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WHY ISAAC > GOP CONVENTION: "Mitt Romney is certain to have his nomination certified in Tampa, but what will happen in New Orleans is far less predictable, and far more likely to produce actual, you know, news," writes Alyssa Rosenberg.
IT'S OFFICIAL: Isaac's increasing maximum sustained wind speeds mean that the storm has now made it to the big leagues, earning a National Weather Service upgrade to Category-1 Hurricane earlier today. It's continuing to churn toward New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, where it is expected to make landfall either later tonight or early tomorrow.
FOR COMPARISON: At around 75 mph, Isaac's winds aren't anywhere close to what Katrina's were seven years ago when she made landfall with sustained wind speeds at around 135 mph. Still, Isaac will likely bring up to a dozen or so inches of rain and substantial storm surges that will no doubt test rebuilt levees, meaning there is certainly cause for concern.
REALITY CHECK: "We don't expect a Katrina-like event, but remember there are things about a Category 1 storm that can kill you," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu warned residents Tuesday.
CHANNEL SURFING: Back in Tampa, the RNC has a jam-packed evening schedule with more than a few notable faces: John Boehner and Rick Santorum are in the 7 p.m. block; the 8 p.m. hour includes N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker; Dem-turned-Republican Artur Davis and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley speak in the 9 p.m. window; and Ann Romney and Chris Christie close the show sometime after 10 p.m. ET. Full schedule here.
BREAKFAST SERVED ALL DAY: Slate's all-star lineup of John Dickerson, Dave Weigel and Sasha Issenberg have been exchanging their thoughts about what they're seeing in Tampa. We'll let Sasha have Breakfast Table honors today:
"We'll see what the Romney reinvention looks like, but I suspect I may come away from this week with the same feeling I had as I left Los Angeles 12 years ago. Do Romney's advisers truly know or like their candidate enough as a person to let him be himself in front of the whole country?'"
Happy Tuesday and welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow the whole team at @slatest and your host at @JoshVoorhees. You can also fill his inbox with links, mini-explainer requests and anything else that's on your mind at email@example.com.
BOYS ON THE BUS, INDEED: A new study out this week suggests that when it comes to newspaper coverage of this year's presidential campaign, roughly three-quarters of the reporting is being done by men.
WHY DOES TWITTER KEEP TRYING TO KILL OFF BILL NYE 'THE SCIENCE GUY'? Maybe it's because of this anti-Creationism rant.
CANCER, ROUND THREE: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter confirmed today that he's again battling cancer. "It's another battle I intend to win," he said in a statement. The former lawmaker served in the Senate from 1980 through 2011, all but the last two years of which as a Republican. But in 2009, facing the potential of a difficult GOP primary challenge, Specter jumped ship and joined Democrats to give the party a temporary 60-seat filibuster-proof majority. He nonetheless lost his 2010 Democratic primary and left the Senate the following year.
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING SHOOTER'S MOM SPEAKS: “I don’t blame police in New York for shooting my son because he killed somebody," Jeffrey T. Johnson's mother told the New York Times, "but for me, he hasn’t changed."
YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELOR WAS RIGHT: A new study suggests that teenagers who smoke pot regularly might be permanently burning a few points off of their IQs. Participants were tested for IQ twice in the study: once at age 13, and again at 38. Based on a series of interviews conducted with the participants over time, researchers found that those who used marijuana regularly before the age of 18 showed a drop in IQ score. The same drop in IQ wasn't found for those who began to smoke up regularly after 18.
RIP MALCOLM BROWNE: The Pulitzer Prize-winning war reporter best known for snapping the iconic pic of the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk in the early days of what would become the Vietnam War died Monday. He was 81.
A DISMAL OUTLOOK FOR GROWTH: Former Slatester Annie Lowrey in the NYT: "In a new paper, the Northwestern economist Robert J. Gordon argues that the United States should get ready for an extended period of slowing growth, with economic expansion getting ever more sluggish and the bottom 99 percent getting the short end of the (ever-slower-growing) stick."
RUNNING THE TRAPS—
NYT: "The Obama administration issued new fuel economy rules on Tuesday that require auto manufacturers to increase the average efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025."
WaPo: "A car bomb exploded during a funeral in southeastern Damascus on Tuesday, killing 12 people and injuring 48, Syrian state media reported."
WSJ: "New York's attorney general is investigating whether the multibillion-dollar energy-drink industry is deceiving consumers with misstatements about the ingredients and health value of its products."
AP: "An Israeli court on Tuesday cleared the military of wrongdoing in the death of a young American activist who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer during a protest in the Gaza Strip nearly a decade ago, rejecting claims by her parents that the driver acted recklessly."
YOUR OUT-OF-CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I was surprised at the amount of contraband and drugs that can be put in a football."
WHO REALLY LOST THE APPLE vs. SAMSUNG CASE? You did.
WHAT SWEDES THINK OF THE SWEDISH CHEF: He sounds Norwegian. Also, they'd like you to stop asking. Jeremy Stahl explains.
JUST ASK HER OUT ALREADY, TRUMP: The Donald tweets: ".@ariannahuff is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision."
THAT'S WHY THEY CALL IT THE THRONE: Vladimir Putin has a $75,000 toilet.
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TODAY IN SLATE
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore
And schools are getting worried.
Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War
Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough
So they added a little self-immolation.
Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem
Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology.