Happy Monday, gentle readers! It’s a busy and chaotic time in the headlines, so why not take a moment to sit down, relax, and read some of the best of what we’re reading before going on about your day? As always, we’re eager to hear about what’s driving your curiosity, so be sure to drop a link to your favourite stories of the week in the comments.
One person’s drug is another person’s medicine…and the shape of how we define and talk about drugs has shifted radically over the years. This is an interesting look at a surprisingly difficult question: When is a drug just a drug?
I think often, when we talk about drugs, especially outside of scholarly conversations, there is this split between, are we talking about prescription drugs, prescription medications, and the political economy of healthcare in our country, or in our society? Are we talking about bad, dirty drug users, who belong in jail? There is often a much harder split, I think, in public conversation about drugs.
‘Exposing the Sandy Hook hoaxers‘ (The Week)
A web of conspiracy theories surrounds one of the most infamous mass shootings in US history, evidence, perhaps, that people will go to absurd lengths to avoid facing the truth.
As the families grieved, conspiracy theorists began to press their case in ways that Newtown couldn’t avoid. State officials received anonymous phone calls at their homes, late at night, demanding answers: Why were there no trauma helicopters? What happened to the initial reports of a second shooter? A Virginia man stole playground signs memorializing two of the victims, then called their parents to say that the burglary shouldn’t affect them, since their children had never existed. At one point, Pozner was checking into a hotel out of town when the clerk looked up from his driver’s license and said, ‘Oh, Sandy Hook — the government did that.’
‘ Amy Goodman Is Facing Prison for Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline. That Should Scare Us All.‘ (The Nation)
The Goodman case has chilling implications when it comes to freedom of the press in the US, and if you aren’t following it, you definitely should be. At a time when US media are under intense scrutiny, persecution of reporters is a bad sign.
According to Erickson, a woman who appeared at a protest carrying a microphone emblazoned with the name Democracy Now! and trailing a video crew; who can be heard in the resulting video report identifying herself to a security guard as a reporter; and who then broadcast the video on the daily news program she has hosted for 20 years is not actually a journalist. She is not a journalist, because she harbors a strong perspective, and that perspective clashes with his own. By the same distorted logic, every muckraking news gatherer from Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair on through I.F. Stone, and, yes, today’s Matt Taibbi (whose work Erickson apparently admires) was not a journalist but an activist flirting with arrest.
‘As California Enters Its Sixth Year of Drought, One Community Finds a New Water Source—And a Voice‘ (Colorlines)
The effects of California’s drought are often talked about in broad strokes, but water policy gets ugly on the ground when it comes to the haves and the have-nots. One town exemplifies the hidden stories of the drought — and after a bitter fight, they’re finally getting running water.
Without a basic governance, unincorporated towns also often lack basic infrastructure like potable drinking water, sewage systems, sidewalks and public transit. Even when East Porterville had running water, Tulare County Health and Human Services ran tests and found it was contaminated with nitrates, which the CDC has linked to decreased blood pressure, headaches, vomiting and, in rare cases, death.
‘Fears mount on Trump’s ‘rigged election’ rhetoric‘ (Politico)
Donald Trump has been complaining about rigged elections for months, but now, it’s escalating, and it packs a dangerous punch, especially with his racially charged calls for poll watchers.
President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their top aides, along with leaders on Capitol Hill, worry about the preview Trump is providing in this final month, part kamikaze mission to take down Clinton, part temper tantrum by a man who has never been embarrassed on either this scale or spotlight.
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