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Resilient Constructs

Obama's Legacy

Obama’s legacy has been a topic of discussion virtually since he took office, but as we enter the final year of his Presidency, it’s sure to come up more and more. To that end, Politico has a new panegyric out, lavishing praise on the President and calling attention to some of his perhaps lesser-known victories. Obamacare wasn’t really a government takeover, but the student loan overhaul actually was; it yanked the program away from Sallie Mae and other private lenders that had raked in enormous fees without taking much risk.

Trust and Cruelty

Due to some recent events, I have been thinking about the nature of relationships–not just romantic ones, but all close relationships between individuals. It’s one of those areas where it’s hard to find the right answers to a given issue, if there even are right answers. Specifically, I was thinking about trust. A relationship of any seriousness must have trust. Trust can be defined a lot of ways, but I would summarize it as the state of being emotionally vulnerable to another person, on the assumption that they will treat you honestly and fairly, with love and care.

Sid Meier's Civilization as Commentary

I am a lifelong fan of Sid Meier’s Civilization computer games, all the way back to the original from 1991. The series is in its fifth incarnation now, and has had numerous spinoffs and imitators. But what interests me here is analyzing it as commentary on what it says it’s about: civilization. What does this series say about humanity, about our societies? To be clear, nothing I am suggesting here is meant to indicate the personal beliefs of Sid Meier himself or anyone who worked on the games.

Fishing for Ally Cookies

Blogger/vlogger Kat Blaque (whom you should follow if you don’t already) made an interesting post a few days ago regarding some of the submissions she is given by white readers. Before I get to that, though, I want to stress once more who my intended audience is. I’m not here to mansplain/whitesplain to people who already know all this. This is for folks who want to be good allies but don’t necessarily know how to go about it.

Topics for 2016

I wrote last week about resolutions for this blog for 2016. This time, I’ll mention some potential topics I’d like to dig into over the course of the year. I keep a running list of topics that interest me and which I haven’t yet written (much) about. What follows below is not a complete list, but a selection of those I find particularly interesting. At least part of my goal here is to see if there’s any interest in others reading about these topics, so if you have any thoughts about them, please speak up!

Link Roundup: January 2nd, 2016

Happy new year! Let’s celebrate with some links. Fun * [22 fun and unusual calendars to put up next year](http://mentalfloss.com/article/71762/22-fun-and-unusual-calendars-put-next-year) -- I think Space Cats is my favorite. * [German traffic light stays red for 28 years](http://www.thelocal.de/20150615/there-is-a-light-that-never-goes-out) -- You'll never guess why! Economics * [Parking the big money](http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/01/14/parking-the-big-money/) -- Interesting review of a book and a film focusing on how people with large fortunes hide their money to avoid paying taxes on it.

Fan Creations: What's the Right Balance?

I’d like to comment on a couple of similar yet very different situations currently unfolding, one involving the Star Trek media franchise, and the other concerning the indie video game Undertale. One might not expect them to have much in common–one is owned by media giants CBS and Paramount, the other is almost entirely the sole creation of one man, Toby Fox. So, what do they have in common? Right now, both are in the midst of major actions against copyright infringement.

Republicans Still Don't Get It. Will They Ever?

Republicans still don’t understand how their own political strategies created the Tea Party and, most recently, Donald Trump. Gary Legum of Salon has a good piece on the topic, in response to an essay old guard conservative David Frum wrote for The Atlantic. Legum: Frum argues that the GOP base that is upsetting the party’s established order is simply “pissed off.” Which is true! But why is this mostly white cohort so angry?

Bill Cosby: Unexpected Developments

I was surprised to hear today that Bill Cosby was arrested and charged in relation to a 2004 sexual assault allegation. The man had long seemed immune to legal consequences despite persistent outcries from victims going back at least 30 years. This past summer, New York Magazine ran a feature in which 35 women related stories of their own encounters with Cosby. That just one of those women–the same woman who has been pursuing her case tirelessly since 2004.

When Asked for Respect, Give It

I recently had an encounter online in which a friend requested that people avoid using misogynistic slurs on her page. This didn’t seem unreasonable, but one person saw fit to argue it. The argument revolved around what kind of popular culture my friend consumed. “How can you say you don’t want to be exposed to slurs when [x], which you like, has slurs?” This is one of those arguments that appears superficially logical, except it ignores the entire purpose of the original request.