Published February 25, 2017
Art Culture Politics , Fieldnotes
Rebecca Solnit’s “Tyranny of the Minority” in the March Harper’s nails it:
“Republicans’ furious and nasty war against full [democratic] participation has taken many forms: gerrymandering, limiting early voting, reducing the number of polling places, restricting third-party voter registration, and otherwise disenfranchising significant portions of the electorate. Subtler yet no less effective have been their efforts to attack democracy at the root. They have advanced policies to weaken the electorate economically, to undermine a free and fair news media, and to withhold the education and informed discussion that would equip citizens for active engagement.”
With the vengeful little Confederate Jeff Sessions now in charge of suborning the Justice Dept. and Trump’s deranged fantasies about non-existant fraud voter, expect to see an even greater assault on democracy. Apartheid is their goal; a minority (just 25% of Americans voted for Trump) can stay in power no other way. And the sadism seen in the botched Muslim ban, the ICE-round-ups, and declaring open season on trans youth shows you precisely how they will react to dissent. Remember, this crew isn’t shy about arguing that we need to go back to having only property-owners vote, having the states appoint senators, and getting rid of the 19th Amendment (women tend to vote for social programs, after all).
Only in her next-to-last paragraph does Solnit nod towards how the Democrats have aided and abetted the long-term effort to transform America into an oligarchy. They’ve sold us a socially “liberal” version, but without democracy, rights are only for the wealthy in the long run. Today, the DNC votes for its new chair. The role is mostly symbolic, yet the Obama/Clinton corporate wing of the party are still determined to fail us.
Published February 24, 2017
Tags: Sunset Park
The view from the moraine recently.
Here’s another view: ten things you can do to make Trump toast. (We can hardly wait for his resounding condemnation by history, after all.) Beyond the usual pressure, constant pressure on reps of all parties, I for one was intrigued by the notion of becoming involved at the county political level, a bit of a cesspool here in Brooklyn. The next elections for election district members (half of these are unfilled) of the party committee are in June 2018.
Published February 23, 2017
Tags: Green-Wood, trees
The twigs right now! The twigs! Green, red, orange, brown. Spring is coiled for the spring.
This is our old friend Liriodendron tulipifera. Look at those leaf scars! The bundle scars, too, are nice and obvious. In the Native Flora in Winter course I just took at NYBG, some species’ bundle scars were damned hard to see, even under magnification (magnification is a necessity in this endeavor).
Here’s how Harlow describes these in his key: “terminal buds with 2 outer scales; flattened, glabrous; leaf scars nearly circular; bundle scars numerous, scattered in an irregular ellipse.” Core and Ammons: “Leaf scars alternate, large, round; bundle-scars many, in an irregular ellipse; stipule-scars linear, encircling the twig.”
Hey, we’re doing Where the Wild Things Are again on Tuesday.
Published February 22, 2017
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Green-Wood
See me?Well, I don’t want to be seen.
Speaking of being seen! There are lots of elections this year, and although the Republican anti-democracy campaign plows full speed ahead, their nasty little oligopoly isn’t here yet.
Published February 21, 2017
Tags: birds, Bronx
You can almost see the golden eye from here. You can certainly see the white spot on the cheek of this male Bucephala clangula. I don’t see these often: they do not favor the harbor. There were a few dozen off Hunter Island in the Bronx, the western end of Long Island Sound, and the males were doing bits of their head-thrown-back mating dance.
Trivial: Ian Fleming called his Jamaica estate Goldeneye, and named his ridiculous hero after the ornithologist James Bond.
Political: The Democrats have never been a leftist party. Here, an actual leftist anatomizes the party of business that pretends it isn’t. And why such an entity is so dangerous right now in the face of Trumpism.
Published February 20, 2017
Just about the entire time I’ve lived in New York City. This was a big fat Red Oak. I will miss it.
My birthday falls on Not My President’s Day. Perfect!
Published February 19, 2017
Tags: birding, birds, Bronx, owls
A note on populism. “There is no right [-wing] populism, only intolerance.”