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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Quarantine Diary #121 7/13/2020 When we crave a simpler murder ...

Last post we were talking about what stories, books, art, TV, shows, and music works for us now. It’s pretty obvious that living four months in isolation through a pandemic - changes what our spirits want and need. Several people in Friday’s comments said that they are watching British crime shows.

Us, too. Len and I binge-watched Endeavor. Each show is an hour and a half, there are 6-8 shows per season, and there are seven seasons … so far. There will be one more season later this year when its released from England to the US. So yes, pretty invested!

Quarantine Diary #118 7/10/2020 The thing that we don't want that we have.

This week I requested books from the library, picked them up, walked back home, and started reading.

One book is a lawyer/detective book that is 850 pages long. It’s a great read in that American gum-cracking, fast-talking, everyone has an angle kind of way. I was 150 pages in before I accepted I don’t even like gum and I quit it.

Next I started The Women of Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell.  

Quarantine Diary #112 7/3/2020 The View From Here, Now

I just checked the comments on my website. I get a few wacko ones most days that are in Greek or Russian, or are porno invites. I delete them. Part of the shtick when running a website outside the hosted sites.

And here, right here on a Friday evening, is this good comment from one of you, 

Quarantine Diary #108 6/30/2020 Woke Neighbors

I was quietly sitting here, just writing, when I heard yelling. I looked up and there was Modern America Right Here Right Now, in front of my house.

Cops had a car pulled over and were yelling at someone to come out. A black man with dreadlocks got out, hands in air, protesting and arguing to the cops. I couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying, but he was arguing respectfully. I heard his “Sir” several times. He was not swearing that I could hear.

Quarantine Diary #104 6/26/2020 Common Sense

This very small story has been lurking in my mind for decades and I have been thinking about it again, just recently.

One afternoon I overheard my dad complaining to my mom about schoolteachers. I suppose they were having a busy week in the print shop when a teacher from the high school dropped off, late in the day, a print job that needed to be completed in less time than was convenient. I’m guessing it was the school newspaper.

Quarantine Diary #101 6/23/2020 Today the Protest Came to Us

I keep saying Len and I are not going to protests because of Covid.

But then one came to us.

Late yesterday afternoon we heard that Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos would be at a meeting this morning at Saratoga STEM school here in Waukesha. It's three blocks from our house. 

The meeting was to talk about school choice. School choice is when you take taxpayer education funds away from local schools, change neighborhood schools into “choice schools” that will attract kids from outside that neighborhood and then you underfund the neighborhood school that's left.

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