The Atlantic Daily: Texas Prison Deaths, Olympic Politics, Salad Sexism

A new database tracked how lives end in the legal system, Putin called for purer sports, a “feminine” food took on pervasive symbolism, and more.

Richard Carson / Reuters

What We’re Following

6,913: That’s how many people died in legal custody in Texas between 2005 and 2015, writes Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. The figure comes from a new, public database that tracks the circumstances of each death. Creator Amanda Woog sifted through thousands of internal reports to find the patterns among people who died of natural causes in prison, were killed by officers or fellow inmates, overdosed, or committed suicide—building a fuller picture of how American criminal justice works.

The Game of Politics: With Russian track-and-field athletes banned from the Olympics in the wake of a state-sponsored doping scandal, President Vladimir Putin has accused his country’s critics of mixing politics with sports. The thing is, writes J. Weston Phippen, they’ve always gone together. South Africa was banned from the Olympics during apartheid; Athens got its rival Sparta banned during the Peloponnesian war; and this year, Putin himself is out to show his country’s strength.

Food for Thought: Why do people think of salad as feminine? Is it the frail, perishable lettuce leaves? Our associations with hunter-gatherers? Cultural pressures on women to eat fewer calories? Julie Beck digs into the history of healthy, dainty, abstinent eating—and whether salad is ready to take on a new role in American life.

Meanwhile, Back in Philadelphia

Last night, the current president endorsed his party’s candidate. This evening, Hillary Clinton will formally accept her nomination. Our politics team is reporting on the memorable moments:

When Barack Obama redefined American exceptionalism: not just a city on a hill, but a city under construction.

When Michael Bloomberg meant business. In a speech endorsing Hillary Clinton, the centrist billionaire went after Donald Trump: “I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one!”

When the revolution came around again. The day Bernie Sanders’s candidacy ended is a familiar death date for radical movements—if you go by the French Revolution’s republican calendar.

See all of our convention coverage here, and follow tonight’s live blogging here.


Reader Daniel Watkins calls Delaware’s Cape Henlopen “one of the most idyllic places I’ve ever seen: beach and forest, sand and soil, shell and pine cone, with a thick salt marsh right in the middle.” See more here, and send your photos of America from the air to


“We take maps very seriously.” —Brian McClendon, a vice president at Uber

“It’s become a zombie party.” —Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, on the Democratic Party

“I hope it’s haunted, but it hasn’t been yet.” —Poppy Liu, on living communally in a renovated doll factory

Evening Read

Megan Garber on Hillary Clinton and the reclamation of “grace”:

The Clinton campaign’s use of “grace” is both distinctly modern and distinctly ancient: It embraces the current, gendered sense of the word, but also bends that sense toward something more complex and inclusive. It rejects, subtly, the reading of the word that prioritizes feminine elegance—the kind NBC News employed when it described Melania Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention as “gracefully delivered”—favoring instead the old sense of “grace” as a kind of spiritual equipoise. Here is the stuff of Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean/picture of a beauty queen reassessed for a time when a woman can be, simultaneously, a grandmother and a Commander-in-Chief.

In that sense, “grace” is more than a word: It is a shibboleth. It reflects the times, or more precisely it reflects what one chooses to see in the times. Which is also to say that it is, despite its nods to the beautiful and the spiritual and the transcendent, inherently political.

Continue reading here.

News Quiz

1 While monkeys can think about what others know, say two psychologists, they don’t understand ____________ .

(Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.)

2. Escape rooms, in which players are trapped inside a space and must solve a series of puzzles to get out, are becoming increasingly popular tools for ____________.

(Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.)

3. In ____________, a leading tax haven, foreigners make up over 60 percent of the workforce.

(Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.)

Reader Response

A veteran lawyer lends insight over Donald Trump’s argument that he can’t/won’t release his tax returns while they’re under audit by the IRS:

I agree with what James Fallows is saying about Trump’s tax returns. Of course I also agree with the IRS (i.e., Trump is free to release them; the audit is irrelevant to that question).

But there is ONE way in which the audit is relevant to the release, and vice versa: If Trump releases returns while they are still auditable or being audited—which, of course, every other candidate has done in the past—then the nation’s tax professionals, seeing them and poring over them, are likely if not certain to make public suggestions about things the IRS should look into, or how the IRS should look into them, that might actually lead the IRS to take a look at, or do, something the IRS might not otherwise have done.

The nation’s tax professionals might even detect tax fraud that the IRS might miss. That’s a criminal matter—not a back taxes or penalty matter. Which of us would be surprised if they did, in Trump’s case?

Read more here, and join the discussion via


Four harmonicas carried, fridge potential scored, iPod Classic celebrated, umbrella user shamed, summer song sung, almond truth revealed.