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Vox Sentences: 11 small bombs and no answers in southern Thailand

Thailand's tourist regions bombarded with 11 small bombs in two days; Donald Trump's extremely narrow path to victory.

Vox Sentences is written by Dylan Matthews and Dara Lind.

Sending a message in bombs
A man walks next to a police cordon tape in front of the site of the small bomb blast and arson attack on Bang Niang market, Takua Pa, near Khao Lak in Phang Nga province
Jerome Taylor/AFP/Getty Images
  • A series of 11 small bombs went off across southern Thailand Thursday and Friday, targeting popular tourist destinations like Phuket. [Reuters / Prapan Chankaew and Andrew R.C. Marshall]
  • The Thai government has been quick to rule out international terrorism — though it might be doing so to protect the tourism industry. [AP / Penny Wang and Todd Pitman]
  • While the bombings killed four people, they weren't designed to maximize casualties, which suggests the perpetrators' goal was to harm tourism. [NYT / Poypiti Amanatham]
  • The junta ruling the Thai government has suggested the bombs might be the doing of the opposition party — as an expression of dissatisfaction with the vote last week to ratify a new constitution (which it was illegal to campaign against). [BBC / Jonathan Head]
  • The areas targeted by the bombings did vote heavily in favor of the constitution, which gave more power to the junta. But their support may have been due to the fact that the junta's been good for tourism — which brings us back to the economic argument. [NPR / Merrit Kennedy]
  • Regardless of the intended effect of the bombing, it's not just tourists who are likely to be nervous but Thai citizens — who have already started doubting that the junta can really keep them as safe as it promises. [The Guardian]
A swingin' blue spot
Factory tourin'
Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • We've just finished the most dispositive week of presidential campaign polling: Polls at this point in the campaign are more predictive of the eventual winner than any other point. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • So where do we stand? Lopsidedly. If the election were held today, FiveThirtyEight projects Hillary Clinton would receive about 347 electoral votes (she needs 270 to win the presidency). [FiveThirtyEight]
  • Clinton is ahead in all 10 of the closest states in 2012. She's so confident that she's pulling some ads back in Colorado and Virginia — which ought to be swing states. [Washington Post / Abby Phillip]
  • There is a path to victory for Donald Trump, but it's narrow: Win all Mitt Romney's states, plus Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. [Washington Post / Chris Cillizza]
  • Problem: Trump is behind in Ohio and Pennsylvania. [NBC News / Mark Murray]
  • Problem: North Carolina, which Romney won, promises to be a hard-fought battleground at best, and a likely blue state at worst. [Charlotte News-Observer / Colin Campbell and Bryan Anderson]
  • Problem: Even though Trump's doing better in Florida than some states Romney won in 2012, he's alienating moderate Republicans there. [Tampa Bay Times / Alex Leary]
  • Problem: Hillary Clinton has enough confidence and resources that she might force Trump and the Republicans to spend energy on retaining Arizona and even Georgia. [NBC News / Alex Seitz-Wald and Kristen Welker]
  • So where is Trump focusing? ... Everywhere. He apparently asked the RNC to open campaign offices for him in all 50 states. (Some of them, like the one in New Jersey, have already closed.) [New York / Eric Levitz]
Oh, Simone(s)
Slay, queens
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
  • Let's get this over with: Americans are getting a very bad perspective on the 2016 Olympics, because NBC's primetime coverage has spent way too much time on soft-focus jingoism and way too little on showing all the sports Americans aren't winning. [Vox / Todd VanDerWerff]
  • In fairness, though, Americans are winning a lot. Simone Biles won the all-around gymnastics gold in a walk last night; Vox's Alex Abad-Santos explains why she's so good. [Vox / Alex Abad-Santos]
  • And Simone Manuel's tie for the gold in the 100-meter freestyle cemented her as one of a new generation of top sprinters. [SB Nation / Christian D'Andrea]
  • It was also the first time an African-American swimmer medaled: vindication after decades of pool policy shaped (like everything else in America) by structural and individual racism. [Vox / Jenée Desmond-Harris and Victoria M. Massie]
  • Not everything is great in Rio, though. The US women's soccer team has been eliminated from contention after a loss to Sweden — making 2016 the first Olympics where they won't medal. [Yahoo Sports / Jay Busbee]
  • The specter of doping continues to hang over the games, but the only country getting in trouble for it in Rio is Kenya — and it's the coaches getting caught (though in circumstances that seem incriminating to the players as well). [Quartz / Yomi Kazeem]
  • That doesn't mean no doping is happening — just that it's not being caught. As a spokesperson said about the (now-closed) mysteriously green Olympic pool, "Chemistry is not an exact science." [SB Nation / Mark Hinog]
It used to be that wages grew faster in poor parts of the US than in rich ones. That's no longer the case — and obnoxious zoning and land use rules appear to be to blame.

[Brookings / Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag]

  • I (Dylan) kind of disagree with Matt Zoller Seitz's contention that serial dramas are in a rut (The Leftovers and The Americans alone seem to rebut that), but his argument is worth a read anyway. [NY Mag / Matt Zoller Seitz]
  • "Balance billing" is a benign term for a super-pernicious practice: getting billed by out-of-network providers even at a hospital or facility that's in network. [Slate / Helaine Olen]
  • Let us now praise Massive Attack's Blue Lines, which just turned 25 and whose influence you can hear all over Top 40 radio today. [NY Mag / Frank Guan]
  • Albuquerque has tried an innovative, and apparently quite successful, approach to end homelessness: just giving people jobs. [Washington Post / Colby Itkowitz]
"[Gay people] have heard some say that the reason God will bring condemnation on America is because of them— as if somehow God was willing to put up with adultery and gluttony and greed and pride, but now this is the last straw."

[Marco Rubio via NYT / Jeremy Peters]

  • "So, what do I think of Hillary? I think she's fucking awesome. Is she in bed with Wall Street? Goddammit, I should hope so! You've got to dance with the devil. So which of the horrible people do you want? That's more of the question. Do you want a pompous braggart who doesn't know anything about diplomacy? Or do you want a badass bitch who knows how to get shit done? That's really the question." [RuPaul to NY Mag / Alex Jung]
  • "A judge on Thursday rejected Citigroup Inc's bid for a preliminary injunction to stop AT&T Inc from using the phrase 'AT&T thanks' on a customer loyalty program, which the bank called too similar to its trademarked 'thankyou.'" [Reuters / Jonathan Stempel]
  • "Japan’s constitution declares that 'the right to own or to hold property is inviolable.' A private developer cannot make you sell land; a local government cannot stop you using it. If you want to build a mock-Gothic castle faced in pink seashells, that is your business." [FT / Robin Harding]
  • "Statistics show that nearly twenty per cent of women in the U.S. have been raped at some point in their lives, and around forty-four per cent of women have reported some other kind of sexual violence. But I suspect that the figure is more like a hundred per cent for women who will have endured things many men might consider minor — an unwelcome penis pressed against your leg at a party; being humped at the water cooler; being fondled, lunged at, felt up, squeezed, rubbed against." [New Yorker / Mary Karr]

If you're not a morning person, science says you probably never will be. [YouTube / Liz Scheltens and Gina Barton]

Correction: The original version of this post stated that Mitt Romney won Iowa; he did not.