Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Us’s big plot twist, explained

You can be forgiven for being confused at the end of Us. The movie, like creator Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out, is rife with metaphors — only in Us, the allegory is much more ambiguous. That’s partly due to the complicated relationship between the main character, Adelaide, and the mysterious woman, Red, who appears out of her past. (Both women are played by Lupita Nyong’o in an incredible dual performance.) If you’ve already seen the film then you know there’s a lot more connecting the two women than a mere case of stalking. But you might not have caught...

Vox Sentences: Should Harvard profit from photos of slavery?

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. Harvard is accused of profiting from images of enslaved people; an explosion at a chemical plant in China turns deadly. Will a lawsuit force Harvard to reckon with its past? Kevin Hagen/Getty Images Tamara Lanier, a Connecticut woman descended from enslaved people, sued Harvard University on Wednesday for profiting off images...

Trump’s new executive order on campus free speech is more symbolism...

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Thursday on a cause célèbre for conservative activists: upholding free speech on college campuses. But the executive order won’t do much more than reiterate the Trump administration wants schools to follow existing laws on free inquiry and direct the federal agencies that fund research to make sure that they’re doing so. It’s a largely a symbolic move meant to satisfy a key demand of Trump’s conservative base. Trump first promised he would draft an executive order to protect free speech earlier this month during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference....

John Hickenlooper: How come we’re not asking women whether they’re willing...

John Hickenlooper, a former Colorado governor and one of several men running for the Democratic presidential nomination, tried to flip a question that’s been posed to a handful of male candidates — to limited success. Hickenlooper, during a CNN town hall on Wednesday, was asked whether he would commit to considering a woman as his vice presidential running mate, something that Sen. Cory Booker and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke have signaled that they plan to do. “Of course, but ... I’ll ask you another question,” he said, in response to CNN anchor Dana Bash. “How come we’re not asking,...

Christchurch helped turn my mosque from a place of worship into...

While you’re still horrified by the mosque shooting, I’m going to share something very personal. Because that feeling you have right now, where even a small, kindhearted country like New Zealand isn’t safe, won’t last. That fear is how many Muslims feel every time we set foot in a mosque. Islamophobia isn’t as isolated as many want to believe. Violence against religious minorities happens everywhere — just look at the shootings at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sikh temple and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh — and it’s getting worse. And while Jews and Muslims combined only account...

The spring equinox is Wednesday: 7 things to know about the...

The vernal equinox is upon us: On Wednesday, March 20, both the Northern and Southern hemispheres will experience an equal amount of daylight. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the beginning of spring, with daylight hours continuing to lengthen until the summer solstice in June. For those south of the equator, it’s the beginning of autumn. Technically speaking, the equinox occurs when the sun is directly in line with the equator. This will happen at 5:58 pm Eastern time on Wednesday. (A few hours later, at 9:43 pm, you can look out for the “supermoon”, the...

Hospitals keep ER fees secret. We’re uncovering them.

Each year, Americans make 141 million trips to the emergency room. In nearly all those visits, hospitals charge patients something called a facility fee: the price for walking in the door and seeking medical service. Facility fees can be big: Reporter Sarah Kliff has seen charges that range from $533 to more than $3,000. But because these fees are kept secret until you receive your bill, we can’t know how high they get — or how much they vary. We want to bring transparency to these extremely common but little-understood fees. So we have been collecting facility fee bills from...

Elizabeth Warren gives a full-throated endorsement for reparations at CNN town...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gave a ringing endorsement to the idea of reparations for the families of former slaves at a CNN town hall held at Jackson State University on Monday night. While Warren stopped short of calling for direct payments, she threw her support behind a bill in the US House to study the issue and acknowledged the persistence of racial injustice in America. “This is a stain on America and we’re not going to fix that, we’re not going to change that, until we address it head on, directly,” Warren said. “And make no mistake. It’s not just the...

Medicare for America, Beto O’Rourke’s favorite health care plan, explained

In his early days as a presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke has walked away from supporting single-payer Medicare-for-all and into the arms of another health care plan: Medicare for America. That plan, introduced last year by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), was founded on the previous work of the Center for American Progress and Yale professor Jacob Hacker. It is the Democratic establishment’s alternative to the single-payer approach favored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the democratic socialist left. It would not move every American into a government health care plan over the next few years, as the Medicare-for-all...

Why tech companies failed to keep the New Zealand shooter’s extremism...

The hate-filled terror rampage at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, was meticulously designed to maximize the number of witnesses around the globe, highlighting the difficulty in putting a lid on extremist hate that spreads online. The suspected gunman did everything he could to make his shooting spree go viral. He live-streamed the attack on social media, wearing a body camera to simulate a video game. He shared a rambling 74-page manifesto espousing white supremacy that was full of memes and easter eggs meant to invite attention from all corners of the internet and admiration from other extremists who live...