PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

Florida Enacts Sweeping Law to Protect Its Wildlife Corridors (Maria)

The author writes, “Florida made conservation history by enacting a bill and securing $400 million in funding to help protect the state’s vast network of natural areas. Known as the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, the legislation passed the Florida State Senate and House unanimously in late April. It was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on the evening of June 29. The act formally recognizes the existence of the Florida wildlife corridor, an interconnected web of green spaces throughout much of the state that includes forests, swamps, fields, pastures, timberlands, and even the edges of suburbs.”

Democrats Have One Option Left (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Congressional action has long seemed the only realistic lever for Democrats to resist red states’ surge of voter-suppression laws, which are passing, as I’ve written, on an almost entirely party-line basis. In the state legislatures, Democrats lack the votes to stop these laws. And while the John Roberts–led Supreme Court — which opened the door to these restrictions by eviscerating another section of the Voting Rights Act in his 2013 Shelby County decision — always seemed unlikely to restrain the Republican-controlled states, [last week’s] ruling from the six GOP-appointed justices eliminated any doubt.”

Exxon Lobbyist Brags About Regular Access to Joe Manchin (Dan)

The author writes, “Exxon Mobil says it has regular access to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and his staff, according to leaked comments by a senior lobbyist for the oil giant. The remarks came from Keith McCoy, Exxon’s senior director of federal relations in Washington. ‘Joe Manchin ― I talk to his office every week. He is the kingmaker, and he’s not shy about staking his claim early and completely changing the debate,’ McCoy said.” 

‘We Are All Victims’: How Republicans Became the Party of the Persecution Complex (Reader Steve)

From The Seattle Times: “The story of a local Republican comparing coronavirus vaccine rules to the Holocaust seemed, at first glance, to have a limited shelf life. After the story was reported in this newspaper, state Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen — who wore a yellow Star of David and also said, preposterously, that ‘we’re all Jews’ — doubled down, but then later issued an apology after there were some calls for him to resign. The end — right? Equating yourself to Holocaust victims is obviously both offensive and delusional. … But there’s a bigger issue here — one that keeps happening, to the point of becoming an epidemic of its own. It’s that half our political system, the Republican half, is becoming consumed with victimhood and grievance.”

Israel, Morocco Take Baby Steps on Diplomatic, Social, Economic Ties (Mili)

From Al-Monitor: “Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was in the United States [last] week, for a farewell visit ahead of the end of his term July 9. As part of his visit program, 21 ambassadors participated in a ceremony at the United Nations’ New York headquarters, honoring Israel’s outgoing president. One of the ambassadors invited was Moroccan envoy to the UN Omar Hilale, who surprised the other participants. Not only did he come to the event, but he also chose to address the gathering, referring publicly to the normalization agreements signed between Israel and Arab countries, including Morocco. Hilale noted he considered this development as historic, hailing Israel’s willingness to reach these agreements and expressing his optimism for the future of the region. He said there was no alternative to peace.”

Hotter Than the Human Body Can Handle: Pakistan City Broils in World’s Highest Temperatures (Mili)

From The Telegraph: “When the full midsummer heat hits Jacobabad, the city retreats inside as if sheltering from attack. The streets are deserted and residents hunker down as best they can to weather temperatures that can top 52C (126F). Few have any air conditioning, and blackouts mean often there is no mains electricity. The hospital fills with heatstroke cases from those whose livelihoods mean they must venture out.”

New Research of Impact Crater Blows Away Previous Estimates of Its Age (Sean0

The author writes, “If you travel 140 miles southeast of Kiev, Ukraine, just before you reach the tiny village of Bukvarka, you’ll arrive at a patch of forest that streaks across agricultural lands. The gently sloping meadows and cottages are bucolic, giving no indication of the area’s violent past. But burrow down 1,700 feet or so and you’ll find the remnants of a catastrophic impact: a 15 mile–wide asteroid crater. Scientists say that about 65 million years ago an asteroid the length of three Eiffel Towers struck here, its fiery fallout blanketing an area the size of present-day Vermont.”

‘At First I Thought, This Is Crazy’: The Real-life Plan to Use Novels to Predict the Next War (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “The name of the initiative was Project Cassandra: for the next two years, university researchers would use their expertise to help the German defence ministry predict the future. The academics weren’t AI specialists, or scientists, or political analysts. Instead, the people the colonels had sought out in a stuffy top-floor room were a small team of literary scholars led by Jürgen Wertheimer, a professor of comparative literature with wild curls and a penchant for black roll-necks.”

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