NEXT DRAFT

Puerto Rico’s devastation, Obamacare survives, and eight other stories you might have missed

1. A tale of two cities

“‘They are not compatible with our culture,’ she said. ‘They hate us. They don’t want to be Americans. They don’t want to assimilate. What do you need to see? What more proof do you need?’ This was a highly unusual meeting, but Brown wasn’t exactly surprised. Several months earlier, when the anti-refugee activists began to organize, he started reading up to try to better understand their views. He picked up a book by Ann Coulter and began to follow the anti-refugee blogs. At the meeting, he felt as if he were hearing all that he had read being repeated aloud by his neighbors.” In the NYT Mag, Caitlin Dickerson explains how “exaggerated reports of a juvenile sex crime brought a media maelstrom to Twin Falls—one the Idaho city still hasn’t recovered from.” Fake news isn’t just happening at the national level. And neither are the pre-existing divisions it foments. This is how fake news turned a small town upside down. (A story for our times, even including some participation by the Russians…) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. It all depended on which news you got…

2. De-fib-rillation

“We don’t have the votes.” So said Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy as the Senate GOP pulled the plug on yet another attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. “Republicans have dedicated their next shot at passing legislation with just 50 votes—a process known as reconciliation—to tax reform. In theory they could attempt a mega-bill containing another attempt at Obamacare repeal and tax reform, but several senators said Tuesday that would be unworkable.” (Jimmy Kimmel’s got a couple more monologues in the queue just in case…)

3. Heckuva job, orangie

A day after trolling Puerto Rico for their debt, president Trump praised himself and his team for the really good job: “We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico.” I’m not sure I buy his grading curve, but he definitely nailed the geography portion of the quiz. “This is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. And it’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean.” Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, things are bad and getting worse. Here’s the latest from Buzzfeed.

+ Here are some photos that tell the story. From In Focus: Disconnected by disaster (the shots of people gathered around one of the still-operating cell towers is surreal). And 20 heartbreaking photos of life in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

+ Unreal line of cars at a gas station with no gas.

4. Kim Jung Unbelievable

“How had two young women from rural Southeast Asian villages become ensnared in an international assassination plot? And why had they been manipulated into killing Jong-nam in such a gruesome way? The answers had likely been hidden in plain sight by the North Korean spymasters, and their revelation was designed to make the global order tremble.” From GQ’s Doug Bock Clark, the amazing untold story of Kim Jong-nam’s assassination.

+ WaPo: North Korea taps GOP analysts to better understand Trump and his messages.

5. Assad story

“Six years after the eruption of the armed rebellion aimed at toppling president Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian war is limping toward a conclusion—one that leaves many questions unanswered and many battles still to be fought, but a resolution of sorts nonetheless. That Assad would prevail on the battlefield has been evident for years…” From WaPo: The Syrian war is far from over. But the endgame is already playing out.

+ NYT: Syrian War drags on, but Assad’s future looks as secure as ever.

6. All day I dream about scandal

“College sports has never been a stranger to scandal. Even by college sports scandal standards, though, the one that was revealed on Tuesday is major.” From The Ringer: Ten men, including four assistants coaches, and the Adidas Hoops director of global marketing, were charged after an undercover investigation by federal authorities.

+ You’ve got coaches, players, and a top sports brand; and this could be just the beginning. Dan Wetzel: FBI brings Armageddon to college basketball, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

7. Lone danger

“Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity. But we haven’t focused nearly as much effort on strengthening connections between people as we have on curbing tobacco use or obesity.” Former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy in HBR:
Work and the loneliness epidemic.

+ The Guardian: The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life.

8. I give zero Equifax

“At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward.” Equifax’s CEO steps down after huge breach. Richard Smith has an $18 million pension package. (He uploaded his resignation letter to the company server and just waited for us to find it…)

9. What happens in vagus…

“By implanting a device in the patient’s chest, the researchers stimulated the 35-year-old man’s vagus nerve, which runs all the way from the base of the head to the abdomen and is known to be involved in wakefulness and attention.” NatGeo: Man partly wakes from 15-year vegetative state

10. Bottom of the news

“I would like to send one, if not multiple satellites as far into space as I can or into orbit as I can to find the curve…I’m really…I’m looking for the curve.” A rapper known as B.o.B. is raising money to launch a satellite or two into space (with a camera) to confirm once and for all whether or not the Earth is as flat as his money raising efforts have been.

+ Couple weds at Costco: “It just made sense.” (As with all destination weddings, it sort of spoiled the honeymoon.)

+ Cancer warnings on coffee may be coming to California. (I really hope not. It’s like my last food group doesn’t kill you…)

Quartz now syndicates NextDraft, a daily roundup for the day’s most fascinating news curated by Dave Pell. Read the archive here. Sign up to get the newsletter or download the app here.

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