The Atlantic Daily: Here’s How to Respond to a Diplomatic Crisis

Who is Heidi Cruz? Plus one senator’s proposal to give cash to lower-income families, a federal clergy-abuse investigation, and more

The Divine Redeemer Catholic Church in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania on August 17, 2018 (Carlos Barria / Reuters)

What We’re Following

Church and State: The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating multiple Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. While state-level law enforcement has prosecuted priests accused of sex crimes, the federal government generally hasn’t been involved in these cases. The moral and legal stakes of the clergy sex-abuse crisis continue to grow.

Give People Money: California Senator Kamala Harris has a plan—LIFT the Middle Class Act—to give lower-income families up to $500 in cash each month. Here are the central arguments for such proposals, which as legislation would cost a hefty sum to enact. Harris is among the prominent Democratic names clearly nudging towards a presidential run in 2020.

Diplomacy: How should governments navigate diplomatic crises like the one still brewing around the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, widely believed to have been murdered? Former U.S. diplomats share their experiences and advice on how to respond. (“This is not a good example on how to handle these situations,” one said of how the current administration has behaved publicly so far.)

Mail Order: For years, this organization has given some women in countries where abortion is legal a way to perform their own medication-induced abortions at home. Now that organization’s founder has launched a new service that will mail to the U.S. In shipping news: President Trump announced he is instructing the U.S. Postal Service to levy higher fees on packages from overseas, including from countries like China, with its low costs of shipping to the U.S.


Thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface live anywhere from a tenth to one-half of all the world’s organisms. This unseen living matter may be remaking Earth in ways we scarcely noticed before. Meet the endoterrestrials. (Illustration by Zoë van Dijk)

Evening Read

You don’t know Heidi Cruz. Elaina Plott profiles the woman who had her whole future mapped out when she met a man named Ted, when they were both working on George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign:

As Ted’s wife, the mother of their two daughters, and the family breadwinner, Heidi has helped see him through roles as Texas solicitor general, U.S. senator, and, most recently, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. In 2015, she took unpaid leave from her job as the managing director of Goldman Sachs in Houston to campaign for her husband. Suddenly, the curtain was pulled back on the woman who professed to love one of the most polarizing figures in American politics. While Ted struggled to find character witnesses within his own party—his colleague Lindsey Graham once joked about someone murdering him on the Senate floor—Heidi collected fans wherever she went. “Everyone loves Heidi,” a prominent Houston Democrat told me. “Every time I talk to her I think, You should be running for office, not your husband.”

Heidi Cruz is indeed easy to like. I met her on an August afternoon at her home, where she’d invited me for lunch. The Cruzes live in precisely the house you’d envision—white brick with black shutters and a door framed by gas lanterns—in the neighborhood you’d expect, leafy and palatial, in the center of Houston.  

If some people look like their dogs, Heidi Cruz looks like her house: expensive, serene, draped in pretty fabrics.

Read on.

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:

Closing the sidewalk in front of the White House, as the National Park Service has proposed, would mean demolishing the country’s most vital public forum—and another norm shattered by the Trump administration.

A steady stream of new, pastel-hued high-rises have pierced Pyongyang’s skyline recently—part of Kim Jong Un’s focus on residential development. How is North Korea building so much?

The school district in San José, California, wants to build affordable workforce housing for struggling teachers in the district. Why have many community members reacted to the plan with outrage?

Dutch engineers are renowned for their ability to keep cities dry. But their approach doesn’t necessarily translate to an American context, Billy Fleming argues. (Plus, we asked experts: What’s one way a city could cut emissions significantly, and fast?)

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

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