Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman

book jacketGive Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman (2015)

This is a decent history of how African Americans struggled to get the vote in reality, including coverage of the Jim Crow era. But the real meat of the book starts about page 236 when the whole Shelby disaster gutting the Civil Rights Act began.

It is especially bitter to be writing this today. Today, April 7, 2017, was the day the Supreme Court was killed by Mitch McConnell and his cronies by changing the rules to get the judge, Neil Gorsuch (forever will be Gorsuck to me)  that ruled against women’s access to contraception in the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision [rest in hell Scalia] on the freaking Supreme Court. His opinion was based on the absurd belief that WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS were subordinate to the religious delusions of employers. His claim was based on the notion that ANYTHING that allowed women employees to have access to birth control made the “religious” employers “complicit” in allowing women to have bodily autonomy and not be forced to become pregnant and subsequently be forced to give birth.

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The Logic of Failure by Dietrich Dorner

book jacket the logic of failure

The Logic of Failure: Why things go  wrong and what we can do to make them right by Dietrich Dörner (1989).

Thinking habits and inclinations and illogical methods result in failures to correctly asses risk/rewards, consequences, and effectiveness of any particular decision. These errors compound when a bad decision results in a doubling down of the bad decision rather than accepting the failure and changing method of thinking and plans. Unintended consequences devastate the best planned interventions to solve social ills, business strategy, and pretty much all decision making.

Unrecognized assumptions of thinking in a complex world cause massive harm. Further pushed to the negative consequences if the same kind of thinking attempts to correct the flaws.

“Patterns of thought — such as taking one thing at a time, cause and effect, and linear thinking — cannot work in a world we now recognize as ecologies, complex interactive self-balancing (before humans decided to “tame” and exert dominion over all) systems.

This is an excellent book! Good read. The funny part is that even though it is an older book, some rascal put a reserve on it at the library so I couldn’t renew it! How crazy is that! I think I heard about it on book TV or something so maybe there are other book TV people who follow up on referenced works. But since it is not a current publication, I can’t imagine or remember why it would have been there. So it must have been referenced in some other book I read. Darn it, I am going to have to start making reading genealogy trees.

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White Trash by Nancy Isenberg

book on class in AmericaWhite Trash: The 400-Year Untold history of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (2016)

Equality as an ideal, in the abstract, serves as the theme of American democracy. It is false, of course, as a reality.

Rich white men never willingly gave any power, money, or anything else to anyone unless they were forced to do so. Married women were denied legal existence being subsumed upon marriage only as a adjunct to the husband. And were legally chattel back in the day.

Americans are not and have never been living in a “classless society.”

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Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement by Thomas Geoghegan (2 of 2)

only one thing can save us now a new kind of labor movement book jacketOnly One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement by Thomas Geoghegan (2 of 2)

Carrying on from part 1 of my commentary about this book, he starts chapter 4 off with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike of 2012.  The author mentions that in his youth he was a “lawyer for the United Mine Workers” so he knew that strikes were risky but “it’s still hard to imagine a labor movement without them.”

I remember reading about the strike but was not aware of any details. I just assumed that they were getting screwed over somehow, because strikes are risky things! And for some reason, Republicans hate teachers, and especially hate tenured teachers. Whenever I hear someone bitch about the luxury lifestyle of “three months vacation” and “high pay” I know I am listening to a Republican.

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The Money Cult by Chris Lehmann

the money cult book jacket with capitalism Christianity and part of money showingThe Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream by Chris Lehmann (2016)

BUY THIS BOOK! I am taking my library copy back and buying it myself.

I am posting this now without further commentary just in case someone needs an idea for a Christmas present (ironically since “Christianity” is part of the problem!) for a progressive friend or family member.