Monday, June 24th, 2019


Holding Back the Years

In one neighborhood, the stores "that haven't been boarded up or burned to the ground – sell mostly packaged goods from behind thick plates of ballistic-proof glass. Even at the Subway sandwich shop a few blocks down, the healthy option in the area, customers have to shout their selections to overcome a muffling bulletproof encasement around the food and register." In another neighborhood, in "an open space between the Ritz-Carlton and the Lurie children's hospital, vendors hawk farm fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and squash in sheer abundance. There are handmade crêpes and fresh pastries. There is small-batch artisanal tofu." The neighborhoods are worlds apart, but they're also in the same city, connected by a quick walk and a ride on the red line. Stark divides like the one between Streeterville and Englewood are common in America. What makes this one notable is the extremity of the differences; really of one number in particular. The Guardian takes you to Chicago, where the rich live 30 years longer than the poor.

+ One way to address America's growing economic (and life expectancy) divide is to raise taxes on those with extreme wealth. And there are new calls to do just that. And this time, those calls are coming from billionaires. Bloomberg: We Are Part of the Problem.


Name Drop

There's been a heated public debate about what to call the border patrol facilities where children of families seeking asylum are being held. Let's focus instead on what's happening inside. The New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner talks to a lawyer who's spent time inside a Texas building where the government is holding immigrant children. "There was mucus on their shirts, the shirts were dirty. We saw breast milk on the shirts. There was food on the shirts, and the pants as well. They told us that they were hungry. They told us that some of them had not showered or had not showered until the day or two days before we arrived. Many of them described that they only brushed their teeth once. This facility knew last week that we were coming. The government knew three weeks ago that we were coming."

+ AP: Government moves migrant kids after poor conditions exposed.

+ "So far, Mexico's mobilization of its security forces has fallen short of the dramatic show of force that the government promised...Still, the deployment has already disrupted the usual flow of people and commerce passing over this historically porous border, and sown fear among migrants and their smugglers alike." NYT: Mexico's Crackdown at Its Southern Border, Prompted by Trump, Scares Migrants From Crossing.



"The latest round of sanctions denies Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior military figures access to financial resources and blocks their access to any financial assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction." After pulling back a military attack over the weekend, President Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Iran's supreme leader. Here's more on what these new sanctions mean and the latest on the tensions from CNN.

+ Mike Pompeo is in the Middle East meeting with the Saudis and the UAE trying to build a global coalition against the Iranians. Meanwhile, many US allies in Asia and Europe are still part of a 2015 deal made with the Iranians.


Hello From the Other Side

"Far from increasing, Americans' attachment to their political parties has considerably weakened over the past years. Liberals no longer strongly identify with the Democratic Party and conservatives no longer strongly identify with the Republican Party." So if we're not particularly attached to our political parties, what's causing America's extreme political divide? Well, it's not about your side. It's about the other side. We don't love our team all that much. But we really hate the other team. The Atlantic: Republicans Don't Understand Democrats—And Democrats Don't Understand Republicans. (Hate the one you oppose is the new love the one you're with...)


West Side Story

"Many local residents see these new owners as a threat to a way of life beloved for its easy access to the outdoors, and they complain that property that they once saw as public is being taken away from them." NYT: Who Gets to Own the West? A new group of billionaires is shaking up the landscape.

+ Until the Bundy confrontation, the battle over public lands was a story that was largely ignored by the mainstream press (and me). But it contains a lot of elements we talk about all the time, from news bubbles, to conspiracy theories, to what role government should play in our lives. It's not too late to understand these connections. A great book on the topic is out tomorrow. John Temple's Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government, and Ignited America's Patriot Militia Movement.


Watch Your Six

"Though he's prevailed in his appeal, Curtis won't be freed right away. He'll likely be transferred from death row back to the Montgomery County jail, where he'll wait to hear if his 23-year-long legal odyssey has finally come to an end or whether he'll face a seventh trial." No, that's not a typo. Curtis Flowers has been tried six times by the same prosecutor for the same crime. American Public Media has tracked the story for a long time (including with a podcast series). Reversed: Curtis Flowers wins appeal at U.S. Supreme Court.

+ The New Yorker: Clarence Thomas's Astonishing Opinion on a Racist Mississippi Prosecutor.


Bergdorf Badman

"I am astonished by what I'm about to write: I keep laughing. The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I'm not certain — inside me." E. Jean Carroll in NY Mag: Donald Trump assaulted me in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room 23 years ago. But he's not alone on the list of awful men in my life. (Tellingly, Carroll prefaces the story by explaining that she knows it might make Trump more popular among his supporters. Even more telling, her story barely made it to the front page of any major newspapers. Everything we worried would happen in regard to normalization has happened, and then some.)

+ Deadspin: When The Robert Kraft Case Fell Apart, The Women Were Left To Pay The Price.


This Bacteria Gives You the Runs

"The researchers isolated this bacterial strain from elite runners, put it into the colons of lab mice and found that these human-derived bacteria boosted the mouse's performance on a treadmill exertion test by 13%." NPR: Elite Runners' Gut Microbe Makes Mice More Athletic — Could It Help The Rest Of Us? (If you carry this out far enough, the endgame becomes pretty clear. Eventually, the sedentary people are going to eat the athletic people.)


Rental Floss

"This is a kid who could just as easily have been trying out new moves in front of a mirror, as a past generation did with their favorite video stars, but instead, he made a video of himself to share on social media." Topic: Russell Horning came up with 'the floss' when he was 12 years old and dancing around his bedroom. Now he's trying to turn internet celebrity into something more tangible: money. (Get in line, kid. Get in line...)


Bottom of the News

"'The most fundamental principle of free speech law is that the government can't penalize or disfavor or discriminate against expression based on the ideas or viewpoints it conveys,' Justice Elena Kagan said in announcing the decision. 'The ban on ‘immoral' and ‘scandalous' trademarks does just that.'" WaPo: Supreme Court sides with ‘subversive' clothing designer in First Amendment case. In other words, we're all Fuct.

+ "We can have 40 to 50 in the office on a day sometimes, which is why it was critical to design with dogs first." FastCo visits Bark, the most dog-friendly office ever. Well, maybe not the most. LA Times: Alexa, how many dogs come to work at Amazon Seattle? 7,000. (I live with the equivalent of 7,000 dogs. Two beagle brothers...)

+ Coach Runs 250 Laps on Track After Losing Bet to Team.