Winter in America by Gil Scott-Heron

From 1974. Or today.

From the Indi­ans who wel­comed the pilgrims
And to the buf­fa­lo who once ruled the plains
Like the vul­tures cir­cling beneath the dark clouds
Look­ing for the rain
Look­ing for the rain

Just like the cities stag­gered on the coastline
Liv­ing in a nation that just can’t stand much more
Like the for­est buried beneath the highway
Nev­er had a chance to grow
Nev­er had a chance to grow
And now it’s winter
Win­ter in America

Yes and all of the heal­ers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the peo­ple know, the peo­ple know
It’s winter
Win­ter in America

And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Win­ter in America

The Con­sti­tu­tion
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Strug­gled but it died in vain
And now Democ­ra­cy is rag­time on the corner
Hop­ing for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hop­ing for some rain

And I see the robins
Perched in bar­ren treetops
Watch­ing last-ditch racists march­ing across the floor
But just like the peace sign that van­ished in our dreams
Nev­er had a chance to grow
Nev­er had a chance to grow

And now it’s winter
It’s win­ter in America
And all of the heal­ers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the peo­ple know, peo­ple know
It’s win­ter, Lord knows
It’s win­ter in America

And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Win­ter in America
And now it’s winter
Win­ter in America

And all of the heal­ers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the peo­ple know, peo­ple know
It’s winter
Win­ter in America

And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to save

Baby name popularity trendsetters?

The most pop­u­lar post on my blog, year after year (and now decade after decade), is a 2005 piece on baby names: Unpop­u­lar Baby Names: Avoid­ing the Jacobs, Emilys and Madis­ons. We used the tech­niques list­ed to aid in our attempt to give our own kids clas­sic names that wouldn’t be overused among their peers. The 2015 num­bers are out from the Social Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion. How did we do? The charts below shows the respec­tive rank­ings from 2015 to the year they were born.





The names of our two “babies” — Gre­go­ry, 5, and Lau­ra, 4, are both less pop­u­lar now than they were the year we named them. Yea! They’re both in the low 300s – viable names but far from overused.

Fran­cis, now 10, was drop­ping in pop­u­lar­i­ty and drop­ping into the low 600s. With that trend, we actu­al­ly wor­ried about the name becom­ing too unpop­u­lar. But an uptick start­ed in 2010 and became pro­nounced in 2013 when an Argen­tin­ian named Jorge Mario Bergoglio decid­ed to start call­ing him­self Fran­cis. The name is now in the high 400s.

The pop­u­lar­i­ty of our eldest son’s name, Theodore (“I’m Theo!, don’t call me Theodore!”), start­ed off in the low 300s was hold­ing steady with­in a 20-point range for years until around 2009. In 2015 it cracked the top 100. It’s only at 99 but clear­ly something’s hap­pen­ing. Equal­ly dis­turb­ing, “Theo” wasn’t even on the top 1000 until 2010, when it snuck in at posi­tion 918. Since then it’s leap 100 spots a year. It’s cur­rent­ly at 408 with no sign of slowing.

And for those of you look­ing to spot trends: did we just call our names ear­ly? Maybe “Fran­cis” isn’t a slow climb but is about the go shoot­ing for the top 100 in two years time. Maybe “Gre­go­ry” and “Lau­ra” will be all the rage for moth­ers come 2020. Yikes!

Colorful Quakers

Hold onto your broad­brim hat! After 58 years of black and white, COLOR is on the way to Friends Jour­nal start­ing in AUGUST 2013. To announce it, FJ’s first Vine video:

This was what we were work­ing on last week, when I tweet­ed out ask­ing how many Quak­ers does it take to shoot a seven-second video!

How many Quakes?
The impromp­tu FJ video team: yours tru­ly, Gabe, Gail, and Sara.

As you might all expect, I’m real­ly hap­py with the move. Col­or won’t add very much to the over­all bud­get just 1.5 per­cent!) but it should help us reach new read­ers. I’m also hop­ing it will give lapsed read­ers a rea­son to open the mag­a­zine again and see what we’ve been doing the last few years. Sub­scrip­tions start at a very rea­son­able $25. If you sign up before July 8, you’ll get August’s very first col­or issue!

Convergent Friends: Content not designed for our market?

Hen­ry Jenk­ins (right) mix­es up the names but has good com­men­tary on the Susan Boyle phe­nom­e­non in How Sarah [Susan] Spread and What it Means. I’ve been quot­ing lines over on my Tum­blr blog but this is a good one for Quak­er read­ers because I think it says some­thing about the Con­ver­gent Friends culture:

When we talk about pop cos­mopoli­tanism, we are most often talking
about Amer­i­can teens doing cos­play or lis­ten­ing to K-Pop albums, not
church ladies gath­er­ing to pray for the suc­cess of a British reality
tele­vi­sion con­tes­tant, but it is all part of the same process. We are
reach­ing across bor­ders in search of con­tent, zones which were used to
orga­nize the dis­tri­b­u­tion of con­tent in the Broad­cast era, but which
are much more flu­id in an age of par­tic­i­pa­to­ry cul­ture and social

We live in a world where con­tent can be accessed quick­ly from any
part of the world assum­ing it some­how reach­es our radar and where the
col­lec­tive intel­li­gence of the par­tic­i­pa­to­ry cul­ture can identify
con­tent and spread the word rapid­ly when need­ed. Susan Boyle in that
sense is a sign of big­ger things to come — con­tent which wasn’t
designed for our mar­ket, con­tent which wasn’t timed for such rapid
glob­al cir­cu­la­tion, gain­ing much greater vis­i­bil­i­ty than ever before
and net­works and pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies hav­ing trou­ble keep­ing up with
the rapid­ly esca­lat­ing demand.

Susan Boyle’s video was pro­duced for a U.K.-only show but social media has allowed us to share it across that bor­der. In the Con­ver­gent Friends move­ment, we’re dis­cov­er­ing “con­tent which wasn’t designed for our mar­ket” – Friends of all dif­fer­ent stripes hav­ing direct access to the work and thoughts of oth­er types of Friends, which we are able to sort through and spread almost imme­di­ate­ly. In this con­text, the “net­works and pro­duc­tions com­pa­nies” would be our year­ly meet­ings and larg­er Friends bodies.

Almost Famous

Con­ser­v­a­tive god­fa­ther of the inter­net Instapun­dit almost linked to Non​vi​o​lence​.org the oth­er day. He didn’t like our take on the eno­la Gay exhib­it, but instead of link­ing direct­ly to us so his read­ers could see what we had to say, he linked to Bill Hobbs’ cri­tique. I guess Instapun­dit alter ego Glen Reynolds must not think his read­er­ship can han­dle dis­sent­ing voic­es. Instapun­dit read­ers who cut and past­ed to get here:

  • Yes, the Japan­ese were secret­ly try­ing to sur­ren­der before the atom­ic bomb­ings of Hiroshi­ma and Nagas­ki. The U.S. thought incin­er­at­ing 150,000-some peo­ple was a good nego­ti­at­ing tac­tic, and it worked: the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment to instant­ly agree to uncon­di­tion­al surrender.
  • Yes, the U.S. takeover of Hawaii and the Philip­pines were aggres­sive acts to secure ship­ping routes in the South Pacif­ic. In 1854, a Unit­ed States war­ship under the com­mand of Com­modore Matthew Cal­braith Per­ry sailed to Japan and forced it to sign treaties open­ing up its mar­kets. The threat of Russ­ian expan­sion from the West and U.S. expan­sion from the south and east was a large part of the rea­son Japan mil­i­ta­rized in the first place. These are the kind of facts one should have when stand­ing in the Smith­son­ian gaz­ing up at Eno­la Gay and won­der­ing how it ever came to be that the U.S. would drop two nuclear weapons over two heavily-populated cities.