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Monthly Archives: January 2017

It’s 2003 All Over Again

January 30, 2017, 4:50 pm

The definition of cognitive dissonance is simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs. Right now, cable TV news shows feature state-sponsored cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, Trump defenders call him a “post-partisan president,” as though we shouldn’t expect the same problems of the past, and on the other hand, Trump defenders say “this is normal during a transition,” as though we should be guided by the past. Which is it? In this scary moment for all Americans who love liberty and
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The War for Mars United, Chapter 3: Pharealth Emergency Center

January 27, 2017, 10:41 am

(Previous chapter is here.) “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.” Prime Minister Norine Maciel threw water on her face and neck and paused for a moment to let the sensation sink in. When did I get so old? she asked her reflection in the bathroom’s mirror. Was it this job, or would it have happened anyway? She had lived only 60 Earth years, but felt sure she looked 70. The lighter g was supposed to help. Certainly the job didn’t help. This day didn’t help. Norine
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Dar’s Day at the Lawrence Hall of Science

January 25, 2017, 5:30 pm

My fellow Berkeley natives know that one of our greatest local resources is the Lawrence Hall of Science. Oddly, until last weekend I hadn’t yet accompanied Dar there. He’d been there, but only with his school. I didn’t want to deal with paying only to watch him screaming throughout the place. But his brother is 4, meaning it was long since time for him to go, and so we all went together as a family. As a kid, I remembered
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The Hollywood-Led Resistance?

January 23, 2017, 1:26 pm

Meryl Streep didn’t exactly call for it, but Madonna most certainly did. Can you hear me? Are you ready to shake up the world? Welcome to the revolution of love. To the rebellion, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny. Where not just women are in danger, but all marginalized people…It took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the fuck up. It seems as though we all slipped into a false sense of
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The War for Mars United, Chapter 2: The Boball Court

January 20, 2017, 8:50 am

  (Previous chapter is here.) On the other side of New Jerusalem, on a parquet hardwood floor court in the Uniparney Gymnasium on Mars University campus, Julia Maciel watched six college-aged men play an unofficial scrimmage game of boball (pronounced boh-ball). After some back-and-forth, one of the players fell to the floor with a thud and a howl. “Tanner?!” asked one of the players. “You okay?” “Yeah, pìhuà,” Tanner replied, getting up slowly. He limped to the sideline, where Julia –
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Bullying in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020

January 18, 2017, 3:52 pm

Today is the last day I’ll be blogging about my child’s autism while Barack Obama is President. Next time I blog about autism, Donald Trump will be President. Does that make any difference to my autistic child? Maybe, maybe not. Trump has given considerable support to anti-vaxxers, and that does concern me. But beyond that, I can’t help but wonder if bullying has been validated at the federal level – during years that my child stands to be the most
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MLK -> BHO -> ?

January 16, 2017, 12:22 pm

(This article is accompanied by photos of my family’s visit to the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta last March.) Martin Luther King would have been 88 years old today, but it’s never a bad day to think about and learn from Dr. King. I grew up in Berkeley where his birthday was a holiday before that became federally mandated. The other night, I went to my son’s MLK assembly and thought, I guess it’s getting harder to get people
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The War for Mars United, Chapter 1: The Mall

January 13, 2017, 9:44 am

“Mom, I want a Ray Vang,” said Peoria, who was dressed stylishly for a nine-year-old, her butter-yellow belt and scarf accenting her hazelnut-yellow hair, muted cocoa-brown shirt and maple-bleached pants. “You’re too young for a thousand-dollar holo-ring,” replied her mother. “You have one,” pouted Peoria. Martina Maciel reckoned she may have brought this on herself. Her clothes and hair matched her daughter’s, a real constrast to the store’s interior, which consisted mostly of slick silvery lines and curves, adorned by
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The Week of Margaret and Meryl

January 11, 2017, 4:22 pm

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of my friends, and if that’s true, you probably heard about or saw Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes, which attacked the President-elect’s debasement of a disabled person. His spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, came on TV the next morning to disparage Streep for failing to address the disabled victim of a recent hate crime in Chicago. Frank Bruni’s reaction: “Is this the new bar for taking Trump to task? You can’t do it
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New Idea: Identify Social Media Commenters by Country

January 9, 2017, 4:23 pm

Also posted here. Whatever one thinks about Russia and Wikileaks working to influence the 2016 Presidential election, it’s clear that Russia and Wikileaks were not powerful enough to elect Donald Trump by themselves. Instead, they relied upon legions of re-tweeters and commenters on social media to intimidate and belittle people who questioned a foreign power meddling with American democracy. Should Americans have known better than to believe thousands of commenters saying that Hillary’s emails prove she’s corrupt? Perhaps, but the cumulative effect
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