ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



July 2017



What I’m Reading – July 30, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Fight Back

“Hirono said her colleagues on both sides of the aisle sent her comforting notes after her diagnosis about their own experiences with major illnesses. “You showed me your care. You showed me your compassion. Where is that tonight?” she said as she hit her fist on the desk. “I can’t believe that a single senator in this body has not faced an illness ― or whose family member or loved one has not faced illness ― where they were so grateful they had health care.”” Sen. Mazie Hirono Holds Back Tears During Impassioned Health Care Plea (by Rebecca Shapiro for Huffpost) (Please watch the video. It’s less than five minutes long and it’s so powerful.)

“In a letter to the Seattle City Council, the ACLU urged the City to adopt clear and binding guidelines around what data smart meters collect, who accesses the data, what the data can and cannot be used for, and what informed consent must be given before the meters are deployed. The ACLU points out that the option to opt-out offered by the City currently is inadequate, meaningless, and expensive. Under the City’s plan, third parties will be accessing this sensitive data, and those third parties should be bound not to sell the data or use it for unrelated purposes.” Seattle’s Smart Meter Project Lacks Protections for Privacy (ACLU)

Horrific Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary Actions

“If this bill were to become law, trans people would have no legal protections from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or health care. That’s really scary. Because while, in theory, Congress could just go, “Okay, sure, let’s amend each of our various civil rights bills to explicitly protect LGBTQ people,” they won’t (see: my bit above about the struggles Democrats have had trying to pass ENDA/the Equality Act — it’s just not a current political reality).” What you should know about that really nasty anti-trans bill in Congress. (by Parker Molloy for Medium)

“Indeed, in the last six months, Kelly has turned the DHS into one of the most productive arms of the Trump administration. Kelly managed to translate much of Trump’s brazen anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric into actual policy. And if the numbers are any indication, Kelly has certainly flourished. Arrests since Trump took office in February increased by 40 percent over the prior year. But perhaps more important than the numbers is Kelly’s impact on immigrant communities, where apprehension and fear now reign.” John Kelly’s Promotion Is a Disaster for Immigrants (by Julianne Hing for The Nation)

Reproductive Health

“The measure would allow abortion in cases of rape, if the mother’s life was at risk or if the foetus would not survive the pregnancy. Currently, women can be prosecuted if they have an abortion. The bill, which has the backing of President Michelle Bachelet, will now go back to the Chamber of Deputies for approval.” Chile moves towards legalising abortion in limited cases (BBC)


“Two of the clinics found to be violating city law have religious affiliations. The Addicts Rehabilitation Center was founded by a church, operates a gospel choir as one of its programs, and is currently run by Rev. Reginald Williams, a baptist preacher. The Center’s splash page proclaims, “We believe that if you discover the wonderful person the Creator has given to you, that nothing in this life can stop you from reaching your fullest potential.” The Salvation Army is itself a church with a long history of discriminating against LGBTQ people. While that history has mostly focused on its rejection of homosexuality, a Salvation Army-run homeless shelter in Texas was also accused of anti-transgender discrimination in 2014. Their public relations campaign to improve their LGBTQ image has rung rather hollow.” Salvation Army among New York City drug clinics rejecting transgender people (by Zack Ford for Think Progress)


“In the week since HBO’s July 19 announcement, concern — led by black activists, writers and other thought leaders — has mounted over the project’s premise and the pedigrees of its creators. At the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday, HBO programming president Casey Bloys expressed hope that viewers would “judge the actual material versus what it might be.” But while many of the industry’s screenwriters and critics have been hesitant to (publicly) weigh in based on the high concept alone, the nascent series already is facing a number of challenging issues. “What makes the premise fundamentally problematic is that it threatens to erase the actual history,” activist and artist Bree Newsome, who made headlines in 2015 when she was arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse, tells The Hollywood Reporter.” HBO’s Slavery Drama ‘Confederate’ Faces Minefield of “Fundamentally Problematic” Issues (by Rebecca Sun for The Hollywood Reporter)

Criminal Punishment System

“President Donald Trump gave a speech at a Long Island community college on Friday during which he encouraged the use of violence. Turns out the audience was comprised of officers in a police department that has been scrutinized for racial profiling, and whose former chief was recently sentenced to prison for beating a man. The Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) has been under federal oversight by the US Department of Justice since 2013, following a two-year investigation into allegations of discrimination against Latinos and immigrants. Nearly 20 percent of the county’s 1.5 million residents are Latino.” The Police Department Cheering On Trump’s Call for Excessive Force Is Already Under Federal Oversight for Discrimination (by Brandon Ellington Patterson for Mother Jones)

“Around midnight on July 16, a cop—whether local, state, or federal was unclear—apparently posing as an Uber driver arrested a man near the intersection of Havemeyer Avenue and South 2nd Street in Williamsburg. The suspect was cuffed before being placed in the back of a car bearing the ride-sharing company’s insignia, according to a colleague of mine who witnessed the arrest and provided the photo. At first blush, this certainly seems odd—or “unusual,” as Jacqueline Ross, a law professor at the University of Illinois who’s studied police practices across the globe, put it. She said it’s more typical for cops to go undercover as an employee of a made-up business, though there’s no law she is aware of preventing an officer from posing as someone who works for an established—a.k.a. real—private entity.” Are Cops Posing as Uber Drivers Now? (by Allie Conti for Vice)


“John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens who received much publicity for his off-season pursuit of a doctorate in math at M.I.T., told the team on Thursday that he was hanging up his cleats at 26. Urschel’s agent, Jim Ivler, said Urschel was overwhelmed with interview requests but would not be speaking to the news media. On Twitter, Urschel wrote that “there is no big story here” and that the decision to retire was not an easy one to make, but “it was the right one for me.”” For Ravens’ John Urschel, Playing in the N.F.L. No Longer Adds Up (by Ken Belson for New York Times)

“The NFL reportedly objected to the fact that Dr. Robert Stern, the director of clinical research at the BU CTE Center, was leading the study, because he has always been very publicly critical of how the NFL has handled concussions. Outside the Lines found that the NFL instead steered its funds to doctors who currently or previously worked closely with the league. (The NIH ended up donating the funds for the study by itself; the NFL denied that it ever attempted to restrict the NIH funds.)” NFL ends concussion research partnership $16 million short of $30 million commitment (by Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress)

Something Good

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