Friday, April 12, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Beautiful Day, Somewhat Depressing Links Edition

It is a beautiful day here today, and I'm feeling good after a lovely rollerblade outing. I think we're entering the time of year when I could just copy and paste that first line into every Friday's post....

Anyway, you don't come here to read me gloat about my city's weather. You come for links, and I have links!

In self-promo links: as I mentioned in yesterday's post, The Dodo Knight is out now. Get your copy today - and if you share a picture of your copy or receipt I'll send you a discount code for Tattoo.

In other links:

This post from Josh Marshall about the dark times we're in is depressing, but worth reading. It is my "if you only read one thing" pick for this week. The 2018 election provided an important brake on our slide, but we're still sliding. I don't think it is wise to assume we'll be able to stop the slide just by focusing on the 2020 Presidential election, and I don't even want to think about what is going to happen if Trump is re-elected.

But, as distressing as this all is, there are still good people working to get our democracy back on firm ground. I feel better when I'm taking action, and I think the research shows I'm not alone in that. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the suckiness of this all, I really recommend finding a way to join in the work to fix things.

Personally, I just gave my first political donation for the 2020 cycle to Mark Kelly's campaign for Senate. And I bought more cardstock so that I can write more postcards.

But there are other ways to get involved: donate to fight for voting rights or to help people get the IDs they need to vote. Swing Left has a new strategy for 2020 that makes a lot of sense to me. Indivisible is still active and highlighting ways you can get involved. If you're looking for an organization with a more conservative lean, Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn are still active with Stand Up Republic. There may be other organizations active from the conservative side of politics, too, but I don't know as much about them because I'm clearly coming from a more liberal political bent. If you know of some, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Moving on....

If you're confronted with the "we're not a democracy, we're a republic" talking point... here's the answer.

The health insurance situation Jim Hines describes in this post is one of the worst case scenarios that factored into my decision to go back to regular employment. With the constant attacks on the ACA, I decided it was safer for our family to have both adults on group health plans.

This is a really interesting story about the need to keep the location of some plants and animals secret.

Here is a good review of a book that sounds really interesting: Learning to Die in the Anthropocene. I'm not sure it is what I need to read right now, but I'm going to file it away for a time when I think I could take it. I've been thinking a lot lately about how my city could become less car-centric, and maybe a book like this would tie into those thoughts and give me some new ideas. Or maybe it would just depress me!

Since we're debating whether to get a plug-in hybrid or an electric car, I've been doing some reading on their relative merits. This Wired article summarizes a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists about the full environmental impact of electric cars. We're likely to get solar panels, particularly if we get an all-electric car, but I don't want to make the car decision based on an assumption that we will get them. The car we get has to be a good choice even without solar panels. Luckily, California has a quite clean electricity mix, and so do our neighboring states (the most likely places we'd drive in our small car).

In alternative modes of transport news: My city is taking a sensible step to make the dockless scooters and bikes less of a nuisance. I think solutions like this are essential if these dockless vehicles are going to stay on the scene. Otherwise, there will be too much backlash against them, because it is really annoying to find the sidewalk blocked by one of them.

This article about the various historical ages of online parenting may only be interesting to people
who have been online parents through all of the ages... but that includes me, and so I found it interesting!

Here's my source for reusable plastic bag recommendations. This showed up in my Twitter feed and that was the kick in the pants I needed to finally buy some.

In recommended listening, Ezra Klein interviewed Will Wilkinson, who was once a libertarian and is now involved in starting up a new "center right" think tank. It was an interesting interview for a lot of reasons, including Wilkinson's thoughts on how people change their mind on political topics.

I always enjoy Maggie Smith's morning posts. I particularly liked this one:

In case you missed Needhi Bhalla's important curry thread:


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