September 12th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Looking back at climate change from 2050, CEOs call for background checks, and PAC rats.

“The early euphoria came to an end pretty quickly. By the end of the 2020s, it became clear we would have to pay the price of delaying action for decades. For one thing, the cuts in emissions that scientists prescribed were almost impossibly deep. ‘If you’d started in 1990 when we first warned you, the job was manageable: you could have cut carbon a percent or two a year,’ one eminent physicist explained. ‘But waiting 30 years turned a bunny slope into a black diamond.'” A Time feature looks “back” at climate change three decades from now, including this piece from a future version of Bill Mckibben: Hello From the Year 2050. We Avoided the Worst of Climate Change — But Everything Is Different.

+ Meanwhile, back in 2019 … the Trump administration prepared to finalize its rollback of clean water protections. (Now who’s laughing at me for stockpiling White Claw?)


Colt 145

“Along with stronger background checks, the business leaders are calling for a strong red flag law, which could prevent shootings in cases where family members or law enforcement report concerns about someone who may be at risk of harming themselves or others.” NPR: 145 CEOs Call On Senate To Pass Common-sense Gun Laws. This is both a sign of how much more publicly political today’s CEOs are willing to be — and of just how much bipartisan support there is for these laws.


Sick, Leave

NYT: Sick Immigrants Tell Their Stories to Congress. “The fate of the immigrants, who all came to the United States legally, remains unclear more than a month after they were first informed by letter that they would have to leave — only to be told early this month that the government would reconsider. ‘If I’m sent back, I will die,’ Maria Isabel Bueso, 24, of Guatemala, told lawmakers on Wednesday.” (Feel safer?)

+ “By a vote of 7-2, the justices said the administration can enforce a rule announced in July requiring migrants to first seek asylum in the country through which they traveled to get to the United States, commonly referred by U.S. officials as ‘a third country.'” NPR: Supreme Court Allows Government To Curtail Asylum Requests During Legal Fight.


Macrony Capitalism

From Daily Beast: “President Donald Trump has left the impression with foreign officials, members of his administration, and others involved in Iranian negotiations that he is actively considering a French plan to extend a $15 billion credit line to the Iranians if Tehran comes back into compliance with the Obama-era nuclear deal.” (If this story is true, it’s likely to put a pretty big dent in the sales of The Art of the Deal.)

+ With John Bolton gone, the biggest voice in the room on this matter (and just about every other foreign policy) will be Mike Pompeo. In a notoriously cutthroat administation, he’s the last one standing, for now. NYT: For Mike Pompeo, a Moment of Singular Influence.


PAC Rats

“The groups raise money in the name of leukemia-stricken children, breast cancer survivors, police officers, firefighters and struggling military veterans, among others. Little if any of the money donors provide goes toward the causes being championed.” The Center for Public Integrity: You Donated to Kids With Cancer. This Vegas Telemarketer Cashed In. “This is part of a trend. During the last four years, the U.S. saw a significant spike in the number of PACs that raise most of their money from small-dollar donors before plowing much of it back into salaries, administrative costs and raising more cash.”


Bronco Busting

I know, I know. You’re sick and tired of stories of corrupt people gaming the system. So let’s take a break and focus on a corrupt horse. “On June 9, 2018, a colt named Justify thundered home to the full-throated cheers of a capacity crowd to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes and claim horse racing’s Triple Crown, one of the most storied achievements in sports. It was the perfect ending to an improbable journey for a talented horse, his eclectic ownership group, and his Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert. Only a few people, however, knew the secret that Baffert carried with him into the winner’s circle that day.” Justify Failed a Drug Test Before Winning the Triple Crown.


Kabul Pen

“The US intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was premised in part on liberating women from the restrictive rule of the Taliban. The last 18 years have seen some progress, and life has improved for some women, allowing them enroll in school, work, and explore simple personal freedoms previously denied to them. But many of them now fear for the future.” A photo essay featuring images and quotes from women in Kabul. “The biggest loss for me will be my identity. I will lose that as a woman, and nobody will recognize me as a human being anymore.”


Mudd Stain

“For years, wealthy visitors to Baker’s Bay could ignore the precarious living conditions in the Mudd. But now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, that’s no longer possible. The shantytown has been destroyed. Many people were killed; the rest are homeless. The devastating human toll has exposed an economic dependency — there’s no one to repair the mansions.” WaPo: When Hurricane Dorian blew through the Bahamas, it exposed one of the world’s great faultlines of inequality. (This serves as a decent metaphor for how climate change is likely to impact places all over the world.)


Shit Doesn’t Just Happen…

“Today, thousands of property managers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are enforcing dog poop surveillance programs through two companies that have cornered the niche but profitable market.” OneZero: Dog Poop DNA Tracking Introduces Spy Tech to Our Backyards.


Bottom of the News

“As for the name coming from the VSCO app, most of the teenagers I consulted shrugged and suggested adults not dwell on it. A lot of VSCO girls reportedly don’t even use the app. ‘VSCO is an app where you can edit photos and all that, and I honestly don’t see the connection. That’s just what they’re called.'” Slate: Teens explain the VSCO girl. “You Can Never See Their Pants for Some Reason.”

+ Awesome idea: A Michigan high school let seniors take their student ID photos dressed up as pop culture characters. (Interesting how retro many of the pop culture references are. Netflix is a powerful force…)

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