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What I’m Reading Archive

Sunday

13

January 2019

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – January 13, 2019

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Trump’s Government Shutdown

““If the shutdown continues, then you will literally have millions of people that will not be able to afford food,” the U.S. Representative for California’s 37th said. “And I think this is just absolutely unconscionable.” Funding for the program was solidified through January following a standoff, which began December 22, with Donald Trump after he demanded $5.7 billion in funding for the U.S. border wall. The Washington Post reported a SNAP “contingency” fund of $3 billion was appropriated by lawmakers that could potentially cover 64 percent of February funding.” The Government Shutdown Could Impact Millions Of Food Stamp Recipients (by Charmaine Griffin for Blavity)

“Just 117 of the more than 400 national parks collect fees, meaning hundreds will have to compete for funds the NPCA claims will not be enough. The NPS has not announced how much funding will go to each park. “Never before have I seen the federal government tempt fate in national parks the way we are today,” says Diane Regas, president of the Trust for Public Land of the decision to keep parks open with only a fraction of their employees. “It’s not about what has happened already. It’s about what could happen if you don’t have the appropriate staffing.”” National parks face years of damage from government shutdown (by Sarah Gibbons for National Geographic)

Labor

“The strike has been called by 10 trade unions across the country against what they believe are anti-labour policies of prime minister Narendra Modi’s government. Employees from the power, steel, auto, and financial services sector will participate in this “historic event.” The strike will also be joined by farmers, who have been protesting against the agrarian crisis in the country for several months now.” 150 million Indians to go on strike against Modi’s “anti-labour” policies (by Nupur Anand for Quartz)

Racism

“Whilst speaking to some of those from South Asian backgrounds involved at the grassroots level of the game, it became clear that the barriers were many, with a sense of resignation of “that’s just how thing are and all always will be”. From scouts making sweeping cultural generalisations and stereotypes, to players being released for reasons unknown, I set out to explore some of these barriers in more detail. One of those who I spoke to was Husnane Shah, who, after scoring 84 goals in one season for his grassroots team, was invited for a trial at a professional club. Following the trial Husnane claims a scout at the club told him he was specifically told not to “take on Asian footballers”.” “The scout told me they don’t take on Asian players” – where are the South Asian footballers? (by Basit Mahmood for Media Diversified)

“The 90-year-old geneticist – one of three who discovered the DNA double helix – had lost his job at the New York laboratory in 2007 for expressing racist views. But in the new PBS film, American Masters: Decoding Watson, he said his views on intelligence and race had not changed since. He had told a magazine in 2007 he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” as “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – where all the testing says not really”.” DNA pioneer James Watson stripped of honours after ‘reckless’ race remarks (Sky News)

“Physician and former EMT Leslie Gregory said she saw the biases discussed in the study for herself while working in Lenawee County, Michigan. She told NPR about a former colleague who seemed to believe a Black patient was overdramatic to gain access to painkillers. “I think it was something like: ‘Oh, my God. Here we go again,’” she recalled. Gregory feared she would have to go from medic to race advocate. “I am absolutely sure this was unconscious,” she continued. “At the time, I remember, it increased my stress as we rode up on this person. Because I thought, ‘Now am I going to have to fight my colleague for more pain medication, should that arise?’”” Black Patients Less Likely To Receive Pain Medication From EMTs Than White Patients, New Study Says (by Ashleigh Atwell for Blavity)

Taxation

“All of which is to say: In 1980, taxing incomes above $216,000 (or $658,213 in today’s dollars) at 70 percent was considered a moderate, mainstream idea, even though wage inequality was much less severe, and supply-side economics had yet to be discredited. This week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told 60 Minutes that she believes the U.S. should consider taxing incomes above $10 million at a 70 percent rate. Specifically, the congresswoman suggested that taxing the rich at such a rate would be preferable to forgoing major investments in renewable energy, and other technologies necessary for averting catastrophic climate change. And centrist pundits were scandalized by her extremism.” Ocasio-Cortez’s 70 Percent Top Tax Rate Is a Moderate, Evidence-Based Policy (by Eric Levitz for Intelligencer)

Sexual Assault

“For those of you who do not know – and I struggle to imagine there are people who don’t know at least some of the allegations – Bryan Singer has two decades of very credible allegations of sexual assault and harassment against young men to his name. Singer’s reputation is one of the most sordid and openly talked about scandals in the industry. Whispers around him were as plentiful and widely accepted as any against Harvey Weinstein. Shortly before he was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody, news broke that Singer was facing a lawsuit from a man who alleged he had been raped by the director in 2003 when he was 17 years old. he lawyer representing this man, Jeff Herman, also represented Michael Egan, the man who accused Singer, among other Hollywood figures, of sexual assault in 2014 (that case was eventually withdrawn and Herman issued an apology to the accused).”  Bryan Singer is an Accused Rapist: Why Does This Not Matter This Awards Season? (by Kayleigh Donaldson for Pajiba)

Sunday

6

January 2019

3

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – 6 January 2019

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here, let’s read about some screwed up shit (followed by some awesome shit at the end)

US Government Shutdown

“John Deal, a Nasa contractor who lives in Virginia, told the Guardian on Christmas Day that he and his wife – who also works for the agency – have lost 100% of their household income since the shutdown began. One of his daughters lives at home, and is helping pay for groceries from her first year teacher’s salary. “We’re blue-collar workers. We’re not making six-figure salaries like Mr Trump or Mr Pence,” he said this week.” ‘Our income has stopped’: shutdown leaves workers stressed and struggling (by Khushbu Shah for The Guardian)

Refugees and Immigrants

“The United States is rejecting more legal immigrants than ever before. The first casualty in 2018 was the U.S. refugee resettlement program, says Larry Yungk, a former official at the U.N. refugee agency and now co-chair of the advisory committee of Church World Service’s refugee program. “This is one where the knobs were in reach,” he explains, referring to the president’s prerogative to set the yearly refugee admission cap. After framing refugees as a security threat, Trump slashed resettlement admission numbers for a second year to a historic low, says Yungk. Just 22,491 refugees were resettled in the U.S. in fiscal year 2018, roughly half the 45,000 cap.” 2018 Was A Year Of Drastic Cuts To U.S. Refugee Admissions (by Deborah Amos for NPR)

“The boy’s death at a New Mexico hospital marked yet another grim inflection point in the wider immigration struggle that has roiled U.S. politics this year, stirring partisan passions and fueling outrage over the ongoing separation of hundreds of children from their parents at the border. Monday’s death, announced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, comes against the backdrop of a separate migration-related battle: the partial government shutdown over President Trump’s demand of $5 billion for a border wall. There is no indication that the shutdown had anything to do with the child’s death, however. Customs and Border Protection agents are considered essential employees and remain on the job.” An 8-year-old Guatemalan child dies in U.S. custody on Christmas Eve after being treated for a cold(by Laura King for The L.A. Times)

Sex Work

“Sex workers who fear that they, or their clients, may be picked up by the police are more likely to engage in risky encounters, unable to take the time to talk to a client before getting into a car or negotiate terms in advance, the researchers found. Their health and safety were at risk not only in countries where sex work was criminalised, but also in Canada, which has introduced the “Nordic model” pioneered by Sweden, under which the client can be arrested for a criminal offence, but not the sex worker.” Criminalisation of sex work normalises violence, review finds (by Sarah Boseley for the Guardian)

Sexual Assault

“A full week later, the number of girls and women who spoke swelled from 88 to 156. One hundred and fifty six. An army of survivors. The weeklong reading of their statements was an anomaly in some ways. Typically, stories like the ones the girls and women told are ignored or presented in cold, unfeeling, and brief newscasts or write-ups. Not this time.” Larry Nassar’s Survivors Were 2018’s Real Life Superheroes (by Jessica Luther for Huffington Post)

“While a number of journalists and activists have worked diligently to unmask R. Kelly and to keep his many alleged crimes in conversation, Surviving R. Kelly is a singular and exhaustive project. It incorporates the voices of survivors, advocates, experts, musicians, reporters and cultural critics, as well as friends and family of R. Kelly. It begins with his childhood, meticulously charting Kelly’s career while never losing sight of the young women and girls he systematically and continuously abused. Kelly’s behavior is illuminated and analyzed, placed within a larger industry and culture-wide conversation, but never excused. Here, finally, is a humane accounting of an abusive celebrity’s life that does not treat their crimes as an asterisk or an afterthought.” ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Exposes How the R&B Singer Got Away With Preying on Girls for Decades (by Amy Zimmerman for The Daily Beast)

Labor

“But what was the next job? This is the stuff I can’t remember — how a particular day unfolded. Maybe the next job was the Great Falls, Virginia, housewife who answered the door in some black skimpy thing I never really saw because I work very hard at eye contact when faced with out-of-context nudity. She was expecting a man. I’m a 6-foot lesbian. If I showed up at your door in a uniform with my hair cut in what’s known to barbers as the International Lesbian Option No. 2, you might mistake me for a man. Everyone does. She was rare in that she realized I’m a woman. We laughed about it. She found a robe while I replaced her cable box. She asked if I needed to use a bathroom, and I loved her.” I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America. (by Lauren Hough for Huffington Post)

“The world’s five deadliest countries for journalists include three — India, Mexico and, for the first time, the United States — where journalists were killed in cold blood, even though those countries weren’t at war or in conflict, the group said. “The hatred of journalists that is voiced … by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists,” Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.” United States added to list of most dangerous countries for journalists for first time (via Reuters)

Misogyny

“As a journalist and maternal health advocate, I listen to people talk about childbirth. The language, usually flawed and often disturbing, is everywhere: at school drop-off, from health-care providers, on social media. The stigma and silence around birth and birth trauma have become so normalized that most people do not realize the impact of their words. Others should know better. Julie Satow’s recent New York Times article, “Why New York Lags So Far Behind on Natural Childbirth” exemplifies how news outlets can perpetuate damaging language around birth. The article’s terminology and tone reflect a mischaracterization of the current crisis in U.S. maternity care, and they reinforce cultural attitudes that shame and misinform birthing people.” The Movement for Human Rights in Childbirth Is Not a ‘Natural Birth’ Movement (by Sarah Yahr Tucker for Rewire)

Brexit

“A joint letter sent to all MPs on behalf of the heads of 150 UK universities says: “Vital research links will be compromised, from new cancer treatments to technologies combating climate change. “The valuable exchange of students, staff and knowledge would be seriously damaged,” adds the letter from university groups including Universities UK, the Russell Group, Guild HE, Million Plus and University Alliance.” Brexit: Universities warn no deal is ‘biggest-ever threat’ (by Sean Coughlan for BBC)

Some Good Things

“It’s possible that it is Surya Bonaly or Starr Andrews — black women whose presence on the ice remains as daring as their performances — but professional figure skaters of color make up only a fraction of the field. It’s a reality that feels far from mind at Riverbank State Park in Harlem, where twice a week, year-round, little black and brown girls glide and twirl across the ice.” ‘When I Skate It Just Feels Free’ (by Lovia Gyarkye for The New York Times)

“If you never actually get around to reading any books, then yes. You might want to read up on tricks to squeeze more reading into your hectic life and why it pays to commit a few hours every week to learning. But if it’s simply that your book reading in no way keeps pace with your book buying, I have good news for you (and for me; I definitely fall into this category): Your overstuffed library isn’t a sign of failure or ignorance, it’s a badge of honor.” Why you should surround yourself with more books than you’ll ever have time to read (by Jessica Stillman for Fast Company)

“How to Be a Friend — or in Latin De Amicitia — is arguably the best book ever written on the subject. The heartfelt advice it gives is honest and moving in a way few works of ancient times are. Some Romans had viewed friendship in mostly practical terms as a relationship between people for mutual advantage. Cicero doesn’t deny that such friendships are important, but he reaches beyond the utilitarian to praise a deeper kind of friendship in which two people find in each other another self who doesn’t seek profit or advantage from the other person.” How to Be a Good Friend, According to an Ancient Philosopher (by Philip Freeman for Time)

Sunday

16

December 2018

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – 16 December 2018

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Horrific Actions by US Customs and Border Patrol

“The Border Patrol’s inhumane treatment of migrants predates the family separation policy, as well. In January, it was reported that Border Patrol agents routinely destroy food and water that humanitarian groups leave for migrants. “The practice of destruction of and interference with aid is not the deviant behavior of a few rogue border patrol agents,” the report read, “it is a systemic feature of enforcement practices in the borderlands.” Caal isn’t the first child to die after being held in DHS custody.” A 7-Year-Old Died in Border Patrol Custody, and No One Is Taking Responsibility (by Ryan Bort for Rolling Stone)

Racism

“Sterling was allegedly racially abused during City’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea. “It is evident that he is often singled out and treated more harshly than his colleagues,” said a union statement. “As such, these stories are fuelling racism within the game, as reports of racist abuse continue to rise.” Raheem Sterling negative press coverage ’emboldens racist rhetoric’ – PFA (BBC)

Supporting Mothers

“Players coming back from childbirth, or injury, will now be able to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period. But Serena Williams’ wish for returning mothers to be seeded in line with that ranking has not been granted. The WTA has instead decided to guarantee they will not face a seeded player in a tournament’s opening round.” WTA gives increased protection for returning mothers on tour for 2019 (by Russell Fuller for BBC)

Military-Industrial Complex

“The US Senate has voted to withdraw US military aid for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen and to blame the kingdom’s crown prince for the murder of a journalist. The historic vote is the first time any chamber of US Congress has agreed to pull US forces from a military conflict under the 1973 War Powers Act. Some of President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans defied him to pass the measure with Democrats by 56-41.” Senators vote to end US backing for Saudi war on Yemen (BBC)

Religious Bigotry

“According to McAvoy, she was dressed in black slacks, a black shirt and a black hijab when President Joyce Meadows removed her from classes and sent her home with a notice the 21-year-old would need to provide a note confirming her hijab was being worn for religious reasons. McAvoy has refused to turn over confirmation and questions why she would be ejected from her classes for practicing her faith.” Muslim College Student Says She Was Expelled For Wearing A Hijab To Class (by Alexa Lisitza for Blavity)

Sunday

9

December 2018

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – December 9, 2018

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Reproductive Rights

“If successful, the women in the lawsuit will each be entitled to millions of dollars of reparations from the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments and their health systems. While these women may only represent a fraction of the people negatively affected by forced sterilization in Canada, their lawsuit is recognition of the ubiquity of the practice—and its consequences.” Sterilized Without Consent: Indigenous Women in Canada File Class Action Lawsuit   (by Anna Kusmer for Rewire)

Sexism

“There are calls for several Icelandic MPs to resign after they were recorded using crude language to describe female colleagues and a disabled activist. Icelanders were especially shocked that the MPs’ targets included ex-MP Freyja Haraldsdottir, a disabled woman and well-known disability rights activist. Iceland has long been seen as a beacon for women’s rights and has a female prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir.” Iceland scandal over MPs’ crude and sexist bar talk (by Laurence Peter for BBC)

Customs, Immigration, and Border Control Bad Acts

“MPs said it showed the government had learned nothing from the scandal. The Windrush scandal was uncovered earlier this year, after many people from Commonwealth countries who had legally lived in Britain for decades were wrongly classed as illegal immigrants and deported.They had been encouraged by the UK government to settle in Britain from the late 1940s until 1973. However, although they had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, some immigrants did not have formal paperwork confirming their residency status.” Windrush: Home Office criticised after deportees not contacted (BBC)

Women in Sport

Six Sheffield United women players will miss Wednesday’s cup tie at Manchester City because they cannot leave work in time for the 19:00 GMT kick-off. The Blades, who play in the Women’s Championship, are a part-time set-up – and some of their players cannot make it to Manchester in time. The Continental Cup kick-off time was agreed at the start of the season. United’s attempts to delay it were turned down by City because they had sold tickets and booked stadium staff. Blades players to miss Man City cup tie because kick-off clashes with work (by Alistair Magowan for BBC)

Sexual Assault

“By contrast, under these new proposed rules, Michigan State University would have had no responsibility to stop Larry Nassar from sexually abusing girls and young women, just because his victims told their coaches and athletic trainers instead of the Title IX coordinator. The proposed rules would allow the majority of school employees to ignore students who report sexual abuse because these employees lack “the authority to institute corrective measures.” So, if an 8-year-old child tells a playground supervisor that his teacher is inappropriately touching him, the playground supervisor wouldn’t be obligated to do anything. If a college student tells her professor that she has been sexually assaulted, the professor wouldn’t have to help her at all. Students may not know where they could turn for help.” The Proposed Title IX Rules Make No Practical, Moral, or Legal Sense (by Shiwali Patel for Rewire)

The Screwed-Up US Insurance System

“Over the summer months, the women raised $12,500 and sent it to the debt-forgiveness charity, which then purchased a portfolio of $1.5 million of medical debts on their behalf, for about half a penny on the dollar. Ms. Jones, 80, a retired chemist, and Ms. Kenyon, 70, a psychoanalyst, are members of the Finger Lakes chapter of the Campaign for New York Health, which supports universal health coverage through passage of the New York Health Act.” 2 New Yorkers Erased $1.5 Million in Medical Debt for Hundreds of Strangers (by Sharon Otterman for the New York Times)

“That’s a message public health leaders aim to spread far and wide. “BE PREPARED. GET NALOXONE. SAVE A LIFE,” summarized an advisory from the U.S. surgeon general in April. But life insurers consider the use of prescription drugs when reviewing policy applicants. And it can be difficult to tell the difference between someone who carries naloxone to save others and someone who carries naloxone because they are at risk for an overdose.” Why You May Be Denied Life Insurance For Carrying Naloxone (by Martha Bebinger for WBUR)

Sunday

2

December 2018

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – December 2, 2018

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Abuses by Border and Immigration Officials

“At Monday’s press conference, advocates revealed previously unknown details surrounding Hernández’s death. “According to an independent autopsy report, Ms. Hernandez endured physical assault and abuse while in custody,” according to the wrongful death tort claim. “Specifically, forensic evidence indicates she was handcuffed so tightly as to cause deep tissue bruising and struck repeatedly on the back and rib cage by an asp or similar instrument while her hands were restrained behind her back.” Lynly Egyes, TLC’s director of litigation, said in a statement that the autopsy report by an independent board-certified forensic pathologist suggests Hernández was “shackled for a long time and very tightly, enough to cause deep bruising on her wrists.”” Legal Advocates Seeking #JusticeForRoxsana Announce Lawsuit (by Tina Vasquez for Rewire)

“The group, among thousands of migrants heading towards the US, was rounded up after trying to cross the border “violently” and “illegally” on Sunday, said the interior ministry. Video footage shows dozens of people running towards the border fence near the city of Tijuana. US border officers used tear gas to repel them and said some threw rocks.” Migrant caravan: Mexico deports group that stormed US border (BBC)

“The migrants’ presence has drawn demonstrators — for and against them — and threats from President Donald Trump to close the US-Mexico border. Meanwhile, Tijuana’s mayor has called on the Mexican government and the international community for help. The melee closed one of the world’s busiest international crossings, San Ysidro Port of Entry, to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for several hours. By Sunday afternoon, CBP reopened crossing lanes in both directions to pedestrians and vehicles.” US authorities fire tear gas to disperse migrants at border (by Emanuella Grinberg and Mariano Castillo for CNN)

“Oh, is it bad to compare the GOP to Nazis? Well, if members of the GOP do not like being compared to Nazis, they should consider not behaving exactly like Nazis. Hispanic U.S. citizens, some of whom were in the U.S. military, are not being allowed to renew their passports. This is reportedly happening to “hundreds, even thousands” of Latinos, according to a report in the Washington Post. They’re getting letters from the State Department saying it does not believe they are citizens. The government claims their citizenships are fraudulent. “I’ve had probably 20 people who have been sent to the detention center—U.S. citizens,” Jaime Diez, an attorney in Brownsville, told The Washington Post.” Why Stripping U.S. Citizens of Their Passports Is a Precursor to Genocide (by Jennifer Wright for Bazaar)

“Scores of people in Britain’s only women’s removal centre have launched a hunger strike to protest against their indefinite detention, describing living in the centre as a form of “hell”. Forty-three women are said to be taking part in the protest in Yarl’s Wood, which began on Sunday. They are boycotting the dining room and refusing to eat ahead of an impending charter flight to Nigeria and Ghana, which is set to remove at least 10 residents from the UK.” ‘It’s like hell’: Yarl’s Wood women launch hunger strike against their indefinite detention and imminent charter flight (by May Bulman for the Independent)

Sexism in Sport

“A gala to celebrate FC Basel’s 125th anniversary has caused controversy after the women’s team was not invited – but asked to work at the event instead. The Swiss football club’s female side were selling tombola tickets to more than a thousand guests while the men’s team had a three-course meal. After finishing their work, the women were given sandwiches to eat in a different room, CNN reported.” Women’s FC Basel team not invited to club anniversary gala (by Sarah Jenkins for BBC)

Sexual Assault

“A female fan claims she was sexually assaulted at a German Bundesliga game and told by a steward to “go home and watch on TV” if she did not like it. The woman says she was repeatedly groped by a man who also tried to open her bra during Schalke’s match against Nuremberg at Veltins Arena on Saturday.” Schalke and police investigating alleged sex attack at Bundesliga game (by Jonathan Jurejko for BBC)

Gun Violence

“The middle schooler addressed listeners across the state and said, “All you hear about is somebody dying and somebody getting shot. People do not just think about whose father or son or granddaughter or grandson was just killed.” Parks’ mother and sister were present when she was hit with the bullet that took her life. “She just walked into the room and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot,’” her sister Tatiana Ingram said. “She was only hit one time, in her chest. The bullet wasn’t even for her.”” 13-Year-Old Who Wrote Award-Winning Anti-Gun Violence Essay Killed In Her Home By Stray Bullet (by Sean Collins for Blavity)

#MeToo

“Why did I choose to participate in this docuseries? One main reason: because I could. Throughout history, women have been traduced and silenced. Now, it’s our time to tell our own stories in our own words. Muriel Rukeyser famously wrote: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Blair Foster, the Emmy-winning director of the series, is testing that idea in myriad ways. She pointed out to me during one of the tapings that almost all the books written about the Clinton impeachment were written by men. History literally being written by men. In contrast, the docuseries not only includes more women’s voices, but embodies a woman’s gaze: two of the three main editors and four of the five executive producers are women.” “Who Gets to Live in Victimville? Why I Participated in the New Docuseries The Clinton Affair” (by Monica Lewinsky for Vanity Fair)

Reproductive Health

“HB 565, which was introduced in March, would allow criminal charges against both doctors and pregnant women seeking abortions. It would characterize an “unborn human” as a person under Ohio’s criminal code, meaning abortions could be punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty. There are no exceptions even in cases of rape, incest, or danger to a woman’s life. Jaime Miracle with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio says the bill would punish both women and doctors. NARAL and Planned Parenthood are spending money on advertisements opposing the bill.” Ohio Legislature Considers Total Abortion Ban (by Jo Ingles for WOSU)

Financial Crimes

“Earlier this month, CNBC tracked down one of the first people to qualify for student debt cancellation under the public service loan forgiveness program, which allows certain not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans scrubbed after 10 years of on-time payments. “I feel pretty lucky,” Kevin Maier, a tenured professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, had said. He really should. The Education Department just released data on how many loans it has forgiven under the program. The results are grim. Just 96 people across the country have been released from their debt, thanks to public service loan forgiveness. Last year was the first year of eligiblity, since the program was signed into law in 2007 and it requires at least 10 years of payments to qualify. Nearly 30,000 borrowers have applied for the forgiveness, according to the Education Department’s data. That means less than 1 percent of people who’ve applied for public service loan forgiveness actually got it.” Just 96 of 30,000 people who applied for public service loan forgiveness actually got it (by Annie Nova for CNBC)

Friday

23

November 2018

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – November 23, 2018

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Note: I’m out of town this weekend, so posting this early.

International News

“Airbnb said it had made the decision because settlements were “at the core” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The move, which affects 200 listings, has been widely praised by Palestinians and their supporters.” Airbnb: Israeli uproar as firm bars West Bank settlements (BBC)

“An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from acute malnutrition in three years of war in Yemen, a leading charity says. The number is equivalent to the entire under-five population in the UK’s second largest city of Birmingham, Save the Children adds. The UN warned last month that up to 14m Yemenis are on the brink of famine.” Yemen crisis: 85,000 children ‘dead from malnutrition’ (BBC)

Reproductive Rights

“A federal judge on Tuesday permanently blocked a Mississippi Republican law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks’ pregnancy, declaring the measure “unequivocally” unconstitutional. As a result of Tuesday’s decision, a nearly identical 15-week ban passed by Republican lawmakers in Louisiana will not go into effect. That law’s effective date depended on the outcome of the lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s 15-week ban.” Judge Blocks Mississippi’s 15-Week Abortion Ban, Rips State’s GOP Legislature (by Jessica Mason Pieklo for Rewire)

Transphobia

“HRC has tracked 128 transgender victims of fatal violence since January 2013; at least 110 of these were transgender people of color. There were 29 known victims of fatal anti-transgender violence in 2017, the highest number since HRC began tracking. Although each case is unique, the epidemic disproportionately affects trans women of color, who make up 80 percent of all anti-transgender homicides, the report notes. Many of of the victims’ identities were denied by their families, and many were misgendered by police and media. Some were chased down by authorities or killed by a partner, while some were victims of outright hate crimes.” New Report Shows the Scope of Anti-Trans Violence in the US (by Auditi Guha for Rewire)

Sunday

18

November 2018

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – November 18, 2018

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California Fires

The devastation is nearly unfathomable. If you’d like to help with the recovery, NBC has compiled a list of resources.

Corporate Greed

“Most — if not all — of that intended housing is now off the table. “The fact that massive public subsidies are helping eliminate affordable housing units is just the latest reason this bad deal needs to be torn up and thrown away,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents Long Island City. Plaxall, which owns land around the Anable Basin, was prepared to ask New York City for permission to build up to 4,995 new homes on a 14.7-acre site on the East River, 1,250 of which developers would have set aside for low- and middle-income New Yorkers. Most of that site will now be subsumed into Amazon’s office campus.” Amazon deal will disrupt plans for affordable housing on Long Island City sites (by Sally Goldenberg and Dana Rebenstein for Politico)

Gun Violence

“”Unless you’ve had someone’s heart stop beating in your hands, you don’t get to tell those of us who have what is and is not our ‘lane’,” trauma surgeon David Morris, 42, told the BBC. The National Rifle Association’s tweet on Wednesday sparked anger. It came just hours before a gunman killed 12 people in a California bar.” #ThisIsOurLane: Doctors hit back at pro-gun group NRA (BBC)

Environment

“The plague that struck Joyce’s farm in Malden, Missouri, was not a natural disaster, but a man-made weed killer called dicamba. Farmers had applied the drift-prone chemical sparingly for decades. But in the past two years, its use has grown exponentially, and now dicamba is destroying millions of acres of crops worth millions of dollars, pitting farmer against farmer and scientists against manufacturers.” Scientists warned this weed killer would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway (by Liza Gross for Reveal)

Rape Culture

“The costs of those services add up: Women reported spending an additional $26 to $50 per month in transit costs compared to men’s $0, both when they try to avoid harassment on subways and buses, and when they assume duties that require extra trips, like dropping off and picking up school-aged kids and taking elderly dependents to appointments. For women who check both boxes (just trying to get to work without being groped, thanks, and caretaking), that could mean as much as $100 in added monthly expenses men don’t have to deal with.” Survey Shows Women Paying ‘Pink Tax’ To Avoid Sexual Harassment On The Subway (by Claire Lampen for Gothamist)

“In the trial, the defence lawyer told the jury: “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.” The 27-year-old man was found not guilty of rape shortly afterwards. The controversy led one Irish MP to hold up a lace thong in parliament to highlight “routine victim-blaming”.” Irish outcry over teenager’s underwear used in rape trial (BBC)

Criminal Punishment System

“The American Public Health Association (APHA) on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a statement recognizing law enforcement violence as a public health issue. It was one of a dozen policy statements adopted at the organization’s annual conference, including another that opposes the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.” Leading Health Group: Killings by Police Are a Public Health Issue (by Cynthia Greenlee & Laura Huss for Rewire)

US Elections

“On Friday afternoon, Abrams acknowledged that Kemp—the secretary of state who implemented many of these restrictions and was in charge of ensuring a fair voting process—would be certified as the winner of the election. He leads by 55,000 votes, out of nearly 4 million cast. Abrams came within 18,000 votes of forcing a runoff. The election was marred by allegations of widespread voter suppression, and the Abrams campaign says that suppression may have prevented enough votes to keep the race from going to a runoff. Other top Democrats echoed these concerns. “If she had a fair election, she already would have won,” Hillary Clinton said this week.” Brian Kemp’s Win In Georgia Is Tainted by Voter Suppression (by Ari Berman for Mother Jones)

Sunday

11

November 2018

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COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – November 11, 2018

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US Elections

“This year we saw a high number of Black candidates running for office, especially Black women. They beat the odds against racist tactics targeted against them and the high claims of voter suppression and brought it home on election night.” These Are The Winning Black Candidates Of The Midterm Election (by Lorraine Haynes for Blavity)

“”When I showed up at the polling site near my house, I found that I had been kicked off the registered-voter roll,” Hill wrote. “A flurry of phone calls, and lots of head-nodding and ‘mmm-hmms’ from the supervisor of the polling site, failed to produce an explanation of why the system wasn’t showing me as a registered voter.” Hill was given a provisional ballot to use, and after voting, she began to investigate what had happened.” Jemele Hill Says Florida Officials Told Her She Couldn’t Vote Because Of A Tweet (by Ricky Riley for Blavity)

“Baltimore voters made history today by voting in favor of passing ballot question E, a city charter amendment that bans privatization of the city’s water and sewer systems. The Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to ban water privatization earlier this year. As of 11:15 p.m., Baltimore voters voted 77% in favor of this amendment with 91 percent of precincts reporting. This confirms Baltimore is now the first major city in the country to amend its charter to prohibit the sale and lease of the city’s water and sewer system.” (Food and Water Watch)

Horrific Trump Administration Actions

“The birth control rules endanger the care of more than 55 million cisgender women and an uncertain number of trans and nonbinary people who depend on getting no co-pay contraceptive care 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 previous exemption isn’t broad enough.” Trump Administration Moves to Restrict Birth Control Benefit and Abortion in Post-Midterm Attack (by Katelyn Burns for Rewire)

“Mr Trump has signed a proclamation barring migrants who enter illegally from asylum for up to 90 days. The president can stop migration in the “national interest”, a statement said. Rights groups say it is illegal and have launched a legal challenge.” US proposes rule banning asylum for illegal migrants (BBC)

“It’s not hard to find the common denominator: Though there’s hardly anyone — from his predecessors to senators in his own party — he won’t try to shout down with ad hominem insults, Trump relishes, and injects venom into, verbal attacks against women of color.” April Ryan: I’m a black woman. Trump loves insulting people like me. (by April Ryan for Washington Post)

Poppies

“In his statement, Matic said: “I recognise fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict. “However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999.” Nemanja Matic: Man Utd midfielder explains why he will not wear poppy (BBC)

Mass Shootings

“Many of those who died were young, in their 20s. There was a college freshman and a graduate who had received his degree in May. There was the bar’s sunny cashier. And two friends who loved souping up old trucks for off-roading. Among the others were a longtime sheriff’s deputy who had rushed into the crowded bar to help and a 22-year-old patron whose friends said he had tried to help others escape, yelling, “Everyone, run!”” The Thousand Oaks Shooting Victims: These Are Their Stories (New York Times)

Labor

“But a new paper by the same authors (Sci-Hub mirror) shows that the rising minimum wage generated major increases for the workers who had the most hours, whose hours were only cut a little, but still came out ahead thanks to the wage increase; workers with fewer hours saw no financial harm from the rising minimum wage, working fewer hours and bringing home the same sum; and they found some harm to people who had the smallest number of hours) (which may actually reflect stronger demand for workers and fewer workers in this category of very-low-hour work).” Economists reverse claims that $15 Seattle minimum wage hurt workers, admit it was largely beneficial (by Cory Doctorow for Boing Boing)

Sunday

4

November 2018

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COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – November 4, 2018

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Horrific Actions by the US Government

“There is absolutely nothing special about this particular caravan except for it happening during a midterm election season so Republicans can press the racist panic button that works so well among its base of good, wholesome Christians who skipped all those parts of The Bible about helping refugees like Jesus helping the poor and other commie shit.” Trump Deploys 5,200 More Troops to Stop Migrant Caravan Because Racist Red Meat, Baby, Get Some (by Mike Redmond for Pajiba)

Sports

“I’m sure there will be people out there who will judge us harshly for opting out — who will say that we should be grateful for what we already have. They’ll probably tell us that our league is losing money. They’ll say it’s just “economics.” They’ll say it’s just “fair.” And they’ll definitely, definitely tell me that they can beat me one on one. To me, opting out means not just believing in ourselves, but going one step further: betting on ourselves. It means being a group of empowered women, in the year 2018, not just feeling fed up with the status quo, but going one step further: rejecting the status quo. And it means taking a stand, not just for the greatest women’s basketball players of today, but going one step further: taking a stand for the greatest women’s basketball players of tomorrow.” Bet on Women (by Nneka Ogwumike for The Players’ Tribune)

“If the repercussions of producing agitprop for a theocratic monarchy were considered at WWE headquarters, it likely wasn’t seriously. The easiest explanation for that, besides just greed, is a fairly simple one: While mainstream coverage of WWE and professional wrestling in general has steadily increased over the last seven or eight years, thanks to more fans in editorial roles at news organizations (especially sports and pop culture websites) and a history of reliably bringing in page views, critical coverage of the sport hasn’t boomed at the same level. It’s not as bad as it was when, in 1992, during a Donahue episode about sexual abuse and harassment allegations within WWE, an audience member expressed confusion at what everyone was worked up about since wrestling is “fake.” But pro wrestling is still a niche entertainment product, which means less outside scrutiny, even at a time when WWE is more financially successful than ever.” Why Is WWE Creating Propaganda for Saudi Arabia? (by David Bixenspan for The Nation)

Racism

“To be a journalist of colour can be to walk a tightrope. On which issues do you weigh in? On which issues do you not? What do you pretend you didn’t see or hear? When that isn’t possible to what do you cowardly chuckle along? The world has gotten uglier in recent years — I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how we were doing on race before that — and for me it has become more difficult to let things slide.” Journalism While Brown and When to Walk Away (by Sunny Dhillon on Medium)

Sexism

“Demonstrations at the company’s offices around the world began at 11.10am in Tokyo and took place at the same time in other time zones. They follow allegations of sexual misconduct made against senior executives, which organisers say are the most high-profile examples of “thousands” of similar cases across the company.” Google walkout: global protests after sexual misconduct allegations (by Matthew Weaver, Alex Hern, Victoria Bekiempis, Lauren Hepler, and Jose Fermoso for The Guardian)

Sunday

28

October 2018

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COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – October 28, 2018

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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)

Disenfranchisement

“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)

Racism

“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)

Reproductive Justice

“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)

Tenants

“Today, VICE can exclusively reveal that these government funds to crack down on bad landlords were used to pay for dawn raids by police and border officials on vulnerable tenants. Hundreds of them were then evicted, arrested or deported.” Exclusive: Government Money to Tackle Rogue Landlords Is Being Used to Arrest Tenants (by Dan Hancox for Vice)

Misogyny

“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)

Brexit

“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)

Gender Identity

“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)

Something Good

“”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)