Culture

The Nation's Pulse

Hurricane Carter’s Comeback

By From the February 1986 issue

No fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any courtroom of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.
—The Bill of Rights, Amendment VII

On June 17, 1966, at two in the morning, someone burst into the Lafayette Grill, in Paterson, New Jersey, and shot four people, killing two men, mortally wounding a woman, and critically wounding another man.

A woman named Pat Valentine, living directly upstairs, heard the shots and ran to the window. She saw two black men climb into a distinctive late-model white car with "butterfly" taillights and New York license plates. Another witness down the street saw the same thing and called police.

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The Beer Spectator: Spring Seasonals From the Top Ten Craft Brewers

By on 4.25.14 | 3:27PM

The Boston Beer Company, owner of Sam Adams, tops the list of the largest craft brewers in the United States.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company sits solidly in second place. It is currently expanding its operations to North Carolina.

Many argue about the validity of the largest brands being truly “craft”—the definition means “small, traditional, and independent.” Obviously, most arguments arise over the size prerequisite. Small means producing less than six million barrels a year.

I won't argue over such trivialities; I care more about the quality and essence of the beers.

To finish my series on spring seasonals, I purchased from three craft brewers in the top ten: Sierra Nevada, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Bell’s Brewery.

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Update on Yesterday’s Baby Incineration Story

By on 4.25.14 | 10:57AM

Yesterday we reported on the British Columbia Health Ministry's admission that it was sending the remains of aborted babies to a waste-to-power facility in Oregon. Disgusted by this practice, the Marion County Board of Commissioners has put a halt to all burning of medical waste while the situation is investigated:

“We are outraged and disgusted that this material could be included in medical waste received at the facility,” said Commissioner Janet Carlson. “We did not know this practice was occurring until today. We are taking immediate action and initiating discussions with Covanta Marion to make certain that this type of medical waste is not accepted in the future.”

Marion County Chair Sam Brentano says if that is the case it cannot be tolerated. He immediately stopped the burning of all medical waste while the county looks into the report. An emergency commission meeting was scheduled for Thursday morning.

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Special Report

9/11 on the Cutting Room Floor

By 4.25.14

An interfaith advisory panel urges the National September 11 Memorial Museum to bowdlerize a six-plus-minute film of unflattering references to Islam for fear of sparking an international incident. If only Osama bin Laden had employed such a nonsectarian “coexist” council of elders prior to sparking international incident. 

“We want and expect a little bit more,” the Rev. Chloe Breyer told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly. “It needs context.” Like the ’93 WTC bombing, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer? That’s not what she means. The Supreme Court justice’s clergyman daughter says the documentary should show Islam as a “peace loving religion” and demonstrate that Muslims understand “jihad” as “the ability to wage the struggle to do good.”

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Play Ball

Baseball’s Borders

By 4.25.14

As a lad in school my concern for what my teachers wished me to learn, and their fusty behavioral restrictions, were considerably less than central to me. I had other fish to fry. Mostly having to do with baseball, girls, and turning a few bob delivering Tampa’s afternoon newspaper.  

One of my few distinctions, but not one I include on my résumé, is that I remain the only student in the history of Woodrow Wilson Junior High School in Tampa to get an F-squared in Algebra One. It’s not that I’m quantitatively feeble-minded. I can calculate earned-run-averages in my head. But the fact was that my girlfriend — perhaps more accurately the girl I hoped would become my girlfriend — sat in the desk right in front of me, leaving little of my attention span available for the Xs and Ys on the blackboard. Besides, how often in the course of nine innings does X minus Y come up? Never, that’s how often.

But in Tuesday’s New York Times there was a geography lesson even I would have paid attention to in junior high.

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The Beer Spectator: Why Drink Cheap Lagers?

By on 4.23.14 | 5:35PM

“I’m surprised you’re drinking that swill,” my observant roommate uttered.

“It’s refreshing, it’s cold, and I don’t have to think about it,” I replied about my beer of choice for the evening.

That beer, commonly called PBR, is one of my go-tos on a low budget week. When I can find PBR by the twelve-pack, I pick it up. Why not? 

Some hate the taste. Some reject it for its simplicity. Some even frown upon its very existence.

Yet we ignore the passion that follows such a beer; a fiery love that drives a community in Milwaukee to “bring PBR home.”

This week I'm taking a break from spring seasonals to address a question: What makes us love something so simple? The answer: It’s refreshing, comforting, cheap, and it reminds us of home.

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Game of Thrones: Sin in the Sept

By on 4.22.14 | 4:03PM

Recap: Royal funeral, Sansa’s getaway, incestuous sex scene, Lannister-Dorne geopolitical conspiracy, Oberyn bisexual orgy, the Hound’s reckless robbery, Gilly-Sam sexual tension, blood magic, senseless slaughter and an impending wilding threat, Jorah Mormont friend-zoning, and one-on-one combat for the city of Meereen. Oh, and spoilers. 

“Your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid,” Tyrion warned Cersei back in season two. A Lannister always pays his debts, even debts with other Lannisters. Yet Tyrion is falsely accused, so which Lannister am I talking about?

Rather than ponder the question: “Who had the most incentive to kill Joffrey?” we should instead ponder: “Who had the most incentive to frame Tyrion?” Perhaps Lord Tywin is responsible for Joffrey’s gasping demise. After all, Tyrion is a blemish of shame on the Lannister’s Lion sigil. Lord Tywin blames Tyrion for his family’s shortcomings. Tywin’s wife died giving birth to the “hideous monster.” And yet, Tyrion and Tywin are the most alike—calculating, pragmatic strategists with an appreciation for power.

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Yes, Women Need Their Own Restrooms

By on 4.21.14 | 5:28PM

Occasionally Slate has a good piece, but an article today titled “Sex-segregated public restrooms are an outdated relic of Victorian paternalism” had nearly no redeeming qualities.

In it, Ted Trautman argues that we should do away with gender-specific bathrooms because they are leftovers of nineteenth-century sexism and needless chivalry.

But Ted’s male brain has obstructed the reality that for some women, this isn’t a matter of chivalry; it’s a matter of safety.

“Gender equal” bathrooms will become an excellent place for perverts to prey on vulnerable people. I can’t count how many times I’ve walked into a five-stall women’s restroom and checked each stall to make sure no men were hiding in them – particularly near closing time in a mall when the restrooms seem abandoned.

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Don’t Mess With Boston

By on 4.21.14 | 3:47PM

It was a day like any other.

That’s always how these stories start, isn’t it?

On April 15, 2013, most runners and supporters didn’t think much about security. They were fighting back butterflies as they imagined finishing a marathon, or letting out cheers as they rooted for a dad or sister or best friend.

Some folks knew family and friends would be there, but couldn’t make it or had other plans. They figured they’d see the photos later on Twitter and Facebook.

But bloody pictures of a bomb’s aftermath? No one expected that.

I’m a Massachusetts native, so when the news bombarded my Facebook feed I made frantic calls and got the news. Thankfully, no one I knew had been hurt.

But for 264 others and their families, the tragedy lives on. For them, “Boston Strong” is more than a nice catch phrase that makes you feel good about being a Red Sox fan. For the families of Krystle Campbell, Martin William Richard, Lingzi Lu, and Sean Collier, “Boston Strong” is a salve for the deep wounds their lost lives left.

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New Journalism’s Gaping Hole

By on 4.21.14 | 11:23AM

Much has been made about Ezra Klein’s move to Vox Media. He eschewed traditional outlets like the Washington Post (or, perhaps more likely, they weren’t interested in funding his pet project) for Internet upstart Vox Media. In some ways, I applaud Klein’s entrepreneurial spirit. If the Post doesn't want his idea, he’ll make it a reality somewhere else. On the other hand, is there anything more insipid than explanatory journalism? This new-fangled term is Klein’s way of saying that he will fully explain every subject to his sadly uninformed audience. He and Vox will dive into every nitty-gritty detail while still following the daily news cycle.

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