Category: Politics

Weekend Links

“We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late. ” 
― Edward R. Murrow

Guys, what a week.

In any other day or time, any one of the news cycles of this past week would have been an administration defining set of stories. But it’s 2018 and the backbreaking pace of news continues unabated. Let’s run through the political news in one fell swoop shall we?

Monday: FBI raids. Yeah, this guy is Mr. Trump’s lawyer…but he’s also the deputy Finance Chair of the Republican Party. Maybe formerly, it looks like the GOP website was updated

Tuesday: Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress this week and, um, it went surprisingly poorly for our elected leaders in the Senate who came off looking badly out of their depth with kids today and their technology. The House did much better in their questions the next day.

Wednesday: Paul Ryan announces his resignation. I’m not surprised, he got what he wanted for years: a major tax cut. Now he’s now ducking out to avoid the eventual questions that will come over having ballooned national debt, and without having to face the long term consequences of the policies he’s driven forward. I suspect he also feels that the current administration is doing damage to his party’s brand and he doesn’t see immediate solutions…or at least ones he’s willing to support. This is a man who has failed. He preached tax reform and smaller government; he’s leaving office with dramatically expanded government spending and a nationalist takeover that helped oust him. There’s pathos in that, I guess, but darned if I have much sympathy. Obviously I have a very ungenerous and petty take on this situation, PBS Frontline has more responsible journalism on the bigger picture. The interactive documentary they did is also very good.

Thursday: Syria crisis escalates, hearings for Mr. Pompeo as potential Secretary of State, and suddenly the president wants back in the TPP. And he might have a secret love child? What even is life now…

Friday and Saturday: Comey’s book launch begins, the RNC have crafted an entire campaign around discrediting Comey (the pop up when I visited this official website urged me to “Stand with President Trump!” which is an odd message from a party who heretofore has built their identity around loyalty to the constitution rather than individuals. The Democratic party has a much longer history of the cult of personality), the president pardons Scooter Libby in what may be signalling protection to those of his allies who may be facing legal consequences, and a coalition launches missiles at Syria. Let us remember a couple of things, first that the power of the presidency should be limited when it comes to military action and we should expect congress to determine when and if we pursue long term military force. Second, that the chemical attacks to which we are ostensible retaliating happened a week ago and the administration sure could use a wag the dog distraction right about now.

Good. Lord. On to other links!

That’s right, we’re being positive!

The lone wolves are actually a pack.” This is a couple of weeks old but I think is valuable reading in the discussion of domestic extremists in the US. These mostly white male actors are very seldom operating in a vacuum from one another, and we need to confront this radicalization as a society.

My spirit animal.

Our issue with data is bigger than just Facebook, guys. This has been a conversation a long time coming.

Seth Meyer’s and Alexi Ashe’s children have pretty intense arrival stories.

This piece on Man Repeller is about how performed disdain around pop culture is problematic, and usually gendered to boot.

I really want to see this exhibit at the V&A.

This is a pretty loaded “review” of Taylor Swift’s latest single…

Black mothers and babies are dying in America at an alarming high rate compared to other racial counterparts.

Would some good soul please get me this ring?!

Weekend Links: The Kids Are Alright Edition

“Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do you want to leave behind?” 
― John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

Another week, another round of White House staff shakeups, another batch of violence to confront as a society, another round of nationwide protests…you know. The usual. I’m actually following the news with a lot of hope this week because in spite of a lot of really, really bad news, I believe that engagement and knowledge are the sunlight cures for cultural infection.

A bit over a year ago, the Women’s March happened, millions participated. Later that same year, courageous reporting and a refusal to allow our attention be turned from it exposed corrupt systems across industries that had enabled powerful men to prey on women. This year young people are marching against a culture of violence. What changes will we see this year as a result?

Here are your links, kittens, share your favorite posts and stories of the week in the comments!

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OF COURSE after I scheduled last week’s post, this incredible dump of reporting about Cambridge Analytica dropped across a number of platforms. The whistleblower speaks. How they did it. 50 million profiles harvested and weaponized. “If you want to fundamentally change society, you first have to break it.” On Sunday, further reporting on this in the UK was teased leaving both CA and Facebook scrambling. I’ll be updating this as the week goes on I’M SURE.

Channel 4 reports: here’s the full series.

But how significant is this story, really? This episode of On The Media delves into how useful this kind of data harvesting really is, and how this is not a new problem so much as an ongoing conversation with technology and the role of agency in the tech/human experience.

Lest you think this is just about a single social media platform

And while we’re ranting, Instagram! Get it together!

Reddit, you’re not getting off light either.

Okay, time for a palette cleanser with National Puppy Day.

Victoria Beckham is doing more cosmetics, and I just need to hand her my wallet now…

One of the best stories I found on the internet this week! May we all be blessed with such hype teams in our lives.

A gorgeous long read on the complexity of language through an unexpected object.

Damn it.

This week in Mormon news…a disheartening but (to me) unsurprising story of ecclesiastical abuse. There is complexity here because it seems the video in this story was leaked without the victim’s consent, and the LDS church thus far has responded with a piss poor manner from a PR point of view. I’m sorry to say that I’m personally positive there are plenty more stories like this to be told within the LDS community and a whole culture change is needed to address the circumstances that make this sort of abuse all too possible. Women did come forward about this man, it seems, and were simply not believed at the time. It’s been fascinating to see the knee jerk reaction towards trying to discredit this woman (at time of writing, she’s been accused of all kinds of a checkered past by believers who are quick to tribal defense as a group). Especially given that regardless of her personal convictions and life choices…the guy confessing to the crimes in question on camera. 

Utah, whenever I almost give up on you, you do something right.

I. Want. This. Jumper.

Well, this is interesting.

No shit.

I love everything about this woman and want to be her friend.

Another awful story of a POC losing their life to police. Meanwhile the latest in a long ling of white male domestic terrorists who became a serial bomber and blew himself up to avoid arrest this week is being described in some corners of the press as a “challenged young man. His victims were a rising young student and a devoted father. Another toxic male shooter was referred to as a “lovesick teen.”  His victim was taken off life support this week. Society is broken. Here’s a GoFundMe set up for Mr. Clark’s family if you are so inclined. I haven’t seen confirmed donation pages for Mr. Mason’s or  family but I will update the post when I do.

Brilliant.

Cannot wait to read this memoir.

Weekend Links

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” 
― H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe

Okay. *cracks knuckles*

Rex Tillerson was fired by tweet, student walk outs nationwide show that the kids will lead us, Britain expels Russian diplomats in retaliation for what is almost universally believed to be an assassination of a former spy on British soil, Russia has expelled diplomats in response, the deputy head of the FBI was fired two days before his scheduled retirement, and a whole bunch of cabinet secretaries’ jobs and White House appointments are apparently on the chopping block. We can apparently lay to rest the idea that General Kelly is one of the “adults in the room,” after putting a couple of stories in the news this week, one that feels crass, cruel and unnecessary, and the other which seemingly underpins the narrative that he’s not at all in control of anything. Cruelty and pettiness are the defining characteristics of everything about this administration and everyone who touches it either becomes a victim or a perpetrator. As McKay Coppins at The Atlantic suggests, I feel correctly, Mr. Trump is scripting entertainment, not running a government and he likes this narrative about himself.

Woof. Here’s some other news and links to get you through the weekend.

A bit of Mormon news for those of your interested. Five years ago a blog post went sort of (in a Mormon sense) viral in which a couple “came out” about their mixed-orientation marriage that they were committed to making work. Recently, the couple announced they were separating. Both pieces of writing are well worth the read if you want to understand why marriage, sexual orientation, and family are fundamental and critical to the Mormon experience and how hard (I’d say impossible) it is for believers to operate in any kind of queer space. I have no doubt that some people make such relationships work but I have no idea where you have to fall on the Kinsey scale for it to be possible or probable. In any case, if you are interested in deeply thoughtful reads on love, life, loss, and sexuality, this one is pretty poignant.

The New Yorker deep dives into the identity of Christopher Steele.

Stupid, stupid idea.

Mr. de Givenchy has passed away.

As has Mr. Hawking.

Why do I want this overpriced thing so much?!

An update to an old but depressing story.

Girl gangs 4evah.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and the great and good Marian Keyes is here to talk to you about kelly green!

People really underestimate how much Prohibition affected American public, political, and cultural life. All kinds of delightfully quirky stuff came out of it.

Weekend Links

“Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather…”

– Lyrics by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler

Another jam packed week! Another high ranking policy adviser quit the administration and a porn star is suing the president of the US, what a world. She’s suing him because apparently he forgot to sign the nondisclosure agreement his lawyer drew up for him and involved him (the lawyer) paying the adult film actress out of his own pocket for which he has not been reimbursed by the president. Oh, and it’s alleged that negotiations for this agreement were sent from an official Trump campaign email address. Setting aside the tawdriness of the whole thing, the incompetence levels are incredible. I’m not going to get into the proposed North Korea visit because the administration doesn’t appear to be on the same page as itself depending on who’s talking on which platform.

Here are your links for the weekend, I’m going to spend time with my husband because accountancy widow season is officially over, hurrah! I’ve put together an extra long batch for your delectation, let me know what you’ve read this week that made an impression in the comments below.

This post on detaching a bit from work was a good reminder for me this week.

The swift change in the gun debate from policy to private sector companies and organisations shifting the use of their money (from fashion to asset managers) is fascinating to watch.

No. Hell, no. I don’t care if Rihanna has blessed them or not.

More books about POC in the middle ages and early modern periods? Sign me up!

How cereal helped an observant couple game the lottery system (this story is fantastic)!

This feels like an episode of Black Mirror

Tom and Lorenzo sum up the shoddy Oscars red carpet coverage debacle on E! and why it matters to an industry built on PR and presentation.

President Underwood, ma’am.

This story seems…less than ideal… As an update, the BBC has the latest rundown.

Again, Mr. Trump surrounded himself with the “best people” during his campaign and now in the White House… All joking aside, it was a pretty spectacular meltdown. McKay Coppins of The Atlantic has an informed and personally insightful take.

In much, much better news, Neko Case has a new album coming, just in time for my birthday!

Here’s a parable to get behind about creation, risk, and love.

I DON’T LIKE THIS EPISODE OF BLACK MIRROR.

For a White House that insists it isn’t meddling, it sure does appear to meddle.

So we probably found Amelia Earhart’s remains years ago but failed to realize it because someone thought the bones discovered weren’t dainty enough. Literally, they were “too manly.” Hm.

The long, surprising history of the leopard print!

The boys are ready,” for children’s literature with heroines, says Shannon Hale. So say we all!

Weekend Links

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
— Edith Head

London is still freezing, kittens, and I’m putting the finishing touches on this post from bed. I report to you live, swaddled in two layers of loungwear and four layers of blankets.

It was another wild week of news: the White House is still chaotic, the Brexit process is as opaque as ever, and apparently trade wars are good now? I’ve forced myself to not pile on the gloom for you in the links this week, however, so here is a lovingly curated batch of reading to take you through your weekend, no matter how cold it is outside or how weird your newsfeed is. I’ll be bringing you our favorite fight of the year, the Oscars Gown Rundown as soon as I can get it up!

Happy Women’s History Month, let’s celebrate with the most badass board game I can’t believe I had never heard of!

We LOVE a good missing-art-piece-turns-up-in-an-unlikely-place story around here!

This is a couple of weeks old now, but I just found it and it’s worth a read: what’s been happening over at Facebook for the last couple of years, both in terms of business and technology, and why it all matters to us as a society.

This profile in GQ on the popularity arc of Brenden Fraser answers a question I didn’t realize I’d been asking myself for years.

Well bloody deserved!

Long live the king!

Beauty Instagram has teased a launch from an eyeshadow brand that I love that I can already tell is going to test my willpower not to buy it. I’ve seen a decided uptick in green shadows lately and it’s none too soon as far as I’m concerned.

This is absolute trash. Do better, South.

I have been waiting for this since 9th grade.

Monica Lewinsky has something to say, and it’s well worth the read.

Want to know how to expertly cook salmon? The NYT is here to help!

Hicks is out.

This is heartening.

Girl Squad bat signal, my best mate wrote a thing!

This is dramatic and disheartening news about the scope and scale of foreign money that may be influencing powerful forces in our society: we need far, far more transparent money records in politics.

Long before Google, librarians.

Because librarians are bosses.

Weekend Links

“And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations.
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.
― David Bowie, Changes

It’s been quiet around this parts, pumpkins, because work has gotten insane again. All of my routines are messed up right now, my organization and health are completely out of whack and the house is a mess. Jeff is in no better shape as we are in the thick of accounting busy season and the man is working absolutely painful hours at the moment. A+ adulting happening here in the Small Dog residence, let me tell you! However, the sun is out today and I’m determined to repair damages with several loads of laundry, a deep clean of the bathrooms, and a general prep for the coming week.

It’s not all stress and poor self care, though! We’ve actually carved out some fun time over the past two weeks that has been much needed. I loved Black Panther and wanted at least another half hour of Winston Duke’s character cracking jokes and telling Martin Freeman to stop talking. In other news, teenagers will save us from ourselves, and maybe society isn’t falling into wreck and ruin!

Here are your links and tell me how your are spending your weekend. Plus, if you have any self organizational tips that I may benefit from, share them in the comments!

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The only cure for misinformation is education.

I love Fashion Weeks across the globe, but this piece from The Cut asks an important question about the (predominantly) women not on the catwalks.

This cow took its life into its own hooves.

The intensity of the conspiracy theorists active in the world today genuinely terrifies me. Some people are actual garbage.

The FT reports that American arms manufacturers bet wrong.

There is a lot of writing about there about the crisis of modern masculinity (some of it really smart, some of it really bad) but this editorial in the wake of the Parkland shooting is still pretty affecting.

Ugh, I need to stop falling in love with brands. They inevitably sink into mess!

 

Weekend Links: Over and Over Again

“It’s very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It’s easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.” 
― Fred Rogers

Another successful Infrastructure and Immigration Week for the White House and its policy agenda, gone off without a hitch.

Pardon the dark humor, darlings, it’s just that sometimes it feels as though Everything Is Terrible. Another awful school shooting captured in real time by the children who experienced it, another week of sex and abuse scandals that rocked everything from charities to the White House, another week of an intransigent Congress, another batch of news about what is now being termed “informational warfare” against my country.

I’ve tried to keep some good news and fun links mixed in here, but it’s been a rough week, kittens, and we need to sit with that. Our society suffers from extensive abuse and systems that enable abusers. We have powerful veins of violence running through our core and the people who most represent those veins have been strategically armed. We have money speaking louder than people. We have big problems. And then we need to get off our asses and do something to make things better even if it’s small. This weekend, I’m donating some clothing and home items to a charity I have researched and support, donating to a cause I care about, spending some time keeping my body and our finances healthy, and going to see Black Panther. How about you guys? What are you doing in your own corner to take care of yourself or your patch?

There was another mass shooting this week and at time of writing, 17 victims have died including children. Three out of ten of the most deadly mass school shootings in US history have happened in the last 6 months. This is grotesque, it’s unacceptable, it’s horrific. It’s awful how little I’m convinced that this culture of violence with easy access to military grade killing machines is going to change as a result. The only bright spot has been the ability of the children involved to avoid being used as totems by interested parties and staying in control of their own voices, stories, POV, and narratives. The coming generation gives me much hope.

How much of what you read do you remember?

NYFW is over (London is next!) and Into The Gloss runs down their picks for the best beauty looks. If Tom Ford and co. could kindly run me one of those leather headbands, that would be great.

Swipe left.

Another excellent episode of Drunk History for your delectation.

A perennial topic of interest to me: changing trends in clothing. Front production to sales to consumer habits to start ups, Americans are buying less and that has some wider implications across the industry.

Loved this Black Panther review at NPR, with particular emphasis on how certain heroes are created or achieve resonance due to certain cultural moments.

This is…a hobby…?

It was yet another busy Friday afternoon when the DOJ released an indictment of Russian individuals travelling to the US, setting up VPNs to mask the origin of their content, and then spread derogatory content about some politicians (guess which ones) while promoting others (GUESS WHICH ONES). This dates as far back as 2014 according to what I’ve read, item 6 on page 4 states that some of these operatives communicated with “unwitting” members of the Trump campaign. Of no surprise to me was the information that after the election, the activities turned towards inflaming anti-Trump sentiment in some cases. They had one aim. It’s worked. They tried to divide along religious, racial, and regional lines, and it worked. They did their homework, investigated the weak points of our civil society, and went after those points with precision. This thread sums up my feelings (also, I’m more convinced than ever that Facebook is bad for us). Where we go from here, who we hold responsible, and how we choose to come together across divides is up to us.

Oh Mitt,you suffer from terrible timing. Friday in Trump’s America is not the time to be doing this sort of thing, you will always be upstaged.

I haven’t been following the Olympics this year, but figure skating will save us all.

Here. Have a vid of a dog eating pizza, just because.