Kirsten Gillibrand @ The Mill – July 26

the guardian

Kirsten (“Keer-stuhn,” not kuhr-stun or kris-ten or chris-tian) was right on time rather than the standard one hour late and The Mill was full, but not jam-packed. JM and I shared a booth with a nice lady who was attending her very first campaign event of this cycle having chosen Kirsten as her favorite after the first debate. That’s notable because I thought she was kind of stumbly than night.

Kirsten is powerful though and I think possibly generally overunderestimated, sadly maybe partially due to her appearance – being very blonde and pretty. She told about being raised by her badass mother, a working attorney, who also cooked, cleaned and made clothes for the family. She roasted a turkey every Thanksgiving – after hunting it down and shooting it herself. Her grandmother was a similarly formidable character. with her babies

Kirsten claims to be the bravest candidate and far braver than Donald. I believe her. She recounted a number of impressive tales of political vanquishment and triumph as a senator from New York. I also saw her doing the classic hold-a-baby thing and the baby, after a minute of assessing her, lay her little head on Kirsten’s shoulder. Has any baby in it’s right mind ever lay it’s head on Donald’s shoulder? I think not.

Earlier in the day Kirsten released her plan to address climate change, “the biggest existential threat to humanity.” She says, “climate change should be this generation’s moonshot,” establishing competition between nations as to who can muster the best engineering and most effective policy. It was a good thing for Kennedy and the country and will be a good thing for Gillibrand and the country too.

After a few weeks of not thinking too much about the democratic 2020 candidates I hereby declare Kamala, Kirsten and Elizabeth as my top three. Elizabeth, however fails the Baby Boomers Are Too Old test and might therefore give way to Cory, or Pete.

yrmama’s sprained ankle, crutches etc. etc. bled into a delightful week in Colorado at 11,000′ meaning very little oxygen. I may or may not have missed some local campaign events but no apologies. This coming week I will be in Nashville hanging out at the International Ehlers Danlos Society conference – sort of a social group for the chronically ill and tragically clumsy who are also into learning medical stuff. I think I’ll get a tattoo. Also, the yrmamas are in the process of becoming Canadian citizens so if Donald does get reelected and declares martial law we are all moving north.

Jay Inslee – Ellis Park, Cedar Rapids June 8

Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
the oldest existing mosque in the United States

A solid 150 folk clumped up at the picnic tables in a park pavilion overlooking the Cedar River. The route there is through the Northwest and Time Check neighborhood – visually dominated by acres of flat, mowed green space populated by a few flocks of Canada geese. Here and there are a small house, and the small white Mother Mosque of America. It was a human neighborhood until the big ole flood of 2008 covered ten square miles of the city. The air was soft and warm with just enough breeze to blow the gnats off.

State Senator Rob Hogg introduced the other dignitaries in the crowd; other state senators, climate action group leaders etc, and Jay, long-serving Governor of Washington state. Jay says the only thing any of us should be discussing right now is climate change. It’s now or never, there’s no time left. We have the technology and ready workforce to make the necessary infrastructure changes in the next several years, the sticking point is political will. If we can’t get over ourselves it’s gonna get hot in here.

Putting folks to work on those changes will restructure the economy, add 47 bajillion jobs and in the wake provide the opportunity to fix everything else meaning immigration, education, justice, health care and gender pay equity. Jay says Donald “can’t run a two car funeral,” so there is no hope of leadership in the right direction with him around.

Jay thinks we are nearing a tipping point where the urgency wave will intersect with the promise-of-jobs-wave. Already the green jobs sector (solar installation, EVs, wind turbines etc) is growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy.

Donald bloviates about tariffs and coal mines and tries to scare the bejeezus out of you while the world and human consciousness grow and evolve all around us.

NEXT! Cory in Iowa City the very same night, and a server tells yrmama it’s time to stop drinking.

The least I can do

It’s another dry stretch for candidates, and simultaneously a chilly, wet stretch down here on the farm. I especially want to hear from Cory, Jay and Stacy. I want to invite Kamala for a second interview. I want to invite Barack and Michelle over for dinner.

Speaking of Jay Inslee, he’s the only one who’s all about climate change, and he’s right to be. —–> From here yrmama could veer into religion, science, raptors, poison ivy, catastrophic weather events, how it is taking well over ten years to move the UI’s art campus uphill (after the the last giant flood) and to raise Dubuque Street enough that people can reliably get in and out of town. Eleven years ago I watched a woman scooping up large fish with a net in City Park, in the grass, as the water rose and rose and rose. She was filling a big bucket with writhing fish, like 10 inches long, and planned to share them with whoever wanted to help eat them. It was bewildering.

Or we can discuss yrmama’s favorite way to address the epidemic of plastic consumerism we’re all about to choke on. At the Mennonite thrift store where I volunteer sorting through other people’s huge bags of crap, we divert 10 bajillion units of solid waste A DAY from being dumped in the formerly pretty little crick nearby or sent to the steaming, reeking landfill a little farther off. The sale-able stuff is sold for cash money to support international relief projects many of which, you guessed it, are probably triggered or at least complicated by fucking climate change. 

*yrmama used to buy everything second hand because she was poor. Now that yrmama is rich she prefers to buy things second hand because it’s more fun and way more interesting. Plus it helps divert a bit of that aforementioned mountain of other people’s crap from the crick.
Volunteers sort your great aunt’s apple-sauce jars of buttons and sew them onto cards. It’s the best variety of buttons you’re ever going to find.

Some donors to the shop are Marie Kondo-ing, some just will lose their minds of they don’t do something to get that mountain of outgrown soccer shoes out from behind the couch. Some middle-aged siblings who live far away come with pickup trucks full of warped tupperware, doilies, stained vintage clothes, National Geographics, footstools, peanut butter jars full of screws, and a few dozen boxes of Q-tips from when they were on sale in 1984 and someone stocked up. They look stunned because their last parent just died and they have to clean out the house and they don’t want to cry until later. I LOVE sorting that stuff. It’s the least I can do.