In last week’s New Yorker

December 12, 2011

Last week was a big one for brutal news stories. I was haunted all week by three in particular:

1) Family Guy screenwriter Patrick Meighan wrote a lengthy account of the reprehensible treatment of Occupy Los Angeles protestors by the LAPD. Meighan, who was cuffed with his hands behind his back and thrown face-first to the pavement before being made to kneel for seven hours in a parking garage, contrasts his treatment with that of Citigroup CEO Charles Prince, who after defrauding investors received $53 million in salary and an additional $94 million in stock holdings. Read the whole story here.

2) In New York Matthew Shaer wrote a detailed heart-sickeningly reconstruction of the abduction and murder of 10-year-old Leiby Kretzky by a mentally deficient member of his own Orthodox community in Borough Park. Ugh. It’s online here.

3) And in The New Yorker, Mattathias Schwartz contributed a long report on the massacre of citizens in Kingston, Jamaica, as part of a sweep to nab Christopher (Dudus) Coke, drug trafficker and community “don.”

Philip Gourevitch’s fascinating, informative “Letter from Paris” about French president Nicolas Sarkozy is another major downer. The only thing worse about Sarkozy’s decline from exciting and inspiring campaigner to corrupt politician is the scary rise of Marine Le Pen and the National Front.

And yet: the same week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an astonishing and eloquent speech to a United Nations gathering in Geneva specifically focused on the importance of including LGBT populations in human rights watch campaigns. She was clearly speaking to many countries with terrible records of harassing and ostracizing gay people, and the response in the room was apparently not so warm. But she spoke the truth, and no one can say they didn’t hear it. You can read the transcript here. The video also widely available online.

President Obama also gave a compelling and sensible address in Kansas giving a lot of clear history and good thinking about the economic crisis, who’s responsible, who’s working to fix it, and who’s intent on jamming up the works. If only he were as good at getting out front with his executive powers as he is with his speaking and teaching…… You can read the text here and also easily find it online if you prefer to watch it.

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