Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Not Obama. Us.

The president said yesterday that former President Obama was behind the leaks that have been coming out of the president's own administration and that former President Obama is behind the protests happening at Republican town hall meetings around the country.

Impeachment just cannot come fast enough.

Concerned Americans working in the current president's administration are no doubt responsible for the leaks.

We, the American people, are responsible for our participation in trying to get our Congressional Representatives to actually represent us.  We, the people.  That is what democracy is about and the Republicans need to stop complaining about it if they are true Americans.

Monday, February 27, 2017

SDG Mondays: Sustaining the Land

SDG Mondays is back after a long hiatus!  This edition focuses on the 15th of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.

This goal has 12 associated targets:

What do you think about Goal 15 and its associated targets? What can we do to meet those targets?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Protect Our Free And Independent Press

The most important protection that democracy has is a free and independent press.  In America, the corporate take-over of so many media outlets by so few large corporations has endangered this already to some extent, but our free and independent press has never been threatened the way it is being threatened now by the current president's efforts to discredit and exclude any members of the press who report negatively on his work.  The only places where this kind of thing happens are fascist regimes.  The Only Places Where This Kind Of Thing Happens Are Fascist Regimes.

We have often patted ourselves on the backs as Americans when we see this sort of behavior in Russia and China, because our press is free, not controlled by the government.  Now our government is trying to suppress the press just like these fascist regimes suppress theirs.

It cannot be allowed to happen.

Please let the president and your representatives in Congress know that we will not allow our press to be suppressed in this manner.

Action Alert: The Hotel on The Corner of Bitter And Sweet and The High School Full of Horrible

I just read a blog post by Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on The Corner of Bitter And Sweet, a novel dealing with issues surrounding the horrible internment of Japanese Americans.  He was writing in the post about his visit to Highland Park High School in Dallas, which I can tell you from living in Dallas for ten years as a child, is in a separate school district from Dallas Independent School District, set up by an extremely wealthy segment of the city. 

Apparently, the students attending his presentation trolled him by cheering and clapping at inappropriate times so he could not be heard.  Then, after he spoke about the internment of Japanese Americans, the students cheered and clapped about that internment.

The principal did not stop this behavior.

I am going to be giving Highland Park High School's principal a call about this next week, Mamas, and letting him know that I think letting his students get away with that behavior was not okay.  His name is Walter Kelly and he should be able to be reached at school at 214-780-3708.  Feel free to call him with me.  We don't need schools allowing kids to act like that in our Texas.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Global Warming Valentines

Even though it has been very pleasant thus far, I am starting to get really worried about how warm February has been.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Corpus Christi's Little Tea Party

Corpus Christi City Manager Margie Rose was at the local Tea Party meeting last night where Blake Farenthold mocked all of his non-Tea Party constituents and explained his plans to destroy our health insurance.  Why would she legitimize a group like that with her presence?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Farenthold Thinks Tea-Partiers Are His Only Constituents

Farenthold has been in town some this week, but not available to meet with his constituents in his Congressional Office.  Local faith leaders tried to organize a visit to speak to him about immigration policies.  They called his office almost every weekday for two months to try to set up a meeting, at any time that he could meet during the recess at all. They were finally told that he would not have time to meet with them and they would have to speak to his District Director, which they did, on Monday.

Guess what he did have time for, though?  Tonight he stopped by the local Tea Party meeting to tell his precious little deplorables that all of the constituents who have been trying so hard to reach him about immigration issues and their need to maintain health insurance are just a small vocal minority who he does not have to listen to because they don't matter.

He spent a great deal of time at the meeting discussing his plans to destroy the ACA, especially the parts for the poorest Americans.

He straight up mocked his constituents who have been calling him saying that their daughters (I sort of feel like he was talking about me because I have been calling about this, but I know that terrified mothers like myself are legion) will be dying on the street without the ACA.  

He wanted to know where these dying people were eight years ago.  

What a fortunate fellow to have not known sick people who died for lack of healthcare.  

Of course, they did.  We all know people who did.  The Nueces County Medical Society has some numbers if he wants them, but he knows that.  

He just thinks the danger our children are in is some kind of joke.

Happy World Thinking Day!

Today we, of the Girl Scout movement, spend time remembering that we are sisters with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world.  We are all in this together, sisters hand in hand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: #BlackLivesMatter

Today's focus in the Subversive Children's Book Club is #BlackLivesMatter - wherein we feature children's literature full of  strong African American characters, who are far too often under-represented in children's literature. I like these books:  

For Young Readers/Listeners:

  • Sister Anne’s Hands by Marybeth Lorbiecki
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  • More More More, Said The Baby by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Cains

For Middle Grade Readers: 

  • Junebug by Alice Mead  
  • One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
  • Double Dutch by Sharon Draper 
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

For More Mature Teen Readers:

  • Al la Carte  by Tanita Davis
  • Tyrell by Coe Booth
  •  Like Sisters on The Homefront by Rita Williams Garcia
  • This Side of Home by Renee Watson
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Hoopster, Hip Hop High School and Homeboyz (a series) by  Alan Lawrence Sitomer
  • Fast Talk On A Slow Track by Rita Williams Garcia.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Never Again

Today marks 75 years since the Executive Order that caused the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Never again, people.  We cannot let it happen again.  No matter who the president is and no matter what kind of executive orders he wants to sign, America cannot be locking people up because of their religion or ethnicity or nationality.

Speak out.  Stand up.


In the car today, my little one and I were cracking up about what Americans would think if people in other countries made up random massacres about us the way 45's administration makes them up about other countries:

We in Belgium grieve for your children.  That is why the chupacabra attacks in Arizona must be stopped...

Brazil is deeply saddened by news of Yetis terrorizing the streets of New York yesterday...

#Nevertheless She Persisted

Just like Senator Warren, we have been warned and it has been explained to us.  And we will doubtless face punishment for using our voices.

We have to persist, though.  The U.S. Senate thinks they can shut up the women who manage to break into their club, the Texas Lege goes all domestic violence breaking tables trying to shut women up...we just can't stand for this.  We can't be silenced anymore.  We must persist.

Get ready to make tomorrow's calls, Mamas.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ICE Raids

Be careful out there.  You have a right to legal representation.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Sex Education Valentines

In honor of Valentine's Day, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club will be the annual Valentine's Week Installment on Sex Education.  

The rates of sexually transmitted infections among young adults make it abundantly clear that American parents are seriously falling down on the job when it comes to sex education.  Also, we live in Texas, where schools are required to teach the highly ineffective "abstinence-based" version of sex education, so there is no one to take up the slack when parents flake out on this.  

My kid's middle school fed the girls a horrifically shame-y curriculum called Heritage Keepers this year which taught them absolutely nothing about contraception and disease prevention except, you know, no. 

Not good enough.

Knowledge is power, Mamas.  Don't leave your kids with helplessness instead.  

Useful, basic classics:

  • It’s So Amazing:  A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families by Robie H. Harris
  • It’s Perfectly Normal:  Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris
  • The Period Book: Everything You Don’t Want to Ask  (But Need to Know) by Karen Gravelle
  • What’s Going On Down There? Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask  by Karen Gravelle
  • The Care And Keeping of You:  The Body Book for Girls by Valorie Schaefer.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I married my husband twenty-two years ago today right next to (it was locked and we could not get inside) the underground part of the Student Union Building that had formerly been called the Rock Bottom Lounge -  where we first met at the University of North Texas in Denton. We had met there during college when I was making the rounds to talk to student organizations about the dangers of bigotry towards Muslims, and on making sure we did not end up with Muslim internment camps, during the first Gulf War (the more things change and all).  He was the head of a student organization that did literature in performance that let me come speak and he adjusted the microphone for me (I'm really short) and then teased me for the rest of my life for not remembering him very well from that first meeting.  Though I still have the clothes I wore at it crumpled up in the back of my closet even though they have not fit me for decades.

We are not a perfect match.  We are not either of us easy-going or mild mannered.  We are complicated.  We push each other in ways good and bad. We love each other but are not all that talented at either romance or contentment.  

We are partners, though. Usually we are partners in the struggle - trying to make the world a better place and to help the vulnerable - though he will sulk for a season when things get bad after an election the way they are now before picking up the struggle again. We are partners in coping with the hardships life has thrown at our family.  Partners in raising two daughters who are so amazing that our partnership must be considered one of the most successful of all time - I mean, have you met them?

What we have is family - the love of it, the work of it.  I am happy to give all of my decades to that endeavor.  I am glad he is in it with me.

Happy Anniversary, Lone Star Pa.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Valentine Aunt

I mailed valentine books out to my nieces and nephews today.  One great aunt failing I have realized too late is that I have not kept a record of which books I have sent to which sobrino/a.  So now I always worry that I am sending something I may have already sent.  It is kind of too late to fix, though.

Vengeful ICE?

There were multiple reports of very targeted ICE raids in the Austin area this week.  It is hard not to wonder if they were payback for the Travis County Sheriff standing up for immigrants.  It is frightening to think what will happen next - it is already so bad for so many people.


Cornyn has also been complaining about how much his constituents have been calling him.  He thinks it is an Establishment Plot.  Henry, at his San Antonio office, says there have been Robo Calls...he thinks...he thinks they sort of sounded like that.  At any rate they got so gosh darn many calls asking him not to confirm Betsy DeVos as education secretary that no one could get through to tell him what a splendid guy he is.  

But it is us, the mothers of Texas, who were calling him.

And he confirmed her anyway.

And he does not want to hear from us.

So we are going to have to fire him.

Thursday, February 09, 2017


Cornyn's San Antonio staffer has gone from monosyllabic I-am-barely-listening-to your-concerns communication to long-winded mansplaining of Cornyn's positions.  That is probably a good thing.  Keep calling, Mamas.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Cutting All The Women Open Is Not A Good Thing

And as for our other disgraceful Senator, a high c-section rate is not a sign of a superior health care system, Ted.  C-sections are for terrible emergencies and you should not have a lot of those during natural processes.


Not in a long, long time, Senator Cornyn and likely never again.  You, Sir, should be chastened and you should watch your disrespectful mouth.

Don't. Mess.With. Texas. Women. We will un-elect you fast and no one will make you tacos ever again.  You will find yourself so unloved that you will have to move to places where Snow Falls From The Sky.  And people eat "Cheese Dip" with no chiles in it.

And, yes, we are granting Senator Warren honorary Texas Woman status because we would much rather have her for our Senator than you.  She can have tacos.  Queso.  But none for you, Senator Cornyn.  None for you.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Black History Month 2017

In honor of Black History Month, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about important events and people in African-American history.  Some are non-fiction and some are historical fiction about true historical events and movements, but not necessarily real characters.  Enjoy.

Primary and Lower Elementary
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • Sugar Hill:  Harlem's Historic Neighborhood by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • The Case For Loving by Selina Alko
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson  
 Upper Elementary
  • The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine 
  • Moses:  When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Fires of Jubilee by Alison Hart 
  • Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester 
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • My Mother The Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow
  • Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals.

The President of the United States Threatened My State Senator

South Texas is just not having that.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Cornyn Ignores Constituents to Support DeVos

So apparently Cornyn neither cares about public education nor about what Texans want.  Please give him a call, Texas Mamas, and let him know what the results of that choice will be. 

Oozing Bright

I know the rodent saw its shadow and I see
The winter curls of branches, dried twinings of vines but I
Can feel the stirrings of sap
In my veins today
See doodle bugs, those beetle-y harbingers of springtime
All over the sidewalks, rushing around in the warmwind

Buenos Dias

Buenos Dias, Mamas.

I have been away from the blog for some time again, just with so much else to do.  I have been making my phone calls and writing my letters, though.  We can't stop, every day we must do something.

So much has happened... from the park rangers going rogue and rising up to lead the resistance with hero attorneys and, more surprises, Teen Vogue (seriously - have you seen the stuff they are publishing?) on the good side...to so, so much tragedy and hate on the bad. 

I work hard to keep love and hope in my heart.  You can't really survive as a Mama without hope, you can't possibly give up because no stakes are higher than what you risk when you allow yourself to become a mother to someone you might lose.  So many mothers have always faced that loss, that fear, with fierce hope and courage and now the fingers of that fear reach out to more of us, to many of us who used to have the privilege not to be so afraid every moment.  That privilege can always be taken away, though.  We must always know that when anyone has to fear such loss, we all do.

And we should care.  Regardless.  We should be tender enough of the hearts of other mothers everywhere to always care and work hard for each other.

Make it a daily discipline, Mamas, for all of us.  Call.  Write.  March.  Do what you can - at least one thing each day.  Rest, too.  Stay connected to sunshine and salt air and growing vegetables.  The struggle is long, not something you can ever have the luxury of believing that you can finish again, because it is always with us and we must always do the work.  Build a life with community so that you can keep resisting the darkness, every day.  I am part of that community for you , I hope, and I hope you are part of it for me.

Lone Star Ma