Still Celebrating America’s Birthday

Lots of links before the week ends; and where is this photo from?

So, to be brief this week: hi! 

I’m off in an undisclosed location filming for America Outdoors. I’m thankful you’ve let me into your inbox, and if you like what you’re getting, please forward this to someone or become a paid subscriber if you’re not already.

See: A Brief Statement

A Mental Health Crisis Is Not a Crime (The New York Times)

The co-author of this piece is a friend and someone I cite often on issues of policing in America. Dr. Phil Goff has teamed up with Rep. Katie Porter to propose important and achievable changes to how we achieve public safety—and it doesn’t depend on Mitch McConnell growing a conscience! 

Let’s Talk About Terror (Vox, “Today Explained”)

This is a story I’ve heard some version of for years, but it’s a message that bears repeating: People who join extremist and violent hate groups are still human beings, and part of how they ended up where they are involves someone who dehumanized them at some earlier stage in their lives. 

Tesla Says Autopilot Makes Its Cars Safer. Crash Victims Say It Kills. (The New York Times)

I drive a Tesla Model 3 and I love it, but I haven’t used “full self-driving” in about a year because it kept slamming on the brakes in the middle of the freeway thinking the shadow cast by an overpass was an obstacle. It’s very likely Elon Musk is full of shit, and certainly, the company should not be able to market the driver-assist feature as “full self-driving” when we can point to people killed as a result of its use. 

Ignore the chatter. Stuff is getting done. And both parties are helping. (The Washington Post)

Oh yay! Seriously Y-A-Y! This is good news you probably have not heard about. A dysfunctional Congress is making progress on climate. Tell everyone. 

Why Black TikTok creators are on strike — and what they want. (The Los Angeles Times)

Hell to the yes. I’m so impressed with how fast and widespread this boycott has been. 

Women of color rise in watershed Boston mayor race (The Los Angeles Times)

“The 2021 mayoral race marks the first time in the city’s history that no white men are in serious contention.” I lived in Boston for 12 years—I refer to it as my “12 years a slave.” I have earned the right to talk trash about the racism in this place, so I also owe it to the people of Boston to celebrate this incredible milestone!

Zaila Avant-garde wins 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee, becoming bee’s first African American champion (The Washington Post)

We gotta celebrate kids safely coming together to make us all feel inadequate. Let's hear it for our new national Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde, the first African American winner in the contest's history. Why'd it take so long? Here’s a nice longread on the history of racism and segregation in American spelling bees.

Thanks to Elizabeth, Michelle, and The Algorithm for helping source this week’s links.