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Photo: Natasha Moustache/Getty Images

While barricading the office of Rep. Ayanna Pressley as pro-Trump rioters descended on the U.S. Capitol last week, the congresswoman’s staffers made an alarming discovery. The office’s special panic buttons, installed for use in moments of immediate crisis, had been removed.

“Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit,” said Pressley’s chief of staff, Sarah Groh, in an interview with the Boston Globe.

As one of the four Brown and Black, female, progressive Democratic representatives comprising “The Squad” in Congress, Pressley has been subject to numerous threats of violence by Trump supporters throughout her two years in office. Because of these recurring threats to Pressley’s life and safety, Groh told the Globe that the congresswoman and her staff were accustomed to routine “safety drills and threat scenarios.” …

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Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

When the Reverend Raphael Warnock became Georgia’s first Black U.S. Senator, his history-making win in the state’s runoff election was delivered, in part, by an unexpected crew of heroes: The WNBA.

The story begins last summer, when Warnock was a long-shot Democratic hopeful polling at a mere nine percent against incumbent Republican senator Kelly Loeffler. Then Loeffler made a grave misstep. …

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Photo: Leonardo Laschera / Getty Images

I’ve recently developed a new laugh and it’s hideous. So hideous, in fact, that if a normal laugh knew I’d just evoked its good name to describe the emission, it’d spite-block me on social media and start an internet rumor about my mother. To avoid any such drama, I will rebrand it The Cackle.

I should note that I still have my non-hideous regular laugh, which comes out in the rare event that I experience pure, unfettered joy. Lately, though, most laugh-like vocalizations emerge in the form of The Cackle, and exclusively at moments where most people would consider laughter a wildly inappropriate response. Like, for instance, when a member of Team Forge confessed in our weekly team meeting that, in a post-insurgency anxiety spiral, they’d blocked time in their day-planner for “Nazis?” on inauguration week. …

We need to talk about the 25-year-old victim of a hate crime

Amid Wednesday’s Trump-incited mob breach of the U.S. Capitol, a 25-year-old Black woman named Chizam Berlinda Nibo was attacked by a horde of pro-Trump rioters in downtown L.A.

Photojournalist Raquel Natalicchio first shared the images on Instagram and estimated “at least” 20 rioters involved in the attack. The photos have since circulated widely on social media, with many expressing incredulity that the vicious attack has not garnered more mainstream attention — and that the roughly 20 police who were reportedly present for the hate crime did nothing to intervene.

“It was like — we got our hands on a Black person, we’re going to make an example of her,” Nibo told The Root, recalling how the mob knocked her over, pulled out her hair extensions, and pepper-sprayed her directly in the eyes while she struggled to fight back. She was eventually rescued by Natalicchio and two other bystanders. …

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Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Consider for a moment: Cher.

Maybe her 1998 dance-pop comeback, “Believe” was one of your pre-pandemic karaoke standbys, as it was mine. Perhaps you were among the legions of stuck-at-home movie watchers who, during the various lockdowns of 2020, either discovered or rediscovered Moonstruckthe “morbid spaghetti rom-com,” co-starring Nicholas Cage, that landed our heroine a Best Actress Oscar for her starring role in 1987. No matter what your relationship is with Cher, I’m willing to bet that you picture an icon.

An icon ^^

Cher has been an icon for longer than I’ve been alive. But before she was an icon, she was a flop. Understanding the artist’s “flop era”— as the writer Harron Walker cannily dubs it, in a new column for Wcan be precisely the ticket for owning a floppy time of your own. …

A clean and spacious living room with twilight view.
A clean and spacious living room with twilight view.
Photo: chandlerphoto / Getty

Actual science bears this out: Your space affects your mood. A decluttered living environment equals a happier you.

One strategy for revamping your home (and thus, your emotional equilibrium) comes from Anjie Cho, a New York City-based architect and feng shui practitioner: reassess your environment, beginning with the objects inside of it.

In an interview with Rebecca Tucker for Forge, Cho explains that “the items we surround ourselves with carry weight”—as in, emotional weight. Where such objects are concerned, Tucker writes that it might be in your best interest to do an intentional purge. …

There’s a scientific rationale for why some people find swimming in the freezing cold to be so invigorating

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Photo: Sergey Ryumin/Getty Images

In eighth grade, I accidentally bumped against a low-voltage cattle fence while pounding a posthole into the mud with an iron rod. It wasn’t until I began swimming in the bracingly cool waters of the Atlantic this autumn that I felt a similar electric jolt. My initial plunge sent a scream through my torso and limbs, down through the tips of my fingers and toes. It was a stinging, full-bodied smack—but then a pleasant numbness. I swam along the shore for a full 20 minutes. …

Blurry image of a woman walking past clocks.
Blurry image of a woman walking past clocks.
Photo: JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

The glamorous achievement of a big and major goal is won in small and unglamorous increments. One way to make sure those baby steps not only happen but feel meaningful along the way is to plan for them. As Mike Sturm writes in Forge, if you “create a realistic time block for the task” and build your day around it, you’ll end your day with “at least one win.”

The most important part of this process comes right at the top: Estimate how long it will take you to get done. Realistically.

“Oftentimes, we fail to finish things simply because we don’t understand how much time they’ll take,” he writes. “We’ll either start something, discover we’ve taken on more than we have time for, and get fed up, or we believe something will take us so long that we don’t even try.” Giving yourself enough time, from the get-go, will give you a better shot at goal-achieving triumph. …

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Photo: Eugene Mymrin/Getty Images

I learned at my high school job handing out towels at the YMCA—where the “New Year, new me” crowds noticeably thin out around the third week of January — that resolution-keeping is a fickle enterprise. For most of us, the flipping of a calendar does not create a new person. At best, we get a slightly wiser version of the same one.

However! One unsung benefit of a full year’s added wisdom is learning how to set better goals and make better promises to yourself than you did the last time around. You can do that by auditing your priorities.

That’s a smart thing to do any time of year, not just January 1, writes time-management expert and productivity whiz Laura Vanderkam: “[Take] a moment to look at the underlying desires behind your resolutions… That’s the key insight for making new resolutions — and making them stick.” …

2021 New Year’s Resolutions typed by a typewriter.
2021 New Year’s Resolutions typed by a typewriter.
Photo: Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images

Around this time last year, the writer Siobhan Adcock made a bold assertion: New Year’s resolutions are a capitalist trap.

“Hasn’t it ever struck you as fishy that the most popular resolutions people make are ones that result in becoming a better, fitter, more productive worker bee?” she asked. And, well… yes. Yes, it has.

If you didn’t find that particular goal-setting angle a bit suspicious at the beginning of 2020, I’m betting that you sure as hell do now.

The good news is that you can make resolutions that actually do make things better for yourself and the people around you—and not just your boss. Adcock offers a few: “Read more. Think more. Enjoy your life more.


Kelli María Korducki

Senior Editor covering books (and more) for Forge.

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