Dog days

Blues Buzz

Excommunicate me from the church of social justice. RIP Nelsan Ellis. Who cares what straight people think? A poem. A new metaphor for Israel-Palestine. Federal hospitals fail Native tribes in the U.S. Appalachians are tired of national media coverage so they are doing things their way. Many women of color feel unsafe working in the sciences. Queer celebrities react to the L Word reboot. Gyrocopters. White kids are bullying minorities using Trump's language. Bye bye Larsen C. Gentrification is harming Black residents from East Austin. A friend of mine wrote about how India's trans models want their own agency. The dark side of writing India. D.C. women are returning home to their red states to run for office. The Big Sick is about dating and romance, but it's also about parents and children. The uninhabitable earth. Hungary's squeeze on a Jewish center known for, among other things, supporting queer youth and the minority Roma community, is outrageous. 

A resting spot, San Francisco, CA. © E.A. Crunden

A resting spot, San Francisco, CA. © E.A. Crunden

Around the Globe

Africa. An internet outage is costing Somalia $10 million per day. Zambia's jailed opposition leader wants a dialogue with the government. Bird flu keeps cropping up in South Africa. Djibouti saw the arrival of Chinese troops. A suicide bombing killed 12 people in Cameroon. Nigeria is investigating allegations that almost 100 fisherman were killed in a dispute over fishing fees.

Americas. Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison. The former president of Peru is now involved in Brazil's massive scandal. Spyware was used on experts investigating the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico. Mexican authorities are investigating the murder of a Honduran journalist who sought refuge in the country. Latest Trump-Russia fun, thanks to Donald Trump Jr. A major redistricting case in Texas could have huge implications for the 2018 elections. Sixteen people died in a U.S. military plane crash in Mississippi. Senate goes into overtime. The Trump administration has been stopped (for now) from deporting 1,400 Christian Iraqis. Hawaii dealt another blow to Trump's travel ban.

Asia. Iraq has officially declared victory over ISIS in Mosul. Gender-based violence in Ghor province, Afghanistan has swelled. Abkhazia's abortion ban is killing people who can become pregnant. Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo died still under house arrest, the first time such an event has happened since Nazi Germany. Eight people died in a mass-shooting in Thailand. Vietnam jailed a prominent activist blogger. The rise of a new Israeli Labor leader. Qatar's drama continues but it could end soon? Flooding is threatening Indian rhinos, who are being pushed closer to poachers. #CalibriGate, for those who need to be caught up to speed. Jerusalem was rocked by another attack. Five Egyptian police officers were killed close to Cairo. Big Cambodia news.

Europe. London's Camden Market was hit with a fire. Poland's authoritarian government continues to take steps to hinder the judiciary. Same-sex marriage, coming to a Malta near you! Trump spent quality time with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, this week.


Written & Spoken

"Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican." -- David Brooks, who hopefully will never write another column relating to class ever again.


Journalism: Rep. Mo Brooks argued this week that while universal health care is too cost-intensive, tax cuts for the wealthy are important. One new study sharply rebuked a key GOP talking point on Medicaid. Trump's plan to use China to deter North Korea is failing, spectacularly. Judges in Texas this week listened to a redistricting case with major national implications. Last year was the most dangerous on record for environmental activists. Trump is not joking about the solar-powered border wall.

Anything Goes:

Summer is dragging on, draining me the way it always does. Cutting up tomatoes this weekend, one of my few summer joys, I was reminded of a piece I wrote around this time last year for the graduate program I am finally nearly close to done with. Short piece, short prompt. I wrote about summer, how it drains me, and how that summer was particularly draining. Later, it was ripped to shreds by my peers for being too depressing. In a scene reminiscent of my Texas childhood (where a friend once told me I might be happier if I "got a tan"; at the time I was severely burned, the inevitable byproduct of harsh sun on sensitive skin), several classmates took umbrage at my hatred for summer, that most holy of seasons. I would spend the rest of the year cautiously working to avoid "depressing" topics, somehow the only kind I ever really want to elevate -- perhaps why grad school and I are not in sync with one another. 

An aversion to things beloved by others has haunted me. Another winning example is Christmas, which seems strange to reference in July, but there you are. Cherished by the majority in this country, there is a feeling of deep resentment whenever the holiday (nay, season, at this point) comes under fire. Privileged bodies want to believe their treasured pastimes and beloved norms are universal. (Minorities, by contrast, know their holy rituals are not; if they were, we would not be dying at the hands of the majority.)

Summer is a far cry from Christmas is a far cry from other forms of bigotry (sometimes) but every year these things hit me the same way. I had another moment, walking into a bathroom in the building where I work, wearing a pair of shorts, my least-worn clothing item for a number of reasons, not least of all this: As a woman's eyes passed over my legs (covered in a mat of curly, reddish brown hair), I watched her shock register. She left, hurriedly. Another offense I committed this week.

My body, my pleasures, my traditions, my beliefs, my preferences. I grow more stubborn in the summer, a trait I learned in Texas, where summer is most of the year and frail things don't survive. I'm thinking about home a lot these days, as health care battles loom large and gerrymandering sees its day in court. I left home behind for the life of a coastie, and now I'm in 'the swamp,' so to speak. But this piece is still on my mind. If everywhere is Texas, what did I even leave?

So here we are; it is mid-July and the heat is getting to me.