Letting it go

Observation: This is rapidly becoming a Sunday newsletter. The year was 2017, these were the realities. On to the news:

Blues Buzz

Dorothy Allison on working-class lit. Chelsea Manning is a free woman and more photogenic than your newsletter curator. ....Ailes.... The painful truth about teeth in the U.S. RIP Chris Cornell, rock legend. A Muslim author, on belonging at a Tennessee book festival. Espresso as literary necessity. Check out the new Korean president's bodyguard. When your hometown is the last place to accept who you are. The last person you'd expect to die in childbirth. A man's story about Lola, the woman his family kept as a slave -- plus all the controversy that came with it. Behind the scenes with Chase Strangio, Chelsea Manning's attorney. Unfair & Ugly is lovely. On storytelling and defying Iceland's isolation. Texas is the most dangerous state in the U.S. to have a baby. Dreams and Ferrante fever, if only for a day. The urban-rural divide in interracial marriage. How to write Iranian-America. Queering the "I" in first-person LGBTQ narratives.

© E.A. Crunden


Around the Globe

Africa. Soon, all Ugandan forces will be gone from CAR, but the legacy of their alleged sexual assaults will not. Three people have died so far in an Ebola outbreak in DRC. More than 30 people have died in clashes between militias in CAR. Soldiers in the Ivory Coast ended a stand-off with the government. A car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia killed at least two soldiers.

Americas. Colombia is battling extreme rains. A prominent Mexican journalist who fearlessly covered the drug trade was killed. Hearings have begun on Puerto Rico's debt crisis. Is Brazil about to impeach another president? North Carolina's discriminatory voter ID law is dead. New global gag rule restrictions will affect almost $9 billion in global health funding. Chelsea Manning is free. A slew of Republicans want to make health care even worse than it currently is in the U.S. The white police officer who killed Terence Crutcher was found not guilty of manslaughter. A woman drove a car into a crowd in Times Square while intoxicated, killing one and injuring at least 22. Trump drama: So, the U.S. president spilled classified information about ISIS to Russian officials. (That info came from Israel.) That was technically legal. Less legal? The president asking former FBI Director James Comey (who he fired) to abandon his investigation of former adviser Michael Flynn. He also asked him about jailing journalists. Conclusion: former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead a special investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia during the 2016 election. (Also, House Republicans were maybe or maybe not joking about Trump and Russia in comments captured on audio during the election.) That's that; then, there's Flynn. Oh boy is there Flynn.

Asia & Australia. The Syrian government is reportedly using a crematorium to hide the mass-killings of its prisoners. North Korea had another missile underperform (China condemned the action.) Only locals were allowed to attend Singapore's LGBTQ rally. Yemen declared a state of emergency over a cholera outbreak. A court in northern India decided that a 10 year-old child, raped repeatedly by her stepfather and now at least five months pregnant, could receive an abortion. An impeachment complaint against Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte was thrown out by lawmakers. Beirut is set to holds its first queer Pride. Australia wants to shut down Manus island -- refugees are being told to just go elsewhere. President Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan came to the U.S., promptly allowed his guards to assault several protesters. Iran's elections saw a dramatic victory for President Hassan Rouhani, marking a win for progressives and for the Iran Deal. 

Europe. A giant cyberattack last Friday hit spots all over Europe, including the NHS in the U.K. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's party is edging towards victory. In Moscow, thousands protested an unpopular housing plan. Apparently, U.S. visas are out of reach for queer Chechens seeking to leave Chechnya and Russia more generally. Poland says it will accept no more refugees despite E.U. protests. Swedish prosecutors have dropped their seven-year-old rape case against Julian Assange, who is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. 


Me

I wrote about a death row inmate who asked to be executed by firing squad rather than lethal injection, and about two separate incidents of violence involving young children (both of color, one with special needs) and Dallas ISD police officers. Also have a piece coming to an internet near you this Monday at 8 a.m., on the U.S. president's trip to Israel. Exciting times. 


 

Recs

To make: Our tiny space is going to see company for the next week and change, so I'm brainstorming ways to be more creative in the kitchen. When there's only two of you, nightly rounds of quinoa and kale, or avocado toast (silence from the back row), become reliable and easy patterns, but once company arrives creativity suddenly seems more critical. To that end, we loaded up at the farmer's market this weekend and I'm frantically looking through recipes and websites. We've also been eating more Spanish food lately (PIC enjoys a melange of cuisines with origins in Italy and Southeast/East Asia; I'm inclined towards Texmex and South Asian variations; Spain somehow is our compromise?), so that's adding some inspiration. Maybe this, but with asparagus (or just the basics)? Romesco potatoes? Spinach and chickpeas, also a good choice.

Mostly though, probably making something with peaches, because I have a lot of them and they're going bad. Maybe a cake.

To do: Bike ride! There is a long backstory to this that very few people are familiar with, which may or may not make it into my senior thesis for my graduate program. Whether it does or not, just know, there's a story. As relates to recommendations, however, I can just tell you this: it's been a very long time since I got on a bike, but this weekend PIC and I revived our weekend efforts to learn to cycle down our neighborhood alleyways. Riding a bicycle is a wonderful experience -- I endorse it to any and all. 


 

Spoken & Written

"So anyway, it’s a romper for guys and it’s called the RompHim and I just ordered two." -- Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)


 

Fact(s)

Iran had an election on Friday, spurring many comments from Americans. This is a common trend with elections around the globe; people vote, Americans have thoughts. A lot of those thoughts unsurprisingly ignored something Americans in particular might want to consider more -- voter turnout. Historically, the U.S. suffers from remarkably low voter turnout. This occurs for a number of reasons -- elections held on weekdays (when many are at work), voter suppression, complicated systems and varying requirements, to say nothing of other factors.

But in many other countries, turnout can be quite high, especially for national elections. Take Iran, for example. According to an IFES project, Iran's average voter turnout is 64.19 percent. While that might not seem much higher than the U.S. average, 55.7 percent per Pew, Friday's election saw a turnout of around 73 percent. By contrast, 60.2 percent of Americans voted in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. For a "developed" (not ideal terminology) country, that's incredibly low. Belgium, for example, has a turnout average of 87.2 percent; South Korea has 77.9 percent. Iran, by contrast, is not a Western country, nor do a number of commentators consider it "developed"; still, voters waited for hours to participate in the nation's elections, despite international claims of rigging and a general dismissal of the results before they were even announced. In countries where comments are many and turnout is low despite considerable privilege, that's worth a few moments of reflection.  

 

 

 

Fired.

The newsletters are coming later and later these days -- many apologies! In this media climate, side projects suffer. Thanks for bearing with me, all -- may your weekends be long and your weekdays freer of breaking news updates. 

Blues Buzz

The radium girls. Non-birthing queer mothers want to feel like mothers tooAnne of Green Gables and darkness. A Black queer kiss. Non-French "alt-right" (far right/Nazi) efforts to use memes in support of Le Pen backfired, in no small part because, among other things, frogs have historically been used as slurs against the French. How to write about authoritarians without getting arrested, Pakistani-style. When graduate school doesn't helpDeers and human flesh, idk. How the ACLU became the leader of the resistance. Deep in Macron country. A family's journey home to Afghanistan from Pakistan. NEW HUMAN RELATIVES. The rise of the "alt-left" (with the understanding that this newsletter does not endorse the term "alt-right.") Richard Ford recalls his parents in love. Is an open marriage a happy marriage? Being Russian-American is a little awkward right now. Winners and losers of the recent nuclear holocaust. The white houses not far from ISIS.

D.C. wants you to know. © E.A. Crunden

D.C. wants you to know. © E.A. Crunden


Around the Globe

Africa. After three years in captivity, at least 82 of the girls kidnapped from Chibok, Nigeria, were returned to their families. A bus crash in Tanzania killed more than 30 people. There's a dengue fever outbreak in Kenya. Angola is struggling under the weight of those fleeing DRC. The U.N. chief has requested $900 million for Somalia, currently suffering under a horrifying drought. Ivory Coast soldiers clashed with the government over a pay dispute. 

AmericasMeet Argentina's first transgender police chief. Brazil's former president (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, not Dilma Rousseff) is going to court on corruption charges.  A group of indigenous Venezuelans fled the country to Brazil. Venezuela's anti-government protests continue to rage and now there is literal human shit involved. Puerto Rico's debt crisis is hitting schools hard. Texas is punishing sanctuary citiesThe (U.S.) drama: FBI Director James Comey was fired, and the U.S. is in uproar. The story has changed so much over the course of the week one can hardly blame anyone for being lost -- for one thing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was singled out as the source of the recommendation to fire Comey, but then it surfaced that Rosenstein and his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had maybe probably been asked to look for a reason to fire Comey. (Trump himself said he intended to fire him all along. He also said Russia was on his mind when he made the decision.) Then he said there were tapes. Now we're here.

Asia & Australia. Discourse surrounding the Iranian election is pushing boundaries. North Korea detained another American. South Korea's president is a liberal who wants to reshape how the country deals with its northern neighbor. The U.S. is set to arm Kurds in Syria in the fight against the Assad regime. U.S.-backed forces asked ISIS to hand over a Syrian city -- it worked. All hail the Australian politician breastfeeding in parliament. Pakistan and Afghanistan are looking to settle their border dispute. A 49 year-old newscast was abruptly shut down in Israel. A blast in Baluchistan, Pakistan was claimed by ISIS and killed at least 25 people. The U.S. and China agreed to new trade talks

Europe. Portugal won Eurovision. The anti-Kremlin movement is in full swing in Russia. Russia claims there is no campaign going on against queer men in Chechnya. Emmanuel Macron won the French election -- he will be the young leader the country has had since Napoleon Bonaparte. Poland is facing criticism over human rights. Queer people and trafficking victims may have been wrongly deported to Albania due to outdated guidance.  Thousands protested the Czech Republic's finance minister. A small blast went off in Rome, Italy, but no one was injured.


 

Me

I wrote about how SB4 took Texas' war with Austin statewide, and the ACLU's response: a travel warning. After James Comey's firing, I spoke with several experts in authoritarian regimes -- their responses were unsettling. I also wrote about the possibility of an electronics ban on inbound European flights to the U.S., as well as something good happening this Mother's Day.


Recs

To listen: Here's a life reveal: I bought tickets to see Michelle Branch in a few months. Throwback. To that end, I should probably listen to Hopeless Romantic (title track is here), her new album, which seems to be getting good reviews. No lie, I was always a fan.  

To make: My PIC is wrapping up grad school and in the midst of finals. In a fit of stress-induced angst, brownie muffins appeared before me, to zero complaints. Unclear what recipe was used (or if any methodology at all went into the spurt of mania) but for recreations, this one looks good. (This one appeals to me personally, but PIC hates bananas, so I'd be on my own finishing them. Not sure this is such a terrible burden, though.)


Spoken & Written

"As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!" -- U.S. President Donald Trump, who may cancel White House press briefings because his staff cannot be trusted to speak with accuracy 


 

Fact(s)

I've only just started it, so it can't be a recommendation yet, but Netflix's Anne of Green Gables has come at an interesting time in my life (tl;dr at present I am a freckly ginger, whose earliest childhood summers were spent in Nova Scotia, not far from Prince Edward Island, or PEI. A Lot of L.M. Montgomery was read. Nowadays, she's a thing of nostalgia for me, but I'm curious to inspect her through the lens of cynical criticism that comes to us as we creep along our lifespans.)

On that note: L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery was an interesting one. A Canadian writer (1874-1942), LMM's most famous works are easily AoGG and its sequels. But she published many more novels, to say nothing of short stories and poems, as well as some non-fiction. She adored her native PEI, which is immortalized in her work, but the U.S. media (and arguably Canadian media as well) belittled the setting as rustic and backward, reflecting 1) larger contemporary U.S. attitudes towards Canada and 2) larger Canadian attitudes to the Maritimes. With the understanding that Canadian women were, like most women, expected to ultimately marry, LMM did so -- a Presbyterian minister, with whom she was not overly enamored, marking a shift for someone who by all accounts seems more of an Anne than a Marilla. It was by virtually all accounts a miserable marriage, leaving LMM deeply depressed and disenchanted. As a result, she wrote more and more as a form of escapism. 

 

A bill to kill

Blues Buzz

Ellen DeGeneres came out on television 20 years ago -- saving lives in the process. Inequality shortens lifespans. Hassan Minhaj reigns supreme. Beetle poop dye! Airbrushing Shittown. Scaachiiiii. The Chinese factory workers who write poems on their phones. A weird story about a lawyer, Trump, and an anonymous threat. Trapped in a skirt. If abortion becomes illegal in the U.S., here's how the government will persecute the people who have them. The Great British Bake-Off remains a perfect thing. After 30 years in prison, Ashley Ford's father is out -- and technology has a strange role in their relationship. CATS DO IN FACT LIKE PEOPLE. Heartlessness as style. The physics of forbidden love. The many ways we are wrong about Jane Austen. Believe. When a fat person sees a doctor. Anxiety, hope, and miscarriage. How Sweden became the most "alt-Right" country in Europe. An apology. Bangladesh: a case study in censorship

As seen in Savannah, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden

As seen in Savannah, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden


Around the Globe

Africa. Clashes in CAR have left dozens dead. Nigerians are encouraging their ailing president to take medical leave. Algerians are watching the French election raptly, despite a local boycott; the governing coalition retained parliamentary power this week. Zimbabwe's dictator is denying that his country is in turmoil. Friendly fire killed a Somali government minister considered to be a rising star. A campaign for the return of an exiled opposition leader is gaining steam in the DRC.

Americas. Canada's seniors outnumber children. Eight Islamic State sympathizers were sentenced in Brazil for plotting an attack during the Olympics. Electrical shortages prompted explosions in Toronto's underground. Venezuela's president is calling for a new constitution as protests continue to rage. Mexico is being slammed for its inability to protect the press. Puerto Rico, severely in debt, turns to protest. Severe weather did extreme damage in the Southern and Midwestern U.S. Around 100,000 people attended the Climate March in D.C. A Stabbing attack at the University of Texas at Austin left one dead and four injured. Sec. of State Rex Tillerson has said U.S. security comes before U.S. values. Hillary Clinton stands by her claims that a combination of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference, and sexism cost her the 2016 U.S. election; for his part, Comey feels "mildly nauseous" at the thought of election-swaying but no real guilt. Trumpcare 2.0 rose from the dead and narrowly passed the House of Representatives -- it now goes to the Senate.

Asia & Australia. Chinese Wikipedia. The North Korea saga, condensed: the country has been increasingly aggressive, has fired two failed missile attempts, the U.S. president reacted first with threats, then with offers of friendship, and now we are here. As part of this grand saga, we have: Duterte and Trump, sitting in a tree (but also, Duterte is maybe too busy for Trump.) Afghan interpreters will be provided with 2500 more visas from the U.S. Congress in a move that could save lives. Two Muslims were beaten to death amid religious tensions in India. A suicide attack on a NATO convoy killed eight people and injured at least 25 more in Kabul. Judges in India are questioning each others' sanity -- literally. At least 21 miners died and many more remained trapped after an accident in Iran. Australia offers universal health care -- apparently the U.S. president is a fan.

Europe. Young Slovaks are leading anti-corruption protests. Thousands of Russians gathered to present letters of protest to the government. Since 2014, there have been 38 unsolved deaths of Russian President Vladimir Putin's rivals. Greek bailout coming. Marine Le Pen seems to have plagiarized a François Fillon speech. Brexit and the $100 billion euro exit drama. The U.K.'s Prince Philip is stepping down from royal duties. Romania dropped efforts to pardon corrupt officials. Germany will not allow Turks living in Germany to vote in a death penalty referendum. 


 

Me

Following the news cycle this week, which meant covering the death of Jordan Edwards, a Black Texas ninth grader killed by police. Officers initially claimed the car Edwards was in drove aggressively -- before walking those comments back. I also wrote about HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who doesn't want affordable housing to be "too comfortable" and who doesn't seem to understand just how important affordable housing is. Going back to my one true love, world news, I wrote about Venezuela's crisis, and, of course, how Marine Le Pen could destroy the European Union


 

Recs

To do: Embassy Week is coming up in D.C., and its imminent arrival is reminding me of how many annual events I routinely anticipate with glee only to promptly drop the ball at the last minute. Interesting things happen everywhere, and it's a shame to miss them -- find something in your area, and commit to going. Positive results not guaranteed, but likely. 

To listen: When I sent around "Moondust," a song by artist Jaymes Young, one of my coworkers helpfully responded with, "That's not how you spell James." My offering went otherwise unacknowledged. I am undaunted. Whether to your liking or not, his name is indeed Jaymes, and I'm enjoying "Moondust" on repeat.


 

Spoken & Written

"It's going to be fantastic health care. I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia because you have better health care than we do." -- President Donald Trump, whose health care plan is a far cry from universal, to Malcolm Turnbull, prime minister of a country where health care is in fact universal. 


 

Fact(s)

Donald Trump's praise for Australian health care may be causing you to wonder -- what's health care like in Australia? (Unless it has not and/or you are already very familiar, in which case, it's been fun and adieu!) For those wondering: Australia has a universal health care system called Medicare, which is publicly funded. Under Medicare, introduced in 1975, Australians can obtain free treatment at public hospitals, and are entitled to subsidized treatment from a range of medical practitioners. Australia also has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with a number of nations, entitling visitors from those countries to limited Medicare access while in Australia, and entitling Australians to similar benefits when they visit those countries. The nations in question are the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Slovenia, Malta, Italy, Ireland, and New Zealand.

 

100 days

Blues Buzz

The first 100 days: call a lie a lie. Neutral outfit pairing guide. The hotbed of antisemitism isn't the non-Western world -- it's college campuses. Three new poems. If you did not think cis men were garbage it is entirely possible you might after reading this. Crime fiction in Duterte's Manila. "Have you told your parents?" Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf's love affair ended in part because the latter hated the former's book. Familiarize yourself with the Southern Center for Human Rights. What bullets do to bodies. Sebastian Gorka: failing up. Reclaiming the golem as a symbol of Jewish resistance in the time of Trump. An incredible piece on the refugees trying to integrate into Weimar, Germany. Anatomy of a fake news story: how a Muslim politician became a villain. Pakistan v. India: mango season edition. Obese and pregnant. You are doing yourself a disservice if you have not followed Fyre Festival. This story will break you.

Boulder, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden

Boulder, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. A famous conservationist was ambushed and shot on her ranch in Kenya. A bus crash in the country killed 27 people. Libya asked the U.N. for help patrolling its coast. South Sudan's banks have run out of cash. Pope Francis paid a visit to Egypt, where Coptic Christians have been under attack and faced extreme violence. Charges that Chad's former dictator committed crimes against humanity have been upheld by a Senegalese court.

Americas. Canada is going head-to-head with the US over tariffs. Venezuelans are crossing the border to Brazil to seek medicine. Police clashed with indigenous protesters in Brazil. Millions of Brazilians also went on strike. Drug violence is on the rise in Mexico again. New Orleans' Confederate statues are being removed -- at night, while workers wear bulletproof vests, because their lives have been threatened by white supremacists. Arkansas carried out the first double execution since 2000, and ended the week having killed four people on death row. This week in Trump: efforts to block funding for sanctuary cities were stopped momentarily; former Trump advisor Michael Flynn may have broken the law in his dealings with Russian figures; Trump unveiled a major "tax plan" (if it can be called that) to overhaul the tax code; space aliensmaybe goodbye NAFTA (or maybe not)? Over 100 ESPN employees got the axe this week.

Asia. Afghanistan experienced the deadliest attack on a military base thus far in its 16 year war. North Korea detained a U.S. citizen as he was trying to leave the country.  South Korean presidential frontrunner Moon Jae-in has said he opposes homosexuality. A liberal blogger was stabbed to death in the Maldivian capital. Maoist rebels killed 25 police officers in eastern India. Russia has denied it is supplying arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan. A Thai man killed his baby daughter on Facebook Live, then himself.

Europe. Thousands of angry truckers are protesting in Moscow. After Ukraine cut off power to its rebel-held east, Russia stepped in. Former investment banker Emmanuel Macron and far-right creature of notoriety Marine Le Pen made the run-off for France's presidential election. Le Pen stepped aside as the leader of the National Front; her would-be replacement then stepped aside after making comments questioning the existence of gas chambers during the Holocaust. The IMF can't decide if it wants to bail Greece out again. An American member of the European monitoring team in Ukraine was killed after driving over a landmine. The partner of a queer murdered French police officer delivered a powerful eulogy at his funeral. Hungary's CEU drama continues. Macedonia's political crisis erupted when protesters attacked an ethnically Albanian lawmaker.


 

Me

I wrote about how the U.S. has done damage in Afghanistan and Trump isn't making it any better. I also noted that progressive Jewish groups weren't happy with Trump's Holocaust day speech, and that the Tillerson-Haley divide is a wider indicator of the Trump administration's lack of any coherent foreign policy.


 

Recs

To do: Learn a language! With grad school winding down, I'm eyeing a return to one of my favorite pasttimes: attempting, and failing, to learn another language. Right now, it's between Russian and Urdu, the latter of which I started three years ago and is now appallingly unacquainted with my tongue. Flip a coin.

To listen: Most people in my life love podcasts, and I keep going through flirtations with their sounds before abandoning them. Some are lovable but have too many blind spots to really hold me (I'm thinking here of the wildly popular Call Your Girlfriend), and others are promising but take awhile to get into, which is a lot to ask of someone with minimal commitment to the endeavor to begin with. That aside, I'm really enjoying Nancy, an LGBTQ-centric podcast that is heartwarming, heartwrenching, and appealing in a strange, indescribable sort of way. I'd encourage all listeners, queer and cis and straight alike, to give it a try.


 

Spoken & Written

"I don’t really believe in the “Western” audience. You’re in America right now—you’re part of the Western audience. And I’ve lived in America for several years which makes me as much part of the “Western” audience, although I happen to be in Pakistan. I think the same way about a Pakistani audience—it’s way too diverse and different. When you look closely at the idea of any monolithic audience, you see that it immediately starts to collapse." -- Mohsin Hamid to Guernica 


 

Fact(s)

Everyone loves to talk about the U.S. president's first 100 days. But what does 100 days mean? Mostly, it's the 3-month window period during which presidents are enjoying a honeymoon phase of sorts -- those who voted for them are happy, those who did not have yet to fully mobilize, and they've had time to establish their agenda, or at least put down a framework of sorts.

Trump once emphasized his first 100 days, and he now thinks it's an irrelevant metric. There's an argument to be made that the measurement isn't without flaws, but there's no question it's important. FiveThirtyEight breaks down why the time period is noteworthy here.

 

 

 

 

Science vs. power

Shorter (and later) newsletter this week -- a lot going on personally and professionally, and this labor of love tends to bear the brunt of tight schedule-induced corner-cutting. Apologies!

Blues Buzz

Throwback: The tiny paper in Iowa that won a Pulitzer doing the labor the way all journalists should be doing labor. Also: this Margaret Atwood profile. Rahul Mehta on brownness, queerness, and writing. We have lost our connection to the 1800s. The return of Lorde. Traveling in Iran looks amazing. There's a huge problem with survivor spaces for "women" -- they leave out trans and non-binary folks. Female explorers! Men have recommended David Foster Wallace to me. Marine Le Pen relies on pitting Jews and Muslims against one another. Southern audiobooks, twangs, and drawls. Mother of all Bombs. #MarchforScience! Booker Prize international shortlist! Finally, a decent explainer on how queer men are being targeted in Chechnya. 

D.C. road signs mirror reality. © E.A. Crunden

D.C. road signs mirror reality. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. More on the horrifying famine crisis facing numerous countries in Africa. The U.S. sent troops to Somalia this week. An additional 17 mass graves were discovered in the DRC. Sudan's arms sales to Iran may have violated U.N. sanctions. Egypt experienced another deadly attack on a monastery. Fifty-three Nigerians were charged with conspiring to celebrate a same-sex wedding. Zimbabwe's opposition figures are teaming up to fight President Robert Mugabe. 

Americas. Lenin Moreno is Ecuador's new president. Seventeen people were killed after a landslide in Colombia. Protesters are dying as Venezuela's protests swell. Efforts to kill eight prisoners in 11 days have been put on hold in Arkansas. A man killed an elderly man and uploaded the video to Facebook in a horrifying incident resulting in a manhunt that dragged on (he later killed himself.) Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is someone you may be aware of, and he is not seeking re-election, which you may want to know. Bill O'Reilly is buh-bye and only one of numerous serial harassers to finally be out at Fox. President Trump is cracking down on H-1B visas, which will have serious ramifications for foreign workers.

Asia & Australia. Australia and New Zealand are cracking down on visas for skilled workers. A convoy carrying Syrian refugees was struck by a bomb, killing over 100 people, including dozens of children. Over 1000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel staged a hunger strike. The North Korea missile buildup continues, but an American armada did not actually go to deter North Korea. South Koreans did not appreciate some recent Trump comments about the history of China and Korea. Pakistan's "Panama Papers" case dropped, leaving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the clear -- for now. Emirates Airlines is limiting its U.S. flights in response to the Trump administration's increased restrictions. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is officially banned from running in the Iranian election.

Europe. Turkey's increasingly authoritarian leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, narrowly won a referendum massively expanding his powers. Next step: bringing back the death penalty in Turkey. Snap election in Britain! A shoot-out in Paris killed two, including the attacker; ISIS has claimed responsibility. Russia has banned Jehovah's Witnesses. Protests continued in Hungary over the pending closure of a university backed by George Soros. 


 

Me

I wrote about Trump's recent efforts to crack down on H-1B visas, and how centering the tech sector in the conversation is an injustice to the numerous other workers who will be impacted. I also wrote about the one and only Marine Le Pen, who is masterfully using Islamophobia to attract the female vote. 


 

Recs

To watchLast Tango In Halifax (on Netflix right now), a series about the romance between an older couple who reconnect after decades out of touch, and their quirky families. There is a prominent queer character in this show (who is, moreover, in an interracial relationship) and there are older people and that is really all I need to be deeply involved on an emotional level. It's somewhere between a romantic comedy and a heart-wrenching drama and it's really British. That's all I've got, but definitely watch it. 

To listen: Dustin Tebbutt is an Australian musician I had only vaguely listened to until recently (mostly in the context of an older song, The Breach.) Recently I stumbled on Illuminate, a collaboration between Tebutt and one-man act the Kite String Tangle. It's been on repeat ever since. 


 

Spoken & Written

“Just watch the interlopers from all over the world come and install themselves in our home. They want to transform France into a giant squat.” -- the always-charming French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, on immigrants

 

Thought(s) & Fact

French women did not have the ability to vote or run for office until 1944, and it's been a slippery slope to political equity ever since. Much like other Western peers, no woman has ever held the nation's highest office, and while French women are far more likely to register to vote, they are less likely to turn out. Ségolène Royal, the current Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy, ran a prominent campaign for president against Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, becoming the first woman from a major French political party to run for the position (she lost.) Now Marine Le Pen could be France's first female president. If so, she would hardly be a feminist candidate, having run a campaign catering to the hard-right aggressive nationalism her party, the National Front, is famous for.  Among other issues, Le Pen has flip-flopped on abortion issues and LGBTQ+ rights (she remains opposed to same-sex marriage and would work to outlaw both that and surrogacy if elected.) Many Muslim, Jewish, and immigrant women see her as an enemy far more than a friend. As she nears the finish line, responses from women to her candidacy have understandably been mixed.

France24 has a brief 2014 article on the history of woman's suffrage in France; it sheds some light on the complicated history women have with politics in the country, though it only just skims the surface of the issue. Read up if you have interest, though -- the French election is Sunday. 

 

Some cake with your bombs

Blues Buzz

Trumpian conspiracy theories and antisemitism are closely connected. A 69 year-old man was brutally removed from a United Airlines flight in a completely unacceptable show of force (warning, video is a bit graphic.) New Mexico has banned school 'lunch shaming' as should everyone because it is fucking awful. Coming out as genderqueer. Dating bisexual men is something a lot of women seem to really enjoy. Yet more hand-wringing over travel writing. Three Russian theories on why the U.S. hit Syria. The stories about Abu Dhabi that are rarely told. Guess how many European states have a transgender sterilization requirement? Queer love and struggle in Jackson. We've been killing South Asians since they got to the U.S.

Behold, my week. © E.A. Crunden

Behold, my week. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. Somalia's new military chief survived a bombing that killed 10 others. Egypt's Coptic Christian minority faced a horrifying dual-attack on Palm Sunday, resulting in the deaths of more than 40 people. Tanzania is cracking down on LGBTQ people and getting away with it. Migrants and refugees from West Africa are reportedly being bought and sold--in Libyan markets. The U.N. Secretary General has called for a renewal in talks over the occupied Western Sahara, which Morocco currently controls. Nigeria says it foiled militant efforts to target the U.S. and U.K. embassies in Abuja. Nigeria's government is also in talks to release the remaining Chibok girls.

AmericasJOINT WORLD CUP BID. Pot, legal and coming to a Canada near you. Floods in Peru have endangered thousands of children, per UNICEF. Venezuelans are protesting their governmentYet another man murdered a woman (and a child to boot.) The governor of Alabama resigned after allegations that he had used public funds to cover up an affair. A Black Muslim judge, the first of Black Muslim woman to serve on the highest court in New York, was found dead in the stateThis week in Trump: Press Secretary Sean Spicer engaged in some low-key Holocaust denialism; related: the White House hosted a seder but neither the president nor his daughter attended; the White House accused Russia of covering up the Syrian chemical weapons attack; Paul Manafort has finally registered as a foreign agent; Trump did a 180 and now thinks NATO is important again; Trump was apparently eating chocolate cake when he ordered the missile strike on Syria; Planned Parenthood is once again a target.

Asia. In a show of force, the U.S. sent warships to the Korean Peninsula. North Korea launched a missile, but it seems to have fizzled. Japan joined the U.S. in its exercises, a clear show of alliance against North Korea. At least eight people were killed in an attack on a Philippine resort island. The Trump administration is apparently eyeing the war in Yemen? The death of a Pakistani transgender woman in Saudi Arabia has attracted the attention of Human Rights Watch. The U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on Afghanistan. A U.S. drone strike in Syria killed at least 18 rebel allies. A British woman was stabbed to death in Jerusalem, reportedly by a Palestinian attacker. 

Europe. Hungarians mass-protested against the closure of a top university funded by George Soros. Eastern Europeans are complaining because, as with many other things, their grocery stores are not offered the same quality as those available to Western Europeans. Rallies against Serbia's leader continue. Three explosions hit a bus carrying a German football team en route to a match against Monaco. Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an investigation into Syria's most recent chemical weapons attack. Turkey's referendum is coming -- this Sunday. Russia is out of Eurovision after a spat with Ukraine. Montenegro has charged 14 people with a plot to overthrow the government.


Me

Along with my dear co-worker Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, I wrote about the diplomatic minefield Rex Tillerson waded into when he went to Moscow.


 

Recs

To make: MACAROONS. The understated champion of the Pesach feast, the enduring favorite of seder-goers everywhere (or so we can probably assume), the superior option to whatever you were offered recently as an acceptable kosher-for-Passover dessert. I love macaroons, as does my non-Jewish PIC, and between the two of us we've killed multiple tins swiftly in years past. Moving away from anything pre-made towards things we only make ourselves means we tackled macaroon-making this year (thanks, Deb.) And while those Smitten Kitchen chocolate ones were definitely the best we made, I also attempted more traditional vanilla coconut macaroons (vanilla, coconut flakes, egg whites, sugar, and, for most people, salt, but we do not use salt because I am a monster.) For the record: they did not hold together. Not enough egg white protein, I believe. So, I resorted to peanut butter, which was very effective, but then obviously we had peanut butter macaroons, as opposed to vanilla macaroons. Win some, lose some.

To do: Every year at our seder (we host exactly one per year, and timing has varied drastically), we encourage everyone to share what they're grateful for. It's a small moment, but in light of the current state of affairs, a necessary one -- taking a moment and really thinking about it could be beneficial for you, too. 


 

Spoken & Written

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy." -- President Donald Trump, on his initial feeling that China could eliminate the threat of a nuclear North Korea. Apparently Chinese President Xi Jinping needed only ten minutes of Korea-China history to convince him otherwise. 


 

Thoughts & Facts

This year was a special year for a lot of Reform and Conservative Jews, though really last year should have been too -- it just took awhile to kick in, which is why I spent this year messaging frantically with friends to figure out what, indeed, we were allowed to eat. In December 2015, the multi-centuries old ban on consuming kitniyot (instituted by the Ashkenazim; Sephardim and Mizrahim, etc, seem to have been spared) was lifted by two teshuvot (responses to Jewish law.) 

Kitniyot are rice, legumes, beans, and generally enjoyable things that now only Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews are prevented from having. The rationale for the new rulings has varied, though the Forward article above notes that as more and more Ashkenazi-Sephardi couples form, schisms over things like kitniyot are becoming more apparent. I prefer the line of thought maintaining that there was literally no need for the ban, with much of the world's Jewry not adhering to it anyways and enjoying delightful rice and bean dishes while the rest of us suffered.

With my apologies to my Orthodox Ashkenazi friends, chag sameach, and I am very glad the rest of us have legumes back. 

 

 

Strike out

Blues Buzz

Questions to ask if you have more privilege than your partner. Billions star Asia Kate Dillon is being nominated for acting awards, which are gendered -- something the non-binary Dillon is challengingMeet the queer Black woman changing journalism (spoiler alert, she's Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post.) Maxine Waters, long may she reign. RIP Yevgeny Yevtushenko. A really depressing story about two of the living members of one of the first famous surviving groups of quintuplets. The incredible Maggie Nelson. Want queer content featuring femmes of color? Head to a web series near you (and see more below.) Is your name your destiny? Apparently queer people should give the rainbow back to G-d? Outsider Blackness. An epic tale involving two NYT reporters tracking down a pro-Trump mayor running from them. The U.S. House really wants you to be able to kill animals in their sleepTraveling while trans. The map to resistance. "Why I'm an abortion doctor in the Deep South." Why is ICE arresting so many people in 'weird', liberal Austin? Mongolia: a good place to die. Let us now celebrate Kristen Gillibrand, the hero we never expected. Ellen Page and Janet Mock, just hanging out, casually. Tearing down powerful women for millennia. Eat, pray, hate: Living and loathing in Northern Ireland. The ungrateful refugee. The youth will lead us. Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Jewish life means paying a high price.

Art in Savannah, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden

Art in Savannah, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. South African leader Jacob Zuma may have finally landed himself in unfixably hot water (or not.) Either way, South Africans are taking to the streets to protest their leader. A large earthquake rocked Botswana. Benin's parliament rejected one-term limits for future presidencies. Somalia's president has declared war on militant group al-Shabab. Mortar shells also struck homes in Mogadishu, killing three people and wounding several more. South Sudan has denied U.N. peacekeepers access to a site that reportedly saw a massacre. 

Americas. New Brunswick became the first Canadian province to distribute abortion pills. Brazil delayed a ruling that could unseat its president. Colombia was hit by a devastating flood -- at last look the death roll was around 300. Ecuador's tense political showdown. Venezuela reversed parts of a ruling that would have stripped the national legislature of its power. This week in Trump: Trump and Blackwaterno more funding for the U.N. family planning agency; Susan Rice has become a pawn in efforts to argue that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump; Steve Bannon is out at the National Security Council; the administration did an about-face on Syria and sent 59 missiles in a strike that has drawn praise and outcry in equal measure; numerous women have come forward to accuse Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment but the president doesn't care; Republicans used the 'nuclear option' to essentially guarantee the anti-choice Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice. 

Asia. Prior to the strike on Mosul, the U.S. estimates it killed over 200 Iraqis by accident. Iraq's parliament has banned the Kurdish flag in Kirkuk. A gas attack in Idlib, Syria killed around 80 people in an attack, one of the worst in recent memory. Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with Trump this week; they got along famously. North Korea fired a ballistic missile test right before a meeting between the leaders of America and China. Israel appointed its first female Muslim diplomat. Floods hit Indian-administered Kashmir, resulting in several deaths.

Europe. A bomb hit the St. Petersburg metro on Monday, resulting in nine deaths and at least 20 injures. Chechen authorities have been arresting and killing queer men. Anti-corruption protests continued in Moscow. Gibraltar and Brexit, or, rather, Spain v. Britain. Serbia's prime minister is ascending to the presidency, eroding checks on his power. Thousands are marching in Hungary to defend a Soros-backed university threatened with closure.


Me 

Dipping back into my one true loves, South Asia and Eastern Europe, this week. I wrote about how anti-Muslim hate crimes are disproportionately targeting South Asians -- and how neither Trump nor India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, are doing much about it. I also wrote about the horrifying bombing in St. Petersburg, and how Russia's extremism issue is arguably an internal one. Shifting gears a bit, I wrote about Chinese leader Xi Jinping hanging out with Trump, and the many things their conversations could cover (or not cover -- see: climate change.)


 

Recs

To watch: The web series is a deeply under-appreciated medium that has long been far more diverse and inclusive than more widely-watched equivalents. Brown Girls is one popular example, but alums of my undergraduate home are involved in Afternoon Snatch, which I've been enjoying, and that's not even counting everything on this list --  which I'm planning to dive into when my semester ends and the teetering balance of school and work is less painfully present in my life. 

To make: Pesach (Passover for the goyim) is rapidly approaching, which means bread products are fading quickly from my life. While a week of matzo pizza is probably going to be as much my fate as it has been in years prior to this, diversifying my food intake in this constricted time is still a goal. To that end, flourless dessert ideas are looking great, but let's be honest: my Pesachs live and die on the hill that is the macaroon


Spoken & Written

“Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of [G-d] should ever suffer such horror.” -- President Donald Trump on the recent chemical weapons assault on Syrians + notably the same man who has worked to ban all Syrian refugees, including "beautiful babies," from entering the U.S.


Thought & Fact(s)

This is not the first time in the Syrian Civil War that the U.S. has used military force (though it is the first time that the Assad regime has been directly targeted.) The U.S. has long worked to supply arms and support to the rebels fighting the regime, an effort that has also seen American strikes on the Islamic State. Both strong opponents and supporters of intervention in Syria have had a lot to say along partisan lines, but the reality is murkier than many might like. President Barack Obama oversaw a not insignificant amount of American action in Syria -- and many argue that the situation was inflamed by Obama's actions (and inactions) when dealing with the conflict.

However, it is still important to make a distinction between the efforts of the Obama administration and those of its successor. Here is a very basic intro to the differences between their approaches and actions.

Murky visuals

Blues Buzz

What it's like to be a Muslim in Birmingham right now. White dude drama and the March for Science. Trump is scaring Indian Americans into finding their political voice. Life advice from Adrienne Rich. Attn nerds: Doctor Who is getting a queer companion who is a lesbian woman of color to boot. The true meaning of nostalgia. Having a trans child changed this Texas conservative's life. Bangladesh's tragedy at the hands of Pakistan. The abortion pill was supposed to revolutionize abortion access, so what happened? RuPaul has some real talk for cis straight women in gay bars. Melissa Febos is finally getting her due, thank heaven. The everyday experience of antisemitism in America. Avoiding the occupation at a shiva. The Holocaust survivor denouncing ICE. The dangers of associating queerphobia with closet queerness. Escaping is not a form of understanding. China's hottest new boy band is a group of androgynous females. Sixteen lesbian power couples from history. Where are you really from?

Edinburgh, Scotland, currently still in the U.K. © E.A. Crunden

Edinburgh, Scotland, currently still in the U.K. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. Struggling with a drought, Somalia is also battling hunger and cholera. War continues in DRC, where the bodies of two U.N. workers were found in a shallow grave. As Africa faces one of the worst hunger crises numerous countries have seen in 70 years, the Trump administration is cutting aid -- something the continent really can't afford. A meningitis outbreak has killed well over a hundred people in Nigeria. RIP Ahmed Kathrada, South African anti-apartheid hero. People in certain parts of Cameroon have had no internet access for two months -- and they're predominantly English and French speakers. Ethiopia extended its state of emergency, which was imposed in response to anti-government protests. What it's like to be poor, gifted, and Black in South Africa.

Americas. Panic is spreading in Venezuela after the Supreme Court stripped the national legislature of power, edging the country closer to one-man rule. Paraguay is becoming increasingly anxious as its president moves to extend his presidency. Colombia is seeing casualties in its war between guerrilla fighters and paramilitary forces. The Mexican Catholic Church has some words for anyone helping with Trump's wall. El Salvador became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals. United Airlines barred several girls wearing leggings from traveling. A mosque was vandalized in Colorado. A shooting in Cincinnati left one dead and more than a dozen injured. This week in Trump: one hell of a nightmarish climate order; everyone meet Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who is a good study in how to completely fail at not looking suspicious; goodbye internet privacy rules; a halt on the Muslim ban 2.0 has been extended; Michael Flynn wants immunity in exchange for testifying on Russia; LGBTQ people will not be tallied in the 2020 census because once again, Trump does not care about queer people. Sean Spicer v. April Ryan. Fifteen felonies for the anti-abortion activists who filmed Planned Parenthood. (Related: Helpful Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie vote to defund Planned Parenthood because of course.) North Carolina claimed to have repealed HB2, the state's transphobic bathroom bill, but in reality LGBTQ people are as marginalized as ever.

Asia & Australia. Raqqa could flood. The U.S. is weighing greater involvement in Yemen's ongoing war. Cyclone Debbie hit Australia. The U.S. has caused an overwhelming number of casualties in the Middle East. African students were hospitalized after mob attacks in India. Hong Kong's democracy has suffered numerous setbacks and blows recently. LGBTQ activists in Indonesia are struggling to move forward. Israel has approved its first West Bank settlement in 20 years. Removing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from power will no longer be an American priority. Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was arrested on charges of bribery and abuse of power.

Europe. Brexit has begun: British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, making it official -- the U.K. and the E.U. are getting a divorce. E.U. nationals might be really screwed, and the Scots might want out. Aleksei Nalvany, a leading Putin critic, was arrested after anti-Putin protests exploded last Sunday. (In nearby Belarus, brutal crackdown measures were taken against protesters also voicing dissent against their government.) Bulgaria ex-premier is nearing a return to power -- a good sign for the E.U. An Italian court dropped a rape case because a woman "did not scream." The Polish consulate in Ukraine was attacked with a grenade launcher


 

Recs

To watchGrace and Frankie, the absolutely delightful Netflix show (now in it's third season) that my main human pestered me for eons to watch and that has, in all honesty, taken a starring role in my evenings. Older women! Vibrators! Queer late-in-life love! Interracial couples! The absolutely delightful duos of Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, and Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen! The absolutely delightful glee of not feeling miserable about something in the year 2017! You too can say the words 'absolutely delightful' multiple times and check it out -- and in the meantime here's Autostraddle's review (warning: spoilers.)

To make: I deeply hesitate to label what Americans call Italian food "Italian food", as I have friends who are Italian and I know they would not appreciate the connection. It also needs to be noted that what Americans call Italian food is a genre of cuisine I really am not partial to and actively avoid. However. The other occupant of my home adores it and I've had a few positive interactions with the food recently. So. I'm pretty much exclusively interested in handmade pasta (the store-bought stuff gives me a stomach ache and looks like plastic), and we have yet to invest in a pasta-maker, but even I'm eyeing this spaghetti with lemon and olive oil idea for when we do. Until then, spinach and egg pizzette it is! (Routine reminder that non-egg eaters should 100% feel empowered to swap that ingredient out for any other preferences they may have.)


 

Quote of the Week

“That was some weird shit.” -- Former American President George W. Bush, allegedly, on President Donald Trump's inauguration

 

Fun Fact

Britain's forty-plus-year relationship with the E.U. has always been a complex one -- the nation has been trying to leave almost as long as it's been in, though never enough to actually go before now. Euroskeptics have slowly gained power over the course of the past few decades, however, and, voila, Brexit. The Telegraph has a decent breakdown of the rocky relationship, which is now culminating in a divorce.

Get out when you can

I was out of town for the past few days, taking a break from a hectic newsroom and the media cycle to take some time for myself and family. Mea culpa for the late newsletter, which was delayed as a result -- I hope that you all will find comfort and rejuvenation in spaces that nurture you at some point in the near future. 

Blues Buzz

Writers who are women of color: this LOOKS AWESOME. Everyone stop giving Hollywood credit for its pitiful nods to queer existence and acting like a joke character in Beauty and the Beast is the equivalent of Moonlight. Queer YouTubers claim the site is blocking their videos (and it appears they are correct.) From an Austin resident: How my red state sees me despite my blue city. Sesame Street has been trolling Trump for years. A space for queers. Arizona abolished parole for murderers -- so what happens to murderers sentenced with a chance of parole? Immigration poetry. George W. Bush is apparently actually good at painting. Jenny Slate just sounds like a really cool human. Art Spiegelman, creator of MAUS, has some piercing words for Trump. From a friend: Get Out, Claudia Rankine, and the horror of Black hypervisibility. Iraq's prime minister wants more help for his country from the U.S. Six writers on life behind bars in Turkey. What it's like to be queer and undocumented. Rediscovering Jewish identity in the age of Trump.

Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden

Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. Algeria's president is indeed alive. Somalia's new leader named a cabinet, consisting of 26 members. Ghana has shut down the tourist site where 20 people died in an accident. Ten mass graves were uncovered by UN investigators in DRC. More than 200 people are feared dead off the coast of Libya. Former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak is free. Roadside bombs killed 10 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai. Gambia will set up a truth commission now that its dictator is gone. 

Americas. Latin America is swinging to the right. Another Mexican journalist has been assassinated. Argentina is welcoming refugees. Several Peruvian cities were buried by water this week. After bringing cholera to Haiti, the UN is having trouble raising money to fight it. A Jewish teenager was arrested in Israel in connection with over a hundred threats made against Jewish spaces in the U.S. It is that time of year again: Texas is being terrible about abortion. (But Texas women and gender minorities are amazing, and creative.) Related: An ICE raid in Austin may have been revenge for its status as a sanctuary city. Big changes are coming in the American egg industry. A white man traveled to New York with the intent of killing Black people, and murdered an older man at random. This week in Trump news: the FBI is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as any contact the nation may have had with the Trump campaign; the FBI and the NSA dismissed Trump's wiretapping claims; something about Russia, intelligence, meetings, and sketchy business. And, something great to end your week with: Trump's effort to overhaul Obamacare and replace it with an incredibly poor alternative, went down in flames.

Asia. The bombing of a Syrian mosque that left dozens dead is being investigated by the Pentagon. Burma's Muslims are being targeted by internet trolls. Meet Uttar Pradesh's super controversial new leader. Airports across the Muslim world (mostly in the Middle East and North Africa) are facing crackdowns on U.S. flights -- passengers must check their laptops and most electronics rather than carrying them onboard; those affected are: Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul, Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, all of which are U.S. allies. Filipino leader Rodrigo Duterte is backtracking on his support for same-sex marriage. The Taliban captured the Afghan city of Sangin after years of struggle. Chinese, Saudi, and Turkish troops joined the annual Pakistan Day parade. Hong Kong selected a new leader.

Europe. A British national drove a car into pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge, before being confronted by police -- he ultimately killed three people and injured numerous others (he was killed as well.)  That time Trump didn't shake Angela Merkel's hand. All eyes on the Balkans. Late-March Brexit. Navalny in green -- the Putin foe made the most of an attack designed to cover him in hard-to-remove coloring. Martin McGuinness, a key and controversial Northern Irish figure, has died. Europe's neo-fascist revival. The U.K. followed the U.S.' controversial laptop ban for flights, though it impacts fewer countries and adds Lebanon and Tunisia to the list, in addition to covering ALL flights from the countries impacted. A Russian MP who had fled to Ukraine was assassinated in Kyiv. A man attempted to drive a car into a crowd in Antwerp, Belgium. 


 

Recs

Take a vacation (or take care of yourself in a way that involves a break): It is entirely possible that you can't, and up until very recently in my life I could not either, so I am here for you regardless of your life situation. Ideally you are not working seven days a week (as was my reality four years ago), but even if you are you can make this work -- taking even an afternoon or a few hours away from work or stress, letting the people around you briefly take the load, and just breathing for a bit while doing something enjoyable can go a long way. If you do have the luxury of vacation days (and they are a luxury foreign to many), then take them. Go some place nice, stay home, do whatever suits your pace and preference and budget. No regrets.


 

Quote of the Week

""Word up!" It is I, the Gray Lady, with a "shoutout" to all my hip young friends. Just wanted you to know I've added new specialized feeds". -- I SHIT YOU NOT THIS IS A THING THE NEW YORK TIMES TWEETED IN 2007 (h/t Vox)

 

Fun Fact

Savannah, Georgia has an incredibly old and historic Jewish population. Congregation Mickve Israel was established centuries ago, after a small group of mostly Sephardic Jews arrived in Georgia (they were permitted to stay because, coincidentally, yellow fever was raging and one of the newcomers was a doctor.) Ashkenazim have slowly taken over in the time since, but descendants of the original group can still be found around the wider area, and there are three different congregations in the city (the aforementioned reform Mickve Israel, and both a conservative and an orthodox congregation to even out the spectrum.) A tour through Mickve Israel itself yields two truly special gems: centuries-old torahs, one of which is believed to have been written during the 1400s, in the Sephardic style. 

A budget that will kill you

Blues Buzz

Read the full court order that stopped the Muslim Ban 2.0. Celebrate your wins like you are the Dutch "GreenLeft" party. Housekeepers vs. Harvard. Experts in the field, or, a brutally honest take on gaslighting, assault, and abuse in the literary community. The media does underreport some terrorist attacks -- the kind carried out by non-Muslims. The genderqueer Jewish Nazi fighter who made incredible art. KStew has always been great, I will die on this hill. A Black trans woman on the problem with our fave Chimamanda's comments. Related: trans women should not constantly have to defend their womanhood. LammysThis article, asking Irish politicians whether they like Beyoncé and, if so, which song is their favorite, is possibly the best thing you will ever read. The underground abortion assistance group that helped thousands of women before Roe. The woke misogynist. Halal if you hear me. Very excited for A Wrinkle in Time. Washington's spy paranoia. Transphobe Pat McCrory feels he is discriminated against because he is a transphobe. So you're in an interracial relationship and you just watched Get Out. Bloodroot. Some of our greats on sexual harassment and assault in the literary field. How UCLA students want to redefine 'sanctuary campus' -- for Black, queer, and undocumented students. Music videos are finally showing queer girls in love. When the Queen of England leaves us. Letters from trans and non-binary survivors to their body parts. There will still be lesbians on Bake Off, for those of us who were concerned. Be cautious when you fall for the false temptations of the Russia story, Americans. 

Looking out over Northern Ireland. © E.A. Crunden

Looking out over Northern Ireland. © E.A. Crunden


Around the Globe

Africa. South Africa and Nigeria are working to prevent hate crimes against foreigners. Kenyan doctors ended a strike after coming to an agreement with the government. After a seeming slow-down, Somali pirates are seeing a resurgence. Thirty-one Somali refugees died in a helicopter attack off the coast of Yemen. A trash dump landslide in Ethiopia has killed over 100 people. FIFA has banned Mali from international football following the firing of the country's sports minister. 

Americas. Dozens of human rights activists have been killed in Colombia. Brazilians are protesting against proposed pension reforms. Trump's "skinny budget" dropped, and it cuts virtually everything you probably liked. The Muslim Ban 2.0 was halted by a hero in Hawaii hours before it was set to go into effect. Channel your inner Preet Bharara wherever you go. Twenty-four million people would lose their health insurance under Donald Trump's proposed health care overhaul. In case you somehow missed it, Rachel Maddow broke news of Trump's 2005 tax returns. The Forward, a Jewish publication, dropped a Nazi-laden bombshell about Sebastian Gorka, a Hungarian Trump counter-terrorism aide and controversial figure -- and they're standing by their story.

Asia & Australia. Japan doesn't know what to do with its mounting pile of radioactive waste. Afghanistan spends a month celebrating women, but like most things it gets complicated fast. Suicide bombings killed more than 70 people in Damascus. Six years of war in Syria. Vietnam has demanded China cease sending cruise ships to the South China Sea. China, for its part, is promising firm retaliation against Japan if it interferes in the area. A former Uttar Pradesh minister was arrested over gang rape charges. Pakistan has asked Facebook and Twitter for help with identifying blasphemers. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is toast if we don't stop climate change. North Korea vs. the U.S. is probably something no one wanted ever and yet here we are.

Europe. Turkey and the Netherlands are in a fight. Also in Dutch news, Islamophobe Geert Wilders notably lost an election. The EU's highest court ruled that employers can prevent their workers from wearing headscarves. Floundering French presidential candidate François Fillon apologized for tweeting an antisemitic caricature of one of his opponents. Keep your eyes on: Scottish independence (but not before Brexit.) Belgium's new deportation law isn't going over well with civil rights groups. A Crimean Tatar official was questioned and warned by Russian counterparts. Asylum seekers in Hungary are hunger-striking. A student opened fire on a school in southeastern France. A letter bomb exploded Thursday morning in the French IMF office. Ireland's taoiseach, Enda Kenny, used the occasion of St. Patrick's Day to lecture his American counterpart on immigration. Trump accused Britain of wiretapping him and then had to apologize. 


 

Recs

To listen: I've taken a stroll down memory lane recently, enjoying the music I grew up with (especially now, with SXSW full-blown in my home city.) Alternative rock is huge in Texas, far less so in the western part of Massachusetts where I spent four years, or in Geneva, Switzerland, or even here in D.C. Music is how I connect, more often than not, and certain sounds take me immediately home. So mea culpa if you were one of the many bus riders treated to the entire Matchbox Twenty discography blasting through my headphones this past week. (Bent, Back 2 Good, Real World, to name a few.) Listen to something that reminds you of a place you love, friends. 

To make: Admittedly I've laid off drinking as work and school have consumed my life. But it was St. Patrick's day, and homemade "Irish" (lol) cream is always fun, so have at it. For my alcohol-free friends, leave out the whiskey -- I imagine it's still delicious. 


 

Quote of the Week

"If I had to pick just one (which is unfair) it would be “Irreplaceable.” Apart from the general good advice from Beyoncé that we should move “to the left, to the left,” it would behove us all as elected members of the Dáil that we should never for a second get to thinking we’re irreplaceable." -- Jonathan O’Brien, member of Irish party Sinn Fein

 

Fun Fact

American health care is famously very, very bad. But that's not a global reality everywhere. A strong example is the U.K.'s National Health Service, or NHS, which provides Brits with more than decent medical treatment and care. But there are other strong examples for how a country should treat sickness -- New Zealand, Canada, and the Scandinavian nations are often cited, but why stop there? Business Insider argues for Qatar, Hong Kong, Japan, and more. And then there's Cuba's system, which deserves a close look and a close read, especially given Western attitudes about the communist nation. 

 

 

 

Women's work

Blues Buzz

Sixteen stories about incredible women so you can work to make every day International Women's Day. Ten books for IWD. The day itself was complicated in the U.S. -- there were reasons to strike, and reasons not to. When you make Jews afraid, you only prove we are human. Related: the graveyard shift. You may want to marry this dying woman's husband. The Alt-Left is a problem too. How today's visa restrictions could impact tomorrow's America. The dangers of Feminism Lite, per Chimamanda, who should probably think long and hard about her comments on trans women. Unpublished Jane Austen. Two words: Solnit. Profile. The British Empire carried out horrifying crimes against humanity and no one should ever be proud. Ruby Tandoh is a gem. Butch is beautiful. The marines are a horrible place to be a woman, as I'm sure will shock no one. The man who turned gay rights into a weapon for Islamophobes. Anxiety for highly productive people. Jhumpa Lahiri on writing is always worth reading. Some Eileen for you. Joan Didion is annoyingly good, and here is some insight into South and West. The paradox of being a queer gentrifier. Black cowboys are fighting erasure. Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon on making TV history and gender identity. Nike hijab. This is the Russia Americans are so afraid of, the one they feel the need to turn into an enemy.  On disability, trans identity, and exhaustion over bathrooms. Why is Vermont so white? Anthony Stewart Head, on the feminism of Buffy.

Seen in Washington, D.C. © E.A. Crunden

Seen in Washington, D.C. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. A really horrifying amount of hunger news -- Eight people died in a stampede in Zambia over food aid. Somalia's famine crisis is worsening. Cuts to bread subsidies are spurring fury and sparking riots on Egypt. In an attempt to bring in more money, South Sudan is charging up to $10,000 for foreign work permits, a move that will be counterproductive and discourage people from coming to fill jobs that the country needs (namely, aid workers.) Libya is spiraling back into civil war. It seems that Black lives don't matter in xenophobic South Africa. Nigeria's president returned home from the UK, but reportedly needs to 'rest', which isn't comforting given concerns about his health. 

Americas. Panama's former dictator is in critical condition after brain surgery. Bolivia's president will travel to Cuba for an operation. The wall dividing Argentina and Paraguay is a shrine to failure. Canada too is seeing a rise in antisemitism. One Canadian town is very sorry for its pink tap water. The American president claimed (sans any evidence) that his predecessor had tapped the phones at Trump Tower during the 2016 election -- and called for a congressional investigation. He also signed the next Muslim ban, which looks much like the first, except that Iraq has notably been taken off the list of banned countries and a few other alterations have occurred. (Hawaii has challenged the ban.) Republicans are getting set to completely destroy American health care, something that was never great to begin with. Trump told Planned Parenthood to stop providing abortions if it wants federal money and PP was like lol no. The U.S. is considering separating children from their parents at the border. A Sikh man was shot (but survived) in Seattle in what appears to be a hate crime. The UN slammed the U.S. over its treatment of Native peoples. Introducing THAAD. Wikileaks and the CIA.

Asia. A South Korean court ousted Park Geun-hye from office; the president's downfall following a bizarre scandal has been ongoing for months. Nothing to see here, just North Korea's potentially intercontinental missile tests. Malaysia (where Kim Jong Nam was assassinated) and North Korea are duking it out the old-fashioned way -- with travel bans. Five Pakistani soldiers were killed in militant raids across the border, in Afghanistan. Iraqi troops have retaken several government buildings in Mosul (they were previously held by the Islamic State.) A Thai 'red shirt' leader was jailed for insulting the monarchy. At least 30 people were killed when the Islamic State stormed a hospital in Kabul dressed as doctors. A new Israeli law bars foreign critics from entering it. Tajik women have some thoughts about the state of their 'equal' rights. The U.S. is putting marines on the ground in Syria. Attacks in eastern Burma left numerous people dead -- an ominous indicator that violence is returning to areas of the country that aren't Rakhine state, where the persecuted Rohingya are based.

Europe. Scandal-plagued French presidential candidate François Fillon fought on this week. Sinn Fein, Ireland's main Catholic nationalist party, just scored a huge victory in Northern Ireland. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of Nazi-era practices after the latter halted Turkish political rallies on its soil. RIP, Azure Window of Malta. Russian women scaled the Kremlin to strike a blow against patriarchy. Scottish independence could be coming. At least five people were injured when a man went on a rampage with an axe at a German train station. 


 

Recs

To watchWhen We Risethe new miniseries from ABC, has a deeply outdated format, numerous gaping flaws, and an imperfect script. However, you should watch it. Why? This is queer history by queer people for queer people. Trans characters are played by trans actors. Real queer people gave their input, and the main three characters all survive. I know the bar is low, but queers don't get a lot in this world, and we do have this. (I recommend Hulu if you, like me, do not own a TV and are confused by the concept.)

To make: A cake! This weekend marks a birthday for one of my best friends, and has me in cake mode. My own birthday will coincide with the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover), something that has occurred numerous times before and will happen again (to break down what this means for the goyim: I've spent a lot of more-or-less gluten-free birthdays.) I'm putting off those cake thoughts. For now: lemon cake looks good. Or maybe chocolate?


 

Quote of the Week

“What about men having to purchase prenatal care? I’m just . . . is that not correct? And should they?” -- Rep. Joh Skimus (R-IL), who thinks men should probably not have to pay for prenatal care

Fun Fact

International Women's Day has its roots in socialism, far more so than the U.S. likes to admit. On March 8, 1917, female textile workers began to protest in Russia, in a move that would eventually spark the Russian Revolution. The day was popularized throughout the communist world for years, but did not became a global celebration until 1975, when the UN established IWD as a reality. To the surprise of no one, the day has been less popular in the U.S., in no small part because of lingering Cold War animosity (something that is starting to look a lot like present day.) Activists and the internet, however, are making the day hit home for many Westerners -- as is the movement known as the Women's March. 

Moonlanding

Blues Buzz

The Oscars were really something -- a display of white faux progressivism rubbing arms with the real, raw groundbreaking progressivism only some are capable of. Never let Moonlight's win be overshadowed by a mixup, it deserved everything -- and yes, the mix-up was problematic. Mahershala Ali is a Black Ahmadi Muslim and every one of those identities counts. Jimmy Kimmel's name jokes are a problem.  After Moonlight, one Black Southern gay man no longer feels 'niche.' The limits of Black graciousness. La La Land is a propaganda film. 'Gary from Chicago' is the hero we need and his prison record only makes that more true. Mohsin Hamid on the dangers of nostalgia. The unlikely man who has kept thousands of people from becoming HIV positive. Blue cities, red states. Eileen Myles forever. On being non-binary but sticking to she/her pronouns. Can this Democratic El Paso congressman (who is super fond of Mexico) unseat hardline conservative Ted Cruz? James Baldwin found solace and space in Turkey. Gay liberation didn't cure gay lonelinessMeet Ruth Bader Ginsburg's personal trainer, the man working overtime to ensure that, more or less, Roe v. Wade remains law. Two rich people will get to fly around the moon in 2018. Planned Parenthood isn't sure it's going to be okay. New Zadie Smith! When We Rise is what we need now and here's what it took to pull it together. HBCUs and 'choice.' Uber is still terrible. Fatimah Asghar: If they should come for us. On building a diverse list. SJW behaviors that hurt social justice. Swet Shop Boys are back at it, and this one's for Qandeel, who would have been 27 this week. For friends who did not grow up with an intimate knowledge of antisemitism. Texas is the future. (The future that liberals want.)

Writers protest against the Trump administration at the annual AWP conference, held in Washington, D.C. this past February. © E.A. Crunden

Writers protest against the Trump administration at the annual AWP conference, held in Washington, D.C. this past February. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. Coptic Christians are fleeing violence in Egypt. Zimbabwe's dictator has no plans to step down. Zimbabwe has also banned corporal punishment. Nigeria's army has been accused of killing civilians. The country's president, Muhammadu Buhari, has been in the U.K. on medical leave -- and the country's vice president is gaining power in his absence. South Africa is actively deporting Nigerians. Moroccan troops are set to pull out of a buffer zone in the Western Sahara. Burundi's president is at war with independent media.

Americas. Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres' killing appears to have been extrajudicial. Contamination left millions without drinking water in Chile following extreme rains. An Indiana plant is finalizing its efforts to move jobs to Mexico. Vaquitas are dying out. Colombia's FARC rebels are disarming under the new peace deal. Thanks to Trump, nationalism is on the rise in Mexico. Antisemitism is on the rise across the U.S. A French scholar of the Holocaust was detained at the Houston airport for 10 hours (he was born in Egypt.) Houses of worship are preparing to break the law in order to shelter undocumented immigrants. Four American mosques have been burned in seven weeks. Jewish centers, schools, and cemeteries are being targeted and one synagogue saw a bullet fired from a playground. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador twice during the election, appears to have lied about that reality, and everyone is very upset about it. (Sessions has also been linked to white supremacy routinely, a thing that, for some reason, fewer people are upset about.) A DREAMer spoke about her fear of being arrested -- just before she was promptly arrested by ICE. A new Muslim ban is coming, but Iraq may be spared.

Asia. Rodrigo Duterte's drug crackdown in the Philippines is targeting children now. Two women in Malaysia will be charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam. The Islamic State is threatening China with a wave of terror attacks. Eastern Japan experienced an earthquake this week. Indians are mourning the American hate crime that killed an Indian man living overseas. After coming under fire for its treatment of ethnic minorities in Pakistan, the government is expanding rights for citizens in FATA, the country's northwestern territories. Taiwan will conduct military trainings in (where else?) the contested South China Sea. Vetoes from Russia and China ensured that UN sanctions will not be placed on the Assad regime in Syria. Russian and Syrian forces bombed U.S.-backed Syrian troops -- something Russia claims never happened. Former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was acquitted in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. 

Europe. Supporters of fallen Putin foe Boris Nemtsov marched in Moscow to honor the two-year anniversary of his murder. Croatian neo-Nazis are super excited about Trump, apparently. A new report claims racial profiling is rampant in Germany. Zoya Svetova, a Russian journalist and human rights advocate, was the target of a sudden raid at her home this week. Hungary's prime minister has linked ethnic homogeneity with economic success. A French sniper accidentally shot two people while Prime Minister François Hollande was speaking. Horrors in Greece's refugee camps. As the far-right grows in Eastern Europe, so too does pushback against liberal billionaire George Soros. Same-sex marriage has gone into effect in Finland. Poland is sending asylum seekers back to Belarus, a dictatorship. Norway has the right idea about the comments section. 


 

Recs

To make: In honor of Texas' 181st birthday, make all the Texan things, even if you care not at all for the Lone Star State! (We have excellent cuisine.) Breakfast tacos are my personal preference, but why stop there -- stacked enchiladas (shoutout to West Texas), migas (meat-free for me), squash blossom quesadillas, fried pickles, and some Texas sheet cake to top it off (or my childhood favorite, as best prepared by my great-grandmother: banana pudding.) Best made in large quantities and shared with friends. 

To listen: New Lorde! 'Green Light' is the first track to drop off of Melodrama, the follow-up to Pure Heroine. Video + sounds here, as well as some background on this latest addition to the Lorde discography. Pretty upbeat for a song about a breakup, is all I'm saying. 


 

Quote of the Week

"I realized the problem began with the fact that adjectives are mostly required of the less powerful. Thus, there are “novelists” and “female novelists,” “African-American doctors” but not “European- American doctors,” “gay soldiers” but not “heterosexual soldiers,” “transgender activists” but not “cisgender activists.” As has been true forever, the person with the power takes the noun — and the norm — while the less powerful requires an adjective." -- Gloria Steinem

 

Fun Fact

This past Thursday marked the 181st birthday of the state of Texas. Or, more accurately, 181 years since the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. Your newsletter curator is a Texpat and enthusiast re all things Texas (ask me about my shameless Texas tattoo some time), so here is a brief recap of the mainland U.S.' largest state's odd history under six flags, per the Austin-American Statesman:

'“Six flags over Texas” is more than just the name of a theme park. Throughout history, many flags have flown over our great state, including a version of the hotly debated Confederate flag....Spain actually flew two different flags over Texas...The simplified version of the royal banner of France was lifted by French nobleman René-Robert Cavalier, who was attempting to establish a colony on the Texas coast.....Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, and the region of Texas became Mexican territory....Following a victory over Mexico in 1836, Texas finally became its own republic....During the Civil War, Texas joined many of its southern neighbors in seceding from the Union and forming the Confederate States of America....Texas was inducted into the United States in 1845.'

Happy 181st birthday, Tejas. Live long and speed up the import of real breakfast tacos to the rest of the world, thanks much. 

Habitable elsewheres

Blues Buzz

Make no mistake: Steve Bannon is going to go after queers. This Muslim, hijab-wearing woman lasted eight days in Trump's White House. The wild west of wind. Uber is still awful. Zealandia. Carson McCullers at 100. 'Our most cruel experiment yet.' Apparently now everyone else has realized a nightmare trash human is a nightmare trash human. He might be gone but his transphobia will remain. Still, Roxanne Gay has the last word. One editor is going to the South and the Rust Belt, not to parachute in, but to find reporters already there. Mahershala Ali on Blackness and Islamophobia. 34 works by women of color for 2017. The gender-specific, women-only Chinese script. When neighbors turn on each other and when they don't -- like this week, when Muslims stepped up for Jews. Is America a 'safe country' for refugees? Native women remain amazing. This trans boy sticking it to haters. The comics giving life to gender diversity. Melissa Febos on love, both human and canine, and depression. The making of Moonlight. (Related: how done this one Arab actor will be with the Oscars if La La Land wins.) Some bizarre writing residencies you should probably actually consider. Democracy dies in darkness. 'You wouldn't have known about me.' Han Kang and when time stopped forever. Dating while Black in Canada. Good news -- we could maybe one day leave this planet for one of seven cool new options.

Pro-Unionist mural seen in Belfast, Ireland. © E.A. Crunden

Pro-Unionist mural seen in Belfast, Ireland. © E.A. Crunden


 

Around the Globe

Africa. South Sudan is in the midst of a horrifying famine (and 20 million people worldwide are facing a similar situation, many of them in countries destroyed by war.) Zimbabwe's dictator had some fond words for Trump. Tanzania is threatening to publicly out queer people. South Africa wants to withdraw from the ICC, no matter what anyone says. Libya's ongoing brushes with refugees and tragedy continued this week when 87 bodies washed up on the country's shore. DRC has said it will investigate a video seeming to show a massacre of civilians. Nigerians are protesting violence against immigrants and migrants in South Africa.

Americas. A homemade bomb in Colombia exploded, injuring dozens of people. The Guatemalan army is blocking a Dutch boat that takes women into international waters to perform abortions. Canada is still seeing an uptick in refugees and immigration from the U.S. The Trump administration's horrifying crackdown on immigrants has gone from bad to worse. (Mexico and the U.S. are, understandably, not on good terms right now.) ICE is denying trans detainees their medical necessities. Trump sort of pseudo-condemned anti-Semitism (despite continuing to employee white nationalists.) Trans students got screwed by Trump. Private prisons made a comeback. Protesters fighting the Dakota Access pipeline hit the deadline to evacuate; many set fire to the protest site, including to traditional structures that were burned ceremoniously in keeping with Native spirituality. Americans are PISSED about everything (but mostly health care) and they are assembling at town halls. Two Indian engineers were shot in Kansas by a man who believed they were Middle Eastern.

Asia. An Israeli soldier was sentenced to a mere 18 months in prison over the fatal shooting of a wounded Palestinian assailant. Israel is also denying visas to Human Rights Watch staff. Eastern Libya has banned women under the age of 60 from traveling abroad on their own. Pakistan's economy is growing, in spite of a resurgence of terror. That terror, however, made itself heard yet again this week--an attack hit a shopping center in Defence, an affluent area of Lahore. Deadly bird flu returns to China. Iraqi forces recaptured a Mosul airport previously held by the Islamic State. The half-brother of North Korea's dictator was reportedly killed with a banned nerve gas in a Malaysian airport. A car bomb killed 51 people in the Syrian city of al-Bab. A prominent foe of Rodrigo Duterte has been arrested in the Philippines.

Europe. Hungary withdrew its bid to host the 2024 Olympics. Britain's housing crisis has more and more young people staying at home with their parents. The Tories won a long-held Labour seat in a humiliating defeat for the latter. Russian diplomats keep dying in the U.S. which is probably fine and not suspicious but also these are strange times and people are raising eyebrows. What did happen in Sweden and what did not. Breaking news: Iceland's president is not pro pineapple on pizza.


 

Recs

To watch: Brown Girls, a new web series focused on the friendship between a (seemingly straight) Black woman and a queer Pakistani-American woman as they dive headlong into their twenties, with results both painful and comical. To caveat, I did not find this show amazing, the acting ranges, and it's unclear where it's all going. (The trope of 'I always know you were queer because once your girl Barbies touched each other' does indeed make an appearance. Hélas.) But it is VERY hard to find good work featuring queer women, and it is also highly unusual to see the bonds between women of color explored in a meaningful way on the screen. With that in mind, it's worth the occasionally cringe-worthy flubs and stumbles for what is, we can only hope, the first in a long line of series similar to this, and props to creator Fatimah Asghar for bringing us a world that looks much more like the one many of us inhabit. 

To do: Self-care and care for others. Let us take a moment for realness. Perhaps it was a weird (read: not good) week for you, or perhaps it was a good week, or perhaps it was just like any other week. Perhaps you are like me and were really hurt that no one reached out to you after your community was directly targeted (as so many have been) by the Trump administration, especially when you are a gender-nonconforming non-binary person who already: feels deeply uncomfortable in most social situations, fears public spaces, and is SO thankful to not have been out when young and vulnerable in Texas. Perhaps this is not your life. But if you have been affected or might be affected by current events arounds the world, or even if you just care about other people, take two moments. One for yourself and one for others. All liberation is intertwined. If you can't take a moment for others, you cannot expect them to take one for you. And you cannot have space for others if you do not have space for yourself. That's all, really.



 

Fun Fact

'Habitable' means very different things to different people. When we hear the term used to describe planets and areas in the solar system, we typically think of the cushy deal Earth provides: water, various climates that sustain life, and a pretty sweet deal, all things considered. But as this article from Cosmos details (h/t Vox), 'habitable' in the planetary sense doesn't necessarily translate to the situation we're currently used to. Put more bluntly:

'In the study of alien worlds, there is perhaps no designation more hopeful, or more misleading, than “habitable”. While it evokes a vision of a pleasant, temperate world, complete with breathable air and a human-friendly landscape, to an astronomer it means none of those things.' 

Moreover,  as the article notes, though we might be inclined to 'classify our own planet as habitable, the term could be applied to any of a wide range of lethal nightmare planets' -- so don't go picturing newly discovered habitable planets as a vacation, is the tl;dr of this.

Wtf just happened (#evergreen)

Blues Buzz

A night with the French far-right. There has never been an America without Muslims. Margaret Atwood is not shocked at how well The Handmaid's Tale's sales are currently doing. Adele knows Beyoncé deserved it -- and here's why many prominent Black feminists say she was right to mention her Black friends, even if it made you uncomfortable. Leftist anti-Trumpers are not above very bizarre conspiracy theories.  How Jewish refugee professors found a home at historically Black colleges. A Day Without Latinxs and a day without immigrants, who make up 16.7% of America's workforce. Looking back on gay firsts. The book we need now. Nextness and nearness. 1996: the year alternative rock died. On being Black and pregnant when you know the statistics. The South is rising. A trans woman was detained by ICE after her abuser reportedly tipped them off. A Russian diplomat was killed on election day in the U.S. Morgan Parker is truly an excellent addition to the literary world. Mahershala Ali is a gift we don't deserve. Hyphen-nation. America, because of its relative isolation, has an apocalyptic relationship with the world. Take some time to revisit Audre Lorde, always. What the fuck just happened today? Social justice must be complicated, because oppression is never simple.

Seen at an emergency rally outside the White House. © E.A. Crunden

Seen at an emergency rally outside the White House. © E.A. Crunden

 

Around the Globe

Africa. Activists in Cameroon are pleading not guilty to terrorism charges after working to organize against discrimination. A stampede in Angola killed almost 20 people. Violence in DRC has resurfaced with police firing and spraying tear gas at separatists. Hundreds of thousands of trees in Madagascar were cut down, despite being located on protected lands. South Africa is looking at instituting a national minimum wage. Tensions in South Sudan are going from bad to worse. Are crunchy caterpillars the solution to malnutrition in Burkina Faso?

Americas. Immigrants and refugees are risking entering Canada illegally rather than choosing to remain in the U.S. Two journalists in the Dominican Republic were shot dead during a live broadcast. Venezuela is done with CNN. Also, Venezuela's vice president has drawn Trump's wrath. Mexicans are mass-protesting Trump. The Department of Justice has walked back defending protections for transgender persons. California is dealing with extreme flooding, and the consequences have been horrifying. Bye, Flynn (and a timeline to help explain this to us because it is all very confusing.) NATIONAL SECURITY FOUL. Bye, Puzder. Weirdest press conference maybe ever (anti-Semitism! Racism! Russia!) Deportation chaos under Trump is wrecking lives -- one woman has made the difficult decision to barricade herself in a church in order to avoid the risk of being deported.

Asia. India has surpassed China as the world's most polluted country. China is not happy about a chat the U.S. and Japan had over man-made islands. Violence in Kashmir has ramped up again. North Korea is playing with missiles again. Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of Kim Jong Un, was seemingly murdered in an airport in Malaysia. The Syrian government dumped chlorine gas on the people of Aleppo multiple times in efforts to retake the city. For years, Binyamin Netanyahu has waffled around the two-state solution; now, he's not alone -- Trump says either is fine. Pakistan had a terrible week, with eight separate tragedies occurring, seven of which were direct terror attacks. The most horrifying were in Lahore, where 13 people were killed at a protest, and at a shrine in Sehwan, where Sufis were targeted, resulting in the deaths of more than 70 people and one of the worst attacks the country has seen in a decade. Also having a terrible week was Iraq -- a bombing in Baghdad killed more than 50 people. Then there's Filipinx leader Rodrigo Duterte, who is targeting his enemies.

Europe. Some 70,000 people were briefly evacuated in Greece so that a WWII bomb could be detonated. Turkey is rolling back its teaching of evolution. Online abortion pills are becoming more popular in Britain. Romanians are making headway in their uprising against corruption. Russia is definitely not giving up Crimea. Russia is also telling state-run media to slow down on the Trump love, because, well, duh. French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron drew fire for saying colonialism was a crime against humanity, one of the first accurate things someone has said in this particular French election.


Me

I wrote about how, despite initially expressing admiration for Pakistanis, Trump has been AWOL in a time of crisis. I also wrote about Trump's meeting with Netanyahu, and how the former is walking back decades of U.S. foreign policy when it comes to the two-state solution.


 

Recs

To make: Whether or not I will get around to recreating this tiramisu recipe this weekend is unclear, but you absolutely should give it a go. (Note: neither vegan nor halal, courtesy of eggs and alcohol, though I am sure troubleshooting for these flaws exists.)

To watch: The Oscars are coming, and while most of us rightfully do not care, there are several contenders you should definitely check out, namely Movie of the Year™ Moonlighta queer Black coming-of-age slice of sheer beauty that will warm you and break your heart at the same time. On my to-watch list is Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman, up for Best Foreign Language Film. Farhadi will be among those not attending the Oscars following Trump's Muslim ban, and now's as good a time as any to reflect on the damage the ban is doing to the arts.

Quote of the Week

“What the f**k does [Beyoncé] have to do to win Album of the Year?” -- Adele, as outraged as we are

Fun Fact

Measuring the impact of immigrants across the globe is a challenge, but even when narrowed down to a country it can be difficult. In the U.S., a country composed almost exclusively of immigrants and their descendants (outside of its very tiny and marginalized Native population), that remains a reality, but here's a stand-out fact: if the MacArthur Fellows ('Geniuses') are any indicator, creative people move more. This 2014 Time article observes that "of the 701 individuals born in the United States who have been named Fellows, 79% lived, at the time of the award, outside the state where they were born."

More on that: A talk I attended a year ago touched on immigration and genius more broadly -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Cecilia Muñoz, and Aleksandar Hemon (all immigrants or children of immigrants in addition to being Genius Grant recipients) discussed creativity and immigration, and how their experiences have shaped their work. It was a fantastic talk, possibly the best I've ever been to, and I've been thinking about it more and more these days. You can watch the full talk here, and then I highly recommend running out and buying the works of both Hemon and Adichie, especially the latter. Lack funds? Hate clutter and capitalism? I recommend the library as well.

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She persisted.

Blues Buzz

Unpublished Black history. Erasing hate. Our part in the darkness. One rabbi who was arrested protesting Trump described her actions as a 'holy act.' 51 immigrant poets, including those from the seven banned nations. America's ex-boyfriend.  Easy DA season with the Sharks. Anjali Lama, the Nepali transgender model turning heads. How Trump's travel ban has affected two Iraqi families in Texas. Sex ed for queer autistic people is a nightmare in the U.S. Ursula Le Guin is not happy about the science fiction-'alternative facts' comparison. At what point do we just call the Trump administration a white nationalist administration? Ordinary Americans carried out inhumane acts for Trump. Queering Islamophobia. The year is 2017; the dictionary has now become a source for good and triumph over evil. Messy Mya v. Beyoncé. Fascist, loofa-faced, shit gibbon. How a movement is born. The importance of vintage gay porn. #IReadIndie.

Northampton, Massachusetts. © E.A. Crunden

Northampton, Massachusetts. © E.A. Crunden

 

Top Stories Around the Globe

Africa. Talks between the government and opposition parties in DRC are finally set to resume. Nigeria's president extended his sick leave in the UK. Somalia voted in presidential elections to decide the direction of the country's first federal government since 1991 -- the election was held in the airport in Mogadishu, the only place safe enough to cast votes. In a surprise victory, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a Somali-American, was elected. Kenya's high court blocked a move to close the country's Dadaab refugee camp, the largest in the world. Gambia is reversing its withdrawal from the ICC. Ghana's presidential fleet is missing 200 cars.

Americas. Bolivia has declared a state of emergency over a locust plague. Brazil's police strike has caused more than 100 deaths. Thousands of people apply for indigenous status in Canada; many are rejected. The Colombian government has begun peace talks with the ELN rebel group. A detention center's new unit for transgender occupants is raising concerns. A federal judge decided Donald Trump's travel ban was probably not kosher and Trump flipped out. Then the 9th circuit ruled 3-0 in favor of the lower court -- will Trump take the case to the Supreme Court? Trump is also waging a terrifying war on the media. Around 20 rabbis were arrested protesting Trump's Muslim ban. 50-50 DeVos. The Dakota Access pipeline is a go. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was silenced by her colleagues after reading a letter from Coretta Scott King opposing Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump's pick for attorney general, who was confirmed late Thursday night despite a deeply racist career history. POTUS v. Nordstrom and related violations. Trump's SCOTUS nominee is pretty horrified at his attacks on the judiciary. Russia/sanctions/Flynn/lies. A blizzard hammered much of the American northeast this week.

Asia & Australia. The Catholic Church's widespread abuses in Australia are coming to light. Australia is bracing for a massive heatwave. Russian, Iran, and Turkey met in Kazakhstan to begin discussing the Syrian ceasefire. A South Korean businessman was killed by police in the Philippines as an accident -- the latter country is busy conducting a dangerous anti-drug purge. Amnesty International believes the Syrian government is conducting extrajudicial killings, currently numbering around 13,000. Around 20 people were killed when a bomb went off in front of Afghanistan's Supreme Court. After an attack on its staff, the Red Cross is halting aid to Afghanistan. Yemen has withdrawn permission from the U.S. re special operations missions, following the deaths of numerous civilians after a botched effort. China plays the long game on One China policy, wins. A man attempted, and failed, to throw a petrol bomb on a Hong Kong train, a move that injured multiple people. Syria's dictator says no to safe zones.

Europe. Protests against Romania's anti-graft law continued. German conservative-center parties are uniting behind Chancellor Angela Merkel. The UK's parliament will not hear an address from Trump, a big break with precedent. Parliament also voted to trigger Article 50, so Brexit is on -- but EU citizens living in Britain are not protected. One group excited about Trump in Europe? Serbian nationalists, who would like to see Kosovo under Serbian control. Alexei Navalny, a noted Putin foe, was found guilty in an embezzlement trial -- conveniently putting a dent in his presidential aspirations. A Russian airstrike killed three Turkish soldiers in Syria.

Recs

To Listen: A playlist featuring songs from the seven countries affected by the Muslim ban. Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria have given the world extraordinary music; immerse yourself in it and then, if you're American, channel your anger over this stupid ban into productive action against this Islamophobic government. If you're not, still as good a time as any to listen to incredible tunes.

To Make: Perhaps you have noticed that I enjoy peanut butter. (I do.) It's been a long week. If and when I get a break from AWP (a fun writing conference everyone should check out) I hope to make these peanut butter cookies.

To Watch: ANNE OF GREEN GABLES IS COMING TO NETFLIX AND THERE IS A TRAILER, RED ALERT. (I am unsure if this will be true of Netflix in all countries but I am rooting for everyone globally here. If the trailer is blocked in your country, also strongly recommend the VPN route.)

Quote of the Week

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) after she attempted to speak out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions' nomination by reading from a letter written by Coretta Scott King

Fun Fact

The rule that Mitch McConnell used to silence Elizabeth Warren is, as many people have noted, very rarely used. The Washington Post has some more information: the rule is Rule 19, and was introduced in response to an IRL fist fight on the Senate floor in 1902. WaPo goes into all the other times it could have been used but was not; Above the Law has more on its actual history. The main players involved in the original fight? South Carolina’s “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman and John McLaurin, the first of whom was a notorious pro-lynching white supremacist. 

 

#NoBanOnStolenLand

Blues Buzz

How Trump #AllLivesMatter'd the Holocaust. A time for refusal. Feeling excluded--and then welcomed--at the women's march. The outdoor industry has too many white dudes. Sally Yates, American heroThis is what it's like to come to the U.S. as a refugee. Poems from the seven banned nations. Food from the seven banned nations. "I'm a Syrian refugee in Texas. I have no idea when I'll see my children again." The power of the airport protest. Uber v. Lyft.  15 works of literature by and about refugees. On the state of libraries in 2017. White supremacy is always the enemy. Coming from abroad and refugee nations. What Trump's ban has done to Americans. For interracial couples in the U.S., growing acceptance...and some hurdles. Sean Spicer v. Dippin' Dots is really my takeaway from this article. We need more trans characters in children's books. The Boy Scouts of America will allow trans boys to join. Loneliness literally hurts you on a cellular level. CATS. Greenland's unlikely queer literary star. Harvard virgins. Authoritarian leaders greet Trump as one of their own. Goodbye to the incredible Bharati Mukherjee, chronicler of the American immigrant experience. GUYS BEYONCÉ IS PREGNANT WITH TWINS.

Everything is going fine here in Washington, D.C. © E.A. Crunden

Everything is going fine here in Washington, D.C. © E.A. Crunden

 

News Around the Globe

Africa. Kenyan forces will rejoin the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan after withdrawing following controversy. Reproductive clinics in Kenya are awaiting the staggering impact of the new American administration's crackdowns. The African Union has allowed Morocco to join, despite tensions over its ongoing occupation of the Western Sahara. At least 94 psychiatric patients died in South Africa due to negligence in 2016.

Americas. Mexicans are boycotting American products because of Trump's comments about Mexicans and his wall. (Trump also maybe threatened to invade Mexico?) Peru and Colombia are supporting Mexico. Turks and Caicos: where women hold the top jobs. A white nationalist opened fire on a Quebec City mosque during Sunday prayers, killing six people and wounding at least eight others. Prominent far right-wing nationalist Steve Bannon was stealthily appointed to the National Security Council, a huge power play on the part of American President Donald Trump. The U.S. exploded in chaos after Trump made good on his 'Muslim ban' promise and barred all refugees for 120 days (Syrian refugees indefinitely) in addition to imposing a 90-day ban on citizens from Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Syria (notably, countries the U.S. has invaded, bombed, or intervened in.) Other countries may be added to the list, and it's already doing horrific damage -- separating families, wrecking plans and dreams, and endangering lives. There have also been walk-backs: permanent residents may be allowed, after all. Milo Yiannopoulos, a notorious troll and neo-Nazi accomplice, was shut down at UC Berkeley. Rex Tillerson, Exxon CEO, is now secretary of state.

Asia & Australia. Chinese New Year fireworks = Beijing drowning in smog. A prominent Muslim lawyer was assassinated in Burma. Iran barred Americans from the country in retaliation for Trump's ban. Iraq wants to retaliate too. Bangladesh will re-locate Rohingya refugees to a flood-prone island to prevent them from intermingling with Bangladeshis. Afghan forces have been struggling to combat Taliban fighters in Helmand province. A drug epidemic is hitting India's Punjab state hard. Pakistan's middle class is returning. Ban-Ki Moon will not run for president of South Korea. Tensions between Australia and the U.S., typically allies, spiked dramatically after the American president lectured his Australian counterpart for 25 minutes during a notably terse phone call. A botched raid in Yemen by Americans wasn't helped by Trump. Bad news: Israel is building an entirely new settlement in the West Bank. (Odd news: Trump now seems to oppose this.

Europe. Belgium is super-prepared for a nuclear emergency. The world has forgotten Greece but Greece is still struggling. Fighting and violence between Ukraine and Russian insurgents has ramped up in recent days, resulting in multiple casualties. Austria will ban full-face attire (specific to certain Muslim communities) in public areas. Turkey has dismissed more than 90,000 public servants post-coup attempt. A breakaway Georgian region is now offering Abkhaz language classes. Brexit begins. More anti-Semitic hate crimes were reported in the U.K. than in any year since records began. Romanians are protesting against a new anti-graft law. An attack at the Louvre.

Recs

To listen: Foy Vance - She Burns. Foy Vance is Northern Irish musician and one I'm late to, but start with the best -- this single is beautiful, to the point, and easy. Happy listening, preferably on loop.

To do: Resist. A good way to do that: sign up for the Resistible newsletter, a great source for many protests, rallies, and sit-ins you can attend on a daily basis. Not in the U.S., not into protesting publicly, or just an introvert who needs other options? Worry not, they abound! Black Lives Matter, SURJ, the Women's March (which is now apparently an ongoing movement), and many other groups offer action items via newsletters, social media, and their websites. Dig into what interests and appeals to you most while staying true to your preferences and reality. 

To make: I spend my weekday evenings in graduate school, which is really fun and delightful and not at all miserable and soul-sucking and this means I have no time to do things I love, like turn my tiny kitchen into a slow-churning disaster. Still, on Sundays I somehow still manage. Have fallen in love with peanut buttery cakes, two of which I've made recently. Added chocolate and !!! Cannot for the life of me tell you exactly how I made it (dumped flour, peanut butter, baking powder, sugar, dark cocoa, eggs, olive oil, and water into a bowl, I think), but this recipe looks nice and also delicious -- just incorporate cocoa and maybe make the cake small to begin with.

Quote of the Week

"Language matters and sometimes, like the word diversity, it becomes an empty container for whatever people want to fill it with. Go high. Trump hate. Be nasty. Wear a pantsuit. I don’t begrudge people finding comfort or solidarity in these words and ideas, but goddamn. We needed to do better then and we need to do better now. We need to get uncomfortable and that means moving beyond tidy words that make us feel like the world is a better, more unified and inclusive place than it is.
I am a black bisexual woman. I am Haitian American. I am a Libra. I grew up middle-class and then upper middle class. I am fat. My identity is political because so much of who I am is part of the public discourse, subject to legislation, subject to discrimination and disadvantage. Clearly, this is not the entirety of my life and who I am. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve got it pretty good. In fact, the work I do, it isn’t for me, really. It’s for the people who don’t have the privileges I do, who need someone to stand and speak and fight for them, with them. I am trying, with my writing and activism, to offer sanctuary." -- Roxanne Gay

Fun Fact

Groundhog Day is a deeply bizarre tradition that apparently has variations around the world. In the U.S. we know it as February 2, the day when a groundhog either emerges from his burrow with pep to let us know spring is coming early, or sees his shadow and swiftly returns (winter remains.) Elsewhere, this ritual look a bit different. In a few Serbian communities, a bear is relied upon -- if the bear awakens, sees its shadow, and goes back to sleep, then winter endures. (Romania and Hungary have similar traditions.) Germany has hedgehogs. So much winter, so much weather. 

Millions of marchers vs. alternative facts and that #FuckingWall

Blues Buzz

Images from Women's Marches around the world. Those marches were made possible by Black resistance. Why were there no arrests at the DC march? Probably for the same reasons we shouldn't be proud that there weren't.  That doesn't mean journalists covering the inauguration aren't facing charges -- which is terrifying. "Don't be ashamed; organize your people." #IMarchWithLinda. The Oscars have succeeded in nominating a few people of color; slow clap. However, terrible men are still eligible. On that note, Constance Wu vs. Casey Affleck. Pussy is great again. National Parks revolt. Inheriting anxiety. Within the bounds of the body. We lost Mary Tyler Moore and all the glory she brought with her. Doomsday clock ticking closer. #FuckingWall. The best bookstores in Mexico City. Gain Milo, lose Roxanne. Nine books by Latin American women we'd like to see translated into English. Pigly. The Iranian actress who gives no fucks about Trump. Joy is this moment in the life of Venus Williams.

Women's March on Washington. © E.A. Crunden

Women's March on Washington. © E.A. Crunden

 

News Around the Globe

Africa. Gambia's leader has finally left the country, taking with him $11 million in state funds. His replacement wants a truth commission established to review the past 22 years. It is now estimated that more than 230 people were killed by the Nigerian government in an accidental strike that hit a refugee camp. Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world by at least this measurement. Clinics across Africa will take a massive hit in funding due to the new American administration.

Americas. An outbreak of yellow fever is hitting Brazil hard. Mexico's government has laid out its negotiating talking points as it prepares to deal with its neighbor to the north. On that note: Donald Trump's first days in office have been a whirlwind -- the global gag rule, which restricts funding to organizations around the world that provide information on abortion, has been reinstated. It will kill people. He has also killed the TPP, a questionable deal the demise of which will nonetheless cost the U.S. some standing, in addition to pushing it further away from the world. Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines are also back from the dead. The wall is happening but Mexico is not paying for it -- Americans will. Immigration is fucked for undocumented people, a lot of Muslims, refugees, and maybe many, many others. Trump will publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants (presumably not the white kind.) Black sites could be re-opened. Trump is also alleging that he lost the popular vote because of voter fraud, which is 1) a lie, and 2) being used as an excuse to crack down on voters of color.

Asia & Australia. Syrian peace talks have been ongoing in Astana, Kyrgyzstan, and are not going well. China is cracking down on VPN usage, in addition to asserting its control over territory in the South China Sea. An Indonesian province prone to fire declared a state of emergency over smog levels. Kuwait executed seven prisoners, the first time since 2013 that executions have occurred. Australia interrogates its privilege. Indigenous Australia wants none of your shit. Families of the victims of Rodrigo Duterte's drug war in the Philippines are preparing legal action.

Europe. Britain must consult Parliament before triggering Brexit. Germany is moving away from a culture of Holocaust denial, which is troubling at best and terrifying at worst. Poland is slowly descending into authoritarianism. The Netherlands are trying to help people around the world pay for abortion to compensate for a lack of American funds. Domestic violence in Russia is basically no longer a crime. There is a very real chance that nativist Marine Le Pen is going to be the next president of France.


 

Recs

To do: Turn off the news, get off social media, spend some time with your favorite being -- whether it's a person, an animal, or yourself.

To make: I am a big quiche enthusiast, something that is upsetting when you are a person who makes all things from scratch. Thus it is with sadness that I share this news: the red pepper-kale-Brussels sprout quiche I made sans cheese this week would've been fine had not my crust been lackluster. That having been said, don't let my tragedy stop you: this broccoli-cheddar-eggplant quiche looks amaze.

To listen to (and watch)Swet Shop Boys -- Zayn Malik. Swet Shops Boys is a partnership between Das Racist frontman Heems and actor Riz Ahmed, who has made no secret of his thoughts on religion, race, and xenophobia -- horrors the duo's latest single tackles in full. Stereogum describes the video to prepare you: "In the Broken Antenna-directed clip, Heems, Riz, and other young Asian folks mob together on London street corers, shooting off fireworks while drones circle them. If you’re just watching it as a badass rap video, it’ll work that way. But there is obviously a ton of subtext about how brown people just found even more reasons to be nervous in the West." OH BOY.

Quote of the Week

"Go eat sh*t." -- Deadspin to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Fun Fact

Statistically, terrorism kills far more people living in Muslim-majority countries than those dwelling in their Western counterparts. While many Westerners live in fear of terrorism carried out by Muslims (and have fun names for this, all of which are a variation on "radical Islamic terror"), the vast majority of victims killed by groups like the Islamic State are actually Muslim. Numbers vary, with a few people arguing that 95% of all terror victims are Muslim (probably an overly-high estimate.) But even looking at last fall's numbers, most people with the ability to do math will agree that the majority of terror victims practice Islam in some way, shape, or form. This is, as initially noted, predominately due to the high concentration of attacks in Muslim-majority countries -- the same attacks spurring refugees to flee for Europe and the Americas.

Tl;dr a lot of people who practice the religion of Islam are coming to the West, and almost none are terrorists and almost all are running from terror. (Or just coming to live or go to school or hang out, much like other humans traveling to other places.)

The end of an era, the beginning of an error

 

Blues Buzz

TrumpWorld. Counterinaugural protest master list. Three women going to the Women's March on Washington on why they're marching. Chelsea Manning will finally be free and in her own words, here is what she suffered. Hottest year on record -- third year in a row. Dylann Roof is an American problem. The exploitation of MLK Jr.'s legacy by white supremacy. Buffy, but way less problematic. Trump and facts. The lawmakers boycotting Trump's inauguration. Self-careLin Manuel Miranda and The West Wing. People across 22 countries think their nations are in decline and that the world is getting worse. RIP Eugene Cernan, the last astronaut to step foot on the moon. On female friendships in the outdoors. John Lewis' book sales are doing very well on Amazon. Non-fiction by non-men. "I think genre is as much of a lie as gender is."  The queer Muslim couples marrying before Trump's inauguration. The gentrification of city-based sitcoms. 

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; piece by Kim Gordon. © E.A. Crunden

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; piece by Kim Gordon. © E.A. Crunden


News Around the Globe

Africa: A Nigerian jet accidentally bombed a refugee camp for survivors of Boko Haram attacks; at least 70 people have died. Did fake news and Facebook push South Sudan to genocide? Western African states are preparing to intervene in Gambia -- and Senegal has sent troops in. The country's president declared a state of emergency in an effort to keep his opponent (sworn in over the border) from taking power, and thousands of Gambians are racing across the border to Senegal, which is bracing itself for even more refugees. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a suicide attack outside the University of Maiduguri. Nigeria's president will be taking medical leave in the UK. 

Americas: A crisis within Brazil is brewing following breakouts and uproar in the country's prison system; 1000 soldiers are being sent to deal with the problems. Another Mexican environmental activist has been killed. Five people were shot and killed at a Mexican music festival. A 15 year-old shot four people at a private school in northern Mexico. 'El Chapo' is being extradited to the U.S. The Greatest Show on Earth ends. Parts of the U.S. are warming faster than the entire globe. Noor Salman, wife of the Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, was arrested for obstructing justice.

Asia: Giving up on MH370. A new report says the war in Yemen has killed 10,000 people. A Turkish cargo jet crashed outside of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, killing around 40 people. China's president, Xi Jinping, gave a speech embracing globalization and free trade. The long-feuding Hamas and Fatah parties representing Palestinians are set to form a unity government. The prime minister of Malaysia is calling on Muslim countries to help the Rohingya, Burma's persecuted Muslim minority. A high-rise collapsed in Tehran due to a fire, killing at least 20 people.

Europe: Angela Merkel's uphill battle to being re-elected in Germany. Hard Brexit. Scotland not into hard Brexit. The man suspected of killing 39 people at a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year's Eve was arrested. Even more powers have been approved for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Edward Snowden's residency permit in Russia has been extended; he can remain until 2020. The center-right European People's Party has won the presidency of the EU. Sweden's very cool efforts to eliminate waste extend to the stickers found on fruits and vegetables. An avalanche in Italy buried a hotel with numerous casualties and as many as 30 people still missing. 


 

Recs

To do: Go hiking! I deeply hesitate to endorse any corporations in any capacity (and this should not be considered an endorsement of ANY OTHER COMPONENT OF THIS COMPANY) but in the U.S., REI is one company that hosts hikes and outdoor gatherings in various major metro areas, and I'm getting set to check it out. Similar organizations host comparable excursions, but if company-free hiking is your style there are numerous options, depending on location, time, money, and individual level of tolerance for socializing. Finding the balance that works for you can be a challenge, but I 100% recommend getting outdoors (regardless of where on this large and beautiful planet you live) and surrounding yourself with nature. While you're at it, read up on climate change -- and work to do something to protect our environment

To make: Comfort food is a crucial component of my life, both as an anxious person and as a person born and raised in the South, where we value these things. Preferences range (my favorite person swears by daal, made properly and in large quantities; I know other people who are cheese-by-the-block enthusiasts) but I look to home for consolation. Homesick Texan is an amazing blog, and I stand by the combo of flour tortillas (or corn), beans made the best way (albeit veg-friendly and kosher),  rice, guac, Greek yogurt over sour cream (which can be hard on finicky stomachs like mine), pico de gallo, and an assortment of other delicious additions. When you need comfort, you need comfort -- eat something that makes you feel safe and cared for.

To remember: This is a really hard time for a lot of people. Self-care, look out for the people around you (especially those who are more at-risk than you might be), and remember that it is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender.

 

Quote of the Week

"I find it hard to believe that [Donald Trump] rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world." -- Vladimir Putin on whether or not Trump met prostitutes

Fun Fact

A big focus of the incoming American presidential administration is the repeal of "Obamacare" (more officially known as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.) Repeal would be a complicated process, but one that's certainly doable. One of the bigger question marks currently circulating is whether Republicans in Congress would follow a "repeal and delay" or a "repeal and replace" process -- the former meaning the ACA would go away with no replacement in place, the latter meaning a replacement would be immediately implemented. Business Insider can lead you down the road of questions, if you are so interested. For now, everything is up in the air, but there are a number of terrible things that could easily happen regardless of which path is taken. These include: millions of Americans without health insurance, many deaths, health workers out of a job, and a crushing economic impact. Fun! 

Make America sick again

Long week for D.C. residents -- Trump cabinet confirmation appointments, fluctuating weather patterns probably courtesy of a warming planet, and our public transportation system is still floundering. One week to go til the Trump presidency kicks off. Woo-hoo. 

Blues Buzz

Stop calling it 'creative writing.' The myth of the antisocial writer. Straight people are so fragile. The white masculinity of Casey Affleck. Meryl Streep went straight at Donald Trump because she doesn't give a fuck. So did Viola Davis, another hero. (But also, here's the comeback to one of Streep's main points.) Golden Globe winners here, notably robbed were Riz Ahmed, Mahershala Ali, Dev Patel, and basically everything that isn't La La Land, a movie about white heterosexuals. (But yay Moonlight! And Tracee Ellis Ross! And Evan Rachel Wood!) A message to our doomed American colleagues from Russian media. Orcas continue to die at SeaWorld. The Handmaid's Tale is coming. The problems with erotica. Texan misery is a vegan taco cleanse. We're going to lose the polar bears. Creators of color: podcast edition. Writers resist. Did you think urine was sterile? Some people thought urine was sterile. The NYT does not fully understand intersectionality. More books to read! Joe Biden receiving a presidential medal of honor is a good time for us to remind ourselves why Joe Biden is a problem. On going through an eating disorder, a highly gendered struggle, when you are neither a man nor a woman. White women: come get your friends. Also, more generally, don't police your friend's decision to have an abortion, ever.

Denver, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden

Denver, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden

 

Around the Globe

Asia: Four people were killed in a truck attack in Jerusalem. Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died, leaving behind a complex legacy and a void for reformers. North Korea, still at it with those missiles. Suicide attacks in Baghdad killed more than 20 people last week. Iraqi troops are moving to reclaim Mosul. Saudi is pro-Uber, very not pro-women driving for Uber. China continues to flex its muscles in the South China Sea, which is going to be fun because one of China's main adversaries in this issue is the U.S. and the potentially-incoming secretary of state has some thoughts on this.

Europe: Cyprus entered the final stage of reunification talks. Austria's proposal to create centers outside of the EU to house refugees has been slammed by progressives. London tube strike. Pope Francis v. the Knights of Malta: Condom Edition. The U.S. is deploying 3000 troops to Poland, and Russia isn't happy.

Africa: South Africa's beaches remain racially politicized. The South African ANC party, which controls the country, may finally be ready for a female leader (albeit the ex-wife of its current leader,  the controversial Jacob Zuma.) The Ivory Coast's prime minister resigned and dissolved the government. Ghana's new president plagiarized parts of his inauguration speech. Amnesty International says war criminals are not being held accountable in CAR. Nigeria ditched Taiwan for mainland China.

Americas: Venezuela, which is suffering from horrifying inflation levels, raised its minimum wage by 50%. Mexico is not paying for the wall. The U.S.'s 'wet foot, dry foot' policy re Cuba has come to an end. In the middle of the night, Senate Republicans laid the groundwork for repealing the Affordable Care Act -- a move that could leave millions of Americans without health insurance. Barely in to 2017 and trans* women of color in the U.S. are already being murdered. A National Guard veteran killed five people and injured six at the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida. So much for nepotism laws, Jared Kushner will be Trump's special advisor. Something about Russia, Trump, Buzzfeed, British intelligence, blackmail, and maybe prostitutes? Also Trump's cabinet crashing and burning and just generally ick. White supremacist Dylann Roof will face the death penalty. Oof Volkswagon.

Recs

Listen to: A podcast! Enjoying Call Your Girlfriend in these times; it doesn't always speak to me but Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are both a delight, as is their long-distance friendship, and taste for everything ranging from things I enjoy deeply (feminism, wine, lengthy conversations about menstruation) to things I know nothing about (reality television and really all hip pop culture more generally.) All genders should investigate! 

WatchSense8, a television hour I'm royally late to. Queer-positive (with trans* representation that is not awful), in addition to being international and 'diverse', our favorite eyebrow-raising word. Caveats for violence later on in the first season (some of which may be deeply triggering), in addition to the strange phenomenon that is citizens from every country on earth appearing to speak English even when clearly not a native English speaker (subtitles, they exist for a reason.) Still recommended, and on Netflix, for your viewing pleasure.

Make: Apple tart. I have a very long history of excelling when cooking and failing when baking, something I'm hoping 2017 will remedy. I also have an obscene number of apples in my fridge. Pray for me.

Quote of the Week

"I’m not trying to protest dresses! But I wanted to make sure that young girls and women knew they aren’t a requirement. And that you don’t have to wear one if you don’t want to, and to just be yourself because your worth is more than that.”" -- Evan Rachel Wood, on her choice to wear a tuxedo to the Golden Globes

Fun Fact

Oymyakon, Russia is either the or one of the (depending on source) coldest inhabited place(s) on the planet. Located in Siberia, the village has seen record lows of -96.16 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Atlas Obscura, days in Oymyakon are around three hours long in the winter, 21 hours in the summer, and the ground is permanently frozen. Students are typically kept in class unless the temperature plummets to -52 degrees Fahrenheit, and it takes approximately one minute on the average day to freeze to death if hypothetically outside and naked. Making vacation plans now. 

The world ended and yet here we are

First things first: 

When I started this newsletter (around three years ago, when the world was marginally less full of darkness and despair; a lifetime ago, really), it served primarily as a useful tool: for keeping myself up to date with the news, for redirecting my constant stream of links from other areas on the internet, and just generally serving as a distraction in a world full of stops and starts. It has evolved significantly since that time, and I've increasingly wondered what exactly I want to do with it. News around the world still has my eye, but so to do other things. Photography, cooking, music, and on. Headlines from around the world, a picture of mud, followed by quiche, and maybe the latest from Justin Vernon. Can all of that coexist in one space? Is there any interest in that, in the harmony of words mud quiche noise? Perhaps, perhaps not. Over the course of the next few weeks (maybe months; maybe more) I'll be sorting out what I want this space to be like. In the interim, a few structural adjustments have occurred -- but the news continues. Cheers, Ev.

(If you've never gotten this email before and just got it now, it is likely due to a recent Mailchimp fiasco; feel free to leave or stay, but you're always welcome, and I promise to maximize the quiche and minimize the mud.)


 

Blues Buzz

Closing the gender gap in the great outdoors. Saudi women being amazingLiterary adaptions in 2017 to get excited about. Julian Castro on the future of affordable housing. La La Land: White AFHipsters broke my gaydar (and Effing Dykes is back!) Swamps are good + should not be drained. Beychella. 30 days of fitness to start off your 2017. Homosexuality and the Black church. The need for safe spaces in the queer community. Bisexual men exist. Did poor health care for women cause the downfall of Star Wars' old republic? Places you should go (#1: Canada!) Your shopping habits hurt endangered species. Americans have been messing with elections for years -- so why is Russian interference spurring such outrage? Yiddish lit wars. I too am tired of people saying they're speechless when anti-Semitic things happen. A big, gender-shaped mistake. One man's fight is putting transgender rights on the agenda in China. Megyn Kelly is not our friend and she is racist. The future of feminism in China. The erasure of Islam from the poetry of Rumi. When women "write dark."

Boulder, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden

Boulder, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden

 

Around the Globe

Europe: As many as 39 people were murdered in a New Years Eve night club attack in Istanbul, which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for. Russia is seeking out military exercise opportunities with the Philippines. The UK's ambassador to the EU decided to quit, conveniently because Brexit. Ukip's Nigel Farage will attend Trump's inauguration. A Romanian Muslim woman who would've been a first twice over had she become her country's prime minister was denied the job and offered a consolation prize position as deputy instead. Finland is working to pay a basic income to its unemployed citizens. 

Asia: Japan has criminalized online stalking. In 2016, 6,878 civilians were killed in Iraq, per the UN. A kidnapped female Iraqi journalist was released unharmed. Syrian rebel groups have frozen peace talks, accusing the Assad government of violating the terms. Mass-molestations in Bangalore on New Year's Eve are bringing the conversation back to women, men, and gender-based violence in India. An Israeli soldier was convicted of the murder of a wounded and disarmed Palestinian man. As many as 150 inmates escaped a prison in the Philippines during a jailbreak. Burma has once again rejected that there is a genocide being waged against the nation's Rohingya Muslim population. Indonesia and Australia are bickering. North Korea + intercontinental missiles = oh boy.

Africa: Senegalese expats will be able to run in upcoming elections. Gambia's electoral commission chief went into hiding, which is a terrible sign -- the country's dictator now has until January 19 to step down, or else there will be an intervention. Four UN guards were wounded in a bombing in Mogadishu. Nigeria's drought is severely impacting relations between herders and farmers. Words of comfort in South Sudan, where citizens are benefitting from books. Germany is being sued for damages over the "forgotten genocide" in Namibia during the early 1900s against the Herero and Nama peoples. No charges have been sought against French troops in CAR, despite allegations of rape.

Americas: A deadly riot at a Brazilian jail resulted in the deaths of nearly 60 inmates and dozens more going on the run. A white man with a disability was allegedly kidnapped and tortured, an attack that was (incorrectly) blamed on Black Lives Matter. Texas is doing its best to ruin the lives of trans* people and Paul Ryan is doing his best to ruin the lives of anyone needing Planned Parenthood's (crucial and life-saving) services. U.S. Republicans gutted the Office of Congressional Ethics only to un-gut it after uproar. (It could still be re-gutted.) The nightmare fight over Obamacare begins. The NAACP is taking on Jeff Sessions, noted racist. Mexico has allowed babies registered with maternal surnames for the first time. #BeatingWomenIsHappiness. Mexico's fired foreign minister returns, courtesy of Trump and just in time for the Mexican economy to continue to crash. Venezuela, where citizens are rapidly running out of money and unable to afford food, underwent a controversial cabinet reshuffling

Recs

Listen to: Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Someone to Stay

Make: Latkes. The season has passed, potatoes remain a vital source of joy and comfort. Sephardic style preferred, individual twists and takes encouraged. 

ReadI Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles. Fantastic poetry, with an emphasis on queer and gender variant perspectives, for our upcoming dark times. (Bonus Myles.)

Quote of the Week

Fun Fact

"Kyriarchy", a word, coined by Elisabeth Schlüssler Fiorenza, is, per Wikipedia, "a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission...[it] encompasses sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, economic injustice, colonialism, militarism, ethnocentrism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of dominating hierarchies in which the subordination of one person or group to another is internalized and institutionalized."

Now you know what we're up against: The kyriarchy.