Weekend Things, Y17-W05

Tiny dancer

Happy Things

Rafael Nadal looks like a capybara. Here are some capybaras who look like Rafa. I laughed until I cried looking at these.

The Boy Scouts of America said on Monday the group would begin accepting transgender boys, bucking its more than a century-old practice of using the gender stated on a birth certificate to determine eligibility.

The Boy Scouts of America have traditionally been conservative, so this news is both very welcome and surprising.

Beyoncé’s having twins; her announcement on Instagram was almost instantly the most-liked photograph ever. (This is already tweet of the year and it’s only February).

The first game of the AFLW was a sellout — more than 24,000 people (including just about everyone I know) went to Princes Park to see Carlton beat Collingwood by 35 points. I am so delighted by this. Collingwood President Eddie McGuire, who is a terrible human being, wasn’t there.

I think I want this t-shirt


The National Security Council (NSC) is “the principal forum used by the President of the United States for consideration of national security and foreign policy matters” — among other things, the “high value detainee interrogation group” reports to the NSC, and “a secret National Security Council panel” oversees the Disposition Matrix, a.k.a Kill List. Donald Trump has appointed his chief advisor, the now infamous Steve Bannon, to this forum and has removed people who seem like they kind of should be there, given the scope of the thing, like the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence.

“I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust including obviously, all of the Jewish people affected and the miserable genocide that occurred — it’s something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad.”

Reince Priebus, who was asked about why the White House’s statement on Holocaust Rememberance Day failed to mention Jews specifically. This is just… beyond.

Sally Yates, who was the Acting Attorney General, was fired for refusing to defend the Muslim immigration ban. The White House statement announcing her dismissal said that Yates had “betrayed” the Justice Department and described her as “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration”. What extraordinary language for an official release.

It seemed briefly as if Trump’s final selection for the Supreme Court vacancy was going to be chosen from the top two candidates, live on telly, but in the end I don’t think they rolled out the other guy for reality TV-style humilation. SAD.

Members of the Australian government were notably and repulsively silent on Trump’s Muslim ban, with Scott Morison going so far as to brag that Australia is really showing the way on “deterrence” (ugh). I therefore experienced a small thrill of schadenfreude when Trump reportedly described his call with Turnbull this week as “the worst yet”, and later tweeted about the “dumb deal” in which the Obama adminstration had agreed to resettle 125o refugees from Australia’s offshore camps. Hilariously, during attempts to patch up the “special relationship”, Sean Spicer referred twice to Turnbull as “Trumble”.

Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. It turned out that that was fake news. Fake news.

From Trump’s speech to mark the beginning of Black History Month. Honestly. He’s barely functional.

And finally, Kellyanne Conway invented the ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ to justify the US barring Iraqi nationals from entering the US. Made it up. (She later apologised for her “error”.)

More Things to Read and Listen To

For many people in Charleston, being asked to decide whether Roof should be executed amounted to what older Southern blacks refer to as being “put in a trickbag”: a circumstance in which there are no good options and one must reconcile with the bad ones.

Jelani Cobb on the trial of Dylann Roof and the meaning of the death penalty in this case. Cobb is a lovely writer and the article is very moving — read right to the end.

Trial Balloon for a Coup was popular in my networks this week:

That is to say, the administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored.

While I was reading this article that I realised I needed to Step Away from the Twitter for a bit and take some deep breaths for the sake of my emotional health.

Huffman has calculated that, in the event of a disaster, he would seek out some form of community: “Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”

Read this article about Silicon Valley doomsday preppers if you want to put yourself into a murderous rage.

The New York Times has just launched a new podcast, The Daily, a ~20 minute news roundup. It’s good so far. You should also listen to this week’s Radiolab, about raccoons in Guadeloupe.

Epidemiologists have figured out the cause of an annual outbreak of mysterious illness that was leading to the deaths of dozens of Indian children every year: lychees.

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