Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, June 23, 2016

If You Don't Vote The Republicans Are Right And This Is A Stupid Stunt

I'm actually pretty hostile to the shenanigans that's been going on in congress over the last few weeks.

They are stupid political stunts that aren't going to lead to any meaningful legislation. At least not immediately. And it kind of pisses me off hearing people act like something actually happened. It didn't.

But, there is another way of thinking about this.

It's all about hyping the left up.

For the past few month's the over arching story of the election cycle has been how apathetic the left seems compared to the folks supporting Trump.

The Orlando attacks was a moment where everybody was pissed off and so Congress used it to beat up the right, not because anything will come of it now.

Because they know how the game works.

Despite Rachael Maddow complaining about the GOP every day the real reason Obama can't get anything passed is that we have divided government and have had divided government for six years. He can and does veto a lot of the stuff they pass and in return they won't let anything he wants hit the floor. If people really want stuff to happen, from gun control to pathway to citizenship, it's going to take a swing in power.

And that means people are going to have to take their eyes off of which is probably going to a pretty boring presidential race.

(Let's be honest we all know how its going to go. Trump is going to fire half of his staff, blow through most of his cash, and gaff every other week because he can't help himself.)

And instead focus on making sure that people vote in the congressional, state, and local elections by getting them suuuuper pissed off that the right won't do anything on gun control despite the polls.

Here is the thing it won't matter if Hillary gets elected if she can't do anything because congress won't let any off her legislation get out of committee. So the Dems needed a way to bring focus back on congress instead of whatever stupid thing Trump said or did this week.

And I swear to god it's going to piss me off all the more if all the folks back slapping and yucking it up now don't turn out to fucking vote on election day because otherwise yes the Republicans are right this was a stupid, stupid stunt that never had a chance of actually changing anything..

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 20, 2016 Southfield Committee of the Whole City Council Meeting

In the full video the audio cuts out and returns after about 23 minutes. In the video straight from the camera this isn't the case but occurs after editing so I'm uploading the raw video for that portion of the meeting.

Don't Screw This Up For Me (We need that RTA Millage to Fix Mass Transportation In Metro Detroit)

I need to be more assertive. I'm a bit of a wuss. So okay than.


Public Transportation sucks in Michigan.  And we can get into all the details why is sucks but the big one is lack of regionalism,

There are far far better break downs of this.

But the reason why Detroit... AND the inner ring suburbs suck is because each fiefdom looks out for itself even when they have common interests and you don't have a bigger example of that than mass transportation.

Where communities opt out leaving giant holes in the transportation system both geographically and financially.

And the primary point of the RTA,  is to finally say no.

We aren't playing that game anymore.

Everybody's in or we can just go back to screwing ourselves.

Is it perfect? No. No it's not.  getting the regional transportation system I want would cost a crap ton of money that I ain't getting,  but as a start that actually does something rather than just make empty promises I'll take it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bathrooms Are A Litmus Test Dumb Asses

So Friday night I marathoned Orange is the New Black. I had a lot of thoughts and the big one is that being LGBT in this society can make a lot of the other problems of society worse. If you don't have the money, housing, education, police protection, healthcare, legal support or other support structures well that's the back story of half of the characters.

Everything matters.

The truth of the matter is that for a lot of members of the LGBT community all the talk of bathrooms isn't really about bathrooms but trying to get a feel for and perhaps even push the rest of the country into preventing their sexuality or gender identity from being a barrier to access to the stuff everybody else just takes for granted.

On of the biggest things being talked in almost every article I read is the hypocrisy of saying you stand with them now when they know the moment they ask for the stuff they really need you won't fucking be there or worse will be actively campaigning against it.

All the assholes bitching about bathrooms are not going to line up to support the Equality Act which could make a real difference in lives, a real difference in getting people off the streets, in preventing poverty, in preventing sex trafficking, in preventing drug use, in preventing homelessness, in preventing suicide.

And I feel like an asshole saying it but that's what gun control right now feels like to me.

An easy way to say you stand with them now when after the election and a campaign for the Equality Act comes you'll be nowhere to be seen and the damn thing will languish in committee for 20 years.

So let people use the damn bathrooms!


You know I said gun control wouldn't be worth blowing the next 3-4 years of stuff I want to get done.

What I didn't say and honestly don't particularly want to say but feel I need to is that the senate vote in particular feels like a showy stunt to make everybody feel like they did something even though it has no chance of succeeding.

It fails. The Democrats complain about the GOP maybe swing a few precincts in the coming election and the status quo is maintained.

It's the easy thing.

Everybody knows the Democrats want gun control and the Republicans are against it.

None of the people in support of gun control have to take any sort of real risk for said token gesture and the people against it have plenty of ways of making sure it doesn't get passed without looking like they're against it getting passed in the aftermath of a massacre.

But you know what would take balls. You know what would require putting skin in the game and would to me at least be worth the legislative stalemate in the aftermath.  

Passing the Equality Act.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

We've Been Here Before

I want to be very clear. I am speaking for myself. Right now. A lot of people are emotional for good reason, and that is valid. I'm not trying to say people are wrong for feeling the way they do nor for taking the political actions they are in response to Orlando LGBT attack.


As angry as people are right now they are not going to stay that way.

A reoccurring theme is this election is the tug between how the world should be and how it actually is.  How do the forces on the left reconcile those two things and accept the world as it is so they can then change what it is.

We've been here before. 

And the left which I believe this election for a lot of reasons are on the side of the angels can jump up and down about the NRA and the Koch Brothers but truth is that change is hard.

Behind ever issue I care about there is a decades sometimes century long story about people working in working as Sisyphus. The reason why gun laws don't get passed is because getting them passed would take time, money, political will and political capital.

All of which can be used elsewhere.

I am a pacifist. The idea that I or somebody like me could easily buy a gun, buy the power to at the pull of a finger take somebody else's life freaks me the hell out. And it freaks me out more so that when I walk around almost anybody could be legally carrying a concealed weapon.  I'll be honest when I think about the sanctity of the Bill of Rights my eyes sort of leap frog over the second amendment.

But there is a wide variety of other issues I care about, and I imagine if I were in the middle of it where I had to make choices and weigh all this stuff day in day out, with a bunch of people around me who I knew I could bounce ideas off of that list would be vastly greater.

Time in session is limited. The number of bills that can get introduced is limited. The number of bills that can make it through committee are limited.

Gun control is a big divisive issue probably as big as Obamacare.

As a guy on the left I admire how hard Obama has worked to make sure that his signature achievement was enacted and survived. I remember that.

And I remember the cost.

The 2010 seat swings. The token votes. Sequestration. All of it.

And I honestly believe it was worth it.

...But I'm just not sure I can say with a straight face gun control is worth doing it all again. Worth all of the stuff I feel is important getting put on the back burner. Because in order to get gun control, real meaningful gun control with teeth that's what's going to have to happen.

A part from the general exhaustion that the condition of being politically angry causes that is hard for anybody to maintain over time, the day to day business of government would be a continual chain of deals to get gun control enacted or rescinded.

I'm not quite ready for that but if people are, and know what it means it I can't tell them not to go for it. But be prepared. Because it's going to come down to what are people willing to give up.

Not just the day to day normal stuff, having uncomfortable arguments with friends, taking time to write letters though there is that too. But what are you willing to let wait even when it waiting has a real impact on people's lives. When a congressperson goes into locked door negotiations and its this or the other thing are we really prepared to consistently over time tell them it should be this instead of tax reform, prison reform, police reform, education reform, banking reform, immigration reform, a path to citizenship, scientific and social research, student debt, expansion of title IX, reproductive rights, environmental policy, drug policy, the funding of urban programs, refugee policy, basic income, veterans benefits, foreign trade, foreign aid, or the death penalty?

My point is if we really want gun control we have to sit down and figure out how important it is, what are we prepared to give up at least in the short term because it's not going to just be a matter of sending a letter to your congressman to say your in favor of gun control.

It's probably one of the most polled about issues especially in an election year.

That's not it. It's about how much you want gun control in front of everything else.

What are we willing to give up?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church Black Lives Matter/Community Policing Event

On June 15, 2016 Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield held a Black Lives Matter and Community Policing Event emceed by Lauren Lockhart, with presentations by poet Noni Lovechild, Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins, and President of the Southfield Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force Patricia Haynie.

Also in attendance were Southfield Mayor Ken Siver, Oakland County Commissioners Nancy Quarles and Janet Jackson, Southfield City Council Members, Myron Frasier, Daniel Brightwell and Michael Mandelbaum

Thursday, June 16, 2016

On Orlando and Death

I don't know what to say. That is a common thing to say but it is my truth and it's one that seems to be repeating itself. Whenever confronted with death both in the news and in my private life I never know what to say.

I always imagine that there are people who are more closely connected to the death than I am and to pretend like I know how those people feel would be both a lie and an insult. So far too often I find myself saying nothing which on occasion seems the wiser course though that too I find does not seem right.

No what would be the best course is listen. To listen to what people are saying and to try to take their feelings and thoughts into consideration, to try to better understand what they have experienced and what action they want.

I don't know what that is.

I hear talk of empathy. I hear talk of curbing gun violence by enacting better laws. I hear talk of tolerance and protection for the LGBT community as this is one event in history,

I don't know how to fix anything or what will happen. But I can listen and ask that others do the same.

June 14, 2016 Southfield Board of Education Meeting

Friday, June 10, 2016

Is It Just Me or Are a Lot of Trees Falling In My Neighborhood.

So this blog is in a grey area between off the cuff commentary, and actual journalism. Which is to say while I feel what I have to say is important I don't have any real numbers to back me up so take what I say with a grain of salt and keep in mind that I also use this space as a quasi public record of my own thoughts.

So walking down the street the other day I realized a tree, I don't mean a branch, I mean an entire 50-70 foot tree had fallen on one of my neighbor's house. Trucks were out clearing it so I assumed everybody was okay but it got me thinking.

This is the second or third tree that's caused serious damage near me I've seen in the past few years and it's making me start wondering if this is a thing.  One crashed into live electrical wires in 2013,  and maybe 8 months ago one did a number on my next door neighbor's house and I'm pretty sure totaled her grand daughter's car.

Eventually I want to look into it but I don't have the cash right now to pay any FOIA fees for the fire department to get actual numbers on tree runs. Thus this.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Story Time For Bernie Sanders Suporters

In the long long ago in the way way back I was admitted to the University of Michigan. It was the first time I was away from my parents I got to do more or less whatever I wanted. But the University of Michigan was hard and the exams were cumulative. If I didn't get one thing it could and did screw me over for the rest of the semester so in the second semester I was put on academic probation.

The message was received and I swore to myself I would do whatever it took to stay in school. Most of the classes I was taking were repeats of the previous ones so I understood the material much better but I also took a computer science course.

At first things were doing all right, but eventually I started having trouble. So I started spending my nights at the library working on the homework staring at computer screens.

And my grades improved.

My middle bunch of assignments was getting 10 and 20 % but each assignment or so had about a 10 percent increase.

But each week I had to visit a counselor and eventually that counselor had to sit me down with a message.

Even if I was doing better I would have to do dramatically better than I normally did to pass.

And each week he asked that question. Do I think I can do 20-30% better on the next assignment than I did the one previous. If maybe it wouldn't be wiser to just withdraw from the course and focus on my other classes.  And each week I would say I think I can do it..

I failed out of U of M.

I should have given up and cut my loses when the cost of doing so wasn't so high. If I had maybe I wouldn't have wasted so much time and effort. Hmmm maybe there is a lesson in that.

By the way eventually I defected to Sparta and got a J-school degree.

Southfield June 6, 2016 City Council Meeting

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tom Lea/Moore and Chicken George Were Brilliant In New Roots

So I actually like new Roots probably more than old Roots. Mostly because I voluntarily  watched rather than being stuck in the Clockwork Orange chair being told over and over again "this your history boy."

To put it another way. This roots addressed and in someways fixed a lot of the groaner stuff in the original that would always lead to an argument if I pointed it out.

I've already talked about most of  that stuff but the biggest example is the relationship between Tom Moore/Tom Lea and Chicken George.

A lot of the original plays Tom Lea for laughs. He's pathetic and the audience is invited to laugh at, and even on occasion sympathize with him.

The new one makes that patheticness part of the reason why he is so scary. You can't predict him. You can't count on him to act in a way consistent with not only his own self interest but even his own self preservation. And as loathsome as he is if he dies the game is up the small bit of a life the slaves have managed to build for themselves will be gone as they are scattered to the winds by whatever new master they have.

In short everybody knows that this man without even trying could get them killed and that scares the hell out of them.

Another thing worth mentioning is the Nat Turner cart scene in the original. Again with Tom Drunk in the back the scene while dangerous is still played for laughs. Not in the new one. That entire bit is played for "we don't know what's going to happen" drama.

Also there is this weird moment in the original after Tom's wife nearly SHOOTS AND KILLS chicken George that the episode spends trying to explain her rational. There is this shot on Tom's face that makes it seem, "well I got to do what I got to do". Right before he busts through slave cabin door with a shot gun.




ROOTS, the chronicle of a Black family should not be on thier side in this, should not be okay saying, "they did some crazy stuff but they were scared".




For what it's worth Tom Lea in the new one is portrayed as being loathsome and ironically enough George's blindness to it is portrayed as sorrowful.  Every damn bit of foolishness in George was planted there by Tom Lea.

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