This space has been shamefully empty for a time. I spent the last two weeks of July in my happy place. (It's a real place, Vancouver, Canada, with one of my dearest friends. We were roommates in Brooklyn what feels like a lifetime ago. There should be a word that falls between sister and friend, because she would fit there.) Then, I returned from my exile and commenced the work of being normal. I spent a hurried, hot day moving my stuff out of storage and gathering my cat. The latter involved some scratches and bleeding. Why do cats hate carriers? I worried Sampson wouldn't recognize home and I'd spend a day trying to soothe his freak-outs, but after a few curious meows he seemed to figure out where he was and started rolling his happy, furry self all over the floors and furniture. Reclaiming it, as it were.
I've been working on a few longer projects, but in the meantime, I've been writing shorter pieces. Here they are, from most recent to last:
I wrote a piece for NPR Code Switch about my days as an investigator of police misconduct. It's been weighing on my mind for the past few years, as audio and video of police officers acting badly have surfaced. Here's the thing, though: It's not about the officers. It's about what we've asked them to do.
I wrote a piece for The Daily Beast about how inequality is bad for mobility. It strikes me as obvious that trickle-down economics is nonsense. I don't always like to pick fights, but this one is worth fighting. Everyone knows my politics, I worked at The American Prospect for so long, but my first and foremost loyalty is as a reporter. But I don't think people understand that you can be purely objective about something and still come down on a side. Objectivity isn't the same as neutrality.
I wrote a piece for the Guardian US about how the Obama administration is about to let the world's grossest chicken take over the supermarket. Here's the thing about me and chicken: I grew up in chicken raising country. There was a chicken-processing plant beside my middle school, which means I am very familiar with the smell of dead chicken. We took a tour once in fifth grade, on career day, and a friend of mine walked out, threw up, and vowed never to eat meat again. I don't think she has. My grandparents both worked there, and I saw my grandmother Aurora with her hand up a carcass's butt, eviscerating it. (My grandparents worked at the chicken plant, my mom didn't, and I certainly don't. For all of our talk about Horatio Algers, that's the real, mundane, everyday America dream.) Over the years, I've seen what the chicken companies have done to farmers. In general, I don't eat meat unless I know exactly where it's from and how it was raised. Joke about that if you want to, but I knew farmers growing up, and whether it was chicken or cattle or hogs, they set a few animals aside for themselves if they could, didn't feed them antibiotics, and slaughtered them on their own to avoid supermarket meat.