The Atlantic Daily: A Man, a Plan, a Tabloid, Amazon

Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of “extortion and blackmail.” Plus more on the Green New Deal, a way to slow mosquitoes, the man who survived 16 bullets, and more

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

What We’re Following

To get packages to your doorstep in just a day or two, Amazon has built up an enormous real-estate empire. Though the company has been around since the 1990s, its physical footprint has exploded in recent years, nearly tripling from 2014 to 2018. The numbers reveal a remarkable inflection point in the 25-year-old company’s growth. But in spite of its many warehouses, there’s one major industry that Amazon hasn’t yet conquered.

Speaking of Amazon: CEO Jeff Bezos has published a letter, accompanied by revealing email exchanges, accusing the National Enquirer of blackmail (a primer here on this collision of media, national politics, and the personal and public face of the world’s richest man).

Democrats put out an official blueprint for a Green New Deal on Thursday. The plan, released by freshman New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would completely transform just about all facets of the American economy to drastically lower carbon emissions. The bill has virtually no chance of becoming law—it’s dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate—but it’s nevertheless consequential, suggesting that a new crop of Democratic politicians is poised to make mammoth climate bills central to the party’s platform going forward.

There’s nothing quite as pesky—and dangerous—as a hungry mosquito. The buzzing insects love to bite humans, spreading potentially fatal diseases like dengue and Zika in the process. But scientists have found a new way to stop the ravenous bugs: suppressing their appetite. After mosquitoes were fed a drug containing the compound neuropeptide Y, they acted similar to satiated mosquitoes who had already sucked blood. So far, the effect wears off after a couple of days, but it looks to be a promising step.

Evening Reads

 What It’s Like to Survive Being Shot 16 Times

(Courtesy of Dustin Theoharis)

Dustin Theoharis was startled to wake up one day and see two police officers standing at the end of his bed. Mistakenly thinking he was armed, they sent 16 bullets coursing through his body:

“Conflicting accounts make the next several seconds fuzzy. Kristopher Rongen, an officer with the Washington State Department of Corrections, has told the story this way: He announced ‘Police, police, show your hands’ in a loud voice, but Theoharis refused to do so. Rongen asked Theoharis whether he had weapons, and Theoharis admitted that he had three—then added ‘right here’ and moved to sweep the floor with his hand. Rongen and the second officer, Aaron Thompson, a detective with the King County Sheriff’s Office, feared that Theoharis was reaching for a gun and opened fire …

Theoharis, meanwhile, says that he didn’t have any guns.”

Read the rest

21 Savage and the False Promise of Black Citizenship

(Paras Griffin / Getty)

Shortly before last week’s Super Bowl, a well-known rapper was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities in a “targeted operation” in the Atlanta area, for allegedly overstaying his visa (ICE’s statement referred to him as a “United Kingdom national”).

“The rapper’s representatives have now publicly stated that he was brought to the United States at the age of 7. Alleging that he is under 23-hour lockdown, they referred to the arrest as a civil-law violation. Much of their ire rests not just with the circumstances of his arrest, but also with ICE’s framing of Abraham-Joseph’s inherent criminality: The agency did not note that he was brought to the U.S. as a minor (a circumstance many Dreamers share), or that he filed a visa application in 2017. Nor was there any explanation of the rapper’s ethnic background ...”

Read the rest

Urban Developments

Ready or Not, Here Comes the Micromobility Revolution

(Courtesy of Micromobility Conference / Vin Chandra)

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing urban dwellers around the world. Gracie McKenzie and Claire Tran share today’s top stories:

At Silicon Valley’s first Micromobility Conference, a panel of venture capitalists half-kidded about “monetizing walking.” But when it comes to scooters, e-bikes, and more, the industry’s rate of growth is no joke.

Building more affordable housing in innovative metros can help improve the economy, Richard Florida writes: When workers can access good jobs without being burdened by rent, productivity increases.

Every three seconds, someone gets arrested in the United States. Perhaps surprisingly, though, it’s not urban areas that have higher arrest rates. Why are suburban arrest rates rising?

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