families belong together

06/30/2018

When someone draws a map of the Americas, they should just put a giant squid over the United States and say “Hark, here there be monsters”

Another day, another reason to protest against this malicious, mendacious, miserable administration. This protest was organized in reaction to the horrible news that the administration had, as a matter of policy, decided to use the separation of parents from children as a punishment and attempt to deter families for the “crime” of seeking refuge and safety in this country and not filling out the proper forms in the correct order (aka, not presenting themselves at the correct checkpoint – checkpoints, mind you, that the administration has deliberately CLOSED in an attempt to block people from seeking entry the proper way in the first place – Trump likes to talk about entrapment? How is that not a trap?).

Our government is causing lasting harm to children in some sort of petty power play against incredibly vulnerable people. Against CHILDREN. These are folks who have traveled hundreds, if not thousands of miles, often over land that is incredibly dangerous, from the only homes they have ever known because of a tiny glimmer of home that it might be just a tiny bit less bad here. We were never great at living up to that promise, but at least we sometimes tried. At least we gave lip service to the ideals embodied in our laws protecting refugees.

But until we can take back at least some control of the government, we as a citizenry can at least stand up and say that while our government does these things, they do them without our consent.

Pictures from the first part of today’s Families Belong Together protest – I only went to Foley Square, because it was REALLY hot, and I didn’t want to end up with heat stroke (which I’ve managed to give myself crossing bridges on super hot days before). But as usual, there appeared to be significantly more people than originally anticipated.

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marching for our (kids’) lives

03/24/2018

Today was the March for Our Lives, organized in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, but expanded to encompass so much more than that. For too long, the entire “debate” around gun control, or even the most basic attempts at minimal regulation that couldn’t even be described by any reasonable person as “control”, have been driven by the gun manufacturers’ lobby, otherwise known as the NRA. Having seen attempts to get anything done in the aftermath of myriad shootings get caught up in their rhetoric in the past, I honestly don’t know how this ends, but I’ve never felt this hopeful before. After Sandy Hook, I just felt despair – I remember writing posts on social media practically begging for something to change, and just…knowing that nothing would. But people don’t sit at home and write posts on social media anymore. Well, they do, but those posts are to organize and take to the streets. The biggest march today was in Washington, but as of last count, there were 817!! sister marches around the world.

The New York City march started (as they all do these days) at my front door. So I headed out this morning in my most comfortable shoes and my puffy vest that leaves my arms free to take pictures, and I took a bunch. I wasn’t close enough to the speaker stand to see anything, but I was really impressed that most of the speakers were young people. The two recognizably “adult” people were the librarian from Sandy Hook elementary school who survived the shooting there, and the mother of a shooting victim from NYC. There was also a significant emphasis on black lives matter and the fact that, despite the obvious attention the shootings and schools like sandy hook and parkland receive, black kids are ten times as likely to be victims of gun violence than white kids. That should not be forgotten. It’s also not just about school safety. It’s about life safety.

On another note, from the moment I entered the march, and throughout, there were teams of people trying to register folks to vote, checking to make sure people were registered to vote, reminding people to vote, etc. That is the most important thing right now. Nothing happens if we don’t vote in November.

Anyway, here are the pictures.

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#womensmarch2018

01/21/2018

It’s been a year. An entire year since the inauguration. And a year since we created the largest protest in the history of our country. There have been more protests since then, and activism, and donating money, and time, and explaining to my dentist that I’m grinding my teeth like never before, and living every day like there’s another shoe (or worse) about to drop.

But it’s been a year. So we marched again.

Last year it was enormous, but organizationally complicated. This year it was simple. They started this year in my neighborhood. The entrance (until it got so crowded that the police had to keep moving it northward) was literally my street. So after I finished up my morning routine (including, yes, the aforementioned dentist), I fortified myself with some lunch, got my camera, and just walked out my front door right into the middle of things.

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(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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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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