Blues Buzz

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

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

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


News Around the Globe

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Quote of the Week

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

Fun Fact

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