US labor, Amazon, holiday wishes, letters to Peccy
Photo credit: Jaimie Wilson / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED)

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

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Hard-up This Holiday? Amazon Tells Workers to Ask Company Mascot for Help (Maria)

The author writes, “Amazon is asking workers experiencing hardship to write a letter to its company mascot, Peccy, this holiday season so ‘some of their holiday wishes can come true.’ A flyer from the Amazon warehouse SWF1 in Rock Tavern, New York, states: ‘Are you or someone you know facing financial hardship this holiday season? Peccy wants to help! Write a letter to Peccy.’ … Keith Williams, a worker at the Amazon SWF1 warehouse, criticized the contest given Amazon’s immense profits, its sky-high executive pay and the astronomic wealth of the Amazon founder and chair, Jeff Bezos, who has a net worth of about $172B.”

After 40 Witnesses and 43 Days of Testimony, Here’s What We Learned at Trump’s Civil Fraud Trial (Reader Steve)

The authors write, “Donald Trump’s civil business fraud trial has offered fresh insight into the former president’s finances, his dealings with lenders and his aspiration to be an NFL owner, among other matters.”

An Oral History of the George W. Bush Shoe Throwing, 15 Years Later (Laura)

From Intelligencer: “Fifteen years ago … an Iraqi journalist stood up in the middle of a press conference in Baghdad and shouted in Arabic, ‘This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!’ and then proceeded to hurl his shoes, one after the other, at then-President George W. Bush. The gesture by the journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, had dire effects on his own life — a risk he was well aware of beforehand — but it lives on in the public imagination worldwide as perhaps the most effective individual protest against America’s bloody and ultimately disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq.”

How a True Believer’s Flawed Research Helped Legitimize Home Schooling (Gerry)

The author writes, “Brian Ray has spent the last three decades as one of the nation’s top evangelists for home schooling. As a researcher, he has published studies purporting to show that these students soar high above their peers in what he calls ‘institutional schools.’ At home, he and his wife educated their eight children on their Oregon farm. His influence is beyond doubt. He has testified before state legislators looking to roll back regulations. Judges cite his work in child custody cases where parents disagree about home schooling. … But Ray’s research is nowhere near as definitive as his evangelism makes it sound.”

We Need to Talk About Lab-Grown Meat (Reader Jim)

From Wired and Pocket: “Here’s some unsolicited advice: Eat less meat. At Wired I report on the impact our diets have on the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions, water use, deforestation — all of those bad things. A lot of the time I run into the same conclusion: Compared to other sources of protein, meat — and especially beef — has an outsized impact on all of those things. So, like I said, eat less meat. But hold on a sec. What if you could eat meat without the environmental hang-ups? Well, that’s where things get interesting.” 

The Remarkable Story of the Horsewomen Warriors of Afghanistan (Al)

The author writes, “A few years ago, while sorting through old papers in my parents’ storage unit, I discovered a diary written by an old friend. Louise Firouz was an American horsewoman and breeder who moved to Iran in the 1960s, married a Qajar prince, and became entranced by the Caspian horses of her adopted homeland. Her memories and the experiences she wrote about led me to unearth a story of survival — women saving a rare breed of horse, a way of life, the lives of US Green Berets, women saving each other and themselves.” 

A Long-Lost Pompeii Treasure Was Found in the Basement of a Family Home in Belgium (Dana)

The author writes, “A long-lost treasure stolen from Pompeii has been recovered from a family home in Belgium. For the past 50 years, the ancient marble artifact has been installed in a wall lining the staircase leading down to the basement. The son of the home’s owner, Geert de Temmerman, explained that the mini monument had been brought back from Pompeii as a souvenir five decades ago. On a family vacation to Italy, his father was offered the artwork by an anonymous man who fled the scene as soon as the deal was over. Not realizing the importance of the object, the family installed it in their house as a decorative feature.”


Comments are closed.