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The Slate Plus Digest for Sept. 1.

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In a surprising turn of events, I have something real to tell you instead of just yammering on about household appliances: We’ve launched a private Facebook group, just for Slate Plus members.

Why? Here’s the short answer: As the program has grown, we’ve found it harder to keep lines of communication open between you (our best readers) and us. That kind of direct engagement was part of the point of Slate Plus from the beginning. We’re hopeful that this group will be a place for us to hear your thoughts and questions, and for you to get to know your favorite Slate writers and editors—and your fellow members.

Join now—we’re excited to see where this goes.

From Slate

On Hurricane Harvey: Henry Grabar explains how Houston’s development policy is and isn’t to blame for the devastation wreaked by the storm.

And: The Red Cross has surely raised millions of dollars over the past week from ordinary people who want to do something to help Texans. As Jonathan Katz explains, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

(For another perspective on the Red Cross, see this illuminating Twitter thread from ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger.)

We take it for granted that both Trump and the Republican establishment are terrible. But why, asks Ben Mathis-Lilley, are Democrats so often terrible too?

People who are racist: Trump voters, according to polls; NFL executives, according to their own justifications for not signing Colin Kaepernick.

Fred Kaplan explains why we should be both relieved and disturbed that the secretary of defense is distancing himself from the president.

April Glaser reports on the alt-right’s efforts to construct a new internet, which will presumably be like the old one but even more racist.

Not From Slate

Bloomberg’s deep dive into Jared Kushner’s 666 Fifth Ave. problem is an impressive piece of reporting, an engaging read, and implicitly perhaps world-historically significant.

Hilary Mantel on Diana 20 years on is self-recommending. (Also, if you missed it, you should read Jessica Winter’s retrospective essay on what Slate was doing when Diana died.)

Josh Marshall’s personal account of what Google’s monopoly means for a small news publisher is clarifying and not a little scary.

I really like the movie Superbad, and I really liked this article about the making of the movie Superbad.

Slate music critic Carl Wilson, not in Slate, on Joni Mitchell.

Happy Labor Day, and thank you for your Slate Plus membership, which makes our journalism possible. See you next week!

Gabriel Roth
Editorial director, Slate Plus

P.S. Our Conspiracy Thrillers Movie Club wrapped up this week. If you haven’t checked it out yet, why not take some time over Labor Day to rewatch The Conversation or The Parallax View with Sam Adams and his guests?