ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

What I’m Reading Archive



March 2018



What I’m Reading – 18 March 2018

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Tr*mp Administration

“Herridge’s narrow reading of the order appointing Mueller as special counsel does not match its text. Mueller’s appointment gives him express authority to investigate “any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”” Minutes after blockbuster report on Russia investigation, the knives are out for Rod Rosenstein (by Judd Legum for Think Progress)

“[McCabe] insisted he had done nothing wrong in organising the October 2016 interview, saying “it was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week”. He said of the subsequent justice department investigation that he tried to answer the questions “truthfully and accurately” and “when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them”.” FBI ex-deputy director Andrew McCabe sacked days before retirement (BBC)

Correcting Past (and Present) Wrongs

“The history of slavery in the United States justifies reparations for African Americans, argues a recent report by a U.N.-affiliated group based in Geneva. This conclusion was part of a study by the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, a body that reports to the international organization’s High Commissioner on Human Rights. The group of experts, which includes leading human rights lawyers from around the world, presented its findings to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday, pointing to the continuing link between present injustices and the dark chapters of American history.” U.S. owes black people reparations for a history of ‘racial terrorism,’ says U.N. panel (by Ishaan Tharoor for Washington Post)

“What Mason found in short was that until the 1970s National Geographic all but ignored people of color who lived in the United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers. Meanwhile it pictured “natives” elsewhere as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché. Unlike magazines such as Life, Mason said, National Geographic did little to push its readers beyond the stereotypes ingrained in white American culture.” For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It (by Susan Goldberg for National Geographic)

Gun Violence

“The walkouts, which came 10 days before a march on Washington that could draw hundreds of thousands of students to the nation’s capital, are unprecedented in recent American history, not seen in size or scope since student protests of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. Supporters say the walkouts and demonstrations represent a realization of power and influence by young people raised on social media who have come of age in an era of never-ending wars, highly publicized mass shootings and virulent national politics.” Thousands of students walk out of school in nationwide gun violence protest (by Joe Heim, Marissa J. Lang and Susan Svrluga for Washington Post)


“A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.” Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach (by Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison for The Guardian)

Politically Motivated Murders

“Marielle Franco, 38, was a groundbreaking politician who had become a voice for disadvantaged people in the teeming favelas that are home to almost one-quarter of Rio de Janeiro’s population, where grinding poverty, police brutality and shootouts with drug gangs are routine.” Protests held across Brazil after Rio councillor shot dead (by Dom Phillips for The Guardian)

“Investigators have said the three blasts that killed two people and wounded two others could have been hate crimes since all the victims were black or Hispanic. But they also said they have not ruled out any possible motive. Draylen Mason, 17, was killed and his mother wounded when a package bomb was opened Monday in their kitchen. The teen’s grandfather is Norman Mason, a prominent dentist in east Austin. He was friends with Freddie Dixon, stepfather of 39-year-old Anthony House, who died in a similar attack in another part of the city on March 2, said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP.” Families of 2 Austin package bomb victims knew each other (by Will Weissert and Paul J. Weber for AP)



March 2018



What I’m Reading – 11 March 2018

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

The Tr*mp Administration

““In the initial analysis of the Title X funding announcement released today, it is of concern there are no references to contraception and no reference to nationally recognized clinical standards for the provision of high-quality family planning and sexual health care,” said Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), which represents Title X providers.” Trump’s Health Agency Appears to Undermine Family Planning with New Funding Criteria (by Christine Grimaldi for Rewire)

“Some of the corruption allegations against Trump are utterly direct. The White House and Secret Service have become huge customers of Trump resorts. Every foreign government, trade association, and interest group with a few bucks to spare spends them at the Trump International down the street from the White House. More money is flowing out of political slush funds — which is to say, a way for donors to do personal favors for the president’s friends. Melania’s old friend got a $26 million contract. Keith Schiller, Trump’s bodyguard and confidant, is pulling in $15,000 a month.” The Real Threat To Trump Isn’t Russia, Racism, Or Incompetence. It’s Corruption. (by Ben Smith for BuzzFeed News)

Gun Violence

“Hogg’s future plans are in the back of his mind for now. For the past two weeks, he poured all of his energy into preventing what happened at his high school from happening again. As soon as he got home that day, he said, he biked the three miles back to campus to start reporting on what happened. Three days after the rally, Stoneman students traveled to Tallahassee for a massive anti-gun rally. That night, some of those students grilled politicians on their stance on gun control at a CNN town hall. Dozens of media appearances soon followed. In the past four days, Hogg has appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and MSNBC. He has amassed more than 300,000 followers on Twitter.” David Hogg is Mad As Hell (by Gabe Del Valle for The Outline)

Responding to Anti-Trans Actions

“A copy of the statement, leaked ahead of the meeting to HuffPost, makes clear that “the Labour Party continues to have an inclusive definition of women”, and explicitly affirms that “All Women Shortlists and women’s reserved places are open to self-defining women”. It also warns that “transphobia and the abuse of members based on their trans identity will not be tolerated in the Labour Party”. Anti-trans activists plan ‘mass resignation’ from Labour over trans-inclusive policy (by Nick Duffy for Pink News)

Worker Rights

“The workforce shows no signs of returning to work until their demands are met, including a 5% raise and plan to reform the underfunded state health care system. In 2016, West Virginia’s average teacher salary was $45,622, more than 20% below the national average. Meanwhile, premiums have gone up for everything from insulin to doctor’s visits, teachers say, and their plans, administered by the Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA), now cover fewer conditions.” The West Virginia Teachers Strike Is Shaping Up To Be A New Model For The Left (by Cora Lewis for BuzzFeed News)

Sexual Assault and Harassment 

“Moore has joined a civil complaint against Nassar, who has pled guilty to possession of child pornography and molestation charges, and who is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison. In the complaint, Moore states Nassar’s behavior constituted sexual assault, battery, abuse, molestation, and harassment.” The First Male Accuser Of Former Doctor Larry Nassar Says He Came Forward After Seeing The Bravery Of The Female Accusers (by Cora Lewis for BuzzFeed News)

“Her lawsuit dives deep into ESPN’s “long history of sexually harassing and mistreating women,” and alleges that not only that Buccigross sexually harassed her, but that after she reported it, human resources covered it up and didn’t properly investigate her claims. Moreover, her suit goes on to allege that the company subsequently retaliated against her for speaking up by denying her a full-time position when her fellowship ended. Additionally, the suit also accuses the company of encouraging predatory grooming practices by male employees, mistreating pregnant women, and fostering a workplace environment where porn consumption is common and women are hyper-sexualized.” ‘I can’t leave those girls behind’: Inside the sexual harassment lawsuit against ESPN (by Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress)

“”This is a stupid and irresponsible survey. Adult men asking 14-year-olds to send sexual images is not only against the law, it is completely wrong and an appalling abuse and exploitation of children,” she said. “I cannot imagine that Facebook executives ever want it on their platform but they also should not send out surveys that suggest they might tolerate it or suggest to Facebook users that this might ever be acceptable.”” Facebook Wanted To Know In A Survey If An Adult Asking A 14-Year-Old For Nudes Was Acceptable (by Blake Montgomery for BuzzFeed News)

Failure of US Healthcare System

“A recent (yet to be peer-reviewed) study found that, after Uber enters new markets, the rates of ambulance rides typically go down, meaning fewer people call professionals in favor of the cheaper option. People have always taken taxis to the hospital — there’s the classic example of the woman going into labor in the back of a cab — but ride-hail technology makes it much easier, especially in less densely populated cities. This money-saving tactic might make sense for people in noncritical condition, but it puts ride-hail drivers in an uncomfortable position. They’re forced to choose between assuming potential legal liability if something goes wrong, or dealing with a sense of guilt and the fear of getting a lower rating if they decline or cancel the ride.” People Are Using Ubers As Ambulances — And Drivers Hate It (by Caroline O’Donovan for BuzzFeed News)

Structural Racism

“So if we’re talking about work-life balance, let’s be clear that many white women of means have achieved that balance standing on the backs of women of color. After all, women of color’s participation in the labor force has always outpaced that of white women. As early as 1900, 26 percent of married black women were employed, compared to only 3.2 percent of white women. Asian American wives also had high employment rates, according to Evelyn Nakano Glenn in “Cleaning Up/Kept Down: A Historical Perspective on Racial Inequality in ‘Women’s Work.’ ” And there was a time when the only work options available to women of color were doing the work that white women of means did not want to do. White women needed us and we needed them.” Rethinking Work-Life Balance for Women of Color (by Kimberly Seals Allers for Slate)



March 2018



What I’m Reading – 4 March 2018

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Horrific Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Action

“Sheriff’s deputies who patrol schools in the Florida county where 17 people were killed last week in a campus shooting were ordered Wednesday to start carrying AR-15s, the same model of gun used to carry out the attack.” Florida Sheriff Orders Officers At School Campuses To Be Armed With AR-15 Rifles (by Jim Dalrymple II for Buzzfeed News)

Gun Violence

“But FedEx’s decision to stand by the NRA probably has less to do with shipping NRA polo shirts than a much more profitable business: shipping guns. In a stark contrast with FedEx’s recent attempts to distance itself from the gun lobby, the internal company document obtained by ThinkProgress outlines in great detail precisely how FedEx has secretly agreed to bend its own rules on gun shipments for powerful forces in the gun industry, including all major gun manufacturers and the NRA itself.” FedEx’s secret deal with the NRA and the gun industry (by Addy Baird and Judd Legum for Think Progress)

“Bank of America’s decision comes on the heels of a February 19 New York Times editorial by author and columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who suggested that the financial industry could push back against the massive gun lobby if credit card issuers began banning the sales of firearms using their products.” This statement from Bank of America should make gun manufacturers very worried (by Melanie Schmitz for think Progress)

Criminal Punishment System / Racism

“Police argued that the improper securing of the seat to the vehicle and the “loose straps” were contributing factors in the baby’s death and showed “gross negligence” on Stephen’s part. Though she was not the driver, the young mother told police she was the one who strapped her daughter in that night.” Louisiana Mother Charged with Homicide After Off-Duty Cop Crashed Into Her Car, Killing Daughter (by Tanasia Kenney for Atlanta Black Star)



February 2018



What I’m Reading – 25 February 2018

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

I’m back at it! I’m living in London now, and trying to not spend loads of time online, so future weeks may have shorter posts. But for now…

Gun Violence

“The school walkouts weren’t limited to Florida: across the country, students began leaving their classrooms in protest. In Washington, D.C. and Maryland, thousands of students gathered to march toward the U.S. Capitol and the White House. “I understand marching isn’t automatically going to change legislation…but it’s not just about change,” Montgomery Blair High School student Jedediah Grady told Mother Jones reporter Kara Voght. “Next year I’ll be able to vote.”” Students across the U.S. protest inaction on gun control with walkouts (by Rebekah Entralgo for Think Progress)

“His ongoing comments have riled politicians, educators, parents, and students who contend that arming teachers is not the answer to the nation’s gun problem, nor should it be the responsibility of a teacher to learn how to carry and use a weapon while also instructing dozens of children in districts already sapped of resources.” After Florida School Shooting, Several Survivors And Victims’ Parents Pan Trump’s Idea To Arm Teachers (by Brianna Sacks for Buzzfeed News)

“The Spring Independent School District, also in the Houston area, and the Waukesha County School District in Wisconsin issued similar warnings. (The Waukesha superintendent later made another statement saying students could participate if they were excused from class by their parents.) Now colleges are standing up for the teenage activists, saying it won’t affect their admissions decisions if they get suspended for protesting.” Colleges Are Promising High Schoolers That Getting Suspended For Protesting Guns Won’t Hurt Their Admissions Chances (by Julie Reinstein for Buzzfeed News)

“The news of Peterson freezing up when he was needed most is indeed tragic, but it also draws into question the theory presented by Donald Trump that the answer to preventing school shootings is to arm “certain highly adept people” with firearms. After all, it doesn’t matter how prepared someone is to use and handle a gun, there’s no way to foresee how they will truly respond when thrown in a situation involving an active shooter.” Armed School Officer at Parkland High School Shooting Resigns After Never Confronting Gunman (by Jose Martinez for Complex)

Time’s Up

“Demonstrators wearing customised ‘Time’s Up Theresa’ sweatshirts linked arms and lined up along the stars’ walkway at the Royal Albert Hall ahead of the star-studded bash. Police were eventually drafted in to move the group on as the A-Listers made their arrival.” BAFTA Awards 2018 hit by protest as Time’s Up campaigners storm the red carpet and form blockade (by Lucy Needham for The Mirror)

Climate and Environment

“With enforcement of environmental crimes declining dramatically at the federal level, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Thursday the creation of a Bureau of Environmental Justice that will work to protect people who live in polluted communities through oversight, investigation, and enforcement of the law. The environmental justice bureau’s initial staffing will be composed of a supervising deputy attorney general and three deputy attorneys general.” California’s attorney general puts polluters on notice with new environmental justice unit (by Mark Hand for Think Progress)


“Less than two out of every three member countries had measles vaccination coverage above 90 percent, and even fewer made it above the recommended 95 percent threshold. Because symptoms don’t appear for a week or so after infection, patients have plenty of time to spread the highly-contagious virus around before doctors know to quarantine them. So to keep a population safe from measles, you need nearly everyone to be vaccinated. Even with most of Europe above the 90 percent mark for more than a decade now, there are still large outbreaks every year.” Thanks, anti-vaxxers: Measles is on the rise in Europe (by Sara Chodosh for Popular Science)

Winter Olympics

“But although I watch and marvel, I’ll never really warm up to the Winter Olympics. It’s about economics. With a few exceptions—such as cross-country skiing, which you can pull off with secondhand equipment and without costly lift fees—these sports are not for lower- or middle-income kids to try. Unlike Summer Olympic sports like soccer, running, or wrestling, which can be pursued cheaply or at no cost by almost anyone, winter sports are the domain of the privileged—and they’re not for me.” Why I’ll Never Warm Up to the Winter Olympics (by Karen Cargo for Rewire)

Human Trafficking

“The good news came on 11 October last year: An official letter congratulated Kredens on having gained victim status under the Modern Slavery Act. That entitled him to another couple of weeks in the safe house while he got himself back on his feet. But, just as he was beginning to contemplate his new life as a free man, the bad news hit. The Home Office had denied Kredens the right to remain in Britain. As a former slave, he could not show that he had been gainfully employed during his time in the country – rendering him an “illegal immigrant” in the government’s eyes and shutting him off from any access to state welfare, including housing. Without a roof over his head, he would once again be at the mercy of the trafficking gangs targeting rough sleepers. Because of the very nature of the exploitation the government had just officially recognised, he was being denied help and cast back into danger.” Exposed: Hundreds Of Homeless Slaves Recruited on British Streets (by Jane Bradley for Buzzfeed News)

Reprehensible Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Action

“But advocates also worry that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses unknown criteria to define “gang affiliation,” “gang membership,” or “gang associate” during arrests. Federal agents then use gang enforcement as a “pretext to arrest immigrants,” an allegation that an ICE agent appeared to substantiate to CBS News in mid-November, thereby making it harder for immigrants to prove their innocence.” Republican bill seeks to revoke citizenship of immigrants who don’t ‘exhibit good moral character’ (by Esther Yu Hsi Lee for Think Progress)



December 2017



What I’m Reading: December 17, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Horrific Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Action

“Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden terms at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden terms are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.” CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity (by Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin for Washington Post)

“According to a tally by columnist John Archibald, eight of the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters saw their driver’s license offices closed. “Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one,” Archibald wrote. Archibald also noted that many of the counties where offices were closed also leaned Democrat.” Alabama Demands Voter ID–Then Closes Driver’s License Offices In Black Counties (by Tierney Sneed for TPM)


“When I read that chapter and later as I sat in class, I was appalled by the lack of historical context provided about how these “disorders” have been used to justify the oppression of People of Color, queer folks, trans and gender non-conforming individuals, immigrants, and those who are disabled. At the very least, there should have been a discussion about how these diagnoses still contribute to the disproportionate criminalization of Black children and their unfair expulsions from academic institutions. We were being taught as medical students to pathologize behaviors that are expressed in marginalized communities in response to unfair systems of oppression and yet we did not have the time to talk about how such a practice perpetuates injustices and ill-health. When I named the concerns I had about the erasure of anti-black racism present in the disorders and also in the lecture itself, my attempt to center such a discussion in class was seen instead as disruptive. Like those “argumentative, snotty, difficult, challenging, pain in the ass children” with ODD who passed through this professor’s practice, I needed to be put in my place.” The Silence Here is Deafening – And It Kills (by Ohenewaa Nkrumah for South Sound Emerald)


“Entrenched poverty will be made far worse by policies being proposed by the Trump Administration, warned Philip Alston in a statement after a two-week fact-finding mission to California, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well as Puerto Rico. “The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion, as the United States now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries,” said the independent human rights expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to look at poverty and human rights in countries around the world.” “American Dream is rapidly becoming American Illusion,” warns UN rights expert on poverty


“The book — which has been endorsed by Jon Stewart, who called it an “honest and illuminating love letter to Gus,” described by Kirkus Reviews as “a heartfelt ‘slice of life’ tale,” and even praised as “unique, moving, and entertaining” by Bustle writer Stephanie Topacio Long — became the center of an internet firestorm earlier this week, when the #BoycottToSiri hashtag began circulating on Twitter. The hashtag was started by Amythest Shaber, an autistic YouTuber and spurred by #ActuallyAutistic users who believe the book recklessly releases details of Gus’s life to complete strangers (Newman discusses his personal details and medical history) and maligns the autistic community in general. In certain scenes, she describes her son as “Batsh*t Crazy Kid” and “mutant.” Throughout the book, she also references the work of known eugenicists Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding, and writes that she does not believe her son should have children of his own.” Why I Believe ‘To Siri With Love’ By Judith Newman Is A Book That Does Incredible Damage To The Autistic Community (by Kaelan Rhywiol for Bustle)

Sexual Assault

“In recent interviews, four women spoke on the record about a pattern of violent sexual behavior by Mr. Simmons, disclosing incidents from 1988 to 2014. Three of the women say that he raped them. In each case, numerous friends and associates said they were told of the incidents at the time. The women said they were inspired to come forward in the aftermath of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, as victims’ stories have been newly elevated and more often believed.” Music Mogul Russell Simmons Is Accused of Rape by 3 Women (by Joe Coscarelli and Melena Ryzik for New York Times)

Something Good

“But it’s been clear, too, that there is a shift under way, of undeniable changes that are altering power structures in Hollywood, in the media landscape, in politics, and beyond (and hopefully, they’ll stick). We have black women to thank for #MeToo and for the election of Doug Jones in Alabama. We have Muslims like Mahershala Ali and Riz Ahmed to thank for their representation of their religion and their culture at a time when the American president is tweeting Islamophobic crap on the regular. There is an increase in the visibility of Latina women in films like Logan, Cars 3, and Coco. And the trailers for Black Panther, which takes place in the never-colonized African country of Wakanda, have cemented it, without any doubt, as one of the must-see movies of 2018 and quite possibly the most anticipated Marvel movie yet.”  Black Excellence, Brown Pride, and the Pop Culture Gifts People of Color Gave the World in 2017 (by Roxane Hadadi for Pajiba)



December 2017



What I’m Reading – December 10, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Sexual Harassment and Assault

“I live in Seattle. Right now I’m surrounded by good liberal men who are lining up to say how much they believe women. Who are clamoring to express their outrage at the horrific stories they are reading as so many women say #metoo. But some of these men — a lot of them — are abusers themselves. A lot of them have taken advantage, forced kisses on unsuspecting women, groped women, exposed themselves to women, tried to manipulate women into having sex with them. While they are expressing their outrage, they are secretly hoping that their name won’t show up in a woman’s story. They have an opportunity right now to start to make things right. To come clean, take responsibility, and begin the work of growth and redemption. But they opt for just playing the role of a hero instead. They collect praise for saying all of the right things while kicking aside their victims.” Dear Al Franken: I’ll Miss You, But You Can’t Matter Anymore (by Ijeoma Oluo for the Establishment)

“I have long maintained that when I was 7 years old, Woody Allen led me into an attic, away from the babysitters who had been instructed never to leave me alone with him. He then sexually assaulted me. I told the truth to the authorities then, and I have been telling it, unaltered, for more than 20 years. Why is it that Harvey Weinstein and other accused celebrities have been cast out by Hollywood, while Allen recently secured a multimillion-dollar distribution deal with Amazon, greenlit by former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price before he was suspended over sexual misconduct allegations? Allen’s latest feature, “Wonder Wheel,” was released theatrically on Dec. 1.” Dylan Farrow: Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen? (by Dylan Farrow for the LA Times)


“And of course, it would be unfair for me to make a sweeping generalization about how all media treats women based on the actions of one player. Or maybe a couple of important figures. Or maybe at least six other high level, powerful men who have been shown to have patterns of abusing the women around them, and excusing the behavior of other powerful men. Or maybe, oh shit, it’s almost like those in charge of the news are also in charge of the narrative, and they get to decide who’s a bitch or not. Even when the women being labeled bitches are actually only seen as bitches because our sexist society demands that women always behave cheerfully and friendly even in the face of our own abuse. Yay!” Hey, The Media? Hillary’s Still Waiting On That Apology You Most Definitely Owe Her (by Emily Chambers for Pajiba)

Something Good

“On Tuesday night, in the 99th episode of Fox cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the notoriously tight-lipped, emotionally guarded, and altogether badass detective played by Stephanie Beatriz revealed something significant to the ever-inquisitive Charles (Joe Lo Truglio). After he asked her why he heard a woman’s voice on the phone refer to Rosa as “babe,” she tried to throw him off the scent before finally sharing that she is dating a woman and that she is indeed bisexual. She also quickly brushed him off when he tried to be enthusiastic and supportive, only to later apologize, explaining she didn’t think it was anybody’s business and that she didn’t want anything to change. And while it felt therapeutic for the woman who has only let slip little shards of insight into her life — she owns an ax, she studied ballet before being kicked out of school for “beating the crap out of ballerinas,” her idea of a perfect date is “cheap dinner, watch basketball, bone down” — to share this part of herself, she wanted them to return to not talking about this ever again. (Request denied by Charles.)” Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Stephanie Beatriz on Rosa’s revelation, what’s next (by Dan Snierson for Entertainment Weekly)



December 2017



What I’m Reading – December 3, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Horrific Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary Action

“Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who is a former chairwoman of the intelligence committee, said in an interview this week that Mr. Trump’s requests were “inappropriate” and represented a breach of the separation of powers. “It is pressure that should never be brought to bear by an official when the legislative branch is in the process of an investigation,” Ms. Feinstein said. Trump Pressed Top Republicans to End Senate Russia Inquiry (by Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, and Alexander Burns for the New York Times)

“But what’s happening in the Senate right now really does deserve Trumpian superlatives. The bill Republican leaders are trying to ram through this week without hearings, without time for even a basic analysis of its likely economic impact, is the biggest tax scam in history. It’s such a big scam that it’s not even clear who’s being scammed — middle-class taxpayers, people who care about budget deficits, or both. One thing is clear, however: One way or another, the bill would hurt most Americans. The only big winners would be the wealthy — especially those who mainly collect income from their assets rather than working for a living — plus tax lawyers and accountants who would have a field day exploiting the many loopholes the legislation creates.” The Biggest Tax Scam in History (by Paul Krugman for the New York Times)

Sexual Harassment and Assault

“But now, with only a small handful of high-profile men finally facing some repercussions after years of abuse, there is already an effort to slow down. Is this becoming a witch hunt? Is this becoming a sex panic? Are innocent men at risk of being wrongly accused? Today’s headlines seem to be either dominated by the men who’ve been flaunting their abuse of women for years, even decades, with explicit details of all of the horrors they were allowed to inflict upon women — or about the men who might be at risk for being “unfairly” accused. The men who are now “scared to even talk to women” lest they be accused of sexual harassment. And the women…the women are forgotten completely.” Due Process Is Needed For Sexual Harassment Accusations — But For Whom? (by Ijeoma Oluo for The Establishment)

“Nassar — a longtime team physician for USA Gymnastics who had a successful and highly-touted medical practice at Michigan State — has been accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls under the guise of providing medical treatment. Last week’s plea, which came just a day after Gabby Douglas became the third member of the 2012 London Olympics gold-medal winning “Fierce Five” gymnastics team to say she was abused by Nassar, is only the beginning of the consequences in store for the disgraced doctor.” Michigan State hasn’t faced consequences for enabling the biggest sex abuse scandal in U.S. sports (by Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress)

“Two of those women had tried to warn the spa about Deiter before Ingram had, court records show. Three months before Ingram’s assault, one woman told the spa that Deiter had touched her genitals. One month before Ingram’s assault, another woman reported he had touched her breasts. The spa decided their allegations weren’t credible, in part because, like Ingram, both women had made them over the phone and wouldn’t return to the spa to discuss the events in person. Lawyers would later ask the spa owner and another clinic manager why they would judge an alleged sexual assault victim on her willingness to return to the scene of the crime.” Hands Off (by Katie J.M. Baker for Buzzfeed)

“In 2015 we wrote an article for ProPublica and the Marshall Project about Marie, an 18-year-old who reported being raped in Lynnwood, Wash., by a man who broke into her apartment. (Marie is her middle name.) Police detectives treated small inconsistencies in her account — common among trauma victims — as major discrepancies. Instead of interviewing her as a victim, they interrogated her as a suspect. Under pressure, Marie eventually recanted — and was charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. The court ordered her to pay $500 in court costs, get mental health counseling for her lying and go on supervised probation for one year. More than two years later, the police in Colorado arrested a serial rapist — and discovered a photograph proving he had raped Marie.” When Sexual Assault Victims Are Charged With Lying (by Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller for  the New York Times)

Disaster Response

“”The fact that you’re displaced, not just relaxing here, it kind of makes you feel like you don’t fit in the environment,” said Hernandez, 44, who had been renting a house in southeast Houston’s Wayside neighborhood. Living in hotels and motels for extended periods is not just hard on families; it’s costly for taxpayers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had spent more than $186 million on its Texas hotel program as of mid-November – about $2.8 million a day. It’s taking too long to move displaced families into more permanent arrangements, and there’s blame to share, said Tom McCasland, housing director for the city of Houston.” Tens of thousands displaced by Harvey still yearn for home (by Rebecca Elliott for Houston Chronicle)

Good Intentions

“Now don’t get me wrong. Donating to charity is a good thing, particularly during the holidays, when many charities budget for yuletide donations. But, the simple rules of economics are begging you: Give money to food banks, rather than food.Canned goods have a particularly low rate of charitable return. They’re heavy, they’re awkward and they can be extremely difficult to fit into a family’s meal plan. Worst of all, the average consumer is buying their canned goods at four to five times the rock-bottom bulk price that can be obtained by the food bank itself.” I’m begging you: Stop donating canned goods to food banks (by Tristin Hopper for the National Post)

Worldwide Violence

“Two eyewitnesses and a security source told Reuters that the suspected militants targeted supporters of the security forces attending prayers. Citing official sources, the state-run MENA news agency reported that the mosque is largely attended by Sufi Muslims — a form of Islam considered heretical by some conservatives and extremists like the Islamic State group.” Egypt mosque attack leaves at least 305 dead in Sinai Peninsula (by Charlene Gubash and F. Brinley Bruton for NBC)

Fight Back

“Internet users outraged by Verizon-lawyer-turned-FCC-Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to gut net neutrality are planning to protest at Verizon retail stores across the country on Thursday, December 7th, one week before an expected vote at the FCC. In some cities, protesters will march from Verizon stores to lawmakers’ offices.” Net neutrality protests to hit Verizon stores across the U.S. during busy holiday shopping season

Reproductive Rights

Childfree Is A Legitimate Choice



November 2017



What I’m Reading – November 19, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading


“Like many other avowed feminists, Reilly-Cooper is bent on “proving” the absurdity of trans identity. More than that, she seeks to reveal how cis, white women like herself are actively harmed by policies and laws which aim to protect transgender individuals from discrimination and ensure their equal access to services. Never mind that this view is completely ignorant of the facts. Never mind the damage this narrative does.” Anti-Trans ‘Feminists’ Are More Dangerous Than Religious Zealots (by Aaron Kappel for The Establishment)

Sexual Harassment and Assault

“There is a path forward, past denial and scandal and shame. There is a path to genuinely being the better person that you want to be. I’m writing this sincerely. I’m writing this because sexual abuse and assault is so very common in our society that chances are, someone I know and love and respect is reading this and knowing that they are guilty. I’m writing this because if we don’t find a way forward, this will keep happening. Even if you never harass or abuse or assault another human being again: If you don’t try to make this right, this will keep happening and you will have helped to enable it.” So You’ve Sexually Harassed Or Abused Someone: What Now? (by Ijeoma Oluo for The Establishment)

“The Democratic party’s failure to speak up for sexual violence victims when they are facing powerful liberal men occurs at all levels of government. Former Seattle mayor Ed Murray resigned in September following six months of accusations that he sexually assaulted five men over three decades ago. While it is surprising that Murray refused to step down for so long, more puzzling was the scarcity of Democratic and liberal leaders pressuring him to do so. Washington state politicians have generated national attention as beacons of liberal resistance since the 2016 election, championing progressive causes and fighting for vulnerable populations. Still, before Murray’s resignation, only two of nine Seattle City Council members called on Murray to resign. Four former mayors, all major state level officials, and mayor-elect Jenny Durkan also retained support for him.” Guest Editorial: The Reckoning Must Also Come for Democrats (by Meredith Logan for The Stranger)

“I felt sick, and then I felt furious. A 13-year-old girl is not all grown up. And even if she had been what we consider grown up, that is not newsworthy. I thought of the media outlets that posted countdown clocks until Emma Watson or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were “legal”—that is to say, “safe” fantasy material. These websites also run scare pieces about kidnapped children, teen sex-trafficking, and pedophile predators. Young girls at risk, young girls objectified: It’s all titillation to them. These adults fetishize innocence, and the loss of innocence even more. They know what they’re selling.” Matilda Actress Mara Wilson: A 13-Year-Old Girl Is Not “All Grown Up” (by Mara Wilson for Elle)

Life Choices

“As a person in her late 30’s in a happy childless relationship, I’m in the vast minority. It’s a weird position to be in. Nothing has changed, but really everything has changed. I’m grown up. I’m making huge life decisions on how to live and give and be my best in the time we have on this planet. I’ve realised that I’d dearly love to find others who are trying to work through similar times in their lives. Lives that didn’t revert to permanent teenagehood at the same time as others had children. A place for women to talk positively about these lives in a society that wishes to quiet us down.” Why do we have such a big problem with childfree women? (by Nicole Hind)


“This speaks to a larger problem in activist communities: Too often, our overzealousness and undue willingness to take it upon ourselves to act as judge and jury online lends support and moral weight to virtual abuse. But this particular case merits examination because of the unaccountable credulousness with which too many leftists are still treating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (the two being one-and-the-same these days). Though his descent into racist, conspiracist Jew-baiting has gone on for a while now, events this election year have drawn it into stark focus.” Are Progressives Being Played By WikiLeaks And Julian Assange? (by Katherine Cross for The Establishment)

Just for Fun

This is a three-year-old article from Lindy West that brought me joy today. Every Outfit Shelley Long Wears in Troop Beverly Hills, Ranked (by Lindy West for Jezebel)




November 2017



What I’m Reading – November 12, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Abuse and Harassment

“But as a society, we don’t want to take responsibility for the abuse we create, enable, and strengthen. Because most of that responsibility lies with men and so many of them are very invested in keeping things the way they are — especially because they haven’t quite reached their life’s goal to be successful enough to be able to violate the consent of the most beautiful of the trophies we also know as women without consequence. Yes, everyone contributes to the patriarchy in some way — even women—but about half of us have had no say in the rules of the game, have never had a chance at winning, and have been given just as little say in whether or not we will play.” When You Can’t Throw All Men Into The Ocean And Start Over, What CAN You Do? (by Ijeoma Oluo for The Establishment)

“Here’s a theory: Some people have chosen to ignore Kelly’s alleged behavior because the victims of it have been black girls. As Jim DeRogatis, the Chicago-based reporter behind the BuzzFeed piece who has tirelessly covered the singer’s off-stage behavior for almost two decades, told the Voice in 2013, “The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women.”” The latest R Kelly allegations are more evidence that black women’s words are never enough (by Jamilah Lemieux for Mic)

“The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.” Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies (by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker)

“Solo was speaking to Portuguese magazine Expresso about sexual harassment in women’s sports and its prevalence. She then revealed that Sepp Blatter, then the president of world soccer’s governing body, groped her in 2013 as they were about to present the women’s player of the year award at the Ballon d’Or gala. “I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass,” she said.” Hope Solo Said The Head Of FIFA Groped Her At An Awards Show (by Claudia Koerner for BuzzFeed)

“Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge. Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.” Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32 (by Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites for The Washington Post)

“Thurman is seething, like we have all been seething, in our various states of breaking open or, as Thurman chooses, waiting. We are seething at how long we have been ignored, seething for the ones who were long ago punished for telling the truth, seething for being told all of our lives that we have no right to seethe. Thurman’s rage is palpable yet contained, conveying not just the tempestuous depths of #MeToo but a profound understanding of the ways that female anger is received and weaponized against women.” Brave Enough to Be Angry (by Lindy West for the New York Times)


“Giles Coren writes a column for Esquire about fatherhood. His most recent piece is titled: “I Don’t Care What My Son Becomes… As Long As He Isn’t Overweight.” I thought I couldn’t be shocked by fatphobia anymore but I was wrong.” Giles Coren: Garbage Human, Fatphobe and, Horrifyingly, Father (by Ragen Chastain for Dances with Fat)

Possible Genocide

“Countries must fully fund the UN appeal and close the funding gap that is leaving traumatized children without basic food, water, and shelter. Finally, member states of the United Nations must assess what diplomatic efforts can enable them to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Rohingya. We must not be bystanders to this genocide. We cannot allow people to be slaughtered and burnt out of their homes, while the world watches.” The Rohingya are facing genocide. We cannot be bystanders (by Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai, Madhur Jaffrey, Aziz Ansari, Mindy Kaling, Riz Ahmed, Freida Pinto for The Guardian)

Life Choices

“Needless to say, some women in the United States and other countries have always refused both roles. Nonetheless, the idea that a woman is incomplete if she does not have at least one child has long been part of the social contract, with many a shaking head greeting those who make clear that they have other plans for their lives. “You’ll regret it later,” they hear. “Who will care for you when you grow old?”” Here’s a Fact: Some Women Do Regret Becoming Mothers (by Eleanor J. Bader for Rewire)




November 2017



What I’m Reading – November 5, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Horrific Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Action

“As White House chief of staff, Kelly recently got into a public fight with Frederica Wilson, a black congresswoman from Florida, who criticized Trump for the phone call he made to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed earlier this month in Niger. Kelly called Wilson an “empty barrel” and falsely accused her of publicly grandstanding at the dedication of a new FBI headquarters in 2015. On Monday, he said he would never apologize for his comments.” America is being run by racists (by Michael A. Cohen for The Boston Globe)

“Both Manafort and Rick Gates, a former Manafort business associate and Trump campaign aide who was also indicted on Monday, didn’t have to see images of themselves in handcuffs plastered all over the media; rather, the two were able to portray themselves as calm, cool and collected. This is a privilege awarded to white collar criminals who allegedly commit serious crimes, yet are spared from the embarrassment other criminals face. The former Trump campaign officials were likely given that treatment by special counsel Robert Mueller, who issued the indictments against both Manafort and Gates.” Paul Manafort and the privilege of being a white collar defendant (by Rebekah Entralgo for Think Progress)

“The Trump administration’s proposed budget is also a reversal of America’s decades-long commitment to women’s rights as a key component of foreign policy—and a quiet threat to the international health and safety of girls. Unlike the reinstatement of the “global gag rule,” a partisan move that prevents overseas organizations that discuss abortion from receiving American aid, Trump’s budget guts women’s empowerment and health programs that have received acclaim from both sides of the aisle. Oxfam America found that “programs with an exclusive focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment are cut by 61 percent in the Trump Budget—much higher than the overall 32 percent cut to international affairs.”” Trump’s Global Assault on Women, Peace, and Global Prosperity (by Hilary Matfess for Bitch)


“Forced intimacy is a cornerstone of how ableism functions in an able bodied supremacist world. Disabled people are expected to “strip down” and “show all our cards” metaphorically in order to get the basic access we need in order to survive.
We are the ones who must be vulnerable — whether we want to or not — about ourselves, our body-minds and our abilities. Forced intimacy was one of the many ways I learned that consent does not exist for my disabled Asian girl body-mind.” This Is Why Consent Doesn’t Exist For Disabled Folks (by Mia Mingus for The Establishment)

“Firstly, calling someone “differently abled” is euphemistic. It is borderline cutesy and it diminishes the actual experiences of disabled people. It suggests that the term disability should be uncomfortable and therefore should be avoided. What this does is further increase stigma against disabled people by discouraging discussion about disability and what it means to be disabled.” How “Differently Abled” Marginalizes Disabled People (by Lydia X.Z. Brown)

Emergency Response

“Those directors say they are unclear on how to classify hurricane-related deaths and whether they should send bodies to the central institute certifying official hurricane deaths, called the Institute of Forensic Sciences. The result is likely suppressing the official death count, which has become a major indicator of how the federal government’s relief efforts are going because President Trump himself made it one.” Puerto Rico Is Burning Its Dead, And We May Never Know How Many People The Hurricane Really Killed (by Nidhi Prakash for Buzzfeed)

Sexual Harassment and Assault in Entertainment

“Do you mind if I ask you what the hell is going on? I’m sure you’re busy, but this won’t take long. It’s just, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandals, I saw something alarming, to put it mildly. Did you really condemn serial abuser Harvey Weinstein while on a press tour for a movie you made with a known child molester? Not a cute look for you.” An Open Letter To Kate Winslet (by Franki Gambino for Bust)

“One of Masterson’s accusers filed a police report in 2004 saying that she was raped in 2003, but the case didn’t move forward after the Church of Scientology intervened and submitted over 50 affidavits from Scientologists who denied the woman’s account. According to a report filed with the Los Angeles Police Department, the woman said Masterson raped her while she was “passed out,” and when she awoke and realized he was raping her, she struggled with him until he choked her and she passed out again.” Despite ‘Overwhelming’ Evidence Against Actor Danny Masterson, Rape Case Has Stalled (by Yashar Ali for Huffpost)

“The former production assistant, whose account has never previously been disclosed, told CNN that Spacey sexually assaulted him during one of the show’s early seasons. All eight people, each of whom spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional repercussions for speaking out, described Spacey’s behavior as “predatory,” saying it included nonconsensual touching and crude comments and targeted production staffers who were typically young and male.” ‘House of Cards’ employees allege sexual harassment, assault by Kevin Spacey (by Chloe Melas for CNN)

“Since that incident in the early 1990s, Henstridge has found success as an actress — starring in the films “Species” and “The Whole Nine Yards.” But she said she has carried the memory of the run-in with her, and watched from afar as Ratner became one of Hollywood’s most powerful players — directing, producing or financing dozens of today’s biggest box-office hits, including “Rush Hour,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “The Revenant” and “Horrible Bosses.”” Six women accuse filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct (by Amy Kaufman and Daniel Miller for LA Times)

“All told, more than fifty women have now levelled accusations against Weinstein, in accounts published by the New York Times, The New Yorker, and other outlets. But many other victims have continued to be reluctant to talk to me about their experiences, declining interview requests or initially agreeing to talk and then wavering. As more women have come forward, the costs of doing so have certainly shifted. But many still say that they face overwhelming pressures to stay silent, ranging from the spectre of career damage to fears about the life-altering consequences of being marked as sexual-assault victims.” Weighing the Costs of Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein (by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker)

“The night would begin, according to Jones, a two-year relationship with Kelly rife with alleged physical abuse, sexual coercion, emotional manipulation and a slew of draconian rules that dictated nearly every aspect of her life. Those rules, including what and when to eat, how to dress, when to go to the bathroom and how to perform for the singer sexually, were first described in writer Jim DeRogatis’ bombshell BuzzFeed feature on Kelly last July.” Surviving R. Kelly (by Jason Newman for Rolling Stone)

“But allegations against Richardson go back many years. In 2014, model Emma Appleton confirmed to BuzzFeed News that tweets she had sent alleging that Richardson asked for sex in exchange for work were genuine. A Richardson spokesperson at the time dismissed Appleton’s allegations as not accurate. Later that year, a profile of the photographer was published by New York magazine called “The Perverse Case of Terry Richardson”, which was seen as a response to allegations stretching nearly a decade that he’d coerced models into performing sexual acts on photoshoots.” Celebrity Photographer Terry Richardson Has Been Banned From Top Magazines After Years Of Allegations From Models (by Mark Di Stefano for Buzzfeed)

Reproductive Health

“The legislation would create 50-meter bubbles outside abortion clinics and prohibit protesters from targeting clinic workers or their homes. The Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed the bill with a near unanimous vote, with only one lawmaker voting against the measure. It became law the same day. Following the bill’s passage, Minister of the Status of Women Indira Naidoo-Harris said in a statement, “Women in Ontario will finally have safe and equal access to abortion services, free from harassment, bullying or violence. This act demonstrates our government’s commitment to the security, equality and empowerment of women in Ontario.”” Canada swiftly passes bill to protect abortion seekers, eager to set itself apart from the U.S. (by Elham Khatami for Think Progress)

““Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. But make no mistake about it, the Administration’s efforts to interfere in women’s decisions won’t stop with Jane,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “With this case we have seen the astounding lengths this administration will go to block women from abortion care. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every woman like Jane.”” After a Month of Obstruction by the Trump Administration, Jane Doe Gets Her Abortion (ACLU)


“Ideally, the investigations will not only uncover violations in industries where workers may be too afraid to report them but will also deter companies from violating the law in the first place, OLS Director Dylan Orr said in a statement today. “Our goal is to bridge the gap in industries and workplaces where there is a disproportionate number of vulnerable low-wage workers, where workers are least likely to complain, and where we are most likely to have a systemic impact,” Orr said.” Seattle Will Begin Proactively Investigating Industries that May Be Ripping Off Workers (by Heidi Groover for The Stranger)


“Fowler has a Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO through his job, but he said he doesn’t know how much he will have to pay out of his own pocket for the care he is receiving. In an era of higher deductibles and limited choice of in-network doctors, however, he knows he could face significant medical bills. His insurance card says his individual deductible is $5,000 and his coinsurance 20%. He said he didn’t know how much his health plan would cover for out-of-state care.” Las Vegas shooting victims struggle to afford mounting medical costs (by Anna Gorman for CNN)

“Last week, state Sen. Donald White (R) attached an amendment to the CHIP renewal legislation that would prohibit the program from covering the costs of any services related to a gender transition. The language of the amendment is vague enough that it could impact a broad swath of services that are medically necessary for the well-being of a transgender child.” Pennsylvania lawmaker doesn’t think transgender kids deserve health care (by Zack Ford for Think Progress)

Sports and Racism

“The Houston Texans owner and billionaire Trump bundler remarked that catering to the concerns of players about racism in the criminal-justice system was like “letting inmates run the prison.” Yes, he really said that. On an issue that in NFL circles was about as sensitive as defusing a bomb with tweezers, McNair brought an axe, and the situation immediately detonated.” The Houston Texans Showed the Power and Dignity of Black Labor (by Dave Zirin for The Nation)

Cats Are Awesome

“The African subspecies of wildcat (named Felis silvestris lybica) found its niche in the region now known as Turkey during the dawn of agriculture. As humans started storing grain some 10,000 years ago, rodents decided to move in with us. That attracted wildcats, and then some smart person said to herself: “Hmm, these things are pretty good at killing rats, maybe we should keep them around.” DNA from Egyptian mummies and Viking graves reveals how cats conquered the world (by Sarah Fecht for Popular Science)