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Category: PSA

“Me Too” Thoughts

“Me Too” Thoughts

For the confused: Sexual harassment and assault have nothing to do with the erotic. They are the core expressions of a pure power dynamic, a form of bullying and manipulation by immature and weak people who can sometimes become very dangerous, even violent.

If you do not consent, do not enjoy, that is harassment and often assault. The harasser, the stalker, the abuser, the rapist, the murderer – they persist despite (and often because of) resistance and lack of consent. They don’t take “no” for an answer. They are wielding power aggressively to intimidate you because they think they can. They are not paying attention to you as a full human being, but only to their own internal dynamics. You are then just an object, not another person with their own boundaries and thoughts and feelings and rights.

Mutual seduction is NOT that. Flirting is NOT that. An expression of interest, or even a sexual advance, is NOT that, in most cases, unless it creates a fearful toxic situation where you are somehow trapped. If you move away, or say “hey” or “no thanks” and they still won’t leave you alone – and the culture supports that in thousands of ways – then that is what is being addressed by “me, too.”

Awareness is a small step, easily rationalized, denied, and rejected.
With awareness, pay attention.
With growth, discard previous assumptions and construct better questions.
With better understanding, understand and disrupt toxic behavior.
With more insight, communicate to others when you see similiar inappropriate behavior and structures (whenever you can).
Navigate as best you can with what you know, and hold yourself accountable in the mirror.
Know thyself, and listen to others.
Know your friends, family and tribes.
Name what you know, in the active tense.

Ask more questions.

See where toxic things structurally and institutionally intersect.

Find allies. Be an ally.

The way forward is like this.


Please, J.K. Rowling, More Stories

Please, J.K. Rowling, More Stories

The current Harry Potter moviefest that I’m enjoying with my son has inspired me to make a request of J.K. Rowling. I love these stores – we’ve read all the books multiple times – because they give me hope. It’s just that simple. They give me hope.

So, I navigated over to her website at and – sure, why not? – clicked on the contact link.

The Blair Partnership represents J.K. Rowling internationally and across all media. Please direct any queries to and a member of the team will be in touch directly. J.K. Rowling very rarely does interviews or public speaking, and when she does they are usually around a new project or charitable commitment. Please note that she does not undertake fee-paying public speaking engagements. Because of the huge volume of requests coming in, J.K. Rowling also regrets she is unable to…

Yada yada yada. Well, ok, fair enough. I sent the following email, but just in case there isn’t any analysis or reporting of the communications, I’m also posting it here. You never know, maybe they do some version of web analytics, social media harvest, or even a Net Promoter Score (put me in the “I would definitively recommend” bucket).

To Whom it May Concern:

I am aware that the illustrious J.K. Rowling could not possibly respond to the billions of her readers, but I am hoping that you maintain some sort of thematic statistics for her.

If so, may I add to the numbers of those who pray that she considers creating more stories that work at multiple levels for children and adults alike? I pray for very few things.

There are so very few such nourishing narratives that do (or can) burst into our mainstream cultures as they exist today. In the Potter books (and films – one must include the films) human complexity is better grasped in these contexts that show how important existential choices are (whether or not someone has quite enough information, whether or not situations are fair, whether or not you think anything you do will make a difference to yourself or anyone else). The stories allow us to feel (with the very deepest of empathy and intuition) compassion and pity and courage and friendship and trust and even alienation. That they do so with a marvelous reinvention of all the long-standing traditions of literature, fairy tale, and even institutional satire gives incredible depth to the world she crafted and creates the speculative but nuanced expansion of imagination that used to be the basis of all liberal education.

In short, the Potter stories give me hope during what I consider to be rather dark times.

My son Ben (now 12) has grown up with the Potter story. It has given us so many opportunities to discuss life’s issues and mysteries in a common language. I can tell you – definitively – that navigating the terrain of the characters and story have made a significant difference to his own evolving character and intellectual/creative/spiritual development. He understands being true to himself, and the meaning of friendship, and the gifts of love, awareness, grace, support. He has internal reference points for things that are difficult to articulate, but can be recognized. And he doesn’t simplify into simple dualities and sound bites. He learns to ask better questions. Thank you for this gift to my son, and to me, and to all the others, everywhere.

I love the woman of her personal history and of her effects in the world, but please – more stories. The world so desperately needs them.

Pre-Election Roundup

Pre-Election Roundup

Some various items from the last few weeks…

World Poll: Strongly Favors Barack Obama – Only Pakistan’s respondents said they would prefer to see Mitt Romney win November’s election.

THE CHOICE: The New Yorker’s Endorsement of Barack Obama

Politifact Truth-o-Meter

How U.S. Stimulus Bested U.K. Austerity

Sorry, U.S. Recoveries Really Aren’t Different

Team Romney still fighting arithmetic

The Plutocracy Will Go to Extremes to Keep the 1% in Control

Bork? Bolton? 9 Romney Advisers You Need to Know About

‘Moderate Mitt’: Neocon Trojan Horse

Under Romney’s Plan, US Auto Makers Would Have Died

Romney & Company Shipped Every Single Delphi UAW Job to China

Mormon Mitt in Bed with Big Tobacco

Inside Bain’s Chinese Sensata Factories, Where Workers Put in 12-Hour Days for $.99-$1.35 an Hour

Employees of Romney Family’s Secret Bank Tied to Fraud, Money Laundering and Drug Cartels

Romney Lied in Court And Then Screwed Over His Friend’s Wife During Nasty Divorce With Staples Founder

Romney Supports Welfare – For Corporations

GOP Platform Calls for Nuking What’s Left of McCain-Feingold Law

Romney Cites Study Based On Repealing Almost All Middle Class Tax Breaks To Bolster His Tax Plan

Gender Inequality Map – Women in Utah have it the worst. There, the average working woman makes 55 cents for every dollar the average working man makes.

Marco Rubio Helps Demonstrate that the GOP Simply Opposes Paying Women Fairly

GOP Rep. Tells Employers To Intimidate Their Workers Into Voting For Romney

Faith Leaders Condemn GOP Senate Candidate’s Statement That Rape Pregnancies Are A ‘Gift From God’

Court Requires Disabled Rape Victim To Prove She Resisted

Pennsylvania Bill Would Reduce Welfare Benefits For Women Who Cannot Prove They Were Raped

GOP Congressman Says Abortion Is Never Necessary To Save A Woman’s Life


Anti-Choicers Show Their True Colors

Did the Climate Deniers Win?

Palin, Trump continue to lead right-wing hate party against Obama

With ‘Dreams From My Real Father,’ Have Obama Haters Hit Rock Bottom?

Ayn Rand Would Be Proud: Soup Kitchen in Paul Ryan’s Photo Op Loses Funds, Gets Attacked By Conservative Trolls

Maryland pastor tells anti-gay group: LGBT people are ‘worthy of death’

Missouri Pastor Goes Viral on Gawker: Separation of Church and Hate

Paul Broun: Evolution, Big Bang ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’ – Broun is a high-ranking member of the House Science Committee, of which Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) is also a member.

Tea Party Voter Suppression Group Under Investigation

Clear Channel takes down voter fraud billboards – The anonymous sponsor of the ads is still unknown. Clear Channel Outdoor is affiliated with Clear Channel Communications, which is majority-owned by private equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

FBI Investigating Hoax Letters to Voters in Florida

Ohio county sends voters wrong election date, directions to polls

Third instance of Republican voter registration dumping found in Virginia

Virginia AG won’t investigate GOP worker who dumped voter registration forms

Department of Justice: Investigate Tagg Romney owning voting machine in Ohio

Georgia Charter Schools, Amendment 1 (2012) – Vote No!

Georgia Multi-Year Rental Agreements, Amendment 2 (2012) – Vote No!

My Thanksgiving Prayer

My Thanksgiving Prayer

We pray for those who are sick, lonely, afraid, or in in need – that you may send them strength and comfort.

We humbly ask that you provide what we need for our souls and bodies and minds to grow and be well.

Help us to attune to that sweet spot of thriving as we navigate our world.

Help our leaders to remember, and to honor, the well-being of the people – all the people – everywhere in the world.

Forgive us our shortcomings, and help us to forgive the shortcomings of others.

Help us to be mindful, loving, forgiving, patient and kind.

May we dwell with Spirit, in gratitude, and with brave and compassionate hearts.


What does it mean to celebrate Independence Day?

What does it mean to celebrate Independence Day?

I’ve been getting all the regular emails that I expect this time of year. It makes me sad that a form of blind nationalism has seemingly replaced authentic American patriotism.

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. … The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” ~ George Orwell

We are surrounded by a significant amount of ignorance and confusion about what the founding values really are, about how and why religion benefits from the separation of church and state, about integrity versus fear/hate, about whether “real Americans” only include the immigrants from a couple of waves of history – or all of them, about whether it is American to interfere with someone’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, about whether or not inalienable human rights actually apply to all humans – or just to some of the more wealthy Americans. We actually sit around and argue about whether someone even has the right to be who they are! These are issues that arise over and over and over again. Want to be a real American? Want to be a real patriot? Then get a spine! Stand up for the things that have made us worthy of admiration. Live in integrity, be courageous in the face of truth, don’t be fearful or avoidant in acknowledging and bettering whatever is failing to live up to our values. American values.

Happy Independence Day Americans should always say “Independence Day” rather than euphemizing with “the 4th.” When I was young, everyone seemed to say “Independence Day” a lot more than they do now. Why is that? The meaning of Independence Day for me is that just as we achieved independence (moving from an imperial colony into a fledgling country that rejected state religion, taxation without representation, and an uncompromising class structure, and championed the virtues of equality and liberty and ethical justice) we each should remember to reinstill an informed sense of those standards in thinking and acting and to continuing to uphold those values in any way that we can.

The Constitution as a founding document was meant to give us the kind of government that is fair and that allows freedom and flexibility to adjust to new realities. It created the moving parts to evolve and to better ourselves and our ethical insights, with inalienable rights for every American – and every human. A government of, by and for the people built the middle class, made us a world power, and made us strong and admirable. Without those core values, we can’t compete at the same level in any sense.

Change is part of what the Constitution allows, describes… and makes possible! We don’t need to re-animate the limited views of the past, only to salvage and rearticulate our core strengths as Americans. This is what we are losing, and all the “protective” killing in the world cannot protect us from the loss of understanding from within.

That means that whether or not you’re a soldier, you’re not off the hook. It’s not enough to be grateful for sacrifices made to establish and maintain the core principles of the USA. As Americans, we have a higher standard than flag waving and jingoism. The flag, the Bible, the Constitution – when will the neocon chickenhawks and war profiteers and the pseudo-Christian right cease this manipulation of the masses with what can only be called idol worship? Literalists are always mistaking the symbol for a reality, and it’s a failure of education. Americans seem to have less of a sense of history than most other nations, and it hurts us in this battle.

“The very existence of the state demands that there be some privileged class vitally interested in maintaining that existence. And it is precisely the group interests of that class that are called patriotism.” ~ Mikhail Bakunin, Russian anarchist

The fringe right has been moved into the center, and this is very troubling for a number of reasons. Among the long list of problems is that the current rightwing is not conservative in any recognizable way, and it uses the worship of a static Constitution to reintroduce items that we have – for the most part -culturally surpassed. After well over 200 years, we’re regressing to some of the beliefs and prejudices that the Constitution itself was meant to transcend! Have we learned nothing?

Propaganda and political mind games seem to appeal to the worst part of so many Americans, but there are always those who will stand up and speak truth to power – no matter where the power is located. It helps nothing to squabble amongst the “small people” over cultural preferences when we are all being ripped off – and our very land and future stolen. Don’t let fear and hate and the hysterical lynchmob mentality take over our country, lest we become that which we should stand against.

We are in danger of losing the sense of who we are as a people – a people composed of many peoples, many tribes and ethnicities, many classes, many religions but who share the values of liberty and freedom and justice for all. If we lose that, we are America no longer.

Will you be a *real* American?


P.S. Don’t miss Jolly Roger’s wonderful explication of the difference between nationalism and patriotism.

Victoria Jackson – Wow~!

Victoria Jackson – Wow~!

I always loved Victoria Jackson on Saturday Night Live – but of course I thought her persona was a put-on for comic effect.

Guess what? It doesn’t look that way. This display actually makes me feel more sorry for, and a little bit less angry at, the people that have been so woefully misled.

I could parse this whole thing, but why? See for yourself. Sadness.

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