The Atlantic Daily: May Be Illuminating

A new book reveals extraordinary quotes from White House officials. Plus a devastating museum fire, our new Ideas section, and more

Leah Millis / Reuters

What We’re Following

White House Woes: President Donald Trump bemoaned the indictments of “two very popular Republican Congressmen … just ahead of the Mid-Terms,” in a tweet that openly expressed a corrupt vision of the Justice Department. Trump has long had a fraught relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a new book by the acclaimed journalist Bob Woodward reveals even more infighting between the president and the top members of his team. Here are some of the most striking quotes.

Museum Fire: A fire at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro burned for more than five hours over the weekend, destroying many irreplaceable artifacts and leaving only a shell of the 200-year-old building. Here are photos of the fire and its aftermath, and here’s what was lost.

Our Newest Section: Ideas—our new destination page for analysis, essays, and commentary—will feature “a broad array of voices … [that] will challenge your preconceptions and expectations,” Jeffrey Goldberg writes. Today, Emily Yoffe makes the case for reforming Title IX, Annie Lowrey explains the policy problems revealed by the poultry industry, John McWhorter considers the singular they, and more. Check out all our Ideas coverage.


The Stakes of Justice: Confirmation hearings have begun for the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and the Senate is likely to vote in his favor. If it does, Adam Serwer argues, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court will have the power to strike down progressive legislation “in the name of a purely theoretical freedom”—and at the expense of most Americans’ lives. Read Adam’s essay, illustrated above by Alice Tatone.

Evening Read

James Hamblin talks to Mikhaila Peterson, whose diet allows no food or seasonings other than beef, water, and salt:

Apart from having to exist in a world where the possibility of pepper exposure looms, the only other social downside she notices is that she hates asking people to accommodate her diet. So she will usually eat before she goes to a dinner party, she told me, “but then I’ll go drink and enjoy the party.”

“Drink, as in, water?”

“I can also, strangely enough, tolerate vodka and bourbon.”

The idea that alcohol, one of the most well-documented toxic substances, is among the few things that Peterson’s body will tolerate may be illuminating. It implies that when it comes to dieting, the inherent properties of the substances ingested can be less important than the eater’s conceptualizations of them—as either tolerable or intolerable, good or bad. What’s actually therapeutic may be the act of elimination itself.

Keep reading, as James explains why Peterson and her followers might find the all-beef diet compelling.

What Do You Know … About Family?

1. On average, kids tend to express the most materialistic values when they’re in ____________ school.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. About ____________ percent of American adults report that they haven’t had sex at all in the past year.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. On September 9, the fast-food company KFC is offering $11,000 to the first baby to be named ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: middle / 22 / Harland

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. Gracie McKenzie shares today’s top stories:

A century ago, the United States had a public-transportation system that was the envy of the world. Today, outside a few major urban centers, it’s barely on life support. Why did America give up on mass transit?

In the last year of his life, Senator John McCain worked to revitalize a long-abandoned riverfront project in central Arizona. Here’s why the project was an unlikely choice for a legacy.

Many addresses on Chicago’s North Side are reflected in vastly different neighborhoods on the South Side. The photographer Tonika Johnson’s project, “Folded Map,” pairs residents with their counterparts across town to explore the divisions in their city.

For more updates like these from the urban world, subscribe to CityLab’s Daily newsletter.

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