Proposals Help Things To Make Sense
Sometimes it is hard to figure out what to do. My own motivations and agreements are hard enough to reconcile into a clear purpose, let alone accounting for those of the people around me who have a right to bid for my time and attention (life energy). In retrospect, it sometimes becomes clear what would have been best. How may I add clarity in advance, rather than waiting for it to be too late?
I often find myself wishing that I had framed almost everything as a more detailed proposal in advance of a decision. It may be that this only works for me and for my Conflict Done Well students but, for some reason, the shape of a proposal lends itself to description--inclusion of important details that usually get left out. "Do I want that ice cream?" (Yes!) is a different animal from "I propose that you follow up your second portion of lasagna with a three scoop bowl of Rocky Road." Just punching someone in the face is a bit different from "I'd like to make a fist and throw it into the same space occupied by your head. Let's agree to the usual accomodation--that you are entitled to do the same in return. How does that sound?" Proposals of this kind almost guarantee the presence of irony, which depends on bringing unacknowledged dynamics into the light.
I propose that you use proposals to lever into consciousness the parts of an upcoming choice which you would know were important if you allowed yourself enough time to reflect. When I reframe as a proposal what I expect of my seven and nine year old every morning, I begin to see how my expectations are what managers refer to as A Heavy Lift.
I propose that you sleep until the last possible second and still get up earlier than you would prefer. Snap immediately into action upon waking, because time is already short, and prepare everything necessary to function the entire day, doing first what is essential and leaving for a questionable later anything that seems to beg for your attention in the moment. Be ready when an adult, whose timing may vary, needs to leave so you will have transportation to school, at which many of the other people would also rather not be. Do this at least five of every seven days despite not wanting to (for any of a hundred emotional/physiological reasons somatically appropriate to your age). Oh yes, and when anticipating your school day also push through being afraid of dying or bringing home a virus which will at least hospitalize your entire family and kill your grandparents outright.
And parents, I propose you deploy your absolute legal power over your children's bodies to motivate compliance by responding with emotional violence they cannot escape, thereby habituating them to expect and tolerate this throughout their life. Sudden or continuous anger and retribution will remedy their foot-dragging, mumbling, eye-rolling, or acting out. Every pandemic day brings with it an invisible, lethal enemy, out to get you and your family. I propose that you treat every difficulty, no matter how small, every inconvenience as a life-or-death situation, because disobedience is betrayal on the battlefield of life. Dissent could add just that extra bit of chaos to your fragile balance and be the tipping point which spins you out of control and kills everyone you love, because obedience to authority is the last defense between world order and oblivion.
Students and consulting clients, please consider the opportunities which accompany the exercises below. If you have been participating only through correspondence and occasional calls, please consider signing up for our Conflict Done Well+Online Classes.
Describe in your own words proposals advanced in each paragraph above and track your (un)sympathetic responses.
Please notice that the examples below move back and forth between simple paraphrasing (as unadorned by interpretation as possible) and deeper consideration nuanced with questions.
The author proposes that (by paragraph and sentence):
1.1) You must figure out what to do. This is hard.
1.2a) Clear purpose is the result of reconciling your own motivations and agreements with those of the people in your sphere of influence. Also hard, so...requiring practice?
1.2b) Some people have a right to your time and attention. Others do not. What to do with each? Is it a matter of degrees, hard and soft "boundaries"?
1.2c) "Your time and attention" is another way of saying "the energy/power by virtue of which I am alive". Does this impliy that deploying time/attention/power is a life-and-death matter? If not/so, how do I handle these matters now? Is there a way to handle life/choices/energy that would be closer to what I might feel comfortable recommending to others by my example?
Apply the same approach to:
Hey, I've got a proposal! Let's assemble a mob coordinated by a shared ideology and charismatic leader, OK, a gang. Then let's commit crimes against our peers and the state, the established order.* Let's be mocked and endlessly portrayed by the majority as betraying the values and nation we say we hold dearer than life, and then go to prison or lose our lives in other ways for a Lost Cause. Scream about but accept that those who drove us on should immediately disavow and distance themselves from us in order to stay in power, so that they may claim to have been faithful when the dust settles, and so that the next wave of believers may come again with as much momentum as possible. In all this show signs that you are your own person by using symbols everyone else in your group uses, like eschewing a face cover, because any purpose with momentum is better than just being pointless everyday you, even if it should kill thousands!
Does it change anything to note the parallels between this and other culture-change movements?
* Does it change anything to add here "and felonies including the murder of law enforcement officers"?Why Call It Aikido 2.0
What do aikido practitioners claim? Let's take a moment just to look at the videos published, for instance, in connection with Quentin Cooke's training group. Aikido seems to be related to:
- Exploration of breath, stress and movement
- Preparing to succeed
- Embracing difference for "growth"
- Training during the pandemic
- Aikido community
- An examination or what hierarchy is and how it serves
- Emotional Intelligence
- Daily Life
- The Practice of Gratitude
- Confidence balanced with humility
- Working for International Peace
- Analysis of conflict
- Masagatsu agatsu (katsu hayabi) - True victory is victory over self (Eternally Now)
- Needed Centering- What, why, and how
- Exploring links between yin and yang, tai chi, and other cross-Martial Arts concepts
- Teaching 21st century aikido
- Extension of "aiki" principles beyond the mat/dojo
- Performance improvement
- Dealing with conflict both on and off the mat
- Warming up
- Covid Around the World
- Looking at (becoming aware of?) awareness
- Ukemi (receiving, falling down, getting up...)
- Using your mind in deploying physical techniques
- Parkinsons, philosophy, psychology, physicality, the mindbody connection/somatics
- ...and so much more is implied!
As a 5th dan and dojo founder, but also as a professional academic, researcher, and cultural psychologist, I have so many questions. It may well be that aikido does all of this. Even if we posit for the moment that it does, do you claim these for your own aikido experience? How about when you are face-to-face with someone from outside of the aikido community. Do you spend time offering caveats and excuses? Have you noticed the presence of these other areas of expertise in other practicioners? Have you also noticed in them or in yourself the absence of the many virtures claimed to be associated with aikido? How is it that so may practitioners shake their heads at the mention of any extension of aiki principles beyond physical training and tend to repeat the phrase Shut Up And Train, as though that were a legitimate response and fundamental truth?
I'd like to look at the ways in which the head-shakers have an excellent point (training without speaking is essential), and also the ways in which this position misses the point (training all of you is essential), in order to argue for a specific way to get the deeper, actual point of aikido. For example, last week Quentin asked of Jamie Zimron "how does this practice on the mat [reconcile] the world?" She has a wonderful life story full of international travel, and described tribal enemies bowing to each other and training with mutual respect. She then described stressed and traumatized bodies going through positive neurophysiological changes through aikido training. On the mat she advocates "changing [one's] state of being". Quentin noted that most teachers don't teach and most students don't get from training that they might shift their state of being. On top of that, most of the world isn't on the mat. Jamie then responded with a story of an individual student of hers who Got It at some level and came back thirty years later to hire her as a consultant. Quentin then added the problem of scaling from one teacher and individual or dojo to reconciling the world. Jamie then outlined how her aikido, psychological, and golf expertise inform each other, shared illustrative exercises, and demonstrated the dynamism that makes her a fascinating individual.
It isn't that aikido can't offer the benefits implied by those who want to extend aiki principles. There are several fascinating teachers around the world who have tools that can unlock ontological shifts while training. The head-shakers have a point because Quentin's questions are spot on. In general, we don't apply what we know works and explicitly teach those areas of secondary learning--the stuff a few teachers believe you are supposed to get beneath the surface of what you think you are doing. This is true because aikido beyond the mat is largely imagined as, at best, esoteric, hard to convey except indirectly, uncomfortably Not My Area Of Expertise (I wasn't taught and authorized to teach it), and as an add-on or distraction rather than as an essential level of traditional training which is explicitly available given the right method and curriculum. That last bit is what I provide.
The most important survival requirement of our species is that we learn to do conflict well, to work creatively through difference, so we don't use our always developing economic systems and other weapons to destroy ourselves and world. To be successful, most of the areas of aiki-related study suggested above and all practices which lead to actual peace must 1) be fully embodied and 2) have to do not only with the literal/physical but also with metaphor, psychology, and communication 3) engage in the positive transformation of everyday conflict as it arises. Aikidoists mostly practice physical movements with only a whisper of the somatic promise in mind. By "somatic" I mean fully embodied - all systems working together, rather than imagined as separate as though, for instance, body and mind weren't the same process looked at through different lenses.
I was invited to teach in the Somatic Psychology department at Pacifica Graduate Institute because my Martial Nonviolence method and Conflict Done Well system were used to build Peace Practicess which received international funding, and because they are not only usable on the mat by aikidoists. Conflict Done Well does allow any aikidoist to understand and improve their physical technique while extending the heretofore hidden principles associated with aikido into all kinds of conflict. More importantly, it is also a way for anyone to learn the importance of a martial approach in actually practicing, testing, and deploying conflict transforming techniques in a way that can be measured and shared widely so that our global expectations change and actual peace (everyone involved getting what they need and a shot at what they want) becomes possible.Seasons GrittingsYou may have noticed that 2020, especially given the isolation involved, has inspired some to reach out and reconnect with those long lost, even if only as a cry in the wilderness hoping for responding echoes. This letter is an attempt to diminish painful realities by increasing the chance of enjoying shared narrative, sustained connection, and meaningful reflection. I have resolved to do a better job of sharing with my community a few of the resources at my disposal to work towards a world that works well for everyone. Please give me any feedback at all that might move me or anyone else in that direction.
After returning to Texas from California in 2018, Lisa and the children became a part of White Rock Montessori while I worked on consulting, teaching, ongoing projects, and for the Census. We responded to the viral and political pandemics by following all official guidelines religiously, and I began offering online training several times a week in Martial Nonviolence, Peace Practices and Family Aikido, as well as conflict consultation for leadership, all under the banner of Conflict Done Well. If you’d like to know more or join me online, please make contact and visit ConflictDoneWell.com hosted on the website of my consultancy, Culturesmith.com.
Despite the pun above, there has definitely been more enjoyment than gritting of teeth in returning to my roots in North Texas. We are near my parents after twenty five years, which is a blessing beyond description. The Fall has been lovely, especially with room for all of us and a spacious back yard in which to enjoy the gift of time together. I turned fifty-one last year and am taking stock in what I hope will be a developmentally and archetypally coherent way. We surrendered an amazing, loving community and several dreams before leaving beautiful (in almost every way) but unaffordable CA, and have lost some particularly fine friends to the grave.
Part of me wants very deeply to respond by putting all that I have to offer on the table, no matter the cost, while there still appears to be time. Another part remembers the price we paid last time. I learned down to my toes that thrown seeds die no matter the passion with which they are hurled if the ground and season are not ready for them to flourish, or if there are not enough hands to till the soil, let alone gather in whatever harvest arises. I worry that I know too little of seasons to go around shaking fists, even when full of seeds. I worry that nobody ever truly followed their calling by worrying, and certainly not by admitting in public the darker parts of life and hope. Isn't it said that hard work is always more rewarding than fist-shaking and angst? I yearn for daily co-conspirators and a shared mission. I learn how many ways someone over fifty can be so "overqualified" when seeking employment. I continue to search for teams ready to work together to really make a positive difference in the world. I have helped build them many times and would love to do so again.
Lisa is loving teaching, as ever, and is deeply thankful for her excellent students, colleagues, and the community at White Rock Montessori. We are all grateful for and happy to know the folks we worship/ed with at St. Stephen UMC. The kids have both chosen to continue ballet at Dallas Ballet Center, begun remote Japanese language lessons (Thanks, Kaori Sensei!) every Saturday after Family Aikido, and Huston is in piano lessons with an excellent teacher. Most of all, we continue to be stretched between profound gratitude for Grandparents nearby and desperately missing our fabulous kin and chosen families on the coasts whom, like so many people this year, we have not been able to squeeze in way too long. Soon. Soon, we keep telling each other.
In the end this is, like most of my messages, a love letter, a murmered...soon...soon, and a promise that we will draw closer somehow to the persons, both physical and imaginal, who matter most. Please help us not to forget each other despite extended absences.
How are you, and what are you up to?
brandon at culturesmith dot com
P.S. By popular demand, this initial letter was mostly personal. As promised, more explicitly helpful offerings will follow. In the meantime, thanks to Richard Page for the excellent resources below. I recommend them, in particular, to the participants in my recent class on White Fragility:
Deep conversation on the 'coup attempt and how to create bridges instead of actions that break us apart: https://belonging.berkeley.edu/askobi
Also 12 videos on creating solidarity from co-panelist Prof. Ian Haney Lopez at:
Also please consider https://www.hbo.com/specials/between-the-world-and-me
*Saturn-Juptier Convergence photo credit Tobin Threadgill
VRE: Personal rant... Not seeking sympathy or anything, just made some observations and needed to express them. I've been staying in an old folks home for almost four months now. Something has bugged me about this place since I got moved into this room... Observing my roommate and I notice that his whole day revolves around himself, and what he wants or needs. There is no thought or consideration of others, and they are given no need to. He's not rude per'se, he's polite and all that, but somewhat demanding. And I see the same thing in everyone here. Not the staff of course, all they do is give and do things for all the people here. But the patients are all focused on themselves. And there is no way for them to contribute or give, to be part of things or have any purpose here.
There's no purpose to any of the patients lives except just to be alive. No responsibilities. And it makes them petty and needy. They get upset at the slightest inconvenience, and are impatient for anything they request. My roommate started cussing because there was a slight power surge and it made the tv flicker for an instant. After another such surge, that caused the system to reboot, he got angry because the golf channel was off line for 30 minutes. The golf channel, seriously. The battery on our clock died and he called to maintenance 5 times and complained to every nurse, CNA or staff that came by. And I see the same kind of petty complaining all over. Some get so upset at, what I consider, minor inconveniences that they yell and swear at the staff. Blaming whoever they are yelling at for the issue, even if it isn't their responsibility.
I keep trying to find something to do but there isn't any. I try to be self sufficient, I get my own water, change my own bedding, bathe and clean myself. I'd cook myself if they'd let me. But there is no way to have any purpose here other than merely existing. It is boring and depressing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining, given my situation I am happy to be alive. But this place gets to me sometimes and I've been trying to figure what bothers me so much. I have no purpose here other than just healing from my wounds, and that doesn't occupy my time as an activity. None of these people have any purpose to their lives here. I think that is one of the reasons I can't relate to anyone, aside from the vast age gap, and why some of the patients are they way they are... I want to have a purpose, I need to. They have all yielded to this existence, and I find I can't. When I told my roommate I couldn't stay here as long as he (over seven years) he says I have to adapt as he has. I don't know if "adapt" is the right word for what happens to the people here.
RA: Unfortunately many of these folks have gone beyond and will never return to society in whole or part. No joie de vivre, just exist.
VRE: Oh most certainly... Most will never leave this place alive... And many are fully aware of that. Others... Not really aware at all.
CB: Thank goodness you’ll get to leave that place!!
AS: I can’t even imagine 7 years
VRE: He told me there is one guy that has been here for at least 12 years.
DTA: I look forward to you coming home.
RA: DTA, me, and 4 furries agree.
MF: Hang in there! I’m sure it’s trying having to stay in one place for so long and endure the monotony. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to leave soon and get a little normalcy...COVID normalcy anyway. Wishing you all the best and a speedier recovery.
VRE: Thanks Mark. I do have plenty of support, and appreciate the encouragement. This was more of a commentary on this place and the environment for these people... As I kind of noted, I feel apart from that. I know my time here is temporary. But the feeling of a loss of purpose is palpable here.
MC: ...that's the problem with retirement, you need to have something to do, a hobby, an interest, something to take your mind off cliff infrastructure of us. Keep on moving! Assisted living facilities can get ya down.
VRE: This is beyond just retirement. There is literally nothing to do. 'Nothing' IS what they do. There is no place for a productive hobby aside from some sort of arts and crafts type of thing. I really feel sorry for the people here. To have lost all facil… See More
MC: sounds like God's Waiting Room.
BC: I work in this industry and I'd like to share your words with a few key executives. We work really hard to do the things you say (empowering and enabling residents), and I'd like them to hear the perspective you have. I believe you're in skilled nursing. Is that correct? That is admittedly the most difficult level of care to enable people given the serious (and litigious) nature of things. May I privately and professionally share what you say here?
VRE: Yes, of course. And yes, I am in a skilled nursing facility. As you are probably already aware most planned activities here have been suspended due to covid socializing restrictions. So there's that... Please though, make it clear this is just a FB post and not a proper statement with all things considered and/or addressed.
BC: I will, definitely. Personally, I believe this kind of statement is critical. Largely unfiltered and off the cuff. That's why I want to share it. Thank you. I'll make your caveat clear.
Brandon WilliamsCraig: I too hope to share your post by including it on Culturesmith.com and writing some additional thoughts. Is it sufficient to change the names to initials?
VRE: I don't know how my post relates to conflict resolution, but sure, ok.
Brandon WilliamsCraig: Culturesmith is about the psychological part of culture-making. In this case, the culture of "Elder Care" & Rehab. Conflict is the area I believe is most important for humans to learn in order to build a culture in which we make better decisions together. Thus Martial Nonviolence (the method), Peace Practices (curriculum designed for specific groups), and Conflict Done Well (the whole enchilada and dojos to learn it), all of which live at Cs. Does that clarify the relevance of the posts I transfer to the website? Your rant may not feel purposeful to you in your current situation, but it serves other people admirably, in my opinion, in that it provokes ideas, group experimentation, and learning which, as a teacher, is my purpose.
DJ: Hang in there. Let me know how I may be of assistance to you.
AM: Now the hard part: for as long as you're there, what do you do with this observation beyond self-sufficiency? How might you engage with even just your roommate to create a shift for him?
Valentino R. Elias
Ash, it is not for me to do so... As I have said, from my observation most are resigned to this existence. Some even get upset when there is any change to their routine. And for my roommate in particular I know he would not invite such a shift... It would also be imposing my outlook unto others. Besides, how am I supposed to create a sense of purpose in a place where I can't find a sense of purpose even for myself. Trying to change others is not the kind of purpose I'm talking about.
AM: Mmm, yes I wasn't envisioning trying to change others...that's impossible. But that doesn't mean you couldn't create an offering that they might pick up and choose to engage with.
VRE: Like what? I don't think you understand what it is like here, for these people, and for me. I know you're trying to be all positive and whatnot, but I don't think you get it. I mean this is what I was trying to point out in my post. I think it is an inherent weakness in this type of facility. As Ben noted it is something they are trying to deal with, and, I assume, has been an ongoing issue... And aside from all that... What makes you assume that I want to? It is not in my personality to take on such a role.
AM: Totally a fine answer. I just got a sense that you felt a need to engage somehow, for yourself, for them, and for the staff. If not, carry on.
VRE: Naw, it was just my observation. Just like I said. I did call it a "rant". I largely keep to myself as I know my time here is temporary. But I watch and I listen. Nothing else to do really.
YIP: the behaviors of some of the residents appear to be similar to the clients at the housing program where i work. clients become "institutionalized" and are resigned to being totally dependent upon staff. i would guess the misdirected anger is an expression of their "acknowledgement" of their current situation.
VRE: Pretty much... Some, like my roommate, can do things for themselves that they make staff do for them. I figure it is to illicit some sort of control over the people who care for them since they cannot control the situation they are in. Yet they also treat my roommate like senior care royalty, they all seem to love him and some come by just to say hi. They tell me his wife, who passed away in the same room/bed station he is in now, was the same way but more so. She wouldn't do anything for herself and treated the staff like servants.
JTB: Very Interesting observation, made me think. I go to nursing homes a lot for my job over the last 30 years. Im often overwhelmed emotionally. Beyond the cumulative need that exsist on all sides, the personal apathy amongst all sides is as tangable as the walls. I always enjoy the folks who are trying to make light of the situationDeadly Sitting
It can be deadly to be seated. Sedentary hours in a chair have been shown to shorten our lifespan and make us vulnerable to all manner of ailments.(1) Sometimes it is metaphorically "deadly" to sit down at my desk when more screen time will not serve me well. I will probably wander wherever the daemons of virtuality are designed to beckon. When speaking metaphorically of death, what passes is psychological, in this case my inner sense of purpose, belief in the value of incremental steps in proportion to my limits and too subtle to solve big problems all at once. Deciding What To Do Next can fall victim to an attention "deficit", "depression", or some less infamous but no less pernicious deadening of my sense of what I feel and feel called to do. Deadly. What if metaphorically deadly beliefs are psychologically linked to literally deadly behaviors and habits?
Once upon a time, I remember hearing "Sit Down!" screamed at each passionate advocate of social justice as they rose in turn to speak in a public meeting. If more activists "sat down" would there be hope for a global psychological shift from white supremacy, a change in the imagination that bends our shared experience toward justice for all? The literal deaths of persons are directly related to the symbolic life and death of Movements toward equity. If this is so, how can I remain seated? But what will I do when I stand up? Shouldn't I have a master plan first? Perhaps I should sit down to think it through. Otherwise, I might be vulnerable to embarrassment.
Standing up has its own sense and symbolic purpose. I can feel myself doing it, the change in my own literal and metaphorical balance. The balance of power changes when someone stands up in a group. Being seen standing up is a big deal, and sometimes your standing up remains private and less significant until you take it into the street. Literal and metaphorical standing up are not really discrete, only different in sense. Standing implies a different state of readiness for action, even if The Ultimate Fix is still a fantasy or not yet in sight or entirely clear. I facilitate those ready to learn about conflict and teamwork like a martial art--through the somatic (embodied) aspects of psychology. I call this Martial Nonviolence. When a group appears to reach a point of waning energy, an impasse, a familiar quagmire of some kind, I sometimes ask that everyone stand and remain standing until we find the way forward. Often that is enough.
Especially at this time in our nation's history, we seem to have no choice but to sit and literally wait. In many ways that is very sensible, especially as we #CountEveryVote. I let this piece of writing wait until after Election Day so that it would not be confused with Yet Another (exhausting but essential) Partisan Appeal and put to the side. If we decide to wait, let us use that time to briefly consider how our light is spent.(2)Even should I be blinded by the moment, or the era, I will stand on my own two feet and be still, as necessary, but I will not wait in my heart. At regular intervals I will sit down literally, to rest, but not for long. Full of metaphors, Spirit will lift my literal body up again until our petty cruelties and habits of supremacy are mostly a memory. My imagination reaches into yesterday, today, and tomorrow with justice and a return to honorable dealing foremost in my mind as I work through conflicts within myself and with others. My soul makes meaning from every experience, so I practice consciously as I am able, careful to study and learn how to balance and stand upright. Let us practice this together as Conflict Done Well with victory defined, especially by anyone in public service, as everyone involved getting what they clearly need and a fair shot at what they want.
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1. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/06/446295001/your-chair-is-killing-you-here-s-what-you-need-to-do-to-stop-it. Also https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/many-reasons-chair-killing-you/.
What follows is feedback about "Deadly Sitting gathered from responses. If you'd like to append your name, please sign in to edit this page.
"Thanks, Brandon, This hits home. I need to sit when I'm actually writing, but I do my best thinking when I'm in motion, standing up, heeding Spirit's call to stand up and move."
"we sit when we are silent. and we cannot be heard sitting. except in silence. thus all stand in the presence of the seated diety. Jesus did not sit. except at the silencing of the last supper. thus we say stand, and be counted. ============= I find I learn more wisely by letting go of what I thought I knew: thus I listen deeper at the font of others' experiences."
"Hey there, I’m writing to you because it’s clear from your writing and sending that you want to be heard. I’m not going to edit, just suggest. I think you are mistaking passion for clarity. This piece would have benefited from a week in the drawer followed by a re-writing. I’ve always known from my own writing experience that passion can seem scenic by night and cynic by day. And, forgive me, for I also remember how pissed off I became when my passionate writing was criticized. I’m also reminded of the words of that ole sage ex-friend of mine...when he said, “I can’t tell what he wants me to do”. I’m not at all certain that you know who your audience is. Just remember, in the words of that famous sea-food chef, “Even in the dark night of the sole, somebody gets to eat”.
"WOW! I love this piece. When I finished reading it I said, “That’s my Brandon!” Between you and me and the balance exercises you taught me, I have found myself leaning to the right physically (not mentally) both in my 10,000 steps a day and in sitting in my chair. That has caused physical pain on my right side. My...NP helped me with a stretch that relieves it, but your words help me with what I am wrestling with mentally (and physically). Thank you. Now back to this piece, may I share it with a group at [church] that I am on? It’s work is to look at [our] history...and why it is such a white church. We’ve delved into segregation of the schools, busing in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, city policies of red lining and covenants in real estate, and we will have a presentation Wednesday on John Wesley and his mark in the church. We are working on what we are can/want to do next, and in the future to make it a more inclusive church. ... If you want to share this piece, would you be willing to let me send it...? Or you could send it and say I suggested it to this group. Thank you for being in my life. I love you."
"Very nicely said and thought provoking. Still life throws too much at me to think of something new. Hard enough wading through the swamp I’m in."Vote Today For Humanity
Honor the dead, the saints, by making fewer of them. Choose as president a flawed but profoundly qualified person with a known positive and negative record of service who wants to be seen as a decent human being, rather than a treasonous mass-murderer. Tough choice? Are you feeling depressed, hopeless, frozen in fury/terror, lost, or in some other way disinclined to act? You are not alone, even across time.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
But let us not fall victim to the ever present danger of making everything (even anything) about Precedent Rump, Hamlet, or any other figure whose inner monologue seems inevitably dominant at center stage. Vote Democrat all the way down the ballot not because that party or our two party system is just, but because that forced binary is the choice before us today. One choice will kill future generations in advance in ways that are nasty, brutish, and short, while the other will give us more time to save ourselves and the planet.
The GoP, the historical Republican party is dead, consumed by the cancer of Supremacy, white, class, gender, nationalist, etc. #BuryTheGoP because that zombie institution has been (re?)designed to eat the brains and burn the lives of future generations, fellow human beings hurled on the pyre of power-at-any-cost and for its own sake. But hate the sin and love the sinner, as it were. Honest Republicans and Democrats are both doing what they believe to be best based on purposefully limited information.
Any #BlueWave is only as good as the Bluevolution it brings about, the passing of and grief over the choices by which we are killing ourselves, each other, and our world. We all will die, often at the hands of our own policy, but we are throwing ourselves on the sword of our obsessions so fast that we don't have time to make meaning out of it. Mourn and allow to pass the long, brutish night of domination, the tooth and nail of crotch-clutching and consuming as much as possible. The fantasy that this is Just The Way Life Is also afflicts The Democrats and all powerful political parties. Only a party with the deepest blues, sorrow so profound it cannot use its power to oppress, can result in an America where government by and for The People might be possible.
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Responses to Vote Today For Humanity
Thank you for the catch up share. Been a year since we've been together. This video fell into my lap. Sharing with you . . . because it's you too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLe1o80zwgYFailures of Imagination Beget Horrors
Little Known Black History Facts (on Facebook)
“In Louisiana, black women were put in cells with male prisoners and some became pregnant. In 1848, legislators passed a new law declaring that all children born in the penitentiary of African American parents serving life sentences would be property of the state. The women would raise the kids until the age of ten, at which point the penitentiary would place an ad in the newspaper. Thirty days later, the children would be auctioned off on the courthouse steps 'cash on delivery.' The proceeds were used to fund schools for white children. . . many of [the black children] were purchased by prison officials.”
Source: American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer
H/T Sharon Morgan
Brandon WilliamsCraig: Just when you thought we could sink no lower...
Lenore Norrgard: We can always sink lower. Things can always get worse. I hope this is something some people will learn from 2020. I think that thinking we have hit bottom and that things can't get worse is a serious problem. It is a kind of blindness to what is and how things work.
BW: I agree fully. The phrase #failureofimagination, for instance, suggests so much more than "Gosh, we hadn't thought of that," which is almost always not really true. The mytho-historical record provides plenty of factual evidence and fictional projections about how far down the sui-homicidal hole we can plunge. Our conscious despoiling and voluntary avoidance are apocalyptic enough before we even get to the tragedy of the subconscious (not unconscious) dynamics we could understand but will not do the work to uncover. We frantically distract ourselves. If we didn't we would Know and give up the plausible deniability which allows us to enact horrors for short-term gain while dodging liability and claiming ignorance.COTE
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Census Completion Wrangle
Judge says 2020 census must continue for another month
Updated Sep 26, 3:41 PM; Posted Sep 26, 3:41 PM
By The Associated Press
By Mike Schneider
ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at month’s end and suspended a year-end deadline for delivering the numbers needed to decide how many seats each state gets in Congress.
The preliminary injunction granted by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California late Thursday allows the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October.
Koh said the shortened schedule ordered by President Donald Trump’s administration likely would produce inaccurate results that would last a decade.
The judge sided with civil rights groups and local governments that sued the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the statistical agency, arguing that minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ends this month.
In granting the preliminary injunction, the judge said the plaintiffs were likely to succeed at a trial. Despite concerns raised by top Census Bureau officials about the shortened schedule, the Trump administration failed to consider its duty to produce an accurate head count and neglected to adequately explain a reason for it, she said.
Koh said inaccuracies produced from a shortened schedule would affect the distribution of federal funding and political representation over the next 10 years. The census is used to determine how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed each year and how many congressional seats each state gets.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, around the same time the census started for most U.S. residents, the bureau had planned to complete the 2020 census by the end of July.
In April, in response to the pandemic, it extended the deadline to the end of October. Then, in late July or early August, the deadline changed once again to the end of September after the Republican-controlled Senate failed to take up a request from the Census Bureau to extend the Dec. 31 deadline for turning over the numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets.
Attorneys for the Census Bureau had argued that the census must finish by the end of September to meet the Dec. 31 deadline and have enough time for crunching the numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets, in a process known as apportionment. But Koh said that argument “runs counter to the facts.”
“Those facts show not only that the Bureau could not meet the statutory deadline, but also that the Bureau had received pressure from the Commerce Department to cease seeking an extension of the deadline,” she wrote.
Koh’s preliminary injunction suspended that end-of-the-year deadline, giving Census Bureau statisticians time to crunch the numbers for apportionment from the start of November until the end of next April, for the time being.
Previously, the Census Bureau had only half that time for data processing, from the start of October until the end of December.
The San Jose, California-based judge earlier this month issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down field operations until she ruled.
Attorneys for the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce said Friday they would file an appeal and asked the judge to suspend the injunction while that happens.
“Were the Bureau to miss these deadlines, Congress could well decide to disregard the 2020 census results in conducting apportionment, as it previously did for the 1920 census,” the attorneys for the federal government said in court papers.
The civil rights groups and local governments alleged that the decision to shorten the schedule was made to accommodate a directive from Trump that tried to exclude people in the country illegally from the apportionment numbers. A three-judge panel in New York blocked Trump’s directive, saying it was unlawful. The Trump administration is appealing to the Supreme Court.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross directed the Census Bureau to come up with a shortened plan, despite concerns raised by top bureau leaders who worried in internal communications that cutting a month off would produce a count with “fatal data quality flaws,” Koh’s order said.
The bureau was facing a shortfall in census takers after large numbers reported for training but then dropped out.
An email from Tim Olson, associate director for field operations, to his colleagues called it “ludicrous” to believe a full count could be completed before Oct. 31 and that anyone thinking the apportionment numbers would be turned in by Dec. 31 “has either a mental deficiency or a political motivation.”
Koh’s decision ensures that hard-to-count communities won’t be overlooked and produce an incomplete count, said attorneys for the plaintiffs after the ruling.
“As the court recognized, the Census Bureau has itself repeatedly recognized that a full, fair, and accurate count takes time, especially when faced with a historic pandemic,” said Melissa Sherry, the lead plaintiff’s attorney. “Every day that the 2020 Census count continues, and Census operations appropriately continue, will help ensure the accuracy and completeness of this once-in-a-decade tally.”
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