Good afternoon.

How are you doing? How have you been doing?

I made my calls this morning, and while I could only get through to my Congressperson, I will do so again this afternoon. In addition to calling my representatives, you can also call the House Oversight Committee (202-225-5074) to support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump’s financials and apparent conflicts of interest. I also called Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s office to take a survey in support of the Affordable Care Act. That number is (202) 225-3031, and you have to listen to a brief (but still very anti) message about the Affordable Care Act. It takes like two minutes. You can also leave him a message about whatever you want to listen to him about, but be aware that when it switches over to the message-leaving portion, it gets VERY LOUD and you’ve got Paul D. Ryan blaring in your ear.

Edit: It appears that the message for the survey has been taken down, but there are conflicting reports. If you feel up to it, I would leave him a message.

Pro-tip: I’ve found putting those numbers in your phone so you don’t have to go digging for them is very helpful. Plus, if you’re calling every day, there they are, right in your recents – reminding you to call again!

Let’s talk about panic. I’ve been feeling this a lot lately – this ebb and flow, this being calm with being…not calm. It was actually a pretty nice morning here in the city. I got up, had a shower, got coffee and a bagel, got settled in. One of my favorite podcasts (because I’m not enough of a cliche already) is the Keeping It 1600 podcast, and on this week’s episode, they discussed adopting a position of not freaking out about every. single. thing that the PE might do and preparing, instead, for the things he is going to do. Supporting immigrant and Muslim groups and other minority groups – that’s great. Worrying about who the eff he’s going to appoint today? Not so much. I’m inclined to agree with this, and not freak out about potential appointments until he announces them.

It’s also important to not forget that these announcements about appointments will be coming faster and faster as we approach January 20th, and, as a result, it will be easier to forget past monstrosities for new perversities. Case in point: When was the last time you heard about Steve Bannon? Keep calling. Keep making sure your people know that dude needs to go.

With that in mind – Attorney General Jeff Sessions, everybody! National Security Advisor Gen. Mike Flynn! CIA Director Whose Name I’ve Already Forgotten! (See how easy it is?) This morning, shortly after the news about Sessions broke, David Duke tweeted his support for Sessions and Flynn, along with Bannon. That should give you pause. That should frighten you. To a section of the country, the appointments of those three men reinforce the idea that this will be an administration dedicated, in whole or in part, to the repulsive ideas pushed during the campaign. Flynn has retweeted racists and is himself an Islamophobe. And Sessions…what is there to say about “too racist for Reagan-era Republicans” Sessions? The war on pot? The fact that he loathes the Voting Rights Act? That he’s down with the Klan? All these things are readily available, and are truly terrifying. But perhaps most damning is that Eliiizzaaa Hamilton does not approve:

Now, the upside about some of these positions is this. In the case of Attorney General and CIA director, those are Senate confirmed positions. Here’s a list of everything that is Senate-confirmed. Get comfortable with this list. Get to know it – particularly the undersecretary positions, since it’s being reported that the heads of these departments will have broad leeway over who they hire (as opposed to the past, where the President and his staff are more involved). Then, call your Senators. Call your reps. Ask them to speak out. Ask them to ask about specific questions like internment or immigration – Sessions is obsessed with illegal immigration. Ask them to block the nomination if they can. Here’s a handy guide to the appointment process . And keep calling!

Here’s the other thing, and I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a couple of days. If Sessions is appointed Attorney General, he can’t be a Senator at the same time. This might happen again with these appointments – so get to know this list regarding Senate vacancies. Here’s what it says about Alabama, which Sessions represents:

“On such a day as the governor may direct, unless vacancy occurs between 2 and 4 months before the next regularly-scheduled general election, in which case it is held at that election. If vacancy occurs within 60 days of the next regularly-scheduled general election, a special election must be held on the first Tuesday after 60 days have elapsed since the vacancy occurred.”

So that means within 60 days of Sessions resigning the Senate – there’s (admittedly very, very small) potential to grab another Senate seat for the Democrats. The smaller we can make that margin, the better.

Which brings me to this: We gotta start picking our farm team. Get involved. Find politicians in your area (or nationwide) who care about things you care about and support them. Donate online. If they’re in your area, go out and volunteer for them. Talk about this person. If they don’t? Find out who’s going to primary challenge them and help with that primary campaign – particularly in an off year where every vote matters! (Every vote always matters but it matters even more in a primary.) Encourage people you know with a passion for public office to run for school board or city council or smaller positions to start gaining experience. This goes for Gen X-ers and older currently in office, but it goes for Millennials, too! We have two to four years to start building up our team and mounting real challenges to the encroachment of a party that might not share our values. When Bernie talks about a political revolution, this is what he means. My wife says this and she’s right – “It’s time to stop treating politics like a sports team we have no control over – demand accountability and reward excellence in government.”

And while you’re looking for places to give your money to, consider throwing some bucks towards She Should Run, which encourages and supports women and girls to run for office/take positions of public leadership.

Daily links:

Rebecca Solnit has tips on how to live through a disaster, Baratunde Thurston confronts the empathy (or lack thereof) for the “white working class,” and Sarah Kendzior is today’s daily reminder that it’s okay to be alarmist. Abi Wilkinson discusses online radicalization of a group we don’t think is radicalized (spoiler: they are). If you’re into inside journalism baseball, here’s an article from Poynter about a potential new venture that could bring more money into newsrooms. You can read the full statement from the U.S. and Germany, and consider what’s being said – or what isn’t being said. Director Lexi Alexander weighs in on the safety-pin debate and makes an excellent case for why you should wear it, even if it’s trendy – but also why you should be aware of what you’re signing up for.

As I wrote this first public post, I’m a little nervous.  I feel the excitement, passion, and fire. But it’s also important to stoke it, to not let it die out, to remember to breathe and remember what’s important. To that end, I’ll close with this piece from the New York Times – my friend Jess pointed me towards it, and I found it very helpful in remembering what I can control – and what I cannot.

Try to have the best day you can.




By way of brief introduction: I’m a straight white married dude living in New York. After the election of 2016, I started writing down my thoughts on Facebook. I wrote on the current political climate, ways forward, fears, and anything that generally came to mind. The tone varied wildly, from panic to alarm to calm. I thought of them as daily check-ins, and I kept doing them for a solid week. Some folks suggested that I do them in a blog form, because I tend to keep my thoughts on FB fairly limited. So I did.

I’m not sure what form these will take. I’ll try include links, check-ins, thoughts, observations, general ephemera.I have some ideas about ongoing features related to art, literature, and history. Although I have a traditional liberal education with a focus on the history of American slavery, genre fiction, and contemporary literature, I am still working through learning about intersectionality and processing my own privilege. I welcome discussion and feedback – though I may not respond in the comments – and am moderating the comments section.

The title comes from both the John O’Hara poetry collection and the Mad Men episode set during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The epigram comes from former National Security staffer Tommy Vietor. The phrase “last resort letters” (or lrletters on Tumblr) comes from my favorite bit of obscure military/Cold War history – the Letters of Last Resort. It’s something I always think about when thinking about the scope, importance, and responsibility of global power.