The Atlantic Daily: A Conflicted History

Hope Hicks’s surprise announcement, what kids learn from active-shooter drills, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s next project, and more

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (left) speaks with President Trump and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on January 17, 2018. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

What We’re Following

Trump’s Troubles: Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s longest-serving aides, announced that she is stepping down as the White House communications director. The decision is one that she reportedly had been considering for a long time, but comes just a day after she testified to the House Intelligence Committee that she had sometimes been required to tell “white lies” on the administration’s behalf. And Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, has been stripped of the interim security clearance that allowed him to view top-secret information—a troubling and politically damaging event that illustrates how Trump’s breaching of norms has undermined his White House.

Environmental Issues: College Republicans are publicly backing a climate-change policy for the first time: 23 chapters of the organization have joined a bipartisan student coalition to endorse a proposal to place a high tax on carbon pollution while cutting Environmental Protection Agency regulations. And a new EPA report finds that people of color are disproportionately likely to be exposed to pollutants near their home—adding to a growing body of research, and serving as a caution to leaders who are beginning to walk back the agency’s work on environmental justice and protections.

After Parkland: The teenage survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are poised to transform America’s debate on gun policy—and, Michelle Cottle writes, some of their political power may come from their youth. Yet as young children across the nation confront the prospect of another tragedy in mandatory active-shooter drills, whether the practice is doing them more harm than good remains unclear.


A forest officer checks the icicles on a wall of the Hochwald cave in the Thuringian Forest, near Eisenach, Germany, on February 28, 2018. See more scenes from Europe’s blast of freezing weather. (Jens Meyer / AP)

Who We’re Talking To

Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o, two stars of Black Panther, share what they learned while making the blockbuster film.

Johanna Nordblad, the world-record holder in 50-meter free diving, describes the experience of diving under the ice of the Arctic Ocean in a new short film by Ian Derry.

Evening Read

Ta-Nehisi Coates on his next project—writing the Captain America comic:

Captain America is not so much tied to America as it is, but to an America of the imagined past. In one famous scene, flattered by a treacherous general for his “loyalty,” Rogers—grasping the American flag—retorts, “I’m loyal to nothing, general … except the dream.”

I confess to having a conflicted history with this kind of proclamation—which is precisely why I am so excited to take on Captain America. I have my share of strong opinions about the world. But one reason that I chose the practice of opinion journalism—which is to say a mix of reporting and opinion—is because understanding how those opinions fit in with the perspectives of others has always been more interesting to me than repeatedly restating my own. Writing for me is about questions—not answers. And Captain America, the embodiment of a kind of Lincolnesque optimism, poses a direct question for me: Why would anyone believe in The Dream?

Keep reading as Ta-Nehisi shares what makes that question so exciting.

What Do You Know … About Science, Technology, and Health?

Despite the nightmare scenarios in stories such “The War of the Worlds,” psychologists think the general population would react positively to news of aliens—that is, as long as those aliens are microscopic organisms and not intelligent, slimy monsters. This is good news, since it’s looking more and more likely that other objects in our solar system could sustain microbial life. In Chile’s Atacama Desert, an extreme environment that resembles that of Mars, even a small amount of infrequent rain can keep microbes alive and active. And when scientists studied microscopic archaea taken from hydrothermal vents on Earth, they found that the organisms would probably survive in similar vents on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s many moons.

Can you remember the other key facts from this week’s science, technology, and health coverage? Test your knowledge below:

1. ____________ percent of Americans have at least a fair amount of trust that scientists will act in the public interest.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. In 2016, temperatures in ____________ exceeded normal levels by twice as much as they did in the rest of the world.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The ____________ gene was discovered in fruit flies that have abnormally large heads.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Look Back

Our May 1936 issue featured letters written by Caroline A. Henderson, an Oklahoma resident who stayed during the Dust Bowl with her husband to protect their 28-year-old farm. Here she explains their decision:

We have spent so much in trying to keep our land from blowing away that it looks foolish to walk off and leave it, when somewhat more favorable conditions seem now to ‘cast their shadows before.’ I scarcely need to tell you that there is no use in thinking of either renting or selling farm property here at present. It is just a place to stand on—if we can keep the taxes paid—and work and hope for a better day. We could realize nothing whatever from all our years of struggle with which to make a fresh start.

We long for the garden and little chickens, the trees and birds and wild flowers of the years gone by. Perhaps if we do our part these good things may return some day, for others if not for ourselves.

Read more, share this story, and find more articles from our archives.

Reader Response

Rick Murphy in Los Altos, California, responds to Heather Sher, a radiologist who wrote about treating the Parkland shooting victims’ AR-15 wounds:

As a dad of three middle and high schoolers, an engineer, a marksman, and a teacher of little kids, I wept while reading it—I still am weeping. I thank you for telling us that, and I am sorry that you had to witness and write it. I know that sorrow and misfortune are part of the fabric of the ER—and you and your colleagues are called on to be courageous too often.

The horrific difference between the trauma of high-velocity bullets and that of handgun wounds is something we laypeople in the public don’t know in any sense. We don’t hear about that, and have never really heard about that as part of the anguished public-policy standoffs to which we are subjected.

Read more from Rick, and see other readers’ perspectives.


Bittersweet victory, tantalizing signal, tarnished kingmaker, dismal showing.

Time of Your Life

Happy birthday to Sundar’s favorite writer (a year younger than Band-Aids); to K.W.’s daughter Katie (born around the time of the first successful heart transplant); to Pamela’s niece (a year younger than The Simpsons); and to Jacqueline’s colleague and friend Iliana (twice the age of Google).

Do you or a loved one have a birthday coming up? Sign up for a birthday shout-out, and explore the Timeline feature for yourself.

Meet The Atlantic Daily’s team, and contact us.

Did you get this newsletter from a friend? Sign yourself up.