Summer Update

I got my first “hey, just checking, are you going to write about the election?” e-mail of the year, so: yes, I am going to write about the election! But I’m pretty sure that neither city election has a primary, and there aren’t (yet) any special elections on the calendar that would have a primary, and filing isn’t even closed yet! I rely on the Secretary of State’s “see your ballot” feature to ensure I don’t miss low-profile candidates when I’m doing my write-ups, and sensibly enough they don’t have that up yet.

I mean, life holds no guarantees. I could get breakthrough COVID! I could get hit by a bus! But if I decide at some point to just quit doing this, I will let people know.

In the meantime, did you know I had a book come out in April? Chaos on CatNet, which is a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and is set in near-future Minneapolis. If you value what I do, it would WARM THE COCKLES OF MY HEART if you bought a copy. A number of local bookstores are carrying it, and Dreamhaven and the mail-order iteration of Uncle Hugo’s usually have signed copies.

A final note: I usually use the election-season posts to promote some fundraisers for Minneapolis and Saint Paul teachers on Donors Choose. If you’re a teacher at a high-poverty Minneapolis Public School or St. Paul Public School, and you’re considering running a fundraiser for a larger project, feel free to drop me a line so I don’t miss seeing it.

CHAOS ON CATNET is coming on Tuesday!

My new book, Chaos on CatNet, is coming out on Tuesday. This is a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet but is set mostly in Minneapolis. The publisher’s ordering page (with links to lots of miscellaneous ordering options) is here, but if you want a signed copy you can order from a number of Minneapolis and St. Paul booksellers for whom I will be signing stock (including Red Balloon, Mischief Toy, Storied Owl, and Moon Palace). If you want to order a personalized signed copy you should do that ASAP from DreamHaven Books — you can put your personalization requests in the “order instructions” blank. I’ll be stopping in at DreamHaven sometime this weekend to sign — so if you want personalized autographs, order soon! You can also order many of my other books from them, and I’m happy to sign those, too.

Catfishing on CatNet comes out in paperback the same day that Chaos comes out in hardcover — but if you would like a signed hardcover of Catfishing so your books match, you can still get one if you hurry by ordering from Don Blyly of Uncle Hugo’s. The bookstore was burned down last May; he is planning to reopen it once he finds a place (he explains what he’s looking for and where in the updates to his GoFundMe) but in the meantime he’s doing some mail-order out of his house.

Chaos on CatNet includes a number of real-world Minneapolis locations, including Powderhorn Park, Can Can Wonderland (okay, that one got some significant embellishment), Midtown Global Market, the Cathedral of St. Paul, and the James J. Hill House (temporarily); there’s also a rebuilt Uncle Hugo’s on Lake Street. CheshireCat sends Steph a robot, there’s an extreme cold snap, and Steph’s grandmother turns up, complains bitterly about the weather, and casually steals a car. There are characters from the first book (including Rachel and Bryony) as well as a new character, Nell, who grew up in a Christian cult but is now, to her intense consternation, living with a South Minneapolis polycule. I’m really excited for this book to be out in the world!

(My other writing news that I’ve mentioned on social media but not on the blog: two of my short stories are finalists for Hugo Awards this year. Monster is a finalist for Best Novelette, and Little Free Library is a finalist for Best Short Story. Both of those are online if you’d like to read them!)

Gifts for People You Hate 2020: Pandemic Procrastination Edition

I really need to migrate my blog so that I can use wordpress,org instead of wordpress.com and install the plug-in that allows me to ditch the Block Editor. I decided I didn’t want to migrate during election season, and like a lot of tasks, procrastinating on it a little made it feel insurmountable. The other problem is, I really hate using WordPress this way (I’m using a different workaround, posting from the wp-admin page, but this is also really annoying) and that means that stuff I ought to be posting isn’t getting posted either. I have got to figure this out before the next election season starts, but I also have a short story due to an anthology on the 31st. It’s a conundrum.

In the meantime, I did want to bring you a belated Gifts For People You Hate, although I imagine obligatory gift purchases are down this year. The pandemic means you have an ironclad excuse for skipping any family gatherings with people outside your immediate household (and I hope you’re doing so) and workplace Christmas parties are not a thing (I hope). But, this year — should you unexpectedly receive a gift tomorrow from someone you didn’t buy for because you don’t like them — tell them it’s in the mail, you ordered it weeks ago but COVID and DeJoy have screwed up the post office so thoroughly you don’t think they’ll see it until January, and then return to this list for ideas!

As always I should note that I don’t give gifts to people I don’t like. If I gave you a terrible gift, I really thought you’d like it, I swear.

On Brand for 2020 Novelties

Who in 2020 doesn’t want a salt and pepper shaker holder that looks like a skull, with the shakers resting in the eye sockets? Or we could go with a salt-and-pepper shaker holder that features the Grim Reaper. Or for something marginally more subtle, there’s a salt-and-pepper shaker holder that’s got a skull with a raven perched on top. Any of these are the perfect way of saying “stop fucking going to parties, and wear a mask, you fucking asshole,” but with a bow on top.

A fairly realistic fake human skull, with a salt and pepper shaker in the eye sockets.

These are possibly in the “actually awesome” category but when everything under “dumpster fire” on Amazon was kind of boring I checked Etsy, and you can buy a miniature dumpster with a fire that ACTUALLY TURNS ON AND FLICKERS. It’s a pointless novelty that will quickly become dated while reminding people of 2020 and therefore it’s terrible (but it’s also pretty awesome).

I saw (and shared) a meme the other day about how if you eat scrapple, you’ve got no grounds to complain about the ingredients of the covid vaccine, and in honor of this I went looking to see if artisan scrapple existed anywhere that you could buy and have shipped. I don’t know if I’m surprised or not surprised to find out that it does not, in fact, exist anywhere that I could find. I did find a t-shirt proclaiming the wearer’s love for scrapple, though.

From Calamitywear (which usually makes Blue Willow-style dinnerware but with stuff like Godzilla on it), you can get a print suitable for framing commemorating the year 2020. Comes unframed, so the person who gets it will have to frame it in order to display it.

And I don’t know if this is exactly “on brand for 2020” but it’s certainly a weird, pointless novelty: a Pencil Terrarium.

This is a picture of pencils in a test tube with a cork in it.

Off Brand for 2020

A cute shoe-polishing kit. Questionable as a gift in a normal year (it’s in the “gifting someone a chore, but fancied up” category), hilariously inappropriate in 2020.

Travel accessories! Packing cubes are actually great but needless to say mine haven’t gotten much use this year. This tech organizer looks like it would be super handy if I were ever going anywhere again. I’ve never found quite the right neck pillow gadget for long flights and maybe this is it? LOLSOB.

Anything makeup-related but a lipstick-brush kit really would feel like it had been dropped from another timeline at the moment, I think.

“Wouldn’t you like a new hobby” Gifts

People have responded in very different ways to the pandemic, and a lot of people have picked up a new hobby. (I now do embroidery while on Zoom calls, because I find it easier to listen if I have something to occupy my hands.) The thing about these hobbies is that they really are only appealing if you chose something that appealed to you — craft supplies for a craft you’re not interested in is just clutter.

And there are so many kits available! Especially on Etsy! Many very reasonably priced. And when you buy them, you’ll be supporting a small business!

Beginning tatting kit. Tatting is a lacemaking craft and the results are very pretty but the process involves math.

DIY lip balm. There are people for whom this would be a fantastic gift. If your recipient is a devoted Carmex user, this will definitely be a bad gift.

Macrame Kit. Macrame is one of those crafts I associate strongly with the earlier part of my childhood — it’s very 70s and not, I think, all that primed for a comeback. You can use macrame to make plant hangers but this kit makes a wall hanging.

Needle Felting Kit. Here’s the thing about needle felting, according to a friend of mine who took it up: it typically involves you accidentally jabbing yourself in the finger with the needle a whole lot of times.

Herb Garden Kit. If this person already gardens, they either already grow herbs indoors or there’s a reason they don’t (like that their cats munch on the basil shoots the second they emerge from the dirt, or knock pots off windows). If they don’t garden, there’s probably a reason for that, too.

Terrarium Kit Without a Container. This actually looks adorable if you already have a container you’re planning to use.

Other ideas: any sort of fancy food or drink if the person is not all that into cooking; any sort of “kit” where the main thing you’re getting is a weirdly impractical presentation (there are “hot chocolate tubes” all over Etsy where you get hot cocoa mix + some candies and flavorings in a corked test tube); any kit for something this person pretty much never uses, whether that’s bath bombs or scented candles or hot sauce.

Memberships and Gift Cards

This is a really hard time for small businesses, and for arts organizations and museums, and one of the ways you can support them is to buy gift cards that can be used after the pandemic. You’re genuinely being thoughtful, here: they’ll be able to use this gift card someday, and you’re investing in that nice thing still being around when the pandemic ends.

You should gift them something from their own community, obviously, but here’s a list of stuff from mine to give you ideas of things to look for.

The Science Museum of Minnesota, which is automatically extending memberships while the museum is closed. I dreamed the other day that I had for some reason gone to the Science Museum, only to find myself wandering around a big space full of people without masks, and I suddenly realized “wait, I’m not wearing a mask, no one’s wearing a mask, what set of decisions brought me here?!?” Anyway: they’re currently closed, but you can still buy a membership, as noted.

The Bakken Museum (“the museum of electricity and life”) is one of my favorite museums in the Twin Cities, and offers memberships for individuals or households.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) sells gift memberships, which is bonus hilarious because the basic admission is always free. (You get some stuff with a membership, like priority access to special exhibits.)

The Guthrie Theater sells gift certificates. Give your recipient a $25 gift certificate, which will be absolutely useless unless they pony up some extra money. (OK, that’s not entirely true; they can use it to stream this year’s Christmas Carol, which is only $10.)

Mixed Blood Theater has memberships. This is a theater in Minneapolis that focuses on “addressing injustice, inequities, and cultural collisions & providing a voice for the unheard on the stage and beyond” — they’ve done some really interesting shows, although everything at the moment is virtual.

For suitable memberships and gift cards, look up art museums, science museums, history museums, and theaters in their area. Any sort of science museum membership seems like a good gift for people who have demonstrated a significant deficit in scientific knowledge since March, although use your own judgment if you’re concerned that this person might be inclined to go straight in the minute things open up, unmasked — you don’t want to give the gift of COVID to a museum staffer.

You could also gift a restaurant gift certificate: to make it a bad gift, you can either give a gift card to a place that’s doing takeout, but with food that doesn’t transport well, or you can give a $25 gift card to a place where a meal is going to cost at least $50.

Masks as Gifts

Got a maskhole in your life? I’m 100% in favor of gifting that person a mask. You can still buy a wide variety of handmade masks on Etsy in a plethora of designs, and you can include a note explaining that just like people give three-year-olds underwear with their favorite characters to get them to use a toilet, you’ve bought them a mask with (Batman, their favorite sports team, Bible quotes, etc.) to encourage them to use this simple, necessary device, and by the way, it goes over their nose. If they actually have a reason to find masks difficult to wear there are a number of add-on gadgets you can get, including inserts that hold it out slightly from your face, extender straps that are an alternative to putting the things around your ears, and stick-on aluminum strips that help you fit it better over your nose so your glasses don’t fog.

Charitable Gifts

This has been such an utterly wretched year that I’m finding it hard to humorously suggest that you give someone a Naked Mole Rat Species Adoption to call them a dick. There’s an awful lot of need just about everywhere, and if you want to make a charitable gift in someone’s honor, I’d suggest a food shelf, homeless shelter, shelter for victims of domestic violence, or any group in your area that’s helping to keep people housed, fed, and safe.

Books!

My book CATFISHING ON CATNET came out in 2019 (just in time for holiday giving last year) and is still available and you can definitely give it as an (excellent) present. You can also preorder CHAOS ON CATNET, which will be out in April.

Passive-Aggressive Gift Giving Guides from Previous Years:

2010: Beyond Fruitcake: Gifts for People You Hate
2011: Gifts that say, “I had to get you a gift. So look, a gift!”
2012: Holiday shopping for people you hate
2013: Gift Shopping for People You Hate: the Passive-Aggressive Shopping Guide
Gifts for People You Hate 2014: The Almost-Generic Edition
Whimsical Gifts (for People You Hate) 2015
Gifts for People You Hate 2016 (the fuck everything edition)
Gifts for People You Hate, 2017
Gifts for People You Hate, 2018
Gifts for People You Hate, 2019

My Twitter feed: @naomikritzer

And my fiction that was published this year, in case you missed it:

Monster, January 2020 in Clarkesworld.
Little Free Library, April 2020 on Tor.com.
A Star Without Shine, May 2020, written for the Decameron Project.

I also wrote an essay, “Didn’t I Write This Already? When Your Fictional Pandemic Becomes Reality” for Tor.com.

Happy holidays! And whatever good luck traditions or rituals you might know of for the New Year, let’s all try to do ours for 2021.

Donors Choose Fundraising Update 2

First, an update from Ms. Stone, the teacher who requested funding for Chromebooks:

I am so excited to receive the Chromebooks and distribute them to students and families! As explained earlier, this project was posted in June, when teachers were unsure what learning model we would be using. Since announcing distance learning late in the summer, the district has been providing devices to students. However, after spending these first few weeks with my third graders, I’m finding that many of them have unreliable devices (issues with cameras, microphones, keyboards, etc.). One prime example: a mother reached out to say her daughter’s device stopped working. The student was unable to sign in for learning for two days since Mom works full-time and was unable to make it to the school to pick up a new one. Having these new, reliable devices will be key in having students consistently engaged in learning.

I’ve also noticed some Donors have been generously giving gift cards to our class even after the Chromebook project was funded. This is WONDERFUL! It means I will be able to create a new project to meet even more of our students’ needs, such as good headphones, learning games, and interactive learning platforms.

Again, I am incredibly grateful for your role in guiding your readers toward DonorsChoose projects. It is so meaningful to me as a teacher right now to have community support. It makes a true difference in our students lives!

And now some additional fundraisers I’d like to point people to:

Mini-Engineering Labs for students at Lucy Laney doing distance learning.

A book-return system for the North High school library, so that books can circulate during distance learning.

Sets of contemporary novels, including Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, for 11th and 12th graders at Como Park High School in St. Paul.

I do not have a Patreon, but take a lot of pleasure from seeing these projects fund. Thank you to everyone who has donated!

Election 2020: Donating to & Volunteering with MN State Senate Campaigns

This is going to be a post specifically about supporting campaigns for Minnesota State Senate candidates. If you live in Minnesota, first of all, you should be aware of the Political Contribution Refund program. This allows you to get a $50 refund if you donate to a legislative race or a political party. (Or races for Governor, State Auditor, Attorney General, or Secretary of State — but those aren’t on the ballot this year.) You donate; they send you a receipt (form EP-3); you fill out a form and send in the form EP-3; the state sends you a check for $50.

Something to bear in mind: the flip side of this is that the campaigns you donate to have to send you that form even for a very small donation. If all you have is $5, then send your favorite candidate $5. But if you have $10, I would strongly encourage you to send it to one candidate and not divide it between two. If you have $20, ditto. If you have $200, then $50 to four different candidates makes more sense. You can also absolutely send donations to the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus, which will direct funds to candidates in tight races who need them.

One other note: one of the great things about donating to legislative candidates is that if they’re out there campaigning, even if they don’t win, they will help get out the Democratic vote for Joe Biden and Tina Smith. There are Democrats in every part of this state.

On to the specific candidates. These are all candidates for the State Senate who need support, either because they’re Democratic incumbents in vulnerable seats, or Democratic challengers to Republicans in vulnerable seats.

THREE CLOSE RACES WHERE SOME CASH COULD MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE

Aric Putnam (SD 14)

Senate District 14 is in St. Cloud. In 2016, the Republican won by less than 200 votes. Aric is a Communications professor at St. John’s/St. Ben’s. His priorities include schools (“the legislature funds our schools like we’re a small town, and we aren’t anymore”), health care, and economic growth. He’s also in favor of marijuana legalization — there’s a “Legal Marijuana Now” candidate on the ballot who’s doing zero campaigning and appears to give not a single shit about the actual race, but filed and is on the ballot. (There was also a third-party candidate on the ballot in 2016, a Libertarian who got over 2,000 votes.) The incumbent opposed the Alex Smith Insulin Affordability Act (until his party leaders told him to vote for it.) Donate to Aric / volunteer for Aric.

Rita Albrecht (SD 5)

SD 5 is near Grand Rapids. The Democrat just barely lost in 2016. Rita is hampered by having two weed candidates on the ballot, one of whom is 100% a Republican who’s deliberately running in the hopes of being a spoiler. Rita supports universal broadband, rural economic development, and a higher minimum wage. She also supports legalizing cannabis, so if that’s an important issue for you, you should absolutely suppose the Democrat who might win over the Republican running as a “legal marijuana” candidate or the perennial weirdo candidate running for “grassroots.” The incumbent, by the way, is this fucking guy (the one in the video, not the person Tweeting — Justin Tweeted that video out but took it down after he got ratioed because OF COURSE HE DID). Donate to Rita / Volunteer for Rita.

Jon Olson (SD 20)

Senate District 20 is south of the metro area and includes Northfield and New Prague. This was a very close race in 2016 (and went for the Democrat in 2012), but like Rita, Jon is hampered by the presence of a Republican running as a “Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis” candidate. Jon Olson is a retired Navy Intelligence Officer who became his father’s caregiver while his father was dying of Alzheimer’s. His Issues pages include a section under the heading “Common-Sense Fairness” that talks about policing reforms, immigration reform, housing, and fair elections. Donate / Volunteer.

LONGER SHOT, BUT POTENTIALLY WINNABLE RACES

Aleta Borrud (SD 26)

Senate District 26 is in Rochester. Aleta Borrud is a doctor who supports universal health care access, police accountability, and pushing back against GOP divisiveness. Her opponent brags about endorsement from a group called “Minnesotans for Affordable Health Insurance,” which I found on Facebook but absolutely nowhere else, so who the hell knows who they are other than “a group, or maybe just one guy, who knows, but WOW do they hate the idea of people with pre-existing conditions doing anything other than just fucking dying.” Donate / Volunteer.

Sara Flick (SD 25)

Senate District 25 is in Rochester. Sara Flick is a farmer’s daughter and a first-generation college graduate. Her priorities include health care, family leave, and data-driven policies. The incumbent is a retired doctor who nonetheless was agitating to end Governor Walz’s emergency orders all the way back in June. Donate to Sara / volunteer for Sara.

Sahra Odowa (SD 55)

SD 55 is in Shakopee. Sahra is Somali-American (she was born in NYC) and works in the mental health field. Sahra’s top issues include racial equity, the environment, and better job opportunities. Donate / Volunteer.

Bonnie Westlin (SD 34)

SD 34 is in Maple Grove and this district went strongly for Tim Walz, despite having been pretty Republican in 2016. Bonnie highlights racial and social justice and police reform as major priorities; her opponent has been a huge roadblock in instituting any accountability for police officers at all. Donate / Volunteer

Ralph Kaehler (SD 21)

Senate District 21 is in southeast Minnesota; Ralph has a map on his website. He’s a 4th-generation farmer and a solar energy entrepreneur. His top three issues are health care, climate, and economic development (especially broadband) in rural Minnesota. You can donate either through ActBlue or PayPal, which is a plus for people who are annoyed by ActBlue. You can also volunteer.

Reed Perkins, SD 1

Reed Perkins e-mailed me to make a case for his race — while the Democrat was trounced rather thoroughly in 2016, this was a blue district as recently as 2012, and he’s working hard to reach out to voters. He’s a former science teacher and a military spouse — his wife is an Air Force officer. One of his first policy points talks about combating disinformation and false Internet rumors about COVID. He has some detailed policies to benefit rural Minnesota, including rural broadband, Right to Repair laws (critically important to small farmers), and the elimination of Daylight Savings Time (I would be fine with DST if we just stayed on it. Or Standard Time if we just stayed on it! Changing our clocks around 2x a year is terrible!) He did a Reddit AMA a while back. Donate here. To volunteer, send an e-mail: perkinsforMN1@gmail.com.

DFL INCUMBENTS WHO NEED SUPPORT

Matt Little, SD 58 (Incumbent)

SD58 is in Lakeville, and Matt won election in 2016 despite his district overall going for Trump. The Republicans would really like to beat him. Matt has a sense of humor and a strikingly good social media presence. Donate / Volunteer.

Susan Kent, SD 53 (Incumbent)

Senate District 53 includes Woodbury, Oakdale, Landfall, and Maplewood. Susan Kent is an incumbent, but held her district very narrowly in 2016 so Republicans are putting a lot of money into her opponent’s campaign. Her opponent was mayor of Woodbury, and has a remarkably content-free website, Facebook, and Twitter; it’s almost like she’d rather just run on anything other than her actual party’s actual platform. Donate / Volunteer.

Lindsey Port, SD 56

Senate District 56 is in the south suburbs (Lakeville, Burnsville, Savage). Lindsey supports protecting the environment, properly funding education and public higher education statewide, and allowing anyone who wants to to buy into MNCare. The incumbent is a homophobic bigot who opposed marriage equality; he also said that legislation requiring that men and women be paid the same amount for the same job would be special privileges for women. Donate / Volunteer.

CANDIDATES WHO NEED VOLUNTEERS (you can certainly donate, but I’ve been told they’re doing OK for cash right now — but would really love more volunteers)

Ann Johnson Stewart, SD 44

Senate District 44 includes Plymouth and part of Minnetonka and went 50.2/49.8 in 2016. The Republican who barely won is not running again this year; it’s an open seat. Ann supports criminal justice reform, action on climate change, healthcare access, and for society to be accessible and equitable for disabled people. Her opponent doesn’t like the way Donald Trump says the quiet parts loud but gosh does he ever love his court nominees. Sign up to volunteer here.

Did I skip your favorite? Add them in the comments! If the race in that district was really not at all close in 2016, thought, I would encourage you to make a case for them and not just drop a link — tell me and my readers why you think they’ve got a shot. You can look up Minnesota Senate Districts (and see the election results from 2016 and 2012) over on Ballotpedia.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the PCR. You can find the PCR form here. It really is an extremely simple form to fill out.

 

DonorsChoose Fundraising Update

In the comments of my last post, JB posted:

Quick question on the fundraiser. Thanks for highlighting it. I’m a bit confused, because as a parent of a MPS child who’s in distance learning 2nd grade this year, we had the choice of a district supplied iPad OR Chromebook. Why isn’t this MPS school having the same option? It is a district wide policy? I looked on the link you have, and it doesn’t really explain it. My tax dollars are already supporting this, as far as I can tell.

I e-mailed the teacher and here’s what I found out. Yes: the school district is providing laptops. When she posted the fundraiser in June, there had been zero communication from the district about what, if anything, was going to be provided for distance learning. By the time the district announced what they were doing, she’d gotten some contributions and thus didn’t want to just take the whole fundraiser down. Unfortunately, there’s no way to revise a Donors Choose fundraiser after launch. At this point, she’s hoping that it does NOT fund — because (assuming people who donated agree to send the money as a gift card for the classroom) she will be able to use that money for other key distance-learning needs, like headphones and supplies and books that she can send to the kids’ homes. She is absolutely over the moon at the generosity and has a lot of ideas on how she can enhance the learning of these third-grade students but would, in fact, prefer not to spend it on laptops (although she noted that if a corporate donor swoops in and donates the last of the money, as sometimes happens, they’ll be new computers, nice ones, something her students rarely get to experience, and I am going to hazard a guess that the school will not have surplus technology for very long.)

But for now:

I’m going to ask people to, if they have donated to Ms. Stone’s fundraiser, to send the money back to her classroom as a gift card if it does not fund.

But, if they have not donated to that fundraiser and would like to make a different donation that would please me very much, I have found a number of other Minneapolis and St. Paul public school classrooms that could use a hand with supplies and technology for distance learning.

(Update: all of these have funded! I’ve found some additional Donors Choose fundraisers to point people at, and you can find them here.)

Ms. Anglin, a math teacher at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, would like to provide her students with noise-cancelling headphones. 96% of the students at Washington Tech receive free or reduced-price lunch, and 70% are English-language learners. https://www.donorschoose.org/project/investment-for-distance-learning-success/5040842/

Mr. Andy, an autism teacher at Sullivan Elementary in South Minneapolis, would like to provide his students with task boxes, to decrease the amount of required screen time during distance learning. https://www.donorschoose.org/project/especially-distance-learning-task-boxes/5170363/

There are a number of teachers at the Barak and Michelle Obama Elementary School who are looking for help with supplies for at-home learning.

Mrs. Harper would like linking math cubes and also white boards for students to write answers on: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/all-hands-on-deck/5158760/ and https://www.donorschoose.org/project/help-me-respond-write-away/5185420/

Ms. Holden would like graphic novels and a webcam for her third-grade students: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/distance-learning-for-all/5169000/

Ms. Proeschelt would like write-and-wipe alphabet cards and alphabet floor puzzles to build reading skills in her pre-K students: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/abc-puzzles-for-everyone/5185232/ annd https://www.donorschoose.org/project/we-can-write-our-letters/5185174/

Finally, I just want to share the e-mail I got via my website from Ms. Stone about a day after I first shared her project:

Wow. You posted a link via your blog and our DonorsChoose project has raised at least $1,500 in one day. Thank you, thank you from our hearts. The support of the community is what students, families, and teachers really need right now. I’m not currently on social media myself, so every share is meaningful.

Please know that even if our lofty $ goal is not fully met, every dollar will raised will still be put towards the basic educational needs of our students. We will already be able to provide so much with what has been raised! I can’t wait to send Thank You photos (or screenshots, future being unknown!).

With Gratitude,

Ms. Stone

Thank you to everyone for your support of these projects — it means a lot to me, but it means even more to the teachers and the students they teach.

Election 2020: Minneapolis City Questions 1 and 2

Minneapolis is voting on two questions that would amend the city charter. Neither is a question about policing, because the charter commission decided that as an un-elected body they were under no obligation to act in accordance with the wishes of the citizenry and didn’t put any questions about policing on the ballot. I bet that some of the charter commission members read my blog, and so before going onward to talk about the amendments that are on the ballot, I would just like to take this opportunity to say to them: why, hello there, fuck 10 out of the 15 of you

The questions on the ballot read as follows.

CITY QUESTION 1 (Minneapolis)
Redistricting of Wards and Park Districts

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to allow ward and park district boundaries to be reestablished in a year ending in 1 and to allow the use of those new boundaries for elections in that same year; to allow ward and park district boundaries to be modified after the legislature has been redistricted to establish City precinct boundaries; to provide that an election for a Council Member office required by Minnesota law in a year ending in 2 or 3 after a redistricting shall be for a single 2-year term; and to clarify that a regular election means a regular general election?

CITY QUESTION 2 (Minneapolis)
Special Municipal Elections
Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to comply with Minnesota election law related to uniform dates for special municipal elections and to provide that a special election be held on a legal election day under Minnesota law that is more than 90 days from a vacancy in the office of Mayor or Council Member?

You can vote yes or no. The two questions are voted on separately (and although they are both about elections, they’re unrelated.)

Continue reading

Election 2020: Minnesota House, 64B

On the ballot:

Dave Pinto (DFL)
Georgia Dietz (Republican)

Dave Pinto is a progressive and generally responsive legislator who is doing a fine job.

Georgia Dietz is the chair of the Senate District 64 Republicans and is realistic enough about her chances that she hasn’t bothered setting up a website. Sharon Anderson’s campaign is a good illustration of why it’s always worth having some reasonably respectable Republican show up and file, even if they’re absolutely not going to win.

I’m going to vote for Dave Pinto.


If you’ve read all the way to the bottom: I took the time to look over on Donors Choose for some Minneapolis public school teachers who could use some financial help during These Difficult Times and in particularly with distance learning. Ms. Stone is a teacher at Cityview Elementary in North Minneapolis. She will be teaching third graders this year, and to help them succeed with distance learning, she is requesting a set of Chromebooks for her class. To equip this class of children with the basic technology they will need for distance learning will require another $5,411 to be raised by October 3rd. Can my readers raise that much? If not, can they at least get it to within sight of the finish line so a corporation or foundation will be inspired to swoop in and match our donations? I think it’s worth trying.

(I don’t have a patreon or a ko-fi but I take a lot of satisfaction from seeing projects fund after I point people at them. Please donate!)

Election 2020: Minnesota Senate, District 64

If you were thinking to yourself, “self, there are many interesting races this year, but for which office is local perennial freakshow Sharon Anderson running?” I am here with your answer: she’s running to be my State Senator. Fortunately, I am not super worried about her winning. Here’s who’s on the ballot:

Erin Murphy (DFL)
Sharon Anderson (Republican)
Patricia Jirovec McArdell (Legal Marijuana Now)

Patricia does not have a website. In an article from last year in which the chair of the Legal Marijuana Now party says that he doesn’t want his candidates running against incumbent Democrats who support marijuana legalization, Patricia is quoted as saying, “I believe that my running in this is something that will get these conversations going so that I can ask questions and have the rest of the candidates state their position on it, and to get the conversation more normalized out in public.” Note: Erin is not an incumbent, but the previous state senator, Dick Cohen, was a supporter of marijuana legalization. So is Erin.

I feel like Sharon Anderson’s completely incoherent blog is summed up pretty well by her response to the question “Please provide a brief bio highlighting experience and accomplishments that qualify you to be the next State Senator in your district”:

Sharon Anderson was born in Braham, Minnesota. She attended the University of Minnesota for her real estate license
        Self taught Blogger over 100 plus Forensic Files, pdf pics,unabated by Officials.
St.Paul Home Town, Homegrown Legal Research Analyst,tracking City Hall over 40 yrs.Similarily Situated Homeowners,Seniors,Disable and Vunerable who cannot Speak or Fight4themselves. Sharon must Educate the Public on Sharia Law, DFL liberal Socialism,Antifa,contrary to USA Constitution.

Sharon’s website in the past has included rants about “Muslins” (yeah, she spells it like the fabric) and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Edited to add: Sharon left a case for herself over on my post about the school board race. I did not approve it, but here’s a screen shot:

Sharon Anderson (@Sharon4Anderson) commented on Election 2020: Saint Paul School Board: Sharons Senate 64 Campaign centers around its OK to be White

(“Sharons Senate 64 Campaign centers around its OK to be White.” Good to know, Sharon. Everyone else: DON’T VOTE FOR SHARON.)

Erin was a State Rep for many years, then ran for governor, losing to Tim Walz in the primary. I like Erin a lot. If you live in MN 64, you should definitely vote for Erin Murphy.


If you’ve read all the way to the bottom: I took the time to look over on Donors Choose for some Minneapolis public school teachers who could use some financial help during These Difficult Times and in particularly with distance learning. Because stuff, amazingly, KEEPS GETTING FUNDED I’ve created a page that hopefully I can just update with new projects if needed and you can find it here: https://naomikritzer.com/2020/09/29/donors-choose-fundraising-update-2/

(I don’t have a patreon or a ko-fi but I take a lot of satisfaction from seeing projects fund after I point people at them. Please donate!)