The Atlantic Daily: Jonathan Pollard, Joyce Mitchell, and Tom Brady

A convicted spy is paroled, a prison worker turns prisoner-to-be, and a four-game suspension is upheld.

Baz Ratner / Reuters

What’s Happening: Iran, Israel, and Jonathan Pollard

With the 60-day clock ticking for Congress to approve or veto the proposed nuclear deal with Iran, divisions between legislators and policymakers are crystallizing. The most significant gulf, between President Obama and the Israeli government, shows no sign of closing. Tuesday's announcement that Jonathan Pollard, a convicted spy who passed U.S. secrets to Israel in the 1980s, would be paroled in November also had little effect on bilateral relations.

From Prison Worker to Prisoner: Joyce Mitchell, the prison employee who helped two convicted murderers escape from an upstate New York facility last month, pled guilty to charges on Tuesday. “She got in over her head into something that she never should have started,” her lawyer told reporters outside the courtroom. “But she did, and she’s paying the price now.” Mitchell faces a maximum of seven years behind bars.

Bad News for Brady: It’s been a rough offseason for Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. The NFL handed the New England Patriots quarterback a four-game suspension earlier this year for his alleged involvement in “Deflategate.” On Tuesday, league commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the punishment, citing the destruction of Brady’s cellphone as possible destruction of evidence. Now that Brady’s internal appeals are exhausted, some speculate that he and the players’ union could challenge the NFL in court.


An elderly Nepalese pedestrian walks past the remains of destroyed buildings in Chautara, Nepal, in June. To view a gallery of Nepal three moths after the earthquakes, visit The Atlantic Photo. (Prakash Mathema / AFP / Getty)


  • James Fallows: “You can be persuaded by Netanyahu, Huckabee, Cruz, Kristol, Adelson, et al, all of whom were wrong on the last high-stakes judgment call about U.S. interests in the Middle East [Iraq]. Or by an overwhelming majority of the people from both parties with operating experience in America’s war-fighting and peace-making enterprises in this part of the world. … Judge for yourself.”
  • David Graham: “Robert Gates has now integrated two of the great bastions of macho American traditional morality—first the U.S. armed forces, and now the Boy Scouts of America. In both cases, Gates pursued a careful, gradual strategy, one that wasn’t fast enough for activists.”
  • Conor Friedersdorf: Possessing and viewing child pornography is morally wrong. The illegality of the industry is justified. But this particular reporting requirement [for therapists] doesn’t help protect kids.”

News Quiz

1. The Democratic Parties in three states—Connecticut, Georgia, and Missouri—have decided to no longer honor these two famous U.S. presidents during their annual fundraising dinners.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

2. According to a new survey from Harvard, nearly ______ percent of girls prefer male political leaders over female ones.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

3. A newly discovered artifact buried with Captain Gabriel Archer, one of the most prominent leaders of Jamestown and of the first Protestant church in America, suggests he was a crypto-_________.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

Evening Read

John Tyler Allen investigates how some medical schools are trying to instill more empathy among their students:

It was the end of a week-long orientation for [Joe] Thurman, a first-year medical student at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Seated at the table around him were the new classmates with whom he would share a cadaver during first-year Gross Anatomy lab. For most of the students at the table, the dissection, set to begin five weeks later, would be their first experience with the visceral textures of the human body. For example, tearing through fascia, the thin layers of tissue covering the muscles and internal organs, isn’t always easy. To tug off the top of someone’s skull (it’s supposed to sound like ripping Velcro), you’ll need a bone saw and a bit of force.

But before the students experienced any of this, they would have to share a meal with the three people who would soon occupy those empty chairs: the relatives of the woman they would disassemble.

Reader Email of the Day

From Bryan Lutterbie:

Professor Melvin Rogers calls Ta-Nehisi Coates to task for a lack of hope, arguing, ‘Humility, borne of our ignorance of the future, justifies hope.’ Perhaps, but in this sense, hope is nothing more than the unknown and unknowable possibilities of the future, a notion that perhaps because we can’t read ahead to the end of the book it might have a happy ending. Coates sets aside hope, not out of despair, but out of deference for what is known, for what is now. 

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus writes, ‘A man devoid of hope and conscious of being so has ceased to belong to the future.’ What Coates offers to his son instead is a lucid glimpse into what is and why, an attempt to lay bare the myths and stories that underpin our ‘post-racial’ America. Here is reality, Coates writes: ‘This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.’ It grounds this struggle in the here and now. 

Rogers asks of this struggle, ‘to what end?’ If there is no hope, what is the point? Camus again responds best when describing his absurd hero: ‘The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.’


First female NFL coach welcomed, gender stereotypes inherited, disintegrated human-shaped coffin remade,  “dead” woman reanimated, “Happy Birthday” copyright shot.