Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Why Sheep Started So Many Wars in the American West

By | October 5, 2017

In early October, when the leaves turn golden and the shadows of the Sawtooth Mountains lengthen, the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival moves through south central Idaho. The festival, complete with a sheep parade, sheepdog trials, and a wool fest, celebrates the long relationship between sheep and their human companions. 
Sun Valley, Idaho, is synonymous with New West wealth, but it sits in the Wood River …

Essay, Headline »

Longing for the Softer Side of Hurricanes

By | October 4, 2017

After school, whenever I walked into my family’s home in Davie, Florida, I was always reminded of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which decimated nearly 64,000 homes some 60 miles away in the city of Homestead. Andrew—all Floridians are on a first name basis with their hurricanes—still lived on via the duct tape my uncle had applied to our jalousie windows. Even after the tape was removed, …

Essay, Headline »

To Black Athletes, Donald Trump Is Playing the Dozens

By | October 3, 2017

President Donald Trump did not say, “Yo’ mama!” in front of a partisan Huntsville, Alabama audience. But he might as well have because that is what athletes heard directed at them.
Perhaps without even realizing it, the president had engaged in an age-old tradition of playing the dozens, the term for an African American game involving the exchange of insults before an audience. Or did …

Connecting California, Featured »

Could the “Edge City” of Santa Rosa Become a Center of California?

By | October 2, 2017

Adjust your California maps: The little dot marking Santa Rosa needs to be a lot bigger.
Dramatic changes in housing, aging, transportation, and criminal justice are altering the Golden State’s geography, and no place in California stands to benefit more than Santa Rosa.
The charms of this Sonoma County seat have been sung at least since 1875, when the legendary horticulturist Luther Burbank, who created new …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Our Revelatory Culinary Road Trip Through the New South

It was New Year’s Day in Charlotte, North Carolina, and seemingly half of Mecklenburg County had come to the K&W Cafeteria for black-eyed peas, greens, and hog jowls—foods to bring good luck for the year ahead. The Formica tables were packed with local ladies in their fancy hats, college kids, tired families, and business folks in suits, all snaking slowly through a winding line to …

Featured, Poetry »

eat like kings all summer:/ lobster & steak #poem

By | September 29, 2017

Briny and smiling, he stood
in the kitchen, pulled me over
to the pot, lifted the lid:
an odd insect with pomegranate-
seed eyes waved its feelers
like awkward chopsticks.
I pitied this fish-knight,
fully armored and fallen
into a boiling, iron bay.
As teenagers we poach lobster
after midnight to slip Gamies,
craft traps in the canyon,
smuggle them aboard our skiff,
bait chum and let them sink.
By dark we hoist stuffed
lobster pots up from the coves,
spider …

Headline, Nexus »

Mexico’s ’85 Earthquake Didn’t Start a Revolution

By | September 29, 2017

Can the shaking of earthquakes upend political power?
This question often has been answered by referencing Mexico. Political scientists often link Mexico City’s devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985, to the end of the PRI’s seven-decades-long rule of the country 15 years later. Their argument is not that the party was responsible for the loss of some 10,000 lives, but rather that the disaster …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

How the South Recast Defeat as Victory with an Army of Stone Soldiers

By | September 28, 2017

Monuments to Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders have long been controversial, but monuments to nameless Confederate soldiers, those lone stone figures in public places, are far more common and have long served as an iconic symbol of the South. Understanding the origins of these stone soldiers who still loom over present-day towns and cities may help us better understand current controversies over them.
The …

Headline, Nexus »

How Trump’s Staff Could Save Him from Himself

By | September 27, 2017

The stupefying deeds of the Trump White House are passing in such a blur these days that it is hard to parse the incompetence. From policies foreign and domestic that churn without solidifying, to presidential tweets that seem the products of insult comedians, to an obsession with fixing blame before even knowing results, this seems more a Three Stooges comedy than a functional administration.
One piece …

Headline, Nexus »

The 1918 Flu Pandemic That Revolutionized Public Health

By | September 26, 2017

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1918, the world experienced the greatest tidal wave of death since the Black Death, possibly in the whole of human history. We call that tidal wave the Spanish flu, and many things changed in the wake of it. One of the most profound revolutions took place in the domain of public health.
The world was a very different place in the …