Happy July, gentle readers! Today we’re delving into longreads on Trump’s insiders, abuse in evangelical Christian circles, coal country, and the future of cryptocurrency. We’re also reading a dispatch from a disability rights protest in Denver, Colorado.
‘Trump’s Man in Congress‘ (Laurel Rosenhall for California Sunday)
This is a fascinating dive into a man’s rise to power in a world filled with people jockeying for position in the midst of an unstable, dramatic, and utterly unpredictable presidential administration. While it may date to May, it’s well worth a read now!
McCarthy was a master at making his fellow Republicans feel included. He remembered wedding anniversaries and sent flowers to spouses. One year, he gave everyone in the caucus a personally engraved iPod. He turned the home he shared with other legislators into a clubhouse, with a pool table, a poker table, and a barbecue. In the evenings, he’d run his members through flash cards to make sure they mastered the procedural rules of the Assembly floor. Then, while everyone else relaxed over a game of cards or pool, he would ask what happened in committee that day, keeping tabs on everything that was going on.
‘The Silence of the Lambs‘ (Kathryn Joyce for The New Republic)
When we think of sexual abuse in religious settings, we often envision the Catholic Church, which was caught in a series of terrible scandals in the early 2000s. This is a problem that isn’t restricted to Catholics, however, and one that has far more to do with power, control, and fear.
Across the world, her parents were in a panic. All they had received was a cryptic message that their youngest daughter would be flying back from Indiana alone with ABWE officers. Unable to reach their other daughters back in Indiana, the Jameses came to fear that something awful had happened to everyone but Kim. Had their other daughters been in an accident of some kind? Were they dead?
‘Vitalik Buterin: The cryptocurrency prophet‘ (Claire Brownell for Financial Post)
Cryptocurrency is enjoying a moment in the sun as its value skyrockets and those who were in on the ground level stand to make tremendous profits. This is the story of one scion of this bizarre and growing economy — and how his evolution has changed our collective future.
Within three-and-half years, Ethereum would be worth US$7 billion. The term “blockchain” would be more than just a hot corporate buzzword, and the world’s largest companies and financial institutions would be experimenting with Buterin’s technology. And the shaking, awkward teen would emerge as a respected world leader in cryptocurrency. But first he had some work — and some learning — to do.
‘The Future of Coal Country‘ (Eliza Grizwold for the New Yorker)
This sensitive, thoughtful, serious dispatch from a part of the US that’s often maligned, belittled, and poorly understood is well worth taking your time with. It pains a vivid portrait of people and places who are often depicted only in the most base, cartoonish of terms.
Coptis, thrilled to be starting adult life, bought gifts for her fiancé on credit: a washer/dryer, a big-screen TV, a motorcycle. When she discovered, a few days before their wedding, that he’d left her for her best friend, she loaded everything she’d paid for into her father’s truck and moved home. “I realized that I was making my decisions based on a man,” she said. “I promised myself never to do that again.”
‘55 Hours in a Republican Senator’s Office, Defending Our Right to Live‘ (Kalyn Heffernan interview by Matt Miller for Esquire)
Disability rights activists in Colorado occupied Senator Cory Gardener’s office for over two days, protesting the Republican health care bill. This is one story from a lengthy protest that followed in the tradition of decades of agitation and activism from the US disability community.
If I could talk to Cory Gardner or Mitch McConnell directly, I’d wanna say so much to those guys I’d probably get arrested. But I’d tell them that we have a right to live. We’re not going to allow them to kill us. We’re going to fight. This bill is going to kill so many Americans who pay taxes, want to contribute to society, and have already been marginalized. We’ve already fought so hard for the resources that we have.
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Photo: Garry Knight/Creative Commons