Sunday, September 28, 2014

Links for the week ending 28 September 2014

"If the survivors’ accounts are correct, it would make Sunday the most disastrous day for the Iraqi army since several divisions collapsed in the wake of the Islamic State’s capture of the northern city of Mosul amid its cross-country sweep in June." Loveday Morris at The Washington Post.

"It is not clear whether the incomplete border crackdown has halted the flow of fighters flocking to Isis and other armed opposition groups. But it has certainly made things much more difficult for civilians trying to flee the relentless violence in Syria. Constanze Letsch at the Guardian.

"“The way the wars of our time are fought, as punishing, sustained attacks on neighbourhoods, towns, cities, means assaults on families and childhood,” Doucet says. “Most places I cover young children are everywhere, in Gaza they are pouring out of every crevice.”" At the Guardian, Maggie Brown talks to the BBC's Middle East correspondent Lyse Doucet.

"Children are killed often enough in Gaza that there is an established protocol to mark their absence at schools. Usually, says Marzouk, students make a sign with the name of the dead student and place it on the desk where they used to sit, which is left empty." Laura Dean at Global Post. (Via Louisa Loveluck.)

"It is not focused on the kind of 'culture war' issues that might characterize a sectarian conflict, but rather seeks to achieve several genuinely popular reforms sidelined by the transitional government. That it was accomplished at the point of a gun speaks as much to the failures of the transitional framework as to Houthi ideology." Know a lot more than you did about what's happening in Yemen, courtesy of Stacey Philbrick Yadav at The Washington Post. (Via Michelle Shephard.)

Know a lot more about conflict around the world courtesy of Torie Rose DeGhett's This Week In War.

"As the Editors Guild of India complained in a letter published Tuesday, much of the bureaucracy has gone silent, and journalists have found themselves scrambling to get even basic information from the prime minister’s office, which has yet to appoint a contact person for the news media." Ellen Barry at the NYT on India under Modi.

"Whalen’s case is the only prosecution I could find involving a pregnancy in the first trimester, the early stage at which at least 88 percent of abortions in the United States take place. But it may not be the last. What Whalen did in trying to help her daughter — order pills online — is probably an increasingly common response to the rising wave of abortion restrictions that has rolled across the states in the last four years. " Emily Bazelon at the NYT on the Pennsylvania woman sentenced to jail time for obtaining abortion pills over the internet for her pregnant teenage daughter.

"But the footage shows definitively that Crawford wasn't brandishing the toy gun when he was shot — and that he dropped it, ran, and came back before he died." Dara Lind and dude German Lopez at Vox.

" 'At one point I asked one of the cops, when did people stop being human to you. He said "when they got locked up." Not when they committed a crime, not when they were convicted of a crime. When they got locked up.'" Emanuele Berry reporting from Ferguson for St. Louis Public Radio.

"'Nobody’s been surprised,' at Gonzalez's case, he said. 'What they’re really surprised is he got to the front door because we’re all security experts. We know there are a lot of veterans who are extremely ill and are severely injured and feel lost.'" Katie Zezima at The Washington Post.

"Where is the President, senator, or governor who feels not just disappointment but a desperate failure to connect when encountering young (or old) people who want to know why more isn’t being done about climate change? Which ones, looking at the pictures of the crowds in Manhattan on Sunday, will feel lonely?" Amy Davidson at The New Yorker.

"According to new research by scientists at two British universities, China’s CO2 emissions in 2013 reached 7.2 tons per capita—topping, for the first time, the EU’s per capita emissions of 6.8 tons. Meanwhile, Americans were responsible for 16.4 tons of CO2 per capita. And India lagged far behind, at 1.9 tons per capita." Christina Larson at Business Week. (Via Kate Sheppard.)

"It will ban commercial fishing and deep sea mining in about 490,000 square miles around remote tropical atolls and islands in the south-central Pacific Ocean, a White House fact sheet said." Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian on President Obama's enlarging of what will be the world's biggest marine reserve.

"If the surgery had been for a Medicare patient, the assistant would have been permitted to bill only 16 percent of the primary surgeon’s fee. With current Medicare rates, that would have been about $800, less than 1 percent of what Dr. Mu was paid." First, do no harm… except to the national pocketbook, which is there to be plundered, amirite? Elisabeth Rosenthal for the NYT.

"Many geriatric experts say that if the wasteful medical spending on this stage of life could be redirected, it could pay for all the social supports and services actually needed by today’s fragile elders and their families. Instead, public money has been shuffled in the same system, benefiting health care businesses but not necessarily patients." Nina Bernstein at the NYT. Seriously, burn the health care system to the ground.

"Many of the people living with HIV/AIDS in the South are desperately poor. Many live in rural areas miles from a clinic — and they don’t have access to a car. Others have no running water, or even homes. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last year found that more than 40 percent of those infected have an annual household income of $10,000 or less." Teresa Wiltz for The Washington Post.

"Should that child get in trouble, the principal may rely on discipline software to dole out her punishment. Some software advertises that it can save time by automating discipline consequences." Adriene Hill on data mining children at school. From two weeks ago at Marketplace. (Via Audrey Watters.)

"Students’ labor – students’ test results, students’ content, students’ data – feeds the measurements used to reward or punish teachers. Students’ labor feeds the algorithms – algorithms that further this larger narrative about teacher inadequacies, sure, and that serve to financially benefit technology, testing, and textbook companies, the makers of today’s 'teaching machines.'" Audrey Watters' excellent review of Dana Goldstein's new book. At Hack Education.

"In the 2012-2013 school year, there were 1,258,182 homeless students, according to newly released data from the National Center for Homeless Education." Bryce Covert at ThinkProgress.

"Some borrowers say their cars were disabled when they were only a few days behind on their payments, leaving them stranded in dangerous neighborhoods. Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights." Dude Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg at the NYT.

"One Midwestern rabbi in the Conservative movement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is raising money from Jewish donors, said he was rejected for a position at a temple after he told the board that 'there’s not just one Jewish point of view' on Israel. Another rabbi’s board put a note in her file saying she cannot speak about Israel." Laurie Goodstein at the NYT on censorship in the American Jewish community.

"Social networks are like languages — they are only worthwhile when they are broadly adopted. This makes an incredibly compelling case for user tracking and advertising, since success as a broad network makes the most sense by giving network access away and then selling the people to companies. This is a hard model to escape." Quinn Norton at Medium.

"The question of how to interview her in a way that doesn't ignore interesting characteristics of her work and doesn't pretend we're in a post-racial landscape where none of this exists but also doesn't treat her as solely Shonda Rhimes The Black Female Showrunner is related to the question of how to receive female characters of color and acknowledge that their race is part of their identity without thinking of them as primarily in terms of what kind of Black Female Character they are or how they fit into the picture of diversity." Linda Holmes at NPR reflecting on the racist NYT essay by Alessandra Stanley and her own experience interviewing Shonda Rhimes. (Via Jody T.)

"If a passenger reaches out to her in any way — say he invites her to dinner — she’s expected to respond with a thank you and give him a business card with her company email address on it. Once somebody sent her a bra with a note saying it would make her look more sexy. She was instructed to send a thank you. Because it might have come from a corporate VIP." Heather Poole on sexual harassment in the not-so-friendly skies. At Mashable. (Via Jim Roberts.)

"While they lived in different suburbs of Morgantown, they were living together virtually in the digital realm. They spent their waking lives posting, texting, tweeting, retweeting—having whole conversations in 140 characters, emoting in emoticons. As Skylar tweeted on April 4, 2012: twitter seems to like, swallow me, at times." Holly Millea at Elle with a longread about teens, Twitter, and murder in West Virginia. (Via Rebecca Traister.)

"When you quiz me on genocide highlights — Were those smallpox blankets real? I’ve always wondered about that — to sate your hunger for facts, I do not owe you a free education of the kind that my university students pay for, and I am not so flattered by your interest in my people that I might unfurl a lecture on 500 years of colonization for your edification." Elissa Washuta at BuzzFeed. (Via Sarah McCarry.)

"Now, I am all of five feet tall and pudgy. With my penchant for pastels and bright complementary colors, I look more like a giant Easter egg than like whatever it was my aunt and uncle were picturing when they read the word 'butch.'" Caroline Narby at The Toast with "On My Butchness."

"The words 'introvert' and 'extrovert' are just shorthands for larger experiences, a quick way for someone else to know what you’re about without having to get into specifics ('I’ve been out for four nights in a row and I usually need to be home to recharge every other night unless I’m going out with particular people and that’s why I can’t concentrate'). But if you break past the labels and listicles, everyone understands that sometimes enough is enough, that sometimes you just don’t have enough lightning bolts." Jaya Saxena at Medium.

"And when Al pointed that out, it finally hit me that even if I did miss out on the greatest love you can possibly know as a human being, I was actually just fine with the amount I already had." Great essay from Kate Harding at DAME on being okay with not having it all.

"I really just wanted her to be happy. I thought summer should be fun, and I didn't like the parts of it — cutting fucking green beans! — that weren't fun. And she was an adult. She could actually choose what she wanted. She could choose fun, and it seemed like maybe she didn't know that, so I was telling her." Sarah Miller at Cafe with "To Cook or Not to Cook?" (Hat tip to Els Kushner.)

"Food is one art form where texture and flavour are paramount; nobody expects their sandwich to have a driving beat or comprehensible narrative. As an eater, you expect to savour the contrasting flavours and interplay of textures. A particularly good meal may be evocative of some emotion or significant moment in your life." Rachel Hartman at her blog on Yes. Because I am signing up to be the first subscriber to her Journal of Crackpot Musicology.

"People have asked if anyone around me could tell I was having a stroke. 'Weren’t you acting weird?' they’d ask, and my husband’s mouth would turn into a thin line, and my friends who joined us for New Year’s would lower their eyes. I was acting weird, yes. But it was New Year’s Eve." Christine Hyung-Oak Lee at BuzzFeed on the stroke that felled her when she was 33, and the long road back. (Via Roxane Gay.)

"I can’t remember when I read, or was told, that he considered it a good thing to spend a short time every day thinking about death, thus getting used to its inevitability and coming to understand that something inevitable is natural and can’t be too bad, but it was in my early teens, and it struck me as a sensible idea." Finally, as the antithesis of that horrifying Nina Bernstein story, here is 96-year-old Diana Athill at the Guardian with, "It's silly to be frightened of being dead." (Via Nilanjana Roy.)