My friends and I watched the 2018 Midterm Election results last night, with some disappointment. By 1:00am, everyone had gone home. I went outside, and listened to an audio book on my tablet while playing ‘Fishdom’ — but actually ruminated — until 6:00am.
I live in Florida.
So Close, Yet so Far
Progressive Andrew Gillum missed becoming Governor by one percentage point. The Governor Elect is a racist and hate-monger. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson lost his seat to infamous Medicaid fraud CEO, Rick Scott, current Governor of Florida, by one percentage point.
I live in Florida. I am heart-sick.
I figure Hillary Clinton may have cost Andrew and Bill a precious point or two. It was shocking to learn, just after influential progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders had endorsed and campaigned for Andrew Gillum, that Hillary Clinton was scheduled to do the same. Why??? I gave Gillum my vote, despite the weirdness, but had feared he would lose support. Who can say?
If Hillary didn’t handicap voter turnout, maybe election fraud is the culprit. Extremely close races; hackable voting machines; a little American interference. Who knows?
Mentally & Morally Challenged
I live in Florida. Half the population is mentally and morally challenged.
Think I’m exaggerating? An example (other than mass-shootings)…
The last time I attended church was Pentecost Sunday, which celebrates The Holy Spirit. The pastor enhances his sermons with projection slides. An image of the beautiful, blazing, life-giving, purifying Sun was anticipated — as time-honored metaphor of The Holy Spirit. But not this year. Rather, the congregation was treated to a snapshot of a… power plant… with vaporous clouds billowing from the smokestacks.
It was a “first” in my personal experience; seeing a man of God avail himself of something man-made and polluting — no, poisonous — to illustrate the power of The Holy Spirit. Abominable. (Not to mention, a clumsy artifice.)
When did the United Methodist Church become a member of the Far-Right Christian conglomerate? It didn’t. But never-the-less…
Congress hangs in the balance — everyone will be watching election results on November 6th! Progressives have an opportunity to join independent news outlets Democracy Now! or The Young Turks to follow live election results online. There will be no mind-bending. Neither of these networks will pretend we are not in the midst of a Progressive Blue Wave!
Over 370 Progressive candidates throughout the United States won their primaries, and are running in the 2018 Midterm Election. Most of them are Democrats. When you add the Greens and Independents, there are nearly 500 Progressives up for the vote next Tuesday. All of them take a strong stand on one or both of the following priorities:
Big Money out of politics
Medicare for All (single payer)
In addition, there are multitudinous Democratic candidates whose campaign websites don’t clearly spell out a stance on “Money in Politics” or “Single Payer Healthcare” — but do boldly proclaim other Progressive values, such as a $15 minimum wage, or climate action, or free college tuition. They didn’t meet the criteria for my list, but they’re certainly leaning Left.
There are tons of Progressive and Left-Leaning Democrats in the race.
Bernie Sander’s efforts to pull the Democratic Party to the Left are working. While you don’t see evidence of that in the current party leadership, which hasn’t changed much, you see evidence in the hundreds of Progressive candidates running in 2018, many of whom refuse corporate PAC contributions.
Embrace the Progressive Blue Wave, vote, and elect a Progressive Congress in 2018.
Then hang on for 2020. It will be the Progressive Blue Tsunami. There will be thousands of Progressive candidates running for office in 2020.
A Saturday morning treat for Progressives: Richard Ojeda (D-WV).
After serving 24 years in the U.S. Army, this man was shocked to return home and find the greatest nation on earth riddled with homelessness and opiates. So Ojeda “signed up” for politics. In the mood for public service mixed with courage? Ojeda is the political warrior for you.
We’ve got people that call themselves leaders, that can’t spell it. They think “leader” means you’re standing on top of a mountain looking down at everybody and they’re supposed to do everything to make you better. Where I come from the leader is down there with the people trying to elevate them. Where I come from, you don’t eat until your troops are fed. I’m a paratrooper. The first person out that aircraft is the leader.
~ Richard Ojeda
TYT Politics Contributor Ryan Grim spoke with Democratic congressional candidate Richard Ojeda about medical cannabis, the West Virginia teacher’s strike, and how Ojeda’s 24 years of military service inspired him to run for West Virginia Senate and now for U.S. Congress.
Is there a novel in you? Pull it out, word by word, 50 thousand of them, this November.
November is National Novel Writing Month, aka Noveling Month, and most fondly known as NaNoWriMo. You will never find this much motivation again… until next year. NaNoWriMo has been inspiring writers to spit out their novels since 1999. https://twitter.com/NaNoWriMo/status/1037358516971831296 NaNoWriMo specifically motivates you to complete the first draft of your novel. Just get it out! You may edit your masterpiece once NaNoWriMo concludes.
Prepare Writing Strategy
During the month proceeding your NaNoWriMo project, you should plan a writing strategy. Consider the following tips:
Create an outline for your novel
Develop characters, in your head and on paper
Diagram your novel’s twisty plot
Do background research
Tell people you will be laying low in November, and ask for their support (i.e., they should not disturb the Creative Process!)
A grueling… 1,666 words a day… November 1st through November 30th. Conclude your NaNoWriMo writing marathon with celebration: champagne, chocolates, a party!
Spend all the edit-time you need to polish your new novel.
If you’re inclined to go public, pop your baby into the free Reedsy Book Editor to create a professionally typeset book. Publish an ebook.
Up for NaNoWriMo Challenge?
Who’s up for the 2018 NaNoWriMo challenge? Which of you have done NaNoWriMo in previous years? I am totally jazzed for this. After laboring on my 2018 Progressive Candidates list since January, it’s time for creative fun. Chester*, here I come! (*Chester is the adorable, scruffy, little, white dog who stars in The Chester Chronicles. He has been terribly ignored. Not anymore!)
I saw Michael Moore’s new documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9, at the theater last weekend. “11/9” refers to the date that Donald Trump’s presidential win was officially called. And while Moore clearly captures Trump as a terrifying catalyst of fascism, the film is not a two-hour-long Trump bash. That, alone, would be superficial.
In Fahrenheit 11/9, Moore explores political corruption, greed, the misuse of power, and the loss of American democracy. He does so with his signature ability to tease significant “dots” from out of the chaos, so the rest of us may connect them with ease.
Flint was an experiment in running government like a business, and Trump admired the results… The U.S. Army bombed empty buildings in Flint… President Obama accompanied Gov. Rick Snyder on a PR gig to pronounce the return of safe water in Flint… In several states during the 2016 Democratic primary, superdelegates overrode the voters’ choice for Bernie Sanders and nominated Hillary Clinton instead… Today’s Americans may be fairly compared to the good German people during Hitler’s rise to power… U.S. citizens, all across the country, can expect more Flint.
An Alarm Bell
Fahrenheit 11/9 rings the alarm bell. What action is required? Moore highlights examples of powerful resistance movements: student survivors of a mass-shooting initiate national demonstrations for gun control, teacher strikes that spread from West Virginia to Oklahoma, and persistent Black Lives Matter activism.
But what about the country, in general? Despite a proliferation of anti-Trump rhetoric, the American will for real political revolution remains faint-hearted. So, how will people respond to the alarm?
Folks lulled by a steady diet of mainstream corporate network news may be stunned and discombobulated by Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9. Trump loyalists will simply explode with knee-jerk “Fake News!” accusations. Viewers accustomed to reflective thinking will leave the theater with the somber weight of responsibility on their shoulders.
‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ Official Trailer
Michael Moore talks with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! about his new documentary film, Fahrenheit 11/9:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon, received the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I recently got around to reading it — and enjoyed every single page! The story is the fictional history of two brilliant innovators in the early days of the golden comic book era.
Two cousins… Sammy Clay is the writer and Joe Kavalier the artist. When they combine their talents… whoosh! From Jewish superheroes to vagabond dads, from young love to lost love, from the Prague Ghetto to the Empire State Building, this novel bears a multi-faceted jewel-of-a-plot.
The book venerates iconic comic book art, of course, while sketching the view of a tremulous American Dream that begins to emerge after World War II. It depicts an age that reveled in heroes… and fearless cigarette smoking.
Chabon’s writing style is vivid, intrepid, and psychologically insightful. You may want to look at Ken Kalfus’ 2000 review, which succinctly delves into the book’s major themes…
…Set in Prague during the Nazi occupation, (the novel) introduce(s) its two interrelated themes: escape and the mystery of the Prague golem, a legendary automaton-giant created from mud by a 16th-century rabbi. For the purposes of the novel, Chabon offers the conceit that the golem actually existed and was hidden in a Prague apartment house, where it awaits the day it will deliver the Jews from their enemies. As the noose tightens around the city’s ghetto, 18-year-old Josef Kavalier makes a daring flight abroad in which he abets the removal of the golem before it can be found by German anthropologists and shipped to a Berlin museum. The inanimate figure is given a new hiding place in Lithuania, but it is recalled repeatedly in the novel, every time one character provides another with the passage to freedom…
Dear writers and bloggers, WordPress is evolving. The future “Gutenberg” block editor will allow WordPress users to fancy-up their blog or website with ease. Meanwhile, “Gutenberg” is available as a plugin for WordPress.org users to play with and learn.
Not being able to resist a fun experiment, I installed the “Gutenberg” plugin — as well as the “Atomic Blocks” plugin and the “Atomic Blocks” theme, both of which are specialized and styled to enhance “Gutenberg” blocks.
So far, so good. Nice, clean editing interface. You can add background colors to paragraphs!
Building Blocks in the Editor
In case you’re wondering, “blocks” are sections of text or media that build your post or page, like building blocks. The paragraph block is the default mode, and continues with every strike of the enter key, unless you choose to insert a different kind of block.
For instance, you could insert a quote block…
Blocks are a great new tool for building engaging content. With blocks, you can insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with very little technical knowledge.
As a helpful touch, the quote block reminded me to include a citation. Nice.
Image Block Variety
The image block deals with images just as you’d expect. You can set a left, right or center alignment, and a custom link. But its simple to add more pizzazz. Let’s see what can happen…
The wide-width setting is exactly what I wanted. The image expands beyond the text margins on both sides.
(Shortly, however, I will need to remove the Atomic Blocks theme, as it doesn’t provide the array of features I need for my website. But you will still be able to see how the wide and full images look, if you follow the link to the Atomic Block theme demo.)
Now if you’d rather create a division, transition, or a special focal point, you can set an image to full-width…
You can use the cover image block to create a hero header, which is a title laid over a background image. A cover image is especially useful for branded promotions that are meant to be placed on the homepage or a landing page. In fact, it’s clear that “Gutenberg” will greatly facilitate the creation of a stunning static homepage.
Exploring Embed Blocks
What other blocks can we play with? How about embedding a Twitter Tweet? I’m partial to center-aligned social media embeds. Can “Gutenberg” do that?
Maybe “Gutenberg” will allow embed alignment options in the future. I’m sure there will be many refinements. (However, if “Gutenberg” is a complete turn-off for you, the tweet tells you how to outmaneuver the upcoming change.)
How does a WordPress embed appear? See for yourself…
“Gutenberg” has done a crackerjack job with the WordPress embed. (Although, not centered.) It’s an elegant solution for sharing a fellow blogger’s post, with the featured image and a perfect attribution included.
Testing “Gutenberg” With Other Themes
I’ve fooled with “Gutenberg” blocks long enough. Now I want to see how well the editor works with other themes — themes that have not been specifically designed for “Gutenberg.” Bye…
…OK, I’m back. I quickly tested “Gutenberg” with several other themes, which made me realize something. The page attribution option in “Gutenberg” is missing. There is no way to select a full-width (no sidebar) page. Therefore, the beautiful wide-width and full-width images in this post are not revealed to full effect on pages with a sidebar. In addition, a theme must be designed to accommodate wide-width and full-width images, in the first place.
No worries. Before long, there will be an army of “Gutenberg-Ready” themes from which to choose.
My “Gutenberg” Take-Away
“Gutenberg” incorporates page-builder properties right into the native WordPress editor. It enables users to create sophisticated and appealing websites — easily. No exaggeration.
I have tried almost every page-builder theme or plugin known to man, free and premium. Each boasts how user-friendly it is. In reality, they are all clunky, royal pains-in-the-neck with long learning curves.
But I think “Gutenberg” is pure elegant simplicity… that works… as intended… easy-peasy. Dear Reader, have you explored “Gutenberg” yet? What are your impressions? (See comment section below.)
And, thank you, WordPress. You’re the best. And thanks to Johannes Gutenberg…
There are many shocking and depressing political goings-on in the news. But the news cycle could exhibit a far more democratic and hopeful tone, if it were to include fair coverage of progressive advancements. Believe me, people would pay attention — and they’d know who to support and what to do!
Today, I aim to fill-in the progressive news gap a wee bit — just enough to banish the political blahs — so that you may enjoy your precious weekend with renewed patriotic faith and vigor.
285 Progressive Primary Wins
Mainstream news outlets claim that progressive candidates are fairing poorly in the 2018 primary elections. Never-the-less, my 2018 Progressive Candidate List shows that, as of August 10th, 285 progressive candidates have made it through the primaries and are on their way to the November 6th General Election.
There are still 14 state primaries to go! (Hawaii is holding its primary today.)
In my estimation, progressive candidates are definitely making an impact in the primaries.
Alaska instituted a state anti-corruption act. Michiganders got, and kept, an anti-gerrymandering initiative on the November ballot.
In the Final Analysis
After absorbing the teachings of great religions and wise philosophers for millennia, you’d think Earth would be a more civilized place by now. However, the opposition is a well-heeled, finely-honed, precision force. It is too much for individuals to face alone. It is only when we organize and stand together, that we win fight after fight for the common good. After all, our side is composed of countless legions of… The People.