Blues Buzz

Masha Gessen on why we must protest. Black athletes are Black people -- and Black people are dying. Climate change is a social justice, too. A little-seen Kabul. Portraits of resilience in Saskatchewan. "Paris of the Mississippi." Women in Mongolia are ready to take on the patriarchy. The power of group chats for Black and brown people. Online dating when you're in a wheelchair. Nicole Chung on engaging her white family members re Trump.


Vegan life in Atlanta, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden

Vegan life in Atlanta, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden

Around the Globe

Africa. Chad is very confused about being on Trump's travel ban (and France is not into it.) Around 100,000 Nigerian refugees were deported from Cameroon. In South Africa, thousands marched against corruption. Boko Haram is impacting schools in Nigeria. 

Americas. Montreal says goodbye to Uber. Chelsea Manning was not allowed to enter Canada. Aftershock tremors made earthquake rescue efforts harder in Mexico. This really weird and ever-growing Cuba story has everyone baffled. Puerto Rico is in crisis after Hurricane Maria, with little help from the mainland. The U.S. Virgin Islands is facing a health care crisis. A rural pregnancy and birth crisis is breaking out across the U.S. NFL drama. Trump debuted a new travel ban. DHS wants to surveil the social media of immigrants and those who keep company with immigrants. Trumpcare died again. Hugh Hefner has also died. High-level Trump administration officials have been getting into some real shenanigans and now Price is out.

Asia & Australia. Bali, Indonesia might be facing a volcanic eruption. Australia is eyeing creating a space agency. There was some question this week over whether the U.S. declared war on North Korea over Twitter. Saudi Arabia is finally set to let women drive. Kurdistan votes for independence. Azerbaijan's LGBTQ community is facing harsh crackdowns. Egypt is cracking down on queer rights after a rainbow flag flew at a Mashrou' Leila concert. At least 22 people were killed in a stampede in Mumbai. Pollution in Gaza is taking away the one escape residents had: the sea.

Europe. Angela Merkel remains chancellor of Germany. Ireland's abortion referendum is coming. Irish protesters called for abortion rights this weekend. Spain is going head-to-head with Catalonia over the region's referendum. 


Spoken & Written

"Pretty black and white." -- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the NFL #TakeAKnee protests.



Journalism: Trump spent his time tweeting about football while Puerto Rico's national humanitarian crisis grew. Then he addressed the issue -- by blaming Puerto Rico. Which is being hindered by the Jones Act, everyone's new favorite shipping regulation. Puerto Ricans say Trump has failed themNo one understands why Trump banned Chad. Saudi Arabia is letting women drive, a credit to feminists -- but definitely not to the kingdom, which has other motives. Texas is denying Houston hurricane recovery funds.

Anything Goes:

This weekend is Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. I wouldn't say it's a fun day -- I can go 26 or so hours without food but once water and coffee are subtracted it becomes an ordeal, one I don't look forward to. But reflection, atonement, and forgiveness are crucial components of my faith, and I welcome the opportunity to renew my commitment to Judaism, as much as to myself and the people around me. 

That having been said, I've marked this Yom Kippur without my usual enthusiasm, probably because it's been an indescribably exhausting 2017 and my usual zeal for a clean slate has been replaced by a sneaking feeling that my weekends might be better spent treating myself to what I want in a world that wants me to have none of what I want. Even sitting through services I found myself growing resentful at the unfairness of Jews begging for forgiveness (or anyone on the margins begging for forgiveness, really) at a time when people who do not think Jews (and so many others) are even people are in power. 

Of course, Yom Kippur isn't a time for resenting the other. It's a time for cleansing the self, something I've been struggling to remember this year, when the self has seemed like a distant priority at a time when the collective is suffering so visibly. It's also a time for apology and righting wrongs. Staring at images of Puerto Rico, going through hell with no relief in sight, it hasn't been hard to see where my tzedakah funds should go, but I do wonder what will come later and how to keep up the momentum. Atonement comes once a year, but how do we spend the rest of it? When do we apologize and how? Those questions have been dominating my thoughts and really, I have no answers.