Hillary Clinton has a date with history. It was all but inevitable: The former Secretary of State officially announced her candidacy for president this week. Other hopefuls include Republican senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. I’m stating the obvious here, but Cruz, Paul, and Rubio don’t have a real shot at winning; it will, however, be entertaining to watch them fumble all the way to wherever it is losers go when they don’t win presidential elections.
“Two Confessions” by Andrew Cohen
What gets far less notice, however, is how wrongful convictions stay that way, even after evidence of injustice appears to bubble to the surface. This is why the already well-chronicled saga of Davontae Sanford, a 14-year-old boy convicted of a 2007 quadruple murder in Michigan, is worth following closely again as it enters its latest and most bizarre phase.
Later today, Sanford’s lawyers will ask a Michigan judge to grant their client a new trial based on evidence and arguments that state judges and county prosecutors have never before addressed. The defense team essentially will be asking Michigan’s criminal justice system to finally make a choice between two confessions to the same crime; one by a boy whose story was contradicted by independent evidence, the other by a professional killer who accurately told the police where to find the murder weapon.
“Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” by Choire Sicha
Charming Jon Ronson has always made me think of a Kurt Vonnegut character, and not just because his name calls to mind the maddening refrain, from “Slaughterhouse-Five,” of “My name is Yon Yonson.” Vonnegut ranks among the most moral of male novelists writing in English. His work was a life-or-death struggle to make sense of our stupid, dreadful, hilarious world. It has fallen to Ronson to carry Vonnegut’s project from fiction to reality.
“Teach and Frisk” by Leighton Woodhouse
Yet the man running this class, a forty-two-year-old former public interest lawyer named Vitaly, may be on the brink of being fired. For the last four years, he has refused to conduct mandatory in-class weapons searches of his students—which the district argues keeps classrooms safe—because he believes that the policy is unethical and would destroy everything that makes his classroom successful.
“Blue Chips: An Oral History of Shaq, Penny, and the Orlando Magic’s Lost NBA Dynasty” by Jonathan Abrams
The Shaq and Penny Magic are in an unfortunate class similar to the ’70s Blazers, ’80s Rockets, or 2000s Kings — a story of unfulfilled potential and a dynasty that never was. “We were just having so much fun playing the game,” Scott said. “We weren’t really thinking about making history or understanding how good we really could be. All that stuff was happening so fast.”
Penny and Shaq. Shaq and Penny. For a brief time — they played only three seasons together — most of the NBA believed no one could stop them.
“The Myth of Police Reform” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
African Americans, for most of our history, have lived under the power of the criminal-justice system, not its authority. The dominant feature in the relationship between African Americans and their country is plunder, and plunder has made police authority an impossibility, and police power a necessity. The skepticism of Officer Darren Wilson’s account in the shooting of Michael Brown, for instance, emerges out of lack of police authority—which is to say it comes from a belief that the police are as likely to lie as any other citizen. When African American parents give their children “The Talk,” they do not urge them to make no sudden movements in the presence of police out of a profound respect for the democratic ideal, but out of the knowledge that police can, and will, kill them.
“Susan Miller, Your Internet BFF” by Devon Maloney
Much has been made over the past few years of the astrologer’s meteoric rise to fame, thanks to (among other things) her ardent fashion-world coterie and all the press that comes with it. Her horoscopes — not only those notoriously prolific monthly essays for her own website, AstrologyZone.com, but now also for 10 other international fashion magazines, from Elle to Vogue Japan — offer intimate, personalized readings while still pulling millions of eyeballs. At this point, her chatty, practical delivery is just as important as the forecasts themselves. The resulting readership is an often-rabid crowd that boasts VIPs like Gloria Vanderbilt, Rihanna stylist Adam Selman, and even will.i.am.
[Image via Getty]