Oksana Masters: from Chernobyl to Pyeongchang Paralympics golds

Born with defects attributed to radiation from Chernobyl, the skier will be taking two gold medals home to the US woman who adopted her

After finally winning a first Paralympic gold medal in Pyeongchang this week the USA’s Oksana Masters said: “I did not believe this would happen. I’ve been chasing this gold medal and this feeling for such a long time.”

And on day eight of the Games she added a second gold – winning the women’s 5km sitting in the biathlon. The 28-year-old suffered mixed fortunes before her victories, but is well accustomed to overcoming adversity. Masters was born in Ukraine with multiple birth defects believed to have been caused by radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. One leg was six inches shorter than the other. Bones that bear the weight of the body were missing from her legs. She had webbed fingers and toes, no thumbs and only one kidney.

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Why the real defenders of the second amendment oppose the NRA | Corey Brettschneider

The students of Stoneman Douglas, Florida, are the fiercest opponents the NRA has seen in some time. They are the ones truly standing up for the US constitution

In any debate about guns in America, there’s one aspect that’s seemingly inescapable: the moment when the National Rifle Association (NRA) or other defenders of an anything-goes gun policy recite the second amendment from memory.

Perhaps no subsection of a political movement is so passionately animated by a clause of the US constitution. As many a gun enthusiast is eager to say, gun regulation is a non-starter; the second amendment is the law of the land, so the government can’t tell me what to do with my guns.

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The three crises of liberal democracy | Ganesh Sitaraman

We now swim in dangerous waters, and we can no longer take the persistence of liberal democracy for granted

Over the past few years, I have frequently been reminded of David Foster Wallace’s commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005. Wallace began with the story of two fish swimming together, when an older fish swims by and says “Morning boys, how’s the water?” After the old fish swims away, one says to the other, “What the hell is water?”

Over the last year or two, there’s been a lot of discussion about what drove Trump voters and Brexit voters to the polls. There’s been concern as specific constitutional and political norms break down. But with so many people running from tweet-storm to tweet-storm, there has been comparatively less attention to what happened to the water – to the root causes of the global crisis of democracy.

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