Monday, April 10th, 2017


America’s Worst Addiction

In the past few years, it's been difficult to find any topics that feature bipartisan agreement. So it has been a pretty big deal that leaders from both sides of the aisle -- from law and order Republicans to liberal Democrats, from civil rights groups to the Koch brothers -- managed to find common ground on an issue (even if the need for reform was as wildly obvious as it is in this case). "When the Obama administration launched a sweeping policy to reduce harsh prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, rave reviews came from across the political spectrum." But there were a few outliers. And one of those outliers is leading Jeff Sessions' efforts to bring back the war on drugs. (Spoiler alert: Drugs win.) It will be worth taking note how this so-called war is fought on different fronts -- from the inner cities where drug use will be further criminalized, to rural America where the opiate addicts will be treated as victims of a rabid epidemic driven by economic forces. America's worst addiction is the war on drugs.


Bench Warmer

"Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the judicial oath in the White House Rose Garden. It was the first time a sitting justice swore in a former clerk to join him as a colleague on the high court bench." Neil Gorsuch has been officially sworn in as Supreme Court Justice. It's been a long road to getting a ninth justice. But as the LA Times reports, Gorsuch's impact on divided Supreme Court will begin immediately.

+ "Leo served, in effect, as Trump's subcontractor on the selection of Gorsuch, who was confirmed by a vote of 54–45, last week, after Republicans changed the Senate rules to forbid the use of filibusters. Leo's role in the nomination capped a period of extraordinary influence for him and for the Federalist Society." Jeffrey Toobin introduces you to the man behind the pick, Leonard Leo. The selection of Neil Gorsuch is just his latest achievement.

+ "I've been on the cafeteria committee for six years. (Justice) Steve Breyer was on the cafeteria committee for 13 years." One of the jobs of the newest Supreme Court justice starts in the kitchen.


Opposite Day?

"During the campaign, he promised to 'bomb the shit out of' ISIS, which holds territory in Syria, but he also said that it was foolish to become mired in the civil war, or to target Assad, who has opposed ISIS -- at least, rhetorically." The New Yorker on candidate Trump, President Trump, and the confusing strike on Syria.

+ Did Trump reverse course? In one sense, Trump's reaction to Assad's chemical attack was entirely consistent. Trump's ultimate motivation is to do the opposite of Obama. And he never veers from the course. From me: Every Day is Opposite Day.

+ "In the aftermath of the strike, anti-war marches were held from New York to London. Yet these protesters were largely silent when US-directed airstrikes targeting ISIS were falling on cities and killing civilians." From Vice: What Trump's Missile Strike Means for Syrians Like Me.


Swipe Bomb

"A large, soft-looking man in a suit is sitting near the soda dispensers, fiddling with his phone. Brady and G-Man walk over to his table, avoiding eye contact until the last possible second. 'I'm Kat,' Brady says, pointing his phone at the man's face. 'The fifteen-year-old girl you came here to meet.'" Esquire goes hunting child predators with Canada's freelance vigilantes. "Rival Canadian groups team up to publicly shame adults seeking dates with underage teenagers. But is it possible to be an ethical avenger?"


Walk for … Reality?

"The scientists of America have a truly marvellous story to tell; in fact, thousands of them. But they need to tell it to the people who matter. And, sadly, almost none of them live in Washington." Michael Specter makes a modest proposal for what, when you think about it, will be a remarkable act. The March for Science. (I support the effort, though as Humanties major, I've spent most of my life marching away from science.)

+ "They may be misinterpreting real findings, falling back on discredited information, or cherry-picking studies that agree with them. This means that people may be best described as not 'anti-science,' but science-biased in the sense that their engagement with science is biased by their other beliefs." Scientific American: Who Are You Calling Anti-Science?


Whac a Hack

It's rare that the arrest of a computer hacker on vacation in Barcelona would garner international headlines. But Pyotr Levashov was arrested for "participating in a Russian cyber-espionage campaign to aid Donald Trump's campaign." So you can bet he's going to be met with a whole lot of questions when he lands in the US.

+ "They blared for an hour and a half, to the annoyance, terror or amusement of 1.3 million residents." WaPo: Someone hacked every tornado siren in Dallas. It was loud. (In my neighborhood, you get ravaged by the community if your dog barks a couple times. I can't imagine what they'd do if they found this hacker...)


What Elon Strange Trip It’s Been

"Tesla delivered fewer than 80,000 vehicles globally last year to GM's more than 10 million." But on Monday, Tesla passed GM to become America's most valuable carmaker. (The market doesn't see Tesla as car company. It sees it as a energy company that wraps some its batteries with vehicles.)

+ The Verge: Detroit is kicking Silicon Valley's ass in the race to build self-driving cars.


Enemies, a Love Story

They've been called the enemies of the American people. But these journalists have unearthed truths that have informed us, often changed the world for the better, and provided a hell of a lot of fodder for NextDraft. Here are the winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prizes. (No newsletter category?)


Going Green

"Don't forget Augusta National once owned him to the point of dejection. Don't forget major championships once caused him such frustration that he publicly declared he could not and would not win one." From WaPo: Sergio Garcia completes his transformation by winning the Masters.


Bottom of the News

The Internet has become fixated on a video of a man "being pulled out of his seat and down the aisle of the plane by three security officers." The issue? The flight was overbooked. (I was actually feeling pretty nostalgic as I watched Twitter return to its roots as a platform to complain about United.)

+ Consumerist: One family earned $11,000 by not flying Delta during delay-filled weekend. (United should beat the shit out of this family...)

+ Vox: A Kentucky coal museum is installing solar panels on its roof.

+ SNL: Thank you, Scott, for all your social media posts. (Classic...)

+ Passover starts tonight, so NextDraft will be functioning sans-bread for the next week. On the plus side, a couple years ago, notable Rabbis came together to announce that rice is kosher for Passover. And from NPR: Can The Bread Of Affliction Become A Snack Addiction? (That sounds like a contradiction though it's not in my jurisdiction.)