Independence Day, 2020 (July 4, 2020)
Recognizing two mistakes I made as a participant in American democracy, and resolving never to repeat them.
Black Lives Matter, 2020 (June 2, 2020)
I stand with my fellow Americans protesting the systemic injustices threaded through the nation's laws and culture.
Taking out the trash (April 28, 2020)
A possibly naive but still irresistible vision of post-pandemic America.
Masks are clothes now, and we should all wear them (April 12, 2020)
Despite offering minimal protection, masks' role as a unifying social signal has made them a requisite article of clothing during the pandemic.
Well, I got what I wanted (February 16, 2020)
Acknowledging that I supported impeachment last year, and thinking about what comes next.
UMaine has deplatformed the College Republicans (December 19, 2019)
An unexpected followup to an earlier demand.
UMaine, please deplatform the College Republicans (October 12, 2019)
As a UMaine alumnus, I call on the university to rescind its support for the College Republicans, an organization working at odds with UMaine's public mission.
I saw The Witch (August 17, 2019)
Giving this film a second watch in a different world make me appreciate it more.
How to support Fogknife (August 3, 2019)
Donate to a progressive or pro-climate non-profit organization, and I'll mail you a handsome little vinyl sticker.
I read Plokhy’s Chernobyl (July 1, 2019)
Notes on Serhii Plokhy's dry but enlightening account of the nuclear disaster, and its role in ending the USSR.
The most cyberpunk thing I’ve ever seen (April 6, 2019)
The most cyberpunk thing I've ever seen is a drone, bullet-riddled and decorated in sacred colors, that participated in the NoDAPL protests.
I attended a sort of lecture-duet at Brown University a few days ago, with Stephen Pinker and Paul Krugman giving their respective responses to the prompt question “Is humanity progressing?” This was my first drop-in to an installment of the university’s Janus Forum lecture series. While I get the impression that the two speakers invited to these events often take up starkly opposing views, Pinker and Krugman — while not agreeing, exactly — complemented one anothers’ points in interesting ways.
Yes, let’s begin impeachment (January 19, 2019)
I hereby add my small voice to the rising chorus of those with their minds changed by Yoni Appelbaum's "Impeach Donald Trump", published in The Atlantic this month.
I’ve been playing Diablo III (October 28, 2018)
Years after its initial release, this colorful game of co-op monster-bashing mayhem feels weighted with a despairingly ignorant political message.
I must become anti-Republican to remain pro-humanity (October 6, 2018)
All Republican activity poisons both America and the world. I pledge to seek ways, through both democratic and direct action, to disempower it.
Republicans are enemies of human civilization (June 19, 2018)
Claiming membership in the Republican party today means embracing evil, cruelty, and trading away humanity's future for an extra scoop of ice cream.
Making my position plain (May 30, 2018)
I've begun adding a quiet entreaty about some salient political stances to my open-source software releases.
We can reclaim the second amendment from the NRA (February 24, 2018)
Only a few years ago, the NRA usurped a slice of constitutional law. Let's take it back.
Wherein I light a fresh candle (December 9, 2017)
In September 2016, I wrote a list of promises to myself should Trump win that year's election. I figure that I owe myself a check-in.
I read American Flagg!: Hard Times (October 15, 2017)
Howard Chaykin's Reagan-era comix chronicle imagining a near-future United States in dire trouble.
A letter to my mayor and his moustache about the climate (June 2, 2017)
I just wrote an email to the mayor of Newport. Perhaps I should follow it with a phone call — I’ve proven to myself I can call my representatives in Washington — but email seems like an acceptable starting place, at this level of government.
Black Lives Matter (January 24, 2017)
With Sessions on the stand, this is as good a morning as any to add a new sticker to my laptop. pic.twitter.com/5m3vERaWZs — Jason McIntosh (@JmacDotOrg) January 10, 2017
Headlines shouldn’t call the lies “lies” (January 22, 2017)
Calling a statement a lie imbues it with malicious intent. You and I can easily refer to counterfactual utterances by those in power that way, but I would feel disappointed if the objective press started to do so, at least outside of its opinion pages.
Hoping for the Obamas’ continued leadership (December 18, 2016)
Trump-related predictions I have offered in this blog have had a rather shaky record of coming to pass. I predicted that Trump would switch, post-primaries, from brutal dominance games to an emphasis on untenable promises, and that didn’t happen. In another post, I urged preparation for a possible Trump victory, but made it clear that I considered it more an exercise in disaster-readiness than in bracing for the inevitable.
I called my representative and senators about a thing (December 9, 2016)
Inspired by certain recent events, I last month joined the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of two climate-defense organizations (along with the Natural Resources Defence Council ) which multiple friends recommended as worthy of my regular financial support. Yesterday they emailed their membership urging action against Trump’s disturbingly nihilistic proposal that Scott Pruitt, an avowed foe of the Environmental Protection Agency, should lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Promises to myself if Trump wins (September 26, 2016)
As part of my preparations for Trump’s not-unlikely electoral victory in a few weeks, I am making some promises to myself about how I will ride through the shock, doing my best to survive it. I share these should you want to adapt them for your own benefit.
Be prepared for a Trump victory (September 16, 2016)
I don’t title this post “Prepare for a Trump victory” because even though I prefer using the active voice, I realized with mild interest that a statement beginning “Prepare for” implies inevitability, where “Be prepared for” dials it down to conceivable possibility. At the time of my writing this, that latter describes the situation my country — and therefore the world — faces regarding the likelihood of Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidential election.
Trump won’t lose on scandal (July 27, 2016)
None of it matters today. When I started writing this blog post yesterday, I planned to lead with the example “What bomb did he lob this hour — the one about how he has no Russian investments? And last week he falsely stated (in the biggest speech of his career so far) that crime had increased under Obama, and before that…” But already that’s out of date, with today’s call for foreign agents to compromise the state department. Tomorrow it’ll be something else, I have no doubt.
What will I do if Trump wins? (July 24, 2016)
He might win, you know. It might very well happen. For the first time in 16 years, and only the second time in my own whole voting career, this U.S. presidential election’s outcome does not feel like a foregone conclusion. While I encourage my fellow Americans to join me in voting for Hillary Clinton and allied downticket candidates, I must also accept the unwelcome reality that this cause has a good chance of failing to stop the swelling national desire to choose rule by an overt autocrat.
I will vote for Clinton, and others; please join me (July 22, 2016)
For myself and other Americans, this year’s presidential election is a choice between acceptance of scarred and plainly imperfect political competence, and total surrender to a fear-and-hate-fueled demagogue. I understand why people, even nice people, might choose the latter. I, however, pledge my support to the former candidate, who I think would make for the skilled, stabilizing, and ultimately quite unexciting president that my country needs right now.
“We Can’t Walk to Boston”, digital media, 2016 (July 21, 2016)
Today I found myself in a very dark place, and, feeling unable to do anything else, I wrote an email to my wife. Normally we text or Slack each other during the day, so I don’t do this very often. I’ll use email if I need to monologue over a full paragraph or two, and I’ll aim the email at my wife if I want to do something between writing in a private journal and writing to a friend, or on a blog. In this email, I confessed feelings of fear and anxiety which I found so heavy as to cripple my ability to work. I felt like I stood amidst a crisis that felt like it should preclude everything else I had going on, even though I couldn’t do anything at all about it.
How not to Normalize Trump (May 16, 2016)
In the segment “How not to Normalize Trump” from last Friday’s On the Media, Bob Garfield examines the title thesis much better and more succinctly than my earlier attempt to express my frustration about the candidate’s representation in mass media.
Call Trump what he is: the hate candidate
(May 5, 2016)
Not a cynical person by nature, I feel only a sort of wondering disappointment that Donald Trump’s overtly racist statements have not adhered to him any more tenaciously than various of his other outrageous antics. For instance, while I never looked directly at whatever happened regarding himself and photographs of Heidi Cruz that caused an uproar some weeks ago, I did get the impression that it made for about as many headlines, which stuck around for about as long, as the first time he proposed banning all Muslims from entering the country.
Trump will promise to make them pay (March 3, 2016)
Trump on foreign policy: "When I say they'll do as I tell them, they'll do as I tell them." #GOPDebate — Steven Rattner (@SteveRattner) March 4, 2016
Why I feel empathy for Trump supporters (February 28, 2016)
If you ask my mother what year it is, she’ll guess sometime in the seventies. 1978, perhaps. I believe that she chooses this year because her mind, unable to generate new memories and having lost the key to all recent ones, perceives the safety and comfort she feels at the old folks’ home, and offers that year as the nearest match it can find. The seventies were good to her and to her family.