Sunday, April 8, 2012

Links for the week ending 8 April 2012

Sighing heavily. Shaima Alawadi may have been the victim of domestic violence rather than a hate crime. By Kristina Davis for the San Diego Tribune.

This essay by Susan Gardner cuts to the brutal heart of what's at stake about universal health insurance: "Opening Pandora's Box: Why my 22-year-old kid needs Mommy's insurance."
It comes down to this: We either let these children die at birth or we as a society agree to spread the cost among all of us. There really is no other way, no matter what fancy conservative "private solution" claptrap is dressed up and churned out by Heritage next week. No one family and no one individual can possibly shoulder the medical cost of "miracle" lives.

In The Nation, EJ Graff profiles Elizabeth Warren and incumbent Scott Brown in the closely watched MA Senate race. Both candidates are running on their up-from-hardship backgrounds, but their politics couldn't be more different. Plenty of interviews with stereotype-bending MA voters flesh out this piece — and explain why Warren is most certainly not a sure bet: "Elizabeth Warren: Yes She Can?"

California's unincorporated communities are disproportionately populated by the poor and the undocumented — and they often have no access to sewage disposal and other basic municipal services. A report from Bernice Yeung for California Watch.

Another way that pockets of the US look more like developing nations: vaccine refusal rates, and the end of herd immunity. From Juliette K. Tinker at The Scientist.

In Nature, Katherine Harmon looks at the mysteries of Kawasaki Disease. Is it caused by an infectious agent? And is that agent transmitted by, of all things, the wind?

OMG! The Browser linked to a piece by a woman this week! From Walrus, a new-to-me magazine, Rachel Giese looks at medical errors.
“This isn’t an issue of incompetent people making stupid mistakes,” he says. “It’s many average, decent people working in poorly designed systems. Most medical mistakes were accidents waiting to happen.”

At Mother Jones, Julia Whitty describes some of the changes we can expect thanks to climate change and the reduction in the cryosphere, the areas where water is in its frozen state for at least one month out of the year. Yes, this is depressing.

Writer Farai Chideya reflects on what she's learned at midlife: "in the past few years, I've gotten less likely to think I can change my nature and more likely to know I can change my habits."

A deeply troubling and honest piece about transracial adoption by Debra Monroe in Guernica: "But I think of people who can’t immediately say to the officer or clerk: hey, I’m white here."

At Good, Sushma Subramanian and Deborah Jian Lee offer a fascinating and wide-ranging look at a generation of gender-ratio imbalance in Chinese villages: lonely village farmers, trafficked young Vietnamese brides, and the prospect that eventually the market will create "the rich choosing sons and the poor choosing daughters."

In SciAm, Dr. Judy Stone writes about the spread of "conscience clauses" in health care, their conflict with the traditional ethics of the medical profession, and the degree to which increasing numbers of mergers between Catholic hospitals and secular hospitals effectively shut out secular health care options.

Bug Girl presents a nice overview of the recent research on neonicotinoid pesticides and possible links to Colony Collapse Disorder in bees. Seriously, you guys, am I the only person who thinks you should have to get the equivalent of a prescription to buy pesticides for home use?

From last week, when March Madness was still a thing: Ramona Shelburne at ESPN asks why men still freak out when a woman dunks. Indirectly via Aaron Bady at The New Inquiry (his Sunday Reading posts are always worth a look).

Roxanne Gay at The Rumpus finally says what needs saying about women writers, male readers, and gender parity: "This is where we should start focusing this conversation—how men (as readers, critics, and editors) can start to bear the responsibility for becoming better, broader readers.” To quote Hillel ('tis the season for doing so): everything else is commentary.

By Amy Martinez for The Seattle Times: how is trying to strong-arm small publishers into giving exclusive ruinous wholesale discounts in return for carrying their books at all. Sobering look at what near-monopoly engenders.

From the Wall Street Journal, where Julia Angwin leads the byline: what information are Facebook apps selling about you — and your friends?

Laugh-out-loud lines in Kathryn Schultz's NY Mag review of Jeanette Winterson's and Alison Bechdel's new memoirs. "A friend told me that while I was reading Winterson and coming out as a lesbian, he was reading Martin Amis 'and coming out as a pompous dick.'"

Also very funny, especially for the shy, introverted, or insecure among us. (Ahem. A quorum, I do believe.) "The Impossibility of Making New Friends," by Janet Manley in The Bygone Bureau (which I totally found out about through The Awl, yes).

Amanda Shubert writes a wonderful piece in Full Stop about a new biography of Pauline Kael.
We don't talk about Stieglitz's bullying personality, though God knows he had one, or his professional ethics. Why should we? His aesthetic vision and intellectual muscle transformed the landscape of American arts. Few people doubt that Kael's muscle transformed the way we watch movies today, but many are more comfortable with the notion if they can prove Kael was a mean, bad person while she was doing it.

The inimitable Nicole Cliffe at The Hairpin on how becoming a parent was... not an emotionally transformative experience for her.
I love her so much, but I love her like I love my parents, and my husband, and my best friends, and my 15-year-old mixed breed dog. Incredibly! Delightfully! Fiercely! But it's not a whole new feeling. She's like having a really high-needs roommate that you just couldn't picture living without. You know, the kind that would have a chore wheel.

Again via Aaron Bady at The New Inquiry, an essay called, “dear white people, i love you,” by a blogger named samantha.

Teju Cole linked on Twitter to this decades-old essay by Elizabeth Hardwick in the NYRB on Billie Holiday. Such good writing here! If you haven’t read it before, enjoy.

Finally, ask and ye shall receive: The Rejectionist outs herself. Her first book will be out next spring.