Category Archives: Current Events

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

The Problem with Invoking Down Syndrome in Support of the American Health Care Act

By George Estreich

From the moment the American Health Care Act won passage in the House of Representatives, a child with Down syndrome was going to be marshaled in its favor: supporters of the bill needed a sentimental distraction from the AHCA’s likely impact on people with disabilities.

What I didn’t expect was that the first example would come from a parent who voted for the bill. Continue reading

America The Beautiful: The Disconnect Between Conservatism and Conservation

By Henry Godinez

“Words, words, words,” says the young prince in Hamlet, arguably the greatest play ever written in any language. Perhaps part of why it has remained influential for 400 years is that it can be a kind of blueprint for us, or at least a mirror. As a mirror turned to our society today, it reflects our political turmoil, our corruption, and frankly, our hypocrisy. Continue reading