We have no Planet B

Due to a fun glitch, you may not have received last week's newsletter. It is stale now, but located here, if you are longing for the recommendations and buzzings you may have missed. 

Blues Buzz

Sense8 is gone because queer people can't have nice things. Semi-related: the queer origins of Wonder Woman. Jessica Chastain on sexism at Cannes. California is ready to recognize a third gender, but is the rest of the U.S.? Elena Ferrante on My Brilliant Friend moving to the screen. Covfefe. FLY INTO THE SUN. One of the major problems with Master of None's second season. Here, have some gravitational waves. Chris Kraus on why you should read some Eileen Myles. "I think we live in a constant funeral." New York forces people like this woman to carry nonviable pregnancies to term. The first indigenous woman to run for president of Mexico. Tuesday in America.

Pride month arrives in D.C. © E.A. Crunden

Pride month arrives in D.C. © E.A. Crunden

Around the Globe

Africa. Tensions are growing between Sudan and Egypt. Kenya opened a new railway, marking a major infrastructure moment for the country. Ethiopia inexplicably blocked mobile internet. A botched vaccination campaign killed at least 15 children in South Sudan. Lesotho is voting in its third election in five years. Thousands are rallying for the release of Morocco's protest leader.

Americas. Meet the Venezuelans being robbed of a second chance at life. Panama's former dictator died after ongoing health problems. Cuba's detente with the U.S. may be coming to an end. Y'all, it was Jared. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a transgender student fighting to use the boys' restroom. The United States, the biggest carbon polluter in history, says goodbye to the Paris agreement. U.S.-Russia update: Vladimir Putin says "patriotically-minded" Russians might have tried to influence the U.S. election. Kathy Griffin did a thing. The Muslim travel ban returns AGAIN.

Asia. Yet another North Korea missile test. Muslim women in India are fighting Islamic divorce laws. Flooding in Sri Lanka has killed more than 150 people and displaced half a million -- a fate Bangladesh is frantically trying to avoid. A Chinese dating app for queer women has been shut down. China is preparing to fill the void as the U.S. exits the Paris agreement. The Ramadan/Ramzan ad dividing the masses. Two tragic bombings in Iraq killed dozens, with one attack targeting families enjoying ice cream after a day of fasting. At least 80 people died and 350 were injured when a bomb went off in Kabul, Afghanistan -- targeting an area many had thought somewhat safe. A gunman opened fire on a private school in Saudi Arabia. United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia vs. Qatar. An armed robbery in the Philippines killed at least 36, most of whom died suffocating when the gunman set fire to the casino.

Europe. Following a terse G7 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe must look inward and attend to its own interests, pivoting away from reliance on the U.S. and U.K. France didn't love Emmanuel Macron, candidate, but the country seems to be more excited about Emmanuel Macron, president. Russia vs. Ukraine: Twitter edition. Macedonia finally has a new government. Ireland is set to have a gay, Indian-Irish leader; you should probably know that while he is socially liberal, he is economically conservative.


Portland wasn't the only hate crime last week. Kabul's tragedy came at a dark time for U.S. foreign policy. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thinks Trump is an idiot. Trump doesn't care what people think of him -- including the Israeli government, and all governments: on Thursday, he signaled that the U.S. would be leaving the Paris agreement, a terrible moment for the fight against climate change. He also opened the announcement condemning a "terrorist attack" in the Philippines -- it was in fact an armed robbery. San Antonio and Austin joined the lawsuits mounting against SB4, Texas' draconian anti-immigration law.



To do: You may well be feeling bleak about the planet. If you're searching for productive ways to channel your energy, making individual life changes can be surprisingly meaningful. In our home we've made moves to reduce waste, get rid of plastic (replaced with wood, glass, silicon, + a slew of other alternatives), invested in a composting service, opted for a fan instead of air conditioning, shifted away from fast fashion, and collectively we work to think meaningfully about our purchases and life choices. At times this can be exhausting -- in order to really cut out our waste, we bring a pile of cloth bags whenever we shop. And, when we shop, it's typically at farmers' markets, a small neighborhood grocery store, or the two bigger grocery options that offer items we can fill our bags with in bulk (beans, lentils, sugar, flour, rice, etc.) It can be more costly, more time-involved, and more of a headache overall (the number of times I've fought over plastic straws at restaurants, or plastic bags anywhere, or excess packaging...it isn't fun.) We are also incredibly privileged in our proximity to some of these spaces, and while neither of us has a particularly impressive income, we're both savers who work to be able to prioritize the things that matter -- which means going without sometimes, but not necessarily being forced to decide between basic needs and morals. Not everyone has that luxury. 

I'm not saying you have to go to these extremes. I'm just saying, if you've been spending a lot of time recently reading up on climate change and the environment, you may be looking for personal actions you can take. And there are many. Looking for reading material? Reading My Tea Leaves is a decent lifestyle blog and probably the one I read most frequently. But Trash is for Tossers, The Guardian's sustainable fashion blog, and the Note Passer are good places to start. Buying less and thinking more is good too, honestly. Now's as good a time as any. 

Written & Spoken

"As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future." -- Mayor Bill Peduto, of Pittsburgh, PA 



The U.S. is the number two carbon emitter in the world, behind China. But up until 2007, the positions were reversed -- China in position two, the U.S. in slot one. The U.S. also remains the biggest carbon polluter in history (here is a great NYT guide to break this all down for you.) Much has been made of China's current position but rarely with context; for one, China is also the world's top producer of renewable energy (the U.S. is second). For another, China is rapidly industrializing, while Western countries like the U.S. are already considered by many to be developed and fully equipped with the infrastructure necessary to implement wide-scale changes on a national level. Now, what "developed" means and which countries meet that definition is a conversation rooted in grayscale. But it's not hard to conclude that more should be expected on a global level of countries where pre-existing systems allow for greater systemic change -- especially countries disproportionately contributing to global crises, like climate change.