Wednesday, April 24th, 2019


I Said, No, No, No

They tried to make me go to rehab. I said, no, no, no. That tune is likely stuck in the heads of many former "patients" at The Cenikor Foundation, a nationally renowned drug rehab program. For years, the company has been sending its clients to work, sans pay, at large for-profit companies. "Cenikor's success is built on a simple idea: that work helps people recover from addiction. All participants have to do is surrender their pay to cover the costs of the two-year program. But the constant work leaves little time for counseling or treatment, transforming the rehab into little more than a cheap and expendable labor pool for private companies." From the excellent folks at Reveal: They worked in sweltering heat for Exxon, Shell and Walmart. They didn't get paid a dime.


Count Indictment

"In addition to determining how many seats in the U.S. House each state has, census data touches almost every corner of American life, including business, education and polling, to name a few. 'These numbers are the gold standard body of statistics that make the country run.'" FiveThirtyEight: How The Citizenship Question Could Break The Census. (You can't even count on counting anymore.)

+ NPR: The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court appear split along ideological lines on whether a citizenship question can be included on forms for the upcoming 2020 census. (A major issue splitting Americans along ideological lines? Count on it.)

+ See 200 Years Of Twists And Turns Of Census Citizenship Questions.


The King and His Subjects

"In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, she tried to focus the White House on one of her highest priorities as homeland security secretary: preparing for new and different Russian forms of interference in the 2020 election." Why? From the NYT: President Trump's chief of staff told her not to bring it up in front of the president.

+ What subjects are allowed? You're always safe going with those involving crowd size. The Daily Beast: Trump Spent Most of Meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Complaining About His Follower Count.


Life Changing

"Time to start talking less about the technology for preventing global warming and more about the technology we'll need to live with it." From flooded cities to mass migration, MIT Tech Review dedicates an issue to the world's biggest issue. Welcome to climate change.

+ "Thunberg, who wore purple jeans, blue sneakers, and a pale plaid shirt, did not seem remotely fazed. Carefully unsmiling, she checked that her microphone was on. 'Can you hear me?' she asked. 'Around the year 2030, ten years, two hundred and fifty-two days, and ten hours away from now, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.'" The New Yorker: The Uncanny Power of Greta Thunberg's Climate-Change Rhetoric.


Our Royal Allies

"Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shiites, in a mass execution across the country for alleged terrorism-related crimes. It also publicly pinned the executed body and severed head of a convicted Sunni extremist to a pole as a warning to others."

+ "Mujtaba al-Sweikat was 17 when he was detained at King Fahd International Airport in 2012. Earlier that year, Al-Sweikat allegedly attended a pro-democracy rally in the midst of the Arab Spring, which led to his arrest." Detroit Free Press: Student slated to attend Western Michigan University beheaded in Saudi Arabia.


Scout’s Dishonor

"An expert who has been working with the Boy Scouts revealed that there may have been as many as 7,819 allegedly sexually abusive troop leaders and volunteers in the storied organization, according to newly released court documents. More than 7,800 individuals allegedly abused 12,254 victims, according to the court testimony." ABC News: More than 12,000 Boy Scout members were victims of sexual abuse.

+ And those numbers may be lower than the reality. The news of this historical data is bringing other victims forward. USA Today: Hundreds of former Boy Scouts reveal new sexual abuse claims, exposing 150 alleged pedophiles.


Assigned Seal Delivered

"Stabbing a defenseless teenage captive to death. Picking off a school-age girl and an old man from a sniper's roost. Indiscriminately spraying neighborhoods with rockets and machine-gun fire. Navy SEAL commandos from Team 7's Alpha Platoon said they had seen their highly decorated platoon chief commit shocking acts in Iraq. And they had spoken up, repeatedly. But their frustration grew as months passed and they saw no sign of official action." A hero doing his job or a criminal who crossed the line? That's the question at the heart of a case that is dividing combat brothers and ordinary Americans. NYT: Navy SEALs Were Warned Against Reporting Their Chief for War Crimes.

+ Task and Purpose: Trump's tax cut was a disaster for some Gold Star families.



"Why in God's name does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman with her whole life in front of her to get to this point?" BBC: A priest received a standing ovation at Lyra McKee's funeral when he asked why it took her death to unite politicians. "A friend told mourners at her funeral that Ms McKee revealed her plans to propose to her partner Sara Canning just hours before she was murdered."

+ "Ms McKee's most recent story, published on Sunday, was an analysis piece on the rising rate of young suicides since the ceasefires and the Good Friday Agreement." BBC: Lyra McKee: Murdered Belfast journalist committed to truth.
Vox: The killing of a journalist in Northern Ireland revives fears of the Troubles.


Tree of Life

"It turns out the coast redwood genome has six sets of chromosomes and 27 billion base pairs of DNA. That's nine times the size of the human genome, which has a meager two sets of chromosomes. It even puts to shame the giant sequoia, which has more than 8 billion base pairs of DNA and is roughly three times the size of the human genome." SF Chronicle: California scientists unravel genetic mysteries of world's tallest trees.


Bottom of the News

"Our 2019 compilation of research and stories explains what's key to a healthier internet across five issues, from personal experience to global concerns." My most excellent sponsors at Mozilla are out with their annual report on internet health. It's an amazing resource that provides a treasure trove of information about where we live now. How healthy is the internet?

+ "Holzhauer has found over 83 percent of his games' Daily Doubles, including at least one in every game in his 14 appearances thus far on the show. He has answered over 91 percent of them correctly." The Man Who Solved Jeopardy!.

+ Damian Lillard Drilled an Epic Series-Winning Three-Pointer. And the post-shot photo was even more epic.

+ And Pew discovered that Twitter users are not like the rest of America (Of course not. We're way funnier.)