Wednesday, January 31, 2018

For Those Suffering From Presidential Abuse - There's Help

This guidance for women in abusive relationships seems appropriate for Republican members of Congress and others suffering from presidential abuse.   The quotes are from
"Getting out of an abusive or violent relationship isn’t easy. Maybe you’re still hoping that things will change or you’re afraid of what your partner will do if he discovers you’re trying to leave. Whatever your reasons, you probably feel trapped and helpless. But help is available. There are many resources available for abused and battered women [Republicans], including crisis hotlines, shelters—even job training, legal services, and childcare. You deserve to live free of fear. Start by reaching out."
Comment:  obviously it's time to set up those hotlines and job training programs for Republican members of Congress.   I'd also propose a fund to build a statue to honor the first ten Republican Senators and the first 25 Republican House members who defect.  That's all it would take to switch the Senate and House to deal with Trump.  But just the first brave ones.  Once the tipping point is reached, it's no longer a brave act.

"Making the decision to leave
As you face the decision to either end the abusive relationship or try to save it, keep the following things in mind:
If you’re hoping your abusive partner will change... The abuse will probably happen again. Abusers have deep emotional and psychological problems. While change is not impossible, it isn’t quick or easy. And change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for his behavior, seeks professional treatment, and stops blaming you, his unhappy childhood, stress, work, his drinking, or his temper.
If you believe you can help your abuser... It’s only natural that you want to help your partner. You may think you’re the only one who understands him or that it’s your responsibility to fix his problems. But the truth is that by staying and accepting repeated abuse, you’re reinforcing and enabling the abusive behavior. Instead of helping your abuser, you’re perpetuating the problem.
If your partner has promised to stop the abuse... When facing consequences, abusers often plead for another chance, beg for forgiveness, and promise to change. They may even mean what they say in the moment, but their true goal is to stay in control and keep you from leaving. But most of the time, they quickly return to their abusive behavior once they’ve been forgiven and they’re no longer worried that you’ll leave.
If your partner is in counseling or a program for batterers... Even if your partner is in counseling, there is no guarantee that he’ll change. Many abusers who go through counseling continue to be violent, abusive, and controlling. If your partner has stopped minimizing the problem or making excuses, that’s a good sign. But you still need to make your decision based on who he is now, not the man you hope he will become.
If you’re worried about what will happen if you leave... You may be afraid of what your abusive partner will do, where you’ll go, or how you’ll support yourself or your children. But don’t let fear of the unknown keep you in a dangerous, unhealthy situation.
Comment:  There's so much for Republicans to absorb in this.
Republicans:  read this carefully:  He's not going to change.  You can't help him change.  You can't believe his promises.  He fires the advisors when they cross him.  He won't go to counseling.

"Signs that your abuser is NOT changing:
He minimizes the abuse or denies how serious it really was. [√]
He continues to blame others for his behavior. [√√√√]
He claims that you’re the one who is abusive. [√]
He pressures you to go to couple’s counseling. [Ha!]
He tells you that you owe him another chance. [Hasn't admitted doing anything wrong]
You have to push him to stay in treatment. [not applicable]
He says that he can’t change unless you stay with him and support him. [sorta]
He tries to get sympathy from you, your children, or your family and friends. [√]
He expects something from you in exchange for getting help.[He expects something from you in exchange for nothing.]
He pressures you to make decisions about the relationship."[√]
We're all involved and victimized by this drama in the White House.  But Republicans in the House and Senate seem to be the ones most in denial.  As I said above,  if just ten red Senators (fewer really)  and 25 red Representatives stand up to their abuser, we can all be rid of him.

For those who are Democrats or otherwise watching this with alarm, I recommended a way last year how to get enough Republicans to defect in the House and Senate.  I suggested setting up a statue fund that would honor the first  ten Republican senators and first 25 Republican house members for defecting from their party's support of Trump.  This can include safe houses and counseling and all the other things the HelpGuide site recommends for victims of domestic violence.  [Unfortunately, I can't remember enough about what I wrote to be able to find the post, but you get the drift.]

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Trump's State of the Union Lies And Skutniks And Calls To End The Rule Of Law

Politifact has this chart out on Trump's record of truth telling over his presidency.

Here's their take on the State of the Union. It doesn't look like the checked every statement to me.


What is a Skutnik?  From a January 2016 TIME article:
In his 1982 State of the Union speech, Reagan did something new. Almost 200 years after George Washington gave the first annual message from the President to Congress, Reagan’s first State of the Union started a tradition by inviting Lenny Skutnik to attend.

The article tells us that Skutnik was a 28 year old Congressional Budget Office employee, and as TIME tells the story,
"On Jan. 13, an Air Florida plane crashed into Washington D.C.’s 14th Street bridge. Skutnik jumped into the Potomac to pull a victim ashore, gaining national notoriety along the way."
Sputnik was invited to the State of the Union two weeks later. Skutnik
“was a bit unnerved when Nancy Reagan sat down next to him in the House gallery” and he wasn’t expecting to be called out by name. As the crowd clapped, “Skutnik, looking slightly stricken, stood up with the help of a shove from behind. ‘My mind went blank, I didn’t move a muscle. I was stunned. Not many people get standing ovations, and for somebody like me…’”
The article says that since then every president has used a Skutnik at one or more of their States of the Union.   I don't know what the record is, but it sure seemed like a lot at Trump's first State of the Union.  But, I guess, it's a good way to associate oneself with heroes and people who somehow illustrate issues.  It's also a good way to take up time without really talking about policy except in the most general way.

VOX identifies (and gives more detail of) 15 people who were spotlighted during Trump's speech.

  • Corey Adams: A welder from Dayton, Ohio. He and his wife became first-time homeowners in 2017. 
  • Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger: Owners of a metal fabrication company 
  • Elizabeth Alvarado and Robert Mickens; Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas: Parents of Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas, respectively, two teenagers murdered on Long Island in 2016. Federal authorities have indicted members of MS-13, a gang founded in Los Angeles by Salvadoran refugees, for their murders. 
  • Agent Celestino “CJ” Martinez: An ICE agent whose investigations have led to more than 100 arrests of MS-13 gang members, 
  • Retired Cpl. Matthew Bradford: A member of the Marine Corps who deployed to Iraq and was badly injured by an IED in 2007, losing his eyes and both his legs. He is now the first blind double amputee to reenlist in the Marine Corps, according to the White House.
  • Ashlee Leppert: A US Coast Guard member who participated in rescue missions during hurricane season.
  • Staff Sgt. Justin Peck: A staff sergeant in the US Army who participated in operations in Raqqa, 
  • Preston Sharp: The 12-year-old Sharp is leading an initiative to put American flags and carnations on soldiers’ graves through the Flag and Flower Challenge (#FandFChallenge).
  • Jon Bridgers: A founder of the Cajun Navy, whose volunteers helped rescue stranded victims of Hurricane Harvey. 
  • David Dahlberg: A fire prevention technician with the US Forest Service who saved 62 children 
  • Ryan Holets: A police officer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He and his wife adopted a baby from a homeless mother with an opioid addiction. 

One more little thing that was tucked into the speech.  I thought I heard him say something about accountability and keeping government accountable by firing federal employees.  But it went by pretty fast.  It was alarming, but then there were a couple more Skutniks and I forgot it.

Fortunately, Slate didn't forget it. 

"Under the cover of his soothing rhetoric about unity and bipartisanship, Trump called on Congress to give him unprecedented and unquestionably antidemocratic powers: “Tonight,” he said, “I call on the congress to empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers—and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.”

By design, it is easy to overlook the true significance of the second half of that phrase. But dwell on it for a moment, and imagine what this would actually look like in practice. Under Trump’s proposal, any Cabinet secretary could decide that, say, a law enforcement official investigating the president had “undermined the public trust” or “failed the American people”—and fire him on the spot. In other words, Trump is calling for an end to any semblance of independence for the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Justice, or any other federal agency.
To be sure, such legislation is unlikely to pass.  While the constant standing ovations for Trump from the Republican benches demonstrate the degree to which the GOP has now embraced the president, they are not yet at the point of dismantling the rule of law quite so brazenly; even if they did, the Supreme Court would be very likely to strike such a law down as unconstitutional.
But the fact that Trump’s authoritarian demand is unlikely to be realized anytime soon does not make it unimportant. In his first State of the Union, the 45th president of the United States asked Congress for the authority to end the rule of law. And that—not Trump’s supposedly unifying policy proposals, much less his supposedly presidential ability to read a speech off a teleprompter—should be the headline of every newspaper tomorrow.
There are rules and laws in place to insure that career government employees cannot be arbitrarily fired.  They must have first gone through an investigation and hearing to proves they violated a significant enough rule or law to justify firing.  Allowing a cabinet secretary to arbitrarily fire an employee on the spot does not comport with the rule of law.

It really shouldn't come as a surprise that Trump would like to fire any employee who displeases him, after all his fame is in part associated with the phrase "You're fired!"  And it's not inconsistent with his apparent attempts to block the investigation into his ties with Russia.  But it's chilling.

DOT Hearing on Seward Highway & 36th, The Sun, And The Drawer Boy All In Anchorage Today

The State Department of Transportation, etc.  (DOT) is having a public hearing to talk to the community about congestion in midtown, particularly related to the Seward Highway.  You can find out more at a website with the url of

More specific information about today's meeting is here.  Basically it says:
(presentations at 3:30pm and 6:00pm)
Loussac Library
Draft Goals:

  • Connect commerce and community 
  • Improve multi-modal transportation efficiency
  • Improve safety to all users
  • Align with city and state planning documents
  • Realistic implementation play
You can see there real specific here and focused on using language that everyone can understand. (Sarcasm alert)

The return address is DOWL the engineering company that seems to get all the contracts for public participation for DOT.  The do an excellent job of making maps and charts and offering options, and being friendly.  But my experience - especially with the Bragaw extension through UAA greenbelt - was that it's basically show and tell and very little listen.  

But, there was an earlier plan for 36th and New Seward.  I never got to any of the hearings - timing was wrong for me - but I was appalled at the plans which included an offramp in the middle of the highway.  I know that happens places sometimes like LA, but in Anchorage with all the offramp to the right, it seemed user-unfriendly to have one that was different from all the rest.  The even bought the land where Nico's was on 36th just west of the highway.   But it seems that the plan has been scrapped and they are rethinking now the corridor from Tudor all the way to 20th.  

The Sun

The Sun is out yet once again.  I'm talking about the big fiery ball in the sky which has been in town pretty much every day since we got back last week.  It's beautiful.  And odds are good that tomorrow's early morning lunar eclipse will be visible.  

The Drawer Boy

Finally, The Drawer Boy is playing tonight.  The Drawer Boy was, in my mind and in the minds of the Anchorage International Film Festival judges (we don't always agree), the Best Feature film at last December's festival.  

Here's what the Festival is sending out about tonight's showing:

Anchorage International Film Festival is with The Drawer Boy at 49th State Brewing Co 
Anchorage, AK ·
Tuesday January 30th - Back by popular demand 2017 AIFF First Place Winner for Narrative Features - The Drawer Boy will be screening at 49th State Brewery! This is a free screening. Doors open at 6pm and the show starts at 6:30. Come in and grab a beer and dinner and sit back and enjoy the show. AIFF will have a drawing for an official AIFF17 Tshirt and throw your business card in the bowl for a chance to win an all access pass after our winter series at 49th State. We will do the drawing for the all access pass to our 2018 festival in April.
Like many others, I thought it was about a boy found in a drawer.  But it's actually about someone who draws.  Here's a link to the post I wrote after I saw it.  I tend to be low key and to understate things, so my enthusiasm for the film is telling.  There's also video of the director talking about the film after the showing.  

Monday, January 29, 2018

The New Thai Kitchen, Homegoing to Cleveland and to Ghana, Bending Toward Justice, And Tree Shadow

The Thai Kitchen, after 30 years, was closing briefly to move a few spaces down the mall, next to the Yogurt place that they also own.  That was going to happen after we left in December, and Saturday night we went to see the new place.  Here's Sommai at the stove and some of the flowers for the new opening.

The overall space is a little smaller, but it's new and fresh and it has a door directly to the Yogurt place so you can get dessert after your Thai meal.

And it has some new menu items.  Kow Soi is a great Chiengmai noodle curry that we enjoyed while we were in Chiengmai.  (Transliterations into English from Thai can vary.)  I  Also the new spicy cabbage was good.

Today I got my teeth cleaned and picked up a book at the UAA library.  Coming out I passed the small gallery next to the library entrance and was impressed with the pictures there by Michael Conti.  The sign said he grew up in near Cleveland and last summer went back for a couple of months fine arts residency funded by the Rasmuson Foundation at Zygote Press, ant art printshop.  I liked what he learned to do with his photos.  Here are a couple examples.

There also was this poster for a free lecture Thursday (Feb 1) at the Wendy Williamson auditorium that sounded interesting.  Marika Anthony-Shaw:  Collective Impact:  Bending Toward Justice.   7:30pm

And finally, walking the rest of the way home I had to wonder about whether trees check out their shadows to see how they look.

I'm sure the appreciate the warmth radiating back from the sunlit wall next to them in any case.

The book club is meeting here tonight so I have some cleaning up to do.  I made a Ghanian peanut soup last night - we read Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, which follows the generations of two half-sisters - one who is taken as a slave to the new world and one who stays behind in Ghana from the late 1700s to the almost present.  Interesting book, lots of insights, but you have to keep on your toes as the characters change with each generation in two continents.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

"As an ordained pastor with advanced theological degrees and years of spotty service, I can speak expertly on the hypocrisy of the Southern Protestant clergy."

In the box of mail waiting for us when we got back was the January issue of The Sun.  This is a gem of a magazine with no ads.

Each month the magazine has a Readers Write section based on a topic identified in a previous edition.  This month it was Bad Habits.  Here's the link.    They're all pretty good, but the fourth one really grabbed me.

This writer chooses from his many bad habits to focus on hypocrisy.
"The highest form of hypocrisy is hating the hypocrisy of others, and I do judge my fellow hypocrites. As an ordained pastor with advanced theological degrees and years of spotty service, I can speak expertly on the hypocrisy of the Southern Protestant clergy. In the pre–Civil War South many pastors defended slavery and cited biblical justification for it. Later, Jim Crow laws had the full support of most Southern Protestant pastors. Too many also endorsed the oppression of women — at least, until women became baptized by immersion in the workforce and had enough money to pay tithes and give offerings. . ."
He goes on to say these pastors do this because their jobs are on the line if they don't.
"Who can blame us? We all want to keep our jobs, our health insurance, and our retirement programs. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor,” but no one in his or her right mind wants to join them. . ."
I started thinking:  This can't be real, can it?  This sounds like a liberal, anti-conservative setup.  But at the end he actually signs his name and location.
"Doy Daniels
Milan, Tennessee"
The Sun is a pretty special magazine and I have to believe that they check on things like this.  In any case, I would check.  I googled "Doy Daniels Milan, Tennessee."  The first google hit was a forum on for Milan, Tennessee, in 2010.  It got straight to the point.

curious (Martin, TN) asks:
what is up whith [sic] the preacher at the milan cp church. he is rarely ever in milan?
There are various answers, and then crazy old man (Rogersville, TN) writes:
"Doy Daniels Sr ran a drywall company for years, sometimes with his brothers, most times not. Doy, Sr. was a straight up man who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, but would run you off if your were faking or just looking for handouts.
Doy Jr did some time years ago, seems to me he got mixed up in some investment fraud, can't remember for sure, but has kept his nose clean since then. He worked with his dad for a while, then kind of dropped out of sight. Can't tell you much about him now, haven't seen him for years."
A bit later comes disturbed from Memphis:
"Doy Daniels is a con artist. He served ten years in federal prison for his crimes against six families, though there were more. He also had charges against him for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill the person who ratted him out, right after he fled to California. Though that charge was dropped because there wasn't enough evidence, he plead guilty to it as part of his deal. I saw the plea deal. This isn't just a bunch of rumors.
He was a leader in the Latter Day Saint/Mormon church, and he used his position to gain the trust of people. Then he stole obscene amounts of money from them. I personally know some of the victims. He was court ordered to pay the money back once he got out of prison; he hasn't paid a cent. Instead, he went on to another faith and now hides behind God; hard to get a job with a criminal record.
I feel awful for the people he continues to deceive. God knows."
Here's what I get out of it:

  • The letter is real and the guy is not dumb
  • Its credibility - in terms of other protestant pastors - is probably shaky since rather than taking responsibility for his actions, he's indicting every other pastor and saying they all have no choice because they'd lose their jobs if they followed Christ's teachings
  •  He could get another job and stop being such a huge hypocrite
  • There's more going on here for him to make such a public confession for himself and condemnation of his fellow pastors
It would be interesting to hear how his congregation reacts to this.  

But there are other absorbing 'bad habits' submissions as well, many are signed, like this one.  People are outing themselves - bravely or foolishly I can't say.  One starts in a crackhouse as the writer describes the scene that ends with him shooting up.  Another is about being overly aggressive with the truth, and where the habit came from.  Sounds like she's telling her world she wants to change and figures this piece will explain her bad habit to them once and for all.  Another is chronically late for which she gives lots of excuses, but not the real one.  Until she does in this piece.  And then there's the cat lady.  All of them signed their names.  

There are, of course, some anonymous submissions as well.  That section is well worth reading, as is the whole magazine.   "Queen of Hearts" and "Dark Houses" are haunting, glimpses into other people's lives.  I'm not sure how much of these articles one can read online, but you should be able to find The Sun at your library, or you can even subscribe.

Future topics for the Readers Write section, should you want to submit a story, include:
Taking Your Time . . .  due February 1 (sorry, you have to hurry for that one)
Prejudice . . .                due March 1

Thanks, Jim for leaving copies of The Sun in the guest bedroom when we were there years ago.  

Friday, January 26, 2018

What A Beautiful Morning

I'm hesitant to write posts like this.  I worry people will do to Alaska what they did to Washington and Oregon - move there.  But after our last trip Outside, I realize that the stories people have in their minds about permanent ice, polar and grizzly bears walking through town, and all the hardships of living in a cold wilderness have such a strong grip on people's mental pictures of Alaska, that I don't have to worry.  People's response is a sympathetic smile, a subtle rolling of eyes, and a condescending, "I'm so glad you like it there."

We got home Wednesday night to a nicely cleared driveway.  My car started up right away in the 7˚F (-14˚C) cold.  But after 10 days in mostly rainy Seattle with temps generally  in the 40s(F), it just didn't seem terribly cold in Anchorage.  It's drier for one thing, and not windy.  It snowed that night and I got up and cleared the inch or so out of the driveway before J pressed it down with her tires when she left.  (We have a south facing, sloping driveway.  If I don't keep it as clear as possible, it gets packed down.  Then when it warms up, it thaws and runs down the driveway only to freeze up into an icy sheet when it cools back below freezing.  So I try to keep it as close to the asphalt as I can.  And our house sitter did a great job while we were gone.)

It had snowed again yesterday evening,  So I got up, showered, did my leg stretches and lifted my barbell a few times, then bundled up and went out.

It was so beautiful.  It's about 4˚F (-16˚F) now.  But just my face feels any cold and it feels invigorating.  There are stars out even as the sky is starting to get light over the mountains.  There's not much snow and I just sweep it, but being out there and moving my muscles reminds me why I live here.

The picture gives a hint of the velvet dark blue sky.  But I can't reproduce how bracing the cold feels. I think about long ago when J and I drove through Mexico and Guatemala one summer.  We had to keep getting blocks of ice for the ice box in the VW camper.  The temperatures were in the 80s and 90s F and the humidity was the same.  We'd find the ice factory in a town and it was a pleasure to walk into the 10˚F ice room in our shorts and T shirts.  Though not for too long.  The cold reminds me that I'm still very much alive.

And I can't share with you the freshness and sparkle of the air as it massages my face and fills my lungs.

I wouldn't want it always to be cold with short days, but part of the year is just fine. It's over a month since the solstice in December, the shortest day, and less than two months until the equinox, when every part of the globe has the same amount of daylight.   And with grandchildren beckoning from the south, it's true we spend much of this season Outside.  But it's still a magical time.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Free UAA Bookstore Presentations - From Salmon (Today) to Reconstruction South to Social Justice, Thomas Merton In Alaska and Much More

Rachel Epstein has been doing her part to make UAA a real university campus where people come together and talk about ideas.  Her bookstore lectures regularly present interesting speakers on an array of topics in an intimate setting where the audience gets to interact with the speakers, many of whom are UAA faculty.

So I'm just copying her latest email listing what's coming, starting tomorrow and going through February.  They are all in the campus bookstore (between the old Sports Complex and the Student Center) and parking is free on Providence Drive just east of Lake Otis.  If for any reason you get a ticket, Rachel will take care of it for you.

The lectures will eventually get up as podcasts to join the ones already up.

Thursday, January 25 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm  Krista Oke presents (Non) Parallel Evolution and Alaska Salmon

Krista Oke is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California Santa Cruz. Her research interests include human-influenced evolution and repeated habitat-associate evolution (or parallel evolution) in fishes.  She received her PhD from McGill University, Montreal. 

At this event, Krista Oke will explore what salmon can tell us about the forces that shape evolution, focusing on beach and creek spawning forms of sockeye salmon and even-year and odd-year pink salmon. In addition, she will discuss recent declines in the size and age of Alaska salmon, and look for similarity among species and regions in patterns of change.

Monday, January 29, 2018 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm
Forrest A. Nabors presents From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction

In his new book  From Oligarchy to Republicanism, Forrest A. Nabors sets out to show how congressional  Republicans regarded the work of Reconstruction in the same way they regarded the work of the Founders:  as regime change, from monarchy in the one case and from oligarchy in the other, to republicanism.  By examining congressional writings and speeches from 1863-1869, Forrest A.  Nabors offers a critical analysis of Reconstruction and the nature of Southern oligarchy.

“In this unique perspective on Reconstruction, the political scientist Forrest A. Nabors offers new insights on how the Republicans of the Civil War era drew upon their portrayal of the conflict between freedom and slavery as a struggle between republicanism and oligarchy to shape their program of Reconstruction.” -- Renowned Civil War historian James McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom

“If you want to understand the origins of the Civil War, why the North won, the outcome’s consequences for this country, and race relations over the last 150 years, this book is the place to start. It is a masterpiece, and it is going to have an immense impact.” -- Paul A. Rahe, author of Republics Ancient and Modern:  Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution

Forrest A. Nabors is Associate Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Political Science at UAA.   He received his PhD from University of Oregon.

Tuesday, January 30 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm  Kim Patterson presents Becoming Visible: Social Justice by the Hands of Faith-based and Grassroots Organizations 
Dr. Kim Patterson is former director of UAA Student Support Services, which served first generation, nontraditional, and veteran students returning to school.  He is author of Embracing the Homeless Community and the book Swift Justice: Leveling the Playing Field for America’s Re-entry Citizens.  With a commitment to renewal initiatives within social and faith-based communities, he founded Connections Alaska, Inc. 

Monday, February 5 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm 
Let Your Memoir Be Your Resistance:  How Booker Wright's granddaughter turned his story, and her journey to uncover it, into American History

In 2011, Yvette Johnson traveled back to Greenwood, Mississippi–home of the Emmett Till murder and home of the man convicted of slaying Medgar Evers–to uncover true the story of her late grandfather Booker Wright. Booker Wright spent his evenings waiting tables for Whites at a local restaurant and his mornings running his own business.  In the 1966 NBC interview and documentary Mississippi:  A Self-Portrait, his remark, “Have to keep that smile,” sent shock waves throughout America.  And what life was truly like for Black people of Greenwood, Mississippi finally received national attention.

Four decades later, Yvette Johnson uncovered footage of the controversial documentary.  Oddly, no one in her family knew of his television appearance. Even more curious for Yvette was that for most of her life she had barely heard mention of her grandfather’s name or stories explaining his murder.  Due to this silence, and her own struggles with race and identity, Yvette Johnson decided to honor the memory of Booker Wright and write The Song and the Silence: A Story about Family, Race, and What Was Revealed in a Small Town in the Mississippi Delta While Searching for Booker Wright.

Yvette Johnson currently works as the Executive Director of The Booker Wright Project. In this role, she creates and facilitates workshops on unconscious bias and privilege.

This event is sponsored with the UAA Dept. of Sociology, UAA Student Affairs, and UAA Diversity Action Council.

Tuesday, February 6 from 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm  On the Frontiers of an Inner Life: Kathleen W. Tarr presents Thomas Merton's 1968 Journey to Alaska
Author Kathleen W. Tarr discusses her newly released book, We Are All Poets Here (VP&D House, 2018).  Part memoir, part biography, with Thomas Merton as the spiritual guide, the quest to seek an interior life amidst a chaotic, confused, fragmented world is explored.  

Trappist Thomas Merton (1915-1968) lived as a sequestered monastic for 27 years.  However, he wrote over fifty books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.  Today, his 1948 autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, continues to influence millions of people all over the world.  After his surprise sojourn to Alaska in 1968, Thomas Merton traveled to Thailand where he met his accidental and shocking death by electrocution. 

Author Kathleen W. Tarr was born and raised in Pittsburgh.  She came to Alaska in 1978 and lived in Yakutat, Sitka, and the Kenai Peninsula, and was Program Coordinator for UAA's MFA Graduate Creative Writing Program.  She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Pittsburgh and  has writings published in several anthologies and in Creative Nonfiction, the Sewanee Review, Alaska Airlines Magazine, the Anchorage Daily NewsTriQuarterlySick Pilgrim, and Cirque

In 2016, she was named a William Shannon Fellow by the International Thomas Merton Society.  Currently, she sits on the board of the Alaska Humanities Forum.

New event:  Thursday, February 8 from 5:00 pm-7:00pm Trita Parsi presents What is Happening in Iran?

Trita Parsi is President of the National Iranian American Council and is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.  He is the author of Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy (2017); A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (2012); and Treacherous Alliance:  The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States (2007). 

A frequent guest on CNN, PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, the BBC, and Al Jazeera, his articles on Middle East affairs have appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Nation, The American Conservative, the Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and others.
Trita Parsi holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies and currently teaches at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

(Note:  Trita Parsi will be the guest speaker for the Alaska World Affairs Council on February 9, see for details.)

Saturday, February 10 from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Camilla Kennedy presents Thinking About Environmental Economics in Alaska
What is Environmental Economics and why does it matter in Alaska? This presentation will get you thinking like an Environmental Economist. Topics introduced include environmental externalities, Total Economic Value (TEV) of natural resources and ecosystems, and understanding the interactions between our economic system and environment. 

Camilla Kennedy currently teaches Environmental Economics and Policy at UAA and works at the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation on regulatory policy analysis and also conducts research on environmental policies.  She received her BA in Economics from UAF and her Masters in Environmental Economics and Climate Change from the London School of Economics. 

Everyone is invited to attend this event.   There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays.

Monday, February 19 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm United States' Role in the Arctic and What Alaskans Need to Know about Plans and Future Developments 

[UPDATE 3:49 pm - I got notice that Laswon Brigham won't be able to attend and that Dalee Sambo will take his place.]

Notable guest speakers [Dalee Sambo]  Lawson Brigham, Randy “Church” Kee, and Darren Prokop come together to share their views about Alaska and the changing Arctic. 

[Dalee Sambo  Dorough is Associate Professor of Political Science at UAA and specializes in international law, international human rights law, Indigenous human rights standards, and the status and human rights of Alaska Natives.   She holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law and a Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.  Her writings include International Law Association’s Expert Commentary of the Committee on Rights of Indigenous Peoples:] and United Nation’s Permanent Forum in Indigenous Issues’ Statement on the Dakota Access Pipeline. The present focus of her research relates to Arctic Indigenous peoples and their views on shipping, food security, cultural rights, and other Arctic specific issues.]
Lawson W. Brigham is Faculty and Fellow at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks.  He was chair of the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (2005– 9) and  previously was a career US Coast Guard officer who commanded four ships, including the polar icebreaker Polar Sea.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (BS), a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, and holds graduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MS) and the University of Cambridge (MPhil & PhD)]

Randy “Church” Kee, Major General USAF (Ret.) had an impressive 30-year career in the U.S.  Air Force.  He is a career pilot and possesses three graduate degrees.  In 2016, he became the Executive Director of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center--a U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Center of Excellence, hosted by the University of Alaska. At the Center, he leads an interdisciplinary team of 40 university and industry researchers to develop and transition technologies, innovate products and educational programs in order to improve crisis response capabilities related to emerging maritime challenges posed by the dynamic Arctic environment

Darren Prokop is Professor of Logistics at UAA.  He has published research in leading academic journals with topics ranging from: cabotage regulations; air cargo logistics; and supply chain security modelling. Prior to his academic career, he worked in government as an economist and in the private sector in inventory planning. He is author of numerous books including Global Supply Chain Security and Management:  Appraising Programs, Preventing Crimes (2017), Concepts of Transportation Economics (2016), and The Business of Transportation (2014).  He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Manitoba.

Monday, February 26 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm
Shuvajit Bhattacharya presents Fluid Storage and Induced Earthquakes
Dr. Shuvajit Bhattacharya teaches in the Department of Geological Sciences at UAA.  His current research areas are in energy geosciences, geophysics, petrophysics, induced seismicity, and predictive data analytics . Prior to joining UAA, he worked in a few oil and gas companies and completed multiple projects for energy exploration and fluid storage, and utilization in North America, Australia, South Africa, and India.

What is the causal the relationship between fluid storage and human induced earthquakes is the focus of this event.

Tuesday, February 27 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm Hugh Gunner Deery III presents Buddhist Epistemology
Buddhist Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and study of knowledge.  At this event, types of knowing linked to Buddhist concepts of self, mental cognition, dependent origination, and causation will be explained.

Hugh Deery Gunner III teaches Intro to Philosophy, Logic, and Ancient and Medieval philosophy in the Philosophy Dept. at UAA.  He received a BA in philosophy at Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids, MI) and an MA in philosophy from Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO). His focus of study centered on Eastern Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Linguistics and Ethics. 

All UAA Campus Bookstore events are free and open to the public.   There is free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot, and Sports Campus West Lot.  
UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

"It's fear that makes us lose our conscience. It's also what transforms us into cowards." Lessons from Iran For The US From Graphic Novel Persepolis

I've recently finished Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.  It's one of the graphic novels I got at Pulp Fiction in LA.

The time I've spent in authoritarian countries, particularly China, has given me a sense that there are always spaces where people find ways to make things work, despite the official rules.  For instance, my Chinese students surprised me when I asked about how many siblings they had, then corrected myself when I remembered the one-child policy.  Except, they corrected my correction, because more than half the class had siblings, a one as many as five.  Despite the policy there were ways people got around it.

So I wasn't surprised by Satrapi's portrayal of modern life in Iran.  Some I'd heard about before - the way people dress in public and in private.  I remember when the reality of Iran first hit me - watching a movie about a widow raising her daughter going out to the car and using her automatic key to unlock the door.  Yes, in many ways, Iran is a modern country.

I was struck by her fearlessness.  We learn in the book it comes through her genes.  Her grandfather had been a hero in difficult times and her parents raise her to be herself and not what the culture wants her to be.  And her grandmother is an important role model.

But fearlessness in Iran is a lot different from fearlessness in the US.  Here our protests might cost us our jobs, even get us into prison at the extreme, (and today, get trolled, sometimes viciously).  But in Iran, torture and death are real possibilities.  Back in 2006 I met Iranian philosopher, Ramin Jahanbegloo,  in India where he was teaching after having been arrested at the Tehran airport on his way to a conference in Brussels.  He'd recently been released from prison after an international protest against his arrest.  At the time he was out on bail.  My post at the time about that encounter was brief at his request.

So I look at Iranians as good sources for information on how to survive in authoritarian regimes.  We aren't there yet, and hope it doesn't happen, but here are a couple of inspirational lessons from Satrapi's book.

The book is autobiographical and by the time we get this part, Satrapi has lived a few years abroad, on her own, in Austria and returned to Iran.  She has a boyfriend, though that is not publicly acknowledged, and the two of them have been accepted to art school.  School is interrupted one day by a convocation and all the students must attend. [All the images should get sharper if you click on them.]

[For blind readers, whose computers can't read text in images I'm also offering text.]
"Once in the amphitheater, we discovered the reason for our convocation.  The administration had organized a lecture with the theme of "Moral and Religious Conduct," to show us the right path.
"We can't allow ourselves to behave loosely!  It's the blood of our martyrs  which has nourished the flowers of our republic.  To allow oneself to behave indecently is to trample on the blood of those who gave their lives for our freedom.  Also, I am asking the young ladies present here to wear less-wide trousers and longer head-scarves.  You should cover your hair well, you should not wear makeup, you should  , , ,]

I'd note that invoking the blood of our martyrs happens here in the US too.  From  a letter to the Desert News:
"I completely disagree with kneeling before the flag. It disrespects all the soldiers, Marines and pilots who gave their lives to make America free."

When the lecture is over . . .

"Does anyone have any questions?  If not, this meeting is over."
"Sir, I have a question.  You say that our head-scarves are short, that our pants are indecent, that we make ourselves us, etc.

"But as a student of art, a good portion of my time is spent in the studio.  I need to be able to move freely to be able to draw.  A longer head-scarf will make the task even more difficult.
As for our trousers, you criticize them for being too wide even though they effectively hide our shape.  Knowing that these trousers are in vogue right now I ask the question is religion defending our physical integrity or is it just opposed to fashion?"

"You don't hesitate to comment on us, but our brothers present here have all shapes and sizes of haircuts and clothes.  Sometimes, they wear clothes so tight that we can see everything.
Why is it that I, as a woman, am expected to feel nothing when watching these men with their clothes sculpted on but they, as men, can get excited by two inches less on my head-scarf?"    "OHHHHH!!"
What is it that causes some people to stand up for justice for themselves and others, while other people pull back and say nothing?  Or even worse, attack those who stand up?

Then, after the lecture.

"After the Lecture"
"You're really courageous"
"Bravo what frank speaking!"

You've been summoned by the Islamic commission... good luck!"
"Is it serious?"
"I really don't know"
"The director of our college had studied in the United States and remained quite secular"

"What is it?"
"I've been summoned by the Islamic Commission"
"Oh shit!"
"Wish me luck."

 ". . .But to my pleasant surprise, my executioner proved to be the "true religious" man.  The one who had passed me on the ideological test."
"So Miss Satrapi . .  always saying what you think . .   It's good!  You're honest, but you are lost."
"Read the sacred text.  You'll see that wearing the veil is synonymous with emancipation."
"If you say so."

"It is not I who says it, it's God . . . I'm going to give you a second chance.  This time, you're not expelled.  In exchange, I am asking you to imagine the uniform adapted to the needs of the students in your college.  Nothing extravagant, you understand."
"Of  course."

So, she redesigns the uniform slightly, and life goes on.  And she gets congratulated by her grandmother.  

"This little rebellion reconciled my grandmother and me."

Grandmother:  "It's fear that makes us lose our conscience.  It's also what transforms us into cowards. You had guts!  I'm proud of you!"

So let's all remember that in the long run, standing up for what is right and just is more important than keeping out of trouble.  Yes, losing jobs is a big thing.  But I used to tell my students that if they wanted to maintain their ethics, they needed to sock away a year's salary, so they could do the right thing when the time came.  

I'd note another example of people standing up to authoritarian government comes in "How Russia's homoerotic "Satisfaction" became a nationwide meme of solidarity" - by Masha Gessen,  Putin biographer and astute Russian/American.  Links to videos included.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Powerful Two Sentence Story

This is one powerful short story.

From Thought Catalogue's post on two sentence short stories:
I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.”
The whole post is titled, "40 Freaking Creepy-Ass Two Sentence Stories" and this is one is probably the best.  As you go through them, many share a similar theme.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Walk Through The Park Reflected Through Photoshop

As I walked the park path I noticed strict segregation.  The mallards were in the water on the left side of the path.

[This is using the colored pencil filter.  It minimizes the ducks that were scattered over this pond, but I couldn't resist the glow on the tops of the trees in the background.]

On the other side of the path were the Canada geese.

[The ended up with the Fresco filter.  All I can say is the others were worse.]

Another area had robins all over the lawn.  And this one in the tree.  

[This resulted from playing with curves in the image tab.]

Then this row of trees.  

[First curves and then the - oh dear, I forgot which filter.]

And then it began to rain.  This was the picture that made me go play with Photoshop in the first place.  The ripples weren't all that interesting in my original picture, so I played around.

[If my notes are right, this is ink outline (filter) in the center and poster edge on the outside.]

Posts like this one let me experiment with Photoshop a bit.  Unfortunately, my life is too busy right now to seriously work on new Photoshop skills that are more significant.  But there are countless websites and videos online to help you learn to do all sorts of things with Photoshop.  I'm starting to work on a book for my grandson and then I'll need to study hard to do some of the things I'm thinking about.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Graham v MOA #7: "you cannot allow the bad guy to go to jail and you leave the structure intact."

Below is an NPR interview with ESPN's Howard Bryant about the current sexual abuse trial of USA Olympic gymnastic coach Larry Nassar.  Bryant captures were clearly the point of my series of posts on the Graham trial.

We punish the bad guy, then let the system that enables bad guys to operate intact.

In Graham's case, 'the bad guy' got demoted two ranks and everyone else involved is now in a higher position than they had been five years ago.  Except Graham who is still at the entry level fire-fighter position.

My background is public administration - how the system is designed, what are the rewards and punishments - intended and unintended?  What informal systems work against the formal systems?

When I look at this situation I think:  how did the system let this go on, just like Bryant asks in the audio.
But it seems like when the lawyers look at it, they think, ok, case is closed, move on to the next case. It's about individuals, not about the system.  That's horribly wrong.

That's why I'm spending so much time on this case.  To show what went wrong and to ask why the existing system never did anything about it.  If Jeff Graham hadn't been stubborn, hadn't risked his financial security to hire an attorney, hadn't broken the code of the fire department that you go along to get along, none of this would have come out.

It's just like the other systems Bryant mentions, systems that allow abusers and a abuses to continue - like sexual assault, like concussions in football, like the church scandals.

  The part I'm highlighting starts at 1:46

How did it go on for so long?  We're still even asking the question if there were problems with the structure.  Of course there were problems with the structure.Q:  Sturcture of?
2:00 USA Gymnastics, Michigan State, . . . the adults were supposed to take care of these athletes, supposed to protect them, no different from any other scandal, whether church, concussions, you cannot allow the bad guy to go to jail and you leave the structure intact.
2:45 Q:  Why did they wait so long? Why did they wait for 20 years. Larry Nassar has been under scrutiny for some time now?
2:53 This is a very American thing we do.  We find the bad guys, we take the bad guys, and we punish the bad guys.  Then we leave every mechanism that allows the bad guys to exist and enables the bad guys, we leave those things alone, , ,
This is something we have to deal with as a culture because we don't deal with it very well.  And especially when you're dealing with young people.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Will Africa Help Free Americans By Boycotting Us Like We Did For Them?

When the US and other countries boycotted South Africa in the 1980's it led to the end of apartheid and the release of political prisoners.  It's time for Africa to return the favor and help us overturn our racist administration.   So I thought when I read this short piece.

From the Anchorage Daily News, but originally from the New York Times:

South Africa and Nigeria
have joined a chorus of nations
condemning President Donald
Trump’s inflammatory remarks
on immigration, as Africa experts
warned that the controversy
threatened to set back U.S. interests
across the world’s fastestgrowing
Botswana, Ghana, Haiti, Namibia,
Senegal and the African
Union have all protested the
remarks. The U.S. has many interests
in Africa: battling Islamist
insurgencies, reducing political
instability and improving governance.
The State Department has
instructed diplomats not to deny
Trump’s remarks, but simply to
listen to complaints.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pot, Deflating Bubbles, And Other Word Battles

Words play a huge role in what we know.  Even our own observations are affected by the language we speak and think in.  We wrap our experiences in the words we have available.  Very few of us break those constraints and create new words if the ones we have are inadequate.

Here are some examples word issues in today's newspaper:

1.  Stop using the word 'pot'An ADN headline:
Marijuana industry gets blunt: Stop using the word ‘pot’
". . .But marijuana still carries a stigma that surfaces with the use of old slang like pot and weed. For many, the words evoke an image of lazy, not-so-bright people who puff their lives away.
The image deeply bothers the marijuana industry, which is telling the public — sometimes gently, sometimes curtly — that they should use the word cannabis. That's the scientific name for the plant from which marijuana is derived."
Here, it appears the cannabis industry is trying to change its (in business jargon) 'brand.'  'Brand' is a word I dislike.  "Branding" epitomizes the idea of substituting the image of something for the actual essence of it. Branders want people to think about their product a certain way so it sells better.  It's the image, not the product itself, that they are selling. 'Brand' is a way of 'branding' the word 'deception' and making it into something that's seen as good.

I don't think that the name for cannabis matters all that much - it's the intrinsic product that people are  interested in, no matter what you call it.  I suspect those holding negative images of 'pot' are dying out.  That view was part of the political ideology that didn't like rock music, hippies, and Vietnam war protestors

2.  Bubble Deflates - Another ADN headline that comes originally from the New York Times:


Did you ever see a bubble deflate?  Balloons and tires can lose their air slowly (deflate), but bubbles burst.  Except, it seems, in economics.  But then economists often deductive,  starting with theory they tell us how the world works.  It's the theory, not the real world that matters.   In economics, for example, people only  make 'rational' decisions. And, bubbles deflate.  It took people like Vernon Smith to actually do experiments to burst some of this economic bubble nonsense.

This is just lazy thinking.  Mixed metaphors are a kind of lazy thinking.  "A carpenter was the low rung on a totem pole." comes from a long list of mixed metaphors.   But if you google 'deflated bubble' you'll find lots of serious economics examples of this term.

3.  Other Word Battles

George Lakoff tells us that framing the debate is the most critical thing in political discourse.  We've fought over words like "illegal alien" versus "undocumented worker"; 'baby killing' versus 'pro-choice.'  The list goes on and on.

The conservatives have made a science of this and do it masterfully.  The never say 'the Democratic Party."  They say 'the Democrat Party." It's like taking someone's name and changing it just a little bit to irritate them and control what they are called.  It's a form of bullying.   And their most successful reframing was the term  'political correctness.'  Even liberal have bought into this perversion.

I've written about the origins of the term 'political correctness' in the past.  I don't want to repeat all that.

I also posted about my view of the difference between conservative and liberal use of restricting words.  Conservatives try to restrict words as a way to win debates.  If you ban or demonize words needed by your opponent, it rigs the whole debate.   Their opponents aren't allowed to use key terms needed to make their case.   The NRA has bullied the Center For Disease Control to end research on gun deaths in the US.  Without data it's hard to make a rational argument.  And the Trump administration has banned terms like 'climate change' and 'fetus.'

Liberals try to ban words that insult or demean or even terrorize other human beings, generally people who are NOT white heterosexual males.  There are plenty of other terms to use that are more respectful and so these bans don't hinder political discussion.  

The Lost Post Reconstructed - What Is Davos And Why Is Trump Going?

I can't remember the last time it happened - that a post vanished.  But it did yesterday.  There was a trace of the post - 15 visitors had visited, but it had reverted to a draft and the content was gone. [Bloggers might want more explanation, so see * at the bottom.]

I don't have time to reconstruct it all of yesterday's post, but I do think the World Economic Forum is something people should know more about, simply because a fair number of world leaders are planning to attend and what they say there will influence how the world operates in the next year.  And while I think that the WEF leans too heavily toward business and the issues of the wealthy, I also think that they take a rational approach that is sorely missing these days in the US among those in power.

So, here's the video - I recommend the first 14 minutes where Klaus Schwab talks - and I'll try to reconstruct some of the key points I had up yesterday.

[After Schwab's 14 minute presentation,  the rest is talking heads (well, so is Schwab).  This is simply a video of the press conference.  The fact that they didn't feel a need to spruce it up with graphics or closeups or other video tricks that keep audience attention, may reflect a) need to get it up quickly, b) the age of most participants  c) lack of concern because they have lots of power and might think they are so important that they don't have to trick it up.   It's not lack of money or technical know-how because the WEF website has lots of fancy charts and online sophistication. And the fact they have it up means the rest of us get to have a glimpse of the public part of this event.]

Klaus Schwab founded, and is the executive chairman, of the World Economic Council.  In this introduction to the conference for the media he covered:

Seven Reasons why Davos is significant  

1.  Collaboration - this is about the who can solve the problems - no one person, country, organization can handle these issues

Six Stakeholder Groups

  • Governments
  • Business groups
  • Civil Society - NGO's (non-governmental organizations)
  • University/Academic experts
  • Younger Generation
  • Media

2.  Integrative Approach - This is about the nature of the issues -They are  complex, must use systemic approach, ecosystem - 14 different systems (he didn't list them but said they are in the program)

3.  Not Stand Alone - everything is integrated into ongoing workshops - 3 example

He also mentioned:

  • Middle East Summit
  • Sustainable Development Impact Summit

[He didn't enumerate a #4]

5.  Timing - Beginning of each year is important.  Focuses the agenda for the year.  This is a critical year for Europe and most leaders will be here.

A second big issue will be the Future of the Global Corporation.

Future of Economic Growth - at the end of a big upswing cycle.

G20 and G7 Agendas are prepared at Davos

Publication of the Global Risks Report.  

Inclusive - one-third from emerging countries and Modi is a key speaker.

Integration of these discussions into discussion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

[He didn't identify specifically #s 6 or 7.  Maybe they were in the items mentioned after he mentioned #5.]


1.  Collaborative Approach - No one alone can solve the issues
2.  Integrated Approach - No issue can be solved in an isolated way
3.  Constructive Approach - great opportunities, but also unprecedented perils - danger of collapse of our global system, in our hands to improve the state of the world.

Some Background

From Wikipedia:
"The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland. Recognized by the Swiss authorities as an international body,[1] its mission is cited as "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas".
The Forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, economists, and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world."
Here's a brief Vanity Fair bio of Klaus Schwab.  

This second time for this post was much easier than the first.

*For Bloggers - I think I somehow got two draft posts going.  I completed one and posted.  But the other one was still open, but very rudimentary.  When I found it, I was confused.  I think I deleted the few lines and I thought I closed it, but I must have revered it to a draft.  When I looked today there were 15 visitors but it was in draft status.  And there was no content.
There are a couple of things I could have done:
1.  copied the published post and started a whole new post and then deleted both the old ones.
2.  opened the published post to edit, then deleted the second post, then updated the original post.