The Red Hand Files:

Mercy is a value that should be at the heart of any functioning and tolerant society. Mercy ultimately acknowledges that we are all imperfect and in doing so allows us the oxygen to breathe — to feel protected within a society, through our mutual fallibility. Without mercy a society loses its soul, and devours itself.

“I want my grandchildren to go to the No. 1 high school in the state, not the 139th.”

Erin Jordan and Alejandro Rojas in The Gazette:

Many parents are mad the Iowa City Community School District is closing its elementary school in Hills, but that doesn’t mean they want to send their kids to a lower-ranking district instead.

Sen. Dawn Driscoll, R-Williamsburg, and Rep. Heather Hora, R-Washington, met with the Hills City Council last week to talk about the possibility of changing school boundaries to move Hills students to the Lone Tree Community School District instead.

Iowa Republicans, including Driscoll and Hora, continue to defund public education in Iowa, where the past decade has seen state funding fail to keep up with inflation, leading to building and program closures.

The solution Republicans are offering: move your school to a shittier district that doesn’t guarantee it could keep the building open, either.

Car Washes are Proliferating Across the U.S. Here’s Why.

Ailsa Chang interviews Patrick Sisson of Bloomberg on NPR:

You also talked about how, like, some small towns – they’ve resorted to banning car washes. It’s really that bad. Like, car washes has – they’ve become this invasive species in some parts of the U.S.

The number of car washes is expected to double in the next six years because there’s a ton of money to be made in subscription model, the labor costs are low and culturally we’ve shifted from “I can do it” to “I want someone to do it for me”.

On Abolition

Every day, we take hundreds of steps towards abolition.

Waving to a neighbor walking her dog.

Stoping to help a kid on their way to school who’s bag is spilling papers.

Handing out Halloween candy at your front door.

Meeting a new person who works near your office.

Collecting a few pieces of trash.

Holding your kid’s birthday party at the neighborhood park.

Closing a street to cars for a community festival.

Visiting a playground and playing.

Asking someone if they’re OK.

Sharing a tradition.

Picking up dog poop that’s not yours.

Giving another human grace.

Moving forward when you’re not offered the same.

Writing a poem.

Flying a kite.

Checking in an old friend.

Letting your boss know, clearly and honestly, what isn’t working.

Joining a community network that connects folks across your city to solve problems.

Asking your neighbor if they’d stop setting of fireworks.

Getting over neighbors continuing to set off fireworks.

Finding a new home for books you’ve already read and things you no longer use.

Bringing food to a potluck.

Forgiving a person who wronged you.

It’s hundreds of daily acts of resistance, easy and hard, that makeup the steps on the infinitely long path to abolition.

On Parenting

By the end of this month, my child will turn 18. There was a time she was struggled to lift her head during tummy time, and I remember her first wobbly steps while I feared she’d take a header off the coffee table.

I occurs to me that these moments reoccur.

She’s currently navigating decisions about college, and now, like then, I have to remind myself to let her grapple with the challenge.

She was learning to ride a bike, I couldn’t hold her up or she’s never learn to balance. When she was learning to drive, I couldn’t hold the wheel or she’d never learn to steer. When she was falling in love, I couldn’t play her matchmaker and chaperone or she’d never learn how to exist in a romantic relationship. As she learns how to be an adult, she needs the space to try and fail — or fall.

Like a newborn bird working its way out of its shell, the struggle is critical to the necessary growth. The necessary strengthening. Standing back comes with risk, but intervention comes with more.

Rating Apples

It should be no surprise I love an obsessive strong opinion about something that doesn’t really matter and so I love Apple Rankings. That I disagree with it is only better.

Personally, I’m thrilled it’s Zestar season, so I’m stocking up on local ones.