Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Trump and Putin / Da Vinci’s genius / Sexism and Clinton’s culpability / Tracing your Texas ancestry / A trans woman’s journey as Beyonce

This week: Trump and Putin / Da Vinci’s genius / Sexism and Clinton’s culpability / Tracing your Texas ancestry / A trans woman’s journey as Beyonce

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 Putin Keeps Outsmarting Trump
By John McLaughlin | Politico Magazine | Nov. 17
“The Kremlin leader is trained to lie. Trust me, I ran the CIA: Believing anything he says is folly.”
Also, from The Economist: America’s foreign policy: embrace thugs, dictators and strongmen

2. Puerto Rico’s DIY Disaster Relief
By Molly Crabapple | NYT Daily :: The New York Review of Books | Nov. 17
“Two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, aid remained a bureaucratic quagmire, mismanaged by FEMA, the FBI, the US military, the laughably corrupt local government. The island looked like it was stuck somewhere between the nineteenth century and the apocalypse. But leftists, nationalists, socialists … were stepping up to rebuild their communities.”

3. Trump era sparks new debate about nuclear war authority
By Robert Burns | Associated Press | Nov. 19
“[W]hat would happen if an American president ordered a nuclear strike, for whatever reason, and the four-star general at Strategic Command balked or refused, believing it to be illegal?”

4. Latino vote
By Bill Lambrecht | San Antonio Express-News | Nov. 19
“Latino success in Virginia and across the country in recent elections continued a run of historic victories in 2017 and left leaders confident of their strategy heading into mid-term elections next year.”

5. What Made Leonardo da Vinci a Genius?
By Simon Worrall | National Geographic | Nov. 4
“Hint: The great Italian artist was interested in everything.”

6. Sexism on America’s Front Lines
By Susan B. Glasser | Politico Magazine | Nov. 6
“Six top national security pros sound off about an adversary closer to home: piggish men.”
Also, from The Atlantic: What Hillary Knew: Hillary Clinton once tweeted that ‘every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.’ What about Juanita Broaddrick?
Also, from the Guardian: I saw how we failed Bill Clinton’s accusers. We can’t do that again
Also, from the New York Post: Let’s just cancel the Oscars

7. ‘Everybody’s Cousins’: Tracing San Antonio Ancestry To 1718 And Beyond
By Norma Martinez | Texas Public Radio | Nov. 17
“A lot of South Texans can trace their ancestry back to 1718 and beyond. For those who can’t, a nonprofit is making it easier to follow their family tree.”

8. Becoming Beyoncé On Stage Helped One Trans Woman Come Into Her Own
By Danny Nett | Fandoms :: NPR | Nov. 19
“At first, she didn’t even have a strong, personal connection to Beyoncé the way people might expect, she says. That came later.”

9. Get lost in this visualization of interconnected global issues
By Robbie Gonzalez | Wired | Nov. 13
“[T]here’s more to Knowledge Maps than pretty diagrams. In fact, the tool’s utility becomes clear when you explore its less-mesmerizing features: a series of summaries and content feeds curated partly by humans and partly by machines.”

10. The Making of an American Nazi
By Luke O’Brien | The Atlantic | December 2017
“How did Andrew Anglin go from being an antiracist vegan to the alt-right’s most vicious troll and propagandist—and how might he be stopped?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Trump’s first 100 days? / Trump’s battle against Clinton / Freak kangaroo / Boots on the ground / Does Texas still matter in politics?

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This week: Trump’s first 100 days? / Trump’s battle against Clinton / Freak kangaroo / Boots on the ground / Does Texas still matter in politics?

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

1. Trump: The First 100 Days
By Matt Latimer | Politico Magazine | February 2016
“It’s time to start thinking about his — gulp — presidency.”

2. The Republican Horse Race Is Over, and Journalism Lost
By Jim Rutenberg | Mediator :: The New York Times | May 5
“[Y]ou have to point the finger at national political journalism, which has too often lost sight of its primary directives in this election season: to help readers and viewers make sense of the presidential chaos; to reduce the confusion, not add to it; to resist the urge to put ratings, clicks and ad sales above the imperative of getting it right.”

3. Trump’s deportation plan could slice 2 percent off U.S. GDP: study
By Luciana Lopez | Reuters | May 5
“About 6.8 million of the more than 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally are employed, according to government statistics. Removing them would cause a slump of $381.5 billion to $623.2 billion in private sector output. …”

4. Yes, It’s Early, but Donald Trump Would Have Uphill Battle Against Hillary Clinton
By Nate Cohn | The Upshot :: The New York Times | May 3
“Trump’s biggest problem is that he would be the most unpopular major party nominee in the modern era, with nearly two-thirds saying they have an unfavorable opinion of him.”

5. Analysis: Texas Political Influence Nosedives in National Campaign
By Ross Ramsey | The Texas Tribune | May 3
“[I]t’s not only the state’s candidates who were getting knocked around in the race for president; the ideas that have propelled Texas Republicans for the past two decades — ideas like federalism and social conservatism — have taken a hit, too. Texas is getting clobbered this year.”

6. How Does Ted Cruz Return To The Senate?
By Abby Livingston | The Texas Tribune | May 3
“[W]hen he returns to the Senate with two and a half years left in his freshman term, he will enter hostile territory.”

7. Watch Kangaroo Crack Car Windshield In Terrifying Feet-First Leap
By Lee Moran | Huffington Post | May 3
“The driver unleashes a series of curse words as it hits the window.”

8. Q&A: When is a Boot on the Ground not a Boot on the Ground?
By Lolita C. Baldor | Associated Press | May 3
“The semantic arguments over whether there are American ‘boots on the ground’ muddy the view of a situation in which several thousand armed U.S. military personnel are in Iraq and Syria.”

9. Trump’s VP: Top 10 contenders
By Jonathan Easley | The Hill | May 5
“It could be a difficult undertaking, as some potential candidates might be hesitant to hitch their political future to a polarizing figure like Trump. But there will be plenty willing to roll the dice and join Trump’s historic outsider campaign.”

10. History’s Lessons in Crisis Management
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | July 2014
“A student of history, as well as a sardonic, self-protective political operator, J.F.K. was always attuned to the possibility that some unforeseen event could quickly send history into an unwanted direction.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Rumsfeld’s no McNamara / Search for the black box / Second novels / American dynasties / No more Turkish miracle

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This week: Rumsfeld’s no McNamara / The race to find the black box / Second novels / American dynasties / No more Turkish miracle

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

1. Donald Rumsfeld Hasn’t Learned a Damn Thing
By James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang | Politico Magazine | April 4
“Bush’s unrepentant defense secretary and the dark art of B.S.”

2. Clock ticking on search to find Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s black box
By Swati Pandey | Thomseon Reuters | April 4
“On Monday, it will be 30 days since the jetliner lost communications and disappeared from civilian radar.”

3. Letterman Wasn’t That Funny, Which Is Exactly Why He Matters
By Isaac Chotiner | The New Republic | April 4
“I can’t think of a mass cultural figure of such large importance who was so committed to his own idea of artistic integrity.”

4. Are We Entering a Golden Age of the Second Novel?
By Bill Morris | The Millions | April 4
“Writers get only one shot at becoming The Next Big Thing, which, to too many publishers, is The Only Thing. Failure to do so can carry a wicked and long-lasting sting.”

5. The Work Hitler Despised and the One from Above His Fireplace
By R.C. Baker | The Village Voice | April 2
“The art of hate.”

6. Allegheny Arsenal Explosion
By Maggie MacLean | Civil War Women | April 3
“On September 17, 1862, seventy-eight girls and young women were killed in an explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — the worst civilian disaster of the Civil War.”

7. Bush 41 Reunion Looks to Burnish His Legacy
By Peter Baker | The New York Times | April 3
“This seems to be a season for presidential rehabilitation, if not for the incumbent then for his predecessors.”

8. Karzai Is Trying to Keep His Sway After Term Ends
By Matthew Rosenberg | The New York Times | April 3
“American officials have ignored him, and Afghanistan’s presidential contenders have tried to persuade voters that they will be different from him. But those hoping to see President Hamid Karzai slip into a quiet retirement may be disappointed in the months to come.”

9. Dynasty Isn’t Just for Monarchies Anymore
By Larry J. Sabato | Politico Magazine | March 31
“A Bush-Clinton matchup in 2016 would hardly be unusual. American politics is more of a family affair than you think.”

10. Turkey Goes Out of Control
By Christopher de Bellaigue | The New York Review of Books | April 3
“Large parts of the civil service have been eviscerated, much of the media has been reduced to unthinking carriers of politically motivated revelation and innuendo, and the economy has slowed down after a decade of strong growth. The Turkish miracle is over.”

******************

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. ZZ Top — Whats Up With That
2. Eddie Turner — I’m A Man
3. Carolyn Wonderland — Ain’t Nobody’s Business
4. Guitar Shorty — A Little Less Conversation
5. Jimi Hendrix — Electric Church Red House
6. Paul Rodgers — Walk In My Shadow
7. North Mississippi Allstars — Shake (Yo Mama)
8. Too Slim And The Taildraggers — Mexico
9. Walter Trout — May Be A Fool
10. The Black Keys — Hurt Like Mine
11. R.L Burnside — Goin Down South
12. Janiva Magness — Slipped,Tripped And Fell
13. Steve Miller — Driven Wheel
14. Bo Cox — Gone

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Containing Iran / Romney administration’s first 100 days / Why Clinton’s speeches sparkle / The moment a tank shell strikes

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Afghans use culture guides to cut ‘insider’ attacks
By Amie Ferris-Rolman | Reuters | Sept. 6
“Afghan Defense Ministry officials, trying to stop the alarming increase in ‘insider’ attacks, have given their troops tips on foreign culture, telling them not to be offended by a hearty pat on the back or an American soldier asking after your wife’s health.”

2. Five countries the U.S. is screwing over
By Alex Keane | Salon | Sept. 7
“From the drug war to the war on terror, the United States is wreaking havoc around the globe”

3. The Pentagon Doesn’t Have the Right Stuff
By Robert Haddick | Foreign Policy | Sept. 6
“The Navy can’t ‘contain’ Iran — even if we wanted it to.”

4. Why Bill Clinton’s Speeches Succeed
By James Fallows | The Atlantic | Sept. 6
“Because he treats listeners as if they are smart.”

5. 100 Days
Need To Know :: PBS | Sept. 7
“Need to Know spoke with three experts on what the first 100 days of a Romney administration or an Obama second term might look like.”

6. The Proper Way To Share Your Junk
By J.R. Reed | Sex and the Single Dad :: The Good Men Project | Sept. 7
“As technology advances so does our ability to move the proverbial line further and further away. The unsolicited penis picture crosses that line but fear not because I have some tips to keep you classy-ish with your photography.”

7. Rives: Reinventing the encyclopedia game
TED | April 2012
“Rives takes us on a charming tour through random (and less random) bits of human knowledge: from Chimborazo, the farthest point from the center of the Earth, to Ham the Astrochimp, the first chimpanzee in outer space.”

8. You Are Here: How Astronomical Surveys Are Pinpointing Our Place in the Cosmos
By John Matson | Scientific American | Sept. 6
“Upcoming telescope projects on Earth and in space will map out billions of stars and galaxies all around us”

9. Is Philosophy Literature?
By Jim Holt | The Stone :: The New York Times | June 30
“Is philosophy literature? Do people read philosophy for pleasure? Of course it is, and of course they do.”

10. Incredible Photograph Captures Exact Moment of Tank Shell Hitting Against Syrian Rebels
By Jesus Diaz | Gizmodo | Sept. 7
“This image sequence of a Syrian army tank firing against a group of rebels in a street of Aleppo is beyond stunning. It’s pure insanity.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Designers target toddlers / Air power and Mahan / Chelsea Clinton / Biden the perfect VP / Fiery Sean Penn

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Rich toddlers draw fashion designers’ eyes
By Anne D’Innocenzio | Associated Press | Aug. 12
“Some designer houses like Oscar de la Renta and Marni say they’re careful to keep the clothes appropriate for kids. But there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that raise eyebrows because of their eye-catching prices and sophisticated styles.”

2. Answering kids’ sex questions
By Tracy Clark-Flory | Salon | Aug. 15
“The blog ‘Sex Questions From Seventh Graders’ went viral. Now we answer their adult-stumping queries”

3. Air Power Meets Alfred Thayer Mahan
By James R. Holmes | The Naval Diplomat :: The Diplomat | Aug. 15
“In wartime, wrote Mahan, navies should amass ‘overbearing power’ to sweep enemy fleets from the nautical common. Having done so, the victor could put those waters to whatever use he pleased. Pilots likewise think in terms of ridding the skies of opposing fleets.”

4. Waiting in the Wings
By Jonathan Van Meter | Vogue | Aug. 13
“An Exclusive Interview with Chelsea Clinton”

5. Joe Biden: The ‘practically perfect’ vice president
By Jonathan Bernstein | Salon | Aug. 18
“Ignore the right-wing outrage: Barack Obama couldn’t have found a better vice president than Joe Biden”

6. Panorama: The big picture from Mars
The Los Angeles Times | Aug. 17
“This 360-degree panorama from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the area within Gale Crater on Mars.”

7. Cesar Harada: A novel idea for cleaning up oil spills
TED | July 2012
“He designed a highly maneuverable, flexible boat capable of cleaning large tracts quickly. But rather than turn a profit, he has opted to open-source the design.”

8. Sean Penn: a firebrand on and off screen
By Peter Beaumont | The Observer :: The Guardian | Feb. 18
“The actor and director has angered some with his comments on the British stance on the Falklands. But he has a long history of speaking out passionately when he perceives injustice”

9. Brothers in Arms
By Terry L. Jones | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 2
“The 10th Louisiana was the only regiment in its brigade that penetrated the federal position atop Malvern Hill, but the Tigers paid dearly for the honor. …”

10. Retreat from Dunkirk
Witness :: BBC News | June 2
“A British soldier tells us of one extraordinary day on the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

John Updike fading? / The other marriage myth / The priceless database of Afghan war wounds / Salman Rushdie on censorship / Hillary Clinton’s legacy at State

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Q&A: Seeking Better-Sounding Skype Calls
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | May 17
“Are there any ways to improve the audio quality of computer-to-computer Skype calls?”

2. First & Last: Opening/Closing Lines from Our Best Books of the Month
By Neal Thompson | Omnivoracious :: Amazon.com | May 10
“Every book begins with nothing. A blank screen or, if you’re Robert Caro, a blank page.”

3. Have we fallen out of love with John Updike?
By Sarah Crown | Books Blog :: The Guardian | May 15
“Three years after John Updike’s death, his reputation appears to be on the wane. But who else can match his deftness and grace?”

4. The Myth About Marriage
By Garry Wills | NYR Blog :: The New York Review of Books | May 9
“Why do some people who would recognize gay civil unions oppose gay marriage? Certain religious groups want to deny gays the sacredeness of what they take to be a sacrament. But marriage is no sacrament.”

5. Lessons in a Catalog of Afghan War Wounds May Be Lost
By C.J. Chivers | The New York Times | May 17
“[The] database is one part of a vast store of information recorded about the experiences of American combatants. But there are concerns that the potential lessons from such data could be lost, because no one has yet brought the information together and made it fully cohere. ”

6. On Censorship
By Salman Rushdie | Page-Tirner :: The New Yorker | May 15
“Censorship is the thing that stops you doing what you want to do, and what writers want to talk about is what they do, not what stops them doing it.”

7. What will Hillary Clinton’s diplomatic legacy be?
By Richard Wolf | USA Today | May 17
“As she prepares to leave the national stage after a 20-year run, Clinton is winning bipartisan respect at home and admiration abroad for her role as the nation’s 67th secretary of State.”

8. Coffee linked to lower risk of death
By Amina Khan | The Los Angeles Times | May 16
“Subjects who averaged four or five cups per day fared best, though it’s not clear why.”

9. Luxury Liner’s Removal to Begin Off Italian Coast
By Gaia Pianigiani | The New York Times | May 18
“One of the most expensive and challenging salvage operations ever planned, the removal of the luxury liner Costa Concordia from granite rocks off the Tuscan coast, where it ran aground in January, will begin next week.”

10. Play Caesar: Travel Ancient Rome with Stanford’s Interactive Map
Open Culture | May 18
“Users of the model can select a point of origin and destination for a trip and then choose from a number of options to determine either the cheapest, fastest or shortest route.”

**************

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Tom Petty — Lovers Touch
2. The Insomniacs — Maybe Sometime Later
3. Preacher Stone — Blood From A Stone
4. Ramblin Dawgs — You Let Me Down
5. Los Lonely Boys — Man To Beat
6. Ray Wylie Hubbard — Snake Farm
7. The Derek Trucks Band — Get What You Deserve
8. MonkeyJunk — Tiger In Your Tank
9. Jimmie Vaughan — Texas Flood
10. Paul Thorn — Long Way From Tupelo
11. Curtis Salgado — Wiggle Outa This
12. Pride & Joy Band — Texas Hoochie Coo
13. Polk Street Blues Band — 100 Pound Hammer
14. Tommy Castro — Ninety-Nine And One Half

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A surprise oasis / Dustin Hoffman on ‘Luck’ / Old bitterness for Bill Clinton / Surviving Antarctica / How do you talk to an alien?

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Underground oasis found below Earth’s driest desert
By Lisa Grossman | New Scientist | Feb. 18
“A thriving community of microorganisms nestles two metres below the surface of the ultra-arid Atacama desert in Chile.”

2. US intelligence officials offer grim words on Afghanistan
By Ken Dilanian | Stars & Stripes | Feb. 17
“Senior U.S. intelligence officials offered a bleak view of the war in Afghanistan in testimony to Congress on Thursday, an assessment they acknowledged was more pessimistic than that of the military commanders in charge.”

3. The .0000063% Election
By Ari Berman | Mother Jones | Feb. 16
“How American politics became the politics of the superrich.”

4. Big screen or small, Dustin Hoffman feels ‘Luck’-y
By Scott Timberg | The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 17
“The Oscar-winning actor says at age 74, he is fortunate to have landed such a richly written part in HBO’s new horse-racing series.”

5. Some Arkansas Dems still waiting for Clinton’s ‘thank you’
By Suzi Parker | She the People :: The Washington Post | Feb. 16
“For many party activists in Clinton’s home state, the subject of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky evokes bitterness even after 14 years. Privately, some grumble even now about how Clinton betrayed them, too.”

6. Rereading: Seamus Heaney on Czeslaw Milosz’s centenary
By Seamus Heaney | The Guardian | April 2011
“Czeslaw Milosz was a veteran of European turmoil. His fellow Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney pays tribute to a Polish poet poised between lyricism and witness”

7. A communist in the US
Witness :: BBC News | February 2011
“On 9 February 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy began his hunt for communists in the US. Throughout the Cold War, people on the left of politics came under attack in the US.”

8. Rereading: Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth
By Charlottle Higgins | The Guardian | April 2011
“Not just a rollicking adventure, Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth, which has just been filmed, is a touching true story about love and loyalty. Charlotte Higgins looks back on a childhood favourite”

9. Crossing Antarctica
Witness :: BBC News | Jan. 18
“The Norwegian polar explorer Borge Ousland spent more than two months skiing alone across the continent of Antarctica.”

10. What Do You Say to an Alien?
By Sam Roberts | The New York Times | Feb. 12
“If we made contact, what would we say? And what answers would we anticipate?”

**************

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Bettye LaVette — I Still Want To Be Your Baby
2. Michael Holt & The Trophy 500’s — To The River
3. Daddy Long Legs — Use Me
4. Marc Broussard — Home
5. Jimmy Warren — It Aint Fair
6. Hill Country Review — Highway Blues
7. ZZ Top — Double Back
8. Jacks O’Diamonds — Dusty Man
9. Old Southern Moonshine Revival — New Pair of Boots
10. Chris Rea — Texas Blue
11. Otis Taylor — Rain So Hard
12. Derek Trucks Band — Get What You Deserve
13. Paul Rodgers and Garry Moore — Tribute To Muddy Waters
14. The Informants — Goodnight My Love

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Bring back Bill Clinton / Science of gaydar / Cheating or open marriage / The GOP and FIdel / Writer Alice James

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Time to bring back Bill Clinton
By David Maraniss | The Washington Post | Jan. 22
“Still feeling queasy about the character questions surrounding the Arkansas traveler’s sexual behavior? How does that hurt him in a world where Pope Limbaugh pronounces that it was a “mark of character” for Newt to ask his second wife for permission while cheating on her”

2. Science Unlocks the Key to Gaydar
By Cassie Murdoch | Jezebel | Jan. 23
“Gaydar — the ability to be able to tell who’s gay just by looking or talking to them — is a ‘skill’ of debatable merit, but many people like to brag about having finely calibrated systems of working out who’s gay and who’s not.”

3. The Gingrich Question: Cheating vs. Open Marriage
Room for Debate :: The New York Times | Jan. 23
“If more people considered such openness an option, would marriage become a stronger institution — less susceptible to cheating and divorce, and more attractive than unmarried cohabitation?”

4. When a party flirts with suicide
By Steve Kornacki | Opening Shot :: Salon | Jan. 23
“The last time GOP elites lost control of their nominating process, they got Barry Goldwater — and an epic landslide”

5. How the educated elite view government
By Suzy Khimm | WonkBlog :: The Washington Post | Jan. 23
“Around the world, distrust of government is on the rise, but the public — particularly the educated elite — believes there should be more regulation of business, according to a new survey.”

6. Fidel Castro: GOP race is ‘idiocy, ignorance’
By Mackenzie Weinger | Politico | Jan. 25
“The former Cuban president wrote he was too busy to spend any additional time evaluating the Republican field.”

7. This much I know: Slash
Shahesta Shaitly | The Observer | November 2010
“The musician, 45, on Stoke-on-Trent, groupies, and being addicted to cooking shows”

8. The Height Equation
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | August 2011
“Is there an upper limit to human growth? Why does one generation grow taller than the last?”

9. Five myths about women in combat
By Jane Blair | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | May 27
“Women are dying in combat, but Congress still officially bans us from serving in combat units that engage the enemy with deliberate, offensive action.”

10. Civil War women: Alice James
Civil War Women Blog | Oct. 14
“Born into a wealthy and intellectually active family — sister of novelist Henry James and psychologist and philosopher William James — Alice James soon developed the psychological and physical problems that would end her life at age 43. Alice never married and lived with her parents until their deaths. She is known mainly for the diary she kept in her final years.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Screaming babies / Clinton: The consensus candidate / Gay-friendly wisdom / GOP love for Puerto Ricans / ‘Downton Abbey’ addicts

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Why screaming babies are so hard to ignore
By Nick Collins | The Telegraph | Jan. 21
“Few situations are more infuriating than taking your seat on an aeroplane or train, closing your eyes, and hearing a baby at the other end of the cabin open its lungs with the gusto of an Italian tenor. ”

2. Bill Clinton: Someone We Can All Agree On
By Charles P. Pierce and Mark Warren | Esquire | February 2012
“Even his staunchest enemies now regard his presidency as the good old days. He has become the rare consensus figure in a country that has lost all sense of consensus. So we talked to him about where it went, and how we might get it back.”

3. How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work
By Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher | The New York Times | Jan. 21
“Though Americans are among the most educated workers in the world, the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need, executives say.”

4. How I became a ‘Downton Abbey’ addict
By Lizz Winstead | The Guardian | Jan. 22
“Yes, I know it’s just a glossy drama about the idle rich and their servants, but these idle rich are so classy compared with ours”

5. Houston’s Mayor stresses Economic Benefits of Marriage Equality
By Emily Deprang | The Texas Observer | Jan. 22
“In other words: being gay-friendly brings home the bacon.”

6. Are Puerto Ricans the Key to a Republican Victory?
By Justin Velez-Hagan | Politic365 | Jan. 23.
“Puerto Ricans already account for the second largest group of Hispanics in the U.S. (they make up 10% of all Hispanics), but are growing at an increasingly rapid pace, especially in Florida. More importantly, so is their voting power.”

7. Exploring Stories With Deep Dive
By David Erwin | Beta620 :: The New York Times | January 2012
“Deep Dive … allows users to discover something then focus their attention deeper based on that piece of content.”

8. This much I know: Elmore Leonard
By John O’Connell | The Observer | December 2010
“The author, 85, on Dizzy Gillespie, not being frightened, and being a good guy”

9. As the Worm Turns
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | August 2011
“Do earthworms have any sense of place or direction? When they are dug up in the garden and put back down someplace else, do they just return to work, or do they try to get back to their former location?”

10. The Lindbergh kidnapping
Witness :: BBC News | February 2011
“When the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh disappeared it was assumed he had been kidnapped.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Gingrich and Clinton / Christmas stress / Marine recalls coming home / Teaching James Franco / SAD songs

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Gingrich, Clinton had stormy partnership
By Laurie Kellman | Associated Press | Dec. 22
“To hear Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich tell it, he and Democratic President Bill Clinton were political partners in the 1990s, lowering unemployment, balancing the federal budget and keeping the nation’s economy in robust health.”

2. Brain strain: Christmas shopping when money tight
By Malcom Ritter | Associated Press | Dec. 18
“Plenty of Americans are having to hold back this year as the lure of flashy ads, tempting bargains and family expectations clashes with the realities of the economy. Experts in consumer behavior say that situation can strain the brain.”

3. Coming Home: A Marine Officer Remembers His Tours In Iraq
By Benjamin Busch | The Daily Beast | Dec. 19
“A Marine officer who served two tours of duty shares memories of his time in Iraq and what the return home has meant.”

4. What It’s Like To Be James Franco’s Professor
By R. John Williams | Slate | Dec. 20
“His English professor at Yale reveals that the actor rarely missed a discussion, even when filming in Detroit.”

5. Twenty Songs To Go With Your Seasonal Affective Disorder
By Dave Bry | The Awl | Dec. 22
Leonard Cohen, Bill Withers, Stone Temple Pilots, Bruce Springsteen and more.

6. Q&A: Locking Up a USB Drive
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Nov. 2
“Q: I like to transfer files between machines with a portable USB drive. Is there a way to protect this drive with a password in case I ever lose it?”

7. Learn From A Dog: 15 Life Lessons From Your Pet
The Huffington Post | Dec. 22
“Dogs tend to be happy, active and well rested — things we could all stand to learn.”

8. Why women need fat
By Hannah Tepper | Salon | Dec. 18
“Evolution shows that women’s dieting beliefs aren’t just unrealistic — they’re unnatural. An expert explains.”

9. My overworked wife is becoming increasingly bitter toward me
Troubleshooter :: The Yomiuri Shimbun | Dec. 16
“I’m tired of trying to hold my feelings in and am beginning to wonder if I have to continue living like this. Please give me some advice about how I should deal with my wife.”

10. The death of Kurt Cobain
Witness :: BBC News | April 5
“In April 1994 the lead singer of the grunge rock band Nirvana was found dead in his home in Seattle.”

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TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Blue Condition — Lady from the Delta
2. Boogie Bone — Don’t Mean a Thing
3. Alejandro Escovedo — Castanets
4. Robert Earl Keen — Throwin’ Rocks
5. Bobby Blue Bland — Let’s Straighten It Out
6. Philosopher Stone — Sweet Charity
7. Dr. Wu — I Don’t Need No Woman Like You
8. Joe Bonamassa — Walking Blues
9. Lost Immigrants — Genevieve
10. The Insomniacs — 20-20
11. Zack Walther & The Conkites — Georgia Cane