Survival Kit: Week of 01.15.17

  • In 1787, a scientist brought different pieces of blue paper up to the top of a mountain and held them against the sky in an attempt to measure sky blueness.
  • This freaking uplifting episode of 2 Dope Queens. I listened to their conversation with Nicole Byer three times, including right before a round two job interview, to give me that dope queen glow.
  • Two ethics lawyers, one Republican and one Democrat, offer up a helpful primer about the myriad ways in which Trump is in violation of ethics laws.

EISEN: We’re going to pay for it. That’s the problem with all of these Trump conflicts. By failing to make the clean break with his ownership in interests, he ends up benefiting himself at the expense of the rest of us. The tax dollars that are going to have to be used in the United States and abroad to protect his properties are tax dollars that could be better spent helping the American people deal with the economic impacts that in particular his core voters felt.

So this is going to come out of all our pockets. This is another example of what’s wrong with these conflicts. He’s doing deals to benefit himself, not to benefit the American people, and he’s putting American people at risk. Are we going to get into conflicts around the world because of these – if, God forbid, I hope it doesn’t happen – there’s an attack on one of his properties, it’s just terribly wrong. And there was a simple solution, and he chose not to do it. And, as you can hear, we are very, very disappointed.

I think that there are writers who I don’t necessarily agree with in terms of their politics, but whose writings are sort of a baseline for how to think about certain things — V. S. Naipaul, for example. His “A Bend in the River,” which starts with the line, “The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.” And I always think about that line, and I think about his novels when I’m thinking about the hardness of the world sometimes, particularly in foreign policy, and I resist and fight against sometimes that very cynical, more realistic view of the world. And yet, there are times where it feels as if that may be true.

Barack Obama to Michiko Kakutani