Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







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Recent Posts

Taylor Swift’s Instagram post has caused a massive spike in voter registration

BuzzFeed reports: Since Taylor Swift flexed her star power Sunday with an Instagram post that encouraged her 112 million followers to register to vote, has experienced an unprecedented flood of new voter registrations nationwide. “We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” said Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for For context, 190,178 new voters were registered nationwide in the entire month

The Mueller investigation is bigger than Rod Rosenstein

Asha Rangappa writes: Only a little over two weeks ago, in the wake of reports about remarks the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had made about the president’s fitness for office and an offer to secretly tape conversations with him, his job appeared to be on the line — along with the fate of the Russia investigation led by the special counsel Robert Mueller. On Monday, President Trump said he

Deported parents may lose their children to adoption

The Associated Press reports: As the deportees were led off the plane onto the steamy San Salvador tarmac, an anguished Araceli Ramos Bonilla burst into tears, her face contorted with pain: “They want to steal my daughter!” It had been 10 weeks since Ramos had last held her 2-year-old, Alexa. Ten weeks since she was arrested crossing the border into Texas and U.S. immigration authorities seized her daughter and told

Frans de Waal: Primatology shows that the typical alpha male isn’t a bully


To tackle the climate crisis, human civilization must transform faster than ever before

The New York Times reports: A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of

The conflict over Kavanaugh’s nomination centered not on tribalism, but on a lack of justice

Peter Beinart writes: When it comes to Brett Kavanaugh, there are three camps. The first believes it’s a travesty that he was confirmed. The second believes it’s a travesty that he was smeared. The third believes it’s a travesty that the process was so divisive. David Brooks is in the third camp. The Kavanaugh hearings, he wrote on Friday, constituted an “American nadir.” You often hear such phrases from people

Brazil’s Bolsonaro-led far right wins a victory far more sweeping and dangerous than anyone predicted

Glenn Greenwald writes: For the past thirty years, Congressman Jair Bolsonaro was a fringe extremist in Brazilian politics, known mostly for outlandish, deliberately inflammatory quotes in which he paid homage to the most notorious torturers of the 1964-1985 military regime, constantly heralded the 1964 coup as a “defense of democracy,” told a female socialist colleague in Congress that she was too ugly to “deserve” his rape, announced that he’d rather

Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance spreads fear worldwide, but we won’t be silenced

Manal al-Sharif writes: The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor, has reverberated among journalists, activists and critics of authoritarianism all over the world. My first encounter with his writings was in 2011, year one of the Arab Spring, in Al-Hayat, the Saudi newspaper that we both wrote for. In his columns, he called for seizing the moment and pushed for reforms within Saudi Arabia.

Second Skripal poisoning suspect identified as Dr. Alexander Mishkin

Bellingcat Investigation Team reports: In the preceding report from the current investigation into the two suspects in the Skripals poisoning case, Bellingcat and its reporting partner the Insider disclosed the identity of one of the two suspects. The person travelling under the alias of Ruslan Boshirov was identified as GRU’s Col. Anatoliy Chepiga, recipient of Russia’s highest state award. Bellingcat can now report that it has conclusively identified the second

Beto O’Rourke: Is this the man to take down Trump?

Ed Pilkington reports: On a balmy night in Austin, against the backdrop of the glittering high-rises of the city’s booming downtown, Beto O’Rourke is laying out his audacious plan to change the face of Texas, and America. In front of him, packed into an open-air park, a largely young crowd of 40,000 is thrumming with scarcely contained glee. Even in the liberal bubble of Austin they have never experienced anything

Kavanaugh’s first vote could be in Trump executive power fight

Politico reports: Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s first vote as a member of the Supreme Court could come as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday on a Trump administration request testing how much power courts should wield over top executive branch officials. The administration has already made one unsuccessful run at the high court on the issue: It asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week to step in to block depositions of Commerce

The price of speaking out against a powerful man

Tanya Selvaratnam writes: Early in our relationship, he told me that he could tap my phone and have me followed. I knew he had the power to do this. His power was a thread that ran throughout our relationship. We met in July 2016 at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. I had been involved in the arts and social justice causes for more than 20 years, but producing election-related

The junk science Republicans used to undermine Ford and help save Kavanaugh

The Washington Post reports: The politically convenient, scientifically baseless theory that sexual assault so traumatized Christine Blasey Ford she mixed up her attacker is now something like common wisdom for many Republicans. President Trump explicitly endorsed the theory Saturday, shortly after Brett M. Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed as a Supreme Court judge, telling reporters he was “100 percent” sure Ford accused Kavanaugh in error. In days leading up to the

Whiteness won’t save white women

Alexis Grenell writes: The voting patterns of white women and white men mirror each other much more closely, and they tend to cast their ballots for Republicans. The gender gap in politics is really a color line. That’s because white women benefit from patriarchy by trading on their whiteness to monopolize resources for mutual gain. In return they’re placed on a pedestal to be “cherished and revered,” as Speaker Paul

Khashoggi: Case against Saudi agents reverberates through Ankara and Riyadh

Martin Chulov reports: Jamal Khashoggi had weighed the risks before he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday. He had sought assurances from friends, given a number for his fiancee to call if he failed to reappear – and even received an overture to return to Riyadh from Mohammed bin Salman himself. Convinced that he faced no official threat from the powerful crown prince, and feeling pressure from

Brett Kavanaugh cannot have it both ways

Robert Post writes: Brett Kavanaugh and I differ on most fundamental questions of constitutional law. Nevertheless, as a former dean of the institution where he received his law degree, I have withheld comment on the merits of his appointment. I am proud of the rich diversity of views that Yale Law School has produced. Over the past decade, Kavanaugh has been a casual acquaintance. He seemed a gentle, quiet, reserved