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With this one-year-in-the-making investigation that mines 100,000 confidential tax documents, a trio of New York Times reporters wields a wrecking ball to the myth that Donald Trump is a self-made businessman. On the Times’ alumni’s Facebook page, David Cay Johnson, one of America’s foremost tax reporters (and a former Timesman and Pulitzer winner), said this of the 14,000-word article: “The Trump takeout is phenomenal for many reasons, but one is that every single technical detail of accounting, law and tax is correct. Not once did I wince. Given the subject matter the story is told as clearly and plainly as humanly possible, a masterpiece. Bravo David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Ross Buettner.”
For an abridged video version, see our Long View choice below by Justine Gubar or this handy Cliffs Notes version of the piece’s 11 biggest takeaways.
A few more questions: How does a farm-to-table restaurant excel in rural Utah? More importantly, what’s it supposed to do now that its bucolic backdrop could become a pit mine? Most importantly, why aren’t you reading every word Kathryn Schulz writes? This story of our land and the nation on it sings and then sinks and never stops stunning.
It started as a simple Flash animation. Now ChuChu TV wants to be the next Disney, having already nearly conquered YouTube. Along the way, who’s asking: Should children’s entertainment be crafted by algorithms?
The New York Times Tehran bureau chief Thomas Erdbrink visits Iran's nomads, whose population is diminishing because of the "combination of persistent drought, dust storms that turn the skies orange, widespread urbanization, mobile internet, and the spread of higher education."
Safe House By Lizzie Presser for The California Sunday Magazine (~20 minutes)
The gut-wrenching but touching story of a group of Latina women secretly providing shelter to abused immigrant women in California.
In a long week of outstanding reporting and analysis leading up to Brett M. Kavanaugh’s seemingly inevitable confirmation as Supreme Court justice Saturday, this piece carefully and, at times, hilariously deconstructs Kavanaugh’s he-said, I-like-beer testimony.
“It’s hard to discuss these things in an unbiased way, because people immediately think about religion, and maybe also wishful thinking. When I heard about these studies on terminal lucidity, about these reports, I just wanted to know. Therefore, we started a survey, to study, to see whether the phenomenon is real. Now, I do suspect it’s real. We need more evidence, but currently, much points toward the mind being more than a product of the brain.”
No new episode again this week, but upcoming episodes will feature Hadley Freeman, Rachel Sklar and Ben Smith. Please catch up on one of our recent recordings, and then let us know who you'd like to hear from!
Jill Abramson returns to the confirmation hearing of Justice Clarence Thomas that she covered in such detail with Jane Mayer for their 1994 book Strange Justice. Resifting his testimony, Abramson find that he lied about sexual harassment and for his lies he should be booted from the court.
Classic Read curator Jack Shafer writes about media for Politico.
Madrid-based Reuters photographer Juan Medina has spent two decades documenting the cruel exodus of African and Middle Eastern migrants risking death to seek a better life in Europe. On Oct. 2, he captured this haunting image of a sub-Saharan African man aboard a Spanish rescue boat after a ship wrecked in the western Mediterranean Sea. What a wonderful example of a photograph that stops people in their tracks and begs the question, “What is going on here?” The slightly underexposed photo is saturated in brilliant color, with the rescue ship’s red hull as a backdrop. The viewer’s eye is drawn in, searching and finding the eyes of the man draped in a red blanket. Beauty and tragedy are combined in a simple, still image that doesn’t move, but certainly moves you.
Patrick Farrell, the curator of The Sunday Still, is the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Breaking News Photography for The Miami Herald, where he has worked since 1987. He is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Media Management at the University of Miami School of Communication.
If you thought the The New York Times blockbuster story on the Trump fortune was a little dense, these 4 short videos break down the terminology and techniques Fred Trump used to prop up Donald Trump and his siblings with income from the his real estate empire. According to this comprehensive investigation, Donald Trump, from the age of 3, was receiving money from his father’s investments, shattering his preferred narrative that the President is a self-made man.
“When Members of Congress sue the President in federal court over official action, a court must first determine whether the dispute is a ‘Case’ or ‘Controversy’ under Article III of the United States Constitution, rather than a political dispute between the elected branches of government. A critical part of this inquiry is whether the plaintiffs have legal standing to bring the action.” So begins a September 28, 2018 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in a case pitting over 200 members of Congress against President Trump. The case involves the 'Foreign Emoluments Clause' of the Constitution. In the recent 58-page decision, Judge Sullivan ruled that "plaintiffs have standing to sue the President..."
Sunday Esoterica curator Ryan Rodenberg works as a professor at Florida State University, where he teaches research methods and sports law. He writes a lot of academic articles and some mainstream pieces too.
Drop the needle on ZZ Top's Fandango, or Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger, and as much as you might hear a number of sounds and styles, you'll also hear, rather clearly, an inherent Texan-ness. Rule-breaking, hell-raising and boundary-shifting are things us Texans love to hear from our favorite native musicians.
Country artist Charlie Robison is a part of that grand legacy. And his Life of the Party album from 1998 stands up, even 20 years later, as a how-to document for aspiring singer-songwriters looking for clever narratives tucked into traditional country-rock backgrounds. Robison recently announced he is retiring from recording and performing due to complications suffered from a recent throat surgery.
To quote one of the Bobs from Office Space, "I celebrate the man's entire catalog," but for this occasion, it'd almost be criminal to not reach for the album that put him on the Texas dancehall map and helped usher in an era of independent, regionally driven Texas flavored country many now refer to as "Texas country.” Life of the Party is a must listen for any who seek understanding of the soul, grit and whimsy of a Lone Star storyteller.
Long Play curator Kelly Dearmore is the Music Critic for the Dallas Morning News. Yes, he's heard your son's demo tape, and he thinks it's fantastic.
We ought to place a tariff on our Congress members, too.
They flood our lives with nonsense and they stick around like glue.
Make them pay a hundred ev'ry time they give a speech,
and double down that duty if they want to shout "impeach!"
Consorting with a lobbyist should generate a fine
that puts them in the poor house or at least a deep salt mine.
Whenever they appear on TV or the world wide web
they need to be deported to Croatia, Zagreb.
And when they're still and humble they can carry on at last
with minding their own bizness as each honest vote they cast.
Sunday Limerick writer Tim Torkildson is a retired circus clown who fiddles with rhyme. All his verses can be found at Tim's Clown Alley.
The Sund&y Ampers&nd from Nick Aster
The Sunday Ampersand is chosen by Nick Aster. Nick most recently served as founder of TriplePundit.com, a leading publication focused on sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Founder, Curator: Don Van Natta Jr. Producer, Curator: Jacob Feldman Producer, Curator: Étienne Lajoie Senior Recycling Editor: Jack Shafer Senior Long View Editor: Justine Gubar Senior Photo Editor: Patrick Farrell Senior Music Editor: Kelly Dearmore Senior Limerick Editor: Tim Torkildson Senior Podcast Editor: Jody Avirgan Senior Editor of Esoterica: Ryan M. Rodenberg
Digital Team: Nation Hahn, Nickolaus Hines, Megan McDonell, Alexa Steinberg Podcast Team: Peter Bailey-Wells, Cary Barbor, Julian McKenzie, Jonathan Yales Webmaster: Ana Srikanth Campus Editor: Peter Warren
Contributing Editors: Bruce Arthur, Shaun Assael, Nick Aster, Alex Belth, Sara J. Benincasa, Jonathan Bernstein, Sara Blask, Greg Bishop, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Maria Bustillos, Chris Cillizza, Anna Katherine Clemmons, Rich Cohen, Pam Colloff, Maureen Dowd, Charles Duhigg, Brett Michael Dykes, Geoff Edgers, Hadley Freeman, Lea Goldman, Michael N. Graff, Maggie Haberman, Reyhan Harmanci, Virginia Heffernan, Matthew Hiltzik, Jena Janovy, Bomani Jones, Chris Jones, Peter Kafka, Paul Kix, Mina Kimes, Peter King, Michael Kruse, Tom Lamont, Chris Lehmann, Will Leitch, Glynnis MacNicol, Drew Magary, Erik Malinowski, Jonathan Martin, Betsy Fischer Martin, Ana Menendez, Kevin Merida, Heidi N. Moore, Eric Neel, Joe Nocera, Ashley R. Parker, Anne Helen Petersen, Jo Piazza, Joe Posnanski, S.L. Price, Jennifer Romolini, Julia Rubin, Albert Samaha, Bob Sassone, Bruce Schoenfeld, Michael Schur, Joe Sexton, Jacqui Shine, Rachel Sklar, Dan Shanoff, Ben Smith, Adam Sternbergh,Matt Sullivan, Wright Thompson, Pablo Torre, Kevin Van Valkenburg, John A. Walsh, Seth Wickersham and Karen Wickre.
Header Image: Max Guther
You can read more about our staff, and contact us (we'd love to hear from you!) on our website: sundaylongread.blog. Help pick next week's selections by tweeting us your favorite stories with #SundayLR.