My arms still ache from shoveling, so we start the list this week with "Naming Nemo: how The Weather Channel took storm names away from the government." By Adrienne Jeffries at The Verge.
AP West Africa bureau chief Rukimini Callimachi has been filing incredible stories from Mali all week. Here's one of the most powerful. "The love story in this fabled desert outpost began over the phone, when he dialed the wrong number. It nearly ended with the couple's death at the hands of Islamic extremists who considered their romance 'haram" — forbidden."
But this is a close second, on the secret spiriting away of Timbuktu's ancient manuscripts before the Islamist invaders arrived: "'These manuscripts represent who we are… I saved these books in the name of Timbuktu first, because I am from Timbuktu. Then I did it for my country. And also for all of humanity. Because knowledge is for all of humanity.'"
Time's Rania Abouzeid reports from Syria on a coordinated push by rebel factions to take control of Idlib province under the guidance of a Shari'a court led by an organization designated as terrorists by the United States.
"When and on what basis will any of us get a 'so-called' in front of our nationality?" Amy Davidson at The New Yorker makes every word count in this short piece about proposed C.I.A. director John Brennan's appearance before the Senate.
At ProPublica, Nikole Hannah-Jones continues her must-read series on fair housing with a look at the prospects for a Supreme Court decision that might eviscerate the government's ability to show evidence of racial discrimination in renting and lending.
Also at ProPublica, Lois Beckett reports that state Democratic parties are considering their compiled voter data to commercial companies, like retailers and credit card companies. At least, they were until that article came out!
"Once a life is saved, what do you do with it?" At Colorlines, Jamilah King reports from the epicenter of Chicago's gun violence, where no single solution can possibly address the magnitude and urgency of the problem.
"Russia, true to its traditional desire to homogenize and its obsession with unity, is signaling which of its minorities are no longer welcome — ostensibly for the good of the majority." Julia Ioffe at the New Republic on Russia's proposed new law banning "homosexual propaganda among minors."
As immigration reform proposals circulate in Congress, Liz Goodwin at Yahoo! News profiles six immigrants who received green cards under the 1986 amnesty program.
"We are hired as adjunct lecturers and it is important that you remember that." Karen Gregory's syllabus for her labor studies class got coverage in The Billfold this week, but she has a follow-up worth reading on her tumblr.
"A proposal by the Prince George's County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system." Wait. What? Ovetta Wiggins for The Washington Post.
"Rosemary Learns Hearing. Again." Ann Finkbeiner at The Last Word On Nothing with the best closing paragraph you will read all month.
Also at The Last Word On Nothing, Erika Check Hayden on unintentionally "agreeing" to become a research subject — along with her newborn daughter.
"Even in America, where abortion is mostly legal, cases like Halappanavar's are a known reality in Catholic hospitals." Irin Carmon at Salon on the growing number of conflicts between best medical care practices for pregnant women and the clergy-run "ethics committees" who have the power to dictate treatment decisions in Catholic hospitals.
"Theoretically, a person could walk down Twin Oaks’ gravel driveway with nothing but the clothes on her back and, if accepted for membership, end up with a room, three mostly-organic meals a day, and health care." At Cluster Mag, a wonderful profile by Rachel Monroe of Twin Oaks, "the anti-hippie commune" near Charlottesville, Virginia. (Via Logan Sachon at The Billfold.)
"'It's like going into a new venture — flying into the world. That's exactly how I think of getting married,' Bill says. 'It's like two eagles flying into the sky together.'" Your box-of-tissues story of the week, from Ellen McCarthy at The Washington Post: "When Bill met Shelly." (Via Kate Sheppard.)
"Monogamy was hard, and divorce was brutal. Could anyone be blamed for hoping a marriage contract came with a line-item veto?" From D Magazine, Sarah Hepola on the surprises she finds on the dating scene back in her hometown, Dallas. (Via Mike Dang at Branch.com's excellent "What is the best sentence you read all week?")
"I haven't spent my entire feminism waiting to 'stylishly signal' (gross, so gross) that femininity is a construct but also totally cute and young." Sarah Nicole Prickett at VICE.
Excerpt from Jeanne Theoharis' new biography, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks at WomenseNews.
Yeah, yeah, I've already linked to interviews with both Katherine Boo and Ursula LeGuin, but here are new ones, and they haven't run out of insights yet, so. Here's Boo at the NYT on her reading: "But as a child I treasured the idea of this infinitely just place called Idaville." And LeGuin from two weeks ago at The Millions: "The fiction of my time is about dysfunctional American suburban families."
"'I could tell even from the first version that it was a very serious piece of experimental archaeology, which no scholar who was not a hairdresser — in other words, no scholar — would have been able to write.'" This is pretty much the best thing I have ever read, ever. Abigail Pesta at the Wall Street Journal on Janet Stephens, "hairdo archeologist." I sure the hell hope Pesta is readying a New Yorker-length profile on Ms. Stephens, if not a full-scale biography because I WANT TO KNOW HOW SHE GOT TO BE SO AWESOME.
And finally, because my arms still hurt, Amy Jean Porter at The Awl: "Before the Storm."