PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

Attacks From Within Seen as Growing Threats to Elections (Maria)

The author writes, “Election officials preparing for this year’s midterms have yet another security concern to add to an already long list that includes death threats, disinformation, ransomware and cyberattacks — threats from within. In a handful of states, authorities are investigating whether local officials directed or aided in suspected security breaches at their own election offices. At least some have expressed doubt about the 2020 presidential election, and information gleaned from the breaches has surfaced in conspiracy theories pushed by allies of former President Donald Trump.”

Welcome to Cold War 2.0. It Won’t Be Easy (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “No matter how Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine ends, it already marks a turning point in history: the end of a 30-year period of relative peace in Europe and a return to hostility between Russia and its neighbors — a kind of Cold War 2.0. If we’re lucky.”

Russia’s Assault on Ukraine Has a Crusader Element (Dan)

The author writes, “In her Substack shebeen, religious historian Diana Butler Bass takes a deep dive into how Christian ethno-nationalism has joined hands across the globe with reactionary Catholicism and, most importantly, with hyper-conservative Russian Orthodoxy to add a little old-time religious filigree to Vladimir Putin’s current depredations.”

Four Black Women Became Classmates, Roommates and Lifelong Sisters. One of Them Is Now a Historic Nominee for the Supreme Court. (Dana)

From The 19th News: “On Friday, President Joe Biden made history and made good on a campaign promise, tapping Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to serve on the high court in its 232-year history. So far, the reaction hasn’t been unlike what we witnessed in the spring and summer of 2020, after Biden pledged to pick a woman as his running mate. Despite having the political résumés for the job, the Black women discussed as possible nominees then and now have been targets of racist and misogynist questions about their competency, their ambition and their attitude. As they did then, Black women are cheering the news and again preparing to rally around the barrier breaker who shares their lived experience. 

The Federal Election Commission Let Trump Off the Hook for Allegedly Using $2.8 Million in Charitable Donations to Veterans for Political Purposes (DonkeyHotey)

From Business Insider: “The Federal Election Commission let former President Donald Trump off the hook even after the body’s legal counsel said he violated federal campaign finance laws with a fundraiser for Iowa veterans in 2016, according to documents made public [last] week. At stake was whether Trump violated laws prohibiting ‘soft money’ spending — using unregulated, non-campaign funds for political purposes — in connection with his 2016 presidential campaign. Specifically, Trump funneled roughly half of the $5.8 million he raised at the Des Moines veterans event on January 28, 2016 to his now-defunct Donald J. Trump Foundation. The Trump campaign then steered how the foundation, a separate entity, spent $2.8 million in charitable funds just ahead of the Iowa Republican caucuses.” 

Turning Scrap Wood Into Innovative Products Could Be a Huge Win for Curbing Carbon and Wildfire (Mili)

From Anthropocene: “It’s widely believed that many forests in the western U.S. are sick and need surgery using chainsaws and fire. But two major barriers stand in the way: Figuring out how to pay for the work and how to keep it from adding to the greenhouse gasses piling up in the atmosphere. Now, a team of California researchers say part of the solution in their state — and elsewhere — could be making fuel and buildings from the skinny trees and leftover branches once treated as worthless scrap.”

The Lonely Library: One Woman Keeps the Grand Ronde Library Alive, One Afternoon a Week (Reader Steve)

From The Oregonian: “Members of the Grand Ronde Women’s Club started the community’s public library in 1958, at what used to be the local bank off Oregon 18, with only a spiral-bound notebook to keep track of who borrowed what book. They thought that would be enough — at least for a little while. After all, the library would only be open Monday afternoons. Now, some 3,300 Monday afternoons later, the notebook still has room for more visitors to write down their names and the books they’re borrowing. In fact, the 64-year-old notebook records approximately 3,500 library visitors in all — about one per week.”