1. A devastating and important account of a definitely innocent man executed in Texas. This is the reason why I struggle with the death penalty - because our justice system just is not good enough to handle it. (I cheered when Ted Bundy was put to death in Florida and I will never doubt that he deserved it but we make too many mistakes to justify those moments.) From The Atlantic:
Reading through the manuscript last weekend, jarred by what I was seeing, I began to jot down a list of things that went terribly wrong in the DeLuna case -- issues of fact, of evidence, of testimony, of motives, of incompetence, of indifference, of fraud, of morality, of integrity, of constitutionality -- that should have been raised and answered long before DeLuna was convicted, much less executed, back in the 1980s. I stopped when I got to 10.
2. Vogue looks at the HBO series on obesity in America:
No matter how expansive the scope, the documentary tugs hardest when showing interviews with those who suffer from obesity, who list their vitals with a crestfallen countenance that never gets easier to watch. "Food can be my best friend," explains a nearly 300-pound 28-year-old named Vivia, as her eyes well. "It can be my boyfriend, at the moment; a trip to the beach."
3. For the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring's publication, David Brinkley writes in Audubon about JFK and Rachel Carson:
When Silent Spring was at last published in book form on September 27, 1962, the chemical industry went ballistic. Kennedy instantly became Public Enemy No. 1 for propping up Silent Spring as worthy of serious attention. The National Agricultural Chemicals Association rushed its propaganda booklet "Fact and Fancy" into print. The nub of the counterattack was that Mr. Fancy (a.k.a. Kennedy) was an East Coast elite who yachted frivolously around Cape Cod, his treasured national seashore, while allowing DDT manufacturers to be unjustly vilified. The association warned that factory shutdowns would mean thousands of lost jobs. When Kennedy awarded Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey--a Food and Drug Administration scientist--a public service gold medal for discovering that thalidomide (a sedative frequently prescribed to pregnant women) caused deformities in babies, the pharmaceutical industry likewise felt blindsided. "It is all of a piece," Carson told The New York Post, "thalidomide and pesticides--they represent our willingness to rush ahead and use something new without knowing what the results are going to be."
We need another Rachel Carson about climate change, and we need her now.
4. I bought the new issue of Vanity Fair because Marilyn Monroe is on the cover. The story inside portrays her as so smart and yet so frustrated by what she can not control that it made me wince. The pictures are amazing - as they always are of Marilyn. She should have lived; she really deserved so much more than she got. Wasn't she just amazing? Wow.