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.

Voting Curbs Enacted in 18 US States in 2021 Despite None Finding Widespread Fraud (Maria)

The author writes, “At least 18 US states have enacted more than two dozen laws this year that restrict voting access, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice. The report found that the 30 laws that have been passed since 1 January ‘make mail voting and early voting more difficult, impose harsher voter ID requirements, and make faulty voter [roll] purges more likely, among other things.’ The laws were among the more than 400 bills introduced in 49 states during this year’s legislative session that would make voting more difficult. Such legislation contrasted sharply, however, with the report’s finding that no states produced evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections.”

Trump Insurgents Came Within Seconds of Capturing ‘Nuclear Football’ on Jan. 6 (Reader Steve)

From Daily Kos: “For most of us, our electronic devices — phones, tablets, and laptops — are regularly trusted with our most confidential information. That’s one of the things that helps to make these devices our constant companions and among the most vital objects that we own. However, there is still information that’s considered too valuable, too sensitive, to be trusted to any electronic device, and one prime example was in the hands of a military aide who was with Mike Pence as he fled from the Senate. That aide was carrying a small satchel, and inside that satchel was a book listing the locations of classified military sites, a description of how to activate and use the Emergency Broadcast System, a ‘black book’ of pre-planned military actions, and a small card that contains the codes necessary to authorize a nuclear strike. That aide was with Pence at the top of the stairs in the video that was shown during the Senate trial.”

Disinformation for Hire, a Shadow Industry, Is Quietly Booming (Reader Jim)

From The New York Times: “In May, several French and German social media influencers received a strange proposal. A London-based public relations agency wanted to pay them to promote messages on behalf of a client. A polished three-page document detailed what to say and on which platforms to say it. But it asked the influencers to push not beauty products or vacation packages, as is typical, but falsehoods tarring Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine. Stranger still, the agency, Fazze, claimed a London address where there is no evidence any such company exists.”

Records Show Web of Payments Involving Players in Probe Into Sham Florida State Senate Candidate (Reader Pat)

The author writes, “A young Republican political operative who is also the subject of a public corruption investigation into former Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles made an offer to a recent college graduate last September: He would pay her $1,500 to chair a political committee and in exchange, she would have to do nothing. … She took up Alex Alvarado on the offer. And put her name down as chair of The Truth, a dark money-funded political committee that spent $180,000 on political mail advertisements promoting sham candidates in key 2020 state Senate elections — two in Miami-Dade and one in Central Florida.”

Room for 10,000: Inside China’s Largest Detention Center (Dan)

The author writes, “The Uyghur inmates sat in uniform rows with their legs crossed in lotus position and their backs ramrod straight, numbered and tagged, gazing at a television playing grainy black-and-white images of Chinese Communist Party history. This is one of an estimated 240 cells in just one section of Urumqi No. 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng, seen by Associated Press journalists granted extraordinary access during a state-led tour to China’s far west Xinjiang region. The detention center is the largest in the country and possibly the world, with a complex that sprawls over 220 acres — making it twice as large as Vatican City.”

Every Spot of Green Space Counts (Mili)

The author writes, “The city park may be an artificial ecosystem but it plays a key role in the environment and our health, the first global assessment of the microbiome in city parks has found. The study, published in Science Advances, found that even roadside verges contribute a range of important microbial communities that are critical for sustaining productive ecosystem services, such as filtering pollutants and sequestering carbon dioxide.”

Bob Moses, 1935-2021 (Dan)

From the SNCC Digital Gateway: “‘The sits-in woke me up,’ recalled Harlem, New York-native Robert ‘Bob’ Moses, discussing how his involvement with southern struggle began. When he first arrived in Mississippi in the summer of 1960, there was no student movement in the state. Moses was sent by Ella Baker to find students from the Deep South to participate in a SNCC conference that October in Atlanta. SNCC’s voter registration efforts began when Bob Moses met Cleveland, Mississippi NAACP president Amzie Moore, one of the people Miss Baker had put him in contact with. Moore decided to attend the October conference and placed the idea of voter registration on SNCC’s table.”

Dog DNA Tests: Putrid Dog Poo Strews the World’s Streets. Does Tel Aviv Have the Answer? (Mili)

The author writes, “Each month, 500kg of excrement is dumped on the streets of the Israeli city. If its new scheme works, every owner will be tracked down.”

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