The Angle

The Angle: The Never Hurts to Ask Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on impeachment, coronavirus, juvenile life sentences, and technological racism.

The Angle’s getting a rebrand next week. Don’t worry: This newsletter will still have the same stories you love. They’ll just come with a different name—The Slatest—and a sharp new look. You don’t need to take any action to keep receiving it, but if change isn’t your thing, unsubscribe here or below (we’ll miss you).

Duh: Throughout the impeachment trial, the president’s defenders have argued that his motivations in the Ukraine affair are fundamentally unknowable. But there’s one person who does know the state of Donald Trump’s mind: Donald Trump. Tom Scocca makes the case for calling him to testify. Plus, Dahlia Lithwick explains why the president’s “L’état, c’est moi” defense is so dangerous.

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A history of virulence: The new coronavirus is just the latest in a series of pandemics in the 21st century. Rebecca Onion has a roundup of what happened and what we learned in the outbreaks of SARS, swine flu, Ebola, and more.

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Lockup: The Supreme Court has ruled that automatic life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional, but it didn’t give any guidance on what would replace them. In a piece published in partnership with the Marshall Project, Eli Hager covers the devastating range of sentences across states, which keep juveniles in prison until they leave “in a wheelchair—or on a gurney.”

They knew: At the dawn of the information age, when many scientists predicted that computers would lead to a more equal society, activists of the civil rights movement saw a more troubling possibility: that technological progress could magnify racism instead of eradicating it. In the modern era of discriminatory algorithms, those warnings seem more prescient than ever, as Charlton McIlwain writes.

For fun: Those who do not remember The Naked Gun are doomed to repeat it.

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