Just as President Trump promised, the political world has spent the past week obsessing about infrastructure—and Slate has all the sharp, opinionated, counterintuitive infrastructure coverage you’d expect. Here’s Henry Grabar on the problem with Trump’s air-traffic-control proposal. And here’s Daniel Gross on the need for states and cities to stop waiting for help from Washington.
But, being Slate, we also found room to pursue some off-beat stories that are a bit further from the topic of the day. For instance:
- Michelle Goldberg on the Comey hearing: “A man who until last month sat atop the investigation into Russia’s meddling in our election cannot publicly confirm that the president of the United States was not conspiring against American democracy.” And on this week’s other hearing: “The intelligence officials repeatedly refused to answer questions. Those refusals, however, tell us a lot. It appears they couldn’t defend Trump without committing perjury.”
- Jamelle Bouie on the GOP’s unprecedented attack on democracy: “A major escalation of partisan combat in governance, an outright statement that Democrats have no prerogatives a Republican administration is bound to even acknowledge.”
- Fred Kaplan on how Trump exacerbated problems in the Persian Gulf: “Though tensions between Qatar and the other Arab countries have been simmering for nearly a decade, Trump—perhaps accidentally—triggered this new escalation.”
- Dahlia Lithwick on breaking up with the First Amendment: “I am weary of hate speech, wary of threats, and tired of the choice between punching back and acquiescing. I am sick to death of Nazis. And yet they had arrived, basically on my doorstep.”
- Isaac Chotiner talks to David Runciman about the remarkable election that took place in Britain on Thursday.
- Willa Paskin defends New York magazine movie reviewer (and former Slatester) David Edelstein with a full-blown defense of libido-driven criticism.
- And novelist Emily Schultz reveals what she learned about writing from raising a child on the autistic spectrum.
Not From Slate
Other publications wrote things too.
- Bloomberg points out Trump’s habit of promising big things in two weeks.
- The great cartoonist Chris Ware, on the great artist Saul Steinberg.
- Ben Zimmer traces the history of Putin and Trump’s favorite argumentative tactic: whataboutism.
- Slate’s own Jack Hamilton on the problem of rock criticism.
- How to write an internet essay to support your novel.
From the Archive
Could it be that every hand-wringing story about our crumbling infrastructure you’ve ever read is … wrong? Probably not, frankly. But in 2009 it seemed that way to Jack Shafer, who seems to anticipate this week’s infrastructure panic by eight years:
The scary-sounding phrases structurally deficient and functionally obsolete combined with those big numbers are enough to make you bite your nails bloody every time you drive over a river or beneath an underpass. Yet if any of the cited pieces paused to define either inspection term, you'd come away from the alarmist stories with a yawn.
Thanks, as ever, for your membership.
Editorial director, Slate Plus