Long reads

Weekend Long Reads – 15 February 2014

ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 30: Images produced by a "millimeter wave" scanner are displayed during a demonstration at the Transportation Security Administration's Systems Integration Facility at Ronald Reagan National Airport December 30, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. "Millimeter wave" passes electromagnetic waves over the body to create three-dimensional images that look like a photo negative. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Take some time this weekend to delve a bit deeper and enjoy these long reads.

The Post-Hope Politics of House of Cards – Adam Sternburgh (The New York Times)

Every generation gets the Washington TV show it deserves — and Beau Willimon’s Washington is only getting darker.

Dear America, I Saw You Naked. And Yes, We Were Laughing: Confessions of an ex-TSA Agent – Jason Edward Harrington (Politico Magazine)

On Jan. 4, 2010, when my boss saw my letter to the editor in the New York Times, we had a little chat.

It was rare for the federal security director at Chicago O’Hare to sit down with her floor-level Transportation Security Administration officers—it usually presaged a termination—and so I was nervous as I settled in across the desk from her. She was a woman in her forties with sharp blue eyes that seemed to size you up for placement in a spreadsheet. She held up a copy of the newspaper, open to the letters page. My contribution, under the headline “To Stop a Terrorist: No Lack of Ideas,” was circled in blue pen.

I Was A Love-Letter Ghostwriter – Bonnie Downing (The Awl)

Nine years ago, I answered an ad on Craigslist and was hired by artist Jana Leo de Blas. Jana was a tiny woman of indeterminable age with a dandelion puff of hair. I arrived at her bright, high-ceilinged studio in the old I.S.C.P. building in midtown Manhattan; she had built a platform in the middle of the room. I climbed the few steps, settled at the desk with my laptop and coffee and tried to remember some poetry to quote in case I choked…. her piece was called the Love Letter Project, and my first client, a middle-aged man, seemed game in the way that people get during open studio events… he sat down across the desk from me, and pursed his lips, humming around for an idea.

“Who do you love?” I asked. He laughed.

Donald Rumsfeld Revealed – Mark Danner (markdanner.com)

In my confirmation hearing…the best question I was asked was: What do you worry about when you go to bed at night? And my answer was, in effect, intelligence. The danger that we can be surprised because of a failure of imagining what might happen in the world —Donald Rumsfeld to Errol Morris, The Unknown Known

It is a striking thought: night after night, the secretary of defense of the world’s most powerful country retires to his bed haunted not by some threatening, well-armed foe but by “a failure of imagining what might happen in the world.”

Sinners in the Hands: When is a Church a Cult? – Sonia Smith (Texas Monthly)

Twenty-seven-year-old Catherine Grove is a member of a small, insular, and eccentric church in East Texas. Her parents think she’s being brainwashed. She insists she’s being saved.

Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance – Sam Tanenhaus & Jim Rutenberg (The New York Times)

As Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky tries to broaden his appeal, he is also trying to take libertarianism, an ideology long on the fringes of American politics, into the mainstream.

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