You could see the fear in the faces of the families who watched our plane land and those of people in the streets." In a week filled with stories about the 20th anniversary of genocide in Rwanda, this piece from Michelle Shephard at the Toronto Star from the convulsing Central African Republic is deeply sobering.
"'I hid like a chicken with my head under the grass,' she remembers. 'It was important not to see the awful things that were happening. If you can die anytime, it’s better not to see.'" Very moving story by Jina Moore at BuzzFeed about a memorial to Rwanda's dead, and the survivors who maintain it.
"And in an indication of the divisions the blockade and amnesties have sown, one former insurgent said the bombing had been planned by one group of fighters to kill others." Anne Barnard at the NYT with reports of violence in the devastated Syrian city of Homs and elsewhere.
"The Senate report, however, concluded that the Justice Department’s legal analyses were based on flawed information provided by the CIA, which prevented a proper evaluation of the program’s legality." Ali Watkins, dude Jonathan S. Landay, and Marisa Taylor for McClatchy on reputed findings of a still-classified report on the CIA's use of torture. At the Miami Herald. (Via Carol Rosenberg.)
"I look around and there are so few of us here; black people, I mean. And maybe that’s as it should be because this is not our crime even though we were its victims. We already know that our lives matter, that black lives matter. It’s the rest of the world that needs to understand and internalize this truth." @prisonculture writes about a protest against police torture in Chicago.
"This 'border' is not what most people think of as the border. The government's definition of 'border' stretches 100 miles from the actual border." Smart explainer on the Obama administration and deportations, by Dara Lind at Vox. (Via Liliana Segura.)
"During the 2012 presidential election, voters reportedly waited on line for upwards of six hours. That wait alone is enough to deter would-be voters from going to the polls. But now residents in Florida’s most populous county will have another disincentive: they won’t be able to go to the bathroom." Seriously, WHAT? By Nicole Flatow at ThinkProgress. (Via Isabel Wilkerson.)
"Mr. Modi revised his official biography on Wednesday, when he noted on an election registry that he is, in fact, married." At the NYT, Ellen Barry's wry coverage of India's ongoing national elections.
"He hasn’t found a better term that describes what he wants to bring to Vermont: a system where a single entity (the state) pays for everyone’s health care. And he doesn’t care to spend much time thinking up a better description." At Vox, Sarah Kliff profiles Vermont's pursuit of a single-payer health care system.
"Even in America, where Republican governors and members of Congress deny the existence or have rolled back action on climate change, cities are moving ahead." Suzanne Goldenberg at The Guardian on local communities leading the way on climate change.
"'People expect us to do things for the long term,' she explained. 'This is the longest-term focused job that I've had, and yet it's the shortest-term focused budget that I've ever operated under. That makes no sense.'" Kate Sheppard profile Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at the Huffington Post.
"'Who failed Relisha?' said Shannon Smith, the cheerleading coach who looked after her. 'I believe everybody failed that girl. The school, the system, the doctors, the police and everybody else that should have had something to do with her.' Heartbreaking, in-depth story about the disappearance (and presumed murder) of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, by Theresa Vargas, Emma Brown, Lynh Bui, and dude Peter Hermann. At The Washington Post.
"She explained that the voices were telling her not to hurt the man, but he had gotten in the express checkout lane with more than 10 items, and that made her so mad that she couldn’t stop herself." Laura L. Hayes at Slate making the argument that we should be worried not about mental illness and violence but about anger and violence. (Via Jody T.)
"The corn was harvested, and the field was a dirty sort of brown. Deborah Clark would think about that later, how at a different time of year she wouldn’t have seen anything until it was too late." Knock-out work by Monica Hesse and photographer Bonnie Jo Mount, on arson in one rural Virginia county. At The Washington Post. (Via Gwen Ifill.)
"'Are you Cinderella?' I asked, loathing myself for hoping she’d say yes. 'No,' she said, rolling her eyes. 'I’m the prince dancing with Cinderella.'"This essay by Hana Schank at the NYT captures exactly the thought-process behind every minute of parenting children through the fluidity of the preschool years, whatever the issue that one is trying to theorize one's way through!
"What is it that compels one woman to explore the work and personality of another, often with centuries between us—and what are we trying to say?" Thoughtful piece by Diane Mehta at the Paris Review taking recent biographies by Rebecca Mead (on George Eliot) and Jill Lepore (on Jane Franklin) as its topic.
"A picture emerges of a strange and lonely woman, emotionally intelligent yet forever apart from the common human life she observed so keenly." Sarah Goodyear at The Atlantic reviewing the new documentary film about street photographer Vivian Mayer.
"If Maine’s landscape had been more inviting, it might have been turned into endless acres of soybeans or corn – one of Maine’s early, most profitable crops at the turn of the 19th century. 'In a way it’s the poor nature of northern New England which is an enabler for this new agriculture,' said Johnston, the founder of Johnny’s Selected Seeds." At the Portland Press Herald, Meredith Goad and Mary Pohls take a long look at how one state became a regional center of the locavore movement. (Via Michaela Cavallaro.)
"I'm constantly being asked where I 'source' my produce. What does that even mean? I get my vegetables from the exact same place almost every other chef in the city gets them: in a box, off a truck. " Oh, boy, this is gonna be fun. NYC chef Amanda Cohen has a new column in Eater. (Via Martha Bayne.)
"But I understood, because it was clear as day that this was my doing. I had abandoned my block, my home, to the transplants looking for the next cool thing, and because Sapporo East didn’t have my $13 check every two weeks or so they were forced to close." Sweet, tongue-in-cheek essay by Jaya Saxena at Medium about moving on from Manhattan. (Via Nicole Cliffe at The Toast.)
"What would be great, I think, is if I could hire some kind of old-timey town crier to precede me into any room I enter, shouting 'Lesbian coming! Lesbian coming this way!' and possibly ringing some kind of bell." Lindsay King-Miller at Cosmopolitan on the particular invisibility of a femme lesbian.
"It's imperative that we create the art that we want to see in the world, and that we write the future that we want. I mean, being realistic, right? Because you know certain things won't happen — but the first point of writing the future that I want is putting people of color in the damn future." NPR interview by dude Jairo Ramos with poet Kima Jones. (Via Roxanne Gay.)
"'For a minute, I made it popular to be the odd guy out,' Lauper said. 'All of the sudden, the straight guy was the odd guy out, just for a minute—and that, to me, was justice.'" This wasn't the first album I ever bought (right, Thriller), but it was damn close to it: Emma Green at The Atlantic looks back 30 years later at Cyndi Lauper's hit single, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."
Kate Beaton's multi-part comic, "Ducks." So good.
"AMY: CHRIST I’M DROWNING
JO: let me know if you see my manuscript down there"
Mallory Ortberg's Dirtbag series: even better than Texts From? Discuss. At The Toast.
"Puppet-rearing takes our love of captive breeding to the extreme by satisfying two guilt-absolving fantasies at once: it lets us play at being nature’s saviour while also symbolically erasing human beings from the face of the Earth." Finally, a.ma.zing essay by Lizzie Wade at Aeon about raising condors… and being human. (Via Nicole Cliffe.)