Serena

The excellent local blog Seattlish called out a KIRO Radio host for poking fun at folks who use public transit in their dating endeavors (as part of an argument against the city’s smart new restricted parking zones). Seattlish then proceeded to crowdsource a bunch of sweet stories about people who used public transit and car2go and other rad car-free urban modes to find romance. Awesome. And I’m happy to count myself in that number. Down with transit-shamers; up with love.

A young black woman records the racist things people say to her for two weeks. (Hat tip to board member Trish Weber for this read.)

Yes, women are still at just 79 cents to men’s dollar in pay disparity. But there’s another premium on pink we might not have noticed: products marketed to us—all those screamingly pink and purple and “women’s”-labeled stuff and services—tend to cost us significantly more than men’s products.

Some extra holiday cheer in my stocking this year: “In a move with little precedent in professional sports, the N.B.A. is putting the weight of its multibillion-dollar brand and the prestige of its star athletes behind a series of television commercials calling for an end to gun violence.”

Anna

I’d never tell Jimmy Carter to move over. But I do have something of a new political leader “crush”: Justin Trudeau. He did the right thing welcoming Syrian refugees to Canada, and he was moved to tears recently while officially recognizing Canada’s historical abuses toward aboriginals and calling for reconciliation. Here he is talking about electoral reform. I swoon.

Elizabeth Kolbert makes the case in the New Yorker that, though unheralded as such, the Syrian refugee crisis is yet another kind of climate change “impact” that we’re likely to see more and more of:

One of the most robust predictions that can be made about climate change is that it will send millions—perhaps tens or hundreds of millions—of people in search of new homes. And, in an “extraordinarily interconnected” world, disaster cannot be cordoned off. By mid-century, which, in the scheme of things, is not very long from now, the Syrian-refugee crisis is likely to seem routine. Rather than playing games with the federal budget, security-minded Republicans should be doing everything they can to insure that Paris succeeds.

Here’s a Democrat’s “surviving the holidays” guide to Talking to Your Republican Uncle. (Why is it always the uncle?)

And, in case you missed these: Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal talks about climate change and energy policy solutions with 1) a Koch Brother (Charles); and then, 2) Tom Steyer.

Alan

I’m late on this, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ October Atlantic cover story on mass incarceration is undoubtedly the most important thing published this year on race and inequality in the United States. Here is a taste picked, almost randomly, from the masterful piece, just to convince you that you must pause your Star Wars bingeing to read this article:

This was penal welfarism at its finest. Deindustrialization had presented an employment problem for America’s poor and working class of all races. Prison presented a solution: jobs for whites, and warehousing for blacks. Mass incarceration “widened the income gap between white and black Americans,” writes Heather Ann Thompson, a historian at the University of Michigan, “because the infrastructure of the carceral state was located disproportionately in all-white rural communities.”

Kristin

The UN sent three women to the US to assess gender equality. They were shocked by what they found: 23 percent gender pay gap, no maternity or paternity leave, unaffordable child care, and (legal) terrorists threatening women entering abortion clinics. But most shocking of all was that US women don’t understand that it doesn’t have to be this way: “What do you mean every other developed country has paid maternity leave? Prove it!”

  • Humans are evolved to work in worker-owned cooperatives, not large corporations.

    Politicians don’t know what their constituents actually think (possibly because they spend their time talking to Big Donors, not regular people).

    Justice Scalia, proving once again that being really really smart doesn’t make you wise.

    Eric

    One of the leading lights in the Thin Green Line was recognized with an important award. My old frenemy Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper’s executive director and attorney, received the Oregon State Bar Environmental and Natural Resource Section’s annual Leadership and Service Award:

    “I think it’s significant that a lawyer in a small town like Hood River received a statewide recognition from his peers,” Terhaar said. “It’s nice for an attorney for the Gorge to be recognized.”

    Terhaar noted that some of the previous awardees were from big Portland firms or the Governor’s top legal staff, and that all were in their 60s or older—Brett is in his 40s, she said.

    Speaking of leading lights in the Thin Green Line, ForestEthic’s Matt Krogh keeps finding major flaws in oil train terminal analyses. In his latest discovery he points out that a pro-oil-trains article contains this nugget: “It bears noting that even in 2013, a tough year relative to others, 13,000 barrels of oil safely reached its destination for each barrel lost in a spill.” That stat implies that we should expect to lose 5+ barrels (more than 200 gallons) per 100 car train, on average. Whoa.

    An evolutionary biologist has analyzed political opposition to evolution and found it has evolved.