One Simple Sentence Could Help Save America’s Schools

The Senate will be holding confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos on January 17th. If you care about America’s public schools, if you think all of our kids should have a solid education, and if you want to prevent religious indoctrination from being subsidized by the federal government, now is the time to call your senator and make your voice heard.

Look up the number here. All you’ll need is one simple sentence:

I’m calling to ask [Senator’s name] to block Betsy DeVos from the position of education secretary.

That’s it. That’s all you have to say. Easy-peasy.

If you want to include a little bit about why you oppose her, you can let them know the following: Continue reading “One Simple Sentence Could Help Save America’s Schools”

One Simple Sentence Could Help Save America’s Schools
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Republicans Are Trying to Ram Through Crooked Nominees. Here’s How to Fight Them

The Republican party is wasting no time fucking over the country. And they want to make sure they have assholes in place to facilitate their pillaging. They have no interest in governing this country. They have no patience for democratic norms. They don’t give a single shit about ethics.

The Office of Government Ethics is raising alarm over the pace of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees, saying Saturday that they have yet to receive required financial disclosures for some picks set to come before Congress next week.

In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., released Saturday, OGE Director Walter Shaub wrote that “the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me” and that the current schedule “has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews.

“More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings,” Shaub continued. “I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process.”

This is the time when we have to resist. They need us to be quiet and compliant. When we rise up en masse, they learn they don’t have the consent of the governed – and sometimes, it makes them change course.

Here’s a handy spreadsheet showing who’s up for confirmation, why they’re terrible, the date of their hearings, and who to pester about it. Get on the phone and make your voice heard. This is our job this week. We sort of have a democracy still, broken and dysfunctional as it is. Let’s remind our elected officials what their job is. Continue reading “Republicans Are Trying to Ram Through Crooked Nominees. Here’s How to Fight Them”

Republicans Are Trying to Ram Through Crooked Nominees. Here’s How to Fight Them

It’s Up to Us Now

The electoral college has abdicated its responsibility and elected a fascist who is appointing the worst cabinet in history, and has already begun destroying America’s standing in the world. By the end of this – and there will be an end – countless people will be dead, our democracy damaged possibly beyond repair, our rights set back by 50 years or more, racists empowered as they haven’t been since the KKK ruled, the Supreme Court will be ruined for at least a generation, and we may never earn back the esteem we lose in the international community.

It’s not going to be an easy time. Not by any measure.

The next several years, probably the next several decades, are going to be tough, people. We have a hell of a fight ahead. We didn’t ask for this. We didn’t want it, and we tried to stop it, and all we can do now is deal with it.

Image is a screenshot of Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. He is facing the camera, but looking somberly off to one side. Beside him is the caption, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
So I need you to do some things with the last days of this year. Continue reading “It’s Up to Us Now”

It’s Up to Us Now

Did Steve Mnuchin Screw You Over? Tell Senate Democrats

Trump is a garbage fire, and his cabinet appointments are trash. There’s not a single person he’s nominated who’s qualified for their job. They oftentimes don’t even qualify to be out of prison, but of course America certainly isn’t stingy when it comes to giving passes to rich white people.

Steve Mnuchin is a particularly despicable specimen.

From Elizabeth Warren:

After the 2008 housing crash, Steve Mnuchin swooped in to purchase a failed bank with mountains of bad mortgages on its books. He rebranded the bank as OneWest, and led the bank as it raked in billions in profits by aggressively – and sometimes illegally – foreclosing on people’s homes. OneWest also ran a reverse-mortgage subsidiary called Financial Freedom, which serviced 17% of the reverse-mortgage market but was responsible for 39% for foreclosures. Steve Mnuchin got rich off the backs of working families who were hit hardest by the financial crisis.

Donald Trump now wants to hand Steve Mnuchin the keys to the Treasury Department, where he can make big banks even richer at the expense of America’s families. Were you or someone you know hurt by Steve Mnuchin and OneWest Bank’s predatory business practices? The Senate Democrats are asking people to come forward and share their stories.

Do you have a story to tell about Mnuchin? Please do tell it here.

Image is a comic book-style image. It shows a black city skyline against a twilight blue sky. Grayscale letters along the bottom left say The Foreclosure King. There is a white silhouette of a running man with a briefcase beside them. On the right is a black and white drawing of a middle-aged white man with square-rimmed glasses, saying, "You're evicted!"
Image courtesy US Senate Democrats
Did Steve Mnuchin Screw You Over? Tell Senate Democrats

Resistance is Not Futile: Easy But Important Actions For Opposing Trump

I’ve had to retreat into a bit of a cocoon to build up my mental and emotional strength for the battles to come, but I’m still paying attention to what’s going on with this shitshow of an election. I’ve found some easy but important actions for us – some of which don’t even involve using the phone! Here are a few ways you can oppose Trump without leaving the house.

Hamilton Electors

A simple action: In a live Facebook session yesterday, a couple of the Hamilton Electors said that at this point what’s needed aren’t more letters and emails to the electors, but to:

(1) Contact your representatives and governors to ask that they demand that the electors be debriefed on the CIA information on Russian interference prior to Dec. 19, and to delay the electoral vote if that’s not possible, given the time-frame.

(2) Contact the U.S. Attorney General and ask that the Electoral College vote be postponed until a full investigation of Russian interference and the Trump campaign’s potential coordination with Russia is complete.

You can reach the Attorney General’s office at 202/514-2000. Comment line…press 4.

(Via Alexander Chee)

Calling your state’s Secretary of State could also help, as they oversee electoral votes.

Support the Audit of Trump’s Finances Continue reading “Resistance is Not Futile: Easy But Important Actions For Opposing Trump”

Resistance is Not Futile: Easy But Important Actions For Opposing Trump

(Updated) Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Disaster for Public Education

I didn’t post to Rosetta Stones for most of November because America’s election of the least qualified president in our history has me scrambling to assess and mitigate the damage. Much of what he’s done so far doesn’t yet touch on geology, which is what that blog is mainly concerned with – but we will be talking about the threat to our national parks, and there will doubtless be impacts on the USGS and other agencies responsible for essential geological services like volcano monitoring, seismic studies, and similar, which we’ll address.

Trump is already showing which direction he’s taking the country’s public education. If you care about kids being taught science, you’d best gird yourself for a war, because we’re going to have to fight to preserve our children’s right to a strong STEM education.

To begin with, Trump’s Vice President, to whom he plans to delegate most of the actual presidential work, is an evolution-denying Christian extremist who wants creationism taught in public schools. He’s also brought all his political power to bear on overturning the will of Indiana voters while he pushes for expansions of school vouchers and charter schools.

Trump also plans to slash NASA’s earth science division, which would not only cripple our nation’s climate change research, but also have a terrible impact on earth science research.

That rather sets the tenor for what’s to come.

But Pence is merely the beginning. It gets worse. Continue reading “(Updated) Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Disaster for Public Education”

(Updated) Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Disaster for Public Education

Ban Bannon – Call Your Reps

So, one of Donald “Chitler” Trump’s first acts was to appoint a real live white fucking supremacist as his chief advisor. People, when the KKK and their terrible friends are thrilled with a pick, you know he’s bad. How bad? This bad. This is really fucking bad.

So, it’s time to speak up and let everyone know: this is not okay.

We don’t want an America founded on racial hate. We don’t want an America run by hate groups. We don’t want this shitstain anywhere near the levers of power in this country.

How are we going to let people know? Well, outside of linking this post on your social media feed with words like Fuck No Stephen Bannon, here’s what to do: if you have the ability, call your representatives. Here is a post with handy scripts and links to getting their numbers and everything. Continue reading “Ban Bannon – Call Your Reps”

Ban Bannon – Call Your Reps

To The People Trying to Claim We’re Not Racist Because We Voted for Obama

I’ve seen some very oblivious white people in my Facebook feed claiming that this election couldn’t possibly have anything to do with race, because people voted for Trump who voted for Obama. Why would they vote for a black man and then a white supremacist??

Gosh, fellow white people, I dunno. Why don’t we stop denying we’ve got racist as fuck tendencies and start thinking of the reasons, eh? It’s actually pretty simple.

CN: racial slurs, racism, bigotry

You can vote for a black man and still harbor racist thoughts and tendencies. Trust me. I know white people. I know conservative white people – I was raised in a house and community full of ’em. And I know how they think. They’ll swear they haven’t got a racist bone in their body as they call their Iranian coworker a sand n*gger. They’ll claim they’re not at all prejudiced in one breath while they bleat about all those foreign brown people sneaking into our country and taking  our jerbs – complete with slurs like w*tb*ck and ch*nk. They’ll all have that one black friend, but they’re super nervous around black people and steer clear of black neighborhoods, because everybody knows that’s where the thugs live.

Even those of us who have friends of color and really try not to ever use racial slurs and are pretty embarrassed by our more openly racist relatives and really admire a select few people of color are scared of what’s going to happen to white people when the brown folk outnumber us. And we may not admit it to ourselves, but we think affirmative action means some lesser human is going to get the job we deserve, and that more brown people getting college educations and entering the workforce means fewer opportunities for us, and so we’ll support policies that keep that from happening. We may not consciously realize we’re doing that. But we’re doing it all the same. Continue reading “To The People Trying to Claim We’re Not Racist Because We Voted for Obama”

To The People Trying to Claim We’re Not Racist Because We Voted for Obama

10 Steps to Start Fixing This Mess

My dear friend Alexis Record has some very important steps for us to take, for those of us who’ve recovered from the initial shock and grief and are ready to get to work. I’ll have a lot more for you very soon, but this is a brilliant way to get started.

Here’s how to be a friend and support to those who need you right now in ten (not so easy) steps.

1. Acknowledge our fear and grief.

2. Offer to protect, love, and support us.

3. Publicly condemn when people hurt us or others. The key word is “publicly.”

4. Report abuse.

5. Educate yourself on the specific needs of the disabled community, LGBTQUA community, Black community, Muslim community, immigrant/adoption community, etc.

Continue reading “10 Steps to Start Fixing This Mess”

10 Steps to Start Fixing This Mess