I was lucky to acquire a ticket to the fully sold-out talk by Tim Wise last week at the University of Washington (thank you, SSH!). Wise is an anti-racist educator and activist, as well as an artful and entertaining orator, and he reflected on the US election results and white supremacy in America in a manner both incisive and gripping. (I’ve described to friends that at the end of his talk, I felt weirdly exhausted, just concentrating so hard for that hour or so to try to fully soak up every point he made.) Anyway, Seattle public radio station KUOW has posted the talk in full for anyone to have access to hear. I (obviously) recommend you do so.


The first half of this PRI Innovation Hub podcast episode is all about basic income.

This powerful Radiolab podcast talks about how Ben Franklin started America off on the “rags to riches,” “up by your bootstraps” myths about poverty and social mobility that continue today.

Liberals and conservatives often talk past each other because they each assume the other shares their moral priorities. But liberals don’t care all that much about conservative values of patriotism, traditionalism, strict authority, and religious sanctity, while conservatives may be turned off by liberals’ focus on social justice, equality, and nurturance. If you are talking to a liberal, a complaint that limitations on immigration unfairly harming immigrant families might hit home. But if talking to a conservative about immigration, try emphasizing the patriotism and long tradition of coming to America to pursue the American dream.


It’s officially February, which means it’s Black History Month! I’m celebrating by compiling an ongoing list of books by Black authors and (hopefully) carving out time to read a handful of them this month.

  • Kindred, Octavia Butler
  • Freedom is a Constant Struggle, Angela Davis
  • The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
  • Communion, Bell Hooks
  • Bone, Yrsa Daley-Ward
  • Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde
  • Recitatif, Toni Morrison

Other books I’ve recently read and recommend:

  • Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
  • Between the World and Me, Ta Nehisi-Coates
  • Brown Is the New White, Steve Phillips

Have reading recommendations? Add them to the comments below!


The House voted Wednesday to end a rule that stops coal mining debris from being dumped in streams. State and local governments will now need to step up on this issue to protect public and ecological health. Congress is also considering rolling back transparency laws for energy companies. Cascadians should make sure their voices are heard on the issue.


In a previous Weekend Reading, I mentioned the New Yorker’s re-posting of its 1962 serialization of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and mentioned an upcoming PBS special on her life on January 24. Well, the American experience piece on her life, time, and motivations, is now online. IMHO, it is excellent, and its resonance today is clear.

John Abbotts is a former Sightline research consultant who occasionally submits material for Weekend Reading and other posts.