When Grantland launched, I began reading it for Bill Simmons (who I followed from page two). But what really made me excited about the site was the involvement of Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman, both of whom I love. They largely disappeared from the site in the first few months, and have since been replaced by ANOTHER of my absolute favorites: Charlie Pierce.
The Boston Olympic Debacle
Am I biased to the fact that he writes about Boston a lot? Sure. But he's a damn good writer. And he does a great job here explaining exactly why hosting the Olympics in Boston is an absolutely terrible idea. I've agreed with virtually every hand-wringing column written since the games in Sochi about how Olympics are doomed to be hosted only by corrupt, despotic governments going forward (anytime your organization, the IOC, makes FIFA look above-board, you're in trouble). I don't care if other countries hurt themselves hosting the games, but keep my hometown far, far away from this.
Fast food workers don't deserve $15 an hour
I worried about posting this link, because although I agree with the article, I didn't want to come off as insensitive to the needs of the working poor. But when Slate agrees on a social issue, it's pretty safe from both sides of the aisle. This is an easy issue for politicians to champion, but I'm in complete agreement: the impact of a $15 minimum wage would be absolutely catastrophic. $600 per week is starting salary for a writer or artist in my industry; if we have to compete against fast-food wages, I'm not sure what we'll do.
Is Jeb Bushed doomed in the general election?
Of all the mediocre candidates the GOP has so far, Jeb is the most acceptable to me. Like a lot of people, I worry about the lingering feelings from his brother's presidency obscuring his own candidacy, which is markedly different (in terms of approach and positioning). FiveThirtyEight seems to think these concerns are overblown, as the election remains a toss-up even if Jeb gets the nomination. I agree - I suspect that if it's Clinton vs. Bush, most of the damage from both families' previous administrations will be a moot point.
ISIS is not actually a religious movement
Der Spiegel has uncovered a trove of documents about the formation of ISIS, and (I can't believe this hasn't got more press play in America!) it appears that despite the religious trappings and messaging, ISIS is largely a channel for the Baath party to regain power in Iraq. We can debate the wisdom of the Iraq War forever, but ISIS is a reminder of the atrocities the Iraqi people suffered more quietly under Saddam.
The vicious cycle of missed child support payments
Get a job. Get thrown in jail for missing child support payments. Lose your job. Get thrown back in jail for child support payments. We need teeth behind laws to make sure people pay child support, but the New York Times makes a compelling case that the current approach is not working. Many poorer people are trapped in a constant cycle of being imprisoned for making payments, which ironically makes them loose their job and less likely to make future payments (and to be imprisoned again).
Forensics send innocent people to jail all too often
Reason number 4,589 I'm agains the death penalty. Not surprisingly, the FBI and other forensics labs have been lying for decades about the veracity of evidence, and securing convictions based on flimsy, inaccurate, or loose evidence. I'm sure the majority of people we convict are guilty, but our government can not be so cavalier about depriving citizens of liberty, and especially life, when it's obvious that even our most solid evidence is potentially wrong.