President Obama's decision not to bomb Syria after his "red line" on chemical weapons was crossed last August inspired scorn from neocons and some in the permanent foreign policy class in DC. But my reporting found there was more strategy involved than the White House gets credit for. Read the story here in Rolling Stone.
YOU LEAK YOU LOSE
In May, news broke that our government had obtained--without a warrant--copies of phone records of the Associated Press offices in New York, D.C. and Connecticut, as well as reporters' private lines. When I heard that, I was prompted to look up some easily obtainable data of my own: How many journalists are working in America, and how many Americans have security clearances?
There are about 65,000 journalists working for brands of one sort or another, according to a report in the Nieman Journalism Lab. And 5 million Americans now hold a security clearance.
In other words, there are about 77 people keeping secrets about the government for every single person whose professional duties might include asking questions about that government.
Since the revelations about the warrantless requisitioning of the AP's calls, this problem has only grown more troubling. We've learned about the scale of the surveillance, and we are beginning to see just how far the state will go to protect itself from tough questions.
Read more about the criminalizing of investigative journalism here
December 16 -- Every intern, cameraman and anchor at Fox News knows one thing is true: no one ever went broke mongering white fear. Selling the idea that brown people are coming to get your stuff - whether it's your presidency, your kid's rightful college slot, your medical insurance or the true racial identity of Santa Claus - has always been Fox's calling card. Over the years that has proven to be a remarkably successful marketing strategy. But never has it been so winningly packaged as in the brand called Megyn Kelly. ...
Read the ful article at Alternet here.
During the last week of Audrie' Pott's life, her California high school quad was an agora of final judgment. A curvaceous sophomore in the cool-girl's uniform of skintight top and super-short skirt, she looked the same as always, but inside she was quivering with humiliation. Every cluster of students she passed was snickering. Girlfriends were shunning her. Guys congregated around phones, smirking. Everywhere she turned, she was sure that i-pads, i-phones, Palms and Treos glowed with the horrid, ineradicable proof of her shame. Home was no escape. Facebook messages pinged into the inbox, stinging like snapped rubber bands.
"shit went down ahah jk i bet u already got enough ppl talking about it so ill keep it to myself haha ..."
"honestly like really no joke everyone knows... ."
"u were one horny mofo."
On the last day of her life, a Monday, the reputational apocalypse was at hand. There was no way out.
Sexting, Shame and Suicide: A Silicon Valley Tragedy. Read it online here.
Nina Burleigh covered the fraudulent but fascinating underbelly of the Jerusalem Biblical relic trade in Unholy Business. More from our files on the lucrative proof-for-faith industry: A story on the ongoing lawsuit that documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici has filed against Jerusalem curator and scientist Joe Zias, for Time, is here.
The Byliner archive contains my stories from many publications on a wide array of topics from Lance Armstrong to the Sudanese Lost Boys and Iraq's late, embattled antiquities director. Find the links here.
My investigation into the Buddhist community founded by Geshe Michael Roach, and the death of Ian Thorson at Diamond Mountain University in Arizona, was published in the June 6 issue of Rolling Stone. It is here online now.
A nine-month investigation I did with Bloomberg and Businessweek, on homelessness and young female veterans, led me to meeting Nira Williams, a former army truck driver with a harrowing and sadly too common story involving prescription drugs in the field, sexual assault, PTSD and addiction, followed by homelessness.
Readt he full story here.
Read the rest at Discover Magazine.
In spring 2011, I was in the southern Italian region called Cilento, reporting on the tragic and still unsolved murder of Angelo Vassallo, the beloved "sindaco-pescadoro" of a town called Pollica consisting of six tiny villages on the Mediterranean Coast about two hours south of Naples. The town is famous first as the home of the so-called Mediterannean Diet, popularized by American cardiologist Ancel Keys, who based himself there. It's also where Hemingway lived for a while, and gathered stories from the local fishermen for his book Old Man and the Sea.
Vassallo had been re-elected four times and had transformed his impoverished town into a world-class model of sustainable development, promoting the local bounty - goat cheese, olive oil and other traditional farmer fare as "artisanal" food all over Italy, and even beyond its borders. Vassallo was instrumental in the international slow food movement. He was ambushed and shot while driving home one night, after a series of arguments with crooked developers who would like to cash in on the region's beauty and turn it into another Positano.
My story finally runs this month, and you can read it here in Men's Health.
The photo here shows him holding a wine glass of sea water aloft, showing how clean it was after he installed the town's first sewer purification system.
Meanwhile, NYPD has a new program underway to arrest the johns.
Just before Christmas last year, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly hosted a small, cosmopolitan group of pretty young women in his office at 1 Police Plaza. Most were immigrants to the city, having come from Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe and around the United States. Because of the sensitive nature of what they would discuss, only two other officials were present--the NYPD's chief counsel and the commanding officer in charge of vice.
The women spoke different languages but had at least one thing in common: they had all been brought to the city to labor in the sex industry. The non-natives' first English words were "blow job" and "fuck."
They told harrowing stories of being kidnapped, imprisoned and forced to sell their bodies. One immigrant without legal status in the U.S. described being shuttled around in a livery car, the driver delivering her to various "customers" one after another. "She was basically a prisoner," said one participant at the meeting.
Read the article here at the NY Observer.
photo of James ossuary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The box was first brought to public attention in 2002. Tens of thousands lined up in freezing Canadian weather to see it go on exhibit -- with a sly caveat about its authenticity -- at the Royal Ontario Museum in January 2003.
The box was seized on by believers as proof of the Bible. But Israeli authorities, who eventually found what appeared to be a forgery workshop in the apartment of the box's owner, Tel Aviv industrial designer and antiquities collector Oded Golan, called it a fraud. The workshop contained half-made "antiquities," plans for others and even labeled baggies of silt from different archaeological sites around the Holy Land. The state would later assert that the silt was used to create a paste to coat the objects and fool scholars.
A trial commenced in 2005 against Golan, accused of "the fraud of the century" for creating objects meant to both make money and headlines. In effect, the lengthy trial put science in the dock. Science lost.
Read the full article at the LA Times here.
However, lest we celebrate a "trend" prematurely, I note that there is only ONE other major newspaper with a woman at the top, and it's in Ohio.
Men still run everything at all the high-culture publications, and they pick their own gender to write, and review other people's writing whenever possible. Actually, when I told one of these entitled lads that I was writing this profile for More he sniffed condescendingly: 'Uhh, does 'More" even exist anymore?"
Yes, apparently it's doing pretty well, thanks.
That's why I read the Lives of the Saints for style tips before writing about Jill.
She also talked about her regrets regarding the Judy Miller/Iraq war p.r. campaign, the full story is linked here.
Not too much, it turned out.
Read the full story here.
Here, a story for Slate on one of them.
I spent the Ferragosto week, Italy's big summer holiday, in Prato, interviewing Chinese workers and entrepreneurs who have come to Prato, Italy's historic textile producing city, and taken over a sector of the fashion industry. The whole feature is here, in Businessweek.
Rebecca Kiessling embodies the right-wing female firebrand in all the clichéd ways. She has long, straight blonde hair, a law degree, and bears a resemblance to Anne Coulter. She's married, a home-schooling mother of five, and vehemently pro-life. What sets her apart though, and what has made her the optimal spokeswoman for radical pro-lifers in the abortion wars, is that she is a daughter of rape, conceived when her biological mother was abducted at knifepoint in 1968. She likes to point out that she has spent her 41 years on this earth only because abortion was illegal in the state of Michigan that year. Her mother went to two back-alley abortionists before being forced, because of the law, to carry Rebecca (whom she gave up for adoption but recently re-adopted) to term.
Read the rest of the story here at TIME.
The man New Yorkers elected as their latest Sheriff of Wall Street seems so much smaller than one expects a man in such an outsize job to be, sitting behind his huge desk flanked by a potted rubber plant on one side and the state flag on the other. Behind him, the behemoth black iron shell of the Freedom Tower -- Manhattan real estate's rough, unfinished rebuke to terrorists -- hogs the sky and blocks out the sunset.
Read it here
My voyage into the perfumed, gun-totin' world of the young women of the Right, in Elle.