Lessons from James Baldwin On International Women's Day, his influence on my mother

James Baldwin portrait by Gus Bouquet
James Baldwin portrait by Gus Bouquet

by Leslie Layton

My closest sense of connection to the writer James Baldwin comes not through the wonderful film showing through March 9 at the Pageant Theatre about him, and not even through iconic books like “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” which I read during my formative first year in college.

It comes through a painting of him, a less-than-literal interpretation of the mood and character that I might have glimpsed had I known James Baldwin as a boy. I keep that painting – which happens to be my most treasured keepsake from my late mother – hanging on a wall near whatever desk I use when I work – that is, when I really work — at writing.

read more

An Election That Will Change Lives Trying to breathe again

nataliecharlesworth

by Natalie Charlesworth

Nov. 8, 2016:  I sat in math class, frantically checking the presidential election polls every chance that I got. The numbers were so close. Hillary, Trump, Hillary again, and then back to Trump. Jumbled thoughts like ping-pong balls bounced back and forth in my mind. My palms, sweaty. My anxiety increasingly getting worse. I began to wonder, why I had even decided to attend class that day? I then put my phone down and got back to what I should have been doing –focusing on math.

As I walked into the house later that evening, I saw my mom sitting on the couch. I could tell just by looking at her that she was nervous. Her freckled face pale, and her eyes watery. We sat in silence for awhile, not knowing what to say. The first words spoken came from my mouth: “Donald Trump isn’t even the scariest part of this election; it’s that his blatant racism, homophobia and misogyny wasn’t a deal breaker for his supporters. Instead of putting them off, they have interpreted his words as validation to say or do whatever they want.’’

read more

Trumped up hate biggest thing to fear Undocumented students and others are anxious

katesheehy

by Kate Sheehy

Across the country Wednesday morning people woke up to face the unexpected. It’s fair to say that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters alike were dealing with shock.

It seems all along there was a “silent vote” for the former reality TV star that gave him the edge he needed to beat Clinton. Pollsters were not aware. Political pundits were not aware. The best research a campaign could buy could not identify the hidden resentment harbored by thousands who were not visible among the raucous Trump base.

So on the morning after the election as people turned on their radios and TVs and opened their newspapers, they were reminded that the United States is not the country they might have thought it was. For millions of Americans it was a terrifying wake up call.

read more

Trickle-Down Meanness Shapes Attitudes Toward Homeless Local Election Outcomes Matter

photo by Dave Waddell

Sign that replaced a homeless man’s rest site

By Dave Waddell

While waiting for coffee recently, I became fixated on a mentally ill homeless man. He lay on his side in the shuttered entrance to what last was a Walgreens at East Avenue and the Esplanade. Every few seconds, the old, bearded, agitated man would flail his arms toward someone or something that was tormenting him but wasn’t really there. His situation – common across our country – struck me as just so sad and seemingly hopeless.

Yesterday, upon my return for coffee, I noticed that some sort of contraption covered by a blue tarp had taken the man’s place in the entrance.  Attached to that tarp was a message, hand-lettered in pencil with more anger than planning: “Stay the Fuck out or else Little Bitches.”

read more

Family Stories, not Census Forms, Explain Ethnic Identities

Gail_101_121

 by Gail Lemley Burnett

“Are you Hispanic?” isn’t supposed to be a tough question. Yet every time I meet it while completing a census form or medical history, my pencil hovers between “Yes” and “No” and my eyes search for the most accurate answer, which is never there: “Sort of.”

I’m one of the millions of Americans who occasionally change their ethnic designation. It’s complicated. My mother’s father emigrated with his family from Mazatlán, Mexico, when he was in his teens. He married my grandmother — not Hispanic — in Los Angeles in the late 1920s, and they had two daughters. My grandfather’s family was big, noisy, and still firmly tied to the Mexican state of Sinaloa. When my curly-haired Aunt Gloria was a little girl, the family took her there at festival time and dressed her as an adorable señorita. My mother and Gloria grew up in southern California in the 1940s and ’50s with a Spanish surname and were sometimes told, in those racist “good old days,” that they were “not like the other Mexican girls — you’re clean.” How could that history not be a part of our heritage?

read more

Follow and like us:

Tax Cuts, Job Growth and their Mythic Relationship

by R.G. Rich

Do tax cuts for the wealthy create new jobs? In fact, the exact opposite is true, and well illustrated in recent history.

Raising tax rates for the wealthy creates new jobs.

Why? When rates are raised, the value of a tax deduction is increased in real terms. Hiring a new employee or buying a new piece of equipment is a new business expense. At higher tax rates, the wealthy, and businesses small and large, look to offset taxable profits.
When rates are low, there may be little incentive to hire or replace older equipment because taxes are not perceived as a burden. When rates are high, those same increased expenditures provide a bigger economic benefit through tax savings, thereby creating an additional incentive to spend. High tax rates provide an incentive for expansion, in order to shelter profits from taxes. Higher rates provide an added benefit for risk-taking.

read more

Follow and like us: