Tag: Politics

Weekend Links

“History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.” 
― Thomas Jefferson

Happy weekend, darlings! The Amazon/New York deal is off, a national emergency has been declared over something that will not substantially affect the very thing that the US government is declaring is the root of the emergency in the first place. What a hideous mess. We are in the upside down.

Never fear, I’ve put together a list of weekend reading for you that is light on the politics and heavy on the pop culture and obscure scientific weirdness. Truly the sweet spot of the Small Dog Nation!

This weekend Jeff and I are doing a belated Valentine’s day date after basically only catching glimpses of one another for a solid week and general life admin. Very sexy and the stuff of true love. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments.

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My hypothetical children are doomed.

Spoilers if you have not yet seen Russian Doll on Netflix, but this write up from Vulture is so good. Relatedly, if you have not yet watched Russian Doll, stop what you are doing and binge it immediately.

*Files away as she continues to try and learn how to do her hair, despite being in her 30s.

I had to study up on population distribution in the British Isles for my immigration test, and once again was reminded that for all London may feel like the center of the world, the nation is the size of Idaho with a very unevenly spread populace. A fact driven home by this short bit of pre-Brexit reporting.

This is accurate, do not @ me fellow 90s girls.

Racism and its ugly history is everywhere, and academia is just enjoying/enduring a moment in the spotlight as part of a much larger and overdue examination. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I actually did some hard looking at and grappling with the communities I was raised in and lived in–including my almost notoriously mostly-caucasian university, flagship education program of a religious institution which didn’t start ordaining black men to its priesthood until 1978. Correlation? I think so.

We haven’t had a great archaeology story in a while, enjoy!

After a deservedly-viral piece last month, Anne Helen Peterson is back at it with another piece, this time on the realities of student debt and what some of the long term ramifications of this debt will be. There are racial issues, gendered issues, policy issues, psychological issues all to be considered and Peterson does a great job of parsing through them.

Science is brilliant.

This Medium post on the differences, but more importantly similarities, one woman is experiencing at a 20 year distance was a thoughtful read.

My time in certain industries bears witness to this. What a sobering read…

A healthy society should constantly reassess what it finds offensive, but it is fascinating to consider what used to bar people from public life back in the day vs. what they are able to get away with now.

Farrow dropped his latest. It’s his usual brand of jaw dropping.

What could possibly

Black Panther, is that you?!

I do want better examinations of boys and men and masculinity…but this article seems like a bad misstep. The internet agreed.

This is such a specific problem that I never, ever thought about until I read this piece.

What an idiot

Good boy, rover.

NEW LIZZO ALERT. Happy Valentines Day!

Holy crap.

And finally, what a mess. I ask because I genuinely want to know and I genuinely need more some expert to tell me: are we at constitutional crisis yet? The whole thing is farcical…and a bit frightening. And once again I have not the smallest faith that the party who has spent the vast majority of my adult life screaming about constitutionality, balanced budgets, limited government, and so forth will do a damn thing to check him. Meanwhile, this action is almost certain to run into legal and procedural roadblocks, all for an outcome that in the “best case” scenario will net the administration less money than congress was willing to give it a year ago if it had…you know…negotiated.

 

Weekend Links

“Were it left to me to decide if we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Kittens, another weekend is upon us! And as usual, I have sourced a plethora of good reading to get you through the weekend, whether you are hunkered down in the cold or casually flirting with the idea of breaking our your spring clothing. (Don’t do that, crazy person!).

This week in news, we have the whole of the state of Virginia showing its ass, blackmail attempts, more government mess…look, it’s been a rough week. I’ve rounded up the best of serious and trivial reading for you to get you through the weekend without screaming.

What a shambles

This is a headline!

How is this for sartorial goals?!

It has been really cold the past few weeks….

What a tale!

A YouTuber talks transparently about how they make money, what gendered issues some are up against, and what actually makes a business-successful influencer. I’m fascinated by “independent” media creators and think a lot (probably too much) about how bloggers and vloggers have changed the media landscape.

Virginia…are you okay?

This story is not at all surprising, but is still heartbreaking.

This seems like something we should be worrying about and working to prepare for now.

What the actual fuck is going on with Italian fashion houses right now? D&G, Prada and now Gucci have all done horrifically racist–or if you want to be extremely generous in a way I find mind bending to attempt, extremely tasteless and culturally ignorant–crap recently.

Honestly, The Financial Diet’s YouTube channel has been killing it lately.

MY HEART.

CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos has written a Medium post detailing his account of attempts by American Media Inc (AMI) to extort a decision from Mr. Bezos to end an investigation into how they got hold of negative information on his private life. This is of course the same company that has been revealed to use aggressive “catch and kill” tactics in other salacious media stories (most prominently with President Trump’s alleged mistresses). The Daily Beast and other journalists have weighed in to say they have experienced similar intimidation attempts from AMI in the past. In other words, it could be argued that extortion and blackmail are part of their business model. It could also be argued that trying to blackmail the richest man in the world was a hilarious undertaking and how on earth they thought they could coerce him to bend to their will is beyond me. Mr. Bezos accuses AMI’s actions of being politically motivated because of The Washington Post’s aggressive reporting into Mr. Trump’s businesses in particular. Which makes this story all the more weird! AMI is cooperating with law enforcement elsewhere in the Michael Cohen case, so how was this sort of action considered wise if you’re trying to cozy up to investigators?! (ETA: idiots.) Anyway, I applaud Mr. Bezos for detailing this publicly–even as I acknowledge how strange it is to be “on the side” of a billionaire who has cheated on his wife…

A fascinating reveal into Twitter’s actual numbers (and therefore outsized influence?).

Fahrenthold dropped his latest. It’s a doozy.

Everybody needs a Fuck Off Fund. Everybody.

I am very excited about this.

GIRL GANG GOOD NEWS, HANNAH’S BOOK REVIEWS:

NPR review.

Vox review.

Weekend Links

“In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” 
― Carl Sagan

I’m probably going to type this phrase at least thirty more times this year, but it has been a hell of a week, pumpkins…

I’m steering clear of shutdowns and witness tampering in public on the opposite side of the Atlantic, and not touching Brexit. The world is a mess, the media is cutting good journalists and other workers from the very institutions we need most right now, and Ebola cases are rising. There’s a lot to take in and I’m afraid I’m going into the weekend feeling a little moody and grumpy over all.

Cheer me up! Let me know what you’re getting up to in the comments and share a GOOD news story that delighted you this week.

Some shit is going down in Zimbabwe and we need to be following it.

This series of short essays at The Atlantic actually dropped last week but is still worth a review.

This longform piece on human history, DNA, and the complexities of trying to solve the deepest questions of our existence is well worth the time. Our better technology is not exactly uncomplicating the matter.

Quite literally a problem I had never thought of before!

I wrote a piece last week about the confusion I feel over people who align themselves with political movements, the end point of which seem to require their eventual removal from power. It seems dangerously short sighted.  I am equally confused about the point that this piece from the Huffington Post raises: one day Mr. Trump will no longer be president, however and whenever that may be. The Republican party has rebranded itself in his image in record time. What on earth is the plan for when he’s no longer in the Oval Office? He has reduced his political focus to the circa 35% of people who fanboy for him, specifically aggrieved white men, and leaned blatantly into racism and misogyny. While this may be heart-rendingly powerful in the short term, in the long term it is not a winning coalition–the demographics are against you.

This should not be.

And on the back of the previous link, this opinion piece: “Populism of all stripes may be anathema to the billionaire class, but they helped create it.

Tax. The. Rich.

Oh dear

I’ve been craving a longform or profile piece on Senator McConnell lately, to better understand his motivations or endgame. The New York Times came through. It’s a fascinating read, not least of all because of how many connections the Senator is able to call on to speak on his behalf. I dislike much of what he has done, but he is damned effective at his job.

The saga of J. Crew continues.

Oh you KNOW I was going to share this piece. I either want to beg, borrow or steal the MERL’s social media team for my own nefarious work devices.

“I am quite literally from another age,” Attenborough told an audience of business leaders, politicians and other delegates.

This is a concept I will fully and unabashedly stan.

I have been following the #CovingtonCatholic story all week and it’s a mess. The initial images went viral for a reason, the clash of two competing moral positions each staked out with handy props. On one side, while and male America with his MAGA hat, and on the other a champion of identity and narrative politics. Both sides believe they are defending themselves, and they have armies of Twitter eggs on their mutual sides. First the tale was of on the side of the indigenous Elder, then the wronged Good Catholic Boys, and then who even knows. As the story has continued to spin out as it’s been revealed that the children are represented by a PR firm who was aggressively pushing narratives on their behalf (and booking them news slots), further clips of further bad behavior of the sexist and racist variety have surfaced undermining the GCB narrative, and the timeline of events has clarified. In other words, yeah…the kids were behaving in demonstrably racist ways and the initial images probably portrayed the emotional truth. But by this time, the real story is the overcorrections by the media first to cover the story, then to cover the counter stories, and then to mop up the timeline long after the damage was done. The event is a Rorschach test for your political views and we’re long past the point where the facts matter.

I’ll just end by saying that Trayvon Martin didn’t have a PR team. Tamir Rice didn’t have the backing of one of the world’s most powerful religious institutions. Thousands of children have been separate from their parents, made orphans or actually LOST. Meanwhile these Good Catholic Boys are being defended from within the Oval Office and still being positioned as victims of oppression. Spare me. This whole exercise reaffirms the underlying conflict in the initial images that caused this media incident: who is power, and who isn’t? Who is protected and who isn’t? The victimhood narrative does not work when you control all of the levers of power.

Senator Bennett sort of drops the mic

Let’s end on a fun note and an aesthetic I can get behind!

 

ETA: JUST KIDDING. I should never publish Weekend Links early on a Friday in 2019, I truly should know better by now. Excuse the language, but holy shit…lying to Congress is not a “minor charge,” whatever his lawyer may say.

Weekend Links: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
– Winston Churchill

Gillette released an ad about target masculinity and every single Mens Rights Activist on the internet lost their god damned mines over it. “Hamberders” happened. Theresa May squeaked by a vote of No Confidence in her government but Brexit is still no less shambolic. American elected leaders are in a game of oneupmanship in cancelling one another’s public duties. Approximately one million Democrats are running in 2020. New news about the investigation into the President caused him to frantically tweet that new caravans of asylum seekers are coming to impose shariah law or something…

It’s telling that we are three weeks into the new year and there is already THIS MUCH to recap. I actually forgot that the news about the FBI opening an investigation into a sitting president is less than seven days old…

But never fear, kittens! I have lovingly curated enough good and interesting things from around the internet today to help you in processing the fact that the world is on fire.

I want to live in Jeremy Irons’ house..

Were we living in normal times, this would be administration-ending in its own right. Not the outcomes, whatever they were or may yet be, but just that the FBI felt the need to even look into this.

Less than 24 hours later, this reporting also dropped. Even if the sheer amount of inappropriate contact with known-hostile actors and resources could be explained by dumb coincidence and bad luck (which is one hell of a reach at this point, but let’s allow it), at this point the amount of piss poor judgement shown should invoke some kind of major censure from Congress and others with co-equal authority under Constitutional law.

Why can’t we just say he’s not a good manager? Incidentally, this whole presidency is a great case study for those who claim they want people to run the government like a business. I have never understood this, they are in no way analogous. A business exists to make profit, a government exists to administer services, enforce laws, manage public spaces, fund agreed projects and programs that serve the good of the populace, and maintain infrastructure. These are not the same thing as maximizing profit!

K, so I’m switching careers to become a cheeseplate influencer. Thank you for coming to this important announcement.

Media bias is real, but it seldom cuts along the lines that the people complaining about it most loudly claim it is.

I really liked this short Vlogbrothers video on different types of burnout, which follows the viral Buzzfeed article on the same topic I shared last week.

I now long for a sight of Benny!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, rebranded as AOC, has been making waves in the media–mostly thanks to how much attention is being flung at her by white, male, conservative media. It’s included a horrific attempt to pass off nude photos as hers, patronizing language, and attacking her comments while ignoring whole swaths of the rest of the cohort of freshman congressmen and women. Why the vitriol? This writer argues it’s more than run-of-the-mill misogyny (of which there is plenty), it’s deeper than that. (In related writing, this Op Ed about how women are changing the face of power, not least of all by refusing to play into the historical white, male narratives of what power looks like and how it should be practiced.)

This is important investigative reporting on who can access what data about you and how.

What a great piece on whether we may have had that whole slather-on-suncreen-100%-of-the-time thing wrong

In the interest of even-handedness, Lawfare lays out a compelling case that the FBI has overstepped in troubling ways far too many times in recent years and why that’s a bad thing.

DAMN, girl!

I am delighted to report that, much like unto Logan Paul, I had no idea who this internet person was until this story happened.

This piece from The New Yorker on the interpretations of heaven and hell is an excellent read.

Making space for discomfort.

I’ve learned the value of being read to (audiobooks) as an adult.

Late on Thursday, this piece of news dropped. A bit more granular detail which is also pretty damning. The word “bombshell” is genuinely overused these days, but this qualifies. There needs to be rigorous and impeccable investigation on this point because it does cross into potential impeachment proceedings territory if true.

ETA: The special counsel issued an extremely rare statement in response to this reporting and the news media is still dissecting it.

Of course he didn’t!

Ramblings: The Upside

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” 
― Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary

Trump and Brexit. Between them it has been one hell of a week…and I’m typing this on a TUESDAY.

But from the various breaking news alerts to the sense of being caught between not just one but two non-functioning governments, I put on my best political Carrie Bradshaw and couldn’t help but wonder…

What is the upside to all of…this? Because in spite of the sheer-head-shakery of it all, I think there is a potential long game win for us here.

The thing about the election of Trump, Brexit, the waves of other disruptive political movements across the West in the last few years is that they are leaving many people with the sense that the old rules have been not just set aside, but torn up and tossed to the winds. There is a lot about that which is (rightfully) scary. But there’s also this:

The old rules include patriarchy and systemic sexism. The old rules include systemic racism coupled with classism. The old rules included systemic privilege for some and systematic exclusion for others. The old rules required certain systems to function, operating in symbiosis.

The groups of the historically powerful (mostly political leaders, mostly white, usually rich, and typically male) who have glommed on to these leaders and movements, which are trying to shake up the status quo, strike me as fundamentally shortsighted. Every Brexiteer and Never Trumper who eventually became converted has made a bet that the fundamental changes they are driving (or allowing to happen) somehow won’t affect him–that the cost of the disruption in our institutions and status quo will be born by someone else. So what if he challenges the norms of the presidency, at least the libs are owned, right?

This is faulty logic to me on the macro scale. If you help to unmake the system and rules that protects and privileges you, what exactly is your plan for when your protections erode? When your foes play by new rules? When your old friends no longer stand by you? When your access to wealth and privileged is diminished? I think a lot of the traditionally powerful are in for a surprise, and I’m not exactly angry at the prospect.

If one good thing comes out of this political era, it may be the unmaking of bad systems. I don’t pretend that the work of building better ones won’t be hard or unpleasant, but I’m also not going to pretend I mourn the loss of many of those Old Rules. I wish we could arrive at better and more just New Rules through a less destructive, less morally bankrupt, and more noble process than what we often have before us… but I think we must take what we can get. To waste the sheer human cost of the damage that is being done by not at least trying to make something better seems criminal.

Weekend Links

“But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Happy Friday, ducklings! I’m dropping the Links a bit early because it is a particularly scrumptious load of internet-y goodness and I refuse to let a(nother) shocking week of political news get in the way of some things worth reading.

If 2018 was anything to go by, something genuinely newsworthy will drop the moment after I schedule this thing to go live… The shutdown is still on, the Trump Show is still trumping, Brexit is still a flaming mess of malice…truthfully I needed a break from most of it.

Here’s your batch of reading, let me know what you are getting up to this weekend in the comments. I’m going to try and get some writing down, the house cleaned, and a just-because-it’s-fun-and-I-can creative project idea going. It’s been a while since I’ve had the bandwidth to sketch up a project like this so I’m enjoying the process.

This thread of museums and cultural heritage institutions sharing their “best ducks” missed the last weekly links post by sheer bad timing but was simply way too good not to post. My weird little nerdy heart could barely take the gleeWhoever runs this account is my new true love. (Here’s an easier to digest rundown if you don’t have time to scroll…but you’d REALLY be doing yourself a disservice.)

Well…I just…drat

Something interesting happened where the creative world intersects with the business world recently.

This story is horrendous, full stop. But it is horribly telling that the term “rape” is conspicuously absent from this article.

Here’s a great round up of TED talks to start your year with some inspiration.

This longform piece from Buzzfeed hit me hard and has stuck with me. Why burnout and anxiety are the millennial condition, and how we got here.  You may start off rolling your eyes or yawning, but I hope plenty of people read this through to the end. It describes almost everyone in my general age range that I can name. “To describe millennial burnout accurately is to acknowledge the multiplicity of our lived reality — that we’re not just high school graduates, or parents, or knowledge workers, but all of the above — while recognizing our status quo. We’re deeply in debt, working more hours and more jobs for less pay and less security, struggling to achieve the same standards of living as our parents, operating in psychological and physical precariousness, all while being told that if we just work harder, meritocracy will prevail, and we’ll begin thriving. The carrot dangling in front of us is the dream that the to-do list will end, or at least become far more manageable.” (The follow up piece is worth reading too.)

In related news

Of course I’m not going to bypass the opportunity to share yet another piece on eschewing fast fashion.

I can’t tell if this is cute or possibly a new for the species. By which I mean humans.

The internet has always been a strange place and we’ve always struggled with how to navigate it. We’re now dealing with the aspect of how much of it is fake.

This is dedication to a goal!

What an important study project this must have been, into those who joined ISIS from the US and why.

Why I decided not to pursue freelance writing full time and as my only source of income: the increasingly grim reality. I suspect this will always be my What Might Have Been personal topic–if I had had a different life or circumstances I might have made different choices–but I found that even as a young woman who was able to land pitches, I didn’t make nearly enough until I branched into other kinds of work as well. I want this to be different, and creative and thoughtful writing to be valued more by society (I sure as hell pay for it), but for so many people it’s not a feasible career. We are missing critical voices and perspectives on every conceivable topic as a society because of it.

Seems legit…/s

Like many, I found the closing quote of this piece extremely telling, “I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.” In other words, this person voted for a man not on the basis of the bridges he could build or the problems he could solve, but because of the people he said or implied he would harm. President as weapon, not as servant; attack dog rather than home defender. Vox breaks this down more eloquently than I.

Women making change happen.

GUYS. Our girl Hannah Capin’s debut novel made Goodreads Best Young Adult Books of January list!

The White House announced that the President would give an address from the Oval Office regarding the “crisis” of the border (reminder, almost everything that can be termed a crisis–including moral ones–at the border has been a crisis of the President’s own policy and making). All major networks were asked to carry the message, and after some perfunctory handwringing (which is not the same thing as a vigorous debate of how to best coverage a president with record breaking false claims, especially given the precedent of not granting other presidents the same kind of airtime), they agreed. Some thought this was a good idea. Others did not. The speech happened, it moved the national mood not a whit and here we are (presumably) still fighting about it.

Meanwhile – because we live in a reality TV show now – Mr. Manafort’s lawyers either on-purpose-sneakily or stupidly filed some paperwork. Oops. Is this incompetence or a leak, do we think? Because we learned that Mr. Manafort shared some information with people associated with Russian intelligence. And wh

Longtime readers know that my love of collective nouns runs deep, so I was delighted to learn that collective nouns themselves have a collective noun.

And incredibly important and valid point in this piece.

Female scribes!

Who wants this?! Who asked for it?! Bring me their names!

Great, now we’ve got aliens to deal with

Well, they are late because this is happening.

Weekend Links:

“Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.” 
― Sir Walter Scott

Hey there, kittens. I’m back and WOOF there was a lot of news whilst I was away. I shan’t attempt to recap it here, let’s just pick up fresh and lean into the fact that Lizzo has released a new song and there are tons of more women elected to representative office in the US. I can be happy all weekend off of that! It’s 2019 and there is much to do and celebrate.

Let’s kick off with one hell of a Girl Gang Good News Minute: Hannah’s book is coming out this year and you guys need to read it!

The third season of The Trump Show has premiered and right on target there is an old rival from a previous season (a certain senator-elect from the Beehive State), fresh new antagonists (in the form of dozens of new congresswomen and senators), and a disappointing and lackluster character has been written out (hand over the gavel, Ryan). I kid, I kid! I would never think of our government in terms of reality television!

A quick editorial note generally: we aren’t allowing ridiculous comments about a then-teenage woman having fun with a viral sensation or a grown woman’s “likability” distract us. Misogyny is very 2016, guys. We’re on to you and we’re not having it.

The plight of rural America and why a country that is so unevenly resourced with fair wage opportunities is a problem for everyone.

More end of year lists!

Ah yes, content that was meant for me, specifically, to consume.

This. Is. Spectacular.

The essay that made a lot of people (including me) cry recently.

I’d come expecting to meet fierce partisans, die-hard right-wingers, guys who were truly preparing to fight the real-life battle everyone in the media seems so sure is coming and that a few lunatics are clearly trying to spark. Instead, everyone seemed kind of horrified by the idea.”

THIS is a headline.

Never mind the US government, who the hell is running its Twitter feeds?!

Speaking of, Politico makes the case that our Tweeter-in-Chief is actually getting worse at Twitter. Seeing as how it’s probably the medium most responsible for his”political” career, what does it mean that he’s no longer really a master of the medium and has been supplanted by younger native users and more adept wielders?

Demanding better of men is our mood for 2019.

My goodness, I want these jewels fiercely.

Another gorgeous piece from over the Christmas holiday to make you feel all the feels.

For all intents and purposes, we’re only 35 years into a 75- or 80-year process of moving from analog to digital,” said Tim Bajarin, a longtime tech consultant to companies including Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “The image of Silicon Valley as Nirvana has certainly taken a hit, but the reality is that we the consumers are constantly voting for them.”

NEW LIZZO ALERT.

A little something to make you think.

God damn it…I’m not crying, you’re crying:

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