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Vox Sentences: Let's celebrate the bravery of senators who ditched Trump, then endorsed him again

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Republicans back Trump, then abandon him, then endorse him again; Wells Fargo's CEO finally faces some repercussions; the post-meat future is upon us.


The eternal return

Sen. Deb Fischer Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
  • Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) was, like many Americans, horrified by Donald Trump's taped comments bragging about sexually assaulting women. "It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party's nominee," she tweeted on Saturday. [Deb Fischer]
  • But then Trump debated on Sunday night, and many Republicans thought he did well enough to "stanch the bleeding," so now Fischer says she'll vote for Trump anyway: "I plan to vote for Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence on November 8 … I put out a statement ... with regard to Mr. Trump's comments. I felt they were disgusting. I felt they were unacceptable and I never said I was not voting for our Republican ticket." [Politico / Kyle Cheney]
  • The John F. Kennedy Library is currently accepting nominations for its Profile in Courage Award, in case any of you want to nominate Fischer. [John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum]
  • To be fair to her, she's not the only Republican member of Congress to turn on Trump and then turn back. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) did the same, as did Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ). [Daniel Nichanian]
  • They're making a rational political decision. Polling appears to back up that abandoning Trump demobilizes down-ballot Republicans' base more than it helps them pick up independents. After Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) abandoned Trump, a poll came out showing him losing the state's US Senate race, which he's been winning, and finding that anger over his turn might have played a role. [Jon Ralston]
  • And their hesitance is a reminder that, some notable defections aside, the Republican establishment is still overwhelmingly on Trump's side, and that's not likely to change soon. [Mischiefs of Faction / John Patty]

Stumpf and consequences

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf Xinhua/Bao Dandan via Getty Images
  • Weeks after a major banking scandal broke under his watch, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is finally resigning, effective immediately. The company's COO, Timothy Sloan, who was widely expected to succeed Stumpf upon retirement anyway, will take over as CEO. [WSJ / Emily Glazer]
  • To recap: The company was fined $185 million for illegal banking practices, principally signing up customers for services they didn't request and charging them for it. Wells Fargo illegally opened a staggering 1.5 million accounts for this purpose. [NYT / Michael Corkery]
  • The bank has generally tried to pawn the issue off on its employees, bragging that it fired 5,300 people over the years for doing this. [CNN Money / Matt Egan]
  • That's nonsense. As this episode of Planet Money makes clear, there was sustained pressure on employees to hard-sell consumers on products they didn't need. One employee they talked to was fired for not selling enough useless products to customers — and then blackballed from jobs at other banks. [Planet Money / Chris Arnold and Robert Smith]
  • Unlike a lot of banking abuses, Wells Fargo's were easy to explain and understand, and were very clearly intended to defraud individual consumers. That made it an ideal target for congressional hearings, at which Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called on Stumpf to resign, saying that rank-and-file employees shouldn't be the only ones to be fired. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • A lot of Republican senators joined in, despite the fact that the abuses were uncovered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which they want to abolish. Whoops. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]

We can build a better burger. We have the technology.

Veggie burger Impossible Foods
  • Impossible Foods, a Silicon Valley startup, is debuting its signature plant-based burger on the West Coast today. [TechCrunch / Sarah Buhr]
  • This is no ordinary veggie burger. Impossible Foods, which is run by Pat Brown, formerly an eminent biochemist at Stanford, designed the burger by isolating heme — the chemical compound that makes meat taste, well, "meaty" — in soybean roots and then making it en masse in the lab. [WSJ / Kurt Soller]
  • Before today, the product was only sold at David Chang's posh Momofuku Nishi restaurant in New York. But it has major financial backing: That's made investors very, very excited. Impossible Foods has raised $183 million in investments so far, is valued at $800 million, and turned down a $200 million to $300 million buyout offer from Google. [New Food Economy / Emily Payne]
  • It's, by nearly universal acclamation, the closest plant-based thing to a real burger to exist. Reviews are pretty good: “It feels clean yet flavorful, and I can already see that any kid raised on the Impossible Burger would likely be repulsed by a greasy hamburger.” [Pacific Standard / Rowan Jacobsen]
  • It's still more expensive to make these things than it is to make regular meat, though Impossible Foods hopes to get around that as it expands production and can manufacture them more efficiently. [NPR / Lindsey Hoshaw]
  • But that doesn't mean we shouldn't hope that stuff like this works out. The main motivation Brown had for starting the company was reducing the environmental devastation of meat production, and as developing countries get richer and eat more and more meat, animal agriculture is going to account for a bigger and bigger share of the world's carbon footprint. [Pat Brown to Vox / Ezra Klein]
  • Just as important: If plant-based meat substitutes become realistic enough, and cheaper than the real thing, the consequences for animal welfare and suffering could be enormous. It could end a huge global system of oppression peacefully, through market forces. [Bruce Friedrich to Vox / Sean Illing]

Miscellaneous

  • In English, horses say "neigh." In Arabic, they say "Saheel." In Swedish, they say, "Gnägg." In Danish, they say, "Vrinsk." Why are these all so different? [Washington Post / Karin Brulliard]
  • The USC/LA Times presidential poll has been a consistent pro-Trump outlier all election. The reason: a 19-year-old black man in Illinois backing Trump, who is given 30 times the importance of other respondents after demographic weighting. When he stopped responding to the poll, Clinton surged. [NYT / Nate Cohn]
  • Taraji P. Henson won an Oscar nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. But she was paid less than 2 percent of what Brad Pitt made. [NY Mag / Alex Jung]
  • If you have a chance to see John Mulaney and Nick Kroll's Oh, Hello on Broadway, you should do so (Dylan saw it in DC; it was fantastic), even if their less talented understudies, Jon Hamm and John Slattery, have to step up and take their places. [The Hollywood Reporter / Ashley Lee]
  • For most of the 19th century, public schools in the US were taught either in a language other than English or bilingually, per historian Maria Cristina Garcia. [NPR / Tara Boyle and Shankar Vedantam]

Verbatim

  • "As the 1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and neighboring Arab states intensified, I was in an underground missile launch center in Montana with a crewmate when we received an emergency message to prepare for nuclear war with the Soviet Union.” [NYT / Bruce G. Blair]
  • "Whether a universal income is the right model — is it gonna be accepted by a broad base of people? — that’s a debate that we’ll be having over the next 10 or 20 years." [Barack Obama to Wired / Scott Dadich]
  • "Everything that comes out of her mouth is insane and abhorrent and genuinely frightening, but I’m enchanted all the same. Sometimes you want to stand and admire the tornado instead of running from it, you know?" [Deadspin / Tom Ley]
  • "A 21-year-old man presented with a 2-week history of itching in his left eye. He reported “seeing worms” in his eye. He underwent thorough irrigation of the conjunctival sac and lacrimal duct, during which three worms were removed." [New England Journal of Medicine / Kyungmin Huh and Jeong Hoon Choi]
  • "I walk bravely through the streets of the West Village, tail dragging limply behind me, to my boyfriend’s parents’ apartment for dinner. While I’m there, his father warns me about my stunt: 'One day you are going to be really embarrassed you did this.' He doesn’t know that day has already come." [Jezebel / Joanna Rothkopf]

Watch this: Why rappers love Grey Poupon

Charting the rise of hip-hop's favorite condiment. [YouTube / Estelle Caswell and Sarah Frostensen]