Regardless of what you think about health care, tomorrow we wake up in a different political world.
Regardless of what you think about health care, tomorrow we wake up in a different political world.
What if the problem isn’t the president—it’s the presidency?
I. A Broken Office
Donald Trump often appears to be a president in rebellion against his office. A president, we have come to expect, hastens to the scene of a natural disaster to comfort the afflicted. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, President Trump arrived tardily and behaved unseriously, tossing rolls of paper towels at storm-battered residents as if he were trying to drain three-point shots.
We have come to expect that when the national fabric rends, the president will administer needle and thread, or at least reach for the sewing box of unity. After white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, Virginia, shouting “Jews will not replace us,” President Trump’s instinct was to emphasize that there were good people among the neo-Nazis.
Americans don’t realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself.
I have seen the future, and it is in the United States.
After a several-year immersion in parts of the country that make the news mainly after a natural disaster or a shooting, or for follow-up stories on how the Donald Trump voters of 2016 now feel about Trump, I have a journalistic impulse similar to the one that dominated my years of living in China. That is the desire to tell people how much more is going on, in places they had barely thought about or even heard of, than they might have imagined.
In the case of China, that impulse matched the mood of the times. In the years before and after the world financial crisis of 2008, everyone knew that China was on the way up; reporters like me were just filling in the details. In the case of the modern United States, I am well aware that this message runs so counter to prevailing emotions and ideas as to seem preposterous. Everyone knows how genuinely troubled the United States is at the level of national politics and governance. It is natural to assume that these disorders must reflect a deeper rot across the country. And indeed, you can’t travel extensively through today’s America, as my wife, Deb, and I have been doing in recent years, without being exposed to signs of rot, from opioid addiction to calcifying class barriers.
Three Atlantic staffers discuss “Journey Into Night,” the Season 2 premiere.
Every week for the second season of Westworld, three Atlantic staffers will discuss new episodes of HBO’s cerebral sci-fi drama.
The peppy mixed messaging of I Feel Pretty is only the latest reminder: American culture doesn’t fully know what it’s talking about when it talks about attractiveness.
Every once in a while I’ll rewatch an old episode of Friends, because it’s familiar and soothing and there. The other day, Netflix served up one of those flashbacks the show would sometimes air to poke light fun at the friends and at the visual absurdities involved with being alive in the ’80s: Rachel in chintz, Ross and Chandler in tragicomic Flock of Seagulls bouffants, etc. Watching the meta-nostalgia, I was reminded of the existence of a minor character who nonetheless plays a major role in the show’s universe: Fat Monica.
Fat Monica is technically just a younger—and slightly larger—version of Standard Issue Monica; what becomes wincingly clear, though, as the Friends flashbacks play out, is that Fat Monica differs from the other Monica not just in scale, but in kind. Padded by her former girth, Monica Geller—the person who categorizes her hand towels and designates committees for the planning of birthday parties and is, in general, in thorough control of her life and her Type A-tastic self—undergoes a transformation: Her voice gets higher. Her movements become jerking and awkward. She giggles a lot, uncomfortably. Remember when, in those late-series episodes of Family Matters, Steve Urkel would go into that flashing box and emerge as the suave Stefan Urquelle? Fat Monica’s metamorphosis is a little like that, but in reverse: The transformation depletes her dignity rather than compounding it. She becomes bashful. Childish. Foolish. Watching the proceedings, you start to wonder whether Monica Geller, for the purposes of the flashback scenes, was given a fat suit or a lobotomy.
Legal scholars say the bipartisan legislation could run into trouble at the Supreme Court.
Legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been hailed as a ray of bipartisan sunshine in a divided Congress. The only problem is that even if it could pass both chambers with a veto-proof majority, there may not be enough votes on the Supreme Court to save it from President Trump’s opposition.
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, sponsored by Republican Senators Thom Tillis and Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senators Chris Coons and Cory Booker, would make federal law of Justice Department regulations stating that the special counsel can only be fired for “good cause.” It would also require the Justice Department to preserve evidence from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as allow Mueller to challenge his dismissal in court. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has said he will bring the bill up for a vote this week.
Enoch Powell gave his xenophobic “Rivers of Blood” speech 50 years ago—but the lessons of its reception still apply today.
Fifty years ago, the Conservative Member of Parliament Enoch Powell delivered what may be the most controversial speech in postwar British history: an attack on mass immigration comparing growth in that country’s minority population to “watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.”
Already, Powell argued, immigrants had rendered his nation’s existing population “strangers in their own country.” Suddenly, “they found their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, their plans and prospects for the future defeated; at work they found that employers hesitated to apply to the immigrant worker the standards of discipline and competence required of the native-born worker; they began to hear, as time went by, more and more voices which told them that they were now the unwanted.”
Ross Douthat's views on the pope are intensely unpopular. But has he identified a fundamental tension in the Church?
Across every continent, in every country, Catholics “find themselves divided against one another,” writes the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat in his new book, To Change the Church. On one side stand the orthodox, who see doctrine and tradition as the best antidote to a changing world. On the other stand the liberals, who yearn for a Church that focuses on pastoring rather than enforcing rigid rules. This “widening theological and moral gulf,” Douthat argues, is potentially “wider than the chasm that separated Catholicism from Orthodoxy, and later from Lutheranism and Calvinism.”
That’s a bold claim to make. After all, the schisms of East and West, Catholic and Protestant, were world-shaking, often bloody events. But in today’s Church—and specifically in this pope—Douthat sees the possibility that the Roman Catholic Church will once again break apart.
As the Trumps prepare to host their first state dinner on Tuesday, a look back at state dinners held by past U.S. presidents, from Eisenhower to Obama.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will host the first official state dinner of this administration at the White House, honoring visiting French President Emmanuel Macron. As Mrs. Trump’s team and White House staff work on the final details for the formal event, we present a look back at some state dinners held by past U.S. presidents, from Eisenhower to Obama.
Similar to e-commerce firms, online-degree programs are beginning to incorporate elements of an older-school, brick-and-mortar model.
Online learning has come a long way since the turn of the millennium. It certainly hasn’t displaced traditional colleges, as its biggest proponents said it had the potential to, but it has gained widespread popularity: The number of students in the U.S. enrolled in at least one online course rose from 1.6 million in 2002 to more than 6 million in 2016.
As online learning extends its reach, though, it is starting to run into a major obstacle: There are undeniable advantages, as traditional colleges have long known, to learning in a shared physical space. Recognizing this, some online programs are gradually incorporating elements of the old-school, brick-and-mortar model—just as online retailers such as Bonobos and Warby Parker use relatively small physical outlets to spark sales on their websites and increase customer loyalty. Perhaps the future of higher education sits somewhere between the physical and the digital.
They’re not just for costume races anymore.
By mile nine, Kelly Lewis and her friends knew they were on to something. She and her pals Elise Wallace and Carrie Lundell had donned sparkly skirts that Lundell, a seamstress, had whipped up as a way to stand out while they ran the 2010 Surf City USA Marathon. At the time, wearing something so outlandish on a non-costume run was such an anomaly that Wallace was reluctant to join in. “She said, ‘No way, I’m not going to do it,’” says Lewis, although they ultimately convinced her.
As they ran, runners and spectators kept complimenting their skirts and asking where they got them, Lewis says. “We were like, ‘We should try to sell these. Maybe somebody else would want to wear them.” Later that week Lewis created a website for Sparkle Athletic. A few months later, there was such a demand for glittery running skirts that the team hired a manufacturer, and later expanded into accessories like rainbow socks, sequined visors, and tank tops emblazoned with phrases like “I don’t sweat, I sparkle.”
In 2012, Kansas passed one of the largest income tax cuts in the state’s history. Today, it serves as a cautionary tale.
“We will have among us a young adult population that doesn't know how to ‘hashtag adult.’”
Seventy years ago, Albert Einstein presaged atomic war.