What started as an odd joke between a couple co-workers with a plastic army man has evolved — since Russia invaded Ukraine — into a kind of Layer Tennis in 3D Art Installation outside the bathrooms on our floor. There was something apolitically simplistic about each addition: First a Ukranian flag, then “Liberty!” quote bubble, etc.

This has dovetailed with what seems like a greater focus on the invasion — and it’s unjustness — and expressions of compassion for the Ukranian people (see SNL opening w/ the Ukranian chorus). This is good because war is bad. But the difference is striking from when the U.S. invaded Iraq or Afghanistan. Where were the Iraqi flag emojis or Afghan artists on network TV then?

So this Layer Tennis thing struck me as part of that mixed with needlessly playful — or at least tone deaf to the horrors of war.

So my contribution was to print out lyrics from Phil Ochs’ “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” and Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”.

I have Mark Arm’s version as a 7″ and remember vividly Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready’s rendition as part of Bob Dylan’s bday celebration.

In looking for Arm’s version on Bandcamp I came across a bunch of covers — which is a great thing!! Here are some of the most interesting to me.

Powerful argument against the current push to ban books (emphasis added):

When I was 12 or 13 years old, I was not prepared for the racism, the brutality or the sexual assault in Larry Heinemann’s 1977 novel, “Close Quarters.”

Mr. Heinemann, a combat veteran of the war in Vietnam, wrote about a nice, average American man who goes to war and becomes a remorseless killer. In the book’s climax, the protagonist and other nice, average American soldiers gang-rape a Vietnamese prostitute they call Claymore Face.

As a Vietnamese American teenager, it was horrifying for me to realize that this was how some Americans saw Vietnamese people — and therefore me. I returned the book to the library, hating both it and Mr. Heinemann.

Here’s what I didn’t do: I didn’t complain to the library or petition the librarians to take the book off the shelves. Nor did my parents. It didn’t cross my mind that we should ban “Close Quarters” or any of the many other books, movies and TV shows in which racist and sexist depictions of Vietnamese and other Asian people appear.

Instead, years later, I wrote my own novel about the same war, “The Sympathizer.”

Congratulations on the latest entry into the “10thumbs Hated Phrase Hall of Fame”:

Do Your Research.

Seen (frustratingly) here in a NYT article about how to find a quality mask. Frustrating because I literally was doing my research by reading this article. Why must I go do more research?!?

The term is also used in conjunction with making “choices” like which health insurance plan is “right for you” (hint: none are right for you — we should get rid of them all and have a national health insurance system that covers everyone from craddle to grave.)

Previous inductees include: Messaging, shortening Communications to “comms”

On the way to our morning hike, I played Democracy Now’s special on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The first part was a 20 minute excerpt from his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence” speech at NYC’s Riverside Church. In addition to being intrigued by Dr. King’s cadence — and the core thesis that “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism” were (and still are) the greatest threats to our society — I was struck by this section (emphasis added):

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

(Note: spoilers in them there links) We finished the sixth season of Superstore last night.

As a whole I think it was less funny than The Office (obvs. a high bar) despite copying storylines over and over, but more realistic as a workplace and satisfying from a class perspective.

I will say that Garrett’s final announcement was spot-on and a terrific ending.


The idea that deaths come in threes gets a boost this week. First Bob Moses, then today I learned that Bill Onasch (longtime labor activist and a Labor Party stalwart from Kansas City) lost his battle with cancer last month and that Richard Trumpka passed away yesterday. That freedom banner got a bit heavier.

Bob Moses, presente! I had the real honor to meet Moses in 1994 at the 30th anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Seems so sadly appropriate that the main way we celebrate this country’s birth is to blow shit up.

“… and I think about living in a place that’s chock full of History and devoid of memory. I think about how it’s impossible for a nation to have a conscience if it doesn’t have a memory.”

— Rayshauna Gray, “Chiasmus: A Narrative of Ascent” in Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology