"Upshot" to Cornell's death ... getting to really get back into Kim Thayil's guitar playing. There was nothing like it when they first broke out, and that's still true.

On to the reading ...

His Kampf

I keep waiting for something like this to happen with one of my classmates ... Maybe they say the same thing looking at me?

The lede: On december 17, 2007, the libertarian magazine Reason held a Christmas bash—a “Very Special, Very Secular Christmas Party”—at its office in Washington, D.C. The guest of honor, the late Atlanticbook critic Christopher Hitchens, tugged liberally on his drink and gave a speech about how the holiday season was oppressive (“like living in fucking North Korea”). Then near the height of his powers as an anti-theist pamphleteer, Hitchens led the crowd in a tuneless rendition of Tom Lehrer’s “A Christmas Carol,” before slipping away and leaving the guests to the open bar and the mistletoe.

When Your Child Is a Psychopath

I didn't intend for this to be a themed reading list for the week ...

The lede: This is a good day, Samantha tells me: 10 on a scale of 10. We’re sitting in a conference room at the San Marcos Treatment Center, just south of Austin, Texas, a space that has witnessed countless difficult conversations between troubled children, their worried parents, and clinical therapists. But today promises unalloyed joy. Samantha’s mother is visiting from Idaho, as she does every six weeks, which means lunch off campus and an excursion to Target. The girl needs supplies: new jeans, yoga pants, nail polish.

My Family's Slave

The Atlantic killed it this week ...

The lede: the ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.

The Empathy of David Brown

We need more of this guy.

The lede: Chief Brown started his shift early that day. There were demonstrations planned in Dallas and cities across the country, and he knew his officers faced the difficult task of protecting protesters, some of whom were seething at police. The day had passed relatively peacefully, though a few people had been arrested at afternoon protests. Brown stayed late to monitor the evening march through downtown. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, so he decided to head home for the night. Before leaving, he told David Pughes, his second in command, to call him when the last protesters left the area. Brown made it to his condo across the street from police headquarters and had just taken off his gun belt when Pughes called. Brown could hear that he was out of breath.

The 100-Year-Old Penalty for Being Black


The lede: It’s 1880. The Civil War ended 15 years ago. Three years ago, federal troops withdrew from the South. Now, children of black and white workers of similar economic standing are able to climb up the economic ladder at the same pace. So by the start of the next decade, the median black worker earns more than around 30 percent of the nation’s labor force.


‘It’s just horrific’: caseworkers break their silence to reveal toll of addiction on children

I’ve had the honor of following Mealer’s career since we worked together at The Texan in college. This is one of his more sobering pieces.

The lede: Inside the Clinton County child protection office, the week has been tougher than most.

Did you see something good this week? Drop me a comment below or shoot me an email ... colby at colby angus black dot com.