America This Week: July 24-31, 2022
UAW Intrigue, Biden's Debt Nightmare, Trump's Grand Jury Trouble, China's Fed Infiltration, and QAnon Returneth, plus Cannibal Chic, Three Finance Tales, and more
You’re reading “America This Week,” a recap of U.S. news that launched in English, Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, and German last Friday. Today we say Hola to readers in Spanish as well, while taking the first steps into what’s historically the slowest month in American politics.
The emptying of Washington in late summer has a long and weirdly deadly backstory. The capital is notorious for stifling heat, and officials spent the 1800s trying and failing to improve ventilation in the Capitol through various harebrained schemes. The Senate, whose stained glass ceiling produced a hothouse effect that all but roasted the stout cigar-smoking men who packed the chamber, soon earned a rep as a “death trap,” with 34 Senators going to their graves between 1916 and 1928 alone. When a doctor named Royal Copeland took office in 1923, he chided colleagues for working too hard, blamed Capitol air for deaths, and drew up reforms leading to the introduction of “manufactured weather,” a.k.a. air conditioning. Copeland went on in 1938 to collapse and die from overwork just after leaving a session, prompting the Associated Press to run the following cold-blooded headline:
Instead of dying en masse, legislators now go away every August, which annoys some but gives journalists a chance to catch up on divorce hearings and work on failed novels. Still, news never stops:
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