(not my) presidents’ day

02/20/2017

On a technical level, I recognize that trump won the election based on the rules as they are written. The fact that he and his cronies/backers/the russians may have gamed the system to influence voters (at best) or possibly outright rigged the system (at worst), is something that we need a better remedy for than relying on the integrity of members of his own party who view him, despite their whispered, off-the-record misgivings about his sanity, as a convenient patsy to sign their starve-the-poor legislation (at least for the time being).

So, yet again, this is what we do. It’s presidents’ day, so people took to the streets again to protest. In NYC, the main rally was very conveniently in my own neighborhood, and so I just wandered down central park west – since this was a little more planned than the immigrant ban protests, the signs and costumes were a bit wittier and funnier, and the whole thing was a bit better organized (and controlled by the police). I didn’t stay all day – once the main stage started playing some truly awful free jazz (yes, I know, insert every liberal stereotype here), I decided that was a subliminal method of crowd control and I willingly complied. The photos are pretty self-explanatory. as aways, click on the thumbnails after the page finishes loading to see the full image.

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the new world

02/4/2017

We hear it said all the time. America is a nation of immigrants. To a greater or lesser extent, for those of us whose families came here over the past half a millennia, this is true. This is not true, of course, for the native americans who were already here and might have a bone to pick with the notion that we were immigrants and not invaders. This is also not true for the millions of african americans whose ancestors were kidnapped and brought here in chains.

But make no mistake. the overwhelming mass of people controlling the government, manning our borders, making decisions about “who we are” as a people? have roots that are not on this continent.

We are a nation of immigrants, refugees, slaves, and their descendants. We have, by and large, always struggled with what this means. There have been some ugly times in our past, even in the 20th century – from restrictive immigration laws to Japanese internment. But those are things that we studied and looked at from our late 20th/early 21st century viewpoint as how we failed as a society.

We’re failing again. Last weekend, the trump regime signed an order, late on a Friday (after anyone who could provide administrative guidance had gone home for the weekend) barring already-vetted legal visa-holding travelers to the US. It threw airports into chaos. Refugees who had spent years being vetted (and yes, despite claims to the contrary, we spend years vetting refugees), landed in the US and were immediately sent back to the danger they were fleeing. Green card holders who have lived here for decades, who have homes and families here, were being barred from entry for the crime of taking a vacation or going to a conference on the wrong day.

This is ugly, and un-American. and so we did what we do now. People turned up at airports around the country in force, and in public spaces to protest this. Because some of us remember history. And some of us simply know that this is not who we are. Courts are now stepping in and every single one is slamming this obviously racist, over broad, unconstitutional order.

These are photos from last Sunday’s protest in Battery Park and march to Foley Square.

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3 years, 364 days to go…

01/22/2017

It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am a bit of an introvert. I get pretty severe anxiety at the thought of being in giant crowds, and even when I go out with friends, it’s pretty rare that I don’t have some sort of exit plan. I’ve been known to have “shut down” moments, where I just…hit a wall and need to leave immediately – it has nothing to do with the company I’m with but with my own capacity.

This post/link I read a few months back explains the feeling really well (and also why I woke up this morning with what felt like a massive hangover, despite having less than one beer after everything yesterday).

All that is to explain why there was no way I was going to Washington. But I did force myself, even against my natural inclinations, to get out to the march for women’s rights in NY. Because it was just too important.

So, yes, the introverts showed up. Attempts to meet up with most of my friends (except one) failed, but it was a blast, and more importantly, it was deeply powerful to feel so much less alone.

I said the following on Facebook yesterday, but it bears repeating here: …the real reason I’m going to sleep better than I have in months tonight is just the incredible feeling I had today being among SO MANY people who turned out to support each other at this time, not just in our coastal enclaves, but on all seven continents, and all over this country, in blue states and deep red states like West Virginia.

THIS is what democracy looks like.

All this is a precursor to my photos from yesterday. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge. (The pics are pretty self explanatory, so I didn’t individually caption most of them in the interests of not taking three years to get through writing this post)

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four more years…

01/20/2017

I posted a version of this photo four years ago, on the occasion of Obama’s second inauguration. Four years later, my opinion hasn’t changed, except that I would be even more enthusiastic about him if we could have him for another four years, particularly in light of the cold hard narcissistic, sociopathic reality with which we have been presented. 

Obama has simply been the best president of my lifetime. And even if they manage to destroy all the things he worked so hard for, I think he will be remembered as one of the best presidents ever. Not just for the tangible things he did in the face of unprecedented opposition and outright racism from his first day in office, but for the calm grace with which he did them.  He was not perfect – I could also list out things that I did not agree with – but he was, and is, one of the best of us, and I will truly miss him – both as a person and as a leader. 

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safety

11/11/2016

The results of the election have thrown a lot of people, including me, for a loop. In addition to the normal grief and loss I feel when any candidate I support loses, there is the added devastation that a brilliant, hard-working, well-qualified woman who has been unfairly vilified for decades (note: this does not mean I think she was perfect. This means I think she got a lot of crap for things that were either figments of the right-wing noise machine or that would have been, and were, ignored in male politicians) lost to an openly misogynistic, racist, know-nothing sociopath who, three days into the transition is already appointing a bevy of insider lobbyists and the heads of SPLC-designated hate groups to run things and letting Paul Ryan run around brag about how they’re going to END MEDICARE.

Wtf.

In addition to that, we’ve seen, both during the campaign and ramping up in the wake of the election, significant anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT, anti-[pretty much anyone who isn’t a trump supporter] attacks. I don’t know how to respond to this on a large scale, but following Brexit, Vox notes the following:

…a #safetypin hashtag began trending, and Brits began posting selfies of themselves wearing safety pins on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram as a way to raise awareness.

The “safety pin” symbol was inspired by the 2014 #illridewithyou movement in Sydney, Australia. where people offered to sit next to Muslims who felt threatened on their commutes — at the time, there was fear of an Islamophobic backlash after a terrorist attack in Sydney left two hostages and the gunman dead (one of the hostages was killed by a bullet ricochet). And its spirit is in line with a guide to stopping Islamophobia that recently went viral and offers solutions to bystanders and witnesses.

There’s now a burgeoning effort in the United States for people to start wearing the safety pin stateside in the face of post-election attacks and harassment. Having to adopt a symbol of anti-violence and anti-bigotry is not exactly what any of us thought we’d be doing in the wake of a presidential election taking place in 2016, but it could be one small way to signal that you’re an ally (regardless of who you voted for) to someone who probably didn’t think they’d be in this vitriolic and volatile situation either.

Well, I’ve got safety pins.

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corruption

09/28/2016

The most common definition for corruption has to do with grift and dishonesty. But corruption can also mean decay and rot.

Both variations of the word are appropriate here.

When people learn about late 19th and early 20th-century New York City political corruption, one person (Boss Tweed) and his machine, Tammany Hall are at the heart of the story. But what people generally don’t realize is that Tammany Hall was an actual, physical…hall. It had a few locations, and this was the last.

The building has spent the last few decades operating as the union square theater, and is now vacant and being gut renovated.

If you get up close, you can see the inscriptions to the old order of Tammany along the side. My favorite though, is the discovery of grift never ends – they’re attempting to preserve some of the friezes on the building, and they’re basically disintegrating to the touch because it turns out that they’re just something like plaster of Paris instead of proper building-grade materials. Heh.

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revolving door

08/11/2016

beautiful Art Deco revolving door entrance at the post office in the federal building at 90 Church Street.

From Wikipedia:

90 Church Street was designed by Cross & Cross, Pennington, Lewis & Mills and Louis A. Simon, who was Supervising Architect of the Department of the Treasury at the time. The architectural style of the building is a mixture of Neo-classicism and Art Deco…

The building was completed in 1935, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

But this is the really important part:

The building suffered moderate damage during the September 11 attacks due to a remnant of one of the planes and other debris landing on top of the building. Following the collapse of the World Trade Centers Twin Towers, the building’s facade was damaged, windows were broken, and major water damage occurred. It was also extensively contaminated with asbestos, lead dust, fungi, fiberglass dust, mercury, and bacteria…During recovery efforts at Ground Zero, the United Stated Postal Service worked to return individual pieces of mail found by rescue workers to the addressees…

Just a reminder that despite the vilification of our entire government workforce on a regular basis, your mail still shows up like clockwork.

(That may have gotten a little rantier than I intended when I started!)

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instagram roundup | may, june, july

08/8/2016

Because I got my new camera during this period, I was taking more “real” pictures, so pure instagram posts were a little sparser. but Sadie the cat is ever present, as are some travel-related pics and some minor clues as to my political leanings.

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instagram update | march and april

05/8/2016

Not as delayed as last time. As always, there are cats and coffee. Plus some (sort of) kosher baked goods and it was primary day here in NYC, as you may have heard. The weather started cooperating a little more, but not as much as one would like, and I’ve begun experimenting with an antique film camera that I found at a tag sale, but since that requires film, you’ll have to wait even longer for anything other than a picture of the actual camera (so far I’ve shot 2 out of the 3 rolls of film I bought, and so I’m looking for something interesting to use the last 12 shots on before I send everything in together to get them processed).

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june instagram roundup

07/8/2015

non subway-project subway photos, fireworks, the high line, and pride month. It was June.

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