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    Buzzkill NYPD Cops Pull Sting Operation on Teens Skipping School to Hit the Beach
    The cops bag another truant at Coney Island. Image: Getty

    Teens of New York were miffed af this morning when they found that their sicky gnar gnar school skip day at the beach was to be more of a ride to bummer city in the back of an NYPD van.

    DNAinfo reports that at least seven police school safety vans were parked at the foot of the bridge that connects mainland Queens to Broad Channel on the way to the Rockaway Peninsula, stopping each bus to the beach and searching for truant students inside. Reporter Katie Honan wrote that she witnessed “at least seven” kids taken off of buses before 10 a.m. today.

    An NYPD spokesperson told Gawker that “There is a truancy initiative today in Patrol Borough Queens South,” but did not respond when asked whether today’s sting was a one-time thing or part of an ongoing operation.

    In any case, you’ve been warned, youths: Next time you’re hoping to head to la playa for some frosty whitecap Snapchat hashtag sun’s out gun’s out Fifth Harmony crying emoji crying emoji crying emoji prayer hands emoji, maybe consider taking your own car.


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    The only business edge that Walmart has left over Amazon: food stamp spending. (Much of it from Walmart employees!)

    http://gawker.com/alice-walton-t...


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    What Are the Chances That the Trump Campaign Accidentally Sent That Whitewater Email to Politico On Purpose?
    Photo: AP

    It may look as if Donald Trump’s renegade presidential campaign is run primarily by inexperienced loose cannons who could at any moment help torpedo the candidate’s chances at securing the most unlikely election victory in modern American history, and a new report this afternoon from The Politico seems to confirm that.

    http://theslot.jezebel.com/donald-trumps-...

    The story goes like this: Earlier today, Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks—who was suddenly appointed to that position last year despite having no political experience—received an email from a campaign advisor named Michael Caputo. The email, which was sent to a Republican National Committee researcher with Hicks CC’d, asked for a plan of attack against Hillary Clinton focusing on the so-called Whitewater scandal that has dogged the Clintons for decades. The Politico story explains:

    Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo on Wednesday morning emailed a researcher at the Republican National Committee asking him to “work up information on HRC/Whitewater as soon as possible. This is for immediate use and for the afternoon talking points process.”

    But things went awry when Hicks replied not to Michael Caputo, but to Marc Caputo, a Politico reporter of no relation:

    The email was obtained by POLITICO when Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who Caputo copied on his request to the RNC, accidentally responded instead to Marc Caputo, a POLITICO reporter who is not related to the Republican consultant.

    Ack! There is, of course, plenty of reason to believe that this was just equally good and bad luck for Politico and Hicks, respectively. But isn’t it also possible that the Trump campaign decided to leak the email on purpose?

    How did Hicks, in attempting to respond to an email someone forwarded to her, end up sending an email to a person not even on the thread in the first place? Why, if she meant to respond to Michael Caputo, did she have to retype his name in the reply field, thus accidentally sending the email to Marc Caputo?

    The answer, I suppose, would be that Hope Hicks was extremely busy sending emails and got her wires crossed, or that she’s more or less incompetent. Again, either of those two things are well within the realm of possibility. But if the Trump campaign did have a goal of resurfacing the Whitewater scandal in a manner that separates it from the ongoing “Donald Trump said some crazy shit again” news cycle, then it could not have gone more smoothly.

    “Whitewater” has been trending on Twitter since Politico published its scoop, and websites such as this one have picked up the story, too. Did Bill and Hillary Clinton kill a guy? Donald Trump would be happy to know we’re talking about it.


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    Donald Trump to Keep Warring Factions of His Campaign on Separate Floors of Trump Tower
    Photo: AP

    According to New York magazine, Donald Trump, in preparation for the general election, is giving campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski plenty of room to avoid each other: These two spoiled brats will each get their own office space on different floors of Trump Tower.

    The two men have been jostling for position since Trump hired Manafort in March. Manafort will move into the former location of the Apprentice, on the 14th floor of Trump Tower, and Lewandowski will remain on the fifth floor. From New York’s report:

    Manafort’s camp is made up of veteran operatives Rick Gates, Rick Wiley, Michael Caputo and newly hired pollster Tony Fabrizio. Lewandowski’s crew includes early staffers like communications director Hope Hicks and deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner.

    In recent weeks, the feud has been playing out in public. Manafort’s side, according to sources, was furious after the Washington Post reported on May 10 that Trump had tapped Lewandowski to oversee the vice-presidential search.

    Manafort used the article as leverage with Trump in getting a recent promotion to the role of campaign chairman and chief strategist, according to two insiders. Lewandowski was outraged by the perceived demotion.

    Last week, Lewandowski and Hicks got into it on a sidewalk in Manhattan.

    http://gawker.com/donald-trumps-...


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    The Best Times Reporters Were Accidentally Emailed Inside Information
    Hope Hicks. Photo: AP

    Here’s something they don’t tell you in journalism school: The best way to get a story tip is also the easiest—someone accidentally emails you something that was meant for someone else.

    On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, did just that, accidentally (maybe?) informing a reporter, Marc Caputo, that the presumptive Republican nominee plans to resurrect criticisms of Hillary Clinton pertaining to the Whitewater scandal of the early ‘90s. She is certainly not the first spokesperson to make this mistake, and she’s likely not the last either.

    http://gawker.com/what-are-the-c...

    Here are some of the best times that this has happened before:

    The Associated Press – July 2014

    That time the White House accidentally emailed its talking points about the yet-to-be-released Senate torture report.

    The State Department wants to embrace the conclusions of the Senate report and blast the CIA’s past practices, according to the document.

    “This report tells a story of which no American is proud,” the document says in a section entitled “Topline Messages (as proposed by State).”

    “But it is also part of another story of which we can be proud,” the document adds. “America’s democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values.”

    The Senate report, the State Department proposes to say, “leaves no doubt that the methods used to extract information from some terrorist suspects caused profound pain, suffering and humiliation. It also leaves no doubt that the harm caused by the use of these techniques outweighed any potential benefit.”

    BuzzFeed – November 2014

    That time the World Health Organization accidentally told a BuzzFeed reporter she’d been blacklisted.

    On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reporter Tasneem Nashrulla sent an e-mail to WHO communications officer Laura Bellinger. She wanted to know why the news outlet hadn’t been added to WHO’s Ebola situation e-mail distribution list as requested.

    Bellinger then forwarded her request to WHO colleagues, noting, “Fyi, I did not respond.”

    Although it was unclear why, Bellinger wrote in a subsequent note, “My understanding is that BuzzFeed is banned.” Presumbably by accident, she included Nashrulla on the e-mail.

    The New York Times – May 2015

    That time Bill de Blasio was upset at his staff for not knowing about delays on the subway, which made him late for a scheduled appearance amidst ongoing criticism that he was always late for things, and accidentally emailed a Times reporter about it.

    Mr. de Blasio, who has been making a concerted effort to repair his reputation for tardiness, copied two senior aides on the email, including his chief of staff. The mayor, by accident, added another recipient as well: a reporter for The New York Times.

    Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, is not a regular subway rider: Like mayors before him, he is driven most places in a police-issued sport utility vehicle. Still, at times, the mayor’s email resembled a typical rider’s lament. “We waited 20 mins for an express only to hear there were major delays,” Mr. de Blasio wrote. “This was knowable info. Had we had it, we would have avoided a lot of hassles.”

    He urged his team to coordinate future travels with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “or at least with nypd transit.”

    “Let’s cross-check our info with them when I take the subway,” Mr. de Blasio wrote, before concluding: “This is a fixable prob.”

    NBC Washington – January 2014

    That time the Navy went to great lengths to avoid turning over responsive documents to an NBC News reporter’s FOIA request, and accidentally forwarded emails describing those lengths to that reporter.

    The subject line of Patterson’s email suggests it’s “non-9_16_13 specific,” and part of the request seeks imagery from “Building 197.” September 6, 2013, is the date of the Washington Navy Yard shooting that left 13 of the service’s employees and contractors dead; Building 197 is the Navy Yard structure where the massacre took place.

    “This request is too broad to tie to the specific event,” Patterson wrote in one section, apparently about a request for photographic records of the interior of Building 197. “Josh can help with crafting the language for ‘fishing expedition,’ or request to [sic] broad.” Federal public affairs officers often decline to fulfill broad requests or nonspecific “fishing expeditions” for information, which reporters often need in order to sharpen their requests and investigative areas of focus—a classic reporting Catch-22.

    Boston Globe – June 2015

    That time the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development accidentally told reporters about all the stories their colleagues were working on.

    State government employees regularly keep track of press inquiries, updating colleagues on which reporters are asking for what, how an agency responded, and when certain stories are set to run.

    What they usually don’t do is e-mail that list to reporters. But that’s what happened Tuesday when the secretariat’s program and communications coordinator, whose name the Globe is begrudgingly withholding to spare the employee further embarrassment, hit send.

    There was an inquiry from the Boston Herald about massage parlor licenses, and one from The Boston Globe about homeless data. The Lowell Sun contacted the bureaucracy about housing authority executive directors, according to the list, and WBUR about transgender health services. The list detailed a WBZ-TV reporter accompanying state investigators and the Revere Journal posing some questions.

    Even the worst of these, however, pale in comparison to the trauma of the Accidental College Acceptance email.


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    New Yorkers Are Giving Bullshit Names to Their Dogs
    Photo: Russell Bernice/ Flickr

    It is with a heavy heart that we bring you this tail of woe: most New Yorkers are giving wack names to their dogs.

    THE OFFICIAL MOST POPULAR DOG NAMES IN THE NYC

    Girl dogs:

    1. Bella
    2. Lola
    3. Lucy
    4. Daisy
    5. Coco

    Boy dogs:

    1. Max
    2. Rocky
    3. Charlie
    4. Buddy
    5. Lucky

    Rover did not even appear in the top ten nor did Boodly-Bo.

    This is a disappointment of epic pro-paw-tions.


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    Bernie Really Fucked Up This Time
    Image: AP

    At 3:28 p.m. today, in the year of our Lord 2016, Bernie Sanders retweeted a song called “Superdelegate” by a one Mr. Lukas Autry Nelson. After several listens, I can say with total confidence that the song is very, very bad. Demonstrably bad. Why-is-blood-streaming-from-my-ears bad. Senator Sanders, no man who makes this sort of judgment call should ever have his finger on the trigger. I’m sorry, but it’s time to step down.

    Please, don’t take my word for it. Listen for yourself to the terror that Bernie Sanders actively chose to bestow upon his millions of Twitter followers.

    And then there are the lyrics:

    Now is the time to see the truth
    To see the world the way it moves
    Is this person gonna listen to me?
    Have they taken it away from me?

    They hide behind the money flow
    That’s just the way, the way it goes
    Will this world just wither and die or
    Will we find the way to survive?

    Change your mind, superdelegate
    You have to find just where we’re at
    You’re a fool
    You can be bought by who you represent

    Superdelegate
    Ahhhhh-haaa!
    Superdelegate

    Now is the time, it’s happening now
    There’s nothing wrong with going with the flow
    But I’m tired of waiting around
    Just seeing if corruption is deep in the ground

    And I don’t know why I’m here
    Why do we all have to live in fear?
    There’s a way to get around this mess
    I hope you don’t, I hope you don’t forget

    I, on the other hand, hope you can forget. Because no one deserves this, not even you.

    Bernie Sanders, sir—you disgust me.


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    Jesus Christ, There's More Anti-Trans Bathroom Bullshit
    Photo: Studio C/Shutterstock

    It’s the right’s turn to top in the flip-fucking session that is the struggle for LGBT rights in the United States. The New York Times reports that officials in 11 states—Maine, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—have sued the federal government over guidance issued by President Obama to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, regardless of what’s printed on their birth certificates.

    According to the Times:

    The lawsuit, filed in a Federal District Court in North Texas, said the Obama administration had “conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over common sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”

    It’s a “massive social experiment” only insofar as it loosens the bigoted hand at the throat of equality in America. To be cisgender (and in all likelihood straight) and to feel imposed upon regarding this issue is to be pathologically egocentric. This is doomsday-conjuring, hypothetical “social experiment” invented as evidence against letting people piss in peace. There is, in fact, actual evidence of how something as simple as being unable to use a bathroom can infringe on the lives of our country’s trans citizens. A 2013 Williams Institute study found that 70 percent of trans people had some sort of negative experience while public bathrooms.

    We saw similar arguments against gay marriage (whose country-wide passage “religious liberty” laws and bathroom bills push back against)—with the idea that there is a “slippery slope” to beware of when equality is sanctioned. This is fundamentally wrongheaded. These issues are not matters of what could happen, they are about what is happening, and what is happening is rampant mistreatment of trans people.

    The Times also notes:

    Last week, Oklahoma lawmakers introduced bills that would allow students to request on religious grounds that their public schools provide a bathroom or other facility that bars transgender people. It was one of the earliest legislative moves in what has become a pushback by states against the Obama administration’s policy.

    Plenty of Americans, students included, hold “sincere beliefs” against barring transgender people from their preferred bathroom, some on religious grounds. Whose sincere beliefs, then, are most important? Is this country even equipped to handle a religion that preaches no bigotry based on “sincerely held” beliefs?

    At the very least, the multi-state lawsuit reframes this argument so as to capture its essence. Here there’s no dog-whistling to behold, no fantasy of a cis male rapist in a dress who’s too polite to enter a women’s room because of the sign on its door.

    North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has doggedly defended his state’s bathroom bill, HB2, but his rhetoric shifted to disclaim that trans people are not actually dangerous and not targeted by law that just happens to affect them the most. This sleight of hand that only and idiot could fall for was also employed by the city council president of Oxford, Alabama, Steven Waits, when that city attempted to enact its own bathroom ordinance (it was rescinded a few days later). Finally, Maine Governor Paul R. LePage, the Arizona Department of Education and the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, have brought this conversation to the despicable fear and bigotry that it represents.


    0 0

    Today's Best Deals: Haribo Bears, Dremel 3000, Anker PowerLine, and More

    A powerful Dremel, five pounds of Haribo Gold Bears, and Anker’s amazing microUSB cables lead off Wednesday’s best deals.

    Bookmark Kinja Deals and follow us on Twitter to never miss a deal. Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here to learn more, and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter.

    Top Deals

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    5 Pounds of Haribo Gummi Bears, $11

    We posted this deal a little over a month ago, but if you’ve eaten all of those sweet, sweet Haribo Gold Bears, you can pick up another five pound bag today for just $11. And don’t worry, these aren’t the sugar free ones.

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    Anker PowerLine MicroUSB Cable 5-Pack, $13

    Anker’s kevlar-wrapped PowerLine cables have been an immediate hit with our readers, and you can upgrade your entire microUSB cable collection today with this $13 5-pack. That’s a match for the lowest price ever on this pack, which includes a 1' cable, two 3', a 6', and even a 10'.

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    Travel Gear Gold Box

    Before you head out on vacation, be sure to peruse today’s luggage and travel gear Gold Box deals on Amazon.

    Inside, you’ll find luggage sets, individual bags, and a lot of travel umbrellas from a variety of manufacturers. A few of my favorite picks are below, but be sure to head over to Amazon to see the rest. Just be sure to grab your favorites quickly; these deals are only available today, and the best stuff could sell out early.

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    Black Box G1W-C Dash Cam, $54

    Hopefully you never need a dash cam, but owning one can really save your bacon in the result of an accident. This affordable Black Box model was actually your favorite dash cam in a recent Kinja Co-Op, and you can score one today for just $54, one of the best prices of the year.

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    That price gets you 1080p recording (or 720p at 60FPS), night vision, auto on/off, and a g-force sensor to automatically lock your footage in the event of an accident.

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    Suaoki Dual 16W Solar Charger, $30 with code SUAOKI24

    Whether you spend a lot of time outdoors, or just want to be prepared for extended power outages, $30 is one of the best prices we’ve ever seen on a 16W USB solar charger.

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    Conair WMK600 Double Belgian Waffle Maker, $56

    Update: This deal sold out yesterday, but now it’s available again, albeit with a brief backorder.

    Your favorite waffle maker, the Conair WMK600, has never been this cheap before, and the last time it even got close was 2013.

    http://www.amazon.com/Conair-WMK600-...


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    Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries Toothbrush, $100 after $20 coupon.

    $100 is a very solid price for any top of the line electric toothbrush, and Oral-B’s Pro 7000 SmartSeries add Bluetooth to the mix, just for kicks.

    http://co-op.kinja.com/the-best-elect...

    In addition to six different cleaning modes (including one for your tongue), a travel kit, a pressure sensor, and a timer, the Pro 7000 also syncs to an iOS or Android app that tracks your brushing habits and offers personalized feedback.

    I know a lot of people are reflexively against the Bluetoothification of everyday household items, and that’s fine. What I’m saying is that even if you never download that app, this is still a fantastic toothbrush at $100. Just be sure to clip the $20 coupon on the page to get the full discount.

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    Rachio Smart Irrigation Controllers + $50 Amazon Gift Card, $200-$250

    We’ve seen deals on the previous generation of Rachio irrigation controllers in the past, but the new ones include a physical remote and Amazon Echo support, and Amazon will toss in a $50 gift card for free when you buy one today.

    Depending on which model you choose, the controller can manage either eight or 16 different zones in your yard, and automatically adjusts watering schedules based on the weather. If you want to keep tabs on it, its iOS and Android app will show you how much water you’re using (and saving), and allow you to make any adjustments necessary, no matter where you are in the world. All of these smarts mean that the IRO can save you over 50% on your outdoor water use, so it should pay for itself over time. It’s also EPA WaterSense Certified, meaning your local water company might offer you a rebate for purchasing it.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FVACSTE/...


    Today's Best Deals: Haribo Bears, Dremel 3000, Anker PowerLine, and More
    Philips Hue Lux Starter Kit, $40

    If you’re interested in Philips Hue’s remote scheduling and light control features, but don’t care so much about color-changing bulbs, this $40 starter pack includes a bridge and two Lux bulbs. These bulbs only glow white, but they are dimmable (even in non-dimming lamps), and can be controlled from your phone. And since you have the Bridge, you can always add on more bulbs later.

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    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00POYCO42/...

    The wall-mountable Tap Switch is also on sale for $50 (from $60).

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ME9CD28/...


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    Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Mop, $80

    When it comes to cleaning hard floors, you’ve basically got three options to choose from, if you don’t want to get down on your hands and knees:

    • A regular old mop, which can leave your floors wet for hours.
    • A Swiffer WetJet, or any similar product that uses chemical spray that can leave a residue, and disposable (i.e. expensive) cleaning pads.
    • A steam mop, which cleans using regular old water that dries within seconds.

    Now, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but the choice seems rather obvious to me, especially when you can get a highly rated Shark Lift-Away Professional steam mop for just $80. That’s $50 less than Amazon (where it has a 4.3 star review average), and the best price we’ve ever seen. This particular model even features a detachable hand steamer for cleaning other surfaces as well.


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    Etekcity Zap 3-Pack Outlet Switches, $15 with code O82TEIXX

    You can’t control these semi-smart power outlets with your phone, or automate them with IFTTT recipes like you can with Belkin’s WeMo line, but you can control them from across your house with a remote control, and they’re incredibly cheap today.

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    16-Bottle Wine Fridge, $100

    You know those fancy, expensive kitchens that have their own wine fridges? Turns out, you can get your own for just $100. That’s not much money! It would also make a great Father’s Day gift.


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    DJI Phantom 3 Standard, $399

    The new DJI Phantom 4 sure looks impressive, but for $1000 less, you can pick up the still-completely-amazing Phantom 3 Standard today. You’ll lose out on features like the (somewhat inconsistent) accident avoidance, indoor positioning, and 4K video, but the camera still boasts an impressive 2.7K resolution, and it’ll last over 20 minutes on a single charge. At $400, it probably won’t even eat up your entire tax refund.

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    KMASHI UV Flashlight, $7 with code 8GKE2HRG

    Blacklight flashlights are great if you want to spot hidden stains on train seats, hotel sheets, or (gasp) even in your own house...if that’s something you want to do.

    It may seem silly, but if you find even one stain in a hotel room and complain to management, I guarantee that this thing will pay for itself several times over.

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    Overwatch, $49

    You didn’t need to wait long for a discount on Overwatch: It’s down to $49 today on Amazon for all purchasers, or $48 for Prime members.

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    Dorco Pace Trial Pack, $15+free shipping, use code M623888

    Dorco, the best deal in razor blades and supplier of Dollar Shave Club, is taking 50% off their Pace Trial Pack today, and throwing in free shipping for good measure. That’s a handle and 18 blades for under $15. The pack comes with 3-blade, 4-blade, and 6-blade cartridges, so you’ll get a chance to see which works best for your face. Use code promo code M623888.

    These are the exact same cartridges, and work with the same handle, as Dollar Shave Club’s “4X” razor system.

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    Aukey 5-Port Charger with Quick Charge 2.0, $20 with code FGNFFKE3

    Everyone should own a few USB charging station, and this $20 model from Aukey even includes a Quick Charge 2.0 port. That’s perfect for your nightstand, your desk at the office, and really anywhere else that you spend a lot of time.

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    Don’t need Quick Charge? Here’s a 6-port alternative from Anker for $15 with code NE2M3MWF (black) or OH39AMQ8 (white).

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    GreenWorks 20" Electric Lawnmower, $289

    GreenWorks’ 20-inch battery-powered lawn mower is actually Amazon’s top-selling walk-behind mower, and you can own one today for $289, or within $10 of an all-time low. That includes two batteries, which combined, should get you over an hour of mowing time.

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    PS Vita, $140

    The PS Vita doesn’t get a ton of new games at this point, but it might be worth it just for remote PS4 streaming, and you can pick one up for just $140 today, the best price we’ve ever seen.

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    Arduino Starter Kit, $72

    Lifehacker has posted something in the neighborhood of 13 million projects you can create with Arduino, and Amazon’s selling starter kits for $72 today, an all-time low.

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    Imprint Cumulus9 Kitchen Mat, $65

    $65 might seem like a lot to spend on an anti-fatigue mat, but if you spend a lot of time working in the kitchen, it’s definitely a justifiable expense. The best part of the Imprint Cumulus9 is that it’s 6' long, or about twice as long as most competing mats, meaning you won’t have to slide it around your floor as you move around the kitchen.

    Today’s $65 deal is the lowest price ever, and especially tempting considering it was consistently $100 or more as recently as March.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XYSQFA/...


    Today's Best Deals: Haribo Bears, Dremel 3000, Anker PowerLine, and More
    SONOS Father’s Day Promotion

    Outside of Black Friday and coupon mistakes, there aren’t a lot of chances to save money on SONOS. Take advantage of this promotion to snag an Amazon gift card with your new speakers. Gift card amounts vary depending on which SONOS products you buy.

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    Las Vegas Judge Handcuffs Public Defender in the Courtroom to Teach Her About 'Decorum'

    Welcome to Big Time Small-Time Dicks, a regular column on The Slot that explores local politicians, small-town scandals, and everything else making life miserable on a local level. Know a small time person who is a big time dick we should feature? Email us.

    A Las Vegas Justice of the Peace named Conrad Hafen had a public defender handcuffed in court while she was arguing to keep one of her clients out of jail. Hafen forced Zohra Bakhtary to sit in the dock in cuffs next to jail inmates after he accused her of interrupting him.

    This not-at-all alarming tale of judicial overreach comes to us via the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which reports that Hafen got impatient with Bakhtary while she was trying to keep a client who’d violated his probation out of jail. Hafen told her to “be quiet,” and then told the bailiff to take her into custody:

    Bakhtary tried to interject.

    “Zohra,” the judge said.

    She spoke up again: “You’re making —”

    “Do you want to be found in contempt?”

    “Judge, you’re asking —”

    The judge once more asked her to be quiet. “Now. Not another word.”

    Bakhtary then said, “Judge, you’re,” before being cut off.

    Hafen turned to his marshal. “Travis, right now. I’m tired of it. Right now.”

    Bakhtary was handcuffed while Hafen finished another case; he then sentenced her client to six months in jail.

    The judge told the Review-Journal later that this was all an important message about decorum:

    “There’s been a progression of steps in the courtroom where I’ve tried to let her know it’s not proper decorum for her to continue to talk over me or interrupt me after she’s already made her argument,” he said. “Once an argument is made, then you have to allow the judge to respond, so there’s a clear record, and you shouldn’t be interrupting the judge as the judge is making a ruling. … I’ve been trying to work with her. And today it just spilled over to where I thought, ‘Well, clearly she’s not understanding what I’m trying to tell her.’ ”

    Meanwhile, he told the Wall Street Journal’s Law Bog that at least he didn’t send her to jail: “Over the last six months, I’ve had some issues with her. I could have fined her or sent her to jail or banished her from the courtroom. I thought this was the best thing.”

    Hafen also told the WSJ he only had Bakhtary cuffed for “two minutes,” which is, fun fact, still too long to handcuff someone for doing her job. Bakhtary told the WSJ in a statement that she found the judge’s behavior alarming: “It is a frightening day when a lawyer is locked up for fighting on behalf of her clients and their rights.”

    After sentencing her client, Hafen turned to the bailiff again, according to a court transcript obtained by the WSJ: “And then, Travis, go ahead and un-cuff Zohra. I think she’s learned a lesson.”

    It is... let’s say... very unusual to cuff an attorney for any reason. Bakhtary’s boss, Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn, briefly met with Hafen in a closed-door conversation. Kohn later pointed out that the cameras and microphones in Hafen’s courtroom are habitually kept turned off, which is also very unusual. Hafen is up for reelection this year.


    Judge Conrad Hafen. Photo via AP Images, Big Time Small-Time Dicks logo by staff male Bobby Finger


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    The Next Battle for Net Neutrality Is Getting Bloody

    Net neutrality is a slippery subject. Months after the government appeared to get greedy telecom companies in check, carriers have come up with another clever trick to make more money and jeopardize the open internet. The latest trick is something called zero-rating, and your mobile carrier probably already uses—or abuses—this net neutrality loophole.

    This week, 58 tech companies, including Reddit, Yelp, and Kickstarter, asked the FCC in a letter to lead a transparent discussion about zero-rating practices. Basically, they want the same open discussion that spurred 4 million people to send comments to the FCC because they believe zero-rating policy could have a dramatic effect on the health of net neutrality in the US.

    The FCC is reportedly scrutinizing zero-rating practices, but the agency is doing so behind closed doors. Companies that depend on an open and unbiased internet are very concerned about this. The letter notes:

    Making decisions on these cases would set precedents for future practices, and would have implications for the Internet ecosystem that reach far beyond the stakeholders directly affected by these individual plans.

    These decisions are too important to happen behind closed doors.

    If you’re not familiar with zero-rating, the term refers to carriers exempting certain services, like Spotify and Netflix, from a customer’s data plan—meaning unlimited binging with no data cap worries. Net neutrality advocates are quick to point out how this is not unlike giving certain types of data priority over others, like a toll road rather than a fast lane.

    Well known examples of zero-rating include the Music Freedom and BingeOn programs offered by T-Mobile. Obviously, T-Mobile sees the plan as pro-consumer. The company says that any music or video service can sign up (if they meet the tech requirements) and that the services are completely optional for users. Meanwhile, digital rights activists like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) take issue with zero-rating practices on the grounds that they violate the principles of net neutrality. The EFF even got into a public Twitter spat with T-Mobile CEO John Legere in January. A separate Stanford study sides with EFF on the matter.

    “Widely embraced, zero-rating threatens to rewrite the rules upon which the internet was built,” EFF legal director Corynne McSherry told Gizmodo. “Zero-rating helps transform the internet from a permission-less environment... into one in which developers effectively need to seek approval from ISPs before deploying their latest groundbreaking technology.”

    But new and arguably more nefarious examples have sprung up since T-Mobile’s arguably well-intentioned net neutrality infraction. Ars Technica reported last November that Comcast’s own streaming service doesn’t count against customers data caps—but Netflix sure does! Verizon does something similar with its own go90 video platform, and just last week, Sprint said it would also be zero-rating traffic, meaning all four major carriers in the US practice some form of data cap manipulation. Companies like Verizon and AT&T also charge web services if they wish to have a zero-rating on their network, creating an obvious unfair competitive landscape, whereas T-Mobile’s zero-rating service is free to join.

    It’s not just mobile either. With the growing stable of ISPs putting data caps on broadband internet, like Comcast but also smaller ISPs, zero-rating may not only affect your smartphone but also your home internet as well. So you can see how this could easily balloon into a much bigger problem if left unaddressed.

    Back in 2015, the FCC didn’t put forth a definitive bright-line rule because there simply weren’t enough examples to create one. The FCC did say that it would examine zero-rating issues on a case-by-case basis.

    During an FCC press conference on Wednesday, Chairman Tom Wheeler said that he’s seen the companies’ zero-rating letter, but that the commission is currently waiting to hear the DC circuit’s decision on the open internet rules which has been languishing in courts for months. When asked if a ruling would affect judgement on zero-rating issues, Wheeler said he wouldn’t comment on anything hypothetical.

    But advocates and affected companies are transparent about what they want. “I’d love to see them seek input from a variety of sources,” said McSherry. “They need to bring in the nerds to really understand the potential impact of these programs.”

    The FCC has been kicking ass on the internet policies recently with strong open internet rules, subsidizing broadband internet for low-income housing, and calling bullshit on terrible cable boxes. We can only hope the trend continues.


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    Nostalgic Donald Trump Can't Stop Burning Jeb Bush
    Photo: AP

    After making headlines this week by reviving decades-old Clinton scandals, ultimate ‘90s kid Donald Trump hearkened back to a more recent golden era on Wednesday: Earlier this year, when more than a dozen lifelong Republicans got dunked on by a stupid orange clown.

    http://gawker.com/donald-trump-o...

    At a campaign event in Anaheim, California, Trump called back to his famously brutal assessment of Jeb Bush as “low-energy,” using it to explain why his former rival had not endorsed him.

    “No, Jeb hasn’t done it yet,” said Trump. “He will get a burst of energy and he will do it, believe me. He needs a little more energy.”

    During the speech, Trump offered jabs at a number of his defeated primary opponents, but saved his harshest mockery for Mitt Romney, who, according to him, walks like a big dumb bird.

    “He walks like a penguin onto the stage,” said Trump. “You ever see that? Like a penguin!”

    The Republican primary may effectively be over, but Trump, like the rest of us, just can’t seem to let it go.


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    Several Arrested After Police and Protesters Clash Outside Trump Rally in California
    Still: KABC-TV

    After a Donald Trump rally in Anaheim, California, police declared a demonstration that continued outside an “unlawful assembly” and arrested several protesters on Tuesday, KTLA reports.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, all but a small group of protesters left after Trump finished speaking. It was this group that reportedly ignored orders to disperse, began throwing rocks and set a trash can on fire:

    Around the Anaheim Convention Center, lines of mounted police moved through the streets, with several dozen protesters in front of them. Some had scarves covering their face, others taunted police officers. By 3 p.m., only a couple dozen protesters remained, with one person tearing down a stop sign near Katella Avenue.

    Inside the center, after his speech was interrupted at one point by a protester, Trump paused for a moment and said: “The safest place to be in our country is a Trump rally.” He ended his speech to loud applause.

    Earlier in the afternoon, a small crowd of Trump supporters who had been hurling racially charged remarks at a large group of demonstrators was escorted away “in the interest of public safety,” according to Sgt. Daron Wyatt, an Anaheim police spokesman. The group of about five people was asked to leave by police and did so voluntarily, Wyatt added.

    Authorities said at least eight people were arrested outside the Trump rally on Tuesday. As police announced three unrelated arrests earlier that day, it was unclear how many of the eight were protesters.

    Yesterday, the scene outside a Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, descended into chaos. Later, Mayor Richard Berry placed the blame on a “few individuals who came to perpetrate violence, endanger others and damage property.”

    http://gawker.com/protest-outsid...


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    The Bahraini Prince Trying To Save Cycling Is A Credibly-Accused Torturer
    Photo via Getty

    The tiny island kingdom of Bahrain is something like a smaller Qatar: extremely rich, friendly with the United States, and run by a single family. While Qatar (allegedly) purchased the World Cup—bringing with it thousands of dead slaves—Bahrain, being smaller, appears to have set its sporting ambitions a notch lower. Rather than try to buy an Olympics or a World Cup, Bahraini royalty appears to be headed towards professional cycling.

    Rumors started popping up in February that Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa (the head of Bahrain’s Olympic committee and the eldest son of the King of Bahrain’s second wife) was planning on adding disgraced former cycling team owner Bjarne Riis to a freshly-announced, mysterious cycling project and try to start up a new WorldTour team for the 2017 season. This week, a report in Italian paper Corriere della Sera linked Italian superstar Vincenzo Nibali to the team, and Lampre officials confirmed to Cycling News that the Italian team was in talks with the Bahrainis regarding a takeover. It appears that Prince will get involved to some degree, bringing much-needed cash to a sport seemingly locked in an existential crisis. Professional cycling is cash-strapped and might very well embrace him. This is a mistake. Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa has been credibly accused of personally torturing pro-democracy dissidents, and he’s not the savior the sport needs.

    In the aftermath of 2011's pro-democracy protests in Bahrain, several demonstrators accused Sheikh Nasser of a litany of abuses. During the protests, he went on state-sponsored TV and threatened protestors, telling them they had “nowhere to escape to.” According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, he was also personally involved in the torture of prisoners, including elderly people and foreign citizens.

    Mohammed Hassan Jawad (64 yrs old) was blindfolded and handcuffed when Nasser Bin Hamad asked him “do you know who I am, its Nasser with you” Then the son of the king started interrogating Mr. Jawad about the Safriya protest and accusing him of organizing the protest. To force him to confess, Nasser beat Mr. Jawad with a hose on his head until he fell to the ground. Then Nasser started kicking him mostly on his back, while swearing at shia clerics and imams.

    In another case, three of the activists arrested and sentenced for attempting to overthrow the regime also reported that they had been beaten by members of the royal family. The first, Abdulla Isa Al-Mahroos, said he was beaten by Nasser Bin hamad Alkhalifa, and that Nassar forced him to open his mouth then spat in his mouth

    The second is Swedish citizen Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad, who was detained in an underground prison in the National Security Apparatus in the Fort. Al-Muqdad recalls that while being tortured suddenly everybody was silent. He heard his torturers say “your majesty” someone asked him “do you know who I am?” When Al-Muqdad said no, his blindfold was removed and the man in front of him said “I’m Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. When you protested outside our castle in Safriya, only a wall separated us”. Then Nasser asked Al-Muqdad what chants he had said that day at the protest. When Almuqdad said “Down Down Hamad” Nasser slapped Al-Muqdad who fell to the ground, then with the help of torturers beat him severely.

    The BCHR has more, and their report paints a picture of a man who seemed to enjoy violently squashing dissent. This isn’t out of character for a nation who imprisoned journalists, had one of the leaders of the movement executed by Saudi Arabia (another U.S. ally), and straight up killed protestors while they were sleeping. Sheikh Nasser was briefly prosecuted by a British court and had his diplomatic immunity stripped, but it doesn’t appear that he’ll face any penalties or be confined to the island (he was riding horses in France a week ago).

    Given cycling’s tumultuous financial situation, he probably looks like a necessary evil.

    The Bahraini Prince Trying To Save Cycling Is A Credibly-Accused Torturer
    Photo via Getty

    At the end of the cycling season, at least two WorldTour teams will fold. IAM Cycling benefactor Michel Thétaz announced Monday that he was shuttering the team after four years of racing, two of which came at WorldTour level. Thétaz runs IAM Funds, a Swiss investment firm, so his sole sponsorship of the team represented a break from cycling’s traditional financial model, where consumer products use riders as billboards from which to sell goods and services. IAM surely had clients and attention to gain if one of their riders won a Tour de France stage or something, but the team was a vanity project as much as a pure business venture. Thétaz said he was leaving the sport because IAM couldn’t find a co-sponsor, which sounds like he got sick of losing money on a bad team for four years just so he could own and operate a cycling team.

    Oleg Tinkoff is a richer, crazier version of Thétaz, and he too is shuttering his long-running Tinkoff team after this season. His team has been amongst the most successful squads in the sport, with mega-stars Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador consistently winning classics and Grand Tours. Tinkoff is worth almost a billion, and he cited both financial and personal reasons for why he was shutting his team down:

    “I’ve decided to sell the team and quit the sport because I’ve realized nobody wants to work with me to help change the business model of the sport. In the last two or three years I’ve tried to fight with ASO and the UCI, I’ve tried to find new revenue streams via TV rights, merchandise sales and tickets sales but nobody really supported me and wanted to take a strong stand with me.

    “During 2015, I started to feel like Don Quixote de la Mancha. It’s perhaps a philosophical feeling because Don Quixote tilts at windmills but that’s how I feel. I’d tried to save the managers, riders and staff from themselves by trying to get everyone together, to change the revenue sources and improve things for everyone. It would make the sport more sustainable.

    If there’s a link between Tinkoff and Thétaz’s frustrations, it’s an exhaustion at the meager financial and personal returns on large investments in quasi-luxury projects. To be clear, there is ample turnover among more traditionally-run teams, but teams who are run and managed outside the traditional business apparatus of the sport seem to be more finicky and prone to sudden swings. Fernando Alonso never could get his project off the ground, and it looks as if cycling will not be able to sustain itself by getting billionaires to lose money every year propping up a sport out of the goodness of their hearts. After all, Tinkoff’s team has the biggest, most visible star since lance Armstrong, and he’s still not getting what he wants.

    Whether or he takes over Lampre, Tinkoff, IAM, or just spins a new team out of thin air, Sheikh Nasser’s new team will also be a personally-financed luxury project, somewhat akin to a much-less visible version of Qatar sponsoring Barcelona for propaganda reasons. If 28 more riders get stable jobs and a new part of the world gets into the sport, that’s good! But the Prince is a credibly-accused torturer, and he’s not going to save cycling.


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    Top Trump Aide Becomes First Victim of Inevitable Purges
    Photo: Getty

    While tensions within the Donald Trump campaign have yet to devolve into actual street violence, they resulted in their first major firing on Wednesday with the sudden departure of Rick Wiley, Trump’s national political director, Politico reports.

    http://gawker.com/donald-trump-t...

    Since Trump brought on veteran consultant Paul Manafort to professionalize his insurgent primary campaign last month, reports of growing conflict between the old and new Trump camps have leaked out. Surprisingly, however, it was Wiley, a member of Trump’s new guard, that was first to get the axe. From Bloomberg:

    Wiley was hired on April 13 to take over as national political director as Trump aimed to professionalize his staff after a primary loss in Wisconsin, a defeat that raised questions about whether Trump could carry his campaign over the finish line.

    But the internal backbiting that has colored much of the Trump campaign caught up to Wiley, who managed Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and was a deputy political director for Rudy Giuliani’s campaign in 2008.

    Trump was unhappy with Wiley’s management of the political team, particularly a clash with Karen Giorno in Florida. Bloomberg Politics reported earlier on Wednesday that Trump had shifted control of Florida away from Wiley and given it to Giorno, who ran the successful primary effort in the state.

    “Rick picked a fight with the wrong person,” a campaign source told Politico. “Donald is loyal. And she’s loyal.”

    Publicly, however, the Trump campaign downplayed the allegedly less than amicable parting.

    “Rick Wiley was hired on a short-term basis as a consultant until the campaign was running at full steam,” said the campaign in a statement. “It is now doing better than ever, we are leading in the polls, and we have many exciting events ready to go, far ahead of schedule, while Hillary continues her long, boring quest against Bernie. We would like to thank Rick for helping us during this transition period.”

    Don’t worry, Rick, it’s nothing unpersonal.


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    1 Dead, 3 Injured After Shooting at T.I. Concert in New York City
    Still: Twitter/Myles Miller

    At least four people were shot, one fatally, on Wednesday when gunfire broke out at Manhattan’s Irving Plaza, where rapper T.I. was scheduled to perform.

    Police say the shooting occurred shortly after 10 p.m. in a third-floor green room. As of 12 a.m. local time, no arrests had been made.

    “Everybody was having a good time until everybody started running,” a witness told NBC New York. “They didn’t search nobody, they didn’t check no IDs.”

    More than 1,000 people attended the concert, The New York Post reports.


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    What Are We Gonna Do With All The People Who Are Automated Out of Work?
    Photo: Getty

    The biggest near term threat to the stability of nations might not be climate change, terrorism, or nuclear war. It just might be robots—putting millions of people out of jobs. Where will they all go? There are only a few possibilities.

    The widespread automation of jobs—millions and millions of jobs—is not a sci-fi theory, or just another marginal step in the normal evolution of human employment. It is a result of the advancement of computers and technology that could fundamentally throw our labor economy out of whack. Billionaires in Silicon Valley and Mike Bloomberg and labor unions across the world all agree that we need a plan. The problem is that we may see so many jobs being automated out of existence that there is no clear place for all the people whose jobs have been eliminated to go. The fast food workers and bank tellers and truck drivers 60,000 Foxconn workers being replaced with robots and touchscreens and driverless cars will not see equally obtainable employment in sufficient quantity pop up elsewhere. This is not just a cyclical change, which calls for newly unemployed workers to simply retrain and go into another field; it’s possible that automation will just eliminate a huge swath of jobs for good. And that is where the trouble starts.

    The thing not to do is: nothing. If we do nothing, we could, in five or ten or fifteen years, be faced with tens of millions of lower and middle class workers who have recently become unemployed and who have no job prospects and for whom traditional job retraining is a farce, because jobs just don’t exist. If you think Americans are angry now, give that shit a try. There are three basic options:

    • A Universal Basic Income: This idea is catching on around the world, and many of its backers support it precisely as a way to mitigate the coming automation of so many jobs. Send everyone a check each month. Not a luxurious or lavish check, but enough to cover the bare basics of living. This would be expensive, but it might be politically possible and it would certainly be good at heading off social unrest, if we could afford it. It is one of the only plausible social welfare ideas that unites free marketeers (because it is a check rather than a government bureaucracy, and because it can be used to justify cutting other government programs) and socialists (because it is essentially socialism). Such cross-ideological appeal may be needed sooner rather than later.
    • Government Jobs: This is an idea that should already be happening. Political idiocy is the only reason it is not. Everyone everywhere of all political persuasions agrees that our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling. It needs trillions of dollars of work. Fortunately, such spending is really an investment in America—it will add to our prosperity in the long run to have functioning and well-maintained transportation systems and other infrastructure. Also, in a stroke of luck, it is incredibly cheap to borrow money right now. This is an unusually good time for the government to spend a great deal of money rebuilding our national infrastructure. This could create millions of jobs for people automated out of work, at least for a while. And the money would be well spent. We should do this no matter what. The downside is that at least many of the jobs would be temporary. But at least at their conclusion we would have functional infrastructure.
    • A Much Stronger Social Safety Net: If we don’t put a universal basic income in place, then we need to drastically strengthen our social safety net. Strong enough, that is, to hold the weight of millions of people who have been automated out of the work force. That means universal health care, stronger unemployment insurance, child care, affordable housing, and other programs that make long term unemployment livable. These can be targeted only at the unemployed, rather than at everyone, to make it more affordable, if necessary. This is also something we should already be working on. Those who say that the victims of technology will just use other technology to work in “the gig economy” need to support a social safety net in order to be intellectually honest. America is not currently equipped for an economy of people with no single stable employer.

    Automation is such a powerful economic force because it can save corporations a lot of money, and corporations are essentially just sociopathic machines for making profits. Automation should raise corporate profits around the world. Corporations should prepare to give some of that money back in taxes to help support all the workers they just automated out of jobs.

    Maybe our evolving economy will adjust and make space for all of these workers in technology or “the gig economy” or some other field that we haven’t even thought of yet. Or maybe we will just undergo a restructuring of the job market, leaving us with a higher unemployment rate for the long term. At the very least, we need to offer automated-out people a bridge to a better future. At most, we need to start planning for a new society.

    All that money corporations are making will need to be shared. It’s the only way. If you think taking care of unemployed people is expensive, think about how much war costs.


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    Donald Trump Finally a Winner!
    Photo: AP

    Congratulations to Donald J. Trump, who, perhaps for the first time in his life, has achieved something on his own merit.

    According to the AP, Trump today clinched the Republican nomination, which requires at leats 1,237 delegates. The AP currently has Trump’s delegate count at 1,238.

    The count isn’t official and includes “a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the national convention in July.” With another 300-odd delegates up for grabs on June 7, it feels safe to finally call this one.

    Still, Trump should be proud—after all these years, he’s finally made something that is 100 percent his own.

    http://gawker.com/is-donald-trum...


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    I Was Right-Wing Until I Was Repulsed

    I remember the first time I voted: Jeb was up for re-election as Florida’s gubernatorial candidate and I thought, why not? Actually, I thought nothing at all, I just went into the booth and pulled the lever, or pressed the button, or hung the chad, or did whatever the fuck I thought I was supposed to do to fulfill my civic duty. I was 19, a sophomore at Florida State in Tallahassee, and I didn’t really care about politics. I couldn’t even tell you who I was voting against in that election, though Wikipedia now tells me it was Democrat Bill McBride.

    Sorry, Bill! My ignorance was your loss.

    Looking back, I’m pretty sure my boyfriend at the time was conservative. I can’t remember a single political conversation we ever had, but he tucked T-shirts into jeans, listened to David Allan Coe, and spent a lot of time fondly recalling his fraternity days at Valdosta State (even though he once mildly suggested—was it a joke? I don’t know—that he’d been peed on in some kind of hazing ritual). His parents were these nice Presbyterians from Quincy, Florida, and I remember being impressed that they’d gotten their daughter a boob job—which had something to do with helping her cope with Crohn’s disease.

    Quincy, by the way, is located in Gadsden County, the only predominantly African-American county in Florida and one of only four counties in northern Florida to swing left in the last four presidential elections. It has a history of white people getting rich off Coca-Cola stock and black people barely scraping by. It’s also home to a notorious mental hospital in Chattahoochee that served as the inspiration for the Gary Oldman film of the same name.

    To this day, when home shopping in the north Florida-south Georgia area (especially after a 10-year jaunt in the Midwest that serves to partially sever your Southern roots), well-meaning white realtors will do their best—if you’re white—to gently steer you away from Gadsden County. You feel like a sack of shit for listening to them until you go online and read about the county’s abysmal public schools, at which point you feel like a huge sack of shit. Then you have to decide who you’re going to be: the outsider who rides in on her high horse to lobby for change, or the outsider who moves into a neighboring county in South Georgia. I chose the latter.

    For the record, my probably-conservative boyfriend didn’t go to public school in Gadsden County. He was one of the countless middle-class white kids sent to Robert F. Munroe Day School, a nearby private academy founded in 1968 “when a group of dedicated citizens banded together to”...well, you know. The Brown vs. Board ruling may have been passed down over a decade earlier, but a strategy of gradualism ensured that Florida counties weren’t really forced to integrate until the late ‘60s and early ’70s, at which point the dedicated white people looked around and said, to paraphrase, “Oh shit, I guess we’d better band together.” The result was the exodus of white students from public schools, which effected the destruction of the Gadsden County School System; the district is currently ranked 68th out of 74 in the state.

    Of course all of this was invisible to me in 2002, as I stood casting a ballot for a Republican candidate. I wasn’t thinking about how southern Dixiecrats had sold out their own communities to uphold segregation in the decades before I was born, and I certainly wasn’t considering how those same Dixiecrats had eventually been absorbed by the Republican Party. Instead, I had vague ideas about abortion being upsetting and too many people being on welfare. There were too many people on welfare, right? And too many abortions happening, too?

    Without a sense of history, it’s hard to have any sense of cause-and-effect. And without a sense of cause-and-effect that relies on history, it’s hard to be too political about anything.


    Here’s the thing about being 18 or 19 years old and voting in your first election: it’s difficult to play political catch-up, to know the stories and backstories and back-backstories of not only candidates and issues, but also shifts within parties. For this reason, many young people tend to vote like their parents in their first election, at least if they trust their parents to be generally decent people. Most of us—regardless of how much we bitch and moan—do.

    A meme that’s recently appeared several times in my Facebook timeline leads with the line: “What did you do in the 1960s?” The meme features a picture of Bernie Sanders on the left and a picture of Hillary Clinton on the right. The text below Clinton’s picture reads: “As a Young Republican she worked for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act.” The meme is true insomuch that it claims Sanders “organized effective resistance to segregation and civil rights violations in Chicago” and that he “marched to Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream speech’ with thousands of other activists.” It leaves out that Clinton was just 17 during the 1964 election season, whereas Sanders was 21 at the time of the March on Washington and 23 by the time of the 1964 general election.

    I’m not venerating Clinton as a dream candidate or downplaying Sanders as an early champion of civil rights. I’m saying Clinton shouldn’t be faulted for not having her political leanings figured out before she’d graduated high school, especially as she’d been raised in a conservative household. By the time of the next election, Clinton was supporting Democrat Eugene McCarthy for president, a candidate who ran on a liberal, anti-Vietnam war platform and whose popularity with young voters was, incidentally, strikingly similar to that of Sanders.


    One more thing about Facebook, that crucible of reactionary politics: last week, a conservative friend of mine posted a comment about the new report out from the Pew Research Center showing that, more than ever before, highly-educated groups are growing increasingly more liberal, whereas groups with a high school education or less have more or less remained ideologically consistent. The article he linked to was NPR’s coverage of the study, a piece called “Why Are Highly Educated Americans Getting More Liberal?

    My friend speculated in his comments: “It could be because colleges and universities tend to be liberal and indoctrinate students. I know it’s cliché to say it, but I experienced it firsthand as an undergraduate. I recall two professors in particular who used class time to talk at length about their left leaning philosophies.… They didn’t change my way of thinking because by nature I’m skeptical, strong-willed, and happy to question authority. But many kids come to campus thinking professors are gods who know all, and they swallow whatever they’re told without question. Is it any wonder they come out leaning more to the left than when they started?”

    We had a friendly discussion. It didn’t go to the bad place, which is more than I can say for other political conversations I’ve made the mistake of having online. (One debate I had with my aunt last year on Facebook over the Syrian refugee crisis involved Franklin Graham and Herman Cain links and just generally served as a portal to hell. I don’t think she’d disagree that it was awful.) But studies that examine the correlation between liberalism and higher education are not new, and neither are the hot takes that spring out in their wake. Conservatives tend to put forth the same tired conspiracy theories of youth indoctrination by liberal professors—“I got into it for the propaganda,” no teacher would ever say—whereas liberals are mostly interested in a round of self-satisfied clapping.

    If the studies and think pieces are tired, though, why do so many people keep reading and sharing them? And why do we continue to argue about what’s really behind a young person’s “conversion” to liberalism during their college years?

    Maybe something we ought to consider is that most young people of high school age or younger simply couldn’t give a shit about politics as a grand, historicized establishment. It’s boring, it’s over their heads, it’s an old person’s game—furthermore, they’re not even allowed to participate. The cast of characters are people in their parents’ age group, people who kick back after a long day on the House floor to watch Dateline with a bottle of Arbor Mist and a slathering of Icy Hot on their old-ass feet. And while there are kids out there who have proven themselves capable of exceptional passion for social justice and lawmaking, it’s not exactly the common experience. The common experience is for kids to be preoccupied with surviving the various—often difficult—social spheres of their young lives.

    This isn’t the kind of thing they should be criticized for, and it doesn’t change the minute they step foot on a college campus. A political awakening is a gradual process; it involves moral trial and error. It involves figuring out what you find repulsive about the existing system, then figuring out which politicians are similarly repulsed. It also depends heavily on one’s relationships with friends, and less so, I’d argue, on teachers.

    Hindsight is 20/20, of course. At 19 I had no grasp of myself as apolitical. I voted in 2002, remember? I hung the shit out of that chad.


    The tricky thing about being young and apolitical is that you often are political, you just don’t know it yet. It takes the right issue—the right moment of repulsion—to wake you up. In my experience, it hit during the 2004 election season, when Kerry was challenging Bush for a second term. There was a lot of rhetoric coming out of the right about not “changing horses midstream” during the War on Terror, and Kerry was getting beat up by conservative pundits about his decision to throw away combat medals he’d received for service in Vietnam.

    I didn’t like how Kerry was vilified on the right. He’d taken enough shrapnel to his legs to do what he wanted with his medals, especially if he felt like shit about how he’d earned them in the first place. But the real nail in the coffin in terms of my own lingering conservatism came in September, just two months before the general election, when Bush let the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expire—a ban that even Reagan had supported. At a time when Washington was pouring trillions into the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a Republican president opened the floodgates at home for the sale and manufacture of guns with high-capacity magazines. The move was a testament to the raw power the NRA wielded within the party, and it disgusted me to the tipping point.

    I don’t remember how I told my family I was voting for Kerry, but I remember my aunt giving me the Winston Churchill spiel: “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re 40, you have no head.” For years, I’ve half wondered if she’s right—if the day will come when the switch will flip—but I just can’t wrap my mind around what sort of change would have to take place for that to happen. Most of my family’s deeply-held conservative beliefs are tied up tightly with a brand of Christian fundamentalism I don’t accept anymore. I do my best to believe in God, and I do most days—I pray in the yard while I’m weeding, or sometimes when I’m cooking, or especially when I’m scared shitless on a turbulent airplane and “HELP ME, JESUS” is running on a loop in my head. But on other days it feels like a total racket. On other days it feels like the people going to church are the same ones who hate other people the most, and I’d no more step foot in one of those buildings than I would a porta-potty at a Lust Control concert.


    After college, I took a 10-year break from the South: first to Chicago, for work, then to Ann Arbor for graduate school—places known for being liberal bastions, and places I’m proud to say never (thanks to protestors, in the first case) hosted a Trump rally. It’s now been a year since I moved back below Mason-Dixon, not to my old hometown in the Panhandle but to an even smaller town an hour north on the Florida-Georgia line. I’m doing my best to fit in. I’ll go ahead and tell you I spent the better part of a Saturday in late January enjoying the local Rattlesnake Roundup, an event I expected to wag a judgy finger at but which I actually found fascinating in terms of Southern culture. For example: Such diversity at the RR! White rednecks, black bikers, disaffected teens in Nirvana shirts—a surprising mix of people keen to look at deadly snakes. And did I shoot a Confederate cannon? Yes, I shot a Confederate cannon. I paid $10 to shoot the shit out of that cannon, then I walked away with a complimentary booklet titled Prison-Pens of the North, which, in case you were wondering, I can assure you were “no whit better than the worst in the South.” Okay!

    I don’t make a secret of my liberal politics to my neighbors, but I don’t broadcast them unsolicited, either. I’d rather wait until I have a solid reason to bring them up, or until, as has occurred in several private and utterly ridiculous fantasies, my silent aura of progressive goodness converts people on the spot.


    Repulsion as our guiding political light: it’s real. The last time I dated a guy with a different political affiliation than me was during senior year of college. This boyfriend had a flyer on his fridge that had something to do with Objectivism and Ayn Rand, the exact details of which are now lost to me, mostly because I had no idea what they meant at the time. At any rate, while driving down the road one day we passed a homeless man shuffling down the sidewalk, and this boyfriend of mine said something gross enough that I’m bothered to repeat it all these year later.

    “Need to get a job, man,” he said. (Or at least it was something to the effect of the man being busted because of circumstances totally within his control.)

    Let me emphasize that this homeless dude was in a truly wretched state, the kind of dirty, downtrodden son of a bitch that makes you hate yourself for having it so good, what with your clean Serta mattress and your own personal toilet.

    My hilarious boyfriend didn’t say his inspiring comment to the man on the sidewalk, exactly, he said it to me, as if I were supposed to agree. It was a test, really: Did I or didn’t I believe this jobless motherfucker needed to pull himself up by the bootstraps?

    “That man’s clearly not able to work,” I said.

    It started a fight. My boyfriend backtracked and said he was kidding: I assure you he was only halfway kidding. I should add, here, that at the time of this incident, this 21-year-old man was driving an SUV given to him by his father. He also had a monthly cash allowance and wasn’t paying for his own tuition.

    What’s the point of this story? It’s only anecdotal. I can’t make political generalizations based on a single guy from college who lacked compassion for a single homeless guy on a single day. I’ll say this, though: my experiences dealing with conservatives have generally been the catalyst pushing me further left. It couldn’t be more true now, surrounded by all the Trump rhetoric thrusting forward this ridiculous dick of an election cycle.

    I think about all the baby conservatives out there, the ones fresh out of the nest who have never really questioned the political leanings of their parents. The ones who think they know the difference between right and wrong because very select passages of the Bible have been used their whole lives as a primary text for debate. I want to grab those beautiful babies by the shoulders and say, “There are things in the world that will repulse you, little baby! Things you can scarely wrap your tender mind around! Hurry up and find out what they are, quick, and don’t look back—don’t ever look back.”


    Rachel Farrell’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Ninth Letter, The Offing, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She’s the Blog & Social Media Editor for Michigan Quarterly Review. She’s working on a novel.

    Illustration by Angelica Alzona


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    A U.S. plan to donate a million pounds of free peanuts to Haiti could destroy the Haitian peanut farming economy. Some even “denounced the peanut donation as ‘a plan of death.’” Instead, why not give a million pounds of peanuts to me?

    http://gawker.com/5958454/an-ode...


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