kaffyr: (We used to dream)
  photo fb3cd480-2f3f-4212-87a0-472a9271dbf6_zps3tzojemf.png

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. 
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus
kaffyr: She's at a typewriter; is she legal? (Are Girls Legal?)
This I Believe


 photo fb3cd480-2f3f-4212-87a0-472a9271dbf6_zps3tzojemf.png


Apologies for the large image, but you don't hide Lady Liberty's light under a bushel.

I live-streamed the Women's March on Washington. My First Born attended the march in Chicago. And, although I know it's just the beginning - continued resistance is hard work - I think knowing how much support, how many allies, there are around the world, is a tremendous boost.
kaffyr: (We used to dream)
Post Deluge Ruminations

Some of these are gathered from comments I've made in earlier post-election conversations here and on LJ. Others I've thought about more recently. 

All the bitterness, with none of the hope )
kaffyr: (Tired of typesetting)
Third Debate


More astute political analysis )

We have 20 more days to go. Jesus wept.

Oh, and HE WON'T SAY WHETHER HE'LL ACCEPT THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION.

Yeah. Jesus is still weeping.  
kaffyr: The First Doctor isn't amused (Bullshit!)
Debate, Part Two

You know abso-damn-lutely nothing - NOTHING - about Canada's health care, says the woman whose Canadian mum was beautifully cared for in her last days, who got care both quickly and thoroughly. 

Fuck. You. 

No, unfuck you. I don't want you enjoying sex. 

kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
Regarding the Debate Thus Far

Sorry about this.... )
kaffyr: Weeping angel peers through "clock" (Time's no Angel)
Phyllis Schlafly is Dead

As it says on the tin.
I wish I could think of something nice to say about the woman. She certainly was a bundle of energy. How about these? She had a way with words.  

She was also a mean-spirited, hypocritical ultra-conservative force for regression and oppression. And of all those attributes, it may be her hypocrisy that has always rubbed me the most raw. She was able to live her very independent life, dedicated to fighting against independence for women, because she married a rich man. 

Faugh. Enough. There were people who loved her, and I am sorry that they feel the loss. 

But the world was made worse through her efforts, and if there is a seat of god, she ought to hang her head in shame before it.

Dept. of Weariness

Thursday, 21 July 2016 08:12 pm
kaffyr: (Deficiency weekly)
This Is Not a Post

Really, folks. It isn't. It's more to say I'm alive, and that I actually intend to continue conversing with people on my last post - I'm not ignoring anyone, I just haven't had the intellectual vigor to follow up with a couple of folks. 

It's not a post, because if it were a post, I'd have said Happy Birthday, 
[personal profile] gerisullivan !! You're an amazing, creative, smiling, disciplined, fannish force of nature, and I'm very glad I know you! May the 2016-2017 year be a good for you, and may we see more of each other soon. 

It's not a post, because I might say a whole bunch of things about the fire-struck oil-slick that is the RNC. I've been watching it at a remove, by following Twitter. I tried watching one of the early speeches and it raised my blood pressure enough to make me turn off the television.

It's not a post because every single day seems to unleash some awful bit of violence here and abroad - on top of the unending violence and despair in Syria and Iraq, in Somalia, in other places that are just as real as my home, against people who don't deserve it. And I don't have the spoons to consider it.

It's not a post, because it's too damned hot. And the old break in my foot aches from the mugginess. And I'm worried about Alex, the senior ginger partner of our feline triad. He's been throwing up almost every day. I removed any bit of milk from his diet (we used to give him a little bit of milk as a treat on a too-regular basis.) I'm hoping that will help.

It's not a post because - wait, I can say that I'm almost done one more IOU 
[community profile] fandom_stocking  fic. Yes! Something positive! 

And now I'm going to bed. 
kaffyr: Calvin face palms (Calvin face palm)
Thoughts Upon Seeing a Friend's Twitter Rant

Someone I'm very fond of has just posted thoughts about how they are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. This person was a dedicated Bernie fan, and apparently is, much to my sad realization, one of those fans who will not vote for Hillary, despite Bernie's official endorsement.  

I chose not to engage on Twitter, not least because I'm already pushing the envelope of my semi-business Twitter account with the types of retweets and favorites I make public. A conversation about this would cross the line even further than I've already pushed it. 

So I'm bringing my thoughts here, via copying, pasting, and slightly amending a piece of commentary I posted before the last American presidential election.
I don't think the person in question pays much attention to LJ/DW these days, but I need to say what I have to say somewhere. 

**** **** ****

Voting matters. It always matters. 

Make a choice, even if it is the lesser of two evils. Often "the lesser of two evils" turns out to be one of two things - "better than one expected," or "helping keep the greater of two evils out." In either case, your vote is important.

Voting matters. It always matters.

A political meme that still inexplicably enjoys some coin puts forth the idea that a) one's vote doesn't count and b) one's vote is important enough to be withheld from the ballot box as a form of protest.

The illogic inherent between the front and back end of that message is staggering.

If you want to sound like some first year Business Communications major/French Lit minor trying to impress a potential roll in the hay with your world-weary political sophistication, go ahead and believe it. (If you are a Business Comm/French Lit student and understand the stupidity of that little conceit, my apologies.) If, on the other hand, you're an adult ....

You think that by withholding your vote, you'll make "them" listen? 

You fool. 

The only person who pays attention to an "unvote" is the campaign strategist for the winning candidate; she's the one who's glad her opponent's candidate was the beneficiary of every single unvote not in the ballot box.

And this year, who is the person happiest for the unvotes for Hillary? It's not Bernie. It's the fascist who would wreck this country.

You call yourself a progressive, but you turn on the progressive you backed when he makes the pragmatic decision that was, surely, far harder for him to make than for you to contemplate? Then you weren't really that much of a supporter, were you? 

Also, no, withholding your vote from the Democratic candidate won't make the Democratic apparatchiks take you or your views seriously. They may laugh as loudly as the clown-car fascist. 

If I hear one more iteration of "Voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for evil," I swear I will scream. Voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for the lesser of two evils - because the greater evil is greater, and will scour your soul far more badly than the lesser will.

If you look hard enough at any candidate, no matter how good, you're apt to find something at which you can point and say "EVIL!" So your argument is, frankly, an invalid and slightly sophomoric one. Pragmatism; it's a thing, and it is not, merely by definition, evil. Nor is idealism, merely by definition, good.

 Voting matters. It always matters.

Dept. of Independence

Monday, 4 July 2016 04:30 pm
kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
A Plea

Every Independence Day, I try to write a post that tells friends and acquaintances what I feel about Independence Day in America. This year, my post is a plea to everyone in this amazing country - and, frankly, to any of my friends and acquaintances around the world. Because what I'm about to ask all of you is something that I think is necessary. It's a plea from my heart, asking you all to help maintain democracy in a way that goes beyond love and duty, to action. 

Read newspapers. 

Read newspapers that you agree with, read the ones you're pretty sure are wrong-headed. Compare their stories. Continue reading them. Read newspapers from other countries if you can. 

Pay for those newspapers.

If you read them online, and there's a way to subscribe to a digital version of those papers, think hard about which ones you think are doing a good job - not necessary the job you like, but a good job - of trying to inform their reading public. 

If you read them in hard copy, subscribe. If you can only afford to get weekend delivery, do that. If you can afford seven-day-a-week delivery, do that. It'll be more expensive, but it's worth it to you - after all, you won't have to worry about your access to news dying with a recalcitrant laptop or aging tablet. And you'll have something to line your birdcage with eventually. More importantly, you'll be able to turn a page and find news you hadn't expected, hadn't looked for - and you might learn something important about your world. That's another benefit to hard-copy. When you read online news sources, they tend to conform themselves, via algorithms and other marketing magic, to what they think you want to read, or hear. Voila, instant echo chamber. 

So, yes, if you can, read newspapers, and pay for them. 

Most of you know I'm a reporter, so you may assume this is my biased, and slightly panicked, plea to my friends and acquaintances to help keep my source of income alive. Well, of course it is. 

But there's also this: this is what The Nation wrote most recently about the public's decreasing access to news that men, women, and children need to know, in order to make informed decisions about what's going on in their neighborhoods, their towns, their counties and provinces and states and nations and world. 

It's nothing new, as even the author states. But it's frightening in the extreme. 

They call journalism The Fourth Estate. I consider it one of the important pillars of democracy, along with informed voting, and continued informed involvement in democracy before and after voting. In fact, if you don't know what is happening around you - what businesses, governments, individuals, corporations, courts, et al, are doing to and for you - you cannot vote in an informed fashion. 

Newspapers are dying. And I'm not sure that live media is doing much of a job providing the news that people need in place of newspapers. Reading heavily targeted news that agrees with what you believe (something of which I'm equally guilty) will not tell you what's going on in this world. Newspapers, general circulation newspapers - small, medium, large, weekly and daily, neighborhood and national -  are what will help. 

They need money to keep going. So pay up. You're helping pay for democracy. 

Will keeping newspapers alive keep news alive? Probably not, in the long run, or at least in the way we once thought of news and newspapers. But it will help. And I can't think of a more patriotic thing to do on this Independence Day, than to check your wallet, figure out which two or three newspapers to support (remember to make one of them one that you don't agree with, but which you think has half-way decent reportage), and put your money into a subscription. 

Nor can I think of anything more patriotic for Canadians, for Brits, for Australians - for anyone whose country has a half-way open society - to do. We don't have the excuse of personal danger when we subscribe to good news sources that many folks across the world have. Let's use that freedom. 

Thank you, and here's a little something from Robert Reich that says other good things about democracy.

kaffyr: (Bacon!)
Just a Thought

What if people and corporations used to making obscene profits at the expense of other human beings could somehow be convinced to live with only slightly risque profits instead? 

I mean, yes, Come the Revolution and all that, but until then ....

Dept. of Books

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 10:24 pm
kaffyr: Close-up of manual typewriter (Typewriter)
Between the World and Me

I've wanted to recommend Between The World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, for some time; well before I reached the end of this very slim volume, as a matter of fact.

Folks may know of Coates' work at The Atlantic, with his trenchant, unyielding, and often strongly poetic writing about race and America, among many other things. He was named the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grant.  (He's a fan, by the way; he's going to be writing The Black Panther for Marvel!)

But this book ... it's rare that I can say "A book changed my view of the world." This one did. It is written as a letter to his teenage son in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder trial verdict. He speaks to his son as a black man, with a young black son he loves, in a country that doesn't love either of them. Within the first 10 pages of this letter, I was treated to more wisdom, and more hurt, and more righteous anger, than I've read in a long time. 

I'm a middle-class white woman, and reading this was sometimes brutal for me - but it was brutal in all the good "you need to learn this, to understand it, to accept it, " way. Coates is that rarest of combinations; a writer with reportorial skills in equal measure to his command of language, pacing, heart and mind. He made me listen. 

Between the World and Me has been short-listed for the National Book award. You should read it.

Dept. of Rage

Thursday, 1 October 2015 03:28 pm
kaffyr: A typical day in the BSG!verse (Frakkin' Watchtower)
So. Again.

There's this. Again. Again. 

3-2-1:

"Now's not the time to talk about gun control, in this moment of tragedy."
"It was just a lone madman."
"If they'd only had guns, because gun-free zones are dangerous."
"Background checks will bring black helicopters to our doors!"*
"Because Second Amendment!"
"Because Freedom!!"**
"Because Obaaaaaaaama!"
"We'll keep telling our (fewer than advertised) members to shout down opposition. They're cheap."
"We'll keep doing this while the gun and ammo companies keep paying Wayne's and our salaries."


If they like guns so much, I have a suggestion ...

... and the very fact that I just wrote that uncivilized and unforgivable sentence tells you how angry and fucking fed up I am. 

Fuck. The. NRA. 

And no, this is my journal. This is one of the rare, the very rare, times that I will pull rank. You want to argue about this? Really? Do not tempt me.

* Yes, yes, we know. Your safe full of guns of all types is going to help keep you free from the evil government and their jackboots. In the 21st century. The government that has tanks and drones. Right. You and your camo-wearing buddies just keep on watching "Red Dawn" and wanking off to your little 15-year-old otaku mecha fantasies. Your Second Amendment wet dreams are just that. The Second Amendment - I do not think it means what Wayne LaPierre has told you it means.
**See above. 





Dept. of Windmills

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 08:23 pm
kaffyr: (We used to dream)
Sometimes It's Right to Tilt at Them

I'm not an economist, a politician, or anyone paid to analyze the actions of economists or politicians. So I'm very possibly wrong when I say that I believe the idea of holding countries accountable for debt that they've been encouraged by bankers to accumulate in order to keep their economies afloat, for what seems to be an underlying desire not to get the money back, but to consolidate power over those countries is obscene. I mean, what do I know about the IMF, amirite?

But I'll go out on a limb here and say that I don't think talking heads saying things like "They caused their own problem by borrowing, so I have no sympathy for them" - as if they were talking about Cousin Al, who never learned to balance his checkbook, and needs a lesson from the school of hard knocks - know much more than I do. At least I understand we're talking about countries here; mass organisms of incredible complexity that bear as little resemblance to Cousin Al as I do to a powder puff. 

So when I read about the Indiegogo campaign launched by a Londoner, to crowdfund Greece's 1.6 billion Euro debt, I was pleased to see how fast it was growing (fast enough to crash the Indiegogo page for several hours.) Not because it stands a hope in hell of actually succeeding, but because it's proving, I think, to be a piece of guerrilla theater with a message to the people who pretend that money in the hands of powerful countries and financial entities is anything but a tool to increase their power, at the expense of poor countries. Perhaps more than one message. 

Anyhow, if you're interested in the campaign, head one over. The last I saw it had reached about 502,000 Euros. Not bad, considering it was 222,000-some Euros earlier today.
kaffyr: (NaruOMG)
 O. M. G. 

I am at a zoning meeting. 

I am at a zoning meeting. 

And she won't stop talking. 

AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Dept. of JFC

Tuesday, 4 November 2014 09:27 pm
kaffyr: A typical day in the BSG!verse (Frakkin' Watchtower)
 Welp

Looks like fear, hatred, bigotry, targeted misogyny, anti-union ignorance, and loads and loads and loads and loads and loads of money have won the day in the U.S. midterms. 

Oh, and Democratic mismanagement of both spine, intestinal fortitude and vision.

Fuck.



kaffyr: A typical day in the BSG!verse (Frakkin' Watchtower)
 With a Hat Tip to [personal profile] supergee  ...

... who pointed out this excellent and rightly angry piece by Mia McKenzie, talking about what you shouldn't get distracted by when a black teenager is murdered. Damn. Why does this even have to be written? And why do we - and I include me in the sorry list - have to be reminded? 




kaffyr: (newsies sell papes)
 Freedom of Information. Big Data. 

These are things. These are important things. I've always known the FOI thing. Reporters do.

But Big Data? Whoah.

Yes, I'm actually at a day long workshop on Freedom of Information Act-related things, for both reporters and citizens, put on by the Chicago Headline Club. The biggest piece of interest for me, though, is the information I'm learning about a) the existence of Big Data and b) how it can be used, interpreted, contextualized and used to enlighten the public I'm serving.

Cool.

But a little weird for a woman whose reporting career began in 1975, back with carbons between sheets of paper that you put into a manual typewriter ....I'm such a mix of things; I love the Internet, I love and understand a bunch of things about communicating on the net, and yet I am so un-tech savvy most of the time ... 

Also, I'm going to be giving a workshop on this back at work. To a lot of other reporters. On April 8. I have until then to figure out Power Point, I suppose. And figure out what needs to be said, how it needs to be said and why. 

Ah, well. Back to breakout sessions.  

kaffyr: The First Doctor isn't amused (Bullshit!)
When Special Snowflakes Aren't

Back a few years, when I had an office, and when each person in the office actually had their own office, one of my reportorial compatriots had an award-winning door of pro-labor editorial cartoons. At least I thought the cartoons she put up there were worthy of awards. One, in particular, has stayed with me.

A man sits in front of a large desk, behind which sits another man, whose appearance is typical cartoon "boss." The first man says something like "What do I want out of a job? I was thinking, a small, windowless office that has enough oxygen for me to breathe while I do my work."

The boss says, "Well, you're not asking for much, are you, Mr. Prima-Donna?"

Over the years, my enjoyment of that cartoon has evolved from its original wryly bitter appreciation to simply bitter. That's because too many of us have swallowed the lie of Privilege vs Right, of Luxury vs Necessity.

Warning. Rant. )
kaffyr: Umbrella's, figure rise in a field; from Magritte? (umbrellas rise)
Fourth of July


kaffyr: The newsies contemplate striking (Stop the presses)
Getting the Picture
Three Things You Can Do If You Believe in Justice and Journalism

Folks, it's been a hell of a few days for me, ever since my bosses at Wrapports Inc./Sun-Times Media, the publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, and of my Pioneer Press newspapers, fired all 28 professional photographers, and announced it planned to replace their work with those of untrained reporters like me, using iPhones to take pictures and videos. A hell of a few days for me, but a nightmare for the 28 colleagues who were unceremoniously, unfairly and, we believe, illegally fired. 

It's also a nightmare for anyone who cares about getting, reading and viewing good journalism. I know the friends I have here online understand the importance of journalism to Democracy. There's a reason we're called the Fourth Estate, and even when we fall down on the job,  we're doing our best to perform a service for democracy, for this country, and for the world. I don't feel in the least hyperbolic or cheesy in saying that either.

You may not live in Chicago; you may not have to deal with the lowered value and degraded quality of Wrapports Inc./Sun-Times Media newspapers. But you understand the kind of horrific precedent this sets. So, if you'll pardon me taking the liberty, I'm going to ask you to consider helping us fight back. There are three ways you can do it:

1) Watch this interview with Pulitzer Prize winning former Sun-Times photographer John H. White. It'll give you an idea of the quality that these men have so cavalierly discarded, to our detriment, and their own.

2) Call and Email:  If you believe that a news gathering organization needs high quality, professional photojournalism in order to do its duty by its readers and advertisers, please make your concerns known to Wrapports LLC CEO Tim Knight (  312-321-3025  , tknight@suntimes.com) and Wrapports LLC Chairman Michael Ferro (michael@suntimes.com), and to Jim Kirk, who is Chief of Editorial Operations (jkirk@suntimes.com,  312-321-2577  ). Asking them to bargain in good faith with the Guild couldn't hurt, either.

3) And finally, consider signing this petition, on behalf of the photographers by The Newspaper Guild.

The last two are pressure tactics, and pressure tactics are invaluable tools in our fight to regain the photographers' jobs, and to win a contract that will protect them, us and, by extension, the potential for good, solid local and regional journalism in the greater Chicago area. The three men I mention in 2) are extraordinarily conscious of publicity, of how they look to the public, to their shareholders and to potential investors. This is particularly true of Knight and Ferro. Please help us to put pressure on the two men who hold the potential of reversing the most disastrous decision to affect a newspaper chain in years.

Thank you for reading, and considering my plea.

kaffyr: Dancing French cracked geniuses (Sometimes you need to dance)
Post Election Considerations

Thanks in no small part to the vast and evil knowledge of [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll  and the kindly directional wisdom of [personal profile] autopope  that pointed me to this post over at Making Light, I've had the dubious pleasure of reading the extreme expressions of displeasure of those at the fruitbattier end of the "ZOMG Obama End Times AAAAAaaaaaiiiieee!!!!!!" spectrum. And because I like to a) spread the WTFness and b) I do, meanly, enjoy drinking their tears, I provide the links to you.

Under which I ruminate )
On the other hand, I also want to pass along news of good things and I consider this campaign purely, positively, cheekily brilliant. The moment I read this was truly joyful. This idea almost makes using the phrase "thinking outside the box" worthwhile. For people who thought that the Occupy movement had faded away, this is a particularly lovely heads-up that it hasn't. Thanks to [personal profile] supergee  and, again, to Making Light.

And of course, there's this. If you haven't seen it by now, perhaps it will make you smile. Hell, even if you've seen it before, you might want to see it again. And I'd much rather react to my ideological opponents in this fashion than in the splenetic, grammatically challenged perorations you'll find courtesy of the first couple of links.

kaffyr: (Mel's on Fire)
November 6, 2012

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!




*Memo to the Koch brothers and Karl Rove: put your wallets away, boys. Didn't work.




kaffyr: Princess Jellyfish goes to work (Reporting for duty)
 And Now, the Traditional (Pre) Election Day Rant.

(This is message I have been wont to broadcast indiscriminately over the last few years, any time an election appears on the horizon. Here it is again. I've amended and edited it slightly this time around because, as important as I once thought it was, it is unimaginably more important today; today, on Tuesday, and for the foreseeable future. I hope you take it seriously. Because Democracy, besides being as necessary as oxygen to the healthy human condition, is as serious as a kick in the teeth. Or childbirth, if we want a slightly less disturbing image.
    Mind you, Democracy is disturbing. So read, do, lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.)

***********   *********   ************

 

It matters. )
kaffyr: Clyde of SJA puts a finger to his nose (Clyde's got it!)
Public Service Announcement

Because I care.

Thank you. Goodnight America, and all the ships at sea.

Addendum: thanks to the most estimable [livejournal.com profile] wendymr, who pointed this out to me before mainstream news folks did.

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kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
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