Civics 101

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a man who demands your attention. His book, Between The World And Me, left me in awe. In his latest piece for The Atlantic he has some wise words for all citizens in this disheartening age:

In the American system of government, refusing to vote for the less-than-ideal is a vote for something much worse. Even when you don’t choose, you choose. But you can choose with your skepticism fully intact. You can choose in full awareness of the insufficiency of your options, without elevating those who would have us forget into prophets. You can choose and still push, demanding more. It really isn’t too much to say, if you’re going to govern a country, you should know its history.

Read the full piece here.

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Civics 101

Latino Savy

Jennifer Lopez Smiling

Bill Maher is a comedian and TV personality that I have enjoyed listening to for years. I generally agree with most of his opinions. But now sadly I have a bone to pick with Mr. Maher. On Friday’s show he did a bit about celebrity endorsements of political figures. He showed what the celebrities stated reasons were for supporting a candidate and then humorously stated why they were really supporting the candidate. Some funny stuff. But then he gets to Jennifer Lopez and her real reason for supporting Hillary Clinton – so that she doesn’t deport her and her Mom.

Now I am not thin skinned (I am Puerto Rican) and am not upset about the joke per se, and actually I am not really upset just astonished. Bill Maher is supposedly a well informed, left leaning (liberal) personality. Which is why I am so surprised that he has no clue that Puerto Ricans (which Jennifer Lopez is) are U.S. citizens. All Puerto Rican were made U.S. citizens back in 1917 when the U.S. was looking for cheap sources of labor after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 effectively halted a source of cheap labor for U.S. Corporations. The first Puerto Rican migrants (notice I did not say immigrants) were field workers for Sugar Plantations in Hawaii.

Must I now must question all of Bill Maher’s statements and opinions? I already do, as any intelligent person should when confronted by information from secondary sources.

Latinos are not all the same. It is a hugely diverse group tied together by a language and a history of exploitation by the Spanish Crown. We are not all Mexican landscapers or Dominican hotel staff or Cuban entertainers. Puerto Ricans do not live in fear that they will be deported back to Puerto Rico and a large percentage of Puerto Ricans (66%) in the U.S were born here. I was.

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This is not how Puerto Ricans came to America. No walls!
Latino Savy

Reality

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Reality; ©2016 Dave Ortiz

I am in general agreement with the notion put forth by psychologists and sociologists that one of the key differences between liberal minded people and those of a more conservative bent is one of change. Conservative minds do not like change in any form. Society must remain in stasis, new voices will not be heard, “Wednesday is spaghetti night.” Liberal minded people meanwhile, seek out change, live for discovery and the new.

I’ll not debate the merits of the research that led to these findings. But if true I suppose I am very much in the liberal camp. My daughter is always talking about LGBT rights and political correctness among her social group. It seems many of her teenage friends are perfectly comfortable sharing their sexual and gender identities. I was at first perplexed when she she used the term “they” to refer to a single transgender friend. After she explained it to me I went off and did some research on my own. First off it seems that this evolution of language to accommodate the new outlook on gender is very difficult for a lot of people. But now even the New York Times and Washington Post have gotten on board. I have no problems with the term “they.” The main obstacle I had to overcome was to disassociate the term “they” with the sense of it connoting a multiple or group. That is the great thing about language, it evolves to encompass the ever changing “norms” of society.

Now I am reading in a special edition of Scientific American on “The Limits Of Physics” that a growing number of scientists believe that the notion particles and mediating force fields is not a satisfactory ontology of the world. What really matters they say, are not the fields and particles but the relations among them. This is known as “structural realism” and in general states that we may never know the real nature of things but only how they are related to one another. Reflecting how things are interrelated is the most enduring part of physics theories. So the universe is not made up of “things” but of bundles of properties such as color and shape! That is an amazing notion. A relational Universe of non – concrete phenomena.

 

Reality

Serendipity

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Three Kings Day, January 6, 2016 – 106th Street, NYC

I am surprised to see you here. In fact I would be surprised to see anyone here.    You must have arrived on this island by some serendipitous route. This blog only exists so that I can post thoughts and images, sort of like a journal, in a place where I could get to it anywhere on numerous devices.

Since you are here you should know that this is a very idiosyncratic place reflecting the mind of it’s curator. The curator is a photographer, who isn’t these days? But I get paid to make photographs. I am middle aged  (already over my midlife crisis) interested in cosmology, literature, the Puerto Rican Diaspora (my people) and the current state of this crazy country called The U-S-of A. Oh yeah, and also my two wonderful kids.

By the way, fugacity is the quality of being fleeting. Just like thoughts and our very existence.

You’re already here so enjoy.

Serendipity