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Sitdown Sunday: Is America any safer after the 9/11 attacks?

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Is America any safer after 9/11?

Attacks World Trade Center Source: Lanzano

The United States has spent $1 trillion since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on defending the country – but has it worked? That’s what this far-reaching investigation aims to outline.

(The Atlantic, approx 60 mins reading time)

Are we safer? Yes, we’re safer from the kind of orchestrated attack that shocked us on that September morning. It’s harder for terrorists to get into the country, and harder for them to pull off something spectacular if they do. But we have not plugged some of the most threatening security gaps. Worse, as the Orlando massacre reminded us, the world has become more populated by those who want to exploit those gaps, including those living among us—and who, in the United States, can easily obtain military-grade weapons.

2. Neighbours at war

A pair of wealthy neighbours living in a large Boston estate are at war over land – and the case has been going on for years and years. Why are they sparring, and how is this going to end?

(Boston Globe, approx 37 mins reading time)

Not long after that, Evan Wile went to visit his land — accessed via an easement over Horvitz’s property — and for the first time had a conversation with his new neighbor. “I’m in construction,” Wile recalls saying. “If you ever need anything, let me know.” Horvitz stared back at him, according to Wile’s recollection, and said, “I will fight you, and you will not get a building permit for this property.”

3. Jonah Hill ain’t no joke

NY Premiere of The Revenant Source: AP/Press Association Images

He might be one of Hollywood’s biggest comedic actors, but his leap to drama has been lucrative. However, the change has not shifted some people’s opinion of Jonah Hill.

(New York Times, approx 19 mins reading time)

If life were a reality TV show, it would be accurate to say that Hill has received a “bad edit,” in part because of the above factors. In 2013 he did an interview with Rolling Stone that resulted in the following words being used by media outlets to describe him: humorless, insufferable, angry, defensive, pompous jerk, and “20 Most Hated Celebrities!” Today’s Jonah Hill, rallying at a Ping-Pong table, seems like someone who might do yoga, or drink green tea, or practice Transcendental Meditation.

4. Trump and the truth

In 2007, Donald Trump took part in a deposition where he was pinned down on issues that you probably won’t be hearing him talk about anytime soon – like how much money he really has, and how much he got from his father. An eye-opening read.

(Washington Post, approx 25 mins reading time)

The lawyers confronted the mogul with his past statements — and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented. The lawyers were relentless. Trump, the bigger-than-life mogul, was vulnerable — cornered, out-prepared and under oath. Thirty times, they caught him.

5. The Canary and Corbyn

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Labour leadership challenge Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A pro-Jeremy Corbyn website says it publishes the stories “other media won’t”. Now its pieces (written by writers who are paid by click) are going viral – and here’s how it all works.

(Buzzfeed, approx 16 mins reading time)

The “clickbaity” remark is linked to The Canary’s unorthodox business model. Out of the website’s net profit, 50% goes to writers, 10% to section editors, 20% to the leadership team, and the remaining 20% is retained by the company itself which has two directors – Kerry-Anne Mendoza and the newly-appointed Andrew Rose. There is, however, a second step for some writers where they get paid a “flat rate” linked to the number of articles they have written.

6. Winona Forever

This profile with the great Winona Ryder has been doing the rounds, not just because of the popularity of the fantastic Stranger Things, but also because of how honest Ryder is. A great read.

(NY Mag, approx 15 mins reading time)

“I wish I could unknow this, but there is a perception of me that I’m supersensitive and fragile. And I am supersensitive, and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. To do what I do, I have to remain open.” She says that sensitive is so often used as a bad word — a euphemism for weak or crazy. “There’s a line in the show where someone says [of her Stranger Things character], ‘She’s had anxiety problems in the past.’ A lot of people have picked up on that, like, ‘Oh, you know, she’s crazy.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling.’ Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn’t be anxious?


Ed Zepp was drafted into the first World War, but didn’t want to fight. He was discharged with dishonour – but continued to fight for his name to the end. This 1980 article won the Pulitzer Prize.

(Longform, approx 27 mins reading time)

All his life Edward Zepp has wanted nothing so much as to go to the next world with a clear conscience. So on Sept. 11 the old man, carrying a borrowed briefcase filled with papers, boarded an Amtrak train in Deerfield Beach and headed north on the Silver Meteor to our nation’s capital. As the porter showed him to his roomette, Ed Zepp kept saying, “I’m 83 years old. Eighty-three.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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