1. Enemies, a gov story
As we cross the one year mark since Trump was elected, many people on both sides of the aisle still can’t believe the other side votes they way they do. In particular, the anti-Trump crowd still can’t wrap its head around the idea that millions of people voted for Trump—and continue to support him even though many of his policies seem to work against their self interest. (Full disclosure: I’ve got one of those heads.) Politico Magazine’s Michael Kruse went to Johnstown, PA—and what he found there is worth understanding. Yes, people there voted for Trump. No, things are not much better. But their support for Trump hasn’t wavered. “His supporters here, it turns out, are energized by his bombast and his animus more than any actual accomplishments. For them, it’s evidently not what he’s doing so much as it is the people he’s fighting. Trump is simply and unceasingly angry on their behalf, battling the people who vex them the worst—’obstructionist’ Democrats, uncooperative establishment Republicans, the media, Black Lives Matter protesters and NFL players (boy oh boy do they hate kneeling NFL players) whom they see as ungrateful, disrespectful millionaires. And they love him for this.” Johnstown Never Believed Trump Would Help. They Still Love Him Anyway.
+ “If party identification is stronger than ideological identification, then as parties change their ideological identities, their loyalists will change with them, rather than abandoning them.” It’s not about what you believe, it’s about what team you’re on. From Vox: For elites, politics is driven by ideology. For voters, it’s not.
+ This NPR article is from last year, but it fits the broader picture. “In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that ‘an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.’ Now, 72 percent say so.” Even religious views are taking a backseat to the sport of politics.
+ And a related book I’ve recommended before, and will keep recommending until you do your homework and read it: The Politics of Resentment.
2. Brain teaser
“It went to the lab outside the city, instead of the one in Boston, where most of the examinations are performed these days, because it was less likely to attract attention that way. Instead of being carried in through the service entrance, it was ushered in secretly through the underground tunnel system. The brain was given a pseudonym, and only three people knew how to identify it. Other than that, the brain came alone and disconnected from its past, unattached to its celebrity. The sordid details of the man’s rise and fall, the speculation over what went wrong, the debate over justice—all that was left behind for others to assess.” NYT’s John Branch writes about Aaron Hernandez and the NFL, without naming either: On the Table, the Brain Appeared Normal.
+ WaPo: Aaron Hernandez suffered from most severe CTE ever found in a person his age.
3. It’s not you, it’s us
During the campaign, candidate Trump constantly accused China of “ripping us like you’ve never seen” and warned “we can’t continue to allow China to rape our country.” In Beijing this week, president Trump used a decidedly different tone: “I don’t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for taking advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens?”
+ The Atlantic sees a pattern (and thinks foreign leaders see it too): Trump Insults People From Afar, Then Praises Them in Person.
+ NYT: Why Xi Jinping’s (Airbrushed) Face Is Plastered All Over China.
4. Battery of assaults
The NY premiere of Louis C.K.’s movie, I Love You, Daddy was canceled hours before it was set to start because of news of a breaking NYT story. Shortly thereafter, the story broke: Louis C.K. Crossed a Line Into Sexual Misconduct, 5 Women Say.
+ Kevin Spacey is being erased and replaced in a Ridley Scott movie premiering in December.
+ A woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14. Alabama’s state auditor came to Moore’s defense: “Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” (I think I’ll just stay here in my political bubble…)
+ NY Mag: The Powerful Predators on Capitol Hill: “There’s an anti-snitch thing — you don’t air your dirty laundry. It gives the other side power.”
+ The Daily Beast: Women in Texas’ statehouse created their own secret spreadsheet to chronicle abuses in the capitol.
+ “Here I was, a strong-willed young athlete. There he was, a charismatic pillar of the community. But I’m the one who, all these many years later, at the age of 68, no matter how happy and together I may be, continues to deal with the rage and the shame that comes with being silenced.” Diana Nyad in the NYT: My Life After Sexual Assault.
5. Sean song
“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker explains how the company was designed (from the start) to exploit human psychology.
+ The Pope: Lift Up Your Hearts, Put Down Your Phones. “It pains me greatly, when I celebrate Mass here in the square or in the basilica to see so many cellphones raised.” (You can receive absolution if your phone is out because you’re using the NextDraft app…)
6. The ruins of Pompeo’s schedule
“This is crazy. You’ve got all these intelligence agencies saying the Russians did the hack. To deny that is like coming out with the theory that the Japanese didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor.” The CIA director met advocate of disputed DNC hack theory—at Trump’s request. (Even in these unusual times, this is highly unusual.)
+ Is Mike Pompeo distorting intelligence to help his boss?
+ “What would it look like if the President of the United States punished American businesses he didn’t like, or news organizations that reported things he didn’t like?” It might look a little something like this.
7. Hue Delhi
“Illegal crop burning in the farm states surrounding New Delhi, vehicle exhaust emissions in a city with limited public transport and swirling construction dust have caused the crisis.” Reuters: New Delhi declares emergency as toxic smog thickens by the hour.
+ NatGeo: What It’s Like to Live in the World’s Most Polluted City.
8. This is your song
“The music was immense, an entire world immeasurably different from the sad one you were born into. If you could figure out how to get in, the music would suffuse you. You wouldn’t even need an instrument: You would become one with the music, and it would pour from you like light through gauze.” Luc Sante on the 70s music scene in NYC: Maybe the People Would Be the Times.
9. Nu coke
“That set off both panic and anger on social media in a symphony of languages — English, German and Italian chief among them.” WaPo: Nutella changes recipe, sending its fans to the edge.
10. Bottom of the news
NY Mag: Why Canceling Plans Is So Satisfying. (Some people have FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. I have FOBIA: Fear of Being Invited Again.)
+ “With a burgeoning staff of 800 or so actors, ranging from infants to the elderly, the organization prides itself on being able to provide a surrogate for almost any conceivable situation.” The Atlantic: How to Hire Fake Friends and Family in Japan.
+ James Hamblin: Have You Ever Tried to Decline an Airplane Napkin? It’s difficult.