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    Multiple Stabbings Reported in Clashes Between White Supremacists and Anarchists in Sacramento 
    Credit: ABC 10 / KXTV

    At least five people were stabbed at a protest in front of Sacramento’s Capitol building in a fight that broke out between 25 permit-wielding protestors from the Traditionalist Worker Party and 150 counter-protesting anarchists, according to the Sacramento Police Department

    The Traditionalist Working Party is a white supremacist organization and the anarchists self-described themselves as the “anti-fascist” resistance. Protestors on both sides of the fray were stabbed.

    Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers told the Sacramento Bee that “it’s a highly volatile situation,” and “ regardless of the message it’s the skinhead’s first amendment right to free speech.”

    Local ABC News reporter Frances Wang documented the clashes:

    Here is a little more about what members of TWP believe, from their website:

    European-Americans are the descendants of indigenous people of Europe. They are often identified on government forms as Caucasian or ‘white.’ We believe that European-American identity is under constant attack by members of American institutions such as the state, education, culture and even churches.

    Another guiding value of TWP’s platform, according to their website, is “multiculturalism” in that they believe in “multiple cultures or ethnicities existing in a country, but separated in their own enclaves, to safeguard those differences.”

    Counter-protestors were reportedly referring to police who arrived at the scene as “Nazi chauffeurs.”

    The original Traditionalist Working Party protest planned for the day was canceled.

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    Texas Library Cat Ousted From Office by "Kitty-Hating" City Hall
    Photo: Instagram/White Settlement Public Library

    After a storied six-year career as a public servant, Browser has less than 30 days to find a new job—and a new home. On June 14, the city council of White Settlement, Texas, voted 2 to 1 in favor of “relocating” the former shelter cat and current library mascot, drawing allegations of political payback, the Associated Press reports.

    Texas Library Cat Ousted From Office by "Kitty-Hating" City Hall
    Photo: Facebook/White Settlement Public Library

    According to The Grizzly Detail, council members representing the town of 16,000 cited allergy issues during the spirited debate over Browser’s future. Mayor Ron White, however, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he suspected the vote had more to do with puppy partisanship:

    Mayor Ron White, a nonvoting council moderator under the city charter, supports Browser. He blamed pettiness at City Hall because a city employee wasn’t allowed to keep a pet at work.

    “We’ve had that cat five years, and there’s never been a question,” he said.

    “That cat doesn’t have anything to do with whether somebody can have their puppy at City Hall. That cat doesn’t hurt anybody. … The council just went out and did this on their own because they don’t like cats.”

    Mayor White says he hopes to revisit the issue during the next city council meeting, which is slated for just two days before Browser is scheduled to be evicted. Fortunately, Mayor White appears to have the public on his side: 618 library patrons reportedly signed an unofficial petition supporting Browser.

    Texas Library Cat Ousted From Office by "Kitty-Hating" City Hall
    Photo: Instagram/White Settlement Public Library

    City councilman Elzie Clements, who said he opposed any animals in the library and is up for re-election this year, acknowledged that the vote may put his political future in jeopardy.

    “City Hall and City businesses are no place for animals,” said Clements, according to The Grizzly Detail. “I probably just doomed my fate.”

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    Cops: Trans Activist Beaten After Orlando Benefit
    Screencap: KOMO-TV

    Seattle Police say they are working with the FBI to investigate a hate crime attack after a transgender person was beaten unconscious on their way home from a fundraiser for victims of the Orlando shooting this week, the Associated Press reports.

    Investigators say Michael Volz was walking to their car after the benefit show on Wednesday when a white man in an orange sweatshirt said, “Hey, happy Pride,” and began choked and punching them. According to Volz’ GoFundMe page, the man said, “Show me your tits, you tranny cunt,” during the attack.

    “The victim lost consciousness and the suspect fled the scene,” said Seattle Police in a statement. “Upon regaining consciousness, the victim was able to drive home and contact a friend, who drove the victim to the hospital. On the way, they stopped and contacted police.”

    At a press conference on Friday, Deputy Police Chief Carmen Best said that investigators do not yet have any “good leads,” but are “aggressively pursuing everything.”

    “This is not an isolated incident,” said Volz at the press conference. “This is something that happens to our community frequently, and we won’t tolerate it anymore.”

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    Please Enjoy the DEA's Very Good Guide to "Rave Parties"

    While one’s first rave is generally thrilling, it can also be bewildering experience for an unsophisticated Drug Enforcement Agent. When, for instance, do ravers put on their rave clothes? Which sports drinks do they favor? Also what in God’s name is a “PLUR”?

    Fortunately, the answer to all these questions and more can be found in the DEA’s summary of “The Rave and Club Culture/Designer Drugs,” a 2001 document recently discovered by MuckRock while investigating the ambiguous relationship between the agency and “grandfather of ecstasy” Alexander Shulgin.

    The report—based on a presentation by a retired detective who had been “going to raves since 1992”—is a wealth of information on the culture, music and animation preferences of ravers. But first, a little background on “rave parties” (hereafter “raves”):

    Please Enjoy the DEA's Very Good Guide to "Rave Parties"

    Should an agent need to identify the specific type of repetitive electronica pounding in their ears, a rundown of the primary music genres played at raves is also included.

    Please Enjoy the DEA's Very Good Guide to "Rave Parties"

    The real report’s real draw, however, is an initialized guide to the subculture covering everything from glow sticks (“Glow sticks are sold at gas stations”) to candy ravers (“They dress like children”).

    Please Enjoy the DEA's Very Good Guide to "Rave Parties"

    Also offered is the DEA’s (apparently no longer restricted) knowledge of the mysterious code word “PLUR.”

    Please Enjoy the DEA's Very Good Guide to "Rave Parties"

    Finally, the report recommends some places at the mall to find quality rave shit.

    Please Enjoy the DEA's Very Good Guide to "Rave Parties"

    Ah yes, HOT TOPICS, every rave party attendee’s favorite vendor for clothing and paraphernalia.

    [h/t J. Patrick Brown]

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  • 06/27/16--04:33: 133 Days and a Wake Up
  • 133 Days and a Wake Up
    Pride parades in New York City and elsewhere this weekend were marked by heavy police presence. Photo: AP

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    Elizabeth Warren to Appear on the Campaign Trail with Hillary Clinton for the First Time
    Photo: AP

    Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have a complicated history. But on Monday, the senior senator from Massachusetts will appear with the former secretary of state on stage at a campaign event for the first time.

    Warren will speak for the presumptive Democratic nominee at a rally in Cincinnati, according to the Associated Press, amid ongoing reports that she is being vetted as a possible vice-presidential candidate. Lately, Warren has acted as one of Clinton’s strongest anti-Donald Trump surrogates. (Trump has not taken her criticism well.)

    In fact, Warren has turned her dry skepticism on Clinton herself before. In her 2004 book The Two-Income Trap, Warren recalls a meeting with the first lady in 1998 to discuss pending legislation that would have overhauled bankruptcy laws. Warren convinced Clinton that the legislation should be opposed, and Bill Clinton vetoed the bill at his wife’s behest.

    A few years later, as a first-year senator, Clinton voted in support of what was essentially the same bill, after receiving $140,000 in campaign contributions from finance executives. “Big banks were now part of Senator Clinton’s constituency. She wanted their support, and they wanted hers—including a vote in favor of ‘that awful bill,’” Warren wrote.

    “The bill was essentially the same, but Hillary Rodham Clinton was not,” she wrote. “Hillary Clinton could not afford such a principled position. Campaigns cost money, and that money wasn’t coming from families in financial trouble.”

    Warren detailed their exchange further in an interview with Bill Moyers.

    Earlier this month, Warren stopped by Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, telling staffers, “Don’t screw this up!”

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    The Republican National Convention Is Going to Be Such a Mess
    Photo: AP

    The Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month is shaping up to be a complete disaster, with hundreds of delegates in revolt and many prominent members of the GOP forgoing the event entirely. In fact, so few people want to speak that Donald Trump said earlier this month he is considering instituting a “Winners’ Night,” for sports stars.

    On Friday, Beau Correll, a delegate from Virginia, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the state’s 49 Republican and 110 Democratic delegates, challenging a law that mandates, “Delegates and alternates shall be bound to vote on the first ballot at the national convention for the candidate receiving the most votes in the primary unless that candidate releases those delegates and alternates from such vote.” Correll’s complaint alleges that the First Amendment protects delegates “right to vote their conscience, free from government compulsion, when participating in the selection of their party’s presidential nominee.”

    Anti-Trump delegates are also trying to take over the powerful Rules Committee so as to be able to block Trump’s nomination. (An unlikely proposition.) Meanwhile, Politico contacted 50 governors, senators, and House representatives to ask whether they would be speaking at the convention.

    “I am not attending,” said South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is overseeing the high-profile congressional Republican investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of the attacks on Benghazi. Gowdy, who said he was taking his family to the beach instead, hasn’t gone to conventions in the past and didn’t plan to now. “I’m not,” said South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, a former two-term governor. “But hope you have a good Thursday!” “Don’t know,” said Sean Duffy, a reality TV star-turned-Wisconsin congressman, “I haven’t thought about it.” Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo: “I won’t be there.”


    New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte “is not attending the convention,” said a spokeswoman. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner “is not attending the convention,” his office said. A spokesman for South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham: “He announced back in May he’s not attending.” For South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley: “The governor has not been asked to speak at the convention and has no plans to.” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn: “There are no plans for him to speak.”

    House members often have to scrap to get national attention — and eagerly take whatever they can get. But taking the podium in Cleveland? No thanks.

    New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a rising star who helped to write the GOP platform at the 2012 convention, “will be in her district working for her constituents and not attending the convention,” said a spokesman. Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell, a former Army lieutenant colonel who helped capture Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, “has no plans to be a speaker at the convention,” said his office. North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, who’s frequently talked about as a potential future statewide candidate, “won’t be at the convention.” Mia Love, the charismatic Utah rep seen by many as the GOP’s future, is skipping Cleveland for a trip to Israel. “I don’t see any upsides to it,” Love told a reporter on Friday. “I don’t see how this benefits the state.”

    On Friday, Cleveland officials reached an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio on a “much smaller” event zone around the convention than had been previously planned for, reports. There will of course be an area for food trucks.

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    Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law That Blocked Women From Getting Abortions
    Photo: AP

    The Supreme Court on Monday overturned an odious Texas law that made it close to impossible for women to obtain abortions within the state, deeming the law’s “substantial burdens” unconstitutional in a 5-3 majority opinion authored by Justice Stephen Breyer.

    The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, concerned two regulations enacted by the Texas legislature in 2013, known as HB2. The laws mandated that that all abortion clinics meet the medical standards of an outpatient surgical center, which would have required each clinic spend millions of dollars on upgrades, and required doctors performing abortions obtain surgical privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the abortion clinics.

    As a result, the regulations would have had the effect of shutting down all but 5 of Texas’s 40-odd abortion clinics, leaving large swathes of the state’s five million women without access to abortion. And all this, despite the fact that Texas had reported no deaths from abortion in the five years leading up to the law.

    But the Court ruled Monday that those regulations constituted an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion, as delineated in the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade.

    “We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” Breyer wrote in the Hellerstedt decision. “Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.”

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    Electrocuting People Was Basically America's Favorite Pastime in the 1920s
    Illustration from the September 1923 issue of Practical Electrics magazine

    Forget baseball. America’s favorite pastime in the 1920s was electrocuting people. I’m not even joking.

    One thing you learn from reading old science and tech magazines of the 1920s is that tech nerds were sadistic weirdoes. There are countless stories from the pages of magazines like Science and Invention and Practical Electrics where average people would brag about electrocuting others for kicks. It seems you could get away with quite a bit before the invention of modern laws that kept people from maiming each other just because.

    One letter from a reader of Practical Electrics magazine appeared in the September 1923 issue. It told a quite sordid tale of electrical mischief:

    Not long ago an elderly gentleman walked into the shop with a shocking machine under his arm and after waiting for the other customers to leave, brought his troubles to me something like this : “I would like to know if you could put more power in this thing. There is a bunch of tough fellows who think they are so much tougher than others because they can take all there is in it, and it would do my heart good to see them get electrocuted.’’

    “Sure,” I said, “we can electrocute ‘em. Drop around in a few days and it will be finished,” and so he went out with a merrier tune.

    Next day we made a switch so when the indicator was at the highest point the old secondary was cut out and a half-inch spark coil was switched in. Thus only the tough birds would get their penny worth and the tender feet would, never know the difference. Fearing we had made the punishment too severe, we set the machine on the bench and waited with great anxiety for a fish to bite. Before long one of our most prominent citizens came in sight. We went and talked to him in the doorway. Everybody about started doing anything to get into an argument. Finally he asked, “What’s this piece of junk here?”

    “Why, if you had as valuable a piece of junk as that you’d have no use for Aladdin’s lantern.”

    “Do you think I never saw one of the things before? Stick a penny in and let’s try it.”

    “Well, I suppose every time you use a penny slot machine you get your gum and complain because you didn’t get a profit sharing coupon.”

    By this time he produced a penny and started the indicator. Up—up—up it went all the way to the top, but I can’t tell my thoughts at this moment, as I saw the whole front of the machine being torn out by the handles. It came out and all the works came out with it. He next struggled backward for ten feet and with his great involuntary efforts brought the works down upon a heavy motor. Then being free, he leaned back on a box and shook all over, but not so badly as I did. Nobody had breath to laugh until now, and they were surely using it now. I did not see how I could face things, so I sneaked out for a long walk. When I returned I learned that the patient had slowly seen the joke was on me and later he asked to see some things he needed. Said he would just take them and things would be even. There was no argument. It was not long before the owner knew of the excitement and came to see me. Much to my surprise he said it was just what he wanted, for me to fix it again and he would call later.

    The owner used the machine only a short time when he brought it back with a story a mile long of how he worked it just once and on the right fellow. When we gave him a bill he said it was a little more than expected, but he forced a smile over his face and managed to say, “It’s cheaper than monkey glands, whatever they may cost.”

    I have no idea what that reference to monkey glands is all about at the end, but I’m going to guess it was about some ginned up patent medicine that promised super-human strength in the 1920s.

    I guess the best that can be said of this story is that it didn’t have that racist zing which accompanies so many other tales in my 1920s tech magazines. It’s the small victories, really.

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    Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Guns for Domestic Abusers
    Photo: AP

    The Supreme Court has voted to uphold a federal law banning people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns.

    The case, Voisine v. United States, involved two men from Maine who had both pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault. A few years after Stephen Voisine entered his guilty plea in 2004, he got in trouble again, this time for killing a bald eagle. While investigating that crime, law enforcement officers determined that Voisine illegally owned a gun.

    Citing decades-old common law, Voisine and the other petitioner argued that because their assault conduct had been “reckless,” rather than “knowing or intentional,” it should not qualify as misdemeanor domestic violence—the kind of crime that would disqualify them from owning guns. The court rejected this argument.

    “The common law traditionally used a variety of overlapping and, frankly, confusing phrases to describe culpable mental states—among them, specific intent, general intent, presumed intent, willfulness, and malice,” Justice Elana Kagan wrote in the majority opinion. “Whether and where conduct that we would today describe as reckless fits into that obscure scheme is anyone’s guess.”

    What is more, Kagan argues, by the time Congress passed this law “to take guns out of the hands of abusers convicted under the misdemeanor assault laws then in general use in the States,” it had abandoned the common law approach.

    “Nothing suggests that, in enacting §922(g)(9), Congress wished to look beyond that real world to a common-law precursor that had largely expired. To the contrary, such an approach would have undermined Congress’s aim by tying the ban on firearms possession not to the laws under which abusers are prosecuted but instead to a legal anachronism.”

    The Supreme Court ruled against the Maine men 6-2.

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  • 06/27/16--09:15: Populism, Look Left
  • Populism, Look Left
    Photo: Getty

    For years, people have been warning that inequality is growing. Now we are beginning to see tangible political consequences. There is no reason that populist anger must devolve into right wing nationalism. The opportunity now is so much greater than that.

    Since the 1980s, when we fell in love with deregulation and the promise of the global free market, economic inequality has been steadily on the rise. This rise was mirrored to varying degrees in countries around the world. Globalization, which pulled down trade barriers with the promise of economic efficiency, accomplished that efficiency just fine; the problem is that it had the effect of creating broad swaths of winners (poor workers in nations that attracted jobs, and corporations and investors) and losers (middle class workers in developed nations who saw their jobs disappear). Even as free trade gave the world cumulative gains, those gains were not spread evenly. An increase in average national GDP does little to help an auto worker whose career, city, and opportunities have all been wiped out by multinational corporations following the pitiless logic of capitalism.

    Free trade makes sense, in theory. Global institutions make sense, in theory. The problem is not “globalization,” which is merely a realistic reckoning with the nature of our modern world. The problem is inequality. If the economic gains that came from the more efficient systems that globalization produced were shared equally, people would not be so angry. But they have not. Instead of making plans to protect the workers who were on the losing side of free trade, our government shrugged. Real wages have barely budged for the vast majority of American workers in decades. Meanwhile, the richest people—the investor class—have seen their wealth explode. This is very simple, really. We’ve allowed all of the gains of globalization to go to a tiny few. The rest of the people—the majority, who have seen almost no gains, and a significant minority who have seen their way of life destroyed—are mad. And rightfully so. This is the source of all the “populist anger” we have heard so much about. It is no longer theoretical. It is here, and it is potent.

    And what do we have to show for this populist anger, so far? Brexit and Donald Trump. Two bad ideas. The underclass in America, in Europe, and around the world have suffered as a direct result of a very specific set of capitalist policies that have served to concentrate great wealth in the hands of a small minority of people and leave nothing for the rest. These policies were supported by business and put in place and protected by politicians, who are themselves supported by business. There is a specific remedy to these policies, as well: Socialism. By that I mean simply the sharing of the gains of globalization. The workers who have lost out need a viable safety net. Society as a whole needs health care and child care and transportation and Social Security and affordable housing. Poor people sometimes need assistance in the form of cash or food. These are the common sense policies of democratic socialism that we could have been paying for with the gains that have instead gone to build great fortunes for billionaire industrialists.

    Populist anger seems to be amorphous. It is rage at the nature of the world, and it often seeks the nearest plausible outlet. So far, the most alluring outlets have been hatred of foreigners and hatred of vague, powerful institutions that many voters don’t really understand. Populist anger thus far has been successfully co-opted by the right wing.

    That is sad. And it does not have to be the case. The left has responses to our age of inequality that are not rooted in xenophobia, and racism, and fear of the unknown. There are real ways to make our society more equal and to help people at the same time. We can tax the very rich; we can fund progressive social programs that help single mothers and needy families and poor people and the homeless; we can expand health care; we can create jobs programs rebuilding our national infrastructure to put those who have lost their jobs back to work; we can change the way our political system is financed to make it less responsive to moneyed interests; we can change the way elections are held and the way districts are drawn to make sure that our leaders reflect the makeup of the population. We can take from the rich and give to the poor to bring inequality under control. And we can do it without banning immigrants or destroying international alliances in misguided fits of rage. Angry people, turn your anger towards those who are responsible for your plight! The immigrant fleeing persecution and poverty is your brother. The rich man pointing fingers at the immigrant is not.

    The left needs to make its case to the angry people. I admit this is easier said than done. But it needs to be done nevertheless. This is bigger than Bernie Sanders or any other political candidate. This is a historic opportunity to gather broad public support for the kind of socialist ideas that can help prevent us from getting back to this point ever again.

    Many people in power are now truly scared. That, by itself, is a good thing. If we allow the situation to progress to the point where populist anger just tears down institutions and lashes out at The Other for pure catharsis, that is a bad thing. That is how wars and persecution and all forms of social evils begin. We all seem to agree that a small class of political and financial elites have brought this anger upon themselves. Now, we can either fix it, or just burn everything down. If we burn everything down, the elites will just escape in their yachts while we’re left with the ashes. So let’s fix it.

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    Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren Set the Trap For Donald Trump
    Image: AP

    Today in Cincinnati, Elizabeth Warren made the first of several campaign stops alongside Hillary Clinton. Though the event was billed as a policy speech, the two most thunderously attacked Donald Trump, and in a very specific way.

    Here is a short sampling of some of the Trump broadsides from Warren’s opening remarks:

    These statements work as big applause lines for liberals, of course, but they’re also a dog whistle pitched at a level to be heard precisely by Donald Trump himself. “Goofy,” “thin-skinned,” “small,” “insecure,” “money-grubber”—these are the sorts of phrases you would expect to read in one of Trump’s haltingly-paced tweets, and they signal a bit of a shift from the Donald Trump Is a Bad, Scary Man thing that the Clinton campaign had initially used at the beginning of its general election campaign. (Though there was plenty of that, too.)

    We have previously argued that if Clinton really wants to goad Trump into destroying himself, she would need to emasculate and humiliate him, and she made it pretty clear when she took the mic from Warren that she’s attempting to do just that.

    Will Trump fall for it? Will it even matter?

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    Are CNN Staffers Actually Staging a “Revolt” Over Corey Lewandowski?
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    On Friday, Page Six reported that CNN staffers were “pissed” and felt “betrayed” after the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, hired Donald Trump’s physically combative former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, as an exclusive contributor to CNN programming. Citing what appear to be at least three sources (including one “TV insider”), the column claimed that female and Latino staffers were particularly alarmed by Lewandowski’s new position:

    “CNN is facing a near internal revolt over the Corey hiring,” said a TV insider, who described many in the newsroom as “livid.” “Female reporters and producers especially . . . They are organizing and considering publicly demanding” that Lewandowski be let go. ... A source further said that “Latinos and others in the newsroom feel betrayed by an homage to Trump,” so “they may do a public letter” objecting to the move.

    Over the past three days, however, other CNN staffers have tried to play down Page Six’s report. One “prominent staffer” told Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi, “I get argument that he was a bully. But I also get why we hired him.” The same staffer argued that Lewandowski’s knowledge of Trump’s campaign “could be very valuable to us over the next few months.” Another unnamed CNN reporter explained to Farhi, “It just seems emblematic of a larger revolving door that’s more and more like coaches becoming sports analysts ... So it seemed obvious to me [Lewandowski] would land somewhere.”

    As far as we can tell, the only CNN staffer who has publicly addressed Page Six’s report is Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, who claimed on Sunday that he was unable to corroborate the column’s claims:

    One gossip columnist this weekend even said there’s a, quote, “revolt brewing” here in the newsroom at CNN. So I approached this story the same way I would if I worked at my former employer at The New York Times. I called and emailed more than a dozen sources all around CNN, and I found no signs of a revolt and no organized protest about Lewandowski’s hiring. But I did find some discomfort. There are some people that are uncomfortable with the hiring, and there might be some awkward moments in the makeup room. But everyone also said they understood the hiring, understood the logic of it.

    An insurmountable issue with Stelter’s reporting method is the fact that, for a news organization of CNN’s size, an informal poll of “more than a dozen” staffers will never produce a reliable indication of the entire staff’s opinions, much less demonstrate “signs of revolt” or the lack thereof. CNN does not regularly disclose payroll numbers, but its global headcount has hovered somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 employees. Which means that Stelter spoke with no more than half of one percent of CNN’s staff—hardly better than the fifth of one percent who supposedly talked to Page Six.

    As Paul Farhi’s colleague Erik Wemple pointed out today: “Summing up the mood of a crowd [as large as CNN] is tough work, especially considering that employees at television networks these days know they’re not supposed to speak to the media without first going through their control-freak media offices.”

    Not that staff opinion would actually matter, though. During the same Reliable Sources segment, Stelter admitted to his panel of guests that, “As someone who looks for balance while watching TV, and while hosting this show, I think it makes sense to add another pro-Trump voice.” And, a little later on: “I think this is a television calculation, right? That if he didn’t go to CNN, he was going to go to another channel. To me, television-wise, producer-wise, this makes perfect sense. Journalistically, there are questions.”

    In other words: The savvy thing for reporters to believe—or say they believe—is that the on-screen presence of Lewandowski, his non-disparagement agreement with Trump notwithstanding, will make for compelling television. Because everyone feels so gross about it. It’s going to be great, really.

    By the way, if you’re a CNN staffer and want to talk about Lewandowski’s hiring, send us an email. Anonymity guaranteed.

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    George W. Bush Denies Participating in Kanye Orgy
    Screenshot: Tidal

    George W. Bush, former president of the United States of America, would like you to know that this isn’t him in a post-fuck cuddle line in that “Famous” video.

    Kanye “Matthew Barney is my Jesus” West’s on-the-nose opus was released Friday on Tidal and pirated widely. It mostly consists of VHS-like panning shots of waxy but highly recognizable likenesses of naked celebrities, related to Kanye by something insidiously retweetable he said at some point.

    George W. Bush Denies Participating in Kanye Orgy
    Image: “Famous” inspired by Vincent Desideris’s “Sleep”

    “Kanye” is next to the rubbery doppelgangers of Kim Kardashian, Ray J, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, and Bill Cosby on one side and Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour and George W. Bush on the other. And yes, it’s pretty obvious that Kanye and Kim didn’t orgy it up with a bunch of exes, Kim’s stepmother, a nearly-60-time accused rapist and a bloated bag of cement in a red weave, but George W. Bush’s representative made sure to set the record straight.

    “In case there was any doubt, that is not President Bush,” the representative told TMZ. “He is in much better shape.” Just in case there was any doubt.

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    Mike Huckabee Owes $25,000 for Using "Eye of the Tiger" at Rally Without Permission
    Image: Getty

    A little-known electric bassist and hair-metal enthusiast named Mike Huckabee will pay $25,000 to the band Survivor for using their hit “Eye of the Tiger” at an event without permission, CNN reports.

    Huckabee, who is also a former U.S. presidential candidate, played the song at a rally celebrating the Kentucky county clerk and noted bigot Kim Davis. (Remember her?) Survivor sued, claiming copyright infringement, and Huckabee agreed to the five-figure penalty in a confidential out-of-court settlement. CNN noticed the payment, made to a company owned by Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan, on the Huckabee’s latest FEC filing.

    The candidate took his chances when he played the song without first securing the rights, and he’ll have to do his time for it—or, in this case, pay his fine. But we have little doubt that Mike Huckabee will soon be rising up, back on the street.

    Just a man and his will to survive.

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    Earlier this morning, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren came together for their very first joint campaign appearance ever. But it wasn’t just the progressives in the audience that were losing their shit. As Warren embarked on her Trump-bashing stand-up bit, Hillary Clinton herself could barely conceal her glee.

    Even when what Warren’s saying isn’t really supposed to be funny, Hillary Clinton has to bite her lip to keep from beaming at Warren’s line about Trump “crushing you into the dirt to get whatever he wants.” Because as the ostensible respectable candidate, Hillary refuses to let herself engage in the sort of mudslinging that Trump is so fond of—for the most part, at least.

    But now that Liz Warren is around do the dirty work for her, Hillary seems more than happy to sit back and watch the Trump burns fly. We’re inclined to agree.

    Video by Nicholas Stango

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    “Visits to fast-casual restaurants, long the bright spot of the industry, declined last month for the first time since 2004.” Fuck. The Applebee’s indicator is flashing WARNING. Dark days are coming.

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    Surviving Brother in Brutal Church Beating Admits to Molesting Half-Sister's Children
    Photo: AP

    The murder trial of Sarah Ferguson began in Utica, New York, last week. Ferguson is accused of participating in a group counseling session at the Word of Life Church that left her 19-year-old half-brother Lucas Leonard dead and her other half-brother, Christopher, mutilated. Prosecutors said the beatings began when Tiffanie Irwin, the church pastor, allegedly accused the boys of using witchcraft, making a voodoo doll of the pastor, and sexually abusing their siblings and nieces.

    A group of parishioners beat the boys with their fists before their father, Bruce Leonard, began whipping them with a cord—at least 30 times across the back and chest, 17-year-old Christopher testified on Monday. “I was crying and screaming in pain,” he said. Leonard also testified that Ferguson, his half-sister, repeatedly asked him about abusing her children as she beat him with a cord.

    According to Syracuse Media reporter Liz Doran, Leonard testified that he did not “put his penis in his nieces or nephews,” despite admitting to having done so while being beaten. He said that he did, however, “touch the kids inappropriately.” From

    Sarah Ferguson beat him more than the others, whipping him more than 50 times, hitting his genitals, Christopher Leonard said. He testified he begged her to stop.

    The whipping felts like it lasted for hours, he testified. He said he could stand after the beating but just barely.

    During the beatings, Lucas Leonard also admitted that he “inappropriately touched” Sarah Ferguson’s children, Christopher Leonard testified.

    The boys’ parents have accepted plea offers. Nine other people affiliated with the church are charged in the beatings.

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  • 06/27/16--12:08: Lexus Review For Jalopnik
  • Lexus Review For Jalopnik
    Pictured: Hamilton Nolan, yesterday. Photos credit: Lexus

    Being offered a free Lexus GS F for the weekend felt like being offered custody of the child of a distant relative who had just died. Of course I said yes, but deep down I wished it might just get lost before it ever got to me, because I have other things to do.

    Apparently the folks at Jalopnik thought it would be “funny” for me to review a Lexus, because such a grotesque example of luxury clashes with my stated political views. I do not know what is so “funny” about implementing a program of democratic socialism that might fully fund national transportation projects and render automobiles anachronistic.

    I suspect that I was also asked because I have a bit of a reputation around the office as a driving “guru.” I do not own a car, nor have I owned a car in more than a decade, but I drive rental cars several times a year, and have accumulated only a handful of criminal driving violations in my lifetime.

    Lexus Review For Jalopnik

    Of the Lexus, I can definitively say this: it is red. The rest of it is a bit confusing. It has wheels that look like frozen spiderwebs and a grill that looks like a stretched basketball net and from the front it looks unforgivably garish. From the back it looks like some sort of Nissan. The interior is covered in what I believe to be leather, and the steering wheel, accelerator, and brake all functioned properly and without incident. One drawback of this car is that it seems to be filled with a great deal of things you do not need.

    When Jalopnik’s “Mike” Ballaban was demonstrating the car to me, he kept saying things like, “Here are your paddle shifters,” and “Here is the switch for eco-sport-mode.” If you think that I am the sort of person who is going to be fooled into paddle shifting you have another thing coming, Michael!

    The car features a dashboard that is in fact a computer, complete with lots of different menus offering options that I do not recall. If I wanted to deal with computers I would have been a computer technician rather than an auto enthusiast. There were also many buttons of different size and varying symbols arrayed all across the dash, and the armrest, and the wheel. Buttons, buttons everywhere. I do not recommend pushing any of them, as there is no way of telling what may happen if you do. One of them, for example, caused the engine to turn off. You can imagine what might happen if you pressed that one while doing 90 on the highway.

    Lexus Review For Jalopnik

    The driving experience? There certainly is one. Based upon personal experience I can say that the Lexus is “a cut above” the 1992 Dodge Aries, which is the last car that I owned. The contoured seating of the Lexus offers a level of comfort not found in the Aries, and the powerful acceleration that the Lexus provides with the merest slam of the accelerator could almost certainly defeat the Aries in a one-on-one drag race.

    The Lexus speedometer went up to 200. The fastest that I personally got it up to on the streets of Brooklyn was about 35, but I have no doubt that it was capable of double or even triple that, were you to take it out to the salt flats. If you are looking for a vehicle that offers the feeling of the wind in your face as you sit back and zoom down the road, this Lexus qualifies. I will only note in passing that a recumbent bicycle qualifies as well.

    The best form of transportation here in New York City is walking, followed by the subway. The third best form of transportation is “a car that someone else is driving for a small fee.” The idea of driving yourself around New York City in your very own car is absurd. Yet this is the hell that I was forced to suffer for an entire weekend. It was against regulations, I was told, to park this precious Lexus on the street, meaning that I was forced to stash it in a parking garage all weekend, at a cost equal to or exceeding that of the Lexus itself. Just as well, because the one thing that parking spaces on the street in Brooklyn all have in common is that they are currently occupied by other cars.

    They also often require “parallel parking,” a dangerous maneuver that I do not advise, lest you start banging against bumpers and end up getting shot. These things happen in the big city.

    Lexus Review For Jalopnik

    I decided to drive to IKEA with my girlfriend—a mistake for many reasons, but I will focus here on the “drive” portion. I was shocked to learn the extent of disregard for traffic safety laws by my fellow citizens of Brooklyn. No clear and open stretch of roadway could be found. Here is a semi truck doing an eight-point turn in the middle of the road; here is a delivery van double parked in the lane; here are crowds of pedestrians who seem to have mistaken the road for the sidewalk, ambling at devil-may-care speed just inches from your side view mirrors; here is a guy rolling his wheelchair down the middle of an on-ramp asking for change. (I gave him a dollar, due to the guilt that came with sitting in a Lexus.)

    The harrowing 20-minute ordeal of making my way to IKEA resembled a life-and-death game of “Frogger” more than a relaxing drive on a summer’s day. Though these contemptible unsafe and congested conditions cannot be directly blamed on the Lexus corporation, they can certainly be indirectly blamed on the Lexus corporation, and all other car companies that clog our urban streets with automobiles in the same way that the Burger King corporation clogs our arteries with cholesterol.

    The next time you are stuck in slow-moving traffic, I urge you to pass the time by reading over the New York City strategic transportation plan, a document full of common-sense ideas for lessening the impact of cars in our fair city. “Why can’t we pass a strong congestion pricing plan to discourage driving in our urban core?” you may wonder as you leaf through the printout, glancing up occasionally to check for obstacles in your path. “Why don’t we just tax the hell out of gasoline and pour that money into upgrading the MTA’s infrastructure?” you may ask yourself as you jerk the wheel to avoid a dead bicyclist. Nothing will make you wish for a comprehensive plan to eliminate driving in New York City more than driving in New York City. Upon my safe (thank god) return from IKEA, I sensibly stashed the car in the parking garage for the remainder of the weekend. How I yearned to be free from its metallic yoke!

    This vulgar Lexus costs more than $85,000. I am not one to tell people how to spend their money—I will leave the rants against needless luxury goods to the angry American underclass that will surely come beating down your door all too soon.

    Lexus Review For Jalopnik

    I will simply note that instead of buying this Lexus, you could invest the purchase price in conservative financial instruments and, in 35 years, have enough money to purchase an entire city bus for the MTA. What a lovely legacy that would be—the one vehicle that actually deserves to be on our city streets, plying its sensible route thanks to your kindness. Or, you could buy an ugly car that will be in a landfill by then. The choice is yours.

    I’m told the Lexus has heated seats, but I couldn’t figure out how to turn them on.

    Lexus Review For Jalopnik

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