ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



January 2019



What I’m Reading – 6 January 2019

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

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)


“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)


“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)


“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)


  1. Marisa
    • Ashley Kelmore
      • Marisa

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