Quick Takes: What the CIA Knew Before the FBI On Trump/Russia

* Just because Trump dropped some bombs on Syria doesn’t mean the Russia story is going away.

The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say.

The briefings indicate that intelligence officials had evidence of Russia’s intentions to help Mr. Trump much earlier in the presidential campaign than previously thought. The briefings also reveal a critical split last summer between the C.I.A. and counterparts at the F.B.I., where a number of senior officials continued to believe through last fall that Russia’s cyberattacks were aimed primarily at disrupting America’s political system, and not at getting Mr. Trump elected, according to interviews…

The officials said Mr. Brennan also indicated that unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election.

After the Cold War ended, I’m sure that the CIA continued to keep an eye on Russians. So it doesn’t surprise me that they had the story before the FBI.

* I’d love to blame Trump for the fact that a measly 98,000 jobs were created in March. But Jared Bernstein says…”not so fast.”

The monthly survey of workplaces revealed a slower pace of job growth in March, as payrolls grew by 98,000, the lowest gain since last May, and down from the pace in recent months, while downward revisions reduced payroll gains from the first two months in the quarter by 38,000. The survey of households, however, told a more robust story of the March labor market, with unemployment down to a cyclical low of 4.5%, and for the right reasons: job seekers finding work, not giving up and leaving the labor market…

While some news sources will be tempted by this below-trend payroll number to declare a slump in employment growth – “if it bleeds, it leads” – that would be a mistake. One month does not a new trend make.

* If you thought the practice of redlining minority neighborhoods was a thing of the past, check out this story from ProPublica:

For decades, auto insurers have been observed to charge higher average premiums to drivers living in predominantly minority urban neighborhoods than to drivers with similar safety records living in majority white neighborhoods. Insurers have long defended their pricing by saying that the risk of accidents is greater in those neighborhoods, even for motorists who have never had one.

But a first-of-its-kind analysis by ProPublica and Consumer Reports, which examined auto insurance premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri, has found that many of the disparities in auto insurance prices between minority and white neighborhoods are wider than differences in risk can explain. In some cases, insurers such as Allstate, Geico and Liberty Mutual were charging premiums that were on average 30 percent higher in zip codes where most residents are minorities than in whiter neighborhoods with similar accident costs.

Our findings document what consumer advocates have long suspected: Despite laws in almost every state banning discriminatory rate-setting, some minority neighborhoods pay higher auto insurance premiums than do white areas with similar payouts on claims.

* Here is your daily dose of irony:

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum will always commemorate the past, but now it’s also looking to the future by switching to solar power.

The museum, owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, is located in Benham, a once thriving coal town portrayed in the 1976 Oscar-winning documentary Harlan County, USA…

“We believe that this project will help save at least eight to ten thousand dollars off the energy costs on this building alone, so it’s a very worthy effort and it’s going to save the college money in the long run.

* For a while now we’ve been hearing about the rising mortality rates among white people and the growing epidemics of drug abuse and suicide. In one of the best-written articles I’ve read in a while, Billy Baker adds an important piece to the discussion with: “The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.” I’ll give you the facts around which Baker builds his story – but you really should go read the whole thing.

Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, has said many times in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It is isolation…

Beginning in the 1980s, Schwartz says, study after study started showing that those who were more socially isolated were much more likely to die during a given period than their socially connected neighbors, even after you corrected for age, gender, and lifestyle choices like exercising and eating right. Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the progression of Alzheimer’s. One study found that it can be as much of a long-term risk factor as smoking.

The research doesn’t get any rosier from there. In 2015, a huge study out of Brigham Young University, using data from 3.5 million people collected over 35 years, found that those who fall into the categories of loneliness, isolation, or even simply living on their own see their risk of premature death rise 26 to 32 percent.

* Finally, what better way to end the week than with a good dose of schadenfreude?

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.