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Monday, July 15, 2019

Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States: Part 4 - Hypothetical Searching for Leverage Through Justice and Identity with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Discounting Past Missteps of Inexperience

This is part 4 of I don't how long series of essays that I've titled Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States. The series takes up the topic of two separate racist "encounters" that erupted around one weekend at the end of May 2019 between two business owners in Chicago's boystown and the black LGBTQ+ community of Chicago as a way to analyze how geography and segmenting of populations can influence politics in Chicago and allegorically to the United States.

If you want to catch up and not start in the middle, you can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.


Then again, Lightfoot might go against the grain of her history. A viable profile of Lightfoot's public professional history comes from a combination of

  • Lacking experience
  • All of Lightfoot's public experience and power has come from political appointments and hired positions, not elected positions
  • Being a person with minority/marginalized characteristics in a world of White Straight Male Supremacy
Lightfoot's lack of experience doesn't need much attention. Her time on organizations focused on overseeing the Chicago police force come off as more strategic, tactical, and "by the book" for an appointed position rather than lack of experience. The time as part of these organizations need more attention.

Nonetheless, Lightfoot has two glaring illustrations from further back that show lack of experience need a little attention. They are:
Both of these missteps occurred early in Lightfoot's career. The extradition case proves more understandable. Lightfoot hadn't worked these types of cases much before, and she had worked off the direction and information of her superiors.

The Emergency Management and Communication matter is less forgivable since Lightfoot was the superiod. Also, after coming from a prosecutory career track, Lightfoot should have familiarity with the importance of keeping records for risk management in regard to liability and negligence. Considering all that, however, this appointment comes early during her public service management career track. This department, in particular, comes off as being in shambles even before Lightfoot took lead. Despite the egregiousness of this situation, it creates an impression of a disorganized department led by an inexperienced manager who should have known better but still made mistakes.

Neither of these cases of inexperience have much bearing on the current tensions if any of the sides appeal to Lightfoot. Mayor Lightfoot has reached one of the few top positions in Chicago, so she has only her cognizance to fall back on. The situation in Boystown has more to do with diplomacy but possibly a little coercion or influence peddling, though some amount of investigation, information gathering, and/or ad hoc legislation might be required.

The cases of past inexperience didn't rely so much on Lightfoot's personal execution of values focused on fairness and respect (though having a better grip on such values during those two moments of inexperience could have aided her in doing better jobs) but rather on
  • Meeting job descriptions
  • Following the judgment of superiors
  • Using experience accumulated up to those points
Mayor Lightfoot has a lot more slack to use personal judgment, personal value, and personal discretion while also trying to stay on the good side of voters. In many ways, being mayor provides Lightfoot with more freedom to truly exert some muscle to actualize a positive end result rather than, as in the past, to mitigate harm reduction in a situation.

On the flipside, Lightfoot did a horrible job covering up her screw ups. These instances would have proven impossible to discover at the time if Lightfoot had good cover up skills. If someone in public office wants to cover up misdeeds, I want them bad at doing it.

Inexperienced now covered, onto how being in an appointed position could have given Lightfoot difficulty for showing her convictions.

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Monday, July 08, 2019

Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States: Part 3 - Projections of Mayor Lightfoot's Response to Intersectional Identity Appeals Based on Her Campaign Image and Priorities

This is part 3 of how don't how long series of essays that I've titled Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States. The series takes up the topic of two separate racist "encounters" that erupted around one weekend at the end of May 2019 between two business owners in Chicago's boystown and the black LGBTQ+ community of Chicago as a way to analyze how geography and segmenting of populations can influence politics in Chicago and allegorically to the United States.

If you want to catch up and not start in the middle, you can read Part 1 first and also Part 2.


In addition to taking into account the influence of the Black LGBTQ+ voting bloc on Mayor Lightfoot, an appeal to the Mayor in this case might have an additional factor that could benefit the Black LGBTQ+ community. Mayor Lightfoot is the first openly gay and first female black mayor of Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot has something of a personal stake in this conflict and getting it resolved in a manner that benefits both her intersectional identity and advancing society seeing, hearing, and respecting marginalized identities could attract her. Lightfoot's identification with the cause and embodiment with the cause on a macro level could push her to take action.

However, two factors work against having faith that Mayor Lightfoot would take up this cause: her public history and she is the mayor to the whole city, not just one voting bloc or community. Lightfoot ran for mayor on a platform of police reform. A fair amount of the public instantly had thoughts about police murdering black people with minimal, if any, cause, after which the perpetrators often received minimal, if any, repercussions. While serving as something of a watchdog over the police in her pre-Mayoral career, though, Lightfoot hadn't shown the most empathy or urgency to families and victims, giving preference to order and prudence:

Even now after Lightfoot vowed during her campaign to release information regarding the Laquan McDonald "cover up", Lightfoot refuses to release them even in the face of Freedom of Information Act requests. Apparently a gag order prevents the release, the strongest among three legal reasons to prevent the release of information. As with past actions before becoming mayor, Lightfoot puts a lot of focus on order and prudence, not showing her hand in a litigious risk management manner. Opposite to Lightfoot's tact, this route could be simultaneously followed while showing heart, empathy, and a balance of psychological face, but Lightfoot doesn't.

Mayor Lightfoot answers to a different calling than emphasizing her own identifications and emphasizing her own personal/social justice. She comes from a marginalized background in which she learned to “not to use her race, gender, or economic status as an excuse for anything short of excellence.” This approach becomes a double-edged sword. It values truth and equal treatment while being a leader to everyone.

At the same time, however, this perspective can cause a blindness to identifying when discretion in unique situations can
  • Increase equitable justice
  • Smooth relations
  • Build trust and good will
  • Use/take advantage of learning moments
Maintaining order and emphasizing equal reward for equal effort, however, can often maintain the status quo and intensify tensions and bad faith between parties.

Mayor Lightfoot has also demonstrated in these kinds of issues an approach that Barack Obama used regarding these kinds of situations, as encapsulated by his quote: “I’m not the president of black people, I’m the president of everyone.” Lightfoot’s refrains to saying that she has to look at all the facts before making a comment without any words of support or consolation shows how careful she tries to not say anything she’ll regret or face attacks from any angle.

In regards to these two particular issues, the rap ban and a prejudiced store owner in Boystown, Mayor Lightfoot would likely not consider them high ranking on her list of priorities. Lightfoot has mentioned many times how she wants to prioritize developing run down parts of the city with little commercial or community activity. Taking into consideration the increased violence in the city since Memorial Day, Lightfoot likely sees crime as a problem to fix, too. Add to that Lightfoot’s trips to California, Washington DC, and New York City to try brainstorming ideas to fight crime and violence (and be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), these problems might not impress Lightfoot as important issues that will help bolster her approval among the voters.

Part 4 has been completed and posted! Please feel free to move onto the next parts.

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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

FLASHPOST: Abuse in Immigrant Detention Centers and What Department(s) and Agency(ies) Have Oversight Authority Over Them

[I've been having some issues with Executive Control lately, so I've procrastinated a bit on the "Redlining Political Communities" series. I've procrastinated on a lot of things. Don't know why. No matter. In lieu of another part in that series, today I release (a day early, I might add) a quick flashpost that wrote in a fit of emotion after hearing a good podcast about a disturbing situation.]

RIGGER WARNING ABOUT THE LINKED PODCAST EPISODE: podcast episode does contain explicit retellings of abusive situations, if not physical, then emotional.

Want to get angry? Here's an Embedded podcast episode about sexual abuse in immigration detention centers (the main interviewee is kinda problematic, but even then, the power differential definitely puts the guard in the fault). What's super disturbing:

Regular prisons receive much more stringent oversight by DOJ than immigrant detention centers.

I'm generally a progressive that appreciates executive departments and agencies run by professionals. In this case, though, might we have too many departments or not enough departments providing oversight? I know DHS is something of an attempt to consolidate departments, which has had mixed results. Nonetheless, in regards to immigration, immigrants, and asylum seekers, no matter one's political alignment, some re-organization and mission statement reviews could prove beneficial to the United States immigration morass of a system.

Frankly, it has come time for a comprehensive review of Executive Departments and Agencies and their remits. Considering how much these departments and agencies have become abused over the last two and a half years, they need it. After looking into how Executive Departments and Agencies work, though, such a process looks difficult and requires, per usual and as it should be, political consensus among the branches of the government.

I guess that just leaves it in the hands of us, the voters, to vote for candidates in the offices of President, the House of Representative, the Senate, State Attorney Generals, State Governors, and State Congresspeople who will fight for a more just border and immigration system. Then we have to keep doing it, every two years. Are you up for it?

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States - Part 2: Searching for Leverage, by the Numbers, Starting with Mayor Lightfoot (Voting Blocs Matter)

This is part 2 of how don't how long series of essays that I've titled Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States. The series takes up the topic of two separate racist "encounters" that erupted around one weekend at the end of May 2019 between two business owners in Chicago's boystown and the black LGBTQ+ community of Chicago as a way to analyze how geography and segmenting of populations can influence politics in Chicago and allegorically to the United States.

If you want to catch up and not start in the middle, you can read Part 1 first. Part 3 has been completed and posted! Please feel free to move onto the next parts.


Clout and leverage, in the context of this situation, refers to direct, in the open, obvious characteristics like residents of a neighborhood that can vote for the local alderman (the current legal title in Chicago, even for women or other genders), having a business that likely contribute campaign funds to the alderman, or possibly advocating with their own alderman and/or mayor, indirectly or directly.

Advocating through the mayor probably provides the most direct access to "honest" clout in this situation. Every vote for the mayor helps Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whereas the alderman, Tom Tunney, alderman for the 44th ward 44th where these conflicts have occurred, doesn't depend on votes from residents of other wards.

Based on straight numbers, the mayor’s calculus for determining which votes matter might encourage the mayor to not take a conflict such as this one seriously. The total population of Chicago is estimated to be 2,716,450. A report in 2018 has estimated that the population that has claimed to be LGBT+ has come out to roughly 146,000. Not even taking into account the intersection of race and sexual identity, the claimed LGBT+ population is about 5% of the population of Chicago. Taking into account

  • Margins of error
  • People not open about being LGBT+
  • Gender identities not taken into account in these surveys but who participate in these communities
  • The intersection of race and sexual identity
I feel safe to say that the members of the aggressed upon group, Black LGBTQ+, probably still amount to somewhere between 3% to 4%. Either which way, when looked upon from a pure numbers perspective, this group doesn’t come off as a strong voting bloc.

The above analysis makes sense in a winner take all election system with few candidates. However, The Black LGBTQ+ voting bloc can gain more traction when taking into account a combination of the Chicago municipal electoral system and the size of the candidate pool. Chicago has two-step runoff elections if a single candidate doesn't get more than 50% of the vote during the first round of the election. If no candidate gets the majority vote, the candidates with the two highest whole percentage scores end up on the final ballot. The final ballot has likely never had more than two candidates, but in theory, it could happen.

In the last Chicago Municipal Elections, the first round ballot had 21 or 22 mayoral candidates. At the end of the first Election Night, front runners Lori Lightfoot got 17.54% of the vote and Toni Preckwinkle got 16.04%, granting them entry into the second round ballot. Bill Daley, the candidate that came in 3rd, got 14.78% of the vote. Making a non real-world assumption for illustrative purposes that Black LGBTQ+ Chicagoans didn't vote at all, if the estimated percentage of Black LGBTQ+ voters all voted for Daley (which I doubt they would), compared to the total population of Chicago without taking into account voter participation, Daley's percentage would have gotten up to 17.78%, taking first place knocking Preckwinkle out of the second-round race.

The numbers become even more interesting when taking into account that the first round of the election only had 35% voter participation. If the voter participation remained the same but the Black LGBTQ+ bloc was switched out with a completely different demographic, this community could swing the vote by approximately 8%. This calculated makes an assumption that a minimal amount of Black LGBTQ+ constituents voted in the actual election (these calculations are to illustrate a point, not make an argument about a voter blocs voter participation).

Adding in all the 3% African American LGBTQ+ participation to the 35% voter participation rather than switching them out with voters would increase participation to 38%, the African American LGBTQ+ community could still swing the vote by 7.89% if they voted as a single bloc in this situation. If this whole bloc had voted for the candidate in 5th place, Susana Mendoza, she would have come in second, either knocking out Preckwinkle OR taken part in the second round ballot as third candidate (again, a theoretical possibility that I don't have enough data to truly understand).

These calculations and argument don't aim to push for any particular candidate or make an argument about the participation of real people or real voting blocs in the election (since I don't know how the participation breaks down demographic wise). Rather, these premises aim to argue that votes matter, especially when consolidated into a voting bloc and when a lot of candidates run without political party monopolies. Black and brown people, Jewish people, LGBTQ+ people, working class people, women, and whatever category that goes unmentioned here are not monoliths. Nonetheless, when White Supremacy, implicit or explicit, erases and silences communities and groups because they express harmless but beautiful characteristics that Supremacists don't like, these communities sometimes need to come together as a voting bloc or group of voting blocs to fight as a group so that each individual can be heard and seen.

As to Lightfoot, advocating a cause to her with 3% to 8% of the voters makes for a good realpolitik defensive poltical position for her in a future "election brawl". The additional voter share would better bolster her chances of winning as any additional votes would. In addition, keeping those votes away from other candidates weakens the other candidates' positions for receiving a "referendum" and developing momentum to challenge Lightfoot as much. Mayor Lightfoot also wouldn't have to divide her attention as much during the campaign if she gains the appreciation and gratitude of a voting block while continuing to deliver to that voting bloc.

By the numbers, a voter share of 3% to 8% can still amount to a lot when the election field reaches a large enough size. The numbers provide a good argument for the Black LGBTQ+ voter bloc advocating their cause with Mayor Lightfoot.

But what about other, softer factors and characteristics could win or lose Mayor Lightfoot for this cause?

Part 3 and Part 4 have been completed and posted! Please feel free to move onto the next parts.

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You can also check me out on Twitter at @screwjaw and Mastadon at @screwjaw@mastodon.social for articles, short form stuff, and a higher frequency/volume of opinions and truth!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States - Part 1: Racism in Boystown & the Challenge of Affecting Popular Change and Redress

This is part 1 of how don't how long series of essays that I've titled Redlining Political Communities in Chicago and the United States. The series takes up the topic of two separate racist "encounters" that erupted around one weekend at the end of May 2019 between two business owners in Chicago's boystown and the black LGBTQ+ community of Chicago as a way to analyze how geography and segmenting of populations can influence politics in Chicago and allegorically to the United States.

Part 2 and Part 3 have been completed and posted! Please feel free to move onto the next parts.


About 3 weeks ago, two racist conflicts arose that centered around the Boystown neighborhood in Chicago that the following three articles elaborate upon:

During the week afterward, at least one community group largely made up of the group effected, Black LGBTQ+ people, had two events to start addressing the conflict:
  • An education/information rally in a neighborhood parking lot

  • A brainstorming/planning meeting at a church in an adjacent neighborhood
I participated in the meeting later in the week at the church. A striking phenomenon became apparent at this meeting: most of the people at the meeting didn't have obvious clout in the neighborhood (not being residents, not being business owners). However, these effected people had skin in the game, having contributed and continue to contribute to the LGBTQ+ community in Boystown. Many at the meeting expressed that they had gotten so much emotional support from Boystown that these two racist conflicts felt like a huge betrayal and made these people question what they gave to and have gotten from Boystown.

These feelings from the aggressed against the aggressors has validity and lie on the right side of the conflict. Nonetheless, these people have minimal local neighborhood clout since they don't live there. The aggressors, on the other hand, have clout as a business and a possible neighborhood resident. The only recourse for the aggressed upon seems to be:
  • A legal appeal to a higher power (the city, the state, and/or even the country since this could be considered a civil rights violation, at least in a more sensical age)

  • A public relations/moral suasion approach
The meeting didn't discuss legal appeals much. At least two people, however, sounded like they came from a City of Chicago department that addresses these types of issues and volunteered to discuss legal and advocacy options. A general consensus existed that legal options for these two conflicts would take awhile and, to some degree, would likely happen. Legal appeals, however, probably wouldn't need or allow the assistance of everyone who want to express their anger and sadness through action, and who want to make a difference.

These people who wouldn't have involvement in the legal fight would need to get involved in the political public relations/moral suasion campaign. This approach begs a question: Without political clout or any obvious leverage, how does this community (Black LGBTQ+) within a community (larger LGBTQ+ community, especially those who patronize Boystown establishments) push for their inclusion and to be taken seriously as a group and individuals that should be seen and heard?

I should have posted this Part 1 last week. The whole concept felt a lot simpler in my head than it has come out so far in my drafting. As things stand now, Part 2 could be lengthy with a portion of some wonky strategic political and public relations stuff. Writing it has taken a few days of random bits of empty time while on buses, at lunch, etc. etc. I don't know how long this series of essays will be. Please stay tuned to see where it will go!

Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 have been completed and posted! Please feel free to move onto the next parts.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

PREVIEW: Relevant News Articles for a Future Essay, "Redlining Political Communities"

I've started writing a pretty wonky and lengthy analysis about affecting structural change through politics, culture, and markets in reaction to a concentration of intersectional conflict that occurred in my neighborhood about a week and half ago. You will need to wait until next week or so to delve into the wonkiness.

For now, though, here are the articles I provide in the essay that provide descriptions of the conflicts and some context to the conflicts:


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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Does Scarcity of Market Share Lead Billionaires, Entrepreneurs, and Crony Politicians into Tunnel Vision for More Market Share?

Only after the second chapter of Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir present an argument that scarcity creates an involuntary tunnel vision effect with attention. This book so far bolsters a hypothesis that I'm coming up with: that billionaires, successful entrepreneurs, and crony politicians in capitalist cultures forge paths of growth and accumulating more rather than sharing and supporting society by fighting against material scarcity because the billionaires, successful entrepreneurs, and crony politicians are stuck in a mindset of scarcity.

But a scarcity of what? It's not material wealth. Maybe it's time, but they could easily hand off things. Maybe privacy, authenticity of people around them, genuine relationships with people, etc. etc. No, accumulating more and more material things wouldn't help address those scarcities except for maybe paying more for security to guard against sycophants.

Maybe the billionaire, the successful entrepreneur, the crony politician feel a scarcity of attention market share. Even those with the biggest market share now have to fear competitors and innovators that threaten to make the billionaire/successful entrepreneur/crony politician obsolete. Because lose that market share, especially with a lavish lifestyle, the billionaire/successful entrepreneur/crony politician risks losing their lifestyle and possibly losing all their material wealth. They would fall into material scarcity, which they may never have experienced before or have a memory of material scarcity being a horrible experience.

And today's capitalist, competitive business, finance, and political culture further exacerbates this sense of scarcity for the billionaires, successful entrepreneurs, and crony politicians. This hypothesis doesn't look to garner sympathy for these billionaires and successful entrepreneurs (and politicians that have gained power through the lobbyists that advocate for these businesses, billionaires, and successful entrepreneurs) because this path hurts society more than it helps.

Heck, as an aside, just look at how much middle and high school culture in the United States supports the importance of popularity and market share of attention instead of being a good person.

Rather, I seek to indict society and developed Western culture for building up this ideology and inflicting people with this state of mind. Any thoughts on this hypothesis? Any thoughts on fighting this phenomenon? Any objections?

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Transcending the Bretton Woods System, Either Through Smooth US Participation or Crashing Out Alone (or maybe with Britain)

Trump, the GOP, and Iran could very well shatter the Bretton Woods system when the EU, Russia, and China put their Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) into play. At the very least, the SPV could destroy the US's dominance of the system.

From what I've read, transcending the Bretton Woods system would lead to a better world. Bretton Woods has become an obsolete system that worked well for the rebuilding and development of Europe and the world after World War II up to around 1960. The US and world has floundered since then, except for China who has existed outside of the Bretton Woods system but interacts with it.

The sudden change from the Special Purpose Vehicle would hurt the US a lot. Trump should receive the blame for it, as he dropped the Iran Deal, has put up sanctions via the Bretton Woods system, and has escalated tensions even further by sending troops and military equipment to Iraq, probably to provide stronger enforcement on sanctions and ostracism than economic sanctions alone.

No, a more gradual transcendence of the Bretton Woods system would work much better for everyone. The Hothead in Chief and the GOP, however, look very intent on isolating the United States and making things difficult when the transcendence of Bretton Woods occurs.

Hopefully, it doesn't hurt too much, or we, the voters, can get cooler heads in charge of things before things go boom. Maybe we can work to apply some pressure on the current Powers That Be. Can we get the Powers to cool down on these things to prevent them from screwing the country over? Can we get the Powers to instead, participate with the world to build a better world through transcendence of the Bretton Woods system?

Even if the transcendence means giving up the power the US has by maintaining the reserve currency, the dollar, can we get the Powers to understand that transcending the Bretton Woods system probably provides the best option? The Bretton Woods system found its power in the United States giving to the rest of the world through the Marshall Plan then "giving" through neoliberal multinational corporations, offshoring jobs, and a strong dollar that helps provide a target for investment.

Trump talks about foreign trade being unfair to the United States. Trade had developed that way because back at the beginning of the Bretton Woods system, boosting up the rest of the world led to boosting up the United States. The rest of the world NEEDED to buy from the United States. By giving the rest of the world resources, the US gave itself a trade surplus and even some political capital. The rest of the world had done a good job developing and recovering by the time the '60s came around, though.

The United States had its own internal cultural issues to deal with in the '60s (and which apparently we still need to deal with), but the US had plateaued when it came to trade and the economy. Just read up on the Nixon Shock and ensuing economic history of the United States.

In my opinion, the Financial Crisis of 2008 marked the beginning of the end for the postwar era, the culmination of United States neoliberal latching onto the Bretton Woods system because the country doesn't know much of anything else. This decline could explain the current stability and hopeful absence of a decade border years crash (at most turn of the decades since the '70s, the US has faced some crash).

Trump deserves credit for having an inkling of changing economic times, but only that, an inkling. He understands that something needs to change. Nonetheless, Trump looks to go about resolving the issue wrong. Instead of bringing the world together to explore the current milieu then work out a solution, he wants to go at it alone (maybe with Britain) and to be First.

Even Trump's cries for fairness when it comes to trade might have an inkling of truth to it. I can't get behind his implication of fairness being about respecting our sovereignity. Trump's behavior doesn't lend credence to any other interpretation of his use of the word fair.

If fairness means the US getting the better side of "the deal", the reason for that resolution doesn't come from United States having more leverage. The ability of the rest of the world being able to topple the Bretton Woods economic regime with the SPV shows that the US doesn't haven't this kind of leverage. The US, especially with Trump at the head, has acted as a self-aggrandizing bully for too long. The Cold War probably provided some justification for the rest of the world accepting big honcho United States. With the Cold War officially over, though, the world doesn't have a clear black and white scorched Earth situation anymore to unite opposing sides.

The smaller countries around the world can come together in a coalition to face off against the United States, which Trump encourages with his behavior, especially with breaking the Iran Deal, setting up sanctions, and sending the military over. Since leverage won't work to strike a "fair deal", fairness needs to come from both a

  • Humble United States acknowledging that it accomplished an immense goal but has become exhausted
  • Somewhat grateful rest of the world that acknowledges that the US helped them recover for 15 or so years, the US had gotten set in its ways, and its now time for the rest of the world to provide a helping hand to the US - the balance of trade and capital has changed
Who can predict what the world will look like after transcendence? Who could expect the United States to humble itself? How does the United States deserve gratefulness after it took for granted a world order that propped up the power of the United States at the expense of other nations, especially when the United States kept moving forward on the path, ignorant or not of the damage it caused?

But the real question: How well can human civilization survive if humans turn on themselves to garner self aggrandizing superiority, especially with climate change on the horizon, ready to destroy civilization? For the sake of civilization, hopefully humans can come to their senses, com together, then transcend the Bretton Woods system together. At the very least, hopefully we can get leaders for the United States that understand the importance of participating in the transcendence rather than being left out by our own choosing.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Collage of Abortion and Reproductive Health Tweets and Articles - I Can Do Better

After a Facebook argument with someone this past weekend about WHO should post and HOW they should post about abortion stuff, I challenged myself to post what I had posted and found online about the topic. My argument: men should focus more on posting, sharing, and boosting the voices of women on this topic. I don't particularly have any rationale other than men don't have to go through the physical travails/burdens/joys of pregnancy and abortion. Furthermore, men can impregnate a woman through consensual or nonconsensual sex then run away. Women have to carry the child for nine months and also have to deal with knock on effects before and afterward, such as salary inequality, body going crazy, risk of death during pregnancy, and the list goes on and on.

Not aware of knowing anyone who has had an abortion (though I expect I probably do since 1 in 4 woman have had an abortion) or having been in a situation where I've even considered abortion, just thinking through the implications of what women have to go through regarding pregnancy, I can understand the importance of giving women their choice. I have plenty of other issues with conservatives anti-choice and reproductive stances, but this post is about empowering women's speech and assisting where I can to elevate their platform on the topic of abortion and reproductive health.

My verdict on myself: I can do better. I procrastinated and worried a lot about putting together this post. Looking through the Tweets I plan to embed and the links I'll post, I feel good that a good share come from woman. Nonetheless, the Tweets and links feel more about taking a position and action urged to take to fight the anti-choice states outlawing abortion and pro-choice states trying to protect the ability for women to choose abortion and to exercise decisions when it comes to reproductive health. Few of them seem to touch upon the human side of reproductive health or even the thinking and reasoning that goes into choosing reproductive health decisions or policies to take, especially from women's standpoint.

Below are the Tweets and links:















Abortion Shaping Up To Be The Health Care Fight Of 2020: Democrats think Republicans may have overreached with Alabama's anti-abortion law, alienating voters ahead of the next election - Huffpost

Kirsten Gillibrand Says If Trump Wants A War With America's Women, 'He Will Lose' - NPR

No abortion bans, PERIOD. [petition] - Planned Parenthood

Men Are Sharing Their Abortion Stories. Is That Helpful? - Slate

How Sen. Elizabeth Warren would protect abortion rights - Politico

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Uncanny TV: A Pilot Episode that Provides Uplifting and Entertaining Instilled Activism

The Lextopia has gotten increasingly political since 2016. Nothing wrong with that path, especially if it brings in readers who feel that they get something out of my ruminations and attempted exhortations.

Politics, especially during the current state of things, can make things depressing and angering. Sometimes a person just wants to yell that we need to focus on fun, happiness, kindness, and positivity -- after which can lead to slight guilt because all these depressing issues and conflicts matter and remain. People and policy hurt others, especially in these times of increasing illiberalism (even as I hold out hope for coming together to make better times during the 2020 Elections).

The one and likely only episode of Uncanny TV contributes to a solution for this cycle of seeking positivity but feeling guilt at avoiding negativity in the world: culture that looks to affect positive change and fight the negative factors in the world. Recording for Uncanny TV occurred the afternoon of Saturday, May 4, 2019 in front of a live studio audience, in which I got to join. The crew and cast then sent the recording to the editing team, with a rough estimated release date of sometime in the summer.


Uncanny TV started as an idea of personal chemistry between Michi Trota and Matt Peters that then became a stretch goal for Uncanny Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy for the November 2018 to October 2019 publishing year.

Ideally Uncanny Magazine would have raised enough money for Uncanny TV to record a whole six episode run, but they only raised enough to record the pilot. Only having the funds to record a pilot didn't stop Trota and Peters from recording an episode that supports the mission of Uncanny Magazine featuring a passionate and provocative investment into science fiction, fantasy, and geek/nerd culture that leaves room to feel.

Trota and Peters set up the production as something of a talk show with emphasis focusing on their three Chicago-centric nerd activist and/or entrepreneurial guests:
  • Daniel Jun Kim: Creative Content Manager, Editor, Writer, Geek/Nerd, Justice Activist with aspirations of becoming a real life Cleric in the vein of fantasy adventuring healer and moral support (which sounds much less fantastical in a world with projections of civilization ending and the world becoming post apocalyptic in our lifetimes if we don't start doing something about it soon)

  • Keisha Howard: Formerly focused on Marketing & Sales for employers turned Technology Advocate, Geek Culture Personality, Futurist, Entrepreneur, and in all those capacities, creating inclusive spaces and relationships for the realms of gaming, geek, and tech through Sugar Gamers

  • Dawn Xiana Moon - Always a geek and musician (sometimes even singing about nerdy stuff) who grew into tech and belly dancing, including running a troupe that combines belly dancing, fire dancing, and cosplay called Raks Geek
If you clicked on the links of all the people in front of the camera, you may have noticed that all of them, from hosts to guests, are people of color. Similar to how Jim Hines says in his Uncanny Magazine essay, "The Politics of Comfort" that all fiction says something political, even when it seems like the author wrote the fiction for hegemonic comforting consumption, peoples' everyday lives, vocations, and avocations can become political.

Just caring for others and being kind is political activity. Just sharing and reflecting back at people the same inherent characteristics while leveling up on accomplishments is political activity. Just making money by entertaining fellow nerds and geeks then sending that money to worthwhile causes is political activity (OK, this last one has more obvious political connotations, but sourcing that money through a combination of creative expression and nerdiness can make a political act more fun than just straight up protesting, rallying, attending meetings, letter writing, petition signing, voting, or anything else that you normally might think as political).

In sum, Uncanny TV did a great job showcasing these three outstanding and interesting nerdy entrepreneurial activists. Trota and Peters brought together three Chicago-based personalities that demonstrate that politics and activism doesn't always need to gravitate around anger, frustration, and depression. We can use culture and creative expression to communicate political messages and support political activity while also entertaining, uplifting, and gathering together others.

Unfortunately, the finalized version won't become available to the public for a few months now. Keep your eyes out for this bright spot in these contentious, partisan, and siloed times. The pilot episode of Uncanny TV might not change the world overnight, but it provides proof that people out there aim to not just fight back the darkness, but to bring light and hope to the country and the world. You might find yourself entertained and chuckling here and there. Heck, maybe you'll even find yourself inspired enough to share some kind, positive, and eye-opening entertainment and inspiring work to share. We can't just fight anger with anger, or we'll just contribute to making a self destructive cycle that will someday kill us all.

Go out there and create! But make sure to make some time to watch Uncanny TV, too.

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!

You can also check me out on Twitter at @screwjaw and Mastadon at @screwjaw@mastodon.social for articles, short form stuff, and a higher frequency/volume of opinions and truth!