I took two half days this week to go do some fun things with my kids. It was good and I am glad I did it... but I paid for it with a really tough work day yesterday. Work has been extra busy lately, and by blocking off two afternoons I pushed a bunch of meetings to Friday so I had back-to-back meetings most of the day and had to work late just to get through the small amount of other work that absolutely had to be done yesterday. It was exhausting and I woke up this morning aware of having dreamt about things I need to do for work. Blech.
There's also a lot going on at home, too. Next week is the first week of school and so I have several emails with information to read, absorb, and pass along to my kids. Also, Pumpkin is a teenager now. She's still a great kid - this isn't a complaint about a sullen, difficult teenager! But she wants to make plans with her friends. Luckily, she is very concerned about COVID-19 and so they are alway plans I think are safe - e.g., this morning she went on a hike with a friend, both wearing masks. But because our school is a magnet school, her friends live all over the city and often the plans require a parent to drive her somewhere. This is why this post is so late today. Instead of a leisurely morning drinking tea and writing, I took two round trips to a neighborhood about 20 minutes away from us.
Petunia's got needs, too. She's been really enjoying her online art classes. The schedule obviously has to change as school starts. The studio owner created a weekly watercolor class with her in mind, which I really appreciate. It will be after dinner, though, so I need to work with Petunia to figure out how to make that work with her other evening activities - particularly playing with her hamster, who is only awake in the evenings!
(By the way, if you are on Instagram you can follow me there to see pictures of Petunia's art when she deems it good enough to share and also a lot of pictures of her hamster. And occasionally some other things! I am on Instagram because that's where Pumpkin and her friends hang out online and so I feel I need to make sure I am somewhat aware of what's going on there. My handle on Instagram is restlessrabbit42.)
All of which is to say... I'm fine, but I'm tired and I didn't have time to read very much this week so it might be a light week for links! I never really know until I start posting them, though, so here goes:
I don't have any links to share about what has happened in Kenosha, or the Republican convention. I will say that I am profoundly disturbed by the reaction of many people on the Right to the shooting at the Kenosha protests. This tweet sums it up:
College Republicans, a GOP candidate, and conservative media are all proudly supporting a teenager who shot and killed Black Lives Matter protesters.— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) August 29, 2020
The fact that elements of one political party openly support extrajudicial killings is terrifying, and will only lead to more. pic.twitter.com/H8XHUPfnsy
I read the charging documents, and it is clear the DA does not think there is a case for self-defense here. Of course, that is only one side's story, and I will wait to hear his defense before finalizing my opinion on what happened that night. However, this much is crystal clear: He didn't have to be there. He chose to drive across state lines with an AR-15 and to insert himself and his gun into that situation. He is no hero. He wasn't "fighting back" - it wasn't his town or his property under any sort of threat. He could have stayed the hell at home and left the response to the protests to the people theoretically trained to handle them safely. (Of course, those people don't always respond well, either, but at least they are adults acting in an official capacity, not a teenager amped-up on a hero complex to join a bogus "militia.") That young man didn't just go looking for trouble, he brought trouble with him. That we have devolved to a point where people are heralding him as a hero is really, really frightening.
This tweet is a stark statement - from a writer for The Economist, no leftie radical - of where we're at:
It sounds absurd to say it, but America is in the process of choosing whether to be a white nationalist fascist state or an inclusive democracy. That's not hyperbole, that's just where we are.— Ryan Avent (@ryanavent) August 28, 2020
Your actions in this election are picking a side in that decision, no matter what extenuating circumstances you believe exist. You are picking a side. Make sure you'll be proud of the side you choose.
If the threat to our democracy isn't motivation enough to work to ensure Trump does not win in November, consider what a Trump re-election is likely to do to the climate. (Spoiler: nothing good.)
This story makes me angry - a teacher in LA has had to leave her home because a right wing podcaster has called down his followers on her... all because she wore an "I Can't Breathe" shirt. The father who sent the screenshot to the podcaster should be ashamed of himself. This outcome was predictable. Also, my school district has a policy against taking screenshots of their online classes for student privacy reasons. Does his?
Honestly, these people are bullies. They scream about "cancel culture" and make fun of "safe spaces" but they demand spaces safe from any challenge to their opinions and they are quick to try to get anyone who won't go along with that fired.
As for why school is online in the first place....
I don’t have the words to describe how insane it is that we have spent five months arguing over the merits of unsafe reopening rather than putting in the work to enable safe and sustainable reopening.— Jeremy Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) August 25, 2020
Given the recent White House meddling in CDC and FDA decisions, I know a lot of people are worried about how we will know if we can trust any announcement about a vaccine. Here's how I will judge: I will check to see if Peter Marks has quit his job and I will check in with what industry folks are saying. I obviously have some private sources there, but honestly, the best source is probably the In the Pipeline blog.
If all of those disturbing links are making you anxious - or if you're feeling like you're on the sidelines in this election and want to get more involved, there are some things you can do:
You can donate money, of course - pick a candidate and any level and give them the money to fight against the rising darkness. Or you can give to a group like Swing Left who have a solid 2020 strategy.
If your political home is more on the Right and you're having a hard time donating money to Democrats, you can give to organizations like Vote Riders who are working to make sure voters have the ID they need to vote. Or you can give to Pizza to the Polls to send yummy pizza to people stuck in long lines at their voting place!
You can also write for Vote Forward! I've written a couple of batches of letters, and I think it is even easier than writing postcards. You just need to write a couple of sentences about why you vote.
Whatever you decide to do, I urge you to do something. It will make you feel better and we need all hands on deck.
And now for things that made me happy this week:
Ezra Klein's interview with Hannah Gadsby was so interesting and at times very funny.
This is a nice version of The Parting Glass:
Good night and joy be to you all https://t.co/rVmGoiLmoE— Embassy of Ireland USA (@IrelandEmbUSA) August 25, 2020
But I still think the version on the Waking Ned Devine soundtrack is the best, because I don't think it is really meant to be a dirge, and it is often sung as one:
A cute hamster! (Not ours):
And of course, here's your bunny for the week:
Have a good weekend, everyone!