A taxing time

Blues Buzz

Afghanistan's hipsters carve a space for themselves. I really need to see Call Me By Your Name. Self-driven disaster relief. Sherman Alexie on Thanksgiving. Her name is Pocahontas. Something great: a rural Mississippi county wants to start a recycling program. The Pakistani general who won't go away. 100 notable books (and 20 left off.) Favorite authors on favorite books. Walking while Black. The dangerous lure of writing for white readers. To give a name to it. Dear Rose. Justice for Ann Curry. Good news: Ferrante is back on her bullshit (in the best way.)


Denver, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden

Denver, Colorado. © E.A. Crunden

Around the Globe

Africa. A massive extremist attack in Egypt's Sinai region killed hundreds; those targeted were Sufis and you should know what that means. Kenya's president vowed to overcome divisions despite a heated and contested election. The U.S. military denies that civilians were killed during a raid in Somalia.

Americas. Colombia is seeking to suspend mining in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Both candidates claimed victory in Honduras' presidential election. The children of Argentina's dirty war want their fathers punished. LGBTQI2S+ Canadians received an apology. Texas high school students are moving away from high school football. Men are bad. Russia-Trump drama keeps rolling. The Senate passed a truly terrible tax bill.

Asia. Anti-Ahmadi sentiment led to the downfall of Pakistan's law minister, another blow for democracy and minorities. Nine people were killed in an attack on Peshawar College. A volcano in Bali is getting set to erupt. Nepal is holding a historic election. On a visit to Burma, Pope Francis bowed to pressure and declined to use the word "Rohingya." I regret to inform y'all that North Korea is firing intercontinental ballistic missiles again. India is making moves in support of net neutrality.

Europe. France could criminalize cat-calling. Anti-Muslim sentiment continues to be an issue in majority Catholic Poland. Germany is headed for some drama. A war criminal committed suicide via poison in the Hague and it wasn't even close to the biggest story of the week -- the year, it was 2017, and the times they were these. 


Spoken & Written

“I don’t have time for meetings that aren’t real.” -- Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) after a House Democratic sexual harassment meeting



Journalism: Military officials are pushing back on Trump's nuclear threats. A federal judge permanently blocked White House efforts to block sanctuary cities from receiving federal funds. The U.S. finally labeled anti-Rohingya atrocities ethnic cleansing. Diplomats are fleeing Delhi as the city's smog crisis worsens -- but that won't solve the problem. The State Department continues to dissolve. Sting videos have had severe consequences in Arkansas. Even far-right U.K. leaders blasted Trump's Islamophobic retweets. Senate Republicans essentially voted to defund public schools to help private ones. Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be bad -- but so is designating Jerusalem as Israel's capital more generally. White evangelical Alabamans are standing by Roy Moore

Anything goes: Oh wow, it's here. The final draft of my thesis is turned in -- with decisions coming Monday, cool, fun time, no anxiety here -- and the year is barreling to its conclusion. By this time next week I'll theoretically be hours from my thesis reading and two days from a flight to Budapest. Then, I'll be back, just in time to pack up the two years I've spent buried deep in D.C.'s best-kept-secret neighborhood and heading to a more central part of that neighborhood. I'll be doing this mostly myself, since PIC will be traveling. 

That's stressful and I'm feeling the brunt of it. I spent a few wonderful days hiking mountains recently and since coming back I've felt off, like taking a break took me off track and now I can't get back into the swing of things. A tax bill with alarming implications, chaos in several countries near and dear to me, and a relentless news cycle haven't been enough to really shake me awake, something I've been feeling guilty about. But maybe a break -- a real, longer break -- is what I actually need. I'm excited to be abroad again (it's been ages) and happy for the chance to reflect and spend some time alone. Flip side, I remember how lonely (and depressing) traveling alone for a long period of time can be. So, I'm bracing myself.

Still, with this chaotic year winding to an end, I'm grateful for a number of things, not least of all the 30-minute pep talk my better half gave me this weekend over drinks and dinner, the close friends offering repeatedly to help with the move, and the brief but great time I got to spend with the beautiful, rambunctious little Texan I consider my niece. There will be a lot to reflect on when 2017 is done -- understatement of the century -- but my gratitude for the many truly A+ people in my life will definitely be a part of that. And so, belatedly, I am giving thanks.