Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network is my new hero. Her voice is sharp and clear and powerful on the reasons people are gathering to protect traditional sacred sites and block the Dakota Access Pipeline. She has helped focus national attention on the impact that climate change and environmental injustice are having on Indigenous communities across North America. Mossett was on the Diane Rhem show this week. You should really listen! (Brian Cladoosby too!—Chairman of the Swinomish Indian Senate, president of the National Congress of American Indians, and president of the Association of Washington Tribes. He spells out the historical context and moral and legal implications for what’s happening at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation In North Dakota.)
The ever-awesome Shankar Vedantam of Hidden Brain fame had George Lakoff on his podcast this week and they give a quick refresher how our understanding of family—either strict father or nurturing parent models—makes otherwise reasonable people see see the world in totally, fundamentally different ways.
To continue my sporadic rants and obsessive reading about sugar (between sugary snacks, of course): You won’t be surprised to hear that industry research from Big Sugar is to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Jacob Dean exposes the sweet, sweet lies.
Finally: My grandmother’s dinner table was defined by her blue and white “Willow Ware,” so Don Moyer’s Calamityware—porcelain plates that depict science-fiction (or maybe just futuristic?) disasters—strikes a particularly personal chord for me. (h/t JDF).
I finished Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts earlier this week, a deceptively short read that packs the weight and wealth of a tome. Nelson masterfully explores questions of motherhood, queerness, and writing, as she shares her experiences of pregnancy, step- and early mothering, her relationship with her trans-gendered partner, academia, parents, and more. Each paragraph reads like a micro-essay, seamlessly weaving in relevant theory or succinctly capturing certain expansive landmarks of life. It’s a top read of the year for me.
I also watched a stunning film this week, “Theeb.” Set in 1916, it follows a young Bedouin boy navigating some intimate experiences of the changes taking place in his remote region of the Ottoman Empire. I won’t say more than that, because I’d love to hear others’ impressions of it. Perfect for the Northwest’s predicted rainy weekend….
Over the last couple of years, we’ve had some good internal discussions on different experiences that men and women have in the workplace—acknowledging that terms things like “bro-propriation” and “mansplaining” have grown out of widespread disparities in our experiences (and this does not even take into consideration the other potential layers of identity: race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation etc). These are cute terms for something that is most certainly not cute and that many (most) women encounter in their personal and professional lives. I’ve just happened upon an interesting article, and strategy, that high-ranking Obama Administration leaders have employed for countering that. It involves women supporting each other and acknowledging and praising each other’s contributions. I like it.
I have always thought, even before I had my own child, that the Vance Building (where Sightline’s offices are located) should have an on-site daycare. I guarantee that it would be full 100 percent of the time—very likely by the building’s own occupants. If not though the building’s occupants, I’m certain (given the waiting list I was on for 1.5 years) that surrounding neighbors in need of childcare would fill in the gaps. Now that I have had to embark on my own research and decision-making around who and how to care for my son while I’m at work, I think about these things a lot more. This is an older, but interesting, article on some of the benefits and barriers of employers offering on-site day care.
Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz explains why trickle-down theory is so wrong, inequality is bad for everyone, and inequality is created by bad policy and can be fixed by better policies.
In the absence of federal and state action, local governments are taking bold new steps to raise the minimum wage, guarantee paid sick leave, and more. But groups that claimed “those who govern close govern best” as a justification for blocking federal powers are now, disingenuously, using state legislatures to block local powers.
Racism is bad for your health. Even if you’re white.
Shouldn’t the government work for the people, all the people? What if government put capitalism to work for the many, not just the few, and we knew it worked so we supported it and participated in it, and we enjoyed universal access to good wages, paid time off, good health care for all, and good care for all children, rich, elderly, and disabled? Freed of the burden to labor, unpaid, in care work, women participated in business and government, ensuring government continued to work for the many? It’s not a fantasy. It’s Norway.
This is more of a suggestion on where to read rather than what, but if you appreciate delicious beer (and find yourself in Seattle), check out Holy Mountain Brewing. This local spot is creating some of the best brews in Seattle and is conveniently located in Interbay—right off of the D Line and the Elliott Bay Trail. I biked there Wednesday night and was kicking myself because it took me so long to go there. With high ceilings and plenty of seating, their taproom would be a great place to read on a rainy weekend. Tip: bring your own snacks, otherwise your only option is to buy slightly overpriced chickpeas.
I have been trying to find out if global trade agreements are consistent with fighting climate change.
Well, here is Naomi Klein, who answers in the negative. Grist magazine has reported on TransCanada’s suit under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for $15 billion in compensation for not being allowed to build the Keystone XL pipeline; and on a World Trade Organization (WTO) decision, at the behest of the United States government, against provisions of India’s National Solar Mission.
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When Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, discusses the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), her concerns include the Investor-State Dispute Settlement section, which would allow companies to sue for damages in a manner similar to TransCanada’s suit under NAFTA. And WikiLeaks seems to suggest that the goal of international trade agreements is to enshrine a “divine right” of corporations to unrestricted profits, no matter how destructive their activities may be to human civilization.
Also, a couple of recent articles in the New Yorker:
The first article continues on the theme of “Malefactors of Great Wealth,” a phrase coined by President Theodore Roosevelt. Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money, an exposé of the Koch brothers, continues her reporting on their activities. Her latest contrasts the brothers’ attempt to rebrand themselves as caring individuals, against their paper mill pollution in a small, predominantly African-American community in Arkansas.
And an article from a (gasp!) scientist reports on the anti-science activities of the US House Science Committee.
John Abbotts is a former Sightline research consultant who occasionally submits material for Weekend Reading and other posts.