Members of the Republican Guards stand in line at a barricade blocking protesters supporting deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (pictured in poster) near a Republican Guards headquarters in Cairo, July 9, 2013. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)
— Darren Ankrom focuses on climate change.
“US Cities Sinking Under Climate Change, Study Suggests.” Huffington Post Canada, July 30, 2013.
A new study claims that 1,700 US cities and towns, including Miami and New York City, could fall below sea level by 2100 if the climate continues to change at its current pace. At least eighty areas could be underwater within the next decade barring a “sharp and immediate curb in greenhouse gas emissions.” These are jarring numbers highlighting the need for action much stronger and more immediate than anything President Obama has proposed thus far. Without it, we’re likely ensuring significant changes to the American coastline.
— Humna Bhojani focuses on the War on Terror and the Middle East.
“Wildcatting: A Stripper’s Guide to the Modern American Boomtown,” by Susan Elizabeth Shepard. Buzzfeed, July 25, 2013.
American mining and drilling towns through the eyes of strippers: this is a fascinating piece showing how the struggles of female exotic dancers mirror those of the towns to which they cater. This piece has everything: the pursuit of the American dream in dreary motel rooms, shitty wages paid in Walmart gift cards, the slow environmental rape of beautiful towns and the American miner finding respite in sex.
— Rick Carp focuses on media, psychology and environmentalism.
“Missing the Forest and the Trees,” by Steven Dewitt. Earth Island Journal, July 26, 2013.
This photojournalism project features pictures of forests filled with North American lodgepole pines, which are being ravaged by mountain pine beetles. The beetle population used to be kept in check because many of them would die during late fall/early spring freezes, but a warming climate has steadily curbed that process. And now the beetle population has reached “epic proportions” with very destructive consequences.
— Keenan Duffey focuses on Middle East national politics.
“Egypt’s civilians should control military,” by Steven Cook. Politico, July 4, 2013.
The recent coup in Egypt has created strange bedfellows among Middle Eastern activists and analysts. The secular protestors in Egypt have sided with an anti-democratic coup, while the usually conservative thinking of the Council on Foreign Relations now overlaps with the demands of the Muslim Brotherhood. Steven Cook, who is no friend of the Muslim Brotherhood, does a good job explaining the ways civilians must increase their power over the military in Egypt, or Egypt can never hope to sustain democratic governance.
— Prashanth Kamalakanthan focuses on racism, imperialism, and student/worker activism.
“Obama’s Master Class is Demagogy 101,” by Michael Hudson. Naked Capitalism, July 28, 2013.
Michael Hudson, an economics professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, harshly critiques Obama’s recent rhetoric on the struggling middle class. “The idea,” he notes, “is that if a President can spell out how unfair the economy is, voters will imagine that he will take the next step and do something about it.” Shockingly, he shows how some 80 percent of workers’ incomes (40 percent housing, 10 percent bank debt, 15 percent FICA withholding, 15 percent for income/sales tax) are distributed to the FIRE sector before they can even begin to spend their money. Hudson moreover points out a number of ways in which Obama has helped intensify household indebtedness—what he sees as the biggest drag on the economy—and warns that talk of infrastructure spending signals a Trojan Horse of public-private partnerships where, again, “taxpayers will foot the bill to pay Wall Street.”
— Eunji Kim focuses on gender, race, media and East Asian politics.
“Statue Brings Friction Over WWII Comfort Women To California,” by Aaron Schrank. KUHF Houston Public Radio, July 29, 2013.
As a Korean and as a feminist, this part of my country’s history is hurtful. It’s painful to know that this happened to so many Asian women (the number of enslaved women falls somewhere between 80,000 and 200,000, according to Amnesty International), but it’s even more painful to know this still haunts the surviving victims. While it’s important that Japanese and Korean governments take this issue to heart, I find it equally important that this isn’t simply dismissed as the past. After all, such acts of violence against women still continue in various parts of the world, including communities close to us.
— Samantha Lachman focuses on reproductive justice, health care access and intersectionality.
“America Is a Place Where Doctors Need Bullet Proof Vests to Protect Themselves from Christian Fundamentalists,” by Valerie Tarico. Alternet, July 25, 2013.
In the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Julie Burkhart founded the “Trust Women” PAC and Foundation and has just opened a new clinic on the site of Tiller’s old one. I was struck by one line of Burkhart’s: “What good are politics if there are no providers and clinics?” Her courage in the face of constant harassment and stalking is admirable, as is the essential service that’s she’s providing to women not just in the community, but in the region. “It’s unfair to abandon women in our part of the country simply because the climate is so hostile,” she remarks. The interview provides great insight into both the perspective of the women who travel there, and into the challenges that those opening (or trying to keep open) clinics face given increasingly insurmountable state-imposed restrictions.
— Rebecca Nathanson focuses on social movements, student organizing and labor.
“For Fast-Food Strikers in New York, It’s About ‘Moral Values,’” by Sarah Jaffe. In These Times, July 30, 2013.
This week, in yet another example of workers organizing outside of traditional unions, fast-food workers around the country went on strike in a coordinated effort to bring attention to wage-theft and poor working conditions. In this article, Sarah Jaffe not only captures the optimistic feeling of these actions but draws a very important parallel between the fast-food strikers and the “Moral Monday” protesters in North Carolina: both groups are reclaiming the language of morality from the conservative right.
— Jake Scobey-Thal focuses on human rights and conflict in Asia and Africa
“When Liberian Soldiers Grow Up,” by Clair MacDougall. Newsweek/Daily Beast, July 31, 2013.
Thousands of girls who fought in Liberia’s civil wars are coming of age. Liberia’s wars were notoriously brutal—government and rebel militias have been implicated in mass atrocities including systematic torture and rape. McDougall tells the story of one former child soldier and challenges she faces in moving beyond the war.
— Aviva Stahl focuses on Islamophobia in the US and the UK and its links to racism, homophobia/transphobia and the prison industrial complex.
“Dream 9 Mom: ‘My Son Is a Warrior,’” by Aura Bogado. Colorlines, July 26, 2013.
Last Monday, nine activists with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance—“Dreamers” who were raised in the United States but do not have legal status—attempted to return to the country they have long called home. In this article, Aura Bogado speaks to family members and friends of Marco Saavedra, one of the participants who risked being permanently separated from his family by crossing into Mexico for this action. The Dream 9 are facing harsh conditions at Eloy, the private, for-profit detention center where they are being held. As of Tuesday, thirty-three members of Congress had signed a letter to Obama asking for their release.
— John Thomason focuses on pieces that situate contemporary American political debates in historical and/or intellectual contexts.
“The MOOC Racket,” by Jonathan Rees. Slate, July 25, 2013.
Critiques of MOOCs (massive online open courses) by university faculty are nothing new, but few cover the bases as well as this one. And it gets at the conceptual truth that MOOCs are the quintessential corporate solution: the MOOC regime privileges management and administration over labor, markets a cheap luxury good (online lectures) as a necessity, enriches the few (the ‘superstar’ instructors and MOOC distributors) and decimates the bargaining power of labor.