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News 11.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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It’s the end of the first year in the history of the United States in which six women made (mostly) serious runs for the Democratic presidential nomination, just three years after the defeat of the first female nominee. The arrival of multiple women to presidential contention should have been a convulsive shock to a political system.

We have never seen anything like this before. Yet it has been oddly glossed over — how extraordinary, how totally bananas it is to have had six women standing on presidential-nomination debate stages for the past five months.

It’s not that no one noticed! There was plenty of ballyhooing, but most of it actually downplayed the momentousness. “Remarkably, this historic moment doesn’t even seem like a huge deal,” wrote Amanda Sakuma in Vox — and she wasn’t wrong. The media definitely didn’t treat this as if it were a huge deal. Because America is nothing if not self-flattering, and because like Charlie Brown and a football, we are always ready to believe that this time it’s going to be different. “The value of having multiple women candidates is that they force us to think about women candidates in a way that is not monolithic,” Kelly Dittmar of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers told reporters back in February.

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

News 11.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Exactly one month after Keeping Up With the Kardashians wrapped its first season on E!, Senator Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses. Both would become juggernauts, setting the tone for much of the coming decade. Kim Kardashian West, the show’s star, not only understood the changes that were just beginning to disrupt much of the culture; she herself demonstrably shifted it, changing the way we understand fame and even the internet. And by filtering her own very particular reality through technology, she utterly changed not just the beauty business but also our idea of what a mogul is. Meanwhile, the Kardashian-Jenners presented a fascinating version of the modern blended American family, one that has started conversations about everything from trans rights to mental health to addiction and cultural appropriation at what seemed like every dinner table in America for the past ten years.

When I visited her at the minimalist palace she shares with her husband, Kanye West, and their four children in the gated community of Hidden Hills in Calabasas, there was a small army of men out front wrapping thousands of tiny white lights around trees lining the driveway. Inside the front door, I took off my shoes and padded along the endless hallway to the kitchen, where I found Kardashian West, dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, seated in the breakfast nook and drinking a glass mug of milky coffee. The island in the kitchen was resplendent with still-hanging-on floral arrangements sent for her birthday, October 21.

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

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The way Megan Rapinoe tells it, France screwed up.

We’re sitting in the back of a sunny studio in uptown Seattle, and I’ve asked her to take me back to June, back to the pressure cooker that was the World Cup quarter­final but was being billed as a final—against host country France in front of more than 45,000 rapturous fans in the historic Parc des Princes. It also happened to take place less than 48 hours after the president of the United States repeatedly attacked Rapinoe on Twitter for indelicately refusing to go to the White House in an old viral video. (Her exact wording: “I’m not going to the fucking White House.”)

It all started with a lightning-quick throw-in far from France’s goal back in the U.S.’s half. Rapinoe, doing what she often does, whipped it hard, fast, and looooong to Alex Morgan, who hoofed it toward the goal while the defense was disorganized and offsides was suspended. Beaten on the run, the French defender almost had no choice but to foul her, tugging two-handed at her arms until Morgan stumbled and fell and the defender saw the flash of a yellow card. The ref called for a direct kick just outside the box.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 11.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I always found it hard to judge Mrs. Thatcher dispassionately, because she was so like my mother. They looked and sounded similar—shortish urgent women who moved with purpose. From large hair, their faces narrowed downward; they had receding chins that appeared weak and strong at once. Force of will made them courageously disagreeable. They were born two years apart (Thatcher in 1925, my mother in 1927), came from modest, fiercely principled Nonconformist religious backgrounds, and saw life as a ladder that everyone must climb, from evil to goodness, from error to correction, from the lower social classes to the higher ones. Estranged from their native accents, they spoke in their grander borrowed ones a little carefully—as if, having learned their elocution lessons, they were now giving them. Both women were complex feminists, of a kind, who didn’t use the term, preferred men to women, and coddled their sons over their daughters. And both powerful women married supportive men named Denis.

The degree of my hostility for Mrs. Thatcher—political, but also affective—troubled me, because it cast a cold shadow over my filial love. Yet I was hardly alone. The entire country seemed to be passionately insane about Thatcher and Thatcherism. I was thirteen when she became Prime Minister, in 1979, so all my adolescence was spent under her long reign. She was still Britain’s leader when I left university, in 1988. Where I grew up, in the North of England, her name was uttered bitterly. We were twenty miles from Newcastle, stalked by once powerful industries—steel, shipbuilding, coal—that Thatcherism eyed as chronically sick, inimical to progress, and infested with unionist leftism. During the bloody miners’ strike of 1984-85, men and women collected money every Saturday in the market square of my home town with signs that asked us to “Dig deep for the miners.” In those days, there was no such thing as political indifference—that would be allowable only in the next decade, the era after the fall of Communism, the era of steady Third Way prosperity, when history had been called off. Of course, we couldn’t be dispassionate: Margaret Thatcher breathed over the country like a great parental god. She wanted her nation to be as ambitious, successful, hardworking, thrifty, and right-principled as she was, and to those ends she hectored, wounded, pushed, and inspired.

“Force of personality was the most striking thing about her—almost too powerful for easy rational discussion,” a political colleague of hers said. It’s the dominant theme in the more than two thousand pages of Charles Moore’s authorized biography, now completed by its third volume, “Herself Alone” (Knopf), which chronicles a political downfall brought about by a force of personality too large for rational discussion. As early as 1981, one of Thatcher’s advisers complained that she bullied her weaker colleagues: “You criticise colleagues in front of each other and in front of their officials. . . . You give little praise or credit.” “If this is the best you can do,” she told Geoffrey Howe, a long-abused Cabinet minister, “then I’d better send you to hospital and deliver the statement myself.” On one occasion, when she became particularly “strident,” the Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney had to remind her, “I am not a member of your government, I am the head of a sovereign nation!” But she could just as easily rebuke entire nations, genders, or both at once. “You men, you’re all so weak,” she spat at some Dutch representatives after an episode of failed European negotiation. Robin Butler, her principal private secretary, confessed that “dealing with her face to face was like feeding a fierce animal.” Moore, who has an excellent eye for anecdotes and a Gibbonian way with footnotes, buries one of the best of such tales at the bottom of a page in his second volume. Once, at a meeting, when she compared something to “Waiting for Godot,” and pronounced “Godot” with a hard “t,” Lord Carrington, her first Foreign Secretary, whispered to her, “It’s pronounced ‘Godo,’ Prime Minister.” How is it spelled? she asked. Carrington spelled it out. “Then it’s ‘Godot,’ ” she replied, enunciating the “t” with even greater distinctness.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 11.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In 2012, Chicago ventured where no other big U.S. city had. Under then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city set a mission of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries in 10 years. The city didn’t mention “Vision Zero” by name, but its ambitious goal took inspiration from that road safety policy platform enacted 15 years prior in Sweden, leading to one of the lowest national traffic mortality rates in the world.

The basic logic of Vision Zero is that any traffic collision that results in death or serious injury—whether for a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist, or any other road user—isn’t an unavoidable “accident,” but a tragedy that could be prevented through smarter engineering, education, and enforcement.

Seven years later, dozens of U.S. cities have hopped on the Vision Zero bandwagon, pledging to stop traffic fatalities in ambitious time frames. They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, rebuilding streets to calm traffic and reduce driving, lobbying for speed limit reductions, launching public awareness campaigns, and retraining police departments.

Yet while some places have managed to bend their traffic fatality curves, others have struggled to budge a transportation status quo that prioritizes the ease of driving over the safety of other people on the road. Since 2013, the numbers of deaths among U.S. pedestrians and cyclists have risen by nearly 30 percent and 14 percent respectively, nationwide.

That pattern is shared in several cities wearing the Vision Zero mantle, according to a CityLab analysis of traffic fatalities in five major cities that were among the first in the U.S. to establish Vision Zero targets. Three of the cities, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have seen fatalities rise or remain relatively flat. Two others, San Francisco and New York City, have made headway towards zero, but are seeing pedestrian and cyclist fatalities creep up more recently.

Most of these cities have fatality rates below the national average, and it’s possible to see substantial, non-linear changes in the total number of fatalities from year to year. But based on their rate of change to date, none of these five cities are on pace to reach zero traffic fatalities for decades, let alone by their ten-year targets.

These five early adopter cities were selected by CityLab for analysis because of their size and geographic diversity. Other cities that were among the first to embrace the zero-casualties platform are also unlikely to meet their targets, including Austin and San Jose, which have seen an upturn in fatalities since launching their programs in late 2014 and mid-2015 respectively. The roadside death toll in Seattle, which announced its plan to end traffic deaths and injuries by 2030 in early 2015, has stayed flat for years.

Several factors are fueling this disconcerting trend, from low gas prices that make it easier to drive, rollbacks on state-level traffic safety laws, the ongoing prevalence of digital distractions, and the rising popularity of ride-hailing services and heavy-duty SUVs. Such factors are frustratingly beyond the control of local leaders. But mayors, city councilmembers, and safety advocates have often struggled with local politics and state preemptions to make as much headway as they hoped. What seemed like a universally unassailable goal, ending preventable deaths, has proven a sticky political quagmire in many cities—one that hardly moves until someone else dies.

Read the rest of this article at: Citylab

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