A collection, with occasional commentary.

From 'Which side will our military be on?' Trump and GOP openly hatch election theft plot –

According to Friday reporting by the New York Times, high-ranking military leaders have vowed to keep the armed forces out of the electoral process and its potentially chaotic aftermath, with Defense Department officials saying top generals could resign if the commander in chief tries to deploy them to U.S. streets.

I worry that “keeping the armed forces out of the electoral process” requires a unified stance by military leadership. If the general's just resign then we've given the military to these leaders unwilling to take that stance. And then things start to look more like a civil war.

From Durbin on Barrett confirmation: “We can’t stop the outcome”

“We can slow it down, perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at the most, but we can't stop the outcome. What we should do is to address this now respectfully,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.

Why? Why must this happen respectfully? If they can't stop it, why not disrupt? Make a statement and leave the committee? Leave the senate and stand outside? Ask their colleagues in Congress to protest?

I am watching the last episode of Ken Burns' Country Music

And I am singing along, couch dancing, to Garth Brooks. I saw him at the Miramar Air Base in San Diego with the Judds. I listened to Thunder Rolls on a home recorded tape, driving back from Las Vegas. Poorer coming home than we were leaving. Everyone else in the car asleep. The A side ends and there is a long gap; I'm looking at what there is to look at on the road between Las Vegas and San Diego which is not a lot. Thunder Rolls starts and terrifies me. I jerk the steering wheel hard and everyone wakes up. And we laughed about it because no one was on the road with us and we didn't get into an accident.

I checked on him before I wrote this post. I know that I danced to him, the Tahoe Touch and the Texas Two-Step because he said things that made us believe, women dancing with women, men dancing with men, that he saw us and he was willing to stand up for the love he saw.

#music #personal

From The House That Carving Built | The Bitter Southerner

I was hungry for results, something to wow my friends up North, and fell into my worst habits — becoming the quiet, determined perfectionist who wouldn’t settle for anything less than ideal.

The longer I spent at Campbell, accepting my flaws and limitations, along with the importance of asking for help, the more my old attitude began to fade. I signed up for another woodturning class and, thanks to my new sense of patience, created a set of kitchen utensils that, while not perfect, work well enough for me. I took a blacksmithing course, satisfied that I ended up with three finely-shaped hooks even though my studio mate forged an entire fireplace toolset in the span of two days.

#crafts #practice

From How to be indistractable | Psyche Guides

Distraction has become the norm. We’re blessed with pocket-sized supercomputers that connect us to anyone and everyone, and a buffet of information. But there’s a dark side: those same gadgets distract us, often at the moments that matter most.

As often as not, distraction is your brain ducking challenging feelings such as boredom, loneliness, insecurity, fatigue and uncertainty. These are the internal triggers – the root causes – that prompt you to find the comfort of distraction and open a browser tab, Twitter or email, instead of focusing on the matter at hand. Once you identify these internal triggers, you can decide to respond in a more advantageous manner. You won’t always be able to control how you feel – but you can learn to control how you react to the way you feel. A trigger that once sent you to Twitter can perhaps lead instead to 10 deep breaths.

Here’s one strategy: I found the fun in whatever I was doing. Yes, I know, this is where you roll your eyes, but hear me out. I learned to stay focused on the tedious work of writing books by looking for and finding the mystery embedded in my work. I wasn’t ‘writing’, I was ‘exploring’. I wasn’t Ernest Hemingway; I was Scooby-Doo. Research indicates that even the simple act of thinking of something that you don’t enjoy as fun can have a powerful and real effect on your brain’s interpretation of it. ‘Fun,’ writes the game designer Ian Bogost in his book Play Anything (2016), ‘turns out to be fun even if it doesn’t involve much (or any) enjoyment.’

Critics argue that these digital platforms are capturing our attention, wrecking our relationships and hijacking our brains. However, there’s little scientific proof that social media ‘permanently reduces attention span’ – that claim and many of the other wilder accusations about social media are founded on little more than opinion. One of the most interesting contributions related to this topic that I read this past year was from the British psychologist Amy Orben, who took a deep look at the other studies published on the links between social media use, digital technology and wellbeing. To my surprise, and to the surprise of many others, she found unreliable research methods, exaggerated claims and bad data throughout this research field.

#motivation #personaldevelopment #attention

From The Republican Conspiratorial Convention | The New Yorker

Tiffany Trump is not the most prominent or politically adept of the President’s children, but her speech at the Republican National Convention last week served as a succinct summation of the event’s key messages. Donald Trump is a giant among Presidents, protecting the country and keeping his promises. His reëlection is a contest between freedom and oppression. Yet he’s subject to hatred, Tiffany said, because so many people have been “manipulated and visibly coerced” by the media and tech companies that present a “biased and fabricated” version of reality. “Ask yourselves, why are we prevented from seeing certain information?” she urged viewers. The answer is “control.”

She was far from the only speaker to have discerned a connection between attempts to deceive the American people and efforts to subdue them. On Thursday night, when her father accepted his party’s nomination, he did the same, saying, “They are coming after me, because I am fighting for you!” Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News journalist who is Donald Trump, Jr.,’s partner, loudly warned about “cosmopolitan élites” who “want to control what you see and think and believe so that they can control how you live.” Richard Grenell, the former acting director of National Intelligence, said that Trump’s opponents “never want the American people to know who’s actually calling the shots.”

I don’t think it’s the lies we have to fight against, rather it’s the narrative that gives people an excuse to vote in a way that protects their interests (or what they see as their interests) at the expense of democracy, fairness, and inclusion.

I believe this means we have to provide a counter narrative that is equally attractive and let’s people change, save face, and join together. Not be in opposition.

#democracy #misinformation #disinformation #counternarratives

From Todxs cuentan: building community and welcoming humanity from the first day of class

This is from a math professor. I am eager to understand how to apply this to a work and facilitation setting. I can see applications for employee on-boarding, project launches, and community meetings and group facilitation. I can also see how this would try the patience of my colleagues.

I am excited and a bit nervous, because I am going to try many new things in class this semester, and although academic tradition dictates that a professor is supposed to appear invulnerable and in control, I plan to put us in learning experiences that will not really be under my control.

The below applies to a employee handbook, project brief, and community meeting agenda and statement of purpose.

The course syllabus is the first official document students receive in a class; it is the first impression they receive about what is valued in the class.

What is the comparable statement we would make for a project team?

Community Agreement. This course aims to o↵er a joyful, meaningful, and em- powering experience to every participant; we will build that rich experience together by devoting our strongest available e↵ort to the class. You will be challenged and supported. Please be prepared to take an active, critical, patient, and generous role in your own learning and that of your classmates.

How do we think about this dynamic within teams and groups in the workplace?

As a mathematics researcher with more than 20 years of experience, I feel pretty confident that my mathematical ideas are valuable. It sometimes takes a special effort to truly listen to students’ ideas without projecting my own views onto them. When I have been able to really make space for students’ thought, we have all learned very innovative and useful ways of thinking about combinatorics.

And how do we engineer for this benefit on our projects?

I have come to understand that when students are engaged so actively, and when we really listen to each other’s ideas, a creative, mathematical magic can happen that I could not have arrived at by simply preparing a lecture and delivering it. In this class, more than ever before, I experienced my students truly take charge of their shared learning experience, take ownership of the material, allow themselves to ask their own critical, insightful mathematical questions, value those questions, and turn them into their own original discoveries. In fact, their insight taught me many new things about classic problems that I thought I understood completely.

#communitybulding #management #facilitation

From The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically

You live where you work is a truism as ancient as grain farming; which means it’s as ancient as the city itself. But the internet specializes in disentangling the bundles of previous centuries, whether it’s cable TV, the local newspaper, or the department store. Now, with the pandemic shuttering the face-to-face economy, it seems poised to weaken the spatial relationship between work and home.

by Derek Thompson at The Atlantic


From There's a Brutal Crackdown Underway in Belarus. It Should Be a Wake-up Call for America.

But what’s happening in tiny little Belarus should be a lesson for us all. Lukashenko is known as the “last dictator of Europe,” but he didn’t start out that way. When he was first elected in 1994, he was the change candidate, the one offering to shake things up. He has been in power ever since, winning rigged election after rigged election. Many of the people who are now protesting his rule, the ones suffering the most horrible consequences for their protest, had not even been born when Lukashenko first took office. They have never had any real experience of democracy, but they are willing to risk their lives and limbs for the idea of a free election—something they had never once participated in. But it isn’t just idealistic young people flooding the streets. Factory workers all over the country walked out of their jobs to demand free and fair elections, risking their livelihood for a concept that is as basic as it is vague, especially in comparison with feeding your family. And the tales of police sadism haven’t had the effect that the regime may have intended: soldiers and police officers are resigning because they don’t want to take part in brutalizing their fellow citizens.