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.

Ranked Choice Voting Gets Big Test in NYC (Maria)

The author writes, “Ranked choice voting makes its debut in New York City’s mayoral primary Tuesday in one of the most high-profile tests yet for a system gaining use in pockets across the US. The system is based on a simple premise: Democracy works better if people aren’t forced to make an all-or-nothing choice with their vote. … Even if a voter’s top choice doesn’t have enough support to win, their rankings of other candidates play a role in determining the victor. In New York City’s version, voters get to rank up to five candidates on their ballot.”

Why the Two-Party System Is Effing Up US Democracy (Dana)

From FiveThirtyEight: “As the ‘Big Lie’ of a stolen election continues to dominate the Republican Party, GOP-controlled states enact restrictive voting laws and pursue preposterous election audits, aspiring candidates embrace the fiction of a stolen 2020 election, and a majority of GOP voters still believe Trump is the ‘true president,’ the obvious questions follow: Where is this all headed? And is there any way out?”

Few Police Agencies Have Given LA Prosecutors the Names of Dishonest Cops (Reader Steve)

From the Los Angeles Times: “Four months after Dist. Atty. George Gascón sent a request to law enforcement agencies across Los Angeles County, more than 40 departments have yet to provide his office with names of officers who have histories of dishonesty and other misconduct that could affect their credibility in court. Only a half-dozen agencies have submitted names of officers who have been disciplined for wrongdoing, which prosecutors are obligated to disclose to the defense in criminal cases. A dozen say they have no officers who fit the description.”

‘What Threat Did I Pose?’: Heartbroken Dad Blames NY State Police Trooper for Ramming His SUV and Causing Crash That Killed His 11-Year-Old Daughter (DonkeyHotey)

From the New York Daily News: “Handcuffed in the back seat of a New York State Trooper’s car, Tristin Goods could only seethe quietly and watch helplessly as his 11-year-old Brooklyn daughter was taken away in a body bag after the police confrontation he says led to her needless death. A trooper on I-87 upstate pulled him and his family over, maced them, and then rammed their car twice at high speed before the crash that took his daughter’s life, Goods and his lawyer say.”

How Basquiat Took Inspiration From Jazz, Hip-Hop, and No Wave (Dan)

The author writes, “Before Jean-Michel Basquiat became one of the leading art stars of the 1980s, he was a kid from Brooklyn thriving in the music and art scenes of downtown New York in the late 1970s. ‘Everyone was coexisting together, musicians and artists,’ says Ed Patuto, the producer of Time Decorated: The Musical Influences of Jean-Michel Basquiat, three short films that explore the artist’s relationship to bebop, no wave, and hip-hop. ‘You would go to a gallery, see a show, end up at [legendary East Village club] the Pyramid. Moving between platforms and genres was what people did.’”

He Wasn’t a Bird Person. Then a Hawk Built a Nest on His Fire Escape. (Nick)

The author writes, “Michael Palma Mir’s first encounter with the hawk was not auspicious. Around the first of March, he noticed it outside his West Harlem apartment. In his 57 years living there, Mr. Palma Mir had never seen anything like this beautiful bird, a killer. He grabbed his camera and stuck his head out the window for a better shot. … The hawk returned, again and again, turning Mr. Palma Mir’s fire escape — six stories above a nonbucolic corner of upper Broadway — into a nest and a soap opera for social media.”

Tens of Thousands Sign Petition to Stop Jeff Bezos From Returning to Earth (Sean)

The author writes, “­­On July 20, Amazon’s founder and billionaire magnate Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark will board the New Shepard suborbital rocket system. The Bezos brothers, one auction winner with $28 million to spare, and a fourth person will become the first crew aboard the reusable rocket for its 11-minute voyage to space. Since Bezos made the announcement about his journey to space this month, tens of thousands of people have come together to petition against his return to the planet.”

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