The Atlantic Daily: Border Closures in Europe, Evacuations in California, Floods in Utah

Hungary and Germany crack down on border control, thousands flee their homes amid California wildfires, a ninth victim of flash flooding in Utah was found, and more.

Marko Djurica / Reuters

What We’re Following: Open Borders No More

Hungary has constructed a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia to stop the steady flow of migrants who are fleeing war and poverty in Syria and other countries. Germany—which a week ago welcomed thousands of refugees into its cities—announced it would reimpose border controls. About 13,000 people arrived in Munich on Saturday alone. “This is too much, even for Munich,” said the city’s mayor.

Blaze Rages On: Wildfires in the northern part of California have now engulfed at least 585 homes and other buildings, and about 13,000 people have been displaced. The ongoing blaze, which has been dubbed the Valley Fire, threatens some 9,000 other buildings. This year’s fire season is among the worst in recent memory.

Deadly Flash Flood: Nine people are dead after a flash flood swept away their cars in a small Utah community earlier this week. Three adults and six children are among the dead. The body of the ninth victim was recovered today, and four people remain missing.

More new stuff: Check out What Matters Now, The Atlantic’s news filter on Facebook, and follow what’s happening in the world with us in real time.


Grizzly bears search for blueberries in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. For more images of autumn in Denali National Park, please visit The Atlantic Photo. (Jacob W. Frank / Denali National Park and Preserve)


Alex Marshall, author of  Republic or Death!: Travels in Search of National Anthems, on why he dislikes “God Save the Queen”: “I love the Queen … but most anthems are at least meant to say something about your character. At the very least, they’re meant to say your hills look nice.”

Kathy Kelley, founder of the menopause and hysterectomy resource website Hyster Sisters, who receives hormone therapy: “I used to laugh and say, I don’t care if it’s bat wings and the eye of snakes. If it’s going to make me feel better, I need to take it.”

Tiffany Kraft, an adjunct professor who teaches at four different institutions in the Portland, Oregon, area: “What do we have to lose? We’ve been scared into complicity for so long, but I didn’t go through 14 years of higher education to be treated like shit.”

News Quiz

1. On the International Space Station, the lack of ________ causes astronauts’ spines to expand, making them taller.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

2. The first U.S. county clerk to approve a same-sex marriage license was Clela Rorex, in the year ______.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

3. Some scientists think that the Plague of Athens in the 5th century B.C. was caused by ________.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

Evening Read

In the cover story for our October issue, Ta-Nehisi Coates traces the history of mass incarceration in America and its effect on black families:

In absolute terms, America’s prison and jail population from 1970 until today has increased sevenfold, from some 300,000 people to 2.2 million. The United States now accounts for less than 5 percent of the world’s inhabitants—and about 25 percent of its incarcerated inhabitants. In 2000, one in 10 black males between the ages of 20 and 40 was incarcerated—10 times the rate of their white peers. In 2010, a third of all black male high-school dropouts between the ages of 20 and 39 were imprisoned, compared with only 13 percent of their white peers.

Our carceral state banishes American citizens to a gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens. Banishment continues long after one’s actual time behind bars has ended, making housing and employment hard to secure. And banishment was not simply a well-intended response to rising crime. It was the method by which we chose to address the problems that preoccupied Moynihan, problems resulting from “three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment.” At a cost of $80 billion a year, American correctional facilities are a social-service program—providing health care, meals, and shelter for a whole class of people.

As the civil-rights movement wound down, Moynihan looked out and saw a black population reeling under the effects of 350 years of bondage and plunder. He believed that these effects could be addressed through state action. They were—through the mass incarceration of millions of black people.

Reader Response

A reader comments on the annotated March 1965 report by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, which Coates points to in his story:

Among other occupations, Moynihan was an academic. His seminal work strikes me as being a way to establish his bona fides in the academic world, and unquestionably he was successful. At the time Moynihan, was a well-known figure in a cottage industry filled with recently minted academics; [I’ve] never thought this group added much to the debates of the time, and less so today. … Essentially, Moynihan’s work was a gambit to have a seat at a table that had no open chairs.

But another reader “couldn’t disagree more,” pointing to a little-known memo our editors just unearthed—a May 4, 1964 document from Moynihan offering LBJ policy prescriptions related to his upcoming report:

Almost every point made in that Moynihan memo is right on and current today. The clarity of the message is a stark contrast to the muddled, finger-pointing, self-satisfied BS that passes for policy analysis today.

Read it for yourself here.


World’s second-largest tree protected, New York City-dwelling alligator captured, baby panda grows.

Answers: GRAVITY, 1975, EBOLA