Illustration by Golden Cosmos

James Comey Makes His Case to America

The former F.B.I. Director James Comey aimed to be above politics, but in the 2016 election he stepped directly into it. In his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” Comey makes the case to America that he handled the F.B.I. investigations into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and Donald Trump’s campaign correctly, regardless of the consequences. Even after being fired by President Trump, the former F.B.I Director says he feels sorry for the President. Trump “has an emptiness inside of him, and a hunger for affirmation, that I’ve never seen in an adult,” Comey says. “He lacks external reference points. Instead of making hard decisions by calling upon a religious tradition, or logic, or tradition or history, it’s all, ‘what will fill this hole?’ ” As a result, Comey says, “The President poses significant threats to the rule of law,” and he chides Congressional Republicans for going along with the President’s aberrations. “What,” he rhetorically asks Mitch McConnell and others, “are you going to tell your grandchildren?” David Remnick’s interview with James Comey was taped live at New York’s Town Hall on April 19, 2018.

The New Yorker Radio Hour

Illustration: The $5 Silver Certificate from the 1896 Series The $5 Silver Certificate from the 1896 Series

Lessons for the Euro from America’s Past

In discussions about the EU monetary union the United States have been oftentimes set as an example, though the US didn’t really have a common currency until 1863, nearly eighty years after independence, and didn’t have the central bank until 1913. For all intents and purposes the US didn’t really have a common fiscal policy with automatic fiscal stabilizers until 1950s. It emerged only after a massive political conflict. Before the Civil War there was the kind of political strife that Europe is currently undergoing. To what extent could the timescale for the EU be different?

A talk by Professor Jeffry Frieden, Professor of Government at Harvard University. He specializes in the politics of international monetary and financial relations. Frieden is the author of Currency Politics: The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy (2015); and (with Menzie Chinn) of Lost Decades: The Making of America’s Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery (2011).

The United States Centre at LSE

John Thompson vs. American Justice

When police showed up to question John Thompson, he was worried that it was because he had sold drugs to an undercover cop. When he realized they were investigating a murder, he could only laugh: “Shit, for real? Murder?”Thompson was insistent on his innocence, but New Orleans prosecutors wanted a conviction for a high-profile murder, and they were not scrupulous about how they got it. Thompson quickly found himself on death row. Eighteen years later, just weeks before Thompson was due to be executed, his lawyers discovered that a prosecutor had hidden exculpatory evidence from the defense. Thompson had been set up.

The New Yorker Radio Hour

How the Miami Tribe Got Its Language Back

how-the-miami-tribeThe last native speaker of Myaamia died in the 1960s. The language had been spoken by the Myaamia people, Native Americans who originally lived in what is now Indiana. Also known as the Miami, they were forcibly relocated twice in the 19th century, and ended up scattered throughout the Midwest and beyond — a situation that put pressure on the language even a century ago.
By the 1980s, linguists and tribe members alike thought the language was gone. But then Daryl Baldwin came along. He’d always known he had Myaamia heritage, but it wasn’t until his late 20s that he got interested in the language.
Baldwin embarked on the challenge together with his wife, Karen. There was no dictionary or “Teach Yourself Myaamia” book, and there weren’t even sound recordings of the language. But somehow, they made a start.

The World in Words

The American Bombs Falling on Yemen

On the afternoon of 8 October 2016 the US and UK backed Saudis bombed a funeral gathering in Sana’a, Yemen.  The mayor of Sana’a, Abdulqader Hilal al-Dabab, was killed, and the country lost a bright hope for peace. Hilal was a politician with a long record of mediating disputes in a notoriously fractious and dangerous country. Nicolas Niarchos talks with Hilal’s son about his father’s fate and what it says about the country’s future.

Saudis are spending somewhere around 5 billion dollars a month on war in Yemen, and much of that ends up in the United States of America – in the hands of American defense contractors or British defense contractors in London.

Bear in mind that Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. Over 8 million Yemenis are on the brink of starving. It has over 1 million suspected cholera cases. That is the largest cholera outbreak on record in modern history. During the three years of war the richest countries in the world are bombing the poorest country.

The New Yorker

Matthew Cole on the Crimes of Seal Team 6

Hidden behind the heroic narratives of the most celebrated of the U.S. military’s special mission units, SEAL Team 6, is a darker, more troubling story of “revenge ops,” unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities — a pattern of criminal violence that emerged soon after the Afghan war began and was tolerated and covered up by the command’s leadership. The unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been converted into a global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.
Matthew Cole, an investigative reporter at The Intercept, recently published “The Crimes of Seal Team 6.” He tells the story about developing sources, reporting and writing about secretive military operations.

Longform

Malcolm Gladwell (left) and Dave Reid coming into the finish at an Ontario school race in 1978. Malcolm Gladwell (left) and Dave Reid coming into the finish at an Ontario school race in 1978.

Malcolm Gladwell Argues for Mediocrity

Malcolm Gladwell in a conversation on running fast, satire as a weapon, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, Harvard’s under-theorized endowment, why early childhood intervention is overrated, long-distance running, and Malcolm’s happy risk-averse career going from one “fur-lined rat hole to the next.”

Conversations with Tyler

Guano Mania

In 2014, President Obama closed 490,000 square miles of largely undisturbed ocean to commercial fishing and underwater mining, and expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, making it the largest marine preserve in the world at the time.
The preserve is nowhere near the mainland United States nor is it all in close range to Hawaii. Still, President Obama was able to protect this piece of ocean in the name of the United States.
To understand how the U.S. has jurisdiction over these waters in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, one has to look back to the 19th Century when, for a brief period, the U.S. scoured the oceans looking for rock islands covered in guano. That is: seabird poop.

99% Invisible | 6th December 2016

Henry Ford sat in the first auto he built circa 1898 Henry Ford sat in the first auto he built circa 1898

Ford’s Jungle Utopia: Fordlandia

Henry Ford didn’t just want to be a maker of cars — he wanted to be a maker of men. He thought he could perfect society by building model factories and pristine villages to go with them. It was 1927. Ford wanted his own supply of rubber — and he decided to get it by carving a plantation and a miniature Midwest factory town out of the Amazon jungle. It was called “Fordlandia.” The project didn’t start out well.

 

All Things Considered