Inspire. August.

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August can be a tough month. Summer is both at its peak and winding down. Back to School is far off, and yet just around the corner. It’s too hot for home maintenance especially in the garage and basement as my husband wants to focus on. For our family, it’s time to get ready for our annual vacation as we stress about covid – getting it and not getting it but having our vacation canceled as so many others are having happen. There is also GISH. The annual, Guinness Book of World Record-holding scavenger hunt is about a third of the way complete, and while I can’t share actual items, I have four things that you can do at your own home that are inspirational and GISH-adjacent. But first:

“Education must, then, be not only a transmission of culture but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of the will to explore them.”

Jerome S. Bruner

This photo will be added to my post about my recent visit to a labyrinth. I went back and found these newly painted rocks as well as a new plant, a rainbow flag, a fallen tree branch, and a basket of bubbles.

It is a good reminder to revisit places because even in the shortest times, they will change; some for the better (new rocks) and some not so much (a bit of overgrowth).

However there is always something new to see if you just open your eyes, your heart, and observe the world around you.


Those four things I mentioned above:

1. Find a cloud in the sky that you like. What does it look like to you? Take a photo. Or draw it. Whatever you do, enjoy it.

2. Write a poem. Any topic.

3. What direction do you want to travel in today? Draw a compass and make a map, like a treasure map, but all your own. What (and where) is your buried treasure?

4. Do some good. Donate time or treasure. One good organization is Random Acts and a second is the ACLU.

Make good choices. Do good. Be kind. Create.

Election Connection: Voter Suppression

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Across this country, at least 43 states have over 250 laws proposed by Republicans to limit voting access (source: ACLU mailing), and these predominantly negatively affect minorities and lower income voters.

One of these bills that recently became law in Georgia is SB202, and when asked in Congressional committee about what it does, Stacey Abrams was cut off by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), so she released a video on Twitter that explained it.

We cannot rest while Republicans continue to keep eligible voters from casting their ballots. Voting is a right and should be accessible to all eligible voters.

Follow Democracy Docket for more legal challenges to these proposals and laws as well as Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight.

The below video of Stacey Abrams is a good example of the preconceived notions and misinformation that GOP lawmakers accept even when experts in voter suppression are willing to explain the situation to them. They just don’t accept it, and are willing to dismiss the voting rights of people unlike themselves (ie. middle class white men).

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World Press Freedom Day

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On this World Press Freedom Day, I’d like to share with you three links:

UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day Commemoration and Activities

The Committee to Protect Journalists Website

ACLU: Freedom of the Press

I’d also encourage you to familarize yourself with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which holds the freedom of the press as one of the most important tenets of our democratic beliefs.

Election Connection: 2 Weeks: Voter Suppression and Russian Disinformation

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This link will take you to the story of Corey Brotherton’s father who was turned away for not being registered to vote. Except he was registered to vote.

Know your rights and know where to get the correct information in order to exercise your right to vote.

Corey went to I Will Vote and was able to show the poll workers that his father was indeed eligible to vote. His is one of many stories of voter suppression.

I’m sure you’ve seen the long lines during early voting, especially in minority neighborhoods. Please stay in line. Bring water, food, a chair.

Another resource to keep with you or on your phone is Georgetown Law’s information sheets – one for each state – on what to do if confronted with unauthorized militia groups at the polling places.

ACLU’s information is also good to keep in your phone.

This is the election protection hotline if you are having trouble voting: 1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

This week has been full of Russian disinformation and DNI Ratcliffe and Sen. Ron Johnson have been at the top of the list encouraging this sort of thing. I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s demoralizing. Try to ignore it. Pay attention to reliable news sources and ignore the Trump Administration’s sidetracking their voter suppression efforts with their screaming about the Biden family. Russia is very much at play in our election, as they were in 2016.

Ignore the polls. Make a plan to vote, and vote as early as you can.

14 days. (See the new countdown on my sidebar.) We can do this. Together.

Giving Tuesday

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In this time of holiday joy and generosity, please do what you can to support those organizations who help throughout the year.

ACLU

Planned Parenthood

RAICES

Random Acts

Where I Give My Support (list not inclusive)

Scroll down to the Stands links for a collection of worthy charities, all of whom do good works.

Add your own recommendations in the comments with how to reach them with donations and what their organization does. 

Fandom Black Friday

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Even though most of us have been picking up holiday gifts whenever we see anything appropriate and affordable, today is the official begin to the holiday shopping season, at least as far as capitalist society is concerned.

I’ve done the 5am shopping thing once or twice, and we treated it like a day out: we did our shopping, finished by 9 or so, and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then home for some hot chocolate and naps. It was fun. Kind of.

I tend to look online for some items that are unique and hard to find locally even though I do like to shop at my local businesses.

There are many great shops and now there is access to those small shops through online shopping. I love fandom gifts, from clothes to Pops! to jewelry to journals, pins of course, and other unique things in my various fandoms.

Apart from Amazon, here are a few places, both online and brick and mortar stores that I like to check out for my friends and family that are looking for the perfect fandom gift.

Hot Topic – great store for a variety of fandoms, and they get it. They’re knowledgable about the fandoms, know their merchandise, can and will direct you to other places if they don’t carry something, etc. It’s a good store to visit. If you’re looking for Plus Sizes, they generally don’t carry them in the stores, but you can find them online.

DC Universe – this is a new app that offers original programming and other DC programs. It is a subscription service, so that in itself might be a nice gift for the DC fan in your life.

Target – They have a fandom section (although they don’t call it that) on the back wall between books/DVDs and electronics. They rotate pop culture shows and books and often have Harry Potter, Stranger Things, Marvel and DC Comics & Movies, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, and more.

Stands – Partial proceeds go to charity. There is a limited shopping time for each campaign and each sponsor actor chooses their own charity to support. Previous (and some current) charitable causes have included: Random ActsJacmel Children’s CenterACLURaicesChicago Foundation for Women, Lydia’s Place, My Hope ChestNew Leash on LifeNational Stroke AssociationCanadian Women’s FoundationFeeding AmericaRainbow HouseTrapKing HumanePasadena Humane Society & SPCA, and others.

Dr. Ford and Justice for All

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​I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about these past two weeks than I normally would for a political rant, so maybe this isn’t exactly a rant or a venting, although the smoke is spiraling out of my ears, nostrils, and hair follicles and just like in the cartoons, I can hear the whistling.
To start, I want to state unequivocally that I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Judiciary Committee testimony in its entirety. Anyone who doubts her memory didn’t watch the testimony. She was incredibly careful and was clear to clarify her statements, and to say she didn’t know or didn’t remember if that was the case. She didn’t lose her temper or her composure despite the biased, some stupid questions from the Arizona prosecutor that the Judiciary Republicans hired (Senate Majority Leader McConnell called her a female assistant) because they couldn’t be human or decent to Dr. Ford.

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This is Not Normal, Resources

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Use this chart to help you determine if the news you’re getting is accurate and free of bias. That doesn’t mean that some sources shouldn’t be opinionated, but they do need to be clear on the difference between their opinion and reporting the facts as well as the tools they use for their analysis. MediaBiastChart (c)2018

Links below cut

Original Opinion and Resource List

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50/52 – Do Good for Others

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I’ve had a page this last year of where I send my support. I reached out to some friends for their most important charities, and wanted to share them here with you.

If you have spare money throughout the year or time for some of the local volunteer organizations, please use it to do good.

I have listed them alphabetically, and the religious organizations included have as their primary focus helping others. Check their status here

ACLU*

Catholic Charities

CNEWA

Committee to Protect Journalists*

Doctors Without Borders

Heifer International
The Hispanic Federation*

Lydia Place*

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Stroke Association*

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation*

Planned Parenthood*

Random Acts*

Save a Warrior (SAW)

Southern Poverty Law Center

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital*

The Trevor Project*

World Vision

Inclusion is not endorsement. However, the ones with an asterisk are where I have personally contributed over the years.