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Stack of Seven Links: Take Action & Meet Our New Pup!

1) To become a citizen you have to wait 3-5 years living on a “green card” as a permanent resident. My husband is from Ukraine and before he became a citizen when we’d travel overseas he’d have to present his green card to come home to the U.S. People rarely worry about entering with a green card – you’re a permanent resident after all. That’s why I watched with horror this weekend as people who have gone through the lengthy immigration process, been approved, and have set up lives in the U.S. with jobs and families and homes and possessions were told they couldn’t come home because of a xenophobic executive order. We should all be outraged. If you want to let your legislators know that they need to take action now, you can send them this form letter (enter your contact info, it pre-populates the letter, and you press send). Call them tomorrow as well.

2) There’s a new family member in our house. Some say he looks like a bear cub, but he’s just a bouvier puppy that is the sweetest thing ever. Meet Balthasar. He’s on Instagram, @bouvierbalth, if you want to see lots of photos and videos of this fluffy boy growing up way too fast.


3) Speaking of puppies, one of my go-to dog sources is Whole Dog Journal. My boss recommended it to me and I love being a subscriber (which gives me access to the full archives on the web). We’re using WDJ-recommended dog food, probiotic, training tips, socialization plans, chews and rawhide. It’s been invaluable.

4) In yet another Frederick-is-Stars-Hollow turn of events, the local newspaper ran an article about my new book club at the Curious Iguana. Check it out!

5) Speaking of book clubs, Kerry recently took her Social Justice Book Club onto Slack and I’m loving the idea. If you’re not familiar with Slack, Kerry’s co-host Janani has a nice explainer here. So far it’s been nice to have one place to look for SJBC discussions (instead of searching the hashtag on Twitter, checking Kerry’s blog, seeing something on Litsy, etc.). Any other online book clubs using Slack?

6) The women’s march was last weekend and I love this deep dive by Washington Post about why a woman who is white, rural, and a lifelong republican attended the march in DC. Particularly interesting was this idea that Trump being elected forced her to ask herself some difficult questions. “One thing the election did for me is to empower me.” I wonder how many women have a similar story.

7) The health care association that I work for is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2017. As part of the celebration, I was tasked with designing and developing an entire new historical celebration site. I know it sounds odd to say that the website I created looks beautiful, but hear me out. We used Webflow to create the site, and its drag-and-drop interface makes creating stunning websites so much easier (and more pleasant!) than anything I’ve used in the past.


A Stack of Seven Links on Criminal Justice

Criminal justice has been on my mind this year. I just finished reading the third book for the social justice book club (hosted by Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm), which have all had a criminal justice focus. Today you’re getting seven criminal justice links.

Put It in Perspective

Why criminal justice? One of my favorite quotes from the first social justice book club book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is still this one:

We are more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.

9781595581037Link 1: I shared some thoughts about Just Mercy and that quote here.

Link 2: I kept thinking about Stephenson’s quote while reading this month’s book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

Alexander did a nice job summing up the danger of a society that doesn’t see people as more than the worst thing they’ve done.

Criminals are the one social group in America we have permission to hate.

Kerry asked us what surprised us most about Alexander’s book. To me, the most shocking things stem from this idea of “permission to hate.”

What Happens When We Hate?

Permission to hate is a great opportunity for police state tactics to emerge. The Fourth Amendment is intended to protect us from unwarranted search and seizure, but in the past few decades our rights have slowly eroded in several key supreme court cases that Alexander summarizes in her book.

Link 3: Supreme Court Justice Douglas puts it nicely in his dissent in Terry v Ohio.

To give the police greater power than a magistrate [judge] is to take a long step down the totalitarian path.

As we’ve seen in the past year or so, these stops and searches can and have turned deadly. Link 4: That’s why I love Zeynep Tufekci’s thoughts on this topic in this Twitter thread.

Permission to hate also manifests itself:

In prison conditions. Link 5: Ramen is the new cigarettes in the informal prison economy, due to the fact that, “cost-cutting at detention facilities has many inmates complaining they’re not getting enough to eat.”

In the application of the death penalty. Link 6: The Supreme Court has considered it cruel and unusual to execute someone who is “intellectually disabled” for 14 years, but they let each state define “intellectual disability.” This year the Supreme Court is looking at whether the Texas definition of intellectually disabled (based on a fictional character in a Steinbeck novel) violates the 8th amendment.

And it affects men and women. Link 7: The Equal Justice Initiative delves into the “exploding U.S. female prison population.

Have you read anything worth sharing about criminal justice lately? Share in the comments.


A Stack of Seven Links

Lists are the best. As I was reading Emily’s 6 on the 6th list over at Curious Iguana’s blog, I was reminded how much I love reading lists of things other people are enjoying on the Internets. So I am going to share a few of mine.

1) As a woman with a master’s degree and the wife of a professor I have read lots of academic writing (most of it lately in the form of free copy editing services for my husband’s papers). I have always said that the lack of plain language wasn’t because these academicians are so much smarter than us, it’s because it’s harder to write clearly. And now The Atlantic is backing me up in this piece about unnecessarily complex academic writing.

2) I was driving listening to BBC earlier this summer and heard Tope Folarin read an essay about his obsession with creation stories. It was so compelling that I scrambled to record an audio note to myself with my smartphone (because that seems so much safer than typing, but it was still pretty dangerous tbh). Thankfully my app caught most of my note and I was able to decipher it plus do some googling and find the audio clip (now only available via the BBC free media player app). Not only was I introduced to Folarin’s writing, but I also learned about the Caine Prize. It was a win win.

3) Oh, hey, have you been participating in the Social Justice Book Club? We’re on our third book (it’s one book every other month) and maybe you’d like to join us? Kerry is the hostess of the club and has more info about the August bookThe New Jim Crow.

IMG_20160809_2141004) When I saw the illustrations on the covers of Flannery O’Connor’s books in Curious Iguana earlier this year I was mesmerized. I bought O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge because a) I had never read her and b) the cover was so darn beautiful. I decided to find out more about the illustrator, June Glasson, and came across this lovely interview she did (the best part is you get to see lots of examples of Glasson’s work).

5) I don’t know why it took me so long to read Flannery O’Connor, but one thing that pushed me over the edge was Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer. She’s used O’Connor as an example several times. I’ve been slowly taking Prose’s book in and already find that my reading has more depth.

6) The Man Booker prize announced the 2016 longlist and while I recognize many of the authors, I haven’t actually read any of the books on the list. What about you? What do you think is going to make it to the shortlist?

7) I LOVED Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-winning Goldfinch. I’ve often wondered when (and if!) it would be made into film. If you didn’t already hear, the director of Brooklyn, John Crowley will be adapting Goldfinch into a movie. This is promising news to me, because I thought Brooklyn was such a sweet and well done movie.