The Daughter has started calling me “Roger” about half the time in the past few months. It doesn’t particular bother me.

I think it came about when we were in a crowded school setting, and she called “Daddy, daddy.” But there were lots of other dads and I guess I didn’t hear it. Finally, she said “Roger!” and of course I heard that.

One of my sisters is all distressed about it because she feels as though my daughter is showing disrespect. Well, maybe, but I think she’s just testing my limits.

Interesting that she almost never calls her mother by her first name, but “Mom”, or, very occasional, “mommy.” She says that all the kids in school her age are going through the same conundrum of what to call their parents that isn’t too juvenile (Mommy, Daddy), too formal (Mother, Father) or otherwise uncomfortable.

Her class had been reading To Kill A Mockingbird, and I was struck by the descriptions in Chapter 10:

“Atticus was feeble; he was nearly fifty… He was much older than my school contemporaries.” Like the attorney, I AM too old to do all the things the Daughter wants to do. And just as Scout an Jem called their father by his first name, so does the Daughter, unless she wants something or needs something, or is tired or hurting; then it’s “daddy.”

Of course, like Atticus Finch, I do have my skills, even if the Daughter is currently unappreciative. It’s true that I don’t remember the names of the members of her favorite K-Pop bands such as BTS or Astro.

But who is helping her with algebra homework, a subject he hasn’t studied in a half century? Who can name not just the first four Presidents, primarily from listening to Hamilton incessantly, but all of them?

The difference in our ages is, of course, something I can’t change. I consider it an asset rather than a liability. There are days when I can remember a piece of history first-hand; that is useful.

As the person who’s been involved with Black History Month at my church, I was asked to write an article about the evolution of BHM at the church, which I wrote in March, and will link to it at some point.

Stealing from me:

There may have been a sense in the country “in 2009, after Barack Obama was inaugurated as President, that perhaps we didn’t NEED Black History Month anymore. It was seen by some that, in a “post-racial” America, we HAD overcome.

“Of course, nine years later, after Charlottesville, the murders at a Charleston church, and Black Lives Matter, it’s clear that we have not yet reached the promised land.”

And America has a lot more history to learn. Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, wrote In the Shadows of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History. Based on hearing him talk about the book on The Daily Show and C-SPAN, he’s helping to fill a void.

Surely, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice addresses a major blind spot in our national consciousness. “The memorial captures the brutality and the scale of lynchings throughout the South, where more than 4,000 black men, women, and children, died at the hands of white mobs between 1877 and 1950. Most were in response to perceived infractions — walking behind a white woman, attempting to quit a job, reporting a crime or organizing sharecroppers.

“Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard University-trained lawyer who created the Equal Justice Initiative in 1994 to fight for justice for people on death row, found himself transfixed by the South’s history of lynching African Americans. Stevenson and a team of researchers spent years documenting those lynchings, combing through court records and local newspapers — which often notified the public that a lynching was coming — and talking to local historians and family members of victims.”

Even earlier, 1842, brought The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States: A Sermon, Delivered Before Associations of Planters in Liberty and M’intosh Counties, Georgia by Charles Colcock Jones, 1804-1863. One of the descriptions on Amazon – there are multiple editions – reads: “As a Presbyterian minister and the son of a Plantation owner, [he] is the epitome of the establishment voice for this time and place…. the ways in which he does and does not allow the humanity of the black population are in themselves fascinating. Read the praise he has for ‘colored ministers’ but brace for the descriptions of the flaws he believes he sees in the black population of the plantations he has visited.”

The more we think we know the history, the more often we are brought up short.

With all the bad ecological news – As Antarctic Melting Accelerates, Worst-Case Scenarios May Come True – it’s good to look for something positive in terms of protecting the environment.

I received a bulk email from Bill McKibben last week. McKibben is author, educator, environmentalist, and Co-founder of the non-profit organization 350.org, whose goal is to build “the global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to science and justice.”

The numerical reference is this: the organization encouraging citizens to publicize the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in order to pressure world leaders to address climate change and to reduce CO2 levels from 400 parts per million to 350 parts per million.

McKibben writes: “The world cannot afford to continue to rely on fossil fuels. Scientists now tell us that at current rates, within a decade we’ll likely have put enough carbon in the atmosphere to warm the earth past the Paris climate targets. We are running out of time.

“However, we also now know what we can do, and we’re increasingly certain it can be done: We have to switch off coal, oil, and gas, and switch on 100% water, wind, and sun.

“Cities and states around America are already moving towards this goal. Countries around the world are outpacing us: transport in the Netherlands is run increasingly on wind power, Santiago’s train system will run entirely on solar power soon, China can power provinces the size of Texas for a week straight.

“The technology to implement 100% renewables already exists and we have public opinion on our side. A majority of Americans favor government action to increase the development of renewable energy.

“Corporate interests and politics stand in our way. I know we can overcome them. We must.

Learn more about this fight for 100% Renewables by reading my article.” Which you should.
***
Download Climate 101: Renewable Energy
***
Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles
***
Flipping the Script on Fossil Fuels
***
TECH RECYCLING CENTERS in the US. Did you know that recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year according to the EPA?
***
Learn about the steps to become a Smithsonian Gardens Green Ambassador
***
From Tuck Sleep: What Do “Green” Certifications Really Mean? and Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Throwing A Mattress Away

For ABC Wednesday

Having experienced it occasionally myself, I know that being poor is expensive. But poverty is not the result of a lack of character. Although one might think so: ‘They used to be servants.’ Minimum wage-hating restaurateur rants about his “greedy” employees.

Cash bail reform has gotten some traction because communities understand that bail is not about justice or safety, but wealth and poverty. “Right now, a person charged with a crime can either pay bail and live free until they stand trial or, if they cannot afford it, be jailed until their trial date. Folks with money pay bail while poor folks get jail. And those in jail are far more likely to take pleas deals instead watching the rest of their lives (and finances) fall apart while they wait for a trial.”

Some neighborhoods are now being targeted with new predatory loan offerings, a lawsuit argues. This is the story of that lawsuit, and of the rent-to-own universe in general.

The student loan sharks who prey on veterans and single moms have a friend in Trump’s education secretary, millionaire Betsy DeVos.

It can be a terrible spiral: Oregon woman evicted from senior housing for $328 in late rent freezes to death in parking garage.

The current Federal Communications Commission chair, Ajit Pai, has threatened to cut the Lifeline program, which helps 12.5 million low-income people access internet or phone service.

The regime is considering drug testing plan for food stamp recipients, which has always cost more to administer than the intended savings.

National Public Radio discussed Virginia Eubanks’ book Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor.

Kathy Sheehan, who was re-elected mayor of Albany in November 2017, spoke at my church on March 4 about her equality agenda, including the City of Albany Poverty Reduction Initiative (CAPRI) program. Here is the New York State anti-poverty initiative.

Who Do Tax Breaks Benefit? Take a guess. The Weekly Sift guy understands: My taxes are half what I’d pay if I just made wages.

I’ve seen numerous GoFundMe campaigns after people went through extended disaster that have damaged homes, serious illness or injury not covered by insurance. A decade ago, there was a Harvard study that showed that 43,000 Americans were dying each year because they had no health insurance. And we may be heading back in that direction.

As bad as it is in the United States, it’s far worse in developing nations. On the March 21 Daily Show with Trevor Noah Matt Damon and Gary White from water.org discussed how easier access to water transformed people’s lives with the gift of time.

This a global phenomenon: If this goes on… The 1% will own two thirds of the world by 2030, based on the House of Commons Library’s published research projecting the post-2008 growth of inequality.

For ABC Wednesday

The fight to save the EPA – “With environmental regulations under attack and EPA budgets being slashed, can the destruction of the agency be prevented?” As a practical matter, no.

Last year, Fortune did a story about the US before EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency was created under Republican President Richard Nixon in December 1970, months after the first Earth Day.

Under this regime, however, data has been buried, altered, silenced. “Across agency websites [not just EPA’s], documents have disappeared, web pages have vanished and language has shifted in ways that appear to reflect the policies of the new administration.” I am told that staff have been directed to change the titles of some reports so nobody could find them or ask for the correct document, an underhanded ploy to render them un-FOIA-able.

The agency is poised to scrap fuel economy targets that are key to curbing global warming. “The EPA is [stupidly] expected to announce… that it will scrap mileage targets the Obama administration drafted in tandem with California that aim to boost average fuel economy for passenger cars and SUVs… undermining one of the world’s most aggressive programs to confront climate change.”

Most sinister, and somewhat complicated to explain, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is using ‘weaponized transparency’ to destroy public health and block the use of science.

“How could ‘more transparency’ actually mean less information and worse decisions? Many of the studies that the EPA and other agencies [conduct] that address the health and safety of Americans depend on [and] require access to health records. Those health records can be used only if the information is kept carefully anonymous and if some parts of the information are shielded from public scrutiny. Many of these studies include agreements that portions of the data will not be released to the public. Otherwise, these studies risk revealing private information about the health and activities of individuals.

“Under the new proposed guidelines, many of these studies would be either forced to violate privacy rules, or their data could not be used. By filtering this information out, Pruitt hopes to make EPA decisions without being confronted with information that would counter his desire to allow companies to release unlimited toxins.”

So why are Scott Pruitt and other Cabinet-level heads creating a work environment in which employees at agencies say they have seen their core missions changed or even demolished overnight? Some “described living in constant fear that… budget proposals would end in them being laid off en masse. And given the constantly mercurial state of … policies changing at the drop of a hat, leadership hired and fired on a whim, political appointees undermining existing management, and an increasing sense that their overseers are deeply partisan and ignorant of the issues—their workplace environment has reportedly grown worse than toxic.”

It’s because Scott Pruitt says he’s doing God’s work by ignoring climate change and repealing Clean Power Act. Or just maybe it’s that Pruitt has been living in an energy lobbyist’s condo since he moved to D.C. The current challenges to his tenure brings me little comfort, considering the damage already done.

In any case, the United States pulling out of the Paris Accord while the Arctic is melting down and the Antarctic food chain is breaking seems counter-intuitive. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures.

We’re going to have to rely on other countries, the states, business, non-governmental organizations, and ourselves to carry on the fight because the current EPA appears to be fighting for environmental perfidy.

Note: similar topic, more optimism in a couple days.

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