NEXT DRAFT

Empire of painkillers, nuclear-armed bombers, and eight other stories you might have missed

1. Mass hysteria

“On Facebook, the debate over the markers has taken a heated tone with posts that say the signs allow for a criminal element and open the door to pedophiles and terrorists.” From the sounds of that heated rhetoric, those must some pretty offensive markers, eh? Not really, but in today’s America, every debate is heated and every message offends someone. So let’s take a minute and visit Groton, Massachusetts, where a debate is raging over the message inscribed on some stone markers scattered throughout the town. The message? Town of Groton: All Are Welcome.

2. Pain management

With President Trump reportedly set to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, The New Yorker shares a powerful photo essay: The faces of the epidemic.

+ “If you look at the prescribing trends for all the different opioids, it’s in 1996 that prescribing really takes off. It’s not a coincidence. That was the year Purdue launched a multifaceted campaign that misinformed the medical community about the risks.” Patrick Radden Keefe: The family that built an empire of pain. (Last week I shared a related piece from Esquire: The Secretive Family Making Billions From The Opioid Crisis.)

+ “He gets mad at me at times, he yells at me at times, but he respects me.” Chris Christie is the man at center of the president’s opiate plan. He could use a win. GQ on Chris Christie’s last fight.

3. Nuclear reaction time

This lede from Defense One certainly grabs one’s attention: “The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.”

4. Taking atoll

“The 32 atolls of Kiribati are wisp-like shards of coral, dotted on both sides of the equator, tiny on their own but together covering an area as vast as the United States. They are all about 2-3 metres above sea-level and flat like pancakes; there is no higher ground to run to. For a long time, Kiribati was one of the world’s forgotten nations. It is adrift and alone in the ocean; its residents rarely left, and visitors rarely arrived.” But today, Kiribati is gradually rising to international prominence. Its rise coincides with the rise of the seas, as it is “among the first nations to run the climate change gauntlet, serving as a bellwether for the rising seas, the droughts, the storms, and all the other cruelties that follow. The irony is that Kiribati’s greenhouse gas emissions are the third lowest in the world. New Zealanders, per capita, emit 25 times more, Americans 45 times more.” Charlie Mitchell takes you to the front lines of climate change, where the discussion isn’t over the realness of climate change, but rather the amount of time a country has left: The angry sea will kill us all.

5. Even 32 mill couldn’t kill bill

“Their decision came as the company was trying to convince its employees, its board and the public that it had cleaned up the network’s workplace culture. At the same time, they were determined to hold on to Mr. O’Reilly, whose value to the network increased after the departure of another prominent host, Megyn Kelly.” From the NYT: Earlier this year, Bill O’Reilly settled a sexual harassment claim for $32 million. Then Fox renewed his contract. The news is filled with numbers and stats, but just let this one sink in for a second. Thirty…Two…Million.

+ Megyn Kelly: “O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false. I know because I complained.”

+ “In a hotel room, a movie trailer, a public park, meetings framed as interviews or auditions quickly turned sexual, according to 38 women who, in separate interviews told the Los Angeles Times of similar encounters they had with Toback.” Following the long-delayed fall of Harvey Weinstein, 38 women have come forward to accuse director James Toback of sexual harassment.

+ WaPo: My pain is everyday: After Weinstein’s fall, Trump accusers wonder: Why not him? And from The Guardian: Donald Trump’s sexual harassment accusers hope the president goes way of Weinstein.

6. Brow beater

“Browder has led the push for countries to adopt ‘Magnitsky Act’-type laws that empower governments to freeze assets of Russian figures linked to human rights violations.” Vice: Why did the US just revoke Bill Browder’s Visa?

+ “The Magnitsky Act drives Putin nuts. It means that his men can’t act as they always have, i.e., with impunity. Now there are consequences, which is a problem for Putin. Four countries have Magnitsky acts: the U.S., Britain, Estonia, and now Canada. (They passed theirs last week.) Browder is a driver behind these Magnitsky acts, and Putin hates him for it.”

+ “It is nearly unheard of for a national hotel company to debut hotel lines in one of America’s poorest corners, surrounded by cotton and soybean fields and lacking a commercial airport or even an easily accessed interstate.” With revenues dropping at some top properties, Trump’s business goes to where his base is.

+ President Trump’s ongoing spat with the family of a US soldier killed in Niger continued on Monday. It really is SAD!

7. Working it

“Gibbco LLC got a $74 million award to build mobile homes for Hurricane Harvey victims. Gibbco’s only public presence is a GoDaddy website, which lists neither a phone number, an email address, nor information about who runs the company. According to a contract database run by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Gibbco has five employees and annual revenue of $200,000; the address listed as its headquarters belongs to a house in a residential neighborhood in Longwood, Fla.” Bloomberg: FEMA is spending billions, and some questionable companies are getting work.

+ “Walking through the walled neighborhood of Old San Juan, the island’s main tourist attraction, I see police officers installing floodlights in a central square and then flipping on a shiny new generator. One of the officers tells me he’ll be there all night to keep an eye on the equipment. ‘It would otherwise be gone by morning,’ he says, shrugging.” Vox: Darkness: life in Puerto Rico without electricity.

+ WaPo: Many Trump voters who got hurricane relief in Texas aren’t sure Puerto Ricans should.

8. Chitty chitty bang bang

“The internet will inevitably steal the soul of every child at some point as he or she grows up, but some are speeding the process along by manipulating YouTube’s powerful algorithm.” How creepy YouTube channels trick kids into watching violent videos.

9. Fire and flood of good will

“Loren Smith, 9, of Santa Rosa lost his home and his cherished collection of baseball cards and memorabilia.” So the Oakland A’s got together with a bunch of other teams and got him some replacements. And a whole lot more.

10. Bottom of the news

“It came as a shock, having a good cup. I was born and raised in Colombia. And all my life, I’d been drinking bad coffee.” WaPo with a pretty amazing story about globalization: Colombians have for years grown amazing coffee. Finally, they’re drinking it.

+ Some Amazon customers were surprised to receive 65 pounds of marijuana they did not order. (Sometimes life ignores what you want and gives you what you need.)

+ Oh, this is definitely James Comey’s Twitter account.

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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