‘What Republicans and Democrats are doing in the states where they have total Power.
by Perry Bacon Jr.
‘What laws are being passed in “trifecta” states, in which one party controls both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office? These states are ripe for bills to pass easily because the other party can’t stop them. And they serve as a good indicator of each party’s priorities and what it might do at the federal level given unfettered power.1
There is no formal clearinghouse for state policy changes, so I looked for legislative patterns and consulted with national groups that work on state policy, such as the left-leaning State Innovation Exchange. The result is a non-exhaustive list of legislation that has passed in multiple trifecta states, either blue or red.
The issues being pushed in liberal states aren’t too surprising. They reflect a combination of (i) initiatives the Obama administration was pushing in its latter stages but couldn’t get approved nationally because the GOP controlled Congress; (ii) reactions to the Trump era (particularly trying to ensure that another president is not elected without winning the popular vote), and (iii) priorities of the party’s activists.
36 Legislative Chambers in 23 States Have Now Passed National Popular Vote Bill
‘The National Popular Vote bill will take effect when enacted into law by states possessing 270 electoral votes (a majority of the 538 electoral votes).
It has been enacted into law in 14 states [April 2019] possessing 172 electoral votes (CA, CT, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA). The bill will take effect when enacted by states possessing an additional 98 electoral votes.
The bill has passed at least one legislative chamber in 11 states possessing an additional 89 electoral votes. Specifically, the bill has passed both legislative chambers (but in different years) in 2 states with 14 electoral votes (CO, NM), and it has passed one legislative chamber in 9 states possessing 75 electoral votes (AR, AZ, DE, ME, MI, NC, NV, OK, OR). It has been unanimously approved at the committee level in 2 states possessing 27 electoral votes (GA, MO). The National Popular Vote bill has been introduced in various years in all 50 states.
The bill has now passed a total of 36 state legislative chambers in 23 states:’
John Adams: ‘Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.’
In a time when everything was being swept away, when “the whole world is becoming a giant concentration camp,” [Etty Hillesum] felt one must hold fast to what endures—the encounter with God at the depths of one’s own soul and in other people.
-Robert Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time
To follow their own paths to wholeness, both Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875–1961) and Jewish Auschwitz victim Etty Hillesum (1914–1943) trusted in and hearkened to the voice of God in their deepest Selves.
When accusers called Joan of Arc (1412–1431) the victim of her own imagination, she is frequently credited with this brilliant reply: “How else would God speak to me?”
Intuitive truth, that inner whole-making instinct, just feels too much like our own thoughts and feelings, and most of us are not willing to call this “God,” even when that voice prompts us toward compassion instead of hatred, forgiveness instead of resentment, generosity instead of stinginess, bigness instead of pettiness.
Late in his life, Jung wrote, “In my case Pilgrim’s Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.” Jung, a supposed unbeliever, knew that any authentic God experience takes a lot of humble, honest, and patient seeking.
-Fr. Richard Rohr
[From a letter to a pupil (April 9, 1959). See C. G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950,selected and edited by Gerhard Adler.]
Before one of his poetry readings at the On Being Gathering, David Whyte quoted these famous lines from poet Antonio Machado:
“Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino …”
“Pathmaker, there is no path, You make the path by walking. By walking, you make the path …”
River of Life Exercise
Editor’s Note: This activity was originally developed by Joyce Mercer. It is edited and adapted with permission.
All you need is a pen and a blank sheet of paper. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to work through it.
Step One: Reflect Think about the course of your life. Take a moment to consider the following questions:
If your life were a river, what shape would it take?
Where are the bends and turns, when your situation or perspective changed? Was the transition smooth or sudden?
Are there rocks or boulders — obstacles or life-altering moments — falling into your river?
Are there points at which it flows powerfully and purposefully or slows to a trickle?
Step Two: Frame Draw your river of life with its bends and turns, smooth waters and rough spots, strength and vitality.
Label your approximate age and/or dates along the flow of your river.
Identify various key events in your life that shape your story — the boulders in the river or places where the river changes course.
If you were to divide your life journey into sections, where would the sections divisions occur? Name each of the sections of your life river.
Step Three: Guide Think about the various people who have accompanied you along this river’s journey. Record these key relationships and losses in the appropriate places on your river of life. If you wish, you can also record thoughts and feelings attached to these relationships.
What relationships have been most significant at different positions in your life?
Who has most shaped you?
Have there been significant losses of relationships along the way?
What groups or communities of people were most important?
Step Four: Contextualize Reflect on your life’s journey and trajectory. Using words and/or symbols, place life events in the appropriate locations on your diagram.
Are there times of significant pain or suffering — yours or others’ — that shape the flow of your life river?
What was going on in the world — locally, regionally, or around the world — that shape the flow of your life river?
Step Five: Evaluate Note what has been important to you.
What values, commitments, causes, or principles were most important to you at a given point in your life?
Toward what goals, if any, were your primary energies directed? Or, metaphorically speaking, what purposes and ends helped to shape the flow of life waters at a given time in your experience?
As you finish depicting your river of life, review the whole diagram. Do its symbols and words seem to portray how you think and feel about the whole of your life? Is there some important element left out? Make adjustments as needed. Remember that no diagram can possibly capture all that shapes your journey.
You can share your river of life with others or simply use it as a tool for personal reflection.
Michael Bloomberg delivers the commencement address at the University of Maryland.
“…fire all politicians who ignore these threats. Whether it’s climate change, or gun violence, or any other issue, all of you can make up for the inaction in Washington by turning their points of failure into turning points for our great nation. […] “When you leave this campus, look for ways to exercise your power. Join an advocacy group. Write your representatives. Call them, organize, march, donate, vote. And get your friends and family to do the same. You have more power than you realize – use it.”
Oprah speaking to the 2019 graduating class at Colorado College.
“Pick any problem. Small steps lead to big accomplishments. You will V O T E.”
I have what you have not. I am what you are not. I have taken what you have failed to take and I have seized what you could never get. Therefore, you suffer and I am happy, you are despised and I am praised, you die and I live; you are nothing and I am something because you are nothing. And thus, I spend my life admiring the distance between you and me. [Seeds of Contemplation, 1961]
Fr. Richard Rohr:
In very real ways, soul, consciousness, love, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. Each of these point to something that is larger than the individual, shared with God, ubiquitous, and even eternal—and then revealed through us! Holiness does not mean people are psychologically or morally perfect (a common confusion), but that they are capable of seeing and enjoying things in a much more “whole” and compassionate way, even if they sometimes fail at it themselves. [Just This, 2017].
‘I don’t know about you, but every time I pick up my phone or open up on Twitter, it seems the world is going the wrong way. But when I put down my phone to play with my kids, go for a walk in the neighborhood, or spend time with friends
I’m reminded how wonderful and mysterious life really is.”
-Christine Crook, Author & Founder of The Joy of Missing Out
A. Philip Randolph organized the March on Washington where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He was a civil rights activist, a labor organizer, and instrumental to desegregating the military.
Audio clip features Hailey’s Tree Committee (HTC) proclamation given by city council president Martha Burke and HTC chair Linda Ries. For additional photos from Hailey’s ArborFestSaturday, May 18th, visit Dayle’s Community Cafe on Facebook:
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.
It is the tending of our own souls that invites the natural process of love to begin. I remember my very first tumble into love. I found such comfort there that, like Narcissus, I became lost in how everything other than my pain was reflected in his beauty. All the while, I was addicting my own worth, empowering him as the key to my sense of joy.
If I have learned anything through the years, it is that, though we discover and experience joy with others, our capacity for joy is carried like a pod of nectar into our very own being. I now believe that our deepest vocation is to root ourselves enough in this life that we can open our hearts to attract others. In other words, in being so thoroughly who we are, an inner essence is released that calls others to experience our personal light.
It seems the very job of being is to ready us for such love.
In this way, the Universe continues through the unexpected coming together of blossomed souls.
So if you can, give up the want of another and be who you are, and more than not, love will come at the precise moment you are simply in love with you. [Nepo]
Identify one trait makes you feel good about who are are: your laugh, your simile, your ability to listen, or the sound of your voice.
Notice how this effects others.
These small moments are the beginnings of love. They do not yet have definition.
Take a moment. Give thanks for your small goodness and for the potential love of others.
A hunger drives us.
We want to contain it all in our naked hands,
our bribing sense, our speechless hearts.
We want to become it, or offer it-but to whom?
We could hold it forever-but, after all,
what can we keep?
Not the beholding, so slow to learn.
Not anything that has happened here.
There are hurts. And, always, the hardships.
And there’s the long knowing of love-all of it
amidst the stars,
we will see: these are better unsaid.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Duino Elegy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
Science of Mind/Ernest Holmes:
This was the Christ speaking, the son begotten of the only Father-the Son of God. Humble in his humanity, compassionate in his tenderness, understand the frailties of the human mind, he let the Great Spirit speak through him, in words of love and sympathy. He proclaimed his divinity through his humanity and taught that all men are brothers.
Rev. Dr. David Goldberg:
The Sanskrit word karuna is translated as compassion, which means active sympathy or the willingness to bear the pain of others. Closely related to karuna is metta, loving kindness.
It’s important to remember also that genuine compassion is rooted in prajna or wisdom. Prajna is the realization that the separate self is an illusion. This takes us back to not attaching our egos to what we do, expecting to be thanked or rewarded.
In Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes, “According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive-it’s not empty alone-but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving kindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving kindness). [Right Action and Compassion, Barbara O’Brien, April 2018]
“There isn’t time so brief is life for bickering, apologies, heart-burnings, calling to account there is only time for loving, but in an instant, so to speak, for that.” 
“Brother body is poor…that means we must be rich for him.
He was often the rich one; so may he be forgiven
for the meanness of his wretched moments.
Then, when he acts as though he barely knows us,
may he be gently reminded of all that has been shared.
Of course, we are not one but two solitaries:
our consciousness and he.
But how much we have to thank each other for,
as friends do! And illness reminds us:
friendship demands a lot.” [Written between 1908 and 1923.]
Thomas Merton (insert medium of choice):
“I am certainly no judge of television, since I have never watched it. All I know is that there is a sufficiently general agreement, among men whose judgement I respect, that commercial television is degraded, meretricious, and absurd. Certainly, it would seem that TV could become a kind of unnatural surrogate for contemplation: a completely inert subjection to vulgar images, a descent to a sub-natural passivity rather than an ascent to a supremely active passivity in understanding and love. It would seem that television should be used with extreme care and discrimination by anyone who might hope to take interior life seriously. 
“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”
“The Study of Adult Development at the Harvard Medical School, better known as the Grant Study — the longest-running study of human happiness. Beginning in 1938 as a counterpoint to the disease model of medicine, the ongoing research set out to illuminate the conditions that enhance wellbeing by following the lives of 268 healthy sophomores from the Harvard classes between 1939 and 1944. It was a project revolutionary in both ambition and impact, nothing like it done before or since.
Little progress had been made since Walt Whitman’s prescient case for the grossly underserved human factors in healthcare and the question of what makes for a good life was cautiously left to philosophy. It’s hard for the modern mind to grasp just how daring it was for physicians to attempt to address it.
But that’s precisely what the Harvard team did. There are, of course, glaring limitations to the study — ones that tell the lamentable story of our cultural history: the original subjects were privileged white men. Nonetheless, the findings furnish invaluable insight into the core dimensions of human happiness and life satisfaction: who lives to ninety and why, what predicts self-actualization and career success, how the interplay of nature and nurture shapes who we become.”
“In this illuminating TED talk, Harvard psychologist and Grant Study director Robert Waldinger — the latest of four generations of scientists working on the project — shares what this unprecedented study has revealed, with the unflinching solidity of 75 years of data, about the building blocks of happiness, longevity, and the meaningful life.”
Idaho Matters/Fri. May 17th: deep & necessary dialogue dive on civil discourse with Keith Allred, ED for the Institute, advisory board members Walt Minnick & former Gov. Butch Otter. If you missed it, listen tonight at 8, or follow audio links.
Today, the Institute is creating 50 advisory boards to be positioned in each state. Idaho is the first state to establish such a board.
Tired of political incivility? So are Butch Otter & Walt Minnick, and they hope you can help
Keith Allred , who challenged Butch Otter for governor in the 2010 election, is the new director of The National Institute for Civil Discourse, which was formed following the 2011 shooting of then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. The organization’s mission addressing the incivility and dysfunction in American life, and repairing American democracy.
“Part of what has gone wrong, as the parties become more polarized, is they are not picking issues in D.C. right now for the sake of solving them, they are trying to find the best club to beat up on each other with,” Allred said.
“If we are holding our breath waiting for the two parties to solve this current civility crisis, we are going to be disappointed,” he added.
Allred sees the solution: The American people to step up.
“A truth is a useful, reliable statement of how the world is. You can ignore it, but it will cost you, because the world won’t work the way you hope it will. You can dislike the truth, but pretending it isn’t true isn’t an effective way to accomplish your goals or to further our culture.
Most of the kinds of truth we experience are about the past and the present, and these are the easiest to see and confirm, but there are also truths about cause and effect.
Identity is the truth of description. A circle is round because we define a circle as round. You can say, “a circle is rectangular in shape,” and all you’ve done is confused us. Words only work because we agree on what they mean.
Demagogues often play with the identity of words, as it distracts us.
Axiomatic truth is truth about the system. The Peano axioms, for example, define the rules of arithmetic. They are demonstrably true and the system is based on these truths. Einstein derived his theories of special and general relativity with a pad of paper, not with an experiment (though the experiments that followed have demonstrated that his assertions were in fact true.)
There were loud voices in mid-century Germany who said that Einstein’s work couldn’t be true because of his heritage, and many others who mis-described his work and then decried that version of it, but neither approach changed the ultimate truth of his argument.
Axiomatic truth, like most other truths, doesn’t care whether you understand it or believe it or not. It’s still true.
Historic truth is an event that actually happened. We know it happened because it left behind evidence, witnesses and other proof.
Experimental truth may not have the clear conceptual underpinnings of axiomatic truth, but it holds up to scrutiny. The world is millions of years old. Every experiment consistently demonstrates this. Experimental truth can also give us a road map to the future. Vaccines do not cause autism. The world is not flat. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising.
If you want to challenge an experimental truth, the only response is to do a better experiment, make it replicable and show your work.
Personal experience truth is the truth that’s up to you. How you reacted to what happened can only be seen and reported by you.
And finally, consider cultural truth, and this is the truth that can change. This is the truth of, “people like us do things like this.” Which is true, until it’s not. And then people like us do something else.”