Monday, July 15th, 2019


Racist Does What Racists Do

Donald Trump's long and relentless racist streak once again oozed into plain view over the weekend when he called on certain members of Congress (most of whom were born in the US) to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." He followed up his overtly racist screed by calling on those same members of Congress to apologize to him. Many mainstream headlines called out Trump's racism, but only via third party quotes: The Democrats slammed the comments as a racist trope, or Nancy Pelosi denounced the comments as Xenophobic. The headlines don't need this extra layer of qualification. What Trump said IS racism. The comments are INTENDED to be xenophobic. From Birtherism to last weekend, racism has been at the core of Trump's character and his political strategy. It's time to call it what it is.

+ Trump is defending his comments (surprise) and doubling and tripling down on them. The House will take up a resolution condemning the remarks (which, sadly, will probably be voted along party lines). Here's the latest from CNN. (Reminder: You can't be for Trump but against his racism.)

+ "Trump has not only always been a racist, but anyone around him who denies it, is lying. Donald Trump makes racist comments all the time. Once you know him, he speaks his mind about race very openly ... White people are Americans to Trump; everyone else is from somewhere else. He simply denies the reality of how we all immigrated to the United States." That from Jack O'Donnell, the former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. NYT: Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire.

+ While the promised weekend nationwide immigration raids failed to materialize, the Trump administration is moving to eliminate nearly all asylum claims at U.S. southern border. More from Buzzfeed: Central Americans Who Travel Through Mexico To The US Will No Longer Qualify For Asylum.

+ The asylum law changes will have a hard time surviving court challenges. But that's not the point. The Atlantic's Adam Serwer nailed it in October: "The cruelty of the Trump administration's policies, and the ritual rhetorical flaying of his targets before his supporters, are intimately connected." The Cruelty Is the Point.


Hit the Break

"Conservatives are showing up at largely liberal conferences ... Liberals are going on conservative TV shows ... It's awkward." What's bringing the two sides together? The idea that it's time to break up big tech. Nellie Bowles in the NYT: Fighting Big Tech Makes for Some Uncomfortable Bedfellows.

+ Peter Thiel didn't call for breaking up Facebook (he's on the board), but he did call Google treasonous.


Crime Without Time

"Each year, roughly 125,000 rapes are reported across the United States. Sometimes the decision to close a case is surely correct; no one wants to smear an innocent man's reputation or curtail his freedom because of a false report. But in 49 out of every 50 rape cases, the alleged assailant goes free—often, we now know, to assault again. Which means that rape—more than murder, more than robbery or assault—is by far the easiest violent crime to get away with." The Atlantic: An Epidemic of Disbelief: What new research reveals about sexual predators, and why police fail to catch them.

+ "During a raid at Epstein's Manhattan mansion ... investigators found 'piles of cash,' 'dozens of diamonds' and an expired passport with Epstein's picture and a fake name in a locked safe." AP: Judge weighs bail for Epstein; women urge jail until trial.


Cell Mates?

"We don't entirely know how to regulate, or even conceptualize of, this new generation of drugs. Should the irreversible alteration of a body be governed by different rules from those that are used for conventional pharmaceuticals? Should it be priced through an alternative structure? If your cells are being genetically modified and reinfused into you, who should we say owns them? Once the cellular therapy has been created, could you store it by yourself—in your home freezer, if you chose—for future use? Emily Whitehead's extra chimerized T cells are frozen inside a steel tank at the Penn hospital. Each freezer has a nickname based on a 'Simpsons' character. Hers is called 'Krusty the Clown.'" The New Yorker's Siddhartha Mukherjee with an interesting look at The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies.


Town Haul

"For company, Mr. Muntean has his two cats, five dogs, nine turkeys, 15 geese, 42 chickens, about 50 pigeons, 120 ducks and several thousand bees. The other humans have either died, left for larger towns and cities in Moldova, or emigrated to Russia or other parts of Europe. 'The loneliness kills you,' Mr. Muntean, 65, said on a recent afternoon." NYT: Three People Lived in This Village Until Two Were Murdered.


You’re a Nation

"There is growing evidence that the infections, which afflict millions of Americans a year, mostly women, are increasingly resistant to these medicines, turning a once-routine diagnosis into one that is leading to more hospitalizations, graver illnesses and prolonged discomfort from the excruciating burning sensation that the infection brings." Matt Richtel in the NYT: Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.


Grandmaster Splash

"It's not clear whether he's specifically looking at a chess app, but it's likely that the grandmaster will face a harsh penalty nonetheless given the attitude that FIDE has towards phones during tournaments. Even being caught in possession of one during competition can lead to disqualification." Chess Grandmaster Caught Using His Phone While On The Toilet During A Tournament.


The Djok is On Us

"When the crowd is chanting ‘Roger,' I hear ‘Novak,' he said after the match. While that line drew laughs in the press room, he wasn't joking. 'It sounds silly, but it is like that,' Djokovic said. 'I try to convince myself that it's like that.'" Slate's Josh Levin on the incredible Men's final at Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic Will Win Everything but Our Hearts. (It's amazing that three players have completely dominated men's tennis for this long.)

+ The New Yorker: On a Day at Wimbledon When Serena Williams Didn't Have It, Simona Halep Had It All.


007 Goes to 11

"While Daniel Craig is returning to play James Bond himself, according to this leak, Bond begins the film in retirement and is called back to active duty when a crisis hits. In the MI6 office, he meets the new 007 — not the new Bond, but the new holder of that alias — a black woman named Nomi, played by Lynch." Lashana Lynch Is Reportedly the Next 007.


Bottom of the News

"At its most comical, the Florida Man phenomenon encapsulates the wildness of both America and the Internet. At its most salacious, it's a social-media update on the true-crime TV of 'America's Dumbest Criminals' and the gallows humor of tabloid headlines. At its most insensitive, Florida Man profits by punching down at the homeless, drug-addicted or mentally ill." WaPo: Is It Okay to Laugh at Florida Man?
+ Tennis player at Wimbledon gets hit in groin. Director: Cut To Woody Harrelson.