Tea With Chris: Ratchet Old Man Not Elected

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: Favourite post-election reaction so far: my friend Pilot’s mom’s.

Margaux: A great This American Life podcast this week Red State Blue State for anyone who also experienced the gift of a freakishly diverse Facebook feed during the U.S. Election.

Artist Eve Mosher’s 2007 flood lines project in New York. “During the course of her project, which lasted, on and off, for six months, she passed many low-income housing developments, along with luxury apartment buildings and power stations and nursing homes and hospitals.”

Speaking of the future – pee to power! Four African schoolgirls invent.

Speaking of school – Thiel fellowships offer grants for people with good ideas who are willing to drop out of school. From one father, John Deming, of grant recipient Laura Deming in New York Times article: “I can’t think of a worse environment than school if you want your kids to learn how to make decision, manage risk and take responsibility for their choices… Rather than sending them to school, turn your kids loose on the world. Introduce them to the rigors of reality, the most important of which is earning your own way.

Reality? Why the Nobel Prize went this way this year.

How other things change sometimes – Egyptian vigilantes crack down on abuse of women.

When things don’t change – Janelle Monáe’s great acceptance speech at BET’s Black Girls Rock.

Carl: This week was kind of distracting and exhausting for those not recently hit by a hurricane. Hard to imagine all of that plus a hurricane. One good bit of reporting I heard post-Sandy was this episode of the Planet Money podcast: I often find that show a little maddening with its not-so-critical embracing of mainstream economics dogma, but this one was a really good tribute to usually-invisible infrastructure (especially with its pre-election timing) – left unsaid but there beneath the surface is the idea that an austerity agenda that cuts “redundant” spending actually would dismantle the backup plans that keep us safe and secure in affluent countries – that are in many ways the very definition of affluence: The fact that our insurers have their own insurers means that there can be a hurricane or an earthquake and we don’t end up in tents waiting years for rebuilding – or another hurricane or earthquake – to happen, as people still are in Haiti. The question of what we can “afford” to do and what we can’t afford not to do is more complicated than it looks on the surface.

That said, even in the wealthy north, not everything goes smoothly – people in Red Hook and the Rockaways are still in a world of wet cold. The fact that some of the best work fixing things up is being done by Occupy Sandy is a pretty pleasant surprise – not that it should be a surprise. Funny, I haven’t heard anything about the fine work of Tea Party Sandy the past couple of weeks …

This week brought lots of good news in the White House and the Senate, and for marriage equality and against the war on drugs, etc. It didn’t bring much more hope for people subject to constant drone attacks, though – Barack Obama’s favourite mode of illegal death dealing (every President’s got one!). The wonderful writer and devoted pacifist Nicholson Baker has apparently been writing protest songs about that, which ironically could be described musically as “drone attacks” as well – I don’t mean that as an insult, just that they’ve got this Arthur Russell-esque string-pulse-drone thing going on. I remain a little more excited about his new book, though (reviewed there by the great John Jeremiah Sullivan).

Meanwhile, some people noticed the classic Mountain Goats album Tallahassee came out ten years ago so they decided to pay tribute. (Personally my 2002 go-to Goats album is All Hail West Texas, but I know I’m in the minority.) John Darnielle remarked on Twitter that the tribute album was “really pointing out to me that next time I need to go full storyline/concept/character record.” To which I can only say yes, yes, yes.

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