Terms, defined

Overton Window

The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, is the range of ideas the public will accept. … According to Overton’s description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.

Gish Gallop

His debating opponents said that Gish used a rapid-fire approach during a debate, presenting arguments and changing topics quickly. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, dubbed this approach the Gish Gallop, describing it as “where the creationist is allowed to run on for 45 minutes or an hour, spewing forth torrents of error that the evolutionist hasn’t a prayer of refuting in the format of a debate.” She also criticized Gish for failing to answer objections raised by his opponents. The phrase has also come to be used as a pejorative to describe similar debate styles employed by proponents of other, usually fringe beliefs, such as homeopathy or the moon landing hoax.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive incapacity, on the part of those with low ability, to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their competence accurately.


Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism. Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.


Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. Individual freedoms are subordinate to the state and there is no constitutional accountability under an authoritarian regime. Juan Linz’s influential 1964 description of authoritarianism characterized authoritarian political systems by four qualities:

– limited political pluralism; that is, such regimes place constraints on political institutions and groups like legislatures, political parties and interest groups;

– a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat “easily recognizable societal problems” such as underdevelopment or insurgency;

– minimal social mobilization most often caused by constraints on the public such as suppression of political opponents and anti-regime activity;

– informally defined executive power with often vague and shifting powers.

Modern dictatorships use an authoritarian concept to form a government.



We can see the pattern now

Wait and say something genuinely terrifying on Friday.

Entire weekend is devoted to civic unrest.

Walk it back Sunday evening.

On Monday, there’s not as much for us to call our congressional representative about. The terrifying situation has been reduced, or mitigated, or it’s reconsidered. The administration backed down due to massive protest and civil disobedience.

During the week, it’s a Gish Gallop of frightening, terrible thing after thing. And we call, we email, we go through channels and tell our representative government *we do not want this*. And Friday afternoon hits, and everyone goes home, and BOOM.

Another fucking nightmare for the weekend.

Find. Your. Local. Organizers.

Find your local ACLU office and write their number on your arm in Sharpie.

Find the local groups, the Black Lives Matter, the immigration defense team, the Planned Parenthood, your neighborhood council, FIND THEM.

They are the people who already know how to throw together a protest on no notice. They have plans. They have lawyers. They know how many water bottles to bring.


Talk to them. Meet them. Volunteer with them.

You’re going to need them.

We’re all going to need them.

We must become them.

Join. Organize. Resist.



Unfollow at will, please

Soooooooo ….

So it seems that this new-found political activism on my part isn’t fading anytime soon.

Please, please — if you need to unfollow me, here, or on Twitter, or Tumblr, PLEASE do so. It doesn’t matter to me if we are friends, or family, or we’ve been following each other for ages. If you cannot handle daily political discourse, PLEASE unfollow.

Take care of yourself, first and foremost.

:solidarity fistbump:



For your awards consideration: Becky Allen and Bound By Blood and Sand

Full disclosure: Becky Allen is a friend of mine.

Becky Allen has been writing her whole life. Her first novel, Bound By Blood and Sand was published this past October. (From Delacourt Press!)

This makes BBB&S (a YA novel) eligible for the Andre Norton section of the Nebula Awards.

It also makes Becky eligible for the Campbell.

Becky is one of the people I make a point of seeing, of talking to, at any convention we’re both at. She is thoughtful, passionate, wry, and quick-witted, a great person to talk to on almost any topic. I value her opinions.

She is also dedicated, my goodness. BBB&S will NOT be her last novel, oh no. And her next one will be even better, because Becky learns from errors and strives to constantly improve.

Let me tell you something, about BBB&S. It is a YA novel that is thoughtful about how we humans screw up and go on. Think, for a moment, about being a young adult. It’s a never-ending stream of trying to do things, screwing it up, and not being able to hide in bed forever. We HAVE to go on. We have to go back to work, go back to class, see our friends, pick up our stuff from our ex’s place, go back to church — we can’t hide forever. And sometimes it seems impossible to go on.

Bound By Blood and Sand is a YA novel featuring young adults who are trying to go on. It is EXACTLY the book you want in your libraries, cover facing out, with “Andre Norton Award Winner” in plain view. You WANT to give this to schools, to teens. This is one of those books that helps map the uncharted waters of young adulthood. This novel truly deserves the attention the Norton would confer.

When you are nominating things this season, I urge you to read Bound By Blood and Sand. Give it, and Becky, your consideration this year. Nominate it, if you feel so moved.

I know I am.



What is non-violent resistance?

This is going to come up a lot. So let’s just take a quick look at what is covered under the term non-violent resistance.

At its most basic level, wikipedia describes non-violent resistance (or NVR) as:

“the practice of achieving goals such as social change through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, satyagraha, or other methods, without using violence.”

NVR is disobedient.

NVR is disruptive.

NVR is unsettling.

NVR is disturbing.


NVR will be inconvenient. It will disrupt traffic. It will keep you from getting to work on time. It will make you late. It will block your street or building or elevator.

NVR will cost you money. It will remove your preferred vendor of goods. It will increase your costs.

NVR will speak truth at all times in all things. NVR does not care about your guilt or your feelings or how hard you are working on your baggage. NVR will tell you what you don’t like to hear.

NVR will not get out of your way.

Non-violent resistance is blocking the entry to rallies of political theater. It is lowering banners while you are just trying to have a nice time. It is shouting in the streets while you are taking your kid to school. Non-violent resistance is standing, wrists out, waiting to be arrested. It is taking a knee to remind you of your bigotry. It is shouting down white supremacists.

“Non-violent” is not polite, quiet, meek, or passive. It roars. It shouts. It stands in the way of bigotry and hatred, and if you find that NVR is in your way? Check the path you are on.

NVR has made nations and freed peoples.

Don’t expect otherwise.



We ALL contribute

I am reading blog posts, tweets, Tumblr posts, Instagram posts, and y’all —

— y’all are amazing.

Don’t you DARE feel bad about what you personally are doing for the resistance. Don’t you dare be hard on yourself for your contributions. Don’t compare yourself to someone else to your detriment.

Marching alone will not save us. Phone banking alone will not save us. Donations alone will not save us. One-on-one conversations with strangers, friends, and family alone will not save us. Voting alone will not save us. Blogging alone will not save us. Town hall meetings alone will not save us.

There is no magic bullet, there is no prince’s kiss. We need the ENTIRE revolution for the revolution to succeed.

I see y’all out there, doing the hard work of this marathon resistance movement, and I tell you again:

You are valued. You are NEEDED.

Thank you.



Women’s March Minnesota, 2017

I took today off of work, and went to the Minnesota branch of the Women’s March. Many pics follow.

My trip to the Capitol Building began when my daughter called. Her bus was late for her circus classes, and could I help. I said I would swing by and pick her up, take her to her transfer spot. When I collected K she explained that two buses had gone past saying “drop-off only” and had not stopped. They had been FULL of pink-hatted protesters. As we drove to her second bus stop, every stop I passed had a crowd of people waiting to go downtown.

I ended up driving K all the way to circus. Public transit was just borked. Every Green Line train station I passed had hundreds of people waiting. Hundreds. All the bus stops were crowded. Everywhere in St. Paul, everywhere, there were groups of people with signs, wearing pink hats.

I did drive back to the Green Line station I meant to depart from.


(Photo of a train platform packed with people.)

I ended up taking a westbound train four stops further away and getting BACK on the train eastbound in order to squeeze in standing-room only. I was touching people kneecap to groin to shoulder. We were all apologizing to each other.


(Photo of me, holding a sign reading “A Woman’s Place Is In the Revolution,” while wearing a rainbow-flag cape.)

One woman and I commiserated on how we had to get out our old protest pins, which we’d thought we were done with. A young man in a Tom Baker scarf and I talked favorite Doctors. The last three stops before the capitol, no-one could get on any more.

We piled out at the capitol stop. Hundreds. Thousands. We trickled in towards the capitol grounds.


(Photo of the varied crowd, many in pink hats.)

The official march from St. Paul University was coming the other direction.


(Photo of the crowd stretching back into the blurry distance.)

The organizers kept exhorting everyone to bunch up more, as people were still trying to get onto the grounds from the march.


(Photo of the crowd with the Minnesota State Office Building in the background.)

I couldn’t hear the official proceedings very well. There was some music, and some speeches. I DID hear Illhan Omar speak, and she was fantastic. Mostly I wandered around and took pictures of people. I did receive permission for the following photos. All the photos of kids have permissions from the parent and the child.


(Photo of a young adult holding a yellow sign reading, “Dude, We All Think You’re Gross”.)


(Photo of a half-covered protest sign showing Princess Leia, with the text “A Woman’s Place Is In the Resistance.”)


(Photo of a woman with a sign saying “I am no longer accepting things I cannot change, I am changing things I cannot accept. Angela Davis.”


(I just wanted a pic of the dog.)


(Photo of two protesters, one carrying a sign that reads “Pussy Grabs Back”.)


(Photo of protesters walking by, one is carrying a sign reading “This is my body.”)


(Photo of a young child dressed as a tiger. She is holding a sign that says “Be Nice.”)

I asked the child if I could take her photo, and she said “of COURSE” as if that was OBVIOUS I mean, really, she’s UP on this WALL with a SIGN while dressed as a TIGER of COURSE I can take her photo I mean SHEESH. Her mother mouthed “thank you for asking” at me, and we gave each other a thumbs-up of parental solidarity.


(Photo of two protesters, one of whom is carrying a sign that says “Pence Sucks Too.”)


(Photo of two protesters, one of whom is carrying a Maltese dog.)

I wanted a photo of the dog, again.


(Photo of an older man and woman, one of whom is carrying a sign reading “Here for the Grandkids.”)

We chatted briefly. I said my mom was in Washington, they said their daughter was there.


(Photo of a woman holding a sign that says “Protests Are Patriotic.”)


(Photo of a woman holding a sign with over twenty different renditions of the We Can Do It art from WWII.)


(Photo of a statue of former Minnesota Governor Floyd Olsen, wearing a pink pussyhat.)

This is Floyd Olsen, the first Minnesota governor from the Farm-Labor party. He served from 1931-1936, and is considered one of Minnesota’s greatest leaders. He would most DEFINITELY be wearing a pussyhat.


(Photo of a young woman wearing a T-shirt that says “He’s Not My President” and holding a sign that says “I could be sleeping but you forced me to protest.”


(Photo of a woman laughing and holding a sign reading “I can’t believe we still have to protest this stuff!!”)


(Photo of a small child playing in a puddle as protesters walk around.)

There are so many families in these images. So many children. So many men. I saw a number of people of color. A group of Native Americans were smudging the march as they went. One of the speakers was a Latino immigration rights organizer. The Socialist party was out, tabling.

Young and old, all races, sexes, genders, and faiths.

Over 60,000 strong.

We shall overcome.