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October 2014

fear of something with the power to cut even deeper – my own community

Wise words from Quinnae Moongazer :

When I mention the icebox of unpublished posts and articles to friends and colleagues, I do so with a forced smile, pretending that it’s a heady combination of academic perfectionism and fear of being attacked by bigots that leads me to suppress them. There is more than a grain of truth to this. As many of my friends, loved ones, and sisters in struggle have demonstrated and written about, there is a lot to fear from the 4chan-esque world of angry young men with ample resentment towards those of us they perceive to be purloining some birthright of theirs. My academic work is devoted, in no small measure to explaining their behaviour (more on this in a bit).

But I am lying when I say they are the sole source of my hesitation.

The rest, often as not even the lion’s share, comes from fear of something with the power to cut even deeper– my own community. I fear being cast suddenly as one of the “bad guys” for being insufficiently radical, too nuanced or too forgiving, or for simply writing something whose offensive dimensions would be unknown to me at the time of publication. In other words, for making an innocently ignorant mistake.

Read the whole thing.

Conservative outside organizations are spending 85 times more than liberal organizations in NY-21.

NY21I live in New York's 21st Congressional District, currently represented by Democrat Bill Owens, who is retiring. It was the 23rd District when Owens was elected, by there has been redistricting since then. Three candidates are running for Owens' seat. Aaron Woolf, the Democratic candidate, is endorsed by Bill Owens and also by Charles Schumer. Elise Stefanik is the Republican candidate. And there is also a Green Party candidate, Matt Funicello.

NY-21 congressional district has an adult population of under 600,000. When Bill Owens was first elected, there were about 150,000 votes cast. I don't know what the expected voter turnout is, now that we are the 21st District.

A lot of PAC money is being spent on this election. I looked at to have a look at how much.

The candidates themselves have raised about 3.7 million dollars, with Woolf a bit ahead of Stefanick, and Funciello having raised about enough to buy a car.


Outside spending on the race is huge. 

Conservative organizations are spending nearly 2.4 million dollars, more than either major candidate individually. $2,317,000 of that comes from just four organizations: American Crossroads associated with Karl Rove and Ed Gillespe (see donors), the National Republican Congressional Committee, New York 2014 (see donors; note that their donor list has a lot of the same names on it as American Crossroads), and the US Chamber of Commerce, which does not disclose donors.


Conservative outside organizations are spending 85 times more than liberal outside organizations in NY-21.

Major players in this race seem to be hedge funds such as the Elliot Management Group. Much of the money seems to be traceable to billionairs on this list published by the Huffington Post.

Outside organizations are spending about $4 per adult (not per voter) in the New Yor State North Country to pay for this election. And that's not including whatever the rich may have donated to individual candidates. In total, more than $10 per adult is being spent here.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of PAC money were spent on the primary to knock Matt Doheny out of the way to make Stefanik her place on the ballot. He has since been nominated for a judgeship and so is not elligible to run against Stefanik as an independent.

Whatever political will either major party might have had in the North Country, it has apparently been strangled by billionaires. Were this not ordinary it would be shocking.

The Sin of Omission

My 30th anthology came out a little over a month ago. It is a high profile book. I have enjoyed the PR immensely. But. A minority of the articles about the book mysteriously forget to mention my name even though it is on the cover, the title page, and the spine as specified by my contract.

For the first three or four, I ignored the omission and cheerfully retweeted mentions of the offending articles. I have been good humored. But The Chronicle of Higher Education should know better.

Continue reading "The Sin of Omission" »

Offensive GOP Mailer Attacks Localovore Movement

I just got a really offensive GOP attack direct mail piece aimed at Aaron Woolf who is running for Bill Owens' House seat againt Karl Rove-backed Elise Stefanik.

Their point of attack is Woolf's association with organic food through his ownership of a grocery store in Brooklyn. It looks like a nice place, the kind of place that our local farmers have been selling their producrs through as the North Country's farming economy makes a comeback.

ApplesauceThe authors of the mailer seem unaware of the resurgence of small farms in the North Country, many of which are organic or feature naturally grown food. I myself grew (uncertified) organic apples last season and through the Grange Co-packers in Whallonsburg put up apple sauce for commercial sale. The packaging was somewhat like the GOP's imagining of what "Woolf's Pickles" might look like.

His other main sin, in addition to peddling organic food, is that he is, gasp, a filmmaker. Perhaps the GOP doesn't know this, but we have filmmakers here too. Much of Kathy Leichter's Here Today was filmed in Wadhams. There are a number of other small films being produced locally. I just spent the morning finishing a screenplay.

Last fall's I Love NY commerical featuring an orchard was even filmed here. At my orchard.


That's my barn. And those are my apples on the trees. (We had already harvested in that area, so the film company had people in the previous day wiring the apples back on the trees.)

Dear NYGOP: 

Here in the North Country, not only do we care how our food is grown and value small scale agriculture and organic food, but we also have a thriving arts culture. Perhaps some of you might come for a visit before you write your next attack ad.

And you know what the North Country really can't afford? Last winter's heating bills, and the House GOP's plan to roll back the clock on health coverage.


Driving around Vermont, Thinking


photo by Tony Hisgett

Friday and Saturday, I spent a lot of time driving around Vermont. I also spent a lot of time thinking while driving. I was thinking about whether to expand on my most recent blog post and what it is safe to say. These were the most beautiful drives I have ever taken in Vermont.

The leaves were at peak and the air was still, so there were many reflections. (Unfortunatly, I didn't stop to take pictures.)

Continue reading "Driving around Vermont, Thinking" »

Give Peace a Chance: My Return to Blogging

I have decided to come back to blogging. I am returning at a point of happiness and strength with a new book out which is successful in ways I had never imagined an anthology could be. I have been having an amazing time these past few weeks.

I find that I have made my decision to resume just at the moment when Kathy Sierra's blog post Why the Trolls Will Always Win, commemorating ten years of over-the-top harassment, is published in Wired

Continue reading "Give Peace a Chance: My Return to Blogging" »