Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
Here’s what I’ve learned since I haven’t been drinking. Please note that I don’t say, “Since I got sober,” or even “Since I stopped drinking.” I say, “I’m not drinking right now.”
Slate reports on the rise of the changing world of death notices. (SL Slate)
The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling them will not make you safer.
“Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.
The Indian wedding that exploded in violence: a short story by Ranbir Singh Sidhu
Frank Schaeffer: "You can’t understand why the GOP was so successful in winning back both houses of Congress in 2014, and wrecking most of what Obama has tried to do, unless you understand what we did back then." [more inside]
"Much has been said about the storytelling techniques of 'Serial,' which comes out in weekly installments even as the show’s host, Sarah Koenig, reinvestigates the conviction of a Baltimore-area teenager for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. The serialized approach teases its audience with cliffhangers, prompts its listeners to construct their own theories and invites outsiders to glimpse the tricky winnowing process of reporting. But 'Serial' also testifies to how much the criminal justice system itself is founded on storytelling." (Laura Miller, Salon: The new "In Cold Blood" revisionism: Why it doesn't matter if Capote’s classic wasn't fully true) [more inside]
You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy [more inside]
Why the Ice Bucket Challenge is bad for you: "The ALS campaign may be a great way to raise money – but it is a horrible reason to donate it" [more inside]
Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian): "Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
Farm Confessional: I Raise Livestock and I Think It May Be Wrong - "[Bob] Comis talked to Modern Farmer about the self-doubt he feels while raising animals for slaughter and his desire to see humanity evolve into a species that does not kill to eat." [more inside]
Monopoly is back: Barry Lynn on the concentration of American economic power — and how we can restore fairness. Highlights: [more inside]
“Are you a boy or a girl?”: Our trans-bisexual love story
The Atlantic: "Something is wrong on Twitter. And people are noticing. Or, at least, the kind of people we hang around with on Twitter are noticing. And it's maybe not a very important demographic, this very weird and specific kind of user: audience-obsessed, curious, newsy. Twitter's earnings last quarter, after all, were an improvement on the period before, and it added 14 million new users for a total of 255 million. The thing is: Its users are less active than they once were. Twitter says these changes reflect a more streamlined experience, but we have a different theory: Twitter is entering its twilight." [more inside]
Animals aren’t tools for thinking. Animals are some of the basic building blocks of thought itself
When he’s teaching, my friend the writer William Fiennes sometimes asks students to write about an encounter they have had with an animal at some time in their lives. What they soon discover is that the animal is always some unspoken aspect of themselves. The rat in the compost bin. The teenage girls escaping from a predatory geography teacher who stumble on a sheep giving birth. The deer shot by two boys who’ve stolen a gun. Put an animal in a story and it is never just an animal.[more inside]
Inside a For-Profit College Nightmare (SLSalon)
The Dodo is a new website by Kerry Lauerman (former Salon editor-in-chief) and Izzie Lerer (of the Lerer family) about animals, and particularly about humanity's relationship with animals: We think of them less as objects at our disposal, as science increasingly reveals them to be intelligent, emotional, social beings that are not as different from us as we used to think they were. Its lead article today is an essay by Glenn Greenwald (previously) on the dogs he and his partner David Miranda have fostered at their home in Brazil. And, as you might expect, there are also heartwarming posts such as this one about elephants being reunited after 20 years apart.
The 2013 edition of Salon's annual Hack List is out, and this year, Salon hackmaster Alex Pareene has stirred the pot of hackery by "channel[ing] each hack's unique voice" and "let[ting] them 'write' their own entries." [more inside]
When the men's clothing retailer author D. Foy contacted about purchasing a suit was unresponsive, Foy took to Yelp to post a negative review about his experience. The retailer responded with a threat of retaliatory feedback directed at Foy's upcoming novel.
From all the depositions, here is a summary of the animal’s behavior and apparent anatomy: The animal only appeared in calm weather and in flat water; its body was thick as a keg in circumference and skin dark, nearly black, and reflected sunlight very brightly when it rested on the surface. It had black eyes, too, and its head was about the size of a big dog’s or horse’s head but leathery and snake-like — ship master Eppes Ellory, standing with 20 witnesses, deposed, “I was looking at him with a spy-glass, when I saw him open his mouth and his mouth appeared like that of a serpent; the top of his head appeared flat.” Did the Gloucester fisherman see a massive tuna, or a serpent? And what are we conjuring, when we imagine the sea?
Hair Apparent. A collection of punny hair salon names.
The song that became "Get Back" began as an anti-immigrant satire so easily misunderstood it remains in the vaults. Writing for Salon, Alex Sayf Cummings delves into the story behind No Pakistanis.
The most-storied warrior tribe in Ecuador prepares to fight as the government sells gold-laden land to China.
"If I was to die, today or tomorrow, I do not think I would die satisfied till you tell me you will try and marry some good, smart man that will take care of you and the children"
Author Jon Meacham has a new book out on Thomas Jefferson. It is reviewed in the New York Times: Cultivating Control in a Nation’s Crucible
But this book does not address its principal concern, power, until Jefferson has accrued some. When it comes to the force that he wielded as a slaveholder, Mr. Meacham finds ways to suggest that thoughts of abolition would have been premature; that it was not uncommon for white heads of households to be waited on by slaves who bore family resemblances to their masters; and that since Jefferson treated slavery as a blind spot, the book can too.[more inside]
Lets Swim To Work! "Centuries of boat traffic, heavy industry, sewage runoff and toxic dumping have ingrained in us the idea that urban waterways are not places for people. Even as cities have rushed to the water’s edge over the past couple of decades, building elaborate waterfront parks and esplanades, few have taken the next logical step: encouraging residents to dive in." [more inside]
Guys don't want casual sex: "This stereotype 'tells us that guys are primarily interested in sex, not relationships... This contributes to the notion that guys are emotional clods who are incapable of connecting with their partners because, hey, they’re just guys, and guys are only interested in sex.'... the Wake Forest University professor lays out the current data on young men’s sexual desires and behavior to make a case against this insidious stereotype." Salon interviews Andrew Smiler, author of Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male. [more inside]
Secrets of T-Rex sex! An interview with John Long, author of The Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex. Long's four-part series on Evolution: This View of Life - 1) Down and Dirty in the Devonian; 2) Palaeozoic Paternity Problems; 3) From Bones to Behavior; 4) From Clasper to Penis. Also a Scientific American video ("Long discusses a fossil central to this new view of the origin of copulation and live birth: a 375-million-year-old expectant mother fish dubbed Materpiscis attenboroughi").
Much Better Now — A bookmark is stuck in a forgotten book that is one day knocked over by wind. It experiences its environment by surfing the pages that turn in to ocean-waves, enjoying the ride of its life. As the book cover closes, light reveals new challenges. [more inside]
For sale: one online community, vintage. The Well, one of the oldest online communities, is up for sale again, according to a filing by it's current owner, the much beleagured Salon. A retrospective of the site from a user also says that some users are currently in discussion to buy it back. [more inside]
Mark Ames (of the eXile): The Left’s Big Sellout – How the ACLU and Human Rights Groups Quietly Exterminated Labor Rights (via naked capitalism) [more inside]
Edward Behr is the editor and publisher of The Art of Eating, (named for MFK Fisher's book), a well-regarded food magazine. [more inside]
"Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it."
'The Hubris and Despair of War Journalism: What Martha Gellhorn teaches us about the morality of contemporary war reportage.' [more inside]
The Afterlife of Cheap Clothes is an excerpt from Elizabeth Cline's book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. 10 facts from Overdressed. An interview with Cline on Salon. Cheap clothing's high cost (infographic). Previously: stuff we don't want. [more inside]
Scott Rosenberg on the end of Salon's Table Talk. They're deleting 16 years of messages on June 10, with nothing indexed by Archive.org or anywhere else.
Put another way, the company that owns The Washington Post is almost entirely at the mercy of the Federal Government and the Obama administration -- the entities which its newspaper ostensibly checks and holds accountable. "By the end of 2010, more than 90 percent of revenue at Kaplan’s biggest division and nearly a third of The Post Co.’s revenue overall came from the U.S. government." The Post Co.'s reliance on the Federal Government extends beyond the source of its revenue; because the industry is so heavily regulated, any animosity from the Government could single-handedly doom the Post Co.'s business... -- Glenn Greenwald examines WaPo's entanglement with for-profit education
Salon.com's "Real Families" section features personal essays about modern family life submitted by their readers. [more inside]
Anonymous speaks: the inside story of the HBGary hack (via). More HBGary coverage: Glenn Greenwald. Salon. NYT. (previously, previously)
And the winner of the Good Sex Award is... "...recognizing the best sex writing in fiction from the past year. We've [salon.com] convened a panel of literary star judges -- Walter Kirn, Maud Newton, Louis Bayard and Salon's own Laura Miller -- to reward the best-written, most interesting and most convincing piece of sex writing published in a novel in 2010." No 2., No. 3, No. 4, No.5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8. The 2010 Bad Sex Award Winner.
Journalistic flamewar erupts over secret chat logs. It's a disagreement between Salon's Glenn Greenwald and Wired.com's Kevin Poulsen over the proper use of IM chat logs between Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo. Revelant links within. [more inside]
The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.
Salon plays a game of recasting classic (and a few less-than-classic) movies with contemporary actors.
I ended up not taking my meds on the weekend to conserve them for workdays in case something went wrong when it came time to renew, as it always seemed to, and so the character of "Mike on the weekends" became much more sweary and unpredictable -- but even I had to admit, weirdly entertaining. I was known to unload a series of f-bombs on people wearing shorts (why shorts?) and the behavior was weird enough that I never got beat up. When Tourette's took over my life
How top officials at Arlington National Cemetery violated Army guidelines -- and may have broken the law.Via. Salon.com Officials at Arlington National Cemetery have been quietly reserving particularly desirable parts of the burial grounds for VIPs. This violates Army regulations and federal law, which bar special burial arrangements for the powerful and well-connected and require that service members be buried in the next available plot at Arlington, regardless of rank or other factors.
Death to the spoiler police! Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams takes a stand against people who insist on spoiler alerts: "[O]nce a work enters the pop culture vernacular, it is not society's responsibility to provide you with earmuffs until you finally get around to experiencing it. ... But for the love of God, if you really don't want to know about a book/movie/television show, do the rest of the world a favor and stop hanging out in the online discussion groups about it." Via Roger Ebert.
"At first, I thought, 'Why should I be on food stamps?'" said Magida, digging into her dinner. "Here I am, this educated person who went to art school, and there are a lot of people who need them more. But then I realized, I need them, too." Salon takes a look at the growing wave of young people utilizing food stamps.
This isn't one of those stories about how empowering it was to pose naked for a magazine.
Natalie Portman has been a vegetarian for twenty years, but was recently inspired to become a vegan by Jonathan Safran Foer's first nonfiction book, Eating Animals. Portman wrote an essay for the Huffington Post in which she compares the book favorably to Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (previously on the blue), and makes this specific criticism of the latter book:
But he reminds us that being a man, and a human, takes more thought than just "This is tasty, and that's why I do it." He posits that consideration, as promoted by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma, which has more to do with being polite to your tablemates than sticking to your own ideals, would be absurd if applied to any other belief (e.g., I don't believe in rape, but if it's what it takes to please my dinner hosts, then so be it).[more inside]
Are the ties that bind gay men to straight women beginning to fray?