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Dispatches: Five Essential Reads From the Past Week

A collection of some of our most important and timely stories, from a feature inside the California Native Plant Society's efforts to save endangered plant species and turn California into a zero-extinction state to an interview with a historian about the fate of ABC's hit Roseanne.
Colin Kaepernick and Eli Harold of the San Francisco 49ers kneel for the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, on December 4th, 2016.

Colin Kaepernick and Eli Harold of the San Francisco 49ers kneel for the national anthem.

  1. Last week, immigration activists generated considerable attention over reports that the Department of Health and Human Services had "lost track" of over 1,500 undocumented minors in the United States. Behind the hashtag #WhereAreTheChildren, prominent voices decried two conflated issues related to immigration: One being the department's inability to account for those undocumented migrant children; the other being the separation of children from their parents at the border. While the children who sparked the campaign are unaccounted for by the department they were not, in fact, separated from their parents at the border; they had come to the U.S. alone. While separation of families at the border is being used more frequently as a means of immigration deterrence during the Trump administration, these two issues created confusion and infighting among immigrant advocates. Contributing writer Massoud Hayoun spoke to activists about the issues they are most focused on. Read the story here.
  2. Roseanne Barr made headlines this week for writing a racist tweet about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. ABC subsequently canceled the actress' popular show in the wake of the controversy. Senior staff writer Tom Jacobs spoke with historian Matt Delmont about why Roseanne suffered a fate so diametrically opposite to that of President Donald Trump, who has ridden controversial tweets to the highest office in the land. Read the conversation here.
  3. Over the past week, Trump has made good on his promises to install tariffs on certain high-tech imports from China, as well on aluminum and steel from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. Contributing writer Dwyer Gunn breaks down why Trump's impending trade wars with valuable U.S. economic partners will hurt most Americans. Read the story here.
  4. Contributing writer Jimmy Tobias embedded with a group of conservationists who are working to save endangered plant species and turn California into a zero-extinction state. The California Native Plant Society is somewhat secretive about its efforts, but it's finding—and nurturing—plant species once presumed to be extinct in the wild. Read the story here.
  5. The National Football League announced a ban on protests of the national anthem last week. Amid the multiple responses from all sides were some particularly befuddling statements by Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi who chose to ostensibly avoid supporting demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice. Contributing writer Seth Masket looked at why many prominent liberals decided to bow out of this debate, and whether that decision betrays the fundamental principles of being a Democrat. Read the story 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