Sunday, October 5, 2014

Links for the week ending 5 October 2014

"The local high school now allows students to arrive early and shower there. Parents often keep their children home from school if they have not bathed, worried that they could lose custody if the authorities deem the students too dirty, a rumor that county officials have tried to dismiss." Life in one drought-stricken California county after the taps have run dry. By Jennifer Medina for the NYT.

"'What happens to that water, knowing that that aquifer is going to be sold to other parties as well?' Nirenberg asked. 'If the water’s not there in 30 years, what are we doing? We’re just building a pipeline to nowhere.'" Neena Satija for The Texas Tribune on San Antonio's proposed deal to buy water via pipeline.

"Stories circulate on Rikers about inmates who plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit just to put an end to their ordeal, but Browder was determined to get his day in court. He had no idea how rare trials actually are. In 2011, in the Bronx, only a hundred and sixty-five felony cases went to trial; in three thousand nine hundred and ninety-one cases, the defendant pleaded guilty." Shattering story at The New Yorker by Jennifer Gonnerman about the destroyed life of a Bronx teen falsely accused of theft.

"'I don’t think people realize how many people lost their jobs or hours during that time because they couldn’t get in and out of their houses,' Jones said." Durrie Bouscaren reporting from Ferguson for St. Louis Public Radio.

"More than 3,000 people have registered to vote in Ferguson, Mo., since the death of Michael Brown — a surge in interest that may mean the city of 21,000 people is ready for a change. Yamiche Alcindor for USA Today.

"His comments came as fresh clashes erupted between pro-democracy protesters and armed thugs on Saturday, with student leaders also accusing the government and the police of allowing triad gangs to attack them." Tania Branigan and dude David Batty for the Guardian on the protests in Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong has flourished too as a result of the economic interdependence, and it still provides China a unique bridge to the global economy. But its relative strength vis-a-vis Beijing has eroded substantially as the mainland economy has soared even faster and other Chinese cities, such as Shanghai, have started to offer many of the financial services once available only in Hong Kong." Good background piece by Julie Makinen at the LAT.

"IS is demonstrating that controlling wheat brings power. As its fighters swept through Iraq’s north in June, they seized control of silos and grain stockpiles. The offensive coincided with the wheat and barley harvests and, crucially, the delivery of crops to government silos and private traders." Maggie Fick for Reuters. (Via Torie Rose DeGhett's This Week In War.)

"Reports of the death toll varied from 27 to 47 but they agreed that the dead were mostly children." Anne Barnard and dude Mohammad Ghannam at the NYT on the bombing of an elementary school in Homs, Syria, because dear god.

"A largely home grown organisation, most of its fighters are Syrians who have not been indoctrinated with the radicalism of those practising international jihad. Their main focus is domestic. Ruth Sherlock at The Telegraph on why U.S. bombing of "Khorasan" may backfire.

"But Erdogan’s comments suggest Turkey is in no hurry to join the military effort against the Islamic State, despite intensifying U.S. pressure to do so. The previous mandate, sought in the wake of the downing of a Turkish jet by a Syrian government missile, did not result in military action." Liz Sly at The Washington Post.

"But that same Qatari network has also played a major role in destabilizing nearly every trouble spot in the region and in accelerating the growth of radical and jihadi factions. The results have ranged from bad to catastrophic in the countries that are the beneficiaries of Qatari aid: Libya is mired in a war between proxy-funded militias, Syria's opposition has been overwhelmed by infighting and overtaken by extremists, and Hamas's intransigence has arguably helped prolong the Gaza Strip's humanitarian plight. " Elizabeth Dickinson at Foreign Policy with "The Case Against Qatar." (Via Deborah Amos.)

"But the generality of Resolution 1373 allowed it to be abused and invoked by states seeking to limit civil liberties and basic human rights in the name of combatting terrorism and protecting national security." Dude Kent Roach and Carmen Cheung with an op-ed at The Globe and Mail criticizing a recent UN Security Council resolution in response to the Islamic State. (Hat tip to Rachel Hartman.)

"A federal judge Thursday rejected an Obama administration bid to shut the public out of next week’s hearing showcasing medical testimony in one Guantánamo captive’s challenge of the prison’s forced-feeding policy." Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald.

Many families hung signs amid the rubble, bearing their names and phone numbers, and sometimes the number of rooms or people who had lived there. This was done partly with an eye to future compensation, but also a poignant marker: this was my home." Harriet Sherwood at the Guardian on photographic portraits of Gazans posing with the one thing they saved from their destroyed homes.

"The epidemic has exposed a disconnect between the aspirations of global health officials and the reality of infectious disease control. Officials hold faraway strategy sessions about fighting emerging diseases and bioterrorism even as front-line doctors and nurses don't have enough latex gloves, protective gowns, rehydrating fluid or workers to carry bodies to the morgue." From today at The Washington Post by Lena Sun and dudes Brady Dennis, Lenny Bernstein, and Joel Achenbach.

"The patient's sister said that Duncan told a nurse that he had come from Liberia. This vital information 'was not fully communicated throughout the full team,' said Mark C. Lester, executive vice president of the health-care system that includes Texas Health Presbyterian. 'As a result, the full import of that information wasn't factored into the clinical decision-making.' Ebola was not suspected." Julia Belluz for Vox.

"As 9-year-old Mercy Kennedy sobbed along with neighbors mourning news of her mother's death, not a person would touch the little girl to comfort her." From Krista Larson at the AP, a wrenching report from the Liberian neighborhood where the Dallas patient originated.

"I listened to Isabela’s heart and told her that it sounded full of love. She shyly said she missed her papa and that she loved him very much. She had not seen him, the mother said, in two years. 'We are going to find him,' the little girl said in Spanish, and 'then we will be safe.' Marsha Griffin, a physician who works at a clinic less than a mile from the Mexican border. At The Texas Observer. (Via Melissa del Bosque.)

"The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday allowed Texas to begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that will effectively close all but eight abortion facilities in the nation’s second-largest state. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the law is poised to have the most devastating impact on abortion access of any such restriction across the country." Irin Carmon at MSNBC.

"California has enacted a historic law that forces the state's colleges to adopt a policy of unambiguous, affirmative consent by students engaged in sexual activity." Olivia Crellin at Vice.

"Incidentally, you’re also telling a new mobile development company with no Internet footprint or track record to speak of (a) who you’re sleeping with, (b) when you did it, and (c) how drunk or sober you were at the time." On second thought, maybe an app for "affirmative consent" is not such a great idea? Caitlin Dewey for The Washington Post.

"The American Heart Association keeps telling us about our hearts and we keep not listening, possibly because we are so fearful of cancer that we have no fear to spare, as we lie on our beds dutifully palpating ourselves for the lumps that we pray not to find." Martha Weinman Lear at the NYT on women and the Hollywood Heart Attack.

"The truth seemed so uncomplicated. Janelle Luk, a reproductive endocrinologist at Neway Fertility (one of several fertility centers affiliated with EggBanxx), for instance, breezily described egg freezing as 'part of technology that exists to help us all, just like the iPad, just like Skype.'" Robin Marantz Henig at Slate on what sounds like Tupperware parties, except for fertility procedures of questionable utility.

"'I want people to know,' said Dushku, 'that we’re not pretending to be feminists.' She spoke about Mormon women’s willingness to disagree without dividing: Wasn’t that radical in itself?" Wonderful Alexa Mills piece at the Boston Globe about the founding mothers of Mormon feminism, including Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. (Via Nicole Cliffe at The Toast.)

"There are no frequent-customer award cards, because officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents." This would make the funniest Get Smart episode ever. Emily Wax-Thibodeaux on the CIA Starbucks. (Via Kate Sheppard.)

"I breathed as quietly as I could, staring into the middling dark that was the limit of my mother’s power, amazed that someone could stop her from speaking, could tell her that her desire to serve her God was sinful." Vivid and moving personal essay by Laura Cok at The Toast.

"Which is better in the long run? Is it even possible to quantify their relative good? Intention builds bridges; accident coats them with rust. Intention drops bombs; accident turns the rubble green. Intention sows spinach; accident raises lamb’s quarters instead." Martha Bayne at Belt Magazine.

"There’s no way to be in good faith on this island anymore. You have to crush so many things with your mind vise just to get through the day. Which seems to me another aspect of the ad outside of my window: willful intoxication. Or to put it more snappily: 'You don’t have to be high to live here, but it helps.' Zadie Smith on Manhattan at the NYRB.

"'We were positively encouraged to create for ourselves minds we would want to live with. I had teachers articulate that to me: "You have to live with your mind your whole life." You build your mind, so make it into something you want to live with. Nobody has ever said anything more valuable to me.'" Finally, making a rare exception for this byline by dude Wyatt Mason at the NYT, interviewing my personal nominee for greatest living American writer, Marilynne Robinson.

No list next weekend, though I'll probably be on Twitter sporadically. The list will return on the 19th. In the meantime, thanks for reading!