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.

Legislation to Resolve GI Bill Racial Inequities Introduced by Democrats (Maria)

The author writes, “Congressional Democrats reintroduced legislation this week that would, if passed, help resolve racial inequities regarding GI Bill benefits. Many Black service members who fought for the country during World War II were denied or prevented from taking full advantage of veteran benefits after they returned home from the war because of racial discrimination. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the GI Bill into law in 1944 to reward honorably discharged veterans for their service by helping them return to civilian life. … However, the bill was designed to accommodate Jim Crow segregation policies and racial political and institutional barriers, so many Black veterans were never able to fully access these federal benefits.”

White Women Voters and the Dismantling of Democracy (Reader Steve)

From The Boston Globe: “Glenn Youngkin is Virginia’s governor-elect. White women helped seal the deal. Exit poll estimates indicate about 57 percent of white women voted for the first-time Republican candidate, ensuring his victory over Terry McAuliffe, the state’s former Democratic governor. Generally, Republicans, including Youngkin, stand for weakening reproductive rights and against policies like paid family leave. On the surface, these are issues one might assume most women would champion. Yet again that assumption has been proved wrong. All politics are identity politics. And with white women’s support of Republicans, the identity that seems to take precedence is race, not gender.”

Gov. Greg Abbott Calls for Criminal Investigation Into Availability of ‘Pornographic Books’ in Public Schools (Dan)

From The Texas Tribune: “Gov. Greg Abbott told the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday to investigate criminal activity related to ‘the availability of pornography’ in public schools, saying that the agency should refer such instances ‘for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.’ It’s unclear why Abbott tasked the TEA to perform the investigation and not the state’s policing arm. The TEA does not employ law enforcement officers, according to state statute, and a spokesperson for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement confirmed Wednesday that the education agency does not have any licensed peace officers.”

The Lie of the Storm (DonkeyHotey)

From Columbia Journalism Review: “On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeastern Louisiana. In New Orleans, dozens of levees and floodwalls failed, and water poured into the city, plunging eighty percent of it underwater. Tens of thousands of survivors waited for days for rescue — some in attics or on rooftops; others waded to higher ground, or to the Superdome in search of shelter and resources. Faced with a creepingly slow government response, residents collected basic necessities from pharmacies and grocery stores that were otherwise shuttered and out-of-business. Coverage, meanwhile, zeroed in on what many news outlets called ‘looting.’ In what is probably the best-known example, an Associated Press photo — of a Black child wading through flood waters, groceries in hand — was accompanied by a caption identifying him as ‘looting a grocery store.’That image still circulates today, alongside a second image, from AFP/Getty, in which two white people are described as ‘finding bread and soda from a local grocery store’ — a cautionary tale for journalists about racial profiling.”

A Coronavirus Outbreak in Iowa Deer Is Prompting Scientists to Worry if the Animals Could Be a Reservoir for the Virus in the Long Term (Sean)

The author writes, “A number of deer in the state of Iowa are carrying the coronavirus, according to a recent study, prompting scientists to worry the wild animals could potentially become a reservoir for the virus. The study … suggests that the deer caught the virus from humans. The study says there is no evidence at this time that they could pass it back. Animal to human transmission of COVID-19 has occurred on a small scale before, however.”

Baby Handed to US Soldiers in Chaos of Afghanistan Airlift Still Missing (Dana)

The author writes, “It was a split second decision. Mirza Ali Ahmadi and his wife Suraya found themselves and their five children on Aug. 19 in a chaotic crowd outside the gates of the Kabul airport in Afghanistan when a U.S. soldier, from over the tall fence, asked if they needed help. Fearing their two-month old baby Sohail would get crushed in the melee, they handed him to the soldier, thinking they would soon get to the entrance, which was only about 16 feet (5 meters) away. But at that moment, Mirza Ali said, the Taliban — which had swiftly taken over the country as U.S. troops withdrew — began pushing back hundreds of hopeful evacuees. It took the rest of the family more than a half hour to get to the other side of the airport fence. Once they were inside, Sohail was nowhere to be found.”

Aided by Stem Cells, a Lizard Regenerates a Perfect Tail for First Time in More Than 250 Million Years (Mili)

The author writes, “Lizards can regrow severed tails, making them the closest relative to humans that can regenerate a lost appendage. But in lieu of the original tail that includes a spinal column and nerves, the replacement structure is an imperfect cartilage tube. Now, a study describes how stem cells can help lizards regenerate better tails.”

Don’t Know What’s Wrong, but It’s Okay (Russ)

From Garrison Keillor: “I am enjoying being an old man and I wonder why I didn’t get here sooner. There are benefits to being 79 that I would’ve appreciated in my late thirties. I look at the stories on the front page of the paper and I think, ‘Not My Problem’ and the latest NMP is the shortage of goods due to shipping backlogs, freighters lined up for miles waiting to unload, docks piled high with containers, factory production slowed due to lack of parts coming from China, building projects halted, dire situations, workers idle, confusion, dismay — and here we sit, Madame and I, with the opposite problem, too much stuff, need to give it away.”

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to the Daily WhoWhatWhy

Relevant, in-depth journalism delivered to you.
Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.