Mic Check – D-Day, How the Taliban Got Its Groove Back, and Young Adult Literature

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THE AGENDA 

The 70th anniversary of D-Day: On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in the coordinated invasion of occupied France known as D-Day. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history, with more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, and it turned the tide of World War II against Nazi Germany. 

+ Here's what the beaches of Normandy look like today.

Mashable has a spectacular photo gallery capturing the massive invasion.


(Image Credit: The Associated Press)

The Taliban gets its groove backTIME’s Aryn Baker reports that Taliban fighters, emboldened by last week’s controversial prisoner swap for Army Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, are more inclined to capture American soldiers and other high-value targets in an effort to free comrades imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people,” an unnamed Taliban commander told Baker via telephone. “It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.” This is likely to fuel the ongoing political backlash over Bergdahl’s release.

+ Additionally, the New York Times has a new classified military report that says Bergdahl had previously wandered away from his assigned training areas well before his capture.

GM probe cites “incompetence" in recall scandal: An internal investigation by America’s largest automaker found “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” in its decade-long failure to recall millions of defective small cars, but concluded that there was no deliberate cover-up. GM CEO Mary Barra said 15 employees had been dismissed, most of whom were in senior and executive roles, and five others had been disciplined. The recall delay has been linked to 13 deaths and 47 crashes.

The real costs of leaving Afghanistan: President Obama unveiled his updated plans to remove U.S. military forces from Afghanistan by 2016, which includes leaving behind around $36 billion worth of military tech. As the U.S. involvement in the region winds down, hulking tanks and other expensive military gadgets are posing a logistical nightmare. According to officials, about half the vehicles and an even higher percentage of other equipment will be destroyed. A small percentage will be brought back home or sold to other countries.

The E.U. is struggling to kickstart Europe's economy: The European Central Bank recently unveiled a "wide-ranging set of measures aimed at combating the crippling combination of slow growth and super-low inflation," according to the Economic Times. New York magazine’s Kevin Roose has a simple explainer to help you understand what just happened to one of the world’s biggest economies.

Today is National Donut DayParade has a list of 13 fascinating things you may not have known about donuts. Donuts are important, OK? Just let this happen. 
 

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Children on the run: The rising influx of young unauthorized immigrants crossing the border with or without parents has become a humanitarian crisis, writes the New York Times editorial board: “They are fleeing for their lives. They may know nothing about perceived shifts in deportation policies or programs like the one deferring deportations for young immigrants, for which none of them would qualify anyway. But they do know that they face great danger by staying home.”

+ This meditation on how borders define the legal definition of nation-states from The New Inquiry is an excellent additional read.

The U.S. military should publish all investigations of civilian deaths: Chris Jenks argues for a more transparent military at Al Jazeera America: “Releasing the investigations promises several benefits. It would contradict the claims that the U.S. isn’t concerned about civilian casualties or holding its service members accountable. It would also counter terrorist propaganda. In the wake of a drone strike, if the military fails to provide its version of events — an accurate and thorough version that it takes great pains to obtain — those hostile to U.S. interests inevitably will. It’s past time for the U.S. to regain the reputation for accountability and transparency that it need not have lost in the first place.”

After progress on college rape, why ignore sexual violence in high schoolThe Guardian’s Jessica Valenti makes the case that politicians haven’t done enough to combat sexual assault among young people: “Forty-four percent of U.S. sexual assault victims are under the age of 18. And while we now have a White House task force to combat college rapes, and a willingness to at least propose legislation on the issue, we still have no national education, prevention and enforcement standards on dealing with sexual assaults that happen before students get there. But rapists don't restrict themselves to targeting those with high school diplomas.”

PolicyMic’s Smriti Sinha’s concurs: Why is "teenagers and alcohol just do not mix” a regular (and accepted) excuse for the actions of teenage rapists?

Are you an adult? Then stop reading young adult literature: Read whatever you want, argues Ruth Graham in Slate, but you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children: "The very ways that YA is pleasurable are at odds with the way that adult fiction is pleasurable. There’s of course no shame in writing about teenagers; think Shakespeare or the Brontë sisters or Megan Abbot. But crucially, YA books present the teenage perspective in a fundamentally uncritical way. It’s not simply that YA readers are asked to immerse themselves in a character’s emotional life—that’s the trick of so much great fiction—but that they are asked to abandon the mature insights into that perspective that they (supposedly) have acquired as adults."

+ At the New Republic, Hillary Kelly disagrees: "You should never be embarrassed by any book you enjoy. And you certainly shouldn’t let some woman you’ve never met make you feel inferior for reading beneath your grade level."
 

MARVELS

Procrastination isn't just bad for your work ethic, it's also terrible for your health. [PolicyMic]

Popular media are full of dramatic claims that sugar is toxic. What can you actually believe? [The Atlantic]

Who wants to go shoot an elephant? Wells Tower has an incredibly long, engaging story about the last elephant hunt in Botswana. [GQ]

The odd story of how Ronald Reagan influenced Bruce Springsteen’s politics. [Politico]

This is what a Jeopardy! champion reads daily. [The Wire]

The science of why we laugh. [The Atlantic]

What does memory look like in the age of the Internet? [New York Times]

Everyone's favorite astrophysicist explains how Republican blew it on climate change. [Mother Jones]

George R.R. Martin wants to kill you for $20,000. [Mashable]


Editor's Note: Feb. 24, 2015

An earlier version of this article failed to link or cite a passage from the Economic Times in accordance with Mic editorial standards. The article has been updated to properly attribute the language to the Economic Times.

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Jared Keller

Jared Keller is the former director of news at Mic.

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