Vote Yes on Saving the Planet

Greta Thunberg continues her American tour while Denver has some seriously bizarre weather, going from a balmy Indian Summer afternoon to a raging blizzard in less than 24 hours, and fires rage through Los Angeles. Neither one of these is concrete proof of global warming. Los Angeles has these fires all the time and Denver is not entirely unused to snow.
However, we don’t really need any more proof. It’s been proven. We need to act.
Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the star at an international climate conference in Denmark.
It is one issue that you cannot be too radical about. If you say we need to plant a million new trees, you are right. If you say we need to plant a billion new trees you are right. If you say we need to plant a trillion new trees, you are still right.
If you say we should encourage people to buy electric cars, you are right. If you say we need to build an infrastructure of charging stations which are as ubiquitous as (and maybe can just straight up replace) petrol stations, powered by a grid which is entirely powered by solar and wind energy, plus high speed trains criss-crossing the world, pedestrian zones in all inner cities, and bicycle paths everywhere, you are still right.
If you say we should be sure to put our paper, plastic, and glass in separate containers for recycling, you are right. If you say that all materials should be recycled, and materials which cannot be recycled should not be manufactured, you are still right.
We need to change, and we need to change right now. So, it just makes sense that the candidate with the most comprehensive and aggressive environmental plan is the correct candidate to vote for. And that is Bernie Sanders.

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The Big Tent

Wednesday evening, at one of the two open mike poetry readings I attended this week, one person responded to my cute, little Bernie Song (“I’ll Vote Blue No Matter Who Just as Long as it’s Bernie” by saying that it wasn’t truly poetry because poetry is meant to ennoble the spirit, raise the level of discourse, stuff like that.
I wasn’t bothered. That should, indeed, be a use of poetry, and sometimes I do aspire to that. But, poetry is a big tent. It has many different purposes, many different styles.
Then, yesterday, I was watching (It’s Netflix. I’m binging.) Star Trek: The Next Generation and it was the episode with Data’s poetry reading, in which he read the poem “Ode to Spot” which, despite the fact that it was supposed to be an example of bad poetry and some in the audience were falling asleep (Riker was actually snoring) I thought was pretty good.
I mean, check these lines:

I find myself intrigued by your sub-vocal oscillations
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.

It’s the kind of poem that makes me say “I wish I’d written that.”

Then Data was talking to Geordi about it the next day and asked if it ‘elicited an emotional response’ and Geordi admitted that it did not.
It sort of made me realize why my poetry is going nowhere. I like using big words, I like keeping the rhymes and meter tight, and I’m much more interested in a clever line than tugging at the heart strings, which I am not so good at.
Whatever. It’s the way I write. If nobody cries at my poems, I’m O.K. with that. If they don’t laugh at my poems, well, I’ll write more until they do.

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Signal Fest

Last night Helena dragged me out to see the Signal Fest, an event which seems like a lot more often than merely annual in Prague, and generally isn’t that great. But, there were several things within walking distance, and it was a good enough excuse to get out and do something, so we took Izzie and went for a walk. Sam was working. Seems he’s away more often than not, lately. Oh, well. They grow up.
Bottom line review, it was way better than any Signal Fest events I’ve seen before. The first thing was called “Jacob’s Wall” and it was in Kaizlovy Sady, which is our local park. Well, not the very first, we passed up on the indoor exhibition at Invalidovna because that cost money. The “Wall” could be seen from quite a distance and it looked kind of big, and interesting. As we got closer, I realized that was just the scaffolding. It was basically like a set of blinds, hauled up and over on a set of rollers, maybe 4 or 5 meters high, and chains of tiles, white on one side and black on the other, were hauled up and over by rollers at the top, sort of the same technology as an escalator, I think, and then cascaded down like tumbling dominoes until the all black wall was all white and then vice versa again.
The next thing was just a few steps away, and quite minimalist. Just some blue ground lights, which made for a nice photo point. Then, a few more steps and there was a light saber mosh pit for the very little kids.
Then, we came to the school at Lyčkovo Náměstí and it was a bit more like the usual lights on buildings show, but the one thing that I hate about them, usually, is that they never seem to actually incorporate the building in their plans, usually it’s just a light show, using something as a screen which was not designed to be a screen, but this was not like that.
Neither was the show on the church at Karlinské Náměstí. That was my favorite.
And lots of people were walking around with balloons that had tiny Christmas lights all over them. 200 kč a pop, so we passed, but they were popular and it did make for a very festive atmosphere.
Lasts all weekend. Recommended.

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Don’t Do It, Tulsi

Tulsi Gabbard is considering boycotting the next Democratic debate to protest the Democratic Party’s attempts to rig this cycle’s primaries just like they did in 2020. I get her point, I understand where she’s coming from, and I certainly don’t disagree that they are trying to rig the nomination process again. But, from a political point of view, I think it would be a bonehead move.
She is rising in the polls, but she’s not rising by that much, and the debate is the best chance for her to keep her face in front of the American public, and besides: she has proven that she excels in the debate format, even if it is, as she pointed out, more like a reality TV show than a proper debate.
If she boycotts this debate, after having been excluded from the last one, she will become nearly invisible.
The major networks will spend zero time discussing her boycott, and everybody else on stage will get about an extra 30 seconds of talk time. Maybe less, if Biden rambles on, as he tends to do.
On the other hand, maybe her plan is to make a dramatic exit from the race. I would be of mixed feelings about that. I like Tulsi. On some subjects (Julian Assange, Venezuela, foreign affairs in general) I like her even better than Bernie. But, her exit would benefit him as most of her supporters would move to team Sanders. Some might go to Yang, or Williamson. A handful might go to Warren, but I doubt it.
A thought I just had now, while writing this, is that maybe she thinks (and maybe thinks correctly) that the plan is to steer the conversation towards the Kurdish situation in Syria, and all the centrist Dems are going to gang up on her. I don’t think that’s the scenario. I, I wouldn’t put it past the DNC and whatever network is hosting the debate to plan some trap like that. But I think it highly unlikely Tulsi would run from it.
In any event, she’ll have to decide fast. The debate is Tuesday night.

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Robert Reich: Pick a Side

I like Robert Reich. I really do. He does really cool videos in which he explains economics with simple cartoon drawings and plain language, and they are brilliant. And it’s all Bernie Sanders economics.
In 2016, though, he sat on the fence right till the end, and I felt it was kind of a betrayal. Not too surprising, though. He worked in the Clinton administration and, as I understand it, he is personal friends with both Bill and Hillary. But that’s ancient history now.
I saw a video of his just the other day in which he talked about electability v having big ideas and he said it’s a false division because without big ideas nobody is electable and that’s all true, but he didn’t get specific about candidates.
So, I can interpret his videos as an endorsement for Bernie Sanders, because he’s got big ideas and they are drawing big crowds and millions and millions of people are very excited about his candidacy. But, some people could watch his video and think he’s talking about Elizabeth Warren, because she’s got so many ‘plans.’
I like Robert Reich. I really do. I would love to see him in Bernie’s cabinet. But it’s time for him to stop straddling the fence, or he’s going to wind up with splinters in his butt (metaphorically). And he should do it before the Iowa caucuses in February.

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The Right Number

I read a very nice article today. Some people in a town near Iowa City were planning to hold an event for Bernie Sanders, a potluck dinner. Bernie was actually planning to show up, which would have been awesome, but then, you know, he was in hospital and now he’s at home in Burlington, resting up.
Asked if they were still having the event, one of the organizers said “Of course it’s still on. It was never not on.”
I am sure everyone present will have a great time and meet and network with fellow Berners.
I wonder if this is a sign of the new campaign. Small events, organized locally. It could be a very positive development.
As individuals, we often feel powerless – I know I do. I write a daily blog but I don’t know how many people read it and I often feel like I’m shouting into the wind. Also, though, when you get together with 20,000 other people, you’re not really getting everything you can out of each of those 20,000. You’re just a mob, assembled so the newspapers can say the next day “Huge Crowd Attends Bernie Rally” except they seldom say that, because they are fuckers.
So maybe small, local gatherings, for a couple of dozen or a couple of hundred people, might be more effective. Pot luck dinners, Pancake Breakfasts, Garage Sales, Barbecues in the Park, local entertainment, no-name bands, watch parties, beach cleanups, all sorts of stuff.
A few friends from the neighborhood, together, in small gatherings all across the country, might be exactly the right number.

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Autumn Morning

I just went out to the grocery star on this fine and crisp fall morning. I didn’t go to the closest one because, honestly, they are probably the most horrible supermarket in the world. Overcrowded, with a combination of local geriatrics, homeless people, and large crowds from a nearby hotel, which specializes in hordes of Italian kids on school trips. Often out of stock. They tend to have stale, hard rohliky. And, they can be deadly rude.
Also, it was a fine day for a walk through the park. There was a school group, playing a weird game which seemed like a cross between a confidence building exercise and a sumo match, with three couples, one holding the other, and a lot of cheering and counting from the crowd gathered round.
I saw the leaves, so many turned to yellow now.
I saw a woman waiting for the tram, with a very large musical instrument in a black bag, that took up the whole bench.
I looked up, and saw a building with trees on top and thought “Even our buildings are starting to have hairstyles. Everything that we touch is anthropomorphized. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe not.”
I smelled a cloud of smoke, the kind I love, and noticed it was coming from a young man who was talking on his phone, standing in front of a hotel restaurant, holding a biggish doober wrapped in brown paper.
Just a typical autumn morning in Prague, and that is last night’s blog for today.

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