Another busy week!
Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. Here’s week 16.
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?
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.
- Muhammad Ali’s son says he was detained again at airport. AGAIN. On his way back home from testifying about his previous detention.
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.
Under the Republicans’ health-care bill, women would face financial repercussions for being poor. Or using birth control. Or being pregnant.
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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.