Trying to Read the News in 2017

(in Colin Farell Gifs)

Every single cabinet pick:

Each new Trump administration official who gets caught lying about their communications with Russian diplomats/business people:

“You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, okay? They’re the only ones, I won; I mean, I became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I don’t think they care at all. I think you care.” -DJT

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Every time Trump shakes anyone’s hand:

DJT 2011: “He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me … where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion, by the way.”

DJT 2016: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,”

DJT 2016: “I think he’s the worst president maybe in the history of our country,”

DJT 2016: “I must tell you, you know, I never met him before this. I never spoke to him before this. I really — I do like him.”

recent Mother Jones headline: “Trump: Obama Tapped My Phone, He’s a Sick Guy”

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Literally me watching the inauguration in a Starbucks 5 blocks from it:

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“Are they friends of yours?”

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The golden showers thing:

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Realizing that despite this great selection of gifs, this post is actually making it all feel worse…

Everyone in Congress who voted to confirm Trump’s cabinet picks:

“Rick Perry confirmed as Energy Secretary”

“Rex Tillerson skips State Department’s annual announcement on human rights, alarming advocates”


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“When I was young, in high school and in college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. America never lost. Now, we never win a war.” -DJT

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When Donald Trump, whose closest advisor ran Breitbart, calls actual news outlets fake news

“… the VOICE agency is expected to publish a weekly list of all crimes committed by immigrants, suggesting that anyone who has moved to the US, both documented and undocumented, could find their name on the public document.” — AJZ

Fucking everything that’s happened since Trump came down the escalator surrounded by a crowd of supporters who were probably/actually paid actors:

When you consider that maybe the Mayans were just off by 5 years:

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Voices from the vigil for free expression

Writers of conscience confront hopelessness in the early weeks of the Trump presidency.

On the night of Feb. 11, attendees of the 2017 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference held a candlelight vigil in front of the White House. The videos below contain most of the speeches that were given at the event.

“Don’t stop using your words. It isn’t trivial. It is more important than ever.”

— Melissa Febos [part 1, 5:55]

Writer Carolyn Forche read Walt Whitman’s “This is What You Shall Do” [part 1, 8:00]:

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

Gabrielle Bellot [part 2, 3:30]

We need to stop acting as if it is normal, after the second World War, for Nazis to tell the president what to do. We need to obstruct the appointment of politicians who want to take this country back to the days before integration.

We live in… a world where a hateful troll like Milo Yiannapolis is given a book deal on the grounds of free speech by the same company that refused to publish “American Psycho” on the grounds of decency.

I believe in love. I want to work together with people to make a world where we have to dream less. No matter their skin color. No matter their gender or race, or even their political affiliations. We need unity, not segregation, more now than ever if we are going to win back our freedom.

Poet Ross Gay read Cornelius Eady’s “Grattitude” [part 3, 4:20]:

In truth, I had no idea there was going to be a vigil for free expression that night. I didn’t know what (AWP) was until I googled it after the event.

I was walking back to the McPherson Square metro station to head home after covering an immigrants’ rights march that had concluded on the other side of the White House when I heard cheers.

In the middle of a crosswalk, I turned around and started heading back. The park was too dark to tell what was going on, but I knew I had to check it out. My mantra these last few months of observing and documenting these, often spontaneous, protests since the election has been “head towards the White House and follow the yelling.”

When I noticed the candles, my first thought was that it was an event organized by anti-choice activists (a large group of them were in town for some event that weekend). I walked around the growing mass of people until I ended up, basically by accident, right next to where the microphone was.

The speeches that followed were intimate, cathartic, and genuine. The speakers dealt with the existential questions we’ve all been asking ourselves since the election: Does anything we do now matter? Where, if anywhere, is there strength to be found in such dark times? How can we start rebuilding when we can’t stop the damage being done?

Melissa Febos left the crowd with a reminder to seek happiness, and to keep creating, even now [part 1, 5:40]:

Denying your own joy doesn’t deliver it to anyone else. It only deprives you before they get the chance to. So go ahead and feel afraid if you’re afraid, feel hopeless if you feel hopeless. Now is a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep.

Don’t go to sleep. Don’t stop using your words. It isn’t trivial. It is more important than ever.

Cmnd+F: 1/27/2017 [A.M.]

This week was overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know for Jan. 27, 2017


This really felt surreal and dangerous:

DAVID MUIR: … concerned — are you at all concerned it’s going to cause more anger among Muslims …


DAVID MUIR: … the world?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?

DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it’ll …


DAVID MUIR: … exacerbate the problem?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: … David, I mean, I know you’re a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What? You think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out.

The world is a total mess. Take a look at what’s happening with Aleppo. Take a look what’s happening in Mosul. Take a look what’s going on in the Middle East. And people are fleeing and they’re going into Europe and all over the place. The world is a mess, David.

DAVID MUIR: You brought up Iraq and something you said that could affect American troops in recent days. You said, “We should’ve kept the oil but okay maybe we’ll have another chance.” What did you mean by that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we should’ve kept the oil when we got out. And, you know, it’s very interesting, had we taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS because they fuel themselves with the oil. That’s where they got the money. They got the money from leaving — when we left, we left Iraq, which wasn’t a government. It’s not a government now.

And by the way, and I said something else, if we go in and do this. You have two nations, Iraq and Iran. And they were essentially the same military strength. And they’d fight for decades and decades. They’d fight forever. And they’d keep fighting and it would go — it was just a way of life. We got in, we decapitated one of those nations, Iraq. I said, “Iran is taking over Iraq.” That’s essentially what happened.

DAVID MUIR: So, you believe we can go in and take the oil.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We should have taken the oil. You wouldn’t have ISIS if we took the oil. Now I wasn’t talking about it from the standpoint of ISIS because the way we got out was horrible. We created a vacuum and ISIS formed. But had we taken the oil something else would’ve very good happened. They would not have been able to fuel their rather unbelievable drive to destroy large portions of the world.

DAVID MUIR: You’ve heard the critics who say that would break all international law, taking the oil. But I wanna get to the words …


DAVID MUIR: … that you …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait, wait, can you believe that? Who are the critics who say that? Fools.

Using data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which interviews tens of thousands of people every election year, the ODU study concluded that, at most, “maybe 14 percent of non-citizens engaged in some type of voting behavior,” Richman said.

Repeat: That’s not 14 percent of all voters. That’s 14 percent of all non-citizens.

“And keep in mind that non-citizens are a fraction of the total U.S. population,” Richman said, around 20 million adults. “So they maybe make up, at the very, very high end, 1 percent of an electorate.”

Note: The measures Trump has taken, and the responses to them, over the last week are not included in this post. I’m working on a separate post to cover that.

Climate Change

With a capacity of 20 MW/80 MWh, the project can hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for a day, but that’s not really what Southern California Edison is using it for on its grid covering 15 million people.

Instead, the system will charge using electricity from the grid during off-peak hours, when demand is low, and then deliver electricity during peak hours to help maintain the reliability and lower SCE’s dependence on natural gas peaker plants.

On (the) Media

“We are not the opposition,’’ Stephen Engelberg, editor in chief of the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, wrote in an email. “We are part of an essential function in any democracy.” He added that ProPublica had no intention of “shutting up in response to this or any other president’s demand.”

The White House seemed to be using the same tactics the Chinese government routinely uses against the foreign press corps: Make false claims to support an alternative narrative. When challenged, threaten reporters — and then try to delegitimize them.

Like the new White House, the Chinese government has tried over the years to convince citizens not to believe their own eyes. For instance, when smog enveloped Chinese cities, the government would insist it was really just fog. This tactic grew increasingly absurd as air reached staggeringly toxic levels and people faced post-apocalyptic scenes that no propaganda campaign could overcome.

“What does an assessment mean? It’s not a national intelligence estimate. If you had a real estimate, you would have five or six dissents. One time they said 17 agencies all agreed. Oh really? The Coast Guard and the Air Force — they all agreed on it? And it was outrageous and nobody did that story. An assessment is simply an opinion. If they had a fact, they’d give it to you. An assessment is just that. It’s a belief. And they’ve done it many times.”

On Resistance

This is a new section dedicated to important and interesting perspectives on protest and resistance.

Through this perspective, we might view today’s blac bloc activists not as cynical, nihilistic criminals, but as deeply concerned, yet seemingly powerless, citizens whose love of their fellow man surpasses their reverence for property rights and/or the law in general (the reality is really only known to the protesters themselves).

That might sound totally ridiculous, but it’s exactly how we talk about the Boston Tea Party and other insurrections against our previous colonial ruler.

What makes me the enemy, you may ask? In their mind it’s very simple: if you’re not among the victims, you’re among the culprits. In your case, you’re that modern bogeyman called the liberal urbanite hipster who thinks all cultures and religions are valid and equally worthy, who thinks of the working-class disparagingly. You are, in short, ‘a citizen of nowhere’ whose utopia is a massive, world-wide kumbaya with carrot chips, no church, and no soul either.

It may surprise you to learn that most of the time those who break windows or get into scuffles with the police at these kind of things are not the equivalent of human non sequiturs but highly committed and rational individuals, who–right or wrong–choose their actions after careful deliberation and in sharp awareness of the personal risk they run. Although you may not immediately see it, there is no small amount of strategic thought behind such tactics…

Civil disobedience, like blocking a port, can incur costs in the millions of dollars, while other actions widely accepted as ‘non-violent’ like pouring fake blood over draft cards or mortgage records can amount to incredibly costly direct property destruction. Breaking cheap windows may look scarier to some, but appearing intimidating is hardly an atrocity.


If Christians refuse to help and actually use their political advocacy and opinions to further hurt refugees, immigrants, women, foreigners, minorities, the poor, the oppressed, the persecuted, the sick, the LGBTQ community — and aren’t abiding by the golden rule of loving their neighbors as themselves, then who exactly are Christians supposedly loving?

What benefit are Christians providing their communities, and what good are they contributing to the world around them? Because in America, it appears that the sole purpose of Christianity is to selfishly protect people’s own self-interests instead of sacrificially serving others.

The election of President Donald Trump has proven that numerous Christians are more worried about power, influence, and control than the gospel messages of humility, generosity, ministering to others, and love.

Cmnd+F: Inauguration Day -1

Everything worth reading for Jan. 19, 2017.

Inauguration Protests

“There’s an opportunity here for education and awareness building through the march,” Lake says. “Yes, it is going to be messy. It is going to be all these positions that aren’t the same, but what’s wonderful is that all these conversations are happening and it’s making people think. Just because things are challenging doesn’t mean it’s bad.”

And that’s exactly the point. The march has become momentous both because of the number of people attending who have been steeped in the fight for justice on multiple fronts and for the groundswell of people who have never been politically active at all, for whom just the act of showing up to a protest is, well, uncomfortable.

“Being able to attend the march is a privilege, and if you are unable to march that likely means that you will be one of the people hit hardest under the Trump regime.”

Trump/Cabinet Hearings

The whole thing has been a vanity show from the second he ran to the Republican Convention. I think we can expect to see the same on Inauguration Day. He’s been unable to find a clean division between his own emotional needs and his own insecurities and simply being a healthy, strategically committed leader who wants to parse through good policy options and a wide series of public statements about the direction in which he’ll take the country

But one thing I think that we have overlooked as we see Trump trying to delegitimize others is what I suspect is a feeling he has inside that nothing he’s ever achieved himself has ever been legitimate. This is a person who has never known whether anybody wants to be around him because he’s a person they want to be around or they want to be around his money. And since he’s promoted himself as this glamorous, incredibly wealthy person, that’s the draw he’s always given. So he doesn’t know if he has any legitimate relationships outside of his family, and that’s why he emphasizes family. … He’s always kind of gaming the system — not, in my view, winning on the merits. And even his election was with almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent. So he has this deep fear that he is himself not a legitimate president, and I think that’s why he goes to such great lengths to delegitimize even the intelligence community, which is the president’s key resource in security, and he’s going to do this demeaning and delegitimizing behavior rather than accept what they have to tell him.

The cabinet appointments seem to me to be people who have been successful in some realm, so he takes that as proof of their abilities. But he’s also looking for people that will be in conflict with everyone in that department. Down the line, it’s the same kind of sowing-conflict mode that he’s used throughout his career of setting people against each other so that they’re not going to be loyal to each other and they’re going to be loyal to him.

At the end of the day, there is going to be an education secretary, and that person is going to be a member of Trump’s administration. It’s in the Republican Party’s interest, more than anyone else, that that person be an effective member of the team. Shielding DeVos’s flaws from public scrutiny by scheduling an unusually brief hearing with limited questions at an odd time works well if your goal is to spare her embarrassment.

Climate Change

At the center of all this is Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter, symbols and anchors of intersectionality and community power. Environmental and climate justice have always operated at that intersection of racial, social, gender and economic justice…

On (the) Media

The Post‘s announcement says he’ll be looking at the “remarkable reversal of fortune” in which “the nation’s largest cities have become magnets for money, innovation and young professionals, while its small towns and farms have become poorer, older, sicker and more resentful of urban elites.”

“Blowing stuff up isn’t hard. Crapping on the republic isn’t hard. Bullying reporters: not hard. These things don’t take genius. Come on.”

Another myth is that Trump’s victory represented some sort of catastrophic failure for the polls. Trump outperformed his national polls by only 1 to 2 percentage points in losing the popular vote to Clinton, making them slightly closer to the mark than they were in 2012. Meanwhile, he beat his polls by only 2 to 3 percentage points in the average swing state… the result was not some sort of massive outlier; on the contrary, the polls were pretty much as accurate as they’d been, on average, since 1968…

… there are real shortcomings in how American politics are covered, including pervasive groupthink among media elites, an unhealthy obsession with the insider’s view of politics, a lack of analytical rigor, a failure to appreciate uncertainty, a sluggishness to self-correct when new evidence contradicts pre-existing beliefs, and a narrow viewpoint that lacks perspective from the longer arc of American history….

White voters without college degrees, by far Trump’s strongest demographic group, were disproportionately concentrated in swing states, while Clinton’s coalition of minorities and college-educated whites (but with declining turnout among black voters) produced huge gains for her in states such as California and Texas without winning her any additional electoral votes.

“we are greatly, greatly supportive of national treasures such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Peyton Manning. And we really support their efforts to really get the truth out there.”

Americans who said they voted for Clinton reported a more diverse array of news sources than Americans who said they voted for Trump, with no one news source named by more than one in five self-identified Clinton voters. About 18 percent of Clinton voters said they relied on CNN as their main source of election news; other sources, like The New York Times and MSNBC, hovered between 5 and 9 percent.

Eight percent of Trump voters relied on CNN for their main election news, according to the survey results.

All in all, most respondents said they relied on television news as their main source of election news. About the same percentage of Trump and Clinton voters relied on news sources like CBS and NBC News, as well as local television stations.


“Wednesday’s incidents came just over a week after 16 Jewish institutions across several eastern states received similar threats. The calls were said to be prerecorded in some cases and live in others, with the caller using voice disguising technology, and likely came from a single source.”

North Dakota Guard spokesman William Prokopyk told The Daily Beast that the Avenger’s missile tubes aren’t loaded. “These systems have observation capabilities and are used strictly in the observation role to protect private property and public safety,” Prokopyk said.

I think that we can’t say “This school is not good enough for my child” and then sustain that system. I think that that’s just morally wrong. If it’s not good enough for my child, then why are we putting any children in those schools?

Cmnd+F: Inauguration Day -2

Everything worth reading (and watching)(and listening to) for Jan. 18 2017

Inauguration Protests

Trump/Cabinet Hearings

While Democrats slammed him for suing the agency more than a dozen times as attorney general, Republicans worked to cast those lawsuits as a counterweight to federal overreach, and Pruitt was receptive to their framing.

“Your goal is not to do away with regulation, your goal is to make it such that the EPA follows their regulatory authority,” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) said.

“The idea that her own mother’s foundation would accidentally list her as a vice president for years as result of a clerical error is just not believable. The Democrats should go to town on this obvious attempt to mislead the Senate. This alone should disqualify DeVos, though there is a vast ocean of other reasons they could fish from.”

Her financial disclosure notes that she will receive a “cash payout for my deferred stock compensation” upon confirmation as Secretary of Transportation. The document discloses that the payments will continue throughout her time in government, if she is confirmed. The payouts will begin in July 2017 and continue yearly through 2021.

Her hands visibly shaking as she held a copy of her statement, Zervos said she had “no alternative” but to sue Trump to vindicate her reputation. The lawsuit seems designed to either force Trump into a confession or into giving potentially embarrassing or incriminating testimony in court. Both Zervos and Allred said the lawsuit would be dropped if Trump retracted his statements calling the women who accused him of assault and misconduct “liars.”

… She did note, however, that Allred and Zervos would be attending the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday to protest Trump’s Friday inauguration and that “other accusers” would “be there marching with us.”

… white Americans are five times more likely than black Americans to say they didn’t vote simply because they “did not like candidates or campaign issues”. Meanwhile, black voters are more likely than white voters to cite obstacles to voting, such as “inconvenient polling place” or “transportation problems”…

Answers like “too busy” are also more likely to be chosen by non-white voters who are questioned by the census, a fact which is often met with an eye-roll as being an “excuse”. But people of color are more likely than white people to live in single-parent households and are more likely to work in roles with less pay and less job security. For many of those voters, heading to a polling station for a few hours on a Tuesday is particularly difficult.

Climate Change

His findings show that if human-induced climate change was not part of the equation, the amount of warming in 2016 would have less than one-in-a-million odds of occurring.

“One could argue that about 75 percent of the warmth was due to human impact,” Dr. Mann said.

(^Peep the byline. My college roommate is kicking ass)

On (the) Media

44:15: I like the stories about people who are dismissed as monsters… ‘Trump’s a monster,’ well great we don’t need to wrestle with, ‘uh oh. he’s not a monster. He’s in this human family with us.’ I’m not normalizing him, I’m acknowledging the fact that… if Trump is human, what’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with the human condition?

48:45: When I was in the midst of that crowd, there’s no way I would’ve said I was a journalist… No question, I know I would’ve gotten clocked. I was standing around with people that were talking about how much they would like to get their hands on a CNN reporter…

They were just clearly religious events… talk about press failure. Every one of those rallies started with a preacher. Did you ever see that covered?…

And the preacher at the Youngstown [Trump rally] — the first one I went to — I know the religious right, this guy was hard right… And the people around me weren’t real churchgoers. We don’t understand this, but [there are] lots of people who aren’t actually religious, but they like the idea of it. This, by the way is Putin’s Russia too…

Many, many of the rallies would begin with a black preacher… This was a smart move right? This was inoculating the white crowd from the idea that they’re racist: ‘I really like that black preacher up there!’ right?…

53:49: We’ve just experienced a radical, profound failure of comprehension. Youd on’t fix that with hard news. You fix that with stories.

I’m watching this later tonight. It looks REALLY good.


It is very difficult to argue, in light of all that has happened in the three years since the Snowden revelations, that there was no public interest in what he did. Numerous lawyers, judges, legislators, nonprofit organizations and academics have demonstrated the contrary. Even Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general, acknowledged last year, “We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made.”

“No young man should spend four months in jail for stealing a candy bar and soda,” Roxanne Adams, the aunt of Jamycheal Mitchell, said during a news conference at the General Assembly Building. “The mentally ill should be in treatment centers, not jails.”

Mitchell lost 46 pounds over 101 days at Hampton Roads Regional Jail after allegedly stealing $5 in snacks from a convenience store. He died Aug. 19, 2015 of extreme weight loss and heart problems.

MLK, Jerry Falwell and History

The biggest name in Lynchburg actively fought against the man we’re celebrating today.

Martin Luther King Jr., 1965:

[T]he most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structure. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned. As our movement unfolded, and direct appeals were made to white ministers, most folded their hands — and some even took stands against us.

Jerry Falwell on integration, 1958:

The true Negro does not want integration…. He realizes his potential is far better among his own race… It will destroy our race eventually. In one northern city, a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife.

“[Falwell] enlisted with J. Edgar Hoover to distribute FBI manufactured propaganda against the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and publicly denounced the 1964 Civil Rights Act as ‘civil wrongs,’”

— Max Blumenthal, The Nation

Falwell on civil rights leaders, 1964:

[I question] the sincerity and intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations. It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed…

Preachers are not called to be politicians, but soul winners.”

Three years later he opened Lynchburg (later Liberty) Christian Academy as a (segregated) private school for white children.

On MLK Day, 2016, Liberty University hosted Donald Trump (who, has been sued for housing discrimination, and just days ago, attacked civil rights icon John Lewis for being “all talk”). Over the last year, Jerry Falwell Jr. has been a faithful supporter (read: surrogate) of Trump, appearing on network news programs and even going so far as to get into petty arguments with anti-Trump LU students.

I wanted to highlight these things, not because I enjoy beating dead horses (Falwell later said he’d been wrong on integration), but because when we talk about MLK and the Civil Rights Movement, we rarely connect the dots from that time to now.

Conservative historical revisionists have tried to erase the names and faces of those who worked against the movements for justice and civil rights, but it’s not like we don’t have anything to learn from them…

like what it sounds like to be on the wrong side of history at an especially historic time…

Note: I’m from Lynchburg and Falwell’s ministries are still the dominant institution of that city.

Disclosure: Jerry Falwell Jr. has been nice to me before.

Cmnd+F: 1/6/2017

Only the highest quality, responsibly-sourced digital news content (for January 6, 2017)

Trump and Related

The elaborate campaign included, according to the report:*Covert operations such as “cyber activity” and overt operations through state-funded media and “paid social media users or ‘trolls’.”*Russian military intelligence relaying material to media outlets *And gaining access to “elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards” although it was clear to say those systems were “not involved in vote tallying.”

Climate Change

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced today that it had denied applications from six companies seeking to do seismic airgun blasting along the coast, including off Virginia.

“Those who believe that we are talking about the Grand Canyon and the Catskills, but not Harlem and Watts are wrong.”

For decades, environmentalism and what we now call environmental justice were deeply intertwined. Care for the earth and for vulnerable human communities belonged together. Empowering workers, protecting public health, and preserving landscapes were part of a single effort. Maybe it’s time to reclaim that older environmental movement, and see that it was an environmental-justice movement all along.

Virginia Politics

2017 is gonna be lit

Danica Roem, a journalist for the Montgomery County Sentinel and a lifelong resident of Manassas, Va., has announced she will run as a Democrat against longtime Republican Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas, Manassas Park, Bull Run), who is known best for his socially conservative views, including his vehement opposition to LGBT rights

Obviously, Perriello’s anti-abortion vote does not disqualify him from Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. It does, however, call into question the lazy narrative that Perriello represents a progressive challenge to Northam’s centrist disposition. Northam is a liberal with a strong track record on gun safety and reproductive health, two core tenets of the contemporary Democratic Party. Perriello’s voting record suggests he is a blue dog Democrat who deviates sharply from the party line on gun control and abortion rights. If the Perriello of 2017 wants to run as a proud progressive, that’s his prerogative. But he owes it to voters to explain why he deserves to be seen as a liberal champion for Virginia.

Virginia Sierra Club is organizing a social media ‘thunderclap’ to oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA on Jan. 17:

On (the) Media

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough is cozying up to Trump, the network is literally paying Trump through Celebrity Apprentice, and MSNBC is reportedly in talks to hire Greta Van Susteren, a longtime Fox News host with a history of treating Trump with kid gloves. And now Megyn Kelly, who famously buried the hatchet with Trump by lobbing him a softball interview and then withheld information about him until after the election, is also going to work for NBC.


Perry’s hypothesis for the disconnect is that much of the population, especially that rising portion with no clear memories of the first Cold War, is suffering from a deficit of comprehension. Even a single nuclear explosion in a major city would represent an abrupt and possibly irreversible turn in modern life, upending the global economy, forcing every open society to suspend traditional liberties and remake itself into a security state. “The political, economic and social consequences are beyond what people understand,” Perry says. And yet many people place this scenario in roughly the same category as the meteor strike that supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs — frightening, to be sure, but something of an abstraction…

“I am not suggesting that this Cold War and this arms race is identical to the old one,” Perry added. “But in many ways, it is just as bad, just as dangerous. And totally unnecessary.”

Note: If you enjoy anything in this post, especially if its from an article, please click the link — even if you don’t (intend to) read the whole thing — to at least give the author/source the page view.

Flickr/Daniel Kulinski

Cmnd F: 1/3/2017

Everything worth reading from Jan. 3, 2017

Trump and Related

South Korea should be our role model. For months on end, in fierce opposition to corruption with their President, millions of people filled the streets in protest. At first, what it would accomplish was not clear, but the people knew that corruption necessitates opposition. As the opposition grew and grew and grew, it gripped the nation and eventually broke the back of the administration, causing the ouster of their President.

“With a record number of people selecting plans for Jan. 1, Americans are once again proving that coverage is vital to them and their families,” said Wakana, referring to the federally run Obamacare exchange that sells health coverage in 39 states.

About 6.4 million people signed up for individual health plans on that exchange in time for coverage that kicked in on New Year’s Day. That was 400,000 people more than had signed up during the same time period in the last open enrollment season.

[T]here’s one realm in which Perry will have plenty of preparation: doling out taxpayer money in the form of government grants to the energy industry.

What often gets lost in all the talk of the Texas job boom under Perry is how much economic development strategy was driven by direct subsidies to employers who promised to relocate to the state or create jobs there. Of course, many states have for years engaged in the game of luring companies with tax incentives. But by the count of a2012 New York Times investigation, Texas under Perry vaulted to the top, giving out $19 billion in incentives per year, more than any other state.

Climate Change

There’s a reason the U.S. military cares so much about climate change. Not only will climate change drive wars in the future, it will affect some of their own installations. Naval Air Station Key West, for example, will lose 70 to 95 percent of its land to the ocean by 2100, and as much as 45 percent of its land will be inundated by 2050.

On (the) Media

The one thing Fox insiders are in agreement on is that whoever replaces Kelly will be a pro-Trump conservative. In the wake of Ailes’s ouster, some media observers speculated that 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch wanted to reposition Fox to the center, bringing it more in line with his moderate political views. But the selection of a pro-Trump host to fill Kelly’s slot would suggest that Fox is instead doubling down on its right-wing politics and planning to align itself with the new administration…

If Fox News’ politics ultimately solidify as more pro-Trump than they were during the campaign, that might be to the benefit of Murdoch’s business interests. According to a well-placed source, Trump has asked Murdoch to submit names for FCC Chairman. Murdoch, another source said, also wants conditions put on the AT&T-Time Warner merger, and he could lobby Trump to make that happen.


“As a matter of conscience and conviction, we can neither be mute nor mumble our opposition to Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming attorney general of the United States,” Brooks said in a statement. “Sen. Sessions has callously ignored the reality of voter suppression but zealously prosecuted innocent civil rights leaders on trumped-up charges of voter fraud. As an opponent of the vote, he can’t be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights.”


[T]he midterms will offer the first nationwide referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency. The whole House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, and most governorships will be at stake, along with hundreds of state legislative seats and local offices around the country. The better Democratic candidates perform, the more strength they’ll have to block legislation or nominees they don’t like in Trump’s third and fourth years…

[I]n 36 states, the governor who will be in office for the next redistricting will be elected in 2017 or 2018. And in 31 states, half or more of state senators whose terms extend through the next redistricting will be elected in 2017 or 2018.

(Interview starts at 32:30)

Note: If you enjoy anything in this post, especially if its from an article, please click the link — even if you don’t (intend to) read the whole thing — to at least give the author/source the page view.

Cmnd+F: 1/2/2017

The good stuff. Jan. 2, 2017

Climate Change

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

Just as the temperature of a heat wave, the height of a storm surge, or the thickness of a levee, it’s the strength of a neighborhood that determines who lives and who dies in a disaster. Building against climate change can either support vibrant neighborhood conditions or undermine them.

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

Indeed, most worrisome is that climatologists have been expecting just this kind of “jump” in global temperatures for a while. There is “a vast and growing body of research,” that “humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures.” One 2015 study concluded that we could even see Arctic warming rise an alarming 1 degree Fahrenheit per decade by the 2020s.

On (the) Media

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

Mainstream commentators suggested Trump’s working-class supporters would eventually feel betrayed by their candidate’s sudden lurch towards plutocracy. But judging by my sample size, the news from the #swamp wasn’t even coming across their computer screens…

In that regard they’re no different from other partisans. But there is a distinction between wearing political blinders, as we all do, and actively embracing ludicrous untruths manufactured for the purpose of making money. The tragic irony of the new credulousness is that it badly exacerbates the tribalism and distrust that turned so many fake news adherents against “establishment” politicians and journalists in the first place.


Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

The waves of protests in Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., in the days after the election look less like spontaneous outrage and more like a preview of what the next four years may hold. Unlike the specific protests that emerged during the Obama Administration, the post-election demonstrations have been directed at the general state of American democracy.

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

No single factor “explains” American political history, but this basic divide — North vs. South, free vs. slave, democracy vs. racist regime — comes the closest. The idea that we should celebrate the losing side in this long battle not only dishonors the brave warriors who finally defeated the forces of bigotry; it undermines the victory itself. And it was a resounding, triumphant victory, in both the Civil War and a century later.

To put it bluntly: The Confederates were the bad guys, as were their Jim Crow descendants. They lost, and the country is immeasurably better for it.

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

“Gutting the independent ethics office is exactly the wrong way to start a new Congress,” said Chris Carson, spokesperson for League of Women Voters, in a statement. “This opens the door for special interest corruption just as the new Congress considers taxes and major infrastructure spending.”

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

“Those people nowadays who say they would have stood up against the Nazis — I believe they are sincere in meaning that, but believe me, most of them wouldn’t have.” After the rise of the Nazi party, “the whole country was as if under a kind of a spell,” she insists.

Cmnd+F: 12/20

you already know

Trump and Related

At least four Democratic electors voted for someone other than Clinton, while two Republicans turned their backs on Trump.

With nearly all votes counted, Trump had clinched 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227, according to an Associated Press tally of the voting by 538 electors across the country.

The findings unambiguously debunk repeated statements by President-elect Donald J. Trump that millions of illegal voters backed his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. They also refute warnings by Republican governors in Maine and North Carolina that election results could not be trusted.

And they underscore what researchers and scholars have said for years: Fraud by voters casting ballots illegally is a minuscule problem, but a potent political weapon.

via GayRVA

via the Atlantic


“Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” the man can be heard screaming. “Until they are safe, you will not taste safety! Go back, go back, only death will take me from here. All those who have taken part in this cruelty will pay one by one!”

Investigators said they suspect the driver of a truck that plowed into a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 48, did so in a deliberate terrorist attack, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said he may have been an asylum-seeker.

Climate Change

While climate change advocates often frame their message as a warning about the future of the planet, it might be more effective to speak about restoring the environment to its former glory. “Activists can use this research to more effectively market climate change science. We know that scientific evidence alone is often not an effective way to convince people,” says Baldwin. “Taking care to understand the audience and tailor the message to fit the audience is as important in science as it is in any other marketing domain.”

On (the) Media

Mussolini’s success in Italy normalized Hitler’s success in the eyes of the American press who, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, routinely called him “the German Mussolini.” Given Mussolini’s positive press reception in that period, it was a good place from which to start. Hitler also had the advantage that his Nazi party enjoyed stunning leaps at the polls from the mid ‘20’s to early ‘30’s, going from a fringe party to winning a dominant share of parliamentary seats in free elections in 1932.

But the main way that the press defanged Hitler was by portraying him as something of a joke. He was a “nonsensical” screecher of “wild words” whose appearance, according to Newsweek, “suggests Charlie Chaplin.” His “countenance is a caricature.” He was as “voluble” as he was “insecure,” stated Cosmopolitan.

This is a great interview


The trail of painkillers leads to West Virginia’s southern coalfields, to places like Kermit, population 392. There, out-of-state drug companies shipped nearly 9 million highly addictive — and potentially lethal — hydrocodone pills over two years to a single pharmacy in the Mingo County town…

As the fatalities mounted — hydrocodone and oxycodone overdose deaths increased 67 percent in West Virginia between 2007 and 2012 — the drug shippers’ CEOs collected salaries and bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars. Their companies made billions. McKesson has grown into the fifth-largest corporation in America. The drug distributor’s CEO was the nation’s highest-paid executive in 2012, according to Forbes…

Between 2007 and 2012 — when McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen collectively shipped 423 million pain pills to West Virginia, according to DEA data analyzed by the Gazette-Mail — the companies earned a combined $17 billion in net income.

Over the past four years, the CEOs of McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen collectively received salaries and other compensation of more than $450 million.

The palpable delight that many boomers display when they ridicule millennials calls into question how they feel about their own children, but it also indicates that they long ago filed for divorce from the truth. Because the dopamine rush of mocking young people is so irresistible, no one bothers to actually investigate the veracity of the charges against the so called “snowflake generation.”

Anyone who has spent time teaching in the college classroom would relate to my testimony that the biggest problem of political participation among American youth is that it does not exist. Too many college students are apathetic — not only about politics, but about the arts, and history and culture in general.

No DC house venues have been shut down, but their inclusion on lists of “places to research” is alarming members of the local punk scene.