Sunday, July 27, 2014

Links for the week ending 27 July 2014

This week has vaulted far beyond my limited abilities to keep up with it. I once again recommend that you check out (or, better yet, subscribe to) Torie Rose DeGhett's This Week In War for one-sentence rundowns with links to in-depth coverage from a wide variety of English-language sources.

Anne Barnard and Jodi Rudoren are still reporting from Gaza City and Israel, respectively, for the NYT. From Wednesday, here is their look at the not-my-fault arguments being passed around between Israel and Hamas on the carnage in Gaza.

"As the sun begins to sink over the Mediterranean, groups of Israelis gather each evening on hilltops close to the Gaza border to cheer, whoop and whistle as bombs rain down on people in a hellish warzone a few miles away." From last Sunday, Harriet Sherwood at the Guardian.

"'One night the shell will go a bit further and hit the building where we are sleeping and we will all be dead,' said Aboujad. 'Death finds you anywhere in Gaza, there is nowhere safe.'" Sheera Frenkel at BuzzFeed.

"It is not anti-Semitic to say 'not in my name'." Laurie Penny at the New Statesman.

"Egypt's police are back to the most brutal practices of the Mubarak era, and deaths in custody have surged once again. But this time popular anger is muted, as many swing behind a repressive security state as a bulwark against the chaos and sectarianism that came in Mubarak's wake, particularly after police retreated from the streets. Louisa Loveluck at The Christian Science Monitor.

"Tripoli's main airport, which is the centre of the latest conflict, resembles a scrap yard." Rana Jawad reports from Libya for the BBC.

Hey! What does the city of Detroit (or its hired henchmen) have in common with ISIS in Iraq and Syria? Compare and contrast an op-ed at the Detroit Free Press by Maude Barlow, Lynna Kaucheck, Maureen Taylor, and Melissa Damaschke with an article by Sarah Goodyear at Next City, and decide for yourself.

"But at the moment, for Hala, Sara and hundreds of thousands of men and women in many of the towns and villages that have fallen out of Syrian and Iraqi government control, the ISIL-Qaeda social order is slowly becoming a lived reality." Rania Abouzeid at Al Jazeera America.

"Forty-five-year-old Hayat Mohsen's family of four were gathered for their evening meal when their living room imploded around them, the doors and windows blown in. It's the third time her apartment has been damaged in a blast. She says she can't afford to move." Loveday Morris reports from Iraq for The Washington Post.

"In the capital, another battle is taking place. Weeks earlier, somebody paid to erect 30 mobile campaign billboards for the president’s expected 2015 re-election bid surround the park where the Abuja Family gathers. Two giant screens now flash pro-Jonathan messages, while the president’s face beams down from three hot-air balloons." Monica Mark at the Guardian on the struggle of the families of the abducted girls from Chibok, Nigeria. (Via Rukmini Callimachi.)

And also Monica Mark with the intensely alarming news that "A man has died of ebola in Lagos, the first confirmed case of the highly contagious and deadly virus in Africa's most populous metropolis."

"'There's no one doing research on this. No one's testing what's going on,' she said. 'I'm not against oil and gas drilling. I'm a Republican…I just think you need to do it safely, and you need to know what you're doing, and I don't think either of those things is happening right now.'" Lisa Song reports for Inside Climate News on preliminary research and health care for residents of southwest Pennsylvania's communities affected by fracking.

"But for them — and most farmers around here — the answer is no. They all listen to a local meteorologist named Brian Bledsoe, who calls the phenomenon 'government warming,' and broadcasts his climate change skepticism on the local radio station, through his Web site and on speaking gigs around the region." At The Washington Post, Lydia DePillis reporting from the drought-stricken fields of Colorado.

"The Court ruling also included language that seemed to assert that only wetlands with a 'significant nexus' to traditional navigable waterways would be protected under the Clean Water Act. The Court did not make clear the meaning of the term 'significant nexus.'" Naveena Sadasivam at ProPublica reports on how lobbying and the Supreme Court have hobbled the EPA's ability to fine water polluters.

"While its Colombian operations quickly became a significant revenue stream for the company, security issues and labor disputes have always been substantial obstacles for Drummond’s business. And, according to its workers, intimidation has become routine in a country where trade union leaders are often viewed as subversives." Rosalind Adams reports for The Center for Public Integrity on a lawsuit alleging that a U.S. coal company bankrolls paramilitary violence against labor organizers in Colombia. (Via Lisa Song.)

"Until last year, any 14-, 15-, or 16-year-old accused of murder in Massachusetts was tried as an adult and sentenced as an adult. Seventeen-year-olds were tried and sentenced as adults no matter the charge. Anyone convicted of first-degree murder got life without parole. No exceptions." Beth Schwartzapfel at Boston Magazine on a 50-year-old murderer sentenced to life when he was 17.

"Morris said he is not surprised to hear Khadr is eligible for full parole and could be released this year. 'On some level, you have to say, OK, the kid was 15 and regardless of what he’s become he at least deserves a chance,' Morris said." Michelle Shephard at The Toronto Star on her newspaper's lawsuit against the Canadian government for denying reporters any access to former Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr.

"I think what’s scary about it is thinking about how long does it take for all this change to happen and all the people who get ground up waiting? We are still a work in process. I use process instead of progress because I am not sure about the progress." Damn, this Nikole Hannah-Jones' interview at ProPublica with Rita Bender, who was widowed at 22 when her husband, Michael Schwerner, was murdered at the start of Freedom Summer in Mississippi.

"One after another, white mothers confessed the trouble their children had gotten into. Some of the behavior was similar to JJ’s; some was much worse. Most startling: None of their children had been suspended." Tunette Powell at The Washington Post on racism and preschool discipline. (Via Audrey Watters.)

"Thus, how would he have been 'helped' by this lady if indeed the cop had arrested us? J would have been left alone, needing his pain medicine for his gut and confused and stressed. It would have taken a difficult but stable everyday situation and made it terrible for all parties — and for no reason." Marie Myung-Ok Lee at Salon. (Via @prisonculture.)

"It’s clear that the war on drugs—and the subsequent war on pregnant women of color who have used drugs—is motivated by ideology and profit, not actually care for the wellbeing of mothers and their children." Miriam Zoila PĂ©rez at Colorlines on Tennessee's new punitive law on narcotic use during pregnancy. (Via @prisonculture.)

"The author gives the example of Japan as forefront of this development, because, she says, of 'workforce shortages.' It’s a good example because it really highlights what shortage of humans actually means: a deep hostility to the 'wrong' kind of humans." I don't agree with every single bit of this Zeynep Tufekci essay at Medium — if you've ever been cared for by an abusive human, robot caregivers don't sound like such a bad idea in comparison — but it is, as always, a piece that will ask you to think deeply about labor, culture, and value.

"And then it becomes this question of management. Can I convince this entity to do for me what I want it to do and what the entire company is telling it it should be doing? And so when I see it rebel, or when I personify it in such a way that I perceive its actions as rebellion, it becomes much more so that I perceive an actual relationship with it." Diana Clarke at The Toast with "Tending the Robots: An Interview About Labor, Technology, and Sexuality."

"The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code, primarily written by a company called AddThis, on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites. Most of the code was on websites that use AddThis’ social media sharing tools." Julia Angwin at ProPublica.

"Zoom in on the Mandelbrot set and the same shapes repeat themselves over and over infinitely. This characteristic is known as self-similarity, and it occurs, at least above the molecular scale, many times in nature. Fractal patterns have been found in coastlines, lightning bolts, vegetables, and even the timing of heartbeats." On turbulence and coffee. By Nicole Sharp at Nautilus.

"We are a congregation of two – a tiny fraction of the Muslim Ummah, isolated by a culture of segregation and orthodoxy. We’re the transgender Muslims of Chicago." Fascinating short personal essay by Mahdia Lynn at The Toast.

"'Goodnight nobody' is an author’s inspired moment that is inexplicable and moving and creates an unknown that lingers. How wonderful that this oddly compassionate moment, where even nobody gets a good night, shows up in the picture book that is the most popular!" More like this, please! Aimee Bender in the NYT with an appreciation of one of the small masterworks of literature in English. (Via Vivian Schiller.)