From the world pool: March 11, 2017

Another busy week!

Socio-political commentary

US politics

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. Here’s week 16.

Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Polluters and More

How the Trump Administration May Be Skirting Its Own Ethics Rules

5 Trump Cabinet Members Who’ve Made False Statements to Congress

To The Children Of Refugees And Immigrants: You’re Worth It

What do you do when managing your emotions and your visibility isn’t just about societal expectations, but also about your family’s safety? And when, ultimately, it doesn’t work? How does this affect the narrative you and your family have so carefully constructed?

Leading Putin Critic Warns of Xenophobic Conspiracy Theories Drowning U.S. Discourse and Helping Trump

Trump Knows the Feds Are Closing In on Him: The president’s recent tweets aren’t just conspiratorial gibberish – they’re the erratic ravings of a guilty conscience.

Trump’s travel ban impacts air travel, threatens US tourism  I heard someone from Frommer’s Guides talking about this on the radio yesterday, and that she thought one of the reasons for it was that people were worried about unrest in the US when they wanted to have a relaxing time. I’ve got to say, I think it has a lot more to do with how many stories like the following that we’re hearing, plus the ones about border agents demanding access to phones.


6 things you should know about Trumpcare

The Republican health-care bill is all about shortchanging the poor

The American Health Care Act, introduced in the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees late Monday, was advertised as a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But the real focus of the legislation is not on health-care reform, not even on repealing the ACA as such. What the AHCA would in fact do is massively redistribute wealth from the poorest Americans to the wealthiest.

The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Is Just a Gigantic Tax on Women

Under the Republicans’ health-care bill, women would face financial repercussions for being poor. Or using birth control. Or being pregnant.

Canadian politics

Senator scores Canada a late-game medal in the Wingnut Olympics

Then, on Wednesday, up stepped Senator Beyak with a little number I’ll call “Homage to the Real Victims of Residential Schools: The Hypothetical Descendants of the People Who Taught at Those Schools, Whose Feelings Might Be Hurt If They Stumbled Across a Copy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and Read It.”

Feminist issues

So here’s a little story

We did an experiment: For two weeks we switched names. I signed all client emails as Nicole. She signed as me. Folks. It fucking sucked.

Working While Female

I stared at him, not quite believing what he had said. To me. The only girl he had ever hired. He knew immediately that he had fucked up. He stuttered, tried to backtrack, un-backtracked, ultimately apologized and acknowledged that it was a wrong thing to say. But that didn’t matter. Message received. I put up my walls, and buckled in to try to survive at this job. This wasn’t my first time at this rodeo.

LGBTQIA and gender issues

Trans 102

A retirement home for lesbians? Where do I sign up?

It seems profoundly wrong to me that after a lifetime of struggling to be accepted and to be open about who we are that we face being pushed back into the closet. Heaven knows, age comes with its indignities; this shouldn’t be one of them.

Diversity, Racism and Civil Rights

Jason Chaffetz’s Stance on iPhones and Health Care Is Both Heartless and Unoriginal

Sure, Johnny White Guy is collecting food stamps and gets his health care through Medicaid, but Johnny is just in a difficult spot. His wife left him and he’s struggling to make child support payments. In fact, he’s a couple months late on his payments, and that’s really troubling him. He doesn’t get to spend as much time with his kids as he would like. He’s just having a really hard time right now, but it’ll pass. He’ll land on his feet again. He just needs public assistance as a temporary solution until he can sort himself out.

Not like Johnny Black Guy.

Study: White college women are less likely to to help a black woman at risk of rape

On average, white workers are paid more than black & Hispanic workers at every education level

Unfairness in Class Action: A New Attack on Civil Rights

Currently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee as H.R. 985, this proposal would make it more difficult for people to seek relief or compensation when they have been mistreated by corporations or government agencies. Specifically, this bill would make it harder for people to form a class by narrowing the criteria for banding together to bring a case and complicating—as well as delaying—the process for collecting attorneys’ fees, making it riskier for attorneys to take on class actions to help those who have been harmed.


Police say they were ‘authorized by McDonald’s’ to arrest protesters, suit claims. This is scary on so many levels.

Disability issues

Act Up, Rise Up

But resistance for people like me, for people like my father, for people with all kinds of disabilities, doesn’t look like marching all the time. For many of us, it can’t.

Media and privacy

Google’s featured snippets are worse than fake news

Google added featured snippets sometime in 2014, and it’s not like the company doesn’t know about this problem. In 2015, users discovered that the query “What happened to the dinosaurs?” produced the quick answer “Dinosaurs are used more than anything else to indoctrinate children and adults in the idea of millions of years of earth history,” pulled from a fundamentalist Christian page titled “What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?” Google didn’t comment, but the featured snippet changed to a quote from the University of Illinois Extension.

Cambridge Analytica affair raises questions vital to our democracy. More on Robert Mercer.

Did a US billionaire play a covert but vital role in the biggest political decision Britain has made in its postwar history?

Odds and ends

Outsmarted: On the liberal cult of the cognitive elite

It’s very curious: If there were such a thing as an innate, inborn, inherent quantum of cognitive ability, and we could agree on who possessed it, why should we grant it moral value?


Death of Suburbia.  This is a fascinating series of articles. Here’s the overview article: The American suburbs as we know them are dying.


Frog-Spotting in One of South America’s Least Accessible Mountain Ranges: A team of herpetologists trekked into Peru’s remote Vilcabamba Range and discovered animals found nowhere else on Earth.

Why Dentistry Is Separate From Medicine (Be warned if you have dentistry phobias, the photo accompanying the story is a bit gruesome.)

Specializing in one part of the body isn’t what’s weird—it would be one thing if dentists were like dermatologists or cardiologists. The weird thing is that oral care is divorced from medicine’s education system, physician networks, medical records, and payment systems, so that a dentist is not just a special kind of doctor, but another profession entirely.

But the body didn’t sign on for this arrangement, and teeth don’t know that they’re supposed to keep their problems confined to the mouth. This separation leads to real consequences: dental insurance is often even harder to get than health insurance (which is not known for being a cakewalk), and dental problems left untreated worsen, and sometimes kill. 

A Natural Cure for Lyme Disease

There’s an intriguing sociological reason so many Americans are ignoring facts lately

As a rule, misinformed people do not change their minds once they have been presented with facts that challenge their beliefs. But beyond simply not changing their minds when they should, research shows that they are likely to become more attached to their mistaken beliefs. The factual information “backfires.” When people don’t agree with you, research suggests that bringing in facts to support your case might actually make them believe you less.

Just cool

Bigleaf maple syrup.  I had no idea that it was possible to do this! Now I wish we had a big enough maple tree that I could try.

Stunning 700-year-old giant cave used by Knights Templar found behind a rabbit hole in the British countryside

Hakai herring spawn

Just for fun

me being told I can do anything vs me actually trying to do it

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