Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.
Bottling water without scrutiny: Companies tapping springs and aquifers in California with little oversight (The Desert Sun)
"No state agency is tracking exactly how much water is used by all of the bottled water plants in California, or monitoring the effects on water supplies and ecosystems statewide. The California Department of Public Health regulates 108 bottled water plants in the state‚ ... but the agency says it does not require companies to report how much water they use."
Inside America's Toughest Federal Prison (The New York Times)
"Robert Hood, the warden of the ADX from 2002 to 2005, told me that when he first arrived on the campus, he was struck by 'the very stark environment,' unlike any other prison in which he ever worked or visited — no noise, no mess, no prisoners walking the hallways. When inmates complained to him, he would tell them, ' This place is not designed for humanity...It's not designed for rehabilitation. Period. End of story.' "
The Deadly Global War For Sand (WIRED)
"Today criminal gangs in an estimated 70 countries, from Jamaica to Nigeria, dredge up tons of (sand) every year to sell on the black market. Half the sand used for construction in Morocco is estimated to be mined illegally; whole stretches of beach there are disappearing. One of Israel's most notorious gangsters‚ ... got his start stealing sand from public beaches."
Nobody, Especially The Government, Knows How Many Mass Graves Have Been Found In Mexico (BuzzFeed News)
"Our children are today children of a Mexico that...has become a huge mass grave." http://t.co/4fI8GL55E5— Amanda Zamora (@amzam) March 26, 2015
"The hodgepodge of information obtained exhibits the lack of a comprehensive, organized, and updated database of mass graves in Mexico, nine years after the start of the drug war. It's not that clandestine graves did not exist before. ...since Calderón declared war on cartels and drug-related violence skyrocketed, so did discoveries of these sites."
"Ultimately, seven of the 10 agents investigated admitted attending parties with prostitutes while they were stationed overseas. The DEA imposed penalties ranging from a two-day suspension to a 10-day suspension, according to the report, while one of the line agents was cleared of all wrongdoing."
The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 and we're now in the second year since health insurance exchanges got up and running. So, how's the law doing? That's a complicated question. With the help of senior reporter Charles Ornstein, we've curated a list of Obamacare must-reads.
We also want to hear from you about your experience with Obamacare in 2015. Did you have to pay a penalty? How has your plan worked out? Help us investigate by sharing your story here.
MuckReads Local: Questions Surround Okla. Subsidies Aimed at Saving Jobs (Oklahoma Watch)
"But several officials and independent analysts say a lack of transparency makes it virtually impossible to verify claims that the jobs were really in danger of leaving Oklahoma and that the state isn't just subsidizing private-sector jobs that would have existed anyway."