June 27th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Justice Kennedy retires. And some other stuff happened too.

In the moments after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, words like wow, huge, massive, seismic, and titanic passed through my Twitter feed. All of them are accurate. And maybe even understated. “On almost every major issue that has faced the court in recent years, neither the court’s liberal, Democratic-appointed justices nor Kennedy’s fellow Republican-appointed conservative colleagues could prevail without his swing vote.” DC lawmakers now prepare for what could be an epic battle over Donald Trump’s second justice selection, one that could remake the court for a generation. From WaPo: Justice Kennedy, the pivotal swing vote on the Supreme Court, announces retirement. (In other news, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85.)

+ Here are the latest updates and reactions via CNN.

+ “An America after Anthony Kennedy looks significantly different from America before. The movement against mass incarceration could run into unprecedented resistance from the Court, and the anti-abortion movement could notch its greatest victories in a half-century. This Supreme Court vacancy will give Donald Trump the power to shift jurisprudence on a range of critical issues. It could wind up being the most important part of his legacy.” Vox: America after Anthony Kennedy.

+ Meanwhile, in what we expected to be the big Supreme Court news of the day, the Court dealt a sharp defeat to public employee unions.


Money … Shot

“Imagine making just two or three dollars a month — that’s what inflation has done to salaries here. Your life is upside down. Each day is a desperate attempt to meet your basic needs.” An NYT correspondant returns to Venezuela and shares this interactive piece: How to Survive When Money is Worthless.


Reunited States

“The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly, that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process.” In a sharply worded ruling, a California federal judge orders separated children reunited with parents within 30 days.

+ “The crux of the recent crisis at the border is that there are fewer male migrants in their 20s or 30s making the crossing, and many more families, newborns, children, and pregnant women escaping life-or-death situations as much as poverty.” The Atlantic: Today’s Migrant Flow Is Different.

+ Today’s US-Mexico “border crisis” in 6 charts.

+ The New Yorker: We Must Not Forget Detained Migrant Children. “One of the most distressing aspects of immigration detention … is how invisible the detained can become, even when they’re imprisoned in our proverbial back yards.” (Without some excellent journalistic work, these kids would be invisible right now.)


Check List

“Trump may add more countries to his ban, but the current roster includes Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Four countries are noticeably missing from that list: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. They’re located in the same region as the countries subject to the ban and they’re home to large Muslim populations. They also have something else in common: They all do business with Trump.” Bloomberg: Look Who’s Not in Trump’s Travel Ban. “15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia. Two of them were from the U.A.E., and one was from Egypt. More recent attacks in the U.S. haven’t involved immigrants from any of the countries on Trump’s list.”


Addict Pict

“Even if nothing else had changed, 10 times the players probably means 10 times the stories of a disordered relationship with the game.” The Guardian: The truth about gaming disorder, from Fortnite to World of Warcraft.

+ “I was working, I had a family, so it was a slow progression … But then – and it sounds really weird when I say it now – I started thinking about it at work, and the first thing I’d do when I got home was start drinking and start up the internet and game.” It Consumed My Life.

+ It’s time to stop running from gaming addiction. “Underneath it all, I think the reaction to the WHO’s gaming disorder is about the fear of facing up to uncomfortable truths about game design. We celebrate games that are addictive but we refuse to call them addictive, even though they have been designed to be exactly that.” (This is the key factor. We’ve done very little to address our addiction to the internet and video games. But video games and the internet have gotten a whole lot better at being addictive.)

+ Buzzfeed: What Is “Fortnite”? The Only Explainer You Need. (I finally figured out why they call it Fortnite. Since it launched, that’s how often I see my kid.)


We Talking About Practice

“So what exactly is Russia planning for the upcoming election? The correct question, a half dozen security experts and former and current government officials have told me, is what are they not planning? These people all said that 2018 will likely be a testing ground for 2020.” Nick Bilton: Everything is on the table. And it’s already happening.

+ Putin and Trump have agreed to hold a summit in July.


City Haul

“The first stage, for many, was annoyance … The second stage is epiphany … That leads to stage three, if it comes: mass adoption.” Benjamin Schneider on why little vehicles (the skateboards, the scooters, the unicycles?) will ultimately conquer the city. (I look forward to watching it unfold from my aboard my drone.)

+ “Many will be electric, will never get a ticket, and can circle the block endlessly rather than park.” Wired: Autonomous vehicles might drive cities to financial ruin. (Give cities some credit. They’ll figure out a way to to charge us…)


Alex Marks the Spot

“In the spring of 2017, before she ended the 20-year congressional career of Rep. Joseph Crowley and upset her city’s most powerful political machine, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was working behind a bar.” WaPo on one of the biggest political upsets in years. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The Democrat who challenged her party’s establishment — and won. (I’ve already seen a few hundred think-pieces explaining the broader meaning of this upset. She may have just run a better race. Or maybe there is a sweeping meaning to her win. But I’m dubious of those who were shocked by the outcome suddenly being certain of its deeper meaning.)


Home Schooled

“Kids make very good undercover distractions. My father and stepmother would take us to swap meets and boardwalks up and down the Jersey Shore, and instead of having the grown-up make the purchase of the counterfeit Cabbage Patch doll or t-shirt, they would have one of us do it.” Narratively on The First Family of Counterfeit Hunting.


Bottom of the News

“How many exclamation points does it take to exclaim something? One, a human of sound mind and a decent grasp of punctuation might say. The exclamation point denotes exclamation. That is its point. One should suffice.” But that was in the good old days. How many exclamation points do you need to seem genuinely enthusiastic? A lot.

+ “The sensory profile should have enough flavors to trigger the brain’s reward system, but not enough to feel satisfying.” Here is everything you could ever want to know about Cheetos.

+ Science Finds Exactly the Right Amount of Coffee You Should Drink a Day. (Hint: You need like 3 more cups today.)

+ Dave Matthews performs a tiny desk concert.

+ InFocus: Photos of World Cup fans.

+ “A shirtless man wearing boxer shorts shut down the southbound lanes of the 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles for two hours Wednesday morning after he scaled an exit sign, unfurled political banners and began vaping, dancing and shouting from a bullhorn.” (This is probably a good time to remind you that I live in Northern California…)

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