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.

Inside the Turmoil at the Agency That Is Running NYC Ranked-Choice Voting (Maria)

The authors write, “As New Yorkers began to cast ballots in the first citywide election with ranked-choice voting, turmoil quietly roiled the government agency overseeing the election. The New York City Board of Elections had lost its executive director and one of his top deputies just weeks before early voting. … On Tuesday, as the city eagerly awaited results in the mayoral primary and other major races, the problems burst into public view when the agency released preliminary ranked-choice vote totals — only to retract them hours later.”

Unfortunately, the Decision Overturning Bill Cosby’s Conviction Makes Sense (Russ)

From Slate: “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction on Wednesday in a 6–1 decision. By a 4–3 vote, the court also prohibited the future prosecution of Cosby for his crime, forestalling the possibility of a new trial. Because Cosby is, beyond doubt, a sexual predator, Wednesday’s ruling may feel unjust. But the fault here does not lie with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It lies, rather, with Bruce Castor, the Republican former district attorney who promised not to prosecute Cosby in 2005. Castor’s dubious deal — which two justices implied to be corrupt — formed the basis of the court’s conclusion that prosecutors violated Cosby’s due process rights. The decision is a dispiriting reminder of the damage that prosecutors can inflict when they wield their power as recklessly as Castor did 16 years ago.”

Where Jobless Benefits Were Cut, Jobs Are Still Hard to Fill (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Conversations with employers who are hunting for workers and people who are hunting for jobs in the St. Louis area revealed stark differences in expectations and assumptions about what a day’s work is worth. The divide raises a fundamental question of what a healthy labor market looks like. Does it mean workers are on such a knife edge that they feel compelled to take the first job that comes along? Or is it one in which employers are the ones who have to scramble and feel pressured to raise wages and improve working conditions? Are the economy and the public better off when workers get to be choosy or when employers do?”

GOP Donor Funds South Dakota National Guard Troops in Texas (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Tuesday she will use a donation from a Republican donor to fund a deployment of up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico. Noem joined a growing list of Republican governors promising to send law enforcement officers to Texas as the GOP ramps up a political fight with President Joe Biden over border security. The issue has drawn a host of prominent GOP figures: Former President Donald Trump was expected to travel to the border this week and Republican governors from Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska and Iowa have all committed to sending law enforcement officers for border security.”

Lakes Are Losing Oxygen — and Their Inhabitants Are in Danger (Mili)

From Wired: “Kevin Rose and his team loaded their sensors into a boat and began rowing. It was late summer at Lake Giles, a small glacial lake in northeast Pennsylvania, and they were there to study the effects of acid rain. But in the process, they discovered something else. Though the lake seemed full of life, the water had been changing. It was taking on a brownish hue, and its surface was warming. Most of all, the lake was running low on dissolved oxygen, a key indicator of its health. As they lowered a sensor into the water, the reading presented another abysmal zero. This is a condition researchers call ‘anoxia,’ and it’s a big problem.”

PODCAST: SoCal Is Known for Its Wellness Culture. Turns Out It’s Also a Hotbed For QAnon. (Sean)

From KCRW’s Press Play: “Southern California has long been the center of New Age culture in America. Communities embraced techniques such as yoga, reiki, and meditation. But more recently, another belief system has gained popularity in some wellness communities: Q-Anon. That’s the conspiracy theory that the government is run by Satan-worshipping pedophiles and it conspired against former President Donald Trump. Communities who once shared yoga classes are now sharing misinformation about the Democratic party, the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and COVID-19 vaccines. It’s led to conflict and confrontation in a space once known for its kumbaya bliss.”

Picasso Painting Found as Builder Arrested Over Art Heist (Dana)

The author writes, “A painting by Pablo Picasso that was stolen nine years ago during a heist at a Greek gallery has been recovered. Police say a 49-year-old builder has been arrested for the theft of Picasso’s Head of a Woman and a second work by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Initially, the raid on the Athens National Gallery in 2012 was blamed on two thieves. The artworks were stripped from their frames in the early morning heist which took only seven minutes to carry out.”

UK to Ban Junk Food Advertising Online and Before 9pm on TV From 2023 (Nick)

The author writes, “The government is poised to announce a ban on junk food advertising online and before 9pm on TV from 2023, as Boris Johnson looks to deliver on his pledge to tackle the UK’s growing obesity crisis. The new measures, which will be some of the toughest marketing restrictions in the world, will heavily impact the more than £600m spent by brands on all food advertising online and on TV annually. The 9pm pre-watershed ban on advertising TV products deemed to be high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) could cost TV broadcasters such as ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky more than £200m a year in revenue.”

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