November 11th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Veterans Day stories, the D.A. elected while visiting his dad in prison, and we talking about practice?

On this Veterans Day, let’s pause to remember that for many who have served, the fight never really ends, and today, like those before it, will be spent battling the demons of the past. Their stories are a reminder that every war is a forever war. First, from Bryan Box in The New Republic: Ghosts of War in a Wisconsin Forest. “Sometimes when I’m marking timber, I’ll have a flashback and just stand there, staring off into space for God knows how long. I don’t know if my co-workers have noticed. Historically, our hardwood stands were oak-dominant. The sugar maple only became a major component after loggers slicked the landscape in the 1900s. The last flashback was set off by a noise that reminded me of my friend screaming in agony as he burned alive.”

+ And from Terence Szuplat in NY Mag: An Obama speechwriter reconnects with the wounded soldier who became a national symbol of resilience.. “When some 80 percent of the Members of Congress who were applauding Cory never served in the military; when less than one percent of Americans wear the uniform — how much do any of us really know about the lives of veterans like Cory? How much do we really want to know?”


Incarceration Nation on Probation

LA Times: San Francisco’s new D.A. learned he won the job while visiting his dad in prison. “With nearly half of Americans related to someone who has been jailed or imprisoned, criminal justice reform has become increasingly important to voters, regardless of party lines.”


Daca Con

“The authors of DACA in the Obama Administration were aware that the program would draw intense scrutiny. Janet Napolitano, who was the secretary of D.H.S. when the program was adopted, told me, ‘It was done with the assumption that, somewhere along the line, somebody was going to try to stop it.'” And, as we now know, it didn’t take long. Jonathan Blitzer in The New Yorker: The Trump Administration’s Plot to End DACA Faces a Supreme Court Test.

+ “He has stood trial twice — once on felony and once on misdemeanor charges — and faces a third that could put him in prison for a decade. He’s been thrust from the obscurity of academia into a role he never sought: as the criminal defendant at the center of a politically charged case drawing international attention.” Time: They Tried to Save the Lives of Immigrants Fleeing Danger. Now They’re Facing Prosecution.


Criminal Charges

“Today, his parents pay about 90 euros (or $100) a month in the Paris suburbs for a combination of broadband access, cable television and two mobile phones. A similar package in the United States usually costs more than twice as much … a few companies have grown so large that they have the power to keep prices high and wages low. It’s great for those corporations — and bad for almost everyone else.” David Leonhardt in the NYT: Big Business Is Overcharging You $5,000 a Year.


Haley’s Comment

“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country. It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing. … Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president’s decisions was because, if he didn’t, people would die.” Nikki Haley is the latest former Trump administration official to release a memoir. Newshour: In memoir, Haley alleges Tillerson and Kelly resisted Trump’s policies. (It’s ironic that a president who never reads has been so good for book sales.) Meanwhile, Haley has chimed in on the impeachment debate, arguing that the president’s actions are not impeachable, but adding, “it is not a good practice for us ever to ask a foreign country to investigate an American.” (Our Democracy is cratering and we talkin’ ‘bout practice?)


Sister Hood

“The two sisters live in fear of being recognized. One grew out her bangs and took to wearing hoodies. The other dyed her hair black. Both avoid looking the way they did as children. Ten years ago, their father did the unthinkable: He posted explicit photos and videos on the internet of them, just 7 and 11 at the time. Many captured violent assaults in their Midwestern home, including him and another man drugging and raping the 7-year-old. The men are now in prison, but in a cruel consequence of the digital era, their crimes are finding new audiences. The two sisters are among the first generation of child sexual abuse victims whose anguish has been preserved on the internet, seemingly forever.” NYT: Child Abusers Run Rampant as Tech Companies Look the Other Way.


Helmet Head

“Mr Le Mesurier, who was believed to be in his 40s at the time of his death and had also worked for the United Nations, was considered a co-founder of the White Helmets.
The organization, which is also known as the Syria Civil Defense, helps rescue civilians caught up in attacks in areas of Syria controlled by the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.” BBC: James Le Mesurier, White Helmets co-founder, discovered dead in Turkey. “Reports in Turkish media say his body was discovered with fractures to his legs.”


Dialogue Jam

“Social media has flooded our consciousness with caricatures of each other. Human beings are reduced to data, and data nearly always underrepresent reality. The result is this great flattening of human life and human complexity. We think that because we know someone is pro-choice or pro-life, or that they drive a truck or a Prius, we know everything we need to know about them. Human detail gets lost in the algorithm. Thus humanity gives way to ideology.” The Atlantic with a conversation with Tara Westover on the urban/rural divide: The Places Where the Recession Never Ended.

+ “From one perspective, these organizations seem to have succeeded mostly in forming a new bubble—what activists call ‘the civil-dialogue space.’ Americans are beginning countless dialogues about how important it is to begin a dialogue.” The Atlantic: Can Marriage Counseling Save America? (Let’s just get drunk and have make-up sex.)


Ralph Nadir

“‘It’s honestly hell,’ said Alice Moon, 30, a marijuana industry public relations professional in Los Angeles who stopped consuming cannabis in January after vomiting for 16 days straight. ‘I looked like a skeleton.'” Boston Globe: Hospitals see rare vomiting syndrome in heavy marijuana consumers. (Nothing’s worse than getting the munchies and then losing your lunch…)


Bottom of the News

“Approximately 30% of the textiles recovered for recycling in the U.S. are converted to wiping rags, according to Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (Smart), a trade association. And that’s probably an undercount. The 45% of recycled textiles that are reused as apparel eventually wear out, too. When they do, they’re also bound for the wiping-rag companies.” Bloomberg: Riches From Rags.

+ A Dad Took A Photo Of His Daughter Every Week — Here’s Her Growth From Birth To 20 Years Old. (Love these.)

+ “A [big] group of cyclists came to my house, and about 12 of us rode along the canal path to a cafe that I’d chosen…And they were ready for me. They put a white tape across the handrails of the footbridge, and I broke through it.” 82-year-old British cyclist completes 1 million miles. (And now he’s going for another million.)

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