Sunday, February 16, 2014

Links for the week ending 16 February 2014

"The gun industry, ALEC, the gun manufacturers, the NRA—they're using this fear to fuel the massive number of firearms. The gun industry is making tons and tons of money off the fear of this nation." From earlier this month, Ta-Nehisi Coates interviews Jordan Davis' mother, Lucia McBath. (Via Colorlines.)

"Black parenting is, in part, about managing daily precarity and about the pain of borrowed time. But it’s also more importantly, I think, about love: the fierce & abiding kind born out of the knowledge that tomorrow is not promised." At her blog, Prison Culture reflects after the mistrial rendered against Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis.

"Even though the kids at Troy Buchanan don’t appear to be traumatized by the drill, many of them have adopted a verbal tic: 'When it happens, I’ll know what to do.' Or, 'When it comes, I won’t be frozen in my tracks.' They seem to have internalized the idea that a school shooting is inevitable—it’s not a question of 'if,' but 'when.'" Nona Willis Aronowitz at NBC News on students participating in an "active shooter" drill in Missouri. (Via Audrey Watters.)

"Jaylianna started screaming almost as soon as she got in. 'She was screaming in the tub like she was hurting. I said: "Oh my gosh, it’s burning her alive," Elswick said. 'She screamed and all around her face and her hair where the water runs down was just big red, thick red marks.'" Suzanne Goldenberg for the Guardian on the consequences of the West Virginia water contamination.

"No one I spoke to — not the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, not academics, not even the refugees — denies that the standard of living here is exceptionally high. When I later listed the amenities to a refugee expert, she replied, 'I’ve never heard of such a thing.'" Mac McClelland at the NYT on a refugee camp set up by the Turkish government for Syrians fleeing across the border.

"Several thousand Haitians still live in (now tattered) tents provided as part of the relief effort." For everyone who still remembers McClelland's searing reportage from Haitian refugee camps after the earthquake, this post from Vijaya Ramachandran at the Center for Global Development is a sobering update. (Via Brian Concannon.)

"Hundreds of Eritrean refugees have been enslaved in torture camps in Sudan and Egypt in the past 10 years, enduring weeks or months of violence and rape and extorted by traffickers often in collusion with state security forces." Harriet Sherwood for the Guardian on a new Human Rights Watch report.

"Five war-on-terror captives locked up inside Guantánamo prison have designed a self-sufficient agricultural business west of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. They envision a community of 200 families, 100 farmhouses, 10 cows, 500 chickens, 50 sheep, a honey bee subsidiary and computer system powered by windmills." Carol Rosenberg at The Miami Herald.

"The CIA drones watching him cannot strike because he’s a U.S. citizen. The Pentagon drones that could are barred from the country where he’s hiding, and the Justice Department has not yet finished building a case against him." Kimberly Dozier for the AP on a case in which the U.S. is not easily able to, you know, execute an American citizen without trial.

"In Sadr City, an impoverished Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, local council head Kamil Khanjar said growing frustration among youth could drive them to take up arms. Car bombs strike at least every 10 days and unemployment is about 25 percent, he said." Loveday Morris at The Washington Post on the escalating, horrifying levels of violence in Iraq.

"Video footage appeared to show the flash and boom of mortar rounds slamming into the ground just metres from the vehicles of an aid convoy. The bombardment destroyed two trucks and killed five civilians who had left their homes to receive food and medical supplies." Ruth Sherlock at The Telegraph on the bombardment of an aid convoy that Geneva peace talks had negotiated for the besieged Syrian city of Homs.

"Now, however, the news that The Hindus has been withdrawn is all over the news and sites where you can download pirated versions of the book are circulating freely. Clearly, it isn’t quite so easy to bury a book, even if it is written by an academic and isn’t a thumping bestseller." Deepanjana Pal at Firstpost on the ironic consequences of Penguin India's decision to withdraw and pulp a book by American academic Wendy Doniger, whose From Jerusalem to Benares is one of the most illuminating books I've ever read. (Via Nilanjana Roy.) For more on Doniger's chief self-appointed opponent, here is Ellen Barry at the NYT.

"Christian Kalin of Henley & Partners, which describes itself as ‘the global leader in residence and citizenship planning’, agrees that the market will grow but sees states becoming more closed, more unequal, and more concerned with restricting people’s movement. ‘Why do we have borders? It’s to keep people where they are,’ he said. ‘It’s like in the Middle Ages, but more sophisticated.’" Atossa Araxia Abrahamian at the London Review of Books on Malta's plan to go into the citizenship business.

"'She was in the grip of something beyond her control, but I would get angry and I would feel shame,' Ms. Hale said. 'My friends would be bragging to me about their kids’ getting accepted to college, and what was I supposed to say? "She only put one needle in her arm today"?'" From Deborah Sontag at the NYT, a wrenching account of one mother's attempts to come to terms with her daughter's death from a heroin overdose. (Via Jim Roberts.)

"Matt Soulier, a juvenile forensic psychiatrist at UC Davis’ MIND Institute, said he sometimes finds himself wishing his patients would break the law. Once they’re in the juvenile justice system, he said, they have much better access to mental health treatments." Jocelyn Wiener and dude Phillip Reese for The Sacramento Bee on California's steep increase in children's mental health hospitalizations.

"One of the first speakers of the morning opened with a booming, Southern, 'Shabbat Shalom, y’all.' An imam spoke eloquently of civil rights. An astute 11-year-old friend observed that when so many religious leaders can agree so much about moral truths, 'The speeches can be much shorter.'" So many great little observations here in Dahlia Lithwick's report for Slate on North Carolina's "Moral Monday" progressive-religious coalition protests in front of the state house. (Via Jody T.)

"To be more specific, we widely accept second-rate care for women when there is a Christian excuse." Jill Filipovic at Al Jazeera America on the acute dangers that Catholic hospitals present to women. (Hat tip to Jill Heather.)

"All of which made the implication from Armstrong that the saving of her life was an extravagant option, an oversize burden on the company bottom line, feel like a cruel violation, no less brutal for the ludicrousness of his contention." If you haven't seen it already, the essay by novelist Deanna Fei, mother of one of the "distressed babies" in AOL CEO Tim Armstrong's infamous benefit-cutting speech. At Slate. Amy Davidson's commentary on the article for The New Yorker is also worth your time.

"You didn’t ask directly about gender, but I’ll answer anyway: I stuck with men for a more personal reason, which is that my experience as a child was with a female alcoholic and the subject was just too painful for me." Interview by Michele Filgate with Olivia Laing on the latter's new book about alcoholic American writers, at BuzzFeed. (Via @_Xtin_)

"This was the post-war cuckoo: a clandestine bird of deception and quiet murder. The enemy within. Knight, naturalist and counter-subversion specialist, was, of course, desperate to own one. An essay at Aeon from last year by Helen Macdonald about a spy, a cuckoo, and the ways in which "our understanding of animals is deeply influenced by the cultures in which we live." (Also via @_Xtin_.)

"Reading Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, you get the feeling at times like you're viewing the whole world from high above, where suddenly the connections between countries and actions, both past and present, are drawn clear as the lines indicating plays on Sportscenter." Mary Mann at Bookslut on one of the great books of the twentieth century.

"Kolbert’s tone, crystalline, reserved, sits like a pane of glass in a darkened window. It could be that dwelling in geologic time, as you must do to write about extinction, is good for perspective but bad for action; the arc of the actual universe is so long it bends toward fatalism." If there's a better book reviewer than Kathryn Schulz working out there, I have yet to hear about her. At Vulture, on Elizabeth Kolbert's new book on extinctions.

"'I told my mom, the way you married my sisters, when they were eleven, twelve, fifteen, please don’t do the same to me.'" Longread by Meera Subramanian at VQR on the people in the trenches working to address India's violent gender inequalities.

"My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden." I missed this the first time around, and it should not be missed: from January at The Toast, by Tasbeeh Herwes.

"Sobriety could be a form of radical resistance to a world that wants us to be too drunk or too high to really feel the pain. What might we call for if we weren’t numbed?" By Jen Manion at the Advocate, a short, sharp, perfect essay on sobriety as queer practice. (Via Virginia C. McGuire.)

"All screwball comedies are, to some degree, female revenge movies, in that one of the genre’s characteristic plots pits a hyperarticulate, slightly hysterical protagonist (not always a woman, sometimes Cary Grant) against a ponderous, unsophisticated male character whose ego is pummeled, punctured, and deflated as a primary source of humor." There is a lot of great stuff here in n+1's "Vengeance Is Hers" series, but I particularly loved Namara Smith's essay about The Lady Eve"

"But Rowling’s announcement has forced us all to take a revising eye to her books—so drastic the change she suggested—and I might as well shake my version out and see if it still fits." For all of you who participated in the great Harry Potter threads of yore, with love: Molly McArdle at The Toast asking, "Where Do Books Go After They End?"

"It is deeply bothersome to us to see women printing money if they don't have enough gold to back it up. It is disturbing to see women acquiring any sort of beauty-value that their bodies and faces can't trade on." Finally, this very smart essay by The Hairpin's endlessly versatile Jia Tolentino on the beauty standard and the gold standard.