Teju Cole nails it again. He had an excellent piece in the New Yorker on the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He describes how it is far easier to mourn the freedom-representing victims of a few unhinged individuals—and even easier if the killers are Muslim—than it is to name and challenge the violence against free speech and action carried out every day by our own Western governments.

I love Aziz Ansari. I love him even more when he lambastes Rupert Murdoch for his Islamophobic comments after Charlie Hebdo.

Bad day? I once boosted my mood with a binge session of Sesame Street celebrity musical performances… yes, really. Here’s a new one, with “Mucklemore” performing a “Thrift Shop” parody.


This routine is all too familiar: Woman coworker comes up with a great new idea in a meeting. Male colleague cuts her off and/or runs with her idea and winds up taking—and getting—all the credit for it. (Woman keeps quiet.)

It’s not just annoying. The ramifications for evaluations, compensation, advancement, etc. are significant and pervasive in the worst way—hidden and usually unconscious even among the most well-meaning and open-minded. I have sought out colleagues and a workplace that’s not competitive that way (usually) and where I feel my voice is heard and valued.

Sadly, I guess I’m used to this kind of thing for myself. But I think about gender politics in the workplace with heightened interest nowadays as I raise a daughter (I’ve actually witnessed a similar dynamic play out in the yard at preschool! Yikes!) In this NYT piece, Sheryl Sandberg (with whom I’ve agreed and disagreed by turns) and Adam Grant look at the research on “Speaking While Female”—and offer some refreshing exceptions to the rules that keep so many smart, professional women too quiet.

I missed this one last month, but it’s definitely worth a read right now as Washington State has the chance to go forward with some serious and smart climate change solutions: Bill Moyers and Company gives us an inside look at oil companies’ strategies to kill West Coast climate and energy policy.

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  • You know when you say “la la la la la” really loud so you won’t have to listen to what someone is trying to tell you? That’s what I’m reminded of when I see that the US Department of Agriculture is using “weather variations” as their code for climate change. Their justification for tiptoeing around the real issue? USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says “farmers shy from politically charged conversations but are worried about drought, excessive flooding, shorter growing seasons and other weather woes linked to global warming.” Maybe so. But it seems counterproductive to me to skirt the reality of global warming, while likely reinforcing some progress-stalling misconceptions about the cause of climate change (a.k.a. pollution from fossil fuels and not just random variations or natural trends), with those in the US who are on the front lines when it comes to impacts.

    A 12-year study of more than 300,000 people suggests that a lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people as obesity in Europe. (And by Europe they also mean it applies “right here where I live,” and by that they mean “Exercise more, Anna Fahey!!”)

    Also: 50 years of David Bowie’s hairstyles (h/t CL). And 7 ways to be insufferable on Facebook (h/t RV).


    Balancing gender roles doesn’t just mean more work for women; it also means more home-life for men. A male Supreme Court clerk took a year off work to be with his daughter. He shares what he learned about work and family from his Boss, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. From RBG: “Gender lines in the law are bad for everyone: bad for women, bad for men, and bad for children.”


    Here’s your sustainability squee: Dog commutes by bus. Alone.

    Clark and I are both fascinated by criminal justice questions: they’re central to the propagation of race and class disparities in the Northwest, central to our failed approach to mental illness, central to public budget fights, and also—we being wonks—riddled with statistical paradoxes and counterintuitive causal relationships. It’s also an arena where perceptions, myths, prejudice, and political ideologies tend to trump data. For example, there are warring factions of criminal justice professionals who vigorously promote their own strategies and theories about crime, claiming that their efforts are responsible for taming crime. In fact, they may all be wrong. This article by my NYT hero (and Worldwatch Institute predecessor) Erik Eckholm illustrates perfectly. For example: “Canada, with practically none of the policy changes we point to here, had a comparable decline in crime over the same period,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor and an expert in criminal justice at the University of California, Berkeley.”


    Several years ago, Eric wrote about the “war on cars” supposedly taking place in Seattle. Contrary evidence aside, that war pales in comparison to how the New York Times represented cars in the 1920s—that is until the automobile industry managed to criminalize and shame jaywalking. Their campaign managed to “totally change the message about what streets are for.”