Weekend Links

“Look at this mess! And where’s the mop?” 
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

It’s only Friday but I’m posting the links early because good grief…What a roller coaster of a week.

After backing down (kind of) on a wildly unpopular policy of his administration’s own making, the president is (of course) trying to spin the narrative of him heroically beating back wrong. I HOPE the conversation continues and now return to the debate about how long families are able to be detained (because please remember that that the administration is already challenging a legal ruling over limiting family detention) and our immigration policies overall. I HOPE TO HELL the furore continues over the fact that there is no commitment to reunite currently separated families. There is also an increasing numbers of verified reports of some of the conditions immigrants and immigrant children are being kept in that are shocking.

Finally, I HOPE this week is a reset in the media and public discourse. That after this ridiculous week, news outlets, politicians, and commentators will do better about bluntly and swiftly countering lies and mistruths–instead of endlessly debating whether or not the president “means it” when he says flagrantly false statements. This administration and the president has gotten away with unaccountability for far too long and it’s corrosive. We need to take him seriously and literally. He is the President of the United States, and we need to stop grading him on a god damn scale.

Basically, props for not paying too much attention to that silly “Space Force” announcement. More of that, please.

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It’s a complicated history, but it’s important to explore and unpack. I have a vivid of a university classmate of mine vigorously denying even the possibility of this relationship because, and I quote, “God would not let His government be organized by a man who did that.” Fourteen years on and I’m still thinking about that conversation…woof.

BEYONCE ALERT. Oh, and her husband too. Sure.

Seriously, who else could shut down the Louvre?

This opinion piece is beautiful and hits right in the feels: “I like to watch Rob and our boys and be reminded that there are some very good men out there… I can expect a great deal from them — and not be disappointed.” Thank god for good men, and yes to celebrating them.

Design flaw.

“[Neko] Case may be an acquired taste, but she’s an addictive, enveloping one. To love her is to fucking love her.” Can confirm that this line, part of this overall great profile, is accurate.

I think every urban generation goes through something like falling out of love with its city, and New York is no different. However there was a lot about this longform piece that really resonated with me as a sojourner in another iconic city during our current socio political moment. I’m surrounded by property I can’t afford, lots of the “old neighborhoods” have undergone a major demographic shift in the last generation, and businesses as well as people are often priced out. The poor are hidden and the rich are in hiding. I’m still prepared to hustle and grind as much as the next hungry and ambitious woman out there, but for what can feel like diminishing returns. Meanwhile, I wonder about how long an ecosystem like a great city will last if less and less of the labor it depends on can find a way to live in it.

I have so many questions about this

This article came out nearly two weeks ago, but I’m still thinking about it and the implications of bro culture as diplomacy. An op ed this week lays out what some of the consequences may be. “America has been dominant for so long that it takes for granted outcomes that support its policies and interests…”

Way to bury the lede…in the 19th paragraph… “According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.”

God, my friends are amazing. My New York bestie and surrogate big sister did a killer podcast this week.

The role of women in the Trump White House is endlessly interesting to me. He relies on certain women in key ways and always has, while simultaneously projecting an intentional, old-school masculinity that is often disdainful of women or insists on traditional gender roles. The women in his orbit are adept at using the tropes of that system to both their and his advantage…which brings me to medieval history! (Everything comes back to medieval history on this blog.)

Finally, this quote sums up the screams-into-a-pillow rage I experience when pondering this whole presidency. “The elite! Why are they elite?” Trump wondered. “I have a much better apartment than they do. I’m smarter than they are. I’m richer than they are. I became president and they didn’t.” HIS IS THE ELITE. HE IS THE PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF THE EMPOWERED PARTY. HE IS RICH AND PRIVLEGED. IT IS A LIE TO SAY OTHERWISE.

Let’s review some of the political events of the last week:

Monday and Tuesday: Fuck your discomfort.

Tuesday: The clip that crashed ProPublica’s website.

Everything pure is going fast…RIP Koko.

As of Wednesday, there were stirrings that the White may back down. Which if course is good, if unexpected on my part, but ironically puts the president in similar situations to his predecessors. I actually accept that our immigration system is in desperate need of reform, in no small part to the messiness and responsibility limbo different aspects of government find themselves in. But until we acknowledge the underlying driving ethos in various drives for reform, this conversation will not move forward. And speaking off…

Lest we forget, we have allowed this administration and a series of untruths to hijack the conversation around immigration in the first place. While there are seasonal trends, the overall trend is that immigration numbers are falling. There has been no scientifically robust link between immigration and crime rate, or wage rates for that matter. We are not being invaded. The language around immigrants is age old, frequently ugly (see also: “infest”), and seldom rooted in fact. If you want to say that immigration is a national security issue: prove it. The problem is that certain people want to behave in ways that are underpinned by nativism, racism, and nationalism, but don’t want to have to admit to those motives. “‘Unable to say, “We want fewer foreign-born Americans, full stop,’ the Trump administration is instead constantly making arguments that don’t withstand much scrutiny.”

Thursday: we’re still unpicking the implications of the Executive Order as it is.

Also Thursday: we’re doing what now?!

Friday: the underlying truth is that our immigration system across the board is a mess, and I’m not just talking about enforcement. Our laws need review to meet the needs and realities of the 21st century. Our borders do need enforcement but they also need them in ways that match reality–a wall won’t work. Our legal systems need money and people to cope with the workload. Our people services need investment so that our national values are just as prioritized as our security. Our Congress is paralyzed by infighting. This whole ugly situation arose because our immigration system is fundamentally disordered (and the ruling powers are ethno-nativist in the extreme). Until that mess is fixed, personal animus will continue to hold more power than it should in the debate.

 

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3 thoughts on “Weekend Links”

  1. In the 30 years (!) I’ve now lived near NYC (and spent a lot of time there), I’ve seen many of the changes described in the piece you linked to.

    There are so many issues that intersect to make the city even more difficult — one of them is stagnant wages, so even when rents increase only the wealthy can afford them.

    Entire blocks have become what Jose would call Usetavilles -” Oh, that used to be…” I fondly remember the funky Bleecker Street (the north-south bit on the west side of the Village) — with its indie antique shops, Tibetan shops, shoe repairs, used CD shops…GONE. GONE. I know that nabe well because my hair salon is down there; my guy pays $5,000 a month for about 300 square feet and has only three chairs from which to make a living in so small a space. So I can’t possibly resent his rising prices because he needs to make a living, too!

    The additional issue he sees is that with all the $$$$$ stores and restaurants in his nabe, and gentrification, only wealthy people now live there — and they flee on weekends to their country homes so he gets no business from them. Now the nabe is so boring and sterile that street traffic (i.e. people enjoying its once quirky nature) don’t even come there now — and don’t drop in for a spontaneous haircut, hurting his business further.

    It’s really sad.

    I’ve seen downtown Toronto completely destroyed by endless endless blocks of glass condo towers.

    1. Much of London is going through this as well. There’s a massive coming social issue, I’m afraid, when actual workers, creatives, service providers, etc won’t be able to live here any more. What on earth are the wealth going to do then (she asked sarcastically)? What’s the point of the expensive apartment if you can’t live there because there are not shops, services, food joints, venues, etc.?! The development industry, in which I used to work, is so much about the ability to park, move, and house wealth but has nothing to do with urban or social planning and the results are going to bite us all.

      1. Which — hello, Grenfell Tower — is only down to the lack of government willingness (as they are doing here in NYC) to stop sucking up to the oligarchs and developers and giving them massive tax breaks.

        Without government action, regulation and oversight you have (as we already do) an oligarchy. The poor are screwed. The middle class are screwed.

        The rich — as the Koch brothers now WORK to destroy all public transit initiatives — own us. Thinking they do not, at this point, is wishful thinking.

        It’s insane and I really wonder when we’ll see another 1789. Sometimes I really wish for it.

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