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    Texas Congressman Helpfully Suggests Donald Trump Shove Proposed Wall Up Racist Ass
    Photo: AP

    On Monday, Democratic congressman Filemon Vela offered Donald Trump some unsolicited advice on the placement of his “frankly astounding and asinine” border wall, recommending the Republican nominee “shove it up [his] ass,” which is racist.

    In an open letter to Trump, the representative from South Texas denounced the candidate’s “hateful, dehumanizing, and frankly shameful” anti-immigrant rhetoric and racist attacks on the federal judge overseeing the Trump University lawsuit, which he called a “new low”:

    You have now descended to a new low in your racist attack of an American jurist, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, by calling him a “Mexican” simply because he ruled against you in a case in which you are being accused of fraud, among other accusations. Judge Curiel is one of 124 Americans of Hispanic descent who have served this country with honor and distinction as federal district judges. In fact, the first Hispanic American ever named to the federal bench in the United States, Judge Reynaldo G. Garza, was also from Brownsville, Texas, and was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

    Before you dismiss me as just another “Mexican,” let me point out that my great-great grandfather came to this country in 1857, well before your own grandfather. His grandchildren (my grandfather and his brothers) all served our country in World War I and World War II. His great-grandson, my father, served in the U.S. Army and, coincidentally, was one of the first “Mexican” federal judges ever appointed to the federal bench.

    Vela’s letter serves as the fiercest rebuke from an elected official yet since Trump began publicly questioning the impartiality of Judge Curiel, who was born in Indiana, due to his “Mexican heritage.” Despite widespread criticism, Trump has made no attempt at backing away from his comments, telling supporters on Monday that reporters are the real racists.

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

    “I would like to end this letter in a more diplomatic fashion, but I think that you, of all people, understand why I cannot,” Vela closed his message. “Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”


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    Serial Pedophile Who Targeted Impoverished Children Receives 22 Life Sentences 

    On Monday, Richard Huckle, a 30-year-old English teacher, received 22 life sentences for raping and sexually abusing almost 24 children between the ages of six months and 12 years while working in Malaysia and Cambodia. Authorities believe that Huckle actually abused over 200 children.

    “It is very rare indeed that a judge has to sentence sexual offending by one person on such a scale as this,” said Judge Peter Rook during sentencing, noting that Huckle will be required to spend a minimum of 25 years in jail for the 71 offenses.

    “It is also clear that, had you not been arrested, you planned to continue the same lifestyle using the expertise that you were keen to show off to and share with other abusers so as to continue your sexual exploitation of the children of such communities.”

    The Washington Post reports:

    In both countries, Huckle cultivated an altruistic, Christian image founded upon an alleged passion for teaching English and spreading Bible stories. He posted thousands of images on Facebook showing him happily interacting with children, and he was included in a promotional video created by the British Council in Malaysia, according to BuzzFeed.

    James Traynor, of the National Crime Agency’s child exploitation and online protection command, told the BBC that it was all a ruse. He said Huckle intentionally traveled to a part of the world where he thought he could carry out sexual assaults on children without being caught.

    “Richard Huckle groomed those children and he groomed them to the point where he was certain that no matter what he did to them they would not tell their parents of the abuse they suffered from him,” said Traynor.

    In addition to a library of 20,000 photographs and videos, many of which documented his crimes, investigators found that he had kept a kind of scorecard, on which he would grant himself points based on the child and the assault. They also found a guide, written by Huckle and ready for publication on the Dark Web, entitled, “Pedophiles & Poverty: Child Lover Guide.”


    Image via Getty.


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    Gawker Count: Martin O'Malley Clinches Nomination If Everyone Dies and Is Replaced With More Martin O'Malleys

    After a new survey of superdelegates, the Associated Press declared the inevitable Monday evening, naming Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee. According to Gawker’s own survey of hypothetical genetic clones of Martin O’Malley, however, the former Maryland Governor will easily win the nomination should all party officials die and be replaced by said clones.

    The AP reports that Clinton now has the support of the required 2,383 pledged delegates and superdelegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton was already expected to cross that threshold after Tuesday’s primaries, but rival Bernie Sanders has indicated he will try to recruit the hundreds of superdelegates from Clinton he needs to result in a contested convention in July.

    http://gawker.com/hillary-clinto...

    What neither candidate has considered, however, is that Clinton, Sanders, all pledged delegates and superdelegates could die either individually or in some kind of terrible calamity in the meantime and be succeeded by thousands upon thousands of Martin O’Malley’s biological doubles.

    If that happens, sources close to the proposed O’Malley clone campaign tell Gawker that O’Malley Prime will easily shore up the support needed to win before formally accepting the nomination next month.

    The Clinton, Sanders and Jim Webb campaigns have not responded to requests for comment on this fanciful alternate outcome at this time.


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    Report: Kimbo Slice Is Dead At 42
    Photo via Getty

    MMA star Kimbo Slice died this evening in Florida from heart failure at the age of 42. Bellator’s CEO confirmed the news to TMZ, saying:

    We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family.

    Slice, born Kevin Ferguson, rose to fame in the aughts as a viral street-fight star. He made his MMA debut in 2007, and won his UFC debut in 2009. He continued to fight on and off up until this year, when he knocked out Dada 5000 in February; last year, our Greg Howard wrote about him extensively in a profile of Ken Shamrock, whom he fought in a heavily-promoted Bellator bout.

    http://deadspin.com/ken-shamrock-i...

    We’ll update this post as more information becomes available.


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    State Department Claims It Would Take 75 Years to Release Clinton Aide Emails
    Photo: AP

    Last week, State Department lawyers said that an FOIA request by the Republican National Committee for emails from Hillary Clinton’s top aides would take 75 years to fulfill, The Hill reports.

    “Given the Department’s current FOIA workload and the complexity of these documents, it can process about 500 pages a month,” argued the State Department in a filing Wednesday, estimating that a review of three aides’ emails would take “75 years in total.”

    In March, the RNC sued the State Department for failing to respond to a request made in December for the staffers’ emails. Since then, the agency has tried to dismiss the request for imposing an unreasonable burden. From CNN:

    State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau declined Monday to comment on the RNC lawsuit specifically, but said that requests have tripled since 2008 and staff has been spread thin.

    “The volume of FOIA requests received by the Department has tripled since 2008. In fiscal year 2015 alone we received approximately 22,000 FOIA requests,” Trudeau said. “The requests are also frequently more complex and seek larger volumes of documents, requiring significantly more time, resources, and interagency coordination. While we have increased staffing for our FOIA office, our available resources are still nonetheless constrained.”

    In January, the State Department’s internal watchdog released a report heavily criticizing the agency for its pattern of slow and inaccurate responses to FOIA requests.

    “The Department is committed to transparency, and the issues addressed in this report have the full attention of Secretary Kerry and the Department’s senior staff,” said the agency at the time. “We remain committed not only to transparency but to making our efforts in that regard as efficient as possible.”


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  • 06/07/16--04:20: 154 Days and a Wake Up
  • 154 Days and a Wake Up
    A Clinton supporter rocks a custom jacket at a campaign rally on Monday. Photo: AP

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    Florida AG Personally Solicited Donation from Trump Before Dropping Trump University Fraud Investigation
    Photo: AP

    Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, has confirmed that she personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump at the time her office was considering prosecuting Trump University for fraud, the Associated Press reports. A Trump family foundation gave a nonprofit controlled by Bondi $25,000, and Bondi dropped the case.

    In September 2013, the Orlando Sentinel ran a story asking why Bondi’s office wasn’t investigating Trump University. (New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman had just filed a lawsuit against the enterprise.) Bondi said that she would look into the matter.

    Three days later, And Justice for All, the committee supporting her re-election campaign, received the check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Bondi’s office nixed the lawsuit, citing insufficient grounds to proceed. At the time, Trump refused to answer questions about why he was contributing to the Florida AG, but in a statement he called Bondi “a fabulous representative of the people” and Schneiderman “a political hack.”

    Representatives of both Trump and Bondi have issued conflicting denials of any wrongdoing, but on Monday a spokesman for Bondi confirmed that the AG had asked Trump for the donation. The AP reports:

    Bondi declined repeated requests for an interview on Monday, referring all questions to Marc Reichelderfer, a political consultant who worked for her re-election effort.

    Reichelderfer told AP that Bondi spoke with Trump “several weeks” before her office publicly announced it was deliberating whether to join a lawsuit proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general. Reichelfelder said that Bondi was unaware of the many consumer complaints received by her office about Trump’s real-estate seminars at the time she requested the donation.

    “The process took at least several weeks, from the time they spoke to the time they received the contribution,” Reichelderfer told AP.

    In March, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the IRS, alleging that the Trump foundation had not properly disclosed the contribution. Tax-exempt charitable foundations cannot support political groups.

    In a statement on Tuesday, CREW maintained its criticism. “Attorney General Bondi’s admission that she personally solicited a donation from Donald Trump directly contradicts the Trump camp’s version of events,” the statement reads. “Their claims that they did not know how the Bondi-backing group got the money and their implication that Bondi made the request of the Trump Organization and not Trump himself raise further questions, including how another organization was listed as receiving the donation on their taxes.”

    “We filed a complaint with the IRS focusing on the Trump Foundation’s illegal $25,000 contribution to support Bondi’s election. If the contribution was made or solicited to influence an official decision, it would be an even more serious violation of the law. This reaffirms the need for an immediate and thorough investigation.”

    In the March GOP debate, Trump criticized his rivals’ dependance on Super PACs. “There is total control of the candidates,” he said. “I know it better than anybody that probably ever lived. And I will tell you this: I know the system far better than anybody else and I know the system is broken.”

    “I know it so well because I was on both sides of it. I was on the other side all my life and I’ve always made large contributions. And frankly, I know the system better than anybody else and I’m the only one up here that’s going to be able to fix that system because that system is wrong.”

    Bondi has endorsed Trump’s presidential bid.


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    Istanbul Car Bombing Targeting Police Kills 11
    Photo: AP

    At least 11 people were killed and 36 others wounded in a rush-hour bombing in Istanbul on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. The car bomb targeted a bus carrying riot police.

    Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin said that seven police officers and four civilians were killed. Three of the wounded were in serious condition. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack—Istanbul’s fourth major bombing in a year. The New York Times reports:

    Militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which has carried out an insurgency against the Turkish state for more than three decades, have claimed responsibility for similar attacks against Turkish security forces since the breakdown last July of a fragile peace process.

    A militant group with links to the Kurdish organization claimed responsibility for two major attacks this year in the capital, Ankara, that struck a military convoy and civilians, killing dozens.

    Violence has surged in the country’s predominately Kurdish southeast in recent months, after a major military operation to eradicate militants from their strongholds in the region.

    Tuesday’s attack took place on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.


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    Who Stole All These Fucking Bees?
    Image: AP

    Did you steal millions of bees from California beekeepers this year? If so—buddy, why’d you do that? You just stole millions of fucking bees.

    Nearly 2,000 of California’s beehives, which hold tens of thousands of vicious, godforsaken bees at $200 a pop, have gone missing this year. And California’s beekeepers, who should really just be thankful to have a few less venom-soaked merchants of hell in their backyard, smell foul play. According to NPR:

    Bee brokers who arrange contracts between beekeepers and almond growers are discovering that there are not enough beehives to go around, driving up demand, rental costs — and thefts.

    Because of the expertise required to steal hives, the general consensus is that beekeepers are behind the heists.

    “Beekeepers have the knowledge and equipment to go in and take the hives and the market to profit from them,” Qualls says.

    One county in California was the target of multiple “large-scale” hive heists, in which thieves have taken up to 200 hives at once. And since most of these buzzing boxes of death are unmarked, it’s impossible to know whether or not a hive was stolen. Plus, even if they are branded, bee-loving assholes can still “remove the frames (the guts of the hive that are covered with bees and laden with honey) and put them in new, unmarked hive bodies.”

    According to Detective Jay Freeman, who must have done something unspeakable to be assigned the task of actively seeking out winged barbs of poison, “someone who knows how to handle them can move 200 hives in a matter of minutes.”

    For what it’s worth, someone who doesn’t know how to handle them can probably move 200 hives in a matter of minutes, too. Though it’ll probably be the last thing they ever do. Because afterwards, they will be dead.

    Fucking bees.


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    Freakish Oddballs Who Like Diet Pepsi Pine for Chemicals of Yore
    Photo: Flickr

    Sophisticated soda connoisseurs drink Diet Mtn Dew. Average people drink Diet Coke. Then there are the loners, misfits, and weirdos, who drink Diet Pepsi. They’re always hollering about some obscure grievance.

    What is it this time, Randy? The UFOs again? Or is it a Diet Pepsi thing?

    Last year, the folks who make Diet Pepsi were reasonably concerned about the fact that normal people don’t want their gross product to ever cross their lips. (Yuk!) They found some surveys that said Americans don’t like drinking aspartame, so they went and changed their recipe. Now Diet Pepsi uses a sweetener that’s not aspartame, just like you people said you wanted. And what happened? Diet Pepsi sales plummeted. What the hell do you people want, honestly? The Wall Street Journal tracked down an actual Diet Pepsi drinker to find out:

    Chase Thomas, a 42-year-old nurse practitioner, used to treat himself to a Diet Pepsi every afternoon but stopped because the new version tastes “awful” and “flat.” He also doesn’t like Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Zero, instead keeping an unopened bottle of aspartame-sweetened Diet Pepsi in his fridge as a keepsake.

    “It’s my Holy Grail,” said Mr. Thomas, who lives in Anniston, Ala.

    Just let em have it, PepsiCo. Sometimes you gotta let your dog eat that old poop because trying to stop him is even worse.


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    Now Betting on China's Collapse: George Soros
    Photo: Getty

    A financial meltdown in China is the currently the leading contender for “Next global financial crisis that will definitely screw you somehow, even though you don’t have that much money.” We now know that GEORGE SOROS is betting on China’s demise too.

    http://gawker.com/how-scared-sho...

    Soros is famous for making a billion bucks betting against the British pound, so uh.. he likes to bet against things, for money. (Technical finance term). He’s a multi-billionaire, one of the originators of the hedge fund industry, and a heavy political donor. He’s also semi-retired, so any investment moves he makes draw a great deal of scrutiny. And the Wall Street Journal reports that he’s jumped back into the trading game specifically to bet on an impending global economic decline. He’s piling into gold! He’s selling off stocks! And, most of all, he’s betting on a breakdown in China:

    “China continues to suffer from capital flight and has been depleting its foreign currency reserves while other Asian countries have been accumulating foreign currency,” Mr. Soros said. “China is facing internal conflict within its political leadership, and over the coming year this will complicate its ability to deal with financial issues.”

    Mr. Soros worries that new troubles will arise in China partly because he said the nation doesn’t seem willing to embrace a transparent political system that he contends is necessary to enact lasting economic overhauls.

    It would be cool for the Chinese government to immediately become fair and transparent and well-run to prevent an economic disaster just to show these billionaires what’s what, and also to prevent an economic disaster.


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    Good News! It's Getting Cheaper to Live in Manhattan, if You're Already Rich
    Image: Getty

    Great news for Manhattanites looking to save a few bucks on their next apartment: according to a new report, rents in 40 percent of the market saw a slight downturn last year. Which 40 percent? Why, the top 40 percent, of course.

    The news, published in a study by brokerage firm Douglas Elliman and first reported by DNAinfo, found that while rents in the bottom 60 percent of the market continue their unstoppable ascent, those at the top are beginning to dip. Calculated against the accepted wisdom that one should make about 40 times their monthly rent in yearly salary, that means people who earn $148,000 or more will see a slight easement in their cost of living, DNAinfo found.

    The city becoming more convenient for the rich and less tenable for the poor isn’t the product of some conspiracy; it’s just the churn of the market at work. Money-hungry developers are building more high-end apartments than the city actually needs, and, finding that there aren’t enough people willing to pay for them, they’re bringing down the price in hopes of finding tenants.

    The dip in upmarket housing prices “speaks to an affordability threshold,” a Douglas Elliman spokesperson told DNAinfo. Because of the glut of luxury development, it just so happens that rich people are hitting that threshold first, unfortunately for the rest of us. In theory, however, building more housing of any kind—even luxury housing— causes rent to grow more slowly over the entire market, so it’s possible that cheaper units will hit a similar threshold down the line.

    The solution? There isn’t one, really. Keep building market-rate housing to increase supply and bring down prices, yes, but also continue to incentivize or outright compel developers to build units that regular people can actually pay for. Expensive housing construction can be good for the working class, but affordable housing construction is even better.


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    Judge Who Likes to Fuck at Work Wins Re-Election
    Image of a judge who likes to fuck at work via the OC Register

    A married California judge who openly admitted to fucking both an intern and an attorney in his chambers has won re-election—proof positive that in this country, truly anything is possible.

    Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner was re-elected Tuesday to what sounds like the best job on the planet: As a judge, he makes $181,292 a year, has sex in his chambers whenever he wants, and, on multiple occasions, has overseen cases involving a “close friend.”

    He beat his opponent, prosecutor Karen Schatzle, by about 12.5 percent of the vote. Her stance on fucking at work is still unclear.

    But Steiner’s predilection for fucking at work became a matter of public record in 2012, when he was censured for for sleeping with both an attorney who had brought cases before him and an intern who he later unsuccessfully and improperly tried to recommend for a job with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Via the OC Register:

    The commission found that Steiner improperly inquired with his former colleagues at the District Attorney’s Office on behalf of the former intern – who was seeking employment there.

    According to the commission, Steiner talked to two people at the District Attorney’s Office, after the former intern was denied the job. He asked whether they had seen his letter of recommendation, and what she could do to improve her application.

    “Well, I guess writing a letter of recommendation means nothing,” he said during one of the conversations.

    Steiner did not ask directly that she be hired, the commission said.

    Incredibly Steiner, who is married with two children, campaigned on a family values platform. Here is one ad he ran titled, “The Importance of Family,” which does not reference the fucking at work.


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    Mild-Mannered Jared Kushner Is Taking Over the Trump Campaign
    Jared Kushner leaving Henry Kissinger’s house. Photo: AP

    It should surprise no one that a baby-faced real estate scion who made his millions leveraging his surname—despite a family history of corruption and criminality—would accrue influence in the Donald Trump campaign. And yet, apparently, Trump staffers are baffled at the rise of the presumptive Republican nominee’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

    http://gawker.com/in-keeping-wit...

    According to the Associated Press, Kushner—who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and owns the New York Observer—has involved himself in various aspects of the campaign, including helping to write Trump’s speech earlier this week intended to reassure worried Republicans that he won’t destroy the party.

    He was part of a Trump delegation that met with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s policy team late last month in Washington, attended an hours-long meeting of Trump’s transition team in New York, joined Trump’s first fundraising swing last month in California, and recently courted opinion leaders such as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger to discuss Trump’s foreign policy. He is also playing an active role in the selection and vetting of Trump’s pick for vice president, expected to be unveiled during the GOP’s national convention next month, and is expected to spend more time traveling with the candidate.

    Leveraging his connections to media executives, Kushner also leaned upon his friendship with media mogul Rupert Murdoch to improve the campaign’s strained relationship with the Fox News Channel.

    (He was also named to Trump’s transition committee, led by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who, as U.S. attorney, sent Kushner’s father to prison. Just a fun fact!) WNYC’s Matt Katz also reported that Kushner attended the meeting with Kissinger:

    Like Trump, Kushner knows that in New Jersey, relationships and money are the lingua franca of doing business. Kushner has several real estate developments in Jersey City, including a new Trump tower, and ties to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, a possible Democratic gubernatorial candidate. But Kushner also finds time to join Trump for high-profile meetings like a recent one with Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State. An observant Jew, Kushner also helped to write a speech that Trump gave to a pro-Israel group, and he may accompany Trump to Israel next month.

    Kushner, it appears, is using his privileged position as a family member to influence Trump at a time when more seasoned political operatives—like campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign chairman Paul Manafort—are trying to undermine each other. (Kushner, the AP reports, is considered a critic of Lewandowski’s.)

    “He has a beautiful, brilliant wife,” Myers Mermel, a friend of Kushner’s and a real-estate executive himself, recently told Bloomberg Businessweek. “He is clearly a man of faith. These are all values that contradict the negative image put forth by the Republican Party as New York values. He has the values that the Republican Party espouses.”

    Maybe, but then again, much like his father-in-law, Kushner seems only to be a Republican of convenience: Forty of the 44 political contributions made in his name between 1992 and 2004 went to Democrats, and in 2000 and 2003 specifically he donated $6,000 to Hillary Clinton. (Also like Trump, the Observer endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.) In 2014, he donated $10,000 to the New York and New Jersey state Democratic committees.

    “Honestly, Jared is a very successful real estate person, but I actually think he likes politics more than he likes real estate,” Trump said at a rally last month. “But he’s very good at politics.”


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    Which Progressive Website Editor Is Secretly Supporting Donald Trump?
    Art by Jim Cooke

    Today The Daily Beast published an article titled “Anarchists for Donald Trump—Let the Empire Burn” in which the freelance journalist Christopher Ketcham explains the logic of certain progressive voters, including himself, who intend to vote for the presumptive Republican nominee in November. A sampling:

    What’s needed now in American politics is consternation, confusion, dissension, disorder, chaos — and crisis, with possible resolution — and a Trump presidency is the best chance for this true progress. This is a politics of arson. I’d rather see the empire burn to the ground under Trump, opening up at least the possibility of radical change, than cruise on autopilot under Clinton.

    To support his case, Ketcham refers to and quotes an unnamed editor of an unnamed “major progressive website” who secretly supports Trump:

    Trump arsonist-progressives are mostly embarrassed to go on the record. An editor of a major progressive website tells me in an email that if I outed him/her as a Trump supporter, “We’d probably lose the last funders that we have!!!” That editor continued: “Absolutely, Trump by a mile. To the extent that voting for president matters at all, it is merely to give a certain secret pleasure to the voter in the privacy of the booth. I’ll get mine by casting a transgressionary ballot [sic] for the vile Trump, the greatest repudiation of the 25-year-long horrorshow of Clintonism I can imagine.”

    We’ll table a discussion of this editor’s “transgressionary” voting logic for another time, but we’re curious: Who exactly is this person? “Editor,” “major,” “progressive,” and probably even “website” are not the most strictly defined terms. They could be used to describe an editor at Salon (or Counterpunch, or Raw Story, or Daily Kos), or a moderator at the Democratic Underground forum. Or Alex Pareene, editor-in-chief of Gawker! You never know.

    Let us know your theories below. And if you happen to know who this editor is, get in touch.


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    As expected, President Barack Obama (a superdelegate) has endorsed Hillary Clinton in her bid to become the first female president of the United States. “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” he said in a video announcement.

    Earlier today, Obama met with Bernie Sanders, who said after that he was not yet ready to drop out of the race, or endorse Clinton, but that he would do everything he could to keep Donald Trump from winning the general election.


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    Hillary Clinton Just Shut Down The Haters With This One Simple Tweet

    SLay!!!!!!


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    This week, two Bachelorette contestants, one of them munching on a raw sweet potato, tried to determine whether it’s worse to be a Hitler or a Donald Trump type of guy. Frankly, this is the only civics lesson you’ll ever need.

    A quick note for the uninitiated. The two prime specimens featured above are Meathead Chad, on the left, and Daniel the Guy You Already Forgot Was On the Show, on the right. They are two men vying for the heart of a commercially attractive woman who rated highest on her season of The Bachelor, and, when that fails, the chance to hawk Fit Tea on their Instagram accounts. But it also turns out Chad is a bit of a dick who leaves pieces of meat around their shared house and threatens to punch the other contestants.

    “Let’s just pretend you’re Hitler,” Daniel says in a half-hearted attempt to explain why he doesn’t want to hang out with Chad anymore. “If I’m friends with you...”

    Chad, who is eating the raw potato, objects to the characterization.

    “Or let’s say you’re Donald Trump,” Daniel says, trying another tack. “If I hang out with you, it’s going to make me look bad too, right?”

    Now Chad is eating raw lettuce. He doesn’t speak.

    “So let’s be not so much like Hitler,” Daniel concludes. “Maybe be more like Mussolini you know? Or Bush, right? Take it down a notch.”

    Honestly—Daniel has a point.


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    Stanford Swimmer's Non-Apology Is A Pathetic Piece Of Deflection And Self-Pity

    By now, you know the terrible story of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner and the woman known as Emily Doe, the college graduate whom Turner raped behind a dumpster while she was unconscious. Turner was found guilty of three felonies, but got a reduced sentence because the judge feared the “severe impact” of a long prison sentence upon him (and here we pause to note the blood-boiling irony that, in the age of mass incarceration, THIS is the rare time that the system decides to acknowledge the destructive nature of human imprisonment).

    That was already a high-profile case, but then Buzzfeed posted a statement that Doe had read aloud in court, a letter that was originally published by Palo Alto Online and has now been read by millions of people (including CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield on live television), and a letter which Buzzfeed—in their eternal quest for social lift—probably plans on turning into a musical at some point.

    One of the reasons Doe wrote that letter was as a counterpoint to Turner’s own statement to the court. Well, the Guardian published a large chunk of that statement, and, as with Doe’s letter, it’s worth reading in full. You can probably learn a lot more from Turner’s statement than he did, frankly. You can see why Doe reacted so viscerally to it: because it’s a masterpiece of self-pity, and lays most of the blame for the assault at the feet of demon alcohol. Here are the relevant parts:

    At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed. I never want to experience being in a position where it will have a negative impact on my life or someone else’s ever again.

    As with Ethan Couch, Turner is trying to transfer responsibility for the crime from himself to an outside factor. Call it boozefluenza. There are a few obvious reasons to make this kind of dodge…

    1. People will actually buy it.
    2. No one REALLY wants to believe they are capable of something as awful as rape, and so blaming it on booze is a convenient and natural form of denial.
    3. It’s an easy way to paint yourself as the victim instead of the person you victimized.

    But we’re not finished yet. After trotting out the boozefluenza excuse, Turner latches onto another mope point:

    I’ve lost two jobs solely based on the reporting of my case. I wish I never was good at swimming or had the opportunity to attend Stanford, so maybe the newspapers wouldn’t want to write stories about me.

    “GAHHHHHH! CURSE THIS LITHE TORSO, AND THESE FAST-KICKING LEGS, AND MY DOLPHIN-LIKE SKILLS IN THE POOL! CURSE IT ALL! I wish I’d never been so athletic and handsome!”

    But let’s go back to alcohol part, because the Turner statement really drives home what kind of dangers await you as a talented, drunk person (emphasis down below is mine):

    One needs to recognize the influence that peer pressure and the attitude of having to fit in can have on someone. One decision has the potential to change your entire life. I know I can impact and change people’s attitudes towards the culture surrounded by binge drinking and sexual promiscuity that protrudes through what people think is at the core of being a college student. I want to demolish the assumption that drinking and partying are what make up a college lifestyle. I made a mistake, I drank too much, and my decisions hurt someone. But I never ever meant to intentionally hurt [redacted]. My poor decision making and excessive drinking hurt someone that night and I wish I could just take it all back.

    Okay, so now we’ve added poor decision-making, peer pressure and campus promiscuity to the list of things that conspired to assault Emily Doe. Again, you can see how Turner’s statement continually grasps at factors OTHER than Brock Turner to blame for the attack. Presumably, adults like Turner’s lawyers and parents vetted this statement carefully and agreed with it, and it was effective enough to get his sentence reduced (and reduced again to three months, as it turns out).

    People will buy this story with seemingly nice young boys (and even not nice ones) again and again. It’s an easy way to humanize the rapist, so that he doesn’t seem capable of raping anyone, or certainly not intentionally raping them. (Keep in mind that Turner fled the scene of the crime on foot after two passing cyclists witnessed the attack and stopped it.) You obfuscate, and you turn a single act of violence into the inevitable result of some greater, flawed cultural problem. “It wasn’t me. It was COLLEGE. The two of us are just pawns in this crazy game!”

    All of that hedging cumulates in this final portion:

    I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school. I’ve lost my chance to swim in the Olympics. I’ve lost my ability to obtain a Stanford degree. I’ve lost employment opportunity, my reputation and most of all, my life. These things force me to never want to put myself in a position where I have to sacrifice everything. I want no one, male or female, to have to experience the destructive consequences of making decisions while under the influence of alcohol.

    At this point in the statement, the victim doesn’t even exist. You are only supposed to pay attention to this poor, wayward soul before you now. Think of all he’s lost. Think of the damage done to HIM. I’m sure that Turner is in horrific mental shape at the present moment. But you can see that the goal here is for the court to pay more attention to the ruined life of the perpetrator than to the ruined life of the victim. That’s standard operating procedure in rape defense. “Why, look at that fine young man! Are we really going to ruin his whole LIFE over this?!”

    Not only is it a successful way of framing the case, but it insidiously hints that, since the rape victim’s life is already ruined, the only way to prevent more damage is to spare the rapist. It gives all the focus and promise to the attacker’s future, and HIS suffering. He monopolizes the aftermath.

    Worst of all, it serves as a public notice that if you rape someone, you’ll probably be able to get your life back together again (the victim, not so much). There’s still hope for you, so long as some mean judge doesn’t come down hard on you. And the more affluence you have to lose, the more sympathy you feel you deserve. Instead of actually saying sorry (“I can never forgive myself” is about as close as this gets to a formal apology), Turner returns over and over to rattling off a list of things he stands to lose…carefully reminding everyone of the impact a harsh sentence will have on him, willfully ignoring the impact his crime itself has had.

    THAT does a whole lot more to keep the cycle of violence going than some dipshit swimmer going up to some new teammates and being like, “Bros, don’t drink too much.” There’s grief in this statement from Turner, but there’s a great deal of cynicism here as well…a canny way of exalting himself above his crime in order to lessen it. And so long as that cynical method of denying and excusing rape works, like it did here, people will keep using it.


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    New Stats Show Exactly Why Congestion Pricing Is a Great Idea for NYC
    Image: Getty

    Yesterday, the New York City Department of Transportation released a report full of statistics about the ways in which people get around town, and how long it usually takes them to do so. Incidentally, these stats, taken together, present a pretty compelling argument in favor of a particular piece of legislation that was recently introduced in the state assembly.

    A quick rundown of the report, which you can read in full here: (1) The city added about 500,000 new jobs in the last five years, meaning some of those 500,000 people are likely new commuters into Manhattan, where most of the jobs are. (2) Despite this, many fewer cars are entering the center of Manhattan per day than were in 2010, because (3) many more people are taking the subway, biking, or walking. (4) Bus ridership, on the other hand, is down, because (5) average traffic speeds are also down, and bus trips are taking longer.

    The subway system logged 159 million more trips in 2015 than it did in 2010. Despite this vast increase, the state house repeatedly fails to funnel money into the MTA’s budget, and the authority is in danger of running out of funds by later this month. The trains are overcrowded and sorely in need of repair, and the upcoming L Train shutdown won’t help.

    How might we secure funding for those repairs—and for new projects that will benefit underserved commuters in the far reaches of the outer boroughs—while reducing the congestion that leads to interminably long car and bus trips? Enter the Move NY plan, introduced into the state assembly in March, which would place new tolls on the East River bridges and on cars crossing 60th Street from the north, disincentivizing people to drive, and directing the new revenue toward transit improvements.

    Drivers, naturally, will not like this plan, because it means they’ll have to pay to get to work every day. But should they choose to continue driving, there’s an upside: Thanks to those very same tolls, more of their peers will start taking the bus or the train, and fewer drivers means less congestion, and less congestion means a shorter commute. If they’re one of those drivers who decides they can’t afford the toll or aren’t willing to pay it, well, great—welcome to the subway. It really isn’t so bad—it’s safe, environmentally friendly, fast when it’s working properly—and the new revenue will help it accommodate the new riders.

    Those who doubt that new tolls would be enough to convince people to stop driving might look at London, which introduced a similar congestion pricing system in 2003. The city saw large, immediate dips in traffic and delays, as well as increased public transit ridership. Emissions are down, and so are crashes, despite the higher speeds afforded by less congestion.

    The new DOT report does not specifically mention the Move NY plan, but the data it contains strongly suggest some form of congestion pricing as a potential solution. That’s probably not an accident. The previous mayoral administration tried and failed to get congestion pricing passed in 2007, and DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg insinuated support for the idea to the New York Post earlier this week.

    Unfortunately, the decision isn’t really up to her, nor to anyone else in the city. It must be approved by the state legislators, in Albany, and by Governor Cuomo. Most state legislators drive cars, and Cuomo is a full-blown car collector. The 2007 plan failed because the Assembly refused to even put it to a vote. Hopefully, this time will be different.


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