What’s stalling election security measures?
Threats to the country’s election infrastructure are no secret: Former special counsel Robert Mueller raised the alarm at hearings on Capitol Hill, and a bipartisan Senate report on the dire situation was released shortly after. Despite the concerns, Congress has been slow to act, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week blocking a House bill that would have provided $775 million to beef up state election security systems. 

Reporter Karoun Demirjian points to party divisions over how to handle Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election as a root cause of the inaction. “We’re having this political battle,” Demirjian says, “that effectively should be a nonpartisan issue.”

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Julián Castro doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. Stop asking him about it.
Democratic primary candidates Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg flaunted their ability to speak Spanish during the first debate. Their push to appeal to Latino voters didn’t go unnoticed.

Neither did the relative silence from Julián Castro, a third-generation Mexican American who — like many U.S.-born Latinos — does not speak fluent Spanish. 

Reporter Samantha Schmidt says the expectations placed on Castro by reporters and critics are accompanied by a lack of awareness about the language discrimination faced by U.S. Latinos, who for decades were prohibited from speaking Spanish in segregated public school systems.

“To him, it’s such a small part of what it means to be Latino,” Schmidt says.

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A new kind of birthday party
Elective C-sections have long been a status symbol among Brazil’s elite, a way for some of the country’s wealthier women to avoid the unpredictability of natural childbirth. 

Now, the phenomenon has inspired a new industry of party planners, makeup artists and caterers focused on turning these operations into wedding-like spectacles, produced for an audience. 

Brazil correspondent Marina Lopes says the seemingly innocuous procession actually comes from a place of fear. 

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What’s stalling election security measures?
Threats to the country’s election infrastructure are no secret: Former special counsel Robert Mueller raised the alarm at hearings on Capitol Hill, and a bipartisan Senate report on the dire situation was released shortly after. Despite the concerns, Congress has been slow to act, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week blocking a House bill that would have provided $775 million to beef up state election security systems. 

Reporter Karoun Demirjian points to party divisions over how to handle Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election as a root cause of the inaction. “We’re having this political battle,” Demirjian says, “that effectively should be a nonpartisan issue.”

More on this topic:

Julián Castro doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. Stop asking him about it.
Democratic primary candidates Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg flaunted their ability to speak Spanish during the first debate. Their push to appeal to Latino voters didn’t go unnoticed.

Neither did the relative silence from Julián Castro, a third-generation Mexican American who — like many U.S.-born Latinos — does not speak fluent Spanish. 

Reporter Samantha Schmidt says the expectations placed on Castro by reporters and critics are accompanied by a lack of awareness about the language discrimination faced by U.S. Latinos, who for decades were prohibited from speaking Spanish in segregated public school systems.

“To him, it’s such a small part of what it means to be Latino,” Schmidt says.

More on this topic:

A new kind of birthday party
Elective C-sections have long been a status symbol among Brazil’s elite, a way for some of the country’s wealthier women to avoid the unpredictability of natural childbirth. 

Now, the phenomenon has inspired a new industry of party planners, makeup artists and caterers focused on turning these operations into wedding-like spectacles, produced for an audience. 

Brazil correspondent Marina Lopes says the seemingly innocuous procession actually comes from a place of fear. 

More on this topic:
Previous Episode
Shane Harris unpacks the state of the intelligence community amid the departure of spy chief Daniel Coats. Plus, Shibani Mahtani visits a Philippine troll farm that’s transforming discourse online, and Rick Maese on how rising temperatures affect athletes
Monday, July 29, 2019
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Yasmeen Abutaleb on the White House’s scramble for a health-care win. Moriah Balingit explains how e-cigarettes may lead to more than nicotine addiction. And Heather Long on the Federal Reserve’s gamble on the economy.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019