Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Stumble of the Week

China’s first national water census has reported the disappearance of over 28,000 rivers. That is not a typo. According to The Atlantic, over half the 50,000 rivers flowing 30 years ago have “vanished.” The government is blaming a combination of bad maps and global warming (which its heavily censored Internet has not yet discovered is a hoax). A more likely culprit is China’s out-of-control growth, which has extracted water and paved over rivers at an unsustainable rate. Given the intense fears of Chinese expansion throughout the region, its neighbors might want to make sure those missing rivers don’t reappear on their maps. It will be hard laying into turkey and all the fixins’ next Thanksgiving after reading about Henry’s Turkey Service, whose 32 workers at an Iowa processing plant were just awarded $240 million. Under a special provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Henry’s paid its mentally handicapped workers $65 a month, a figure that hadn’t changed since the 1970s and was completely unconnected to hours worked. The company also provided room (a leaking, rat-infested bunkhouse), board and “care” (a tough love that replaced medical coddling with working through pain and heaps of physical abuse). It withheld the costs of such services from the workers’ payments, while simultaneously reimbursing itself from their social security benefits. And how will the workers spend their $7.5 million-per-person windfall? In their dreams. Henry’s is defunct.

• Finally, in Chester County, Pa., Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh has organized a charity raffle, which features an AR-15 assault rifle similar to the one used at Sandy Hook.

A Brace of Six Shooters

May Day