ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



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)

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