Saturday, August 19, 2017

Would Abigail Adams be Worthy of a Statue?

Someone who might be worthy a statue: Abigail Adams.

A couple quotes from her Wikipedia entry:

'A notable incident regarding this happened in Philadelphia in 1791, where a free black youth came to her house asking to be taught how to write. Subsequently, she placed the boy in a local evening school, though not without objections from a neighbor. Adams responded that he was "a Freeman as much as any of the young Men and merely because his Face is Black, is he to be denied instruction? How is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? ... I have not thought it any disgrace to my self to take him into my parlor and teach him both to read and write."'

'In one of her more famous letters she implores her husband and his colleagues, all of whom were male, to, "...remember the ladies . . .If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."'

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thoughts on Historical Revisionism on Social Media Regarding USA Entering World War II because of Nazis

I don't just give permission to share this post. I encourage it.

Re-post of a comment I made on someone else's wall about a lot of the revisionism I've seen about US involvement in WWII being about the evils of Naziism:

If we're telling them to familiarize themselves with history, we should, too. Let's not forget that before we entered WWII, our country was plenty racist and a lot of people supported the Nazis. A lot of current state of mind among our white population that is anti-Nazi & even WWii came out of us being attacked by the Japanese and a lot of women & marginalized people working white men's jobs during the War. The U.S. did not enter the War on the principle basis of Nazi evil and the genocide of 6 million Jews and other non-Germans. That came after we entered the War.

And how many Japanese Americans did we put into Internment Camps?

Let's not also forget that Hitler and the Nazi's were inspired by US Manifest Destiny, in which  the American Revolution was fought partly to expand West, which seemed to require the genocide (which we are still doing now) of countless Native Americans.

I have some difficult feelings about how German citizens were treated after WWII. It's truly amazing how present day Germany has chosen guilt over shame/resentment & making sure that keep Naziism out of their country after ways they were treated by the rest of the world.

And just because: an interesting book about how social surroundings do a lot to manufacture horrible behavior out of people who would act perfectly sane in healthy situations. 

The Power of Others: Peer Pressure, Groupthink, and How the People Around Us Shape Everything We Do

Let's not erase white US complacency with Hitler and Nazis until we were attacked. I'm not saying that we coddle these people, that we praise people who have recovered from racism, but honestly all us white people have some level of culpability, especially if we take into account the casual prejudice we engage in everyday. We need to improve ourselves and our society and laws to make sure that this BS is not tolerated.

I say the last couple paragraphs because I've reached the tipping point of people revising history & basically holding white US blameless from the extension of WWII and allowing Hitler to perform genocide (even I don't know how much of that was public until the Nurembourg Trials).

Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Lexdate: THE Project, Activism, Quantifying the Activism, & Activism Tweets


All that stuff in the last entry about working on continuing education to maintain my insurance producer license, I slacked a bit on it. I started in on a jag of project research after a gaming session where I had a can of Mountain Dew after an advisable time.

Ended up staying all night and the night after doing some major online research into some social history in the colonial and antebellum United States regarding slavery and prejudice. It became a major focus over the the last two to four weeks. The research became really productive when I got into the rhetoric before the Revolution, a survey of British political history since the Magna Carta, and Classical Replubicanism.

It took a few weeks how using the word 'slave' as justification for colonists to revolt exposed their hypocrisy about slavery. to the Northeast. . .though it didn't do much to fight actual prejudice. . .and also the extent to which the fervor of sentiment for Classical Republicanism really invigorated the Colonies and even the country for years after. It took me longer than I feel it should take an American to get this stuff, but at least I got there.

Friday I think got to where I needed for this tangent of thinking. I familiarized myself with terms such as ethnocracy and state capitalism. Having terms such as these will help me with this one particular community to conceive and discuss some tensions in it and around it.

As I've heard in the academic and fantasy words, if you name it, you tame it. I still have a lot of work and other aspects to research. On top of that, I've had my hopes raised too much on this project to let myself get too wxcited now. A question could raise itself at some point, toppling this house of cards.


I haven't done the best job putting myself into any line (front, back, or wherever) in the realm of political and social activism. I've done plenty of armchair politicizing signing online petitions, discussing and arguing on social media and with real live people, sharing news articles and petitions, and tweeting at my elected officials (and maybe a few other ones) to at hopefully have my thoughts reach them.

Once I tried calling one of my representatives, senators, or something like that, but I just got a voicemail that stated it was full and wouldn't take any more additional. Admittedly I made that call at something like 6 PM or 7 PM CST, so everyone could have gone home for the night or been in some late night session.

I've told myself that my long working hours in, frankly, a conservative office has tired me out for anything like that. I also don't feel comfortable making political phone calls while walking the streets. Now that I think about it, though, I can think of a place or two where I would feel comfortable making some phone calls.

And wow. . .do I have some calls to make, just to my Illinois politicians. I don't know how well known the new "education budget" controversy is to the rest of the country/world, but whoo! There's a ton of other things on the docket to bother our politicians about: Minimum Wage Hike to $15, Closing Corporate Loopholes, urging them to adopt progressive income taxes, closing carried interest loopholes, and plenty of other things.

On the Chicago front, there's the Cardenas-Garza TIF Ordinance to require the City to use surplus TIF funds for social funds rather than as a the politicians' slush funds.

Trying to push politicians in the right direction takes a lot of work!


All that said, I can at least feel good about setting up monthly donations, a couple one-time donations, using to direct a portion of my purchase price to organizations that do good, and even labors of love. I feel that financial contributions do as much good as calling our elected officials, but doing them both does an even better job. After all, these profressionals getting to address the politics and social ills full time rather than, like me and others, when they can slip away from their day job (and some even have to do a day job and this good work on an extra curricular level).

I want to repurpose how Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income does his Income Reports. Instead of for reporting on how much I bring in from projects and investments, though, I like the idea of reporting my output to organizations for the social good. I don't really have an overarching motivation other than maybe encouraging others to open their wallets and get up to make the world a little better of a place.

Before getting into the report, though, the Freakonomics Radio had an interesting episode called "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask". The guest on the episode wanted to make up the fewest, easy to remember rules about money, so he wrote nine of them on an index card (he added a tenth one that almost didn't need to be written: remember these rules). Most of the rules don't work for me, but they make a good base for people who don't know much about money and aren't comfortable when it comes to finances.

I really, really, really liked his ninth rule: "Do what you can to support the social safety net." Since Trump was inaugurated into office, I've come to believe in the importance of this rule increasingly more each and every day, even before I heard it. The guest has his own story about taking on the responsibility of taking care of a relative who couldn't take care of themselves, and the guest wouldn't have been able to take care of the relative without the web of governmental social safety nets and probably non-governmental safety nets.

As for me, it's terrifying to me to see how it just takes one man, their cronies, and the cooperation of people who just plain don't give a shit about other people, the environment, or just plain the betterment of existence. These people will not just keep the world a bad place, they will work to hurt people and destroy the environment for their own profit and ideology. Thank goodness we have the current courts keeping things relatively sane, disagreement amongst the conservatives and ultra conservatives, and that some people are starting to see that the current agenda being realized will only lead us backward and may even destroy many peoples' lives in the present and the future, let alone say what it will do for civilization as we know it, in just the next 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 years. We all have to get involved to prevent or, where not possible, reduce the damage that these horrible people will do.

Now onto my Political and Social Justice and Safety Output Report:

  • Uncanny Magazine: Uncanny Magazine: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy doesn't hide the fact that they advocate for intersectional representational and social safety nets. So far this year, I estimate that I've invested 8 hours to reading unsolicited fiction submissions to judge whether they fit the needs of the magazine at the time or not then send them up to the Editors, if they are, and also helping to do some final proofreading on the final proof.

  • Fair Elections Legal Network crowd source campaign called Restore Voting Rights in Florida!: $25 one-time pledge that helped them surpass their goal of $25,000. This campaign is to assist people who served jail time to restore their right to vote in Florida when they leave prison. As it stands now, they have to take a lot of extra steps, not just registering to vote, to get their right to vote back. If the Fair Elections Legal Network succeeds at their campaign, they should make the return of voting rights return automatically after someone leaves prison and has successfully served their time.

    This one came as an impulse donation because I had made a big argument about the injustice of voter suppression in our country, and I felt the need to put my money where my mouth was.

  • The Sierra Club Foundation via $5.67 in 2017

    I think a little bit actually went to the ACLU at the beginning, but a lot of people around me have been donating to the ACLU, and I had read soon after about how much the Sierra Club had been and is doing to fight Trump and the GOP trying to destroy environmental protections that were put into place previously for the profits of large corporations. I'm sorry, that's disgusting, even if someone's using a "jobs argument". If we destroy clean water and the environment, those additional jobs won't mean shit. As an additional note, the Amazon Smile program has raised an aggregate of $24,364,61 for the Sierra Club so far this year. I tried finding the tally for ACLU but gave up after a little bit. Anybody in the audience use AmazonSmile to donate to ACLU and able to look up the total amount they have received so far in 2017?

  • VstheUniverse: $2 per month, $12 so far in 2017.

    VstheUniverse doesn't fit the description of political or social justice/safety net organization, but they do promote a lot of local Chicago nerdy personalities that play a fair part in fighting the good fight for social and intersectional representation justice. They also help me laugh, whether live at their live "Geek Show" or through their various nerdy podcasts and Youtube videos.

  • American Public Media's Marketplace: $7 per month, $49 so far in 2017. I started donating here in 2016.

    Not directly an activist organization, but you can get plenty of commentary about politics and how business and economics work in our nation and world. Since Trump entered the campaign, they had a lot of educated opinions on how much he doesn't seem to understand the economy and how his policy ideas won't have the positive effect that he hopes. There's also plenty of interesting stories about international politics and financial stuff. This donation comes down to supporting the need for good information needing to get to the people, and well, I listen to many of the podcasts this organization puts out.

  • The Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness: $5 per month, first donation on 7/31/2017

    Frankly, this one comes from feeling a large amount of guilt about pandhandlers, especially this one I had last week. I don't carry around cash or if I do, it's pretty much earmarked for a purchase that I plan to make. Plus, honestly, most of the money that I don't have earmarked or goes right into savings the day I receive my paycheck, that money goes toward paying down the credit cards. I can handle $5 a month automatically being charged to a credit card, though. Now I feel like I should direct panhandlers to this place. Because frankly, the Alliance probably has a better way of helping these people improve their lives than I do and it will probably help to tally these people into some statistics somewhere, so we can know really how bad the problem of homelessness is in this country.

  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago: $5 per month, first donation on 7/31/2017

    Frankly, the economically underpriveleged are vastly underrepresented legally. Getting them money, alone, won't be enough for improving their lives, especially when the law is prejudiced against them. This charity does a lot to help the economically underpriveleged in Chicago maintain rights that they're legally entitled to.

  • The Center for Popular Democracy: $5 per month, first donation on 7/31/2017

    This one arose further out of my Facebook argument point about voter suppression and feeling the need to put my money where my mouth was. This organization fights voter suppression, but that's just one thing that they fight. They're looking for popular democracy to grow in our country. So do I. Maybe my full donation won't go toward voter suppression all the time, but I can feel comfortable that it will go to growing popular democracy in the United States.

    Anybody know of any organizations that focus on voter suppression and accept automatic monthly donations?

  • Chicago Public Media 91.5 WBEZ (NPR): $5 per month, $35 in 2017. Started donating in 2016.

    My rationale for donating to Chicago Public Media is similar to my donation to Marketplace at American Public Media. To be a good citizen, we need good information to make good decisions and judgments and to know what we can do to help improve our communities, country, and the world. NPR provides pretty much objective news (though many will argue that it's either Left or Right, equally so which makes me think it's pretty objective), so it makes for a good start.

  • The NAACP: $5 a month, $35 so far for 2017.

    People of all types of Color have a shitty deal. The NAACP might be a little old fashioned and may not always be in touch with activists of and for color these days. Nonetheless, after hearing an interview about of Cornell Brooks and his emphasis on the importance of forming coalitions with all marginalized groups and people to take on the oppressive behavior of the privileged, I felt that this approach needed my finacial support to hopefully help make it happen. Sadly, I haven't seen this come to much fruition since a lot of Progressive Prejudice is still a norm in the world that makes forming these types of coalitions difficult.

  • Youth Outreach Services: $5 per month, $35 in 2017. Unsure when I started donating.

    Someone interviewed on a podcast inspired me to start donating here and start making donations to charities and poltical activist groups in the first place. The person interviewed had a troubled youth and lived a criminal life in Chicago. At some point, someone from this organization reached out to them, inspired them to fix their life and do more to contribute to society. This ex-con has now gotten very involved with Youth Outreach Services and is working to help others get out of that kind of life or prevent them from even starting it. Some day I hope to maybe volunteer or get more involved, but I feel the need to build more confidence and exposure. Nonetheless, after many stories of how religious leaders have ministered to underpriveleged neighborhoods and seen how they have improved the lives of people in those neighborhoods, I've found this type of thing a strange combination of effective and possibly problematics at some times, but it's a start that I believe shows some real benefit.

  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness: $4.56 per month, $31.92 in 2017. Unsure when I started donating.

    My donations to Youth Outreach Sevices helped inspire me setting up this monthly donation. Helping the youth in Chicago is great and one thing, but nationally, more needs to be done to improve the lot of people in economically underprivileged situations, whether through direct action or lobbying the government to put together programs or laws, especially in this time where we have lawmakers that don't give a shit about people who haven't made it, even though the society created by them and I'll even include an us prevents them from making it in the first place. People all over the place need our help. I don't have all the money in the world, but I like to think that even these small donations can help improve the lot of people in unfortunate situations and hopefully decrease the chance of it happening to people in the future.

  • Per month total: $43.56. Total one time: $25. Grand total as of end of July 2017: $239.92.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Lexdate: This Week - Not Much Research, Plenty of Snark


I haven't accomplished much in the last couple weeks for the project. I've done a lot of reading and deliberation over some topics but not satisfyingly advancing in the matter. Not much to report.

I probably won't have much to report over the next couple weeks, either. Every two years I have to get enough Continuing Education credits to renew my insurance license in Illinois. I use the tactic to try getting half my credits in the first summer after renewal and the second half during the second summer. There are some exceptions when I can get most of them at once or I switch the season when I get them. I like to at least have down a plan of how many credits I want to get when.

I might just get all but a few credits over the next couple weeks. Those last few credits must be in-class ethics credits, which I plan to take the first chance for a free ethics class. For whatever reason, property disaster recovery companies host free ones frequently. They probably do it for marketing purposes, hoping that an agent will refer them to clients that need them. At the very least, they hope an agent will put them on a list since it might be unethical for an agent to refer just one disaster recovery company.

Companies that provide all types of courses -- online, take home, live class, etc. -- send a lot of promotional materials to agents when it comes to license renewal time. I already had enough credits for this renewal, so I figure I'll give it a shot to address my own schedule of summer credits for the new two-year term. We'll see how it goes.

That being said, I'll probably focus a lot of attention on that for the next week or two. I plan to do it, get it done, then move on with my life. I probably won't provide that many project updates because I don't expect to make TOO MUCH progress on it while doing this continuing education stuff. If I make any useful progress, though, I'll try to post it.


My Twitter posts on the other hand. . .I've gotten a little hot over the last couple weeks for reason I'm pretty sure my readers would understand. Without further ado (which I think might be becoming a catch phrase for me):

Monday, July 03, 2017

The Lexdate: Way Too Much Time Has Passed, Enjoy the Update Dump!


Well I haven't reported anything for about 2-1/2 months now. Some non-life threatening, non-disease, recoverable family stuff has occurred. It took my attention away from things I'd rather do with my time, but I had to attend to. It reached the level where I've had to take a staycation this week to try straighten out some space on my work table and in my mind while also spending time with MIchi and setting up some plans to spend time with extended family.

It's only Monday. I feel like my mind has already focusd on Wednesday. I don't feel like I"ve done as much as I would have liked to have done by today. This type of thinking isn't conducive to existing within the present of a vacation. I have to settle into chilling out (then probably start getting ready for work again).

I haven't done much on the project during the month of June except for reading a book on the bus. Add together getting a second degree burn on my left palm about three weeks ago (cooking accident) and my mobile falling into rebooting cycle and recycling until it gets pliugged into the wall, "external exigencies" have gotten distracting.

Reading through digital slush for Uncanny Magazine has taken a fair chunk of time, too. So much has come in and onto my "desk", I haven't had the luxury to read the latest issue that I have on my new phone ready to read.

Add onto all that, chores and spending time with friends. Some of these things I have to think of less as time sucks, rather more as enjoyable aspects of life. Any local friends, don't hesitate to distract me to hang out and stuff.

Nonetheless, despite the minimal progress on the project, I feel like I've gone into some interesting directions regarding peoples' need others and social contact, and how assisting others and interacting with others, if done in the right way, can lead to more health, happiness, and sense of meaning. More will come as I learn more, especially when I finally get this project done and ready for release.

I've had to put novel writing on pause. It's going to require a little more personal experience and research into other peoples' experiences and perceptions. Adding another particular character that has a lot of different characteristics than me takes me out of my realm of familiarity enough that I don't feel comfortable writing them until I have checked my perceptiosn and get some other ones to provide a more realistic understanding. Unfortunately, I have some other reserching to do, so this could end up taking some time. Oh I wish I had more free time.

Regarding all that pineapple I talked about in last entry, I stopped eating it. It pretty much ate away at my gums. It didn't eat away at my teeth like my dentist seemed to worry about, but my gums instead. Ironincally, the enzyme I wanted in my belly to help digest had been digesting my gums. Now I just take a supplement in cellulose to get the enzyme. So, folks, leasson learned: eat pineapple sparingly.

Watermelon, on the other hand. . .


So, without further ado, the reason I suspect you came to this blog entry, my Tweeting for the last couple months!

And 6 days after my Tweet saying that I don't remember knowing the name of a previous FBI director. . .