July 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The hazmat site known as Scott Pruitt, the trade war is on, plus Weekend Whats and Feel Good Friday...

There are few mysteries left in this era of reality TV politics. But we may never know for sure which of Scott Pruitt’s unprecedented string of scandals was the one that led to his departure. Pruitt was the Trump administration’s poster boy for grift — and that poster was printed with carcinogenic ink on non-biodegradable paper that will ultimately be melted down into a radioactive soup, some of which will be strategically injected into the nation’s drinking water, while the rest will be shipped to the poles where it will be used to dissolve any last stubborn ice remnants.

+ “More than 700 agency employees, including 200 scientists, resigned from the agency during 2017 alone … The agency is referring record-low numbers of environmental crime to the Department of Justice. And its science advisory board was also shuffled to include more industry-friendly researchers.” So Did Scott Pruitt Remake the EPA?

+ NYT: 76 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump.

+ Before we use Pruitt’s departure as an excuse to declare July 5th as the new Earth Day, people should be aware that Pruitt’s replacement has the same views, but he’s smarter, more effective, and has more mundane tastes when it comes to lotion.

+ Breaking: Scott Pruitt’s resignation letter has just been declared a superfund site. “It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring.”


Tariff Not Now, When?

“As the day dawned across the U.S. on Friday, a new economic reality dawned with it: The tariffs long threatened against billions of dollars in Chinese goods took effect just at midnight ET while many Americans were sleeping — but Beijing was ready immediately with a wake-up call of its own.” The trade war is on.

+ Bloomberg: Trump Eyes Even Higher Tariffs as China Trade War Escalates.

+ Why Soybeans Are at the Heart of the U.S.-China Trade War.


Weekend Whats

What to Rock: The Record Company is out with a new album (and more importantly, a new tour). Here’s the band playing its latest single on Jimmy Kimmel. Check out the new album on your music service of choice. But remember, listening to studio albums by this band should be considered a warm-up for their live shows. Rock solid live band.

+ What to Doc: With the World Cup in Russia, the Tour de France set to begin, and Putin being given free reign by the free world, this is the perfect time to watch the Netflix documentary Icarus. An American cyclist/filmmaker set out to make a movie about the effects of doping, using himself as a guinea pig. He ended up finding much more.

+ What to Read: Here’s a hat trick of longreads for your weekend. First, from the NYT Mag: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist? “Wherever the predators have arrived, blistering conflicts have followed. Shouting matches at public meetings. Threats to government officials. Dead livestock. Dead wolves.” Second, Bethany Barnes in The Oregonian: Targeted: A Family and the Quest to Stop the Next School Shooter. What’s it like to be a kid who school authorities think might be the next school shooter? And third, The Legend of John Arthur, the Toughest Man in America. “The bare-knuckle fighting never bothered me. But the first time I shot a guy—that still haunts me.” (Same.)


Odd Jobs Situation

The good news is that unemployment remains very low. The complicated news is that we have a lot of jobs to fill. “At the current pace of job growth, if sustained, this problem is set to get much worse. These labor shortages will only intensify across all industries and company sizes.” Want to know where the economy is headed? Look at Des Moines. Say Hello to Full Employment.


Honor Rolled

“Some immigrant US Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged.” Now, America is trying to prevent immigrants from serving in the military to earn citizenship (even the ones willing to fight through their bone spur pain). AP: US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits. More from WaPo: The Pentagon promised citizenship to immigrants who served. Now it might help deport them.

+ NYT: “Faced with a court-imposed deadline to reunite families separated at the southwest border, federal authorities are calling in volunteers to sort through records and resorting to DNA tests to match children with parents. And they acknowledged for the first time Thursday that of the nearly 3,000 children who are still in federal custody, about 100 are under the age of 5.”

+ “He continued to cry when we got home and would hold on to my leg and would not let me go. When I took off his clothes he was full of dirt and lice. It seemed like they had not bathed him the 85 days he was away from us.” PBS Newshour: New testimony paints bleak picture of family separation.

+ “In order to regain custody of their children, immigrants like Hernández need to collect documents that prove their fitness as parents and submit their fingerprints—and the fingerprinting alone takes about twenty days to process.” The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer (who has been all over this story) on what it takes for parents to reclaim their children from the Office of Refugee Resettlement


Cave Drawing Oxygen

“The death of a rescue team member, and the realization that oxygen levels have fallen to potentially dangerous levels, appears to have forced a reassessment of the situation.” CNN: Thai cave rescuers face race against time as oxygen levels drop.


Solar Calendar

“On Friday, Earth will swing toward the outermost point in its orbit, known as aphelion. You, me and everyone on the planet will be three million miles farther from the sun than when we are closest to it.” It might not feel like it in your neck of the woods, but right now, Earth Is at Its Greatest Distance From the Sun.


Working 9 to (8)5

“Few people of any age get the opportunity to work as crossing guards, funeral directors or musicians. So, while they may be elderly-friendly jobs, they’re not the top jobs for older people.” WaPo: A record number of folks age 85 and older are working. Here’s what they’re doing. (Wait, what’s that? “I SAID HERE’S WHAT THEY’RE DOING!” Oh, OK, you don’t have to yell…)


Muse, Ick?

“This is a stadium-rock act made up of three weirdos fronted by a completely harmless conspiracy theorist who believes in aliens and can manipulate a guitar into producing sounds and effects like nothing you’ve heard before.” GQ: It’s Time to Admit You Love Muse.


Feel Good Friday

“While the ultimate outcome remains far from certain, the study is a bright spot — if a tenuous one — in the search for a treatment for Alzheimer’s, where more than 100 experimental drugs have failed.” Biogen Surges After Positive Results in Alzheimer’s Trial.

+ “If you’re reading this, that means you’re remodeling the bathroom again. What’s wrong with the way we did it?!?!?” Buzzfeed:This Couple Found A Hidden Note From Their Home’s Previous Owners While Renovating And It’s Too Good

+ “My clients are all indigent, and most have faced major traumas throughout their lives. I’m terrible at asking for help, but this is me asking.” Meet the Harris County public defender who’s crowdfunding books for her clients.

+ Girl with cerebral palsy saves 1-year-old brother from drowning.

+ How 4 teens from Southern California are helping kids with problems from homelessness to bullying.

+ A bride gave bone marrow to save a stranger’s baby. The child lived — and was her flower girl.

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