Among the Believers

Illustration by Gary Locke

I paid someone to shave me on my first morning as a Democratic activist. It was expensive, but very pleasant. The barber didn’t take debit cards, so I had to run to an ATM in order to pay him. When I returned wheezing in my well-chosen tweed and lavender cashmere sweater combo—I thought hard about my outfit that day—I apologized. “No problem,” he said. “Happy to wait. You look so handsome.”

A Sacrificial Goat in Every Pot

Credit: Gary Locke

Augustus Sol Invictus first made headlines last month when the Associated Press reported that the Orlando-based attorney seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for the Senate seat held by Marco Rubio had ritually slaughtered a goat. “I did sacrifice a goat,” Invictus told the AP, adding that the avowed act of sorcery was “probably a quibble in the mind of most Americans.”

How I Came in 72nd at the World Shooting Championship

Peacemaker National Training Center / Stephen Gutowski

I was sitting in the basement of a Hampton Inn in Winchester, Virginia, when I first realized I was in over my head. As I sat wondering about the basic rules for each of the twelve different stages of the National Rifle Association’s World Shooting Championship (WSC) that I and the 225 or so people around me would be competing in over the next three days, the people who do this for a living peppered the organizers with detailed questions about the minutiae of how each stage is scored.

I Can’t Believe I Watched the Whole Thing

GOP 2016 Debate

SIMI VALLEY, Calif.—There are many things that only someone who made the trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley for the second round of 2016 Republican presidential debates could tell you about. I could tell you about the teenager holding a “KANYE FOR PREZ” sign or the line of people chanting anti-Planned Parenthood slogans or the shirtless kids who threw their Oakland Raiders banner over the window of the press shuttle at the foot of the hill leading up to the library. I could tell you how, unless you ignored the directions emailed to members of the press, which took me and my Uber driver to a strip mall miles away from the spot where I eventually picked up my press credentials, it was very difficult to get in to the library and nearly impossible to get out.

One Translator’s Story

Kazikhani at Camp Delaram where he embedded with Marines

The boat carrying former Marine interpreter Sami Kazikhani began to take on water a couple dozen meters from the coast. All that stood between the 50 souls on board and doom was the thin layer of black rubber that was built to sustain 25 people. Passengers started ditching the bags that carried what was left of their possessions into the sea. Some men hopped out to push the craft toward shore.

The Titanic of the East

S.S. Japan

Just before midnight on Dec. 17, 1874, a crew member cried out on the deck of the steamship S.S. Japan. There was a fire. In just 45 minutes, the flames engulfed the 4,000-ton ship’s wooden hull, trapping some of the passengers below deck. Others, mostly Chinese migrant workers, could not reach the lifeboats and jumped into the South China Sea, where they were weighed down by their gold-filled belts and sank to the bottom. The Chinese laborers were returning home from the American West.

FEATURE: I Went to a Black Lives Matter Rally

(Twitter user)

I arrive just in time to see a white man slip something that looks like a bag of powder to a black man wearing a green Red Sox cap. The hands part and go into the respective pockets, no need to double check the cash or product. Behind them a group of three dozen yuppies play bocce ball. A normal Tuesday evening at Franklin Square’s I Street entrance.

Egypt’s Christians in the Shadow of the Muslim Brotherhood

Christian Coptic Priest Father Samuel reacts as he stands inside the burned and heavily damaged St. Mousa church in Minya, Egypt

In the nearly five years of turmoil that have followed the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, no group in Egypt has suffered more than the 15 million Coptic Christians. Both a religious and ethnic minority, the Copts are descended from the native population of Egypt who lived and ruled there from the time of the pharaohs until the Roman conquest in 31 B.C. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East today.

The Best Little Cigar Shop in Virginia

Embassy Cigar Lounge / Bill McMorris

Consummate D.C. insider Terry McAuliffe resides in the governor’s mansion built by tobacco farmer James Monroe, demonstrating that Virginians have always elected those who excel at peddling its staple crop. The farms that blanketed the I-95 corridor between Washington, D.C., and Richmond are mostly gone now, the land purchased by political profiteers. The stalks have been replaced by glass towers housing the media, contracting, and consulting giants that now serve as the backbone of the Virginia economy. Yet there are some members of the transplanted D.C. caste—former Marines, ambassadors, and George W. Bush appointees—who still pay tribute to the much maligned weed; they can be found at the Embassy Cigar Lounge in Stafford, Va., which celebrated its first anniversary on May 1.