As head coach for women's track and field at the University of Texas, Bev Kearney won six NCAA championships and coached athletes who later competed at the Olympics. An affair with a student forced her to resign and her legacy is being tarnished:
"She was a magnetic, inspiring presence, and not only because of her success in Austin. In a near-fatal car accident in 2002, Kearney had been paralyzed from the waist down, and yet she now walked with two canes, like a mountain climber in a blizzard. Added to her already impressive life story—she had risen from a poor and rootless childhood, overcoming countless obstacles—the accident made her a formidable role model and a universal symbol of perseverance. 'Failure is not an option,' she liked to say, and she was living proof of her own maxim.
"That is, until this past spring, when Kearney was nowhere to be found at the 2013 Texas Relays. She didn’t ride onto the track on her burnt-orange scooter. No Divine Divas or Gents of Distinction were honored by her Pursuit of Dreams Foundation. At the parties held that weekend, there was no sign of the woman who had inspired so many people. That’s because right after Christmas, to the shock of many in the world of track and field and beyond, UT and Kearney had bitterly parted ways."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 3, 2013
LENGTH: 52 minutes (13126 words)
A diagnosed sociopath explains how she thinks and functions. Adapted from a book
by M.E. Thomas:
"I loved getting high marks in school; it meant I could get away with things other students couldn't. When I was young, what thrilled me was the risk of figuring out just how little I could study and still pull off the A. It was the same for being an attorney. During the California bar exam, people were crying from the stress. The convention center where the exam took place looked like a disaster relief center; people made desperate attempts to recall everything they had memorized over the prior eight weeks—weeks that I spent vacationing in Mexico. Despite being woefully ill-prepared by many standards, I was able to maintain calm and focus enough to maximize the knowledge I did have. I passed while others failed."
PUBLISHED: May 7, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3422 words)
It is "a national disgrace": The U.S. prison system, for years, failed to stop rampant sexual abuse from occurring behind bars. Inside the new program to stop it:
"The review panel’s most recent report describes the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, a maximum-security state prison in Troy, Virginia. About 1,200 women are confined there, and when the BJS surveyed them in 2009, 11.4 percent said they’d been sexually abused by other inmates in the preceding year alone; 6.0 percent said they’d been sexually abused by staff."
"The twelve months asked about in that survey came shortly after sexual misconduct by Fluvanna’s staff had already turned into scandal. Former inmate Melissa Andrews told the review panel about Patrick Owen Gee, who was chief of security at the prison—a man, she said, who seemed to hate women. When he started working at Fluvanna, he 'went from wing to wing in each building and told us, "you bitches think you’ve been living in Kindercare…things are going to change."' Andrews also testified that the warden to whom Gee reported, Barbara Wheeler, 'said to officers many times, that if she took anything and everything from us including our humanity maybe we would not return to prison' Gee was convicted of sexually abusing the inmates he was supposed to protect in 2008, and sentenced to five years in prison."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 4, 2012
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5463 words)
A writer and his wife participate in a centuries-old Scandinavian tradition known as "Wife-Carrying," a sport where male competitors carry a female teammate while racing through an obstacle course:
"And then my wife and I are 15 yards up the hill, and I am breathing hard, making it work. This isn't so bad, I think. Like John Candy in Spaceballs, I say to myself, 'I could carry two or three of these.' Maybe a wife and a kid (that's not allowed yet).
"'Divot,' Megan shouts. I adjust. I'm a quarter of the way through. I'm a Wife-Carrying natural! This is the best decision that I, no that we, have made in… and I'm pitching forward into a swampy patch of October grass. Just like that, I'd broken a vow I'd made to my father-in-law. As if to maximize the surreal quality of this day, he'd driven up to watch the competition, and now I'd dropped his daughter. Seven-second penalty.
"'It's a lot more physical than people give it credit for,' Darcy Morse, the organizer of the race, warned when I signed up, and all at once I believe her. Suddenly, I feel like John Candy in Spaceballs. But I throw Megan onto my back again and come to the first obstacle, the Pommel Log. I'm over it, but I'm behind the couple we're racing against, and starting to hear sympathy cheers. 'You can do it,' say some good-hearted Mainers with the sweet inflection of wincing, hopeful mommies."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 4, 2012
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2790 words)
A look at Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital:
"Marc Wolpow, a former Bain colleague of Romney's, told reporters during Mitt's first Senate run that Romney erred in trying to sell his business as good for everyone. 'I believed he was making a mistake by framing himself as a job creator,' said Wolpow. 'That was not his or Bain's or the industry's primary objective. The objective of the LBO business is maximizing returns for investors.' When it comes to private equity, American workers – not to mention their families and communities – simply don't enter into the equation.
"Take a typical Bain transaction involving an Indiana-based company called American Pad and Paper. Bain bought Ampad in 1992 for just $5 million, financing the rest of the deal with borrowed cash. Within three years, Ampad was paying $60 million in annual debt payments, plus an additional $7 million in management fees. A year later, Bain led Ampad to go public, cashed out about $50 million in stock for itself and its investors, charged the firm $2 million for arranging the IPO and pocketed another $5 million in "management" fees. Ampad wound up going bankrupt, and hundreds of workers lost their jobs, but Bain and Romney weren't crying: They'd made more than $100 million on a $5 million investment."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 29, 2012
LENGTH: 30 minutes (7745 words)
An oral history of The Wire, 10 years after the show's debut:
"Michael B. Jordan (Wallace, Barksdale gang dealer): This is some real shit. It was real to the point where crackheads would come up and try to cop. I had fake money, and they would come over, and an exchange would go down. I would think they were part of the crew, and I’d make the exchange. Then security would come around and be like, 'No! No! No!' and break it up. I was like, 'Oh, shit! That’s really a crack-head! I’m sorry! I’m not really a drug dealer!'"
PUBLISHED: June 1, 2012
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6920 words)
Meet Martin, the I.T. guy who's helped everyone from drug dealers needing to dodge wiretaps, to restaurants looking to inflate their Foursquare numbers:
"If you've seen that episode of The Wire, you know principle behind Martin's system: 'Burners,' prepaid cell phones drug dealers use for a short time then abandon to thwart wiretaps. Prepaid phones have become so associated with drug trafficking and crime that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer wants to require an I.D. to buy one. (Martin said if I.D.s were required he could still run his business 'but I would probably charge triple because I'd have to make fake I.D.s')
"But burners can be a pain. For maximum security, phones need to be switched as often as possible—a top Cali cartel manager was once reported to use 35 cell phones a day. Martin's system makes it easy for a crew to switch all their phones rapidly."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 25, 2012
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1956 words)
In December 2008, DeChristopher shot to fame as Bidder 70 when he entered a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil- and gas-lease auction in Utah, posed as a buyer, and laid claim to 22,500 acres of wilderness worth nearly $1.8 million. His comeuppance, handed down in early March, a month before Power Shift, was a federal conviction on two felony counts: making false statements and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act. Together they carry a maximum sentence of $750,000 in fines and up to ten years in prison—a prospect that explains why he’s been packing on the muscle. DeChristopher’s reward, however, has been a rapid rise to folk-hero status.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 27, 2011
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6434 words)
Every generation gets the self-help guru that it deserves. In 1937, at the height of the Depression, Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich,” which claimed to distill the principles that had made Andrew Carnegie so wealthy. “The Power of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale, which was published in 1952, advised readers that techniques such as “a mind-emptying at least twice a day” would lead to success. By the seventies, Werner Erhard and est promised material wealth through spiritual enlightenment. The eighties and nineties saw management-consultancy maxims married with New Age thinking, with books such as Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” In the past decade or so, there has been a rise in books such as “Who Moved My Cheese?,” by Spencer Johnson, which promise to help readers maximize their professional potential in an era of unpredictable workplaces. Timothy Ferriss’s books appeal to those for whom cheese, per se, has ceased to have any allure.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 5, 2011
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4604 words)