Science vs. power

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

Blues Buzz

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

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

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


Around the Globe

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

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

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

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



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



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

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


Spoken & Written

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


Thought(s) & Fact

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

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