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Vox Sentences: Neighborhood trouble in the world’s biggest nuclear hot spot

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Tensions in Kashmir; this year's MacArthur Genius Grant winners; how Clinton and Trump would govern.

Trouble in one of the places in the world you least want to see trouble

Protesters in Kashmir Pacific Press / Umer Asif via Lightrocket / Getty
  • The region of Kashmir — which, depending on whom you ask, is either Indian or Indian-occupied — is heating up again, after an attack on an army base over the weekend killed 18 Indian soldiers. [Foreign Affairs / George Perkovich]
  • India has responded with a military crackdown on "militants" (11 were killed in a raid earlier this week), and by blaming Pakistan for the terrorist attack on the base. [BBC]
  • Kashmir's been on edge for weeks. The killing of a separatist leader in July by Indian soldiers has set off ongoing protests, which have occasionally been met with a violent response. [BBC / Justin Rowlatt]
  • In the days before the attack at the army base, up to 100 protesters were injured following the funeral of a schoolboy who was reportedly gunned down by Indian troops. [Al Jazeera]
  • All of this is playing out during the week when world leaders speak to the United Nations, and neither country has minced words: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Pakistan was in "the Ivy League" of terrorism. [Time / Rishi Iyengar]
  • The Kashmir situation poses something of a sticky situation for Modi. As a Hindu nationalist, he has strong ideological incentives not to give in to Kashmiri protesters' demands for autonomy — and to take a strong military stand against Pakistan. [NYT / Geeta Anand and Hari Kumar]
  • In practice, though, he doesn't have much elbow room for such a hard line, given that his chief domestic priority is economic development in the region. Which is fortunate, because, as you might recall, both India and Pakistan have the capability for nuclear war. [CNBC / Nyshka Chandran]


Genius Grant winner Claudia Rankine John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • The MacArthur Foundation has announced its 2016 Genius Grant winners: 35 people who will get $625,000 over the next four years to keep doing what they're doing. [MacArthur Foundation]
  • This year's roster is heavier on artists than usual — in particular, artists who tell the stories of marginalized communities.
  • The most famous winners are writers: poet Claudia Rankine, whose 2014 book Citizen keeps getting reprinted (because it's popular) and updated with the names of the black Americans killed by police in the time since the last edition was published... [Vox / Victoria M. Massie]
  • ...and writer Maggie Nelson, whom you might know from The Argonauts and whose work deals viscerally with gender and sex. [The Guardian / Paul Laity]
  • The most populist pick, arguably, is cartoonist Gene Luen Yang — who's currently working on a series for DC Comics about a Shanghai teen who assumes Superman's powers. [Vox / Alex Abad-Santos]
  • The theme of bringing underrepresented communities into the conversation continues beyond art — one of the nonprofit leaders recognized by the foundation is Jose Quinonez, who helps low-income immigrants build credit by recording their casual loans to each other for credit bureaus. [LAT / Natalie Kitroeff]
  • Winners can do whatever they want with the $625,000. Most, like New Yorker writer Sarah Stillman (whose work is consistently amazing but whose 2013 feature "Taken," on civil asset forfeiture, is one of the best works of journalism of the 21st century to date), plan to use it to continue their work. [New Yorker / Sarah Stillman]
  • About the one thing they can't do is what ACLU lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham (who just lost a case to guarantee lawyers for unaccompanied immigrant children) says he wishes he could do: trade in the money for justice. [Fusion / Jorge Rivas]

How they'd govern

Trump and Clinton Getty / Alex Wong; Getty / Mark Makela
  • In the week before the first presidential debate (Monday! Aren't you excited?), there's been a spate of good journalism on how the two major party candidates would actually govern if elected.
  • On the Democratic side, Jonathan Cohn, writing from the premise that "personnel is policy," takes readers deep inside the effort to staff up a putative Hillary Clinton administration. [Huffington Post / Jonathan Cohn]
  • Clinton's team needs to start early given the ambitiousness of her agenda for her first 100 days, which includes two major legislative priorities: an infrastructure package and comprehensive immigration reform. [NYT / Patrick Healy]
  • It might seem hard to imagine that Clinton will have the capital to do either of those things, given how unpopular she is as a candidate. But if she's elected, she'll have the chance to metamorphose, once more, into the competent leader America tends to (when she's doing a job) remember it likes. [Vox / Ezra Klein]
  • Donald Trump's legislative priorities are, unsurprisingly, less clear than his opponent's. But as Mike Konczal points out, Trump isn't as much of a wild card on policy as he might seem — if you think of "policy" as "the identification of which problems need to be solved," he's been fairly clear. [Medium / Mike Konczal]
  • The most thorough review of what Donald Trump could, and would, actually do as president comes from Evan Osnos at the New Yorker. Osnos comes to the conclusion that, despite the fact that few people with experience in government would actually want to serve in a Trump administration, he'd have more power on some key priorities than the public might like to think. [New Yorker / Evan Osnos]
  • The president doesn't have unlimited power to, say, target individuals. But he does have extremely broad power to set policy. There might be more checks on the president prosecuting journalists than you might think ... but fewer checks on him starting a nuclear war. [Vox / Dara Lind]


  • In 2004, a sociologist ran experiments to test New York employers for racial discrimination. Then she went back to look at what happened to the companies. The firms that discriminated were much likelier to go bust by 2010. [Marginal Revolution / Alex Tabarrok]
  • Ronald Fisher was one of the fathers of modern statistics. He also strongly believed that the idea that smoking caused cancer was nonsense that confused correlation for causation. [Priceonomics / Ben Christopher]
  • Turns out another famous psychology finding — that smiling can actually cause you to be happier — can't be replicated. [Slate / Daniel Engber]
  • Electric cars in France produce less than 10 percent of the emissions that they do in the US. The reason is simple: They get most of their electricity from nuclear and renewables, and we don't. [Bloomberg / Anna Hirtenstein]
  • Enraged by for-profit prisons? Check out for-profit group homes for children with disabilities, whose neglect is killing kids. [ProPublica / Heather Vogell]


  • "Trump and I believe there’s been far too much talk about institutional bias and racism within law enforcement." [Gov. Mike Pence via The Daily Beast / Asawin Suebsaeng]
  • "Pornhub isn’t the first organization to make porn accessible for the visually impaired." [The Guardian / Olivia Solon]
  • "As far as one board member was concerned, if Pleasant Company wasn’t willing to give Addy wavy hair, then it would have to wade into less child-friendly territory to explain why: 'She can have straighter hair if you want to,' Chisholm remembers thinking at the time, 'but then we have to deal with the rape of black women during slavery.'" [Slate / Aisha Harris]
  • "You can kill a person with your tongue." [Pope Francis via Reuters]
  • "So close your eyes and visit the calmest oasis in your memory palace: the grand salon of Guido Cavalcante’s hunting lodge, Poccetti frescoes above you, the Oltrarno below. Imagine the velvet aroma of the Brunello di Montalcino in your right hand. You can tell before it reaches your lips that these grapes ripened in 1997: The wine, just coming into its own now, tastes of more civilized times. Prodi. Clinton. The end of history. Now click play on the international teaser trailer for Smurfs: The Lost Village." [Slate / Matthew Dessem]

Watch this: Kim Kardashian's greatest talent

It's not all about the nude selfies. [YouTube / Liz Scheltens]