Tuesday, December 11th, 2018


The Sound(bite) and the Fury

On Tuesday, President Trump took his rage from Twitter to an Oval Office meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. So this is a decent time to review a pretty obvious truism about Americans. We're pissed. That won't come as much of a surprise to you. We've been pissed for a long time. But historically, our anger has been coupled with at least a modicum of management. These days, it just keeps spilling out and slowly swallowing everything in its path. From Charles Duhigg in The Atlantic: The Real Roots of American Rage. "The Bill of Rights guarantees that we can argue with one another in the public square, through a free press, and in open court. The separation of powers forces our representatives in government to arrive at policy through disagreement, negotiation, and accommodation. Even the country's mythology is rooted in anger: The American dream is, in a sense, an optimistic reframing of the discontent felt by people unwilling to accept the circumstances life has handed them. Recently, however, the tenor of our anger has shifted. It has become less episodic and more persistent, a constant drumbeat in our lives."


Shell Company

"When a bomb like this explodes, the shell fractures into several thousand pieces, becoming a jigsaw puzzle of steel shards flying through the air at up to eight times the speed of sound. Steel moving that fast doesn't just kill people; it rearranges them. It removes appendages from torsos; it disassembles bodies and redistributes their parts. A sphere of expanding gas coming off the bomb, meanwhile, fills a body's hollow parts with energy, rupturing eardrums, collapsing lungs, perforating abdominal cavities and making hidden things bleed. The blast wave pushes air to such extraordinary speeds that the wind alone can cast limbs off bodies." NYT Mag's Jeffrey E. Stern traces an airstrike halfway around the world back to an American bomb factory (and does a good job tracing the course of the tragic war in Yemen).


Intrusion Confusion

We interrupt the scapegoating of immigrants by self-interested fear-mongers to bring you some reality courtesy of the NYT: 8 Million People Are Working Illegally in the U.S. Here's Why That's Unlikely to Change. "For years, policymakers have talked about shutting off the influx of undocumented workers. But the economy has grown to rely on them. Ending illegal immigration, say many of those who have studied the issue, could mean that American workers would lose their jobs, companies would close and the economy would contract."

+ USA Today: Thousands of active-duty troops to return from missions on the southwest border.

+ "The United States has stepped up its engagement in the country over the last two years, dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of law enforcement and military personnel to fighting the violent gangs that send so many Salvadorans fleeing to the American border." NYT: A Conflicted War: MS-13, Trump and America's Stake in El Salvador's Security.


Prison Break

"The bill, known as the First Step Act, would take modest steps to reform the criminal justice system and ease very punitive prison sentences at the federal level. It would affect only the federal system — which, with about 181,000 imprisoned people, holds a small but significant fraction of the US jail and prison population of 2.1 million." With the president (and now the Senate Majority Leader) now open to the bill, we may finally get (a small amount of) sentencing reform. Vox: The First Step Act criminal justice reform bill, explained.

+ CNN: Half of US adults have immediate family member who has been in jail or prison. Here are more details behind that number.


A Very Fine Line

"Hopefully, the outcome achieved today is Charlottesville's small part in rejecting and holding accountable those whose violent acts against others are fueled by hatred." One of the "very fine people on both sides" of the Charlottesville protests just got sentenced to life in prison.


Shock and Thaw

"If this mysterious glacier were to 'go bad'—glaciologist-­speak for the process by which a glacier breaks down into icebergs and eventually collapses into the ocean—it might be more than a scientific curiosity. Indeed, it might be the kind of event that changes the course of civilization." The Race To Understand Antarctica's Most Terrifying Glacier.

+ "The Arctic has been warmer over the last five years than at any time since records began in 1900, the report found, and the region is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet." NYT: Warming in Arctic Raises Fears of a ‘Rapid Unraveling' of the Region.

+ The Arctic has lost 2.6 million reindeer over the past 20 years.


Truth and Consequences

Journalists like Jamal Khashoggi have been referred to as enemies of the people. They've been threatened, jailed, tortured, and even killed for trying to shine a light into the dark recesses of autocratic rule. They are the guardians in the war on truth and they are Time's Person of the Year.


Dick’s Stones

"Over the past few years, a series of polls by the research firm Global Strategy Group asked participants whether corporations should stand up for their political beliefs. In 2013, only 44 percent believed that they should. In 2017, that number jumped to 76." Welcome to the new normal where everything is political. From Outside: What Happened When Dick's Stared Down the Gun Lobby.


Dough Nuts

"Raw flour can be contaminated with Escherichia coli (E. coli), and raw eggs have been a known carrier of salmonella bacteria. Both bacteria are killed in the cooking process, but contaminated food that is not cooked or is undercooked has been known to make people ill, according to the CDC." That's why they keep telling you not to eat raw cookie dough. (Some people bungie jump, some people cliff dive, I do this...)


Bottom of the News

"A Southern California Catholic school recently discovered that two of its nuns were low-key bon vivants who embezzled approximately $500,000 to go gambling." (In fairness, a casino isn't necessarily a bad place to take a vow of poverty.)

+ The year in adult content: This is what you're into when you're not reading NextDraft.

+ The Ringer's Favorite Sports Moments of 2018.

+ Buzzfeed: After A Teen's Mullet Haircut Became A Viral Meme, He Sued For Defamation. Now The Legal Battle Is Over. (Amazingly, the barber wasn't the target the of the lawsuit.)