What We’re Following
The latest in the Ralph Northam scandal: A picture—of a man in a Ku Klux Klan outfit and another in blackface—from the Virginia governor’s medical-school yearbook page has thrown his tenure into tumult. Northam quickly apologized for the image, but claimed in a later press conference that he was neither of the people depicted. The revelation is a betrayal of the black voters who propelled Northam to office in 2017, under promises of ushering in a new era in Virginia’s history that would turn a page on its Confederate, white-supremacist roots, Vann R. Newkirk II writes. But more than Northam’s career is at stake: By remaining in office, argues Adam Serwer, he gives current—and future—public servants a way to squirm out of their own racist statements and actions.
Facebook turns 15 today. As the platform aged from scrappy dorm-room start-up to Silicon Valley behemoth, it’s transformed the social lives of millions, if not billions, of people. The platform has created a new category of relationships: the zombie friendship of Facebook friends who only vaguely keep in touch from afar through posts and updates on the site, extending a friendship far beyond its normal life span. Facebook’s meteoric rise has been predicated on a zealous belief in the power of “connection,” but that blinkered faith has led Facebook to undervalue how the site could be misused. (For more: Alexis Madrigal talks to people present for TheFacebook.com’s founding.)
Tell us: How old were you when you first joined Facebook, and do you remember why you joined? Has the way you use it changed over the years? What might cause you to leave the platform for good? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may feature your response on our website and in future editions of The Atlantic daily.
Democrats are getting excited about a topic that makes many snooze: taxes. Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren have both put out gargantuan plans to lessen income inequality by massively raising taxes on the über-rich: The former’s plan would hike marginal tax rates to nearly double what they are now, while the latter would target wealth such as property, assets, and even art. Both plans could be stymied by the same problem: an ineffectual IRS. For decades, the tax-collecting agency has been hamstrung by a lack of resources that the wealthy exploit to their benefit, leading to $18 billion in lost government revenue each year.