The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

Booz Allen, the World's Most Profitable Spy Organization. In the June 20 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, Drake Bennett and Michael Riley poke into the inner workings of lucrative government contracts for private firms for carrying out spying on behalf of the U.S. government and the revolving door that keeps them flowing.

Trapped in An Underwater Air Bubble For Three Days. On Slate, Rachel Nuwer recounts the amazing survival of a Nigerian cook aboard a tugboat who survived for three days inside a pocket of air aboard a sunken ship 90 feet below the surface of the Atlantic. Contains one of the better quotes from a physicist: 'For a physics question, it's an interesting problem. Of course, I'm also glad the man survived and happy with the ending of his story'.

Facing the Real Gun Problem. In the New York Review of Books, David Cole enunciates what is becoming the centrist view of gun control: People who seek to control guns must make friends with people who own guns and learn to work together. It's a pretty sensible approach, it turns out.

The Making Of A Mole. On Buzzfeed, Jessica Weisberg covers the story of Jovana Deas, a rising star in the Dept. of Homeland Security's offices in charge of keeping the U.S./Mexican border less porous. Deas represents the increasing problem of Mexican drug cartels turning customs and immigration agents into informants.

Why I'm Grateful I Got Sued By American Express and What You Can Learn From My Experience. Writing on the Mental Illness Happy Hour site, Nathan Rabin reveals the (literal) trials and tribulations he had by getting deeply into debt and unwisely, he later learns, seeking help through a credit counseling service rather than dealing with his creditors directly.

In Indonesia, Professional Hitchhikers Do Drivers a Favor. On Oddity Central, blogger Spooky writes about a strange black market arrangement that has arisen from efforts to ease traffic congestion in Jakarta, a city with 20 million registered cars.

America's 50 worst charities rake in nearly $1 billion for corporate fundraisers. In a joint investigation published in the Tampa Bay Times, reporters Kris Hundley and Kendall Taggart use tax filings to compile a list of the 50 worst charities in America, measured by percentage of donations going to actual charity, and uncover a festering underbelly in the world of charities: the for-profit fundraising front company.