Tuesday, June 20th, 2017


Footprints in the Dirt

It's World Refugee Day. Once a year, we share the latest numbers to shine a light on the state of one of the world's most pressing problems. And this year, that light is even farther from the end of an increasingly long, bleak tunnel. "65.6 million. That's the number of people who were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2016, including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), stateless persons, returnees, and asylum seekers ... 22.5 million are refugees, 40.3 million are internally displaced persons, and 2.8 million are asylum seekers." If those numbers don't seem troubling enough, try this one on for size: 51 percent of all refugees in 2016 are children (and many of them are alone). From Vice, Put simply: There has never been a worse refugee crisis.

+ Economist Daily Chart: The number of forcibly displaced people grew to a record in 2016.

+ NatGeo: Haunting photos of where refugee children sleep. And from Vox: Syria's lost generation of refugee children, in 12 photos.

+ As you'd imagine, Syria and Afghanistan are the two countries that created the most refugees. We hear less about the third. Here's Nick Turse in Harper's: An ethnic-cleansing campaign by the government threatens to empty South Sudan: Ghost Nation. "Many had run with only the clothes they were wearing -- threadbare dresses and long colorful skirts, blouses held together by safety pins, a soiled ted nugent: body count T-shirt, a pair of dress pants several sizes too big belted around a diminishing waist with twine, an aqua-blue sandal on one foot and a battered brown loafer on the other."

+ Let's end with some folks who are trying to make the situation better: "The intention is to really humanize the refugee issue and to say, let's meet each other as neighbors. Let's talk about ways that we're similar rather than ways that we're different." From NPR: These Dinner Parties Serve Up A Simple Message: Refugees Welcome.


The Fixers

Florida was a hotbed for the pill mills that helped drive a national crisis. It was also a place where addicts could go to try to kick the opiate habit. "But what many of these addicts find here today is a crippled and dangerous system, fueled in the past three years by insurance fraud, abuse, minimal oversight and lax laws. The result in Palm Beach County has been the rapid proliferation of troubled treatment centers, labs and group homes where unknowing addicts, exploited for insurance money, fall deeper into addiction." The NYT with a story about drug addiction, health insurance, and a lot more: Haven for Recovering Addicts Now Profits From Their Relapses.


If You Can’t Stand the Heat….

Many of today's refugees were forced from their homes by conflict. In the future, climate change could be the key factor. From PopSci: Three-quarters of the planet could face deadly heatwaves by 2100.

+ Why Hydro-Politics will shape the 21st Century.

+ "After a certain threshold, even the 'it's a dry heat' jokes cease being funny." It's only the third week of June and that threshold has already been left in the dust in Arizona where it's so hot that airplanes can't fly.

+ "Planes are grounded, tap water comes out hot, and we'd all better get used to it." The science behind Arizona's record-setting heat wave.

+ In the Sierras, people are enjoying winter sports in the middle of heat wave. From the LA Times: Skiers hit the slopes in bikini tops as California's endless winter endures a heat wave. (I'm a terrible skier with a pear-shaped body. This is my worst-case scenario.)


Silent Might

"Apple's Global Security team employs an undisclosed number of investigators around the world to prevent information from reaching competitors, counterfeiters, and the press, as well as hunt down the source when leaks do occur. Some of these investigators have previously worked at U.S. intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), law enforcement agencies like the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, and in the U.S. military." (No wonder no one in DC can contain the leaks. All of their best secret-keepers have moved to Cupertino.) The Outline takes you inside Apple's global war on leakers.


Putting a Face on an Issue

A few days after he was brought back from North Korea, Otto Warmbier was pronounced dead. Will what was the obvious killing of an American citizen force President Trump into action? As you'd expect, he's already started to tweet.

+ The Economist: The outrageous death of Otto Warmbier.

+ Buzzfeed: The company that organized Otto Warmbier's trip says it will stop taking Americans to North Korea. (One assumes demand is now somewhere between low and zero.)


Medical Mystery

"The Senate will soon have a chance to turn the page on this failed law." So said Mitch McConnell as a small, all male group of GOP Senators gets set to share their Obamacare replacement with the world (and the rest of the Senate). Somehow, there will only be about a week or two between that move and a vote.

+ "I'm very eager to see the language. I don't think it gives enough time to thoroughly analyze the bill, but we'll see when it comes out." From Bloomberg: Senate Republicans haven't seen their health bill either.

+ Based on what we know so far, here are 3 ways Senate Republicans can pass an Obamacare repeal, and four ways they could fail.


Naval Base

As investigators work to understand what could have led to the collision between a Navy destroyer and a container ship, the NYT's Dave Phillips looks at the ways the 7 sailors who died are representative of the nation and the military they served. "The roll call of the dead also illustrated the degree to which the military relies on recruits from immigrant communities around the country."

+ Michael Daly: Navy sailor could have saved himself, chose to save his ‘kids' or die trying.


Georgia on My Mind

It's the most expensive Congressional race ever. It has been obsessed-over like few before it. And it has gone on forever. And like every other story these days, it's all about Trump. From Newshour: A guide to Georgia's special election.


Job Lot

"Monster. CareerBuilder. GlassDoor. LinkedIn. When you're looking for a new job, you're required to dig through countless job boards, managing logins and apps. Or it did. Now you can just google it." Following the Amazon purchase of Whole Foods, I'm going to dedicate a few more blurbs to the way a small number of big tech companies are quickly asserting control over everything, including other tech companies. From FastCo: And Just Like That, Google becomes the world's largest job board.

+ ReCode: Amazon Prime is testing a try-before-you-buy option on up to 15 pieces of clothing at a time.


Bottom of the News

"Meet Ken: He is a beefy Asian man with 20/40 vision who frequently works out of doors. And, meet Ken: He is a young record executive who expresses himself through bold sneaker attire while simultaneously being an African-American man of average build. And, meet Ken: Against the better angels of his nature, he has bleached his hair peroxide blond, and now is determined to travel on an airplane in comfort and style. And, meet Ken: He has a man bun, and that's his whole thing." GQ on the Ken Doll Reboot: beefy, cornrowed, and pan-racial.

+ Brazil's president announces plan to protect forest – after plea from Gisele.

+ And, the Internet has a new 404 page...