Sunday, August 18, 2013

Links for the week ending 18 August 2013

"The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans." Carol D. Leonnig with a companion piece to dude Barton Gellman's latest surveillance bombshell at The Washington Post.

"What, fundamentally, are SWAT teams for?" At The New Yorker, a brief follow-up by Sarah Stillman on one of the issues raised by her piece last week on civil forfeiture. (Hat tip to Jody T.)

"'To say that black people in general are somehow more suspicious-looking, or criminal in appearance, than white people is not a race-neutral explanation for racial disparities in NYPD stops: it is itself a racially biased explanation. This explanation is especially troubling because it echoes the stereotype that black men are more likely to engage in criminal conduct than others.'" Kristen Gwynne at Alternet covers Judge Shira Scheindlin's historic ruling finding that the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy violates the Fourth Amendment.

Egypt goes up in flames. At the Wall Street Journal, Maria Abi-Babib and Leila Elmergawi report on the violence of the government's brutal attack on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood — and the retaliatory attacks by Islamists against Egypt's Coptic Christians.

'If I see you again, I’ll shoot you in the leg,' a police officer told my colleagues, Sharaf al-Hourani and Mansour Mohamed, and me. Security forces on the roof of a nearby building watched us through binoculars. Two helicopters circled overhead. Everything The Washington Post's Abigail Hauslohner has filed from Cairo this week is a must-read.

"'The aid that we give to Egypt is coming back to the U.S. and keeping 30 of my people working,' Baron told me. Specifically, he said, 30 of his 57 employees are working on parts for the M1A1 Abrams tanks that we give to Egypt." From earlier this month, NPR's Julia Simon reports on the closed circle of money-transfers that ensures that the United States will keep sending military hardware like tanks and fighter jets to Egypt.

"But at a time when the Islamic State is undergoing a revival in Iraq, killing more people there than at any time since 2008 and staging a spectacular jailbreak last month that freed hundreds of militants, the push into Syria signifies the transformation of the group into a regional entity." Liz Sly at The Washington Post reporting on how Iraq's Al-Qaeda organization has successfully pushed into northern Syria.

"The first time I dictated a post that mentioned 'Gitmo,' the military’s nickname for Guantánamo, it wrote 'Got Milk.'" The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg is one of the few people whose possession of Google Glass seems to me like an excellent thing.

"Since May, when Mr. Obama said at the White House that sexual offenders in the military ought to be 'prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,' lawyers in dozens of assault cases have argued that Mr. Obama’s words as commander in chief amounted to 'unlawful command influence,' tainting trials and creating unfair circumstances for clients as a result." Jennifer Steinhauer reports for the NYT on This Week In Creative Ways To Avoid Punishing Rapists In The Military.

"Until last week, Norfolk, Virginia police classified sexual assault claims to be 'unfounded' — or not valid — by default." By Rebecca Leber at ThinkProgress. (Hat tip to Jill Heather.)

"Two things happened to me the same month: I was beaten up in front of parliament for the first time and I realised that in all my interactions, including professional ones, I no longer felt I was perceived as a journalist first: I am now a person with a pink triangle." At the Guardian, journalist Masha Gessen explains why she and her family are fleeing Russia.

"I pointed out that he and his boyfriend had been photographed in Afisha’s kaming aut issue and used their full names. That was four months before the law passed, he explained. Since then, 'everyone’s gone savage here.'" Julia Ioffe at the New Republic with "Gay Life in Russia: Eight Horrific Stories."

"That's because, as the group drove through the mountains, they saw black effigies hanging outside service stations." From The Race Card Project at NPR, Michele Norris tells the story of a teenager's journey to The March on Washington in August, 1963.

"A 2007 federal court order required New York to provide inmates with "serious" mental illness more treatment while in solitary. And a follow-up law enacted in 2011 all but bans such inmates from being put there altogether. But something odd has happened: Since protections were first added, the number of inmates diagnosed with severe mental illness has dropped." Christie Thompson reports for ProPublica about the suicide of an inmate in solitary confinement.

"With this in mind, is it fair for Anthony to be denied life-saving treatment because he is a black male and therefore the target of discriminatory discipline policies and a structurally racist criminal justice system?" Rania Khalek on the shocking case of an Atlanta hospital denying a place on the transplant list to a 15-year-old black boy for "non-compliance," a denial since reversed after public outcry.

"By law, Branco should have been notified of the delinquent 26 cents before coverage was terminated, and that didn’t happen, Resnick said. They should have been given an option to pay." On the other hand, what's shocking when you can be denied a transplant over 26¢? By Karin Price Mueller at (Hat tip to Jill Heather.)

"Instead of expressing frustration about their struggles, Silva found, they were adopting an entirely new definition of adulthood in which success was measured not by marriage and homeownership, but by defining and conquering emotional problems, mental illness, family chaos, and addiction." At The Boston Globe, Ruth Graham interviews author Jennifer Silva on her new book on the surprising coping strategies of working-class young adults in an era of inadequate job opportunities and enormous student debt.

"Some opponents of the practice argue that admissions should simply be based on concrete, meritocratic standards. However, as the study reveals, what is considered meritocratic to some may simply be based on what benefits the group with whom they most identify." Rebecca Klein at HuffPo on a study that found that white people changed their mind about the importance of academic achievement on college admissions when they were told that a disproportionate number of Asian-American applicants would be admitted on that basis.

"Richard Beasley had believed that no one would come looking for the divorced, unsettled, middle-aged men he was targeting. But he should have known better." I am more than a bit dubious about the whole end of men thing, but this story in The Atlantic by Hanna Rosin about a serial killer preying on vulnerable older white men is striking nonetheless for what it reveals about changing blue-collar life.

"Boys, on average, spend two fewer hours doing household chores per week than girls do (they play two hours more). And if they live in households where children are compensated for doing chores, boys make and save more money." Soraya Chemaly at Salon on the "wage gap" that starts in early childhood.

"From accusations of plagiarism and erasure to the current controversy surrounding disgraced male feminist Hugo Schwyzer (in which he openly admitted to using his relationships with white feminist bloggers to harass and silence women of color), the feud between female bloggers of color and their high-profile white counterparts has enough drama and intrigue to fill the first seasons of a reality show. And while the takedowns make for great entertainment, the pain behind them is palpable." At Salon, Jamie Nesbitt Golden writes about #solidarityisforwhitewomen.

"Our equity does not lie in a 'colourless' (which really means 'white') society. It doesn’t lie in a few people achieving a great deal, in the hopes that their success will trickle down. It lies in the same solutions that will work to address all oppression." Jessie-Lane Metz at The Toast, "On Oprah and Transcending Race."

"Running in the '90 years and over' category of the women’s 100 metres, Mitsu Morita of Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture smashed the previous Japanese record of 50.9 seconds by completing the race in an incredible 23.8 seconds!!" By Cara Glegg at RocketNews24. Now we all have somebody we can want to be when we grow up. (Via @pourmecoffee.)

"The olinguito is the first mammalian carnivore species to be newly identified in the Americas in 35 years, according to Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. New mammal! Ladies, start your gif-engines! (Hat tip to Jill Heather.)

I have loved pretty much every one of Mallory Ortberg's Texts From series, but this one is sublime.
A narrow Fellow in the Grass
Occasionally rides –-

do you mean Harris?
the caretaker?

"Lane, and to an extent her mother, were affronted by taxes, the New Deal, and what they saw as Americans’ growing reliance on Washington. Eventually, as Lane became increasingly antigovernment, she would pursue her politics more openly, writing a strident political treatise and playing an important if little-known role inspiring the movement that eventually coalesced into the Libertarian Party" Do not miss Christine Woodside's fascinating essay at The Boston Globe on the Libertarian roots of Little House on the Prairie.

Need a book or two to finish out the month? Vela magazine presents The Unlisted List — more creative nonfiction by women than you could work your way through in a decade. Or a lifetime.

"As ambulances and police cars came screaming up the hill, past the demolition derby of wrecked cars to where Georgia and Patterson sobbed in the grand arched entryway to their palace, it was just another day at the Inmans', home to the poorest rich kids in the world." Finally, for anyone who consoled their own childhood miseries with a well-thumbed copy of Little Gloria… Happy At Last, here is Sabrina Rubin Erdely's masterful longread about the traumas and abuse visited upon the last living heirs to the Duke fortune.