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Assange soon to be on the loose?

For months, Ecuador has been looking for a way to end the years-long residency of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in its London embassy. Did they decide to give him entry to their country as the escape hatch for both? The Daily Mail picks up on Assange’s tweet from today, wearing an Ecuadorian soccer jersey with no explanation, and links it to rumors that Ecuador has issued him a … [Read more...]

No, Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner aren’t calling off their divorce

It’d be something if they did, though, wouldn’t it? Imagine loving someone so much that you take them back them after they got busted sexting teenagers and cost your boss the presidency in the process. That’d be a love story for the ages. But no, despite the buzz around the New York Post’s story, “Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner call off divorce,” the truth is … [Read more...]

Video: Harvey Weinstein slapped, berated in Arizona restaurant

Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein was confronted at an Arizona restaurant Tuesday night by a man who slapped him and berated him, calling him a “piece of s**t.” The incident took place at Elements restaurant in Scottsdale. TMZ reports that Weinstein was having dinner with his “sober coach” when two men came in and were seated nearby. One of the men, named Steve, asked … [Read more...]

Bidding a fond farewell to the CFPB slush fund

When Mick Mulvaney was moved from the Office of Management and Budget to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau he was apparently sent with a mandate to find some swampland to drain. That didn’t take long at all. While it’s already arousing fury in Senator Elizabeth Warren and her supporters, Mulvaney has identified a notorious slush fund at the CFPB which has been channeling federal … [Read more...]

Feds bust SoCal “birth tourism” ring for Chinese nationals

If “birthright citizenship” vaults to the top of the policy priority list, we can thank NBC News. Last night the outlet ran not one but two stories about “birth tourism,” in which mothers-to-be pay big bucks to come to the US to give birth. On the West Coast, the feds busted a ring in Irvine which had women in twenty different Southern California locations, all of whom … [Read more...]

Coulter: Yesterday’s WH immigration meeting was the lowest day of the Trump presidency

She seems pissed. IF TRUMP WAS FDR: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Butnothing against fear. Fear is good too, believe me." — Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 10, 2018 IF TRUMP WAS JFK: "Ask not what your country can do for you.Unless you want to. Then ask away." — Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 10, 2018 IF TRUMP WAS REAGAN: "Mr. … [Read more...]

Democrat Shelly Simonds concedes Virginia race an hour before start of legislative session

Wednesday, less than an hour before the start of the Virginia House of Delegates legislative session, Democrat Shelly Simonds finally conceded the race she lost in a drawing of lots earlier this month. It is with great disappointment that I am conceding the election to David Yancy. I just tried to make a personal phone call to him and would like to ask him to vote for Medicaid expansion. — … [Read more...]

The Year in Escapism

When we were younger, we watched a lot of movies about the end of the world. Deep Impact and Armageddon threw space rocks at us. Air, water, and the earth itself turned evil in Dante’s Peak, Twister, and Volcano. Fantastical artworks are a type of escapism, and the way that we choose to escape reality is defined by that reality. At the time of 1998’s Armageddon, we were discussing the end of … [Read more...]

The Decline of Debate on College Campuses

Back in September, students at the University of California at Berkeley organized a “Free Speech Week,” to be headlined by ex-Breitbart goad Milo Yiannopoulos. The school administration supported the event, for valid reasons: Chancellor Carol Christ declared her wish to “permit speakers … without discrimination in regard to point of view.” But eventually the speakers Yiannopoulos promised—like … [Read more...]

Silicon Valley Won’t Save Books

The Kindle might be the most important publishing object since the printing press, but its ten year anniversary passed with little fanfare two months ago. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who in 2008 mused that the e-reader could be the key to rebuilding our shrinking attention spans, marked the event with a tweet noting the device’s modest design change, rather than its cultural impact. His company … [Read more...]

Settling for Scores

In 1979, the psychologist Donald Campbell proposed an axiom. “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making,” he wrote, “the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” He also wrote: “Achievement tests may well be valuable indicators of general school achievement … [Read more...]

The Rise and Fall of the Racist Right

I began reporting on the various malcontents of the American far right back in 2011, when nationalism and white supremacy were still on the fringes of the political landscape and the Tea Party, almost quaint in retrospect, was the face of white anger. During those early years, I spent countless weekends at Klan BBQs, neo-Nazi rallies, and lackluster conventions where attendance rarely exceeded a … [Read more...]

Betsy DeVos’s Gut Punch to Defrauded Students

Imagine a car dealer sold you a lemon. You sue to get your money back. But the judge discovers that you managed to get yourself around most of the time, despite the bum vehicle. You only missed 10 percent of your appointments, so the judge orders that you are entitled to 10 percent of the price of the car. That’s essentially what Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced last week for students … [Read more...]

Will America Ever Really Trust Black Women?

One lesson we are meant to take away from 2017 is summed up in a widely memed phrase: Trust black women. It began with the 2016 election, when 94 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, the highest percentage of any race-gender demographic. Had other groups followed their lead, we would have been spared a Donald Trump presidency and all that it has entailed in its whiplash-inducing first … [Read more...]

Is the Supreme Court Backsliding on LGBT Rights?

It has been an ominous month at the Supreme Court for LGBT rights. In what has been hailed as the biggest case of the term, the justices signaled that they may rule in favor of a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. And in a much less talked about but no less important case, the Court refused to stop a lawsuit, which would allow state and local governments to deny people … [Read more...]

The Tax Bill’s Gift to Big Coal

By now, it’s no secret that the sweeping tax reform package approved by Congress last week includes a bunch of provisions that help the oil and gas industry. As the Washington Post reported, cutting the corporate income tax rate alone will likely add $1 billion to the profits of U.S. oil and gas exploration and production firms. Oil refining companies stand to do even better, according to one … [Read more...]

My President Was an Islamophobe

Thomas Jefferson was expecting a dinner guest. It was December 1805 and the nascent republic that Jefferson led was mired in a series of battles with the Barbary States of North Africa, whose pirates were intercepting vessels and imposing medieval punishments on passengers who refused to pay tribute. Jefferson’s guest this evening was Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, the envoy from Tunisia who had come to … [Read more...]

The Dangerous Incoherence of Trump’s Russia Policy

In 2014, the Republican Congress passed the loftily named Ukrainian Freedom Support Act, which permitted the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law, but as The Washington Post reported, he “never authorized large commercial or government sales, a move widely seen as a de facto decision not to provide lethal weapons to the Ukraine military.” That policy … [Read more...]