Arc Digital
Published in

Arc Digital

The Weekly Arc: July 21, 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.

McCain Diagnosed with Brain Cancer

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, his office said Wednesday, throwing into doubt when and if he will return to Washington to resume his duties in the Senate.

The Mayo Clinic said doctors diagnosed a tumor called a glioblastoma after surgery to remove a blood clot above McCain’s left eye last week. The senator and his family are considering treatment options, including a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, according to the hospital.

McCain, 80, has been away from the Senate this week, recovering from the surgery and undergoing tests. His office issued a statement describing him “in good spirits” and noting that his doctors say his underlying health is excellent — but not indicating when he will return to the Senate.

Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of brain cancer, and the prognosis for this kind of cancer is generally poor. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) survived less than 15 months after his was found in 2008. McCain’s doctors said the “tissue of concern” was removed during the blood-clot procedure.

McCain’s significance inside Congress is hard to overstate — and his absence, however long, will reverberate across the Capitol. — The Washington Post

Now would be a good time to revisit the heroics of John McCain.

GOP Healthcare Reform In Limbo

The Senate Republican healthcare bill is being kept in a holding pattern. Several senators on the GOP side — there are likely to be no Democrats who will support it — have announced they’d vote against the bill in its current form. These Republicans are not ideologically uniform: Susan Collins, of Maine, is easily the least conservative member on the GOP side, whereas Mike Lee, who has also come out against the bill in its current incarnation, is one of the most conservative senators around.

Until a loud chorus of senators rings out to declare the reform initiative dead, it’s still alive. But with tax reform on the horizon, McConnell may have no choice but to scrap healthcare reform from the agenda and revisit it at a later time.

Let’s be clear: this is not because the initiative is gathering steam but facing a closing window. It’s not as if the reform push is working well and it’s only a lack of time that is hindering the GOP’s efforts. Rather, Senate Republicans are botching the entire ordeal.

At the moment, they’re not even agreed on whether the plan should be to repeal and replace or to repeal now and replace later. The former is McConnell’s preference, but the Majority Leader has shifted gears in light of the withering criticism he’s received on the heels of the CBO’s report that:

the bill would increase the number of people without health insurance by 15 million next year and by 22 million in 2026. Those figures are the same as the estimates in the budget office’s previous analysis, despite numerous changes to the bill intended to win votes. — The New York Times

Should conservatives be sympathetic to McConnell’s plight? The less conservative members want something closer to Obamacare, while the more conservative members want to get as far away from Obamacare as possible. Who could walk such a legislative tightrope? Getting to 60, or even 50, votes in these conditions seems precarious, if not impossible.

Before we give the Senate Majority Leader a pass, read The Federalist’s Ben Domenech’s scathing indictment of McConnell:

For the past several years, no one has been more opposed to experimentation in the realm of Obamacare replacement plans than Mitch McConnell. He spent years discouraging Republicans from advancing replacement plans with the stated reason being that he alone would be in a position to forge a deal that allowed such plans to come to fruition. He maintained an image of confidence that when the time came, he would be able to balance the needs of insurers and providers, conservatives and moderates, reformers and those who favored the status quo in such a way as to achieve repeal and replacement. While the House of Representatives let a dozen plans bloom with co-sponsorships and internal debate, McConnell squelched any possibility of pre-gaming consensus on the Senate side. It was a gamble, a bet on his own ability as leader, and he lost.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t small government ideology that killed this bill. Mitch McConnell’s crafted backroom solution couldn’t even get the support of Jerry Moran. …

It’s not just that McConnell failed to get the job done: typically deferential Senators are now defying him and openly rejecting the way he runs the Senate. Moran and McCain sounded the same note yesterday: move on to an open process, regular order, and a bipartisan healthcare bill. Such a move may sound like pie in the sky, but the reality is that the monopartisan backroom approach has utterly failed, and running the Senate like McConnell’s personal fiefdom isn’t working. The conservatives have been frustrated with this for some time. Now, they’re no longer alone.

Where we go from here, no one knows.

Scaramucci In, Spicer Out

President Donald Trump offered the job of White House communications director to Anthony Scaramucci on Friday morning. … Scaramucci accepted.

The position has been vacant since longtime Republican strategist Mike Dubke resigned from the communications director post in late May after about three months on the job, leaving White House press secretary Sean Spicer to take on many of those duties.

The communications director position is a first for Scaramucci, who has never held a formal political communications role.

Scaramucci will step into the role a month after he began a role as vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank.

But the New York hedge fund manager has been a prominent TV surrogate for the President — during the campaign and since he was sworn in — and previously hosted a financial news show.

And while Dubke’s lack of a relationship with Trump hampered his efforts, Scaramucci will enter the West Wing armed with a year-old relationship with the President.

Scaramucci’s political experience has been more focused on the fundraising realm, having served as national finance co-chair of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He later fundraised for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 GOP primaries before joining the Trump campaign’s national finance committee. — CNN

What did this mean for Sean Spicer?

After months of chatter that his job was on the chopping block, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer finally exited stage right on Friday after financier, donor and TV talking head Anthony Scaramucci was given the job of White House communications director, which had been vacant since the departure of Mike Dubke in May. Spicer resigned in opposition to the move. — The Atlantic

After being forced to offer a months-long dissembling clinic from the White House briefing room, this, this is where Spicer chooses to draw his line in the sand?

Neymar and Kyrie

Barcelona and the Cleveland Cavaliers were the second-best teams in their respective sports last year. In soccer, only Real Madrid was superior, and in basketball, only the Golden State Warriors were better.

Keeping with the “second-best” theme: Neymar and Kyrie Irving are the second-best players on each of their respective teams. Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s best player and LeBron James is the Cavs’ best player.

Very recently, reports have surfaced that Neymar and Kyrie both want out.

Which of the two problems, listed above, do you think has caused Neymar and Kyrie to want out of their current situations?

Some might place the blame on the lack of team success each experienced last year. Yet, actually, the answer in both cases appears to be a desire to emerge from the shadow of Messi and LeBron, respectively.

Both Neymar and Kyrie appear to prefer being the dominant player, the number one option, the leader of their respective teams. Sources indicate that Neymar has agreed to terms with PSG, one of the only teams in the world that could plausibly sign him away from Barcelona. On the basketball side of things, reports have come out that Kyrie has asked the Cavs’ front office to trade him.

These would be massive developments with huge power-realigning ramifications.

Our media landscape is dominated by loud voices with little interest in producing smart analysis. If you value the work we do, if you appreciate the model of news and commentary we embody, then we are asking for your help.

To support us at $2 per month, please click here.

Have you experienced the transformative thrill of liking a page on Facebook, or following an account on Twitter? No? Well, then, carpe diem!

This Week In History

July 23

1840 — The Act of Union is passed by British Parliament, which unites upper and lower Canada.

1885 — Ulysses S. Grant (b. 1812), Commanding General of the Union Army during the Civil War’s last phase and beyond, and two-term U.S. President, passes away.

July 24

1802 — Alexandre Dumas, prolific French author, is born. Which is the better known work: The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Cristo?

July 25

306 — Constantine, one of the most influential world leaders history has ever known, becomes emperor of the Roman Empire.

1834 — Samuel Taylor Coleridge (b. 1772), architect of the Romantic movement in poetry, passes away.

July 26

1875 — Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist whose work and concepts have been massively influential within the field of psychology, is born.

1943 — Mick Jagger, frontman for the Rolling Stones and one of pop music’s all time greatest talents, is born. What’s his best Stones performance?

1953 — The 26th of July Movement in Cuba, in which a young Fidel Castro rebels against the regime of Fulgencio Batista, begins.


He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge



The internet’s best opinion page

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store