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Welcome to this week’s show!
We had a deep freeze here in Williamstown last week–that stretch of days every winter where the temp gets so low it’ll freeze the pipes in your house and the hair on your head if you take a shower and go outside without a proper toweling-off.
In the spirit of staying warm–at least figuratively–we’re going to start posting listeners’ pet pics each week. During the show, we’ll name-check your dog, cat, bird, fish, snake, llama, etc. If you send us a caption along with your pic, we’ll also read it live on the air.
Since this is the first week we’re doing this, we’re going to kick things off with some pet pics of our own at the end of the show notes.
–Jay and Steve
P.S. We want to hear from you! Listeners can participate live during the show using the chat box on our show page at Radio Free Berkshires or message us on Twitter @RadioFreeBerks.
LIGHT (OR NOT)
- An animal rescue center in the UK has started reading to traumatized animals as part of its rehabilitation efforts. It makes us wonder what’s on the reading list. “The Pet Goat,” perhaps?
- Did you know that naked mole rats are quite vocal, chirping, squeaking, twittering, and grunting to one another? A neurobiologist in Germany has discovered that rats from each colony speak in distinctive accents in order to identify outsiders. Twittering is one thing, but what we’d really like to know is whether naked mole rats are tweeting to each other.
- We’re not big fans of the Lincoln Project, but their attorneys on Saturday made public a scathing letter threatening Rudy Giuliani with a defamation lawsuit. As Felix Salmon noted on Twitter, most lawyers can only dream of penning a “Fuck You” letter like this even once in their careers.
- Using documents obtained via FOIA requests, WAMC’s Josh Landes last month revealed that the city of Pittsfield was working on a plan to kick unhoused people out of a public park where they’d taken refuge from the city’s unsafe shelters.
- WAMC’s Landes also reports that two Williamstown employees resigned in the wake of a racist incident at Mt. Greylock regional high school earlier in January. In this same piece, Landes provides an update on the reckoning that’s underway within the scandal-plagued Williamstown Police Department.
- In the “Weekender” edition of the Berkshire Eagle from Saturday, January 30, the editorial board forcefully calls for the resignation of Gus Bickford, chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic party and for the Mass Dems to finally address the corruption at the top of the organization. For background, including the homophobic smear campaign that party leaders abetted against Alex Morse during the 2020 primary race in the 1st Congressional district, check out Eoin Higgins’ and Ryan Grim’s reporting and at the Intercept, including this update in the wake of the Democratic State Committee meeting on Thursday, January 28.
- Massachusetts restaurants are now operating under Phase III COVID safety protocols. Even though there is overwhelming evidence that one of the major vectors is aerosolized particles that can stay in the air for hours, the Bay State only offers this advice on that score: “Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible.” And who opens the windows and doors in the middle of a New England winter? Maybe we should take a page from Japan, whose “3 Cs” public information campaign helped limit total cases to around 390,000 and total deaths to 5,722 as of February 1. Japan, BTW, has a total population of around 125,000,000 people, about 40% the size of the US’s.
- Kamala Harris has https://www.youtube.com/embed/_i4Q0U5hsTo?html5=1 against West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin over the stalled COVID stimulus checks that won the Senate for the Democrats. Harris gave an exclusive interview to West Virginia TV station WSAZ on January 28. Joe Manchin seemed to be genuinely pissed off that Harris had dared to give an interview in what he apparently views as his own personal fiefdom. But get this: Harris didn’t mention Manchin by name at any point during her interview.
OUR GUEST THIS WEEK
- Our guest this week is Yasmin Nair, a writer, activist, academic, and commentator who has recently made a large archive of her journalism and commentary available at YasminNair.com. Her work has appeared in publications like the Baffler, In These Times, Vox, and Electronic Intifada, as well as in several anthologies including Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex; False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Queer and Trans Migrations: Dynamics of Detention, Deportation, and Illegalization. A Manifesto, a good representation of Nair’s work, has been published by the Evergreen Review and is available for free right now at evergreen.com.
WHO WE’RE READING AND LISTENING TO THIS WEEK
- Executive editor of the Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford, has penned a must-read essay explaining how the latest call from corporatist Democrats for the censorship and deplatforming of their opponents represents a fundamental threat to freedom of speech in the US.
Shoshana Zuboff, professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, and author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” provides a stark warning in the New York Times about the perils of ignoring the information takeover happening all around us in “The Coup We Are Not Talking About.”
“We can have democracy, or we can have a surveillance society, but we cannot have both.”
Tab Hunter relishing the pork dumplings he ate off the counter last night when I was asleep.
TLC Episode 99