Women’s March in Oakland

Clover, Susan and I joined the Women’s March in Oakland yesterday. It was really amazing and bolstered our spirits to know that we are not alone, that there are so many people striving for progress.

The Women's March passing the Cathedral on Grand Ave.
We joined the Women’s March on Grand Ave. near the Cathedral.

And not just in Oakland! Whatever the trolls bellow, this demonstration clearly showed that the majority is active and moving, ready to fight for our humanity.

Women's March down Broadway in Oakland
Our view from the Sear’s Building, going down Broadway in Oakland.

On a familial level, it was encouraging to see so many other families. Even as we were walking down the street we saw caregivers rocking pussyhats and pushing strollers and/or carrying babies down the street. Susan posted shots of Clover joining the march and finding a prime vantage point.

The Women's March entering Frank Ogawa Plaza.
We were among the first to arrive at City Hall. Notice the police officers on the roof recording the march.

If anything can be said of Oakland it is that there is a proud tradition of protesting injustice, a heritage I endeavor to support. In the past we’ve been hesitant to participate with Clover, because bad actors come out to act like fools, and the police act even worse in response. It will still be touch and go, but Clover is always aware of the police helicopters flying overhead, and the unjust causes the people down the street are marching for.

Crowd of Women's March marchers at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Frank Ogawa Plaza and the surrounding area filled up and stayed pack in the following hours.

It was a tremendous educational opportunity for our family as well, since Clover had a lot of questions about the chants. We were able to discuss equal human rights, and how women are treated and oppressed by harmful laws. It is always a little tough trying to explain horrible ideas to a five year old, but we also don’t want to hide the reality what is happening from a person that will ultimately inherit whichever system we have in place.

Did you march? Share your experience and pictures! ^_^

How do you keep focused in troubled times?

Let me tell ya, I am all over the place. I get maybe an hour of focus each day, and that is if I start drinking tea early in the morning, and I get this lunchtime clarity.

My thoughts go all over the place, and I tire easily. I really enjoy having an actionable task in front of me, but the nature of my work is 75% thinking and researching, and that just isn’t working these days.

And I know why.

I feel like I need to keep up with what is happening in the federal government, but there is just so damn much. And I am not the type that is okay not being completely up on current issues.

Normally that means that maybe 5% of my time is spent paying attention to Congress, depending on what they are discussing that week. But these confirmation hearings have just scaled up the trouble the new administration has brought to power. I mean, I’ve mentioned that the cabinet picks are like a who’s who of Disney villains, but when we get more into their backgrounds and experience, but mostly apparent motivations, it is frightnening!

And all along I know that no matter how much I know about what is at stake, it is ultimately an impotent gesture. Knowing all this doesn’t actually enact change, and I can only call my representatives so many times in one day/week/month before it is noted that, yeah, I am not on board.

I even have a difficult time enjoying the things I am normally way into: WordPress, video games, weird new tech, and all the amazing stuff happening in astronomy. The only thing that pulls me out of my head is Clover and Susan, but they aren’t around all the time, and about 1.5 of that duo is also worried.

So that is me. How are you doing? How do you keep focused? What brain hacks do you employ to get stuff done while the trolls gather at the gates?

Why do we spend so much on the military?

Specifically, why is the discussion around a “defense sequester” and not the mind-boggling $600 billion a year that we spend on the military?

I simply have no context for this. I’ve heard that the military spending is in part going to contractors in multiple districts, and therefore at best provides jobs and at worse provides campaign funds. But surely that isn’t the whole story.

And if your party is basically riding a fear-fueled cultural backlash, I can see how you would spin it in your favor. Immigrants? ISIS?! Yeah, okay, that’s your narrative. But why are Democrats going along with that? And what about those freedom-loving libertarian Republicans, always trying to reign in government spending?

Why isn’t there a concerted effort to cut military spending? Any percent of that could cover, like, all the insurance subsidies!

What am I missing?

Love is Resistance

I’ve spent most of the last few months processing the new, weird reality of governance in these United States. To keep myself grounded I’ve made a mantra of an observation from Cornel West.

Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.

So much more needs to be said, discussed, refined and planned. For this moment I just want all of you to know that I love you. We must resist the toxic ideas and harmful policies. And we must do it with love, because love is resistance.

Fairphone + Ubuntu, sitting in a tree

The other day I mentioned:

There is apparently no plan to make new Ubuntu phones at the moment.[…] I still can’t order a Fairphone.

As if to rub it in my face, a Fairphone 2 Running Ubuntu Will Be On Show at MWC17.

Okay, that is kinda neat. Bummer for me, but I am not sure I am even going to move forward with a smartphone at all. But it is nice to see two interesting alternatives coming together like that. Mobile computing is always the lowest common denominator between hardware and software.

What’s more, I hadn’t heard of the Ubports. Turns out, one of the devices they’ve ported Ubuntu Touch to is the Nexus 5… which happens to be my current mobile. So while the case may be coming apart and the SIM is only read half the time, maybe it would make a decent test device. Or I could pick up a used one for ~$100.

Fortunately, not having the telephony portion of my mobile hasn’t adversely affected me yet. If someone made it easy for me to get a Fairphone I would definitely go for it, but as it is I am just waiting to see how hard it is to get a Nokia 150. The humorous observation here is that Americans are stuck in consumer/destruction land… and I’d rather not play this game.