Shaky ground

Blues Buzz

These are the faces of dreamers. The lost giant of American literature. The original girl from the North Country. Let these Afghan skiers inspire you. The immigrant astronaut who could get the U.S. to Mars. Bearing witness, from the Mississippi Delta to Krakow. I, your newsletter curator, relate deeply to this story from Alexander Chee on the complications of inheritance and how it destroys families. The state of Pakistani cinema. Traveling while Black. Big trouble in little Cambodia (Texas). How do we explain this national tragedy (Trump)? A novel of the AIDS crisis. A vegan in diaspora. 1-866-MRTR. The South without connection. Lesbian foster parents in the Bible Belt. The long history of mocking South Asian accents.

Atlanta, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden

Atlanta, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden



Around the Globe

Africa. Ethiopia will release more than 2,000 political prisoners amid protests. Egypt's opposition leaders are calling for an election boycott. No more foreign travel for Namibian officials, apparently. Nearly 1,000 gold miners were rescued after being trapped in a mine in South Africa.

Americas. Canadian politics and #MeToo. Canadians vote for a gender-neutral national anthem. Brazilians are suffering from record homelessness. Pope Francis has dispatched a sexual abuse investigator to Chile. Trump's State of the Union speech rankled a number of groups. I have not linked to The Memo but yes, that happened.

Asia. Yet another horrifying week for Kabul. The Taliban remain active in 70% of Afghanistan. Separatists in Yemen have captured most of Aden. India's ambitious new health plans. Thailand apparently has a penis whitening fad? Scores of Pakistanis attempting to flee the country appear to have drowned near Africa, off the coast of Libya.

Europe. Russians marched in mass-support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Finland's president has been re-elected in a landslide vote. Poland's efforts to erase national accountability in the Holocaust has sparked a spat with Israel. The real impact of cutting immigration to Britain isn't pretty.


Green Is A Thing

What gets to be called milk? Kentucky's "worst" water system could be weeks from collapsing. POTUS has some interesting thoughts about climate change, as I'm sure will shock no one. Houston's flood problems. Surprising (good) EPA news. Salting against ice can cause problems for water species -- but there are other solutions. Australia's shrinking environmental protections. Climate change emojis for your nightmares. Working from home is good for the environment. Thousands in South Texas live without water, power, or basic roads. Straws -- they're bad (but this solution is extreme.) Exxon will triple production in the Permian basin. The White House wants 72% cuts to energy research. Sexual harassment is rampant in the outdoor industry. And that industry isn't very inclusive. Plastic junk is a vector for disease. Sinking islands = floating nations? JELLYFISH


Spoken & Written

"Straight people really think we watch movies with them in it on purpose. Amazing. The degree of self-deception simply takes my breath away." -- Brandon Taylor



Journalism: Trump's rhetoric is having a devastating impact on South Asian and Muslim communities. NAFTA talks could stretch into 2019. The Pennsylvania shooting is the latest example of gun violence mingling with toxic masculinity. FEMA has ended food and water aid to Puerto Rico. Latinx leaders weren't happy with Trump's SOTU. Climate change is a threat to half of all U.S. military sites worldwide. Progressive activism is alive and well in Appalachia. Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers want the Supreme Court to throw out a January 22 gerrymandering ruling. Here's what's up with Israel and Poland.

Anything goes:

Winter is a season I respect and keep peace with, which I know is a wildly unpopular opinion. (Similarly, I hate summer -- another wildly unpopular opinion.) It isn't my favorite -- thank you, fall -- but I do like cold weather and, more truthfully, I like the honesty of winter. With absolutely no scientific basis whatsoever I can tell you that I feel things come out more often in winter. They reveal themselves. Is that good? It certainly doesn't feel nice. But I appreciate it and I respect it and I'm usually ultimately glad for it.

That in mind, January dragged on (and yet flew by?) and February stands to do the same. Full weekends -- the stuff of my nightmares -- loom ahead of me as do plans and projects and things meant to be done or begun and done or begun soon. There's been no lull and I expect there won't be one for some time, which means these days I'm on the go, constantly. There's an upside to that -- like a lot of anxious people it's sometimes best for me to just race through motions. The downside, of course, is that I am tired and dragging and unsure, which isn't an enjoyable way to be.

But still, it's winter and I plan to make the most of it. Things I haven't been doing I plan to start doing; I want to check things off of lists. All of this is a very long way of saying I have added a climate section to this newsletter and that I hope it is the beginning of a shift in focus I've been thinking about for awhile. So, yeah, there's that.