Ramp

Okay, 2017 is here. Time to quit despairing and gear up.

So here is the deal. By now you probably all know that Livejournal's servers have moved to Russia.

There was a time I wouldn't have cared. Russia wasn't our enemy anymore and if they were, the US government would keep them from getting up to much mischief. That was Before. You know, back when the US elections, if imperfect, were at least not a toy of a Republican party that colludes with a Russian dictator and perverts the FBI for their own political ends. A Republican party that will now have control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives (and fairly shortly the Supreme Court too, unless Ruth Bader Ginsberg can hold out longer than I think she can.)

As it is the LJ-Russia-Putin-Trump-FBI connections are just too much for me to stomach. So LiveJournal can fuck off. My Dreamwidth posts will no longer automatically cross-post. I may still read here for a while or I may not.

If you want to read what I post (I have admittedly not been posting much and you're quite within your rights not to care what I have to say in the future) you can do so at catsittingstill.dreamwidth.org.

If you want me to add you to my reading circle there you can comment with your DW handle on this post in Dreamwidth.

Goodbye and good luck.
Ramp

Called Chair of House Science Committee

Accountability Post, Trump Year 0 Dec 1 (posted for Dec 3)

(This counts for Sunday's item, since these offices probably won't be open over the weekend.)

Peter Gast posted a news article about how the House Science Committee retweeted an article from Breitbart (of all places) that made the false claim that climate change is a hoax.

I looked up the membership of the House Science Committee (full name: Committee on Science, Space and Technology) to see if my Representative was on it. No such luck. So, I called Congressman Lamar Smith (202-225-4236) and told the staffer I was calling Congressman Smith in his capacity as Chair of the House Science Committee. I mentioned my science credentials (thinking that a Ph.D in Molecular Biology might help get their attention) and explained that climate change is settled science and that Breitbart is not a reliable source of science news. I expressed my hope that in the future Congressman Smith would get his climate science information from actual climate scientists and avoid fake news sites. The staffer was very polite and said he would relay my concerns to Congressman Smith.

If you feel moved to do likewise, you can look up the members of the House Science Committee on the page below--if you are an actual constituent of one of the Committee members, that is the person you should contact, as your words will carry more weight with them. Otherwise, call the chairman, as I did. Monday is probably okay for this; there is no time constraint that I know of
Ramp

Publicizing two charities

Accountability Post Trump Year 0 Dec 1

Today I grabbed the chance to post about two charities on Whatever's Charity Thread. On the off chance that people would be interested I include them here:

Griffin Education Solutions uses songs to help grade school children learn basic facts about the world. They started with science and math but are now branching out. (Full disclosure: Griffin Ed has paid me royalties for the rights to record a few of my songs.).

The Jefferson Rural Clinic is a clinic for people in Jefferson and Granger counties (in Tennessee) that provides free medical and dental care for people too poor to qualify for the ACA (aka Obamacare.). (Full disclosure: I volunteer there two mornings a month.)

I waffled about whether to consider this an accountability post or not, but both education and health care strike me as things that will be under siege in a Trump America, so I decided to run with it.
Ramp

Made 2 political donations (yesterday)

Yesterday I made 2 political donations because of an end-of-the-month deadline. I'd ordinarily have spaced them out more so I'm allowing them to count for today and tomorrow.

Donated to Foster Campbell's Senate campaign.

Donated to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Now I need to get off social media because it's just depressing me and making me angry.
Ramp

Contacted the Government Accountability Office

Accountability Post Trump Year 0, Nov 30

I called the Government Accountability Office to ask if they were logging phone calls calling for a full investigation of Trump's financial conflicts of interest. (I had seen a meme to this effect.) The nice lady who answered the phone replied that they preferred e-mails so as to have a written record. I verified this e-mail address with her: CongRel@gao.gov. I have also checked it at the GAO website.

So I sent off an e-mail. For those who are interested or want a script to follow, here is what mine said:

Subject: Investigate Trump's Conflicts of Interest


I am writing to demand a full investigation of Donald Trump for potential conflict of interest violations.

His wide ranging and opaque financial empire combined with his plan to have his children run it while simultaneously advising him on government policy give me no reason to trust him. His statement to the press that "the president cannot *have* a conflict of interest," does not inspire confidence. At the very least the fact that one of the post offices is renting space in a Trump-owned building is an obvious conflict of interest and the lease contains standard government wording that indicates that it is void under these circumstances.

Thank you for your time.

(And I put my name and address at the bottom.)
Ramp

Called both Senators and my Congressman

Accountability post Trump Year 0 November 29

Called both my senators. The young man who answered the phone at Senator Corker's office was very polite and seemed to really care about my concerns. I didn't *quite* break down as I summed everything up (appointment of white supremacists, threats to prosecute Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Education who wants to divert public funds from public schools to private schools that are free to discriminate against minority students, Trump's false claim that the popular vote was tipped against him by illegal votes, Trump's recent threats against free speech) and said that this wasn't normal and it wasn't okay. But my voice was starting to tremble.

I heard him sniffing on the other end of the line. It is possible he just had allergies but I had the impression he was moved by what I had to say. He actually took the time to ask me if I had any other concerns so I shared my worry about Standing Rock and pointed out that the pipeline poisoning the water supply was a concern when it ran north of Bismarck so you can't reasonably say it's not a concern on Native American lands.

He said that I wasn't alone in my concerns and they had been getting a lot of calls about all these things, which made me feel a bit better.

I had to call Senator Alexander's office five times before I reached a person and not an answering machine. The person who answered was polite enough but seemed detached. They promised to forward my concerns to Senator Alexander.

The person at Congressman Duncan's office was... let's just say was plainly in a hurry and trying to cut my call as short as possible. I did manage to register that I wanted an inquiry into Trump's financial conflicts of interest (she completed the sentence for me as soon as I said "House Oversight Committee") before she hurried me off the phone. Hopefully she was in a hurry because they are getting a mountain of phone calls about this.

In other news, Yonder and Back is going to perform on Saturday at a place called The Bunkhouse, so today at Library Music we picked out one song each and one backup song each. For my songs I picked Oblivion Bridge and Wagon Wheel. I wanted to do at least one that I had written because the Bunkhouse kind of speciallizes in singer-songwriters, and I don't have the heart to do The Golden Door right now, and Oblivion Bridge is at least one that I've *introduced* to the group. And Wagon Wheel is a cover but everybody knows it pretty well and it's reasonably bouncy.
Ramp

Donated to Foster Campbell's Senate Campaign

Accountability Post Trump Year 0 Nov 28th

I let the day slip away from me, doing errands and making hummus and stuff, so rather than let the night slip away from me also I donated to Foster Campbell's Senate Campaign, since they're having a run-off election for a Louisiana Senate seat and one more Democratic Senator would bring the Senate that little bit closer to something that could successfully resist Trump.

Tomorrow I will pick up the phone and prod Congressman Duncan again about the House Oversight Committee reviewing Trump's financial conflicts of interest and how 'bout those White Nationalists Trump is appointing to his staff, hmm? I don't like picking up the phone. But I need to do it.

Oh, and Cat Valente wrote a great Fairyland short story that has something to say to us, I think.
Ramp

Something to keep in mind during discussions of current events

Siderea has some posts that apply to since-the-election. The one I'm going to link here is about keeping in mind the differences between the short, medium, and long term game. The very quick thumbnail sketch is that it is a reminder not to derail ongoing discussions by demanding people change the time frame they are thinking in, and especially to refrain from doing that without signaling your lane change.

But this LJ has some other posts useful for since-the-election, including how to think productively (in my opinion) about really catastrophic outcomes. So you might want to go over there and check things out.

In other news, I went to a jam this afternoon. It is the first time we've had a jam there--at a little greek restaurant in an area so rural I was driving along wondering if my GPS had played me false until I was just about on top of the place. I had a lot of fun (in part because it was me and my mandolin, and three other women with guitars, so I got to do a lot of melody breaks and leads.)

However I had to skin out of there in less than an hour because I was also going to a friend's wedding that day--with an unscheduled diversion where I had to drive out until my phone could get enough connection that it could find the way to the wedding, so I was about five minutes late.

The wedding was quite interesting--every pagan wedding is different, so I never know what to expect. And we had a nice potluck afterwards, where the hummus I just learned how to make last week was a big hit.

And now I am very full and sleepy.
Ramp

The Way I Was Raised

Accountability post, Trump Year 0, Nov 25

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I didn't do anything important (had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat and played Pokemon Go and caught two dittos, which are new kind of Pokemon that just started appearing a couple of days ago.)

This morning, prompted by a post by a friend that I'm not linking here because I'm not positive they are comfortable with that, I wrote a new song:
Just the way I was raised.
Lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2016

When I was a girl life was simple and  bland
Till truths I thought bedrock turned out to be sand
But the way I was raised gave a lifeline to hold 
For finding my footing and taking my stand.

  That's just the way I was raised
  With kindness and fairness expected and praised.
  With love as my guide I'm not easily fazed;
  That's just the way I was raised.

When I was a girl, blacks were treated as prey
Though the means grow more subtle we still find a way;
When blacks are shot dead with no gun in their hands
Even a kid can see that's not okay.

Women are astronauts, seeking the stars,
Yet even our bodies aren't treated as ours;
When a man who grabs crotches is chief in the land,
Even a kid can see this will leave scars.

Of queer folk and trans folk I once had no clue,
But the hour I encountered the concepts I knew,
When humans just ask to be treated the same,
There's only one answer my values held true.

Deal with it; that's just the way that things are.
For mercy and justice at home and afar,
Though hate held in secret come out in the sun,
I'll speak for my truth and I'll follow my star: 
Ramp

Contributed to the ACLU

Accountability Post Trump Year 0 Nov 23

Today I was out of cope to call or write my Congress people (and I suspect they are starting to think I am some kind of weirdo) so instead of doing anything hard I made a donation to the ACLU.