The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar
"When Zekman was poached by a rival paper, the feisty Chicago Sun-Times, she proposed a daring project that would go down in the annals of journalism history as both a feat of reporting and a focal point for ethics debates still raging today. For years, Zekman had been collecting tips about city employees extracting bribes from local businessmen, but couldn’t get sources to go on the record; she figured the only way to get the story would be to get inside the system. So she convinced her paper to buy a bar."
"When an elderly memorizer died, any qewl or chirok he had not passed on died with him. In the 1970s two modern young Yezidis from the priestly castes, Khidir Sileman and Khalil Jindy Rashow, saw that the only way to preserve the hymns was to break with tradition and record as many as they could for a book. They were stonewalled at first by conservatives, so they decided to ask the Baba Sheikh for his blessing. He told them, “Let this sin be on my neck.”
When the book came out in 1979, it was a revolutionary moment for Yezidism. Plenty of old-timers grumbled, but intellectuals from the lay caste were delighted to be able to read the hymns of their own religion."
"Break-ins to British Asian households is fairly normal; the South Asian diaspora typically keeps expensive jewellery at home. Thieves identify South Asian households in a curiously sensitive way: by looking through windows, for paintings, specifically for paintings of Hindu deities and Sikh Gurus. This is opportunism plain and simple. But it’s also a radical sort of art consumption; a kind of guerilla viewing. The paintings people hope to see are typically by Sobha Singh."
"Before structured shoes became prevalent in the 16th century (and apparently in those places where they never have) people walked with a different gait, pushing onto the balls of our feet instead of rocking forward on our heels. It looks a little affected -- like a gymnast or ballet dancer -- but is apparently much healthier. I'm going to master it!"
"Police and prosecutors agree that the city’s black market for illegal guns has thrived in no small part because of street gangs and their drug operations. Firearms, mostly handguns, are often purchased at private gun shows in neighboring states and at gun shops in southern states with more relaxed gun laws. Those firearms are then sold on Chicago streets at a premium."
"As powerful classes grow less reliant on the state for security, political pressure for addressing crime or reforming police has declined, even as the murder rate rises.
In moneyed enclaves across Mexico, where guards patrol boutique shops and hip restaurants, the violence rarely comes up in conversation, as if it were happening in another country.
Meanwhile, ordinary citizens are left unprotected. Gangs and organized crime have flowed into poor neighborhoods."
"Two women had the most audacious task. Killing the brother of the North Korean leader. Right out in the open, using deadly chemical weapons in an international airport. And the craziest thing? They had no idea what they'd gotten into."
"The two men drove to an isolated parking lot off Highway 45, a midway spot between their adversarial existences, to try to settle their differences. “Meet me at the Dairy Queen,” David Wright, 44, had suggested. Ali Ghouri, 29, obliged. They each brought a friend, and they each brought a gun."
"And then, swimming through the open waters, you’d see the most surprising thing of all: one of them has a brain. Animalia Bilateria Chordata, the chordate.
This is it, you see. The moment of encephalization, the moment that the cosmos wakes up.
There was the Earth, a giant rock drifting quietly through space. And one day it just spontaneously grows a brain, for no damn reason at all. What kind of rock does that, exactly? What kind of universe?"
"But Perry is now one of a new group of conservatives — from right-leaning legislators to the deep-pocketed Koch brothers — nudging red states toward public defense reform by citing the flawed system as just another example of big government abuse."
"But in the rush to spare people from prison, some judges are steering defendants into rehabs that are little more than lucrative work camps for private industry, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found."
"Unaizah lies some three-and-a-half hours northwest of Riyadh by car, down a steep drop from the central Najd plateau and across two separate seas of sand dunes (“Caution: Sandstorm Area” read signs along the road). Just to the north lies the regional capital of Bureidah, arch-rival city to Unaizah and host of world’s largest date festival (though not the best date festival, is the subtext of every date-related conversation in Unaizah)."
"I estimate, that at typical policy margins in the United States today, decarceration has zero net impact on crime. That estimate is uncertain, but at least as much evidence suggests that decarceration reduces crime as increases it. The crux of the matter is that tougher sentences hardly deter crime, and that while imprisoning people temporarily stops them from committing crime outside prison walls, it also tends to increase their criminality after release. As a result, “tough-on-crime” initiatives can reduce crime in the short run but cause offsetting harm in the long run."
"Climate change is making airport planners think again.
Low-lying airports may become increasingly vulnerable to storm surges. Hotter temperatures may cause tarmac to melt, restrict takeoff weights or require heavier aircraft to take off later in the day."
"Banchan revolves around rice, as a planet would around a star. This juxtaposition of rice and banchan makes eating Korean food take on a unique rhythm. You alternate bites, between rice and banchan. One spoonful of rice, followed by a piece of kimchi. One spoonful of rice, one bit of braised fish cake. One spoonful of rice, one bit of tossed bean sprouts. Rice, banchan. Rice, banchan."
"Still, the changing political climate can’t entirely explain how Várnai’s poetry came to be perceived as more feminine than political, especially because she continued publishing prolifically after the war and stayed involved with progressive political organizations in Budapest."
"On the beach, there was a bench of sand created by high water, and I sat down. One of my friends, “River” Roy Crimmins, the only canoeist on the trip, sat next to me and handed me a can of beer. I took it, tried to say something, and my voice disappeared into my throat. I felt the sand crumble beneath me, and I fell over. That’s all I remember.
My face turned blue, I’m told, then gray, and then my heart stopped beating altogether. Flatlined. I died that December day on Tequila Beach. This created a great deal of consternation—and it has tended to complicate my relationships with others ever since."
"At no point, however, does the user actually get into a car owned, managed or operated by UBV. That duty falls to the second, UK-based company – Uber London Ltd. (ULL). It is ULL who are responsible for all Uber vehicles – and their drivers – in London. Like Addison Lee or any of the other thousands of smaller operators that can be found on high streets throughout the capital, ULL are a minicab firm. They just happen to be one that no passenger has ever called directly – they respond exclusively to requests from UBV.
This setup may seem unwieldy, but it is deliberate. In part, it is what has allowed Uber to blur the boundary between being a ‘pre-booked’ service and ‘plying-for-hire’ (a difference we explored when we last looked at the London taxi trade back in 2015). It is also this setup that also allows Uber to pay what their critics say is less than their ‘fair share’ of tax – Uber pays no VAT and, last year, only paid £411,000 in Corporation Tax."
"Black Americans are far less likely than their white peers to successfully erase their debts in court—and a network of attorneys profits as a result."
"I just could not find almost anything that mirrored my own experiences from the Yugoslavia of the 1960s and 1970s. However hard I tried I just could not see anything in my memories that had to deal with collectivization, killings, political trials, endless bread lines, imprisoned free thinkers and other stories that are currently published in literary magazines. It is even stranger because I was very politically precocious; without exaggeration I think I was more politically-minded than 99% of my peers in the then Yugoslavia.
But my memories of the 1960s and the 1970s are different. I remember long dinners discussing politics, women and nations, long Summer vacations, foreign travel, languid sunsets, whole-night concerts, epic soccer games, girls in mini-skirts, the smell of the new apartment in which my family moved, excitement of new books and of buying my favorite weekly on the evening before the day when it would hit the stands…."
"A year ago, protest camps near North Dakota's Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation swelled with thousands of people intent on stopping the Dakota Access pipeline.
Today, the camps are gone and oil is flowing through the pipeline while court battles over pipeline permits continue. But the massive demonstrations that caught the world's attention last year have permanently changed people and politics here."
This is top-notch information about what to do if someone has used your data to open an account after the Equifax breach.
"Africans who didn’t sing the national anthem as a child are more likely to be recruited into violent extremist groups. Those living in the periphery of their country with less access to education and health services are more vulnerable, as are those with less involved parents. Exposure to state violence, not religious ideology, is a better predictor of radicalization."
"But not everyone has to brave the traffic. Many of those making their way to the auditorium now live just around the corner. The Redeemed Christian Church of God’s international headquarters in Ogun state has been transformed from a mere megachurch to an entire neighbourhood, with departments anticipating its members’ every practical as well as spiritual need.
A 25-megawatt power plant with gas piped in from the Nigerian capital serves the 5,000 private homes on site, 500 of them built by the church’s construction company. New housing estates are springing up every few months where thick palm forests grew just a few years ago. Education is provided, from creche to university level. The Redemption Camp health centre has an emergency unit and a maternity ward."
"Liz Waite and Kersheral Jessup couldn’t afford a higher education, let alone rent. But they worked and scrounged and slept on couches to put themselves through school. Will their degrees be worth it?"
"As sad and ignorant as that may seem, losing my parents to AIDS has instilled in me a deep skepticism of doctors, medicine and even hospitals. And while this is rooted in my own experience, studies show that blacks still hold deep suspicions about the health care industry and we report higher instances of racial bias at doctors’ offices than other groups."
"On Thursday morning, Mr. El-Gamasy’s phone rang. A producer from ONtvLIVE, which positions itself as a politically independent Egyptian television network, wanted to know if Mr. El-Gamasy was available. The quick transformation into Clark Kent began: Mr. El-Gamasy removed the clear plastic deli gloves, the flat cap he uses to keep his hair back over the griddle, and the apron that protects his dress shirts from fryer splatter. On went his suit jacket and earpieces; he ran past the house bodega cat, curled on a garbage bag, and into his back-room studio.
“Sometimes I’ll be busy with an order with my customer, then I will have to jump. It’s — ‘One. Two. You’re live.’” he said, imitating the booming voice of a newscaster. “It’s, ‘Mr. Gamasy, are we going to war in North Korea?’” (The shoot that day was ultimately postponed.)"
"Yet time and time again, these same heroes later turn out to be disappointments. If I could draw one conclusion from this pattern it would be this: advocates place far more faith in agency than they do structure, only to be disillusioned when structure has its say. In the face of Myanmar’s military government, the story became Aung San Suu Kyi’s moral righteousness and bravery rather than the political force she represented. Only now, after she has overseen horrific abuses of the Rohingya, do we see that she was an imperfect vessel of democratic progress within a system of institutionally entrenched authoritarianism and exclusion."
A complete emotional roller coaster of a story -- worth the read!
"The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile. It’s bereft of almost every resource long thought to be necessary for large-scale agriculture. Yet it’s the globe’s number two exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the United States, which has 270 times its landmass. How on Earth have the Dutch done it?"
Gripping read on the problems with Kenya's recent election.
'Fourteen hundred years ago, the Prophet Muhammad and his companions definitely didn’t have to decide between Clarendon and Gingham filters to document the hajj pilgrimage that is recreated by Muslims each year.´
'A great deal of nouvelle cuisine’s innovations, in fact, paralleled classical aspects of Japanese dining, especially the movement’s emphasis on shorter cooking times; minimalist, playful plating; and a focus on extracting the essential aspects of an ingredient, rather than transforming it. Perhaps not coincidentally, from the time that French chefs began visiting Japan (and Japanese chefs began training in France) in the mid-1960s, fine dining has become increasingly like Japan’s most formal dining tradition, kaiseki.'
'But reliance on DNA and aversion to domestic cases weren’t the only hurdles for wrongly convicted women. In a whopping 63 percent of the women’s cases, Daniel and Royal realized, it turned out that there was never a crime to begin with—the death was actually a suicide or an accident. That was true in only 21 percent of the men’s cases.´
'The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end.
Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.
Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.'
'I am not a solitary offender in the passing business. I presume that many Pakistanis ‘pass for Indian,' and see no reason to loudly and explicitly clarify their nationality or national origin in their otherwise anonymous interactions with Indians and Indian establishments in the diaspora. These tiny ‘misunderstandings,' these tiny ‘errors of identification,' these easy passages–back and forth between one supposed identity and the other—suggest zones of contestation of the two-nation theory whose praxis has ensured the subcontinent's partition.'
'A litany of working-class dance music associated with public acts of bodily pleasure — and accordingly racialized as threats to the social order — have been subjected to this process, edges polished soft for mass consumption by the middle class: reggae, salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia — and, of course, rock and jazz.'
'The Zapatistas, the most powerful political rebels in Mexico in nearly 100 years, are renouncing armed revolution, after decades of opposing the government, for a simple reason: Mexico is so riddled with violence, they say, that the country cannot handle any more of it.'
“Singapore used to be like a linguistic tropical rain forest — overgrown, and a bit chaotic but very vibrant and thriving,” said Tan Dan Feng, a language historian in Singapore. “Now, after decades of pruning and cutting, it’s a garden focused on cash crops: learn English or Mandarin to get ahead and the rest is useless, so we cut it down.”
'The first polls to be held under the new system were in 2013. In the years since then, however, it has become ever clearer that the local balance of power in Kenya’s new devolved system is vested largely in the office of the governor and, for less wealthy candidates, in the office of the MCA.´
'Rather than focusing on how we can limit our kids’ use of tech, or conversely, enabling them to use when- and however they’d like, we need to be digital mentors who help our kids learn not just the technical but human skills that lead to meaningful online interactions and experiences.´
'Then, a day after the budget was released, Carson downplayed the importance of programs for the poor in a radio interview with Armstrong Williams, saying that poverty was largely a “state of mind.” This, more than anything, seemed to be a crystallization of the Carson philosophy of HUD: that privation would be solved by the power of positive thinking, that his own extraordinary rise was scalable and could be replicated millions of times over.'
'The problem is not that child services fails to remove enough children. It’s that the agency has not been equipped to address the daily manifestations of economic and racial inequality. Instead, it is designed to treat structural failings as the personal flaws of low-income parents.'
'According to federal data, alcohol is already the second deadliest drug in the country — topped only by another legal substance called "tobacco," which causes an astonishing 480,000 deaths each year by some estimates and 540,000 by others.
No other drug comes close to the staggering fatalities of these two. Heroin, which has consumed widespread media attention in the past few years, was linked to fewer than 9,000 deaths in 2013, and marijuana — another drug that federal lawmakers, including President Obama, have warned is dangerous — reportedly caused zero overdose deaths in the past few thousand years.'
'Craft culture tells mostly white stories for mostly white consumers, and they nearly always sound the same: It begins somewhere remote-sounding like the mountains of Cottonwood, Idaho, or someplace quirky like a basement in Fort Collins, Colorado, or a loft in Brooklyn, where a (white) artisan, who has a vision of back in the day, when the food was real and the labor that produced it neither alienated nor obscured — and discovers a long-forgotten technique, plucked from an ur-knowledge as old as thought and a truth as pure as the soul.
These techniques and the goods they produce do have origins, specific ones rooted in history and in people. The character of craft culture, a special blend of bohemianism and capitalism, is not merely overwhelmingly white — a function of who generally has the wealth to start those microbreweries and old-school butcher shops, and to patronize them — it consistently engages in the erasure or exploitation of people of color whose intellectual and manual labor are often the foundation of the practices that transform so many of these small pleasures into something artful. A lie by omission may be a small one, but for a movement so vocally concerned with where things come from, the proprietors of craft culture often seem strangely uninterested in learning or conveying the stories of the people who first mastered those crafts.'
'We argue that the reason for the success of Reconstruction and occupation is largely due to the federal government channeling resources to communities of freed slaves. Occupied territories provided a safe space for black communities to grow and establish institutions, such as the Union League or churches, that provided educational, employment and political opportunities. Occupiers thus created a safer space for black advancement relative to areas outside occupier’s control. Likewise, the Freedmen’s Bureau directly channeled resources like education, health care and legal support into the hands of former slaves who had been legally denied these tools of social and economic advancement for centuries. In placing significant resources in the hands of freed slaves, the effects of Reconstruction endured for decades, persisting into the 1920s and in some cases 1940, nearly seventy years after Reconstruction and occupation ended.'
'But when Anjum stepped away, Geeta’s husband — a slight man named Mukesh — stood above Geeta, who was slumped on the side of a rope cot, and brought the stick down on her head several more times. She died on the spot.
What bothered Anjum, she said, was that the police had been contacted about the killing but almost immediately closed their investigation, releasing Mukesh after a few hours.´
'But researchers are increasingly painting a picture of a psychopathology so fundamental, so, well, biological, that efforts to talk it away can seem like trying to shoot guns into a continent, in Joseph Conrad’s unforgettable image from Heart of Darkness. By far the most remarkable recent finding about this transmogrification of the body is that some proportion of it can be reproduced in the next generation. The children of survivors—a surprising number of them, anyway—may be born less able to metabolize stress. They may be born more susceptible to PTSD, a vulnerability expressed in their molecules, neurons, cells, and genes.'
'The electricity in Ordos mostly comes from nearby coal-fired power plants, which provide a stable and constant source of electricity—although at a price to the environment. China’s less-developed regions, like the autonomous region of Xinjiang in the far west, or the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, have lately become popular with bitcoin miners. Xinjiang’s electricity also comes mostly from coal-powered plants, while Yunnan and Sichuan offer cheap and renewable energy from hydroelectric dams.'
'If the Brexit vote was driven by a populist message that immigrants and Europe’s open borders were to blame for the nation’s malaise, the fire has brought back into focus how years of steep government cuts have disproportionately hit the poorest, amplifying the pain from stagnant wages after the financial crisis.'