Released every Sunday, The Five is a weekly roundup (of sorts) of the political landscape in the United States. It is a compliment to The Weekly Column and The Two Minute Drill and includes Good Reads (the five best articles we’ve read all week) and By the Numbers (a weekly digest of the telling numbers inside the news). Thanks for reading!
This is The Five for the week of July 18 – July 24, 2016.
GOOD READS: The Five Best Articles We’ve Read All Week.
1) Citizen Kaine
“It’s not unusual, on an election-year Sunday, to find a white candidate in a black church. But Tim Kaine, swaying this month to the gospel groove at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in a poor Richmond neighborhood, wasn’t on the campaign trail. He was taking a break from it at his home parish.” That’s from a 2012 article from Steve Hendrix in The Washington Post: Tim Kaine’s Moral Convictions and Political Ambitions. It’s worth reading again. Tim Kaine was announced as vice presidential running-mate for Hillary Clinton on Friday, July 22, 2016.
2) Syrian Nightmare
“A US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State (ISIL) fighters. Some eight families were hit as they tried to flee fighting in their area, in one of the single deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.” From Josie Ensor in The Telegraph: US Air Strike in Syria Kills Nearly 60 Civilians “Mistaken for Isil Fighters.”
3) The Republican Reich
“In his speech at the Republican convention on Thursday night, RNC chairman Reince Priebus told ‘a little-known story of American greatness.’ The subject of this story was General Motors president William Knudsen . . . Here’s a part of the story that Priebus left out: Under Knudsen’s leadership, General Motors played an enormous role in the Nazi war effort . . . On Octt (sic) 26, 1938, the New York Times quoted Knudsen’s remarks upon his return from a trip to Europe: ‘He said that Germany today had been transformed since his last visit several years ago and that the Reich today was ‘the miracle of the twentieth century.'” From Josh Levin in Slate: Reince Priebus Tells Inspirational Story of GM Exec Who Helped Fuel Nazi War Effort.
4) It's Always Darkest Before the Don
“At his big speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Donald Trump described a very dangerous America that simply doesn’t exist. If you listened to Trump, you would think that the US is in a total state of chaos, where murder rates are skyrocketing, police officers are regularly assassinated, and terrorists are constantly killing Americans . . . But if you break down the numbers, Americans are – despite some worrying trends in a few places – safer than they have been in decades.” From German Lopez in Vox: Donald Trump Described a Dangerous American Hellscape That Doesn’t Actually Exist.
5) Artificial Intelligence
“[Google] put a DeepMind AI system in control of parts of its data centers to reduce power consumption by manipulating computer servers and related equipment like cooling systems. It uses a similar technique to DeepMind software that taught itself to play Atari video games.” From Jack Clark in Bloomberg: Google Cuts Its Giant Electricity Bill With DeepMind-Powered AI.
BY THE NUMBERS: Five Telling Numbers Tucked Inside the News.
1 in 3,400. This is the share of gun homicides in the U.S. from 2002 to 2014 that occurred in a terrorist attack. In the rest of the world, at least one of every 40 people shot to death died in a terrorist attack. [FiveThirtyEight]
23 minutes. Ted Cruz was humiliated at the Republican National Convention after he gambled his political career by refusing to endorse Donald Trump. He was roundly booed in the hall, as hundreds of delegates shouted “endorse Trump” and “honor your pledge.” The speech was also a slap in the face to Mike Pence. Many Americans were seeing Pence for the first time, and his speech was totally overshadowed by Cruz. As Katy Tur at NBC noted, the “Trump campaign expected Cruz to talk for 10 minutes. Cruz’s prepared remarks went 9 minutes. He spoke for 23 minutes.” [Katy Tur]
3 decades. The Republican Party’s “obstructionism, anti-intellectualism, and attacks on American institutions [have made] responsible government impossible.” The GOP’s open war on government has continued unabated for nearly 3 decades. “The rise of Trump completes the script, confirming our thesis in explicit fashion.” [Vox]
46 months. Christopher Correa, the former scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, pled guilty in January to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer from 2013 to at least 2014, the same year he was promoted to director of baseball development in St. Louis. Correa targeted the Astro’s personnel database. On Monday, Correa was sentenced to 46 months of incarceration. He also has to pay $279,038. [The Guardian]
501(c)(6). The IRS declined the Democratic National Convention’s convention committee’s application for 501(c)(3) status, which would have made it a not-for-profit charity. The decision is somewhat puzzling. The RNC’s convention committee is a 501(c)(3), which has the lovely effect of allowing donors to the charity to get a deduction on their taxes. The DNC planners are appealing the IRS’s decision. But if they can’t get their way, the DNC is considering becoming a 501(c)(6) group, technically a trade organization. [The Center for Public Integrity]
If you read an interesting story or see a significant number in the wild, send it to [email protected].