7 December 2016


0000 by Jeff Hess

[Update at 0525 on 6 December: The initial celebration has died down and we need to understand how this victory came about—In Dakota Access pipeline controversy, Obama’s ties to tribes played pivotal role—before the inevitable shit hits the fan in January.]

[Update at 0430 on 5 December: What great news to start of the work week: Army will not grant easement for Dakota Access Pipeline crossing. According to Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy:

Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do. The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.

This doesn’t shut down the pipeline, but we now have breathing room to do the necessary work to shut the DAPL for good. We must remain vigilant. We must not look away]

[Update at 0523 on 4 December: This is how the slaughter at Tienanmen Square began—Showdown Looms at Dakota Access Pipeline Protest as Vets, Civil Rights Observers Converge Before Evacuation Deadline—and that is under President Obama. Under President Trump? Trump Declares Support For Dakota Access Pipeline Ahead Of Evacuation Order Against Protesters. Don’t look away.]

DAPL from December 2014 to December 2016

In the past I’ve asked if the DAPL protest could become this century’s Wounded Knee. I’m now thinking that Tienanmen Square might be the better comparison.

[Update @ 0514 on 3 December: Just as they did during the Vietnam war and numerous other public calls for the country we risked all for—Veterans Offer Relief To Protesters Of Dakota Access Pipeline.]

[Update at 0428 on 2 December: Time magazine weighs in on the DAPL story with—The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight Is the Future of Environmental Activism.]

[Update at 0525 on 1 December: So, which banks are financing the Dakota Access Pipeline? Bank Talk—JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are just two of a number of major banks acting as lenders for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.]

[Update at 0518 on 30 November: I agree with Russell Begaye—Navajo President Calls for Obama to Intervene on Dakota Access Pipeline. President Obama can’t do much in his remaining days, but he can still take actions to help seal his legacy for the good.]

[Update @ 0532 on 29 November: The colonized are fighting back—How Indigenous Activists in Norway Got the First Bank to Pull Out of the Dakota Access Pipeline.] —More…

the counted
top of mind

End Our Racism Xenophobia… Stop Global Warming… Free Raif Badawi…

There are a number of stories and themes that I come back to again and again. My friend Eric Vessels once wrote that I do a consistently good job of following up, and Scene Magazine said that my daily posts remind the public of Cleveland controversies long after the local media gets bored and moves on.

So, that is what I’m attempting to do here with three stories: our ongoing conversation on Racism Xenophobia in America, the vital need to slam the brakes on Global Warming/Climate Change and the struggle to free Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

While this post is stuck to the top of my blog as a constant reminder to my readers and myself, new stories on many other topics do appear below.

Enjoy. Think, Discuss, Act…

wayback-machine-smallOne Year Ago* at Have Coffee Will WriteFive Years Ago at Have Coffee Will WriteTen Years Ago at Have Coffee Will Write… *As I post these reminders of the past year at Have Coffee Will Write, I want us all to be reminded of the presidential race and presidency that we might have had if Bernie had not been shut out by the DNC.

7 December 2016


0005 by Jeff Hess


[Update at 1650: No mention today of the anniversary today in school. I guess President Roosevelt’s infamy was less than 75 years for most of the country.]

5 December 2016


1500 by Roldo Bartimole

Why do we offer significant welfare to an industry—sports—worth billions of dollars: NFL—$76 billion; NBA $54 billion; MLB $38 billion?

That’s a lot of dollar value. Yet our revenue-struggling city/county pick up the tab. We get extorted in public.

Three sports businesses are worth a total of $168 billion. And always growing. The NFL, best in sharing TV revenue, recently added $27 million to $131 million per team, according to Sports Business Journal.

City after city extorted.

Yet they continue to grab more government revenue. Welfare for the rich.

I don’t see professional ball players complaining, as they do about other civil matters. They are major kleptomaniac takers. They remain hypocritical to their own benefit.

The value figures here are from Forbes magazine for 2016.

These are industries on the take. Corrupt and corrupting our politics. It will only get worse. Because we allow it.

Our media, which act ONLY as promoters of the pilferage, bestow constant positive coverage. The Plain Dealer, the Sunday after the World Series, ran five newspaper sections of 44 pages, all on the sports.

What does that say?

This is pandering in the extreme. The newspaper fails miserable to tell Continue Reading »

2 December 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess


30 November 2016


1800 by Jeff Hess

30 November 2016


1700 by Jeff Hess

So today I’ve came across one of those intersection points that I love so much when Diane Rehm and Scott Adams both take on reality in Trumpian America.

First, here’s what Adams’ wrote:

The mainstream media and the public now accept the idea that Trump ignored facts, science, and even common decency… and still got elected. I have been telling readers of this blog for a year that facts don’t matter. Policies don’t matter. The only thing that matters is persuasion. And Trump has plenty of persuasion.

To be perfectly clear, when I say facts don’t matter, I mean that in the limited sense of decision-making. If you make the wrong decision, the facts can kill you. That’s not in debate. I’m talking about the process or arriving at a decision—whether it is a good decision or not. The decision-making process is largely divorced from facts and reason. We live under a consistent illusion that facts and logic guide our decisions. They don’t.

Now, before you start sputtering that Adams is full of shit, listen to Diane Rehm’s How Journalists Are Rethinking Their Role Under A Trump Presidency.

Not only are we no longer even on the same continent as Kansas, I think we’ve left the planet.

29 November 2016


1200 by Roldo Bartimole

How would you like to buy Billionaire Dan “Casino” Gilbert a brand new arena here in Cleveland?

Well, he and LeBron James may just want that from Cuyahoga County taxpayers before long.

The same tax payers still haven’t nearly paid for JUST the overruns on the first arena—Quicken Arena. That bill was presented to taxpayers in 1994. We owe until 2023.

In a panel a week ago, Len Komoroski, Cavs and Quicken Loan Arena CEO and a principal in Gilbert’s casino business, answered a question from moderator Peter Krouse of the Plain Dealer.

The panel, sponsored by the League of Voters of Greater Cleveland Women, seemed a prelude to the usual sports moguls’ quest for more public money.

Krouse, who had recently spoken to County Executive Armond Budish, asked whether the Cavs are looking for a new facility or a revamping of Quicken Arena.

Budish told Krouse the County had no borrowing power left. No wonder. Continue Reading »

28 November 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess

No seriously, she got vilified for this.

28 November 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

Back on 5 November I created a Google Alert to follow daily news on the Dakota Access Pipeline. I haven’t received an alert since Wednesday, 23 November. What with all the holiday activities, I looked away until this morning. Boy, was that a mistake.

A lot has happened since last Wednesday, not the least is that the number of protesters has now moved into five digits. Listening to my local NPR station yesterday I heard a reporter say that more than 10,000 people are now gathered at Standing Rock. That is more than the combined forces at The Battle of Greasy Grass (we white folk say Little Big Horn) and while in the past I have suggested that Standing Rock could become this century’s Wounded Knee, I’m now thinking that Tienanmen Square might be the better comparison. Yes, both ended in the brutal suppression, beating and murder of innocents, but I have hopes for a happier outcome with the whole world watching and the government unable, or at least unwilling, to enforce a news blackout in our nation’s heartland.

My question, though, is whether or not Google is intentionally blocking Google Alerts from gathering and disseminating news about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests? I’ve been able to update the news the old fashion way by using a search engine other than Google, but something stinks here. Is this shadowbanning?

27 November 2016


0800 by Jeff Hess

27 November 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess

So, Matt Taibbi, writing in President Trump and How America Got It So Wrong paints the blame with a broad brush, but there some, and I take no glee in this, who knew Trump was a real threat and believed that Bernie Sanders was the only person who could beat The Great Pumpkin Jack O Lantern by energizing a generation of new voters in much the same way President Obama did in 2008.

Instead we got Hillary and the result is worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy. Taibbi writes:

Trump made idiots of us all. From the end of primary season onward, I felt sure Trump was en route to ruining, perhaps forever, the Republican Party as a force in modern American life. Now the Republicans are more dominant than ever, and it is the Democratic Party that is shattered and faces an uncertain future.

And they deserve it. The Democratic Party’s failure to keep Donald Trump out of the White House in 2016 will go down as one of the all-time examples of insular arrogance. The party not only spent most of the past two years ignoring the warning signs of the Trump rebellion, but vilifying anyone who tried to point them out. It denounced all rumors of its creeping unpopularity as vulgar lies and bullied anyone who dared question its campaign strategy by calling them racists, sexists and agents of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

But the party’s willful blindness symbolized a similar arrogance across the American intellectual elite. Trump’s election was a true rebellion, directed at anyone perceived to be part of “the establishment.” The target group included political leaders, bankers, industrialists, academics, Hollywood actors, and, of course, the media. And we all closed our eyes to what we didn’t want to see.

Well, I hope everyone’s eyes are wide open now.

26 November 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

26 November 2016


0400 by Jeff Hess

This morning Jill Miller Zimon writes in In Trump do not trust that we should not:

[T]rust Donald Trump, unless you want to be disappointed, repeatedly. Not because he lies. Not because he exaggerates. Not because he has evil intent. But because he will always put himself first.

In Donald Trump’s case, putting oneself first isn’t the common notion we have about doing what is in one’s best interest.

I think Jill is right in her message—Trump cannot be trusted to do what he says unless he benefits directly—but in the broader picture, I think that we can trust President-Elect Trump to behave exactly in the way he has shown us he will act.

We simply need to acknowledge two realities: first, that Donald Trump is a brilliant and successful individual and second, that he is the sum of the life experiences that have shaped his personal reality. We ignore those and we delude ourselves into continuing to make disastrous mistakes.

As a way into the second, I left this comment on Jill’s post:

Good morning Jill,

That’s true, you (and Blow) are absolutely correct.

As to why Trump is as he is, we need only understand the pastor who lead the congregation Trump grew up in: Norman Vincent Peale, most famous for his book The Power Of Positive Thinking. Reading that book, along with Trump’s own, The Art Of The Deal (both volumes are in my library), will tell you all you need to know to anticipate the next eight (yes eight, the Democrats will not take back the White House—or the Congress—in 2020) years.

We might argue that Trump perverted Peale’s message, but I don’t think so. Barbara Ehrenreich laid Peale’s message bare in her 2009 book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.

The signs of Trumps victory have been there all along. We let him win because we were too focused on dismissing him as a clown and an idiot.

We need to stop making that mistake. We disregard those with world views different from our own by calling them stupid at our peril.

Do all you can to make today a better day,


I think that reading, or re-reading, The Power Of Positive Thinking and The Art Of The Deal are the most important reading that anyone who wishes to understand what has happened can undertake between now and 20 January.

25 November 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess

25 November 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

I’m catching up on the news sources that I am allowing back into my space this morning and reading Matt Taibbi’s ever excellent work at Rolling Stone shows that my own news fast idea was far from original.

Taibbi, in After This Election, Turn It Off for Rolling Stone, writes:

Most of what we consume as political media these days is just an endless series of alarmist features detailing the bottomless iniquity of the Other Side. Some of it might be true, who knows. Maybe even most or all of it, in the case of Donald Trump.

But our capacity to do anything about what we read nowhere near matches the sheer quantity of negative messages we receive. So we end up with a hyper-stimulated population, overwhelmed on all sides by feelings of disgust, anger and impotence.

There are only two reasons why society would be organized to keep us paralyzed this way, in a perpetual state of manic antagonism.

The first is that this is the accidental by-product of a rapacious and nihilistic commercial media system, in which the financial incentives run in the direction of using anger to keep target demographics captive for advertisers.


The other possible reason for such divisive media is even more overtly political. If you want to keep any population from ever usefully focusing its energies in any direction, just keep its people geeked up on intramural hatreds and conspiracy theories. That way, they’ll never get anything done.

That our political process was so easily reduced to a grotesque joke in the past year should tell us all something.

It showed that the people who run this country don’t really care if we make a mess of our democratic rituals, provided we don’t actually elect someone hostile to their interests.

Otherwise, mazel tov! So long as the population keeps going to work and spending money, nobody up there really cares what goes on.

The American people, right to left, were played in 2016 and the people who benefited, I mean really benefited are celebrating what a silly herd of sheep we are. They think we can’t touch them, but we can.

Taibbi concludes:

This has been a terrible year for our country. American exceptionalism as a non-sarcastic idea is dead. Whatever our argument used to be for being a hegemonic superpower with the authority to meddle in the affairs of every other country, it’s no longer valid. We’re officially earth’s most embarrassing people.

Only direct action and sustaining financial support for groups fighting against the smug bastards can help. John Oliver offered a long list of organizations (go to timemark 19:12), pick one, or pick a local group, as I have done, to support with your time and money.

Turn off the noise so you can hear the gurgle of your freedom and your future going down the drain.

25 November 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

And absolutely: Fuck You 2016

25 November 2016


0400 by Jeff Hess

As promised, I’m back from a mini-retreat from the news, but over the course of the last 16 days a lot of news was published and guess what? My world didn’t collapse. So I’ve decided to ease my way back in over the balance of 2016 and decide, probably somewhere short of my previous deep dive of reading several news sources daily, how much immersion I really want to participate in.

One of the luxuries of not listening to my car radio during my daily 80-minute round-trip commute was that I did listen to several audio books including, Great Expectations, War And Peace and Eight Million Ways To Die. This last, written by one of my favorite authors, Lawrence Block, concerns Matthew Scudder, an alcoholic former police detective now informal private investigator in New York. The title rises from Scudder’s increasing depression from reading about murders and deaths in the city (he should have listened to Thoreau). Scudder tells a fellow alcoholic about how the murders are affecting him and his friend gives him the advice: stop reading the papers.

Sound advice.

That convinced me that when I reached this morning, I would put certain items back on my reading list, but not others. You can check my blogroll, but here’s the basics: I’m adding Mano Singham, Matt Taibbi and Ta-Nehisi Coates (along with two old friends who are blogging again: Jill Miller Zimon, Writes Like She Talks and Adam Harvey, Organic Mechanic) back in, but I’m leaving The Atlantic (online only, I still read my paper copy each month), The Guardian and The Intercept off my reading queue.

I will also be keeping John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on the list.
We’ll see how this works.

24 November 2016


1700 by Jeff Hess

Between now and the morning of 25 November, I’ll be taking a news break. I’ve removed all of my usual news-source links from my blogroll and I won’t be listening to the radio in my car. The only story I intend to follow will be events surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline and I’ll be doing that through a Google alert.

Any pieces by Roldo Bartimole will continue to be published as I receive them and I will be writing non-news related posts as thoughts come to me.

I will be reading my email (and comments), so I’m not disappearing down a rabbit hole, I’m getting my precious brain space back.

Do all you can to make today the best possible day you can.


(First posted on 9 November)

24 November 2016


0900 by Jeff Hess

Via Home Made Modern…

24 November 2016


0800 by Jeff Hess

So, you know I ditched both Twitter and Facebook more than three years ago, but occasionally I think about returning. Thankfully, on this Thanksgiving, someone writes a post or an article reinforcing my position that all social media (not just Twitter and Facebook) are addictive time sucks designed to be addictive time sucks and, like cigarettes, there is no safe way to use them and I’m saved.

Cal Newport, writing in What I’m Talking About When I Talk About Social Media explains:

On Sunday, I published an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that social media can cause more harm than good for your career.

The core of my argument is that the professional benefits of social media are being overemphasized (I don’t buy this idea that suddenly Twitter and Facebook are the main channels through which talent is recognized and opportunities spread), while the professional costs of social media are being underemphasized.

I was taken how Newport took the feed back from his piece and expanded his thesis to answer questions about: what is social media.

When I’m speaking negatively about “social media,” I’m almost always referring to the major services offered by the major attention economy conglomerates; Twitter, Facebook, etc.

These companies, like any media company, harvest your time and attention and transform it into revenue. This is a lucrative industry, so they invest a large amount of resources into making their services as addictive as possible.

The ideal use case for these companies is that you return persistently to their services throughout most of your waking hours (c.f., Jim Clark talking about a social media panel where a panelist was raving about the growing number of users spending 12+ hours a day on Facebook).

Contrary to some recent strains of thinking, I don’t think these companies are doing anything unethical, much in the same way I wouldn’t condemn a television network for trying to produce the most watchable possible programming.

But a side effect of this addictiveness is that it can cripple your ability to perform deep work, which, as you know, I think could have disastrous consequences for both your professional success and personal fulfillment.

Thankfully, Newport gives blogs (like his own, Have Coffee Will Write and The Writing On The Wal) a pass.

This definition of “social media” is quite narrow. It doesn’t include, for example, individual blogs, or discussion forums, or homegrown sites like Hacker News—as these services haven’t been massively optimized to colonize our cognitive landscape.

I know many people who are dismayed about how much time they spend checking Facebook, but (to my secret disappointment) I’ve never met someone whose claimed the same about Study Hacks.

In other words: I like the Internet and I like its potential to connect, energize, and inform people (while also recognizing, of course, its scary potential to misinform and divide on a mass scale). But I’m wary of the small number of services that have conquered our culture by claiming to be synonymous with these goals while in reality plotting to squeeze every last cent of value out of our scarce attention.

Once again I’m saved from the abyss.

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