Sunday, April 28, 2013

Links for the week ending 28 April 2013

National treasure Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald has been covering Guantánamo for a long time now. Read any one of her stories on the growing number of hunger strikers, some of whom are being force-fed, or check the chart that tracks it by day.

"But without running water, a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and some homes lacking electricity, they don’t know when they’ll be able to return to their homes to live." For the Waco Tribune, Kirsten Crow reports on families displaced by the explosion of a fertilizer factory in West, Texas. Jessica Luther of Austinist reports, "In a town of 2800, roughly 8% of the entire population was either injured or killed with 14 people dying (10 of them first responders) and nearly 200 injured." (Second link via Aaron Bady.)

"'The most disturbing thing for me in treating these patients is that they were awake after it happened and looked down and saw these terrible wounds,'" Abby Goodnough reports for The New York Times on the long road to recovery for the most severely injured victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. (Via Jennifer Steinhauer.)

"Death is always unexpected in America and death by a terrorist attack more so than in any other place." At Guernica, Pakistani columnist Rafia Zakaria writes about why terror attacks on the United States command worldwide attention even from places long accustomed to violence. (Via Marian Wang.)

"That economy of disaster, built of paper and tape and shoe leather, now seems of another era." A thoughtful essay by Amanda Katz at The Boston Globe on how the experience of disaster has changed in the nearly 12 years since the twin towers collapsed.

"'When you have level upon level of surveillance of highly vulnerable populations, kids grow up with very strange notions of a free society and a Democratic process,' he says. 'There's a paranoia that's justified, and for many of them, it's the beginning of the American nightmare.'" Jamilah King at The Prospect reporting on the way that the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy has warped the city's culture. (Via Christie Thompson.)

"In several men’s prisons across California, colored signs hang above cell doors: blue for black inmates, white for white, red, green or pink for Hispanic, yellow for everyone else. From earlier this month, Christie Thompson at ProPublica on prisons that color-code — and punish — prisoners by race and ethnicity.

"If you’re a white middle or high school student, and you don’t have a disability, your odds of being suspended from school are one in fourteen. If you’re a black middle or high school student without a disability, your odds are one in four." Chloe Angyal at The Nation on a new study showing the ubiquity of discriminatory punishments in our schools as well as our streets. (Via Audrey Watters.)

"Had American unions secured tangible benefits for the public at large, it’s possible that they would still be a force to reckon with. Instead, the dramatic difference between the job security and livable wages of union members and non-unionized employees is now a significant obstacle to uniting workers in the struggle against punitive austerity measures.. Illuminating essay by Megan Erickson on the recent failure of NYC school bus drivers strike, and the history of how teachers' unions turned their backs on social justice issues that had historically rallied communities to them. (Via Dana Goldstein.)

"'A lot of them are just barely making it," he said. "Transportation is a challenge. Eating is a challenge. For them, coming up with $140 for an assessment, it's basically telling them, "Forget about ever getting this part of your life complete."'" For-profit behemoth Pearson takes over the GED Testing Service, doubles the price of the exam, and eliminates a paper-and-pencil version. Heather Hollingsworth for the AP reports on how states are lining up to abandon the GED exam in consequence. (Via Audrey Watters.)

"When I take a state test, I am not myself. I feel as if I need to do everything the way the state thinks it should be." Incredibly awesome New York 13-year-old makes up her own standardized test to protest standardized tests. By Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post. (Via Janine DeBaise.)

In some states the base salary of restaurant waitstaff remains at the level set by the federal government in 1991: $2.13 per hour. Jeanna Smialek for Bloomberg on new legislation that would raise base salary for tipped employees. (Via Cora Currier.)

The Billfold continues its amazing series of interviews with "A Conversation With a Single Mom Living on $40,000 a Year." Warning: this one is going to make you want to throw things, preferably in the direction of the woman's ex-husband.

"It was time to witness that $5 hot dog being slaughtered for myself." Mac McClelland reports for Modern Farmer on humane slaughtering practices at one of the most progressive small ranches in the country, and asks, "Is It Good Enough?"

Meanwhile, at Grist, cartoonist/reporter Susie Cagle has a multipart series this week about "ag-gag" state laws forbidding undercover investigations of animal welfare and health issues at all stages of meat production.

"'I think if evangelicals weren't driving a lot of the adoption business, there would be no international adoption, period.'" Disturbing longread on adoptions of Liberian children by American evangelical families wedded to an obedience-first model of parenting, by Kathryn Joyce at Mother Jones. Here is also a response to the book by Alisa Harris at Patrol magazine, "No, Kathryn Joyce is Not Attacking Good Christian Parents." (First link via Nicole Cliffe; second link via Ruth Graham.)

"'This is probably the most profound change we've had in drug policy ever.'" Carla K. Johnson for the AP reports on how the Affordable Care Act will put drug addiction treatment within reach for millions of people with drug and alcohol problems — and may overwhelm existing services in the process. (Via Christie Thompson.)

""NPR likes to brag about its 'driveway moments,' when a story is so good you sit in the driveway listening rather than going into the house. Me, I had a 'drive the car into the bushes' moment while listening to the Mantel interview." At VIDA, Lorraine Berry asks around and collects awful questions lobbed at women writers in interviews. But, wow, this conversation between Martha Bayne and Zoe Zolbrod at The Rumpus about Bayne's failed interview with Terry Gross takes the whole question of interviews — and writing personal narratives — to a much more profound level.

Oy gevalt. Peggy Orenstein at The Atlantic on the sexualization of that hoary old board game, Candy Land. (If they find a way to sexualize Sorry, please, don't tell me.) (Via Anne Jefferson.)

"In the entrance hall of a fairly ordinary house in ancient Pompeii, buried beneath layers of later paint, are the faint traces of an intriguing sketch of two men fighting on horseback." So begins Mary Beard's wonderful piece for the NYRB about what little can be actually known about the historical figure of Spartacus.

Randa Jarrar at The Rumpus: "'Have you been to Boston?' my friend J. says. 'Every corner of that place is historically a war zone.'"

Finally, at Aeon, Mary H K Choi: "I love my mom and it's a secret. I love her so much it kills me, and you bet I'd sooner die than tell her. (Via Nicole Cliffe.)"