Rain Boots, Turning Tides, and the Search for a Missing Boy

Last year in Nova Scotia, after 3-year-old Dylan Ehler vanished, online sleuths descended on Facebook groups to help find him. Then they lost their way.

Link: https://www.wired.com/story/search-missing-boy-dylan-ehler-nova-scotia/
The vitriol spilled over into real life. People started standing outside their Bible Hill home glowering and taking photos, or following them in their cars. Someone at the area hospital looked up health records for Ashley, Lily, and Dylan, a privacy breach. When Jason and Ashley put up a memorial for Dylan in Bible Hill’s Holy Well Park—a blanket laden with teddy bears, a toy fishing rod, the boy’s first-ever pair of rain boots hanging from the tree overhead—locals tore it apart and dug a hole beneath it, looking for bones.
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Half Baked: How A Would-Be Cannabis Empire Went Up In Smoke

Rebecca Raffle came to Indianapolis from Los Angeles with a story about building a cannabis empire. It was too good to be true.

Link: https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/half-baked
The offer came fast—too fast—and Hunt became skeptical: “She made a lot of big promises and a lot of large declarations.” To her, Raffle’s description of the company sounded more like multilevel marketing. “I was like, ‘Oh God, is she going to give me a box of CBD Avon and I’m going to have to go door to door?’”
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Indian vs. Black: Vigilante Killings Upend a South African Town

As rioting and looting swept the country this summer, Indians in the suburb of Phoenix set up roadblocks to police their streets. Dozens of Black people passing through wound up dead.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/04/world/africa/South-Africa-Phoenix-riots-deaths.html
Nationwide, more than 340 people died in the mayhem, many in stampedes or circumstances that remain unclear. But government officials have been alarmed by a dynamic that, they say, dangerously undermines the social order: dozens of vigilante killings by ordinary citizens.

Did Making the Rules of War Better Make the World Worse?

Why efforts to curb the cruelty of military force may have backfired.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/13/did-making-the-rules-of-war-better-make-the-world-worse
In Arkin’s view, the covid-19 pandemic brought the 9/11 era to an end: two decades of misdirected resources bookended by displays of official incompetence. Arkin argues that the time is overdue to pull back—to close some of our overseas bases and bring home many of the troops. Biden’s decision on Afghanistan can be seen as an attempt to temper some of America’s commitments. What lies ahead, as the chaos engulfing Afghanistan suggests, may not be that peaceful era of political freedom and pluralism which Moyn thinks our militarism blocked, and indeed Moyn’s singular focus on American power may come to seem strikingly insular. We’ve spent decades fighting asymmetrical wars, but now there’s a symmetrical one looming. The United States has never faced an adversary of China’s power: China’s G.D.P. is, by some measures, greater than ours, its active-duty military is larger than ours, and its weapon systems are rapidly expanding. China appears determined to challenge the status quo, not just the territorial one but the scaffolding of international laws that govern much of the world’s diplomatic and economic relations. If two forever wars are finally coming to an end, a new Cold War may await. ♦
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The Other Afghan Women

In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/13/the-other-afghan-women
Dado went even further. In March, 2003, U.S. soldiers visited Sangin’s governor—Dado’s brother—to discuss refurbishing a school and a health clinic. Upon leaving, their convoy came under fire, and Staff Sergeant Jacob Frazier and Sergeant Orlando Morales became the first American combat fatalities in Helmand. U.S. personnel suspected that the culprit was not the Taliban but Dado—a suspicion confirmed to me by one of the warlord’s former commanders, who said that his boss had engineered the attack to keep the Americans reliant on him. Nonetheless, when Dado’s forces claimed to have nabbed the true assassin—an ex-Taliban conscript named Mullah Jalil—the Americans dispatched Jalil to Guantánamo. Unaccountably, this happened despite the fact that, according to Jalil’s classified Guantánamo file, U.S. officials knew that Jalil had been fingered merely to “cover for” the fact that Dado’s forces had been “involved with the ambush.”

Opinion | The Forgotten Jews of the Forest

More than 70 years after World War II, we're still learning about new facets of the Holocaust.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/04/opinion/holocaust-jews-forest.html
Peter Duffy, author of the 2003 book “The Bielski Brothers,” lamented the lack of a unified collection of these testimonies in a conversation with me recently. “There’s this sense that we’ve done enough on this history. People say, ‘Oh, another Holocaust book, or another memorial,’” he told me. But Mr. Duffy believes that when it comes to what transpired in these forests, “we’ve barely scratched the surface of the story that is there, and probably most of it is lost.” The history is so elusive, in fact, that scholars at The Polish Center for Holocaust Research have called these less-understood stories of Jews who escaped their ghettos and attempted to hide “the margins of the Holocaust.”
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Kaws Is Terrible, But Thankfully Forgettable

No one encompasses that soulless supersizing of pop culture as clearly as Kaws.

Link: http://hyperallergic.com/674324/kaws-is-terrible-but-thankfully-forgettable/
Once the bastion of visual dissent for underrepresented voices who co-opted the language of branding and advertising, street art (which blends contemporary art strategies with the visual thrill of graffiti) has for the last decade become fully associated with real estate interests, merchandising, and gentrification.
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Opinion | Republicans Are Turning Activists Into Enforcers

The Texas abortion law is the latest example of a harrowing trend.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/01/opinion/texas-abortion.html
But perhaps the most shocking thing about S.B. 8 is the power it gives abortion opponents — or simple opportunists — over their fellow citizens. The law is written so that they, not the police or prosecutors, get to enforce it, and potentially profit off it. Under S.B. 8, any private citizen can sue others for “conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.”
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Go-to Lawyer for Capitol Riot Defendants Disappears

John Pierce has been a combative advocate for those accused of participating in the Jan. 6 attack, but he’s missed court appearances for a week.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/31/nyregion/capitol-riots.html
“I’m like Gerard Butler in ‘300,’” Mr. Pierce said in an interview before dropping out of sight, comparing himself to the action star who played a Spartan king. “I’m in the hot gates at Thermopylae, holding the pass against the million-man Persian army.”