The Presidential Daily Brief


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    America’s Moment of Truth

    It’s up to them. Millions of Americans will vote Tuesday in the first nationwide general election since President Trump’s world-altering upset two years ago. Early voting numbers are high, and Democrats hope that when polls close they’ll have generated a far greater turnout than previous sleepy midterms. Republicans are also mobilizing, stoking fears of neutering the Trump revolution that’s cemented a conservative Supreme Court, declared war on illegal immigration and enjoyed a turbocharged economy. Polls show Republicans losing the House and keeping the Senate, but after 2016’s shocker, all bets are off.

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    A Hate-Filled Gunman, Death and Repercussions

    A week ago, members of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh were observing the Jewish Sabbath when their sanctuary was turned into a killing zone as an anti-Semitic gunman turned an AR-15 assault rifle on the congregation. Since then, many have blamed President Donald Trump for sowing hatred and division across the nation. Trump faulted the media’s negative reporting, lamenting that “two maniacs” — the synagogue shooter and the man accused of mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats last month — had blunted Republicans’ midterm election momentum.

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    America’s Disappearing Polling Places

    Republican officials have been systematically closing polling stations in minority areas, The New Republic reports, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act. From 2008 to 2016, 11 percent of America’s polling places closed, many in districts that had been regulated by the act due to their history of discrimination. Texas and Arizona axed more than 600 locations, and North Carolina’s closures were blamed for 2016’s 50 percent drop in turnout for majority-Black Mecklenburg County. Such moves, defended as cost-cutting measures, often aren’t discovered by voters until Election Day.

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    Europe Wonders if America Is Starting a New Cold War

    President Trump’s plan to scrap the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia has European allies worried about being in the middle of another cold war. Echoing an Obama administration complaint, national security adviser John Bolton said Russia isn’t complying. But a more likely impetus is China’s potential to deploy weapons capable of hitting American bases — while the U.S. can’t reciprocate. The withdrawal isn’t a done deal, though, and many hope Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin can iron things out at a Nov. 11 meeting.

  5. Sanctions Lite, Misogynistic Killer and Pakistan’s ‘Blasphemy’ Crisis

    The Week Ahead: Tens of thousands of runners are expected to compete today in the New York City Marathon. On Monday, the U.S. will re-impose sanctions against Iran lifted by its multinational nuclear agreement, but its largest oil customers, China, Japan, India and South Korea, will reportedly be exempt. And on Wednesday, the island nation of Madagascar will hold its first round of presidential elections.

    Know This: A man who shot and killed two women before killing himself at a Tallahassee, Florida, yoga studio Friday night had a history of groping accusations and made misogynistic YouTube videos. The husband of a Christian woman whose acquittal in a blasphemy case sparked mass protests in Pakistan is pleading for asylum in the West. A week of flooding in Italy has left 17 people dead. And voters in New Caledonia have rejected a ballot measure calling for independence from France. 

    Tune In: What happens when 100 Asian-American millennials discuss being torn between two cultures and further divided by the admissions lawsuit against Harvard? Not necessarily what you’d expect. Don’t miss OZY’s fourth primetime show, Take On America, then join the conversation on Facebook and YouTube to give your #takeonamerica.


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    YouTube Hopes Its Hate Vaccine Goes Viral

    They’re fighting fire with … something less volatile. You won’t get salacious suicide footage or “globalist” conspiracy rants from these auteurs. They’ve been recruited, subsidized and promoted to a wide audience by YouTube’s Creators for Change project in order to produce content with a moral heart. With 400 hours of videos being uploaded every minute, YouTube is struggling to police hateful content, which is difficult to even define. But will woke narratives — such as an immigrant grandmother’s assimilation struggles — succeed on a medium where “ultimate fail” injury clips dominate?

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    Why Asian-Americans Assimilate Into Average Americans

    Research has long shown Asian-Americans have an edge when it comes to upward mobility. But by the second generation, the luck’s worn off, according to a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research/U.S. Census Bureau study. First-generation kids get steered away from creative careers — considered too risky and subject to discrimination — and toward law, medicine or engineering, where advanced degrees are seen as softening racial barriers. But their children are choosing their own career paths, and even with their parents’ advantageous start, experts say a “bamboo ceiling” stifles advancement.

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    When Billionaires Know What’s Best for the Homeless

    Brother, can you spare a million? Two of San Francisco’s 74 billionaires, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, are battling over Proposition C, a homeless services tax on the city’s richest firms. The ballot measure promises up to $300 million to combat the wealthy city’s most visible problem. But Dorsey, whose company squeezed the city for a 2011 tax break and might be due to pay $20 million more, says it’s the wrong solution. Benioff, an ardent booster of the proposition, is challenging Dorsey to suggest an alternative.

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    ‘Registered Reports’ Could Solve the Junk Science Epidemic

    Faith in scientific findings has been shaken by outlandish conclusions and unverifiable results, thanks to sloppy experiment design, bias and corruption. But one fix could be “registered reports,” papers pitched to journals on just their methods and designs. Once accepted, scientists would run their experiments, analyze data and write a report for peer review. Because the journal had already committed to publishing the report, there’d be less incentive to sensationalize or manipulate results. The question now is whether journals will jump on board, or continue favoring sexy yet dubious discoveries.

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    He Bombed a Soccer Team to Make a Killing

    It seemed ISIS didn’t root for Borussia Dortmund, a top European club, as explosions rocked the team bus April 11, 2017. While investigators found a note claiming ISIS responsibility, it didn’t seem authentic. Then a securities-trading sports fan notified them about a strange “put option” on the team’s stock, which would pay off if the value dropped. It didn’t, and a German electrician eventually admitted to the scheme. Sergej Wenergold claims he didn’t intend to hurt anyone, but a panel of judges will determine if murdering 28 athletes was his retirement plan.