lagilman: coffee or die (Castiel)
 I am sick (a mild, mostly-just-annoying cold), and exhausted, and cranky about politic, work, and people in general, except where I'm cautiously hopeful.

Part of me wants to dig in and continue to fight, and part of me wants to slip quietly off the grid.

I've accepted, however that the only time I'm good at quietly slipping away is when leaving a party.  When it comes to life, I'm pretty much of the dig in and fight variety.

And so, we fight.

How to save the Affordable Care Act (again).  Because if we don't speak up, they will screw kill us in the name of corporate profits.

And if you care about the fate of non-salaried workers, call your congresscritter TODAY and speak out against the Working Families Flexibility Act (House: HR 1180; Senate: S 801).  They claim it will provide workers with families more flexible schedules, but what it really does is allow employers to avoid overtime pay, and undercut the ability of the DoL to investigate abuses, rolling back decades of essential labor regulation.  This may affect you, or your kid, or your cousin, or someone you never met but who is working their ass off to make ends meet, already, and doesn't deserve to have the deck stacked against them even MORE...



lagilman: (dissent)
(now-former) AG Sally Yates.  Remember the name. Fired for upholding her oath rather than obeying unlawful orders.  More courage in that woman than the entire GOP Senatorial roll call.

"I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."

Nowhere in that oath does it reference obedience to the president. The AG does not serve the president.  The AG serves the Constitution, and the people for whom it was written.



Sally Q Yates is an American hero.
lagilman: (dissent)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

- Emma Lazarus


We either lift our lamp, or we shutter it and admit that we live in darkness.

I choose light.

Someone on Friday tried to tell me "this is about terrorism."  That person had never been directly impacted by terrorism (I asked).  Me?  I was in lower Manhattan on 9/11.  I saw the second plane hit the side of the Tower, staring out my office window. I smelled the air and heard the sirens, and the terrible silence after.  I read the newspaper lists, and found names I knew among the dead. 

You react to terrorism one of two ways.  You embrace anger because it makes you feel less afraid, or you accept your fear and work through it.  The former feeds the engine of terrorism.  The latter starves it.

I will not feed that engine.  Not with myself, and not with my neighbors.





lagilman: coffee or die (Default)

This is a war. Some of us volunteered, some of us got drafted, and some of us got run over by the front. But we're all in it.

You just have to choose where you stand.

And today, before I go off to pour wine for folk, I'm writing a check to the ACLU, as promised: $2 for every hardcover and $1 for every trade paperback I signed this weekend at Mysterious Galaxy (and at Borderlands Books, just for the hell of it).

Because in this war, rangers and lawyers are our first line of defense.
lagilman: coffee or die (stop that)
The one thing I will say about the Hugo kerfuffle is that it's becoming glaringly obvious who in our field is an asshole without couth or manners, and who is a decent human being with social skills.

And that there are a sampling of both all along the political-opinion spectrum (although more of the really uncouth behavior documented seems to come from the far right, which is why they also come across as being the most scared).
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Saturday was...well, a basic Saturday. Went to the Greenmarket. Wrote some words. Wrote some more words. Hung out on the sofa with cats and a book someone else wrote. Generally counted and polished spoons, because Sunday....

Well, Sunday.  Sunday was the People's Climate March.  In NYC, in Amsterdam, in London, in Paris, in Istanbul, in Melbourne, in Bogota, in Rio, in Delhi...

In NYC, we were 310,000 strong, according to the official count. [I just saw an updated count of 400K!] Six hours and about six miles, start to finish, and they had to cut the march short by a mile, because otherwise we'd still be marching, there were THAT many people filling the streets.

I marched with the faith-based group section, joining my sister and her fellow Buddhists -and a lot of Jews, Quakers, Pagans, UUers, Episcopalians, Baha'i-ers, and other groups who weren't actually cheek-and-jowl with us.  And there were drummers and bell-ringers, and at least one saxophone and two flutes, and maracas, and a lot of dancing...

And now, having refilled myself with water and protein and not-low-fat carbs, Imma gonna collapse until Monday knocks on the door.
Photos of our corner of the march behind the jump )


If you couldn’t take part in one of the People’s Climate Marches today, but want your voice to be heard…speak up now.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
EtA:  Thankfully, Jan Brewer's mind was able to understand that if she signed this, a) her state would hemorrhage taxable income/tourist money and b) the state would be spending a LOT of money fighting lawsuits, and c) the Feds would be raising an eyebrow over the constitutionality of it [more lawsuits] and the probability that the state might have bigoted themselves out of Federal funds....  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26363704


The Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines released a statement today sharply criticizing efforts by some states to pass legislation allowing businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians.

"As a global values-based company, Delta Air Lines is proud of the diversity of its customers and employees, and is deeply concerned about proposed measures in several states, including Georgia and Arizona, that would allow businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals," said Delta's press release. "If passed into law, these proposals would cause significant harm to many people and will result in job losses. They would also violate Delta's core values of mutual respect and dignity shared by our 80,000 employees worldwide and the 165 million customers we serve every year. Delta strongly opposes these measures and we join the business community in urging state officials to reject these proposals."


the money shot, as it were:

Delta is a major job creator in the Atlanta area, where the company has its headquarters and hub at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Not a threat...exactly.  But they've indicated that they hold a very large bat and may not be afraid to use it.  Now, an airline isn’t going to pack up and move their hub overnight… but a corporate HQ? That can shift pretty fast. And take a lot of tax revenue with it.

Mind, I still think Delta’s a crap-performing airline. But my hat’s off to them, this morning.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
As a pre-teen (mid-1970’s), I read an SF story that had two characters, a man and a woman, in post-coital discussion. And one of the things that was mentioned in passing was the fact that, “back when,” it hadn’t been acceptable for people of the same gender to have sex. And good lord, how awful for those on single-gender missions!

It was, even at the time, a kind of heavy-handed social interjection, although not (if I recall correctly) out of character or out of place for the scene. But the point is, as a young child I came across a passing mention of homosexuality being socially acceptable. So I - casually, without drama - accepted it, too.

That’s how we shape the future. By showing it what it needs to look like.

Not every representation will be note-perfect. Not every representation will be all-inclusive. And no matter how well it's done, there will still be negative comments. This is true about every creative endeavor. But the fact that it's important means we should expect and do more, not less.

From everyone.
lagilman: coffee or die (truth to power)
Periodically someone tells me that we can trust the corporations, that oil companies don't want to destroy the environment, either. And by the way, things aren't as bad as environmentalists claim.

And they accuse me of being misguided when I tell them they're wrong.

Yeah. About that.

The Department of Justice announced late Thursday that Halliburton Energy Services has accepted criminal responsibility and will plead guilty to destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
lagilman: coffee or die (dandelion break)
We were planning to hit a few bookstores in Texas in October, to support FIXED (the new mystery) and SOUL OF FIRE (the second Portals book).

Now... I really don't know what to do. Part of me - a large part - doesn't want to do anything to support that state's tourism economy, and I sure as hell don't want to be anywhere women are so disrespected by the government.

And yet. And yet. Can I say that my boycott - that any boycott - is actually going to be useful? Sometimes, it can be. Sometimes, it isn't. I need to figure out which this was.

I suppose I could donate all my royalties from that leg of the tour to Planned Parenthood?
lagilman: coffee or die (stop that)
This past week, news broke in the SF community that there had been yet another complaint about sexual harassment lodged against a well-known editor. This editor had been censured previously, back in 2010, but it turned out that none of the complaints had been "officially" registered.

That has now changed. And the fact that previous complaints were swept under the table by HR (because nothing "officially" had been done) has ignited a new push to teach people HOW to file a complaint so that it WILL be heard.

Sadly, the news didn't surprise me - or, probably, anyone who has ever worked in a power imbalance industry (read: pretty much everywhere).  There will always be people who try to take advantage of that.  But it's far wider a problem, affecting those outside the author/editor corridor.  DAW author Kari Sperring has reprinted her essay from 2010, "What Safety Means to Me" about her experiences at conventions, and she's speaking for a lot of us.

And if you're still thinking "oh, but...."  then you need to read this:  "But He Didn't Know He Was Hijacking your Ship: On Conference Creeps", from Maria Dahvana Headley.

Every convention, ever since I was fourteen, there's been at least one guy who gets up in my personal space, gets handsy, thinking that he's being charming, or seductive, or just plain entitled to me.

I get less of the harassment than is described by others (although I still get more than should exist, period, like the individual who started telling everyone that we were a couple. That was...creepy as fuck). I've always assumed that this was because I started out professionally as an editor, which protected me somewhat - I was higher in the food chain than a twenty-something writer would normally be** and that has carried through to now.

Or maybe, like so many others, I've just excused it as "another offensive male who doesn't have a clue how to behave in society" and ignored it, because we're trained to be nice.

Screw nice.   I have a responsibility to the rest of my community, to not excuse it.  To not allow it.  If you're out in public, there are expectations as to your behavior.  Going forward, if someone behaves like a creeper, I'm calling them out as a creeper. Your physical existence entitles you to nothing other than your own existence.  Do not presume.***



*Although the one time someone tried to give me an unexpected, unasked-for, "friendly" back rub, I almost broke their nose, purely by reflex.
**I got a different kind of harassment, with a number of writers thinking that the way to a book contract was down my pants.  I got very cynical very early, because of that.
*** when in doubt, walk up to a woman and say "hi, my name is X, you look interesting, can I buy you a drink and talk to you for a while?"  That is how you flirt in the real world, not by laying hands or leering.  And the direct polite approach often works.  Really.


Originally published at Writer. Editor. Tired Person.
lagilman: coffee or die (truth to power)
Someone on Twitter was bitching about the "disruptions" from the gallery in the Texas Senate last night.

My response:

"When government forgets itself, it is the job of the people to remind them."


And that pretty much sums up my concept of activism, right there....
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
So there was a "Forward on Climate Change" march in Washington. You may or may not have seen coverage on the news (my folks caught some on ABC last night).

It was a march to call on President Obama to walk the walk, now that he's talked the talk, and DO something about the damage we're doing to our world, starting with an executive order to refuse the Keystone pipeline access to the US.

"We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science -- and act before it's too late." - President Barack Obama, 2013 State of the Union Address


IMG_20130217_122643
They had hoped for 20,000 people to show up, in sub-freezing temperatures. The conservative estimate on-site was 35,000 (with upward swings to 45,000). That's 4x the number of people who showed up for the first rally. I saw young kids with their parents, I saw people in wheelchairs, I saw folk well into their 70's and 80's.  I saw, slightly paraphrasing the words of one of the First Nation speakers, "red cousins and black cousins, yellow cousins and white cousins, here today as one family."

We heard from local and national activists, we heard from politicians and Wall Street investors who see no money in the "old way" of doing things but are urging investment in alternative energies as the smart money, and we heard incredibly moving speeches from those representatives of the First Nations in Canada, talking about the damage already done, both environmentally and legally.  We marched on the White House, sometimes chanting, sometimes singing (why can no-one ever remember the last verse of "This Land is Our Land?"), sometimes talking amongst ourselves, sharing stories and plans, hopes and fears.

And polar bears.
IMG_20130217_135722IMG_20130217_152448

There wasn't much media coverage - we weren't radicals, or dangerous, or particularly media-worthy, I guess.  Just a portion of the population who've looked around and thought "no.  this can't go on.  This cannot continue."  Because it's not about what we'll leave to our grandchildren any more, some thing in the distant near future.  It's today.  It's yesterday.

Once we've strip-mined and polluted the earth, killed off half the eco-system and turned the rest toxic...what then, humanity? Because for all that we explore space, hoping to find new life - and new homes - out there, there's nobody saying "oh sure, you shat in your own house, come live in ours now!"

I mean - would you?

IMG_20130217_145637
lagilman: coffee or die (truth to power)
http://www.lauraannegilman.net/why-i-wont-be-at-boskone-this-weekend/


Normally, a local convention is high on my “I’ll be there” list. But I’m missing Boskone this year because I will be in DC for the #ForwardonClimateControl march (blizzards permitting) on Sunday February 17th.

Everyone knows that if you want to change something, if you want to influence legislature or push a positive social change, it’s important to speak up, it’s important to sign petitions and call your congresscritters, and incredibly important to rouse the vote. But for sheer impact, there’s nothing quite like making some noise.

So, this weekend I’ll be gathering with thousands (tens of thousands) of people outside the White House to say “NOW!” with one loud (and media-visible) voice. NOW is the time for our government to (finally) take real action, to acknowledge what scientists worldwide have been telling us, and realize that the damage isn’t going to be in someone else’s back yard – it’s at our front door.

If you’re in the area, or feel strongly enough to get on a bus and join us… c’mon down!
lagilman: coffee or die (rose)
from email:

Before: The Roanoke Athletic Club in Virginia reportedly told Will Trinkle, Juan Granados and their 2-year-old son that they didn't qualify for a family membership because Will and Juan are gay, and therefore not a real family.

After: In just eight days, nearly 175,000 people signed a petition on Change.org supporting Will and Juan, and the Roanoke Athletic Club responded by issuing a new policy: Any family, gay or straight, married or unmarried, now qualifies for a household membership.

"I want to thank everyone who signed," says Mark Lynn Ferguson, the Roanoke native who started the petition supporting Will and Juan. "You hailed from all over -- Roanoke to Rome -- and you delivered a clear message that there is no room for this kind of discrimination in the world."

-----------

I was one of those people who signed the Change.org petition. Do I think that the Club saw the error of their ways, recanted, and will be open and accepting forevermore amen?

No.

But I do think that they care about how they are viewed by others, and the public scorn heaped on them certainly helped changed their behavior.

And once you change behavioral patterns, you can get change into the thinking patterns, too.

Change.org. It really is the little tool that can.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)


---------------------------------------------
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] jimhines at Steven Harper Piziks on Homelessness


Steven Harper Piziks (Twitter, LJ, Facebook)  is one of the first Michigan authors I remember meeting back when I started to take this writing thing more seriously. His most recent books are The Doomsday Vault [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] and The Impossible Cube [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. Steven’s oldest son recently became homeless. I can’t imagine what he and his family are going through right now. He talks here about his experiences, about how his son Sasha opened his eyes to the problem of homelessness, and the things Steven is doing to try to raise money and awareness for people like his son.

#

I’ve mentioned elsewhere (http://spiziks.livejournal.com/370953.html) that my son Sasha is homeless. The reasons are difficult and terrible, and the short version is that it’s the least worst of all choices.

Last winter he spent his days on the street and his nights in a series of church basements. I worried about him constantly. He got robbed at knife point once. Another time he got caught outside when the church closed its doors for the night and he had to spend a winter night outdoors. It isn’t something I ever envisioned for the little boy I adopted seven years ago from Ukraine.

After several months, Sasha managed to get a bed at the Delonis Shelter in downtown Ann Arbor. He’s working on his GED and trying to find a job. It isn’t easy, however, for a 19-year-old to find work without a high school diploma.

I do see him from time to time. It’s a surreal version of a dad visiting his son at college. I drive down to Ann Arbor, pick him up at a warped version of a dormitory, and take him to lunch somewhere. We talk, I ask him if he needs anything like shoes or a trip to the laundromat, I slip him $20, give him a hug, and drop him off at the dorm again. Except it isn’t a dorm, and he isn’t heading back inside to finish a paper for Monday class.

Sasha once gave me a tour of Ann Arbor from the homeless point of view. We were strolling around downtown, and this is how it went:

“He’s homeless,” Sasha said, pointing at a man in a polo shirt and baseball cap as we strolled past the bus station. “And so is he, and him.” This at two more men, both clean-shaven, in jeans and work shirts. They looked like two guys heading home after their morning shift.

“Later I have to go down to the dorms,” Sasha said in his accented English. “This is the good time of year for finding stuff. The University [of Michigan] students are all moving out, and they throw things away. A friend of mine found a laptop in the trash piles. Worked fine. You can get good furniture–desks, chairs. But we have nowhere to put them, so we leave them. And food! The students throw out all kinds of food everywhere. Cans and bottles and milk and peanut butter and Ramen noodles. All good, all to eat. Walk behind the dorms and you find anything you want. They waste everything, and we have nothing here. I don’t understand it.”

“She’s homeless,” he continued, and pointed at a teenaged girl in a hoodie with a purse. “She’s seventeen and she ran away from home. I don’t know why.” He nodded at a woman with stringy gray hair. She wore a brown sweater despite the warm spring day. Smoke trailed from her cigarette. “She’s forty and homeless and pregnant. Her boyfriend lived in a hotel until they kicked him out because he had no money for the rent.”

“I don’t take the food,” he said. “Not if it’s open. I don’t think it’s good. And I don’t climb into dumpsters. Not yet. I am embarrassed to be seen doing that.”

A man with silver-streaked curly brown hair half strutted, half strolled across the street. He wore a suit jacket and slacks.

“I call him Peter Pan,” Sasha said. “He acts like he can fly. I worry he will get hit by car.”

We passed a row of restaurants and cafes.

“Some places will give you food at the end of the day,” Sasha said. “But you have to be there right when they close. Pizza places throw everything out, but I do not want to get it from the garbage, so sometimes I ask the girls at closing time, and they give some to me.”

“If you have a Bridge Card [food stamps], you can buy sandwiches or hot coffee from the grocery store, but there is no place to keep extra food at the shelter. So you can’t buy groceries, only expensive sandwiches.”

We passed an older man and a woman with backpacks and grocery bags. Sasha waved at them, and they waved back.

“I know them. They are going to Camp Take Notice,” he said.

Camp Take Notice, Sasha explained, is a strip of state-owned woodland on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. In the last few months, it’s become a shanty town of tents and ramshackle shelters for people with nowhere else to go. Its name is unofficial. The government, however, is now forcing the people off the land and building a fence around the land to keep them out. I blogged about that at the link above.

“Everyone looks at you funny if you have nowhere to live,” Sasha finished. “Like you aren’t a real person. It is hard.”

Every town has a homeless scene. I’ve become adept at spotting it now. Like a magician, Sasha has made the unseen fully visible to me. The restaurant where people come for food. The dumpster where people go to scavenge. The building where they go to sleep. The teenager/woman/man heading down the sidewalk, trying to look like they have somewhere to go.

We can help. For the next year, I’m donating the royalties from my ebooks at Book View Café and Amazon to the Delonis Shelter. Every time you buy one, you’re making a donation. You can also donate to the shelter directly at their website. Equally good is to donate to your local organization or shelter for the homeless. Every dollar counts.

Together we can make the least worst a little better.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[LAG notes: I worked with Steven during my tenure at Roc, and we're both members of BookView Cafe. I remember when he and this then-wife brought Sasha and his little brother home...  If you can do something to make the world a little better, a little easier, even if it's only a dollar at a time, please do so.

Long-time readers of this blog will remember that food banks are my charity of choice - hunger can make it impossible to look forward, much less work towards any future.  So in solidarity with Steven - and Sasha - all my royalties from Practical Meerkat and Stories of the Cosa Nostradamus for the next 6 months will go to the Food Bank for NYC.  Or, you can donate directly to the food bank in your neighborhood, and make sure that a homeless child, teenager, or adult has the fuel needed to keep working their way up and out....]

lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] seachanges at Repost: Help Us Support Planned Parenthood
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] quietspaces at Repost: Help Us Support Planned Parenthood
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] theljstaff at Help Us Support Planned Parenthood


Join us in standing up for reproductive health and education. Planned Parenthood, the organization that delivers reproductive health care, sex education and information to millions of people worldwide, has come under fire in the U.S. lately, with many politicians on both state and federal level seeking to end funding (and in a few cases succeeding).

During the month of May, you can send a specially designed Planned Parenthood vgift to your friends to help support this cause. (And if you need someone to send it to, [livejournal.com profile] frank is always happy to receive gifts!) There are three variations ($1, $5 and $10) for you to choose from, but they'd all look good on your profile when your friends know that you stand by something so important.

                    

Thank you all for your help in our support for Planned Parenthood. This promotion ends June 1, 2012; LiveJournal is not affiliated with Parent Parenthood. For more information about Planned Parenthood, please visit: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/

-The LiveJournal Team

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lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Laura Anne Gilman

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