Today I Give You

A picture of a volcano pretending to be Gandalf.

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Goodnight

She’s really happy for you too

Ten + One Wilderness Areas

Because everyone is doing it: Ten wilderness areas that I’ve been to and one that I have not.

  1. Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  2. Norse Peak Wilderness
  3. Pasayten Wilderness
  4. North Cascades National Park and Stephen Mather Wilderness
  5. Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness
  6. Goat Rocks Wilderness
  7. Flat Tops Wilderness
  8. Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
  9. South San Juan Wilderness
  10. Okefenokee Wilderness
  11. Passage Key Wilderness

Things That Interest Me

These are things that have gotten my attention lately, listed in no particular order. For the most part, they are people, ideas or technologies that are influencing what I write, but where I feel their influence changes. Keeping that mind open.

  • The Muslim Ban: Yep, I done did call it what I think it is. Not in my lifetime has such a perpendicular political move been made about the rule of law. Consequently, when the machinations of our government begin to churn, checks and balances fall into place, I am both heartened and intrigued to see how things wash out.

    They’ll do this again and again, they’ll keep trying, but it’s heartening to watch government work. Work for us, in fact. I’d suggest that you watch the whole thing, but it is an hour and seven minutes long. So, if you can’t then go to decision (or read the formal findings).
  • Improve Music: This is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Horns playing “You Never Can Tell.” Your socks are going to be removed from your feet.

    I think I like the improvisational nature of music because it shows a deeper understanding rooted in the principles of the art. Watching a master and his mates fiddle through something like this is both humbling and impressive.
  • New Zealand: Did you know that the first verse of New Zealand’s National Anthem is written in Māori? Much of my interest rests in the country’s history recognition of the country’s 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Apparently, beginning in the 1950’s Māori culture underwent a renaissance, and first people’s started moving to urban areas which resulted in the Māori protest movement.

    These people have since filled a socio-economic and political vacuum created by colonialism and greed. From a distance, it seems that the Māori have found a way to work within the system for their own long term benefit and I want to know more about this and how it’s likely to play out in the future.

I support I-732

This is a no brainer. Seriously, I strongly support I-732, the revenue-neutral carbon tax swap, which will help to reduce Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions, lessen the regressiveness of our tax system, and serve as a potent bipartisan model of long-term action for the rest of the nation. More information here.

Kindergarten Practice

There are roughly twenty-five days of summer left for A-bear. Once they’re gone, he’s going to Kindergarten. This is a big new experience for our little guy, and so I’ve been examining our options. The duel questions — how can encourage him to be excited in anticipation of this new experience (even though it sometimes seems overwhelming and scary) and how can I, in parallel, continue to carve out enough time for me to write, has been riding on either of my shoulders.

Aral_lunch

Practice Lunch

Today we woke up sorta late, but that’s okay because practice Kindergarten didn’t open until 10:00 AM. Our Island Library is librarian-ed by late risers apparently, and that’s not a bad thing because practice Kindergarten should allow for late summer mornings.

Aral_train

Fire Train

Right now he’s happily working on a rather complicated maze and deeply engrossed in the activity. Unlike the iPad I have to stop what I’m doing from time to time, but the interactions are all part of the process. It’s just going to slow things down for me a tad. The library is an optimal place to do this because the expectation is that he will moderate the volume of his voice. There are rules as well as social expectations here that he doesn’t necessarily encounter elsewhere, and learning to live (if not thrive) within these confines is going to be one of his chief challenges once school begins.

Via a convoluted path, I suppose, this all gets back to empathy. Teaching children the ability to imagine themselves in a situation, one in which they comprehend how other’s think and feel, is a HUGE challenge. It’s also a skill that they have to practice to perfect.

In a little bit, we’re going to head out to the adjacent park and eat lunch and play with the other kids. An obvious reward for working so hard this morning. I’m pretty excited to see what we can accomplish together in the time we have before school starts.

Picking out some books to read

Picking out some books to read

Toxicity

The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm a being varies, but it’s something we can study. Toxic behavior, especially on the male side of our society, is apparently growing like a algae bloom in an over-heated Florida lake. It’s everywhere and it’s perhaps the saddest component of our shared American cultural heritage.

Yesterday, a collection of bigots dog piled Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) after the recent opening of her movie. You can google the trash that was flung in her direction if you really want to, but I don’t recommend it. Here’s one more example of popular culture and technology colliding in a fantastic mess. And that’s how many are describing this instance, which makes me feel an additional level of sickness.

As the world adjusts to the post-Bowie era I believe it may be important for us to describe train wrecks like this with precision, to identify and even persecute those responsible. The public calumny that @Lesdoggg experienced didn’t just happen. Even if it wasn’t organized, or orchestrated, the result was the same.

Sure there’s no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, but that’s no reason it should be condoned. Twitter is a private platform, and even has policies in place to deal with this kind of activity.

  • Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
  • Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
    • if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
    • if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
    • if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
    • if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
  • Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

It is, on the whole, miserably bad at enforcement of its own rules. So, how does anyone find accountability, let alone justice, in this situation?

Legally, quite a bit of what was lobbed is not protected speech. SCOTUS has ruled time and again that “true threats, fighting words, incitement to imminent lawless action, criminal solicitation or defamation” are not deserving of First Amendment protections. Twitter should be working with local law enforcement to track these folks down. And before someone starts to mansplain that this is “impossible” let me just point you to The Geography of Hate. Yes, you’re looking at geotagged tweets in the US, add the dimension of phone owner and guess what, you’ll get addresses (IP and physical).

The future of law enforcement is in data analytics.

Second, shame. It’s a powerful motivator that isn’t used effectively in society. Imagine, what if your hate speech cost you your job, your friends, and even your close or intimate relationships. Imagine if your racist uncle Bob was relegated to the back deck every Thanksgiving dinner? Let’s not tolerate this sort of BS even for a second. Learn how to correctly identify and respond toxic behavior.

For my part, I’m sorry to have seen one more woman on Twitter treated like this. It’s sick and sad.