Tuesday, January 31, 2017


In the midst of the struggle for social justice, in a world seemingly gone mad, we need to be reminded that there are uplifting stories taking place all around us all of the time.

To this end, may I recommend a must-see movie and a must-read book?

The movie is HIDDEN FIGURES, which relates the true 

story of a group of hitherto unsung African American women, brilliant mathematicians all, who worked for NASA and served as the brains behind one of the proudest moments in modern American history: the launching of astronaut John Glenn into orbit in 1962.  


There are plenty of harrowing books to read if you've a mind to pick one up but here's one that ought to give your spirits a rise and strengthen your resolve.  It's called REST IN POWER: THE ENDURING LIFE OF TRAYVON MARTIN. It was written by Trayvon's parents and serves not as a bitter accusation or a family tribute to a lost son but as an uplifting story of the importance of having us join together to continue to fight for social justice.  


And, finally, for those who are concerned with supporting the LGBT community, two pieces of good news:

At least for now, President Donald Trump will continue to enforce a 2014 executive order by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, barring discrimination against LGBT people working for federal contractors, the White House said.

And The Boy Scouts of America announced that it will no longer ban transgender boys from membership and will begin accepting members based on the gender listed on their application, paving the way for transgender boys to join the organization.

To quote Republican idol, President Ronald Reagan - who borrowed the phrase from a Russian proverb - we should trust, but verify.  But still, good news is good news.  We'll take it for now!



Here is a fairly easy way to go about contacting legislators in the U. S. Senate and in Congress.  

Go to this website:  https://5calls.org

Once there, enter your zip code and select an issue you want to share your views on.  You will be provided with information about who to call, the phone number, and even be given a sample script of what to say. You might want to use the script as a model to help guide your own presentation, but at least it's there.  

By the way, the site is called "5calls" because you are encouraged to make at least five calls per day about the issues that matter most to you.  

As a reminder, and if it matters to you, you should know that Republican callers generally outnumber Democrat callers 4-1.  



Saturday, January 28, 2017


Passing along some useful advice here, given to me by a reliable source. It has to do with contacting legislators about issues of concern to you.

There are two things you should think about doing if you are concerned about any of the issues that fall within the domain of legislators, nationally or at the state level.  

--> First of all, you should NOT be bothering with online petitions or emailing. These are generally ignored.  

The best thing you can do to be heard and get your legislator to pay attention is to have face-to-face time. 

If they have townhalls, go to them. 

Go to their local offices. 

If you're in Washington and want to have direct communication with a Senator or member of Congress, try to find a way to go to an event of theirs.

Go to the "mobile offices" that their staff hold periodically (all these times are located on each congressperson's website). 

When you go, ask questions. A lot of them. And push for answers. The louder and more vocal and present you can be at those the better.

2. Because these in-person events don't happen every day, what you should be doing is calling.  Not once.  Not occasionally.  But pretty much every day. 

You should make at least 6 calls a day: two each (DC office and your local office) to your two Senators and your one Representative.  Also, don't forget your state legislators.  

Any sort of online contact generally is ignored, and letters pretty much get thrown in the trash.  

Calls are what all the legislators pay attention to. 

Every single day, the Senior Staff and the Senator get a report of the 3 most-called-about topics for that day at each of their offices (in DC and local offices), and exactly how many people said what about each of those topics.

They're also sorted by zip code and area code.

To my Republican friends, you should know that Republican callers generally outnumber Democrat callers 4-1, and when it's a particular issue that single-issue-voters pay attention to (like gun control, or planned parenthood funding, etc...), it's often closer to 11-1.  It matters.  

To my Democrat friends, same thing.  It matters.  

--> When you call:

A) When calling the Washington office, ask for the staff member in charge of whatever you're calling about ("Hi, I'd like to speak with the staffer in charge of healthcare, please")
Local offices won't always have specific ones, but they might. 

If you get transferred to that person, awesome. If you don't, that's ok - ask for their name, and then just keep talking to whoever answered the phone. Don't leave a message (unless the office doesn't pick up at all - then you can...but it's better to talk to the staffer who first answered than leave a message for the specific staffer in charge of your topic).

B) Give them your zip code. They won't always ask for it, but make sure you give it to them, so they can mark it down. Extra points if you live in a zip code that traditionally votes for them, since they'll want to make sure they get/keep your vote.

C) If you can make it personal, make it personal. ("I voted for you in the last election and I'm worried/happy/whatever" or "I'm a teacher, and I wish to talk about such-and-such an education issue," or "as a single mother" or "as a white, middle class woman," or whatever would make it relevant and personal.

D) Pick 1-2 specific things per day to focus on. Don't go down a whole list - they're figuring out what 1-2 topics to mark you down for on their lists. So, focus on 1-2 per day. Ideally, it would be something that will be voted on/taken up in the next few days. But even if there's not a vote coming up in the next week, call anyway. It's important that they just keep getting calls.

E) Be clear on what you want - ("I'm disappointed that the Senator..." or "I want to thank the Senator for their vote on..." or "I want the Senator to know that voting in a certain way is the wrong decision for our state because..."). Be clear and direct and specific.

F) Don't worry about being a nuisance. The people answering the phones generally turn over every 6 weeks anyway, so even if they're really sick of your daily calls, they'll  probably be gone in 6 weeks.

From experience since the election: If you hate being on the phone & feel awkward (which is a lot of people) don't worry about it.  After a few days of calling, it starts to feel a lot more natural. Put the 6 numbers in your phone (all under P – for Politician, for example, so that it's easy to take care of it).

And this is what I mean when I say:


Thursday, January 26, 2017


                        There ain't no alternative facts‬
‪                        There ain't no alternative facts‬
‪                        Tho' Conway and Spicer‬
                        Would have us think twice, ther' ‬
                        Ain't no alternative facts‬


Just because someone says something, that doesn't make it true. Not even if they say it loudly and with conviction. Not even if they repeat it over and over and get others to repeat it over and over. The only thing that makes it true is if it's true.  Confront the lies!  



"All In All, You're Just Another Brick In The Wall"

Stand up and be counted!