A lunchtime newsletter featuring political analysis on the stories driving the day.
with research by Caroline Anders
A lunchtime newsletter featuring political analysis on the stories driving the day.
Welcome to The Daily 202! Tell your friends to sign up here. Happy birthday to humorist Will Rogers (1869) and CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite (1916)!
We’ve decided to make this a weekly feature: four pieces that are about politics but without the traditional trappings of traditional political news, like candidates, polling, or backstabbing anonymice (our plural for score-settling anonymous sources.)
Today’s installment includes a detailed, searching look at the dangerously dwindling Nile river and the potential impact on hundreds of millions of people; New York’s new salary transparency law; a U.S. standoff with a Chinese fishing fleet; and how racism and exposure to pollution correlate.
From Agence France-Presse, my first professional home in journalism, comes a harrowing and deeply researched assessment of the Nile river’s decline and what it means for the half a billion people who depend on that waterway for survival.
AFP sent reporters up and down the 4,000-mile river and found climate change, pollution and other human activity like dams have left the Nile in mortal danger, with immense ramifications for the agriculture it feeds and the hydroelectric generation it powers.
One thing I hadn’t thought of: Dams sharply reducing the flow of silt, which not only serves as an important natural fertilizer all along the river but ultimately protects the Nile delta from the encroaching Mediterranean Sea, whose salty waters threaten traditional crops.
Like other pieces about water shortages, this is a huge political story. It crosses national boundaries and affects everything from drinking water to agriculture to commercial traffic to electricity generation. And it will test the governments and populations affected.
In theory, most businesses operating in New York City now have to make public the salary ranges for jobs they post that may be based in the Big Apple. The standard is what “the employer in good faith believes at the time of the posting it would pay for the advertised job, promotion or transfer opportunity.”
Megan Cerullo of CBS News explains:
“The Big Apple is one of a growing number of U.S. cities and states taking steps to shed light on worker pay. New laws requiring companies to disclose the pay range in job postings and on their websites aim to even the bargaining power between employers and employees, empowering workers while also narrowing long-standing pay gaps for women and people of color.”
But some firms are responding by testing the “good faith” provision, Cerullo noted, by posting vast ranges that limit the usefulness of the disclosures.
“[A] posting for an executive producer role at the Wall Street Journal advertises a pay range of $50,000 to $180,000 for New York City applicants. Another opening at the newspaper, for ‘Head of News Audio,’ lists a salary range of $140,00 to $450,000.”
At the Associated Press, Joshua Goodman looked at the commercial-fishing dimension of the sour relationship between the United States and China.
It involves a standoff in which “a heavily-armed Coast Guard cutter” came up against a fleet of “a few hundred Chinese squid-fishing vessels” off Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. It was the Coast Guard’s first-ever mission to counter illegal fishing in the eastern Pacific.
But when the cutter approached the Chinese boats to inspect them “for any signs of illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing” — a legal procedure sometimes used in efforts to curb overfishing — some of them responded confrontationally.
“Three vessels sped away, one turning aggressively 90 degrees toward the Coast Guard cutter James, forcing the American vessel to take evasive action to avoid being rammed.”
The underlying issue: “Since 2009, the number of Chinese-flagged vessels spotted fishing in the south Pacific, sometimes for months at a time, has surged eightfold, to 476 last year. Meanwhile, the size of its squid catch has grown from 70,000 tons to 422,000 — a level of fishing that some scientists fear is unsustainable even for a resilient species.”
Let’s cut right to the point: “Racially segregated communities in the United States are exposed to airborne toxic metals at a rate that’s nearly 10 times higher than more well-integrated areas, according to a new study published Tuesday.”
My colleague Amudalat Ajasa reported the study, published in Nature Communications, also found “highly segregated locations were exposed to two times the degree of total air pollution of well-integrated communities.”
“It has long been known that communities of color bear a disproportionate burden of pollution. But the study puts a finer point on it — documenting that people in segregated communities breathe much higher levels of certain toxic heavy metals.”
The question now is whether new data will change the politics of the issue.
“Employers added 261,000 jobs in October, according to a new government report out Friday — down from 315,000 jobs added in September. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.7 percent, the Labor Department announced in its monthly jobs report. The rate was 3.5 percent in September,” Lauren Kaori Gurley reports.
“Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (88 percent) are concerned that political divisions have intensified to the point that there’s an increased risk of politically motivated violence in the United States, including over 6 in 10 who are ‘very concerned,’” Emily Guskin reports.
“Early this Sunday morning, Americans will engage in the annual autumnal ritual of ‘falling back’ — setting their clocks back one hour to conform with standard time,” Dan Diamond reports.
“If some lawmakers had their way, it would mark the end of a tradition that has stretched for more than a century. But a familiar story unspooled of congressional gridlock and a relentless lobbying campaign, this one from advocates that some jokingly call ‘Big Sleep.’”
“The takedown of one of the most powerful Republicans in the state illustrates the rise of Turning Point USA and its network of affiliates, which have pushed beyond their core mission of energizing college conservatives to turn Arizona into a laboratory for a new brand of Republican organizing. The decade-old nonprofit organization has helped transform the state GOP, seeking to elevate acolytes of former president Donald Trump and purge old-guard centrists who led in the tradition of the late Republican senator John McCain,” Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker report.
“As Roberts, 67, begins his 18th term, he is an at times isolated and even tragic figure. Roberts wanted to be at the helm of a court that was more often unanimous than splintered; now it is cleaved, 6-3, along hardened ideological lines. Roberts wanted to help shore up the court’s institutional standing; instead, he has watched it plunge in public esteem, helpless to prevent the fall,” Ruth Marcus writes.
“He has been outflanked and marginalized by five conservative justices to his right, even as he has been subjected to unsparing criticism by those to his left.”
“The race to succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the leader of House Democrats may have been clinched at a meeting in the Capitol on Sept. 1,” Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports.
“That’s when House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York slipped back to Washington to connect in Clyburn’s office during the summer congressional recess at Jeffries’ request.”
“At least half a dozen versions of the virus are competing to become the next dominant strain in the United States, but they are part of the same family tree. ‘They are all offspring of Omicron,’ said Dr. Albert Ko, a physician and epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health,” the New York Times’ Knvul Sheikh reports.
“President Joe Biden on Thursday told supporters ‘we’re gonna free Iran’ after audience members appeared to call on him to address the ongoing protests that have spread through that country in the aftermath of the death of a young woman in the custody of its security forces,” the AP’s Aamer Madhani reports.
“Some of his economic claims were incomplete or misleading — gasoline prices, for instance, have come down since peaking last summer but remain significantly higher than when Mr. Biden took office. Yet the president’s biggest challenge in the few days remaining before Tuesday is changing the minds of enough Americans who do not see the economy in such robust terms. While jobs are plentiful, inflation hit a 40-year-high this year, eating away at many household budgets and souring the public mood,” the NYT’s Peter Baker reports.
“Senior Biden officials and allies are exploring a series of strategies for raising the debt ceiling, in a bid to avert a standoff with Republicans next year that threatens to further rattle financial markets and endanger the nation’s fragile economic recovery,” Politico’s Adam Cancryn reports.
“It is the most complicated of relationships, vacillating between warmth and combat, sometimes on the same day. But Dennis Ross, the former Mideast negotiator who used to accompany Mr. Biden, when he was vice president, on trips to see Mr. Netanyahu, noted in an interview on Thursday that the relationship was better than the one between Mr. Netanyahu and President Barack Obama,” the NYT’s Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger report.
“Helped by pandemic-era stimulus programs, Black, Latino and Asian households saw the sharpest increase in homeownership in 2021 since the Great Recession, when all their levels of owning had fallen, according to an analysis of new federal data by The Washington Post. The growth for minority households was more pronounced than for White households,” Abha Bhattarai and Alyssa Fowers report.
“Complaints about special education violations. Praise for teachers. Concerns about academic rigor and options. These are some of the main themes in a sampling of the emails sent to a so-called tip line set up by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin earlier this year for parents to report, as he put it, ‘any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated’ and schools are engaging in ‘inherently divisive practices,‘” USA Today’s Alia Wong, Nirvi Shah and Nick Penzenstadler report.
“The email tip line was part of a larger campaign by the governor to root out the teaching of critical race theory. But few of the tips flag the types of practices Youngkin was describing.”
“House Republicans are in active discussions to immediately hit the ground running if they take power on Tuesday and target what has become one of their top priorities: Investigating President Joe Biden’s son,” CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju and Annie Grayer report.
“On November 9 — the day after the midterm elections — Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, who is likely in line to chair the House Oversight Committee, told CNN he is going to resend a letter to the Treasury Department demanding the agency fork over any suspicious bank activity reports linked to Hunter Biden. A previous request was rebuffed, but Comer said the department may be more inclined to cooperate when it becomes clear Republicans are going to be in charge of the House, meaning the GOP will have newfound subpoena power.”
At 2:45 p.m., Biden will talk about the CHIPS bill in San Diego.
Biden will leave San Diego for Chicago at 4:15 p.m.
At 8:05 p.m., Biden will arrive in Chicago and participate in a political event.
“Within days, 48 states and the District of Columbia will reset their clocks and fall back into standard time. From a health standpoint, most sleep and circadian experts say we should stay there,” Aaron Steckelberg and Lindsey Bever report.
“Experts say early-morning sunlight is key to maintaining our circadian rhythms, sleep-wake cycles and overall health. Phyllis Zee, a neurologist and chief of sleep medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said without that sunlight, we can slip into circadian misalignment — ‘when your internal body clocks fall out of sync with that of the sun clock and your social clocks.’”
Thanks for reading. See you next week.
Analysis | Your weekly dose of non-political (but political) news reports – The Washington Post