Tuesday is an extremely important day for human rights in this country. Get out the vote!

Link Love

I’m not sure why I didn’t get many links this week. Maybe because I rewatched the Lizzie Bennett Diaries (in conjunction with reading The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett, Amazon affiliate link) in my spare time instead of surfing the internet. At work I had a bunch of meetings and so much service that required me to actually pay attention so that probably had something to do with it too (I’m still only at May 2022 in my “catch up on emails with econ abstracts” since the pandemic started project– 325 emails remain).

Voter registration before the midterms is ending soon in a lot of states (like, possibly this Monday or Tuesday depending on where you live).  Be sure to check your registration!   If you’re not registered (and are a US citizen), get registered ASAP!

The midterms could decide a lot of really important things.  We need to keep the majority of the house democratic and we need more real democrats in the Senate.  Because if we don’t, the supreme court isn’t going to protect us from legislation that strips away our rights or that harms vulnerable populations.  We’ve already lost the right to control our own bodies in many states.  State and local elections are extremely important as well.  There’s coordinated movements to ban books about minorities, women, LGBTQ+ people and your school board or city counsel (in the case of public libraries) is going to make the decision about what is available for children to read where you live.  State and local legislatures are going to decide if trans kids get legally harassed.  These are all incredibly important issues.  Activism is so important now.

What can you do?

Find your local democratic headquarters or your local indivisible group and see what’s going on.  Now is a great time for block walking, or even just going to cafes and helping potential voters register/check their voter registration.

Want to sit at home and write postcards?  They have several campaigns going right now where your postcard could have a big impact on voter turnout for down-ballot candidates in swing states.  Here’s an example of postcards (not affiliate because I was too lazy).

Another option is writing letters to voters– the big send for Vote Forward is Saturday, October 29th, after which it will be too late to write letters for them.  I can do 20 letters to voters in the time it takes to do 10 postcards (there’s a lot less writing).  If you’ve got a printer, this is a great way to reach voters.  I also enjoy using cool postage stamps and I close the envelopes with Be a Voter stickers.  Currently they have campaigns for lots of different states that encourage voting for marginalized groups, for registered democrats, and also now they are running some experiments on issue voting such as abortion and climate change.

Something is better than nothing.  Anything you can do to help will combine with everything everyone else is doing.  Maybe we can hold fascism back or even prevent its spread.  The longer we keep it at bay, the more children will have a chance to grow up happy and healthy.  The more people will not have their lives ruined.  The more people will not lose their lives.


Following Rules

This is another post that was in drafts from 2011.

DC is a rules follower.  Ze trusts that the rules are there for a reason and are in hir best interest.

American cinema and television demonstrate that sometimes the rules are not good ones.  Why is there a rule against earth-bending?  <– I think this must have been a discussion with DC1, probably about Avatar?  I haven’t watched it, but maybe there was a rule against Earth bending that DC1 didn’t understand?

America loves a rebel.

These are the discussions we’ve been having.  Thankfully we’re too young to talk about the Holocaust.

What do you do with a child that is just a little bit too good?  Do you leave hir that way or explain that sometimes rules don’t make sense.  And when rules don’t make sense, there’s a need to rebel against them.  Hopefully through channels that follow the rules, but sometimes that isn’t enough.

Update 11 years later:  DC1 is pretty good at passive-aggressive resistance.  DC2 is more of an outspoken rebel.  Both are probably helpful in the future fight against fascism.  And they both know about the Holocaust.

Trans people are people and not some abstract concept

Back in high school and college and graduate school we knew people who were trans women, or, in the case of high school, would realize that they were trans women once they had the vocabulary to know such a thing existed. I don’t think we knew any out trans men– I’m not sure why, but my theory (which could totally be wrong) is that we only knew of the trans people who needed to be out the most, the most femme of trans women.  Other trans people could more easily not discuss gender, and we were the grunge generation so clothing for everyone was pretty gender neutral.  (Man, I miss grunge so much.)

Since moving to this Southern State, I’ve had several trans students in my classes and we had a student worker who transitioned while working for us, but all trans men, or more recently enbys (non-binary).  It is not very safe to be a trans woman here, even in the college town.  This is not where you want to go to college if you can go anywhere else.  This is not a state in which you want to live in if you are trans.

We’ve had a lot of anti-trans legislation, most of it aimed at children.  I spent hours, maybe days or weeks if you add all the time up, calling about bathroom bills.  My sister bought an autobiography for every single member of our state legislature.  The state blocked things.  But then came a new spate of bills, some of which passed through legislature and some of which were proclaimed by fiat.  It is dangerous to be a trans kid here.

DC1 had a best friend at private school.  K-4 they were best friends. They skipped first grade together.  In 5th grade, we went on leave.  While DC1 was gone, everyone at the private school, male and female alike, started doing locks of love, so when we got back everyone had long hair.  In 6th grade the private school shut down and at the public school they didn’t have any classes together and DC1 was so busy with mostly crafts projects for language arts that zie didn’t have much time to socialize with any of hir old private school friends outside of school.  After that they would occasionally have a single class together, but they never really talked anymore.  We heard from hir parents that zie was having difficulty adjusting to academics in high school (though, unlike DC1, the friend actually went to robotics club enough to be considered a member and is now in a leadership position).

DH and the friend’s father are themselves friends and they enjoy boardgaming together.  So pre-pandemic we’d hang out once every month or every few months depending on schedules, and sometimes DC1 and DC1’s friend and hir older brother (and even mom) would join.  At the beginning of the pandemic they did some online games together, but they couldn’t really find online games that were a good fit for them (DH and DC1’s friend’s parents have overlapping boardgame interests, but not completely overlapping) so that petered out for a while until after DC2 got vaccinated and we felt comfortable sending DH and DC1 over to their place to do boardgames again.

The weird thing was that, since the pandemic, whenever DH and DC1 would go over, DC1’s friend would not be present.  They would see the older brother if he was home from college, but not the friend.

At the most recent gaming date, DC1’s friend was present, though not participating in gaming.  Zie stopped by and was acknowledged by hir parents with a new-to-us name and different pronouns than we’d heard used before in conjunction with hir.  (Zie then almost immediately got dumped via text and went back to hir room and hir mom had to take a break from the game to console hir.)  And that was that.  DH and DC1 didn’t react at all, just mentally took notes and got back to the game.

But we talked about it when we got home.  We explained about what you’re supposed to do about gender if you live in a sane state and a person is out (use the correct pronouns and name!) and how that might be dangerous to do at school where we’re living now.  We discussed whether to misname and misgender if the person isn’t out yet in certain environments (“You never out someone without their permission”).  I was of the opinion that at school DC1 should avoid names and pronouns entirely, which is really easy for DC1 to do as zie doesn’t know any of hir friends names.  (“My one friend… My one other friend… My orchestra friend…”  The weird thing is, we generally know who zie is talking about, though, of course, not by name.)

When cross-examined, DC1 said that hir friend is going by hir deadname and incorrect pronouns at school, at least in the one class they have together.  Which is understandable given the current extreme environment right now.  Hir parents are both medical doctors and the dad works with kids.  If I were living in Texas, as a mandated reporter through my job, I would now be supposed to turn them into child protective services (but I wouldn’t!) to be investigated as abuse.  Because they are using the correct name and pronouns for this kid that we’ve known since zie was 5.  This is horrifying and terrifying.

Paired action items:

Track anti-trans legislation in your state and CALL your local representatives and tell them to VOTE NO.  These bills are coming fast and furious.

Donate to Donors Choose so trans kids can read about trans people.

Donate to help trans kids in Texas.

February Challenge Update

Maybe I’m just doing this as an excuse to use the habit tracker I bought from jetpens and don’t need and to get to use DC2’s Zig dot marker.  There is something very satisfying about dotting a little box in a grid.  (Not sponsored, just addicted.)

Last week was a bit light, but this week is really heavy at work, so I did a bit more than one would expect last week in anticipation of not being able to do much this week.

  1. Donation to Donors Choose classroom (not in NYC or CA) that wants Maus (there are a lot of options now!).  I saw another story on books being banned.
  2. Donation to Donors Choose classroom (not in NYC or CA) that needs stuff for LGBT students.  More LGBT books banned.  This one got fully funded, and when I checked on it, they’d ended up not buying any of the LGBT swag because it was out of stock and they didn’t replace it.  So I did another search and found someone (not in NYC or CA) who wanted a book with “queer” in the title.
  3. One of my friends recommended donating to Trey J. Hunt because he is unopposed in his primary and he’s been spending a lot of time registering voters.  I don’t know if he has a chance against his evil Republican opponent, but I thought it was worth a donation, because if we don’t try, evil will definitely win.  (Feel free to let me know of any candidates you support and why in the comments– maybe I’ll throw them $25!)
  4. Elizabeth Warren sent me a convincing email about fighting for voters rights, so I sent her some cash too.
  5. Wrote 10 postcards to voters supporting Tracye Polson’s runoff election in FL.  I especially like the excuse to use the excess pens I’ve bought from jetpens.
  6. Read another article about books being banned, so supported a Donors Choose classroom that wants Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  7. Read another article about books being banned, so supported a Donors Choose classroom that wants All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M. Johnson.
  8. Proofread an activism newsletter before it was sent out.  (Also recommended a Donors Choose classroom specific to the newsletter locality as an action item.)
  9. Wrote 10 postcards to voters supporting Keturah Herron in KY.
  10. Donation to Donors Choose classroom (not in NYC or CA) that wants a copy of the 1619 project, which is apparently *banned* in several states by name, according to a news article I read.

Activism February Challenge

I am totally going to satisfice this.  I know there are optimal things that I could be doing, starting with figuring out what the current activist landscape is like, and other things that involve talking with people and organizing.  I’m not in a place to do that right now.  But I am in a place for baby steps!

My goal for this month is not to necessarily do something every day, but to have done 28 activism things by the end of the month.

Here’s some examples of things I will consider to be an “activism thing”:

  1. Write 10 post-cards to voters
  2. Donate $25 or more to a single activist cause
  3. Call my reps about an issue
  4. Find a Democratic candidate to support who is not in a competitive primary and donate to their campaign

I’m open to other suggestions!  Even if I don’t end up doing them, some member of the grumpy nation might think your suggestion is perfect for them!

Not saying anything is a political statement

Some blogs are so invested in keeping their affiliates that they are desperate not to be controversial at all.  But what happens when you don’t address homophobia and you do tout Chick-Fil-A or both-sides racism and so on, is that your readership becomes pretty heavily homophobic, and pretty racist, and so on because none of the decent people want to follow you anymore.  Is it better to have your demo be the same as Fox News’s?  Maybe if you’re a grifter.

But morally and ethically, when you keep silent about the injustice that does exist in your community, you’re making a decision to accept it.  That kind of makes you a bad person, or at least “misguided.”  Use your platform for good, not sins of omission.

Here’s some twitter people saying it better than we just did:

(This first twitter quote seems to be from a no-longer existent twitter account.  But the author has this book!  All amazon links are affiliate.)

Attention Texans with kids under 12! Action today August 12th!

Sorry to interrupt the wonderful discussion we were having on books that appeal to kids, but this seems important.

I got an email from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous requesting that I post this so parents with kids under 12 can join a lawsuit against Governor Abbot.  (Sorry this is so late!)

YOU HAVE TO FILL The above affidavit out and have it notarized and scan to him by noon today.
Your local bank probably also has a notary public and may take less time than UPS.
Hey folks!  Late night plea for assistance.  The nonprofit I represent has filed suit against Governor Abbott in Travis County District Court seeking a statewide injunction of the Governor’s Executive Order GA 38.  But here’s the rub:  no one at the AG’s office is responding to our efforts to confer regarding a hearing date.  So . . . we are intending to file a request for a statewide temporary emergency restraining order by noon TODAY if we do not hear from the AG’s office.  How many parents would consider executing an affidavit in support of our TRO request?  One is attached.  Please limit to one page.  It is like 5 bucks at the UPS store to have it notarized.  Scan it to me at and save the original.  No children’s names, please.  Just parents and district, that is all I can hope to ask of you.  Your name will be part of a court proceeding that is public in nature.  But your address is not on the affidavit, ever.  Pray, meditate, breath, take an early morning walk.  Please let me know ASAP.  What I’ve said here is about all there is to say, but ‘friend’ me on FB (my page is public) and we can message about specific, unique questions.
Visit us for updates on the case:


Sick of the phrase: “It is what it is”

Everyone keeps saying it, even when it doesn’t have to be.

I am a big fan of the serenity prayer, especially the version I learned that puts having the courage to change things that I can first.

God grant me the courage to change things that I can

The serenity to accept things I cannot

And the wisdom to know the difference

I think this was cross-stitched on a sampler at the house of one of my baby-sitters when I was a kid.

“It is what it is” keeps being used not for that second line, but to excuse not having the courage for the first.  And I hate it.  We can fight for injustice.  We can fight for equality.  We can keep calling our representatives and not just give up on them.  We are at a turning point in US history– we can get rid of the filibuster, grab DC state-hood, pass HR1 as new voting rights legislation, protect trans kids, pack the supreme court.  After 12 years of unconscionable changes by Republicans doing things never dreamed of in previous administrations in our memory– Merrick Garland, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett, refusing to bring any legislature to a vote, removing the VRA, not doing anything on gun control after Sandy Hook, etc. etc. etc.– we can also do the unthinkable.

It doesn’t have to be.

But it will be if we don’t fight for it.  If we give up prematurely.

If we don’t have the wisdom to know the difference.


Here’s a link to 5calls.  Demand Statehood for Washington DC.  Support Democracy Reform with H.R. 1.  Protect Dreamers.  And so much more.  But none of this will happen if we give up.  Because the bad guys aren’t giving up.

URGENT: Calls for democracy TODAY (Please call or fax!)

Yes, I, too would rather be discussing the merits of different organizational systems.  But Democracy is more important.

US citizen readers, I need you to do the following things today.

Call or Fax your Members of Congress:

Call your members of congress (<–note:  may be out of date if you have a new MOC from the last election)— senators and congressperson and demand that:
1. Trump be impeached or resign
2. Cruz resign
3. Hawley resign

Why?  If you missed the news and were actually able to work yesterday:  These three people helped incite a riot and attempted coup which resulted in congress being evacuated and at least one death.  So far only 25 people have been arrested (earlier numbers said 13) and possibly some congressional police have been fired for their part in helping protestors in, but that may be an internet rumor.  Washington Post is calling for impeachment and resignations.  We should be too.

If you can’t leave a message, you can send a fax ,
If you can’t do that, you can send an email or a postcard (or keep trying).

Do this if your MOC are democrats (they need the support) or Republicans (they can put pressure AND they will learn that they cannot join the seditionists with impunity).

Next:  Check to see if your Congressperson is on this list of 138 congresspeople who voted to overturn a free and fair election.  If so, then call them and tell them it was wrong.  I called at 5am this morning and my congressman himself answered the phone and tried to convince me that the debate on the floor made it clear… he hung up on me when I called him a traitor to democracy.  It’s not likely that your congressperson will answer themselves (and fax if you don’t want to talk!), but they need to know that attempted coups are unacceptable.  How much further can they go?  Do we want to let them find out?  [NOTE:  IF THERE WAS AN ELECTION IN YOUR DISTRICT, your congressperson may have changed!  The new congresspeople have been seated.]

After you’ve made your calls, could you ask a friend or tweet or send to a mailing list or something to get the word out so that more people call?  We need to save democracy.  There was an attempted coup yesterday.  It needs to be punished swiftly and with great strength and I’m not sure our leaders have the bravery to do so unless they feel like their constituency is behind it.  And the republicans who supported the coup need to know they cannot keep subverting democracy.

Let me know in the comments that you called/faxed!  Share any scripts you found useful!