The Judge and the Three-Strikes Convict

Washington state’s three-strikes law put alcoholic and drug addict Scott Wharton in jail for life, no possibility of parole, for a string of low-level bank robberies. Ex-judge Matthew Fox helped him get clemency — twice. Now Wharton’s back in jail. How many chances will the state give him?

Published: Jun 17, 2019
Length: 32 minutes (8,045 words)

No Place Like Home

A slew of new shows timed perfectly for new year’s resolution purges help us pare down our possessions, keeping us focused on stuff instead of, say, systemic housing inequality.

Published: Jan 11, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,119 words)

Elwood, Illinois (Pop. 2,200), Has Become a Vital Hub of America’s Consumer Economy. And It’s Hell.

In 2002, developers made a deal with the people of Elwood, Illinois: they’d bring high-paying jobs in the growing warehousing and logistics industry to the centrally-located town in exchange for two decades of tax abatement. Seventeen years later, temp agencies in the region are flourishing, but full-time jobs are few and far between. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of semis have wrought havoc on Will County’s infrastructure — and without enough tax revenue to offset the damage, the town of Elwood has gone more than $30 million in debt trying to fix the roads.

Published: Jan 9, 2019
Length: 21 minutes (5,349 words)

Overdose and Punishment

The people who supply drugs that lead to overdoses are increasingly being charged with manslaughter using old drug-induced homicide laws. Why?

Published: Sep 10, 2018
Length: 18 minutes (4,604 words)

Rejected by A.A.

Is the 12 Step program’s decades-old philosophy exacerbating the opioid crisis by discouraging medication-assisted treatment like methodone?

Published: Jun 27, 2018
Length: 19 minutes (4,945 words)

The Fight for the Right to Be Cremated by Water

“Aquamation,” a greener form of body disposal, is gaining acceptance in America. But some powerful groups are fighting to stop it.

Published: Jun 14, 2018
Length: 6 minutes (1,650 words)

Do You Know Where Your Healing Crystals Come From?

Healing crystals are now a multi-billion dollar industry. But if people want to use crystal energy to heal yourself and the planet, they should demand greater transparency about their crystals’ sourcing.

Published: May 11, 2018
Length: 8 minutes (2,147 words)

California Dreaming

It would have been unthinkable a decade ago that the Republican stronghold of Orange County, California would ever be up for grabs by Democrats. But life behind the “red curtain” is changing, and the county might hold the key for turning disgruntled never-Trumpers into blue voters—as long as the Democrats don’t mess it up.

Published: May 9, 2018
Length: 28 minutes (7,100 words)

How the NRA Sells Guns in America Today

At The New Republic, “military veteran, big game hunter, and gun owner” Elliott Woods goes undercover at gun trade show to learn about how the NRA marketing machine has gone into high gear to combat what they’re calling the “Trump Slump.”

Published: Apr 16, 2018
Length: 33 minutes (8,255 words)

This Route Doesn’t Exist on the Map

What would you endure to find safety and security? Now that Europe has slammed its doors shut to migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nigeria, just to name a few countries, many are attempting to enter the United States via a long, arduous journey that includes crossing the Darién Gap — a treacherous forest without roads that connects Columbia and Panama.

Published: Feb 26, 2018
Length: 26 minutes (6,743 words)