I’ve never been so tired in my life. Heat exhaustion and grief are a powerful combination.

It also took time to find a group that’s doing direct on-the-ground relief in one of the hardest hit areas, Terrebonne Parish. They were recommended to me by several friends with ties to the bayou parishes.

A quote from their go fund me page:

This go fund me is through the Helio Foundation. It is being run by people who live in Terrebonne Parish. Directors Johnathan Foret & Reagan Creppel have been social workers for our people and are on the ground with Dirk Guidry helping people stationed at the Ward 7 in Chauvin, LA. They are from the area and understand the needs of their people.

The national media coverage of Hurricane Ida has dried up. That’s why it’s important to support the bayou fund. If you want to join me in contributing, please click here.

Our fate is your fate.

9/11:  History in a Vacuum

I never watch any 9/11 anniversary television coverage. I was in DC on 9/11 and for all of the months after it. I watched the Pentagon burn from the roof of my office building, just a few blocks from the White House. It was a terrifying day and I’m not here to relive it.

But Americans love to relive it. And somehow the round number of 20 has ramped up coverage to take over this entire week. We should absolutely remember those who died and the bravery and selflessness of the first responders who risked and gave their lives so others could live. We should remember the family members left behind.

The 9/11 commemorations always happen in a vacuum. One moment the United States is minding their own business going about a Tuesday, and the next moment the nation is under attack. It’s treated as if the country were sucker punched on the street for no discernible reason.

When you remove 9/11 from its previous context it becomes a cheap way for people who never put their lives on the line, ever, to spend the run up to it and the day itself policing how people feel about it and making it into some kind of patriotic holiday. But it’s the removal of the post 9/11 context that does the most damage.

9/11 was the result of complete carelessness by the Bush administration which was tight with the Bin Laden family to the point of getting them out of the country to shield them from having to provide necessary information. It was the excuse for the Bush administration to launch a war in Afghanistan so they and their cronies could make billions, and then to launch another, even more pointless war in Iraq, to further enrich people like Eric Prince, where the United States committed war crimes.

And it was all sold to us as a triumphant exercise of democracy, and if you opposed it you were asked “what is wrong with you?” I just got asked this question yesterday when someone asked me about 9/11 and I told them the stuff I’ve written here.

Well fuck all that. 9/11 should be a day of introspection and apology to the first responders left without medical care. It should be a day of thanks and asking forgiveness of the men and women who went to Afghanistan and Iraq and came back with mental and physical injuries. It should be a day to apologize to the families who lost people, in the towers, the Pentagon, in PA, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and who were left to fend with cancer and other illnesses after their service and sacrifice. It should be a day to castigate those member of Congress who refused to fund healthcare for first responders.

And it should be a day to do some serious work on beating our swords into plowshares.

O Captain! My Captain!

The news media found new life last week when Joe Biden began withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan. Finally they had the sensational story with a simple plot that drew clicks and eyeballs. And even better, Biden’s approval rating took a hit this week allowing them additional hand-wringing opportunities to opine about how his legislative agenda was now in jeopardy.

Why would Democrats refuse support for programs that would be a huge boost to their campaigns next fall? It didn’t make sense to me, but it did to a bunch of conservative House Democrats who saw this as a heaven-sent chance to hold the rest of the Democratic caucus hostage.

Under the banner of striking while the iron was hot, Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and his Sabotage Squad insisted that the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill be held ASAP, completely bypassing the agreement between progressives and conservatives. How bad were the optics on this? Mitch McConnell said he was rooting for them to tank the entire deal, including the bill he himself had voted for.

There is a subset of House Democrats which doesn’t seem to have a complete understanding of the difference between representatives and senators. The size of the House means that the individual influence of any 1 representative is diluted, especially when compared to the power an individual senator has. So while Joe Manchin can extract concessions, it’s much more difficult for even a group of representatives to do the same.

And the Sabotage Squad had an additional wrinkle in their plans—appeasing them meant antagonizing the other squad, thus stopping all forward movement of both bills in the House. There was no way that Nancy Pelosi was going to put up with that nonsense.

As we learned last week from numerous think pieces, Afghanistan is the place where empires go to die. And Speaker Pelosi is the Afghanistan of the House of Representatives. Waves of rebels have gone to their ideological deaths at her capable hands. (Remember how Seth Moulton was going to be the next Speaker of the House? Yeah. Although he didn’t seem to learn from his lesson since he jetted off to Afghanistan to create more headaches for Biden.)

Poltico covered the story on Monday as Pelosi offering a deal to Gottheimer. That same framing was repeated, as if Pelosi were actually worried that it was all going to go south. Then on Tuesday night, a day after the panicked Politico piece, word came that all the needed votes were complete and the 2-track plan was still intact.

Not only that, but there was no actual deal:

Nancy Pelosi is the most consequential Speaker of the House in the 20th century, and so far in the 21st century as well. Her political acumen led to the passage of the ACA. She masterminded the 2018 midterm election strategy that returned her to the Speaker’s chair. And now she’s going to pass the bulk of Joe Biden’s legislative agenda before the 2022 midterms. I’m going to miss her leadership when she steps down as Speaker after this Congress. I hope she changes her mind.

Who Hired The Hitman?

I usually hate Congressional hearings. The members talk too much. Most of them have no idea how to pose or frame a question. The first day of the House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee hearings was different: solemn, dignified, and focused.

Speaker Pelosi should thank feckless House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy for boycotting the committee. There are no wingnuts determined to speak over others and put on a show for the cameras. The committee is small: only 9 members. The two Republicans are willing to face the scorn of their idiot leader who denounced them as Pelosi Republicans. Nobody cares what KMac thinks. He maneuvered himself into oblivion last week.

The four police officers who testified were great witnesses and deserve a shout-out: Aquillo Gonnell, Michael Fanone, Daniel Hodges, and Harry Dunn. They epitomize the sort of people who *should* be in law enforcement. During the Dipshit Insurrection, they protected and served. As Adam Kinzinger said, “You guys won. You guys held.”

They were all impressive, but Capitol copper Harry Dunn stood out: both literally and figuratively. Dunn is a big dude. He’s 6’7″ and built like an old school NBA power forward such as the late Wes Unseld who played his entire career for the Baltimore/Capitol/Washington Bullets.

Officer Dunn was denounced before the hearing by that entitled little shit Tucker Carlson as “an angry left-wing activist.”

Harry Dunn *is* angry and with good reason:

Dunn, a 13-year-veteran of the force, testified that as rioters were nearing the a room directly off the House floor, they shouted about having been invited by Trump to “stop the steal” — prevent the congressional affirmation of Joe Biden’s victory. He said those rioters said “nobody voted” for Biden.

“I’m a law enforcement officer, and I do my best to keep politics out of my job, but in this circumstance, I responded: ‘Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?'” said Dunn, who is Black. “That prompted a torrent of racial epithets. One woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled: ‘Did you hear that, guys? This n—– voted for Joe Biden.’ Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming, ‘Booo, f—— n—–.’

“No one had ever, ever called me a n—– while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer,” Dunn continued, adding that after the riot he heard from other Black officers who faced racial abuse from the mob. “One officer told me he had never, in his 40 years of life, had been called a n—– to his face, and that streak ended on January 6th. Yet another Black officer later told me he had been confronted by insurrectionists in the Capitol who told him to ‘put your gun down, and we’ll show you what kind of n—– you really are.'”

The Trump mob showed what kind of cowards they are. There’s safety in numbers. None of them would have dared to abuse Harry Dunn one-on-one.

The sub-text of the hearing was ingratitude. The ingratitude of Republican lawmakers whose lives were saved by the cops who risked their own lives to protect them. The Trumpers are lionizing Ashli Babbitt and calling her fellow rioters political prisoners. I know what to call them: Terrorists.

Congressional loons Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, and Louis Gohmert Piles (hereinafter the Four Gs) showed what they were made of yesterday. They staged a “protest” outside the Justice Department. They demanded the release of insurrectionists who they claim are political prisoners. So the QAnon Shaman is the new Andrey Sakharov? Who knew?

It was a disgusting display of cosplay courage: they were run off by a guy with a whistle. I am not making this up. Here’s the proof:

One more note, make that Tweet, about the freak show surrounding yesterday’s hearing:

Holy Cosplay Tough Guy, Batman.

Back to the main event: the hearing.

The officers made it clear that they want those behind the insurrection held accountable. It was Harry Dunn who inspired the post title: “If a hitman is hired, and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to the jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired him does.”

We all know who he’s talking about: former President* Pennywise. He’s incapable of planning anything but capable of inciting a riot. That’s what he did on Twelfth Night, 2021.

The last word is inspired by the Four Gs DOJ Mishigas and the guy who made them look ridiculous:

American Hero

Rockets in Huntsville Alabama

Rocket display in Huntsville, AL. Photo by J. Freshour

Earlier this year I wrote about my mother-in-law. Today is the day I will always associate with my father-in-law. Some thoughts on him, adapted from a piece I wrote a dozen years ago.

It’s July 20. Those of us old enough remember it as the day of one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. We can tell you where we were, who we were with, how we rejoiced. We celebrated Armstrong and Aldrin and Collins. Their voyage to the moon and back is legendary, the stuff of American heroes. Much has been written and spoken about them in the years since. They are the heroes of the the Space Race, the Cold War, and any other capitalize the two words phrase from the era between WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

That’s all well and good, but I’d like to talk about another American. His name was Jim Freshour and he didn’t go to the moon. Instead in the mid 1960’s he got to pack up and move from Sunnyvale California to Huntsville Alabama. The mid 1960’s. Huntsville Alabama. He didn’t go to the moon, he went to a whole new planet. And he took his family along with him.

Those of you my age or older may recall that Huntsville Alabama was dubbed “Rocket City USA” back then. From all over the country came young engineers and scientists to work on the absurd challenge a martyred president had put forth; to put a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth by the end of the decade. And as if it weren’t crazy enough that all these over-educated, underpaid, slide rule gunslingers were plopped down in the middle of the segregated South, they ludicrously were led by a group of former Nazi bomb makers who had just a few years earlier been trying their best to bury London under a blitz of V2 rockets. The whole lot of them were met by a welcome wagon of race baiting, fifteen year olds in the sixth grade, tobacco chewing, George Wallace loving, reddest of redneck natives.

The Cold War meets Jim Crow. What a sight that must have been.

Jim did his job. Every morning he went off to work and every afternoon the ground around Huntsville would shake with the testing of the thunder he had created. Every evening he would come home and play with his children and avoid talking about what he had done at work all day. Like everyone else imported to Huntsville, Jim couldn’t talk about what he did. The constraints of national security made the merest whisper of what was said or done in the buildings behind the fencing on “that side” of town not simply local gossip, but a matter of national security, even treason.

Everyone knew what those rockets with their red glare were really about. Oh getting a man to the moon was the exciting tale to sell the public, but what we were really saying to our vodka swilling competitors across the ocean was “Don’t mess with us. If we can put one of these on the moon we can sure as hell land one in Moscow packed with a multiple kiloton nuclear surprise.”

It’s a beautiful day in Dr. Strangelove’s neighborhood.

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THANK YOU!

Got this in the mail the other day:

(Yes, it’s a screenshot of the message on my phone, I switched computers recently and can’t figure out how to edit files yet, gimme a break, there’s a pandemic on.)

You guys are the best blog EVER.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Labor is fighting like labor has always fought: 

On June 19, a group of workers plans to picket outside an unlikely location: Union Jacks strip club.

It’s the only club out of nearly 30 Portland establishments that won’t agree to demands to ensure fair treatment of black dancers.

“Who’s gonna cross a strike line of angry-ass strippers?” says Cat Hollis, a dancer who organized the Portland Stripper Strike.

The picket line is a signal that the national movement for racial justice has extended to the quintessentially Portland institution of strip clubs.

More than 100 dancers have issued the following demands to club owners: require cultural sensitivity training on a regular basis for all club staff, owners and management; ensure that black dancers get fair hiring opportunities and desirable shifts; and require owners and managers to participate in listening sessions with black dancers to learn about their experiences working at Portland clubs.

They’re calling themselves the Haymarket Pole Cooperative, which is fantastic.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Baking Edition

Ramadan Mubarak: 

ARRAF: Well, that, too, is really limited because there are those bans on travel. And some countries have relaxed curfews; some places like Dubai have even opened up shopping malls. But it’s difficult. People are trying to adapt, though. We went through the south of Jordan in the town of Shobak (ph) yesterday on the eve of Ramadan, and that’s where we found this pop-up bakery.

UNIDENTIFIED BAKERY EMPLOYEE: (Non-English language spoken).

ARRAF: It’s a tiny little place. The guy who’s shouting is actually welcoming people. He’s saying come and get qatayef. That’s this crescent-shaped sweet that’s traditionally eaten at Ramadan. One of the workers, Khalid Love-Dore says they just opened because the hotel they normally work in was closed. This is him.

KHALID LOVE-DORE: (Non-English language spoken).

ARRAF: And he says for anyone who has no money, they’ll give them anything they want for free because Ramadan is really a time of sacrifice and thinking of others. And even though a lot of the other traditions have gone by the wayside, charity remains one of the most important traditions.

A.

 

People Have This

This is great:

“I thought, ‘Tyler, you always wanted to feed people. That’s what you wanted to do, so keep doing that,’” he said. “There is good in this world. We will work together to feed people.”

So Sailsbery and The Black Sheep staff set up a free breakfast and lunch giveaway for those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan is to give away meals from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 until 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Friday “for as long as we can or until the schools reopen,” according to the restaurant’s website.

I just keep thinking about how good people are. Not just in this crisis but always. Everybody can share some dumb moral panic story about a kid being an idiot, or tell the tale of this one guy their cousin knows, but people are so, so good.

We want to help. We want to make things better. We want to do right and we have to be told at every turn by a propaganda machine run 24-7 for GOP money that help and better and right are fictions and STILL after 20 years of that drumbeat two-thirds of this country will, when the floor drops out, try to help the people on either side of them.

We have had leadership that has harnessed that capacity, and leadership that hasn’t, and we see how all of that plays out every single day. People have always fought back, don’t get me wrong, this is and always will be up to only us, one man alone who has had enough, etc, but sometimes we need a push to get out there. We need a direction for all our directionless energy.

I get so mad about George W. Bush and his creatures, still, because for about 20 minutes after 9/11 there was, in fact, a moment when people would have done ANYTHING. He had 90 percent approval for a few days, he could have told people to enlist en masse and they would have, everybody thought this was World War II again and we were all Captain America.

He told us to go shopping. We went to war with Iraq. Everybody working at Ground Zero started dying of cancer. We’ve been paying for that frustrated, stymied, miserable moment when all our good intentions and capacities were thwarted, ever since.

If you tell people this is the crisis of their time, you’d better be able to tell them what to do next. Otherwise you’re just riling them up and sealing them in, no one to listen or talk back, no work to put their hands into.

Yesterday one of my neighbors hung a sheet out his window, the words WE GOT THIS EVERYBODY painted on it in brilliant colors. Our local Facebook group, which a month ago was suspicious and vaguely racist in response to every loud noise, is organizing scavenger hunts: Go put this, that, the other thing in your window for kids to find on walks. People are donating supplies and materials, who needs this, I’m going out, do you need something delivered. We are a small country, my neighborhood, and we are caring for each other.

It could be like that everywhere. We could all be like that. Why don’t we see it? Why don’t we connect it, the caring you do for your neighbors, with what we are asked to do for each other when it’s roads and schools and healthcare? You’d share your food with the family next door, wouldn’t you? Some of you already do. The family next door is everybody.

From the story linked above:

Sailsbery got emotional when he recalled some of the messages he has received. Some families apologized for their need, and he said they shouldn’t feel bad.

“It’s hard,” he said. “You get messages like, ‘I need four meals for my kids. And is this just for kids because we don’t have any food either.’”

We have been in social isolation, as a country, for so goddamn long.

A.

Who the Heroes Have Always Been

Last night I was putting Kick through her evening paces — bathing, teeth-brushing, cat-petting, story-reading, delaying, water-getting, more delaying, singing, one-more-hugging — and I heard my neighbors outside yelling Bon Jovi songs into the air.

My friends and I text each other constantly: You okay? I’m going out, need anything? Skype, chat, check-ins, bitching about small stuff, who said he was going to put the dishes away and didn’t. Whose kids are driving them crazy. Whose dog won’t stop barking.

Who’s still working, day and night, keeping people well or trying to. Teaching in prison. Caring for pets. Delivering food. Do you need a mask, I can make you one. I have extra sanitizer, I can leave it on your porch.

The world has shrunk to the ten, twenty people I love the most. Sometimes, when Kick and Mr. A and I are at the dinner table, the world shrinks to three. The tiniest circle there is. We don’t pray, but sometimes we hold each other’s hands, as if blood is salt and can protect us.

Friends miles away have tested positive. People I admire have tested positive. Loved ones of loved ones won’t stop going out, don’t believe this is real, and we despair: I can’t get on a plane to go see my dying sister, but you are going to the Cracker Barrel?

There’s so much longing for a crisis, in our culture. We fetishize what we do when the chips are down, when the earth is caving in: Then I’ll be in my element. Then I will feel important. Then I will do something that matters.

Then I, I, I, I.

We all think we’re gonna lead the rebellion, rebuild the city, become part of the brave band of heroes who will be lauded forever in history as if that’s a thing that has ever existed, as if we’ve ever been able to choose who gets the headline.

We wait for that moment when we can raise a flag and make a speech and we think that’s how the work gets done. Where are our LEADERS, we lament, and call out for Thai food, and forget to tip the man who brings it. We yell at the checkout girl. We mutter darkly about the boys on the corner.

Where is the crisis? It’s all around us. I interviewed a comedian, after 9/11, in those awful stunted days when nothing felt normal and we didn’t yet know how stupid it was all going to be. I can’t remember his name but I’ll never forget what he said when I asked about laughter, about how even:

“Every day is 9/11 for somebody.”

I am good, in a crisis. I always have been. I am comfortable where the disaster is. Six months later, when things have improved for me (when, goddamnit), a switch will flip, I will stop sleeping, stop eating, stop taking my pills, ask a therapist: why now?

Mental illness loves best the vacuum adrenaline leaves behind.

These things have such a long train, pulling behind them. So many died from Hurricane Katrina, years after Katrina; from Ground Zero, decades after the fire went out. Stress on bodies, skipped treatments or appointments. None of this is worth it to feel like you matter.

Keep your really bitchin’ charter schools and condos. I will take my friends.

I have tons of ideas about what’s to be done. I think every day about writing: A new WPA, for everything from bridge-building to archiving. What leadership is truly worth, why we clamor for Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders to STEP UP AND LEAD when in truth we don’t know whose voice we’ll need til we hear it and we can’t hear it over the sound of Fox. I rage for a moment and then turn away.

We do yoga in the basement, poke things with sticks on long walks. The cats sleep on my feet. I put off drinking til 5, even on weekends. When the sun comes out I run outside and turn my face up to the sky.

We write thank-you cards to firefighters and sanitation workers. Kick and I watch every Disney movie twice while Mr. A snores on the couch.

The phone buzzes; my mother, Mr. A’s cousins, my high school friends: I’m okay. Are you? We joke, we make a time for Google hangouts, we game out future paychecks and toilet paper supplies and who still has cleaning products. We order pizza. We tip as much cash as we can scrounge. We wash our hands.

I would like to say when this is over — as if this is ever going to be over, as if over exists, as if it ever has — we will remember, we will be kinder, but I do remember, from the time before this, and the time before that, and the time before the time before the time before that.

We have always been all that we have.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

It’s easy to imagine that in places where life is already hard, our current circumstances would make life harder. And they have, and they’ve made people braver, as well: 

Before long, word of the project had spread, and about two dozen people came together to help, working 13-hour days to turn the abandoned house into a welcoming checkpoint. “The house was full of 3-4 feet of snow,” said Bekoalok, who has limited mobility and volunteered from home as a coordinator. “They had to shovel the house out, and they put Visqueen on the windows, so that light comes in but the cold doesn’t.”

People donated hot plates, a generator, lights and a wood stove. They drilled a hole in the river for water, chopped firewood so that mushers would have a ready supply, and hung up a banner to welcome them. They put encouraging signs along the trail to tell teams they were almost there. “We had our youngest elders to babies hauling wood and water,” said Sookiayak, estimating that the youngest helpers were 4 years old.

A.

Still We Sing

History is still singing.

We hear a lot these days about who even cares about books or movies or comics or celebrities anymore, like the world is on fire, right? How can we possibly make room for art? For beauty, joy, laughter?

Well, listen to that, and rethink your despair.

It’s so easy to discount that which keeps us alive. Songs and stories don’t feed us; pace Woody but your machine didn’t kill any fascists. It might have prevented some from being made, though, that’s not nothing, and when all you have left is your voice, you sing.

People sang in bondage for centuries. Prisoners write and paint behind bars. On the Berlin Wall, teenagers drew pictures. Can’t stop the signal; there is no hole so deep from which a melody cannot emerge, reaching upward, singing in the only language humanity has ever had, the only song we’ve ever sung: Here we are.

Here we still are. People are heroic, people are incredible. Jail us, starve us, beat us, kill us, tell us every day we are nothing and no one, take away our homes and hearths, take away our names. Still we sing.

Still, we sing.

A.

Today’s For Rashida Tlaib

And, you know, America, but mostly her:

A.

Not Everything Sucks: YOU DID IT!

I gave you a week and you did it in almost a day: 

Every year they do a MASSIVE toy drive for the little kids so they can have some holiday presents and they’re well-supplied, but need $500 for gift cards for the 50 or so older kids. Think about how in high school your buds want to go out for a burger, or over to the Starbucks to study, and you don’t have any money to buy anything. Wouldn’t you like to be able to give some kid the ability to feel normal for Christmas?

You raised $500 for the St. Hyacinth Food Pantry. I’m handing over the cash this week and they’ll give out the gift cards during their annual gift-giving event. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving the families who really need one a very merry Christmas!

foodpantrygiftcards

A.

Sunday Catblogging: Our Heroine

Last week I wrote that post about what a bitch Ada was and how she never shuts up about anything ever, so I basically deserve what happened yesterday.

It had been raining all day so Kick and Mr. A and I took advantage of being forced indoors to clean out closets and prep the house for an onslaught of holiday visitors and figure out where the mates to all our gloves had gone over the summer. The cats get profoundly, comically offended when we clean, as if us moving things is a personal affront to them and they were very, very close to the dust bunnies we just cavalierly hoovered up.

Which is why it took me a while to figure out something was up with Ada. She was yowling. Not her usual “hey, pay attention and pet me” yowling. She was YOWLING. “Hey IDIOTS something is WRONG here” and so I spent a good 60 minutes roaming the house with her at my heels. Was her brother trapped in the bedroom? Had she shoved her mouse under a closed door? Had a critter gotten in somehow? What was happening?

Finally I went down into the basement to see if her food bowl was empty again somehow and the moment I stepped off the bottom step onto the floor … squish.

Our basement had flooded before after a torrential downpour, but the rain yesterday wasn’t anything like that. And this wasn’t really a flood, just a damp-ish spot near one wall. Mr. A and I checked the perimeter of the rest of the basement. Nothing. Just this one spot, and Ada looming above it, meowing her best “YO MORONS WHAT DO YOU THINK I’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU” indignancy.

We couldn’t figure out if the water was coming in or up. It didn’t appear to be spreading, so we went outside, walked the perimeter and discovered a whole-ass swimming pool’s worth of filthy rainwater that was backing up because its normal route out was clogged with leaves and roots and dirt. Mr. A and I got flashlights and shovels and a bucket and started digging and bailing, and pretty soon, all was well.

We might have to replace a small spot of carpet pad, but thanks to Ada, that was it. Our heroine, still not ready to stop saying I TOLD YOU SO:

20191027_075830

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Leona Lansing and Charlie Skinner are out here fucking shit up: 

Jane Fonda was arrested again on Friday for protesting outside the Capitol in an effort to urge U.S. officials to take climate change seriously. This time, however, fellow “Grace and Frankie” actor Sam Waterston joined in on the protest and was also arrested.

“Today, the United States Capitol Police arrested 17 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating in the unit block of First Street, SE.,” Eva Malecki, communications director with the Capitol Police, told Variety in a statement. She added that they were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding.

Tweets of the two actors with their hands restrained were posted to social media. This is the second week in a row where Fonda has been arrested as part of her ongoing Fire Drill Fridays campaign, for which she vowed to protest on the Capitol every Friday through the end of the year.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Fighting Back Edition

A friend of mine is involved with this group and they’re incredible: 

Surrounded by open suitcases, an air mattress, at least one Popeyes bag, and a mishmash of chips and Cheez-It containers, the two-story row house in DC’s Shaw neighborhood could easily be the site of a sleepaway camp reunion. Instead, this week it served as headquarters for Never Again Action, a brand-new movement of young American Jews calling for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be shut down and the closure of immigrant detention centers nationwide.

About 15 activists from cities all over the US stayed in the house this week — sleeping on mismatched couches, a futon, and the floor — to pull off their biggest action yet: a march on Tuesday from the National Mall to the ICE headquarters, where they planned to quite literally shut the building down.

People will say, like they said about the Iraq War, that everyone just let this happen. They’ll say it to let themselves off the hook — nobody ELSE was protesting, so I didn’t do it either — but the work these young men and women are doing should not be erased.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Cleveland Rocks

Cleveland Heights to be precise but Ian Hunter didn’t write a song about it. Ted Koppel doesn’t give a toss about the Mott the Hoople head honcho, but he does care about a group of Ohioans who are helping Haitian school teacher, Ansly Damus, in his effort to be granted political asylum. Here’s hoping that Ansly’s Army helps him realize his American dream.

The last word goes to Ian Hunter:

Not Everything Sucks: David Gilmour’s Guitars

One of my musical heroes, David Gilmour, is a generous man. He auctioned off many of the guitars that he played during Pink Floyd’s heyday raising over $21 million, which he promptly gave away:

A day before the auction, Gilmour revealed that the money from the auction would benefit ClientEarth, which funds environmental lawyers and experts in the fight against climate change. “The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible,” he said in a statement. “We need a civilized world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.”

I try to avoid the obvious, but sometimes it cannot be helped. Gilmour’s donation proves that he’s nothing like the jerk in this song: