Author Archives: winterSmith

The Dark Art of Teaching: A Koan, Almost

rock-garden

Ikkyū and Sōgi rake the garden. Afternoon wanes.

Ikkyū picks up a small piece of … rolled paper, charred? “What is this?”

Sōgi looks. “Oh. Hmm. Nothing, Master. Probably just a piece of rubbish that blew over the wall. It was windy last night.”

“I didn’t hear any wind.”

“Your snoring perhaps drowned it out.”

“I do not snore.” Read more

The Progressive Response: Grief, and Tears

trump-nation

I wasn’t surprised by the election results. They’re still incomplete, and Biden may yet win, but regardless of the final tally half the country turned out to make clear just what they are. Just what we are.

The thing that did take me aback a bit was the reactions of my friends. Sure, there was some outrage, as you’d expect. But the dominant response of the day was … heartbreak. Disbelief. Sadness.

If you wanted, you could attribute 2016 to ignorance. But 2020? Nobody is blind to what the GOP is anymore. This was a calculated assertion of spite. Read more

11.4.2020: American Democracy To-Do List

Usa_distress_flag

Short term:

  • get rid of electoral college
  • fix Senate
    • four-year terms
    • eliminate filibuster
    • lay groundwork to eliminate it entirely (see below)
  • eliminate gerrymandering – require that Congressional representation mirror popular vote
  • eliminate superdelegates
  • eliminate presidential veto and restrict executive orders
  • make election day a national holiday
  • all state and federal elections to be 100% publicly funded
  • eliminate all bribery lobbying
  • fix Supreme Court
    • explicitly limit de facto legislative powers of Supreme Court
    • expand number of justices to reflect growth in population
    • limit terms to ten years, subject to reappointment
  • make voter suppression a federal crime punishable by no less than five years*

Read more

The Ties That (No Longer) Bind

Donald Trump is a referendum on what kind of human being you are

A few months ago I wrote that “I don’t want to “heal America’s divisions.” I’m reflecting on that sentiment this morning, the day before what may be the most important election of our lifetimes.

Many of us have some version of the braying racist, fascist, misogynist drunkle archetype in our lives. A Karen, a Chad, a Becky. Maybe it’s a relative we have to contend with at holiday dinners. Maybe there are family obligations, so we grit our teeth, bite our tongues, and tell our children (before and after) to ignore the ravings of the yahoo at the other end of the table. For others it may be a long-time friend who drifted in the wrong direction through the years. Or maybe the friend never changed, but we drifted in the right direction. Read more

I’m Glad I Wasn’t Black Today

white-privilege

I came home this evening after running a couple of errands to find a half-dozen people at my door. Two or three were uniformed.

Two followed me around back as I parked. Since my girlfriend (let’s call her J) has never so much as jaywalked I figured they had to be after me. No idea why, but the adrenaline was starting to pump.

I’m not going to talk to cops but I can hear what they have to say. It turns out they were looking for a woman named Amanda, whom they had seen coming in and out of my apartment routinely over the past three weeks. Read more

Zen and the Highway

interstate-zen

Ikkyū regards young Sōgi’s calligraphy as golden hour yields to white. “Your hand is inelegant, as always. It’s … bold, though.”

Magpies screech disapproval from a nearby pine.

A horn echoes through the courtyard. Sōgi looks in the direction of the disturbance. Ikkyū bows his head and sighs.

“Forgive me for speaking out of turn, Master Ikkyū, but it would perhaps be best were the monastery further from the highway.” Read more

Dear Conservatives: It’s Judgment Day

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? - Matthew 7:16

On Tuesday night, Donald Trump stood before America and refused to denounce white supremacy. Instead, he used the opportunity to order one of America’s most notorious hate groups to stand at the ready.

He did this on national television, with millions watching and the cameras rolling.

After years of denial, years of deflection, of misdirection, of dog-whistles and whataboutism and hey-look-over-there-ism, after years of insisting that black is white and up is down, you, Trump supporters, find yourselves standing naked in full daylight. Read more

Trump’s “Failure” to Denounce White Supremacy: Journalistic Malpractice in the First Degree

2020 Presidential Debate

It’s been a long time since I expected much from corporate journalism, but no matter how low I set the bar they keep finding ways to tunnel under it.

Their handling of Trump’s “debate” shout-out to white supremacists everywhere – his overt call for them to stand at the ready – buggered belief.

Check this nonsense from ABC: Read more

#ArtSunday: Fall Flora

I recently purchased a new Nikon D750 full-frame, and on Friday my new Sigma 105mm macro lens arrived. Yesterday was my first flower-hunt with the rig. More test-drive than anything, but for me there’s something quite beautiful about this time of year, as nature begins tucking in and settling accounts…

Susan-in-Fall When-September-Ends

COVID Radio: Stay the Fuck Home, Becky

COVID-RadioNew and Improved! It will tap your toes, boogie your butt, make you smarter and better looking! Cures gout, unsightly warts and the heartbreak of psoriasis!

[ahem]

Our badass COVID playlist continues to grow in cool ways. Assume you sleep 8 hours a night and need music for the rest of your day. This playlist will keep you in tuneage for 6 days and 18 hours.

Old favorites, new discoveries, eclectic and intelligent. Rock, Indie, Electronica, Pop, ’70s, ’80s, alt.90s, Motown, Grunge, Punk, Dance, Trance, New Wave, Metal, Soul & R&B, Americana, Industrial, DarkWave, Trip-Hop, Shoegaze … even a smattering of C&W, old school and new.

You won’t like everything but that’s what skip buttons are for.

Thanks to Matthew Grimm for the song that gives the playlist its title…

LISTEN NOW!

Do Billionaires Get a Bad Rap?

Monopoly-ManA famous man once said “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

I thought about this as I was talking with my friend Bryan yesterday. The subject was NBA and MLB players striking in protest against the attempted murder of Jacob Blake by the Kenosha PD, and Bryan was saying that it can’t always just be the players. The owners need to stand up, too.

He’s right, but I have very little faith in owners. Read more

Hey Look – More Goodell Bullshit!

Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sat down with Emmanuel Acho for one of his Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Acho asked Goodell what he would say to Colin Kaepernick by way of apology.

At which point … well, Commish gonna do what Commish do. Deflect. Dissemble. Misdirect. Distract.

This morning Mike Florio took Goodell apart like a hungover Gordon Ramsey breaking down a chicken with weak joints.

And I honestly don’t have a thing to add. I’m just linking it for the record.

All I’ll do is repeat the question I asked back in June: Mr. Commissioner, what team will Kaepernick be playing for this fall?

If Woody Guthrie Were Still Alive…

…Matthew Grimm’s Dumpster-Fire Days would be his favorite album of the last decade.
Matthew-Grimm-Dumpster-Fire-Days

My favorite lines from each song:

Salt of the Earth

We gathered in the square to watch Black men hang like a Friday night football game
We’ll greenlight genocide long as some charlatan tells us it’s in Jesus’ name

Tommy Keene Is Playing Kiki’s House

Corporations, Christians, contras, all fronts in one never-ending war
We raged at the sacred and austere, revenge for childhoods lived in fear Read more

« Older Entries