In a shocking attack in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others were shot at a public event on Saturday.
A gunman shot Giffords, federal District Judge John Roll, and others outside a Safeway supermarket where the congresswoman was meeting with constituents, according to news reports. Roll is among six dead.
As the nation reacts to this shooting, it will be parsed and explained. The alleged shooter, identified by AP sources as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was frustrated with the U.S. government, and the shooting has inevitably resonated with the dark and violent tones that have arisen in domestic politics at times over the past year and a half. Discussion is emerging over how directly this shooting is connected to politics, if at all.
See Andrew Sullivan for continuous commentary on the shooting, and the rest of The Atlantic's coverage below in reverse-chronological order (timestamps in Eastern):
The Vitriol Will Likely Return. Don't expect the Arizona shooting to change the momentum of national politics, Charlie Cook warns. 9:28 a.m. Tues. 1/11
Stop the Blame Game. The media has fallen down on the job, writes National Journal's Josh Kraushaar. 9:11 a.m. Tues. 1/11
Do We Really Need to Know Why He Did It? There will always be people like Jared Lee Loughner. The only rhetoric he seems to have been listening to came from his own head, Megan McArdle writes. 2:57 p.m. Mon. 1/10
The Tea Party Path to the Presidency Just Got Tougher. Joshua Green writes: "Whether or not it's fair to blame Jared Lee Loughner's shooting rampage against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on overheated political rhetoric and violent imagery, the episode will probably mark a turning point in how the media cover politics." 9:59 a.m. Mon. 1/10
Rancor Inevitably Returns. Politicians came together after the shooting in Arizona, offering conciliatory words and toning down the political rhetoric. Can the somber, friendly mood survive in today's political and media culture? 6:47 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Members Call for Toned Down Rhetoric. Some members of Congress are blaming the shooting on the right's heated rhetoric. Read what they had to say about the tragedy on Sunday's political talk shows. 4:26 p.m. Sun. 1/9
The Rise of Violent Rhetoric. Heated rhetoric doesn't make people kill each other, but the right seems to relish martial rhetoric more than the left. 4:31 p.m. Sun. 1/9
A Vote to Honor Giffords. Instead of voting on health care repeal as planned, the House will vote this week to honor its fallen colleague and the other victims, Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced Sunday. 3:53 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Palinspeak and Violence. Andrew Sullivan recalls Sarah Palin's penchant for gun metaphors, with an example from her Facebook page. 3:44 p.m. Sun. 1/9
House Briefed on Giffords. 800 representatives, staff, and family members joined a conference call to hear from congressional leaders, security officials, and a House physician on Giffords, security precautions, and the House schedule for the coming week. 3:33 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Tea Party Group Blames 'Leftist.' "The
left is coming and will hit us hard on this. We need to push back
harder with the simple truth. The shooter was a liberal lunatic," says
the founder of Tea Party Nation. 1:49 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Don't Let Judge Roll Die in Vain. The federal judge had faced threats over an immigration case, and Saturday's tragedy shows that judges need more security. 1:28 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Is Arizona About Politics or Mental Illness? Jared
Loughner's politics are difficult to parse, and it's far easier to
categorize him in psychiatric terms, writes Jeffrey Goldberg. So far,
the shooting says more about mental illness and how the mentally ill
obtain guns. 12:25 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Members of Congress Advised to Contact Police. In e-mails from the Capitol Police and the House Sergeant at Arms, congressional offices were advised to take precautions, contact local police, and alert the Sergeant at Arms if they plan to hold public events. 9:06 p.m. Sat. 1/8
Was Shooting of Rep. Giffords Political? The
Atlantic Wire's Max Fisher rounds up commentary, as the media begins to
interpret the tragedy in Tucson. Some see it as a result of political
vitriol, while others warn that the left is seeking to politicize the
shooting. 8:13 p.m. Sat. 1/8
The Cloudy Logic of 'Political' Shootings.
James Fallows recounts the ambiguous motives of assassins in the modern
era. "Assassinations" are political by definition--the victims are
targeted because politics made them public figures--but motives don't
always mesh with the political issues with which those figures are
associated. 7:36 p.m. Sat. 1/8
With Giffords Shooting, a Grim Milestone.
From Alexander Hamilton to John F. Kennedy, America's political leaders
have suffered assassinations and attempts that raise questions about
politics and society. National Journal's Matthew Cooper places the
Giffords shooting in historical context. 5:59 p.m. Sat. 1/8
The Suspect: Jared Lee Loughner.
The suspected gunman, now in custody, is 22 years old. A favorite book
is "Mein Kampf"; he posted YouTube videos articulating some deranged
views three weeks ago; he maintained a MySpace page, with photos. 5:08 p.m. Sat. 1/8
The Vermont senator’s revolutionary zeal has met its moment.
There’s no way this man could be president, right? Just look at him: rumpled and scowling, bald pate topped by an entropic nimbus of white hair. Just listen to him: ranting, in his gravelly Brooklyn accent, about socialism. Socialism!
And yet here we are: In the biggest surprise of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, this thoroughly implausible man, Bernie Sanders, is a sensation.
He is drawing enormous crowds—11,000 in Phoenix, 8,000 in Dallas, 2,500 in Council Bluffs, Iowa—the largest turnout of any candidate from any party in the first-to-vote primary state. He has raised $15 million in mostly small donations, to Hillary Clinton’s $45 million—and unlike her, he did it without holding a single fundraiser. Shocking the political establishment, it is Sanders—not Martin O’Malley, the fresh-faced former two-term governor of Maryland; not Joe Biden, the sitting vice president—to whom discontented Democratic voters looking for an alternative to Clinton have turned.
A newly discovered artifact buried with one of Jamestown’s most prominent leaders suggests he could have been a crypto-Catholic.
After 400 years in the Virginia dirt, the box came out of the ground looking like it had been plucked from the ocean. A tiny silver brick, now encrusted with a green patina and rough as sandpaper. Buried beneath it was a human skeleton. The remains would later be identified as those of Captain Gabriel Archer, one of the most prominent leaders at Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America. But it was the box, which appeared to be an ancient Catholic reliquary, that had archaeologists bewildered and astonished.
“One of the major surprises was the discovery of this mysterious small silver box,” said James Horn, the president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation. “I have to say, we’re still trying to figure this out. You have the very strange situation of a Catholic reliquary being found with the leader of the first Protestant church in the country.”
For anyone who has ever caught some treacly adult contemporary on the radio and wondered “Who on earth likes this stuff?” while twisting the dial, a new study might have an answer. A bunch of softies, that’s who.
In the paper, published recently in the online journal PLoS One, Cambridge psychologist David Greenberg theorized that music tastes are determined in part by peoples’ tendency to fall into one of two rough personality categories: empathizers or systemizers. Empathizers are people who are very attuned to others’ emotions and mental states. Systemizers are more focused on patterns that govern the natural and physical worlds.
Over the course of multiple experiments that included 4,000 participants, listeners took personality questionnaires and then listened to and rated 50 pieces of music.
The paper of record’s inaccurate reporting on a nonexistent criminal investigation was a failure that should entail more serious consequences.
I have read The New York Times since I was a teenager as the newspaper to be trusted, the paper of record, the definitive account. But the huge embarrassment over the story claiming a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton for her emails—leading the webpage, prominent on the front page, before being corrected in the usual, cringeworthy fashion of journalists who stonewall any alleged errors and then downplay the real ones—is a direct challenge to its fundamental credibility. And the paper’s response since the initial huge error was uncovered has not been adequate or acceptable.
This is not some minor mistake. Stories, once published, take on a life of their own. If they reinforce existing views or stereotypes, they fit perfectly into Mark Twain’s observation, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” (Or perhaps Twain never said it, in which case the ubiquity of that attribution serves to validate the point.) And a distorted and inaccurate story about a prominent political figure running for president is especially damaging and unconscionable.
The new version of Apple’s signature media software is a mess. What are people with large MP3 libraries to do?
When the developer Erik Kemp designed the first metadata system for MP3s in 1996, he provided only three options for attaching text to the music. Every audio file could be labeled with only an artist, song name, and album title.
Kemp’s system has since been augmented and improved upon, but never replaced. Which makes sense: Like the web itself, his schema was shipped, good enough,and an improvement on the vacuum which preceded it. Those three big tags, as they’re called, work well with pop and rock written between 1960 and 1995. This didn’t prevent rampant mislabeling in the early days of the web, though, as anyone who remembers Napster can tell you. His system stumbles even more, though, when it needs to capture hip hop’s tradition of guest MCs or jazz’s vibrant culture of studio musicianship.
More on the F-16 and Cessna crash, and whether the collision of a military and a civilian aircraft was also a collision of cultures
Early this month an Air Force F-16, under the command of an experienced Air Force pilot, rammed into a small-civilian Cessna 150 propeller plane, not far from Charleston, South Carolina. The Air Force pilot ejected to safety; both people aboard the Cessna were killed.
The next three paragraphs are background for the pointed and interesting reader-messages I am about to quote. If you’re already up to speed with previous installments (one, two, three), you can skip ahead to the messages. They highlight an aspect of the modern military-civilian divide I had not considered before this episode.
In an original item on the crash, I noted some of the perils civilians could face when flying near designated military areas—even though this crash happened in ordinary uncontrolled airspace. That is, it occurred when neither plane was within a Military Operations Area (MOA), where civilian pilots are warned about risks from high-speed military aircraft, nor inside the controlled “Class C” airspace that surrounds Charleston’s airport. (Medium-sized commercial airports like Charleston’s typically are ringed by Class C airspace, so the controllers can sequence in the airline, cargo, civilian, military, and other traffic headed toward their runways. The very busiest airports, like LAX or JFK, are surrounded by larger zones of Class B airspace for their more complex traffic-control jobs. In case you’re wondering, Class A airspace is the realm above 18,000 feet where most jet travel occurs.)
I agree: It’s why I wrote about how poorly iTunes performs for classical music listeners and, really, for anyone with a large music library.
But it’s worth spending time on iTunes’s specific design problems, which surpass those raised by managing a music library or listening to a specific genre. Toxic hellstew it may be, a new version of iTunes points at what kinds of technology are allowed to come out of Apple. Apple is the most valuable company in the world and an organization hailed for its good design. Why does iTunes fail at what it sets out to do?
Even when they’re adopted, the children of the wealthy grow up to be just as well-off as their parents.
Lately, it seems that every new study about social mobility further corrodes the story Americans tell themselves about meritocracy; each one provides more evidence that comfortable lives are reserved for the winners of what sociologists call the birth lottery. But, recently, there have been suggestions that the birth lottery’s outcomes can be manipulated even after the fluttering ping-pong balls of inequality have been drawn.
What appears to matter—a lot—is environment, and that’s something that can be controlled. For example, one study out of Harvard found that moving poor families into better neighborhoods greatly increased the chances that children would escape poverty when they grew up.
While it’s well documentedthat the children of the wealthy tend to grow up to be wealthy, researchers are still at work on how and why that happens. Perhaps they grow up to be rich because they genetically inherit certain skills and preferences, such as a tendency to tuck away money into savings. Or perhaps it’s mostly because wealthier parents invest more in their children’s education and help them get well-paid jobs. Is it more nature, or more nurture?
Since Donald Trump’s rapid rise in the Republican polls, it’s been quiet for the other outsider candidate in the field.
Remember Ben Carson? Medical hero? Scolded Obama? Occasional propensity to deliver ill-advised non-sequiturs? Ringing any bells?
When The Washington Post’s Philip Bump asks who has lost out as Donald Trump has risen in polls, it seems to me that Carson is the most obvious loser. Look at this chart, from HuffPost Pollster, of the two candidates’ polling averages:
Ben Carson vs. Donald Trump
To be fair, Carson isn’t the only candidate who’s fared poorly since Trump’s announcement. Here’s the same chart, adding Marco Rubio and Rand Paul:
Carson, Rubio, and Paul vs. Trump
But even if the numerical losses for Rubio and Paul have been bad, they don’t function quite the same way. First, Carson’s numbers start to turn south right around the time Trump’s shoot up—whereas Rubio and Paul’s had already peaked or were flat. Rubio’s game is a long one, and Paul’s struggles are a stranger and more interesting case. They’re also both U.S. senators, whereas this is Carson’s first foray into elections following a decorated career as a neurosurgeon. At his peak, Carson was running a solid fourth in the race, almost cracking double digits. While it would have been impossible to find someone unrelated to Carson, or not named Armstrong Williams, who would have predicted Carson winning the nomination then, he was a force to be reckoned with. He still seems like a lock for the August 6 debate in Cleveland, but he’s not what he was.