Author Archive | Partisan

The Cultural Roots of a Gun-Massacre Society

By James Fallows

Here are some readers with extra elements on this discussion—political, cultural, international. First, an American reader on the interaction of current concepts of masculinity and the nearly all-male population of mass gun murderers:

There are obviously many components to the gun and mental illness issues but one thread that never seems to be acknowledged: America is going through a crisis of masculinity brought on by structural changes in our economy.

Jobs, if men possess them, no longer provide routes to self-esteem for working class men and so, with the help of the NRA, guns have become a talisman for a potency and meaning that has evaporated in the marketplace.

Take a moment to look at the gun magazines at your local WalMart and register the themes that are hammered home. Constant references not to hunting but to warfare, and the trappings of masculinity, the humorless insistence on the tacticality of every day objects, including, I kid you not, a spork with a hidden knife. These industries are preying on the needs of men to feel like they have a job, bigger than themselves, a protector of the fatherland, the constitution.

When I look at [the Las Vegas mass murderer] I see a man who gave himself a job. He worked out all the details as though he were a character in …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



A Cryptic Addition to a Long-Standing Murder Mystery

By James Fallows

Back in the fall of 2001, exactly one month after the 9/11 attacks, a lawyer in Seattle named Tom Wales was murdered as he worked alone at his home computer at night. Someone walked into the yard of Wales’s house in the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood of Seattle, careful to avoid sensors that would have set off flood lights in the yard, and fired several times through a basement window, hitting Wales as he sat at his desk. Wales survived long enough to make a call to 911 and died soon afterwards. He was 49, divorced, with two children in their 20s.

The crime was huge and dismaying news in Seattle, where Wales was a prominent, respected, and widely liked figure. As a young lawyer in the early 1980s he had left a potentially lucrative path with a New York law firm to come to Seattle and work as an assistant U.S. attorney, or federal prosecutor. That role, which he was still performing at the time of his death, mainly involved prosecuting fraud cases. In his off-duty hours, Wales had become a prominent gun-control advocate. From the time of his death onward, the circumstances of the killing—deliberate, planned, nothing like a robbery or a random tragedy—and the prominence of his official crime-fighting record and unofficial advocacy role led to widespread assumption that his death was a retaliatory “hit.” The Justice Department considers him the first and only U.S. prosecutor to have been killed in the line of duty.

Tom Wales and his son Tom, a few years before the elder Wales was murdered. (FBI).

You can read about the twists of the case in a 2007 story by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker, “An Unsolved Killing.” For the Seattle Times, Steve Miletich and Mike Carter have done a long …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Florida Shooting Survivors Descend on the State Capitol

By Lena Felton

Today in 5 Lines

Billy Graham, the world-renowned evangelical preacher, died at the age of 99. Students who survived the Parkland, Florida, shooting met with top leaders in the state Capitol to lobby for gun control. President Trump also invited a group of students, parents, and teachers to a “listening session” about gun violence at the White House. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a banker a job in the White House in return for home loans. During a meeting at the Kennedy Space Center, Vice President Mike Pence announced candidates for the reinstated National Space Council, and pushed for collaboration between commercial space companies and the government.

Today on The Atlantic

  • The Great Uniter: Billy Graham’s passing marks the end of an era for evangelicalism. Emma Green asks: “Will his legacy of bipartisan, ecumenical outreach be carried forward?”

  • ‘It’s Still Grayish’: A talented young coder living in Silicon Valley speaks with Alexis C. Madrigal about the one thing standing in the way of his success: his immigration status.

  • Down With the Statues: North Carolina is dismissing charges against several activists who tore down a Confederate statue in Durham last summer, a move that could set an important political precedent. (David A. Graham)

Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.


Students who walked out of their Montgomery County, Maryland, schools protest against gun violence in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

What We’re Reading

‘WE ARE KIDS’: An aide to Florida state Representative Shawn Harrison has been fired after he called students advocating for gun reform “crisis actors.” (Alex Leary and Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times)

Drawing Along Party Lines: Looking at Pennsylvania’s …read more

Via:: <a href= class="colorbox" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Florida Shooting Survivors Descend on the State Capitol” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic



How the Activists Who Tore Down Durham’s Confederate Statue Got Away With It

By David A. Graham

DURHAM, N.C.—“Let me be clear, no one is getting away with what happened.”

That was Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews’s warning on August 15, 2017. The day before, a protest had formed on the lawn outside the county offices in an old courthouse. In more or less broad daylight, some demonstrators had leaned a ladder against the plinth, reading, “In memory of the boys who wore the gray,” and looped a strap around it. Then the crowd pulled down the statue, and it crumpled cheaply on the grass. It was a brazen act, witnessed by dozens of people, some of them filming on cell phones.

Andrews was wrong. On Tuesday, a day after a judge dismissed charges against two defendants and acquitted a third, Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols announced the state was in effect surrendering, dismissing charges against six other defendants.

“Acts of vandalism, regardless of noble intent, are still a violation of the law,” Echols said during a brief news conference at the county courthouse. But he said the unfavorable decisions on Monday made clear the state would not be successful. “For my office to continue to take these cases to trial based on the same evidence would be a misuse of state resources.” Additional trials had been scheduled for April 2.

As a legal matter, these dismissals reflect the specifics of this case, especially the shockingly weak case brought by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and the DA’s office. As a political matter, their effect could be wider. Actors on all sides portrayed the Durham case as an important one. Activists viewed the destruction of the statue as a blow against white supremacy and the hundreds of monuments that dot the country, paying tribute to a rebellion that sought to preserve the enslavement of African Americans. Their opponents—including …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Billy Graham Fundamentally Reshaped Christian Outreach

By Emma Green

Billy Graham, the famous preacher who reached millions of people around the world through his Christian ministry, died on Wednesday at 99. Over the course of more than six decades, he reshaped the landscape of evangelism, sharing the gospel from North Carolina to North Korea and developing innovative ways to communicate the message of the Bible. He influenced generations of pastors and developed friendships with presidents, prime ministers, and royalty around the world. His death marks the end of an era for evangelicalism, and poses a fundamental question: Will his legacy of bipartisan, ecumenical outreach be carried forward?

Graham came up as a preacher during the post-war era, a time when American Christianity was being radically remade. “When Billy came on the scene, fundamentalism, as it’s called, was really prevalent,” said Greg Laurie, the pastor of the California megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship and member of the board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in an interview. “Billy wanted to broaden the base and reach more people.”

During this era, Christianity was becoming tightly twined with American nationalism—a shift helped along by Graham, who sent President Eisenhower regular updates on his crusades and corresponded about theology, according to one of Graham’s biographers, William Martin. Technology was also facilitating new ways of reaching audiences in America and abroad, and Graham was one of first pastors to use television and radio, along with books and a newspaper column, to build huge audiences across geographic lines.

Although the term “evangelical” is now commonly used to refer to Christians who focus on personal salvation and outreach about the gospel, it wasn’t always so common. “Billy was sort of the original evangelical,” argued Jack Graham, the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, who serves with Laurie on President Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory council. (He’s not related to …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



I'm Dreaming About a Modern World That Doesn't Erase Its Indigenous Intelligence

Sinéad Talley (Photo: Karuk and Yurok)

For some, it was only four generations ago that more than 90 percent of Indigenous relatives experienced an almost apocolyptic genocide. Native America might always feel the grief from that loss because colonial disruption is still here and its violence permeates every aspect of American culture and politics. Every aspect of Indigenous lives suffers from this violent structure.

Sinéad Talley (Photo: Karuk and Yurok)

It is important to understand that decolonization is a physical action and that since the creation of the United Nations, more than 80 countries have decolonized; which is to say, in over 80 nations, oppressive domination has been dismantled — colonial rule has left the building.

I try to imagine that kind of dismantling happening here in our homeland. I imagine a Handmaid’s Tale scenario where power is drastically overturned by Indigenous brethren. I see fire and destruction. I see the worst kind of Mad Max or zombie apocalypse that climaxes with 90 percent of our current population gone. The cost of this shift would be so devastating and tragic, it seems anti-American to even imagine it.

But the truth is it’s already been actualized; and it happened here — on this soil, to my people. For some, it was only four generations ago that more than 90 percent of our relatives experienced that kind of genocide.

Native America might always feel the grief from that loss because colonial disruption is still here and its violence permeates every aspect of American culture and politics. Every aspect of our lives suffers from this violent structure.

Sometimes I sit in modern spaces and try to imagine a “United States of Tribal Nations.” I imagine that the music overhead would be by a well-known Native hip-hop artist, and I’d shake my head because it lacks the …read more

Via:: Truthout



Plastics Found in Majority of Deep-Water Atlantic Fish, Posing Potential Threat to Human Health

(Photo: Bubbers13 / Getty Images)

An Irish research team found that nearly three-quarters of deep-sea fish collected from the northern Atlantic Ocean had tiny plastic particles known as “microplastics” in their guts, suggesting that plastic pollution is penetrating deep into the marine food chain and could even threaten human health.

(Photo: Bubbers13 / Getty Images)

Nearly three-quarters of deep-sea fish collected from the northern Atlantic Ocean by an Irish research team were found to have tiny particles of plastic in their guts, suggesting that human-made plastic pollution is penetrating deeper into marine ecosystems than previously thought, according to a report published Monday.

Scientists at the National University of Ireland collected 233 fish specimens from a warm, circular current in the northwest Atlantic known as a “warm core eddy” and found that 73 percent had digested tiny plastic particles called “microplastics.” These are pieces of plastic less than 5 millimeters long, or smaller than a sesame seed. They come from synthetic clothing, skin cleansers containing “microbeads” and larger pieces of plastic bags, bottles and other debris that slowly break down in the environment.

Warm core eddies are known to accumulate plastic pollution, which may explain why the team found one of the highest rates of microplastic contamination ever recorded in fish. Plastics are the most prevalent type of pollution found in the world’s oceans, as well the Great Lakes in the United States, according to the US National Ocean and Atmospheric Association.

Microplastic pollution can be passed on from prey to predator through the food chain.

The Irish researchers crossed the Atlantic in a research vessel and collected several species of deep-water fish with large fishing nets from a depth of about 600 meters, or about 2,000 feet below the surface. The …read more

Via:: Truthout



Big Money Spurs On an Intense Arizona Midterm Race

Big money is rolling into Arizona as a dramatic cast of candidates duke it out for Senator Jeff Flake’s seat in the upcoming midterms.

Nearly $310,000 has been spent by super political action committees (PACs) in the elections, much of it coming from big money interests like GOP mega-donor Robert Mercer.

Now, more money may soon enter one of the most contentious races in 2018, and that could mark a massive shift in close-polling races like Arizona’s Republican primaries.

National interest in the race sparked in October when the Arizona Republican announced in a passionate speech on the floor of the Senate that he would not seek re-election.

“I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles,” Flake said in the speech.

“To that end, I am announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019.”

Attention only increased as more political figureheads entered a race the New York Times recently dubbed a “microcosm of the country’s politics.