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    Alan Grayson's Ex-Wife Accuses Congressman of Repeated Domestic Abuse Over Twenty Years
    Photo: AP

    Over the course of two decades, Politico reports, Representative Alan Grayson’s ex-wife Lolita Grayson went to police with accusations of domestic abuse at least four times—twice in Virginia and twice in Florida In one instance, according to a police report, he threatened to kill her.

    The Graysons’ tumultuous 25-year marriage ended in an annulment last year following bitter and protracted divorce proceedings, during which Representative Grayson referred to his now-ex-wife as a “gold digger” and a “bigamist.” In 2014, he accused her of battering him after he was served with a temporary protective injunction for allegedly beating her.

    In 1994, Lolita Grayson said the beatings were a “daily occurrence,” although years later she told police her husband had “hit her in the past four or five times.” From Politico:

    The first reported incident described by the documents was in 1994, the final one was in 2014. She also called Orange County sheriff’s deputies in 2005 to lodge another abuse complaint, but prosecutors filed no charges in that incident or any of the others. Only the 2014 incident has been previously reported.

    “I want the people to know my story so they know what kind of man Alan Grayson really is,” Lolita Grayson, 56, said in an email to POLITICO, her first public comments on the issue. She provided police and medical records related to 1994 and 1999 incidents in Fairfax County in Virginia, and sheriff’s reports concerning 2005 and 2014 incidents in Orange County, Florida.

    “I requested the medical records and police records so people could read what doctors and police officers wrote,” she stated. “I read many of these records for the first time. These are very painful memories and horrible experiences.”

    In November 2005, during an argument over a babysitter, Lolita Grayson claimed Rep. Grayson pushed her against a wall. According to the police report, she told him “not to hit her and called him an ‘asshole.’” As she walked away, Grayson allegedly hit her on the back of the head and said, “I’m gonna kill you bitch.”

    Grayson, an anti-corporate crusader who keeps tens of millions in off-shore accounts, was not in office for three of the four alleged incidents. In a statement issued through his lawyer, the Congressman denied his ex-wife’s allegations.

    “Lolita is a disturbed woman. She has made one false allegation after another. Her own daughter refutes her,” his lawyer, Mark NeJame, told Politico. “There never has been a witness or any proof whatsoever of her claims. The claims have been so ridiculous that not one time has there even been enough probable cause to bring a charge or an arrest against Alan Grayson.”

    Grayson is leaving the House of Representatives to run for Senate. Earlier this summer, he married the woman who is running to replace him, giving her his name.

    Update – 1:16 pm

    The Congressman is not having a great day.

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  • 07/26/16--08:06: Everything's Not Good 
  • Everything's Not Good 

    “And the sign says, you gotta have a membership card to get inside. Uh!” -Tesla

    You can’t really expect a major national political party to have fully reckoned with the fact that some time during the last few years, America went over the edge. National political parties tend to follow behind the social vanguard by years, if not decades. The Republicans certainly had no fucking clue what to do this time around, overwhelmed as they were by an anger-driven orange wave. It turns out the Democrats do not know either. This is the year to watch how things used to be done, as they are done for one last time. One time too many.

    The Democrats are supposed to be the party of the people, of the progressives, of the left, and yet the Democratic Party is roughly equivalent to a major corporation, operating with all of the ruthlessness and profit-driven mindstate that that implies. This has always been the embarrassing truth about the Democratic Party. Generally party faithful agree to keep this truth behind the curtain during campaign season, for the sake of beating the other side. But things are spilling out in 2016. Everyone knew that you can’t push inequality in America up and up and up infinitely without at some point suffering a crumbling of the social order, a backlash against the legitimacy of all authority, and a widespread sense of Fuck This Shit. All of that is happening now. Donald Trump voters are just one half of the pissed off people. The other half are here at the Democratic convention, screaming at the party they were told was supposed to be taking care of their interests for the past 30-plus years.

    On Monday morning in downtown Philly, just outside the door of the Marriott where hundreds of delegates were staying, a thin white man sitting on a low black milk crate nodded off. In slow motion, he keeled over to his left until he was at a 20 degree angle, his wrist dangling on the ground. Then he would slowly right himself, reluctantly. Between his feet sat a Starbucks cup for spare change. Nobody paid him much attention. He was there in the morning, and he was still there in the late afternoon.

    A few blocks away at City Hall, the Bernie people rallied. The white Rastas and the weed people, the commies and the Mumia-freers, the old hippies and the college backpackers, the Assata Shakur reverers and the Fuck Police Brutality t-shirt wearers, the drum carriers and the horn blowers, the tattoo people and the tittie-barers. They were all there. Thousands of them. Middle-aged white businessmen here and there would stop and argue with young women angrily waving protest signs and men with ponytails and rainbow-colored Bernie shirts about the value of casting protest votes. They were sweaty and they waved clever photogenic signs. This very typical scene was played by the media as a big gag. We, the reporters, who learn to make fun of hippies in the womb, cannot help it. Even those of us who applied a quick and dirty level of political analysis to these protesters concluded that “Bernie or Bust” was little more than the dead end slogan for sore losers. As a matter of strict political analysis, that is certainly true. But people are not just mad about the minutiae of Hillary Clinton’s policies any more than raging Trump supporters are simply upset about Marco Rubio’s tax policies. People are mad at the world. And the world will end up changing before they do.

    The Washington Post rented out an entire restaurant, the City Tap Room by Logan Square, and dressed it up into a lounge for visiting reporters, an event space with free food and drinks, and a general brand-building exercise to assert the fact that Jeff Bezos’ company was a player at the heart of the political-industrial complex. Inside, you could munch from platters of charcuterie and crudites and type your stories in cold AC as jazz played softly in the background and many men in Oxford shirts wandered around. The space was sponsored by, among others,, a public relations campaign by the American Petroleum Institute. It was a wonderful refuge from the heat. If you were a Real Political Person With Credentials who could get yourself On The List, you could exist in this world. If not, you could stay outside and sweat. I saw a brief panel on police violence and Black Lives Matter in the sparkling studio space up front.

    Just a few blocks down Market Street, the SEIU and various political supporters of the labor movement held a press conference to announce a new campaign to raise the minimum wage, branded as #RaiseItDamnIt. Eight young people were made to stand behind the podium holding “$7.25 Is Not Enough” signs as a charming human backdrop. One after another, labor leaders and politicians took their turns demanding a higher minimum wage. Chris Shelton, the gruff head of the Communication Workers of America, who just won the Verizon strike not long ago, said, “I would go way past ‘raise it damn it.’ $7.25 is bullshit. $7.25 is a joke.”

    “I don’t know how working people could ever vote for Donald Trump. He is truly an asshole,” he continued. “Working people voting for Donald Trump is like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.”

    The goal of this campaign was clearly enunciated by Mary Kay Henry, the head of the SEIU and one of the labor movement’s top political power brokers: “Fifteen dollars an hour should be the standard, the federal minimum wage,” she said. If such a thing were to become law tomorrow—not the piecemeal local and state measures that we have now, but a real live drastic federal minimum wage increase—it would certainly do a great deal to mitigate the problems that had so many people marching in the streets. Mary Kay Henry and her union endorsed Hillary Clinton at a time when Bernie Sanders endorsed a $15 an hour minimum wage and Hillary Clinton did not. I asked her why. She seemed exasperated at the question. She said that the endorsement came strictly from her members. “They believed she got it,” she said. “They came to our executive board and said ‘we need to get with this woman.’”

    I have still never heard an honest and convincing answer to the question of why the majority of the most politically powerful segment of the left chose to endorse the candidate who agreed with its goals the least. The honest answer is probably “we backed the politician we perceived to be the strongest.” If that is the answer then that is what they should say. Downstairs and a few blocks down the street, thousands of angry people who were not invited to any press conferences or to any media work spaces were sweating through their t-shirts and getting sunburned demanding the same answer, in their own way.

    To get to the arena where the actual convention is being held, you take a train from downtown Philadelphia. If you have credentials, you emerge from the train and are funneled by a barrage of police down a certain walkway. Flanking that walkway is a large temporary metal fence of the sort seen at refugee camps and militarized border crossings. And on Monday night, pressed up against that fence were thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters yelling and chanting and waving their fists as you walk by. Everyone with credentials—the press, the delegates, the various connected political operatives—walked down a spacious sidewalk, guarded by armed police and Secret Service members, and three feet to their left a horde of their fellow Democrats, held back by steel barriers and cops, hollered at them not to vote for the party’s nominee. Most of the credentialed attendees fixed their eyes straight ahead and walked by like American tourists being accosted by Indian beggars. It was a surreal experience.

    Everything's Not Good 

    People are upset. Yes, “Bernie or Bust” is an unrealistic and counterproductive position to hold. Yes, it is foolish to imagine, as some expressed, that Bernie would stage a last-ditch floor battle for delegates and somehow pull out a great populist triumph at the last second. Yes, the Democratic nominee is far preferable to the Republican one and will do far more to advance (at least a little) towards these progressives’ ideals.

    But people are upset. People are fucking enraged. All is not well. People are not just mad at Hillary Clinton, or at the current crop of Republican losers. People are mad that they have gone fifty fucking years without a raise. People are mad that it’s been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act and we have the same segregated slums and the same people getting shot by police. People are mad that life in America is unfair, not due to an act of god but due to many small acts of the two political parties that are celebrating themselves this month. This is a hole that has been dug over years, over decades, over generations. The people at the bottom of the hole can’t see the sun any more. They will not be satisfied with a small stool to stand on. They want to live on solid ground. That’s not an option that our major political parties take seriously. Hence our current mood.

    The Democrats are the smart vote. But the Democrats are also the cynical vote. They are the ones who promise to be better than they actually are. Michelle Obama’s speech last night, powerful and bracing and unifying, offered a taste of the extraordinary oratorical strength that has helped to hold this nation together, barely, over the past eight years. That oratorical strength is leaving in January of next year. After that, it will take something stronger to sustain us.

    The Democratic convention is a sterling affair if you have that credential. If you don’t, you will be herded behind steel gates to stare at those who do. You will be mocked by reporters who sit in an air-conditioned fully comped lounge as you sweat outside. You will be simultaneously asked for your support and threatened with a materially worse life if you withhold it. The dynamic is the same in the Republican Party, but the repugnance of many of the positions its outsiders hold make it harder to sympathize with them.

    Everything is not good. The Democrats can enjoy this convention behind the security barriers and closed doors. When they emerge, an angry country will be there waiting for them.

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    Angry Bernie Bros Aren't Going to Usher In The Donald Trump Regime
    Photo: Andy Cush

    PHILADELPHIA—It was hot yesterday, and across the street from the Wells Fargo Center, where hundreds of Bernie Sanders supporters had congregated to protest the Democratic National Convention happening inside, one could hear occasional horns and chanted slogans: “Bernie beats Trump,” “Bigots go home,” “Hell no, DNC/We won’t vote for Hillary.” One demonstrator’s sign depicted “Hillary Klingon, the neocon war candidate,” complete with photoshopped forehead ridges, and another had the phrase “BETRAYED US” scrawled under Sanders’s name, in reference to a speech he’d given in support of Clinton earlier in the day. We were not, in other words, in Clintonland.…

    Amid humidity and discontent, I spoke with Pam Alexander, an expat-slash-retiree who’d returned from her new home in Mexico to her old home in Pennsylvania, to protest what she called a corrupt political system. Would she, a diehard Bernie woman, sit out the upcoming general election? “I’ll probably do what I have to do,” she said. “If the only choices are Hillary or Trump, I’ll vote for her—kicking and screaming.”

    Dissent is in the air at the DNC. Just one full day into the convention, the crowds of protesters have dwarfed their counterparts in Cleveland, the large majority of which are Sanders supporters there to attack the DNC from the left. Formerly private Democratic National Committee emails released by Wikileaks on Friday showed a party that unashamedly threw its weight behind the mainstream candidate and denigrated the socialist upstart. When Bernie himself said “We must elect Hillary” to a room full of supporters Monday morning, he was met with a chorus of boos. The biggest bogeyman in the room among Clinton supporters is that if these Bernie supporters and other leftists let their yearning for socialism obscure the pragmatic truth, that if they fail to fall in line with Hillary, they might inadvertently—or even intentionally—bring about a Trump presidency. The post-RNC bump in support for Trump exacerbated this fear.

    This isn’t going to happen. Bernie supporters seem more likely to fall in line than not; a Pew poll, taken in June, shows that 90 percent of those voters who consistently backed Sanders—his most steadfast supporters—plan to go for Clinton in November. There’s no denying that Bernie fans are out in full force at the convention, but they represent a tiny, passionate fraction of the entire electorate. News outlets—including, yes, Gawker—will train their attention on the Sanders camp all week, but the cameras are likely to show the same small group of true believers over and over, requiring anecdotes to stand in for larger political truths.

    And even among the Bernie or Bust crowd, I met plenty of people who talked about compromise, however reluctantly. A shirtless guy in aviators and a green bandana who’d traveled across the country from Washington told me that his politics are far to the left of Sanders’s. When I asked for his name, he told me to call him Kropotkin, referencing the Russian anarcho-communist thinker. Surely, a revolutionary like him would unequivocally swear off the Democratic candidate? Maybe he was an accelerationist, who would welcome Trump and the chaos he’d bring with open arms, in hopes of ushering in a workers’ revolution? But no. Kropotkin’s answer to the Hillary question sounded a lot like Alexander’s. “I’ll probably vote for Jill Stein if I vote at all,” he told me. “I live in a very liberal state—it will almost definitely go for Hillary. But if I lived in a swing state, I’d hold my nose and vote for her, because I don’t want to see a fascist come to power.”

    I found a guy in a stars-and-stripes tank top, proudly displaying a sign that read “CAPITALISM STOLE MY GIRLFRIEND,” and thought he might be the mythical Bernie Bro archetype. He was a longtime Sanders supporter from Brooklyn named Steve Panovich, and he gave me a detailed spiel about how he used to work as an art handler—“literally catering to the whims of billionaires”—but his employer wasn’t so keen on his class consciousness—“I had to stop working, I wasn’t called back because I was so resentful”—and how his joblessness and the depression that ensued drove a wedge between him and his girlfriend—“She’s a member of the professional class...she broke up with me at the RNC.” Panovich disagrees with Hillary’s politics, but he had no personal venom for her. “I’m not a Jill Stein person. The collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign makes me wonder whether I should vote for her,” he said. “But I think the most important thing is to support the candidate who’s less likely to go to war, and I think that’s Hillary. So maybe I will vote for her.”

    I asked Panovich whether he thought that his relationship would have fared better in an alternate universe where Bernie won the nomination. “I think the chances of us getting back together are about the same as the chances of Bernie winning,” he said with a laugh, and walked away.

    Of course, I met plenty of firmly anti-Hillary people, too. There were Dixie Stephens and Donna Croney, two Tennesseans who’d driven 13 hours to be at the convention, holding “NEVER HILLARY” signs. “And never Hillary means never Hillary,” Stephens told me. “I’ll take four years of his buffoonery over eight years of her warmongering any day.” There was the guy from upstate New York who carried a full-sized cardboard cutout of Bernie and told me that there’s no appreciable difference between Hillary and Trump, and his companion, who told me Trump’s proposals for mass deportations and the banning of all Muslims from entering the U.S. were “just for effect, like a reality show.” There was the Trump supporter in a Make America Great Again hat, who attended because he believed he could attract Bernie fans via a mutual hatred of Hillary and the political status quo. One Sanders supporter gave him a high five.

    The false equivalences these people draw between Clinton’s corporate liberalism and Trump’s platform of racial hatred are scary. Even if the accelerationists are right, and a Trump presidency were to bring about a glorious workers’ utopia, it would mean suffering through four or eight years of surveillance of Muslims and destruction of immigrant families to get there. They are right that the system is in dire need of change, that Clinton is not a perfect candidate, that America should have a leader who cares about working people. The Sanders phenomenon has brought about a Democratic party platform that includes $15-per-hour minimum wage, the abolishment of the death penalty, and a path toward pot legalization—among many other great ideas that probably wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for his candidacy. The way to make more of these changes is to continue voting for the candidates you support and protesting in the street when they don’t live up to your ideals; not to close your eyes, let Trump take the wheel, and hope for the best.

    Fortunately, according to the numbers, nearly every single Sanders supporter plans to do the former, not the latter.

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    Celebrities Love the DNC, and the DNC Loves Them Right Back
    Photo: AP

    PHILADELPHIA — On the second night of the Republican National Convention, actor Scott Baio took the stage. These days, the once-ubiquitous Baio may enjoy some relative anonymity, but he was still the highest-wattage star the RNC could cajole on-air, and even that was a depressing accident—Baio later told reporters he was offhandedly invited after bumping into Donald Trump at an event. The DNC, which rolled into Philly on Monday with more celebrities than it knows what do to with, does not have this problem.

    On its first night, the DNC’s political lineup was generously peppered with Hollywood stars—for whatever reason, Demi Lovato opened the night with a speech and a song; Sarah Silverman took the stage with politician-celebrity hybrid Al Franken, where she went off-script to scold Bernie supporters; Eva Longoria gave a brief address; and in the audience, Susan Sarandon scowled, Rosie Perez danced, and Rosario Dawson darted around the floor. Backstage, actress Chloe Grace Moretz sat in discussion with Franken, a strange meeting nevertheless promoted on Hillary Clinton’s official Snapchat account.

    The second night of speakers, released this morning by the DNC, features a similar schedule of liberal celebrities happy to talk about Hillary, about Trump, and of course, about themselves. According to the lineup, the night, hosted by Elizabeth Banks, will include speeches from Tony Goldwyn, America Fererra, and Lena Dunham, who is taking a party bus to Philadelphia and sharing her experience and “fashuns” on social media. Meryl Streep—who was given the distinct honor of Bill Clinton as an opener—will close the night, followed by a performance from Alicia Keys.

    In between, there are speeches of substance. On Monday, Cheryl Lankford, an Iraq war veteran who was bilked by Trump University, delivered a strong rebuke to Trump; Michelle Obama gave an impassioned speech—the best of the night, and likely the week; and Bernie Sanders implored his many unwilling supporters to stand with Hillary. Tonight, a group of black women—Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of Sandra Bland), Lucy McBath (mother of Jordan Davis), Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Cleopatra Pendelton (mother of Hadiya Pendleton), Maria Hamilton (mother of Dontre Hamilton), Lezley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown), and Wanda Johnson (mother of Oscar Grant)—will take a national stage to talk about police brutality and racism. The platform may be covered in body glitter and discarded copies of Girls Season Two, but there’s a lot of space.

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    Day 2 of the DNC: A Reminder That Hillary is a Woman
    Image via Getty.

    Welcome to ConBag, a daily roundup of gossip from the Democratic National Convention, which we are attending for four very long days.

    PHILADELPHIA—Although the DNC has thus far been dominated by the frantic growls of furious Bernie Bros, on Tuesday morning, Ellie Shechet and I found our way to a quieter event. An almost completely quiet event, actually—a women’s press briefing from the Clinton campaign at which we were two of five attendees (a few more reporters eventually trickled in).

    While we were waiting for the campaign reps to arrive, a woman entered our convention center conference room and asked, “Are you here to brief or are you here to be briefed?” We said the latter. She said, “I seeeeeeeeeeee. Okayyyyyyyyyy,” and slunk out.

    In the conference, I brought up Michelle Obama’s line last night “Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.” Would the campaign try to remind the public that Clinton was, in fact, the first woman Democratic nominee?

    “It’s hard because it does reflect progress that young women take it for granted that she’s a woman. That shows that attitudes have changed a lot, so I guess that’s something to be celebrated,” said Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri. “But we do think that, not just for women, to understand how fragile the framework of our country and what we assume the rights that we have are... I think when people realize that women didn’t have the right to vote less than 100 years ago...that’s remarkable when you look at it in that context.”

    “But I also think it should remind people that our country is only as amazing as it is because we all agree to live by a certain set of principles and Trump is a real threat to that. I’m not saying that he’s going to take away women’s right to vote... but that should show you that there’s so much at stake,” she continued. “Just because we all accept the principle of equality, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to fight to keep it alive and also to continue to pursue what that principle should mean in people’s actual live. We’ll do some measure of that, to remind people of that, but you also have to accept that that’s progress.”

    The Wells Fargo Arena is a mess. Only people with credentials are allowed to take the subway all the way there (others are forced to get off at an earlier stop), and then must walk through what feels like a 200 degree cage being banged on by hundreds of shouting protesters for ten minutes, go through a blessedly air conditioned tent full of metal detectors, and then walk for a while more.

    And once you get there, it isn’t much better.

    • A man on the street offered Ellie sunscreen, which she accepted.
    • Republicans are pissed at the lack of visible American flags. [Daily Caller]
    • CNN called Demi Lovato a “Twitter personality.” [Shady Music Facts]
    • Panera is a very hot spot to see and be seen. [Me, to you, now]
    • Shailene Woodley drove across the country to get here. [Vulture]
    • The Philadelphia subway system still runs on tokens, FYI.
    • Bernie Sanders supporters are feeling highly emotional. [Twitter]

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    The Philadelphia Pokémon Situation Is Hell
    Background image: Getty

    PHILADELPHIA — Thus far, the Democratic National Convention has been many things: scorching, plagued by scandal, a logistical nightmare. But now, after just over 24 hours in Philly, I can add one more thing to this ever-growing list: An willful affront to Pokémon Go players everywhere.

    The Republican National Convention was an oasis of diverse, vibrant Pokémon fauna. Thanks to a mere week in Cleveland, my Pokédex runneth over. Just look at the many new friends I was able to enslave during the course of my RNC reporting.

    The Philadelphia Pokémon Situation Is Hell

    Growlithe! Seel! Medieval exotic dancer! These are just a few of the new additions that never seemed to end.

    Even in the RNC arena itself, as Giuliani screamed his way through an aneurysm, Cleveland offered a friendly face amidst the madness:

    The Philadelphia Pokémon Situation Is Hell

    Surely, I thought, Philly—the city of heart attacks and unchecked rage—will be equally generous. The Democrats are the party of diversity, after all.

    Instead, this miserable inferno of a town has taunted me with this:

    The Philadelphia Pokémon Situation Is Hell

    And this:

    The Philadelphia Pokémon Situation Is Hell

    And worst of all, this:

    The Philadelphia Pokémon Situation Is Hell

    Bernie Sanders would have never let this happen.

    I’m voting for Trump.

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    You may remember the Freedom Girls. Or maybe you don’t. A lot has happened this election season and most of it would be better off permanently forgotten. The Freedom Girls were a trio of young women who performed a lobotomized pro-Donald Trump pop song at a rally of his in Pensacola, Florida back in January. You may think the story of three children forced to sing their allegiance to Donald Trump in front of a crowd of thousands, as well as millions of others on YouTube, has a happy ending. I am here to inform you that it does not.…

    In an article posted this morning, Jeff Popick, the man who wrote the song and the father of the youngest Freedom Girl, informed the Washington Post that he plans to sue Trump over promises Popick says were made and then broken by the campaign. The Post summarizes them thusly:

    It started in Pensacola. When Popick first reached out to the Trump campaign about performing, he spoke with various people including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. His understanding from the campaign was that the Kids would make two appearances in Florida, where Popick lives. The first event didn’t come to fruition, and Popick says he asked for $2,500 in payment for the second performance, in Pensacola. The campaign made a counter-offer: How about a table where the group could pre-sell albums? Popick took the deal.

    When they arrived at the venue, though, there was no table, Popick says. The result was “complete chaos,” he said. “They clearly had made no provisions for that.”

    Further, Popick alleges that he and his girls were beckoned to Iowa by the Trump campaign for his counter-debate rally with a promise to perform. Instead, they were only allowed to attend the rally. The Post states that on July 9th, Popick demanded that the campaign give Freedom Girls a performance slot at the Republican Convention. Obviously, this did not happen, and with good reason.

    “This is not a billion-dollar lawsuit,” Popick told the Post. “I’m doing this because I think they have to do the right thing. And if this means having to go through the court system to enforce them doing the right thing, then that’s what I have to do.”

    Frankly, Popick is a sucker who learned not to trust Donald Trump. He won’t be the last. Now hopefully he will allow these girls to do things normal kids do, such as not perform choreographed dance routines celebrating fascism.

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    My Bold Plan to Revolutionize Political Conventions

    PHILADELPHIA — America’s political conventions should last for two days each at the very most. And they should happen in the fall.

    As I mentioned yesterday, it is hot here, and all the journalists are tired and miserable. I generally like—or at least do not actively dislike—both liberal politics and the city of Philadelphia, and yet, this week, I hate both of those things. It doesn’t have to be this way. I believe in a better future for our children (bloggers): short conventions held at a reasonable time of year, when it is nice out.…

    There’s no reason for conventions to still take four days. These things are only four days long because they have been fours days long for many years. They have remained four days long, decades after the era of the contested convention, mostly because the parties enjoy getting lots of free television airtime.

    But the networks barely cover these things live anymore. Even cable news interrupts half of the prime-time remarks with panel discussions featuring the same pundits who would be talking about politics on cable news even if there weren’t a convention happening. The parties may think they are better off with longer conventions than shorter ones, but I think they are wrong, and also I don’t care what they want anyway. Did I mention how hot it is?

    Two days is more than enough time to adopt a party platform and officially nominate a candidate. Two nights is enough time for four major addresses: The nominee, the running mate, and then two other people who will probably be current or former presidents, or perhaps the nominee’s spouse or other close family member. All the state representatives and mayors and small-state governors who want to talk can talk during the days. We could stretch it to three prime-time speeches a night if the parties want to highlight a couple unknown rising stars, but that’s it. That’s all anyone needs. What would we be missing exactly? Eric Trump and Demi Lovato?

    My proposal would also save journalism, or at least cut down on travel expenses.

    I’m concerned I haven’t emphasized enough how hot it is, and how miserable I am. Conventions shouldn’t happen at the absolute peak of summer. I’ll be honest, this part of the proposal is mostly about how I really hate walking around in 100-degree weather, but there is also a public good argument to be made for moving them. Holding them in April or May would get these damn things over with and let the general election get underway, but if we’re dreaming big here I’d rather they be held in late September—or even October!—as part of a move to radically shorten the entire campaign cycle. Under my proposal, any state that holds a primary or caucus—actually, fuck it, if we’re doing this I’m also banning caucuses—before June should be penalized by having all their delegates sent to Philadelphia in late July. What I’m trying to tell you is that it’s very hot.

    Unlike my bold plan to make these things two days long, which no one could possibly object to unless they are Andrew Cuomo and they were excited to give a big speech this week, this proposal might engender some good-faith opposition. As horrible as our two-year-long election cycle is, the length of it does have a few advantages, like giving insurgent candidates time to develop serious challenges to bigger, better-funded names. That is how we got Obama instead of Clinton!

    But also most of the time that doesn’t actually work, as John Edwards, Bill Bradley, and Howard Dean could tell you. Also all three of those guys basically sucked anyway, and in the case of Edwards not even the lengthy 2004 campaign cycle was enough time for the full magnitude of his sucking to be reported out.

    Finally, should the conventions really be held in different cities every time? I have previously argued that the Olympics and the Super Bowl and the World Cup should all be held in the same place every time, in venues designed solely to host those events, in regions where they will not disrupt normal city life and force massive public spending on boondoggle facilities. Political conventions, with their massive security and the effective week-long suspension of various civil rights within and near the huge security perimeters, are sort of similar. But they generally don’t require the construction of any new infrastructure, if they were only two days long it would be much easier on the host cities, so I’m inclined to let the parties continue moving them around. But within reason: They should be held in places where two days of convention proceedings would not hugely negatively impact the lives of actual residents of the city, and also they should be held in cities with places to eat a decent inexpensive lunch near the arena that isn’t a fucking Aramark vendor in a tent selling $4.50 bottles of water when it’s 104 fucking degrees out.

    This is my platform. Please vote your conscience.

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    Larry Sanders is a Green Party politician in the UK, and a delegate with the Democrats Abroad delegation here at the DNC in Philadelphia. He’s also Bernie Sanders’s older brother. A few minutes ago, during the roll call of states, the delegation allowed him to personally deliver his vote to his little brother, which he did, after brief, emotional remarks about their parents, and how immensely proud they’d be. It was a nice moment.

    Correction: This piece originally erroneously stated that Larry Sanders was the younger brother of Bernie, not the older. I apologize for the error.

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    It's Official, Hillary Clinton Is the First Woman to Become a Major Party Presidental Candidate 
    Image via AP.

    The mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, began the roll call at the Democratic National Convention earlier today by saying, “Are we ready to make history?” Rawlings-Blake was referring to the official nomination of Hillary Clinton, the first woman to become the presidential candidate of a major party.

    Clinton’s name was put into nomination by Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, itself a significant moment. Mikulski was the first woman elected to the Senate in her own right (meaning that she didn’t follow a husband or father) and the moment certainly emphasized the very recent history of women in national politics. The theme of history making continued throughout the roll call: during Minnesota’s roll call, Senator Amy Klobuchar referenced Geraldine Ferraro has she cast 42 of the state’s votes for Clinton and Montana’s delegates reminded the convention about Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to hold federal office. That point was hammered home when 102-year-old Arizona delegate Jerry Emmett cast the state’s votes for Clinton.

    An Oklahoma delegate, who said she was born in 1929 said, “I never thought I’d live to see this day,” as she cast the state’s votes for Clinton. Reporters tweeted photographs of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer watching with their daughters and granddaughters.

    The DNC opened to controversy: chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was fired after emails leaks revealed that she had unduly exercised her influence. And though Bernie Sanders (who cried when his brother cast five votes for Sanders from Democrats abroad), heartily endorsed Clinton, many supporters booed and vowed not to support Clinton. Though Clinton’s road to the nomination has, at times, been a rocky one, this is no doubt a historic moment.

    And for those who have argued that the symbolism of a woman nomination was empty symbolism, I would argue that is simply not true. Clinton is by no means a perfect candidate—the perfect candidate simply doesn’t exist—but her nomination is an intervention into a centuries-old narrative about who gets to be a leader and what leadership looks like. Whether or not you’re with her or kinda with her, Clinton’s nomination was a historic moment. Let’s hope that there are more interventions in the narrative and more historic moments in the future.

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    On Tuesday, Mothers of the Movement, a group formed by women whose unarmed black children were killed by police or gun violence, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to urge for police and gun reform and support Hillary Clinton as the candidate most prepared to enact that change.

    “I did not want this spotlight,” said Sybrina Fulton, mother of the late Trayvon Martin. “But I will do everything I can to focus some of this light on the pain of a path out of darkness.”

    “This isn’t about being politically correct,” added Fulton. “This is about saving our children. That’s why we’re here, tonight, with Hillary Clinton. And that’s why, in memory of our children, we are imploring you—all of you—to vote this election day.”

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    Liveblogging Bill Clinton's Inevitable DNC Fuckup

    PHILADELPHIA — As the prophets foretold, a generation born under the first Clinton presidency would grow to know many misfortunes: A recession, lots of Dick Cheney airtime during its formative years, and “Gilmore Girls.” This generation, the fates dictated, would rise up in pained chorus against that misfortune to be super whiny about the idea of a second Clinton presidency. When it finally came time for a woman in office, those prophets sang from the heavens that, the women of this Cursed Generation would claim they “do not even see gender.”

    Liveblog, poets! Of Bill Clinton, who speaks tonight at the DNC, and who bound us to our fate back in 1992. Liveblog! Of the pain our nation has endured since then! Liveblog your song so that the curse of a generation may be lifted!


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    So, How Long Is Bill Clinton Gonna Go Over Tonight?
    Photo: AP

    Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, although “scheduled” might be a bit misleading, given that the former President has never met a time limit he couldn’t double.

    At the 1988 convention, Clinton blew past an allotted 15 minutes to speak for 33 (largely panned) minutes. In 2012, he went even longer, clocking in at 49 minutes to a far warmer reception. But speaking tonight just hours after his wife’s formal nomination, there’s no telling how far Bill might go.…

    30 minutes? An hour? A couple days? The sky (and the possible heat death of the universe) is the limit.

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    The Bernie DNC Walkout Was a Masterful Bit of Media Manipulation
    Photo: Andy Cush

    As I sat down in the media tent across from the Wells Fargo Center to write this post, there were 40 or so Bernie Sanders delegates and other supporters in here with me, milling around and talking to the press, and a couple hundred more just outside. They had just staged a walkout from the Democratic National Convention, when Hillary Clinton was formally named the party’s nominee, and made their way here to demonstrate. But if you’ve been following the news from the DNC, you probably don’t need me to tell you that.

    You don’t need me to tell you because you’ve likely already heard about the demonstration on Twitter, seen it on TV, and read about it on websites like Gawker. Bernie supporters are a media-savvy bunch, and the walkout was one of their savvier performances at this convention. It’s hard to overstate how many reporters are here in Philly, and how hungry for a good story each of those reporters is. That’s why you’ve seen so much coverage of the Sanders camp’s dissension so far: It’s the only available bit of drama at an event whose primary outcome was predetermined nearly two months ago.

    Immediately after Sanders took the mic this evening, calling for an early end to the roll call vote of delegates and accelerating the formal nomination process for Hillary—the very same symbolic courtesy that Hillary herself extended to Barack Obama in 2008, it should be noted—Sanders delegates began marching out of the arena, chanting “Walk out!” I was eating a sandwich at the time, and I threw it away so I could follow them. It was a good story.

    Some of the marchers entered the the media tent, a large enclosed space that the convention staff sets up as a temporary office for journalists, whereupon dozens of reporters literally ran over to talk to them, as camera operators began standing on chairs to get anything close to a good angle on the smallish scrum. The rest of the marchers planted themselves in front of tent. They chanted for a while, until an organizer asked them to stop, and then they just sort of stood there as cops and reporters gathered around them. TV newsmen watched them with their cameras; new media types strode around with iPhones, broadcasting the scene live to Facebook. What better way to attract the attention of the media than by putting yourself right at the media’s doorstep?

    (Inside the tent, for what it’s worth, I didn’t have much luck with demonstrators. A gentleman with a rainbow scarf tied around his mouth silently pointed to a message on his iPhone when I asked him if he wanted to talk—“RURAL GAY VOICES ARE SILENCED BY THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT/BY THE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT”—and another man politely declined to be interviewed when I told him I worked for Gawker.)

    The demonstration, I’m sure, had the same amplifying and distorting effect that coverage of the anti-Hillary “Bernie or Bust” movement has had, frightening observers into believing that Democratic voters are flocking away from Clinton en masse, ushering in a Donald Trump presidency. Hearing an apparently untrue rumor that some delegates had been arrested inside the arena during the demonstration, I poked my head inside and found business as usual, with Hillary supporters chatting and eating hot dogs in the concourse. The protesters’ qualms—with the Democratic party, and the state of the nation as a whole—should not be delegitimized, though the suspension of a largely meaningless procedural vote was a strange occasion for such a dramatic protest. But as you follow the news from back home, remember that this was a relatively small slice of the Democratic delegation, which itself is an exceedingly small slice of the nationwide Democratic electorate, making its voice heard very, very loudly.

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    Howard Dean Is a Fucking Tease

    On Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, Howard Dean brought us to the brink before cruelly denying us the greatest pleasure of all: His beautiful scream.

    Dean—tan, healthy and apparently dressed for a funeral—said a bunch of words and then he recreated his famous pledge to take the fight to “COLORADO and IOWA and NORTH CAROLINA and MICHIGAN and FlORIDA and PENNSYLVANIA” but when it came time to scream “YEEAHEHHAHAHHHOOOW,” he... didn’t.

    Here’s how things should have gone:

    Now that’s more like it.

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    Bill O'Reilly: Actually, the Slaves Who Built the White House Had It Pretty Good
    Photo: AP

    On Tuesday, conservative commentators sprang into actually to “fact check” Michelle Obama’s remark about the White House being built with slave labor, successfully missing the point of her story to note that, hey, lots of non-slaves worked on it too. Bill O’Reilly went one further, however, weirdly stating that the slaves that did work on the White House were “well-fed” with “decent lodgings.”…

    “Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802,” said O’Reilly on his show Tuesday evening, according to Media Matters. “However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well.”

    “I just can’t get rid of that history teacher thing,” he added. “You know what I’m talking about?”

    I don’t think I do?

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    Clinton Confidant Verbalizes Sanders Supporters' Worst Nightmares
    Terry McAuliffe: AP

    The first speaker of the Democratic Convention on Tuesday night was Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who was once described by the Washington Post as “close as family” to the Clintons. His buddies did him a nice favor getting him a slot on the main stage tonight, though I can’t imagine this is how they imagine being thanked.

    In an interview with Politico after he got off stage, McAuliffe insinuated that Hillary Clinton would reverse her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the international trade deal that was a major policy point in both the Democratic and Republican primary processes. Said McAuliffe to Politico:

    “I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules — but Hillary understands this,” he said in an interview after his speech on the main stage at the Democratic National Convention. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy.”

    Pressed on whether Clinton would turn around and support the trade deal she opposed during the heat of the primary fight against Bernie Sanders, McAuliffe said: “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”

    That Clinton would support a controversial policy during an election season only to blithely reverse herself after winning is a scandalous assertion, and it’s the great fear of hardcore Bernie Sanders supporters who see Clinton as an untrustworthy stooge, made real. McAuliffe’s characterization of Clinton—that she is, at the end of the day, a politician—is the engine driving the pushback against her, both on the left and among Donald Trump voters. Trump has been mischievously courting Bernie folks on this very subject via his Twitter feed.

    After catching wind of the quotes, McAuliffe’s spokesperson tried to spin his bosses’ comments with... little success:

    Later, McAuliffe’s spokesman sought to clarify the governor’s remarks after this story published, saying he was simply expressing what he wants Clinton to do if she is elected president. “While Governor McAuliffe is a supporter of the TPP, he has no expectation Secretary Clinton would change her position on the legislation and she has never told him anything to that effect,” spokesman Brian Coy said.

    Brian Coy had a really bad night.

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    Anthony Weiner Vows to Come Out of Retirement if Trump Spawn Runs for NYC Mayor
    Image via Getty.

    In an event that seems like it should be a comedy sketch but isn’t, former New York congressman Anthony Weiner threatened to come out of retirement on Tuesday in the case that Donald Trump, Jr. decides to make a bid for New York City’s mayoral office in 2017.

    “I’d come out of a retirement just to beat him like a rented mule,” Weiner, a person who has obviously been getting some #protips from our extensive list of epithets for the current GOP nominee, told local news affiliate FOX5NY at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

    The statement came two days after the younger Trump mused over the possibility of running for office during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, citing the success of his father/lopsided sperm generator’s success has had in this year’s general election.

    In a segment on Sunday, Trump, Jr. told host Jake Tapper that he is currently not ruling out a chance to run for office, but did not confirm any concrete plans to do proactively do so.

    “As my father says, ‘We always like to keep our options open,’” he stated on air. “So if I can do that as a service to our country, I’d love to do it.

    Of course, the entire affair wouldn’t be a true spectacle of Trumpian fisticuffs without a tweet, which Donald Junior doled out accordingly after Weiner’s proclamation.

    The same goes for commentary from Trump Senior, a very Large Dad.

    “Donald Trump Jr. has no intention of running for mayor of New York,” the Republican party’s newly-coronated candidate told the same local Fox affiliate.

    Keeping in line with his brand, Trump—the only known wannabe-oligarch who is also a spoiled bottle of tan enhancer—took credit for predicting Weiner’s political demise, which began after the congressman accidentally tweeted a dick pic meant for his then-secret mistress in 2001.

    “I was the one who predicted Anthony Weiner would flame out and not be able to run for mayor,” he said to the press. “People were amazed at how insightful I was.”

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    The second night of the Democratic National Convention ended with a bang, not a whimper, thanks to newly-inducted Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

    Hours after clinching the nomination for her party’s presidential candidacy—making her the first woman to be named as the Democrat leader in a presidential election—Clinton made a surprise satellite appearance at the DNC in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

    So yeah, this happened:

    “What an incredible honor that you have given me,” Clinton told the audience at the Wells Fargo Arena after shattering a presidential lineage that, until now, was not generally accessible to women. “And I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”

    “This is really your victory, this is really your night,” she added.

    What a time to be alive.

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