What a year it’s been. I haven’t kept up my blog as well as I meant to; grad school is hard, etc etc etc.
The news I’m linking to on this post are highlights from the past several months that I think are worth checking out and spending some time with. First, though, I just wanted to put out into the world that I am entering 2018 with hope. There are lots of terrible things happening on our national stage that will take a long time to recover from, and some things that we might never get back [like some national monuments, for example]. But there are good things that are happening, too. Just a few examples: the national conversation on sexual assault and harassment, the record number of women running for office (including my aunt!), the teen pregnancy rate dropping to a record low, having decreased 67% since I was born in 1991. In my personal life, I can cite countless examples of people who are working to make their communities better places to live, extending generosity and kindness to their neighbors. And there are reports of what I can only call delight and joy: 115 new species identified and named this year from the Greater Mekong region (the world is always more infinite and varied than we dream); the first gene therapy for inherited blindness was approved by the FDA; some crazy physics done on data gathered from neutron stars.
I was reminded this Advent that we live in expectation and hope — perhaps wandering through the dark, but never alone.
The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation
of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t
sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,
black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
loss is the great lesson.
But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
and that happiness,
when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,
touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—
and what are you going to do—
what can you do
deep, blue night?
End of year highlights (a few have been mentioned on this blog previously):
- Donald Trump’s Worst Deal (The New Yorker)
- 2017 Was The Year That The Internet Destroyed Our Shared Reality (Buzzfeed)
- The Impeachable Offense (Lawfare)
- The Banality of Evil: Hannah Arendt (Brain Pickings)
- Putin, Pawns and Propaganda (with Gary Kasparov) (podcast: Stay Tuned)
- Making Sense of Mueller’s Charges (podcast: Stay Tuned)
- How The Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks, and Talks of Political Dirt (NYT)
- America and the Great Abdication (The Atlantic)
- U.S. Lawmakers Are Distributing Money From The Poor To The Rich (Washington Post)
- Doubting the Intelligence, Trump Pursues Putin and Leaves a Russian Threat Unchecked (Washington Post)
- World Inequality Report
- How to be a reporter podcast (Washington Post)
- Last Minute Rush to Prepay Taxes Gives Way To Confusion and Anger (NYT)
- How Citizens United Changed Politics and Shaped the Tax Bill (Brennan Center)
- U.N. Investigator On Extreme Poverty Issues a Grim Report — On the U.S. (NPR)
- Ivanka Trump’s Old Jewelry Business is Now Caught Up in an Alleged Fraud Scheme (GQ)
- On Bullshit and the Oath of Office: the “LOL nothing matters” presidency (Lawfare)
- A President’s Words Matter: Deception of the Public and the Impeachable Offense (Lawfare)
- Calling your reps and planting onions: a plan for faithful resistance (Rachel Held Evans)