Thursday, June 18th, 2015


America’s Real Reality Show

America's longest running, and sadly most realistic, reality show debuted another new and depressing episode. "At about 8 P.M. last night, a young man walked into the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston and took a seat." An hour later, he started shooting and didn't stop until nine people were dead. Amy Davidson in The New Yorker: Dylann Roof and a Night of Hate in Charleston.

+ Slate: Charleston's Emanuel AME Church isn't just a church. It is a historic symbol of black resistance to slavery and racism.

+ The Atlantic: Thugs and terrorists have attacked black churches for generations.

+ From wearing a jacket with an Apartheid-era South African flag to the .45-caliber pistol his dad got him for his birthday, here's what we know about Dylann Roof.


The Way of the Gun

It's race. Except when it's not. It's poverty. Except when it's not. It's a hate crime. Except when it's not. It's always guns... Here's part of the statement from President Obama (who knew one of the victims): "I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. Once again, communities [were harmed] because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no problem getting their hands on a gun ... Let's be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries." (Maybe we need to update the definition of an advanced country.)

+ 11 facts about gun violence in the United States.

+ A sticker advertising a gun sale on this morning's edition of The Post and Courier.


Does The Pope Writ in the Woods?

A year in the making, Pope Francis released his much anticipated (and nearly 200-page) paper on climate change and the need for humans to get religion when it comes to science. And, as WaPo reports, "Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk."

+ Here's an excerpt from Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment: "The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth." (It's a pretty telling indicator that a pope makes headline news and creates a ton of controversy by publicly coming out in favor of the earth.)

+ Related Update: It's hot.


Bringing Bees to Their Knees

"There are two primary, if a bit humdrum, culprits: the varroa mite, particularly a pesticide-resistant strain, and pesticides themselves, especially a new class of 'sublethal neonicotinoids,' which do not kill pests but turn them into cigarette fiends, narcotized into irrelevance." There are other causes as well, but ultimately, it's a combination of all of them that are killing the bees. In NY Mag, David Wallace suggests that bees are, quite literally, worrying themselves to death.


Wrong Place Wrong Time

In 2014, nearly 60 million people were displaced by violent conflicts and wars. The Syrian war is the main culprit. The Economist has the story and the numbers.

+ "The least peaceful countries are getting less and less peaceful, and they're stuck in what appears to be vicious cycles." Inequality of income gets a lot of coverage. But what about the inequality of war? For most of us, it's more removed than ever. For others, it seems like it will never end.


Wallet My People Go

Martha Washington and Pocahontas once had their images on American currency, but that was a long time ago. This week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that the new $10 bill will feature a woman, and he invited everyone to share their opinions on who it should be.


Hogan’s Heroics

"Think about people breaking the law to get those videos. If an outlet can run it and not fear the public disclosure tort, it would incentivize people getting it. It puts incentives in troubling places." In an interesting piece, Fusion's Kashmir Hill explains that Hulk Hogan is not just fighting against Gawker, he's fighting for the privacy of the world's sex tapes. (On a sidenote, how much adult content does one need to burn through on the Internet before watching the intimate acts of a middle-aged Hulk Hogan seems like a decent way to spend a few minutes?)


Schlock the Vote

Rock and roll will never die. And neither will the age-old tradition of musicians complaining when politicians use their songs at political events. Here's some recent examples of songwriters telling candidates to hit the mute button.



FiveThirtyEight weighs in on one of the most fiercely-debated parenting topics of our time and determines, screen time for kids is probably fine. Thankfully, my kids will be too fixated on the TV to notice this article.


Bottom of the News

It probably doesn't come as a surprise that Portland has more microbrews and brewpubs than any other American city, or that its residents can get pretty serious about their coffee. But it might shock you to learn that Portland is also the country's strip club capital. (And that includes "the world's first vegan gentleman's club.")

+ Vox: How bizarre, ultra-manly photos help Putin stay in power.

+ And we now know that Donald Trump's campaign offered actors fifty bucks each to cheer for him at his presidential announcement. (So along with everything else, Trump also underpays his workers.)