Mary Beth Writes

Yesterday Len took this photo of two ospreys checking out their nest. He has been observing them for more than a week when he bicycles in their neighborhood. So far both birds will leave their nest for extended periods of time, so he doesn’t think they have chicks yet. 

A curious and true reality.

1. “Astroturfing” is a new social media term. It refers to phenomena such as the anti-quarantine protests that we have all seen covered on TV and in social media.

“… evidence has emerged that these may not be grassroots protests, but "astroturf"—in other words, a simulation of grassroots action … some of the largest Facebook groups used to organize many of these protests are run by a family of far-right, pro-gun activists: Ben Dorr, political director of a gun-rights group in Minnesota, and his brothers, Christopher and Aaron. The Facebook groups have become sources of the same kinds of misinformation about the coronavirus that have been seen at a number of the protests—that the virus is no worse than the flu, that the scientists working on a vaccine have ulterior motives, and so on. By Sunday, the groups had more than 200,000 members. According to the Post, other demonstrations have been promoted by the Michigan Freedom Fund, which is headed by a longtime adviser to Dick DeVos, husband of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (the family denies organizational or financial involvement.).” This is from the Columbia Journalism Review https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/amplifying-coronavirus-protests.php

Not every grassroots movement is grassroots. Some are astroturf.

BUT! Have you noticed some media is beginning to report these statistics? - About 30% of Americans support the protests but 70% want quarantining to continue until there is a safe way to return to whatever will be our next normal.

70% is a lot more than 30%. It helps to understand that we are not a minority.

2. Gerrymandering in Wisconsin: “… the data show that 64 of the 99 districts are more Republican than the state as a whole, based on their vote for governor.

In other words, Republicans enjoy a built-in 64-35 advantage in the partisan makeup of the 99 Assembly districts. In a hypothetical 50-50 election, in which there are equal numbers of Democratic and Republican voters in Wisconsin, no one crosses party lines and independents split down the middle, that translates into a massive 29-seat GOP advantage in the Assembly.”

The reason Republicans usually win everything in Wisconsin is because gerrymandered districts are absolutely skewed that way. Democrats outvote Republicans in elections, yet it is almost impossible for a Democrat to win any open state-level election. “Democrats won 53% of all the Assembly votes cast statewide while coming away with only 36% of the seats.”

Read the article. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/blogs/wisconsin-voter/2018/12/06/wisconsin-gerrymandering-data-shows-stark-impact-redistricting/2219092002/

3. So why is this is my diary of living through this time in American history?  Because it indicates something I think most of us who are not politicians or campaign consultants are not cognizant of.  There are more Democrat-values leaning people in this state and nation than there are Republican-values leaning. 

I’m not saying Dems have it all right and Republicans are always wrong.  I AM saying that there are systems in place that are obscuring what most people care about and want.

We don’t have to teach people how to have values. We DO have to fight the corruption and manipulation of systems.

There’s a big difference there and it affects where we spend our time, money, and energy.

We are hosting our “Zoom and Cookies with Tom Palzewicz” next Thursday evening. If you are our friend and you also live in Wisconsin’s District 5 - we will be sending the invitation email to you. Gary, we are sending one to you.  Anyone else who is interested should send their email address to me at MB@MaryBethDanielson.com or put your address in the comment window. We will include you.  

We are not driving cookies to Chicago or Vermont - although a car trip it is seriously tempting.

 

 

 

 

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Remembering Stuff

“I’m getting so old. I just can’t remember anything anymore.”

Okay, I understand and accept that forgetfulness is weird and awkward. We talk to someone about this movie and that house repair and that small restaurant from which we ordered amazing food a few weeks ago and it feels as if we are talking with 95% of the words we used to know. What was that guy’s name? Where did I read that really powerful thing about political strategy now?

Ayad Akhtar's "Homeland Elegies" & Do We Understand Colonialism?

I heard part of an NPR / Fresh Air interview with writer Ayad Akhtar so I borrowed the book from the library and read it.

In the 1960’s his parents earned medical degrees in Pakistan and then emigrated to the US where Ayad was born and has lived all his life. (His parents are now deceased.) His dad was a highly respected cardiologist. In the 1990’s, when Donald Trump was having heart issues, Dr. Akhtar was flown to NYC to examine Trump.

Susan's Birthday Questions 10/19/2020

(One decorates for October birthdays with orange trees.) 

Last week was my birthday. My niece Susan sometimes sends me birthday greetings where she asks excellent questions. She doesn’t know I still have the card she sent six years ago; I meant to answer her questions in the blog I had then, but I never got around to it.

Stereotypes Day

Today is October 12th - Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Not Columbus Day, okay?

I was in the process of giving birth to one of our kids and it was getting on towards midnight. The midwife wondered whether our baby would be born on the day we were in or whether it would be a few more minutes and then the child would have the next day as their birthday.

10/11/2020 This Crazy Advent We're In Now

This painting is by Andrea Kowch  http://andreakowch.com/

...

Regarding Time: It’s been about a million months since the quarantine started. It will be an at least one epoch if not two, until a vaccine is available to quell it. Election Day is here now (I’ve already voted, have you?) yet it feels as if it will never be done and gone. Even when Nov 3 arrives we could be in for more epochs of anxious and angry waiting as ballots are tallied, argued over, recounted, all while lawyers and politicians fight and scrap.

Quarantine Diary #204 10/4/2020 3 Short Takes

Three things to say today and none are about our goatish, swag-bellied, canket-blossomed president. How to create a Shakespearean insult. 

1. I just read this WONDERFUL and REMARKABLE book! The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

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