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 The stalks have been replaced by glass towers housing the media, contracting, and consulting giants that now serve as the backbone of the Virginia economy.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.

The Great Jewish Hope

Eric Greitens

If Eric Greitens sent you his resume, you wouldn’t believe it. But maybe you have some time to kill and figure why not call him up, go to his home in Missouri, and catch him in a lie. “Very impressive resume, Mr. Greitens. A Navy SEAL and a Rhodes Scholar? Sure buddy, and I’m Mother Teresa … oh, so now you’ve worked with Mother Teresa …”

Here’s What I Saw at the Taxpayer-Funded Traveling Romance Novel Exhibit

Booth at romance novel symposium held at the Library of Congress / Elizabeth Harrington

“I kind of pictured it more sophisticated,” a woman said, sitting at what looked like a crafts table in a Kindergarten class.

Kids scissors and glue sticks were spread about. It was only the paper cut outs of swords, cowboys, roses, and magical castles that gave away that this was an exhibit for women to design their own cover for a romance novel.