News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

You Know The Lorena Bobbitt Story. But Not All Of It.

MANASSAS, Va. — Lorena is very matter-of-fact about the whole thing. There, she said as she drove us around in her Kia on a recent afternoon, was the hospital where surgeons reattached John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis after she cut it off with a kitchen knife as he slept on the night of June 23, 1993.

Fifteen minutes away, near Maplewood Drive, was the gravel-strewn field where she disposed of the detached penis out the driver’s side window. So, why did she throw it away? I asked. “I tried to drive the car, obviously, but I had this thing in my hand so I couldn’t drive so I got rid of it.” Obviously.

Further down the road is the nail salon where she worked and fled to that night. “I’m not a vindictive person because I told them where it was,” Lorena Gallo, as she is now known, said. By “them” she means the police who, sometime after 4:30 a.m., clutched their loins and went digging through the overgrown roadside grass for the missing member. They found it, put it on ice in a Big Bite hot dog box from a nearby 7-Eleven and rushed it to the hospital where in a nine-and-a-half-hour feat of urological and plastic surgery it was reattached and restored to (almost) full function.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Bicycle Thief

News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The man in the baseball cap and sunglasses waited for the teller to notice him. The morning of May 26, 2000, was quiet inside the LaSalle Bank in suburban Highland Park. Standing patiently by the velvet ropes, the man looked at his wristwatch. The second hand ticked slowly.

“May I help you?” said the young woman behind the counter, smiling. The man reached to the back of his khakis, as if to fish out a wallet. Instead, he presented her with a 3-by-5-inch index card. The teller’s smile wilted. She stared at the words handwritten in black marker: “THIS IS A ROBBERY. PUT ALL OF YOUR MONEY IN THE BAG.”

The man, who would later be described to the police as a slender, clean-shaven white man in his 20s wearing a light blue oxford shirt, returned the note card to his pocket. “Nice and easy,” he said coolly, handing over a white plastic shopping bag from Sports Authority. While the teller anxiously transferred bundles of cash, the man held his hands at his heart, gently pressing his palms together as if he were about to whisper, Namaste.

Read the rest of this article at: Chicago Magazine

How SoundCloud Rap Took Over Everything

The hardest-working man in America is the DJ at a midsize Philadelphia concert venue called District N9NE. It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and it has been an agonizing three hours since the doors opened. This poor DJ is trying his hardest to distract hundreds of fans—none of whom appear to be over the age of 22—from the glaring absence of Juice WRLD, the year’s newly minted hip-hop superstar. They’ve come to see their digital hero in the flesh, but excitement has curdled into restlessness, and after restlessness comes agitation. So many Juuls have died that some fans have resorted to lighting up real cigarettes inside the venue. For a moment, the DJ is able to pacify the crowd by playing “GUMMO,” the viral New York street-rap anthem from the then newly incarcerated Tekashi 6ix9ine, but the crowd’s fury prevails. “Juice WRLD will be here in five minutes,” the DJ announces in a tone that’s not exactly convincing. “He apologizes for the delay.” Some kids begin chucking water bottles at his booth, which puts him over the edge. He’s gone from commanding hype man to irritable babysitter in moments.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Into The Dark

News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

We were foreigners and we weren’t going somewhere foreigners often go, so when I saw the blond man across the Bangkok airport shuttle bus on our way to the remote mountains of Chiang Rai, a one-hour flight away, I asked whether he was about to do the one thing or the other: “Are you rescuing the boys or covering the rescue?”

“Well, we’re hoping we can help rescue them,” he said. He didn’t seem hopeful. He seemed grim. We stepped off the bus onto the hot tarmac and walked toward the plane.

“You never know,” I said. “It could happen.” Save 12 children and their soccer coach who got stranded three kilometres inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand at the start of the rainy season with no known food, water or swimming skills: It could never happen.

He nodded. “You never know.”

We climbed the rickety boarding ramp and found our seats, his behind mine. He was too calm. I turned around over the back of my chair. “Have you ever helped rescue many people from a cave before?”

A pause. “Not live ones,” he said.

The plane took off. Only when it landed and we were standing in the aisle did I ask what the world had wondered for days.

“Don’t you think it might be better to just wait out the rain and send in supplies?”

He was quiet but firm. “I think it’s better to try.”

“Men are really going to dive them out.”

“That’s the plan.”

We looked at each other. If I had known who he was, maybe I wouldn’t have worried so much. Maybe I would have worried more. Either way, the events of the next few days were as yet opaque to me: there would be children’s lifeless bodies yanked through paralyzing water; fingernails digging into rock walls and human skin; a cable wrapped around a neck; a strap binding a pair of wrists; a needle stabbed into a thigh; a skull smashed into rock; a lifeline drifting out of reach, out of sight, into the black. That afternoon I saw only a light-blue button-down shirt and kind eyes.

We disembarked, walked through the gate and passed a stretch of windows. He raised his hand to stop me.

“What’s this?” Through the glass, rows of military men stood at attention on the tarmac. They were saluting a coffin. My flightmate answered his own question. “They’re here for the dead diver.”

A former Royal Thai Navy SEAL had just died in the cave. I wondered how it had happened. “He probably hadn’t done anything like this before,” the man said. Who has, I thought.

We turned to the escalator, and when he spoke next it wasn’t to me. “This is not a good way for me to arrive.”

“Good luck,” I said when we hit the bottom.

“You keep yourself safe.” He winked and was gone.

Read the rest of this article at: Maclean’s

One Lawyer, One Day, 194 Felony Cases

News 02.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Mr. Talaska was not outside the norm. Of the public defenders in Louisiana handling felony caseloads at that time, there were two dozen with even more clients. One had 413.

The numbers alone might seem to violate the Constitution. Poor defendants in the United States have the right to a competent lawyer, and hundreds of thousands of defendants rest their hopes on someone like Mr. Talaska.

But there has never been any guarantee that those lawyers would have enough time to handle their cases. That’s why the study cited above, which looked at the workloads of public defenders, is significant.

Right now, courts allow an individual to claim, after they lose, that they received an ineffective defense. But the bar is high. Some judges have ruled that taking illegal drugs, driving to court drunk or briefly falling asleep at the defense table — even during critical testimony — did not make a lawyer inadequate.

It is even harder to make the argument that the sheer size of lawyers’ caseloads makes it impossible for them to provide what the Constitution requires: a reasonably effective defense. That is partly because there has never been a reliable standard for how much time is enough.

Now, reformers are using data in a novel attempt to create such a standard. The studies they have produced so far, in four states, say that public defenders have two to almost five times as many cases as they should.

The bottom line: Mr. Talaska would have needed almost 10,000 hours, or five work-years, to handle the 194 felony cases he had on that April day alone, not to mention the dozens more he would be assigned that year. (The analysis did not include one death-penalty case on his roster, the most time-consuming type of case.)

“The workload can be overwhelming even under the best circumstances, and most offices never experience the best circumstances,” said Mr. Talaska, 30, who agreed to talk only because he was no longer working as a public defender. “Most offices don’t have paralegals, law clerks, or full-time investigators.” Lawyers are expected to do it all.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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