Best for: Anyone interested in a beautifully written memoir that explores adoption, transracial adoption, race, and family.
In a nutshell: Author Nicole Chung was born to Korean parents in the US and adopted by a white couple. In this book, she explores what it meant to be one of the only Asian people around growing up, as well as how she connected with some of her birth family.
“People were not so simple; people could be and think and want many different things at once.”
Why I chose it:
I’ve seen so many people online raving about it.
This is a lovely book. When thinking about words that could describe it, I could also have gone with powerful, honest, or insightful. But I chose lovely because the writing is just that, as is the way the author handles complex and complicated issues.
Nicole Chung was born two months premature to parents who had moved to the US from Korea just five years prior to her birth. They already had one child together; they chose to place Ms. Chung up for adoption, but not through what we would probably think of as regular channels (i.e., an agency). Instead, someone working in the hospital knows the couple who would become Ms. Chung’s adoptive parents and alerts them to this possibility.
Ms. Chung is raised in the pacific northwest, in a part of Oregon with very few other Asian individuals. Her parents are always open about the fact of her adoption, but they don’t take steps to help Ms. Chung learn about her Korean heritage, and she doesn’t not pursue it independently much until she reaches college. Once she is married, she decides to see if she can get in touch with her birth family, motivated further when she learns that she may have a sister.
This book explores one story, and it is not claiming to be universal, but still, the issues it addresses can apply to so many of us, I think. There are obviously some specifics (e.g. the reality of transracial adoption) that may only be directly relatable to similarly situated individuals, but the overall concepts of belonging and family, about other possible life scenarios, about whether a choice was the best one (and if that is even the right question to ask), about how our families influence who we become, and even about nature vs. nurture, they all take up space here. I’ll be thinking about this one long after I pick up my next read.
Back in London, where Fall has already maybe turned into Winter?
Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism
“Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church. After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested Friday — a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online. And Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.” 72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects. (by Ray Sanchez and Melissa Gray for CNN)
“Lawyers for two voting rights advocacy groups asked a federal judge on Tuesday to force Georgia election officials to stop rejecting absentee ballots without giving voters any advance notice that their ballot has been rejected, and without giving voters an opportunity to appeal the rejection. Today, that federal judge will hear arguments from those election officials about just why they think certain people—namely, Black and Asian people—are especially worthy of suspicion when it comes to sending in their vote by mail.” Untrained Georgia Election Officials Are Stripping People of Their Right to Vote Based on Their Signatures (Updated) (by Imani Gandy for Rewire)
“What Uncle Bob fails to understand is that a lot of people don’t have a photo ID because they don’t need it. There are people who don’t drive. People who don’t have bank accounts and simply get their checks cashed by the dude who runs the local market down the street. People who live in small towns where everybody knows their name and they’ve never had a reason to get a photo ID. People who used to have a driver’s license, but it expired and they don’t have the money or time to get a new one. Homeless people who have nowhere to lay their head, much less the ability to make it to a government office to get a photo ID, and even if they got one, the police would probably just confiscate all of their shit anyway because they think homeless people should be neither seen nor heard.” Well Actually, It’s Pretty Hard for Some People to Get a Photo ID So They Can Vote (by Imani Gandi for Rewire)
“He also shouts at her: “Don’t talk to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow.” After a flight attendant intervenes, the woman says she wants to sit with her daughter and tells the man he “stinks”. She says of the passenger: “Kick him out”. Her daughter has told The Huffington Post the row started because her mother, 77, has arthritis and it took some time for her to move out of the way for the man to get into his seat.” Ryanair flight: ‘Racial abuse passenger’ referred to police (BBC) [Side note: Ryanair continues to be a trash airline)
“The new rules threaten the contraceptive care of more than 55 million cisgender women and an uncertain number of trans and non-binary people who depend on birth control with no co-pay through the ACA. While the birth control benefit already allowed for religious exemptions, the Trump administration has sought to further meet the demands of the religious right, which believes the exemption isn’t broad enough.” Trump Administration Moves to Finalize Rules Upending Birth Control Benefit (by Katelyn Burns for Rewire)
“Committee chairwoman Maria Miller said: “Women feel the onus is put on them to avoid ‘risky’ situations – all of this keeps women and girls unequal.” The report concluded that social attitudes underpinned sexual harassment, and the normalisation of it contributed to a “wider negative cultural effect on society”. And while the government has pledged to eliminate sexual harassment of women and girls by 2030, the committee said there was “no evidence of any programme to achieve this”.” Street harassment ‘relentless’ for women and girls (BBC)
“The People’s Vote campaign said stewards on the route estimated 700,000 were taking part. The Metropolitan Police said it was not able to estimate the size of the crowd. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – who started the march – was among those who addressed Parliament Square, along with representatives from the main political parties. Celebrity speakers included Steve Coogan, Delia Smith and Deborah Meaden.” People’s Vote march: Hundreds of thousands attend London protest (BBC)
“For these reasons and more, we intend to work with our public health partners to strenuously oppose the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) considering an interpretation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex discrimination in federally funded schools, that “would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” This proposal goes against biological and medical science and harms individual and public health.” A Message to the Transgender Members of Our Families, Our Communities and Our Workforce (by Dr. Jeff Duchin for Public Health Insider)
“Several recent studies suggest that trans people’s brain patterns match their gender identities, regardless of genitalia. The most recent study was presented at the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting in May. According to the press release, Dr. Julie Bakker of the University of Liège, Belgium, and her colleagues used MRIs to scan the brains of several transgender adolescents, specifically looking at reactions to “a pheromone known to produce gender-specific activity.” The researchers found that the brain patterns in the trans youth closely resembled their cisgender counterparts’. In other words, the research found that both cis and trans boys have some similar brain patterns, despite being born with different genitalia, and the same goes for both cis and trans girls. “Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with [gender dysphoria],” says Dr. Bakker, “as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender.”” Why ‘Genetic Testing’ for Gender Is Dangerous Pseudoscience (by Tris Mamone for Rewire)
Silicon Valley Hypocrisy
“The fear of screens has reached the level of panic in Silicon Valley. Vigilantes now post photos to parenting message boards of possible nannies using cellphones near children. Which is to say, the very people building these glowing hyper-stimulating portals have become increasingly terrified of them. And it has put their nannies in a strange position. “In the last year everything has changed,” said Shannon Zimmerman, a nanny in San Jose who works for families that ban screen time. “Parents are now much more aware of the tech they’re giving their kids. Now it’s like, ‘Oh no, reel it back, reel it back.’ Now the parents will say ‘No screen time at all.’”” Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids (by Nellie Bowles for the New York Times)
Criminal Punishment System
“On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved a motion that will end this practice in Los Angeles County, effectively erasing nearly $90 million worth of debt held by juvenile offenders, their parents and their guardians across 52,000 accounts. The motion, authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, is aimed at helping Californians who have been involved in the juvenile justice system get back on their feet.” Los Angeles will wipe out nearly $90 million worth of debt incurred by juvenile offenders (by Abigail Hess for CNBC)
“”These are shows that I would watch,” she says. “To me, these are the funniest shows on TV. And it’s insane, and I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to be a part of them. As an actor, I just want to work. I would have been happy in many places. But this is sort of the ultimate happy because it’s something that I’m such a fan of.”” New Gay Icon: D’Arcy Carden Talks Janet, Sexual Fluidity, and Queer Eye (by Glenn Garner for Out)
In a nutshell: In the future, firemen don’t put out fires – they set them. Specifically, they set books on fire.
“You weren’t hurting anyone, you were hurting only things! And since things really couldn’t be hurt, sine things felt nothing, and things don’t scream or whimper … there was nothing to tease your conscience later.”
“We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal.”
Why I chose it:
I figured I’d take the opportunity to finally read this book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it.
Oh holy shit. This was written in 1953. SIXTY FIVE YEARS AGO. And yet it is super relevant today. Damn, that’s depressing.
This is an extremely quick read. I started it yesterday and ended it yesterday. It takes place over just about a week (or less) in time at some point, in some place, in the US. People don’t read anymore because they aren’t allowed to. Books are banned, and firemen (I’d normally say firefighter because gender neutral, but that literally doesn’t work here) respond to people tattling on their neighbors who are suspected to have books. Because books aren’t necessary — the stories and ideas in them conflict with each other, and that can lead to harm, so it’s better to just watch stories with no plot that take up the entire living room, work a few hours pushing buttons or making widgets, and fall asleep with earbuds in playing pleasing music.
As someone who loves books, this was hard to read. But beyond that, the idea of government telling us that we aren’t allowed to read anything, a government that seems only interested in pleasure, but superficial pleasure. And look, I loves me some superficial pleasure. But for me, that’s not the only purpose in life. And in this version of the US, that’s the only goal. That’s all people look for.
I think what hit me the hardest was the discussion about how people slowly stopped registering for liberal arts courses (drama was the main example) until such colleges simply shut down, and people were only taught to push buttons and manufacture things. I see in that a bit of the push to move EVERYONE to STEM education. I 100% want people who haven’t felt supported in pursuing a STEM education and career to have access to it, and I don’t think we’re there yet. At the same, I see people slamming liberal arts degrees — things like philosophy, sociology, women’s studies, literature — as useless. You should get a degree in engineering, not history! And I think that is such a dangerous way of looking at things. There’s value in it all, and there’s definitely value in the ability to think critically. One can obviously learn to think critically without being a philosophy major (or going to college at all), but books and other ways to access discussion and knowledge are necessary.
The ending feels a little abrupt, but that’s okay. I’d recommend this to everyone, if only as a reminder of where things could go, and the dangers that accompany that.
Best for: Anyone who listens to long-form storytelling podcasts; anyone who appreciates good storytelling; anyone who can stomach a book with some really disturbing parts.
In a nutshell: Nineteen-year-old Sadie has gone missing, and its possible that it has something to do with the recent death of her 13-year-old sister. Her surrogate grandmother contacts an NPR-type radio station to see if one of their journalists can help find Sadie. (Ignore the tag-line on the cover though — it doesn’t do the plot justice.)
“I always forget fear is a conquerable thing but I learn it over and over again and that, I guess, is better than never learning it.”
Why I chose it:
I was at the independent bookshop in the town I grew up in and asked if they had Rebecca Traister’s new book Good and Mad. They didn’t, but the bookseller did say that if I’m interested in female rage, she had a suggestion for me. She wasn’t wrong.
This book is fantastic, but right up front I need to say that it deals with a REAL dark topic. Sadie is looking for Keith, who was her mother’s boyfriend for a while when she was 11 or 12. Very quickly we learn that Keith has done something to earn Sadie’s wrath, and frankly, it’s really not good. And this is a YA book. Jesus.
The story unfolds in a couple of ways: through a season one Serial-style podcast exploring Sadie’s disappearance, and through point of view chapters Sadie. They alternate, with the slowly catching up to Sadie’s story. So we’ll often get the podcast exploring things that we already know a little of, which makes it that much more compelling. Like, I know what’s already happened. You’ve got to work harder at figuring it out, West McCray (the podcast creator)!
The podcast sections are brilliant. The first episode starts with the fact that there is a theme song for it. That alone was just an excellent touch. And by the fourth episode, the first line is always “The Girls is brought to you by Macmillan Publishers.” Like, of course it eventually has a sponsor. It has to make money somehow. But seeing it written out (as opposed to, say, skipping through that week’s Hello Fresh or Casper Mattress ad read) illuminates how absurd it is. The story of the murder of one sister and the disappearance of another has a sponsor. Yikes.
Plus they way the podcast episodes are written – I could hear them. Of course, I first thought the host was a woman, so I was literally hearing Sarah Koenig as I read it, and had to adjust later on. (What? West is a gender-neutral name.) Then there are the descriptions of different conversations, like the host on the phone with his producer, or interviewing someone in person, or doing their voice-over in studio. I listen to many podcasts (The Dream is my current favorite).
By interspersing the podcast episodes with perspective chapters from Sadie, seeing what she’s going through, her trauma, her pain, her determination, it’s a reminder that these podcasts are about real people. Sometimes they’re historical, with the individuals long-dead. But so many of them are about real people, with family and lives. I keep referencing Serial, but I think this is a bit different from that, because, for all they may have tried, that was more about the accused murderer than the victim, and I don’t think Hae Min Lee’s family was happy about it, whereas in this book, Sadie’s family is explicitly asking for help.
Sadie is an interesting character. She’s from a dying town, and spends her whole life until the story picks up living in a trailer. She cares for her sister after their mother — who has a substance use disorder — leaves them. She doesn’t see much a future for herself, and is fueled mostly by her sister’s murder. It’s heartbreaking, the moments when you see that Sadie could have had a different life. Not dramatically different, but there are so many what-ifs: What if her mother had stayed? What if her mother hadn’t favored her younger sister? What if her sister hadn’t been murdered?
There are a lot of cliffhangers – nearly every Sadie chapter ends with an “oh shit,” then the next chapter is a podcast episode. It makes it so hard to stop reading; I was up until about 11 reading it last night, and just finished it this evening. The end had be processing a whole shitload of emotions.
I don’t read much YA unless it’s so popular that it’s about to / has already become a movie (So, basically The Hunger Games, The Hate U Give, The Fault in Our Stars). I’m just not in the know, and so usually I need someone to make a recommendation. This book is also a YA murder mystery, so yeah, not really one that would normally be on my list.
But damn, I’m thankful to the bookseller who recommended it. Female rage indeed.
My time in high school was absolutely fine. It wasn’t traumatic in any specific or unique way; I did well academically, I had some good friends, I had extracurricular activities (choir, mostly) that I loved. By senior year, I even had a boyfriend who I would continue to date throughout most of college. I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t unpopular, either. I just existed, mostly happily. Sure, there were the typical issues that come up within friend groups — some bickering, some un-returned crushes — but overall, I was happy enough.
I share this because I think my 20-year high school reunion experience is completely colored by my high school experience. Someone who hated high school, or someone who loved every minute and still considers it the best four years of their lives will likely have a different take.
My ten-year high school reunion was fine. I went with a couple of girlfriends, but I don’t remember seeing that many people who I wasn’t already in touch with. I do recall that one person brought a newborn, and that someone (I cannot for the life of me remember who) offered me a swig from a flask in the ladies room (which I took, obviously). But no one ended the night in an incinerator.
Last year, a Facebook group popped up to get people thinking about our 20-year high school reunion, and people posted updates on their lives. This was before we moved to London, so I mentioned we were living in Seattle with our cats, and also that I invented post-it notes. A couple people commented, getting the joke. Others were married or weren’t, had kids or didn’t, lived in the area or didn’t, had successful jobs or were taking care of their home. Nothing totally out of the ordinary. One person is moderately famous, and they posted in the group and seem to still be very nice, so that’s kind of cool.
Once Austin and I decided to move to London, I realized the reunion was at the perfect time for us to coordinate a visit. See our family, go to the reunion, pop up to Seattle and visit friends.
As the reunion approached, I checked the list of attendees and realized I didn’t recognize most of the names. My graduating class had over 400 people in it, and maybe two of the people who had RSVPd by then were people I would have considered friends while we were in high school. I recognized a few names, but some were just … brand new to me. The girlfriends I’d gone to the ten-year reunion with weren’t coming this time, and I started to wonder exactly why I was doing this.
(I’m still not entirely sure.)
The evening arrived, and I was nervous in a way I haven’t really been before. Austin gave me a little pep talk as we walked to the venue, which I didn’t realize I needed. Was I worried about what people would think of me? I don’t think so. I was actually more just anxious that there was no reason for me to be there.
With Facebook, it’s pretty easy to stay in touch with the people you want to stay in touch with. Even though I deleted my account for the summer, in the month that I’d been back I’d found a lot of the people who I’d be interested in meeting up with solo (as is my rule for Facebook friendship). It seems to me that part of the fun of reunions in the past was seeing people one had lost touch with but wanted to connect with. These days, it’s hard to stay disconnected even if one wants to.
But I was wrong. So, so wrong. I had a weirdly fun time. Part of the fun was indeed connecting with people who I’d lost touch with but still enjoyed catching up with (more on that later), but part of it was the utter bizarreness of being in a room with a lot of people that I recognized but just genuinely don’t need to be around. I don’t have good or bad feelings towards them (I mean, I hope they’re happy and kind people, but they aren’t ever on my mind.) We shared four years of our lives, sort of, and then went off into the world, and it all felt both the same and totally different.
It didn’t actually matter whether I interacted with any of the people who hadn’t been my friends. Once I’d chatted with four or five people (including my choir teacher, which was a delightful surprise) I could leave the restaurant at any time. It almost felt like a sociological or anthropological study.
There were some odd components. We were all wearing name tags with our senior photos on them, so people would walk by, look at the tag, and determine whether they wanted to stop and say hi. Also, the drinks were super strong, and there was not a lot of food, so folks got tipsy REAL quick.
So, the women: they all looked and seemed lovely. My mother has a theory that women who aren’t feeling like they look their best won’t show up, and maybe that’s the case, but every single lady at the reunion looked happy and healthy. It was great to see. I have no idea how any of them are in their personal lives (my guess is that many of them hold political beliefs that I would not be okay with, given where many of them live), but in the two+ hours we were around each other, they all seemed fine.
But some of the men: oh buddies.
The entire evening was surreal. I just kept looking around, thinking about how odd it is that 20 years have passed and most of these people seem … exactly the same. And maybe I do too. Some extra pounds, a bunch of tattoos, a couple of piercings, a fucking awesome husband, but I think the essential ‘me’ is the same.
Which leads me to the best part of the night: seeing some old friends. There are a few people who I’ve lost touch with but who were close friends during high school. We hung out near the F wing of school, and were a bit Freaks and Geeks ish. The guys were in a band (as was I, for a hot minute — I played guitar and the only song we played was Free Fallin’). There was a lot of talk of Star Wars. By the time I was a junior, I spent more of my time with friends from choir, but I have great memories of hanging out with the F wing folks.
And that night, I got to catch up with some of those folks, and it was fantastic. Guys who were kind, sweet, and funny teenagers grew into kind, sweet, and funny adults. They all have kids, and many have partners, but they haven’t grown into adult assholes. My memories of them are not false – I did have good friends there, and they were good people. I’ve found a few of them on Facebook again, and look forward to seeing pictures and reading updates about their lives.
I’m happy I went, for sure. It was a trip, and worth it for the conversations I had. Not sure if I’ll go to my 30th (unless Jen and Kelly promise to go with me again), but who knows. Maybe.
Best for: People who like personal essays and also Ms. Robinson’s style of humor (e.g., loads of hashtags)
In a nutshell: In the follow-up to her first collection of essays, Ms. Robinson shares more of the serious aspects of her personal life (including her financial challenges, her experience with interracial relationships, and the failures of feminism) while also telling hilarious stories about meeting Oprah and Bono (not at the same time, but could you even imagine?).
“I am also a ludicrous trash fire like the kind you see on Naked and Afraid when people sign up to be in the wilderness when they’re barely capable of troubleshooting Mozilla Firefox, let alone making an actual fire from scratch.”
Why I chose it:
I enjoyed Ms. Robinson’s first book, and this one looked pretty great.
I have to admit that I don’t listen to 2 Dope Queens anymore. It sort of fell out of rotation for me, mostly because some of the stand-up acts were just not my thing, and it’s hard to figure out how to fast-forward the right amount on a podcast. But that doesn’t mean I stopped enjoying Jessica Williams or Phoebe Robinson. So when I saw Ms. Robinson had a follow-up book out, I knew I wanted to read it.
I laughed a lot while reading this book. Not on every page, but definitely each essay — including the more serious ones — offered something to crack up about. I think her style may not be for everyone, as she tends to employ a lot of ridiculous abbreviations and beyond long hashtags, but for me, it works.
While the book focuses on some things that are indeed trash, I also really enjoyed the sections where Ms. Robinson focuses on what’s gone well in her life. It doesn’t feel like bragging; it’s just more fun to read about the good things. I’m genuinely happy for her.
That said, the serious chapters are well done. The essay on feminism is a great look at the ways women of color often don’t feel supported by white women, and her vulnerability when discussing her financial troubles is relatable to the point that I think it could genuinely help some similarly situated folks.
If you like Ms. Robinson, I think you’ll enjoy this book.
Best for: People interested in some fun home and beauty tips (but only if you skip the section related to health and food, because it is awful). If you’re really interested in a fun minimalism book, just get the Marie Kondo one.
In a nutshell: French author has ideas on how to live a minimalistic life, mostly borrowed from her view of Japanese culture.
“Life is far more enjoyable when we cultivate the habit of losing ourselves in our own thoughts: this is a precious gift that brings great happiness.”
Why I chose it:
I love shit like this (usually). I like organizational tips.
This book is equal parts useful and dangerous. On the one hand, Loreau offers some great points about being present in the moment, about minimizing our possessions, and about the need to focus on one thing at a time. Given the fact that I’m currently writing this review while listening to a podcast and eating breakfast, I can obviously use some help on the latter at least. If that were the entirety of the book, then this would probably be a three-star book for me.
But it’s not. Loreau also jumps into the discussion of physical and mental health, and hoo boy, does she get it super wrong. I mean yes, of course, less sugar is probably a good thing (for most, but not all, people), but her obsession with getting the reader to want to be slim (skinny) is just bizarre. There’s a whole section of affirmations focused on this idea, as though one cannot be fat and happy or “overweight” and healthy. It’s insulting. And if someone had a history of body image issues or disordered eating, it could be triggering.
And then there’s her flippant ideas about mental health and human relationships. She literally says that we should “swap our therapy sessions for a case of champagne.” The fuck? She also thinks we should never be critical of others or complain. Her solution is we should write a lot (good!) but never share our writing. Yes, I’ve seen and understand the thinking of, if you’re upset with someone, writing them a letter to get it all out and then burning the letter. But this feels different. I think that if Loreau were in charge of the world, there would be no negative or critical analysis of anything.
So, this book failed as a Brain Candy read because it wasn’t just fun and fluffy. But I chose it for that, so I’m stuck with it.
Best for: People who like fantasy. So, apparently, not me.
In a nutshell: It’s billed as the back story of the wicked witch of the west. Instead it’s a convoluted mess of a book that I could not follow.
“Galinda didn’t often stop to consider whether she believed in what she said or not; the whole point of conversation was flow.”
“I don’t dress for your approval, boys.”
Why I chose it: I initially tried to read the Audrey Hepburn book Alabama Pink reviewed, but after about 80 pages it still felt like homework. I thought this would be a fun read.
(Narrator: It was not.)
I think this solidifies my thought that Alabama Pink and I would not have belonged to the same book club. I absolutely hated the Cannon Book Club pick by Craig Ferguson (seriously, it’s so bad), and of the remaining dozen books to review for this square, none really caught my eye. I tried the Audrey Hepburn biography and it was as dry as a desert and just as monotonous. I realized that Wicked was an option, and given how popular the musical is, I assumed this would be a fun, interesting read.
Sadly, I assumed incorrectly.
I think part of this is because I just don’t enjoy fantasy that much. I don’t like having to learn a new vocabulary, or new worlds. Having to memorize the geopolitical landscape of a fictional world just isn’t generally my favorite thing to do. So clearly this isn’t the book for me.
I also think that it isn’t particularly strongly written. I mean, I’m sure my opinion is wrong, and someone out there could explain to me how it is factually a masterful book, but clearly I missed something. In fact, when I finished, I went back to read the Wikipedia entry about the book, and holy shit. Plotlines were discussed that I didn’t even recognize.
Books shouldn’t feel like chores. At least, I don’t think they should. And I don’t mean they shouldn’t be challenging, or tough, or interesting. I’ve read many books that are slow reads, that I need to concentrate on deeply, and that have many layers to explore. But those books don’t feel like things I’m trying to get through so I can get to something better. Sadly, this one did.
I’m visiting California, where it is way too warm for mid-October.
“In her dissent, Ginsburg pointed out that the risk of voter confusion is severe, and that the Court’s order runs counter to something called the Purcell principle—taken from the 2006 case Purcell v. Gonzalez—which says that courts should not issue orders changing voting rules in the period close to an election. “The risk of voter confusion appears severe here because the injunction against requiring residential-address identification was in force during the primary election and because the Secretary of State’s website announced for months the ID requirements as they existed under that injunction,” Ginsburg wrote. “Reasonable voters may well assume that the IDs allowing them to vote in the primary election would remain valid in the general election.”” The Supreme Court Just Ensured That Thousands of Native Americans Won’t Be Able to Vote in November (by Imani Gandi for Rewire)
““As he has done for years, Brian Kemp is maliciously wielding the power of his office to suppress the vote for political gain and silence the voices of thousands of eligible voters ― the majority of them people of color,” Abrams spokeswoman Abigail Collazo told CNN in a statement. Collazo added Kemp should step down immediately “so that Georgia voters can have confidence that their Secretary of State competently and impartially oversee this election.”” Stacey Abrams Calls For Opponent To Step Down Amid Claims He’s Attempting To Suppress Tens Of Thousands Of Black Votes (by Rickey Riley for Blavity)
“The first accusations against Ronaldo were made in London in 2005 after his first few seasons with Manchester United. He was arrested, but the woman involved decided not to press charges. In 2009, another woman, Kathryn Mayorga, went to the police with a harrowing story of being raped by a powerful man in a Las Vegas hotel. Mayorga agreed to drop criminal charges against Ronaldo after they settled on a $375,000 payment. The story remained outside the public eye until 2017, when the German publication Der Spiegel gained access to documents related to the case.” Sports Media Is Finally Covering One of the Biggest Stories of the Year. Why Did It Take So Long? (by Shireen Ahmed and Brenda Elsey for Rewire)
“Political participation of the poor is overall lower because of poverty, bad health and many other factors, but millions of impoverished Americans across the country also die prematurely. For instance, in 2015, research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Social Security Administration revealed that, since 1990, among the bottom quarter of Americans with the least education, life expectancy has either stagnated or decreased. That’s for well over 40 million people. Add to this negative trend the fact that mortality among the poor increases during middle age — which is when citizens generally get more involved in politics. The premature disappearance of the poor, then, occurs precisely at the moment when they would be expected to reach their “participatory peak” in society. But they don’t live long enough to achieve that milestone.” Seniors Are More Conservative Because the Poor Don’t Survive to Become Seniors (by Ed Kilgore for Intelligencer)
“The memo states: “As of 1 October 2018, same-sex domestic partners accompanying or seeking to join newly arrived United Nations officials must provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change into such status.” G-4 visas are granted to employees of international organisations and their immediate families.” US ends diplomatic visas for UN same-sex partners (BBC)
“In a policy memorandum, the agency explained that under the new guidance USCIS will give “adequate notice” to individuals denied the immigration benefits for which they are applying, such as a green card, and upon denial, if the individual is no longer authorized to remain in the United States, or never had authorization, USCIS will issue a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA will instruct them to appear before an immigration judge, an indication that removal proceedings are underway.” Federal Policy Change Part of Coordinated Effort to ‘Limit Immigration’ (by Tina Vasquez for Rewire)
“To deal with the surging shelter populations, which have hovered near 90 percent of capacity since May, a mass reshuffling is underway and shows no signs of slowing. Hundreds of children are being shipped from shelters to West Texas each week, totaling more than 1,600 so far. The camp in Tornillo operates like a small, pop-up city, about 35 miles southeast of El Paso on the Mexico border, complete with portable toilets. Air-conditioned tents that vary in size are used for housing, recreation and medical care. Originally opened in June for 30 days with a capacity of 400, it expanded in September to be able to house 3,800, and is now expected to remain open at least through the end of the year.” Migrant Children Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Texas Tent City (by Caitlin Dickerson for New York Times)
“In her speech Saturday in the Senate gallery, Collins perfectly mimicked the worst of Trump and the GOP: She gleefully rubbed our faces in her decision to vote “yes,” all the while trying to justify it with a litany of lies and self-serving revisions of Brett Kavanaugh’s record. She told us we don’t matter. And she was as calculated, cruel, and indifferent as any male senator had been this past month.” A ‘Titanic Fraud’: Susan Collins, the ‘Moderate’ Who Never Was (by Jodi Jacobson for Rewire)
“Women across the world have watched, shaking with recognition, as men find ways to disbelieve Ford’s testimony. For me, watching her life picked apart by the allies of a man who allegedly assaulted her has felt like being trapped in some awful snow-globe that a thoughtless child keeps rattling, just when I’d thought the last flakes had finally settled. They told me I was malicious, that I was seeking feminist celebrity, that I was deceived by my own false memory. I knew I was not. In the end, a government inquiry agreed with me.” What to Expect When a Woman Accuses a Man in Power (by Kate Maltby for The New York Review of Books)
“Notably, even if one of Ford’s friends witnessed an assault, conservatives would discount that too. Ford’s friend might be lying to protect her, after all. What conservatives reportedly want is a dispassionate, neutral third party, one with no political or personal motivation, who can step forward and say, “I saw Brett Kavanaugh assault Christine Blasey Ford.” Without that clarity, conservatives maintain this is a smear job—and they’re using that argument as an excuse to deny the mounting reasons that Brett Kavanaugh should not be on the U.S. Supreme Court bench.” Yes, There Is Plenty of Corroborating Evidence for Christine Blasey Ford’s Allegations (by Imani Gandy for Rewire)
“This statistic, while deeply troubling, is by no means a surprising turn of events. A majority of white women voters went Republican for the better part of three decades. Last year, 63 percent of white women voters in Alabama pulled the lever for Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of sexually violating girls as young as 14. In 2016, 53 percent of white women voters went for Donald Trump, who himself had been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by at least 20 women.” Why So Many White Women Don’t Believe Christine Blasey Ford (by Julia Sharpe-Levine for Rewire)
Women in Science
“And a major study published in 2012 in the US scientific journal PNAS showed that science faculty members rated identical job applications more highly when presented to them with a male name rather than a female name. Scientists reacted to Prof Strumia’s presentation on social media, complaining about discrimination they had suffered in the course of their work.” Cern scientist Alessandro Strumia suspended after comments (BBC)
“Donna Strickland, from Canada, is only the third woman winner of the award, along with Marie Curie, who won in 1903, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded the prize in 1963. Dr Strickland shares this year’s prize with Arthur Ashkin, from the US, and Gerard Mourou, from France. It recognises their discoveries in the field of laser physics.” First woman Physics Nobel winner in 55 years (by Paul Rincon for BBC)
Freedom Of and From Religion
“As Project Blitz strategists saw it, they could gain political advantage by getting opponents on the record, so their votes and statements could be used against them. But in this instance, they tried to bully the wrong pol. In a subsequent appearance on Fox, Marty defended the integrity of his faith and his stance against the In God We Trust amendment. He insisted that posting of In God We Trust in the public schools is “offensive” to both religious believers and the non-religious. And, speaking as a Christian, he said that the “government sanctioned motto does not strengthen our religion, but it demeans, devalues and cheapens our religion.” Apparently, rather than continue to give Marty a platform, the smears stopped.” Christian Pol, Attacked for Opposing ‘In God We Trust’ in School, Talks Church and State (by Frederick Clarkson for Rewire)
“Brixton McDonald’s worker Justine said she was inspired by the support. “The reason I am on strike,” she said, “is that workers deserve better wages. “I think we can all agree that it’s pretty crap right now. “What is particularly inspiring about this campaign is that we were previously regarded as workers who could not be organised – people who were just in and out of work.”” Low paid workers picket Brixton McDonald’s (by Alan Slingsby for Brixton Blog)
“The public service loan forgiveness program, created by Congress in 2007, was supposed to ease the financial burdens of those who chose to work in a wide range of jobs, including military service, law enforcement and public museums. But when the teachers’ union investigated why more of its members weren’t using the program, it found that many were being misled or blocked by Navient, said Randi Weingarten, the union’s president.” Teachers Sue Navient, Claiming Student Loan Forgiveness Failures (by Stacy Cowley for The New York Times)
““The Good Place” tries, improbably, to fulfill both functions at once. It wants to sit at both ends of the control knob simultaneously. Like any good modern comedy, the show is a direct IV of laughs, but the trick is that all of those laughs are explicitly about morality.” The Ultimate Sitcom (by Sam Anderson for the New York Times)