August 29, 2017
It’s Tuesday. In top news, Houston and its surrounding areas continued to deal with the crisis created by Hurricane Harvey, with the death toll climbing to a 8–10 fatalities and at least 30,000 in need of shelter. While the winds have subsided, the rain brought by the storm will continue throughout the week, bringing an estimated two feet of rain with it.
In headline news, North Korea launched missile a test over Japan, heightening tensions in the Pacific; Whole Foods sharply reduced food prices following its acquisition by Amazon; and the Washington Post reported that a top aide to the Trump Organization engaged in email correspondence with a spokesman for Vladimir Putin during the 2016 election to build support for building a Trump Tower Moscow.
As always, good luck on the day ahead and thanks for reading Wonks This Way.
The Wonks Team
Politics and Public Policy
- The Washington Post evaluates the political ramifications of Hurricane Harvey on federal spending, pointing out how creating an emergency relief package could upend negotiations over raising the debt ceiling or funding the proposed Mexican border wall.
The catastrophic floods brought by Hurricane Harvey to southeastern Texas will pose an immediate test for the White…www.washingtonpost.com
- Julia Azari of FiveThirtyEight compares the Trump presidency with the style of governing of 19th century presidents, including the deference to Congress for policy and the consequences of falling below modern expectations for running the office.
Since President Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, commentators have asked whether he really understands the office…fivethirtyeight.com
- The New York Times examines the transformation of Hezbollah from a Lebanese militia organized to fight Israel to a proxy group shoring up Iranian interests throughout the Arab-speaking world, notably in Syria and Iraq.
BEIRUT, Lebanon - For three decades, Hezbollah maintained a singular focus as a Lebanese military group fighting Israel…www.nytimes.com
Business, Science, and Health
- The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the intellectual property disputes over the names for strains of cannabis, citing copyright infringement suits from brands for using names like “Girl Scout Cookies” or “Animal Crackers” among others for types of bud.
Five or six years ago, medical marijuana grower Don Peabody was trimming his harvest when he got a phone call. To his…www.sfchronicle.com
- NPR determines the economic costs of Hurricane Harvey, calculating the estimated values of lost homes, oil, and productivity due to the stoppage of the country’s fifth largest metropolitan area.
Bill Gilmer remembers spending the night listening to the winds of Hurricane Ike tear through his suburban Houston…www.npr.org
- The Upshot assesses the economic upside of Hurricane Harvey, noting that in spite of the damage wrought to oil rigs, roads, and supply lines, the disaster could provide opportunities for construction.
This subdued reaction from Wall Street may seem surprising. After all, Houston is the fourth-largest American city and…www.nytimes.com
Sports and Culture
- Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture reflects on the recent “Game of Thrones” season, highlighting the changing approach to plotting and the visual impressive action sequences as hallmarks of the season.
I almost pity at this point - to the extent that one can pity pay cable's most popular and expensive series. Never…www.vulture.com
- In “The 30” from Jonah Keri at Sports Illustrated, Keri ranks all 30 MLB teams, singling out the storylines of the National League and what each team has to play for in the stretch run of the season.