Recent Readings for Dec. 20, 2015

December 20, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 20, 2015

• “Devils, Deals and the DEA: Why Chapo Guzman was the biggest winner in the DEA’s longest running drug cartel case.” In 1992, the Drug Enforcement Agency decided to dismantle a Mexican drug-running organization known as the Arellano Félix Organization, or AFO. One supervisor estimated that the task could be completed in six months; ultimately, however, the agency pursued the case for nearly two decades. David Epstein examines the long-running probe, looking at how and why it left a number of loose ends that still haunt some of the men who worked the case.

• “Now Louie Gohmert and Fox News will mansplain Planned Parenthood: The new lie right-wing men can’t stop pushing.” Peter Dreier describes the life and career of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, whom conservatives are fond of calling a eugenicist and a racist, despite her ties to black progressives and civil-rights leaders. Sanger (1879–1966) was the sixth of 11 children:

Her mother, Ann, was a devout Catholic and the strong and loving mainstay of the family. When she died from tuberculosis at age fifty, young Margaret had to take care of the family. She always believed that her mother’s many pregnancies had contributed to her early death.

Sanger longed to be a physician, but she was unable to pay for medical school. She enrolled in nursing school in White Plains, New York, and as part of her maternity training delivered many babies — unassisted — in at-home births. She met women who had had several children and were desperate to avoid future pregnancies. Sanger had no idea what to tell them.

• “What Kind of Person Calls a Mass Shooting a Hoax?” Six-year-old Noah Pozner was one of the 26 victims of the shooting. His parents, like relatives of all the victims, have tried for the past three years to refute skeptics who claim that President Obama or his cohorts faked the massacre in order to become what gun-rights activists like to call “gun grabbers.” Mike Spies profiles a prominent Sandy Hook truther, Wolfgang Halbig, who insists that the Dec. 14, 2012, killings at a Connecticut elementary school were staged.

• “Ten Arguments Gun Advocates Make, and Why They’re Wrong.” In the wake of the San Bernardino massacre, the perceptive columnist Paul Waldman offered counterpoints to 10 common refrains often uttered and typed by gun-rights advocates. This column, sadly, could be an evergreen.

• “How The Hero Of Friday Night Lights Won And Lost His Good Name.” Dave McKenna is an excellent reporter. He infamously chronicled the many misdeeds of the NFL’s awful Washington franchise owner, Dan Snyder, for which he was rewarded with a meritless lawsuit. He’s also probed the moral failings of former NBA player and current Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and looked into the 2006 killing of an unarmed man by Fairfax County, Va., police. His latest article is a profile of one of the players featured in Buzz Bissinger’s classic 1990 book about high school football, Friday Night Lights. Brian Chavez went to Harvard and became a lawyer; in other words, he was one of the last people you’d expect to be charged with home invasion and brawling. The story of what happened in the 27 years since the football season portrayed in Bissinger’s book is pretty fascinating.

• “Do Any of the Republicans Running for President Actually Want to Win?” In which Erin Gloria Ryan compares the contest for the 2016 Republican party nomination for president of the United States to Mel Brooks’s 1967 musical farce The Producers. Need I say more?

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