Sunday, March 31, 2013

Links for the week ending 31 March 2013

Maybe you heard that the Supreme Court was hearing the Prop. 8 case this week, but you haven't had time to read official transcripts of the proceedings? Follow along with romance author Courtney Milan's public-service truncated transcript, which she posted to her tumblr: "BREYER: I'm going to ask you an extremely long question riddled with nonspecific nouns, and you're going to have to guess what I mean by it." (Via Irin Carmon, and, eventually, pretty much everyone else I follow.)

At Alternet, Kristen Gwynne reports from the class-action lawsuit against the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices: "Polanco and Serrano testified that supervisors cared more about whether cops met the numbers than whether they met them legally."

"As the video rolled and the armed men came into the camera's view, the color drained from the officers' faces. 'I know who that is,' one of them said. 'That's Jonathan Treviño. The sheriff's son.'" Powerful piece on drug corruption in a Texas border county by Melissa del Bosque for The Texas Observer. (Via Jordan Smith.)

Also in Texas, the Kaufman County district attorney and his wife are assassinated less than two months after the murder of an assistant district attorney. By Tanya Eiserer and Tasha Tsiaperas for The Dallas Morning News. (Via Pamela Colloff)

At Boston Review, a chilling profile by Beth Schwartzapfel of a questionable conviction in an Alabama shooting case that has left a man who is almost certainly innocent in jail for 17 years. "To this day, Jordan is untroubled by his role in convicting Rodney of a crime that another man confessed to."

"That means that there are six times as many prisoners on hunger strikes as there are who have actual charges lodged against them." Amy Davidson at The New Yorker on the growing numbers of hunger-strikers at Guantánamo Bay.

"Directing his remarks to me, he continues, 'You are a woman and you are sitting here with us. As long as you are respectful, there is no problem.'" Rania Abouzeid reports for Time from Raqqa city, where Islamist forces have seized complete control from the forces of Syria's President Assad.

"They headed to the country's biggest paint manufacturer, Seigneurie, which made one paint that they say topped their charts with a lead content of half its weight, 5,500 times the U.S. standard." Rebecca Kessler at Yale Environment 360 on studies finding that U.S. and multinational paint manufacturers still produce leaded paints for developing countries despite decades of consensus about that product's risk to children.

Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing writes a cautionary tale about a perfect (poisonous) potato chip — and the unintended consequences whenever people try to shape our food supply, whether through conventional breeding or genetic modification.

"Caffeine-Addicted Bacteria Die If You Give Them Decaf." Best headline of the week. Article by Martha Harbison for Popular Science. (Via @pourmecoffee.)

Also at Popular Science: "'Everyone wants to be Meow Mix.'" The inimitable Mary Roach reports from the trenches on science's quest to feed your pets while disgusting you as little as possible.

"Intuit has spent about $11.5 million on federal lobbying in the past five years — more than Apple or Amazon." Liz Day reports for ProPublica on why the United States will not be following the lead of European nations in allowing taxpayers to file using returns already filled in based on information the IRS has received from employers and banks.

"From the outside, it is hard to know that people live in the Ramada Inn." Clear-eyed and sympathetic reporting by Monica Potts at The Nation, on Colorado families who lost their homes in the Great Recession and now live precariously in budget hotels. (Via Annie Lowrey.)

"[S]ince 1960, almost everyone in Whittier has lived in the same building — a former army barracks called Begich Towers, built for military families during the cold war." Erin Sheehy writes for n+1 on an Alaskan town that's seeing a boom — in reality show production crews. (Via Dayna Tortorici.)

"Sandberg assumes instead that the feminist question is simply, how can I be a more successful worker?" At Dissent, Kate Losse zings Lean In as "an updated Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism." (Via Atossa Abrahamian.)

"'They suggested that the union certainly would not accept a negro woman. I told them, "You want to bet?"'" At the Guardian, an excerpt from Maya Angelou's new book about her relationship with her "terrible, wonderful mother."

"Why is this thing so valorized?" Nuanced essay on "naturalness" and choosing against motherhood by Urvashi Butalia, the founder of India's first feminist publishing house. (Via Genderlog India.)

"No writing can be any good at all unless people are participating in it together, reading it, and enjoying it, and with any luck quarreling with it and being interested in it and talking about it and making new things about it." Maria Bustillos at The Awl, in a tribute to departing editor Carrie Frye.

"It really came as no surprise to me to learn that at the time she was writing Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh had been a butch known within the lesbian community as Willie." WAIT WHAT YOU GUYS HOW COME YOU NEVER TOLD ME THIS???? Er, I mean, thoughts on the queer subtext of Harriet the Spy by Kathleen T. Horning at The Horn Book. (Via Maud Newton.)

Finally. You have to enable cookies and stuff, but you will not regret it. From last July, an article by Karina Bland at that will single-handedly restore your faith in humanity: "Bikers Against Child Abuse make abuse victims feel safe." (Via Liz Henry.)