Open Thread – Life purchased at the price of chains

Via wrenchwench at Little Green Footballs, this particularly fine article by Alex Tizon is probably one that should be read in private if you don’t want to be reduced to a blubbering mess at work like me.

The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.

Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding.








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Can We Come Up With A Better Tag Than “Comeygate”?

Politico — “Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia“:

[T]he fallout seemed to take the White House by surprise. Trump made a round of calls around 5 p.m., asking for support from senators. White House officials believed it would be a “win-win” because Republicans and Democrats alike have problems with the FBI director, one person briefed on their deliberations said.

Instead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told him he was making a big mistake — and Trump seemed “taken aback,” according to a person familiar with the call.

By Tuesday evening, the president was watching the coverage of his decision and frustrated no one was on TV defending him, a White House official said. He wanted surrogates out there beating the drum.

Instead, advisers were attacking each other for not realizing the gravity of the situation as events blew up. “How are you not defending your position for three solid hours on TV?” the White House aide said…

“We just have no idea why this happened. No idea,” said one recently retired top FBI official who worked closely with Comey on many high-profile investigations. “No one knew this was coming. Everyone is just shocked that this happened.”

There was no immediate front-runner for the job, one White House official said. “If there’s a list, I haven’t seen it,” said one senior White House official.

While shock dominated much of the FBI and the White House, the mood was more elated at Roger Stone’s house in Florida. Several Stone allies and friends said Stone, who has been frequently mentioned in the investigation, encouraged the president to fire Comey in conversations in recent weeks…

(That’s one fly in the soup, as far as I’m concerned: Assuming — as is widely rumored — that Stone has been trying to cut a deal to save his own Nixon-tattoo’d skin, it would make me sad if Trump’s latest move gave him any leverage.)

Apart from readying the pitchforks (and the popcorn), what’s on the agenda for the day?



What this is really all about

Here’s a tweet from The Hill a couple of days ago and my response:

Here’s a link to the article. I think it’s spot on regarding Trump’s goal here, and I’m glad the writer used the word “brand,” even though it’s usually annoying to see life-or-death matters discussed in the language of an ad campaign.

It’s appropriate because Trump thinks in those terms. Fellow citizens, our country has empowered a malignant narcissist with a massive inferiority complex. And he is bent on unmaking President Obama’s legacy because it drives him insane(r) that Obama is more loved, accomplished and respected than Trump will ever be.

Does Trump have a fucking clue what’s in the AHCA? Nope. He might actually believe the lies he’s telling about the bill covering more people and costing less. More importantly, that’s not what matters to him. Probably the only thing that confers wood to the flaccid little appendage Trump’s wife dreads is the prospect of undoing something Obama achieved.

What’s worse, the Republicans have figured this out, so they’ll continue to manipulate Velveeta Voldemort to their nefarious ends with “wins,” like ripping away healthcare for millions, unleashing predatory bankers, getting rid of consumer protections, disenfranchising voters and persecuting women, gay people, black and brown people, Muslims, immigrants, etc.

They’ll stop at nothing, the GOP — both in Congress and their hate-filled base — including collusion with a hostile foreign power. So we have to stop them. We simply have no other choice. Suit up, Juicers. We’re in for the fight of our lives, and I don’t know about you, but if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging.



Cognitive Dissonance minimization or why I’m fighting

In a previous thread, a troll was FIRST!! with the advice to “Just quit, we lost this fight in November”

I reject that.

We aren’t going to win often but we get to choose how to lose. We can roll over without trying to defend our values and our morals or we can fight as hard as we can to either get a policy win or inflict significant political costs on Republicans to increase the probability of future policy wins by either putting the fear of losing their seats into them which constrains future opportunity space or flipping those seats in 2018.

More subtly, we tell stories to ourselves. I want those stories that I tell to myself about me to be true. Defending and improving the ACA is one of those stories that I tell myself. The ACA benefits 2009 me far more than it benefits the 2017 me. It is a gut check. Am I full of shit or do I actually believe in what I think I believe in.

Let me digress for a moment.
Read more



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Turnabout, for Real Education

I much prefer this idea from Richard V. Reeves, at Quartz:

When the event was founded back in 1993 as Take Your Daughter to Work Day, the idea was to promote gender equality. It expanded to include sons 10 years later, and has since lost much of its animating purpose. It also remains a largely white-collar exercise: Sponsors of the foundation that advocates for the holiday include MetLife, HP, AOL, and Goldman Sachs…

But in practice, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day hasn’t changed much. We need to turn it on its head. At Brookings we are trying to practice what we preach, and so this Friday we will be hosting over 100 high schoolers from DC Public Schools, as a result of a new partnership with two non-profit organizations—Build DC and the Latin American Youth Center—and DC Public Schools.

One of the biggest challenges the US is a lack of intergenerational social mobility. Too many children end up in similar positions to their parents on the social and economic ladder. Given this, the case for exposing disadvantaged kids to white-collar jobs is pretty clear. But there is something to be said for the other side of coin, too. Teenagers from affluent backgrounds often live in a bubble, surrounded by friends, neighbors and fellow students who share similar backgrounds. “Our kids are increasingly growing up with kids like them who have parents like us,” writes the Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam in his book Our Kids. He warns this represents “an incipient class apartheid.” It couldn’t hurt for upper-middle-class kids to step outside their bubble and spend a day in a working-class job…

Apart from tween-wrangling, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Too Good To Check

The amazing thing here is that for a beat — maybe longer — it’s easy to believe this could be real:

That’s via Stephen Colbert, btw, who can hit you with either the broadaxe and the stiletto.

Consider this your reminder that Donald J. Trump is NOT NORMAL.

Yeah — my bleak heart cackled at that, but this is a good day to take a (watchful) rest from fight-or-flight fueled rage and resistance.

May all those for whom this is the most joyous day of the year delight in the hope it embodies.  Hey! The rest of us can rejoice as well, for the idea of redemption exceeds any spiritual or religious tradition.

Happy Easter everyone — or, as we in the Athens of America are experiencing it, have a great first day of summer.

Open Thread.



Friday Morning Open Thread: Good Friday / Easter Weekend

Bless this man, now and forever. A twenty-three minute podcast might be a little long first thing, but I understand many people use their commutes for good listens like this.

Salutations to those of our Balloon Juice community who will be observing Good Friday, a supremely significant Christian holiday that nonetheless sits oddly in our modern American calendar (Financial markets will be closed, but it’s not a federal or state holiday.) We’ll have a three-day weekend here in the People’s Commonwealth, because Monday is (the original & only true) Patriots’ Day, also known to some as Marathon Monday.

What’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?

There’s also another big protest march scheduled this weekend:

An idea that sprung from a law professor’s tweet after President Trump’s inauguration will unfold Saturday on the Mall, where thousands of protesters plan to call on Trump to release his personal tax returns. The demonstration is expected to be the largest of more than 100 affiliated protests planned across the country.

The Tax March, which falls on the nation’s traditional April 15 deadline to file taxes, is expected to be one of the most high-profile demonstrations of the Trump era since protesters around the world participated in women’s marches — marches that served as an unprecedented rebuke to Trump’s presidency on his first full day in office. Presidents are not required to release their tax returns but have done so voluntarily dating to the 1970…

Marchers in Washington are expected to be joined by those in more than 100 other cities across the country and around the world, including New Orleans, San Antonio, Nashville and London, organizers say.

In Washington, organizers have worked with government agencies, including D.C. police and the National Park Service, to obtain permits. The Park Service permit indicates that organizers expect up to 10,000 people.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the Park Service, said the Tax March and the Science March the following weekend are among the largest protests the agency is expecting this spring in Washington.

The Tax March will begin at noon Saturday on the west lawn in front of the Capitol, with a lineup of speakers that includes Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.). From there, protesters will march west along Pennsylvania Avenue NW before ending near the Lincoln Memorial. The event is expected to end about 4 p.m.

In an interview, Raskin referred to polls during the presidential campaign that showed a majority of Americans — and a majority of Republicans — believed that Trump should release his tax returns. Raskin said Congress couldn’t have meaningful conversations about a tax revamp without knowing whether proposed tax laws would be a financial boon to Trump and his businesses…

Official TaxMarch website here. (They have a great logo.)