ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



April 2019



What I’m Reading – April 7, 2019

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

2020 US Presidential Election

“Biden is the Democrats’ answer to the hunger to “make America great again,” dressed up in liberal clothes. The New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie has in fact argued that Biden’s racial politics have offered a form of Trumpism on the left, a “liberal cover to white backlash.” To that I would add, he has provided liberal cover to anti-feminist backlash, the kind of old-fashioned paternalism of powerful men who don’t take women’s claims to their reproductive, professional, or political autonomy particularly seriously, who walk through the world with a casual assurance that men’s access to and authority over women’s bodies is natural. In an attempt to win back That Guy, Joe Biden has himself, so very often, been That Guy.” Joe Biden Isn’t the Answer (by Rebecca Traister for The Cut)

“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?” He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, “tragame tierra,” it means, “earth, swallow me whole.” I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.” An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden (by Lucy Flores for The Cut)

“Biden, considered a potential candidate for president in 2020, chaired the committee during the hearings to confirm Thomas’ nomination to the high court, and has since been frequently criticized for the way Hill was treated during her testimony. A year ago during Glamour’s Women of the Year summit, Biden said that he was “so sorry that she had to go through what she went through” during the hearings, and later told Teen Vogue that “I owe her an apology” for not doing more to rein in attacks on her character by Republican members of the committee. “He said he apologized, but he hasn’t apologized to me,” Hill said amid frequent applause and two standing ovations during USC Dornsife’s “From Social Movement to Social Impact: Putting an End to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” event Thursday afternoon.” Anita Hill: Joe Biden ‘Hasn’t Apologized to Me’ for Handling of Thomas Hearings (by Susan Seager for The Wrap)


“This was not the place. Despite the care I take in these sessions to center people of color, to keep them safe, this still was not the place. Once again, what might have been a discussion about the real, quantifiable harm being done to people of color had been subsumed by a discussion about the feelings of white people, the expectations of white people, the needs of white people. As I stood there, gazing off into the memory of hundreds of stifled conversations about race, I was brought to attention by a white woman. She was not nervously looking around to see who might be listening. She didn’t ask if I had time to talk, though I was standing at the door. “Your session was really nice,” she started. “You said a lot of good things that will be useful to a lot of people.” She paused briefly: “But the thing is, nothing you talked about today is going to help me make more black friends.”” Confronting racism is not about the needs and feelings of white people (by Ijeoma Oluo for The Guardian)

Ridiculous Government Action

“UA police determined Friday that they “will be charging” two students involved in the incident with “interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution,” which is a misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor could result in up to six months of jail time. Charges have not been filed yet, UA Police Chief Brian Seastone said in an email. The names of the two students have not been released. Robbins wrote that UA police will continue to investigate the matter for potential “additional criminal violations.” The Dean of Students’ office also is reviewing the incident to determine if the student code of conduct was violated.” University of Arizona will charge 2 students over protest of Border Patrol event on campus (by Rachel Leingang for AZ Central)

“In Monday’s Bucklew v. Precythe, the court rejected his claim by a 5–4 vote. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion for the court, however, does much more than condemn Bucklew to a harrowing demise. It also quietly overrules, or at least erodes, more than 60 years of precedents, including several written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Gorsuch embraced a vision of the Eighth Amendment supported by Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia that has consistently been rejected as dangerously extreme by a majority of the court.” The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Just Legalized Torture (by Mark Joseph Stern for Slate)

UK Politics

“The PREVENT policy was conceived for Muslims. Not killers, rapists or ‘bad people’ – Muslims. At its inception, around the time of the UK’s illegal, devastating invasion of Iraq, PREVENT’s purpose was to prevent British Muslims from ‘breaking bad’ and radicalising. This decision was made before any major domestic attack took place on British soil (I say this as people erroneously believe PREVENT was conceived following 7/7 – it wasn’t). This begs the question: can this policy, with a raison d’etre to thwart the uncertain threat of British Muslim violence, be ‘translated’ to curtail White Rage? Could it prevent a Christchurch in the UK? We have to think in structures to answer this question: how was PREVENT conceived, how does it operate and what is its relationship to White privilege?” The UK’s PREVENT policy would not prevent white supremacist attacks like Christchurch – it’s part of the problem (by Dr Tarek Younis for Media Diversified)

“Beckett has made no secret of her very strong feelings about May’s handling of Brexit, and of the need to put the issue back to the people. She found May terrifying. “The more I look and listen to this woman the more I think she’s capable of doing literally what she says, driving us right to the last minute, and then saying ‘it is my deal or no deal’,” she says. “I have become increasingly worried that the house could decide something which is so far away from what people thought they were getting when they voted to leave that it could cause serious ructions. Some very strong Leavers say they don’t think people should have a second opportunity to be consulted because they might have changed their minds. That seems to me to be incredibly dangerous as well as completely indefensible.”” Margaret Beckett: why Brexit has to go back to the people (by Toby Helm for The Guardian)

Rich People Doing What They Do

“Every parent assumed that whatever alchemy of good genes and good credit had gotten his child a spot at the prep school was the same one that would land him a spot at a hyper-selective college. It was true that a quarter of the class went to the Ivy League, and another quarter to places such as Stanford, MIT, and Amherst. But that still left half the class, and I was the one who had to tell their parents that they were going to have to be flexible. Before each meeting, I prepared a list of good colleges that the kid had a strong chance of getting into, but these parents didn’t want colleges their kids had a strong chance of getting into; they wanted colleges their kids didn’t have a chance in hell of getting into. A successful first meeting often consisted of walking them back from the crack pipe of Harvard to the Adderall crash of Middlebury and then scheduling a follow-up meeting to douse them with the bong water of Denison.” They Had It Coming (by Caitlin Flanagan for The Atlantic)



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