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Dispatches: Five Essential Reads From the Past Week

A collection of some of our most important and timely stories, from an interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before her upset victory in New York to a map highlighting how abortion laws differ from state to state.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrates with supporters at a victory party after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowley on June 26th, 2018, in New York City.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrates with supporters at a victory party after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowley on June 26th, 2018, in New York City.

  1. On Tuesday, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was launched into the national spotlight after defeating incumbent Democratic house member Joe Crowley in a primary in the 14th district of New York. For our 10th anniversary print issue back in March, Megan Kimble interviewed the candidate about her then-fledgling grassroots campaign for office, along with two other first-time female candidates. In light of Cortez's victory, we published Kimble's interview with the expected new member of Congress in full. Read the interview in full here.
  2. It was a big week for the Supreme Court, as the justices handed down decisions on gerrymandering, public union membership dues, American Express' business practices, and upholding President Donald Trump's travel ban. On top of that, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the bench, a decision that sent shock waves around the country. Kennedy's announcement has raised concerns about the future of Roe v. Wade among reproductive rights advocates as a reversal of that decision would put abortion rights back in the hands of individual states. With that in mind, staff writer Francie Diep created an interactive map that covers each state's particular laws. Check out the map here.
  3. Hannah Weinberger looks at a viral wedding photo taken in front of a Colorado wildfire, and how this reflects the changing reality in a world affected by climate change. Read Weinberger's story here.
  4. Staff writer Kate Wheeling spoke with Ben Goldfarb about his new book, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, and why many naturalists, land managers, and average Americans have overlooked beavers' role in shaping our environment for so long. Goldfarb has also written for Pacific Standard, including his recent feature "The Endling: Watching a Species Vanish in Real Time." Read the interview in full here.
  5. It's been 17 years since the United States launched the War on Terror. In that time, the state of international terrorism has only grown worse. Now once again battling the Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. leadership know that they failed to solve the problem that plunged the country into the War on Terror in the first place. But despite these realities, as contributing writer Jared Keller writes, the Trump administration appears to be pivoting into a competition of power mongering against Russian and Chinese influence in the region. This is a move that could have dire consequences for the people who live there, and for America's military. Read Keller's piece here.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of