The Atlantic Daily: America’s Two-Decade Bender

When does indulgence become a problem? We survey the state of America’s vices.

Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.


When the pandemic forced Americans to stay home, many turned to alcohol to cope, slurping down the apocalyptic news cycle with a hearty glass of red wine.

But which bad habits, new or old, should Americans actually be worried about? We look at one vice worth its dash of moral panic—and one not so much.


The news in three sentences:

(1) Donald Trump reportedly has been claiming that he will be “reinstated” as president by August, reflecting his party’s newfound attachment to election-fraud theories. (2) Naomi Osaka’s French Open exit is part of a bigger power struggle between athletes and the leagues they play in. (3) President Joe Biden has suspended drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, marking the latest development in one of the longest battles in U.S. environmental history.

What to read if … you’re still confused about the lab-leak theory:

Peter Wehner spoke with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins about why we need an investigation into the possibility that the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan lab.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Read a poem. This week, we’re revisiting “Batter Bread,” by Keith S. Wilson.

A break from the news:

Here’s what an experiment involving an elephant and a tortilla chip tells us about the animals’ marvelous trunks.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.