Sunday, September 14, 2014

Links for the week ending 14 September 2014

"These old men, their eyes clouded by cataracts and their ears hacked by machete blades, sit on dirty straw mats at a church and gather the names of the dead from broken survivors. They write each name carefully in Arabic with faded blue ink on lined paper, neatly folded and stored in the pocket of one man's tattered kaftan. The list is four pages long." Incredible writing and reporting from the AP's Krista Larson in the Central African Republic.

"The only government forces with the resources to react, it seems, are the police. A body may wait for days before a lab worker or ambulance shows up, but when neighbors protest the wait by blocking traffic in the streets, police in riot gear respond within the hour." Jina Moore for BuzzFeed, continuing to report from the front lines of the Ebola catastrophe in Liberia.

"But after hours upon hours of scrolling through the documents, it became clear that the ISIS laptop contains more than the typical propaganda and instruction manuals used by jihadists. The documents also suggest that the laptop's owner was teaching himself about the use of biological weaponry, in preparation for a potential attack that would have shocked the world." Dude Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa for Foreign Policy.

"But the aftermath is far from what the Americans envisioned. Smoke now rises from those Sunni villages, where some houses have been torched by Shi'ite militia. Others are abandoned, the walls daubed with sectarian slogans." Isabel Coles for Reuters. (Via Torie Rose DeGhett.)

"In common with their fear of the Islamic State, however, the region’s leaders also share a deep mistrust of the Obama administration, rooted in the past three years of increasing disengagement from the Middle East as the United States has sought to distance itself from the turmoil engendered by the Arab Spring revolts." Liz Sly for The Washington Post.

"Essentially, the administration is arguing that the 2001 AUMF authorizes the president to go to war against any organization that ever temporarily worked with al-Qaeda, even if the group in question didn't actually exist in 2001, and even if any subsequent collaboration has turned to enmity by the time the US takes military action." Amanda Taub at Vox.

"A law like this one also makes it easier to deport people legally living in the U.K. on tenuous grounds, and opens up the possibility of McCarthy-style witch hunts against people of Middle Eastern or African descent." Atossa Araxia Abrahamian at Medium.

"Some people told the Council of what they called routine mistreatment by the police and indifference from city officials. Debora Young of Ferguson said that when she called the police last year to report that her car was stolen, 'they came and locked me up.'" Julie Bosman for the NYT.

Elsewhere in Missouri Goddam: "In other words, the Wielands are asking the federal government to enforce their parental guidelines on their daughters. It may sound outlandish, but plenty of people thought Hobby Lobby and related cases were outlandish when they were filed, too." Irin Carmon at MSNBC. And "Backers say the law is needed to protect gun rights, and to prevent frivolous arrests of people carrying firearms. Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, recommended that all Missourians be armed. 'We live in a world that's evil, that wants to harm each and every one,' he said." Jo Mannies for St. Louis Public Radio. (Via Sarah Goodyear.)

"With more information, Watts decided that focusing on access to guns, not types of guns, was a smarter approach. She came to the same conclusion that other gun control groups had reached even before the Sandy Hook shootings: 'Ultimately,' she said, 'what's going to save the most lives are background checks.'" Lois Beckett at ProPublica on the death of a push to ban assault weapons.

"This year’s high school seniors, born in 1998 or 1997 or maybe 1996, have lived their entire lives in the aftermath of that burst bubble in a world with few illusions about what their mere presence in school might protect them from. The kids just starting kindergarten, I suspect, will have even fewer." Rachel Maddux at Matter on growing up in the era of the active shooter.

"Holtzclaw’s 'mistake' — the slip-up that prosecutors said landed him in orange jail scrubs in an unremarkable fluorescent-lit courtroom on Wednesday — was believing J.L. was similar to his other alleged victims: all black middle-aged women, but women of a lower social status and with reason to fear the authorities." Jessica Testa at BuzzFeed.

"In a state where hundreds of roadless communities are scattered across hundreds of thousands of miles, and where the storied rates of violence against women can hit 100 percent in some villages, silence is the norm, and violence is almost expected." Sara Bernard at The Atlantic on Alaskan rape culture.

"The arrangement is so common there's a slang term for it—'cuerpomátic,' or 'cuerpomático' (an apparent wordplay on Credomatic, a Central American credit-card processing firm), which means to use one's body — or cuerpo — as a source of currency." Deborah Bonello and Erin Siegal McIntyre for Fusion on high rates of sexual assault against migrant girls and women. (Via Sheera Frenkel.)

"From that moment, Jackie knew that she was entirely on her own, that she had no home, no money and no family who would help her – and that this was the terrible price she'd pay for being a lesbian." Hard-hitting and heartbreaking, Alex Morris' longread at Rolling Stone on the kids for whom it's not getting better: LGBTQ teens from religious families.

"The only thing that binds the bacha posh girls together is their families’ need for a son in a society that undervalues daughters and demands sons at almost any cost. They disguised their girls as boys because the family needed another income through a child who worked and girls aren’t allowed to, because the road to school was dangerous and a boy’s disguise provided some safety, or because the family lacked sons and needed to present as a complete family to the village." Jenny Nordberg at The Atlantic on "The Afghan Girls Who Live as Boys."

"'But what I hear in the street is, "He’s a liar. We elected him, and he’s given us nothing but deportations,"' he said. 'There’s going to be a lot of activists—the next generation of leaders of the Latino community—who are never going to forget that Democrats found them inconvenient.'" Molly Ball at The Atlantic on the deep disillusionment of immigration reformers.

"There has been little public outrage over the case involving McDonald, who is 6 feet 3 and 290 pounds. McDonald was arrested at his San Jose, Calif., home Aug. 31, and the police said there were visible injuries on his pregnant wife." Karen Crouse at the NYT on the only way that Ray Rice is an outlier in professional sports.

"The air bag explosion sent a two-inch piece of shrapnel flying. When highway troopers found Ms. Griffin, then 26, with blood gushing from a gash in her neck, they were baffled by the extent of her injuries." Oh hey great. Hiroko Tabuchi for the NYT on the slim but existent possibility that your car's air bag will explode.

"If your goal is to be happy, the next time you’re not happy, you’ll feel like you failed. Emotional life doesn’t work that way. There are inevitably things that are going to make us unhappy, and that’s not pathology or failure when you feel that way." Olga Khazan interviews Julie Norem at The Atlantic on "defensive pessimism" FTW.

"The multiverse ennui can’t last forever." Defensive pessimism in action? Natalie Wochover at Quanta Magazine on the possible failure of supersymmetry theory, and the search for a new model.

" His experiment, which other scientists say is unprecedented in scale, seeks to gain insight into a question that has long bedeviled biologists: If we could start the world over again, would life evolve the same way?" Emily Singer, also at Quanta Magazine.

"I picked up stones and put them down again, and still not knowing how to talk to men, I informed him that as a kid, I’d named rocks, invented complicated societies and biographies for them. It had seemed as plausible as giving life to a doll, and more readily available." Erica Watson at Vela, with "The Postcard Days."

"Paternalism has fallen out of favor in medicine, just as the approach to fathering that depends on absolute authority no longer dominates parenting. But how we should care for other people remains a question." Spoiler: doctors' children have a complicated relationship with medical care. Eula Biss at Guernica.

"Dancer Bettijane Sills remembered a lobby the size of Grand Central Station, with elevators that could move cattle. One of the middle floors was inaccessible from the elevator, and the dancers surmised it to be the location of the hotel’s listening equipment." Portrait of a vanished era: Rachel Marcy at The Appendix with a history of the New York City Ballet's 1962 tour of the Soviet Union. (Via Nicole Cliffe's daily links at The Toast.)

"Feminists control everything. This just proves that we need a by-men-for-men Patty Cake community. We need to insulate ourselves against feminist lies…about Patty Cake." Finally, Jaya Saxena at The Toast with "I'm A Gamer."