Why I can’t stop reading depressing news | Vox


Even good old earthquakes, wildfires, and boat capsizings feel simple and wholesome now — innocent, accidental tragedies instead of officially mandated ones.

Anything but this same slow, inexorable drive toward autocracy, barbarism, and extinction, each day’s headline falling like another blow from the truncheon.

There’s a spectrum of possible responses to this onslaught, ranging from addictive immersion to total isolation.

Some of my friends wisely decided after the election to devote themselves to a single issue, so as not to fracture their attention and deplete their energies — a policy that proves hard to implement when you’re trying to dedicate yourself exclusively to, say, climate change, and then the government starts locking children in cages seemingly for sheer, sadistic fun.

Source: Why I can’t stop reading depressing news – Vox

China’s brutal crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority, explained | Vox


Xinjiang, where about 10 million Uighurs and some other Muslim minorities live, is an autonomous region in China’s northwest that borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia.

It has been under Chinese control since 1949, when the communist People’s Republic of China was established.

Uighurs speak their own language — an Asian Turkic language similar to Uzbek — and most practice a moderate form of Sunni Islam.

Some activists, including those who seek independence from China, refer to the region as East Turkestan.

Once situated along the ancient Silk Road trading route, Xinjiang is oil- and resource-rich.

Source: China’s brutal crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority, explained – Vox

Census 2020: how Republicans are undermining the census, explained with a cartoon | Vox


In March, the Trump administration added a question about citizenship to the upcoming 2020 Census.

Census Bureau research shows that this question could actually deter people from responding to the survey, which means it might cause an undercount of vulnerable populations.

This is why residents from Maryland and Arizona filed a lawsuit alleging that the US government is violating the Constitution by asking about citizenship, given the current political climate.

The Trump administration has tried to get the case dismissed, but three federal courts have said the case can go forward.

Source: Census 2020: how Republicans are undermining the census, explained with a cartoon – Vox

How Chinese Loans to Africa Threaten U.S. National Security | Time


Chinese debt has become the methamphetamines of infrastructure finance: highly addictive, readily available, and with long-term negative effects that far outweigh any temporary high.

Why does this matter? Because in Africa and elsewhere, governments have secured massive loans from Beijing using strategic assets—such as oil, minerals, and land rights— as collateral. If borrower nations find themselves unable to repay the loan, China can claim the strategic asset.

Sri Lanka recently learned this the hard way and handed over control of the port of Hambantota, giving China a strategic foothold along a busy trade waterway.

Source: How Chinese Loans to Africa Threaten U.S. National Security | Time

I Helped Create Insider Political Journalism. Now It’s Time For It To Go Away.


I know of what I speak, because I helped shape the tradition I’m now attacking: I came up in New York’s nascent political blogosphere in the early 2000s, then got a job as part of the launch of Politico, conceived unapologetically as a “needle in the vein of political junkies.”

I broke news every day, for years, on obscure staffers and tactics, and shared my readers’ obsession with the horse race. To my mild discomfort, my colleague Jonathan Martin’s and my blogs were actually illustrated with on-the-nose pen-and-ink caricatures of ourselves sitting on a wooden fence watching a literal horse race.

Source: I Helped Create Insider Political Journalism. Now It’s Time For It To Go Away.

White House faces brain drain at perilous moment


With vacancies abounding in the White House and more departures on the horizon, there is growing concern among Trump allies that the brain drain at the center of the administration could hardly come at a more perilous time.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s swirling probe of Russian election interference and potential obstruction of justice by Trump has reached ever closer to the Oval Office, and the upcoming midterm elections could grant his political adversaries the power of subpoena or, more worryingly, the votes to attempt impeachment.

Nine current and former White House staffers and administration allies expressed concerns Thursday that the West Wing is simply unprepared for the potential troubles ahead.

Source: White House faces brain drain at perilous moment

Trump Bloomberg Interview: EU Auto Tariffs Offer Not Good Enough | Bloomberg


President Donald Trump rejected a European Union offer to scrap tariffs on cars, likening the bloc’s trade policies to those of China.

“It’s not good enough,” Trump said of the offer from Brussels during an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”

Source: Trump Bloomberg Interview: EU Auto Tariffs Offer Not Good Enough – Bloomberg

Brutal summer for Republicans | TheHill


This summer has been defined by “a series of unforced errors that only add to the insecurity about November,” lamented one senior House GOP aide.Things were bad for Trump last summer as well, when he suggested that “both sides” were to blame for violent clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that left one counterprotester dead and many injured.

But unlike last year, this summer has seen Trump wade into controversy after controversy, distraction after distraction.

Source: Brutal summer for Republicans | TheHill

North Carolina: Judges rule GOP-gerrymandered map unconstitutional


Acting under an order of the U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine the case, the three-judge panel ruled again in favor of election advocacy groups and Democrats who had sued to challenge the boundaries drawn in 2016.

The Greensboro-based court also raised the possibility of directing the GOP-dominated legislature to redraw the maps by mid-September so they could be in effect for the fall elections or getting an outside expert to do so. The printing of ballots has been delayed while other fall election matters are in court.

Source: North Carolina: Judges rule GOP-gerrymandered map unconstitutional

A New Vision of Patient Care | US News


Johns Hopkins’ hiring program for ex-offenders exemplifies a growing trend: hospitals taking on the more fundamental needs of patients, from employment to housing, transportation, proper food and even legal aid.

Research suggests that addressing these and other social and environmental factors may improve the health of traditionally vulnerable populations while cutting costs substantially.

“Between 40 and 60 percent of an individual’s health is determined by things that happen outside the doctor’s office or hospital walls that, traditionally, health care has not touched,” says Kate Sommerfeld, president of social determinants of health for ProMedica, a Toledo, Ohio-based health system serving northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Now, that’s changing as hospitals nationwide are tackling some of the leading drivers of health in their communities …

Source: A New Vision of Patient Care | Healthiest Communities | US News