In this week’s edition of the Long-Reader’s Digest: How do you tell if someone is a domestic terrorist? Also, the United States’ dangerously broken immigrant worker system and a comic book criminal.
A migrant climbs the security fence of the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles near Calais. On Monday night, migrants made about 2,000 attempts to enter the terminal
MENTAL DEGENERACY, OR MADNESS, was on the national agenda in the early decades of the American 20th century. It still is, albeit less dramatically. The common understanding around mental illness at that time was that it could be weeded out. New theories of germs and genes had created an image and a model of transmission: madness was “a blight,” much like syphilis. Contagious and hereditary, it threatened to bring down the country. President Teddy Roosevelt offered a solution in his 1903 address to the nation: he urged the mentally fit to breed. This, he suggested, would in part swamp out the mentally unfit. He gave medals to women of his type who had five or more children; he himself fathered six. In the ensuing decades, many states went further, passing laws to sterilize those deemed unfit: the “epileptic,” the “feebleminded,” the degenerate insane, not to mention the “masturbatory” and indecorous. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. resoundingly applauded in 1927, writing one of the more famous sentences in legal history: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” He was referring to the Buck family, whose youngest mother had been sterilized at age 17 because her own mother was “in an asylum” and the family, according to court records, was part of Virginia’s “worthless class of anti-social whites.” In short, eugenics — to the tune of 65,000 sterilizations — was alive and well in America. California was especially zealous: it accounted for 20,000 sterilizations.
[APPROVED BY CHARLES DARWIN]
Breast is best, don’t you know.
Those Winter Sundays
Robert Hayden, 1913 – 1980
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
Moving your eyes from side to side might reduce negative memories.
Polish soldier carrying a body of a boy who died fighting during the Warsaw Uprising. Warsaw, occupied Poland, 1944
Joseph Goebbels in 1933, learning that the photographer was Jewish right before the photo was snapped
A reality television first is scheduled for Halloween eve this year: The telecast of a live exorcism in the house that inspired the 1973 film “The Exorcist.”
Presidential candidates have grown deeply dependent on the contributions of a tiny slice of the richest Americans as “super PACs” have raised money much more quickly than hopefuls could have on their own.
When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, William J. Lewinski often appears as an expert witness who says they had no choice but to fire.
False alarm from Reunion Island, says official
WikiLeaks publishes “Target Tokyo”, 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy. The list indicates that NSA spying on Japanese conglomerates, government officials, ministries and senior advisers extends back at least as far as the first administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which las
[I AM NOT MAKING A POLITICAL STATEMENT FOR OR AGAINST THIS POTENTIAL CANDIDATE, BUT POSTING A PIECE THAT HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY CENSORED.]
25 years ago, Donald Trump suppressed this documentary made about him.
Secret Memo Reveals US Was Aware Of Americans Killing Zimbabwe Lions; Only Concern Was Getting Caught
…Presenting “QUIET DIPLOMACY” SUSPENDS ELEPHANT HUNTING IN NATIONAL PARKS – FOR NOW” – a Confidential memo sent on October 23, 2008 by the current US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James D. Mcgee, to the CIA, and released by Wikileaks.In it we read that, as usual, there is none more culpable of the recent event in Zimbabwe, which incidentally is and has been quite permitted by the local authorities as long as everyone’s palms are appropriately greased, than the US government, which years ago was fully aware that Americans were killing lions in Hwange National Park, but that its concern was not with the dead animals – no matter how hard the administration tries to feign empathy for the beheaded lion here and now – but with Americans getting caught in the act. As has just happened.But first, here is some background on how legal local poaching, whether it is for lions or elephants is. From the formerly classified memo:
Yuyang Liu photographs people all over China with mental health issues. He says his subjects are ‘overlooked or not recognised at all within society – they are invisible’. His astonishing shots have just won the Ian Parry scholarship 2015
I’ve been drug-free for nearly a month. Here is what I learned about my own seven-month weaning process.
Why do straight men devote so much attention to those big, bulbous bags of fat drooping form a women’s chest? Well scientists have never found a satisfactorily explanation for this phenomenon. But now, the neuroscientist Larry Young has found an explanation that he thinks ‘just makes a lot of sense.’
Following this summer’s record drought, Lake Mead has almost completely dried up, revealing entire towns that disappeared decades ago.
You can prepare for the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami, and their aftermath. Here’s how.
Spiny grass and scraggly pines creep amid the arts-and-crafts buildings of the Asilomar Conference Grounds, 100 acres of dune where California’s Monterey Peninsula hammerheads into the Pacific. It’s a rugged landscape, designed to inspire people to contemplate their evolving place on Earth. So it was natural that 140 scientists gathered here in 1975 for an unprecedented conference.
—-They were worried about what people called “recombinant DNA,” the manipulation of the source code of life. It had been just 22 years since James Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin described what DNA was—deoxyribonucleic acid, four different structures called bases stuck to a backbone of sugar and phosphate, in sequences thousands of bases long. DNA is what genes are made of, and genes are the basis of heredity.
An analysis of data on stomach acidity and diet in birds and mammals suggests that high levels of stomach acidity developed not to help animals break down food, but to defend animals against food poisoning. The work raises interesting questions about the evolution of stomach acidity in humans, and how modern life may be affecting both our stomach acidity and the microbial communities that live in our guts.
07_weegee_2394_1993 Weegee, [Adults and children playing in an open fire hydrant on the hottest day of the year, New York], (2394.1993)
Over the river and across the plains, the Keys to Freeze cycle team finds stark beauty in the wide-open landscapes and backcountry roads of the American South.
A new study is raising hackles about pot-laced edibles. The statistics really aren’t as alarming as they seem
Alain de Botton wants the sages to help us feel good. But when Nietzsche gives you a rush, beware.