Building a movement requires shifting people from spectators to strategists, from procrastinators to protagonists. What people are willing to do on social media doesn't always translate into what they're willing to do in their everyday lives. Movement building and participation require ongoing engagement, and the levels of engagement must continually shift and increase - from just showing up to signing a petition to getting nine friends involved to helping design strategy to pressuring a legislator to leading a group, and so on [page 144] (emphasis added).
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Friday, June 18, 2021
Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography three times, but to protect the people who helped him run away from enslavement, he did not explain how he had managed to get away until the last version.
Douglass escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1838. In his twenty years of life, he had had a series of enslavers, some harsher than others, and one who almost killed him. But by 1838, he was a skilled worker in the local shipyards, earning good money for his master and enjoying a measure of freedom, as well as protection. He had good friends in the area and had fallen in love with the woman who would become his wife.
It was enslavement, but within that existence, it was a pretty good position. His peers in the cotton fields of the Deep South were beaten like animals, their deaths by violence unremarkable. Douglass himself had come close to being "sold down the river"—a term that referred to the slave convoys that traveled down the Mississippi River from older, worn out lands in the East to fresh, raw lands in Mississippi and Louisiana—and he knew that being forced to labor on a plantation in the Deep South would kill him.
His relatively safe position would have been enough for a lot of people. They would have thanked God for their blessings and stayed put. In 1838, Frederick Douglass was no different than they were: an unknown slave, hoping to get through each day. Like them, he might have accepted his conditions and disappeared into the past, leaving the status quo unchanged.
But he refused.
His scheme for escaping to freedom was ridiculously easy. In the days of slavery, free black sailors carried documents with them to prove to southern authorities that they were free, so they could move from northern and foreign ports to southern ports without being detained. These were the days before photos, so officials described the man listed on the free papers as they saw him: his color, distinguishing marks, scars. Douglass worked in shipyards, and had met a sailor whose free papers might cover Douglass... if the white official who looked at them didn't look too closely. Risking his own freedom, that sailor lent Douglass his papers.
To escape from slavery, all Douglass had to do was board a train. That's it: he just had to step on a train. If he were lucky, and the railroad conductor didn't catch him, and no one recognized him and called him out, he could be free. But if he were caught, he would be sold down river, almost certainly to his death.
To me, Douglass's decision to step aboard that train is everything. How many of us would have taken that risk, especially knowing that even in the best case, success would mean trying to build a new life, far away from everyone we had ever known? Douglass's step was such a little one, such an easy one... except that it meant the difference between life and death, the difference between a forgotten, enslaved shipyard worker and the great Frederick Douglass, who went on to become a powerful voice for American liberty.
Tomorrow, my students will graduate, and every year, students ask me if I have any advice for them as they leave college or university, advice I wish I had had at their age. The answer is yes, after all these years of living and of studying history, I have one piece of advice:
When the day comes that you have to choose between what is just good enough and what is right... find the courage to step on the train.
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Mr. Rovelli follows the trail of quantum theory through some delightfully unorthodox byways, including Buddhist mysticism and Russian revolutionary politics, to arrive at last at the notion that is most dear to him, that of the “relational” interpretation of quantum theory. Although he explains this version of ultimate reality at the atomic level with characteristic flair and enthusiasm, he does not pretend it is easy to understand, or any less counter-intuitive than Heisenberg’s matrices or Schrödinger’s hovering cat.
“Everything,” he writes, “is what it is only with respect to something else.” The electron is manifest only when it interacts with another object, even if that object is only the questing eye of the observer. Reality in the quantum world is tenuous, fleeting, “intricate and fragile as Venetian lace. Every interaction is an event, and it is these light and ephemeral events that weave reality,” not the manifold of whizzing billiard balls envisioned by the old science. “Reality, including our selves, is nothing but a thin and fragile veil, beyond which . . . there is nothing.”
This is not a counsel of despair; quite the contrary. Mr. Rovelli’s is a radiant void, quick with potential, in which objects, or “objects,” have their being through contact with and dependence on each other. And in this interdependent, interlocked world, the way to enlightenment is through co-operation not confrontation. For all his delicacy of touch, Mr. Rovelli is a man, and a scientist, of large ambition. It is time, he declares, to bring the relational theory into general discussion, “beyond the restricted circles of theoretical physicists and philosophers, to deposit its distilled honey, sweet and intoxicating, into the whole of contemporary culture”... (emphasis added).
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
The idea that all bias is some deviation from an unbiased center is itself a bias that prevents pundits, journalists, politicians and plenty of others from recognizing some of the most ugly and impactful prejudices and assumptions of our times. I think of this bias, which insists the center is not biased, not afflicted with agendas, prejudices and destructive misperceptions, as status-quo bias. Underlying it is the belief that things are pretty OK now, that the people in charge should be trusted because power confers legitimacy, that those who want sweeping change are too loud or demanding or unreasonable, and that we should just all get along without looking at the skeletons in the closet and the stuff swept under the rug. It’s mostly a prejudice of people for whom the system is working, against those for whom it’s not (emphasis added).
A decade ago, when I went to northern Japan for the first anniversary of the Great Tohuko Earthquake and tsunami, I was told that the 100ft-high wave of black water was so inconceivable a sight that some people could not recognize it and the danger it posed. Others assumed this tsunami would be no bigger than those in recent memory and did not flee high enough. A lot of people died of not being able to see the unanticipated (emphasis added).
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Hello Neighbors, I have a question. What is driving up home prices in Santa Cruz? What is driving prices up 30%-50% over the past two to three years? Who is buying these homes? ... I keep a close eye on houses and have a great real estate agent, but now that I am in a position to buy a house the prices keep going up with multiple offers over the asking price and I wonder how anyone from Santa Cruz County can keep up. A standard raise at work is between 5%-and 8% each year - nowhere near the increase in home prices. Several houses on Zillow on the market now are priced above 50% of what they sold for a few years ago. Congratulations to all the people who bought homes and are making a 50% profit in such a short period of time, that is great for you. And I don't blame anyone for taking the advantage of increased demand and making such a handsome profit on their investment. My rent is more than many mortgages (over $5K a month) and I am grateful I can afford this but am losing hope that I'll be able to buy a house in my hometown. My young adult daughters were born and raised here and I always thought Santa Cruz would be our home, that I would have a home base for them to return to. I would like to know though, where sellers are going and who is able to afford to pay $1,500,000 for a modest home? Thank you for your answers and insights.
- Wealthy workers from Silicon Valley (and elsewhere) are buying second homes in Santa Cruz and outbidding local people.
- Wealthy workers from Silicon Valley, who can outbid local residents for housing, are moving over here because they can now work remotely and who wouldn't rather live in Santa Cruz?
- Wealthy workers from Silicon Valley, who can outbid local working families for housing, are choosing to buy in Santa Cruz because the prices here are less than in the Silicon Valley, and who wouldn't rather live in Santa Cruz?
- Wealthy workers from Silicon Valley are cashing out stock, and think Santa Cruz real estate is a good investment. It's a great place to park their money. With all those dollars, they can easily outbid local residents.
Monday, June 14, 2021
Douglas S. Ellenoff, a partner at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole L.L.P., whose firm has executed at least 25 reverse mergers, told me that although reverse mergers have been “abused on occasion,” the practice was, on balance, a beneficial one. “There’s nothing wrong with being creative and putting deals together and making magic,” Ellenoff said.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Saturday, June 12, 2021
- Calla Walsh
Calla Walsh [is] a leader in the group of activists known here as the Markeyverse. Ms. Walsh, a 16-year-old high school junior, has many of the attributes of Generation Z: She likes to refer to people (like the president) as “bestie.” She occasionally gets called away from political events to babysit her little brother. She is slightly in the doghouse, parent-wise, for getting a C+ in precalculus.
She is also representative of an influential new force in Democratic politics, activists who cut their teeth on the presidential campaigns of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The full strength of these activists — many of whom are not old enough to vote — did not become clear until last fall, when they were key to one of the year’s most surprising upsets, helping Senator Edward J. Markey defeat a primary challenge from Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, who had been heavily favored to win.
But the Markeyverse carried out a devastating political maneuver, firmly fixing the idea of Senator Markey as a left-wing icon and Representative Kennedy as challenging him from the right. They carried out ambitious digital organizing, using social media to conjure up an in-person work force — “an army of 16-year-olds,” as one political veteran put it, who can “do anything on the internet.”
Friday, June 11, 2021
The lone Black member of the county board, Supervisor William Harris, stood up and begged his colleagues who opposed the resolution to change their minds.
“I want to feel like I’m a part of this community,’’ he said. “That’s what a lot of our residents are saying. We want to contribute to our community. We want to feel like a part of this community.”
But a fellow board member was just as passionate at the meeting ... in arguing that acknowledging racial disparities is itself a form of racism.
We are in this world together - and we are all different, in lots of different ways. I am pretty convinced that our future prosperity and survival is going to be closely tied to how successful we can be in overcoming our differences and celebrating our diversity.
Thursday, June 10, 2021
If parades are celebrations of community and history, the Pride parade is also about the joy of belonging — of being part of a people knitted together by shared identity and survival. It wasn’t so long ago that L.G.B.T.Q. people were thrilled to cheer for every out person and ally who would march in the parade, including L.G.B.T.Q. police officers, who often received some of the biggest cheers from onlookers. These police officers were vital in helping make the L.G.B.T.Q. community more visible and varied in a nation slow to overcome old stereotypes and fears. Today, at a time when Republican legislatures are attacking transgender rights across the country, it’s a strange moment for the L.G.B.T.Q. community to be closing the door on some of its own and missing an opportunity to broaden its coalition.
The New York City Pride organizers’ decision is part of a worrisome trend in recent years of Pride organizers who have barred uniformed officers from marching in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, or have tried to do so, in places like Sacramento and St. Louis. Taking a pledge to protect and serve your city should not mean sacrificing the chance to be included in a community celebration of your identity.
Ana Arboleda, a sergeant in the New York Police Department - and who is also a lesbian - told The Times that she feels most connected to the L.G.B.T.Q. community when she marches down Fifth Avenue with the Gay Officers Action League during New York’s annual Pride celebration. She calls the decision to ban the participation of uniformed police officers "devastating." “Being banished for celebrating a part of my identity is not easy for me,” Ms. Arboleda said. “Instead of being embraced, they’re throwing me back in the closet.”
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
In the wake of Israel’s fourth election, and Netanyahu’s failure to form a government, a national unity coalition was taking shape in Israel — under the leadership of the secular-centrist Yair Lapid and the religious-rightist Naftali Bennett. They were on the verge of forging a cabinet that would include both Israeli Jews and, for the first time ever, an Israeli Arab Islamist party.
That is what gave this emerging opposition national unity coalition an opportunity to put together a broad government that for the first time ever would have included right-wing pro-settler Zionist parties, left-wing secular progressive parties and a pro-Islamist Israeli Arab party — and possibly, eventually, even secular Arab parties.
It would have broken the mold of Israeli politics forever. And that is why the local Jan. 6-style opponents — in Israel and Hamas — were determined to blow it up.
Otherwise, it might lead to more progress and integration between Jews and Arabs, and attempts to address unemployment and humiliation, especially among Israeli Arab youth, and not to aggravate them.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Monday, June 7, 2021
The immediate result if SB 9 passes as now written will be a BIG jump in the value/price of ALL the single-family home properties where this new development potential might be used. In the high-cost Bay Area, SB 9’s passage will add at least $100,000 to the price of any feasible house/lot. And most such homes in San Francisco could see jumps from $200,000 to $400,000 (view lots, etc.).
There is no way that instant price jump in home prices is a Good Thing. It will put even more housing units financially out of the reach of today’s hopeful home buyers. And it will make those properties even more attractive to “investors” (aka “flippers”) looking to exploit the State’s housing crisis for their own personal profits.
Those are Bad Things (emphasis added).
Sunday, June 6, 2021
The word “cheugy” (pronounced CHEW-gee, with a hard G) has spread through certain corners of the online discourse like a forest fire in dry brush ... Invented by Gen Z, it has become a particular fascination of millennials, who have become obsessed both with understanding what cheugy means and with not being cheugy themselves.According to the New York Times and numerous follow-on trend pieces, the term describes someone who is out of date or trying too hard. “Cheugy” is a near cousin of “basic” and “uncool,” but somehow different, at least according to Gaby Rasson, the now-23-year-old software developer who coined the term way back in 2013. A cheug strenuously attempts to stay on trend; the problem is that the trends they’re following are from 2015: Starbucks, chevron patterns, the term #Girlboss, jokes from “The Office” (emphasis added).
Barack and Michelle personally? Likely not. But the act of being really into them — listening to the former president’s podcast with Bruce Springsteen, or actively looking forward to the former first lady’s new Netflix series? Definitely cheugy. I think. Maybe.
But let’s rewind a bit, to bring the uninitiated up to speed. The word “cheugy” (pronounced CHEW-gee, with a hard G) has spread through certain corners of the online discourse like a forest fire in dry brush — the brush being the distinct lack of new conversational topics after a year spent at pandemic-imposed remove. Invented by Gen Z, it has become a particular fascination of millennials, who have become obsessed both with understanding what cheugy means and with not being cheugy themselves.
According to the New York Times and numerous follow-on trend pieces, the term describes someone who is out of date or trying too hard. “Cheugy” is a near cousin of “basic” and “uncool,” but somehow different, at least according to Gaby Rasson, the now-23-year-old software developer who coined the term way back in 2013. A cheug strenuously attempts to stay on trend; the problem is that the trends they’re following are from 2015: Starbucks, chevron patterns, the term #Girlboss, jokes from “The Office.”
As a topic of conversation, “cheugy” is near perfect. It’s basically harmless — not a political meltdown, vaccination conspiracy theory or police killing. And it allows for the same level of self-regard as a horoscope or personality test. Are you cheugy? Am I? Are the things we like cheugy? How do we stay on trend?
Millennials could back-and-forth about this for days. But our obsession with defining this minor Gen Z roast says more about us than it does about the term itself. We’re worried about being cheugy because we’re worried about getting old.
For more than a decade now, millennials have been the “it” generation. We joked darkly about our avocado toast as we were shafted by the boomer-controlled economy. But at least we could be safe in the knowledge that we were being talked about.
Not so anymore. The favored generation is now the one after us: Gen Z. They’re here with their wide-legged jeans, impenetrable slang and disdain for our Obama-era trends. The media is wondering what their experience of the pandemic is, how little sex they’re having. Political energy is shifting in their direction, too — less technocracy around health care and more “big bets” on fighting climate change; less #Girlboss energy and more “preferred pronouns.”
By now, millennial concerns are rote. Yes, yes, we’re burned out, beleaguered by student debt and still struggling to buy real estate. But the oldest millennials turn 40 this year; at this point, no one is coming to save us. We are expected to have grown up by now, and with that should come a willingness to let someone else take center stage. When people speak of the “kids these days,” they’re not talking about us. It’s causing us some anxiety.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Friday, June 4, 2021
In 2018, during the U.S. Open trophy presentation, after a match marred by controversy surrounding a confrontation between Serena Williams and the umpire. The crowd, which had been on Williams’s side, booed as Osaka was named the champion. Osaka cried, and tried to hide her face. She was twenty years old then, already launched into a life that everyone could see and that no one could possibly imagine. Over the next three years, Osaka won three more Grand Slams, and the publicity surrounding her career and her life grew even more intense. Her image was on the cover of Vogue and on billboards towering over Los Angeles and Tokyo. She became an icon, and she did iconic things. She helped design sneakers for Nike, a salad for Sweetgreen. In May, Sportico estimated that she had earned more than fifty million dollars during the previous year, which made her the highest-paid female athlete in history... A recent Times feature about her ran under the headline “How Naomi Osaka Became Everyone’s Favorite Spokesmodel.”
It is not, in fact, unusual for players to skip press conferences—particularly players who can afford to pay the resulting fines. What was unusual was the decision to opt out of them entirely, ahead of time, and to publicly question the rules and practices surrounding them. Osaka also sent a private e-mail to French Open officials apologizing for any affront and saying that she would like to “work with the Tour” to set up a new system once the tournament was done. But the officials at all four Grand Slams treated both this e-mail and her initial statement as existential threats. After trying and failing to engage with Osaka, they said, they issued a joint statement to publicly warn her that the penalties would escalate if she maintained her stance and that she could be expelled from the tournament. Within a day [given those threats], she pulled out.