Want to know if your county has a crap-ton of military surplus gear? Check out this FOIA-extracted database on Github.

More than one person in the streets of Ferguson has compared what is happening here to the chaotic days of the Birmingham desegregation campaign in 1963. And, like that struggle, the local authorities, long immune to public sentiment, were incapable of understanding how their actions reverberated outside the hermetic world where they held sway—how they looked to the world. That incomprehension was the biggest asset the protesters in Birmingham had. Michael Brown was left lying in the street for hours while a traumatized community stood behind police tape in frustration, grief, and shock: an immobile metaphor for everything that was wrong in Ferguson, Missouri.
New Yorker contributor Jelani Cobb compares the situation in Ferguson to a key moment in civil rights history. (via shortformblog)


Rachel Pepe is a 13-year-old transgender girl from Middletown, NJ who’s gearing up to go back to school. The problem is that because she’s legally registered with the school as male, officials say she can only return to school if she “acts” and “dresses” as male.

Thorne Middle School says they won’t accommodate Rachel’s request to use women’s restrooms or even the single-stall bathroom in the nurse’s office, and they will refuse to call her by her name. No out-of-district educational opportunities will be made available, either.

"He was going to school last year as Brian," said Angela Peters, Rachel’s mother, adding that her child developed stress-related seizures, depression and panic attacks. "How can I send her back as Rachel? And I am not sending her back as Brian because the depression will start again."

Rachel remained deeply isolated from the rest of the student body but still, her mother said, the children would bully her because she was so quiet.

"She would get off the bus and just cry," Peters said. "Then she would go to sleep for 17 or 20 hours and refuse to go back there."

There is no reason in the universe to treat a child with such hostility and meanness. Rachel is incredibly brave for sharing her story on a national level when there’s so much hate brewing in her own community. School should be a safe place, but it so often isn’t; when a student has to fear mistreatment from teachers for being who she is, the school is failing her.

Apologies for the recent inactivity. The person running this account has taken on more responsibilities so they got a little behind on keeping the queue topped off. We hope to have things back on track sometime this week, next week by the latest!

1. Compliments complement: For nearly three decades, relationship expert Terri Orbuch has conducted a research project following 373 married couples. She’s found that couples who regularly give each other “affective affirmation” — meaning “compliments, help and support, encouragement and subtle nonsexual rewards, such as hand holding” — are the happiest.
2. Forget about the dirty dishes: Pretend the cable bill has already been paid, the inlaws already called — just for ten minutes. “Ask her what her favorite movie is, and why,” she suggests. “Ask him to recall a happy memory from childhood. Ask her what she’d like to be remembered for.” This small change “infuses relationships with new life,” she says.
3. Stay on your toes: “In my study, when couples said they were in a relationship rut or felt bored, they were less happy over time,” says Orbuch. So escape the rut by mixing things up. “The changes can be small, but they have to upset the routine enough to make him or her sit up and take notice.”
4. Marriage is like a credit card: Helen Fisher, author of “Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love,” recommends sustaining “your ‘positive illusions’” about your significant other. “When you begin to feel irritated at your partner, instead of reviewing everything you don’t like, turn your thoughts to all the good things about him or her.”
5. Look for the soft emotion: “One of my favorite pieces of advice come from an observation I once heard from two fellow Council on Contemporary Families board members, psychologist Philip and Carolyn Cowan,” Coontz tells me. ”They said to always look for the soft emotion that lies beneath the hard one.” She explains, “Since then I’ve tried to respond to the soft emotion — the fear, anxiety or embarrassment that is hiding behind the anger or accusation — rather than to the hard one. It helps in all sorts of relationships, not just marriage.”
6. Live your own damn life: Lerner emphasizes the importance of independence. “Connect with friends and family, pursue your own interests and be of service to others,” she says. “If your primary energy isn’t directed to living your own life as well as possible, you’ll be over-focused on your partner in a worried or critical way.”
7. Don’t wait for the mood to strike: “Have sex regularly, even if you don’t feel like it,” advises Fisher. Now, this does not mean: Have sex with a person who doesn’t want to have sex with you. Nor does it mean: Tell your partner that it doesn’t matter that they aren’t in the mood. Instead, it means: Don’t always expect to be overcome by desire before deciding to have sex.
8. But first, pick a good lover: As my grandma once told my aunt, “The best I can wish for you is a lover as good, as well as kind and considerate, as your grandfather.” (Oversharing runs in the family.) This bit of advice is only useful pre-vows — and it’s important to note that a good lover is not necessarily someone who has the entire Kama Sutra memorized, but someone who brings the right attitude to sex (“good, giving and game,” as Dan Savage puts it).
9. Let go of the fantasy: For his book “You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married): Looking for Love in the Age of Divorce,” Dana Adam Shapiro traveled across the country asking divorcées for marriage advice. After all, who better to offer insight into why relationships fail? “There were so many little tidbits, like how to fight fairly and productively,” he says, but his favorite piece of advice came from an interviewee who went by the pseudonym “Jim.” He said: There is something absolutely divine — I mean, literally, the breath of God — in the ability to put someone else in your heart, to think of them first. But from the time of the greatest pornographer who ever lived, Shakespeare, we’ve demanded that love be something more. … And what happens is, the utter grandeur and magnificence of what love actually is gets overshadowed by this disappointment that it’s not the way we fantasized it should be.