Affirmative action attacks, designer babies, and eight other stories you might have missed

Will president Trump lead a big fight against affirmative-action?
Will president Trump lead a big fight against affirmative-action?
Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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1. Your money or your life

I don’t consider myself an expert on macroeconomics or health care. But I’d assume this is how it works. If a country spends a lot of money on health then they should be a more healthy country. Always the revolutionary, America has apparently rebelled against the idea that you get what you pay for. From Bloomberg: Americans die younger despite spending the most on health care. At least we now have an answer to the age-old question, your money or your life? Neither…

2. Preemptive strike

From the NYT: In a Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes in Human Embryos. “It raises the prospect that gene editing may one day protect babies from a variety of hereditary conditions. But the achievement is also an example of genetic engineering, once feared and unthinkable, and is sure to renew ethical concerns that some might try to design babies with certain traits, like greater intelligence or athleticism.” (I’d settle for being better at metabolizing in between meal snacks.)

3. The melting not

“Trump appeared with Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) at the White House to unveil a modified version of a bill the senators first introduced in April to cut immigration by half from the current level.” From WaPo: Trump and a pair of GOP senators introduce bill to slash legal immigration levels.

+ And apparently it’s not just immigrants who pose a threat to the upward mobility of real Americans, it’s also all the unfair prejudice and oppression faced by…wait for it…white people! From The Atlantic: “The Trump Justice Department has decided to focus on investigating and suing universities with affirmative-action programs that the department deems to have discriminated against white students.” (Maybe there are fewer unqualified white guys in college because they’re all working in the White House…)

+ While both issues might play to a certain group of voters, neither is likely to get very far. But there is one area were Trump is winning big. From The New Yorker: Trump’s Real Personnel Victory: More Conservative Judges. “McConnell didn’t just protect a Supreme Court seat for the next President; he basically shut down the entire confirmation process for all of Obama’s federal-judgeship nominees for more than a year. It’s the vacancies that accumulated during this time—more than a hundred of them—that Trump’s team is now working efficiently to fill.”

+ “While I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed.” From the LA Times: Trump quietly signs Russia sanctions bill.

4. Shake, rattle, and roles

“His criminal record showed nothing more serious than speeding tickets. The handshake with Howard, Muslet insisted, had seemed friendly. Yet if he was found guilty of both charges, he faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.” TNR’s Matt Wolfe with a very interesting look at how a conversation and an everyday gesture led to a criminal charge and became a metaphor for religious tension in America: The Handshake.

+ A philosophy professor explains why “a religious worldview cannot expect the same kinds of tolerance as racial, gender, or sexual identities.” The limits of tolerance.

5. The wire…less

“When the officers turn the cameras back on, they find drugs almost immediately.” Shortly after several cases were dropped because Baltimore police were caught on camera planting drugs, it seems to have happened again.

+ “They were partners in fighting crime. The only problem: Neither was a cop. But when one friend turned on the other, things got real.” From the always entertaining Atavist Magazine: Not Fuzz.

6. Painted desert

“Going over a passage describing the western landscape, he suddenly looked up and said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t take you there.’ I just smiled, for somehow he had already done just that. Without a word, eyes closed, we tramped through the American desert that rolled out a carpet of many colors—saffron dust, then russet, even the color of green glass, golden greens, and then, suddenly, an almost inhuman blue.” Patti Smith on her buddy, Sam Shepard. (I need to become friends with Patti Smith so she can write something cool about me when I die…)

7. The gift

“According to my colleague, Prof Deborah Eyre, with whom I’ve collaborated on the book Great Minds and How to Grow Them, the latest neuroscience and psychological research suggests most people, unless they are cognitively impaired, can reach standards of performance associated in school with the gifted and talented.” Wendy Berliner makes the case that there’s no such thing as a gifted child. (I was gifted as a child, but thankfully, I grew out of it.)

8. The call is coming from inside the (White) House

In a WSJ interview transcript which, in an interesting twist, was released by Politico, president Trump produced another epic series of quotes—including this one: “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.” But the Boy Scouts say they never called.

+ On Monday, president Trump described the success of his border policies: “Even the president of Mexico called me—They said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.” But Mexico says there was no call.

+ WaPo: An oral history of the Scaramucci era. (Robert Caro is probably working on a 10 volume series…)

9. Dog day of summer

“The messages left there by other veterans and dog lovers convey not only sympathy, but a sense of shared pain and fidelity. ‘Rest easy, friend,’ one says. ‘Your tour is complete.'” WaPo: A Marine’s loving sendoff for the cancer-stricken dog who saved him.

10. Bottom of the news

“I feel like there’s this formula for local that gets repeated over and over again. It felt like I was a part of this machine that helped create that dynamic, and I didn’t feel good about that. I noticed that I would find myself talking to my Uber or Lyft driver all the time, and I kind of had a light-bulb moment.” A former NBC reporter gets his dream job. Being a Lyft driver with a podcast.

+ NPR: Scientists are Turning People’s Food Photos Into Recipes. (I hope they can turn my reaction to food photos into Pepto Bismol…)

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