September 5th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Trump dumps DACA, Fish love plastic, and the power of a baby's cry.

“I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama Administration is being rescinded.” So said Jeff Sessions as he delivered President Trump’s message that he’d be ending DACA — with a six month delay to give Congress time to deal with the latest passed buck. (Apparently, they alone can fix it.) The move has been met with widespread condemnation, from both sides of the aisle.

+ FiveThirtyEight: Congress probably has the votes to make DACA law. But that doesn’t mean it will.

+ Buzzfeed: How DACA became an orphan in Trump’s White House.

+ Obama: “Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”

+ Josh Davis: Why Trump should welcome Dreamers.

+ Houston Chronicle on a Dreamer who died trying to rescue people during Harvey (his mother has been denied entry into the US for his funeral.)

+ A few stats about Dreamers: A majority of voters in both parties think Dreamers should be allowed to stay. Dreamers are more likely to have a college degree than the average American. 97% of DACA beneficiaries are in school or employed. (Whether DACA stays or goes, the debate shifts time and attention away from non-imaginary dangers facing America, and adds to an ongoing storyline about threats that don’t exist. That storyline is ripping America apart.)


Sideways Mobility

“The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.” A very interesting look at inequality from the NYT Upshot: Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now.

+ “A half-century ago, a top automobile executive named George Romney — yes, Mitt’s father — turned down several big annual bonuses. He did so, he told his company’s board, because he believed that no executive should make more than $225,000 a year (which translates into almost $2 million today).” When the Rich Said No to Getting Richer.


Nuke Rebuke

“Just as President Donald Trump seeks to show global resolve after the North’s most powerful nuclear test, his leverage is limited even further by new tensions he’s stoked with South Korea, plus continued opposition from China and Russia.” From AP: Trump’s options on North Korea going from bad to worse.

+ “Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end. It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.” Putin chimes in on the North Korean nuclear crisis.


Bubbling Crude

“In addition to devastating cities, harbors, and oil refineries, Hurricane Harvey also barreled directly into a cluster of decades-old toxic-waste sites.” As Harvey’s waters recede, additional environmental and health threats will come into view. “They’re not going to get cancer tomorrow — they may get asthma in three months.” From Buzzfeed: It could take years to know the true health risks.

+ WSJ: After oil refinery is damaged by Harvey, Benzene is detected in Houston area.

+ “I don’t wanna see no more water, I know that. I don’t wanna see no more goddamn water. I don’t even wanna drink water.” The Stewarts are some of the 250,000 people who fled NOLA after Katrina and moved to Houston. Then Harvey Came for Their New Home.

+ Meanwhile, Irma is already a record-setting, category 5 hurricane, and it could hit Florida later this week.


Wave Length

The media tends to move on from natural disasters, even those that are completely unimaginable. The Guardian’s Richard Lloyd Parry takes a look back at one decision at one school in the moments that followed the 2011 Tsunami that devastated Japan. “It was quite late on, the summer after the tsunami, when I heard about a small community on the coast that had suffered an exceptional tragedy. Its name was Okawa; it lay in a forgotten fold of Japan, below hills and among rice fields. In the years that followed, I encountered many survivors and stories of the tsunami, but it was to Okawa that I returned time and again. And it was there, at the school, that I eventually became able to imagine.”


Baby Driver

The NYT’s Natalie Angier on what scientists are learning about the primal impact of a baby’s cry. “The sound of an infant’s cry arouses a far quicker and stronger response in action-oriented parts of the adult brain than do similarly loud or emotionally laden noises, like a dog barking or a neighbor weeping.” (It’s a relief to know that my weeping isn’t having a particularly detrimental impact on on my neighbors…)


Plastic is Their Bag

In the latest evidence that what comes around goes around, fish are eating a lot of plastic, and we’re eating a lot of fish. And it’s not just that they are mistaking it for actual food. They seem to like it.


Bucking Tronco

“In a stunning and bold bet on the future of newspapers, Tronc, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune, has acquired the venerable New York Daily News.” Well, they actually bought it for a price that could only be considered a bold bet by modern newspaper standards. The price: $1. Plus, the assumption of operational and pension liabilities.


Last Words

“Support and love must flow to the patient and fear and discomfort must flow away. If you are not good at expressing love and gratefulness to your friend, learn how to do so quickly.” The tech community is mourning the loss of Ted Rheingold, who died of cancer over the weekend. The last thing he wrote is worth a read: Etiquette and the Cancer Patient.


Bottom of the News

McSweeney’s: “Every other day, I hear about yet another hardworking person contributing to society. This frightens me, because as someone who was born in this country I know that we can only withstand so many decent, helpful people entering our borders before we are simply overrun with contributors to society.”

+ Quartz: This music production tool is the reason why all new music sounds the same.

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