What We’re Following
The partial U.S.-government shutdown continues, while the House Democrats push forward with the establishment of a Climate Crisis Committee—to the disappointment of some activists on the party’s left, who’d hoped for a more ambitious mandate. Still at loose ends is the fallout over the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, the geopolitical impact—or lack thereof—of the withdrawal of troops from Syria, how the push for greater gun-control regulation, reignited in 2018 after another fatal year, will continue to unfold, and much more. And what will President Donald Trump confront in the new year, halfway through his first term?
The Daily will be on a break until January 2, 2019, so we leave you here with a few more stories from this past year to catch up on. Happy new year.
What to Read
Finding a way through an unspeakable loss (Deborah Copaken)
“The other mothers from our playgroup were at the funeral as well, all of us with the same guilty thoughts: Why did we still have our children when Suzi did not? It felt wrong, obscene. ‘It’s incomprehensible,’ we kept saying to one another, for lack of better words. ” → Read on.
I know Brett Kavanaugh, but I wouldn’t confirm him (Benjamin Wittes)
“If I were a senator, I would not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. These are words I write with no pleasure, but with deep sadness. Unlike many people who will read them with glee—as validating preexisting political, philosophical, or jurisprudential opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination—I have no hostility to or particular fear of conservative jurisprudence.” → Read on.
Hippos poop so much that sometimes all the fish die (Ed Yong)
“Every day, the 4,000 or so hippos in the Mara deposit about 8,500 kilograms of waste into a stretch of river that’s just 100 kilometers long.” → Read on.
The bullet in my arm (Elaina Plott)
“I stroked my mother’s hair as she cried and drove me to the hospital. The surgeon said the bullet was small, maybe a .22-caliber, and too deep in the muscle to take out, so it’s still in my arm. They never caught the shooter, or came up with a motive.” → Read on.
Why rich kids are so good at the infamous marshmallow test (Jessica McCrory Calarco)
“A child’s capacity to hold out for a second marshmallow is shaped in large part by a child’s social and economic background—and, in turn, that that background, not the ability to delay gratification, is what’s behind kids’ long-term success.” → Read on.
More and more Americans are reporting near-constant cannabis use, as legalization forges ahead (Annie Lowrey)
“‘Part of how legalization was sold was with this assumption that there was no harm, in reaction to the message that everyone has smoked marijuana was going to ruin their whole life.’” → Read on.
Amazon’s HQ2 spectacle isn’t just shameful—it should be illegal (Derek Thompson)
“Why the hell are U.S. cities spending tens of billions of dollars to steal jobs from one another in the first place?” → Read on.
Why do cartoon villains speak in foreign accents? (Isabel Fattal)
“The common denominator in all of these vague foreign accents is ‘the binary distinction of “like us” versus “not like us.”’ ‘Villainy is marked just by sounding different.’” → Read on.