Queen of Hearts: I review “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea”

for Commonweal:The most beautiful portrayal of Marian devotion I’ve seen in literature came unexpectedly in New York Times columnist David Carr’s 2009 addiction memoir, The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life—His Own. Carr, finally drug-free and sober, had been been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma; the treatments left him too weak to move, and he resorted to giving his three-year-old daughter Meagan cash for the pizza guy so they could eat. “Keep the cha … [Read more...]

Radley Balko’s Civil Liberties Predictions for 2015

See if you can guess the sci-fi twist. Sometimes, real life can be stranger than parody. This can be particularly true when it comes to the beat we cover here at The Watch, civil liberties. With that in mind, I’ve gone out on a limb to make some predictions about what might happen on the civil liberties front in 2015. I realize that some of these prognostications may seem a wee bit hyperbolic, a bit paranoid, maybe even a little nutty. But I think we can all agree that we should hope none of t … [Read more...]

“The Mother and the Monster”: I review “The Babadook”

for AmCon. Should've decided in advance how spoilerous I wanted to be; if you haven't seen it yet, I'd definitely recommend either skipping this review or stopping after the first couple paragraphs. One of the year’s most widely-praised horror movies, Australia’s “The Babadook,” methodically chews through a list of terrifying questions: What happens when you can’t protect your child from tragedy and grief? When you can’t protect him from the people around him? From himself? From yourself? … [Read more...]

“Why I Want to Live Long and Burden My Children”: Cheryl Magness

writes: Last week The Atlantic published the article “Why I Hope to Die by 75” by Ezekiel Emanuel, a former adviser to President Obama on health care and one of the primary designers of the Affordable Care Act. In it, Emanuel outlines his reasons for deciding he will no longer accept most kinds of medical treatment when he reaches age 75. Chief among those reasons is his conclusion that once someone starts to slow down in his mind and body the value of his life begins to decrease, along with the … [Read more...]

Breastfeeding Is a Hell of a Drug

My best friend just had a baby! And so she sends me this poetic thing, which she says accurately reflects her experience: During early days with your baby, when you're not trying to manage a work schedule, enjoy the floating quality of time. Nurse your baby whenever he or she is restless or fretful, without counting minutes or even really giving any thought to time. more … [Read more...]

“Mom Arrested for (Maybe) Hanging Up on Cop While Her Missing Daughter Plays at Church”: Reason

gives this story a much different headline from many mainstream media outlets. Let's find out why! Here is a story that combines some of our favorite Reason.com topics, including strip clubs, jerk cops, and America's growing willingness to make less-than-perfect parenting a crime. In this case, Florida resident Bobbey Jo Boucher went with her 10-year-old daughter to a neighbor's barbecue and left the girl there when she headed to work, instructing her to go back home when it was over. When the … [Read more...]

“Another Mom Thrown in Jail for Letting Kids Play in Park”: Reason

I know I say this all the time, but what really gets to me is the tone of contempt. There's pride in the police chief's condescending dehumanization. Like, he's so pleased that he came up with this super clever way to put down a woman trying to get help for her family. Lenore Skenazy agrees: Ashley, Richardson, a mom of four who went to a food bank while her kids, ages 6-8, played at the park for more than two hours, was arrested and jailed in Winter Haven, Florida. While the park day sounds … [Read more...]


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