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December 22, 2016

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This week: The truth of ‘Westworld’ / U.S. interference with other democracies / Einstein’s first wife / A new era of Reconstruction / James Buchanan’s presidential transition

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Trump names Conway counselor to president
By Brooke Seipel | The Hill | Dec. 22
“Conway will continue her role as a close adviser to Trump, working with senior leadership to further the his administration’s goals.”

2. Does ‘Westworld’ tell a truer story than a novel can?
By Stuart Kelly | The Guardian | Dec. 20
“The conventions of prose fiction are bound up with an understanding of life that feels more and more outdated — not so with this box-set drama”

3. The U.S. has a long history of hacking other democracies
By Mariya Y. Omelicheva, Ryan Beasley and Christian Crandall | Monkey Cage :: The Washington Post | Dec. 20
“We examined unclassified Central Intelligence Agency documents and historical academic research on U.S. interventions to identify 27 U.S. clandestine operations carried out between 1949 and 2000. Most U.S. ‘secret wars’ were against other democratic states.”

4. Russia Missing from Trump’s Top Defense Priorities, According to DoD Memo
By John Hudson, Paul McLeary, and Dan De Luce | Foreign Policy | Dec. 20
“Besides placing an emphasis on budgetary issues, ‘force strength,’ and counterterrorism in Iraq and Syria, the memo noted other briefings between the Defense Department and the Trump transition team on China and North Korea. But Russia was not mentioned.”

5. We are witnessing the birth pangs of a Third Reconstruction
By the Rev. William J. Barber II | ThinkProgress | Dec. 15
“We need a moral movement to revive the heart of American democracy and build a Third Reconstruction for our time. This work is not easy, and it will not be completed quickly. But we know what is required to move forward together.”

6. Harmony Amidst Division: The Cabinet of James Buchanan
By Rick Allen | Muster :: Journal of the Civil War Era | Dec. 17
“History never specifically repeats itself, but there are parallels between 1856, 1860, and 2016. As we, like Buchanan and Lincoln, transition from one era in our national history to another, let us remember the only way to achieve true success requires the inclusiveness of both people and ideas.”

7. Analysis: On transgender Texans and bathrooms, a call to stay calm
By Ross Ramsey | The Texas Tribune | Dec. 19
“Some Texas lawmakers were in a hurry to require transgender Texans to use the restrooms that match the genders listed on their birth certificates. But the policy and politics are complicated enough to prompt the governor to tap the brakes.”

8. The Making of an American Terrorist
By Amanda Robb | New Republic | Dec. 15
“Robert Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic and killed three people. Did the right-wing media help turn a disturbed loner into a mass murderer?”

9. The Forgotten Life of Einstein’s First Wife
By Pauline Gagnon | Scientific American | Dec. 19
“She was a physicist, too — and there is evidence that she contributed significantly to his groundbreaking science”

10. The President Attends the World Series
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | October 2014
“Herbert Hoover’s surprise appearance at Game 5 of the Philadelphia Athletics vs. the Cubs in Philadelphia, in October 1929, was one of the last happy moments of his presidency, occurring two weeks before the stock market collapse that ushered in the Great Depression.”

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