Thursday, November 15, 2018

Overshadowing

Killer tulips. Plus a continuing fall from grace for technology giants, U.S. midterm-election results keep coming in, and more
The Atlantic: DailyThursday Nov 15, 2018
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What We're Following

Mid-Midterms: The U.S. midterm elections are still ongoing—multiple House races have yet to be called, though in the week since November 6, several more Democratic candidates have been swept into office, many in Republican-leaning districts. Turns out, writes Ronald Brownstein, that the GOP strategy of aligning itself closely with Donald Trump is very limiting: Here's the electoral evidence.

Fall From Grace: Remember earlier years, when technology giants like Facebook or Google were scrappy, ambitious darlings, born in Silicon Valley and set to change the world? As recent reports unfold of just how poorly Facebook executives mishandled the company's many scandals of the past two years, Alexis Madrigal asks, "What if the news stays bad, but the people using their products can't extract themselves from the platforms tech has built?"

Short-Term Memory: Bad news gets overshadowed by more bad news, and on no subject is that punishing pattern clearer than when the news is about mass shootings. How long do such stories dominate headlines? That time span has stayed remarkably consistent over the past few decades.

Shan Wang


Snapshot

Killer tulips
We know the danger of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. But aggressive use of antifungal chemicals in agriculture can lead to deadly, resistant superfungi—and pose a profound threat to humans. Read this Maryn McKenna story on how a lovely garden flower like the tulip became deadly. (Rachel Suggs)

Evening Read

Nobody loves being stuck in traffic, and the Los Angeles gridlock is severe. So Elon Musk's Boring Company started digging a 14-foot-wide, mile-long tunnel under parts of the city to accommodate a futuristic transit system. But did anyone bother to ask the people living in these neighborhoods? Alana Semuels writes:

I talked to a dozen people who live along the tunnel's route, and most said they hadn't witnessed any extra noise or traffic. But none had been informed ahead of time that a private company would be digging a tunnel beneath the street. Some only learned about the tunnel in mid-2018—not when the digging started, in 2017—because the company purchased a dilapidated house on 119th Place for nearly $500,000 in cash. (Other homes in the neighborhood are assessed at between $200,000 and $500,000.) The company plans to install an elevator in the garage of the house to practice raising cars from the tunnel to ground level. It says it will rent the rest of the house to SpaceX employees.

The company sent letters to some neighbors about the project and held public meetings to discuss it with residents in July 2018. But when those public meetings occurred, the tunnel was nearly complete.

Read on.


What Do You Know … About Global Affairs?

1. The Leave-ers are leaving: This secretary of state for Brexit submitted his resignation Thursday morning, followed swiftly by several other cabinet members.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. President Trump's nonappearance at this famed World War I cemetery in northern France over the weekend contributed to a broader worry among European leaders that Europe is increasingly being hung out to dry by the U.S.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing has cast Turkey, which under this man's rule has stifled dissent, in a more unusual role as a defender of human rights and a free press.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: Dominic Raab / Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial / Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan


Urban Developments

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing city dwellers around the world. Jessica Lee Martin shares today's top stories:

What's your local Target or Walmart worth? Whatever its property-tax bill says, right? In suburban communities around the U.S., big-box retailers are slashing their property taxes through a legal loophole known as "dark-store theory." For the cities that rely on that revenue, this could spell disaster.

Is Amazon's HQ2 a done deal for New York and Virginia? Sarah Holder takes us inside the local movement to derail or amend Amazon's incentives—or at least stop the next bidding war from mirroring this one.

As cities wake up to their housing crises, they'll realize they have to confront the problem of single-family residential zoning. Booming, expensive cities need to build more affordable housing, but neighborhoods filled with single-family homes remain virtually untouched by new development. Can that be changed?

For more updates like these from the urban world, subscribe to CityLab's Daily newsletter.


Looking for our daily mini crossword? Try your hand at it here—the puzzle gets more difficult through the week.

We're always looking for ways to improve The Atlantic Daily. Concerns, comments, questions, typos? Email Shan Wang at swang@theatlantic.com

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You Must Remember This

An unconstitutional appointment. Plus a storm of the century that no one followed, Brexit rumblings, and more
The Atlantic: DailyWednesday Nov 14, 2018
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Yutu: Or, what we weren't following: A super typhoon that destroyed the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands several weeks ago was a relative blip in U.S. media coverage. Tens of thousands of Americans were affected—what happened while few eyes were turned to the region?

Deal or No Deal: The original referendum on Brexit took place more than two years ago. Since then, the actual process of leaving has been throttled by impasses, infighting, indecision, and resignations. Britain is poised to leave the European Union in fewer than 140 days. What does the embattled U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May now need to do to pass her plan for Britain's life after the EU? And what will hold up the deal before the finish line?

Private Practice: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reportedly hired private firefighters to help save their home and neighborhood as wildfires continue to burn across swaths of California. Celebrities aside, the incident has spotlighted the American system of privatized firefighting operations. Another often forgotten contribution to firefighting efforts: prison inmates.

Shan Wang


Snapshot

Old Hollywood, New Hollywood
The writer and critic Karina Longworth injects new life into the stories of classic cinema, and the myths and stars of Old Hollywood, through her podcast, You Must Remember This, introducing a new generation to forgotten figures—including many women whose talents had been overshadowed in most retellings of the history of the entertainment industry. Sophie Gilbert profiles Longworth and explores how she came to have such a cult following. (Image collage by The Atlantic)

Evening Read

President Donald Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general goes against the U.S. Constitution, argues John Yoo, who was deputy assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and has been known for his expansive view of presidential powers:

Whitaker's appointment must still conform to a higher law: the Constitution. As the Supreme Court observed as recently as this year, Article II provides the exclusive method for the appointment of "Officers of the United States." The president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States." The appointments clause further allows that "the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments."

Read the rest of Yoo's reasoning.


What Do You Know … About Science, Technology, and Health?

1. Every year, American cities and states spend upwards of how many billion dollars in tax breaks and cash grants to encourage companies to move among states?

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. When Jeff Sessions was forced to resign last week, stock prices for businesses in which industry went up?

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. Where did the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive fire in California state history, get its name?

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: 90 / cannabis / Where the fire started: On Camp Creek Road


Looking for our daily mini crossword? Try your hand at it here—the puzzle gets more difficult through the week.

We're always looking for ways to improve The Atlantic Daily. Concerns, comments, questions, typos? Email Shan Wang at swang@theatlantic.com

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