Category Archives: Current Events

Becoming Ms. Burton – Becoming Me

By Vivian D. Nixon

“I told the judge I needed help. A police officer had run over my five-year-old son and killed him without even stopping. It caused me to turn to drugs. The judge sentenced me to 18 months in prison.” These words, uttered by my friend and colleague Susan Burton during her recent New York City book release event, will forever echo in my mind. Continue reading

Don’t Panic: Coping with the Internet Age Through Ignorance

By Kevin Litman-Navarro

The last time the United States was the world’s premiere manufacturing power, American citizens lived under the specter of an atomic assault. From their perch atop a nascent post-war order, the global superpower enjoyed unprecedented levels of production — it was the 1950s, and business was a-boomin’. Foreign relations, on the other hand, were rather precarious. Continue reading

Don’t Expect Liberalism to Come to the Defense of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

By John W. W. Zeiser

If you haven’t read From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, you should. It has already found its place as essential reading on the intersection of race and class in recent US history. Sadly, Taylor has been in the news this last week for far more unsettling reasons, ones that should cause you (as they do me) grave concern — both for her personally, and regarding the liberal conception of absolute free speech. Continue reading

Living and Dying with Trump’s Sovereignty; Or, On Withdrawal from Climate Change

By Brian Connolly

In “explaining” his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump mentioned sovereignty several times. Indeed, along with the economy, it was the central justification for pulling out. “Our withdrawal from the agreement,” Trump said, “represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty.” And then, later in the address: “exiting the agreement protects the United States from future intrusions on the United States’ sovereignty and massive future legal liability.” As others have noted, the specter of legal liability is difficult to parse, in large part because it is nothing but spectral, never to be realized — there is no legal liability. Continue reading

Joy Trumps Fear?: How Photographs Perpetuate Feelings in Political Dissent

By Marta Zarzycka   

A recent Saturday morning in Austin started with coffee and breakfast tacos with friends, followed by a walk downtown to join more friends at the March for Science. Many of us, including my four-year-old daughter, were carrying signs with witty slogans. Others were pushing strollers, and some had prepared by reading things like the online Activist Mama’s Guide to Taking Kids to a March. Singing, chanting, pointing to people dressed in white lab coats and Star Trek costumes, or carrying large periodic tables, chatting with strangers similarly equipped with babies, strollers, and signs — the mood was joyful, even if the issues the march addressed, such as climate change or infectious disease research, could not have been more weighty. Anger at the Trump administration, while hardly absent, did not set the tone. Instead, we celebrated the righteousness of our positions and our feeling of strength in numbers. It was 70 degrees and sunny: even the weather was on our side. Continue reading

Nominating Judge Humetewa to the Ninth Circuit

By Carl Tobias

Last October, Ninth Circuit Judge Barry Silverman assumed senior status after 18 years of dedicated service on the nation’s largest appellate court, which encompasses California, seven other western states, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The jurist’s decision to become a senior judge furnished President Donald Trump a valuable opportunity to appoint U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa of Arizona as the first Native American federal appellate jurist. Because she is a highly qualified, mainstream judge and the court — which had four vacancies on January 1, 2017 — needs all of its jurists, the President should promptly nominate Judge Humetewa. Continue reading

The Art of the Cover-Up

By James Rushing Daniel

In recent weeks, the already beleaguered Trump administration has become embroiled in yet another complement of scandals. On May 9, in what is now ancient news, Trump abruptly fired F.B.I. Director James Comey, interrupting an ongoing F.B.I. investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign. It has subsequently been alleged that Trump had previously asked Comey to drop the investigation, what may constitute obstruction of justice if proven. On Friday, the New York Times also reported that in a closed-door meeting with Sergey Lavrov and Sergei Kislyak on May 10, Trump shared code word Israeli intelligence, referred to F.B.I. Director James Comey as “a real nut job,” and suggested that Comey was fired to alleviate “great pressure” on the administration. Continue reading

Why America Needs A Series of Unfortunate Events Now More than Ever

By AnnaLiese Burich

In today’s political climate, it seems inevitable that the unfortunate can — and will — happen: every day, some fresh horror makes headlines. Trump, in his short time in office, has threatened public school systems, the Affordable Care Act, our already tenuous relationships with other countries. And, worst of all, there is nothing that us innocent civilians can do about it — no matter how unfair it seems. Continue reading