I just heard a cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Songs” by Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer.


Yes, I know, there are major cultural appropriation issues. Bob Marley lived in a particular social and political context, and his music is a response and challenge and a call to action. “How long will they kill our prophets while we stand aside and watch?” isn’t really metaphorical.

But Johnny Cash makes this song so personal. It’s not a political struggle, but the struggle all of us have to get by. And there is something just… right … about the man whose first big hit was “Folsom Prison Blues” singing about songs of freedom.

“Redemption Songs” was released posthumously, on the box set which includes his covers of “One” and “Hurt.” That last one breaks my heart.

Good music, even for people who are not Johnny Cash fans.

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My dear RBG,

I love you. You know that. You have been a beacon of hope for so many of us, a gifted champion for the downtrodden. I hope you live forever.

But Donald Trump is right. You acted completely inappropriately when you spoke out about his candidacy. As Ben Carson said in an interview I saw with him, most people believe that the Court is completely politicized anyway. The last thing we need is to feed into that perception, further eroding trust in SCOTUS as an institution.

I don’t care if you gripe to your friends, or fulminate to Elena and Sonia. A Supreme Court justice has got to stay out of politics in public. It’s Caesar’s wife: not only must the Court be impartial (to the extent it can be), it must be seen to be impartial. That’s why you guys don’t applaud during the State of the Union, right?


A VBF (Very Big Fan)

P.S. Absolutely no love for making me agree with Donald Trump and Ben Carson. 


Dear Donald Trump:

You think RBG is actually going to resign over this? Hah! As Willie Wonka might say, “You’re funny.”

No love,

A “hater.”


Dear Bernie Supporters who walked out after he endorsed Hillary Clinton:

For months now you and he have been saying that his candidacy was about more than him. You’re both right: at this point, it’s about your egos.

You have two choices: vote third party (or not at all) and bask in your self-righteousness if Donald Trump wins the White House. You could be like the Nader people from 2000, who blamed the Democratic Party for not doing enough to “welcome them.” Never mind that you have consistently misrepresented Hillary’s record for months, or that the platform will represent many of Sanders’ positions (not all, but hey, a lot). Never mind that you are willing to turn America over to a party that wants to eliminate reproductive rights for women, whose standard-bearer exudes xenophobia and misogyny with almost every utterance. Nothing matters more than “refusing to settle,” right? I’m sure your ideological purity will be of great comfort to the rape victim who cannot get an abortion because abortions are illegal across the country. (Oh, and don’t forget, the next President will be responsible for the filling of at least one SCOTUS seat, ensuring that the Republicans’ reactionary agenda will be enshrined in law for years, possibly decades, even if January 2021 features the inauguration of President Warren.)

Or you can recognize that wars are not won in a single campaign. That change may take a long time. Don’t be fooled by the rapid ascendancy of the Tea Party: like the actor who has toiled in bit parts for fifteen years before becoming an “overnight sensation,” the far-right has been building its ground game ever since Goldwater lost the 1964 election. You can recognize how much can be accomplished at the local and state level, and that you can elect someone who will not set the country back, even if you don’t think she is going to move the country forward. You’ve achieved a lot — let’s build on it, okay?


Someone who actually agrees with you on almost all issues of substance.


Dear Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow:

Love you guys. But I am going to take a break because I just can’t take all this anymore. Between the violence and the politics (and the way they overlap) everything seems overwhelming, and even your intelligent perspective on the news of the day can’t make it better. I’ll go back to Google News for now.

See you after the conventions.

Bye for now,

A (most of the time) follower.

PS. Who am I kidding? I’ll be tuned in tomorrow.


Dear Tampa Bay Rays,

Damn. Oh well, the Buccaneers’ season starts in about a month.



PS. NY Mets, you are on notice: get your freaking act together.

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It is not difficult. Really, it’s not.

The difference between Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus, or Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Manning, or Hillary Clinton and Edward Snowden, is…

She did not knowingly and deliberately give classified information to people who had no right to it. Petraeus gave classified material to his mistress, Manning and Snowden gave classified material to WikiLeaks. Maybe you think that they acted in the best interests of the country (Manning or Snowden, anyway), but that’s irrelevant to any discussion about Clinton.

I don’t care if you are a conservative fulminating because she was not indicted or a leftist aggrieved because you wanted her to be eliminated as the Democratic nominee, or if you’re Edward Snowden pretending that setting up that email server was the equivalent of dumping mounds of classified materials in Julian Assange’s lap. The law requires more than “I don’t trust her.”

You want to argue “gross negligence”? That’s another bag of marbles, and maybe — or maybe not — you have a point. James Comey didn’t think so. And the man served under GWB as well as Obama, and before his actual announcement was lauded by the Republicans in Congress as being the soul of integrity. They only decided he was hopelessly corrupt when he declined to do what they wanted.

In any case, don’t bring in Snowden, Manning or Petraeus. Pretending as though what she did was equivalent to what they did simply makes you look foolish.


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Who knew? Hillary’s a Republican!

There’s this politician…

Has a 100% rating by the National Abortion Rights Action League.

Has an F from the NRA.

Is endorsed by the Sierra Club, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, The Natural Resources Defense Council, Planned Parenthood, and the Alice B Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. Among many others.

And she’s a Republican! At least according to a sad number of people who — still — show up on my Facebook feed.

Which is odd because in her last term, Hillary Clinton had a more liberal voting record than seventy percent of the Democrats in the Senate. She is more liberal than Barack Obama, as liberal as Elizabeth Warren, and only a little less liberal than Bernie Sanders.

Don’t take my word for it: take FiveThirtyEight.com’s.

I know that me writing this will make little difference: if they can’t paint her as a Republican selling out progressive values, they’ll paint her as having been lucky to  escape being in jail, ignoring the fact that under the law (law? remember that?) she should not have been indicted, and that Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice also used personal email for work, and that George Bush and Dick Cheney did much worse.

She’s Hillary. They hate her.

Oh, but it’s not misogyny! It can’t be!

After all, they’re the TRUE progressives.

Don’t mind me. Irrational people on the other side bother me; irrational people on my side infuriate me. I expect better.  But then this entire election season has disabused me of a long cherished notion: yes, there are batshit crazy conspiracy theorists on the left as well as on the right.


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I have a new laptop — a Macbook Pro 13 in. (Trying to run El Capitan or Yosemite on my 2011 Macbook Pro was proving excruciatingly hard.)
I was considering what to call it following my usual naming conventions (artists). Thus far, my electronics have been:
Jan (Vermeer, my first laptop)
Francisco (Goya, my first backup drive, which died when I accidentally kicked onto the floor)
Henri (Toulouse-Lautrec, second external drive)
Georgia (O’Keefe, second laptop)
Artemisia (Gentilleschi, iPhone)
So after careful consideration (Rosa, after Bonheur; Edward, after Hopper; Claude, after Monet)*…
I would like to introduce Dorothea, after noted American photographer Dorothea Lange.
Hopefully we will have a long and fruitful collaboration. 
*For obvious reasons, Vincent has never been a serious contender.
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One more thing…

I cannot write about the Pulse shootings. It’s Florida, and I was in Orlando too recently. (The Rocket Scientist and I walked around the lake where one of the vigils took place.) Take it as given that I grieve what happened a lot.

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Just a short note:

I have not been posting a lot for the last month because I have been working.Since early May I have been gainfully employed by a local county elections division (vote-by-mail department), a job which is just about to wrap up in another few days. I’ll write more about it when it ends.

That’s also the reason that I am not writing a lot of political posts (I had a couple, but nowhere near the amount I would normally have in election season). We are gently discouraged from discussing politics at work, and that reluctance has bled over in to my blogging. (I had to remove the rainbow Hillary sticker of the back of the cars; fortunately the Rocket Scientist had attached them with magnetic strips.)

The job is also the raison d’être for the disclaimer which now graces the sidebar of the blog.

The hours have been brutal. Last week was the first week I didn’t work overtime. Three weeks I worked over fifty hours, one of those over sixty hours. As my friend Jane the lawyer said, “Those are associate trying to make partner hours.” They are, but on the other hand, this is only a few weeks rather than several years.

It’s also been fun, and emotionally satisfying. Representative democracy for the win!

So, once I am no longer working, I will blog more. I have a couple of big changes coming up in my life that fill me with trepidation, and I’ll write more about those when I have the brain space to do so.  And when I have fully recovered from falling down, of course. My left arm hurts if I type too much.

See you later, alligators.

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