"Nearly 40 percent of all workers in the country made less than $20,000 last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration, which doesn’t include figures on benefits such as health insurance or pensions." Bryce Covert at Think Progress.
"Now that the average amount per person has dropped from $1.50 to $1.40 per meal, it will be even harder for families to stretch their food budget to the end of the month." Elizabeth Weinstein at the Huffington Post with some hard truths about food stamps. (Via Elizabeth Lower-Basch.)
"I wish they would be more considerate of what we’re doing with the pay rate. They’re a little cheap: 31 cents for a carton of grapes. I would like another two or three cents a carton, because it’s really hard and heavy work." Undocumented farm worker Odilia Chavez talks to Lauren Smiley at Modern Farmer. (Via Nicole Cliffe at The Toast.)
"The gang’s embrace of the bulldog logo has put university administrators in an excruciatingly awkward position amid a gang crisis that has claimed hundreds of lives." At the NYT, Malia Wollan writes about the Fresno State mascot's second life as a gang logo. (Via Lois Beckett.)
"Eight out of 10 misdemeanor cases have been dismissed between 2006 and 2012, shows a Chicago Reporter analysis of records for 1.4 million cases maintained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts." Angela Caputo at The Chicago Reporter on the results of Chicago's version of stop-and-frisk. (Via Christie Thompson.)
"She’s doing paperwork — denying a pile of requests from her physicians for additional care for their patients. The requests are appropriate, she says, but the hospital just doesn’t have the money to pay for the care. 'If someone shows up with a torn ACL, we can’t afford to fix it,' she says. 'He will walk with a limp.'" At Stanford Medicine Magazine, Tracie White reports on the state of health care at Rosebud Indian Reservation. (I cannot remember where I found the link to this, but if it was you, thank you!)
"Why would she be preoccupied with a button while the other people in the photograph were terrified of being killed? Why was the button undone to begin with?" At Bag News, Valerie Wieskamp interrogates one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War — a photo of a group of women and children just before they were massacred at My Lai — for what it says about rape and sexual assault during the war. (Via Marian Wang.)
"Her medical records were so damaging to her case that any rational plaintiff’s lawyer would have been begging for a settlement once they came to light. But Jones’s lawyers had attacked KBR relentlessly in the media for four years, and the company wasn’t about to settle before airing its side. In the end, KBR made sure Jones got her day in court. " At The Washington Monthly, Stephanie Mencimer takes a second, devastating look at a widely reported Iraq-contractor rape case. (Via Pamela Colloff.)
"Things that men were placed into isolation for: gang activity, sharing a cell with a gang member during a previous incarceration, depression, psychosis, throwing feces, fighting off attackers, complaining about the food, schizophrenia, suicide attempts, threats of violence, listlessness, and gang activity by relatives with whom they had no contact." Erika Price is amazing again, this time on a solitary confinement prison operated until last year by the state of Illinois. At The Toast.
"He'd endured awfulness that no child should. But despite that, and because of it, it was naïve to think he had emerged unscathed. But this case wasn't really about who to blame. It was about what to do. What to do with Joseph. " Deeply disturbing piece about the ten-year-old boy who shot and killed his neo-Nazi father. By Amy Wallace at GQ.
"In the years following the war, Stieve would claim that he dissected the corpses of only dangerous criminals.' But on that day, Pommer saw in his laboratory the bodies of political dissidents. She recognized these people. She knew them." From Emily Bazelon at Slate, a long piece about the shocking Nazi origins of the Republican claim that women can't get pregnant from rape.
"Key members of the US House of Representatives are calling for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to justify every grant it awards as being in the 'national interest'. Sarah Zhang at Nature.
"Extrapolating from 34 months of Kepler observations, Petigura and colleagues found that 22 percent of 50 billion sun-like stars in the galaxy should have planets roughly the size of Earth suitably positioned for water." Hooray! There are more planets we can fuck up when we're through with this one (or it's through with us). By Irene Klotz for Reuters.
"Quilting. In space. Could the manly test pilots of the 1950s have imagined such a future? But there she is, blonde and Minnesotan and explaining how she manipulated fabric in zero gravity." Helen Fields writes about astronaut Karen Nyberg, who returns to earth from the ISS today, at The Last Word On Nothing.
"Finally, on a spring day a decade and a half after the seven friends bought the land, my husband, our infant daughter and I found ourselves the only permanent residents of the entire 80 acres, living in what suddenly felt like a gatehouse to nowhere." Michelle Nijhuis at Aeon on how she first embraced and ultimately rejected homesteading off the grid in Colorado.
"I like the term “people with print disabilities,” which encompasses people with visual impairments as well as people with a wide range of cognitive processing issues—various learning disabilities—that affect the ability to process standard print material. The term forces us to think of print as the problem, rather than looking at the individual human being and his or her individual sensory and cognitive apparatus. Fascinating interview with Georgina Kleege by Sara Hendren at The Atlantic on assistive technologies for the visually impaired. (Via Rebecca Rosen.)
"I remember looking at the rattled expressions on the customs officials' faces as a constant stream of Zorn's musicians came through customs all wearing bright red RHYTHM AND JEWS! T-shirts." Laurie Anderson at Rolling Stone on her more than two decades together with the late Lou Reed. (Via Maud Newton.)
"Joni is 70, which means we only have at least 50-60 more years with her." For Janine (and everyone else!), Nicole Cliffe at The Toast has links and videos on the occasion of Joni Mitchell's birthday.
"Things are changing so fast that in some places, transformation is evident even during the relatively short time period of high school matriculation." From Marie Lyn Bernard at Autostraddle, your weekly dose of hope with a roundup of LGBT homecoming queens and kings around the nation.
"When I first traveled to Rio de Janeiro to research all things Elizabeth Bishop, in 2002, I did not understand how or why everyone—from university professors to taxi drivers, artisans, artists, and entrepreneurs—had something to say about a poeta norteamericana." Mostly I am including this Paris Review piece by Magdalena Edwards so that one of you nice people will alert me when this movie arrives on Netflix or Amazon Prime or iTunes or wherever it is Kids These Days watch movies when not in NYC or LA, god knows I have no idea about such things!
"Q: How many male novelists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: ”It’s only the institution I have a problem with,” he explained to the empty bar." Mallory Ortberg at The Toast.
"I am convinced that steadily attending to an idea is the core of intellectual labor, and that steadily attending to people is the core of kindness. And I gravely worry that Twitter undermines that capacity for sustained attention." Finally, Kathryn Schulz at NYMag, being very smart about the allure and diminishing rewards of Twitter.