Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and including the hashtag #MuckReads, or by sending an email to MuckReads@ProPublica.org. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on ProPublica and @ProPublica.
Mitt Romney’s Prep School Classmates Recall Pranks, But Also Troubling Incidents, Washington Post
Jason Horowitz talks to former classmates of Mitt Romney’s from Cranbook School, where he attended high school. The classmates recall an incident in which they restrained a student and cut his hair.
Contributed by @kleinmatic
U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use "Hiroshima" Tactics for "Total War" on Islam, Wired
Before the U.S. military suspended a course on Islam for senior officers, instructors lectured that a "total war" would be necessary to protect the United States from an Islamic menace. "Islam must change, or we will facilitate its self-destruction," said one of the teachers.
Contributed by @elliottjustin
Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse, New York Times
In a two-part series, the Times examines an insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, the largest of its kind outside Israel, which shuns members for reporting sexual abuse to police. “There is no nice way of saying it,” said one community member. “Our community protects molesters. Other than that, we are wonderful.”
Contributed by @kleinmatic
What Did Vets Charity Do With $56M?, CNN
The Disabled National Veterans Foundation has spent more on marketing services than on actually helping veterans since 2007. A private company runs their fundraising, which often ends up costing more than $1 to raise $1. They do sometimes send charities "badly needed" donations. "They sent us 11,520 bags of coconut M&M's," said one charity's executive director. "We didn't have a lot of use for 11,520 bags of coconut M&M's."
Contributed via e-mail by Devna Shukla
Playing With Fire, Chicago Tribune
Toxic flame retardants are packed into American homes under the guise that their protective benefits outweigh their health risks. Unfortunately, that belief is the result of the industry’s decades-long “campaign of deception” that downplayed the risks and overhyped the effectiveness of its products, which often don’t even work.
Contributed by @craignewman
Credit Scars Columbus Dispatch
A yearlong review of 30,000 complaints filed against credit-reporting agencies revealed a mass of mistakes – “that’s not my name; my house did not foreclose; I’m not dead”— which, no matter how small, can have huge ramifications on consumers’ credit.
Contributed by @paulkiel
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.