I’ve been working on the top 100 prospects package, which begins a three-week rollout on January 18th, since New Year’s, so I didn’t write anything for Insider this week. My boardgame reviews continue, with a review of the Celtic-themed game Inis for Paste and a review of the boardgame and new iOS app for Colt Express here on the dish. I did hold my regular Klawchat on Thursday.
And now, the links…
- Several former Justice Department lawyers penned an op ed claiming that Jeff Sessions is lying about his involvement in civil rights cases. They say, “Sessions knows that his real record on race and civil rights is harmful to his chances for confirmation. So he has made up a fake one.” In a rational world, that would end his nomination for Attorney General.
- Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic meltdown may lead to a recall of president/dictator Nicolas Maduro, but he appointed a successor this week in new Vice President Tarek el Aissami, who is (or was) under investigating by U.S. authorities for drug trafficking.
- Author Ryan Holiday wrote an insightful, somewhat angry piece on the ‘online diversity police’, folks who immediately decry the lack of diversity on any list or grouping (often inaccurately, as it turns out).
- Lindy West wrote one of the week’s best, most important essays, on why she left Twitter after six years on the service, citing the endless abuse and the rise of neo-Naziism.
- The Daily Beast exposed the long con of 55-year-old “millennial” comedian Dan Nainan, who tries to pass himself off as 35 and has fooled several media outlets as such.
- Esquire has a longread on former Deadspin and Gawker EIC A.J. Daulerio, whose career was derailed by the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit.
- Grierson & Leitch each posted their top ten films of 2016, along with a 100-minute podcast where they reveal their lists to each other and discuss them. As usual, Leitch’s list comprises fairly well-known films, while Grierson’s has several films I’ve heard of and three that may not actually exist.
- The eight-year-old transgender boy kicked out of a New Jersey Cub Scouts group after other parents complained talked to the Jersey Journal, as did his mother, about what happened, in a piece that also explores the psychiatric community’s evolving understanding of “gender dysphoria.”
- Jill Saward’s death didn’t garner much coverage here either, but she was an important figure in the movement for sexual assault victims’ rights, as the first British rape victim to waive her right to anonymity and publicly discuss her case.
- Will Trump’s election mark the return of civil disobedience? So far it has, but can the various movements opposed to the Republicans’ reactionary agenda keep it up for four or more years?
- Let’s talk about the Russian hacking operation, which a US intelligence report says Putin ‘ordered’ to get Trump elected. David Remnick weighed in as well.
- The Seattle Times called out Trump’s “reckless linkage” of vaccines to autism, desperate overwhelming evidence that there is no link.
- Lauren Duca of Teen Vogue has quickly become one of the most important voices in political journalism, thanks to pieces like this one about the family selling access to the President-Elect at a party at Trumo’s Mar-a-Lago resort that made over $420K.
- Republican Christine Todd Whitman headed up the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush, but she said she fears for the planet under a Trump regime for many reasons, including his denial of climate change.
- The Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel outlines the Republican Party’s plan for a “sweeping conservative agenda” now that they control the White House and both houses of Congress. I’d dispute the word “conservative” here, though; this is very much an agenda written by and for white Americans, especially Christians, but doesn’t bear much resemblance to the traditional economic and libertarian-minded conservatism of Reagan or Buckley.
- The political crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo hasn’t gotten much attention here amidst our own, but President Kabila hasn’t signed the agreement to end his rule, which has been marked primarily by his looting of the country’s coffers of millions of dollars.
- Finally, the Huffington Post made news of nothing with a piece on Mark Zuckerberg apparently becoming an ex-atheist. I’m linking this for one major reason – my disdain for the need to classify people by their religious beliefs, something I first encountered on Wikipedia maybe a decade ago, where articles on people can be categorized by the subject’s religion. You can change your religious beliefs on a dime; you can lie about them (in many countries, you may have to); you can fail to fit in any neat bucket of beliefs. As a general rule, I don’t think your religion is any of my business unless you wish to make it so, so I particularly dislike the idea that you need to know what someone believes or, as in this case, that a possible change in the beliefs of a famous person are somehow newsworthy. I’ll be happier when Zuckerberg’s beliefs include extirpating fake news sites from Facebook.