Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Raul Castro’s legacy / Tracking bad Texas weather / Wall Street in 2017 and Trump in 2018 / Maria and Puerto Rico / Stockbrokers and opiods

This week: Raul Castro’s legacy / Tracking bad Texas weather / Wall Street in 2017 and Trump in 2018 / Maria and Puerto Rico / Stockbrokers and opiods

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. What will be Raúl Castro’s legacy?
By Richard E. Feinberg | Brookings | December 2017
“Raúl initiated some policy innovations, deepened and consolidated others, and merely watched while forces beyond his control drove other changes. Regardless, these changes have paved the way for the successor generation of leaders — if they dare — to push Cuba forward into the 21st century.”

2. Web tools and apps to track weather emergencies in Texas
John Tedesco | August 2017
“Texas weather can be wild and dangerous … so here are some techniques that have helped me track the impact of storms, floods and other natural disasters in San Antonio and other parts of the state:”

3. The Wall Street epidemic being kept behind closed doors
By Gregory Bresiger | The New York Post | December 2017
“While the opioid epidemic ravages rural America, Wall Street is not immune to its scourge. In fact, given its unique pressures, the securities industry leaves its professionals particularly vulnerable to drug problems.”

4. Trump in 2018
Brookings | December 2017
“Brookings experts predict what President Trump’s second year in office will entail with regards to a wide range of policy areas.”
Also, from the Associated Press: Trump barrels into 2018 with fresh foreign fights on Twitter

5. Scrapyard or museum? After 10 years, still no firm plans for former carrier USS John F. Kennedy
By Joe Daraskevich | Florida Times-Union :: Stars & Stripes | December 2017
“The Navy recently removed the Kennedy from the list of ships earmarked for donation despite efforts in New England to display the vessel permanently. But the same group that tried to turn the Saratoga into a museum is still making a push to change the Navy’s mind, and another group is ready to jump in if they don’t’ succeed.”

6. The year of Trump has laid bare the US constitution’s serious flaws
By Jonathan Freedland | The Guardian | December 2017
“I once wrote a hymn of praise to the achievements of the founding fathers. There’s still much to celebrate — but their inspirational vision needs an urgent update.”

7. Everything Went Right for Markets in 2017 — Can That Continue?
By Corrie Driebusch | The Wall Street Journal | December 2017
“The market notched the most closing highs for the index in a single calendar year. Volatility swooned to historic lows and many global stock markets finished the year at or near records or multiyear highs.”

8. Cory Booker Loves Donald Trump
By Michael Kruse | Politico Magazine | November 2017
“The junior senator from New Jersey has a religious disdain for hateful rhetoric, even against his political enemies. Is he too nice to take on the president?”

9. Maria’s Bodies
By Mattathias Schwartz and Matt Black | New York Magazine | December 2017
“The hurricane in Puerto Rico has become a man-made disaster, with a death toll threatening to eclipse Katrina’s.”

10. The 20 Best Podcasts of 2017
By Emma Dibdin | Esquire | December 2017
“Whether you want to make sense of Trump’s America or pretend it’s not happening entirely, online broadcasting’s got your back.”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Trouble and distress

A week of brutal Texas winter weather brings Stone and her family depression, boredom, and frustration as she dreads what the future may hold.

KS51

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)

A week of brutal Texas winter weather brings Stone and her family depression, boredom, and frustration as she dreads what the future may hold.

Jan. 7, 1864

Tyler, Texas

All the unimportant days so far fall on Friday, Christmas, New Year’s, and my twenty-third birthday, the day of ill omen, all on luckless Friday. Let us see what reputation we can give it on the last of the year, when we can scan the record.

In the last twelve months trouble and distress have been our portion. “We have swallowed our tears like water” and have sunk beneath the chastisement of Our Lord. “His hands hath been heavy upon us yet … He hath not utterly forsaken us,” and we can thank Him for many blessings left.

A monotonous week to all closely housed by the extreme cold. Mamma and Mrs. Carson both depressed. Jimmy more than usually solemn. Eddie silent and subdued. The little girls tired of their usual pursuits, even cats and dolls have lost their charm. Even Johnny, the merriest and most mirth-loving of boys, has quieted down and is busy with his books and studies. He misses his great chum, Jimmy Carson, who is still away much to his mother’s annoyance.

No news from My Brother for so many months. When will he come? We are weary watching for the sight of his face and the sound of his voice. Gen. Morgan’s daring escape is one piece of good news.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Extreme weather coming … American exceptionalism … Invisible commandos … The Mediterranean diet … The new Mass.

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. Science panel: Get ready for extreme weather
By Seth Borenstein | Associated Press | Nov. 19
“Think of the Texas drought, floods in Thailand and Russia’s devastating heat waves as coming attractions in a warming world. That’s the warning from top international climate scientists and disaster experts after meeting in Africa.”

2. NASA Mars mission to test planet for ability to sustain life
By Marc Kaufman | The Washington Post | Nov. 18
“If the unmanned Mars Science Laboratory lifts off and travels a 354 million-mile path to Mars, it will lower to the surface a sedan-size rover called Curiosity, which has the potential to change our understanding of the cosmos.”

3. Decline of American Exceptionalism
By Charles M. Blow | The New York Times | Nov. 18
“Is America exceptional among nations? Are we, as a country and a people and a culture, set apart and better than others? Are we, indeed, the “shining city upon a hill” that Ronald Reagan described? Are we “chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world” as George W. Bush said?”

4. Special Ops Wants Commandos to Have Invisible Faces
By Katie Drummond | Danger Room :: Wired | Nov. 18
“In 2008, the Army Military Research Office boasted that they were a mere two or three years away from developing metamaterials that could deflect light to conceal a given object. Since then, experts at various institutions have made impressive progress.”

5. A different view of Washington
The Washington Post | Nov. 17
“D.C. would have a very different look if these alternative designs and proposed buildings had came to fruition.”

6. Eat like a Mediterranean — but how?
By Karen Ravn | The Los Angeles Times | Nov. 20
“Here’s what the research says — and doesn’t say — about the Mediterranean diet.”

7. U.S. births dip for the third straight year
Associated Press | Nov. 19
“A federal report released Thursday showed declines in the birth rate for all races and most age groups. Teens and women in their early 20s had the most dramatic dip, to the lowest rates since record-keeping began in the 1940s. Also, the rate of cesarean sections stopped going up for the first time since 1996.”

8. Catholics priests prepare to usher in Mass changes
By Kate Shellnutt | Houston Chronicle | Nov. 19
“At the start of Advent on Nov. 27, Catholics will adopt changes that make the words spoken during Mass in English closer to the church’s official Latin, adding dozens of small substitutions to the liturgy many Catholics pray instinctively. It’s the biggest shift in the Mass since Vatican II.”

9. Seven Tips for Better Group Portraits
By Roy Furchgott | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Nov. 17
“Andrew Boyd, a photojournalist and educator, has written extensively about group shots on his blog, The Discerning Photographer. Here’s his recipe for getting it right.”

10. Does America need Wall Street?
By Jeff Madrick | The Washington Post | Nov. 18
“Wall Street jet-fuels capitalism and innovation, we are told, and that’s what makes America prosperous; Wall Street is full of job-creators. But Alfred Chandler, the respected business historian, argued persuasively that most investment during the nation’s industrialization came from corporate profits, not money raised by Wall Street bankers.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. ME AND BOBBY McGEE Janis Joplin
2. 4 + 20 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
3. ROSIE (Live) Jackson Browne
4. SOMEBODY SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT Elton John
5. I’M ON FIRE Bruce Springsteen
6. ANGEL Rod Stewart
7. WILD HORSES The Sundays
8. RADIATION RULING THE NATION Massive Attack & Mad Professor
9. FEEL SO GOOD Lovespirals
10. FORBIDDEN LOVE Madonna

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