The Angle

The Angle: Hold On, What Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on the 2020 Democratic primary (yes, seriously), Obamacare, acts of God, and Chicago’s Deep Tunnel.

We can talk about 2020 now, right? We’re still more than 22 months away from Election Day 2020, but now that it’s 2019, jockeying among the Democrats to see who will be the presidential nominee is sure to begin. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has already announced her candidacy, and others will be jumping in soon. Josh Voorhees has provided a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of seven candidates who will have a leg up going into the contest.

Hold on, what? The Texas judge who infamously ruled Obamacare unconstitutional in a December ruling issued a hold on that very ruling just a few days ago … in which he doubled down on his original decision for almost 30 pages. No, really. Mark Stern analyzes the judge’s incoherent new order—which contains 78 footnotes—and diagnoses the reasoning within it: “This gibberish boggles the mind.”

Natural laws? Is there such a thing as an “act of God” now that we understand the impact of human activities on the climate? Kyle Piscioniere traces the history of this legal concept and argues for better legal tools that “rethink our relationship to the Earth.” And while you’re rethinking that relationship, make room for a year of poignant science fiction short stories (and their thoughtful response essays) about ways the world could, but not necessarily would, change due to technology. These amazing stories feature entries from Future Tense Fiction contributors and sci-fi mainstays such as Nnedi Okorafor, Meg Elison, and Carmen Maria Machado.

A tunnel, but not of love: In the 1970s, construction began on Chicago’s Deep Tunnel, an underground system of sewers and reservoirs meant to bottle up floods and water pollution, mitigating their impact on the city. Henry Grabar analyzes the tunnel and the city’s continuing weather-resistance efforts, and wonders whether any of it is enough to brace Chicago for the steeper impacts of climate change.

For fun: The worst (now public domain) art from 1923.

Still in print,