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    VP BOMBSHELL: Tim Kaine Allegedly Carries Multiple Harmonicas
    Photo: AP

    While most were discussing whether America was (as President Obama asserted) sick as hell or (as Donald Trump countered) a total shithole, Gawker obtained some truly disturbing information Wednesday night: Senator Tim Kaine, a man who aspires to be one heartbeat away from the presidency, allegedly carries not one, or even two, but four harmonicas on his person.

    Atlantic writer Molly Ball, who first reported the shocking secret, attributed the claim to a former Kaine staffer. Coming from an ex-employee who may have a score to settle, Gawker was initially skeptical of the information, but shortly after midnight we uncovered this alarming footage:

    On social media, harmonica experts argued that such behavior was not usual for an experienced player. Which may be true, but can America afford to elect a man who might bust out the ol’ mouth organ during a key meeting with foreign dignitaries? Can we?

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    Democratic VP Nominee Tim Kaine Proves to Be the DNC's Increasingly Charming Dad
    Image via Getty.

    Do you think you know Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who formally accepted his party’s nomination as vice president on Wednesday night at the 2016 Democratic National Convention? I’m sorry, no—you have no idea.

    Despite the fact that Kaine is now the first VP nominee in U.S. history to run alongside Hillary Clinton—a presidential candidate who just happens to be a woman—here, indeed, is the most Kaine-related item from night three of the DNC:

    This imperative slice of information came shortly before Kaine officially accepted the nomination to run as vice president on his party’s ticket. If you don’t know which piece of newsworthy fodder is greater—well, then I have no hope for this country.

    News of Kaine’s proclivity for America’s arguably most melodic metal instrument came shortly before Kaine gave his first remarks at the DNC, in which he thanked his running mate for choosing him as her second-in-command.

    “For my friend Hillary Clinton, I humbly accept my party’s nomination to be vice president of the United States,” he said.

    Kaine then turned towards the crowd.“Can I be honest with you about something? I never expected to be here,” he added, addressing attendees in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

    The Minnesota-born Kaine then continued, ruminating upon his upbringing in Kansas, as well as the work ethic his parents instilled in him at a young age.

    After invoking appearances made at the Democratic convention from a number of advocacy-oriented guests—including Mothers of the Movement, a Black Lives Matter-centric group made up of the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and other black victims of violence—Kaine turned his attention towards GOP nominee Donald Trump.

    “You know who I don’t trust? Donald Trump,” said Kaine, referring to the slab of parboiled walrus flesh that happens to be his opponent. “The guy promises a lot. But you might have noticed, he has a habit of saying the same two words right after he makes his biggest promises...‘believe me.’”

    The well-received speech, which CNN described as “the most consequential of his career,” also included a number of reportedly successful dad jokes. As Slate noted:

    During Kaine’s corny but sincere delivery, with all those folksy “Can I be honest with you?” segues and that so-bad-it’s-good Trump impression, many on Twitter noted Kaine’s similarities to a well-meaning father, uncle, or high-school teacher. Within an hour, Kaine was transformed from a relative unknown to a legendary father figure on the level of Friday Night Light’s Coach Taylor.

    In true form, the denizens of the Internet duly responded to Kaine’s address.

    Unfortunately, no harmonicas were unsheathed after this crucial rhetorical moment. As of now, there is also no information as whether these harmonicas are all in the key of C, or if Kaine carries harmonicas in multiple key variations.

    In related news, other sources have confirmed that the Virginian was once objectively, aesthetically pleasing in his youth—a young Liev Schreiber, if you will.

    Update, 1:14 a.m. 7/28/16: At publication, there is no confirmation as to whether Tim Kaine or David Rothkopf is the the DNC’s most winsomely charming father, but anonymous tips have hinted that bets will most likely hedge on the latter.

    Update, 1:42 a.m. 7/28/16: This post originally stated that Tim Kaine was brought up in Minnesota; Kaine was born in Minnesota and raised in Kansas.

    Update, 2:32 a.m. 7/28/16: PROOF, courtesy of Gawker’s Hudson Hongo.

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  • 07/28/16--04:15: 102 Days and a Wake Up
  • 102 Days and a Wake Up
    President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embrace at the DNC. Photo: AP

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    Clinton Allies Put Out Literal Bounty for Donald Trump's Tax Returns
    Photo: AP

    To the frustration of Democrats and Republicans alike, Donald Trump’s most consistent position—perhaps his only consistent position, actually—throughout this ludicrous campaign season has been his refusal to release his tax returns. Now, at least two wealthy Hillary Clinton allies have put out a bounty for them.…

    The reason given is that he is under audit, and that he cannot release his returns until the audit is complete. According to no less an authority than the IRS, this is a fake, made-up reason: The Republican nominee is free to make his returns public regardless of whether they are under audit. (As it turns out, the IRS has been auditing Trump for no less than 12 years, which is very unusual.)

    In any case, the returns exist—his taxes are done by a mid-sized, Manhattan-based firm called WeiserMazars—and his reluctance to make them public implies that their contents are at best simply embarrassing and at worst outright damning. It is hardly a surprise then, that Moishe Mana, a top fundraiser for Clinton, has offered a $1 million gift to the charity of Trump’s choice if he releases them.

    “Through his financial documents, we are trying to break into the image that he’s portraying to the American people,” Mana, a Miami real estate developer, told the Associated Press. “He says he’s a successful businessman who wants to do for the country what he did for his company. Well, go ahead, show me the money.”

    On a phone call will reporters earlier this month, Clinton ally David Brock said that he had documentation proving a “lifelong Republican” had put $5 million into a bank account, to be given to a veteran’s charity of Trump’s choosing if he released his returns.

    Speculation abounds that Trump’s reluctance is motivated by the fact that releasing his returns would reveal his ties to countries like Russia. Asked at a press conference in Doral, Florida, on Wednesday when he would release his returns, he said: “I don’t know. Depends on the audit.” The Associated Press reports:

    Trump said Wednesday that he has no ties to Russia whatsoever, but that hasn’t stopped Democratic donors in Philadelphia from saying that in the absence of Trump’s tax returns, voters are left to wonder whether there are undisclosed financial ties between Trump and foreign entities.

    “Think of what’s gone on just this week and connect the dotted lines,” said top Clinton donor J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire venture capitalist in Chicago. “I’m not sure what’s going on, but it sure doesn’t look good. The question is who his investors are, and whether there are any in China or Russia that are affecting his personal income.”

    Mana also wants that answered. If Trump’s elected president, he said, “how much in debt would we be to other countries? This is about the security of the United States. We have the right to make sure he’s not in debt to other countries.”

    “He is obfuscating in order to avoid being discovered as a liar,” Pritzker said. Asked in May to disclose even his tax rate, Trump said, “It’s none of your business.”

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    Donald Trump Says He Was Just "Being Sarcastic" About Asking Russia to Hack Hillary Clinton Actually
    Photo: AP

    Donald Trump, who thinks ‘irony’ has something to do with what his doctor said about eating too much red meat, is now claiming that he was “being sarcastic” when he invited Russian spy agencies to commit cyber espionage against Hillary Clinton.…

    “Of course I’m being sarcastic. And they don’t even know frankly if it’s Russia,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News. “They have no idea if it’s Russia, if it’s China, if it’s somebody else. Who knows who it is?” (We do.)

    In a separate appearance, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said...something to somewhat similar effect. “Well it wasn’t really a joke, per se,” Pierson said, lucidly. “It was more tongue-in-cheek, like we’ve been saying simply because that is the issue.”

    Maybe! Although it did not sound like a joke, or tongue-in-cheek, or sarcastic, when he repeated the invitation several times in the moment, despite being given multiple opportunities to clarify (instead telling a reporter to “be quiet”), and then reiterated it after the fact in a written—well, tweeted—statement.

    Comedy is hard.

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    Why America Beat the Russians at Building the Internet
    The cover of the new book How Not to Network a Nation (MIT Press) and a portion of a fake passport for the fictional town of Cybertonia in Russia from 1965 (Benjamin Peters)

    From the late 1950s until the late 1980s, scientists in both the United States and the Soviet Union were working on computer networking in one form or another. Why did the US succeed where the Russians failed? That’s the subject of a new book titled How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet by Benjamin Peters.

    The ARPANET breathed its first baby breaths in 1969 when the first host-to-host connection was made from UCLA to Stanford on October 29th. From there, landmark achievements would be made with tremendous help from American military and university money, including the development of email (invented in the early 1970s) and the establishment of protocols that make the modern internet tick (like TCP/IP).

    I talked with Peters about his new book and asked about things like cybernetics, the fictional town that Soviet computer scientists imagined that they worked in, and why some Russian computer scientists adopted a jazz-playing robot as their mascot.

    The TLDR version of why the West beat the Russians when it came to building the internet? According to Peters, in the beginning the capitalists behaved like socialists, while the socialists behaved like capitalists.

    Paleofuture: What is cybernetics and why does it matter when we study the history of the early internet?

    Benjamin Peters: Cybernetics, in simple terms, is a postwar science for self-governing systems. And it matters because although nobody uses the term anymore, and it has basically been an institutional failure, it is also the intellectual milieu in which the 21st century information age has emerged. In other words, cybernetics has a way of talking about a consolidation of vocabulary, that even though that consolidation we don’t talk about anymore, the vocabulary is really relevant. So like self-governing systems—can you think about systems that find balance or are sustainable anywhere in the universe? Can you talk about biology, like a human body? Can you talk about an artificial system, like a complex set of circuits or computers? Can you think about human society? All of these things are different systems and cybernetics puts them all into the same conversation. And that’s pretty much how we still think about the information age today, more or less.

    Paleofuture: So tell me about Cybertonia, what was it?

    Benjamin Peters: So Cybertonia was a virtual country, as well as a sort of fantastical work club among leading Soviet scientists in the 1960s. They imagined during the day time that their work was serving the Soviet state and then after work they imagined a world outside of Moscow’s rule. Cybertonia issued its own constitution, its own currency, its own passports, its own wedding certificates, as well as newsletters and academic publications, all in a fantastical and kind of Merry Prankster-ish way of imagining their own political space or their own country outside the Soviet Union. Another way of saying that is that Cybertonia is sort of a countercultural moment in the Soviet 60s. It’s the connection between counterculture and cyberculture in the Soviet Union.

    Paleofuture: I saw images of a robot playing a saxophone in the book. Explain to us, why a robot playing a saxophone? Why was that their mascot in Cybertonia?

    Benjamin Peters: These scientists appointed this saxophone-playing robot as not only their mascot, but as their supreme leader as an open gesture to the cold war cultural import that is American jazz. So this is sort of a playful subversive way of signaling that they weren’t entirely pleased with what the Soviet authorities were telling them to do. They wanted to appeal to a more fun-loving and free style of technical performance—something that not only jazz does but something that they do inside their math.

    Paleofuture: So why does the US version of the proto-internet prosper whereas the Soviet versions failed?

    Benjamin Peters: Because capitalists first behaved like socialists while socialists first behaved like capitalists. In other words, the ARPANET took shape thanks to collaborative research environments and state funding while the Soviet networks at the same time fell apart due to unregulated competition and infighting among the relevant institutions. the soviet union had all of the technical brilliance, censorship cultures weren’t sufficient to keep their networks down, and even the hierarchical state wasn’t a problem. Their problem, something that I think we can recognize today, is sometimes we don’t get along. And this institutional infighting or unwillingness to transfer knowledge and power is what kept the Soviets from building their own information age—from networking their nation and building electronic Socialism.

    You can pick up How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet by Benjamin Peters wherever books are sold.

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    Day 4 at the DNC: Dad Night Pumps Us Up for Mom Night

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

    PHILADELPHIA—Wednesday evening, America’s dads, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and Barack Obama, as well as America’s unpleasant rich uncle, Michael Bloomberg, sat us down and gave us an attitude check: “Mom is coming back from her business trip, and you’d better be excited to see her.”

    While yeah, sure, of course we’ll give mom a hug when she gets off the plane, it was thrilling to see Dads do their thing without her. In his speech, Dad Joe called Michelle Obama “kid,” used the word “malarky,” and called another kid “sonny,” which felt great. Dad Tim showed us he knew plenty of español, even as much as we do and we’re in A.P. Spanish. Dad Barack made it clear he’ll always be there to love us and push us to do well, even after he moves out in a few months.

    And then Mom Hillary surprised us by being home early, and came out to hug Barack and show us that they still loved each other and it wasn’t about us; time had to pass and Barack couldn’t stay anymore because it is just against the law and we have accept it.

    We are currently on the hunt for this woman:

    Mainly to take a photo with her and say, “You rule.”

    • Chelsea Clinton says if Hillary wins, Bill might like to be called “First Laddie.” [Time]
    • The Xfinity Grill next to the arena is really messed up, and won’t let two nice female reporters sit at a big booth alone, but will let two middle-aged men do the same. [My life]
    • Republicans are mad that Bradley Cooper (American Sniper himself) is at the DNC. [Daily Beast]
    • On Wednesday evening, the Wells Fargo Arena was so packed that security wouldn’t let people leave their seats even to pee or else their seat would be permanently given up.
    • Donald Trump thinks the RNC had a better set than the DNC. [Twitter]
    • Susan Sarandon would like the DNC to stop being so rude to Bernie Sanders’ protesters. Okay, Susan. [New York Post]

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    The Biggest Risk In America Right Now
    Image via

    The biggest disasters always build up slowly. Here is what history indicates is looming around the corner for us.

    Since this is campaign season, we argue about lots of things. We imagine lots of little problems and argue over the right way to solve them. But we would be better served looking down the road at the Very Big Problem that—and here we launch into uncertainty, but uncertainty with some very strong evidence surrounding it—might be not so far away.

    In the Wall Street Journal, economist Greg Ip notes that our current moment bears some very important resemblances to dangerous times in the recent past. Not just a “bubble” in one sector of the economy, but a central bank-driven rise in the price of both stocks and real estate that is now at a worrying level:

    [Net] wealth in the U.S. now tops 500% of national income. Ominously, net wealth has reached that level only twice before: from 1999 to 2000 during the Nasdaq bubble, and 2004 to 2008 during the housing boom...

    But the arithmetic reality is that when valuations are so high, even justifiably so, it takes only a small shift in the appetite for risk, expectations of profits, or interest rates to trigger a major downdraft. The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research noted this week that stocks have reached today’s valuations “only ahead of the three largest equity market declines in the last century.”

    This is not fearmongering. This is year after year of low interest rates doing what they do. This is some real shit.

    What could get someone like Donald Trump elected? A massive terrorist event before election day? Sure, maybe. A huge stock market drop leading to a new economic slowdown before election day? Even more likely, actually. This could take years to be realized, or months, or weeks. Impossible to say. Oddly enough, the same asset price inflation that has been driving economic inequality will crush the poor when it deflates. And with a collapse in these prices will come a cascade of devastation throughout the real economy that will stop at your doorstep, one way or another.

    Nobody knows when these things will happen but there sure are some flashing lights.

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    Today's Best Deals: LED Bulbs, Survival Gear, Irrigation Controllers

    LED lightbulbs, smart irrigation controllers, and tons of USB charging gear lead off Thursday’s best deals.…

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

    Top Deals

    Today's Best Deals: LED Bulbs, Survival Gear, Irrigation Controllers
    Philips 461129 60 Watt Equivalent Soft White A19 LED Light Bulb, 16-Pack, $27

    Update: The $27 soft white pack is sold out, but the $31 daylight bulbs are still in stock.

    Here’s something to light up your day. A 16-pack of soft white LED lightbulbs (who needs 16 lightbulbs at once? You do, that’s who) is only $27 today. This pack was briefly available for $20 on Prime Day, but otherwise, $1.66 per bulb is one of the best LED prices we’ve ever seen.

    Want daylight bulbs? That pack is just $4 more.…

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    Refurb Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, $95-$105

    Rachio’s smart sprinkler controller is the brain your irrigation system needs, and you can pick one up a refurb for an all-time low price today on Amazon.

    Depending on which model you choose, the controller can manage either 8 or 16 different zones in your yard, and automatically adjusts watering schedules based on the weather. If you want to keep tabs on it, its iOS and Android app will show you how much water you’re using (and saving), and allow you to make any adjustments necessary, no matter where you are in the world. All of these smarts mean that the IRO can save you 30% on your outdoor water use, so it should pay for itself over time. It’s also EPA WaterSense Certified, meaning your local water company might offer you a rebate for purchasing it.

    Today’s prices, $95 for the 8-zone and $105 for the 16-zone are the best Amazon’s ever listed, but they’re only available today as part of a Gold Box deal.……

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    Gonex 550 Paracord Survival Grenade, $7 with code 66YZGKT3

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    Update: Sold out

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    Vansky White Bias Light, $14 with code L42XO3AB | Vansky RGB Bias Light, $17 with code L42XO3AB

    For a few years now, Antec’s USB-powered HDTV bias light has been one of our most reliably popular deals whenever it went on sale. The problem: It only got a significant discount once every few months. Luckily, a copycat has emerged to fill in the gap.…

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    $100 Southwest Gift Card, $92

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    Extra 15% off Frito Lays Subscriptions

    Amazon’s currently taking an extra 15% off when you subscribe to various Frito Lay products, including Stacy’s pita chips, Doritos, Smartfood popcorn, and more. Head over here to see the full list, and order your favorites before there are only crumbs left.

    Note: You won’t see the discount until checkout, and you’ll need to use Subscribe & Save. You can always cancel after your first delivery though.

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    70% Off Clearance Sale at Wayfair

    Love it or hate it, Wayfair seems to be here to stay (and will continue to burden us with that stupid song from their commercial getting stuck in your head). So, if you’re still looking for something to make your apartment feel a little more like a real apartment, there’s bound to be something for you that’s 70% off.

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    35% off Regular-Priced items, 50% off Sale at GAP

    GAP has stepped up its game when it comes to basics and denim. It’s super easy to find at least something you’ve been meaning to get (ahem, those jeans you probably should’ve replaced last year). With 35% off regular-priced items and an extra 50% off sale items with the code HAPPY, you’ll be glad you gave GAP another chance.

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    Reebok Professional Deck Workout Bench, $150

    Reebok’s Professional Deck is actually an adjustable step, workout bench, and storage compartment all rolled into one, and Amazon’s marked it down to an all-time low $150 today. That’s roughly $40-$70 less than usual, but it’s already slightly backordered, so get yours before they’re all swoled out.…

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    Char-Broil Vertical Charcoal Smoker, $65

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    Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional, $144

    The Shark Navigator Lift-Away is your favorite affordable vacuum cleaner, but it’s the step-up Professional model that’s on sale today for $144. Compared to the standard Lift-Away, the Professional includes a longer power cord and a microfiber dusting attachment. Today’s price is within $4 of an all-time low, and a solid discount from its usual $170-$200.……

    If that’s a bit out of your price range, Amazon’s still selling refurbs of the standard Lift-Away for $90.…

    Today's Best Deals: LED Bulbs, Survival Gear, Irrigation Controllers
    Aukey Bluetooth Selfie Stick, $4 with code SELFIE68 | Alternate link

    Aukey’s clearing out Bluetooth selfie sticks for just $4 right now, which is as cheap as we’ve ever seen. Just please, use them responsibly.

    Note: As far as I can tell, these two products are identical, so if one sells out, try the other.……

    Today's Best Deals: LED Bulbs, Survival Gear, Irrigation Controllers
    Satechi 60W Multi-Port Charger With USB-C, $15 with code 4TYXG288

    USB-C is slowly taking over the world, and you can manage the transition with this 6-port, 60W charger for just $15 (with code 4TYXG288). It includes four 2.4A USB ports for your older devices, plus a pair of USB-C ports for newer phones and even laptops.…

    The new Doom game is...exactly what you’d expect it to be, which is mostly a good thing. If it’s been on your wishlist, Amazon’s already knocked it down to $30 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.……

    The successor to one of the most popular mice ever made is down to a new low price on Amazon, while supplies last.…

    Note: We posted this last week for $70, which at the time was an all-time low price, but now it’s $2 less.

    The Logitech MX Master Mouse comes with all the accoutrements you’d expect form a high end mouse—namely a rechargeable battery, adjustable DPI, and a dark field laser that works on glass—and a few that you wouldn’t, like a side thumb wheel for horizontal navigation and gestures, and the ability to connect over Bluetooth to three devices simultaneously.

    $68 is the best price we’ve ever seen, but I wouldn’t expect it to last, so click on over to Amazon to lock in your order.…

    Today's Best Deals: LED Bulbs, Survival Gear, Irrigation Controllers
    Anker PowerCore Edge, $35

    It would be disingenous to call any 20,000mAh battery pack “small,” but Anker’s PowerCore Edge is at least thin. A mere centimeter thin, in fact.

    Other than the unique design, this is the same PowerCore battery you know and love, so if you need some extra juice for your tablet on a long flight, or your phone during Pokémon Go outings, today’s $35 deal is an all-time low.……

    Today's Best Deals: LED Bulbs, Survival Gear, Irrigation Controllers
    5 Indochino Made to Measure Shirts, $279, use code KINJA5, free shipping, expires 7/31.

    Indochino is your favorite custom clothing company, and this week they’re offering Kinja Deals readers their best shirt pricing ever. $279 gets you five shirts with promo code KINJA5. Read more about the deal here.…

    Some of our peers have Melania’d the discount we launched with Indochino back in May, so we can’t call it an exclusive anymore. However, it’s still the best pricing they’ve ever offered, so if you missed out last time or want more suits, here’s your chance. Read more here.…





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    “For many Clinton donors, particularly those from the financial sector, the convention is a time to shed what one called the ‘hypersensitivity’ that had previously surrounded their appearance at Mrs. Clinton’s fundraisers.”…

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    While addressing the LGBTQ Delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Chelsea Clinton read this year’s Republican Party platform for filth.…

    “I’ve thought about what I found most offensive last week,” she said to laughter from the crowd. “It’s hard, admittedly, to pick just one part of the Republican rhetoric which was divisive, degrading, demeaning, or the Republican Party platform which was the antithesis to all that Chad [Griffin of the HRC] celebrated for us as Democrats here—it was the most regressive, least inclusive platform in modern political history.”

    She continued: “But I think what I actually found most offensive really again ties to me as a mom. The open embrace of conversion therapy in the Republican Party platform—in other words, child abuse—to me is the clarion call for all of us to do everything we can to elect my mom, and elect Democrats up and down the ticket.”

    Traditionally, the right’s anti-gay fear-mongering has cast gay people as pedophiles that children needed to be protected from. The recent wave of anti-trans bathroom bills have also aimed to protect women and children (albeit, the boogeymen there seem to be rendered as cisgender male rapists in dresses). That makes the Republican Party platform’s dog-whistling endorsement of conversion therapy (which was reportedly devised by career bigot Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council)—“We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children”—gallingly hypocritical. “...The American Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,” the APA asserted in 2009. It is but one of several organizations that have denounced the practice, which seems mostly effective in torturing those who go through it.

    Good for Chelsea Clinton for putting such a fine point on this and calling it out of what it is.

    [h/t Towleroad]

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    Which DNC Chicken Sandwich Made a New York Times Reporter Sick?
    Illustration: Jim Cooke

    The concourse at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center is filled with all sorts of chicken sandwiches, some of them vaguely pleasant, others pleasantly vague. But which of these breaded breasts allegedly sickened a New York Times reporter in town for the DNC?

    On Tuesday afternoon, I noticed that Times senior politics editor Carolyn Ryan tweeted a warning to her followers: “Be careful eating in Wells Fargo Center. One of our @nytimes reporters sick from chicken sandwich.” Her message came with an accompanying GIF, which frankly, felt a little whimsical for the matter at hand.

    Ryan didn’t respond when I asked her, on Twitter, to elaborate. Who’d been sickened? And, more importantly, where? But no matter—any journalist worth his salt should be willing to eat a bunch of salt in pursuit of the truth, so that’s just what I did. And anyway, by Tuesday afternoon, I was getting sort of hungry, so I headed over to Wells Fargo to scope out the food scene. What was for lunch? A chicken sandwich or three might be just the ticket, I thought.

    Original Chik-fil-A Sandwich from Lorenzo and Sons Pizza

    Which DNC Chicken Sandwich Made a New York Times Reporter Sick?

    Price: $6.50
    Served: Classic Chik-fil-A style, breaded with two pickles on a toasted bun

    The Chik-fil-A chicken sandwich is, in my opinion, the finest fast food treat available for purchase in the United States of America. I was delighted to find one at the Wells Fargo Center, even if it was at a pizza place, and even if it was at a significant markup from market price. The bun on my sandwich was soggy, but otherwise, it had all the famous Chik-fil-A chicken sandwich attributes: Flaky breading, slightly off-center pickle placement. I ate almost the entire thing, despite knowing I had a full day of chicken sandwiches ahead of me.

    It was hard to imagine anyone getting sick from such a tasty chicken sandwich, until I remembered where I was: the Democratic National Convention. Dan T. Cathy, COO of Chik-fil-A and the son of its founder, is outspoken with his conservative Christian political views, and has famyously donated money to a variety of anti-gay groups. Is it possible that a reporter at the liberal New York Times became nauseated when she realized what she was eating?

    Suddenly confronted with the problematic—yes, problematic—nature of my snack—yes, snack—I chowed down quickly, hunched over a low wall, while Michelle Obama’s excellent speech from the previous evening replayed on a big screen behind me. A flier posted nearby alerted me that Facebook was shooting a video in the area, and that by standing there, I were implying my consent to appear in the video. I hoped the cameras didn’t catch me in my secret shame.

    I needed a way to reestablish my progressive bona fides on the way to my next stop, so I avoided the trash bin marked LANDFILL, and deposited the remains of my Chik-fil-A chicken sandwich in the bin marked COMPOST instead.

    Verdict: Feeling emotionally rattled, but physically fine.

    House-Smoked Chicken Sandwich from Big Baby’s BBQ

    Which DNC Chicken Sandwich Made a New York Times Reporter Sick?
    See my notebook in the corner? That’s how you know I’m a real journalist.

    Price: $11 (!)
    Served: In a precious pink box, like a cupcake or lingerie.

    After ingesting the manna from heaven I’d purchased at Lorenzo and Sons Pizza, I headed to Big Baby’s BBQ for some chicken with cole slaw on a large brioche bun. The meat itself was savory, but too much bread got in the way, and the sandwich was a little dry. I could have used a little more of Big Baby’s tasty mustard-based BBQ sauce, which came with the meal.

    Again, I ate the sandwich while hunched over a low surface, like an animal. My stomach was starting to hurt, though it was difficult to blame that on Big Baby’s specifically. I became increasingly worried that some dignified convention attendee—Michelle Obama perhaps, or Demi Lovato—might be watching my grotesque and ravenous display.

    After a few bites, I got a text from my editor that Lena Dunham had been spotted on the convention floor, and I took a break from gorging myself to set out and look for her. I didn’t see any compost bins, so I threw my sandwich in the trash.

    Verdict: I can blame only my editor, who gave me this stupid assignment, for my stomach pains.

    Chicken Caesar Wrap from Old City Brewhouse

    Which DNC Chicken Sandwich Made a New York Times Reporter Sick?

    Price: $10
    Served: ??????????????

    Looking for Lena turned out to be a bust, but I ended up interviewing some Bernie Sanders delegates from California and filed a story about that. (Don’t call me a hero. I’m just an ordinary member of the fourth estate answering the humble call of truth.) I stepped outside the press stand area of the arena to make a brief phone call, but when I tried to return, the DNC staffers required some new credential that I didn’t have on my lanyard, so I couldn’t get back in. I took the opportunity to get back to the real work of the day: Eating sandwiches.

    Next up was Broad Street Carvery, but there were no chicken sandwiches there—brisket only. I purchased a bottle of water for $4.75—ouch. I thought this was the party of the working people. Jerry Springer walked by, and a TV reporter bragged about how he’d gotten a selfie with the famous talk-show host earlier in the day.

    Brisket is not chicken, and I don’t cut corners, so I headed down to Old City Brewhouse, where the menu advertised a chicken caesar wrap for $10. Is a wrap a sandwich? That’s a question for a bigger mind than mine. I noted that Old City also has Chik-fil-A on the menu, and smarted when I saw that a bottle of water there cost only $4.50—a deal.

    I placed my order: “One chicken caesar wrap, please.” The woman at the counter said that they didn’t have any chicken caesar wraps, only chicken caesar salads, and salad is definitely not a sandwich. That was just as well: I was getting pretty sick of all these chicken sandwiches.

    Verdict: No sandwich=no verdict.

    Buffalo Chicken Wrap from P.J. Whelihan’s

    Which DNC Chicken Sandwich Made a New York Times Reporter Sick?
    A photo of my fingers.

    Price: $8
    Served: With iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, a slathering of Frank’s Red Hot, and two different cheeses: bleu, and what looks like cheddar.

    As I watched the woman behind the counter at P.J. Whelihan’s assemble my buffalo chicken wrap, my stomach started to turn. (Perhaps my investigation was getting somewhere!) It looked like the kind of chicken sandwich I’d enjoy on an ordinary day, but I wasn’t sure I could handle it after having eaten multiple chicken sandwiches already. It had a lot of cheese.

    In fact, I ate almost the entire chicken sandwich, and again I enjoyed it. Bernie Sanders appeared on the TV screen as I was finishing up, and announced that the roll call vote would be suspended, formally ceding the nomination to Hillary Clinton.

    Sanders delegates began streaming past me toward the arena doors, holding signs and chanting. I thought about Bernie’s influence on the Democratic party, and how its current platform is being touted as the most progressive agenda in history. But the Democratic platform is conspicuously silent on one key issue: the issue of sandwichhood for buffalo chicken wraps. Formerly established political truths were collapsing in my mind, my self-conception burned down and forged in the fires as something striking and new. Was I adequately performing my duty as a man and a worker in the world? I wasn’t sure. Was I even eating a chicken sandwich at all? I wasn’t sure of that, either.

    Verdict: Hours after eating the buffalo chicken wrap, I suffered a minor headache. It was tempting to ascribe this ailment to the last chicken sandwich I’d eaten, but it seemed more likely that it was a consequence of my amassed chicken sandwich intake over the course of the day, and also that I hadn’t drunk enough $4.50-a-bottle water.

    Which chicken sandwich will make you sick?

    So, which chicken sandwich at the Wells Fargo Center made a New York Times reporter sick to her stomach? It’s tough to say. I can recommend with certainty, however, that you not eat three and half chicken sandwiches in a single day.

    Verdict: I am definitely ill.

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    Both Political Parties Say They Want to Regulate the Banks. Will We Regulate the Banks? 
    Photo: Flickr

    This year, both the Democratic and the Republican platforms say they want to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which separates commercial and investment banking and is generally hated by banks. So what do the real “insiders” think will happen?

    From Bloomberg:

    It will be difficult for any president to reinstitute Glass-Steagall. “I don’t think Glass-Steagall will ever actually happen,” says [Phillip] Swagel, the former [ assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George W. Bush administration]. “It’s like Trump’s wall: It’s symbolic.”

    RULE OF POLITICS: If Democrats say they want something and Republicans say they want the same thing but Wall Street doesn’t want it, it’s “symbolic.”

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    Trump-Pence Volunteers Bar Washington Post Reporter From Entering Public Campaign Event
    Photo: AP

    On Wednesday, after he was denied press credentials to cover Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s first public event since being introduced as Donald Trump’s vice-presidential candidate in Cleveland, the Washington Post’s Jose DelReal was barred from entering the rally by security staffers, who went as far as to summon law enforcement before escorting him from the premises.

    A campaign official blamed the incident on overenthusiastic volunteers. “It sounds like they misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing,” the official said. “This is not our policy.”

    DelReal tried to enter the Waukesha County Exposition Center, outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through the general-admission line after volunteers at a press check-in desk turned him down for a credential. (Trump banned the Post from covering his events last month.)…

    A private security official stopped DelReal and told him he couldn’t enter the building with his laptop or cellphone. The Post reports:

    When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cellphones, he said the unidentified official replied, “Not if they work for The Washington Post.”

    After placing his computer and phone in his car, DelReal returned to the line and was detained again by security personnel, who summoned two county sheriff’s deputies. The officers patted down DelReal’s legs and torso, seeking his phone, the reporter said.

    When the officers — whom DelReal identified as Deputy John Lappley and Capt. Michelle Larsuel — verified that he wasn’t carrying a phone, the reporter asked to be admitted. The security person declined. “He said, ‘I don’t want you here. You have to go,’ ” DelReal said.

    DelReal was escorted out and was not permitted to speak to a campaign press representative.

    “Law enforcement officers, in collusion with private security officials, subjected a reporter to bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endure. All of this took place in a public facility no less,” the Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, said. “The harassment of an independent press isn’t coming to an end. It’s getting worse.”

    In a statement, Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said: “Our events are open to everyone and we are looking into the alleged incident.”

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    Jet Fuel Can't Melt the Resolve of the Conventions' Devoted 9/11 Truther

    PHILADELPHIA — Last week, amidst a sea of Never Hillary signs in Cleveland, and this week, also amidst a sea of Never Hillary signs in Philly, one man stood apart from the crowd. His message: Building 7 didn’t just collapse, and 9/11 goes all the way to the top. Sheeple, meet—well, let’s just call him Joe.

    Jet Fuel Can't Melt the Resolve of the Conventions' Devoted 9/11 Truther

    Joe wouldn’t tell me his real name. As soon as he saw my press badge, he asked if I worked for the government. And despite my assurances, Joe never seemed quite convinced that I was not actually an agent of the state. That makes sense, though, considering that Joe’s main goal at both the Republican and Democratic conventions has been to encourage people to “question everything. It’s time for these sheep to wake up.”

    Joe isn’t here with anyone—at least, not that he was willing to divulge. For these past two weeks, the burden of Truth has been his alone to bear. He’s not politically minded in the traditional sense, either. Joe won’t be voting in the upcoming election (he hates both candidates); he’s only at the conventions because of the huge media presence.

    What’s next for Joe? He wouldn’t say. He did, however, close our conversation by reminding me that buildings don’t just collapse, and that nothing is as it seems.

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    MTV Is Desperately Trying to Prevent Inevitable Death

    Today, MTV announced that the premium cable channel VH1 Classic will be rebranded as MTV Classic. The station will shift from airing programming such as classic rock music videos and R.E.M. documentaries to old MTV shows like Daria, Jackass and MTV Cribs. This is another example of how MTV is being murdered by its parent company Viacom.

    It’s clear, obviously, that MTV is hoping to regain traction among millennials, the last batch of people who have any attachment to MTV, give-or-take the slightly younger adults who were teenagers in the regrettable Teen Mom era. In its press release announcing MTV Classic, the network said it will have a “special focus on the 1990s and early 2000s,” and will specifically air “‘from the vault’ programming blocks Mondays through Thursdays from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.”

    MTV is hoping waves of millennials will come home from work, smoke weed, and watch episodes of Pimp My Ride. It’s not the worst idea in the world, except that, as we all know, fewer and fewer millennials choose to pay for cable television. Something like 1 in 4 millennials don’t have cable (based on a 2015 Nielsen study), and that feels like a low estimate based on the scientific measure of “people I talk to at bars.” The numbers for premium cable have to be drastically lower. I happen to be in the group of millennials who do pay almost $100 per month for cable (I like sports), and I don’t get VH1 Classic, which I just had to look up on an online channel guide because I’ve never encountered or considered its existence.

    Viacom, which also owns VH1, has fought the changing nature of entertainment tooth-and-nail for years. Instead of recognizing the inevitable power of YouTube, Viacom carried out litigation against it for seven years. MTV’s YouTube channel is full of trailers and exclusive clips, but very little if any full episodes of television (which are up via bootleggers) or original scripted content. The only MTV programming available on Netflix is one season of its Scream remake and one season of something called The Shannara Chronicles. The MTV app on Apple TV or Roku allows entry to a deep archive of MTV shows—if you already subscribe to cable.

    Viacom is scared of Netflix, as it should be. Netflix is the boa constrictor wrapped around the cable television industry, slowly crushing it to death. Near the end of last year, Viacom entered into an expanded partnership with Hulu, which offers a bunch of old MTV shows. This is fine. Maybe Viacom is getting a good deal. The financials are secret so there’s now way for us to know, and anyway I’m not sure even the people in TV know what’s a good deal right now and what isn’t.

    Networks that have Valuable Millennial Nostalgia to license off have only a few places to sell to (while simultaneously being pillaged by BuzzFeed). They may not particularly like those places. They may not have much leverage in negotiations. But, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon—these are pretty much the options. There’s no Crackle coming to save their intellectual property, and nobody is going to watch MTV Classic.

    At some point in the future, every series ever aired by MTV will be accessible in one central location. Why not now? If I ran Viacom (and I don’t, lol) I would choose to meet this reality head on. MTV, at this point, should treat itself as an auction house. It has valuable artifacts such as Jersey Shore. If it keeps those artifacts for itself, it will not make enough money to survive, and they will sink to the bottom of the sea. Instead it must sell (well, license) its artifacts to the highest bidders. Soon if not right this very second there will be more money to be made this way than there is to be made displaying those artifacts on channel, uh, just a second here... 186.

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    Scoop: Have Convention-goers Been Duped By a Bogus 'Gluten-Free Zone'?
    Two members of the media use the “Gluten Free Zone” as a camera resting spot and desk, respectively. (Photo by Ellie Shechet)

    PHILADELPHIA—Since the very first day of the Democratic National Convention, whispers of a so-called “gluten-free zone” in the Wells Fargo Arena trickled across Twitter. But was this extremely considerate zone actually selling anything? I walked down from the press stand in the middle of Andrew Cuomo’s speech on Thursday night to investigate.

    On July 25, Free Beacon reported with horror that the DNC would have an all-gender bathroom, compost bins, and a Gluten Free Zone. The picture included in the post is as follows:

    The following day, reported live from the Gluten Free Zone, interviewing convention-goers who were largely uninterested in eating there. Behind Dylan Ris is a sign that says GLUTEN FREE ZONE, but as in the previous photo, there is nothing behind it:

    Five hours ago, a talk radio host named Bob mistook the Gluten Free Zone—whose territory is to the right of the pictured sign—for the regular wheat-ridden food being sold on the left. Bob, the food to the left is not gluten-free!!! In case you are celiac!!!

    When I walked out of the press stand and into the hall, the Gluten Free Zone was to my direct right. Two members of the media appeared to be using the counter as a desk. The Gluten Free Zone was open, but completely empty of food and employees.

    “I’m just working here,” the woman replied irritatedly when I asked if she knew where the gluten-free food was. Fine!

    Scoop: Have Convention-goers Been Duped By a Bogus 'Gluten-Free Zone'?
    Inside the Gluten Free Zone. (Photo by Ellie Shechet)

    To my left stood two DNC volunteers in yellow shirts that said “ASK ME” on the back. I asked them if the Gluten Free Zone had ever sold food. “Not since my shift started at 1 p.m.,” one answered apologetically. This was very interesting, but inconclusive.

    I approached a DNC volunteer in a slightly different location 10 feet away. When I asked her about the Gluten Free Zone, she laughed. “That’s a good question. I think it’s just there for decoration?”

    A security guard seated next to a stairwell across from the Zone took a more defensive approach. “I don’t know why they would have it if they weren’t selling food!” she exclaimed. “Why don’t you go ask the place next door?”

    So I did.

    “Yeah, they were going to use it, but they didn’t get the order in soon enough,” said the cashier.

    “Wow,” I said. It would seem that the Democratic National Convention’s Gluten Free Zone, a token of all that we hold dear, was nothing but an empty promise.

    I have reached out to the DNC for comment on the Gluten Free Zone, and will update if we receive a response.

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    Offering to lend Donald Trump his copy of the Constitution, the father of a Muslim soldier killed fighting in Iraq humiliated Donald Trump on stage at the Democratic National Convention, pointing out, rather accurately, that Trump has never had to make a major sacrifice in his life.

    Khizar Khan, who appeared onstage with his wife, is the father of Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 by a suicide bomber while fighting in Iraq. Khan was posthumously awarded a purple heart and buried in Arlington Cemetery.

    “We are honored to stand here together as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to the country,” Khan said. “Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty handed. We believed in American democracy, that with hard work and the goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings. We are blessed to raise our three sons in a nation where they are free to be themselves and follow their dreams.”

    Pulling out a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution, Khan held it in the air and offered to lend it to Trump.

    “Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America. If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” Khan said. “Donald Trump, you are ousting Americans! Asking America to trust you with the future—let me ask, have you even read the United States Constitution. I will gladly lend you my copy. Look for the word liberty and equal protection of the law. Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery to look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America? You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing.”

    Fox News reportedly declined to air the speech.

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    Hillary Clinton Just Wiped Out on Her Way to the Podium [***DRAFT DO NOT POST***]
    Image: Shutterstock

    PHILADELPHIA — Tonight in front of thousands of people, Hillary Clinton came out [BEAMING? TK]. And as she made her way to the podium, on what is perhaps the biggest night of her career thus far, Hillary Clinton [TYPE OF FALL TK] right on the DNC stage.

    As you can see in the video above [DON’T FORGET VID], [TK] secret service agents rushed the stage, blocking the [DISHEVELED?] candidate from view. In response, the cameras panned to [BILL OR CHELSEA TK], who looked on with [EMOTION TK] from the Clintons’ private box.

    Trump, of course, didn’t waste any time, tweeting his purported condolences just minutes after the ordeal took place:



    Hillary Clinton regained her composure [TK] minutes later, even managing an off the cuff joke at her own expense:


    What role Putin played in what’s now being referred to on Twitter as [#TK-GATE], however, remains to be seen.


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