And we’re off

Burned out, the new year kind

The new year is here and moving rapidly along, so quickly that I spent one day this past week with my head resting against a wall, four minutes from nodding off, for at least five hours. A lot is changing, really fast. Last year felt like a series of deferred goals and plans, everything pushed further and further down the road until it toppled over the edge and into the new year, and now that new year is here and somehow things are happening. Maybe most decisively, we got a cat, and that’s been a change (a living thing!!!) and I’m still adjusting to what that means for how we operate in our home and in our lives. He’s great and he’s new and he’s different.

At work there are other changes as our newsroom adjusts and takes on new ambitions and steps up its game. My team is working more than ever, which is one of those things that is objectively great, albeit with the heavy byproducts of exhaustion, the fear of change, and my own stubbornness. I’m glad to be pushed and stretched and improved, but I also resent the growth. That will stop, eventually, but for now, in all the fire and frenzy of January, I’ve been giving into exhaustion and temper tantrums. Apologies to all.

What else, what else? I watched the internet have a meltdown over a viral essay on millennial burnout this past week, and that (the meltdown) was an exercise in patience, empathy, and irritation. Interestingly, I liked the essay, which included all the caveats (the author is white, straight, grew up financially comfortable, etc), not because I related to every part of it, but because it helped me relate more to my friends (who are not very white but are mostly straight and almost universally come from affluent backgrounds). The people I love are wildly different from me and one of the few points of similarity is how we’re all exhausted. It was nice to see that articulated! But then everyone online was very angry, for reasons I hadn’t even thought to tease out because I took them for granted — of course everything is worse and different if you’re a person of color, if you’re an immigrant, if you’re sick, if you’re poor. Of course.

I felt annoyed all week, both that everyone was complaining and that I hadn’t thought to. I could’ve shared the article and wailed that it didn’t include me, that it didn’t give a name or a space to other, more nuanced forms of burnout. I could’ve! I just didn’t because I was so relieved to finally have a point of comparison and because I knew full well that I’m burned out despite the nice things I’ve had and would be even without the struggles I’ve had, and that my friends are burned out despite their privileges and despite their struggles (which are very different from mine and hurt them in ways I can’t even begin to understand). And now it’s been a week, the article’s author (a writer I like and respect) has spent days elevating other perspectives on burnout, and I’ve realized that most of the world is not on Twitter and has no idea this ever happened. I live in a bubble!

That all dominated my week, when I had planned to do more productive things — fix up the bike my friend gave me, study so I can have a driver’s license before I’m 30, finally overhaul this newsletter, etc. None of those things happened! But I do plan to study for the license this weekend and, re: this newsletter, I’m slowly changing things up. It’s five years old now and it’s changed dramatically along with me. Once this was devoted to world news and events, which I thought would come in lock-step with my life. Now, I’m a climate reporter and I struggle to keep up with what’s happening in South Asia and Eastern Europe, regions that used to dominate my daily reading.

That depresses me; I love world news and I loved writing and editing world news. It will still have a place in my life and in this newsletter. But what I do is changing and I want to honor that, to give space to the new things I learn about every week, and the fascinating, weird beat that is all things climate and environment. I also want to write more creatively; every since my graduate program ended I’ve been left without a lot of creative opportunities, outside of the limited openings journalism allows. All of which is to say, this little creation I’ve had going for half a decade is still going, just going differently! As always I’ll keep changing it up to see what works. And I hope you’ll all be around for that, whatever that is.

Columbia Heights, D.C. © E.A. Crunden

Columbia Heights, D.C. © E.A. Crunden

Blues Buzz

48 books by women and non-binary writers of color. I live for Laura Dern. Appalachian whiteness: a history that never existed. How millennials became the burn-out generation and a deeply thoughtful response to how being burned-out is different for different (read: more vulnerable) people. The lesbian South. Is San Antonio America’s future? On AOC: the exception to the rulers. What it felt like when “Cat Person” went viral (and how strange it was for its queer author.) Han Kang! The wonder of the Arkansas Ozarks.


Green Scene

Me: The shutdown is taking a toll on national parks and advocates plan to FOIA later to assess the damage — but there’s a problem. EPA employees are also suffering during the shutdown, along with the communities they work to protect. Brazil’s new far-right president is making bold pro-industry moves that threaten the Amazon (and global climate efforts).

All non-Gulf coastal states now oppose offshore drilling. And the shutdown seems to be stalling Trump’s own offshore drilling ambitions. West Coast governors asked Trump for wildfire aid; Trump responded by threatening to revoke California’s FEMA aid. Florida’s sweeping new water policies come peppered with caveats.


Elsewhere: If we want to make the green scene the space scene, NASA’s doing some cool shit (so is China, on the far side of the moon). A clean energy revolution rises in the Midwest….thanks to utilities. A multi-state offshore wind collaborative on the East Coast? The shutdown: not great for the planet! Rural towns in the Texas Panhandle boom thanks to immigrants working in agriculture.

Fur seals face a wormier world. Six texts by women on climate change. Solar panel discrimination in Miami? For Georgia farmers, 2018 was gut-wrenching. Florida’s conservative Panhandle hates the shutdown. Texas could run mostly on renewables, per a new report. South Carolina also not into offshore drilling. For one part of the ocean, climate change means getting cooler. The ocean is warming way faster than we thought. Full steam ahead for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline amid plenty of controversy surrounding the Democratic governors who approved it.



Around the Globe

Far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro has assumed power in Brazil, immediately targeting LGBTQ, indigenous, and other vulnerable Brazilians, along with the environment. Netflix capitulated to Saudi Arabia and took down a Patriot Act episode critical of the regime. Congo faced an election delay, one that endured into this week with Felix Tshisekedi emerging as victor. Sudan is blocking social media in an attempt to curb protests against Omar al-Bashir, who has said he will not resign. Yemen’s tragedy is far from over.

Malaysia’s smoking ban isn’t going over well. The stock market shuddered along with China. A no-deal Brexit would be a nightmare for Northern Ireland. It’s the U.S. vs. Venezuela at the WTO. Another term for Venezuela’s Maduro. Trump may declare a national emergency to build a border wall, while the U.S. government concludes its third week of what is now the longest U.S. shutdown in history. Withdrawal from Syria? Junk food has a hold on China’s health officials. Garment workers in Bangladesh are still demanding their rights.



Spoken & Written

“That realization recast my recent struggles: Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it — explicitly and implicitly — since I was young.” — Anne Helen Peterson



Recs

  • My great-grandmother had a persimmon tree in Texas and I grew up hearing a lot about it. The market on our D.C. street offered persimmons this week, so I bought some and I’m going to be ambitious with them — a cake? Scones?

  • I’ve spent about 15 years trying to re-configure my relationship with Judaism; I’m pretty religious but not always committed to weekly rituals, for a lot of reasons. Still, I went to a Shabbos dinner this weekend and the prayers came back to me quickly, even after a long break. It feels nice to reconnect with something that has had relevance throughout your life, even with ups and downs, and I hope everyone has that thing and finds joy in reviving it, whatever it may be.

Lol, we survived for now (?)

Non-Jewish New Year

It’s here, it’s here, it’s the end. This year was so exhausting and so much of the exhausting part came towards the latter half, which just feels unfair? I’m a list maker and number checker and if I’m behind on something I leave myself time to catch up, but this year was swallowed, by sudden and unending family visa problems, by midterm elections, by dramatic changes at my newsroom, by unused vacation time, by warfare with loved ones (over everything from significant political differences to tacos to newsroom clashes). Everything went to shit, a bit! And now the end of the year is at hand and guess who does not have a driver’s license, a cat, or any level of fluency in a desired language, correct, it is me.

That list of failings aside, it was a strangely good year (for me) in some ways. I began 2018 feeling stuck at work and in an argument over the framing of a story (literally, this is how I spent January 2, 2018, in a fight). A few months later I migrated to our climate team, and that move has been…pretty great, actually. It’s changed and challenged me and I spent a lot of the last part of this year feeling subpar and mediocre and talentless, but I also think I’ve undeniably become a better writer and a more aware person and I’m wildly grateful to the people (women, they’re all women, very hard-working women) who have invested so much time in me and in pushing me and in making me better.

And so many things happened this year because of that pushing, because of that making. I reported from Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas (!), and Michigan. My ledes go unburied. I’ve written long and short and interviewed and slammed through my anxiety to make something of the things happening around me and I’m very proud! Which is something, really, and it’s a nice something.

For next year, the bar is set low in a lot of ways — there’s a lot happening in this country and if you’re someone who isn’t happy about it, there is approximately 1% chance that next year won’t prove absolutely gloomy at some point, in some way. I can’t change that and I am a reporter and this is my life and reality, so I’m realistic about that. In my personal life I also want to be realistic; everyone in it is getting older and more tired and more drained. That’s just what happens to bodies and relationships and lives — they get a bit stretched out. Still, I would like to write more (creatively; I have a nice masters degree quietly rotting despite the thousands of dollars that I did not have that I paid for it) and yes, get the cat, and yes, get the driver’s license, and also finally answer the pleas from the Spanish app I have which stopped pleading with me to practice many, many months ago.

Maybe it happens and I hope it all does. I also hope I don’t drop the ball on running regularly and that I don’t fly off the handle at friends when I feel righteously enraged and also that I am better about pushing myself and working through anxiety and fear and exhaustion. Who knows, not me, I do not know what will happen! Maybe I will also finally improve this 5-years-running newsletter and figure out what I want with it, dream big. But either way I hope your year is good and bright and that things are soft and tender when you need them to be and that you are kind to the world around you even if it is not always the kindest to you.


El Paso, Texas. © E.A. Crunden

El Paso, Texas. © E.A. Crunden


2018, what a year

I wrote a lot this year — more than 100 pieces, which is the reality of life at a small, online publication where I spent the first 4 months of 2018 on a daily news cycle team driven by aggregation. But I’m proud of a lot of the original climate and green scene work I did, as well as immigration pieces and pieces with a focus on the South and Appalachia (my life, my heart). It was a ride and these were the highlights:

A year of pipelines! I talked to the doctors who struggled to access pipeline protestors in Virginia. Some of those same protestors later faced fines for protesting on their own land. The Forest Service was later slammed with a lawsuit relating to the doctors’ lack of access. Those protests against pipelines on the East Coast have been marked by gains and losses. Meanwhile, the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana remains an ongoing source of controversy.

A year of Scott Pruitt! It would take forever to list every Pruitt incident I covered, but I do remember that time in April when “at least 10 ethics investigations” seemed like a lot (we were so young and naive then.) This man also resigned while I was on a mountain in Acadia National Park and it burns me TO THIS DAY.

A year of natural disasters! Wildfires in Colorado left undocumented immigrants facing hard choices. Incarcerated people fought fires in California, at great personal risk, while farmworkers stayed at work in the fields. Immigrant communities in North Carolina struggled to find shelter as Hurricane Florence drew near.

In Puerto Rico, locals told me the island’s rocky recovery has distracted from its pre-existing problems. But the island’s most vulnerable communities have worked to survive following Maria. And I profiled the Puerto Rican activists pushing the island towards renewables, an effort decades in the making.

A lot of Texas: The oil boom has environmental advocates grappling with hard choices. The 2020 citizenship Census question is spelling trouble in Texas and protests against Trump’s immigration policies have taken on a special fervor. Trump’s call for troops on the U.S.-Mexico border went over poorly with border communities and they told me about it. Record-breaking heat overwhelmed the state’s electrical grid. The border wall is devastating for Texas parks and wildlife. The most vulnerable Texans have not recovered from Hurricane Harvey. So much Beto! (And his fight with Ted Cruz — I was in Austin for their first debate.)

…Plus, whatever people are saying now, the man did highlight climate issues. (And helped change the state-wide and national fight for environmental protection.) I also closely followed Joseph Kopser’s science-laden campaign and his young supporters. And I wrote about the most controversial ballot proposal I’ve ever covered, coincidentally in my hometown.

And Florida: I have learned so much about red tide. I also went to the state and covered how farmworkers are talking about climate change (something I wrote about a lot); the toll climate gentrification is taking on Miami; how climate activists are gearing up for a fight; and how the primaries definitely didn’t change the red tide emphasis in the general election. And sure enough, climate issues reigned on the campaign trail. (+ Even after the state moved on from the primaries, climate gentrification reared its head again.)

Some Michigan, some more midterms: The state’s Democratic primary was at times shaped by environmental issues. Environmental justice champions emerged there, as they did around the country. I asked Rashida Tlaib about her green vision for Michigan. From Flint, I wrote about the resilience of its residents. And I covered local efforts towards a “green wave” in the state. More broadly, green groups in the state threw their support behind voting rights and redistricting campaigns. Outside of Michigan, I covered Washington’s ambitious carbon tax proposal, which ultimately failed (but carbon pricing is still going to be big in 2019.)

And more! The National Climate Assessment had bad news for everyone. Developing countries are suffering while polluters like the U.S. fail to step up. Lawmakers pushed back on FEMA over climate change. Connecticut passed a sweeping bill targeting sea level rise. A bipartisan consensus opposing offshore drilling has emerged in coastal states. Immigrant detainees are being held at EPA Superfund sites (and both immigration and environmental advocates aren’t happy). The EPA “secret science” proposal remains among its most controversial. Low-income communities and the environment both suffer from SNAP crises. With my dear Amanda Michelle Gomez, I wrote about Trump’s plan to label immigrants a “public charge.” And I documented who’s benefitting from Trump’s WOTUS attack: golf course owners, farmers, and property developers.

More! Students of color in Milwaukee want to talk about the school-to-prison pipeline. I covered the Poor People’s Campaign kickoff, as well as its focus on ecological devastation. The EPA has slowly removed its website references to climate change. Trump’s brutal crackdown on highly-skilled visa recipients has gone largely uncovered by the media. Islamophobia is still rampant in the U.S. Brazil panicked over Bolsonaro and is now panicking some more as the country abandons its climate leadership. That’s a global reality, though, as we saw in Katowice.

That’s that. Here’s what to watch in 2019 when the Trump administration will go to war with Democrats over the environment. Bound to be a calm, fun time! Especially given our ongoing shutdown, which is terrible for people and also for national parks and public spaces. Very chill!

Shutdown

Shut-in and shutdown

This is a massively reduced newsletter, largely because of the chaos that is this time of year — vacations, Christians celebrating and closing everything, slowly pulling together all of the things people need in the new year, etc, etc. For me that means running back to D.C. from beautiful New Mexico and struggling to clean my house in advance of our best friend coming into town. It also means the government is irregularly shut down — shut down vs. shutdown and when to use which has been a favorite game of mine for the past few days — and that my newsroom is regularly shut down and that my favorite cafe down the street will be shut down on the 25th and my yearly panic of where to get overpriced and much-loved espresso will begin. We’ve been reviewing finances, planning our year (our life, now, I guess), baking (baking, baking, I think a lot about anxiety baking), hiking (that’s me, A Hiker), and trudging towards what is bound to be another very long year at the end of which I will be within moments from loathing everyone around me. (2020 talk, what else!)

But until then, here’s a final (small) newsletter before a round-up of some kind of this long-ass year, and if you are celebrating something around this time, I hope it’s great, and if you’re not, I hope you’re eating something delicious and enjoying the company of great people. My Jewish-Muslim household, forever waging the War on Christmas, will be doing the same.


Blues Buzz

This essay, on top surgery, is a must-read. What cafes did for liberalism (and Jews.) A lot of Latin Americans have Jewish ancestry. Hollywood’s version of girl power isn’t ideal. American Socialists have a race problem.

El Paso. © E.A. Crunden

El Paso. © E.A. Crunden


Green Scene

Me: In 2019, Democrats are set to go to war with Trump over the environment. Here’s what a government shutdown means for national parks. Elsewhere: A deal in Katowice. Time is running out for coal miners grappling with black lung disease. A devastating tsunami in Indonesia.


Spoken & Written

“Last year, I publicly admitted to having a body for the first time, an act so embarrassing I have still not fully recovered.” — Daniel Ortberg


Recs

The War on Christmas, best achieved through eating challah and potato kugel on 12/25. | Small hikes, man, they’re great!

This is mostly about Texas

Travel, Texas, Twitter

Greetings from El Paso, where I’m currently squatting as I make my way through a small, meandering southwestern solo trip conceived primarily to burn through an abundance of vacation days. It’s been awhile since I went on a trip alone that wasn’t for work and I’ve already remembered all of the things I love and hate about traveling alone. Mostly — I miss my partner, I get bored, things become infinitely more dangerous and menacing at times, and I get stuck in my head. But — I love meandering the streets of new places, lost in thought, able to finally take a break from my hectic life to be quiet, all on my own schedule, which I can easily throw to hell and cut off at 6 p.m. when it’s dark and I can bury myself in an AirBnB and read, or take notes, or sleep. It has its ups and downs, but, for the most part, I’m glad for it.

Being in El Paso does mean being in Texas, though, a major source of thought and angst and love and pride and misery for me, which anyone who knows me knows, right off the bat. I love where I’m from and I hated it for years and I haven’t moved back but I am always trying to visit. It’s complicated! I have a weird relationship with Texas and being here always means reviewing that, over and over again.

…which is made way worse by the U.S. presidential election cycle! To be a journalist in 2018 is to be online which is to be right in the middle of a political nightmare without end. And that means my life right now is seeing the words “Bernie” and “Beto” twenty times every hour and being unable to mute either, much to my steadily mounting annoyance. Something I want to emphasize is that journalists (and I believe this firmly) should be non-partisan: we don’t endorse candidates. You cannot (I feel) report on what you endorse. Which is different than being political and different than voting (I am political and I do vote.) The nature of a fractured, polarized country, however, is that when you’re left with two candidates at the end of the day, one is virtually always less likely to ensure the mass-misery of the nation than the other, and that is not great but that is America.

That’s how I see general elections and that’s how I write about them. Primaries are different and, if you’ve survived one, you know they’re hellish, hair-splitting, divisive slogs through a crash-course in why a two-party system can be problematic. (Two parties = two options = 5,000 opinions per side.) The Beto-Bernie ruckus is a good example of this: two white men who have not announced they are running for president have already split online Democratic voters down the middle. That’s been exhausting for me, for reasons that being back in Texas is helping me to formulate. Namely this: as someone who writes for a progressive publication and makes my life in left-of-center spaces, I have an obvious understanding of Sanders-esque politics. (I also like health care, want to fight climate change, hold the wealthy accountable, etc etc!) But I’m also a person from the South, with a deep awareness of the reality of how Americans vote. I knew in 2016 that Bernie wouldn’t win the Democratic nomination, for a simple reason: he didn’t win Southerners of color, a crucial, king-making voting bloc that arguably every single Democrat has nonetheless let down, without fail. This is also why I’ve never entertained the “Bernie would’ve won” argument I’ve heard repeatedly in D.C. and NYC — how can someone win a general election if they can’t win a primary?

Bernie is a (very old) white man, one who has struggled to appeal to, most starkly, voters of color. Beto, by contrast, is a young, hip, new white man, with vague politics and sweeping rhetoric, bolstered by a diverse coalition of supporters. (Obama-esque, if you will, to invoke a president I’ve long had qualms with after he orchestrated mass-deportations across Texas.) Both of these men are lacking in various ways (who isn’t?); both have some perks. Should we be talking about them a year out from 2020? In my earnest opinion, fucking hell no.

However! I’m annoyed by the dismissal I’ve seen Northeastern leftists show towards Beto, a man who came within 2.7% of flipping a Texas senate seat. That’s huge, it’s unprecedented, I saw and I gaped and I took note. And while leftist Twitter has largely dubbed him a centrist post-midterms, that wasn’t really true this November — by Texas standards, he actually ran far to the left. I wish people who are not from the South would recognize that for what it is and bend their understanding of this country just a bit.

But! That doesn’t really change my wariness, of Beto, of Bernie, of anyone. In all honesty, my exhausted, single thought about the 2020 election is that, in a country where people who are not white and who are not men struggle every day, I’m frustrated by the centering (from everyone) of people who are, in fact, white men. But I’m also frustrated by bubble-liberals, and by the disproportionate power certain cities (like the one where I live) hold in a country where most states and cities fall behind and suffer as a result. A number of Texas progressives I respect have argued that Beto should run again for senate in 2020, something that would see him remain to the left in a state that has struggled under single-party rule for decades. They’ve pointed out what people in D.C. and NYC have missed — that elections aren’t just about who is president, they are about states, and counties, and cities.

And sitting in Texas, where 7-year-olds are dying at the border while the largest number of uninsured people in the country struggle to survive, it’s hard not to feel the same: that maybe someone truly invested in the future of this country would think more about its parts than its sum.

Austin, pre-November. © E.A. Crunden

Austin, pre-November. © E.A. Crunden





Blues Buzz

On running in the city as a woman. What’s left of the Gay Left? Waking up white women. This love letter to H-E-B, an iconic Texas grocery store, touched me deeply and vindicated the fervor with which I maintain my H-E-B bags to this day. Tin House ending is garbage! I would also rather be straight than give my sexual orientation as “Q”. This essay is the most I’ve thought about 7th Heaven in maybe 20 years. Books librarians love.


Green Scene

Me: The Trump administration will revise the estimated number of lives saved by freezing Obama-era fuel efficiency standards following outcry. As coal plummets, the Trump administration works to save it, with COP24 in the background — where coal took center-stage. Anger and protests greeted the U.S. fossil fuels side event in Poland. Miami’s landmark climate gentrification resolution opens up a new frontier in environmental justice efforts. Property developers and golf course owners are among those cheering on the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era water rules.

Elsewhere: In Louisiana, the oyster industry works to save the state’s rapidly-eroding shoreline. Seismic testing, which could harm marine life, is a go for the Trump administration. Nothing can prepare you for this story, about an artist slowly dying from lead poisoning after years of using natural ingredients (shells). Florida’s new fossil fuel plant plans. Carbon emissions from rich nations are set to rise in 2018. Thailand’s Phi Phi islands grapple with a drinking water shortage.

Clean energy jobs would likely help the rural Midwest. Extreme heat hurts Tucson’s poorest. Alabama coal ash ponds do not meet EPA groundwater rules and must permanently close. Climate and health intersect across America. Bulldozers will soon plow through Texas’ beloved National Butterfly Center to make room for the border wall. Southern communities are reviving their relationships with electric co-ops. Climate change is threatening Georgia’s peach season. Turtles’ tummies are clogged with plastic.



Around the Globe

Africa. There is an ongoing rumor that Nigeria’s president died and has been replaced by a look-alike. The U.N. warns of mass-rape in South Sudan. A fire destroyed Congo’s electoral commission building with the country set to vote in days.

Americas. Peru backed anti-corruption reforms. Queer Brazilians are rushing to get married before Bolsonaro takes office. AMLO becomes Mexico’s first leftist leader in decades. Robert Mueller’s team has recommended no prison time for Michael Flynn, citing his active cooperation with the investigation. But Michael Cohen is going to jail. A federal judge in Texas moved to gut Obamacare. Wisconsin Republicans’ last act: making sure elected Democrats can’t fully do their jobs. A 7-year-old from Guatemala died at the Texas border after U.S. officials failed to treat her.

Asia. A pause in the U.S.-China trade war quickly went south. U.S.-China relations are also dipping for other reasons. Demonstrations for Papuan independence turned violent in Indonesia. Another day, another step closer to charging Israel’s prime minister with fraud. Sri Lanka’s political landscape is destabilizing its credit. The killing of a British backpacker in New Zealand has sparked remorse, outrage, and controversy. The Senate voted to revoke U.S. military support for the war in Yemen, a mostly symbolic blow to Trump. Relatedly, a U.N. ceasefire in Yemen moves forward.

Europe. Britain’s wrongful deportations. Absolute Brexit chaos leads to Theresa May somehow keeping her job, albeit with an expiration date. Paris faces its worst riots in years, halts fuel tax hike as a result — but the Yellow Vests rage on. In Strasbourg, a man opened fire on a Christmas market. Luxembourg will make all public transit free.


Spoken & Written

“If you’re not from Texas, the state might seem like one giant stereotype of cowboys, conservatism, and brashness. But Texan identity is more complex than that: There’s rural Texas, Silicon Prairie Texas, honky-tonk Texas, hipster Texas, Latinx Texas, oil-soaked Texas, Vietnamese Texas, and yes, gun-slinging Texas — just to name a few.” — Pryia Krishna




Recs

Go on a hike in a desert, if you can. | Eat a burrito, or like, 20 burritos.

A new deal, a new day


Last week I was in New Orleans, a city I love, running around, inhaling everything edible in sight, delighting in the Gulf Coast, and generally basking in the South. Now I’m back in D.C. with a deep chest cough and raging cold, scrambling to wrap up the year. Chanukah is coming this weekend (the best known and arguably least important of Jewish holidays) and then a week and then I’m in the Southwest and then back to D.C. and then The End! Which is how I think about the December 31 to January 1 leap, a social construct that still marks a deadline. I haven’t done half (almost literally half) of the things I planned to do in 2018, which is standard, but still tiring. I’m not rushing to finish the list, though. Instead I’ve been listening to alt rock songs I haven’t heard in 10 years, which is another byproduct of going back to the South — everything sounds like home, which is hard to explain to anyone who didn’t grow up in the region, but we just…listen to the same music, and don’t stop, even a decade later? Anyways I’m coughing and just heard a Switchfoot song for the first time since high school (and I bought tickets to see….Snow Patrol….in April?) and I hope your weekends are all going very, very well.


Blues Buzz

The Frog Prince. The Blackalachian. The Haitian immigrants powering America’s turkey town may be forced to leave thanks to the Trump administration. Journalists inside the coasts (i.e. not us DC/NYC/LA/SF types) — get your names on here! A new vagina won’t make you happy and it shouldn’t have to. (And while I’m out here with controversial Andrea Long Chu links, here’s another!) I will be thinking about this Lena Dunham profile for years to come. No matter how much you see NYC/DC media pushing for Beto 2020, please know that progressive Texans are largely pushing for him to run for Senate instead. A library on the U.S.-Canada border reunites separated Iranian families. Mississippi almost made history.

New Orleans. © E.A. Crunden

New Orleans. © E.A. Crunden






Green Scene

Me: Offshore drilling: never dead for Big Oil in Florida, apparently. Ryan Zinke would like you to know that “radical environmentalists” are to blame for California’s wildfires. And despite being cleared of wrongdoing in one probe, Democrats are still coming for Zinke. The company behind a Gulf of Mexico oil spill that has been leaking for 14 years have been ordered by the government to clean it up, ASAP. California’s nightmare: rains after wildfires.

The National Climate Assessment finds that climate change will hurt the most vulnerable Americans first and worst. D.C.’s historic climate bill is one step closer to reality. The Green New Deal had 15 Democrats onboard when I wrote that piece, 18 as of Friday afternoon. Rampant coal ash pollution litters nearby groundwater in Illinois. Brazil is already backtracking on climate leadership under Bolsonaro.

Elsewhere: Small farmers are keeping genetic food diversity alive in Mexico. France protests rising fuel prices. Finland has no idea what Trump meant about raking forest floors. Bernie’s got a climate town hall coming, apparently. Newfoundland, Canada’s worst oil spill ever. Venezuela’s last glacier. The Farm Bill stalled over food stamps. The war over Line 5 in Michigan continues — same for Line 3. Fuel to the fire. Louisville weighs a renewable path. D.C.’s horrifying weather future. More terrible Paris Agreement news, just in time for COP24! And Brazil has backed out of hosting COP25. Amid historic flooding, Austin’s water systems sank. In Indianapolis, an emphasis on equity alongside carbon neutrality. Some justice for Berta Caceres.



Around the Globe


Africa. Libyan refugees refused to leave a rescue cargo ship earlier this week for fear of captivity. Kenya may designate a third of its parliamentary seats to women. The latest Ebola outbreak is shattering records with its devastation. Namibia’s fight against HIV.

Americas. NAFTA 2.0 a go, at least until Congress weighs in. The shooting of an indigenous man has sparked mass unrest in Chile’s Araucania region. Trump’s efforts to bar asylum seekers from passing over the U.S.-Mexico border has hit a wall. (But in Mexico, a poor welcome for Central Americans fleeing horrors.) Chaos on the border ensued anyways. The U.S. prepares to designate Venezuela as a state sponsor of terror. Four people were killed in a shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. Paul Manafort: STILL DOING CRIMES.

Asia. Japan is in the midst of a rubella outbreak. Israel’s ruling party lives to fight another day. Taiwan votes against marriage equality. Chinese gene-editing controversy! The U.S. gets closer to finally, maybe acting on Yemen. Farmers from 24 Indian states marched to Delhi to protest prices and to demand debt relief.

Europe. Germany has banned 18 Saudis connected to the murder of journalist Jamal Khasogghi. Theresa May seems to have fended off a brief insurgency from hardline Brexiters but you will be shocked to learn drama continues regardless. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are boiling over after an incident at sea between naval ships, with Ukraine declaring martial law in 10 regions. E.U. discipline heading Italy’s way.


Spoken & Written

“But in my experience, at least: Dysphoria feels like being unable to get warm, no matter how many layers you put on. It feels like hunger without appetite. It feels like getting on an airplane to fly home, only to realize mid-flight that this is it: You’re going to spend the rest of your life on an airplane. It feels like grieving. It feels like having nothing to grieve.” — Andrea Long Chu





Recs

CAPS. | Latkes, of course.





Green ripple

Everything’s winding down, isn’t it? People hate winter and I love it, a potential byproduct of growing up in heat and humidity. I worshipped snow in Massachusetts, in Geneva, and now in D.C., and it came this week, right in the middle of everything — sudden good news for my family, surprises at work, last-minute travel, ongoing ups and downs relating to the election (American elections never end, they only lull at times.) I’m ready for the cold, even though I wish autumn hadn’t passed over in a span of hours, as it’s prone to in D.C. I’ll be in New Orleans next week (still working, just…in New Orleans), and then speeding towards the end of the year, with a trip to El Paso and Albuquerque in there, for no reason at all other than that I’ve decided to go to El Paso and Albuquerque. This year started so abruptly and now it’s going, going, gone, just like the snow on D.C. streets that arrived in a flurry and now it’s all melted, just like that.



Blues Buzz

What Beto won. A blue wave in Kansas? My Brilliant Friend! Finding the best burger place in America and then killing it: culture journalism and accountability at its finest. What it’s like to be rejected by your religious family. Amazon is coming to New York City and the D.C. area to completely and totally fuck everything. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is changing how politics is conveyed to young people, women, and people of color — which is huge. I, a journalist, endorse no politicians, but there is something painfully endearing about this Beto O’Roruke Medium post about…a jog.

A mood, if you will. © E.A. Crunden

A mood, if you will. © E.A. Crunden








Green Scene

Me: A green ripple in Texas has major implications, both locally and nationally. California’s farmworkers are still at work despite deadly wildfires. A landmark industry vs. industry lawsuit sees West Coast crab fishers pursuing climate change accountability from 30 fossil fuel companies. Mass-school closures across California come as the death toll from wildfires rises dramatically. Republicans and Democrats alike waffle on climate action — will Green New Deal lawmakers change that?

Elsewhere: California’s deadly, all-consuming blaze. The incarcerated firefighters saving California at great personal cost. Your children’s Yellowstone, radically altered. Virginia regulators are growing uneasy about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s potential impact on a Black community. Will Amazon protect Queens from climate change? My wonderful editor concluded her heartbreaking coverage of post-Florence North Carolina this week with this piece on the thousands of people newly displaced by the storm’s impacts. A Russian village swallowed by sand.




Around the Globe


Africa. The very ill president of Gabon is in Saudi Arabia for treatment. A precarious coalition in Congo appears to be falling apart. The country is also in the midst of another Ebola outbreak and 8 U.N. peacekeepers have been killed. In Anglophone Cameroon, violence continues. The E.U. may move away from ties with Tanzania amid widespread crackdowns on human rights. At least 20 people were killed as car bombs erupted in Mogadishu earlier this week.

Americas. Canada would like teenagers to not smoke weed, thanks. An Argentine submarine that vanished with 44 people on board appears to be found. International students aren’t coming to the U.S. Marriage equality, coming to Costa Rica! The caravan is still coming, full of people desperately seeking a better life. Brazil-Cuba relations disintegrated further this week. Florida, forever the site of election disasters historic and contemporary. The U.S. eyes targeting Julian Assange.

Asia. It’s that time of year again: fighting has broken out in Gaza and Israel’s right-wing defense minister resigned. New evidence has emerged indicating what we knew: that the highest rungs of Saudi government knew about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Peace in Japanese-Russo relations? Bangladesh’s efforts to return minority Rohingya refugees to Burma didn’t go well.

Europe. From France, a denouncement of nationalism. The latest Brexit news is that a deal was reached….and then Theresa May’s cabinet had a meltdown. The European Commission is set to discipline Italy over its budget. Massive protests over consent and rape culture ripped through Ireland this week.


Spoken & Written

“I’ve been asking myself what the other side of this looks like. How do I do this better? Is there a way to celebrate a place without the possibility of destroying it? Or is this just what we are now -- a horde with a checklist and a camera phone, intent on self-producing the destruction of anything left that feels real, one Instagram story at a time?” — Kevin Alexander



Recs

A lot of lists — the end of the year is coming! | Get out if you can — I’ll be working remotely in New Orleans next week and I can’t wait to be back in the South.



A start and a stop

There’s a lot going on right now, in my life and in the world. I spent a sizable portion of the last two weeks ricocheting between hope and all-consuming despair, something that hasn’t helped my fun new TMJ problem, the apparent source of months of ear pain. For Texans, for Jews, for queer people, it’s been a ride, and I feel very much at the intersection of what it means to be all of those things. I’m furious with so many people, inspired by so many others. I miss home and I wish I had been there on election night and I keep hoping maybe I will be there next time and maybe nearly three decades of waiting will finally pay off, there will finally be an earth-shattering shift, everything we know about the Lone Star State will change, forever. Who knows (not me.)

I’ve been frustrated with the coverage of Texas by coastal D.C. and NYC media, weary of the way the South is painted and perceived. I’m still incredibly anxious about Georgia and Florida, with those two states occupying my thoughts long past the end of Tuesday night. I’m also still thinking about the beatings climate took that night, and how everything just seems so, so bleak all of the time. But on Friday I had an upbeat interview with an advocate who firmly believes the fight is just beginning on carbon pricing; I’ve been hearing tremendous enthusiasm from friends in Texas, excited and energized. So it isn’t all a black chasm — I just wish, and I’m sure many others do as well, that at some point everything would just be better, even a little bit.



Blues Buzz


Queer Jews on why they love being Jewish. Something is happening in Texas. They don’t kill us because of how we pray. The last days of Beto mania in Texas (a candidate carried by women.) Radical queer politics in the South and Appalachia. National media would have you believe Texas is devastated, a take that is inaccurate: Beto’s new, blue machine has changed the state forever. In the Deep South, running to the left was a good idea after all. On Ali Smith’s fast-paced, quick-dropping seasonal quarter, a tale of our modern woes. LUCY MCBATH. How a woman becomes a lake. I do actually really find Gillian Flynn fascinating.


My beloved hometown. © E.A. Crunden

My beloved hometown. © E.A. Crunden


Me

Florida constitutionally bans offshore drilling — and indoor vaping. Landmark climate efforts failed in Colorado and Washington after Big Oil spent nearly $70 million to defeat them. Another climate denier will replace Lamar Smith — but there are some silver linings in this story. Michigan didn’t have a green wave but it did get what it needed. A triumph for indigenous communities and a blow to the Trump administration as a judge rules against the Keystone XL pipeline. Carbon pricing is not dead — it’s only just getting started.




Around the Globe


Africa. Ethiopia eyes launching its first satellite. A mass-kidnapping in Cameroon has so far largely resulted in releases. Sudan is set to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. The U.N. has called for Libya’s election to take place in 2019.

Americas. Canada’s weed explosion. Under Bolsonaro, Brazilian ties to Cuba may be on the chopping block. Also, Brazil’s halal meat industry is about to be compromised if the country moves its Israel embassy to Jerusalem. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the first victim of the post-midterms firings. Twelve people were killed in a mass-shooting in California. Trump massively moved to restrict asylum seekers.

Asia. The U.S. has mass-imposed pre-Iran Deal sanctions on Iran, as the country’s economy (and people) suffer the results. Yemen’s brutal famine worsens amid unending war. The Pakistani attorney for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, has fled the country while Italy is eyeing offering her asylum.

Europe. Anti-corruption Ukrainian activist Kateryna Handzyuk died following an acid attack. Flooding in Sicily has killed at least 12 people. Hungary follows Poland’s lead on slowly gutting the judiciary (to the consternation of leftists.) The mayor of Warsaw has blocked a planned far-right rally.




Green Scene

A new study finds that wildfires hurt people of color and low-income communities more. The seeds of indigenous food sovereignty. Rural America is living out its own water crisis. Utilities are quietly praising EPA environmental regulation rollbacks. Tribes protesting Michigan’s Line 5 are ready to go all-out. Toxic smog coats Delhi.



Spoken & Written

“Weeks ago, I wasn’t dreading Beto losing nearly as much as I was dreading the inevitable ‘Texas sucks’ takes from people who are supposed to be our progressive allies.” — Erica Huff, a Beto voter.



Recs

Media written by the people who actually live in the places being covered. | Sleep.


Broken beyond words

Blues Buzz


A prayer for American Jewry. The Jews of Pittsburgh bury their dead. Squirrel Hill’s diversity is a threat to white supremacy. Jews will always be strangers. The wrong kind of trans visibility. (And the right kind!) Related: On not being an invisible trans woman. Is a successful life without kids creative enough? Inside Beto’s plan to turn out Black voters in Houston. Materialism and Jewish reformation. The definitive takedown of Bohemian Rhapsody, a movie that fails to honor Freddie Mercury’s queerness (and his identity as a brown immigrant.)

Florida. © E.A. Crunden

Florida. © E.A. Crunden





Me

For Brazilian environmental activists, a nightmare begins. In Florence’s aftermath, North Carolina signs on to the Paris agreement. Ryan Zinke, always coming through to supply breaking news. Florida farmworkers are in danger as the planet warms. A young people’s climate change lawsuit against the U.S. government survives to fight another day. On public lands, California loses against the Trump administration. Climate change: very gone from the EPA website.



Around the Globe

Africa. In Uganda, taxes on junk food aim to help fund HIV treatment programs. Fifteen people were injured when a suicide bomber targeted an area in Tunis. South Africa’s unemployment rate is rising. Ethiopia sees its first woman at the head of the country’s highest court.

Americas. A far-right populist who has attacked vulnerable communities and pledged to target environmental regulations wins in Brazil. Fleeing Venezuelans wound up trapped on the Peru-Ecuador border. In Pittsburgh, Muslims come through for Jews. Trump is sending troops to the border for seemingly no reason. In arguably the lowest point of the Trump administration so far, the president is floating an executive order targeting birthright citizenship, something that would be unconstitutional. Texas Democrats just want to be closer to Beto.

Asia. Nearly 200 people died when an Indonesian plane crashed shortly after take-off. A Christian woman accused of blasphemy in Pakistan has been acquitted. A notorious Pakistani extremist appears to be dead. In Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to gain. Asia’s cities are facing a mounting food challenge. Sri Lanka is still embroiled in political drama.

Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not seek another term. Now Austria is backing out of a U.N. migration pact. Your latest Brexit news: we still have no Brexit news apart from panic!




Green Scene

Istanbul is using recyclables in place of metro fees. Air pollution is choking Europe. Puerto Rico’s hurricane response plan “does not exist.” Florida’s environmental election cometh. An uninhabited Japanese island is gone, with potential geopolitical ramifications. Come through, bison. The world’s climate zones are shifting dramatically thanks to climate change.




Spoken & Written

“Appeasement will not work. For Jews, the lesson of yesterday’s massacre is very simple and very old: Protecting the strangers among us is not charity. It is self-defense. Every time Jews defend the right of American Muslims to follow sharia, we protect our right to follow halacha. Every time Jews reject politicians who demonize Latinos we make it less likely that those politicians will demonize us. “Hate them, not us” is a losing strategy because once empowered, bigots widen their targets. For people who define America as a white Christian nation, Jews will never be white enough.” — Peter Beinart


Recs

Poem without an end. | If you’re able — how about voting!

No one is best

Blues Buzz

The Trump administration is still going after trans people, to a horrifying extent. But the new anti-trans memo is already a reality for a lot of us, and allies, sorry, you’re to blame. Towards a trans literary canon. The United States of Texas and California. Another great Andrea Long Chu interview. Salt Fat Acid Heat is a monumental tribute to women (especially brown women) eating without care.

D.C. © E.A. Crunden

D.C. © E.A. Crunden


Me

Florida’s algae crisis dominated the state’s first gubernatorial debate. Oregon is very much not down with offshore drilling. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will commit to the Paris climate agreement. Super Typhoon Yutu marks the continuation of an alarming trend, for the U.S. and for the world. A diverse coalition hopes to finally succeed in passing a carbon fee in Washington. Brazil’s environmental activists are preparing for the worst.



Around the Globe

Africa. A burst of violence in central Nigeria. Cameroon re-elects its president following a controversial election. Clashes between Somalia and the breakaway region of Somaliland have left at least 50 people dead. Moroccans are protesting sexual harassment. Ethiopia has elected its first female president, although the role is largely ceremonial.

Americas. The caravan marches on and so to might the executive orders. Brazil’s most controversial presidential candidate already has his cabinet picked. Anti-Semitism has consequences: someone left an explosive device in the mailbox of George Soros following years of vitriol against the Holocaust survivor. (And then sent bombs to a number of prominent Democrats.) Texas smashes early voting records.

Asia. At least 18 people died in a train crash in Taiwan. Saudi Arabia’s story on the murder of a dissident journalist is all over the place and Turkey is very involved in leading (and benefitting from) the pushback. Yemen is in a state of utter crisis. Sri Lanka is in some political upheaval following the collapse of the governing coalition.

Europe. Calm may be coming to a Greece and a Macedonia (name subject to change) near you. As Germany backs away from its ties to Saudi Arabia, it’s unclear if France will do the same. Ireland’s blasphemy referendum. The Soros-funded CEU in Budapest is being forced to close its doors.


Green Scene

Storms are raging — Hurricane Willa slammed Mexico, Typhoon Yutu brought hell and havoc. Central Texas, usually in drought, is drowning (and water boil advisories abound!) New York sues ExxonMobil, in what could be a landmark climate lawsuit.


Spoken & Written

“Many of the “allies” I see sharing “You can’t be erased” memes are the same people who are too afraid of using gender-neutral pronouns publicly. They’re the same people who haven’t stood up for trans people in public or at protests. The reason the Trump administration’s memo can exist is because most of the United States is still successfully erasing trans people, and most “allies” haven’t done anything about it.” — Jo Yurcaba


Recs

I had a way-worse-than-average-bad week, one that has left me reassessing a lot of the relationships in my life and general level of tolerance I have extended up until now to a lot of people. It’s not fun! But here are some things that haven’t been bad:

Salt Fat Acid Heat, an absolutely touching and lovely way of looking at food. | Honey. (Robyn forever.)

Everything sucks volume 1,000

Blues Buzz

The enduring abuse of Asian women who marry non-Asian men. The emotional toll of being undocumented in America. PEN America sues Trump over his attacks on the press. And this year’s Man Booker Prize winner is! When lots of people registering to vote runs into problems.

Austin, Texas. © E.A. Crunden

Austin, Texas. © E.A. Crunden






Me

Florida Republicans are increasingly facing tougher questions on climate change, which finally reared its head in the Texas Senate race, as Beto O’Rourke goes negative on Ted Cruz. The EPA’s timeline for its “secret science” proposal is suddenly a lot longer. Florida voters will get to decide if they want to constitutionally ban offshore drilling — although it will come along with a similar decision on vaping in workspaces. A bipartisan group of nearly 70 lawmakers has asked the EPA not to revoke California’s car emissions waiver.



Around the Globe


Africa. In Liberia, a U.S. charity is at the heart of a tragic scandal. The U.N. Human Rights Council welcomes Eritrea, among other controversial choices. In South Africa, a record number of riots and protests amid wide-scale poverty. Afghan elections were postponed in Kandahar after a brutal assassination.

Americas. Canada embraces weed. A pioneer in Mexican women’s football has been found murdered. For the second time this year, a caravan from Central America is attempting to enter the U.S. Brazil’s elections are an unfolding horrorshow. The U.S. is set to leave a landmark nuclear treaty. In the U.S., only some get to vote.

Asia. Ongoing international uproar over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi isn’t really changing Saudi Arabia’s grip on the world, thanks to the U.S. The Koreas eye demilitarizing their border. A center-left candidate came out ahead in Bhutan’s elections. Tragedy in Amritsar.

Europe. You will be shocked, I am sure, to learn that Brexit is still not going great and the issue of a hard or soft border between Northern Ireland and Ireland remains a problem. In Russia and Ukraine, a church war. (Also, Russia, election interference, you know the drill.) Hungary, always doing the most, has now decided to penalize homelessness. Mad cow disease is back again, apparently, in the U.K.


Green Scene

Trump says climate scientists have a political agenda. Power restoration could take months in some areas after Hurricane Michael. Jamaica is cracking down on the trash ruining paradise. Hurricanes, Republicans, and climate change. Red tide, Florida’s ongoing nightmare, just keeps coming.


Spoken & Written

“Then, I learned that when you get a “byline,” your name would be in the paper, and that’s literally the only reason I became a journalist — just so my name could be on a piece of paper.” — Jose Antonio Vargas


Recs

My absentee voter ballot came in the mail and I have never been more excited to vote! If this is not an option for you and/or you just need more, I recommend:

Sourdough starter as the key to your bread adventures. | Lydia Kiesling’s The Golden State, which is definitely a revelation on being a mother but also has the rare distinction of leaning into the complications and agonies of U.S. immigration.

Set your expectations low

Blues Buzz

Beto O’Rourke is slowly making inroads with white, Evangelical Texas women. How do we move beyond commodified feminism? For progressive Democrats, politics as the new religion. The Trump administration’s anti-abortion policies have reverberated around the world. Men remain hot garbage. 93% of eligible voters in my home county, Travis, are registered to vote, which is amazing. How journalists can better cover the midterms in Kentucky and Appalachia.


Smith College, Northampton, MA. © E.A. Crunden

Smith College, Northampton, MA. © E.A. Crunden






Me

Arriving late into hurricane season, Hurricane Michael worried the Florida panhandle (it turns out, for good reason). Attack ads targeting Tallahassee mayor and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum continued to air in the hurricane strike zone even as Gillum himself suspended campaigning. Nearly 30 environmental and health laws have been waived to allow for border wall construction to go forward in South Texas.

Wheeler's first big science test indicates he'll be a lot like Pruitt: of the five new appointees to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), at least two have downplayed the link between pollution and public health impacts. Democrats aren’t happy about the Interior Department’s new, EPA-style science restrictions.


Around the Globe

Africa. Ethiopia will offer visas on arrival to citizens from African countries. Africa’s likely-youngest billionaire was kidnapped at gun-point in Tanzania. More than 40 people have died in Uganda amid mudslides. More than 800 child soldiers in Nigeria have been freed.

Americas. Suspicions are swirling after the death of a Venezuelan opposition leader. (Venezuela’s president notably thinks Trump tried to assassinate him.) Violence and fear dominate Brazil’s increasingly right-leaning elections. Transit-oriented development in Fort Worth. A lawsuit targeting affirmative action policies at Harvard is moving forward. Voting rights surge to the forefront in Georgia’s gubernatorial race.

Asia. Women entering public life in Iraq are targets. A Saudi journalist’s disappearance (and likely murder) in the nation’s consulate in Istanbul has sparked outcry. South Korea is considering lifting sanctions on North Korea. #MeToo comes to India. Malaysia is moving to abolish the death penalty. A Chinese spy was extradited to the U.S. in a highly unusual moment.

Europe. A Bulgarian journalist was raped and murdered in the country following her efforts to look into the misuse of E.U. funds, although it is unclear if the two are linked. A U.S. pastor detained in Turkey is expected to be released. Even the U.K. is starting to question Saudi Arabia. Brexit is STILL dragging on.


Green Scene

Green groups and tribes both oppose Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s Line 5 tunnel solution. The IPCC warned dramatic changes are needed globally to keep 1.5 C of global warming from being the limit. South Carolina pastors are channeling their faith into activism. Flint residents feel rage, apathy towards state-wide politicians. Hurricane Michael’s horrifying, deadly destruction. In the kingdom of the bears. Polar bears have historically relied on beached whales to save them during hard times.


Spoken & Written

“For too long, politicians and the media outlets covering them have devoted more attention to the politics of coal than to those people whose lives depend on it. “ — Lyndsey Gilpin for CJR


Recs

I’m in one of those life spots where nothing is really good — my family is in hell over visa woes, the midterms are still in full-swing so work is exhausting, I don’t really have the money to comfortably pay off my student loans or do much of anything important (and yet I am spending money on plenty of things I theoretically don’t need), etc, etc. Things that have been cathartic for my recently include getting a large tattoo and shaving most of my head, which, if that’s what you need, do it!

Otherwise:

Cable Girls is ridiculous, but great. | We made knishes! | I’m seeing the Goo Goo Dolls this weekend (I know) and it’s reminding me how great they are.

Running on pure rage

I’m back after an endless travel cycle and an unending horrorshow of a time for my country. Hope everyone’s hydrated and sleeping, etc, etc. This week’s newsletter is missing some sections and others are overflowing, apologies, it has been a long coupla weeks.

Blues Buzz

This Maya Rudolph profile is exquisite. The fall of men has been greatly exaggerated. Sarah Smarsh is so good. The God Who Loves You. Reading the New South. The body in poverty. Go off, Anita Hill. On the mainstreaming of queer identity. Alone with Elizabeth Bishop. White masculinity and Southern bourbon. Returning to Tehran. The incredible Margo Jefferson. The queer, feminist future of bookstores. Not This. Leonard Cohen’s son on his father’s final poems.

Tomatoes from Mark Baldwin’s greenhouse in Flint, Michigan. © E.A. Crunden

Tomatoes from Mark Baldwin’s greenhouse in Flint, Michigan. © E.A. Crunden


Me

Some old: Two record-shattering storms, two wildly different attitudes on climate change. Don’t forget about the toxic sites in Florence’s path. North Carolina’s governor calls for a sweeping, inclusive rebuilding process. Democrats are probing a decision to transfer funds from FEMA to ICE in the midst of hurricane season. Trump stands by his administration’s response to Maria. The CDC is getting $1 million to fight Florida’s toxic algae crisis. Delaware says no to offshore drilling. D.C. climate bill is the most sweeping in the country.

Some newer: Latest rollback: mercury standards. A former Koch Industries staffer has scored a key EPA appointment. Construction momentarily halts again on construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

From Texas: Climate issues flew under the radar at the first O’Rourke-Cruz debate. Joseph Kopser, a scientist running to fill the seat currently held by Lamar Smith, fleshed out his commitment to renewable energy (and more) for me. Students also talked to me about their involvement in his campaign and why TX-21 is a really weird, gerrymandered district. Annnnd I wrote about CodeNEXT and Proposition J, which lie at the heart of a bitter divide between Austin’s green groups.

From Michigan: Tired of being defined by a water crisis, Flint’s residents are eyeing innovative solutions and ways to jump-start their city. Environmentalists are running for Michigan’s state legislature, which could translate to a “green wave” in November.



Green Scene

Mangkhut laid waste to the Philippines while Florence bogged down North Carolina. Farmworkers and people who are homeless are taking a severe hit. In Pakistan, a high mountain water pipe brings more than just water. Absolute tragedy in Indonesia following tsunami. When big polluters arrive, Black residents lose out.


Spoken & Written

“Finally, refer to Christine Blasey Ford by her name. She was once anonymous, but no longer is. Dr. Blasey is not simply “Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser.” Dr. Blasey is a human being with a life of her own. She deserves the respect of being addressed and treated as a whole person.” — Anita Hill



Recs

Every year on Erev Yom Kippur I re-read this Adrienne Rich poem. | Here’s another poem for good measure. | And another.

(The above are older recs from around Yom Kippur, which feels like a thousand years ago. I’ve honestly had a terrible week and I’m sure many other people have too. I hope everyone who is devastated is coping in whatever way works best for them; I personally am going to book a trip somewhere hopefully and am also maximizing on spending time with my favorite person, reading, cooking, and being outdoors. But if what you need is 25 cookies or an aggressive kickboxing class or a new tattoo or whatever I hope you get that as well.)

New year, same fight, still tired

It’s the new year and a busy time for reporters covering the midterms — slightly trimmed newsletter as a result! And, warning, yours truly is observing Yom Kippur and then traveling for the next three weeks, so publication might get wonky. We’ll return with more consistency some time in mid-October, stay tuned.

Blues Buzz

Queer the vote. For plenty of women, backpacking alone in the wilderness is the safest place to be. Stephen Miller’s rabbi joins Stephen Miller’s uncle. Susan Sontag’s FBI file. Half of trans teen boys have attempted to commit suicide, per a new study. This essay, on how more people are like Julia Salazar than would like to admit it, stuck with me — partially because I think there’s something in there for all of us (me included), partially because I know many people who have done this at my expense and I am still angry with most of them. Waffle House, a Southern beacon, knows Florence is a disaster.


Shana tova, from my family to yours, here are the results of hours of Rosh Hashanah baking. © E.A. Crunden

Shana tova, from my family to yours, here are the results of hours of Rosh Hashanah baking. © E.A. Crunden

Me

Hurricane Florence came, but the storm’s real danger lies in its lingering rains and storm surges. The Trump administration plans to roll back methane leak regulations. The Cruz-O’Rourke race in Texas offers voters two widely opposing environmental visions. As other residents evacuated the Southeast this week, incarcerated people were left behind, as usual. The Florida gubernatorial candidate who wants to have it both ways on climate. Coastal immigrant communities are being hit on all sides.

 


Around the Globe

Africa. Tanzania’s president wants everyone to quit birth control. Unrest in Anglophone Cameroon is sparking widespread violence. A cholera outbreak hits Zimbabwe and the country is crowdfunding to fight the disease. Sudan is facing an economic crisis.

Americas. Former Brazilian president Lula will no longer stand for election from prison. Much of the Southeastern U.S. evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Florence. A police officer shot and killed a Black man after she attempted to enter his home thinking it was hers. On-again NAFTA negotiations seem to be going a bit better, although that’s subject to change. Not linking to the tweet, but POTUS did indeed argue Democrats inflated the number of Puerto Ricans who died in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath.

Asia. The PLO's headquarters in D.C. will be shuttered by the Trump administration. China’s mistreatment of its Muslim minorities is drawing international scrutiny. Around 70 people were killed by a suicide bombing in Nangarhar, Afghanistan.

Europe. Sweden's far-right gained in the country's national election, but not as much as feared. Russia’s Siberian war games. Hungary’s far-right government faces off against the E.U. Spain will exhume its former dictator, Francisco Franco.

 


Green Scene

Karachi’s water crisis is a larger story about Pakistan’s water crisis. Texas polluted site cleanup criteria is significantly worse than in surrounding states. Can an organic farmer win in Appalachian Virginia? A super typhoon is heading right for the Philippines. Salt water is fighting fresh water in the Everglades.

 


Spoken & Written

“Honestly, Mr Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole through your arbitrary division of these desperate people. The actions that you now encourage President Trump to take make it obvious to me that you didn’t get my, or our, Jewish message. This is the season of apology, and to get to an apology, shame over past actions is necessary. Some shout at others when they are self-righteous enough: you should be ashamed of yourself! That’s not something I would ever shout or demand.” — Stephen Miller’s rabbi bring it home


Recs

I had a long, exhausting, frustrating week, which seems to be the theme in my house these days. After breaking fast for Yom Kippur this Wednesday night, I’ll have three weeks of travel across three states, with little to no breaks in between. I’ve got my eyes on November, when I’ll finally be able to breathe and take an extended, leisurely trip to the wonderful city of New Orleans, but until then I’m just concentrating on powering through.

Until then:

Try not to create opportunities in anything you write that could lead to a lengthy internet fight — and if you do, just try to be nice about it, you’ll get farther. | Bake, eat, especially lovely challah. | Stay patient, stay gracious.

 

Dog days without end

Blues Buzz

Crime, history, and the Texas Panhandle. Men recommend books by men, I'm sure you will all be shocked to learn. The crucial value of Asian American representation in literature. A non-binary person was shamed out of the YMCA and I have never related more. The children who never made it out of U.S. orphanages. Sodium-packed fast food is hurting the health of Black Americans. The trailer for 1985 looks devastating and the trailer for My Brilliant Friend looks amazing. #MeToo and bad tv. Ecopoetics

Very excited for Michelle Tea's forthcoming longform thoughts on class and privilege passing. Wild Mares. Two very different men have very different dreams of Texas. On the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, of course read Houston's Bryan Washington. Georgia's refugee stronghold. Teachers are becoming Instagram influencers to make money. What's in a name? Climate change needs to be about economic justice. Carmen Maria Machado has a fashion story for you. Colin Kaepernick and Nike, a thing few people should be trusted to break down, but Nif is one of them. Throwback to the feminist lesbian sci-fi boom.

Little Haiti, Miami, Florida. © E.A. Crunden

Little Haiti, Miami, Florida. © E.A. Crunden

 

 


Me

I was reporting in Florida last week! From the Lake Apopka area, I wrote about how climate change is hurting farmworkers, and from Miami I wrote about climate gentrification in Little Haiti, local activist efforts to shift climate priorities in the city, and the big environmental crisis that will continue to dominate general election campaigning. 

From D.C., here's me: A new wave of progressive candidates aren't afraid to talk about the intersection of environmental issues and injustice. I interviewed Michigan's Rashida Tlaib about her radical platform centering environmental justice. The scars of California's wildfires will linger long after containment. Pruitt far outspent his predecessor on security. The revolving door between industry and Trump agencies continues to spin. Overwhelming heat is forcing school closures in areas across the Northeast and parts of the Midwest. In Delaware, voters chose between two competing green visions for the future. A mining consultant withdrew his nomination to lead the Interior Department's mining agency. On a tour of vulnerable Pacific islands, Zinke makes no mention of climate change, instead opting to tweet in support of fossil fuels. 

And, here's a feature piece several months in the making on how Puerto Rican activists are decades ahead of mainland efforts to bring renewables to the island. 


Around the Globe

Africa. Nigeria is forcing its displaced back to unsafe areas. Protests over the detention of an opposition lawmaker raged in Uganda. Poachers killed 87 elephants in Botswana near a sanctuary. Zimbabwe's former leader Mugabe says he accepts the leadership of Mnangagwa, his replacement. 

Americas. A tragic fire has destroyed some of Brazil's most valuable artifacts. Venezuela's crisis is impacting all of its neighbors. Latin America agreed to accept Venezuelans with expired papers. U.S. citizens on the border are being denied passportsApparently Trump is anti-WTO. (And really pissed about that one #Resistance op-ed.) An end to North Carolina's gerrymandered maps?

Asia & Australia. Burma's anti-Rohingya propaganda soars to new heights. Australia ousted Malcolm Turnbull has prime minister last week, because if there's one thing consistent about Australia, it's political coups. Syria prepares for the violent, bloody, maybe-conclusion to the country's painful civil war. In Malaysia, two women were publicly whipped over accusations of same-gender relations. Pompeo in Pakistan. India's colonial-era law criminalizing queer sex is buh-bye!

Europe. Spain's embrace of migrants and refugees doesn't extend to the 166 Africans who broke through a fence in July. The U.K. is blaming Russia's highest levels for an infamous nerve agent attack. Russia tried to spy on France...in space?

 


Green Scene

Endangered turtles are dying in Mexico. The Poor People's Campaign comes for pollution. Detroit has shut its drinking water off in all public schools over elevated copper and lead levels. Roe, rights, and reconciliation. Aquaculture's unstable reality. The South is already a victim of climate change. Bayou Bridge pipeline protestors are being arrested in Louisiana under a controversial new law. The Forest Service is silencing women. Thousands of people have been evacuated in Japan after the most powerful typhoon to hit the island in 25 years wrought havoc. Northern Japan is also reeling from an earthquake. Whole Foods employees want to unionize. Sea level rise is coming for Virginia Beach.

 


Spoken & Written

"The belief that Colin Kaepernick is controversial exists only because we are in a country where iconography can be valued more than the people living under it." -- Hanif Abdurraqib

 


Recs

The latest season of Great British Bake-Off, a gentle light in hard times. | Not doing what I had to do this week, which was get a new phone thanks to mine dying on me. (I am VERY bitter, ask me how!)

Brace yourself

This newsletter is on hiatus next week to account for a reporting trip -- mea culpa.

Blues Buzz

The Democrat Texas has been waiting for. Queer at the hair salonThe un-celebrity president, arguably my favorite of the lot. Pocket inequality. What makes someone Native American? The lazy trope of the unethical female journalist. Horror films and transmasculinity. The next generation of Southern organizing. Adrienne Rich forever. Mitski IS the cowboy. All hail Sia. Who gets to be remembered in Chapel Hill? Leftist, real country, real queer.

Icons. © E.A. Crunden

Icons. © E.A. Crunden

 

 


Me

Incarcerated people are on strike over issues like forced labor -- including fighting wildfires. Rarely affected by hurricanes, Hawaii faced a Category 5 storm nearby for only the second time in its history. The most vulnerable Texans never recovered from Hurricane Harvey. In spite of Trump, California is leaning into renewables

 


Around the Globe

Africa. Dozens have died in Congo from the latest Ebola outbreak. RIP Kofi Annan. On Twitter, it's South Africa vs. Trump. Zimbabwe's top court sides with President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a fight over July's presidential election. 

Americas. Brazil has deployed troops to the Venezuelan border and Ecuador is cracking down on fleeing Venezuelans attempting to enter the country. So is Peru. Brazil's far right gains tractionBad week for Trump. In Georgia, an effort to disenfranchise Black voters quickly failed. Attempts by the president to co-opt the murder of a young woman in the name of xenophobia have been swiftly countered by her family

Asia & Australia. Saudi feminists take to the airwaves. Bhutan's emerging literary scene. Turmoil in Australia's government and Malcolm Turnbull is out as prime minister. U.S.-China trade war still going strong. Israel pushes forward with plan for 1,000 Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Southeast Asia is slowly turning on Burma over the persecution of the Rohingya. 

Europe. Hospitals are planning for a no-deal Brexit. Romania's leader claims he was the victim of an assassination attempt, an allegation that has become the subject of fierce debate. Pope Francis visits Ireland amid a tense moment for the Catholic Church. 

 


Green Scene

Heavy flooding is devastating the southern Indian state of Kerala. Indigenous communities are uniting to fight climate change. Trump unravels the Clean Power Plan. Puerto Rico's farmers face a long road to recovery. The Baptists and the yogis come together to fight a pipeline. The fight for cheap solar is going South. Coal isn't coming back and even coal miners are acknowledging that. Little floaties for little sea dragons. The oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic is coming apart, fun. 

 


Spoken & Written

"That Charlie's transition requires so much physical violence speaks to a lingering anxiety among many cis people that transition is at best a form of mutilation, and at worst a kind of death — a sloughing of one body in exchange for a new, different one. A girl dies so a boy can live as a boy." -- Sasha Gefen

 


Recs

Definitely sleep more than I have the last two weeks. | New Interpol

 

Anxiety machines seek fuel

Blues Buzz

What it means to be in Crazy Rich Asians. The lie of Little Women. RIP, V.S. Naipaul, a complicated and sometimes terrible person. We stan Stephen Miller's uncle. Millennial poets of color are changing the game. Noir in Appalachia. On weight and weddings. So excited for My Brilliant FriendEmbracing masculinity in the eternal age of toxic masculinity. One Southern woman dismantles the beauty standards of her region -- including being blonde. New poetry by indigenous women and poets respond to Partition. Nif! Latinx poetry from the South.

© E.A. Crunden

© E.A. Crunden

 

 


Me

Pipeline opponents are finally seeing victories in the South and Appalachia. Trump argued on Monday that New York's high taxes are thanks to a state fracking ban. Offshore drilling returns to haunt Florida's elections! Florida's big, toxic, red nightmare, explained.

 


Around the Globe

Africa. The U.S. approved new rules laying out the conditions through which Zimbabwe can end U.S. sanctions. Ugandan politician Bobi Wine was arrested by police who also fired into a crowd. Women in Tunisia may finally receive equal inheritance rights. Egypt marks five years since the Rabaa massacre. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita claimed victory in the country's presidential elections. Destroyed water pipes spark arrests in Tanzania. 

Americas. Venezuelans are fleeing to Ecuador. Chile's culture minister was forced to resign after old comments surfaced displaying criticism towards a human rights museum. A huge reckoning for the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. I regret to inform you that Trump is indeed revoking security clearances

Asia. In Ghazni, Afghanistan, a deadly assault by militants killed more than 120 people. Another attack on an education center killed dozens. Arab-Israelis demonstrated against the controversial nation state law. Google faces backlash over its decisions to expand into China. Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee died at 93

Europe. On the streets, Romanians rage. A car driven by a British citizen rammed barriers outside the British houses of Parliament. A bridge collapse in Italy killed more than 20 people. Austria rejected a gay Afghan man's asylum application claiming that he did not present as gay.


Green Scene

A sweetheart deal for polluters in Kentucky. The West's wildfires are still raging. When neo-Nazis and white supremacists believe in climate change. After Harvey, a thriving ecosystem. Electric bills are skyrocketing in Appalachia as the region's economy collapses. Plastic is contaminating Texas cotton at record levels. Power is (sort of) back on in Puerto Rico. Here's how the Trump administration wants to reverse the Clean Power Plan. The first part in an epic series on Texas, Mexico, and water (some of my favorite things!) Water and air pollution from Hurricane Harvey was and is far higher than most people realize. Marine worms are eating plastic now.

 


Spoken & Written

" And in the queer community, we take what we want from masculine style and iconography, making them our own, while also trying to interrogate our own relationships with masculinity. I’m no different. Masculinity, I’ve always thought, is a trap. But I pursued it anyway. I still do." -- Henry Giardina 

 


Recs

Taking the day off, if you can. | The Miseducation of Cameron Post and exclusively the coverage of it written by queer women. | Definitely eat tacos. 

Keep calm, whatever you do

Blues Buzz

The best piece I've read on how heterosexual women see friendship and how that hurts queer women and non-binary folks. Appalachia's booming Latinx population is changing food. Like most Americans, I was raised to be a white man. Imposter syndrome reigns. The extreme cyclists of Navajo Nation. Queer fabulismStreet art in Richmond. How to win elections in a system not set up for us. Returning to a Mennonite homeland. An ode to Adrienne Rich. Hola, partner. What are white writers for? The word America is pretty ugly. The joys and pains of watching today's young queer stars. The fatphobia of Insatiable. Sleeping birds and limp dicks. A great piece on, IMO, the biggest issue with Sorry to Bother You, a fascinating film. On Irish immigration and race.

© E.A. Crunden

© E.A. Crunden

 

 


Me

Florida algae bloom = very bad (and it's becoming a huge midterm election issue.) Michigan's Democratic primary centered environmental issues. Baltimore is set to be the first major U.S. city to ban water privatization. Rashida Tlaib is set to be the first Palestinian woman and first Muslim woman elected to Congress -- and she's a champion for environmental justice. Green groups are probing the Trump administration's plans to house immigrants at Superfund sites. Puerto Rico finally admitted the death toll from Maria was 20 times higher than originally stated. 

 


Around the Globe

Africa. A ceasefire and power-sharing agreement in South Sudan. Uganda is hopeful about the agreement -- the country is hosting around one million refugees. Congo continues to eye anti-Ebola measures. Boko Haram killed nearly 20 soldiers in a fresh attack in Borno state. Eritrea wants tourists. Sudan's authoritarian leader eyes another term

Americas. Costa Rica rules against same-sex marriage ban. Venezuela's president survived a seemingly targeted assassination attempt by drone. Colombia's new president has been sworn in. Argentina shot down the chance to legalize abortion -- but seems to have birthed a movement. Chaos in Portland, Oregon after neo-Nazis rally with D.C. up next. Trump slams sanctions on Iran despite outcry from E.U. leaders

Asia & Australia. An earthquake killed more than 300 people in Indonesia. Road protests dominate Bangladesh. Saudi Arabia faces off with Canada. Overcrowding in Australia is becoming a major problem. Israel may have assassinated a top Syrian scientist. Israel's nation state law is still wildly unpopular. No rest for Afghanistan, ever.

Europe. Georgia and Russia butt heads over potential NATO membership. The Trump administration slammed Russia with new sanctions (much to Russia's displeasure.) U.S. tariffs are hurting the Turkish lira. Anti-government protests exploded in Romania.

 


Green Scene

Caribbean islands beg Trump to rejoin Paris deal. In Indonesia, an effort to help children enjoy the nature tourists love -- and to inspire them to protect it. In the Permian Basin, a sea of "man camps." California faces the largest wildfire in its history. Climate change is threatening rice, a Native American staple. Living between life and death in Pakistan as glaciers melt. Inuit dogsled racing is running out of time. Endangered birds in Alabama are threatened by beachgoers. The Green Climate Fund is in crisis. A huge victory for anti-pesticide activists. From Flint to Nigeria. Turning beach plastic into 3-D inventions. A view of hog farming's changing landscape. Fish arrive in the Arctic.


Spoken & Written

"It’s troubling to see how privilege accumulates over generations, particularly white privilege in the U.S., and, when people reach a certain level of safety, to see how they pull the ladder up after themselves." -- Maeve Higgins

 


Recs

MAN, it's been a rough week for your newsletter curator, for entirely personal reasons. To that end, I'm embracing:

Taking care of yourself, even if it's not socially acceptable. | Buying beautiful vegetables from the farmers market (or wherever!) | Having long, good discussions with friends about things that resonate with you, like this article did for me. 

 

The daily grind

Blues Buzz

Life in Iran under sanctions. Immigrant, Montana. Why writing matters in the age of despair. Southern mothers, cruel, loving, nuanced, and fascinating. And how one Southern father is atoning for the tragedy he caused his queer daughter. Confessions of the Fox is excellent and we need more trans writers. (Related: queering the novel.) Queer Midwestern writing and art. Defend Sarah Jeong at all costs. In Austin, reckoning with the Confederacy might include the city's name.

Advertising hitting too close to home these days. © E.A. Crunden

Advertising hitting too close to home these days. © E.A. Crunden

 

 


Me

California's heinous wildfires. Philadelphia ends cooperation with ICE. Appalachians win against pipelines, but an uphill battle remains. Trump's border wall is threatening a beloved Texas state park renowned for its birdwatching. Portland wins big in fight against fossil fuels. The Trump administration will defend an Obama-era ozone regulation against a lawsuit brought in part by Scott Pruitt. Amid raging wildfires, a bipartisan display of support for fossil fuels in Colorado. 

 


Around the Globe

Africa. Zimbabwe's election drama took a tragic turn, as did Mali's. Tunisia swore in a new interior minister. South Africa is doubling down on a controversial land policy. Who holds the balance of power in Nigeria?

Americas. Nicaragua's government faces off against the Catholic Church and at least 317 people have likely been killed in the violence sweeping the country. Trump threatens shutdown over border wall. 3-D printed guns sparked drama and a last minute intervention in the U.S. 

Asia. Ahed Tamimi is free. Now Trump is willing to meet with Iran but Iran is not willing to meet with Trump. North Korean missiles return. Gunmen took dozens of hostages in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. At least 29 Shia worshippers were also killed in the country when militants targeted a mosque. Israel's nation state law remains a source of controversy for minorities, including the Druze. Guess what, the U.S. and China are still in a trade war! Yemen is on the brink of another cholera outbreak.

Europe. The Pope comes out swinging against the death penalty. It's Spain and Portugal's turn for a heat wave. Turkey's escalating feud with the U.S. over the detention of an American citizen has sparked sanctions. No deal Brexit?

 


Green Scene

California's horrifying wildfires; Greece's horrifying wildfires. China will close 1,000 manufacturing plants to curb pollution. Kolkata, a city of water, struggles in the midst of global warming. Solar power on Navajo land. A retired furniture maker fights for climate justice in West Virginia. The future of coal.

 


Spoken & Written

"A white American telling an Asian American to “go back to where you came from,” for instance, isn’t the same as an Asian American saying the same to a white American, even if neither individual can claim ancestral roots as America’s first residents. To claim otherwise is to be blind to the history and social dynamics of this country." -- from this most excellent Slate rebuttal

 


Recs

This poem: "A position at the university". | Confessions of the Fox, and, more generally, literature in which you can see yourself. 

 

 

Very hot or very wet with no in-between

Blues Buzz

Millennial financial resentment. One furious comic genius. ...Anna March... The problem with dead girl stories. My body image issues also did not go away when I started dating women. Brooklyn's literary makeover through the eyes of its natives. Black, gay, and Catholic in Texas. I do not love or watch Queer Eye, a show straight women love, and this is a good essay diving into that. Paying for stuff is weird now. Aww, Michelle Williams. Jesmyn Ward's true South. When marriages fall apart. Sun dogs. Georgia has a coast. White fragility. Baptized into a Southern summer. Sex toys will never do the hardest work for you. Ask rural Southerners what would improve life in the rural South.

Cherry almond pancakes for your pains. © E.A. Crunden

Cherry almond pancakes for your pains. © E.A. Crunden

 

 


Me

Sweltering heat is overwhelming Texas. The Interior Department purposefully sought to downplay the benefits of national monuments in favor of industry interests. In a letter quietly sent last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers blasted a Pentagon report that altered references to climate change. Activists in Louisiana are fighting the Bayou Bridge pipeline with everything they've got. Fallout from Flint's water crisis continues amid reports that the death toll could be nearly ten times higher than the official count.  Turning SNAP recipients away from farmers markets has environmental implications. Michigan is once again grappling with water problems -- this time over PFAS. Rick Scott, brought to you by oil money!

 


Around the Globe

Africa. Ethiopia eyes democratic reforms while Eritrea may ease its conscription service, which has pushed a number of young men out of the country. India expands its Africa presence. Congo's Ebola outbreak is over. In Nigeria, a crisis between cattle herders and farmers is spiraling. Mali set to vote

Americas. A gunman opened fire in Toronto. Former FARC members took their seats in Colombia's parliament. Argentina's president opened a can of worms with military involvement in national affairs. Venezuela's horrifying inflation rate is still skyrocketing. Trump may strip former U.S. national security officials of their security clearance over their criticism of him. California grapples with the murder of Nia Wilson.

Asia. Iran and the U.S. began the week trading barbs. Israel organized the evacuation of members of the Syrian White Helmets, amid dwindling opportunities for the opposition to win against the government, but left 300 behind. Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet. Pakistan chooses PTI's Imran Khan, who has doubled down on support for blasphemy laws, amid allegations of vote-rigging. North Korea hands over the remains of U.S. soldiers

Europe. Greece is on fire and Britain is drying out, to give you an idea of the weather in Europe. Brexit wars continue because Theresa May can't have nice things. Farmers' protests in France halted the Tour de France. Poles mass-protested the erosion of the country's judiciary. 

 


Green Scene

Aid is coming for farmers suffering from the trade war -- but what about the soybeans? One in every 14 acres in Central Appalachia has been altered by surface coal mining. Crisis in Laos following damn collapse becomes Cambodia's crisis as well. Climate change is making deadly wildfires worse. Deforestation is effecting global water cycles. Drillers and miners won't have to pay for the damage done to U.S. federal land. Seabirds are pooping out plastic. Where did all the BP oil spill oil go? Louisiana's indigenous communities want recognition so they can fight climate change. 

 


Spoken & Written

"I like to think that after I die, my children will look at that place and see a place of refuge, of rest. I hope they do not flee. I hope that at least one of them will want to remain here in this place that I love more than I loathe, and I hope the work that I have done to make Mississippi a place worth living is enough." -- Jesmyn Ward

 


Recs

Drink water, eat less bread (sorry). | Hike, walk, or generally enjoy some place green outside of a car. | Reach out to someone who could be a new friend; they could be cool, you never know. 

 

A dull ache

Blues Buzz

The wonders of Appalachian food. This small Texas town has a complicated relationship with ICE. TopsNow more than ever. Growing up Northern in the South. Countering stereotypes about Indian Americans -- when it comes to sex, among other things. Queer AppalachiaThe truth of Sharp Objects. Korean souls. What do novels about evil children say about us? Everyone has an accent. Eight books about Jewish queer women. When anti-Blackness comes to town.

Storm coming in the direction of Bar Harbor, Maine. 

Storm coming in the direction of Bar Harbor, Maine. 

 

 


Me

Democratic lawmakers introduced a host of proposed minibus amendments in an effort to limit future scandals like the kind Scott Pruitt generated (they mostly failed, but hey, they tried). The EPA's "secret science" rule is deeply, deeply unpopular. More than half of U.S. school districts aren't testing for lead in their drinking water. Ryan Zinke is doing his best to catch up to Scott Pruitt in the federal investigations count. Setbacks in NYC and California aren't stopping Baltimore from suing Big Oil over climate change.

 


Around the Globe

Africa. A commercial flight carried passengers between Ethiopia and Eritrea, a historic moment. Zimbabwe's former president stepped down voluntarily, per a court ruling, which will allow his successor to take power. The trade war isn't helping Africa. Much ado about Africa and the World Cup. Kenya's mobile phone scam.

Americas. Haiti's prime minister resigned following heated protests. Cuba eyes democratic reforms. Venezuelan refugees pour into Colombia. The head of Peru's judicial branch has resigned amid protests over corruption. Canada's child benefits see a boost. The Trump circus goes on forever.

Asia. A major trade deal between the E.U. and Japan flies in the face of U.S. trade threats. Israel adopted a hardline new law discriminating against non-Jewish residents and launched yet another attack on Palestinians. Pakistan's elections are marred by attacks and accusations, along with potential military interference. 

Europe. Trump met with Putin in Helsinki and essentially sided with the Russian government over the FBI; then he (sort of) backtracked. Hungary panned a global migration agreement. The gas pipeline controversy dividing Europe. Turkey and the Netherlands have resumed full diplomatic ties.


Green Scene

Climate change is killing Lebanon's cedars. Texas is sweltering and California is on fire. India's slow, sweltering suffering. Wildfires are hindering air pollution progress. A win for Minnesota pipeline protestors. Oil king Texas. Meat and dairy emissions are BAD. Coal ash regulations are weakening. Black farmers say they were intentionally sold inferior seeds. Also via Southerly, Georgia could have the world's first sustainable highway. The Endangered Species Act is endangered. Black lung haunts central Appalachia. Oil and gas is hurting rural Texas.


Spoken & Written

“In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t'." -- POTUS

 


Recs

I had a spectacularly terrible week, something I don't say lightly as someone with a very glass-two-thirds-empty approach to life. Estranged family members wreaking havoc! Impossible student loan costs I can't afford! Horrifying things happening to close friends! Anyways I'm in a state of trying to pull myself together, so, things I am recommending to myself that you may also find useful are:

Hiking (I'm eyeing the C&O Canal and praying it doesn't rain). | Cutting something maybe bad out of your diet to see how you feel (unfortunately for me I think bread is on the chopping block). | Trying a new recipe.