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Vox Sentences: In which John Kerry throws the best shade of the UN Syria summit

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Protests in Charlotte after an (un?)(armed?) black man is killed by police; the US and Russia make a UN Security Council meeting on Syria super awkward; Brangelina, and America.

A boiling point in Charlotte (and everywhere else)

Protesters in Charlotte Getty / Brian Blanco
  • Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black man with a disability, was shot and killed by a police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday night. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Police and residents have two totally different accounts of what happened in the moments before Scott was killed. Scott's family, citing a witness, says he was unarmed and reading a book. The police (who say they recovered a gun at the scene) claim Scott threatened them with it several times. [NYT / Alan Blinder and Timothy Williams]
  • Bodycam footage of the shooting could clear this up. But it's extremely hard to force a police department to release a video — and it'll only get harder once a new North Carolina law goes into effect next week. [NY Daily News / Jason Silverstein]
  • The response to Scott's shooting has been outraged and sometimes violent; 16 police officers were injured in protests Tuesday night. [Charlotte Observer / Joe Marusak, Ely Portillo, Mark Price, and Adam Bell]
  • The head of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department might be more sympathetic than most to the protesters; he's said in the past that even legally justified police shootings aren't always morally justified. [Slate / Leon Neyfakh]
  • But he's dealing with something much bigger than himself. Behind Charlotte's image as "the place you move when you want sunshine," Heather Ann Thompson points out, the city's "ugly pockets of poverty and segregation" have been long neglected and overpoliced. [NBC News / Heather Ann Thompson]
  • Zoom out one level further, and, as police oversight expert Walter Katz explains, we're in the midst of a nationwide crisis over the legitimacy of police in America. [Fault Lines / Walter Katz]
  • We're in an era when the Massachusetts Supreme Court can rule that it shouldn't be cause for suspicion when a black man runs from the police — because black men have good reason to fear the police. [WBUR / Zeninjor Enwemeka]
  • The pain and terror are real. And on weeks like this, it's hard for black Americans — especially children — to put on a happy face and go through their days. (This thread from a teacher has some suggestions on how to support them.) [Tricia Matthew via Twitter]

US and Russia getting snippy about Syria

bombed-out truck in Syria AFP / Omar Haj Kadour via Getty
  • On Monday, airstrikes destroyed a UN aid convoy in Syria. Now the US government has evidence that Russia was behind the bombing. [The Guardian / Julian Borger and Spencer Ackerman]
  • The bombing of the aid convoy was the most prominent episode of renewed violence after the Syrian ceasefire officially expired Monday; strikes have also killed aid workers in hospitals (as well as, of course, civilians). [BBC]
  • This made for an extremely awkward UN Security Council meeting Wednesday about Syria, in which Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, basically faced off. [NBC News / F. Brinley Bruton and Abigail Williams]
  • Lavrov urged the US not to jump to conclusions about the convoy bombing; Kerry responded by calling for all planes to be grounded, attesting it was still possible to salvage the ceasefire as long as all parties (hint, hint) were committed to it. [Reuters / Michelle Nichols and Tom Perry]
  • But he didn't seem very confident that would happen. "Supposedly," he said in the biggest subtweet of UN Week so far, "we all want the same goal." [AP]

Can we admit "Brangelina" was a terrible portmanteau, though?

Brangelina Getty / Kevork S. Djansezian
  • The nation is reeling from the announcement Tuesday that Angelina Jolie is seeking a divorce from Brad Pitt, putting an end to the megacelebrity unit known as Brangelina. [Vox / Alex Abad-Santos]
  • The analysis you need to read on Brangelina is from Anne Helen Petersen, the smartest writer about celebrity culture in America; she argues that the divorce is another example of Jolie's success in maintaining an un-tabloidy, un-actressy image. [BuzzFeed News / Anne Helen Petersen]
  • (Jolie's image is so serious and humanitarian, in fact, that the now-traditional gender-flipping satire of "London School of Economics lecturer to divorce actor husband" doesn't really land.) [City A.M. / Caitlin Morrison]
  • Arguably, that seriousness — which subsumed the "Brangelina" unit as well — made both Jolie and Pitt relatively boring as individuals; their global family consumed their individual stars. [Vox / Constance Grady]
  • Just as arguably, it made them the perfect poster family for contemporary elite liberal America — where women are getting married later but where couples are more likely to stay together (thanks to the benefits of affluence). [Roosevelt Institute / June Carbone and Naomi Cahn]
  • Which makes their divorce so shocking. Jolie, by being the one to file for divorce, did follow the general trend: Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women. [Bloomberg / Ben Staverman]
  • This is probably not, however, the evidence that tabloid magazines are using when they immediately arrived at the conclusion it was Jolie's "fault." [The Atlantic / Megan Garber]
  • The entertainment industrial complex is already searching for the next top power couple (though George and Amal Clooney seem like the obvious choice). But take a moment to pour one out for true love. [The Hairpin / Silvia Killingsworth]


  • Both major party presidential nominees have negative approval ratings among Americans; both Canada and Mexico have positive ones. Make of that what you will. [Mark Murray via Twitter]
  • This is utterly bonkers Electoral College fanfic. Read for pleasure, not for punditry. [The New York Observer / Cliston Brown]
  • North Korea's internet has only 28 websites. [CNBC / Arjun Kharpal]
  • Americans consume too much sugar — but we actually take in substantially less than we did 16 years ago. [Boston Globe / Candice Choi]
  • So it turns out that Canada's government gave years of funding to a company that helps other governments, like Bahrain, censor their citizens' internet. [Motherboard / Jordan Pearson]


  • "Bennett, a divorced mother of five, can match the birthdate of each child by the bad guys she was pursuing at the time. She calls her second son her 'Khobar Towers baby'...” [Newsweek / Abigail Jones]
  • "There might be an opening in this moment, with inner cities safer than they've ever been, for people like me to consider doing away with prisons, even while that system represents a kind of justice that's always been denied us." [NPR / Gene Demby]
  • "These streaming millennial criminals, or what we call ‘striminals,’ watch what they want, when they want, where they want, and they don’t pay for it." [Anatomy Media via TorrentFreak / Ernesto]
  • "Space is increasingly becoming populated by a variety of technologies from other nations, and that poses governance challenges as countries with differing views about the use of space become effective there." [Cynthia Dion-Schwarz to FiveThirtyEight]
  • "Woman dies after lighting 17 candles for romantic evening with her imaginary boyfriend and setting fire to her flat" [Daily Mail Online]

Watch this: The 1995 Hubble photo that changed astronomy

The Hubble Deep Field, explained by the man who made it happen. [YouTube / Joss Fong, Dion Lee]