Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: White House chaos / A stolen puppy returns / Cardi B’s success / McMaster’s surrender / Racism in ‘National Geographic’

This week: White House chaos / A stolen puppy returns / Cardi B’s success / McMaster’s surrender / Racism in National Geographic

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. 32 Weeks: The making of a cop
By Emilie Eaton | San Antonio Express-News | March 2018
“A reporter and photographer from the San Antonio Express-News spent a year following a group of cadets to document their training at the San Antonio Police Department’s nationally recognized academy.”

2. Cabinet chaos: Trump’s team battles scandal, irrelevance
By Jonathan Lemire | Associated Press | March 2018
“One Cabinet member was grilled by Congress about alleged misuse of taxpayer funds for private flights. Another faced an extraordinary revolt within his own department amid a swirling ethics scandal. A third has come under scrutiny for her failure to answer basic questions about her job in a nationally televised interview. And none of them was the one Trump fired.”

3. A pardon expert emailed me his life’s work. Then he killed his two sons and himself.
By Gregory Korte | USA Today | March 2018
“A White House correspondent tries to reconcile a professor’s valuable contribution to the study of the presidential mercy with his horrific final acts.”

4. Does the Adult Brain Really Grow New Neurons?
By Helen Shen | Scientific American | March 2018
“The observation that the human brain churns out new neurons throughout life is one of the biggest neuroscience discoveries of the past 20 years. … But new findings in humans, reported online in Nature on Wednesday, pump the brakes on this idea. In a direct challenge to earlier studies, the authors report adults produce no new cells in the hippocampus, a key hub for processing memories.”

5. A Texas family had their dog stolen. It was returned the next day, injured and with a note.
By Fernando Ramirez | Houston Chronicle | March 2018
“Michelle Carnline, an Austin-area resident, said her family’s 6-month-old chocolate Great Dane disappeared from her backyard on a Sunday evening two weeks ago. At first, the family thought their dog, Landon, had somehow managed to escape. But after finding muddy human footprints in the backyard, it didn’t take long to realize what had happened.”

6. Ta-Nehisi Coates Talks Writing, President Trump, and Quitting Twitter For Good
By Doyin Oyeniyi | Texas Monthly | March 2018
“At his SXSW keynote speech, Coates shared the thoughts that he’ll no longer be tweeting.”

7. For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It
By By Susan Goldberg | National Geographic | April 2018
“We asked a preeminent historian to investigate our coverage of people of color in the U.S. and abroad. Here’s what he found.”

8. Cardi B: The Artist Thriving in a System Not Meant for Her
By Amy Zimmerman | The Daily Beast | March 2018
“Cardi B’s remarkable story is one of merit shining through in an industry and a country that’s far from a meritocracy.”

9. Introduction to Reading Other Women
By Rafia Zakaria | Boston Review | September 2016
“Literature can be a primary engine of dialogue and empathy, but it — or rather, the reading public — is often complicit in the silencing of global women of color.”

10. Dereliction of Duty?
By Jonathan Stevenson | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“His rationale — or at least his rationalization — was likely that the position would best be filled by a warrior-scholar with the spine and rectitude to protect the country against Trump’s rash leadership.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Monica Lewinsky and #MeToo / The last days of John Kelly? / Remembering the 2017 Oscar disaster / Hitler’s, Mao’s and Stalin’s death tolls / Inside the U.S. embassy in Havana

This week: Monica Lewinsky and #MeToo / The last days of John Kelly? / Remembering the 2017 Oscar disaster / Hitler’s, Mao’s and Stalin’s death tolls / Inside the U.S. embassy in Havana

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. Emerging from ‘the House of Gaslight’ in the Age of #MeToo
By Monica Lewinsky | Hive :: Vanity Fair | February 2018
“On the 20th anniversary of the Starr investigation, which introduced her to the world, the author reflects on the changing nature of trauma, the de-evolution of the media, and the extraordinary hope now provided by the #MeToo movement.”

2. ‘The Newsroom Feels Embarrassed’: Backfires and Explosions at The New York Times as a Possible Future Chief Re-Invents the Paper’s Opinion Pages
By Joe Pompeo | Hive :: Vanity Fair | February 2018
“A yoga-pants refusenik, a climate-science skeptic, and a tech writer with a neo-Nazi pal, among other offenders, have put James Bennet in the crosshairs.”
Also, from the Washington Post: ‘Criticize our work privately’: NYT editorial page chief sends a 1,500-word treatise to colleagues

3. How Long Can John Kelly Hang On?
By Matt Flegenheimer | The New York Times | February 2018
“Last year, Democrats and Republicans alike agreed that if anyone could bring order to the Trump administration, it was the retired four-star Marine general. Were they wrong?”

4. “They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco
By Scott Feinberg | Hollywood Reporter | February 2018
“One year after the craziest, most improbable and downright embarrassing moment in Academy Awards history, 29 key players open up (many for the first time) about the onstage chaos, backstage bickering and who’s really to blame for Envelopegate and the two minutes and 23 seconds that ‘La La Land’ beat ‘Moonlight.'”
Also, from the Hollywood Reporter: They’re Back: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway to Present Oscars Best Picture

5. Personal Connections with the Civil War West
By Maria Angela Diaz | Muster :: Journal of the Civil War Era | February 2018
“While listening to the papers of my own panel, walking around the book exhibit, and attending several of the other panels, it got me thinking about being a Mexican-American woman, a historian of the Civil War era, and how I’ve related to, or at times not been able to relate to, the field that I’ve chosen to study.”

6. How showing vulnerability helps build a stronger team
By Daniel Coyle | Ideas :: TED.com | February 2018
“If you’d like trust to develop in your office, group or team — and who wouldn’t? — the key is sharing your weaknesses”

7. When Government Drew the Color Line
By Jason DeParle | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“Government agencies used public housing to clear mixed neighborhoods and create segregated ones. Governments built highways as buffers to keep the races apart. They used federal mortgage insurance to usher in an era of suburbanization on the condition that developers keep blacks out. From New Dealers to county sheriffs, government agencies at every level helped impose segregation — not de facto but de jure.”

8. The Instagram matchmaking queer women via old school personal ads
By Biju Belinky | Dazed Digital | February 2018
“Spoiler alert: it’s led to cross-country love affairs”

9. The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy
By Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella | ProPubilica | February 2018
“More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case.”

10. Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?
By Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“[T]he Hitler and Stalin numbers invite questions that Mao’s higher ones do not. Should we let Hitler, especially, off the hook for combatant deaths in World War II? It’s probably fair to say that without Hitler, there wouldn’t have been a European war.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Sinking Mexico City / The brief Trump presidency? / A lurking Hitler double / Michael Flynn’s symbolism / Big Mama Thornton’s soaring blues

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This week: Sinking Mexico City / The brief Trump presidency? / A lurking Hitler double / Michael Flynn’s symbolism / Big Mama Thornton’s soaring blues

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. Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis
By Michael Kimmelman | The New York Times | Feb. 17
“Unlike traffic jams or crime, climate change isn’t something most people easily feel or see. It is certainly not what residents in Mexico City talk about every day. But it is like an approaching storm, straining an already precarious social fabric and threatening to push a great city toward a breaking point.”

2. The Thinning of Big Mama
By Cynthia Shearer | Oxford American | Feb. 15
“She seems to have dwelt by necessity in the margins of prosperity and material success. Considering the successes of her many contemporaries and collaborators, as we listen to her music today … Big Mama’s story raises a persistent question: How could she flourish this way (however briefly) but ultimately fail to thrive?”

3. Michael Flynn, General Chaos
By Nicholas Schmidle | The New Yorker | Feb. 18
“What the removal of Flynn as the national-security adviser reveals about Donald Trump’s White House. ”

4. Austrian authorities seeking Hitler double seen around birthplace
By Michael Shields | Reuters | Feb. 11
“The man, estimated to be 25 to 30 years old, was last seen in a local bookstore browsing through magazines about World War Two, adding he had identified himself in a local bar as ‘Harald Hitler.’ ”

5. These books were beloved. But what happens after their owner dies?
By Laura Krantz | The Boston Globe | Feb. 17
“In this region of intellectuals, used bookstores find themselves inundated with calls as more baby boomers die and others downsize. At the same time, many libraries have faced budget cuts that make them unable to accept the extra stock, and the Internet has rendered many reference books useless.”

6. An essential reading list for understanding Donald Trump
By Pete Vernon | Columbia Journalism Review | Feb. 14
“[T]he profiles and investigative pieces on the list range from skeptical to outright hostile. But despite being burned time and again, Trump seems addicted to the limelight that comes with attention from the media. From Wayne Barrett’s early investigations into a little-known, Queens-born developer to Maggie Haberman’s look at Trump’s life in the White House, the president has welcomed journalists into his life in ways few politicians ever have.”

7. The Talk
Austin American-Statesman | February 2017
“For generations, black parents have had The Talk with their children about how to survive interactions with police: Don’t argue. Don’t get shot. Don’t give them a reason. Come home.”

8. Donald Trump is on his Way to the Second or Third Shortest Presidency in American History
By Ronald L. Feinman | History News Network | Feb. 15
“[Vice President Mike] Pence could … invoke the 25th Amendment, Section 4, with the approval of a majority of the cabinet, which would make Pence ‘Acting President.’ Some might call it a ‘palace coup’ but Pence could make a convincing case that it is too risky to leave Trump in power.”

9. The fire this time — the legacy of James Baldwin
By Lanre Bakare | The Guardian | Feb. 15
“His work fell foul of civil-rights-era binary racial and sexual politics but, as a new film shows, now Baldwin’s ideas are used to explain everything from Trump to Black Lives Matter”

10. The President Who Never Earned His Varsity Letter
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | November 2014
“When Nixon ran for president a second time, in 1968, he quietly pondered recruiting the Green Bay Packers’ Vince Lombardi for his ticket — until his campaign manager (and later attorney general) John Mitchell discovered that Lombardi was a Democrat.”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: No disorder

Stone makes a casual but chilling reference to enduring racial violence, a hint of what is to come in subsequent years.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone makes a casual but chilling reference to enduring racial violence, a hint of what is to come in subsequent years.

Aug. 14, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Mamma is out in the backyard directing the making of a barrel of wine from the native grapes which have ripened in the greatest profusion, hanging in great purple clusters over the blackjack oaks. They are brought into town by the wagonload. Both the boys and Sister are at the writing school where they stay all day, and I, being too lazy to sew … must scribble for amusement.

Mollie Moore sent us over a number of newspapers with full accounts of the imprisonment of our beloved President Jefferson Davis. He pines in his captivity like a caged eagle. Heard directly from My Brother through Hutch Bowman, who stayed with us several days on his way to Kaufman County. We may expect him about the last of the month. … There is a great rush for the river lands. All are anxious to secure a place above overflow. …

Jimmy and Willy Carson spent a pleasant week with us lately, and we gave them much good advice on the subject of flirting, which I hope they will lay to heart. Jimmy is an exceedingly handsome, attractive boy. Jimmy had made a pair of gloves of soft white buckskin and got me to embroider the gauntlets for him in gay colored silks. They were really pretty if not fashionable, a word the meaning of which we have almost forgotten. …

These grey August days we have little to do and little company. Mollie Moore and her two brothers will be over this evening to play cards. …

Our melon patch is exhausted but melons in town are selling for ten cents a dozen. None should go unfed at that rate. Mrs. Tooke kindly furnishes us with plenty of peaches.

Quite a number of Negroes are flocking into town, but there is no disorder. Occasionally we hear of a Negro shot down and lying unburied in the woods.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Civilization commences again

Stone’s brother heads back to Brokenburn to reclaim the ravaged plantation. Stone keeps a wary eye on the Union soldiers stationed nearby and on the former slaves for any change in their behavior.

KS4

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone’s brother heads back to Brokenburn to reclaim the ravaged plantation. Stone keeps a wary eye on the Union soldiers stationed nearby and on the former slaves for any change in their behavior.

June 25, 1865

Tyler, Texas

The house is very quiet now that the boys are all away again. The two weeks they were here, they kept us in a constant turmoil. Joe was here only a week. He succeeded in getting his mother off, and in her train Mrs. Savage’s and Mrs. Prentice’s families, just a week after he came. All have gone home. Willy and Jimmy Carson remained to help bring out the Negroes later. We saw them constantly and, as all four of the boys are wild about girls, they kept me busy introducing them around, looking over their notes, and making bouquets for them to present to anybody, just so it was a girl. Mamma did not get home from the prairie until Saturday night, and she was almost ill from distress and fatigue. But My Brother’s presence was her best restorative. He went some distance on the road to meet her.

My Brother left last Wednesday for Louisiana. He was going by way of Spring Bank and only gave himself time scant time to reach Brokenburn by the Fourth of July, when all abandoned places will be confiscated to the Government if the owners or agents are not on them. We hated so to see him go, but the business was imperative. He will probably not return before September. We gave him quite a list of articles to bring out, if he returns in the ambulance. Now that civilization commences again, we need so many things we have done without and hardly missed in the excitement of living.

My Brother is looking well, much more cheerful and happier than when he came. The last four years has changed him little in looks. He told me all about his love for Kate. They were engaged for several years and were devoted to each other yet let a trifle part them, a caprice they both bitterly repented but too late. But I suppose it was best for him, as he does not mourn for her dead in her young beauty, wife of another, as he would had she been his bride. But oh, my dear little friend, Kate, the suffering was hers. She suffered, suffered, and I know was glad to answer the call for rest. He says he cannot understand the fascination Eugenia exerted over him when in her presence, that he never loved her, and that he rejoiced when he heard of her marriage. But when with her, he could not resist her wiles. …

Jimmy and Johnny started Thursday for Lamar County on a grand beef-driving and sugar expedition. They will be absent some time. Willy and Jimmy Carson are living now out on the place and are only in occasionally.

The Yankee company are in town but keep so quiet we forget their presence. We have not seen them though they came a week ago. There was no demonstration of any kind, and the Negroes for the present are going on just as usual. No proclamation issued. Would not know there was an enemy in the Department. We all went to church today expecting to be outraged by a sight of the whole Yankee detachment but not a blue coat was in sight. There are only twenty men here, but the regiment is looked for this afternoon. Then I suppose we shall feel the heavy hand. Capt. St. Clair has completed his disgrace by being the only man in town who will entertain a Yankee and the first to take office under the new rulers. The general feeling of contempt for him is too deep for words.

We were overwhelmingly busy for some time making clothes for the boys. Now we have little to do, and I am at my old trade, plaiting straw for Mamma to make into hats. … Our friends among the townspeople are very sociable. Nearly all our refugee friends have gone.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Racism and IQ / Strokes and apnea / Facebook’s stock listing / Celebrating Dundee / Wisdom from Christopher Plummer

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. Latino congressional candidate fundraising figures
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Feb. 2
“We compiled a list of fundraising for Latino congressional candidates using the Federal Election Commission’s 2012 House and Senate Campaign Finance database.”

2. Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism
By Rebecca Searles | The Huffington Post | Feb. 2
“Are racists dumb? Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent than liberals? A provocative new study from Brock University in Ontario suggests the answer to both questions may be a qualified yes.”

3. For Facebook, exchange choice is a matter of image
By Matthew Craft | Associated Press | Feb. 2
“When Facebook goes public in a few months, will its stock appear on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq? Depends what its billionaire founder prefers for a backdrop – a trading floor on Wall Street or towering video screens in Times Square.”

4. Dundee was an ambassador for boxing
By Tim Dahlberg | Associated Press | Feb. 2
“He saved a young Cassius Clay when he was in trouble in England, convinced Sugar Ray Leonard that he could somehow overcome the fearsome Tommy Hearns. Angelo Dundee worked thousands of corners, and had just as many stories about fighters and the games they played in the ring.”

5. Sleep apnea may make people more prone to silent strokes
By Jeannine Stein | Booster Shots :: The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 1
“Silent strokes show no obvious symptoms, despite causing damage to the brain. White matter lesions, small patches of dead cells, can affect cognitive function.”

6. Federal Government Opens More Ocean to Wind Projects
By Diane Cardwell | Green :: The New York Times | Feb. 2
“Enthusiasm for offshore wind projects may have cooled among developers in the United States these days, but the Obama administration is still trying to make a ribbon of wind farms off the Atlantic Coast a reality.”

7. What’s a man?
The Economist | Feb. 4
“Studies of brain genetics are starting to reveal what makes humans human”

8. English ‘Til I Die
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“Al Jazeera investigates the rise of the English Defence League.”

9. This much I know: Christopher Plummer
By Paul Harris | The Observer | May 2011
“The actor, 81, on having to leave Canada, picking his nose, and thinking he’d been sired by a dog”

10. Frequent Fliers
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | October 2011
“I know fruit doesn’t actually generate fruit flies, but how do they find out about a piece of fruit on the counter so quickly?”