Weekend Reading

Ahoy, readers, weekend reading is back! In case you forgot, this blog comes with a complimentary, almost-weekly collection of whatever-the-hell links I think are worth a glance. Some of these are from a while ago, but you can forgive me since I haven’t done this in ten weeks, can’t you?

When I started interviewing women lawmakers, they all—Republican and Democrat, House and Senate, rural and urban—said that being a woman in the statehouse is more difficult than being a man. Some told of senators ogling women on the Senate floor or watching porn on iPads and on state-owned computers, of legislators hitting on female staffers or using them to help them meet women, and of hundreds of little comments in public and private that women had to brush off to go about their day. Some said they often felt marginalized and not listened to—that the sexism in the Legislature made their jobs harder and, at times, produced public policy hostile to women.

Yet, despite their strong feelings, women in the Capitol rarely talk about, except in the most private discussions, the misogyny they see all the time. It’s just the way the Legislature has always been.

It wasn’t just that the Knoxville city government’s push to green the city was impressive, though it was: over the past seven years, Knoxville has reduced the city government carbon footprint by 17 percent, multiplied its solar capacity by 133 times, saved millions per year through an energy efficiency push, and (by one metric) become the fastest-growing metro area for green jobs in the country. And they’re just getting started, with plans to tackle big remaining sources of emissions like urban sprawl and agriculture.

But beyond the concrete policy successes, there’s a deeper, human story about how a town where climate change, formerly a four-letter phrase in this right-leaning region, grew into a watchword. It’s the story of how a twice-arrested labor organizer who made fighting climate change part of her Mayoral platform was given the power to do just that by the silver-spoon oilman that beat her. It’s the story of how a polymath political science professor happened upon a young environmentalist halfway across the country who turned out to be just the person to make Knoxville’s buildings efficient and its power clean. It’s the story of how a city bureaucrat whose project was falling apart got a second chance, and how she used it to cement Knoxville’s green momentum.

TFA is a self-perpetuating organization. Teach for two years, burn out, go to law school, become a policy maker, make policies that expand TFA.

The increase in Chicago TFA  recruits on the heels of a mass firing is bad optics for TFA, as the organization is well known for its effective marketing team (who have had way more than five weeks of training).

TFA must have taken Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s advice and didn’t let the layoff crisis “go to waste.” With activists and media focusing on school closings and mass firings, TFA could quietly come in and increase its market share in Chicago’s schools.

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