Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Shallow State | Foreign Policy

"Art is not an adornment to society. It is not a luxury. It is the purpose of society. It becomes our legacy. It is also, however, our teacher; it helps us consider that which is around us and what we want to be. It makes demands on us that in turn lead us to place demands on ourselves and those with whom we live and work. And that is precisely why these programs have been targeted by Trump. They are the enemies of the shallow state. So, too, of course, are the members of the press whom Trump has mislabeled as "enemies of the people." The only people they are the enemy of are those who are at war with truth and thought: Trump and his supporters, the champions of the shallow state. That is why, while it is easy to simply be angry or to laugh at a president who doesn't read or to be distracted by half-baked conspiracy theories like the deep state, we must recognize that the shallow state is much more pernicious. This administration has come to power because America has allowed public discourse, the quality of education we give our kids, and the standards we set for ourselves to decline. Trump seeks to institutionalize that decline. He is at war with that which has made our society great. He seeks to eviscerate the elements of our government and discredit those within our society who are champions of the depth on which any civilization depends."

(Sent from my phone)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Take advice from those who've struggled (not people who've had it easy)

"You should take [yoga] advice from people who write about NOT doing yoga. Because not doing yoga means the person is struggling to do yoga, which means waking up every day and trying to do something new and difficult. ... Failing in front of you is a sign that the person is living the kind of life you'd like to live – one where every day you wake up and struggle to do something difficult. ... My instinct tells me that the best advice comes from the people with the most difficulties. Not in the past. But right now. Because that's where you want to be: doing something difficult right this moment."

Penelope Trunk

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Narrow Bridge of Art, Virginia Woolf

"We all know people…who are at loggerheads with existence; unhappy people who never get what they want; are baffled, complaining, who stand at an uncomfortable angle when they see everything askew. There are others again who, though they appear perfectly content, seem to have lost all touch with reality. They lavish all their affections upon little dogs and old china. They take interest in nothing but the vicissitudes of their own health and the ups and downs of social snobbery. There are, however, others who strike us, why precisely it would be difficult to say, as being by nature or circumstances in a position where they can use their faculties to the full upon things that are of importance. They are not necessarily happy or successful, but there is a zest in their presence, an interest in their doings. They seem to be alive all over."

-- Virginia Woolf, The Narrow Bridge of Art

Friday, February 24, 2017

On taking advice

"You should take [yoga] advice from people who write about NOT doing yoga. Because not doing yoga means the person is struggling to do yoga, which means waking up every day and trying to do something new and difficult. ... Failing in front of you is a sign that the person is living the kind of life you'd like to live – one where every day you wake up and struggle to do something difficult. ... My instinct tells me that the best advice comes from the people with the most difficulties. Not in the past. But right now. Because that's where you want to be: doing something difficult right this moment."

Penelope Trunk

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's March, or the day humanity stood together. Theme: "Why I marched."

"In our America all people are equal, love wins, Black lives matter, immigrants and refugees are welcome, disabilities are respected, women are in charge of their bodies, people & planet are valued over profit, diversity is celebrated."
Photo from Nguyet Vuong and Doug Wilson

"After a lot of waffling, I decided to march today.  I have no sign, no pussy hat, no affinity group.  I have spent a good chunk of my life avoiding conflict, ducking my head to avoid stares, changing my routes to avoid bullies, and often being the only one who looks like me in a crowd. I like to be invisible and safe.  A march with a couple hundred thousand people - not exactly my scene.  So why am I marching?  Not to protest. Not against the President.  I march for all those whose abilities have been judged based on the way they look, I march for those living with disabilities, visible and invisible, I march for my friends who are rearing daughters and sons to be kind and strong and empathetic and voices of change in this changing world. I will march, visible and my head held high.  I mean, if I even get there...I really suck at reading maps." Denise Henderson

"We cannot succeed when half of us are held back!"
Photo by Nadine Beck
"I'm nervous in crowds, but this one inspired me. The energy was so positive - everyone was smiling. There was such unity. It was so amazing to see how many showed up and how we all worked together. No frayed tempers, no impatience. We listened to each other, we helped each other out (ie. "Can we get through up there?" "Nope, too many people, its at a standstill." vs. how we typically ignore each other when we pass by). I only wish the stage had been in a location where more could gather and hear what the speakers were saying." Kristin Laing

"My body, My choice, My country, My voice."
Photo from Nguyet Vuong
"I marched for love, equality, justice for all, in our nation's capitol. This is what democracy looks like. This is what America looks like." Nguyet Vuong

Photo by Stephani
"I marched to ensure that when the Presidents says that he's giving the government back to the people and people's voices will be heard that the voices he hears are the ones chanting 'this is what democracy looks like!' and that the voices he hears are those of all people." Stephani

"I shouldn't have to march before I can walk"
(Photo by Meghan Kennedy)
"I marched for equality - not just for women, but for every group that has ever felt disenfranchised." Katherine V.
Photo by J.K.
"I marched for equality and human rights and for defending ideals that I believe are integral to the future of America. I marched for the rockin' women in my life and I marched for me, as good done unto them is good done unto all of us. I marched against what I see as a significant threat to those ideals: ignorance, cronyism, irrational denial, and binary thinking. In a rare moment of disgust, we took this picture outside Trump Hotel on Penn and 12th. I resent the conflict this building represents." J.K. 
Photo by M.K.
"Why I walk? For improved, for people with disabilities and chronic disorders who need healthcare."
Photo by Meghan Kennedy
We the people are greater than fear"
Photo by Nadine Beck
"American Jews welcome Muslim refugees"
Nadine Beck
"You will respect me in skirt or pants"
Photo by Nadine Beck
"I'm with her"
Photo by Robin Waldman
"Respect existence or expect resistance"
"Love trumps hate"
Photo by Nguyet Vuong
"History has its eyes on us"
Photo by Robin Waldman
"They're trying to bury us. Little do they know that we are seeds."
Photo by Robin Waldman

"Justice, Justice shall you pursue"
Photo by Robin Waldman

"I spoke with the parents of this young girl. They almost made another poster...
"I'm 2 and already have pre-existing conditions."
Photo by Meghan Kennedy

Photo by Nadine Beck
"The ONLY thing that should be separated by color is laundry"
Photo by Nadine Beck

I am trying to put into words what yesterday was for me. The joy, camaraderie, unity, and joint sense of purpose was unlike that of anything I have ever felt. I am overflowing with inspiration today and cannot wait to continue the fight for women’s equality. I’d like to make something clear: I did not attend the march yesterday to protest our new president. I respect & accept the democratic process and understand that Donald Trump is our president. I truly hope he does good for our country and that at the end of these four years, we have moved our country forward. However, I will not accept regression. Women and men have fought throughout history for their rights and to be stripped of them would be devastating. Being surrounded by likeminded people restored my faith in humanity. I felt the support from across the globe where women marched in solidarity to show American women that we are not alone and we are a powerful force to be reckoned with. A few days ago I was interviewed about why I was marching. Yesterday I marched to show our new administration that the power of women and their allies should not be underestimated. We will be watching, and if he takes a step in the wrong direction, or implements the discriminatory policies he promised throughout his campaign, he will be met with insurmountable resistance. I marched because we cannot succeed when half of us are held back. In order to take our country forward, we need policies that support and empower women. We will never reach our greatest potential as a family, community, nation, or world until we achieve this. #womensmarchonwashington #womensmarch #womensmarch2017 #feminist #feminism #genderequality
A photo posted by livornek (@livornek) on

A photo posted by Women's March (@womensmarch) on

A photo posted by Women's March (@womensmarch) on

A photo posted by Women's March (@womensmarch) on

A photo posted by Women's March (@womensmarch) on

*Flint, is a city of 98,310, where 41.6% of residents live below the poverty line and the median household income for those below the poverty line is $24,679. The median household income for the rest of Michigan is $49,087. The city is 56.6% African-American. _ *Historically, the water in the Flint River downstream of Flint has been of poor quality, and was severely degraded during the 1970s, due to "the presence of fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen, plant nutrients, oils, and toxic substances." In 2001, the state ordered the monitoring and cleanup of 134 polluted sites within the Flint River watershed. _ *According to a class-action lawsuit, the state Department of Environmental Quality was not treating the Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent, in violation of federal law. The river water was found to be 19 times more corrosive than water from Detroit, which was from Lake Huron, according to a study by Virginia Tech. _ *Since the water wasn't properly treated, lead from aging service lines to homes began leaching into the Flint water supply after the city tapped into the Flint River as its main water source. _ *Health effects of lead exposure in children include impaired cognition, behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty. In pregnant women, lead is associated with reduced fetal growth. Some pregnant women who have been exposed to the contaminated water have miscarried. In everyone, lead consumption can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves. Although there are medications that may reduce the amount of lead in the blood, treatments for the adverse health effects of lead have yet to be developed. _ We March because Reproductive Justice and Women's Rights is more than just abortion. The ability to raise your children in safe places free from violence and environmental racism is also apart of the fight. . . . . . . . . . . #WomensMarchOnWashington #WomensMarch #January21 #WMW #WhyIMarch #HearOurVoiceFeminism #TheFutureIsFemale #RadWomen #Activism #Organize #StrongerTogether #WhyIMarch #HearYourVoice #January21 #StayHuman
A photo posted by Women's March (@womensmarch) on

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A photo posted by Dakota Snyder (@d.snyder993) on

A photo posted by J E N / Washington DC (@jenburnett) on

A photo posted by Sharyn ScottπŸŒ™πŸ’ƒπŸ»⭐️πŸ’•πŸ’ͺ🏼 (@scarlettdevine) on

A photo posted by Alex Kourvo (@alexkourvo) on

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Monday, November 21, 2016

In this culture...

"In this culture we display a compulsive avoidance of difficult matters and an obsession with distraction. Because we cannot acknowledge our grief, we're forced to stay on the surface of life. Poet Kahlil Gibran said, "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." We experience little genuine joy in part because we avoid the depths. We are an ascension culture. We love rising, and we fear going down.

"Consequently we find ways to deny the reality of this rich but difficult territory, and we are thinned psychically. We live in what I call a "flat-line culture," where the band is narrow in terms of what we let ourselves fully feel."

Tim McKee

Friday, November 18, 2016

When you're different...

"When you're different, sometimes you don't see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn't."
― Jodi Picoult

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


"We have met the enemy and it is us." -- Walt Kelley

"I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never."

― John Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


''I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I'm not screwing around. It's time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you've developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you're still searching and you're more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can't live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It's time to show up and be seen.''

~ Brené Brown

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Wandered, by Elizabteh Ketchup

The art of mispelling isn't hard to master;
so many sentences seem made to be meant
to be awk that their ward is no disaster.

Transpose something every day. Accept that your
modifier dangles, the affect badly lent.
The art of misplacing isn't hard to master.

Then mix up less & fewer, Grammar Führer:
split your infinitives, and let some clauses than
unravel. You can still earn you're Master's.

Lose something in translation. And look! my vocal mustard
mustered and flustered my poor mother to repent.
The art of miswording isn't hard to cuck and fluster.

Commit some lovely cardinal syntax or,
attack some impactful word salad, I dreamt
I could of done alot better, thereafter.

—Despite any confusion (the passive voice was used
by me) I fantasize I can reinvent
the art of wording, it tastes a lot like laughter
though it may look like (Rite it!) like the answer.

Friday, October 14, 2016

From Mike Rowe, on voting:

Off The Wall

Jeremy Schneider writes...

Hey Mike, I have nothing but respect for you. Your no-nonsense outlook and incredible eloquence have really had a profound impact in my life. Can you please encourage your huge following to go out and vote this election? I would never impose on you by asking you to advocate one politician over another, but I do feel this election could really use your help. I know that there are many people out there who feel like there is nothing they can do. Please try to use your gifts to make them see that they can do something - that their vote counts.

Hi Jeremy

Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. I also share your concern for our country, and agree wholeheartedly that every vote counts. However, I'm afraid I can't encourage millions of people whom I've never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens?

Casting a ballot is not so different. It's an important right that we all share, and one that impacts our society in dramatic fashion. But it's one thing to respect and acknowledge our collective rights, and quite another thing to affirmatively encourage people I've never met to exercise them. And yet, my friends in Hollywood do that very thing, and they're at it again.

Every four years, celebrities and movie stars look earnestly into the camera and tell the country to "get out and vote." They tell us it's our "most important civic duty," and they speak as if the very act of casting a ballot is more important than the outcome of the election. This strikes me as somewhat hysterical. Does anyone actually believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed Norton would encourage the "masses" to vote, if they believed the "masses" would elect Donald Trump?

Regardless of their political agenda, my celebrity pals are fundamentally mistaken about our "civic duty" to vote. There is simply no such thing. Voting is a right, not a duty, and not a moral obligation. Like all rights, the right to vote comes with some responsibilities, but lets face it - the bar is not set very high. If you believe aliens from another planet walk among us, you are welcome at the polls. If you believe the world is flat, and the moon landing was completely staged, you are invited to cast a ballot. Astrologists, racists, ghost-hunters, sexists, and people who rely upon a Magic 8 Ball to determine their daily wardrobe are all allowed to participate. In fact, and to your point, they're encouraged.

The undeniable reality is this: our right to vote does not require any understanding of current events, or any awareness of how our government works. So, when a celebrity reminds the country that "everybody's vote counts," they are absolutely correct. But when they tell us that "everybody in the country should get out there and vote," regardless of what they think or believe, I gotta wonder what they're smoking.

Look at our current candidates. No one appears to like either one of them. Their approval ratings are at record lows. It's not about who you like more, it's about who you hate less. Sure, we can blame the media, the system, and the candidates themselves, but let's be honest - Donald and Hillary are there because we put them there. The electorate has tolerated the intolerable. We've treated this entire process like the final episode of American Idol. What did we expect?

So no, Jeremy - I can't personally encourage everyone in the country to run out and vote. I wouldn't do it, even if I thought it would benefit my personal choice. Because the truth is, the country doesn't need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process. So if you really want me to say something political, how about this - read more.

Spend a few hours every week studying American history, human nature, and economic theory. Start with "Economics in One Lesson." Then try Keynes. Then Hayek. Then Marx. Then Hegel. Develop a worldview that you can articulate as well as defend. Test your theory with people who disagree with you. Debate. Argue. Adjust your philosophy as necessary. Then, when the next election comes around, cast a vote for the candidate whose worldview seems most in line with your own.

Or, don't. None of the freedoms spelled out in our Constitution were put there so people could cast uninformed ballots out of some misplaced sense of civic duty brought on by a celebrity guilt-trip. The right to assemble, to protest, to speak freely - these rights were included to help assure that the best ideas and the best candidates would emerge from the most transparent process possible.

Remember - there's nothing virtuous or patriotic about voting just for the sake of voting, and the next time someone tells you otherwise, do me a favor - ask them who they're voting for. Then tell them you're voting for their opponent. Then, see if they'll give you a ride to the polls.

In the meantime, dig into "Economics in One Lesson," by Henry Hazlitt. It sounds like a snooze but it really is a page turner, and you can download it for free.


PS. If you do vote, or if you don't, you'll almost certainly feel better about the future of our country wearing the latest "Freddy and The BiPed" 2016 Campaign Tee Shirt. This version reads, somewhat prophetically, "A Doghouse Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand." It can all be yours for $24.99. Slightly more for the hoodie. Proceeds, as always, go to The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, and pay for work-ethic scholarships.

- Mike Rowe

(Sent from my phone)

Monday, September 12, 2016

I am not the first person you loved (by Clementine von Radics)

I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we'd given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I'm hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.

And I will not be afraid
of your scars.

I know sometimes
it's still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it's the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Home, by Warsan Shire

Home, by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

(Sent from my phone)