Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Stan Lee’s final days / Women in difficult situations / The growing sex recession / Lost trust in a journalist / The history of the balloon whisk

This week: Stan Lee’s final days / Women in difficult situations / The growing sex recession / Lost trust in a journalist / The history of the balloon whisk

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. Stan Lee’s Final Year Marked by Chaos and Betrayal
By Gary Baum | The Hollywood Reporter | November 2018
“After the death of wife Joan in 2017, the Marvel Comics icon’s inner circle imploded in a sordid power struggle from which he never fully recovered.”​

2. Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics
By Stephen Kotkin | Foreign Affairs | November 2018
“Beginning with the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century, Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. By 1900, it was the world’s fourth- or fifth-largest industrial power and the largest agricultural producer in Europe.”​

3. But That’s What Happened
This American Life | November 2018
“Stories of women in unsettling situations. When they try to explain what’s wrong, they’re told that they don’t understand — that there’s nothing unsettling about it.”​

4. Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
By Kate Julian | The Atlantic | December 2018
“Despite the easing of taboos and the rise of hookup apps, Americans are in the midst of a sex recession.”​

5. Heather Havrilesky: Digging for Something Real
By Mickie Meinhardt | Guernica | November 2018
“The author of “What If This Were Enough?” on honest writing, raising kids with social media, and the growing pains of a constantly-wired culture.”​

6. Broken trust at the Houston Chronicle
By Alexandria Neason | Columbia Journalism Review | November 2018
“The researchers on the case couldn’t find a number of people cited in Ward’s recent stories; when Barnes asked Ward for his notes, he said they’d been destroyed.”​

7. How a Difficult, Racist, Stubborn President Was Removed From Power — If Not From Office
By David Priess | Politico Magazine | November 2018
“Members of Congress and some in Andrew Johnson’s own Cabinet wanted him gone. They did the next best thing.”

8. Poisoning Daddy
By Skip Hollandsworth | Texas Monthly | July 1996
“How a loving daughter and star student stole barium acetate from her high school chemistry lab, put it in her father’s refried beans, and almost got away with murder.”

9. The balloon whisk: a stirring history
By Sybil Kapoor | 1843 :: The Economist | November 2018
“In 19th-century America, the fashion for muffins and meringues led to an ‘egg-beater bubble’ ”

10. Sophie is 16 in America. Here’s what scares her.
By Masuma Ahuja | Girlhood Around the World :: The Lily | October 2018
“In her diary entries, Sophie writes about the end of a summer trip spent with family, the ever-relatable end-of-vacation road trip home, her love for books, her struggles with mental illness, and her aspirations and apprehensions about college.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Facebook strategy / Beto and Julian / Bodies in the ice / Africa’s renaissance / Spain’s Queen Sofia

This week: The Facebook strategy / Beto and Julian / Bodies in the ice / Africa’s renaissance / Spain’s Queen Sofia

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. Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis
By Sheera Frenkel, Nicholas Confessore, Cecilia Kang, Matthew Rosenberg and Jack Nicas | The New York Times | November 2018
“In just over a decade, Facebook has connected more than 2.2 billion people, a global nation unto itself that reshaped political campaigns, the advertising business and daily life around the world. Along the way, Facebook accumulated one of the largest-ever repositories of personal data, a treasure trove of photos, messages and likes that propelled the company into the Fortune 500.”​
Also see, from Politico Magazine: Facebook reconsiders Washington approach after Times reveals hardball tactics

2. Navy SEALs, Marines Charged With Green Beret Logan Melgar’s Murder
By Kevin Maurer and Spencer Ackerman | The Daily Beast | November 2018
“The victim allegedly discovered SEALs in Mali were stealing money from an informant fund and soliciting prostitutes.”​

3. Is Beto O’Rourke a Problem for Fellow Democrat Julián Castro’s Presidential Prospects?
By Carlos Sanchez | Texas Monthly | November 2018
“Castro has been enormously politically adept ahead of an expected run. O’Rourke’s popularity could present new challenges.”
Also see, from Politico Magazine: How Democrats Won Over Older Voters — And Flipped the House

4. How Marijuana Harms a Developing Baby’s Brain
By Dana G. Smith | Scientific American | November 2018
“Three studies in rodents suggest prenatal exposure to the drug may pose risks for infants”

5. The Ghosts of the Glacier
By Sean Flynn | GQ | October 2018
“What happens when climate changes quickly in a previously frozen place, when the earth heats up and the mountains melt? In the high Swiss Alps, here’s what happens: The ice gives up the bodies — and the secrets — of the past.”

6. The First Choice
By Rebecca Carroll | Columbia Journalism Review | Fall 2018
“Here’s the thing: neither traditional journalism nor New Journalism has ever been for us, black people.”

7. Obama and the Legacy of Africa’s Renaissance Generation
By Aminatta Forna | NYR Daily :: The New York Review of Books | November 2018
“The generation of Africans to whom the task fell of creating new countries knew, or came to know, that alongside the desires and dreams, and the promise of a new-found freedom, they had been set up to fail. Their real courage lay in the fact that they did not surrender, that they tried to do what they had promised themselves and their countries they would. They went forward anyway.”

8. What She Wore
By Mimi Swartz | Texas Monthly | January 2010
“My relationship with my mother was sometimes combative, usually affectionate, always complicated. But we never failed to bond over a mutual passion: the clothes in her closet.”

9. 6.3 million girls are out of school in Nigeria. Meet one
By Masuma Ahuja | Girlhood Around the World :: The Lily | October 2018
“According to UNICEF data, there are an estimated 10.5 million children, 60 percent of them girls, who are not in school in the country. Poverty and child marriage are cited as two of the main reasons that keep girls out of classrooms.”

10. Sofía: a queen who has grown stronger in the face of adversity
By Mabel Galaz | El Pais | October 2018
“As she turns 80, the mother of King Felipe VI is enjoying huge popularity after incidents such as the “Corinna case” and a very public spat with her daughter-in-law Letizia”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The long shadow of Kristallnacht / The women who fought A&M and won / Troops on the U.S.-Mexico border / Lives of girls around the world / The fastest woman in the U.S.

This week: The long shadow of Kristallnacht / The women who fought A&M and won / Troops on the U.S.-Mexico border / Lives of girls around the world / The fastest woman in the U.S.

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. The Day of Fate
By David Frum | The Atlantic | November 2018
“Kristallnacht, on its 80th anniversary, still offers a potent lesson: We all face the choice between right and wrong, responsibility and recklessness, conscience and complicity.”

2. Meet the Women Whose Persistence Made Texas A&M Change Its Sexual Assault Policies
By Dan Solomon and Jessica Luther | Texas Monthly | November 2018
“The university implemented sweeping changes after members of Twelfth Woman and others went public with their experiences.”
Also see, from The New Yorker: One Year of #MeToo

3. Deployed Inside the United States: The Military Waits for the Migrant Caravan
By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Helene Cooper | The New York Times | November 2018
“With little electricity, no combat pay and holidays away from home, the 5,600 American troops on the southwest border are on a mission ordered by a politically determined commander in chief and a Pentagon unable to convince him of its perils.”

4. Inside the harrowing trip to Jonestown: ‘Screams of shock and anguish filled the air’
By Larry Getlen | The New York Post | November 2018
“On Nov. 14, 1978, Jackie Speier, a 28-year-old legislative assistant to California Congressman Leo Ryan, flew with her boss to investigate the Jonestown commune in Guyana. Four days later, she lay sprawled on a runway, five bullets in her, the congressman dead nearby.”

5. Two girls from Afghanistan show us their lives by sharing diary entries, photos and dreams
By Masuma Ahuja | Girlhood Around the World :: The Lily | October 2018
“Cultural gender norms, child marriage, poverty and a lack of schools are some of the reasons that contribute to lack of access to girls’ education in the country.”

6. An Open Letter from Guam to America
By Victoria-Lola M. Leon Guerrero | Boston Review | November 2018
“Today you occupy nearly one-third of our island, and station bombers and nuclear powered submarines here to flex your might to our neighbors. You play endless war games emitting fumes and dumping waste into our air, water, soil, bodies.”

7. How Everything Became the Culture War
By Michael Grunwald | Politico Magazine | November 2018
“America’s petty tribal arguments are now driving the bus on serious policy. Here’s why we should worry.”

8. Many women over 50 have leaky bladders, most don’t seek treatment
By Linda Carroll | Reuters | November 2018
“Nearly half of women over age 50 report bladder leakage and many say it’s a major problem for them, according to a new U.S. survey. Of the more than 1,000 women ages 50 to 80 who participated in the survey, 43 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds said they suffered from incontinence, as did 51 percent of those 65 and older. ”

9. Lady Leadfoot
By Amy Wallace | Sports Illustrated | October 2018
“She raced cars when few women dared. But more than trophies or prize money, it was the zen of driving that pulled her in. This is the story of Denise McCluggage, America’s once-fastest woman. ”

10. 30 years on since first migrant death, still no end to tragedies at sea
By Jesus Canas | El Pais | November 2018
“When the body of a Moroccan man washed up on a beach in Tarifa in 1988, no one knew that it would be the first of more than 6,700 fatalities”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Fighting white nationalism / How ‘House of Cards’ survived / Orson Welles is back / The private Hemingway / The nuclear secret during the Vietnam War

This week: Fighting white nationalism / How House of Cards survived / Orson Welles is back / The private Hemingway / The nuclear secret during the Vietnam War

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. U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It
By Janet Reitman | The New York Times Magazine | November 2018
“For two decades, domestic counter-terrorism strategy has ignored the rising danger of far-right extremism. In the atmosphere of willful indifference, a virulent movement has grown and metastasized.”

2. Michael Kelly credits Robin Wright with saving House of Cards
By Mary Elizabeth Williams | Salon | November 2018
“Kelly’s character … was already grappling with a world of change at the end of last season, when Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) had assumed the presidency. Now, as the show launches its sixth and final season, things are about to shake up even more.”

3. Orson Welles’ Wild Final Film Offers a Haunting Glimpse of a Fading Mastermind
By Natalia Winkelman | The Daily Beast | November 2018
“Orson Welles’ long-delayed, pseudo-autobiographical opus The Other Side of the Wind premieres on Netflix … cementing the legendary director’s legacy.”
Also see, from Salon: Director Morgan Neville on They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead and the last years of Orson Welles

4. Iraq: The Economic Consequences of War
By William D. Nordhaus | The New York Review of Books | December 2002
“The difference between good and bad cases does not depend on who will win, for there is little doubt among military specialists that the United States will prevail if it enters with overwhelming force and is willing to persevere through all obstacles. Rather, the difference lies in the duration of the conflict, the total damage to Iraq, civilian casualties, the potential for unconventional warfare, and the spread of the conflict outside Iraq.”

5. The Vulnerable Private Writings of Ernest Hemingway
By Sandra Spanier | Scribner :: LitHub | October 2018
“Hemingway’s published work is painstakingly crafted, but his letters are unguarded and unpolished. They chart the course of his friendships, his marriages, his family relationships, his literary associations, and his business dealings. The letters are striking for their sense of immediacy.”

6. The FBI of the National Park Service
By Rachel Monroe | Outside | October 2018
“The 33 special agents assigned to the Investigative Services Branch handle the most complex crimes committed on NPS land. When a day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park ended in a grisly death, ISB veteran Beth Shott hit the trail, where she began unraveling a harrowing case.”

7. Why we have an emotional connection to robots
By Kate Darling | TED Talks | September 2018
“Learn more about how we’re biologically hardwired to project intent and life onto machines — and how it might help us better understand ourselves.”

8. Reversal of Fortune
By Pamela Colloff | Texas Monthly | September 2004
“Forty-two residents of the struggling cotton-farming town of Roby band together to enter the lottery. They buy 430 tickets. Then — on the eve of Thanksgiving, no less — they hit the jackpot, winning $46 million. You might expect a happy ending. Not even close.”

9. The invasion that wiped out every man from Spain 4,500 years ago
By Manuel Ansede | El Pais | October 2018
“New research indicates all local males on the Iberian peninsula were killed by hostile invaders with superior technology”

10. U.S. General Considered Nuclear Response in Vietnam War, Cables Show
By David Sanger | The New York Times | October 2018
“In one of the darkest moments of the Vietnam War, the top American military commander in Saigon activated a plan in 1968 to move nuclear weapons to South Vietnam until he was overruled by President Lyndon B. Johnson, according to recently declassified documents cited in a new history of wartime presidential decisions.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Feminist dystopia / The new nuclear arms race / What we lost in MLK / Immigrants’ city of sadness / How to reduce plastic use

This week: Feminist dystopia / The new nuclear arms race / What we lost in MLK / Immigrants’ city of sadness / How to reduce plastic use

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. The Remarkable Rise of the Feminist Dystopia
By Sophie Gilbert | The Atlantic | October 2018
“A spate of women-authored speculative fiction imagines detailed worlds of widespread infertility, criminalized abortion, and flipped power dynamics.”

2. A New Nuclear Arms Race Has Begun
By Mikhail Gorbachev | The New York Times | October 2018
“President Trump says he plans to withdraw from a nonproliferation treaty that I signed with Ronald Reagan. It’s just the latest victim in the militarization of world affairs. ”
Also see, from The New York Times: George Schultz: We Must Preserve This Nuclear Treaty

3. City of Exiles
By Daniel Duane | The California Sunday Magazine | October 2018
“Every month, thousands of deportees from the United States and hundreds of asylum-seekers from around the world arrive in Tijuana. Many never leave.”

4. MLK: What We Lost
By Annette Gordon-Reed | The New York Review of Books | October 2018
“It might be hard for younger generations of Americans in 2018, fifty years after King’s assassination, to fathom just how controversial a figure he was during his career, and particularly around the time of his death.”

5. First Man, Gravity, 2001: A Space Odyssey: When Auteurs Go to Space
By Bilge Ebiri | Vulture | October 2018
“Something special happens when an auteur goes to space. They push their stylistic and thematic limits. The vast emptiness of the cosmos, combined with the sudden malleability of time, has a way of bringing out the more experimental side of a filmmaker.”

6. The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule
By Sam Dolnick | The New York Times Magazine | June 2014
“He always drove alone and had managed to avoid detection for nearly a decade. The D.E.A. agents listened to key cartel figures talk about Tata many times, and they had even caught a glimpse of him once. Now, for the first time in months, Tata was coming back to Detroit.”

7. How to reduce plastic, foil and other kitchen disposables
By Katherine Roth | Associated Press | August 2018
“Remember that in addition to reducing and reusing, recycling is an easy option for many items, including glass, plastic containers, bottles, cans, clean aluminum foil and batteries.”

8. A Great Writer at the 1968 Democratic Disaster
By David Denby | The New Yorker | August 2018
“It was the convention that, in effect, turned the country over to Richard Nixon and led to six more years of war in Vietnam.”

9. The Benefits of Nakedness
The Documentary | BBC World Service
“Some people just love to be naked in public. Dr. Keon West travels far and wide to speak to those who enjoy taking their clothes off to find out why they do it, and what the benefits — and disadvantages — might be.”

10. ‘Sharp Objects’ and Damaged Women
By Liza Batkin | NYR Daily :: The New York Review of Books | August 2018
“Camille is treated, quite literally, as a text to decipher: her body is covered with words that she has cut into herself, and each episode in the series is named after a scar on her body (‘Milk,’ ‘Cherry’).”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Final looks at the midterms and the Great War anniversary / Celebrating Wu-Tang Clan / Divided Sexual America / High blood pressure and dementia

This week: Final looks at the midterms and the Great War anniversary / Celebrating Wu-Tang Clan / Divided Sexual America / High blood pressure and dementia

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. Why electing two Native American women to Congress is about more than making history
By Sarah Sunshine Manning | The Lily | November 2018
“It’s about asserting indigenous women’s ancestral right to leadership”
Also see, from Texas Monthly: ‘Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz’ on 36 Hours in El Paso
Also see, from Texas Monthly: Beto O’Rourke Lost the Battle But Won the War
Also see, from The New York Times: Down With the Year of the Woman

2. Can Europe’s Liberal Order Survive as the Memory of War Fades?
By Katin Bennhold | The New York Times | November 2018
“The anniversary comes amid a feeling of gloom and insecurity as the old demons of chauvinism and ethnic division are again spreading across the Continent. And as memory turns into history, one question looms large: Can we learn from history without having lived it ourselves?”
Also see, from The New York Review of Books: World War I Relived Day by Day
Also see, from Library of America: Harry S. Truman: Waiting for the Armistice
Also see, from The Washington Post: On this World War I anniversary, let’s not celebrate Woodrow Wilson

3. In revealing new memoir, Michelle Obama candidly shares her story
By Krissah Thompson | The Washington Post | November 2018
“In the 426-page book, Obama lays out her complicated relationship with the political world that made her famous. But her memoir is not a Washington read full of gossip and political score-settling — though she does lay bare her deep, quaking disdain for Trump, who she believes put her family’s safety at risk with his vehement promotion of the false birther conspiracy theory.”

4. The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s
By Laura Hazard Owen | Nieman Lab | November 2018
“The photos will be used in a series called Past Tense.”

5. Why Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F*ck Wit
By Stereo Williams | The Daily Beast | November 2018
“Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the greatest rap group of all time’s seminal debut, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).’ ”

6. Peace Regimes
By Jesse Kindig | Boston Review | November 2018
“A regime is imposed from without, which begs the questions: whose peace, in this peace regime, is being insured, and who is subject to its imposition? To insist that such a regime is a kind of peace is to willfully forget the violence you are, in fact, wreaking.”

7. Republicans and Democrats Don’t Just Disagree About Politics. They Have Different Sexual Fantasies
By Justin Lehmiller | Politico Magazine | October 2018
“Republicans were more likely than Democrats to fantasize about a range of activities that involve sex outside of marriage.”

8. Pregnancy high blood pressure linked to dementia decades later
By Cheryl Platzman Weinstock | Reuters | November 2018
“Pregnant women who develop pre-eclampsia, a condition involving dangerously high blood pressure, have more than three times higher risk of dementia later in life than women who don’t have this pregnancy complication, researchers say.”

9. The Suffocation of Democracy
By Christopher R. Browning | The New York Review of Books | October 2018
“As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and Europe in the era of the world wars, I have been repeatedly asked about the degree to which the current situation in the United States resembles the interwar period and the rise of fascism in Europe. I would note several troubling similarities and one important but equally troubling difference.”

10. Franco’s family demands dictator be buried with military honors
By Natalia Junquera | El Pais | October 2018
“His seven grandchildren want him to be interred in La Almudena cathedral, in the heart of Madrid”

Election 2018: Recommended reading II

Today we’re seeing a blizzard of news analysis pieces, essays, op-eds, and a million other election-related items. Here are five pieces I’d recommend.

Today we’re seeing a blizzard of news analysis pieces, essays, op-eds, and a million other election-related items. Here are five pieces I’d recommend.

1. Jeff Sessions out as attorney general
By Politico | November 2018
“President Donald Trump announced on Twitter on Wednesday that Jeff Sessions is out as attorney general, and that Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, will take over as the acting head of the Justice Department.”

2. Texas Congressional Delegation Grows More Diverse Amid Several Republican Upsets
By Marcia Recio | Texas Monthly | November 2018
“An evening that included the unseating of longtime Congressman Pete Sessions saw the historic election of the state’s first two Latinas to Congress.”

3. How a Democratic U.S. House could alter foreign policy
By Patricia Zengerle | Reuters | November 2018
“Democrats plan Russia-related investigations, such as a probe of possible business ties and conflicts of interest between Trump and Russia. From a policy perspective, a Democratic-led House would push to punish Russia for interference in U.S. elections and activities including its aggression in Ukraine and involvement in the Syrian civil war.”

4. A partisan war awaits Trump. That just might suit him.
By Peter Baker | The New York Times | November 2018
“Combative by nature, happier in a fight, the president may now have to choose between escalating the pitched conflict that has torn Washington apart in recent years and attempting the sort of reach-across-the-aisle conciliation that has rarely marked his presidency so far.”

5. Don DeLillo on Trump’s America: ‘I’m not sure the country is recoverable’
By Xan Brooks | The Guardian | November 2018
“He has spent half a century dissecting America’s dreams and nightmares. Now the great novelist is imagining what his ‘deluged’ country will be like three years from today”

Follow past entries here.

Election 2018: Finally over

What a night. Democrat Beto O’Rourke goes down in defeat. Republicans hold the Senate and may lose the House. Bexar County is bluer than ever.

This series was meant to continue into the midnight, 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. hours but the intricacies of editing took precedence, followed by the need for some sleep.

9:00 to 10:00

What a night. Democrat Beto O’Rourke goes down in defeat. Republicans hold the Senate and may lose the House. Bexar County is bluer than ever.

The hardest part of the night is underway … editing all the little stories that are flowing in from the reporters and piecing them all together for tomorrow morning’s broadcast.

Preparing a newscast seems to be more art than science — the tone has to be just right; there’s a particular balance of information and voices that must be achieved.

Follow past entries here.

Election 2018: It ain’t over ’til it’s over

There are almost 8,000 precincts in Texas, and only a fraction of their votes have been tallied. The following hours offer only more drama and tension.

7:00 to 8:00

Our news coverage plan is unfolding almost flawlessly. I’m so proud of my reporters. I’m so proud of my entire news team.

Some of these races are unfolding with greater drama than anyone expected. Differences in vote percentages that are less than one percent in some races.

The mood in the newsroom is one of confidence, excitement and fascination. Republicans in Bexar County took a beating in early voting, and many Democrats are leading.

But there are almost 8,000 precincts in Texas, and only a fraction of their votes have been tallied. The following hours offer only more drama and tension.

It’s only 8 p.m. Six hours to go. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Follow past entries here.

Election 2018: The turnout factor

Less than an hour to go. Polls close at 7 p.m., and then the early voting numbers are released two minutes later.

6:00 to 7:00

Less than an hour to go. Polls close at 7 p.m., and then the early voting numbers are released two minutes later.

Some analysts think so many people have voted early that those results alone may be enough to call some of these races.

In this county, more than 100,000 people voted today. Nationwide, I’ve heard turnout numbers may break 50-year records. Amazing.

Why? We can guess. Some of the more interesting stories in the coming days will be the ones that include voters’ voices and endeavor to answer that question.

Follow past entries here.