Quick Takes

* Some disturbing news from Sabrina Tavernise at the NYT today:

Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s…

American Indians had the sharpest rise of all racial and ethnic groups, with rates rising by 89 percent for women and 38 percent for men. White middle-aged women had an increase of 80 percent.

The rate declined for just one racial group: black men. And it declined for only one age group: men and women over 75.

* Good move from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

More than 200,000 convicted felons will be able to cast ballots in the swing state of Virginia in November under a sweeping executive order Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Friday.

The Democrat said restoring the rights of former felons to vote and run for office will help undo the state’s long history of trying to prevent African-Americans from fully participating in our democracy.

* One of the reasons there is so little documented evidence about the medical benefits of marijuana is that the federal government has been unwilling to approve studies on the impact of its use. That’s why this is such a big deal.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has formally approved the first-ever randomized controlled trial of whole plant medical marijuana (cannabis) as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in U.S. veterans. The DEA’s approval marks the first time a clinical trial intended to develop smoked botanical marijuana into a legal prescription drug has received full approval from U.S. regulatory agencies, including the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study will test the safety and efficacy of botanical marijuana in 76 U.S. military veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.

* Finally, beyond their musical talents, Alyssa Rosenberg identifies what both David Bowie and Prince gave to the world.

We’re in a moment in American politics consumed by gender panic, from Donald Trump’s menstrual anxieties to the rise of and backlash to a movement for transgender rights. And now we’ve lost two men who had an expansive, almost luxuriant vision of what it meant to be a man and lived out that vision through decades when it was much less safe to do so…

In the clothes they wore, the lean bodies they lived in, the way they positioned themselves in their music and art, their relationships to LGBT communities and in so many other ways, Prince and Bowie were living arguments that there is no one way, and no correct way for a man to dress, to move, to decide what he values, to choose who he loves or where he stands in relation to that person.

It’s no surprise that these lessons came from truly great and gifted artists. That’s because…

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.