owlmoose: (quote - questions)
I didn't take my laptop with me on my East Coast trip, mostly because I figured we'd be out and about a lot, especially in New York. I was mostly correct in this, so I fell a little behind on world events while I was gone, which is probably just as well.

  • I found this overview of the violent protest in Berkeley this Saturday to be a good and thoughtful summation of the situation. As usual, it's more complex than you might think from headline news. It's not really Trump supporters vs. anti-Trump; it's the latest evolution of a long-running conflict between the white supremacist right and the anti-fascist left, with the white supremacists using more moderate Trump voters as cover.

  • From The Nation, "Fear of Diversity Made People More Likely to Vote Trump." This is a nice way of saying that Trump voters were racist (or, to take it a little more broadly, xenophobic, but the poll discussed by the article asked questions specifically about race and racial anxieties). The article never comes out and uses the word "racist" but the implication is clear. I'm getting a little frustrated by the mainstream media's inability to call racism out by name, even left-leaning publications like The Nation, but at least they're still raising the issue.

  • Of all the various takes inspired by the United Airlines debacle last weekend, I was most interested in Vox's history of airline industry deregulation and consolidation, and how that's led to current miserable flying conditions. It also answered a mystery that has long puzzled me: whatever happened to America West? (Answer: they bought out US Air and kept the US Air brand, so through various mergers they're basically now American Airlines.)

  • From The Washington Post's Daily 202 newsletter, poll results show that the change in support for military intervention in Syria is driven entirely by a massive swing in Republican opinion. Only 22% of Republicans approved of potential airstrikes in 2013, when Obama sought permission from Congress to punish Assad for using chemical weapons against civilians; today that number is 86%. (Democratic opinion is nearly unchanged, from 38% to 37%, well within the margin of error on the poll.) But sure, tell me that their opposition to Obama was principled.

  • I really appreciated this interview with political scientist Marcus H. Johnson on the problems with Bernie Sanders and his approach to fighting Trump, and the problems with infighting in the Democratic Party.

  • As you might therefore guess, I'm not on board with primarying every moderate Democrat under the sun in 2018 (please stop making noises about Dianne Feinstein; I don't love everything she does, but she has serious seniority in the Senate, and she flexes those muscles when it matters). But there are exceptions, and it seems like these eight New York Democrats who caucus with the Republicans are prime candidates for some challengers.

  • It's a little too depressing to go back and chronicle the events that led up to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court now that the damage is done, but I did want to share the article about his purported plagiarism, largely because it was a centerpiece of Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley's epic filibuster last week, which I caught part of. Merkely wasn't blocking any particular vote by speaking overnight; it was mostly a protest move. But I found his effort inspiring anyway.

  • Jill Filipovic on why it's a problem that Mike Pence won't eat a meal alone with a woman who isn't his wife. This is not an uncommon stance among a certain strand of conservative Christian -- it's known as the Billy Graham Rule, because the evangelist famously pioneered the practice when Christian leaders were getting caught in sex scandals. It's still offensive in that context, but when a world leader adopts the policy, it's flat out discrimination. What if Pence becomes president, and has to take a private meeting with Angela Merkel? Will he insist that his wife be in the room? It's a system-wide problem, too, as this survey of female Congressional staffers shows -- they report being routinely excluded from after-hours networking opportunities because it would require them to be alone with male members of Congress.

  • On the good news front, recent local elections in Illinois elected a record-shattering number of Democrats to office. Includes a video from Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who runs a boot camp for people planning to run for office. It's called Build the Bench, and of the twelve alumni who ran in this cycle, at least eight of them won. This is exactly the kind of effort we need to be putting in, and I hope we see it spreading across the nation.

  • On that note, and related to my comments about primarying moderates above, here's a "List of Things Progressives Should Do Before Primarying Joe Manchin", moderate Democratic Senator from West Virginia. I'd add the caveat that if West Virginia progressives believe it's worth putting in the time and effort to mount a primary challenge to Manchin, then more power to them, and I'll support their efforts. (Same for Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, etc.) But on the national level, I absolutely agree that everything on this list takes higher priority.

  • Jill Filipovic has been killing it in her editorials for Cosmopolitan lately, and this piece on abortion rights as a precondition for economic justice is no exception.
owlmoose: (lost - hurley dude)
  • A presidential appointee to an EPA leadership position is stepping down because staffers won't play along with his climate change denial agenda. "They’re here for a cause," he said. A cause, like, say, protecting the environment? WHO KNEW.

  • The New York Times and The Washington Post Are at War, and Everyone Is Winning: when two major news organizations are trying to out-do each other in their investigating efforts, there can be no losers (except maybe the Republican administration).

  • I could share a lot of links about the Day Without Women, the strike scheduled to coincide with International Women's Day last week, but I already wrote a whole post about it, so I will limit myself to this New Yorker piece, The Women's Strike and the Messy Space of Change.

  • Ever wonder why the big news always seems to break at night? The Atlantic has a good explainer; the short version is that newspaper publishing deadlines are at night, we're just now getting the stories as soon as they're filed, rather than having to wait for the next morning to read them.

  • Some professors at NYU staged a gender-swapped version of the three Clinton-Trump presidential debates, and did not get the reactions they were expecting from the audience. There's a clip from the rehearsal, which is fascinating to watch. I'd be really curious to see the whole thing.


For your Thursday funny/cute, I commend you to Olly the Terrier have the time of his life at a dog show skills competition. The announcer's affectionate amusement makes it even better.
owlmoose: (think)
Anyone else think that they referred to last night's speech as an address rather than his first State of the Union as a ploy to keep expectations low? Just me? Okay.

  • If it was intentional, it sure seems to have worked -- mainstream media spent last night and today falling all over themselves to congratulate the president for his ability to read words off a teleprompter without melting down. Way to set a high bar, folks. At least some articles, like this commentary from NBC, pointed out his lack of substance and a fair number of the "alternative facts" contained in the speech.

  • Meanwhile, the known rabble-rousers at USA Today posted an editorial calling for Congressional Democrats to get serious about potential impeachment.

  • This week in "I Miss Jon Stewart": Stewart's appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert on Monday, 2/27, in which he compared the media's relationship with Trump to a bad breakup and advised them to move on. Nice analogy. I wonder how long they'll wait before taking it to heart?

  • A special election for three seats in the Connecticut state senate was a wash, with all three seats remaining in the hands of their original party, but both Democratic-held seats were won easily, while the race for the GOP-held seat was more competitive than it had ever been. Democrats also held a state senate seat in Delaware, won narrowly in 2014, by over 10 points on the strength of 33% turnout -- which is huge for a special election. There's plenty more of these coming, so keep your eye out. Here's an article about some upcoming US House races in Montana and Georgia -- the Georgia seat, especially, could be key to gathering momentum for the midterms.

  • I would say the dominos are falling when Darrell Issa -- terrible GOP rep from Southern CA, who led some of the worst investigations of Obama and Hillary Clinton, and was largely responsible for the California recall election that brought us the Governator, and who came very close to losing his seat in a district that Clinton won in 2016 -- is calling for a special prosecutor to look into the Russia shenanigans, but he walked it back just a day or so later, so.... *shrug* Talk is cheap, folks.

  • My main feeling about the election of a DNC chair is to be glad its over, so now the party can buckle down and get to work. But what really elevated the whole thing to a non-event to me was Tom Perez, immediately and without rancor, naming Keith Ellison vice chair to unanimous approval. This way, we get both of their voices in party leadership, and Ellison gets to keep his seat in Congress (although nothing prohibited him from staying on, he had promised to resign if he'd won). As far as I'm concerned, this is a win-win. As for the people who tried to turn this into a proxy battle to re-litigate the primary, meh. If you're leaving the party over this, you were looking for an excuse to go. See ya bye bye now.

  • One of the big stories last week was members of Congress ducking constituent town halls during their recent recess (mostly Republicans, but not exclusively -- I don't think Pelosi or Kamala Harris had one, and I know Feinstein didn't). Lots of folks are calling them out, but none better than Gabrielle Giffords.

  • Another thing you might have heard about was the Department of Education pulling guidance to schools that explicitly protected the rights of trans students. Bad as this news is, no laws have actually changed here, just the federal government's mandate to interpret them a certain way. The National Center for Transgender Equality provides a FAQ explaining what it all means.


Lastly, for today's bit of fun: here's a livetweet of a cow escape in upstate New York. Watch the gifs, revel in the puns, and read all the way down for a happy ending.
owlmoose: photo of little owl in a stocking cap (owlhat)
I'm trying to keep these to stories and links that I think have long-term use, rather than responding to whatever particular outrage has happened within the last fifteen minutes. There's just no way to keep up with a White House and Congress that's churning out stuff at the rate things are coming in a long-form journal, so I'm not even going to try. I do my best to keep up on Twitter, which is the best source for whatever is the latest and "greatest" anyway.

Anyway, have some links.

  • From former Congressman Barney Frank, a guide on how to make your opinions known to your elected representatives. There are some good points here, but one of the things I appreciate most is that he doesn't try to claim that one and only one contact point is the "right" one. There are many useful ways to engage; pick the one that works for you, or take a multi-pronged approach if you like.

  • "Our Part in the Darkness": this opinion piece, by Rabih Alameddine in The New Yorker, isn't a comfortable read, but I think it's an important reminder that we Americans should not attempt to distance ourselves from our country. Like it or not, support it or not, fighting against it or not, these things are happening here, and while 45, his minions, and his strongest supporters may be extreme examples, less stark examples of their beliefs and actions have always been part of the American landscape. Although not addressed directly, this article gets at why I'm not comfortable with the "not my president" formulation -- I may not have voted for him, I may have done my damnedest to keep him out of the office, but now he's here and he is the president, and I can't look away from that reality.

  • Two on the upcoming fight over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, one from Politico and another, much angrier but with a similar takeaway, from journalist Kurt Eichenwald. The short version, with which I agree, is that this is where Democrats need to take their stand. If they lose the filibuster, so be it. A stolen Supreme Court seat is worth making a fuss over, and although I wish they had pulled out the big guns while Obama was still in the White House, better late than never.

  • Good advice on living the resistance from Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. I've been seeing this circulating without attribution quite a lot, so I wanted to make sure to get a direct link in here.

  • While I'm thinking about it, can I just complain about how much I hate the "cut and paste this text on your Facebook page" methodology that's gotten so popular for sharing essays and action items? I understand people's security concerns about not making FB posts public -- I almost never do it myself -- but it's a nightmare for source verification. There's got to be a better way.

  • Going back to Coretta Scott King, I know I just said I wanted to stay away from outrage of the day in my linkspam posts, but this thing where Elizabeth Warren was barred from speaking in the Senate for reading King's letter laying out the proven racism of then-nominee for Attorney General Pete Sessions is so egregious that I have to bring it up. First, a Tweetstorm on the history of the gag rule in the Senate, which was created to keep abolitionists from as much as mentioning slavery on the floor. Second, if you haven't already seen it, the full text of the letter is available in a lot of places now; this link goes to the Boston Globe (which also has an overview of the story). Finally, you've probably seen the new Nevertheless, She Persisted meme -- based on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's exact words when asked why Warren was silenced -- which is possibly my favorite rapid response weaponized meme yet. If you haven't looked at the Twitter hashtag yet, I highly recommend it.

  • From Vox, why the president is not an evil genius, and why that doesn't matter. I agree with both the initial premise of this (if the man and his top advisors were actually evil geniuses, the Republican administration would not be nearly so chaotic right now), and the upshot, which is that the outcome of the administration's actions is more important than their reasoning behind each one. This, for what it's worth, is why I avoid the "distraction" rhetoric that we hear so often these days -- "don't pay attention to this thing, it's just a distraction from that other more important thing!" Everything they are doing is terrible, and it all matters. Of course there's too much for all of us to focus on all the time -- we each have to triage for ourselves. But as the wise [twitter.com profile] sophiebiblio says, we shouldn't shame people for having different priorities.


  • If only. If only...
owlmoose: (otter)
Welp, here we are. Day 7. Here's hoping we make it the rest of the way.

  • More proof that California is not remotely fucking around: Governor Jerry Brown's State of the State address. He's previously had some strong words on taking action against climate change, but he laid down the law on a bunch of other issues too: immigration, healthcare, etc. California has 10% of the nation's population and the world's sixth largest economy; that's a lot of weight to throw around, and I fully support doing it. I have friends who keep making noises about a "Calexit", but I think that's both mean-spirited and short sighted. We need to be leading the charge against Trumpism, not running in the other direction.

  • Protest Works: Jamelle Bouie on the power of the 1/21/17 Women's March and why it proves we need to stay on the offensive.

  • Fortunately, it looks like there are a lot more protests in the works: The Scientist March (no date set yet, but they seem to be moving quickly), the Tax March on April 15th, a National Pride March on June 11th (I might even try to get to DC for that one). I think a big protest every two months, with rapid response gatherings in response to specific things like the immigration rallies yesterday and the GOP gathering in Philadelphia today, sounds about right. I hope we can keep it up.

  • As these protests, marches, and rallies come together, I hope that we can be mindful of the many legit criticisms of the Women's March around intersectionality. This is one example, on race issues, but there are many, many others. We can celebrate the good aspects of the march while still listening to the critiques, learning from them, and trying to do better next time.

  • From 2016 but always relevant: Why Rep. John Lewis is not to be trifled with.

  • One of my favorite pieces of resistance (much as I hate that it needs to be done) are the "rogue" Twitter accounts being created by government employees to get around the limits that the new administration has been placing on the spread of information. Unofficial accounts for the National Park Service and individual parks, NASA, the EPA, the USDA, and over a dozen others have started popping up. [twitter.com profile] StollmeyerEU is maintaining an updated list here. Who knew that, when the revolution came, that the National Park Service would be leading the way? (Well, maybe this lady.)


And for today's bit of fun: remains of giant prehistoric otters have been found in China.
owlmoose: (narnia - edmund coat)
I probably need a catchier name for this project....

Not much this time because I actively avoided posting news and politics links while I was in Hawaii. A few gems, though.

  • A quick rundown of the attempt of Congressional Republicans to defang House ethics rules and the almost immediate reversal. The two main takeaways: public outcry sometimes works, but we have to keep watching them like hawks.

  • I found this Tweetstorm on this history of reconstruction from [twitter.com profile] arthur_effect (Arthur Chu) to be both informative and thought-provoking, in terms of what might happen next in this national backlash to progress on civil rights issues.

  • Another on the "Third Reconstruction," from Rev. William Barber, the leader of North Carolina's Moral Monday movement. Moral Monday is an excellent model for liberal resistance, and I hope more of us can adopt it.

  • Very good takedown of the idea that Hillary Clinton lost "working Americans". It largely boils down to the media's limited definitions of "working" and "Americans" (i.e. white men in very specific kinds of jobs).

  • From Brookings, a blueprint for what path the media should follow to cover the incoming administration.
owlmoose: (da - alistair)
This will be my last link collection for the year, since I'll be out of town the week after Christmas.



Today's bit of fun: I was reminded of one of my favorite pieces of meta-media: the fake Lucas Lee movie posters from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, featuring Chris Evans. Sadly, the original article with Evans's own commentary no longer seems to be online, but there's a screencap here, and larger versions of just the posters here.
owlmoose: (ff13 - lightning)
  • Here's a pretty fascinating look at how different state boundaries would have affected the Electoral College results. Based on such things as commute patterns, phone call patterns, states of equal population, etc. A good reminder of how arbitrary the Electoral College is as a way of deciding anything.

  • The always-excellent Jamelle Bouie writes about Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns and how they might serve as a blueprint for Democrats to strengthen their economic message without sacrificing social justice issues.

  • Good piece on what it really means to empathize with conservatives, and what that means for moving forward.

  • This article on fake news and media credibility is a little harder on the mainstream media than I would be, but it's a thought-provoking perspective nonetheless.

  • Speaking of fake news, here's an interview with the creator of a browser plug-in that detects and flags dubious sources, called (appropriately) BS Detector. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I'm curious. Could be a valuable tool if it works, although I worry that the people who most need it are the least likely to install it.


And for today's fun link: The San Francisco SPCA partners with the downtown Macy's every holiday season, creating a store window display of cats and dogs who are available for adoption. I try to get there at least a few times every year to witness the adorable in person, but this year they've added three webcams. (Requires Flash.)
owlmoose: (quote - flamethrower)
I've been thinking I'm sharing most of the best resources I find on Twitter and Facebook these days, and given the speed at which things have been happening since the election, good stuff sometimes gets lost in the social media firehose. If I noted the best of those links and posted them here, say on a weekly basis or so, would people find that useful and/or interesting?

I'm a librarian; curating and sharing information is what I do. If I can take that task on in a way that helps people, I feel like I should. So I'll try this for now, but if folks have feedback or suggestions, definitely let me know.



And now for something completely different: NPR's Monkey See blog is putting together a Pop Culture Advent Calendar, sharing one perfect pop culture moment from 2016 per day. I love this idea, and perhaps in its spirit, I should make sure to include at least one happy or uplifting thing in each links collection. We can't have four years of unalloyed misery, no matter how bad things get -- that way lies burnout and despair. As I've said before, we need to take our bright spots where we can get them, even if it feels like trying to keep a candle lit against a firehose. This is my candle, and I will do whatever it takes to keep it burning.

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