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Trump Is Now Lying to His Own National Security Staff

Mother Jones

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In his NATO speech a week ago, Donald Trump declined to explicitly endorse Article 5, the provision that says an attack on one is an attack on all. I’m on record as suggesting that reaction to this was sort of overblown, but Susan Glasser provides some behind-the-scenes context to suggest it was quite a bit worse than I thought. It turns out that Trump’s entire national security team wanted him to offer a public endorsement:

National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported Trump doing so and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode. They thought it was, and a White House aide even told The New York Times the day before the line was definitely included.

….The frantic, last-minute maneuvering over the speech, I’m told, included “MM&T,” as some now refer to the trio of Mattis, McMaster and Tillerson, lobbying in the days leading up to it to get a copy of the president’s planned remarks and then pushing hard once they obtained the draft to get the Article 5 language in it, only to see it removed again. All of which further confirms a level of White House dysfunction that veterans of both parties I’ve talked with in recent months say is beyond anything they can recall.

This is…astonishing. MM&T had to lobby just to get a copy of Trump’s remarks? And then, after getting the wording in, it was removed behind their backs? WTF?

“They had the right speech and it was cleared through McMaster,” said a source briefed by National Security Council officials in the immediate aftermath of the NATO meeting….“They didn’t know it had been removed,” said a third source of the Trump national security officials on hand for the ceremony. “It was only upon delivery.”

….The episode suggests that what has been portrayed—correctly—as a major rift within the 70-year-old Atlantic alliance is also a significant moment of rupture inside the Trump administration, with the president withholding crucial information from his top national security officials—and then embarrassing them by forcing them to go out in public with awkward, unconvincing, after-the-fact claims that the speech really did amount to a commitment they knew it did not make.

Holy shit. It’s one thing to lose a battle about what goes into a presidential speech—that happens all the time—but it’s quite another to agree to include something and then remove it without telling your top national security advisors. And then send them out to face the press.

This isn’t a case of Trump listening to the last guy in the room. It sounds more like Trump being unwilling to tell his national security team to their faces that he disagrees with them—and then screwing them behind their backs. How long can you keep working for a guy like that?

The bizarre thing is that what Trump did wasn’t entirely indefensible. It’s obviously not what I (or McMaster or Mattis or Tillerson) would have done, but Trump could have made the case that asking NATO partners nicely for increased defense spending hadn’t worked in the past, and he wanted to tighten the screws. The way to do it is to make everyone just a little nervous by saying nothing about Article 5 one way or the other.

MM&T would have disagreed, but Trump is president and he could have overruled them. Trump took office promising to disrupt the status quo, so they could hardly have been surprised if he had told them he wanted to play a little hardball and that they should be prepared for some blowback. At least then they would have known what to say afterward.

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Trump Is Now Lying to His Own National Security Staff

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The White House Just Responded to a Report Claiming Trump Divulged Classified Info to the Russians

Mother Jones

Early Monday evening, national security adviser H.R. McMaster dismissed an explosive Washington Post report alleging that President Donald Trump shared highly classified information with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak at a White House meeting on May 10.

“I was in the room. It didn’t happen,” McMaster said.

“There’s nothing the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people,” he added. “The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not discuss any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

The general said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was also in the room, and that Tillerson confirms the incident unfolded the same way.

The Post story did not ever say that “intelligence sources or methods” were discussed, but that Trump revealed tightly held secret information that was provided by a US partner, and that the revelation would likely allow Russian intelligence agents to determine intelligence sources and methods independently.

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The White House Just Responded to a Report Claiming Trump Divulged Classified Info to the Russians

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William Gibson’s Resistance Reading

Mother Jones

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We asked a range of authors and creative types to recommend books that bring solace and/or understanding in this age of cultural and political rancor. More than two dozen responded. Here are selections from the pioneering science-fiction novelist William Gibson.

Latest book: The Peripheral
Also known for: Neuromancer
Reading recommendations: Essential reading for the era of Trump: Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior, by Hilary Evans and Robert Bartholomew. At 784 pages, a literal encyclopedia of the workings of rumor, fear, and the madness of crowds. As the back cover has it, “This Encyclopedia is an authoritative reference on a broad range of topics: collective behavior, deviance, social and perceptual psychology, sociology, history, folklore, religious studies, political science, social anthropology, gender studies, critical thinking, and mental health. Never before have so many sources been brought together on the mesmerizing topic of collective behavior.”

The election of Donald Trump is best understood in terms of collective behavior. Familiarity with the weird and terrifying things we’ve done before, as a species, is essential to understanding what many of us, driven by fear and uncertainty, are doing now. Baffled by Trump’s popularity (such as it is)? Read Evans and Bartholomew on lycanthropy and laughing epidemics. Seriously.

Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt
Master photo by
Michael O’Shea
______________
So far in this series: Daniel Alarcón, Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Michael Eric Dyson, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, William Gibson, Piper Kerman, Phil Klay, Alex Kotlowitz, Bill McKibben, Rabbi Jack Moline, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Peggy Orenstein, Wendy C. Ortiz, Darryl Pinckney, Karen Russell, George Saunders, Tracy K. Smith, Ayelet Waldman, Gene Luen Yang. (New posts daily.)

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William Gibson’s Resistance Reading

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The Hero of Tal Afar Gets the Last Laugh

Mother Jones

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I can still remember a decade ago, when Col. H.R. McMaster, the hero of Tal Afar and genius of counterinsurgency, had been passed over for the second time for promotion to brigadier general. Did we ever find out who had it in for him? Probably not. In any case, he eventually got his star, and then another, and then another, and now he’s got an office in the White House:

President Trump appointed Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as his new national security adviser on Monday, picking a widely respected military strategist known for challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days.

….General McMaster had the aura of disruption that Mr. Trump has valued in several cabinet secretaries, said a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to describe internal deliberations. Another candidate, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the superintendent of West Point, impressed Mr. Trump as being “from central casting,” the official said. But the president wanted him to stay at West Point, which he reveres.

I see that Trump is using his usual keen management insights to choose the folks responsible for running our country. Luckily, he somehow decided that the guy from central casting ought to stay at West Point, and accidentally chose McMaster. This is probably a pretty good selection, so I guess we should all be grateful regardless of how we got there.

I wonder what McMaster thinks of K.T. McFarland? That seems to be a key prerequisite for NSA these days. I sure hope they get along, since I assume McFarland will have no problem using her personal connection with Trump to complain about McMaster behind his back if she doesn’t like what he’s doing.

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The Hero of Tal Afar Gets the Last Laugh

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Lyrical Genius John Darnielle Has a Scary New Novel

Mother Jones

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Cult indie-folk band the Mountain Goats is known for having fans that are rabidly devoted—and you’d almost have to be like that just to keep up. Led by John Darnielle—a charmingly nerdy 49-year-old songwriter whose professed admirers include Stephen Colbert, and whom Rolling Stone recently dubbed rock’s “best storyteller”—the Goats have put out 15 albums since 1994, using simple chord structures as a framework for Darnielle’s complex lyrical narratives. Fans have even petitioned to make him America’s Poet Laureate, so maybe it’s no surprise that Darnielle recently stumbled into literary success as well.

His debut novel, Wolf in White Van, about a reclusive, disfigured game designer who seeks refuge in a role-playing game, was a 2014 National Book Award finalist. Out February 7, Darnielle’s latest, an enchanting horror mystery called Universal Harvester, follows a video store clerk in small-town Iowa whose customers begin complaining of disturbing footage spliced into their rented VHS tapes. (The paperback review copy came sheathed in a plastic VHS clamshell.) When he’s not writing something, Darnielle, raised in a progressive activist household, is out fighting for reproductive justice—serving, for instance, on the board of the National Abortion Rights Action League and performing in support of Planned Parenthood.

Mother Jones: So you’re this celebrated songwriter and touring musician, and one morning you wake up as a novelist?

John Darnielle: It was much slower than that! An editor from Continuum asked me how come I hadn’t pitched to “33 1/3” a series of books about individual LPs. I pitched Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. He liked it, so I wrote it. The critique was housed in this fictional narrative, the longest long-form narrative I’d ever attempted—at least since I wrote a very long poem cycle in the late ’80s. An album you write a bunch of songs and put them together, but with this, the focus it required was exhilarating. I submitted the manuscript, and while waiting to hear back I just started writing something else—I ended up writing what became the last chapter of Wolf in White Van. It was just something to do. A lot of good work sort of starts in idleness and becomes labor. Labor for a lot of people has a negative connotation. But not for me. I always want to be working.

MJ: And you got a National Book Award nomination straight out of the gate!

JD: I’m still kind of processing that. I thought that people wouldn’t hate it, but really, I was in shock. That happened two days after it got published! My editor calls me, “Hey, you’re not gonna believe this.” Laughs.

MJ: So, many successful first-time authors struggle with their second novel.

JD: It’s both easier and harder. The easier part is you know you can do it, whereas at a certain point on Wolf in White Van I’m sitting on the floor in the hallway with the manuscript all over the place, cutting up with scissors, trying to figure out what went where. There was a point where I was like, “This is going to be a mess. I’ll never put it get it back together.” If I hadn’t done it out in physical space, it would’ve never gotten finished. The second one, you know well enough to be planning ahead. A lot of the time with Wolf, I would find out what was going to happen as I wrote the sentence: click click click click…Oh! He went to a hospital! You can ad-lib a song. A novel is a performance you have to plan.

MJ: In the new book, as we often see in your music, there’s this horror motif.

JD: When I was a kid, I was a big science fiction fan, but current horror books were harder to get your hands on. You’d get, you know, Poe and Lovecraft. So there was this zine called Whispers. They would publish things by Robert Aikman, Manly Wade Wellmann, and Dennis Etchison, big names in a very small pond. Whispers was very hard to find, but it was really cool. Aikman would write horror stories that weren’t gore, they weren’t slashers, and they weren’t monster stories either. He called them ghost stories. The main thing about them was the vibe. It was really disquieting. He wanted to sketch the scene so that you could see it and know the characters and get a feel for the motion—and then ask yourself why and not get a final answer. Leave something that itches. I loved that! Etchison would write stories that were just punch lines at the end. You wouldn’t realize something horrific was happening until the last paragraph.

MJ: So what scares you most?

JD: The possibility of disaster remains horrific to me. Like when you know everything’s about to go wrong in a way that’s not controllable or knowable. What’s scary is the unknown, the stuff you can’t put your finger on. Hauntings are also scary—the notion that there are things from the past that render, that you can’t wash out, that you can’t be free of. The notion of the mark—the mark of Cain—is scary. Stuff clinging to you is scary.

MJ: Did you ever work in a video store?

JD: I worked the AV counter at the Roland Heights public library in the ’80s.

MJ: Did people ever record weird stuff on the tapes?

JD: No, I made that up. My best story from the library was the time a couple asked for a recommendation, and I recommended Raising Arizona and they absolutely hated it. They came back hungry for blood. I was on my lunch break and my boss came out and said, “Hey kid, you need to come talk to these people. They totally hate Arizona.” And he said, “Arizona‘s a dog; nobody gets that movie.” I said, “What’re you talking about! All my friends love that movie.” Laughs.

MJ: Was it your idea to package the book in a VHS case?

JD: No. This is the funny thing about me. People think John just comes up with all the ideas. I’m honored. People think I have a big old brain, but actually I am the sum of the people I work with. I do a few things pretty well. I write good songs, I hope I write good books, and I’m a pretty bitchin’ performer, I will say—you come to a Mountain Goats show and you’re gonna have a good time. But I consider myself a prep cook. The stuff I do is indispensable to the meal, but it’s not the whole meal.

MJ: You write so many songs. Do you ever get bored of it?

JD: Nah. People don’t tend to notice, but in the past 10 years especially there’s been a lot of growth in how I write songs and what goes into them. You can listen to Mountain Goats from 1991 to 2007 and never hear a seventh chord. In 2007 or 2008, I started working on the piano to grow as a songwriter. I started throwing major sevens in and sixes and more interesting stuff. I still write in 4/4 time. Maybe not the next hurdle, but one I want to meet in a couple years, is writing something in three or in six.

MJ: Wait, you’re going to turn the Mountain Goats into math rock?

JD: Well, six is not that complicated, but 13—I’d like to write something in 13!

MJ: You officially retired your song “Going to Georgia.” Have you retired others?

JD: Yeah, I think that’s pretty natural. I suspect by the time the Beatles were writing the White Album, they didn’t go, “‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand!’ I wanna play that!” It’s like if somebody asked you to put on the clothes you wore in high school. Well, no. No!

MJ: What was it like growing up in this intensely pro-choice household?

JD: It was exciting, insofar as I was thinking about things that few of my peers were. Young people like to feel self-righteous, like they’re on the right side of things.

MJ: In recent years, abortion rights have come under serious assault.

JD: If you’re working at the very local level and there are nine of you and six of the other people, you can strong-arm them. The anti-choice forces stole that tactic from the left! They’ve learned that if you act locally, you can get stuff on the books that will take forever to undo. It’s the same with redistricting. It’s hard to get people from far away to give a shit. That’s the issue! It’s easy to follow national politics and weigh in on social media, but if I’m tweeting stuff about Chatham County, no one cares. All you can do is wait until they make a move that’s unconstitutional, and then you have to sue, and you appeal—that’s how it works.

MJ: You’re based in Durham, North Carolina, these days?

JD: Yessir. We’re actually right next door to Wade County, where the first targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws were enacted. They can’t outlaw abortion, so they say, “Well, you can have an abortion, but the operating table has to be a Möbius strip, and the public restroom has to be 1,000 yards from the operating table.” It’s so playground! It’s: “Cross this line and I’m gonna punch you in the face,” and then they draw the line in back of you.

MJ: North Carolina recently has been on the vanguard of being against trans rights and eroding voting rights and so on.

JD: North Carolina was on the vanguard of being for those things, and that’s why we’re seeing this pushback. The conservatives noticed that there had been a lot of progress and they tried to tamp it down. Conservative forces in the South have a lot of power—almost dynastic—dating back many years. Our former governor Pat McCrory was supposed to be a moderate, but he found himself beholden to people who have much more draconian ideas. I think he assumed this stuff flew under the radar.

MJ: The Black Lives Matter movement in Charlotte seems pretty robust.

JD: Durham was gonna vote Democrat regardless of whether the Republicans nominated this madman—it’s a very blue county. Charlotte—things are a little different. But over the past 40 years, the tradition of Southern progressivism has been somewhat successfully erased by right-wing revisionist historians. The South actually has a very strong tradition of activism. The civil rights movement came from down here! It was black activists demanding that their voices be heard. People say these are red states. No they’re not! They’re hotbeds of progressivism that have been legislated against and redistricted out of existence. The fighting spirit remains in the voice of the people down here.

MJ: Are you tempted to infuse your songs and books with your politics?

JD: No. I have a hunger for justice, but art is a place I’ve always enjoyed being able to be free—to live in worlds that you don’t have to be thinking about that all the time. I don’t see myself writing Upton Sinclair books. My books are to entertain, although to me, entertainment is to make you feel sadness or to get in touch with your own pain—or fear, or to remember somebody who has gone missing from your life. That’s my calling. There are real teachers out there; I don’t pretend to have their mantle.

MJ: Are there any writers you’ve tried to emulate?

JD: There are stylists I really love. I’m a huge Joan Didion fan—if I wrote something that she might like, then I’d feel very proud. I want the action to move as quickly as it does in A Book of Common Prayer, where one thing bonks right into another very quickly, but I want the effect to be a little more velvety—simple language that has lush effects.

MJ: Had you ever written fiction prior to Wolf?

JD: I wrote short stories when I was a teenager, but they weren’t any good and I kinda knew it. I was 14 or 15 when I discovered poetry, and I pretty much stopped writing prose until Master of Reality. I did a lot of music criticism. I don’t think much of it was any good. I think I wanted to show off a lot when I was younger. Now I just want people to enjoy the story. If it were possible to publish anonymously, that would be awesome.

MJ: A lot of your fans seem to know your entire catalog. They sing along at shows and shout out constant requests. What does that feel like?

JD: It’s a a huge honor. I try not to dwell on it, because anything that might lead to me being too egocentric is not healthy. I’ll look at them and try to have a moment with them, but I hope it’s more of a shared experience than a didactic one.

MJ: Do the requests get annoying?

JD: Generally no. A good show—and this is on the band as much as on the audience—people will get a sense of the rhythm, so they won’t yell out a request after some song where everyone has gotten real sad together. That would be unkind. But I don’t really have any position to complain about my job. Yeah, every job has its moments like, “Ah, you know, it’s Wednesday.” But I’m blessed. I love my work.

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Lyrical Genius John Darnielle Has a Scary New Novel

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Brand New Mexican/Illuminati Conspiracy Theory Ready for Public Release

Mother Jones

Just when you think that things can’t get weirder, they get weirder. But don’t I say that every day? Lately, yes I do. Nonetheless, Donald Trump and his brain trust are truly getting even weirder:

Donald Trump will broaden his attack against the media to hit globalism and the Clinton Foundation by charging that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is part of a biased coalition working in collusion with the Clinton campaign and its supporters to generate news reports of decades-old allegations from several women.

….As early as Friday, Mr. Trump is planning to claim that Mr. Slim, as a shareholder of New York Times Co. and donor to the Clinton Foundation, has an interest in helping Hillary Clinton’s campaign, according to a Trump adviser. Attacking the Mexican billionaire would allow Mr. Trump to hit several targets. He could slam the “failing” New York Times, which he says had to be “rescued” by a “foreigner”—Mr. Slim, the adviser said.

Here’s what’s great. There’s hardly one American in a hundred who’s ever heard of Carlos Slim. This makes him a great candidate for a master conspirator, of course, since he’s basically a blank slate. And Mexican too! So Trump can pretty much say anything he wants.

But here’s what’s really worth waiting for: watching all the paid shills on CNN—Scottie, Jeffrey, Katrina, etc.—suddenly start spouting mountains of dirt on Slim. The anchors will all carefully let them have their say, and Trump fans will be listening. Then the Washington Post (or someone) will go out to do yet another “What Trump Supporters Really Think” thumbsucker, and they’ll come back with lots of angry white folks swearing that Carlos Slim runs the Illuminati and the Trilateral Commission.

Jesus. What an election.

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Brand New Mexican/Illuminati Conspiracy Theory Ready for Public Release

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FX Series "Atlanta" Is Like the Black "Master of None"

Mother Jones

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Triple threat Donald Glover—writer, actor, and rapper—can now tuck another feather into his cap, as showrunner of Atlanta, a worthy new series premiering September 6 on FX. The 32-year-old Glover, known for his portrayal of the lovable Troy on Community, opted to leave that series after five seasons to pursue a show of his own. With Atlanta, he looked to his own roots on the periphery of the Atlanta drug scene who attended an elite northeastern college to bring a bit of realism to a fictional story.

Glover, a native of Stone Mountain, Georgia, and a graduate of NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, plays Earn (Ernest), a Princeton dropout and a young dad who is “technically homeless” but at the moment is living with Vanessa (Zazie Beets), his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter. Earn’s job selling travel deals at the airport only pays him on commission, which means his finances are constantly in disarray—at times he gets so desperate he has to borrow $20 just to take Van, whom he’s struggling to win back, to dinner. Discouraged and at his wit’s end, Earn approaches his rapper cousin Alfred (a.k.a. Paper Boi, played by Brian Tyree Henry) whose career is beginning to take off locally, and asks if he can be Alfred’s manager.

As is the case with most dramedies, many of the jokes here aren’t laugh-out-loud funny, even though Glover, during a previous three-year stint as a writer for 30 Rock, gave us many of Tracy Morgan’s absurd lines. Rather, Atlanta has a similar feel to Aziz Ansari’s Netflix hit Master of None. It provides an introspective look into the lives of millennial men navigating work, romance, and their own shortcomings as they become painfully aware of the people they’ve grown up to be.

Glover largely trades in his sillier comedic sensibilities for a more nuanced approach, while bringing much of the same charming awkwardness to Earn that he brought to Troy on Community. As a writer, Glover saves his most humorous lines for Darius (Keith Stanfield), Paper Boi’s hilariously enigmatic right-hand man.

What makes Atlanta particularly unique in the world of half-hour comedies is that fact that all its writers are black, and many are rookies in the writers’ room. “I wanted to show white people, you don’t know everything about black culture,” Glover told Vulture last month. The premise of exploring race in a comedic format is compelling enough, but Atlanta also manages to tackle gun violence, mass incarceration, sexual identity, and authoritarian abuse in the Black community (all within the first four episodes). Glover relies on humor, not preaching, to get his serious points across.

In the debut episode, Earn runs into a (presumably) old friend, a white man around his age. The friend uses the N-word while telling Earn a story about a party he’d attended, but he doesn’t use it when he tells the story to Paper Boi—a discrepancy highlighting flawed notions of whether, when, and with whom it’s appropriate for a white person to use the word.

In another episode, Paper Boi, now a rising star, spots a child playing outside with a toy gun pretending to shoot another child and proclaiming he’s “just like Paper Boi.” The rapper’s efforts to set the kid straight are lost on the child, thwarted by Paper Bio’s public persona. Elsewhere, as Earn awaits bond after being on a weapons charge after pulling a gun from his cousin’s glove compartment, another man in the jail’s holding area (where most are black) runs into his ex, a trans woman, who’s also awaiting bond. In this uncomfortable scene, the other men ridicule the man as a “faggot.” Glover then breaks the tension with humor: “Sexuality is a spectrum,” he stage-whispers to the distraught guy. “You can really do whatever you want.”

But then our attention is then drawn to a mentally unstable man clad in a hospital gown. Earn asks a guard why the man is even there—”He looks like he needs help”—and is told to shut up. Then, after the unhinged man spits some toilet water he’s been drinking on a guard, he is repaid with a beatdown.

Social issues aside, the show gives a dreamlike window into Earn’s personal growth (or lack thereof) and his life, which seems to consist of one obstacle after another. “I just keep losing,” Earn tells a wise stranger on a city bus. Yet if Atlanta maintains its careful balance of laughs and gritty reality, the show could well prove to be a winner.

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FX Series "Atlanta" Is Like the Black "Master of None"

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What Everyone Can Learn from Tiny House Dwellers

For some homeowners, bigger is better. Even as household size shrinks, square footage hasn’t followed suit. The median size of a new single-family home in 2015 was 2,467 square feet up by almost 1,000 square feet compared to homes built just 10 years ago.

But, not everyone has dreams of decorating a second dining room. Plenty of tiny house dwellers are finding that they can live large with less, downsizing to homes that are anywhere from 100-500 square feet. Sure, the financial perks are sizable (69 percent of tiny house people have no mortgage, compared to 29.3 percent of all U.S. homeowners), but there’s plenty more to love about about a smaller space. You don’t need to ditch your home and shack up in a 200-square-foot studio to incorporate some of the lessons of living lightly.

A place for everything.

Think there’s room for a junk draweror a junk closetwhen you’re living in 100 square feet? Keep clutter from piling up by designating a spot for everything in your home. Not only will it make it easier to find things, tidying up will get easier (and faster) when you’re not just moving piles of things next to other piles of things.

Think before you buy.

Once you have a designated spot for everything in your home, bringing in something new becomes a more deliberate decision. Do you like that cookie jar shaped like a dancing rooster enough to make room for it?

One in, one out.

Still undecided about that rooster cookie jar? Or about adding another plain black t-shirt to your overstuffed closet? Try implementing a “one in, one out” rule to help you decide about a purchase. One rooster cookie jar in, an old cookie jar set aside to donate.

Be picky about freebies.

One man’s trash is sometimes another man’s treasure. But sometimes one man’s trash should stay just that. Yes, it’s hard to say no to your aunt’s offer to pass down her wicker basket collection, even if you’ve never had any desire to own a collection of wicker baskets. But tiny house dwellers are great at saying “thank you, but I don’t have room for that” and there’s no reason you can’t say it, either. Tiny home or not, you’re not obligated to take in everyone else’s castoffs.

Master multitasking.

Whether you live in a studio apartment or have a little more space to spread out, you can minimize clutter and maximize space by choosing furniture that multitasks. Swap your dining table chairs for a bench that offers both storage and seating, mount shelving or a small desk to walls to clear floor space or choose a large ottoman that doubles as a coffee table.

Make a list.

Whether you’re stocking your fridge or shopping for furniture or home decor, avoid impulse purchases by writing down just what you need. Fall in love with something on the way to the checkout line? Snap a photo and sleep on it before you buy.

Choose quality over quantity.

In the words of Marie Kondo, tidying expert and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, hold onto the items that spark joy, and donate or throw away the rest. How you interpret the advice is up to you, but if your shelves and closets are packed with items that spark guilt, dread, and dust bunnies, start there.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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What Everyone Can Learn from Tiny House Dwellers

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Aziz Ansari Just Hilariously Burned Television’s Diversity Problem to Stephen Colbert

Mother Jones

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There’s just no stopping Aziz Ansari.

The comedian reached another level of hero status on Tuesday, appearing on the Late Show to promote his brilliant new Netflix series Master of None. Just seconds after settling into his guest seat, Ansari wasted no time calling out Hollywood’s problems with diversity.

“Stephen’s the first late night host from South Carolina and the bajillionth white guy,” he said, responding to Colbert’s comment that the two of them hailed from the same state. “Very interesting measure of progress.”

When Colbert jokingly asked if his spot on the show counted as a show of progress, Ansari replied, “It’s really diverse right now. It’s 50 percent diverse. It’s like an all-time high for CBS.” Colbert couldn’t contain his admiration and shook Ansari’s hand.

The appearance comes on the heels of rave reviews for Ansari’s new show, which explores everything from romance and the first-generation immigrant experience, to the insidious racism still preventing people of color from securing top-billed acting roles.

On Tuesday, viewers also had a chance to hear from Ansari’s real father, who also plays the father of Ansari’s character on the show. After their appearance together, Ansari posted the following Instagram:

My dad took off most of his vacation time for the year to act in Master of None. So I’m really relieved this all worked out. Tonight after we did Colbert together he said: “This is all fun and I liked acting in the show, but I really just did it so I could spend more time with you.” I almost instantly collapsed into tears at the thought of how much this person cares about me and took care of me and gave me everything to give me the amazing life I have. I felt like a total piece of garbage for all the times I haven’t visited my parents and told them I wanted to stay in New York cause I’d get bored in SC. I’m an incredibly lucky person and many of you are as well. Not to beat a dead horse here and sorry if this is cheesy or too sentimental but if your parents are good to you too, just go do something nice for them. I bet they care and love you more than you realize. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the Parents episode of our show. What’s strange is doing that episode and working with my parents has increased the quality of my relationship to my parents IN MY REAL LIFE. In reality, I haven’t always had the best, most open relationship with my parents because we are weirdly closed off emotionally sometimes. But we are getting better. And if you have something like that with your family – I urge you to work at it and get better because these are special people in your life and I get terrified when my dad tells me about friends of his, people close to his age, that are having serious health issues, etc. Enjoy and love these people while you can. Anyway, this show and my experiences with my parents while working on it have been very important in many ways and I thank for you the part you all have played in it.

A photo posted by @azizansari on Nov 11, 2015 at 8:43am PST

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Aziz Ansari Just Hilariously Burned Television’s Diversity Problem to Stephen Colbert

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The Bird and the Bee Finds the Aching Heart Beneath the Glossy Surfaces

Mother Jones

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The Bird and the Bee
Recreational Love
Rostrum

The unlikely but artistically fruitful partnership of Inara George and Greg Kurstin, aka The Bird and the Bee, has flourished for a decade, despite little encouragement from the commercial mainstream. The daughter of the late Little Feat leader Lowell George, she’s a subtly compelling singer who conveys deep feeling with languid poise; her best solo album is a collaboration with art-pop genius Van Dyke Parks. He’s a master of slick pop who’s produced big names like Katy Perry, Charli XCX, and Kelly Clarkson. But for all their polish, The Bird and the Bee has always been about finding the aching heart beneath the glossy surfaces, and this striking fourth album is no exception. While Recreational Love ups the danceablity quotient slightly from previous outings, shimmering songs like “Lovey Dovey” and “Please Take Me Home” are simultaneously exhilarating (for their suave craftsmanship) and heartrending (for their raw emotion), revealing intriguing new elements with each hearing.

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The Bird and the Bee Finds the Aching Heart Beneath the Glossy Surfaces

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