On Deplorables

Checking in with a little perspective, because the past several weeks have been WILD. I can talk about a lot of things, but I’d like to focus on HRC’s “basket of deplorables” comment.

Remember in 2008, when those videos from Rev. Jeremiah Wright was all over the media and news channels and Obama was being taken to task because Wright was saying things like, “Goddamn America!” and such? If Obama were a typical politician, he would have spent weeks saying that he didn’t agree with the Rev. until the story died or haunted him until November. He would have done some photo ops with white pastors and whatever else was necessary in order to fix his “optics.” But Obama didn’t act as a typical politician. Instead, he gave an historic speech on the subject of race in America which could basically be summarized as, “Whereas I don’t agree with Rev. Wright’s statements, here’s how he got there.” His speech was powerful and moving and recapped centuries of systemic racism and policies enacted to hurt the Black community. He essentially condemned Rev. Wright while also saying that he understands where he’s coming from.

And why did he do that? Because, if Obama became President, he would be Rev. Wright’s President, too. As well as all of the people who had similar opinions to Rev. Wright. And Obama brought a unique perspective to the National Conversation, one that was built on his own experiences and highlighted how he went down a different path. One of hope and optimism for the future.

Look, bottom-line-up-front, I don’t like what we’re doing. We, being liberals, I don’t like what we’re doing this election season. I watched in ‘08 and '09, when the links from the “other side” started to shift from FoxNews, which at least had a smidgen of journalistic integrity, to sites like WND and eventually Brietbart, GatewayPundit, etc. Sites that don’t corroborate sources, that spread conspiracy and sell books and gold on the side. And now it’s happening in '16. Sites that hold to traditional media standards are being pushed aside as links to places like BiPartisanReport, DemocracyNow, and theIntercept take their place. We’re creating our own echo-chamber of sensationalized journalism geared towards what we want to hear. And what we seem to want to hear right now, judging by the majority of links I’ve seen over the past week, is that HRC was right, and that Trump’s supporters are “deplorable.”

We’re allowed to believe that. We’re allowed to write think pieces about that and prop up her opinion. But it’s disappointing to take the position that HRC was right to say what she said because, much like Obama in '08, HRC is running to be THEIR president too, and no President should outright dismiss a minimum of 25% of the electorate.

HRC has the capacity to be an incredible leader, but in this case, she let an opportunity slip. HRC walked back the “half” portion of her comment and websites are like, “This won’t hurt her because 'those people’ won’t vote for her anyway,” and the whole response has been gross. HRC should have taken a page out of Obama’s playbook and responded to her own comment by saying, “I was wrong to say that, because as President I would have to represent the interest of DJT’s supporters, as well. My approach to representing their interests is different than DJT’s, whereas he plans on emboldening their beliefs, I plan on proposing policies that will make life better for all Americans.”

She should then give a speech, must like Obama’s, that condemns that line of thought but also explains HOW PEOPLE GOT THERE. From her perspective as a white woman who came from a white, working class family. And how they got there is a simple - a Southern Strategy that blamed all of their problems on the “other” to get into office, while enacting policies that solely benefited rich, white Americans.

Look, people, maybe I’ll have to burn my liberal card for saying this - but White Rage is real, and it has roots. I recently read WHITE TRASH (…/…/0670785970), a book that catalogs 400 years of rich, white landowners establishing a poor, white, sometimes-working class. I will eventually get to WHITE RAGE (…/…/ref=sr_1_1…), as well. We certainly don’t need to embrace and coddle the stance of white rage (DJT’s strategy), but the President of the US should acknowledge it and explain why her policies would work for ALL people, even those whose opinions have baked in a lifetime of being poor and forgotten.

The President of the US should not take an approach that effectively says, “I will alienate 25% of the country.” And it would be nice if we, as liberals, didn’t take a “nanny nanny poo poo” approach to the election, either. We’ve gotten very good at explaining DIFFICULT concepts like White Privilege and Rape Culture and the like - all I’m saying is, take a moment to understand where White Rage comes from, as well. Don’t embrace it, but understand it. Because when you understand it, you can explain it, and when you can explain it, you can also explain how liberal policies aim to help all Americans, especially the poor, and how the GOP has accepted the baton of a class-based system that has been the root cause of our problems for centuries. And yes, the Democrats carried it before them. And the Puritan elite crafted the baton out of the bones and blood of the Native Population.

It’s just so much more complicated than “HRC was right.” We’re supposed to be better than that.

Creating a Custom Panel for the Django Debug Toolbar

Sometimes you work on stuff you don’t really control, eg. when interacting with some mysterious SOAP server accross the Internets, and you’d appreciate a little help from the Django ecosystem to ease debugging.

That’s — you guessed it — my case currently, and I really appreciated being able to create my own custom panel for adding specific debugging capabilities to the awesome Django Debug Toolbar.

Here’s how I did, learning mainly from the code of the panels shipping with the DJT. I’m supposing you have installed and configured the DJT in your project already.

First of all, create a module within one of your app (or wherever you want as it’s in your python path) and create a DebugPanel derivated class, like this:

from debug_toolbar.panels import DebugPanel
from django.template.loader import render_to_string
from django.utils.translation import ugettext_lazy as _

class MyUsefulDebugPanel(DebugPanel):
    name = 'MyUseful'
    has_content = True

    def nav_title(self):
        return _('Useful Infos')

    def title(self):
        return _('My Useful Debug Panel')

    def url(self):
        return ''

    def content(self):
        context = self.context.copy()
            'infos': [
                {'plop': 'plip'},
                {'plop': 'plup'},
        return render_to_string('panels/my_useful_panel.html', context)

The debug panel class methods and code should be self-explanatory enough. Just note you have to create a template, here panels/my_useful_panel.html to be stored in your project templates directory, with this kind of contents:

<p>Hey, these are useful informations, I swear:</p>
{% for info in infos %}
    <li>Plop is {{ info.plop}}</li>
{% endfor %}

Now you have to register the new panel by adding its path to the DEBUG_TOOLBAR_PANELS tuple, in your (create it if it’s not there):


Of course it’s up to you to put really useful informations there, but here’s the result, tadaa:

Thanks for reading, happy ponying.


The ensemble scenes of Hannibal, Il Muto ballet, Don Juan Rehearsal and Don Juan Triumphant, from the upcoming non-replica Czech production. 

Photos from here

Opinion piece ran back in March on Haaretz:

Hitler-Trump Analogies Are Drastic, but We Can’t Miss the Warning Signs Again

Since the Holocaust, American Jews’ collective cry has been: Don’t let history be repeated. That starts with zero tolerance for inflammatory speech. Trump’s campaign is made of little else.

What did we see when thousands of Donald Trump supporters obediently raised their right arms high in the air to pledge support for him? It’s unlikely that many American Jewish voters saw that as just another election rally scene. The visual echoes were visceral, immediate and repellant.

More than any theological belief, the one shared value that has characterized the American-Jewish worldview of the 20th and 21st centuries is ‘Never Again.’
The historical imperative to never repeat the Holocaust has served as a core component of the education of American Jewish youth for three generations. 

We visit Holocaust museums and memorials and some - actual death camps. It seems as if half of our Jewish education is devoted to text and traditions; the other half to bearing witness to our recent collective trauma, vowing communally that never again will we fall victim to persecution, never again will we allow such evil to take root.

read more:

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