Fire hazard safety reminder!!

Do you practice basic fire safety? Do you have an escape plan and “go bag” with insurance and overnight essentials if you need to leave your home suddenly? Is your renters or homeowners insurance policy current?

I was awakened this morning by firefighters knocking on my door, but I didn’t realize who it was until I heard them stomping around on my roof. There was a small fire three floors down and across the hall, so evacuation was recommended. I didn’t panic but I grabbed my warmest coat and threw on the warm boots I keep by the door; the whole insurance file; and my phone, laptop, wallet and ipad, which I used to take a quick video inventory of my possessions and wardrobe in case I needed to file a claim. The end result was an hour in the hall watching the watery aftermath warily with neighbors. We think it’s electrical, but that wasn’t clear. There were no injuries, but a few apartments in the line have smoke, and the apartment of the fire’s origin definitely will have a ruined Christmas. 😞 

My point today is to remind everyone that winter, but especially December, is prime time for fires as people do more cooking, light more candles, put up more lights, use more extension cords, and have more kindling scattered around their apartments in the forms of trees, wreaths, gifts, etc. The time to plan and react to fire is NOT when the firefighters knock on your door! I am taking the hint and today I’m SUPER MOTIVATED to make sure my emergency prep is in order. 

1) I’m a big believer in renters insurance. I don’t consider it any more optional than homeowners insurance. It’s a few hundred dollars annually, and pays off bigtime if you ever have to make a claim for fire or theft.

2) Everyone in your household should know how to get out of every room of your home in case of worst-case fire.

3) Assuming you will usually have a couple of minutes to evacuate, you should have an escape bag stored by the door. (Your essentials may vary but this should include copies of vital documents, fresh underwear, socks and gloves for everyone in the household, nonperishable snacks, cash, water, a physical list of emergency contact numbers and maybe a cheap pre-paid phone. There are countless resources online with lists of emergency items to consider including for you/your family.)

4) Take a video inventory of your possessions, not just your most valuable ones, and upload it to cloud storage. This will be helpful in a claim and replacing 100s of small items does add up to big $$$ ! Itemize your most valuable things and consider giving them additional insurance protection.

That is the bare minimum, IMO. I welcome additional insight and recommendations… I know several of my friends have been through fire events and I am sorry if this brings up bad memories, but I am grateful for anything you might teach us.


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Where I was when the (Roll) Tide turned

Tonight I had the honor of being in the audience for Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce show at Town Hall. It was a magnificent show, as to be expected. I can speak more about that another time.

But when the transcendent program was concluded, and the audience had taken a breath, suddenly there were shouts and cheers popping up all over the auditorium. People had taken out their phones and checked their news updates, and were learning that Doug Jones had defeated Roy Moore in Alabama.

Joy and celebration spread through that room full of queer and marginalized people, women and allies, older and younger, Uptown and Downtown, as we thrilled to the understanding there is, in fact, a limit to how low America will go for raw power, and that if Progressive values can win — even by a tiny margin — in Alabama, we can win anywhere in America, and perhaps just perhaps all is not lost in this country. 

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Rightwing “pro-Israel” advocates mostly are not, actually.

[Post in progress… this is a placeholder because I need to develop this further when I get a chance, but it’s worth including this iceberg-tip here.]

It’s essential to stay constantly aware that “pro Israel” right-wing U.S. policies have NOTHING to to with supporting Jewish people in that country, this one, or any other. Evangelical support for Israel is rooted in Armageddon and Rapture fantasies, which (not coincidentally) blithely predict the destruction of the majority of unfortunate Jewish Israelis, oh well, *shrug*. This is neither a conspiracy theory not a secret, and I guarantee Pence subscribes 100% to the End Times newsletter. This is sick warmongering. Violence is inevitable. Monsters.

This stance also explains how the right wing can be comfortably pro-Israel and anti-Semitic at the same time. Jews were the old covenant, but Christians know they have the new promise and the ticket to paradise through Jesus. But before Rapture, there must be a unified Israel and vast destruction — not a two-state solution and peace. Also know that they are rabidly anti-Muslim because of the Israel problem and also because Muslims feel *they* have the new Promise so it’s basically epic sibling rivalry, but with bombs.

GWB was another big subscriber. Basically if you’re a superChristian and you’re obsessed with Israel, you’re definitely prepping for the Rapture.

I think it is absolutely essential that the ordinary Americans get real, real familiar with Armageddon theology. The “Left Behind” series is not considered entertainment by millions of people, but a Bible studies course. And also Prosperity Gospel. I genuinely think that these are two areas that are shaping our public policy right now that the vast majority of Americans are simply completely unaware of.
Growing up as someone in but not of the South, and as an outside observer of the dominant Christian culture, I have always been aware of these, and did kind of assumed that other people knew about it too. But I really think most people just do not.



Nikki Haley’s speech regarding Jerusalem decision. This clip is hosted by UN Watch, an organization that I I’m a little wary of. It claims to be an advocacy and human rights organization, but it has a very clearly demonstrated pro-Israel bias. Note also the comments on this clip (if you choose to brave them) are very pro Trump and Christianist inclined pro-Israel. I think it is all in line with what we are discussing here.

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Activist journalism wins over civil forfeiture — for once

We need some good news this morning. I am so glad to see there is a happy ending to this case of potentially heartbreaking injustice. There is no erasing in this man’s unnecessary trauma at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve, but I hope that he can move forward with success. Yes it was just money and not violence, and yes, greater injustices are not overcome. But on a morning where it’s been made crystal clear (again!) that our figures of authority have no shame or compunction against stealing the life savings of hard-working ordinary Americans, it’s a small comfort to see that they failed in at least one case.
Also: Civil forfeiture laws are abusive and unconscionable. Horror stories everywhere.

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Even in a Jones endorsement, it’s still about Moore?

When charisma and entertainment are the most important values in campaigning today, here’s what you get: A weak-sauce local endorsement that’s 3/4 “vote against the disgusting, offensive, embarrassing bad guy,” and at best 1/4 “vote for the good, solid, qualified man who is also an old white Christian (not scary! ) yet will fairly represent the whole electorate but admittedly isn’t very exciting.”
Hard to believe this is such a hard fight… And yet they can’t even muster rousing enthusiasm in their endorsement! It just ain’t right, y’all.
Ugh, this country.

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Robert E. Lee’s legacy is not ‘honorable,’ John Kelly

Here’s a catalogue of evils, succinctly put, regarding the Civil War / “Lost Cause” narrative — which is lies upon lies. But its promulgators are running at least 2/3 of the government right now and perhaps, soon, all three. We must fight whitewashing at every turn. We MUST reckon with history, and its many uncomfortable truths, so that even if we can never correct the sins of our ancestors, we can ourselves do better. It’s literally the very least we can do.

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The Bride of Frankenstein is a proto feminist icon

Last night, I watched the final scene of Bride of Frankenstein. Can you believe the Bride only appears in the final 5 minutes? Within mere minutes, Elsa Lanchester created an indelible character — literally an instant worldwide icon. (More on the full context and plot of the movie if you need it.)

ALSO this a fascinating allegory when placed in current social-justice context. To wit:
Yes, the lonely Monster just wanted a friend, which is sad and all BUT in a just world: 1) men cannot give women to each other, literally or figuratively 2) a man doesn’t get to unilaterally decide a woman is going to be in any relationship with him 3) a man does not get to blow shit up because a woman rejects him.

I’m keeping it very short, obviously, but it seems interesting to me. Obviously the makers of this film find the Monster to be most sympathetic, and he is. But what of the BRIDE!?! Animated without consent and moments later, while still confused, she is immediately handed off to someone with pre-formed ideas of what her role is to be in his life, and when she rejects him (likely out of fear) he declares, “She’s just like all the others, so we’re all going to die now.” And blows everything to smithereens.

That’s not too far-fetched of a fantasy monster narrative, now is it?

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