The Atlantic Daily: Revolutionary Force

Remembering Aretha Franklin, nuclear-arms reduction in Russia, Ted Cruz’s basketball skills, and more

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

What We’re Following

A Natural Woman: Aretha Franklin, the singer known as the Queen of Soul, has died at the age of 76. Here are photos from throughout her decades-long career. Franklin’s music and her activism made her a revolutionary force in both the entertainment industry and the civil-rights movement. For many of her fans, though, her appeal lies in a deeply personal sense of transcendence. Hannah Giorgis unpacks the song that epitomizes Franklin’s art.

Russia’s Role: As the U.S. midterm elections approach, Facebook has shut down more than 30 fake political pages linked to Russia—a sign that the country’s efforts to influence American politics continue. Even so, Rand Paul argues that the United States must engage with Russia so that both countries can reduce their nuclear arms.

Having Kids: Heterosexual couples hoping to conceive a child have dozens of fertility-tracking apps to choose from—but few of them are structured to involve would-be fathers in the planning. Because getting pregnant can be difficult and emotionally fraught, those anxious to become grandparents should tread very carefully when bringing up the topic with their adult children, if they do so at all.


Most fishing cats, like the one in Vidhya Nagarajan’s illustration, are reclusive animals. But as the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, expands into their wetland habitat, a small population of the cats is adapting to urban life. Paul Bisceglio reports on how cities could be making animals smarter.

Evening Read

Ben Strauss on playing basketball with a Texas senator:

Ted Cruz drains three 15-foot jumpers in a row. Swishes them all from the top of the key—and with a hand in his face, no less. He’s feelin’ it, and looks over at me. I’m sort of stunned. We’re playing two-on-two on a secret, members-only court deep inside the Dirksen Senate Office Building. It’s all part of an improbable, choreographed charm offensive to humanize the much-maligned junior senator from Texas. Through basketball. I know, it sounds ridiculous. The guy’s got none of Barack’s moves, or cool, and if he ever gets to be president, the NBA champs probably aren’t coming for the White House visit. Still, here we are, me and Ted playing two of his staffers to 11, and the senator wants the ball. Again.

Keep reading, as Strauss weighs whether basketball can help Cruz keep his Senate seat.

What Do You Know?

1. In order to surveil its citizens, China is reportedly disguising drones as ____________.

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2. In 2017, the country with the world’s fastest-growing economy was ____________.

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3. A German broadcaster’s recent interview with a far-right politician has been praised for avoiding the subject of ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: birds / Ethiopia / refugees

Urban Developments

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing city dwellers around the world. Karim Doumar shares today’s top stories:

What happens when the Federal Transit Administration stops administering? Right now it’s sitting on $1.4 billion that should be going toward transit projects across the country, and it’s worrying transit agencies that are relying on that money.

Coming soon to China: a massive 24-mile bridge that spans multiple cities. It’s unparalleled, and unnecessary.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s latest push against a Barack Obama–era fair-housing rule has a YIMBY twist, but it’s not winning over people on either side of the housing debate.

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