Friday Homestead Dispatch
Harrowing Hallowed Hankies
“I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace, a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.” —an orange Floridian sexual barbarian
"It's a witch hunt!” —George Santos on his federal indictment on fraud and money laundering charges
While we were sleeping last weekend, or enjoying Gomer Pyle reruns on cable, the Conservative Political Action Coalition met once again in Hungary, where Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is stumping for the orangeman to return to power in the U.S. by declaring “Come back, Mr. President, make America Great Again and bring us peace.” Arizonans Paul Gosar and loser Kari Lake were there rambling on about “truth-tellers and peacemakers” that were being destroyed by “fake news,” as they call every journalist who criticizes them. Politico reported that In a recorded message, the orange serial liar said conservatives were “freedom-loving patriots” who are “fighting against barbarians.” “We believe in tradition, the rule of law, freedom of speech and a God-given dignity of every human life. These are ideas that bind together our movement,” he said. He called for the audience to “stand together to defend our borders, our Judeo-Christian values, our identity and our way of life.” The people who want a strong-man leader, and for the country to be beholden to Judeo-Christian values, are not going away.
If voting in our country remained fair and equal for all, Republican types would not win elections for the most part. Arizona, of all places, has actually enacted laws that expand access to the vote. According to Bloomberg, Arizona has good scores for ease of voting and ballot security.
Just because we (Arizona) currently have clean election laws doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods, using a well-beaten Kansas colloquialism. There are bills being considered now that are disturbing. AZ H.B. 2078 would empower candidates or political party representatives to demand that a local election official provide an explanation and documentation whenever a candidate believes the official violated the election code or that there are “irregularities” in the results. AZ H.B. 2232 would end early voting, eliminate vote centers, restrict mail voting, make voter ID more restrictive, strip county recorders of most of their election duties, eliminate tabulators, and create new civil fines for people and organizations who do voter registration drives but don't turn in completed forms rapidly enough.
Democratic governor Katie Hobbs has been busy with her handy-dandy veto stamp she keeps in the top right drawer of her desk. Last month she vetoed HB 2252 which sought to outlaw ranked-choice voting in Arizona, despite the fact that it isn’t used anywhere in the Grand Canyon State. The measure was a priority for the legislature’s far-right Arizona Freedom Caucus, whose members vehemently oppose an effort by voter organizations to put the voting style on the 2024 ballot.
Also vetoed was HB 2754 which added non-governmental organizations to the list of “enterprises” that can be held criminally responsible if they participate in human smuggling. Hobbs warned the bill was likely to jeopardize the efforts of immigrant aid organizations and does nothing to actually address the issue of human smuggling.
Hobbs has now vetoed 48 bills this year, just 10 shy of the record 58 bills that Janet Napolitano — the state’s last Democratic governor — rejected in 2005.
Pointed out by Heather Cox Richardson in her post last Monday, right-wing activists in the U.S., a minority so far in the United States, are working hard to cement their power by gaming the system. Election lawyer Marc Elias recently warned that “we cannot out-organize voter suppression” and that the myth that we can “minimizes the real world effects of repeated, targeted suppression laws. It shifts the burden from the suppressors to the voters. It suggests that victims of voter suppression simply need to be better ‘organized.’”
He notes that Ohio, Arkansas, South Dakota, Idaho, and Florida have all passed voter suppression laws this year and that the new laws put in place after 2020 have worked. Minority and youth voting have dropped significantly. Since 2008, Black voting in states dominated by Democrats has increased by 1.8 points; in Republican-dominated states it has dropped by four points. In Georgia, Black participation rates dropped from 47.8% to 43.2% between 2018 and 2022. Hispanic participation dropped from 27.6% to 25.1%, and the youth vote dropped from 33% to 26%.
Voter suppression is not “campaign tactics,” Elias warns. It is “the illegal and immoral deprivation of constitutional rights.”
Tired of Republican men and church ladies dictating the reproductive rights of women?
There are many grassroots organizations across the country that are pushing back against the restrictive abortion laws now sweeping the nation since the overturning of Roe v Wade in 2022. Check out these groups in Texas, Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, and Physicians for Reproductive Health, to name a few.
In Arizona, Pro-Choice Arizona is fighting for a future in which every person has access to their full potential and range of reproductive options regardless of geographic location, financial status, or political and social class. Reproductive Justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities (as defined by Sister Song, an amazing organization itself). When Arizona’s government passes policies and laws that dictate and restrict what our bodies are allowed to do and how it can be done, we lose our bodily autonomy - the freedom to decide what is right for ourselves.
And in my home state of Kansas check out Prairie Roots, a group based in Wichita that’s a hub for organizing, training, and empowering volunteers to reach the registered voters in Kansas that do not get out to the ballot box. We’re focused on long-term results, community organizing, and bringing more voters into the electorate for progressive change. One goal of the group is to turn out non-voters to flip the Kansas State Legislature. “If leaders like Stacey Abrams have proved anything, it's that investing in organizing and voter mobilization in any state — no matter how much of an uphill battle that might have been in the past — can lead to historical change,” said Barbara Bollier, a physician and politician who, from 2017 to 2021, was a member of the Kansas Senate representing the 7th district, which includes Mission Hills, Kansas in Johnson County. She is a member of the Democratic Party, after having left the Republican Party in 2018.
Movement Labs is a group dedicated to leading the fight for reproductive choice on the ground. Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by extremist Supreme Court judges, and the elevated threats against pregnant people, they have launched the Abortion Defense Fellowship and have been texting millions of voters on behalf of over 65 directly impacted abortion funds, providers, and advocacy organizations. You can get involved by going here.
A bit of good news from South Carolina where the New York Times reported that The Sisters, as they call themselves, are the women in the South Carolina State Senate who, as a block, are refusing to allow the legislature to pass a near-total ban on abortion, despite a Republican supermajority. Three times in eight months, Republican leaders in the chamber have tried to ban abortion beginning at conception. Three times, the women have resisted, even as fellow Republicans have threatened primary challenges and anti-abortion activists have paraded empty strollers and groups of children heckling the women as “baby killers.”
Republican State Senator Katrina Shealy said, “Women and their doctors and their husbands or partners should be making these decisions; 170 legislators in the state of South Carolina don’t need to be making these choices.” She also said, “I’ve got one hell of a spine already, but now I’ve got another backup,” flanked by the two other Republican women, all holding their plastic spines like trophies.
And to wrap up, just this last Wednesday, A panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously on Wednesday that the benefits of making a birth control pill available without a prescription outweigh the risks, a significant step in the decades-long push to make oral contraception obtainable over the counter in the United States.
With the end of Title 42 the southern border has seen a surge of migrants wanting a better life in the mythical U.S. I’m not going to dive into the complexities of the situation other than to recommend Heather Cox Richardson’s post from last night that lays it all out in 16 paragraphs for your consideration.
The most unassuming guy in Kevin Pakulis’ Band is Joel, who sits quietly in a chair and sings all those beautiful harmonies. In his real life, he’s Dr. Joel Dvoskin, a clinical and forensic psychologist who was Acting Commissioner of Mental Health for the State of NY once upon a time. He’s the former President of two Divisions of the American Psychological Association, including the American Psychology-Law Society and Psychologists in Public Service. He served on the APA Policy Task Force on Reducing Gun Violence, and on the APA Blue Ribbon Commission on Ethical Processes. He has provided consultation to a wide array of organizations, including the U.S. Secret Service, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the NBA Players Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and numerous corporations, organizations, and government agencies across the US and Canada. And he serves as an expert for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and various state Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&A), as well as being an expert witness and consultant for state mental health and criminal justice agencies. Yes, he’s got game.
In a recent interview Joel explains the difference between an emotional crisis and mental illness. His argument is that mass killings are by people who are going through an emotional crisis and are suicidal, as most don’t come out alive. He also argues that the media should spend as much time, or more, on suicide (prevention and awareness) than is spent on homicide. Homicide is good for ratings, however. Joel doesn’t back down in this interview with CBS’s Jeff Pogues, which starts at 3:31 and goes for over 20 minutes.
And here’s a perspective that’s worth a read from Lee Papa. His last paragraph: If you see hurting people and you don't want to help them, if you don't want to increase funding for services or ban weapons of war, if you don't want to deal with housing the unhoused or showing compassion for migrants, if you don't want to do anything to stop the hurting, if you, in fact, want them to hurt, if you think everyday things people do, like ringing a doorbell, are threats that need deadly force, then they aren't the ones who have lost their humanity. You are. And if we keep allowing our leaders to make the country deadlier, then we aren't that far behind.
We lost another of the great Tucson musicians recently. Earl Stewart Edmonson, died just two months shy of his 70th birthday. He passed away peacefully in his Tucson home on Sunday evening April 30th 2023, after his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. His loving wife Terri and daughter Rebecca were by his side.
Born, the third son of Dorothy Edmonson Saravia and Earloyde Edmonson, June 23 1953 in Tucson, AZ - Earl created a lifetime of eclectic memories with brilliant friends and fans alike. He blossomed into a prolific musician, ever since his brother Chris taught him his first guitar chords when the family lived in Houston, TX. Earl’s love of Southwest culture, music, and surfing followed him from home to home, as he found happiness whenever near the ocean or in a bluegrass jam session.
“I feel very privileged to have lived a life inside of the music” (Earl Edmonson, April 10th, 2023). The Edmonson family is an enviable bunch - full of wit, adventure, scholarly success, and most notably - music. Earl embodies all of the above. Of his many achievements, Earl won the fingerpicking contest at the 1991 Telluride Bluegrass festival. This earned him a Larrivee guitar that matched his beautiful singing voice throughout his storied career. The same year, he joined the Titan Valley Warheads band and entertained thousands of people from historic steakhouses to festival main stages, over the course of 30 years. He was a founding member of the Tucson Folk Festival, which is now one of the longest-running, free folk music festivals in the country.
“Have many adventures. Love fearlessly” (Earl Edmonson, April 23rd, 2023). As a curious and brilliant man, his interests ran wide and deep. This is best exemplified by the range of his academic career, from a Bachelor’s in Marine Biology to his Master’s degree in Spanish Literature. With his profound knowledge of Spanish language and Latin American culture, he was able to connect with folks from every walk of life on his frequent trips to Mexico.
Earl is survived by his wife Terri, daughter Rebecca, and siblings: Chris, Lee, Judy, and Suzy. His wry wit and entertaining spirit will live on in their hearts. The notable twinkle in his eye is now shining above us, and his signature smile will continue to emphasize every charismatic moment remembered in his name.
Friends and family are invited to attend the memorial service for Earl. It will be held tomorrow (Saturday May 13th) at 2:00 pm, at East Lawn Palms Mortuary, 5801 E Grant Rd. Tucson, AZ. Memorial donations can be made to Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association, KXCI, or Tucson Community Food Bank.
I considered Earl a friend…the last time I hung with him was at the bar at Pastiche, one of his favorite hangs. Indigo Social Club was performing that night and we had a chance to catch up a bit, as he was in remission at the time and feeling pretty good. RIP, Earl.