August 7th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Why the immigrant song is on repeat, Canada takes on the human rights mantle, and how the ocean became a water hazard.

According to NBC News, the Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in which “immigrants living legally in the US who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the US.”

+ From DACA to the border separations to the wall, immigration has been a consisitent discussion point for an administration known for changing the subject. What gives? This recent poll might help explain things. NY Mag: Support for Trump and His Immigration Policy Are Exactly Identical.


Other People’s Problems

“It seems reasonable to think … that the more [social] programs people use, the more they might value the government that supplies them. But this is not what she found. Relying on government doesn’t make people more likely to value government, or make them feel more strongly that government is responsive to them. Their feelings about government don’t appear connected to their own direct experience of it. But those feelings are shaped by opinions about other people’s reliance on government aid.” NYT Upshot: Americans have increasingly come to dislike government, even as they have relied more on various forms of government assistance.


Theocrat vs Me-ocrat

“Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” While that tweet sounds comical, the stakes are anything but as the Trump administration ratchets up the sanctions against Iran.

+ “The lack of unified foreign support for the sanctions will mean lots of loopholes, more complicated enforcement, and many more arguments between the U.S. and European governments than in the past, sapping the diplomatic strength needed to engage China, India, or others that do business with Iran.” Robin Wright in The New Yorker: Who Will Last Longer: Trump or Iran’s Theocrats?


Northern Exposure

“In the past several days a dust-up between two unusual antagonists has derailed the work of ambassadors, caused the suspension of “all new business” between the two countries — even the posting (and subsequent deletion) of a tweet that drew international outrage.” One of the countries is Saudi Arabia. The other country has been publicly calling out the Saudis for specific human rights violations and arrests. That other country is Canada. (For obvious reasons, Saudi Arabia wasn’t expecting a lot of pushback on human rights from North America. But they forgot about Northier America.)


Honey, I Shrunk the Portfolio

“The American stock market has been shrinking. It’s been happening in slow motion — so slow you may not even have noticed. But by now the change is unmistakable: The market is half the size of its mid-1990s peak, and 25 percent smaller than it was in 1976.” In this case, we’re talking about the total number of companies on the stock market. The NYT explains why getting small could be a big deal.

+ “To understand this rapid concentration of wealth and income, we must also consider the metastasis of corporations into colossal trusts, happening at the same time as the government shirks its duty to protect consumers and workers.” Current Affairs on The Rules Of Monopoly. (Or why private equity managers got Park Place and Boardwalk, while you got stuck with Baltic Avenue…)

+ “In a stock buyback, a company repurchases its own shares from the broader marketplace, usually through the open market. That leaves the remaining shareholders with a bigger chunk of the company and increases the earnings they reap per share, on top of the regular dividend payments that companies make to shareholders out of their profits.” From Vox: Stock buybacks, explained.


The Corrupt Files

“When Rick Gates turned against his former boss, he described a parallel ethical universe where lying and cheating were as comfortable as a well-tailored ostrich suit.” Franklin Foer: The Ultimate Betrayal of Paul Manafort. (Or how Rick Gates stole for and from Paul Manafort…)

+ Gates testifies Manafort wanted him to use Trump job to give lender favors.

+ Michael Cohen is under investigation for tax fraud. (Who would have guessed that mixing a Trump associate with the taxi medallion business would have resulted in shady dealings?)

+ “It is difficult to imagine the possibility that a man like Ross, who Forbes estimates is worth some $700 million, might steal a few million from one of his business partners. Unless you have heard enough stories about Ross.” New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting.


Pause of Attraction

“Today, roughly half (46 percent) of all global tourism is concentrated in the top 100 cities, where tourism grew almost 25 percent faster than the worldwide rate. The world’s leading hotspots include Hong Kong, Bangkok, London, Singapore, Paris, Dubai, Istanbul, and New York.” And some of those cities have had just about enough of you. Richard Florida on The Global Tourism Backlash.

+ NPR: In Amsterdam, Even The Tourists Say There Are Too Many Tourists. “Think cannabis cafes instead of grocery stores; trinket shops selling condom key rings instead of places where you can actually get keys made. And the smell of a popular stoner treat — waffles slathered with Nutella — replaces the fresh bread in bakeries.” (I just realized that my living room would make a pretty decent tourist attraction…)


Press Box

“The findings present a sobering picture for the fourth estate, with respondents showing diminished trust in the media and increased support for punitive measures against its members. They also illustrate the extent to which Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion about the role the media plays in covering his administration.” According to a recent survey, 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” (Man, I wish this stat was fake news…)


Water Hazard

“Marine pollution is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about golf. But 18-year-old student Alex Weber is hoping to change that. She’s been collecting golf balls from the ocean for the past two years. So far, she’s accumulated more than 50,000 balls.”


Bottom of the News

“This is the digital age, in which the jobs we work at, the entertainment we divert ourselves with, and the ways we communicate with one another are increasingly defined by the internet and the computers, tablets, and cell phones that connect us to it. None of this would be possible were it not for sand.” Wired: The ultra-pure, super-secret sand that makes your phone possible.

+ Vanity Fair: Inside the Very Big, Very Controversial Business of Dog Cloning. (Humans want exact copies of their dogs. Dogs want basically any human who walks in the room and will pet them…)

+ LA’s Awesome History Of Weird, Food-Shaped Restaurants.

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