March 27th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Doing Hard Thyme

Better out than in. That’s the unofficial motto of the Norwegian Correctional Service. And they seem to mean it. In Norway, there is no death penalty and there are no life sentences. NYT Magazine’s Jessica Benko visited Norway’s Halden Prison and experienced what she described as its radical humaneness: “Its modern, cheerful and well-­appointed facilities, the relative freedom of movement it offers, its quiet and peaceful atmosphere — these qualities are so out of sync with the forms of imprisonment found in the United States that you could be forgiven for doubting whether Halden is a prison at all. It is, of course, but it is also something more: the physical expression of an entire national philosophy about the relative merits of punishment and forgiveness.” Even the food was good. “The best meal I had in Norway — spicy lasagna, garlic bread and a salad with sun-dried tomatoes — was made by an inmate who had spent almost half of his 40 years in prison.” (Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the thyme.)


The Horror

Officials have found torn up documents and “sick notes” from a doctor as they attempt to try to find some explanation for why Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed a Germanwings flight into the French Alps. There have been many breathless reports suggesting that Lubitz’ alleged depression could have played a factor. Let’s not push the depression label go too far. I’ve suffered from depression, but I never locked myself in a cockpit and murdered 149 people.

+ Slate’s William Saletan: “If you lock yourself in the cockpit of a commercial airliner and take 149 people down with you, that’s not suicide. It’s mass murder.”

+ “In the final moments before annihilation, the recorder registered the hammering of the captain’s fists and feet against the door, the screams of passengers, and the quiet, steady rhythm of Lubitz’s last breaths. The horror.” The New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch on a bewildering crash.


Weekend Reads

“He plans to give away all his wealth, after providing for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew.” From Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky: Apple’s Tim Cook leads different. (I’m guessing some of his other relatives wish he’d lead a little more the same.)

+ Vice Sports Inside the weird, noble world of autograph collectors

+ Rolling Stone’s Janet Reitman tries to figure out why three American kids from the suburbs of Chicago would try to run away to the Islamic state: The Children of ISIS.

+ Erin Keane in Salon: “Woody Allen is a genius. Woody Allen is a predator” — Why Mariel Hemingway’s new revelation matters. (Sadly, Woody tried to turn Manhattan into a biopic.)

+ In The New Yorker, Louis Menand reviews a book that suggests 1995 was the year the future began. (1995 was the year of my last good hair day.)

+ Vanity Fair: The True Story of Pretty Woman’s Original Dark Ending. (It was a feel-good movie about a prostitute and a cutthroat businessman. How much darker can you get?)


Spring Forward, Fall Back

“The momentary moral clarity of the demands for democracy across the region has been replaced by difficult choices among enemies and unappealing allies who have rushed to fill power vacuums.” In the years following the Arab Spring, things have become incredibly complicated (even by Middle East standards).

+ The Atlantic has one “simple” diagram to serve as the confused person’s guide to Middle East conflicts.


Live From the Internet…

With the launch of Periscope, Twitter has enabled each of us to livestream video to our followers. That’s good news for our cats and Twitter, and it could be good news for the rest of us. In this NextDraft Original, I try to explain why Periscope matters: Let’s Give Them Something To Tweet About.

+ All the buzz around Periscope may have left some early adopters feeling nostalgic about Meerkat, the company that initiated the livestreaming craze way back in early March of 2015. Well, they haven’t gone anywhere, and they just raised $14 million from big name investors.

+ Speaking of tech nostalgia, Blackberry just posted a quarterly profit.


Goodbye Cleveland

In 1929, Andrew Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland as the face of the $20 bill. Cleveland was the last face to get the boot. But now, there’s a concerted effort to replace Jackson with the portrait of a woman. But after all these years, can anyone break a twenty?

+ The jury has reached a verdict in Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins. Keep checking ReCode for updates. They’ve been all over this story.


Going to the Mattresses

“For partners who marry across class lines, however, money isn’t just something to fight about … I found that the financial stability of the spouses’ childhoods shaped their marriages in many ways, contributing to clashes about leisure time, home maintenance and even how to talk through their feelings.” In WaPo, Duke’s Jessi Streib provides some insight into the challenges of marrying outside your class. (I met my wife in high school. So I literally married someone in my class.)


Omar Listening

We have a president who says: “Omar is my favorite character.” Here’s President Obama and The Wire’s David Simon with a conversation on race and the war on drugs.


Aspiration Rehab

“One was ready to cast aside her long-held ambition to become an actress. Same deal for a would-be writer. Another attendee was ready to quit Washington.” Ellen McCarthy takes you inside an official meeting of the Quitter’s Club.


The Bottom of the News

Lululemon’s is trying to go after the men’s attire market with what it calls the ABC pant. ABC is short for anti-ball crushing.

+ The TSA has started giving breathalyzer tests to air marshalls. (Feel safer now?)

+ Everything Don Draper has ever worn on Mad Men.

+ Fighting fire with audio.

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