My second dispatch from the AFL covers Michael Kopech, Francis Martes, Dillon Tate, and more. I also wrote a column on the Dbacks’ hire of Mike Hazen and the lack of diversity in front offices. Both pieces are for Insiders, and neither mentions Tim Tebow. I also held my regular Klawchat on Thursday.
My latest boardgame review for Paste covers the pirate-themed Islebound, a gorgeous game that plays slow and dry.
And now, the links…
- The BBC discusses the tyranny and oppression beneath the sunny surface of Gambia, a popular tourist destination for Europeans. A sad note on this story: its author, Chris Simpson, died this week in his hotel room in Senegal shortly after filing. The cause of death has not been determined.
- A 31-year-old researcher from UC Davis was killed by a rock-thrower during protests in Ethiopia last month. Ethiopia had been one of the few stable countries in east Africa, bordering the non-state of Somalia, the brutal dictatorship in Eritrea, and the weak, beleaguered government of South Sudan. Ethiopia is also a major producer of coffee, and the unrest there (including the destruction of washing stations) will likely lead to higher coffee prices.
- Burundi is also sliding into collapse and the international community needs to step up its involvement in trying to reach a political solution. The humanitarian crisis there is growing; there are over 400,000 displaced Burundians and nearly half the population needs food aid.
- Is the so-called Islamic State finished? Its territory may be shrinking, along with its resources, but that may mean the group disperses into a stateless terrorist network like its parent, al Qaeda.
- Amnesty International accuses Australia of intentionally torturing refugees in its Nauru detention center, which the Australians denied, of course. The NY Times editorial board slammed Australia as well as Nauru, which pockets a tidy profit from hosting the center while limiting press access.
- How about some longreads? Outside has the crazy story of the search for the wreckage of Eastern Airlines flight 980, which crashed in the mountains of Bolivia in 1985. Two climbers took the author on their quest to find the black box recorders and any of the bodies, none of which was found in initial recovery efforts.
- The best thing I read all week was the Washington Post‘s story on Derek Black, son of the white supremacist behind Stormfront, chronicling Derek’s realization that he didn’t want to be heir to his father’s throne – or affiliated with white supremacist movements at all.
- This profile of James Beard Award-winning chef and pizzaiolo Chris Bianco is stellar, getting into Bianco’s thoughts on pizza, food, and life in general. Bianco’s business partner, Seth Sulka, co-owns the Hillside Spot in Ahwatukee, where I ate twice last week (get the chilaquiles verdes with hash browns, you won’t regret it), and Tratto, the new place discussed in this article, is outstanding.
- FiveThirtyEight has an excellent longread on the upcoming vote in the Florida Keys over releasing genetically modified mosquitos to try to fight Aedes aegypti, the species most responsible for spreading the Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya. Within that article is the issue of allowing the public to vote on matters of public health that might be best decided by experts but where the decision may directly affect the voters’ physical well-being.
- I’d rather not link to the New York Review of Books, but they did have the best story on the Kansas City librarian facing dubious criminal charges for protecting a patron’s First Amendment rights.
- The Arizona Republic received death threats after the paper endorsed Hillary Clinton for President – the first time the paper had ever endorsed a Republican for the office. Their response to the threats was to stand firm in their beliefs.
- This was a tough read: the Charlotte Observer has a story on the almost 17-year-old son of convicted murderer* Rae Carruth. The boy has cerebral palsy, the result of his mother bleeding out after the shooting, and he’s been raised by his grandmother. Carruth has had no contact with the boy since he was one and still claims he had nothing to do with his girlfriend’s death. (*Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, but ‘convicted conspiracist’ doesn’t really sound right.)
- Pro-Trump supporters have gone way beyond even the depraved norms of online harassment, as detailed by conservative, anti-Trump writer David French. If you’re voting for Trump, these are your comrades-in-arms. You surely deserve each other.
- A University of Hawai’i professor opposed to genetic modification of food crops participated in the harassment of University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta, one of the leading proponents of GM crops. So why is Valenzuela still on the staff of a public university?
- Why should you care? Well, genetic modification has produced tobacco plants that produce high amounts of artemisinin, a potent anti-malarial treatment.
- So-called “detox” products are a scam. Really. All of them. Your liver takes care of most of this for you – including, by the way, the trace amounts of ethylmercury that used to be found in vaccines as thimerosal.
- Friday’s DDoS attack on a DNS provider is a really bad sign for the future of the internet. I used to work for a company (prior to my baseball career) that made anti-DDoS software and was purchased by a larger firm in 2010, but my lay understanding of this attack is that the sheer quantities of data being thrown at servers are bigger than most solutions can handle.
- Useful tips on how to succeed in meetings by not paying attention better than anyone else.
- The proposed new ballpark for the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, is just a giant transfer of wealth to the team’s owners, and if you live in Arlington, you should vote against the proposal next month. They can afford to build their own stadium without taking money from the public’s pockets.
- Trump repeated a pro-life claim about babies being “ripped” from their mother’s wombs in the debate, sparking this post from a woman who had to terminate her pregnancy or die of preeclampsia. Her “abortion” came at 23 weeks, but the alternative was to die (and have the fetus die with her).
- Where the fuck are mainstream Republicans on Trump’s vote-rigging claims? Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake are among the few who have stood up to deny him, and we should all remember the names of other Republicans who did so – and those who didn’t.
- Governor Mike Pence’s administration in Indiana may be engaging in some old Jim Crow-style voter suppression. Maybe that’s the kind of vote-rigging Trump is warning us about!
- The mayor of nearby West York, Pennsylvania, resigned after he posted a series of racist memes mocking President Obama and black Americans in general. I bet you can’t guess who he’s supporting for President!
- Daniel Dale has become one of the most popular fact-checkers on Twitter, with daily updates on the candidate’s falsehoods. Dale wrote a story for Politico on how and why he ended up in this role.
- I linked to a few stories about Kelly Oxford’s #notokay Twitter campaign last week; the stories kept coming this week too, including one from a woman who says the tweets helped her realize she’s been assaulted and a related story from Goldie Taylor on why she didn’t talk about her rape for 30 years.
- We’ve got a scandal brewing here in Delaware, where the Christina School District illegally withheld over $7 million in funds that should have gone to charter schools. That district, which includes the town of Newark and the University of the Delaware, has been plagued by low ratings and complaints about poor school performance, even though it doesn’t include the most economically disadvantaged parts of the state.
- The Telegraph used Phil Collins’ revelation that he’s a recovering alcoholic to cover the new trend of “mid-lifers” developing severe drinking problems.
- Couple of tweets worth seeing. First, more on the people you’re in bed with if you’re supporting Trump:
— Casey (@pari_passu) October 16, 2016
And this one, in which the tweeter (?) trolls Dilbert creator, Trump supporter, and man no longer in touch with reality Scott Adams:
dilbert is mine now pic.twitter.com/CyY6aKJ8oL
— leon (@leyawn) October 19, 2016