The Department of Homeland Security says it has suspended any actions to implement Trump’s travel ban, and the Louvre in Paris reopens after Egypt identifies the man who attacked soldiers with a machete.
The Justice Department Appeals the Federal Court Stay on Trump's Travel Ban
The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) appealed a decision on Saturday night by a federal judge in Seattle that temporarily halted President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The judge’s ruling was made Friday night, and by the next morning the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department both said they would quit enforcing the ban that stopped people in seven majority-Muslim countries from coming to the U.S. The move by the DOJ takes the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where it could go before three judges, one appointed by former-President George W. Bush, another by Jimmy Carter, and the third by Barack Obama. As POLITICO reported, a potential hurdle for Trump’s ban is that “temporary restraining orders” like those issued by the federal judge in Seattle “are not ordinarily appealable. Usually a party who wants to appeal has to wait until the next stage in the process, a preliminary injunction.” If the Ninth Circuit Court refuses to hear the appeal then it could go to the Supreme Court.
The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!
Romanian Prime Minister Rescinds Decree that Legalized Corruption
The prime minister of Romania, Sorin Grindeanu, bowed to massive protests on Saturday against a decree that would have protected politicians from prosecution for corruption. The decree decriminalized some offences of graft and bribery of up to $48,000. It was pitched as a way to relieve pressure on the prison system, although it mainly would have protected dozens of government officials. Protesters had taken to the streets for five days, with as many as 330,000 showing up in 70 different cities—140,000 of whom were in a plaza near the prime minister’s office building. The decree would have especially helped Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea, who was convicted of electoral fraud and was accused of using his political influence to get state salaries for two people. The conviction barred Dragnea from serving in political office. He is viewed as the power behind the prime minister, who took office last month.
Egypt Identifies the Man Who Attacked Guards at the Louvre
An Egyptian Interior Ministry official said on Saturday that the man who attacked soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris was 28-year-old Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, a man with no history of political activism or criminal activity, the Associated Press reported. Al-Hamahmy came to Paris on a tourist visa and bought two military machetes at a gun store in the city. Then, while trying to enter the Louvre’s underground shopping center, he rushed at French guards. The guards shot al-Hamahmy four times, and he is recovering from those wounds, which are no longer listed as life-threatening. Al-Hamahmy is Egyptian, although he is believed to have been living in the United Arab Emirates. He came to Paris last week and sent his family a photo of himself with the Eiffel Tower. During the attack, al-Hamahmy yelled "Allahu akbar!" and French President Francois Hollande has said there is “no doubt” this was a terror attack. Al-Hamahmy’s father denied to reporters that his son was radicalized or involved in any militant group. The Louvre, which houses countless masterpieces of art, reopened Saturday morning.
The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department Suspend Trump's Travel Ban
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Saturday it would suspend all actions to implement President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, and the State Department said it would allow visa holders from those countries to to enter the U.S. Both announcements came after a federal judge in Seattle ruled to temporarily block Trump’s executive order, a ruling that derived from a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington, and joined by Minnesota. “This decision shuts down the executive order immediately,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Friday night after the ruling was made. “That relief is immediate, happens right now.” In accordance with that ruling, the State Department said it would allow people with visas from the previously banned countries to enter the U.S., and in a separate statement DHS said it would stop enforcing Trump’s order, effectively returning to the standards prior to the ban. In its statement, DHS said it had “suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.'” Trump denounced the judge’s decision via Twitter, saying:
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
The comedian’s employees say that fame has enabled callousness and abuse on her show. The warm testimonies of her superstar friends highlight their point.
Famous people want the world to know that Ellen DeGeneres is nice to famous people. Addressing media reports alleging a culture of harassment and bullying at DeGeneres’s talk show, the singer Katy Perry tweeted Tuesday that she’s “only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen.” Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Hart, Jay Leno, Diane Keaton, and the superstar agent Scooter Braun have all recently made similar declarations about DeGeneres’s kindness, so as to push back against claims painting her as callous toward staffers, fans, and other entertainment-industry figures. “Looking forward to the future where we get back to loving one another,” Hart wrote, blasting those who have criticized DeGeneres and called for her to step down. “This hate shit has to stop.”
Three predictions for what the future might look like
In March, tens of millions of American workers—mostly in white-collar industries such as tech, finance, and media—were thrust into a sudden, chaotic experiment in working from home. Four months later, the experiment isn’t close to ending. For many, the test run is looking more like the long run.
Google announced in July that its roughly 200,000 employees will continue to work from home until at least next summer. Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects half of Facebook’s workforce to be remote within the decade. Twitter has told staff they can stay home permanently.
With corporate giants welcoming far-flung workforces, real-estate markets in the superstar cities that combine high-paid work and high-cost housing are in turmoil. In the San Francisco Bay Area, rents are tumbling. In New York City, offices are still empty; so many well-heeled families with second homes have abandoned Manhattan that it’s causing headaches for the census.
How I got co-opted into helping the rich prevail at the expense of everybody else
From my parents’ teenage years in the 1930s and ’40s through my teenage years in the 1970s, American economic life became a lot more fair and democratic and secure than it had been when my grandparents were teenagers. But then all of a sudden, around 1980, that progress slowed, stopped, and in many ways reversed.
I didn’t really start understanding the nature and enormity of the change until the turn of this century, after the country had been fully transformed. One very cold morning just after Thanksgiving in 2006, I was on the way to Eppley Airfield in Omaha after my first visit to my hometown since both my parents had died, sharing a minivan jitney from a hotel with a couple of Central Casting airline pilots—tall, fit white men around my age, one wearing a leather jacket. We chatted. To my surprise, even shock, both of them spent the entire trip sputtering and whining—about being bait-and-switched when their employee-ownership shares of United Airlines had been evaporated by its recent bankruptcy, about the default of their pension plan, about their CEO’s recent 40 percent pay raise, about the company to which they’d devoted their entire careers but no longer trusted at all. In effect, about changing overnight from successful all-American middle-class professionals who’d worked hard and played by the rules into disrespected, cheated, sputtering, whining chumps.
A virus has brought the world’s most powerful country to its knees.
How did it come to this? A virus a thousand times smaller than a dust mote has humbled and humiliated the planet’s most powerful nation. America has failed to protect its people, leaving them with illness and financial ruin. It has lost its status as a global leader. It has careened between inaction and ineptitude. The breadth and magnitude of its errors are difficult, in the moment, to truly fathom.
In the first half of 2020, SARS‑CoV‑2—the new coronavirus behind the disease COVID‑19—infected 10 million people around the world and killed about half a million.
No matter what happens now, the virus will continue to circulate around the world.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has sickened more than 16.5 million people across six continents. It is raging in countries that never contained the virus. It is resurgingin manyof the ones that did. If there was ever a time when this coronavirus could be contained, it has probably passed. One outcome is now looking almost certain: This virus is never going away.
The coronavirus is simply too widespread and too transmissible. The most likely scenario, experts say, is that the pandemic ends at some point—because enough people have been either infected or vaccinated—but the virus continues to circulate in lower levels around the globe. Cases will wax and wane over time. Outbreaks will pop up here and there. Even when a much-anticipated vaccine arrives, it is likely to only suppress but never completely eradicate the virus. (For context, consider that vaccines exist for more than a dozen human viruses but only one, smallpox, has ever been eradicated from the planet, and that took 15 years of immense global coordination.) We will probably be living with this virus for the rest of our lives.
Which is too bad because we really need to understand how the immune system reacts to the coronavirus.
Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET on August 5, 2020.
There’s a joke about immunology, which Jessica Metcalf of Princeton recently told me. An immunologist and a cardiologist are kidnapped. The kidnappers threaten to shoot one of them, but promise to spare whoever has made the greater contribution to humanity. The cardiologist says, “Well, I’ve identified drugs that have saved the lives of millions of people.” Impressed, the kidnappers turn to the immunologist. “What have you done?” they ask. The immunologist says, “The thing is, the immune system is very complicated …” And the cardiologist says, “Just shoot me now.”
The thing is, the immune system is very complicated. Arguably the most complex part of the human body outside the brain, it’s an absurdly intricate network of cells and molecules that protect us from dangerous viruses and other microbes. These components summon, amplify, rile, calm, and transform one another: Picture a thousand Rube Goldberg machines, some of which are aggressively smashing things to pieces. Now imagine that their components are labeled with what looks like a string of highly secure passwords: CD8+, IL-1β, IFN-γ. Immunology confuses even biology professors who aren’t immunologists—hence Metcalf’s joke.
A year ago, I published a piece in the print magazine about that long-standing object of American fascination, the Roman Empire. Usually, and usefully, Americans have over the centuries looked to Rome for guidance on how their nation could avoid the predictable slide from republic to empire to conquest and dissolution. My favorite in this genre is the wonderful 2007 book Are We Rome?, by my friend (and Atlantic colleague) Cullen Murphy.
But for last year’s piece I discussed some other books, arguing that what happened to Rome after the fall of the Western empire is what Americans should be studying. Especially in this era when central government—leadership on the imperial scale, you might say—was faltering, and when our counterparts to the Roman provinces (that is, our cities and states and regions) were by comparison so much more practical-minded and functional.
The coronavirus could change lingering cultural assumptions about what makes for a full and happy life.
A few weeks into the pandemic, a meme circulated among some of the mothers I follow on various social-media platforms. “Check in on your friends with little kids,” the words in a tiny black serif font on a light-pink background read, followed by a fairly long list of things parents with young kids couldn’t do, including “go for a run by themselves,” “peacefully read a book or start a new project,” and “go to the bathroom by themselves.” This innocuous-seeming post caught my eye because it felt like a cry for help. My friends were getting honest about how hard it is to raise children right now.
I also read it as an indirect plea to not take my child-free privileges for granted. I don’t know what it’s like to parent a young child, let alone parent in a pandemic. I can imagine it, but like most life-altering experiences, it’s one of those things you have to live to truly understand. I’ve always been ambivalent about whether I would have children, but as I entered my early 40s, I started exploring the possibility of having a child on my own. And then the pandemic happened.
Donald Trump and the coronavirus are all-consuming topics. What will happen to the rest of the world’s issues?
Over the past six months, it has seemed like every news story is about the coronavirus, or President Donald Trump’s failed response to it. It’s been a challenge for even crucial issues like racial justice and police violence to break into the media agenda for more than a few days at a time.
Although the events of 2020 present unique challenges to the media—and to humanity as a whole—the narrowing of the media agenda, a phenomenon I call “agenda compression,” dates back to the 2016 election. Former CBS President Les Moonves famously observed of Trump’s candidacy: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS.” News networks rode the twists and turns of Trump’s candidacy to record ratings and ad sales, and the spotlight has not turned away from Trump for a second since he won the presidency.
Schools are essential to the functioning of our society, and that makes teachers essential workers.
The other day my husband, a public-school teacher in New York City, got a string of texts from a work friend. After checking in on our family and picking up their ongoing conversation about books and TV shows, she wrote, “So, are we going on a teacher strike in the fall?”
“What!? No!” My husband is adamantly against a strike, because he understands on a deep, personal level his duty to serve his country in the classroom.
We have two young children, one of whom is developmentally disabled, and I’m an intensive-care nurse. Through the spring, I took care of COVID-19 patients at the hospital while he toggled between teaching on Zoom and helping our daughters through their own lessons. He knows that I did my part for society, and that now he should, too.