For Mexicans in the U.S. sent “home” thanks to increased enforcement of American immigration laws, the country they’re returning to is far more dangerous than the one they initially escaped. They wind up in border towns like Tijuana, Nogales, and Juárez, separated from their families, with no money, no identity, and nowhere to go. Read it at BuzzFeed.
2. The Welfare Queen — Slate
Then-presidential candidate Reagan often referred to a Chicago “Weflare queen” in his 1976 stump speeches — a woman who’d scammed the government using dozens of aliases. In this impressive and captivating examination, Josh Levin explains the truth about Linda Taylor was much, much worse. Read it at Slate.
3. The Fall of the House of Tsarnaev — The Boston Globe
A five-month investigation offers a new picture of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Were they affected by radical beliefs, or their deeply dysfunctional upbringing? Read it at The Boston Globe.
4. Tyler Hadley’s Killer Party — Rolling Stone
A horrific story by Nathaniel Rich: at 17-year-old Florida boy invites everyone he knows over one night, assuring them his parents won’t care. Meanwhile, hours prior, he murdered them both with a hammer. What motivated him? Read it at Rolling Stone.
5. How A Christmas Story Kept Peter Billingsley Normal — BuzzFeed
At age 12, he was the precocious lead in what is now one of the most beloved holiday movies of all time and could have wound up another doomed child star. Instead, 30 years later, Adam B. Vary writes, he’s quietly reinvented himself as a steady and successful Hollywood player. Read it at BuzzFeed.
6. Bad Day in Buffalo — Grantland
The morning after a Bills versus Dolphins game in November of last year, many had been arrested or suffered alcohol-related injuries — nothing unusual — and two men were dead — again, not that uncommon. Thomas Golianopoulos tells the stories of their deaths and questions the relationship between NFL fandom and alcohol. Read it at Grantland.
7. The Intelligent Plant — The New Yorker
A fascinating article by Micheal Pollan about scientists who are making the case for plant intelligence. What evidence they present is met with much establishment skepticism and yet their ideas could forever change the way we think about the world around us and ourselves. Read it at The New Yorker.
8. What Happens When One of Your Coworkers Dies — The Billfold
A dry but affecting piece by Michael Hobbes about the intersection of sterile office culture with the real fact of death. Read it at The Billfold.