Delve into this week's batch to find out about security in Somalia, racism at the Grey Lady and the biggest atomic security breach in United States history. Who do Syrians hate more, Assad or Israel? Can the BRICS countries relax the grip of the IMF-World Bank axis? Also: hipsters, Game of Thrones and the "Russian Facebook."


— Alleen Brown focuses on education.

Mad Science or School-to-Prison? Criminalizing Black Girls,” by Sikivu Hutchinson. The Feminist Wire, May 2, 2013.

On screen and in real life, white girls are allowed to make mistakes in their intellectual and life pursuits. Not black girls, argues Sikivu Hutchinson. The arrest of Kiera Wilmot is case-in-point. When an impromptu experiment resulted in a small explosion in a science classroom, the 16-year-old was arrested and expelled from school.


— James Cersonsky focuses on labor and education.

New York Times Recycles Same ‘Racist Undertones’ It Covers,” by Seth Freed Wessler. ColorLines, May 7, 2013.

How not to write about migrant labor in the US: don't quote any migrant laborers; treat migrant-labor employers as innocent exploiters of a broken immigrant system and frame the story as a race conflict between black (or any) citizens and undocumented workers. Cuing the Times' A1 coverage of a lawsuit filed by black workers against agricultural employers in Georgia who favor cheap migrant labor. As Seth Freed Wessler puts it, rather than pitting blacks against Latinos, "Why not write about the racist undertones in the policies," that is, the ones that "have systematically pushed black and Latino workers into the most vulnerable parts of the labor market?"


— Catherine Defontaine focuses on war, security and peace-related issues, African and French politics, peacekeeping and the link between conflicts and natural resources.

France's Forgotten War,” by Robert Zaretsky. Foreign Policy, April 30, 2013.

Somalia asks for international support.” Al Jazeera, May 7, 2013.

Somalia has been plagued by war since 1991. However, since September, a UN-backed government is in power, thus putting an end to more than a decade of transitional rule. Security remains a priority as an armed group, al-Shabbab, continues to carry out attacks in the country. In London this month, fifty countries and organizations have gathered to discuss ways to prevent Somalia from falling back into lawlessness and violence. Britain has pledged $15 million “to help train security forces and judges.” Despite the many challenges that Somalia still faces, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon remains hopeful. According to him, “a bright future for Somalia is within touching distance.”


— Andrew Epstein focuses on social history, colonialism and indigenous rights.

Interactive: Powering the Gulf,” by Sam Bollier and Mohammed Haddad. Al Jazeera, May 1, 2013.

In this interactive feature marking International Workers Day, Al Jazeera vividly demonstrates that nations are not discreet, bounded units—border walls and maps not withstanding. There are more than 100 million migrant workers worldwide, and the fast-growing, oil-pumping Gulf states are among the biggest destinations.


— Luis Feliz focuses on ideas and debates within the left, social movements and culture.

The ‘Fucking Hipster’ Show,” by Anthony Galluzzo. Jacobin, May 9, 2013.

This week’s article examines the populist ethos that suffuses the commonsense antipathy towards the figure of the Hipster, which is not that different from the (misrecognized) psychic hatred reactionaries invoke for the figure of the Jew and the immigrant. Galluzzo provides an accessible entry point into a broader discussion of ideology and capital, showing how the latter mystifies the former.


— Elana Leopold focuses on the Middle East, its relations with the US and Islam.

A Syrian Reaction to Israel's Bombing; The Likely Regional Repercussions; What Happens When U.S. Presidents Draw Red Lines.” Background Briefing with Ian Masters, May 5, 2013.

This episode of Ian Masters's daily radio program takes an in-depth look at goings-on in Syria after last week's Israeli bombings. Speaking with three observers, the program considers the conflicted Syrian reaction to the strikes by a population that simultaneously abhors Israel and President Assad. It also contemplates Assad's "Plan B," as well as potential US involvement in the crisis.


— Alec Luhn focuses on East European and Eurasian affairs, especially issues of good governance, human rights and activism.

The strange, conspiracy-filled case of ‘Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg,’” by Caitlin Dewey. The Washington Post, May 6, 2013.

Russia reportedly has the most active social networking audience in the world, and the mass opposition protests of 2011-2012 were organized largely on Facebook, Twitter and the country's homegrown leading social network, VK. While they can't do much about Twitter or Facebook (although iPad-toting PM Dmitry Medvedev couldn't resist a photo op with Mark Zuckerberg in Moscow), the Russian authorities may be attempting to crack down on "Russia's Facebook" with a bizarre case against its founder and an apparent hostile takeover attempt. Of course, widespread sharing of copyrighted material on VK has also been a headache for the Russian authorities—and something the United States has pushed them on.


— Leticia Miranda focuses on race, gender, telecommunications and media reform.

I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet,” by Paul Miller. The Verge, May 1, 2013.

A tech writer goes on a year-long Internet cleanse to understand all the ways it has impeded his ability to connect to the "real world." But in the end, he finds that "the internet isn't an individual pursuit, it's something we do with each other. The internet is where people are."


— Brendan O’Connor focuses on media criticism and pop culture.

What Is Going on With the Accents in Game of Thrones?” by Max Read. Gawker, May 6, 2013.

Gawker is the House Greyjoy of web publishing. What is dead may never die.


— Anna Simonton focuses on issues of systemic oppression perpetuated by the military and prison industrial complexes.

The Prophets of Oak Ridge,” by Dan Zak. The Washington Post, April 30, 2013.

This week a trial begins for three religious peace activists who are responsible for what The New York Times called the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex. From “Mission” to “Fission,” Zak's meandering, fourteen-chapter article tells the story of the nun, the painter and the drifter who, with the help of divine grace and a pair of bolt cutters, broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


— Cos Tollerson focuses on Latin American politics and society, and United States imperialism.

Will the Brics bank deliver a more just world order?” by Caroline Bracht. The Guardian, May 8, 2013.

For decades, Europe and North America have used shared control of the IMF and the World Bank to maintain their hegemonic hold on the global financial system. In order to counter the arbitrary dictates of representatives from the world's crumbling empires, countries in the developing world have long emphasized the need to create an alternative institution that can empower perspectives without a voice in the IMF and World Bank and redistribute global power more equitably. Now that it seems the so-called BRICS may finally establish such a bank, Caroline Bracht examines some of the possibilities, challenges and limitations that will face a new global financial institution once it's inaugurated.


— Sarah Woolf focuses on what’s happening north of the US border.

Montreal police arrest 447 at May Day demonstration.” CBC News, May 2, 2013.

Montréal: police can kettle 447 demonstrators within mere minutes of a protest's kickoff, detain them for hours on end, fine them each $637…and nobody bats an eye. Since the beginning of the 2012 Québec student strike, this kind of police repression (sanctioned by the province and municipality with the help of Bill 78 and Bylaw P-6, respectively) has become mindbogglingly run-of-the-mill.