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The Weekly Arc: June 23, 2017

Welcome to Arc’s newsletter, sent out once per week, highlighting the best and most interesting stories from around the web. The Weekly Arc is curated by Berny Belvedere. Past editions can be accessed here.

Special Project: When Liberalism Stops Being Liberal

Medium has partnered with Arc Digital to launch a project entitled “When Liberalism Stops Being Liberal,” with “liberalism” of course being a reference to the political-philosophical order rather than to the ideological position — in other words, we’re talking about the social and political architecture of the West for the past couple of centuries, not the word that today just basically means “Democrat.”

The result is an incredible array of essays on the various illiberalisms that, paradoxically, sprout up within societies broadly committed to the liberal tradition.

Please note that the series is members-only. To read these essays, you’ll need to become a member. That’s how journalism that has eschewed the advertising model of revenue works. Your membership helps fund writing that you hopefully find illuminating and enjoyable.

I’ve read widely on this subject, and there is no better collection of columns on this topic than this series.


Senate Healthcare Bill is Unveiled

The 142-page bill, which Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released after weeks of drafting it in secrecy, drew swift criticism from hard-right senators who argued it does not go far enough in undoing Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, the Affordable Care Act. It also prompted an outcry from centrist senators and medical organizations worried that it takes on the law, known as Obamacare, too aggressively and would lead to millions losing their health care or receiving fewer benefits.

These critics effectively delivered their opening bids in what is expected to be a contentious week of negotiations. McConnell is trying to pass the bill before the July 4 recess, with Republican leaders seeking to quickly learn whether they will be able to fulfill years of promises to roll back the law or whether it’s time to turn to other items on their legislative agenda, such as overhauling the tax code. …

The next big showdown will come early next week when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office releases its analysis of the bill. Congress’s scorekeeper is expected to release a comprehensive estimate of how many people could lose their insurance coverage under the proposal and what impact it may have on premiums, as well as on the federal budget deficit — numbers many Republican senators said they need to see before making a final decision.

It is unclear what a bill capable of attracting the 50 out of 52 Republicans needed for passage would look like — or whether such a compromise is possible. What is clear is that the bill McConnell released will need to change to survive.

Like the bill that passed the House in May, the Senate measure would cut off expanded Medicaid funding for states — but at a more gradual rate, by phasing out the higher federal spending between 2020 and 2024. But it would enact deeper long-term cuts to the program, which provides health-care coverage for 74 million Americans. …

In a nod to centrist senators, the Senate bill would preserve two of the ACA’s most popular provisions: Insurers could not deny coverage based on preexisting conditions, and children could stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26 — though critics said people with past illnesses might not be able to afford plans under the revamped rules. …

The Senate bill would abolish the penalties for two of the ACA’s central mandates — that individuals must show proof of insurance when filing their taxes and that firms with 50 workers or more must provide health coverage — while providing less money for moderate- and low-income Americans buying insurance on the individual market. …

The bill is being moved under arcane budget rules that allow it to be passed with a simple majority. McConnell has little margin for error in a chamber where Republicans hold a 52-to-48 advantage and Democrats are firmly united against the legislation. — The Washington Post

Yanez Acquitted in Killing of Castile

The images had transfixed people around the world: A woman live-streaming the aftermath of a police shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, and narrating the searing, bloody scene that was unfolding around her.

On Friday, a jury here acquitted the Minnesota police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, of all charges in shooting, which happened in July 2016 and left Mr. Castile dead, raising the national debate over police conduct toward black people. Officer Yanez, an officer for the suburb of St. Anthony, had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm in the shooting.

The verdict was announced in a tense courtroom here late Friday afternoon, after five days of deliberations, and the officer was led quickly out of the courtroom, as were the 12 jurors. Mr. Castile’s family, which had nervously watched the proceedings from the front row, abruptly left as well. — The New York Times

After the verdict, Officer Yanez’ dashcam footage was released. Here’s the video, along with a description.

Kalanick Out as CEO of Uber

Facing mounting investor pressure brought on by a torrent of scandals, Travis Kalanick, co-founder and chief executive of ride-hailing company Uber, resigned — just a week into a leave of absence meant to quell concerns about his management style.

The New York Times reported that five of Uber’s major investors demanded Kalanick’s immediate resignation because the company needed a change in leadership. Kalanick reached his decision to resign after hours of talks with some of the investors. — The Los Angeles Times

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This Week In History

June 23

1995 — Jonas Salk (b. 1914), who developed the polio vaccine, passes away.

2016 — The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in their “Brexit” referundum.

June 24

1509 — The coronation of King Henry VIII of England.

1853 — President Franklin Pierce signs the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring Southern Arizona and New Mexico.

1901 — Pablo Picasso’s first exhibition opens in Paris. He is 19 years old.

1987 — Lionel Messi, for some already the greatest soccer player ever, is born.

June 26

1896 — The first movie theater in the U.S. opens. It is called Vitascope Hall, and it’s in New Orleans. The price is 10 cents for admission.

1974 — Derek Jeter, Mr. November, the legendary New York Yankee, is born.

June 29

1613 — William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre burns down.

1852 — Henry Clay (b. 1777), the Great Compromiser, one of the greatest legislators in congressional history, passes away.

1964 — After an 83-day filibuster, the Civil Rights Act passes the U.S. Senate.


Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.

— Gustave Flaubert




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Berny Belvedere

Berny Belvedere

Editor in Chief of Arc Digital

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