amor mundi

Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


via PoliticalWire: "A new CBS News poll finds President Trump’s overall approval rating has dipped three points from November to 36%. Fifty-nine percent of Americans now disapprove of the job he is doing -- a high for his presidency." Nice! Wonder if this has anything to do with it? "A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 57% of Americans believe it’s likely that Russia 'has compromising information' on President Trump while just 31% feel confident that Russia is not blackmailing the president." Not just underwater, but more than half the country thinks Russia has the goods to turn Trump traitor? How on earth is this shithole shutdown status quo sustainable for another two years? All my life America has been cruel and stupid, but the madness of the last three years is really just too much.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Staying Strong

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, January 21, 2019

Posted Without Comment

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily


Plenty can go wrong in two years with a would-be authoritarian con-man in the White House and a whole national bigoted bullying brain-dead party supporting him in lockstep, there are plenty of reasons to stay vigilant and critical (ideally with minimal paralyzed panic or circular firing squads for once), but, well, turns out, Trump's historically unprecedented high disapproval mattered for the midterms, here's hoping it still matters when the time comes to vote the bastard out. Via my favorite headline news/politics summary
Four new polls suggest that Donald Trump's base is beginning to show some cracks. A Pew Research Center survey shows Trump's approval at 37%, near the lowest it has ever shown. Even more important, among non-college whites, 50% approve of Trump's performance and 48% don't. That's a net swing of -15 points compared to a year ago. CNN's poll found Trump's approval among non-college whites at 45%, down 9 points since early December. Quinnipiac University's poll found Trump's approval among those voters slipping from +19 to +10, a 9-point drop. Then there is the Marist poll. 57% of the respondents said they would definitely vote against Trump in 2020 while only 30% would definitely vote for him. Among non-college whites, 42% said they would vote for him but 44% said they would vote for someone new. Polls go up and down, but there are three major things to keep an eye on. First, the longer the shutdown goes on, the more it hurts Trump. Second, the economy and stock market are doing fine at the moment, although there are signs of instability. If they go south, it will be a disaster for Trump. Third, Trump's team is still negotiating with China. What happens if China decides it prefers to wait for 2 years rather than make any permanent concessions of consequence? Any or all of things could shake things up quickly.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Trump Hump Day

If I am not mistaken, Donald Trump was inaugurated President of the United States two years ago today. Two years from now, the next President will be. Whether he gets impeached or voted out, this long nightmare must end, we must end Trump Republicanism before Trump Republicanism ends us. Things are looking a bit better than they did in the depths of two years ago, but these two years ahead of us still look like quite a scary slog.

Sunday Balk

Another Sunday too gray and drizzly for our weekly walk and brunch, looks like. Winter in the Bay Area, such as it is. Next week teaching resumes and my unwelcome companion, the butterflies of stagefright, have returned after leaving me in relative peace for the marvelously restorative weeks of this holiday break... Looking forward to seeing familiar student faces, getting back to walking the City streets for work, taking in married life I suppose.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Happy Birthday, Penny!

Although we scooped up our bright bold beautiful kitten in April last year, Penny is one year old today according to the papers she came with. She remains a devil and a delight.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, January 18, 2019

Married, Unburied

After seventeen years together, Eric and I got married this Wednesday afternoon at the Alameda County Clerk Recorder's Office. I still regard heterosexual marriage as a vestige of human trafficking and I still disapprove the commercial romance industry and its indoctrination of people through fantasies of dysfunctional completion via matrimonial control, etc etc etc. But I'm in my early-50s now, Eric's in his mid-40s and cobbling together taxes and scattered savings accounts and insurance policies and so on in the time of Trumpublican shenanigans seemed practically useful, more or less for the same reasons getting our domestic partnership made sense fifteen years ago when we did that. This was just a supplementation and clarification and expansion of that earlier status. That is what we have been telling each other. And yet. And yet.

And yet... Okay, so Eric and I have been together for nearly twenty years now (our 18th anniversary is just a few weeks away), we've been through a lot together, Eric matters to me in a way nobody else or anything else does. I don't even make sense as a person apart from the story of Eric and I and our years together at this point... And, okay, yes, there was indeed something more than administrivially and pragmatically useful in the marriage license and ceremony as it actually happened... It's hardly something I can recommend as a universally useful or relevant experience, certainly, there are lots of ways of making a sexual, romantic, social, personal life that makes every kind of sense than getting married (not to mention many ways of being married), but just being there with my best friend and holding his hands and saying the words in front of a judge, having my friend (and teaching colleague) Carolyn there as our witness -- she took the great photo you see at the end of the post! -- all the wonderful clerks and volunteer judges who walked us through the forms and ceremonies with their beaming smiles and professionalism, even just the very idea of this public affirmation of the reality of our shared love and our shared lives as a force the community is built of and building of was unexpectedly powerful... Eric and I both got misty-eyed holding hands and promising we'd support one another, it was hard not to think of recent illnesses, and breakdowns, and political fears, and economic struggles, and how strong we are together now, and just feeling that being recognized in an institutional way was weird and odd and powerful and moving...

Again, there are lots of reasons to be suspicious of marriage as an institution. Its history is patriarchal, the intergenerational transmission of power over the world by men through their possession of the world as property via their possession of women as property. To this day, marriage is suffused with reprosexual, cisheteronormative, possessive, paranoid, reductive, sentimental norms and forms that have done far more harm than good, been far more falsifying than truth-enabling. Maybe queering the institution renders it less harmful, more capacious. I don't know. Be all that as it may, however, it turns out marrying Eric was not just a handy lifehack. It was a wonderfully validating recognition of what matters most to us in a world we didn't expect that to matter to, a world that is, in this respect at least, a better world than the one we were born in and grew up in. It was bolstering. It was lovely. It was a good day. I love Eric. I got married to him this week. I love Oakland, California. That's where we live together and where we are loved together. Take that, all y'all Trumpmerican bullybigot greedhead knownothing motherfuckers!

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

That Would Be So Nice

"This charge is different," declares Adam Serwer (and a million others today it seems): “While evidence that the Trump campaign sought to assist the Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 election, and that the president then sought to hamper the federal investigation into that effort, has been in public view for some time, evidence that the president directed Cohen to lie to Congress would be something different entirely, a claim that the president conspired to commit a crime in pursuit of personal financial gain. Republicans have tried their best to set expectations so that only the clearest and most shocking of acts would qualify as criminal—and Trump’s reported actions not only meet but exceed them.... The report, if verified, provides a potentially simple narrative for a story that has often seemed complicated: Trump sought to profit from a real-estate deal in Moscow, and so defended Russia against accusations of interference, and then directed his personal attorney to commit perjury to cover up what he had done.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Listening to Blue...

....with a purring cat in my lap. So very nice.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, January 14, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Today's Random Wilde

To be really mediæval one should have no body. To be really modern one should have no soul. To be really Greek one should have no clothes.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Two Minute Warning

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sure, I'd Consider Voting For A Straight White Man. Just Not That One... something I plan to be saying a lot this Democratic primary season.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, January 11, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Highly (Bonus Daily)

Today's Random Wilde

There is no mode of action, no form of emotion, that we do not share with the lower animals.

I Stole The Tee Vee

Watching a lot of tee vee over this vacation, and I can feel sanity and strength restoring me show by show by show... Given the fact that one of the shows I'm enjoying most at the moment is "The Masked Singer" (which has spectacle to watch as your evil empire dies around you written all over it) demonstrates amply that sanity can be forged from the contemplation of the fever dreams of insanity. As a Doctor Who fan this comes as no great surprise.

Now that the season of holiday baking competitions is over, we are watching the tattered remains of the format left to us, for now, "Kids Baking Championship" and a Giada de Laurentiis gargoyle called "Winner Cake All." Speaking of gargoyles, we are giving Mama Ru her due this All-Stars as well. We are not young enough to declare the show has jumped the shark, tho' we do give it the occasional stink eye in between continued gaggings as our favorite queens never seem to win anymore. I'm also enjoying the last season of the turgid melodrama "Versailles," which I found OnDemand and binged in a few gory days.

Finished the most recent season of "Call the Midwife" a couple of days ago, a show which despite (oh, go ahead, admit it, because of) its cloying and clumsy sentimentality was probably my favorite show for a couple of its seasons -- an account of the emergence of the NHS and welfare state in 50s Britain, an earnest repudiation of the easy cynicism of Obama technocrats, Bernie fauxvolutionaries, and the trolls across the white supremacist/cisheteronormative GOP-to-libertechian right. The last two seasons haven't worked as well for me, as the many talented and wonderful actresses of the sprawling ensemble all seem too busy to actually assemble and the show scatters into isolated stories instead punctuated by sudden deaths and other weird vanishing acts that make the whole show more disrupted than bolstering. I was quite stunned however when the show ended with the cast gathered before the tube as we hear the announcement on the BBC of Kennedy's assassination and the sisters switched off the television right as the delayed opening broadcast of the premier episode of Doctor Who (I do believe?) was about to suffuse Nonnatus House with the hum of the TARDIS in the stunningly weird and wonderful opening of "An Unearthly Child," a collision of televisual narrative designed as it were especially for me, at exactly the time I would most benefit from the collision...

Anyway, I've got just one week before spring courses resume. Next week I've got syllabi to prune and print, links to burnish, thesis drafts to read, lectures to pull out of mothballs and rework, and much more. The lovely long relaxation in front of the tube with a cat on my lap under a faux-fur comforter popping strawberries and nonpareils in my mouth is, alas, nearly over...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Today's Random Wilde

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

I Don't Feed The Trolls Anymore

Oh, the sweet swift thrill I get deleting comments from trolls the moment I come upon even a smidge of Trump normalization, GOP and Dem false equivalency theses, or fauxvolutionary demoralization theatricals!

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily (Shithole Shutdown Continues Idiotically On Edition)

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily