Wednesday, August 6

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Get Out of Jail, Inc.

On the private, for-profit probation industry.

Longform Podcast #103: Adam Higginbotham

Adam Higginbotham has written for Businessweek, Wired and The New Yorker. His latest story is A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite, for The Atavist.

"There's always a narrative in a crime story. Something has always gone wrong. These guys are always in prison, because they all fucked something up or trusted the wrong person. They always get caught in the end. Because if they hadn't, you wouldn't be reading about it."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.

Show Notes »
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Richard Branson Turns 50

Partying with a lost tycoon on his birthday.

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Vladimir Putin’s Chess-Master Nemesis

A profile of Garry Kasparov, who exiled himself from Russia last year and is running for president of FIDE, the governing body of chess. The election has become the dirtiest in FIDE history and a proxy debate over freedom and Russia’s future; Kasparov’s opponent has the full backing of Vladimir Putin.

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Me, Myself, and I

On the history of masturbation.

Tuesday, August 5

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On Being Stalked

“I write this with a baseball bat by the bed.”

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Brooklyn's Baddest

Louis Scarcella was a star New York City detective in the ’80s and ’90s, cracking cases no one else could. Now it appears that many of the people he put away were innocent, forced into false confessions and convicted with testimony from flimsy witnesses. Scarcella maintains that he did nothing wrong, despite evidence against him much stronger than in many of his cases.

Previously: Sean Flynn on the Longform Podcast.

Monday, August 4

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Slaves of Happiness Island

On the coast of Abu Dhabi, gilded outposts of the Louvre, the Guggenheim and New York University are being built by foreign workers who cannot leave and are paid half of what they were promised.

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The Prosecutor and the Snitch

In 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham was executed for starting a fire that killed his three daughters. The case hinged on the testimony of a jailhouse informant named Johnny E. Webb. Today, Webb says he lied.

Previously: "Trial By Fire," David Grann's 2009 article on the Willingham case.

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Putin Dreams of Empire

What U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul has seen in Russia since he arrived two and a half years ago.