The Cali' Experience: A Moment of Levity

It's not often that I feel upbeat when I'm on a tear of shifts.  The last two months have been insanely busy at work.  When I took this picture I was on my way into a night shift after working 84 hours in the previous seven days and still had two more 2 hour night shifts to go.  But walking out of the Starbucks I had a brief moment of levity.  The temperature was in the mid-50s and the air was crisp.  The chill enters your nostrils and it opens your olfactory system and wakes up your senses.  At that moment I had a few realizations hit me at the same time.

  1. I've got a wonderful Wife and Daughter at home, in our amazing home.
  2. It's almost December and I am wearing a zip up sweater.
  3. I will only need to add a scarf, hat and gloves to this ensemble to make it through the winter.
  4. Everything is getting greener and more alive instead dying like they would be in the Midwest.
  5. I forget this from when I first moved here, but it smells like flowers everywhere.  You get acclimatized to it and you don't notice it after a while.  But the chill brought that back in all it's glory.
  6. All told, I am living a very good life!


Current Events: Harvey Milk Assassination Anniversary (Give Them Hope)

38 Years ago today, Harvey Milk the first openly gay person to be elected to public office was assassinated. RIP... the fight continues.

"Somewhere in Des Moines or San Antonio there is a young gay person who all of a sudden realizes that he or she is gay; knows that if their parents find out they will be tossed out of the house, their classmates will taunt the child, and the Anita Bryant's and John Briggs' are doing their part on TV. And that child has several options: staying in the closet, and suicide. And then one day that child might open the paper that says "Homosexual elected in San Francisco" and there are two new options: the option is to go to California, or stay in San Antonio and fight. Two days after I was elected I got a phone call and the voice was quite young. It was from Altoona, Pennsylvania. And the person said "Thanks". And you've got to elect gay people; so that thousands upon thousands like that child know that there is hope for a better world; there is hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us's; without hope the us's give up. I know that you can't live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope."

~Harvey Milk


Current Events: It's About To Go Down #NODAPL

TYT Reporter Jordan Chariton shared this earlier today:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a statement that they will be "closing" the area where they are currently protesting and that the protesters will need to relocate to a "free speech zone" away from where the DAPL construction crews are setting up to do their drilling. Anyone who watched Arrested Development may be familiar with the idea.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have now manifested life imitating art in the most disgusting way.

I can't see the water protectors voluntarily moving from their current location voluntarily and I believe that more violence will follow (see my previous post regarding this).  If you add to this the fact that there is a call for hundreds of Veterans to muster at the Standing Rock Reservation to peacefully protect the peaceful water protectors (say that 3 times fast).  And yes the coverage of this event is so bad that I have to insert a Fox news video into this post.

It is about to go down, I hope that people will use the numbers and scripts I shared yesterday to call the pertinent people and voice support for the water protectors and specifically when you call the White House and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to request that they do not relocate the protesters from their current location. I'll close with a 2013 clip of Matt Damon reading Howard Zinn on Civil Disobedience, I hope it will inspire you.

Music: Juanbook Picks From 1989 Billboard's Hot 100

  1. Milli Vanilli - Girl You Know It's True
  2. Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance
  3. Paula Abdul - Straight Up
  4. Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal
  5. Fine Young Cannibals - She Drives Me Crazy
  6. The B-52's - Love Shack
  7. Madonna - Like A Prayer
  8. Cher - If I Could Turn Back Time
  9. Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn
  10. Roxette - Listen To Your Heart
  11. Warrant - Heaven
  12. The Cure - Lovesong
  13. The End Of The Innocence
  14. Richard Marx - Right Here Waiting
  15. Chicago - Look Away
  16. Martika - Toy Soldiers
  17. White Lion - When the Children Cry
  18. Mike & The Mechanics - The living Years
  19. Guns N' Roses - Patience
  20. Bon Jovi - I'll Be There For You
  21. Close My Eyes Forever - Ozzy Osbourne & Lita Ford
  22. Skid Row - 18 And Life
  23. Alice Cooper - Poison
  24. DEF LEPPARD - Armageddon It
  25. When In Rome - The Promise


Current Events: Do Something for the #NODAPL Water Protectors Today

Today is Thanksgiving Day a now traditional American Holiday, but this year I can't bear to even think about enjoying it when there are members of the Sioux Nation and other Native American Tribes as well as non-Native Americans peacefully protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline that have been suffering a brutal backlash from the Oil Police (as they are becoming known) without doing something.  Even if it just a token.  I wrote about this a little in the past.

Lets start with some history here is some of the background on the DAPL and the protest surrounding it.

Next is a video by The Young Turks that I think does a good job of explaining the un-ceded territory and the stakeholders involved.

I believe that while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not granted Energy Transfer Partners (the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline) easements necessary to drill under the Missouri River (Lake Oahe), that the money they will lose in delays is much more than the fines they will impose if they go ahead and proceed with they work without the appropriate permits.  The drone footage of the site (below) appears to support that belief.

When you add to it the fact that recently the Oil Police have escalated their resistance peaceful water protectors and the fact that corporate media is largely ignoring the violence; this places the responsibility on us to do something about it.

When you add to all thit the fact that initially the route was planned to run 10 miles morth of Bismarck but was moved because in the height of irony it was determined to be a threat to the city's water supply!

So I found a link that listed 8 ways to help the water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation that spurred me to make some phone calls on behalf of the #NODAPL protesters, the only person I go to was a switchboard operator at the White House and a Voicemail box at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so i did follow that up with sending emails to all of the same people, it was the least I could do today..

If you would like to do the same and I hope that you will.  Fere are the contact numbers and scripts I made up for myself.

Government Entities

White House (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414 Contact Form

Hi there my name is _______________ I am a resident of ________________ and I am calling this Thanksgiving Day to ask that President Obama issue an executive order to stop all progress on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and end the atrocities being committed against the peaceful protesters at DAPL constructions sites.  Thank you for your time.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at (202) 761-0011 Contact Form

Hi there my name is _______________ I am a resident of ________________  and I am calling this Thanksgiving Day to ask that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers do not grant access or easements for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and prevent this pipeline from crossing the Missouri River (Lake Oahe), furthermore I would like to voice my belief that it is the intent of the pipeline constructors to proceed with drilling and construction of the crossing with or without permission and absorbing the costs of the fines incurred.  To what extent you can prevent this from happening I would like to request that you do so.  Thank you for your time.

North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at (701) 328-2200 Contact Form

Hi there my name is _______________ I am a resident of ________________  and I am calling this Thanksgiving Day to ask that the Gov. Jack Dalrymple issue an order to stop all progress on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and end the atrocities being committed against the peaceful protesters at DAPL constructions sites. Furthermore I would like to voice my belief that it is the intent of the pipeline constructors to proceed with drilling and construction of the Missouri River (Lake Oahe) crossing with or without permission and absorbing the costs of the fines incurred.  To what extent you can prevent this from happening I would like to request that you do so.

Energy Transfer Partners

Executive Vice President Lee Hanse (210) 403-6455 Email Executive Vice President Lee Hanse
Vice President Glenn Emery (210) 403-6762 Email Vice President Glenn Emery
Lead Analyst Michael (Cliff) Waters at (713) 989-2404 Email Lead Analyst Michael (Cliff) Waters

Hi there my name is _______________ I am a resident of ________________  and I am calling this Thanksgiving Day to ask that Energy Transfer Partners stop all progress on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and stop the atrocities being committed against the peaceful protesters being perpetrated in your name at DAPL constructions sites. Furthermore I would like to voice my belief that it is your intent to proceed with drilling and construction of the Missouri River (Lake Oahe) crossing with or without permission, absorbing the costs of the fines incurred.  While this may make fiscal sense to you as a corporate entity, as an American Citizen who the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works at the behest of I would like to re-iterate that any such construction without proper legal permission will not be forgotten and the American Citizens will pressure our Government to prosecute your company to the fullest extent. 

I just want to leave yo with one last note even though we celebrate this day it is important to realize that to to the Native Americans the story does not end with "happily ever after."  Please read the story of this day from the their side and note that it is slightly different.

"Turner said what most people do not know about the first Thanksgiving is that the Wampanoag and Pilgrims did not sit down for a big turkey dinner and it was not an event that the Wampanoag knew about or were invited to in advance. In September/October 1621, the Pilgrims had just harvested their first crops, and they had a good yield. They “sent four men on fowling,” which comes from the one paragraph account by Pilgrim Edward Winslow, one of only two historical sources of this famous harvest feast. Winslow also stated, “we exercised our arms.” “Most historians believe what happened was Massasoit got word that there was a tremendous amount of gun fire coming from the Pilgrim village,” Turner said. “So he thought they were being attacked and he was going to bear aid.”

When the Wampanoag showed up, they were invited to join the Pilgrims in their feast, but there was not enough food to feed the chief and his 90 warriors. “He [Massasoit] sends his men out, and they bring back five deer, which they present to the chief of the English town [William Bradford]. So, there is this whole ceremonial gift-giving, as well. When you give it as a gift, it is more than just food,” said Kathleen Wall, a Colonial Foodways Culinarian at Plimoth Plantation.

The harvest feast lasted for three days. What did they eat? Venison, of course, and Wall said, “Not just a lovely roasted joint of venison, but all the parts of the deer were on the table in who knows how many sorts of ways.” Was there turkey? “Fowl” is mentioned in Winslow’s account, which puts turkey on Wall’s list of possibilities. She also said there probably would have been a variety of seafood and water fowl along with maize bread, pumpkin and other squashes. “It was nothing at all like a modern Thanksgiving,” she said.

While today Thanksgiving is one of our nation’s favorite holidays, it has a far different meaning for many Wampanoag, who now number between 4,000 and 5,000. Turner said, “For the most part, Thanksgiving itself is a day of mourning for Native people, not just Wampanoag people.”"

Read more at:  The Wampanoag Side of the First Thanksgiving Story

System Ops: Geisha Williams to be the First Female CEO at PG&E

While we may have to wait a little longer for a Woman to be President of the United States. I can take heart in the fact that the company I work for made an unprecedented move on November 14th and named Geisha Williams, a 55-year-old Cuban immigrant, as the first female, Hispanic CEO of a company PG&E’s size (23,000 employees). Williams then told employees at the announcement her personal story of immigrating to the United States from Cuba when she was 5, speaking no English. Now she will become the first woman CEO of PG&E, one of less than two dozen female Fortune 500 CEOs and believed to be the country’s first-ever Latina CEO of a Fortune 200 company.

“I have to tell you I could never in a million years have imagined this,” she said. “Can you imagine my 5-year-old self, thinking that someday she could be a CEO? And not just any CEO but the CEO of this magnificent company — PG&E, oh my gosh — this amazingly, forward-thinking, progressive and influential company.”

She described herself as being “incredibly honored, incredibly moved” to become the new CEO.

Geisha then outlined her priorities during what she said will be some of the most exciting times in the energy industry’s history. She spoke of PG&E’s leadership on safety, reliability, affordability and clean energy.

Geisha spoke of continuing to improve safety and modernizing our energy infrastructure. She emphasized PG&E’s push toward continuous improvement, both in operations and in processes. And she added that PG&E must do what it takes to be competitive in a changing business landscape.

After remarks from company leaders, employees asked a number of questions. Among them was a question on the impact of the recent presidential election.

Said Geisha: “I think it just underscores the importance of California and the importance of the work we do here, particularly on our clean energy policies. … There’s no question that there’s going to be a lot of unanswered questions and some consternation. But here, in California, I think we continue. We continue to lead, we continue to do the work we know matters and we continue to provide a great service to our customers. And hopefully we continue to provide an example for the rest of the country.”


Overheard At Starbucks: I Weep For The Future

Can't exactly remember the request but hearing this tween order her: Iced, Half Caff, Ristretto, Venti, 4-Pump, Sugar Free, Cinnamon, Dolce Soy Skinny Latte made me weep for the future a little bit.

AT (After Trump): Don't Sleep on the Alt-right

People like this are becoming emboldened because of Trump and his presidential campaign, we as a society need to put a stop to the normalization of these views.

While I believe that these people are nigh a percent of our overall population. I do believe that it is up to all of us to speak up and oppose these extreme points of view. If you hear someone saying dog-whistle... heck at this point gym teacher-whistle racist remarks you need to call them out on it in public. This is America this shit does not fly here. These people are trying to put a slick new alt-right tuxedo on the same old hate and sneak it into the collective consciousness of our via a news-media that is asleep at the wheel (once again).

15 days ago you could trust that someone would see this and the appropriate entities would be notified they would tag the prominent people in the movement for observation and make sure nothing became of it. Now you have to worry about our new president appointing them to his cabinet.

It needs to be made clear in no uncertain terms that:
Alt-right = white supremacism
Alt-right = Islamophobia
Alt-right = antifeminism
Alt-right = homophobia
Alt-right = antisemitism
Alt-right = Neo-Nazism
The main-stream media is not going to do this job it is up to us.


AT (After Trump): Ask Why

Another simple thing that I intend to try and do when faced with someone who has regressive views and beliefs is simply ask, "why?"

Since the failed recall effort in WI I have basically written off all extreme right leaning people and segregated myself from them. This lack of dialogue I think is not a good strategy and may be one of the reasons there is such a divide in the country.

I don't intend to offer arguments, pass judgement or belittle. When I hear someone say something racist, hateful, sexist or regressive in some other sort of way. I'm simply going to ask them, "Why" as many times as possible. It will help me understand the person more and maybe make them take a moment to reflect on some of these beliefs that they hold which I have a sneaking suspicion that many who hold such beliefs have never actually done before.

AT (After Trump) To-Do List 1. End Corporate Personhood

A lot of people, myself included are in a what can we do phase after the election. One thing that I have been talking about for a long time and is definitely in most peoples consciousness at this point is getting money out of politics. I was looking for a video of Thom Hartmann -a progressive radio personality I am familiar with who has been talking about this for years and has a lot of historical knowledge on the matter- talking about corporate person-hood. I just watched this for the first time just now and I think it does a good job of explaining the evolution of the idea of corporate person-hood. 

Juan, why would I want to watch and hour-long video from around Barack Obama's first term? Because it lays out the basis for the justification used to allow corporations to buy our elections and politicians. It explains how that justification is based not on a supreme court ruling but on a clerks note. And if we are ever going to have a free and fair election process we need to end this idea that corporations are people. The more you know about this the more you can spread the word and take back our Democracy,

I believe that the best solution is to the problem of corporate person-hood is to bypass the Supreme Court, and congress and amend the constitution with a Free and Fair Elections Amendment that will preserve our democracy for future generations ending corporate person-hood.  The Organization that I believe will accomplish this is Wolf-PAC.  So far they have 5 states that have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention with 7 other states in process with a 2/3 majority to make an official call for a convention.

Wolf-PAC was started my my favorite person in news: The Young Turks founder/host Cenk Uygur.  While the show leans left/progressive, Wolf-PAC is non-partisan as real people on both the left and right stand to profit when we get corporate money out of elections.

Also of interest that I didn't know, at least one of the founding fathers (Thomas Jefferson) never intended for the Supreme court to be the end-all be-all for law in the land.

Music: Goodnight Leonard

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.
We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.
A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief."

~Leonard Cohen's Facebook Page

AT (After Trump): Don't Move to Canada

Progressive friends, you don't have to move to Canada, just come on over to California!  I'd like to share a post from Facebook co-written by California State Senator Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Speaker Anthony Rendon.

"Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California.

We have never been more proud to be Californians.

By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.

The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.

California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.

California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.
We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal.

While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.

California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future."

AT (After Trump): Aaron Sorkin's Letter (Vanity Fair)

Read the Letter Aaron Sorkin Wrote His Daughter After Donald Trump Was Elected President

"And it wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night—it was his supporters too. The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life (or are the reason for their way of life) have been given cause to celebrate. Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic shitheads everywhere. Hate was given hope."

~Aaron Sorkin


AT (After Trump): A Reality Check on Obama After the Election

I was/am an Obama supporter but there have been a good number of things that he has done that have not sat well with me.  This post-election commentary by Jordan Chariton, one of the best reporters working today makes some good points about Obama and his apathy.  The points he make are meant to quell the fears about the uncertainty about Trump and while they are outstanding points they are pretty depressing.

"If you think that a President is going to be the one to save your community, think again.  Paul Revere ain't comin' for you, African Americans or Latinos.  We're the ones -the general public- who are gonna stop the police brutality, we're the ones who are gonna stop pipelines.  Not Obama.  Yeah they're the ones who might actually pull the trigger, figuratively speaking and stop it.  Only after we light a fucking fire under their ass.  That's how change happens in this country."

~Jordan Chariton