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.

Texas Flagged 27,000 Mail Ballots for Rejection in Primary (Maria)

The authors write, “More than 27,000 mail ballots in Texas were flagged for rejection in the first test of new voting restrictions enacted across the US, jeopardizing votes cast by Democrats and Republicans alike and in counties big and small, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. It puts the rate of rejected mail ballots in Texas on track to significantly surpass previous elections. The preliminary figures — reported by Texas counties after votes were counted in the state’s March 1 primary — is the fullest picture to date of how new election rules rushed into place by Republicans following the 2020 election made it harder for thousands of voters in both parties.”

The Children of Some of Russia’s Wealthiest Oligarchs Are Rebelling Against Putin on Instagram and Calling for Peace (Sean)

The author writes, “Rich Russian kids are known for showing off their lavish lifestyles on Instagram, but some have been using the platform to protest Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Among the loudest voices is Ksenia Sobchak, a socialite and TV host who has regularly shared posts condemning the attacks with her 9.3 million Instagram followers. Sobchak, who’s been called ‘Russia’s Paris Hilton,’ is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, the first democratically elected mayor of St. Petersburg. Despite her family’s close ties to the president, she became an unlikely challenger to Putin in the 2018 presidential race.”

Why Isn’t Brittney Griner the Biggest Sports Story in the Country? (Dana)

The author writes, “For more than a month now, [Brittney Griner] has been in the custody of the Russian government. Yet until Russian officials released a statement over the weekend saying they had detained Griner after finding hashish oil in her airport bag, it seemed that nobody had noticed. And the reaction since the arrest has been stunningly quiet. One of the greatest athletes in American sports — a gold-medal winner, a superstar, a champion — was arrested in a dangerous and volatile country that has suddenly become a pariah on the world stage. Making equivalences between sports only takes you so far here, but seriously: Imagine if Tom Brady were being held by Russian officials right now.”

Arizona Lawmaker Speaks to White Nationalists, Calls for Violence — And Sets Fundraising Records (DonkeyHotey)

From The Washington Post: “Midway through a white nationalist’s conference in Orlando last month, one speaker drew applause calling for gruesome violence against ‘traitors’ after excoriating critics of the ‘honorable’ Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and proponents of the ‘bioweapon’ coronavirus vaccine. ‘We need to build more gallows,’ the speaker said, adding that such a deadly fate would ‘make an example of these traitors who’ve betrayed our country.’ The speech via video at the Feb. 25 conference organized by far-right activist Nick Fuentes, who has espoused racist and antisemitic views, wasn’t from another online agitator or fringe radio host. Rather, it was delivered by Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, a Republican lawmaker who represents tens of thousands of constituents and has found a rising national profile as a face of the radicalized wing of the GOP.”

Texas Parents of Transgender Son Say CPS Is Targeting Them Through ‘State Terrorism’ (Reader Steve)

From The Houston Chronicle: “Thousands have remained in the shadows after Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive calling for parents of transgender youth to be investigated for child abuse if they support medical interventions. But one Dallas-area family is speaking out against what they called ‘state terrorism.’ The statement by Amber and Adam Briggle, provided by their lawyer, tells the story of how the couple’s lives have been turned upside down after their family became a target of Texas’ Child Protective Services. The couple and their transgender son have been politically active in recent years, showing up at the Capitol to dissuade lawmakers from passing bills that target children like him.”

This Is What a Nation Run by Women Looks Like (Russ)

The authors write, “Finland’s 36-year-old female Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, heads a governing coalition of five political parties — all led by women and almost all aged in their 30s. It is a nation largely run by women. This is the culmination of a national push for gender equity that started even before Finland’s independence in 1917. In 1906, Finland, then a duchy of Russia, was the first country to give women full political rights to both vote and run for office. A year later, the 19 women elected to the Finnish parliament were the first female parliamentarians in the world. Today, roughly half of the nation’s legislative and ministerial positions are held by women.”

Opera Singer Peter Brathwaite Started Recreating Historical Portraits of Black Subjects as a Pandemic Project. It Became Much More (Guy Montag)

From Artnet News: “In the spring of 2020, British opera singer and broadcaster Peter Brathwaite found himself like most everyone else, wandering his home and wondering how exactly he was going to pass the coming days. … Scrolling social media, he noticed a fascinating trend: ordinary people stuck at home were recreating famous artworks from various odds and ends at their disposal. The Getty Challenge, as the phenomenon was known, started as a creative prompt from the Getty Museum and quickly became an internet sensation. Brathwaite, who had been independently researching his family’s heritage in Barbados, thought the challenge might be a good performative outlet for some of his findings.”