Thursday, June 27th, 2019


Pollen Heroes

OK, this one might sting a bit... "Since there aren't enough natural pollinators to take care of today's commercial crops, just like there's not enough rain to water them without the help of irrigation, the rental bees are brought in. Those same bees could get booked in every other corner of the country too, pollinating different crops in different seasons." That leaves us with a lot of busy bees, and it helps explain why, as Andrew P. Collins explains in Jalopnik, That Big Rig You're Passing Might Be Full of Bees. (Apologies in advance for all the buzzwords...)


Three, Two, One … 5-4

"We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts. Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions." That was Chief Justice Roberts explaining the 5-4 decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering is beyond the reach of federal courts. (Yes it sucks, but no, it's not our problem...) Justice Kagen led the dissent: "Of all the times to abandon the court's duty to declare the law, this was not the one."

+ In another closely watched (and close) decision, the Court blocked a citizenship question from the Census, largely because the proponents weren't compelling (or honest) about their reasons for adding it. Roberts wrote that the Court "cannot ignore the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given." (I wish we could apply that rule more broadly across the political spectrum.) Once again, the decision was 5-4. It's amazing, from the courts to the court of public opinion, just how many monumental decisions come down to the opinion of a single person.


Creme de la Kremlin

"The very word 'Putin' has come to symbolize a coherent, systematic destruction of the post-Cold War international order. But no one I spoke with who had an intimate knowledge of Russia saw that as anything but fiction. Instead, they talked about Russia's strides back onto the world stage as improvised reactions, tactics, gambles that were at times more worrisome than masterful." Sarah A. Topol in the NYT Magazine: What Does Putin Really Want?


Moral Fabrication

"A group of US asylum officers urged a federal appeals court Wednesday to block a Trump administration program forcing Central American immigrants to remain in Mexico as their cases are processed in the US, calling the directive 'fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our nation.'"

+ Photos from the Mexico-Guatemala Border.


Summering in Europe

Leaders around the world will have to adapt to the many changes associated with climate change. And some of those adaptations are more becoming more urgent. Vox on why the latest heatwave in Europe is such a big deal. 105 degrees in France: why Europe is so vulnerable to extreme heat.

+ From schools closed in France to speed limits on the Autobahn, European cities take steps to limit effects of record temperatures.

+ For a glimpse into what could be the future for many global cities, take a look at Chennai right now. A City Of 10 Million Is Running Out Of Water. (It's a dry heat...)


Street Fighters

"Global political shifts have created increased expectations of democratic accountability — even in autocracies — at the same time that authoritarianism is on the rise around the world. Those two trends are colliding, giving citizens more to object to just as they increasingly feel entitled to object." NYT: A Rush to the Street as Protesters Worldwide See Democracies Backsliding.


Beat Doxing

"In the longer run, this technology could find many more uses, its developers believe. For example, a doctor could scan for arrythmias and other conditions remotely, or hospitals could monitor the condition of patients without having to wire them up to machines." But in the meantime, the tech is being used along with a laser to identify people from a distance—by their heartbeat. "The Jetson prototype can pick up on a unique cardiac signature from 200 meters away, even through clothes."


Justice Just Ain’t

"Though Jones didn't fire the shots that killed her unborn baby girl, authorities say she initiated the dispute that led to the gunfire. Police initially charged 23-year-old Ebony Jemison with manslaughter, but the charge against Jemison was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her." Alabama woman loses unborn child after being shot, gets arrested; shooter goes free.


Debate and Switch

Wondering if there's really an unusual level of interest in politics or if it's just you? Well, if the massive viewership numbers of the first Dem debate are any indication, you're not alone.

+ Will we learn from the past and change the way we cover politics? Early indications suggest not. If want debate analysis, just watch the debate and think about it.


Bottom of the News

Don't think tech can make you act any more ridiculous than it already does? Well, we have our Waze... "Technology isn't always foolproof, as about 100 Colorado drivers learned when Google Maps offered them a supposedly quick way out of a traffic jam."

+ You know what? It's been a while since you told people to sign up for NextDraft. Let's fix that. (Reader numbers, retweets, and likes are the sole measuring sticks by which my children judge me. Help a guy out...)