June 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The drone wars, inspector generalized anxiety, and the quintessential Trump lie...

“When their shifts end, the airmen and women drive to their subdivisions alone, like clerks in an office park. One minute they are at war; the next they are at church or picking up their kids from school. A retired pilot, Jeff Bright, who served at Creech for five years, described the bewildering nature of the transition. ‘I’d literally just walked out on dropping bombs on the enemy, and 20 minutes later I’d get a text — can you pick up some milk on your way home?” You’d think that fighting a war by controlling a drone from thousands of miles away would have a much lighter psychic toll than having boots on the ground. But fighting remote control battles brings its own form of trauma. From the NYT Magazine: The Wounds of the Drone Warrior.

+ Even when you factor the trauma associated with firing weapons from a drone, it’s still considerably less attractive to be on the receiving end. And that experience could become a lot more common in the future. The Center for Public Integrity: The world may soon be awash in advanced, lethal drones.


Inspector General Anxiety

WaPo on the highly anticipated inspector general’s report on James Comey and the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email server investigation. “Though the inspector general condemned individual FBI officials, the report fell significantly short in supporting the assertion by the president and his allies that the investigation was rigged in favor of Clinton. The inspector general found ‘no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations.’ The report acknowledged that certain emails appeared to contain classified information, but investigators determined the FBI’s conclusion that Clinton did not intend to expose classified information was legitimate.” (With the 500 page report out in the wild, the battle to frame its findings will begin in earnest.) So now that we’ve had the investigation into the investigation into the use of a private email server, what are we left with? Maybe this sidenote sums things up: The inspector general found that on numerous occasions, Comey used a personal GMail account to conduct official FBI business…


Dividing We Fall

“The Trump administration is looking to build tent cities at military posts around Texas to shelter the increasing number of unaccompanied migrant children being held in detention.” From McClatchy: Trump looking to erect tent cities to house unaccompanied children. (This is not what they mean by having a big tent party.)

+ “The teeming, 250,000-square-foot facility is a model of border life in Trump-era America, part of a growing industry of detention centers and shelters as federal authorities scramble to comply with the president’s order to end ‘catch and release’ of migrants illegally entering the country. Now that children are often being separated from their parents, this facility has had to obtain a waiver from the state to expand its capacity.” NYT: Inside the Former Walmart That Is Now a Shelter for Almost 1,500 Migrant Children.

+ “We don’t want kids to be separated from their parents.” Paul Ryan.

+ CNN: She says federal officials took her daughter while she breastfed the child in a detention center.

+ The Marshall Project: Is Domestic Violence Private? It took 20 years for courts to say no. It took Jeff Sessions no time to say yes. (Some background on why the United States no longer accepts domestic or gang violence as grounds for asylum.)

+ WaPo: Scanning immigrants’ old fingerprints, US threatens to strip thousands of citizenship.

+ California woman ‘in shock’ after ICE agents detain father, a legal resident, outside home.

+ Yes, I know. That’s a lot. And sadly, there’s even more today. So much that you probably feel like going numb and turning away. But don’t. The excellent Dahlia Lithwick: It’s All Too Much, and We Still Have to Care.


Foundation Stones

“The suit goes on to note that the Trump Foundation took the money it held on to and spent it to benefit the Trump campaign, at the specific direction of senior campaign officials. Money raised for veterans, in other words, was being used to help elect Trump.” The Daily Beast: Trump Family Ran ‘Persistently Illegal’ Charity, New York A.G. Says in Blockbuster Lawsuit.


In Noko Parentis

“When you can, we’d love our son to be brought back home — you know, the remains.” President Trump has been telling a story about all the parents who asked him to bring home the remains of their kids who died in the Korean war. (These parents would be around 110 years old today.) Esquire: This Is the Quintessential Trump Lie. (At least for the next five minutes…)

+ “President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer—sleep well tonight!” The Atlantic: Donald Trump Actually Seems to Believe He Denuclearized North Korea.

+ Evan Osnos in The New Yorker: The Biggest Winner at the US-North Korea Summit: China.

+ “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I mean I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.” Trump Defended Kim Jong Un’s Record Of Human Rights Abuses After The Summit. (And for good measure, he saluted a North Korean army general.)


Prison Sell

“Now a forensic psychologist himself, Korpi told me his dramatic performance in the SPE was indeed inspired by fear, but not of abusive guards. Instead, he was worried about failing to get into grad school.” Ben Blum: The most famous psychology study of all time was a sham. Why can’t we escape the Stanford Prison Experiment? (Two words: Go Bears.)


Building Block

“It’s notable that in all of the 22 counties where a one-bedroom is affordable, that minimum wage is set higher than the national minimum of $7.25. Still, raising wages alone cannot dissolve this mismatch. The incredible shortfall in affordable units remains the more stubborn, intractable problem.” CityLab: Minimum Wages Can’t Pay for a 2-Bedroom Apartment Anywhere.

+ 53% of millennials expect to become millionaires one day. (That actually seems realistic, as long as they mean having a million Yuan…)


Empty Cup

“Being an American soccer fan meant cheerful, big-throated celebrations of America, celebrations that most of its fans would never embrace in any other context, in large part because soccer was the one place left where rooting for America was an underdog stance; in soccer, America actually was the scrappy upstart we pretend to be in everything else. Rooting for it felt like a cause. Everything changed, of course. If someone comes up to you in a George Washington costume and starts screaming right now, you should probably run.” Will Leitch in NY Mag: Missing the World Cup Is Like Detention for the United States. (It doesn’t matter that the US team isn’t in the World Cup. Trump will say they won and half of America will believe him…)

+ Machine learning predicts World Cup winner.


Polar Express

“Scientists have completed the most exhaustive assessment of changes in Antarctica’s ice sheet to date. And they found that it’s melting faster than they thought.” NPR: Antarctica Has Lost More Than 3 Trillion Tons Of Ice In 25 Years.


Bottom of the News

“Inside, past a lifestyle blogger’s coffee table book … I met Cohen. He was dressed in Louis Vuitton sneakers, an Alexander McQueen button-down, and a customized bomber jacket with the logo for The Practice. (The Practice has a logo: a tangle of the letters T, P, B, and H.) Other than that, with his neat haircut and eager, toothy grin, he looked like my first cousin’s husband.” GQ: The Hypebeast Dentist of Beverly Hills. (Yup, we talking about practice…)

+ McSweeney’s: Whole30 changed my entire relationship with food because I’m dead now.

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