The Day’s Reading, August 13–14, 2017

We are definitely still in the “getting worse” phase of things getting worse before they get better.

Ugly Americans

Amy B Wang & Rick Noack, The Washington Post, An American tourist gave the Nazi salute in Germany — so a stranger beat him up, police say (August 13, 2017)


Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville (August 13, 2017) — I agree that the attacks on the ACLU are misguided; we can’t trust the government to discern between good speech and bad speech, so we can’t let the government make inroads on speech. (I’m not necessarily even a free-speech absolutist, but I think incursions against speech and assembly rights, as distinct from showing up armed and threatening people, should certainly not be routine.)


Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, An Image of Revolutionary Fire at Charlottesville (August 14, 2017) — this image had put me in mind of Edward Crawford already this weekend, and St. Félix makes that connection explicit here; both times I thought about it I cried because it still feels terrible, for reasons I can’t really put to words, that he’s dead.

Stassa Edwards, The Slot, It’s All Empty (August 14, 2017) — and Trump barely bothers to pretend that it’s not

Aaron Rupar, ThinkProgress, Asked why it took him so long to denounce racists, Trump attacks the media (August 14, 2017) — see?

Aaron Rupar, ThinkProgress, Pence and Sessions go to extreme lengths to defend Trump’s failure to denounce white supremacists (August 14, 2017) — because he’s got his boys at his back no matter what he does

Amber Phillips, The Washington Post, ‘We should call evil by its name’: Republicans are standing up to Trump more directly than ever on Charlottesville (August 14, 2017) — on Twitter, anyway

Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post, Sessions defends Trump’s response to Charlottesville violence (August 14, 2017) — when Jeff Sessions is more forthright and forceful about racists than you are …

Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times, Demonstrators gather in downtown L.A. to protest Charlottesville violence (August 13, 2017) — we didn’t make it out to this, unfortunately

Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, Charlottesville and the Effort to Downplay Racism in America (August 13, 2017) — this is great; I came late to the Jia Tolentino train, basically only getting on board once she joined the New Yorker, and I regret every day I didn’t read her for the last few years

Laura King, Los Angeles Times, White House defends Trump’s response to deadly violence in Charlottesville as criticism intensifies (August 13, 2017)

Jack Mirkinson, Splinter, After Charlottesville, Pick a Side (August 13, 2017) — there’s no fence-sitting in this one

Julia Azari, Five Thirty Eight, Presidential Responses To Racial Violence Have Often Been Weak. Trump’s Is Weaker. (August 13, 2017) — a good historical overview

Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, The Battle of Charlottesville (August 13, 2017) — really good; one of my favorite writers going


James MacDonald, JSTOR Daily, When You Eat Matters As Much As What You Eat (August 13, 2017) — stop eating dinner! (We ate at 9:45 tonight.)


Michael Baumann, The Ringer, The Nationals’ World Series Hopes Hinge on Bryce Harper’s Knee (August 13, 2017) — this sucks, but I’m glad he didn’t rip up a ligament

Trump et al.

Brian Beutler, The New Republic, These Are Donald Trump’s Racist Troops (August 14, 2017) — arguing that Trump isn’t engaging in “coalition management” by declining to criticize white supremacists, but that he and a significant power center in the White House are in fact fully white supremacist themselves; it’s hard to disagree knowing how much sway Miller-Gorka-Bannon wield.

Paul Waldman, The American Prospect, The “Many Sides” of Trump’s Moral Rot (August 14, 2017) — we have to hold Trump against the Republican Party for as long as anyone can remember who Donald Trump is. We can’t let them get away with distancing themselves now, or ever in the future, and in particular we can’t let them claim that he’s anything different than what it was always obvious he was. He’s been this since long before he officially announced he was running for office. If you didn’t stand up then, you don’t get the credit you want for standing up now.

Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, Donald Trump Is Killing Us (August 14, 2017) — pointing out that Trump and his fellows are fraying the bonds of society itself, and that this horse isn’t going back into the barn, even if we do close the door in 2020

Daniel W. Drezner, The Washington Post, Why is Donald Trump so bad at the bully pulpit? (August 14, 2017) — I think the reality television part of this is silly, but the cable news part probably isn’t

Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee | AP, The Washington Post, Critiques fly as Tillerson struggles to define his mission (August 14, 2017) — on the one hand, it’s hard to think a hectoring, loud diplomacy makes any sense in a world in which the United States has no moral authority thanks to repeated senseless wars; on the other hand, there’s pretending the U.S.’s power comes from a source it doesn’t and then there’s stepping back from any morality- or justice-based diplomacy whatsoever. Tillerson’s “pragmatism” seems like a disguised way to avoid calling murderers murderers. Also, forgive me if I don’t trust a man brand new to diplomacy to know the difference between when loud speeches are self-aggrandizing vs. when they’re actually part of a larger plan to create positive change.

Anne Gearan, The Washington Post, Trump to send son-in-law Jared Kushner, other top aides on Mideast peace mission after spate of violence (August 11, 2017) — thinking there might not be a solution, as Kushner admits the possibility of, is a good reason to send Kushner rather than your best and brightest; maybe Trump knows this

Abby Phillip, The Washington Post, White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman roils police violence session at black journalist convention (August 11, 2017)

John Wagner & Jenna Johnson, The Washington Post, Trump won’t ‘rule out a military option’ in Venezuela (August 11, 2017) — this could not be dumber

Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, Trump couldn’t have picked a dumber fight (August 10, 2017)

James Downie, The Washington Post, This NSC ex-staffer’s memo is crazy. Trump’s reaction is more disturbing. (August 11, 2017)


Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Alexander Zverev upsets Roger Federer in Rogers Cup final (August 13, 2017) — the scoreline certainly makes it look like it wasn’t even particularly close

The Mooch

Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times, Anthony Scaramucci owns some mistakes, criticizes Stephen Bannon on ABC’s ‘This Week’ (August 13, 2017) — now he’s never going to go away


Alex Cranz, Gizmodo, Another Great App Went Subscription Only and Everything Is Terrible (August 13, 2017) — make your money how you want, I guess, but switching from pay-once to subscription (as opposed to from free to subscription) is horseshit unless you’re going to give refunds for anyone who bought within the last, I don’t know, three months? Six?


Justin T. Westbrook, Jalopnik, NYC Transit Union Claims The MTA Holds Dead Bodies In Worker Break Rooms (August 13, 2017)

Missing Persons

Samantha Schmidt, The Washington Post, Journalist mysteriously vanishes after boarding submarine. Man is arrested after it sinks. (August 14, 2017)


Ginger Christ,, Rural hospitals teeter on edge of closing, cutting services in post-healthcare reform world (August 14, 2017)


Laura Vozzella, The Washington Post, Former Va. attorney general Cuccinelli catches flak for telling Symone Sanders to ‘shut up’ on CNN (August 14, 2017)

Laura Wagner, Deadspin, How SB Nation Profits Off An Army Of Exploited Workers (August 14, 2017) — it’s really the way management reacted to this that I feel like is notable

Albert Burneko, Deadspin, What’s The Deal With Bill Simmons And Casey Wasserman? (August 14, 2017) — I can’t decide if I think there’s something there. The Ringer puts out a lot of ‘tent. On the other hand, some of these aren’t obvious topics. Back on the first hand, it’s hard to imagine an explicit direction to slant an article in a direction at the behest of a … benefactor? friend? … wouldn’t get out. I don’t know.

Disc Golf

Patrick Redford, Deadspin, Frisbee Dad Fuckin’ Aces It (August 14, 2017)


Randall Colburn, A.V. Club, An old Backstreet Boys single is built around a sample of Howie Dorough ripping ass (August 14, 2017) — yesssss


Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, Bertrand Bonello’s ‘Nocturama’ is a haunting portrait of young French terrorists in action (August 14, 2017)


Simon Denyer, The Washington Post, China bans North Korean iron, lead, coal imports as part of U.N. sanctions (August 14, 2017)

The Future

Robin Wright, The New Yorker, Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War? (August 14, 2017)

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