Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

At the time of this submission, the House has just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and many publications are reporting on the amoral consequences of the GOP alternative to Obamacare. Case in point: Rape, sexual assault, and post partum depression are just a few of what will now be considered “preexisting conditions.” We will continue to watch the process as the bill heads to the Senate.

I begin the column this week with 4 different pieces on current immigration issues. The articles focus on stories of individual circumstances, the changing laws in Texas, and a Twitter Campaign involving Veterans. The vast number of immigrants who have died in the desert on their way to a better life leaves me to wonder…who are the real terrorists??? The New York Times article puts the numbers in perspective by acknowledging that more people have died trying to cross the border since October 2000, than the number of people killed in Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks combined.

I’ve included updates on transgender issues, the water problems facing Flint residents, and the latest on Colin Kaepernick. Why, you may ask? Because racism, because sexism, because feminism. In his 2014 Salon article, “Feminism and the NFL are Not Compatible”, Steve Almond described football as, “the most brutally misogynistic sport ever created.” You’ll see in Christine Brennan’s USA Today piece the argument of trying to understand why Kaepernick, “guilty” of using his rights as an American to protest the condition of Black America, has not been picked up by an NFL team, when other players with histories of rape and domestic violence have had no problem being signed. The NFL has pledged to stand by its intolerance of off- field player violence, but have not held themselves to that ideal. Until issues of rape and domestic violence and racism are handled with the proper consequences, I will continue to include articles that keep us aware of the sexism and racism in sports culture.

In case you missed anything this week, please Read On. Your comments are always welcome.

  1. More people have died illegally crossing the southwestern border of the United States in the last 16 years than were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina combined. From October 2000 through September 2016, the Border Patrol documented 6,023 deaths in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, while more than 4,800 people died in the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

“A Path to America, Marked by More and More Bodies”/ by Manny Fernandez/ New York Times/ May 4, 2017


2. Threatening to deport mothers and children who fled violence isn’t the way to keep the United States safe, he said.

“Mother and Son’s Deportation Pits Senator Against Homeland Security”/ by Paul Murphy, Faith Karimi, and Chris Boyette/ CNN/ May 4, 2017


3. “Hello June, I’m a veteran of the Marine Corps,” he says. “[Your tweet] is kind of saddening for me because it goes against everything that this country stands for. This country is all about inclusion.”

“Veterans Are Fighting Anti-Immigrant Hate With New Twitter Campaign”/ by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman/ Huffington Post/ May 2, 2017


4. Rep. Wu has been among the many advocates who slammed the proposal, including another House lawmaker who went on a four-day fast. United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, called SB 4 “a white supremacist’s field day.”

“’I am an immigrant’: Texas Lawmaker Breaks Down During Emotional Speech Against Anti-Immigrant Bill”/ by Gabe Ortiz/ Daily Kos/ May 3, 2017


5. Desiree Fairooz, a longtime protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink, had been escorted out of the room for laughing in response to Senator Richard Shelby’s assertion that Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” history of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” (Sessions had, in fact, been denied a federal judgeship in 1986 because of a history of racially charged remarks, and Shelby himself had once run a campaign ad suggesting that Sessions was a Klan sympathizer.) Fairooz, along with two other protesters, faces up to a year in prison.

“A Jury Just Convicted a Woman for Laughing at Jeff Sessions”/ by Tina Nguyen/ Vanity Fair/ May 3, 2017


6. In addition to rape, postpartum depression, Cesarean sections, and surviving domestic violence are all considered preexisting conditions. Companies can also deny coverage for gynecological services and mammograms.

“In Trump’s America, Rape is a Preexisting Condition”/ by Sarah Spellings/ NYMag/ May 4, 2017


7. Is Kaepernick a less desirable member of an NFL team or community than, say, Oakland Raiders first-round draft pick Gareon Conley, who is being investigated by the Cleveland police on a rape allegation, or Cincinnati Bengals second-round pick Joe Mixon, who was caught on videotape knocking out a woman with a devastating punch?

“An Unsigned Colin Kaepernick is a Bad Sign for NFL”/ by Christine Brennan/ USA Today/ May 3, 2017


8. At the march, neo-Nazis held banners calling for the Czech Republic to leave the European Union and to reject multiculturalism. The Czech website Romea reports that counter-demonstrators hung a banner reading “what’s more absurd than tolerating intolerance?” The neo-Nazis quickly tore the banner down and slashed it with knives.

“This Czech Scout Stood Up to Extremists at a Neo-Nazi Rally”/ by Darius Sadighi/ TeenVogue/ May 3, 2017


9. But two years ago, someone at school called Max a “girl-boy.” Later, Max walked upstairs to the third floor of the house and stepped out onto the balcony, weighing whether or not to jump.

“A New Generation Overthrows Gender”/ by Jon Brooks/ NPR/ May 2, 2017


10. Here is your regular reminder that the residents in the city of Flint have not had clean water for just over three years. Unfortunately, they are still expected to pay water bills for water that is neither drinkable nor usable, and on the heels of last month’s shutoffs for nonpayment of said water bills, this month residents are being threatened with the loss of their homes.

“#Flint: More than 8,000 Residents Receive Notice of Tax Liens on Their Properties For Unpaid Water Bills”/ by Monique Judge/ The Root/ May 4, 2017


11. The vote, 217-213, on President Trump’s 105th day in office, keeps alive the Republican dream to unwind the signature legislative achievement of former President Barack Obama.

“House Passes Measure to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act”/ by Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear/ New York Times/ May 4, 2017



Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.


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