From the world pool: July 1, 2017

golden retriever puppy

Today we met Charlie. Even at only 12 weeks old it is obvious that he is a Very Good Boy.

And now for the world pool links…

Socio-political commentary


A chilling National Rifle Association ad gaining traction online appears to be ‘an open call to violence’

The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth. I’m the National Rifle Association of America, and I’m freedom’s safest place.”

What Is the Far Right’s Endgame? A Society That Suppresses the Majority.

I think actually what’s going on is that these people are extremely shrewd and calculating, and they understand that African Americans, because of their historical experience and their political savvy, understand politics and government better, in a lot of ways, than a lot of white Americans. And they are a threat to this project because they will not vote for it. So they want to keep them from the polls.

Similarly, young people are leaning left now, and they don’t accept a lot of these core ideas that come from this project, so this project has been very determined to keep young people from the polls. Frankly, if they could keep women away, they would, too. Because they understand that women suffrage opened the way to greater government involvement in the economy, and greater social provision and regulation.

We make a mistake when we think these are just reactionary prejudices, and we need to see them as shrewd calculations to keep people who would oppose this vision away from the polls.

… They’re doing a lot of things for strategic reasons and not being honest with the public about it. That suggests to me that we need a new vocabulary for grasping what we’re dealing with here. I guardedly used the term “fifth column” in the book, and you know, there’s problems with that term too, but at least it gets at the fact that these wealthy donors that Charles Koch has convened are deeply hostile to the model of government that has prevailed in the United States and in many other countries for a century.

Hate-Fueled Attacks Rattle Florida After Trump’s Election

A Message to Donald Trump from Vicente Fox. If you ignore everything else under my US politics header, read this.


“We need to live in a society where we care for the poorest and the vulnerable.”

Look at Grenfell Tower and see the terrible price of Britain’s inequality

MP David Lammy Hits Back At Boris Johnson’s Grenfell Tower Comments

The old Tory order is crumbling – it’s taken Grenfell for us to really see it

Owen Jones meets Frankie Boyle | ‘Grenfell Tower residents were treated as less than human’

Theresa May and the Holy Grail


The Birth of Canada’s Armed, Anti-Islamic ‘Patriot’ Group

They call themselves the Three Percent. They’re armed, say they’re ready for war on Canadian soil, and experts say they are dangerous.

… An eight-month VICE Canada investigation into the inner workings of the group has found it to be a tight-knit openly anti-Islamic group that is unique in Canada’s far-right ecosystem—one that, as one expert puts it, seems to be a “wholesale lift of an American militia.” During VICE Canada’s investigation, the group’s rhetoric and tactics rapidly escalated from virulently anti-Islam online posturing to IRL monitoring of mosques, live fire paramilitary-style training, claiming to buy land, and plans for creating smoke and flash bombs.

Health Care

The Senate’s Unaffordable Care Act

Universal health care was the Centennial Generation’s greatest achievement

(Now what about universal dental care?)

The Fight for Health Care Has Always Been About Civil Rights

After King’s death in 1968, and the disintegration of the civil-rights movement, opposition from the AMA-led coalition would stymy the last organized effort from the MCHR to create and pass a single-payer bill. That failure also cemented the basic composition of American health-care: a patchwork dominated by private employer-based insurance, where non-elderly people who couldn’t afford or didn’t have such offers, and didn’t fall into narrow special Medicaid eligibility groups were largely left out. And it’s no coincidence or secret that those left out were more likely than not to be people of color.


Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children

One document trains content reviewers on how to apply the company’s global hate speech algorithm. The slide identifies three groups: female drivers, black children and white men. It asks: Which group is protected from hate speech? The correct answer: white men.

The reason is that Facebook deletes curses, slurs, calls for violence and several other types of attacks only when they are directed at “protected categories”—based on race, sex, gender identity, religious affiliation, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation and serious disability/disease. It gives users broader latitude when they write about “subsets” of protected categories. White men are considered a group because both traits are protected, while female drivers and black children, like radicalized Muslims, are subsets, because one of their characteristics is not protected.

Ads from company fighting for passenger rights banned from 2 airports


New TSA Policy May Lead to Increased Scrutiny of Reading Material

Before You Hit ‘Submit,’ This Company Has Already Logged Your Personal Data

Feminist issues

Men, Predators, And The Meaning Of ‘Harmless’

A few days later, while back home in Oakland, I got a message from an old coworker, a man who’d hired me to work as a ghostwriter for a publishing company, then had been subsequently laid off from his job. I still work there; he doesn’t. It’s awkward. He sent me a message saying that he was moving back East — he and his wife were splitting up, and he was really a mess. Could I meet up for a drink before he left town?

I was ready to immediately respond with a soothing “yes” — after all, I’ve been there, and man, does a drink with an understanding friend help — when his next message came through:

“BTW, I’m planning on flirting with you shamelessly. But don’t worry, I’m harmless.”

Twenty ways to help someone who’s being bullied online

Anita Sarkeesian’s astounding ‘garbage human’ moment: Feminist speaker hits back at trolls and haters

“They don’t give a damn about the actual impact they’re having on people’s lives. It’s a sport, an adrenaline rush. But for me and for other women who are targeted by cyber-mobs, who endure ongoing campaigns of harassment, it’s not fun. It’s scary. It’s traumatic.

“You have to be so far removed from the reality of what you’re doing to engage in this behavior and call it ‘playful trolling.’ This is harassment, pure and simple, with the goal of trying to scare and silence women who speak out against sexism in our culture.”

Embodying Barbie: Cosmetic gynecology on the rise in Canada

Patients can choose from a range of styles — from the “Barbie,” “for a perfectly smooth look,” to the “more conservative” “peek-a-boo.” 

Teenage boys wear skirts to school to protest against ‘no shorts’ policy

“Quite refreshing” was how one of the boys described the experience, pointing out that if even Royal Ascot had allowed racegoers in the royal enclosure to remove their jackets, then the school ought to relax its dress code. Another said he rather enjoyed the “nice breeze” his skirt had afforded him.

LGBTQIA issues

Racism & Transmisogyny in our movements & the courting of “backlash” 

Racism and Civil Rights

Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood (PDF)

Compared to white girls of the same age, survey participants perceive that

  • Black girls need less nurturing
  • Black girls need less protection
  • Black girls need to be supported less
  • Black girls need to be comforted less
  • Black girls are more independent
  • Black girls know more about adult topics
  • Black girls know more about sex

These results are profound, with far-reaching implications. Our findings reveal a potential contributing factor to the disproportionate rates of punitive treatment in the education and juvenile justice systems for Black girls.

Video shows woman demand a ‘white doctor’ treat son at Mississauga, Ont., clinic Just in case anyone subscribes to the myth that Canada doesn’t have racism.

A Field Guide to North American Racists

Lack of inclusion in this guide should not be taken as an indication that the person you are dealing with is not a racist. We do recommend that you avoid approaching racists in their natural habitat, as they can find it disturbing and they are prone to lash out when confused or upset in any way. The racist is a fragile animal, though a common one.

Indigenous issues

Snuneymuxw Nation: Traditional salmon bbq & interpretative tour  Ah, I wish I could go to this!

Sherman Alexie on Not Being “The Kind of Indian That’s Expected”

Even though he was ensconced in liberal Seattle, Alexie knew how the election would go down. “My friends were mad at me, but I knew,” he said, shaking his head. “I wasn’t shocked and I’m still not shocked. It’s total exploitation, with everything up for grabs. Health care, gone. Destroy the environment in search of more profit. State-sponsored violence. Targeted incarceration. You know what’s happening, though: The whole country is becoming a reservation.”

I am Indigenous 

The Forgotten First Nation This is appalling.

The evacuees were initially relocated to hotels in Winnipeg. Six years later, they’re still there, living in temporary government housing. Unable to return to their ancestral lands, a generation of elders has passed away; teenagers who grew up in hotel rooms have begun giving birth to children of their own. 

A guide to First Nations plant use in Stanley Park: ‘We are still here and we exist’ says park guide

Prisons and Justice

America Keeps Criminalizing Autistic Children

Brown explains that meltdowns can be very scary, and that force or threats will never help. “When somebody is in a meltdown,” Brown says, “that person is unable to process anything else. Every tiny stimulus can be painful and overwhelming. Even if [you] wanted to listen to what somebody said, to follow directions, you probably can’t. Everything is happening too fast, too much, all at once. The important thing is not to punish somebody for something that is literally out of their control.” Obviously, the most important step is to identify triggers and remove them as much as possible, or to create the conditions for children to quickly move to a safer context. “If one of the precursors to a meltdown is transition,” Brown says by way of example, “then it’s your responsibility for the adult to prepare the kid better. To help the kids to work step by step, to practice.” Brown acknowledges that it might take years.

But schools do punish people when they are panicking, and Sam Crane, an attorney and the director of public policy at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, is afraid she knows why. Behavior intervention plans, she explains, are part of disability-rights education legislation. Once you have a plan, you have all kinds of added rights as a member of a protected class of American citizen. If you charge someone with a crime, though, schools can skip right past disability law. “Under the IDEA,” Crane writes me, “[a] student would be entitled to a manifestation determination, to decide whether his behavior was a manifestation of a disability. There’s no such requirement when referring a kid to law enforcement.” Crane believes that, around the country, schools are pushing teachers and other staff to press charges.

Labour and Capitalism

Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experience 2015-16

America’s Amazon Problem: Jeff Bezos has created an empire that’s quickly raising political questions.


This is a great poverty simulation exercise. I ran out of money halfway through the month, and I was being as careful and responsible as I could. It’s just stuff. Until you don’t have it.

Rigged: Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing.

Samuel Talavera Jr. did everything his bosses asked. Most days, the trucker would drive more than 16 hours straight hauling LG dishwashers and Kumho tires to warehouses around Los Angeles, on their way to retail stores nationwide. He rarely went home to his family. At night, he crawled into the back of his cab and slept in the company parking lot. For all of that, he took home as little as 67 cents a week. Then, in October 2013, the truck he leased from his employer, QTS, broke down. When Talavera could not afford repairs, the company fired him and seized the truck — along with $78,000 he had paid towards owning it.

Talavera was a modern-day indentured servant. And there are hundreds, likely thousands more, still on the road, hauling containers for trucking companies that move goods for America’s most beloved retailers, from Costco to Target to Home Depot.


Greenland is Melting

An ice cube left on a picnic table will melt in an orderly, predictable fashion. With a glacier the size of Greenland’s, the process is a good deal more complicated. There are all sorts of feedback loops, and these loops may, in turn, spin off loops and sub-loops. For instance, when water accumulates on the surface of an ice sheet, the reflectivity changes. More sunlight gets absorbed, which results in more melt, which leads to still more absorption, in a cycle that builds on itself. Marco Tedesco, a research professor at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, calls this “melting cannibalism.” As moulins form at higher elevations, more water is carried from the surface of the ice to the bedrock beneath. This lubricates the base, which, in turn, speeds the movement of ice toward the ocean. At a certain point, these feedback loops become self-sustaining. It is possible that that point has already been reached.

No-take sanctuaries proven to be most effective way to resuscitate and protect ocean life

Tiny house on the run: Couple’s journey to find a home for their home hits dead end  What could make more sense than making it legally impossible for people to reduce their footprint? </sarcasm>

Millions of tropical sea creatures invade waters off B.C. coast


Uber for Uber: 10 Simple Steps to Improve Ride Sharing  Golly gosh, how innovative! It’s the invention of public transit! though I suppose this is the version that makes it easy to apply racist and classist filters to keep out the rabble…

Science and Technology

Oh, lovely: the tick that gives people meat allergies is spreading

New technology is eroding your right to tinker with things you own: the end of ownership in the digital era.

Related: CRTC bans cellphone unlocking fees, orders all new devices be unlocked

How to live without air conditioning


#SurvivedAndPunished: Survivor Defense as Abolitionist Praxis. A downloadable toolkit for organizing defense campaigns for criminalized survivors of violence.

9 Phrases Allies Can Say When Called Out Instead of Getting Defensive

Art + Design + Writing

Designers on Design: Debbie Millman

Danez Smith: not an elegy for Mike Brown

Quote of the week

Much red tape, indeed, is the frozen memory of past disaster. 

Deadlier than terrorism

Just cool

This is how sperm whales sleep

Coffin Collars & Cemetery Guns: Fortifying the Dead against Bodysnatchers

Cemetery guns, as well, were designed to keep bodysnatchers at bay. These were set up at the foot of a grave, with three tripwires strung in an arc around its position. Those unfortunate enough to stumble upon one in the dead of night may find themselves in a grave of their own.

Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows

We Wear Culture: The stories behind what we wear

Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands?

Cycling is so common that I have been rebuked for asking people whether they are cyclists or not. “We aren’t cyclists, we’re just Dutch,” comes the response.

Just for fun

That Time the TSA Found a Scientist’s 3-D-Printed Mouse Penis

I don’t know what’s funnier the baby elephant chasing the birds, or when he fell and ran to his mom

I love weeding  You know, I hadn’t thought of it this way, but…

I’m sure it says something about me—or my state of hunger at the time— that when I started reading about these some of them looked awfully good. But I think I might draw the line at the Cherry Bombs. And the Bowl O’Dough. And jeez, look at the Bacon Fluffnutter. No. No.

A Cat Named Bitches: It’s true. Watch it, white people, we’re coming for your women.(Click to enlarge the screencap.)

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