Monthly Archives: March 2016

Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Weekly Review — March 29, 2016, 1:31 pm

Weekly Review

In Sweden, postal workers discovered a package containing 300 live cockroaches; and in England, a cat was accidentally sealed into a box full of DVDs and mailed 250 miles, from Cornwall to West Sussex. In South Carolina, a woman was arrested on charges of buggery after she shared videos online of herself performing sexual acts with a dog; and in Florida, a woman was charged with three counts of engaging in sexual conduct with an animal after a man who was suspected of sexually battering her showed police officers videos she had sent him of her having oral sex with two dogs. Read more…

Art, Monday Gallery — March 28, 2016, 1:25 pm

Blood Soaked South

Blood Soaked South, a painting by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, whose work is on view as part of Reality of My Surroundings: The Contemporary Collection, an exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, in Durham, N.C. Courtesy the artist/Collection of Patricia and Thruston Morton, L.5.2016.1, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University/Jack Shainman Gallery, New York/Corvi-Mora, London

Art, Monday Gallery — March 23, 2016, 2:40 pm

Untitled #7 and Untitled #3

“Untitled #7” and “Untitled #3,” photographs by Sharon Core, from the series Understory. An exhibition of the work opens this Thursday at Yancey Richardson Gallery, in New York City. Photographs © Sharon Core, courtesy the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

Weekly Review — March 23, 2016, 12:39 pm

Weekly Review

A man in Euclid, Ohio, was arrested for egging a neighbor’s house more than 100 times and pelting it with grapefruits and onions. Authorities in Florence, Italy, tried to discourage graffiti by allowing tourists to leave messages on digital tablets located at historical sites. A North Carolina man sentenced in 2006 to 30 years in prison for conspiracy and racketeering had his conviction overturned because his lawyer had slept during the trial “almost every day,” and a Michigan man who was convicted of unlawful imprisonment and carrying a concealed weapon sang Adele’s “Hello” at his sentencing hearing. “I love Adele’s music,” said the judge before sentencing the man to 17 years in prison.

Commentary — March 16, 2016, 2:22 pm

Trump’s Tomatoes

The story behind the billionaire’s fast food of choice

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Rebirth of a Nation

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The Tragedy of Ted Cruz

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Rebirth of a Nation·

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Donald Trump’s presidency signals a profound but inchoate realignment of American politics. On the one hand, his administration may represent the consolidation of minority control by a Republican-dominated Senate under the leadership of a president who came to office after losing the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. Such an imbalance of power could lead to a second civil war—indeed, the nation’s first and only great fraternal conflagration was sparked off in part for precisely this reason. On the other hand, Trump’s reign may be merely an interregnum, in which the old white power structure of the Republican Party is dying and a new oppositional coalition struggles to be born.

Illustration by Taylor Callery (detail)
Blood Money·

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Over the past three years, the city of South Tucson, Arizona, a largely Latino enclave nestled inside metropolitan Tucson, came close to abolishing its fire and police departments. It did sell off the library and cut back fire-truck crews from four to three people—whereupon two thirds of the fire department quit—and slashed the police force to just sixteen employees. “We’re a small city, just one square mile, surrounded by a larger city,” the finance director, Lourdes Aguirre, explained to me. “We have small-town dollars and big-city problems.”

Illustration by John Ritter (detail)
The Tragedy of Ted Cruz·

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When I saw Ted Cruz speak, in early August, it was at Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood. He was on a weeklong swing through rural central Texas, hitting small towns and military bases that ensured him friendly, if not always entirely enthusiastic, crowds. In Brownwood, some in the audience of two hundred were still nibbling on peach cobbler as Cruz began with an anecdote about his win in a charity basketball game against ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. They rewarded him with smug chuckles when he pointed out that “Hollywood celebrities” would be hurting over the defeat “for the next fifty years.” His pitch for votes was still an off-the-rack Tea Party platform, complete with warnings about the menace of creeping progressivism, delivered at a slightly mechanical pace but with lots of punch. The woman next to me remarked, “This is the fire in the gut! Like he had the first time!” referring to Cruz’s successful long-shot run in the 2011 Texas Republican Senate primary. And it’s true—the speech was exactly like one Cruz would have delivered in 2011, right down to one specific detail: he never mentioned Donald Trump by name.

Cruz recited almost verbatim the same things Trump lists as the administration’s accomplishments: the new tax legislation, reduced African-American unemployment, repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court. But, in a mirror image of those in the #Resistance who refuse to ennoble Trump with the title “president,” Cruz only called him that.

Photograph of Ted Cruz © Ben Helton (detail)
Wrong Object·

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e is a nondescript man.

I’d never used that adjective about a client. Not until this one. My seventeenth. He’d requested an evening time and came Tuesdays at six-thirty. For months he didn’t tell me what he did.

The first session I said what I often said to begin: How can I help you?

I still think of what I do as a helping profession. And I liked the way the phrase echoed down my years; in my first job I’d been a salesgirl at a department store counter.

I want to work on my marriage, he said. I’m the problem.

His complaint was familiar. But I preferred a self-critical patient to a blamer.

It’s me, he said. My wife is a thoroughly good person.

Yawn, I thought, but said, Tell me more.

I don’t feel what I should for her.

What do you feel?

Photograph © Joseph S. Giacalone (detail)

Percentage of Aquarians who are Democrats:


Scolded dogs look guiltier if they are actually innocent.

Nikki Haley resigns; Jamal Khashoggi murdered; Kanye visits the White House

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Happiness Is a Worn Gun


Illustration by Stan Fellows

Illustration by Stan Fellows

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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