Taulia Tagovailoa rallies Maryland past Minnesota in overtime
Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland sophomore quarterback, shines as the Terps rally from 17 down to beat the Golden Gophers in overtime, 45-44.
A Broken Health System Is a Threat to Freedom
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff stated plainly on Sunday that the administration does not intend to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “We are not going to control the pandemic,” Mark Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper. This approach is consistent with the president's own experience: He did not observe standard public-health measures, he caught the virus, and he received excellent care free of charge. The rest of the country has suffered, and will suffer, in an entirely different way.In normal democracies, health care is not the reserve of an elite, and citizens count on both the prevention and the treatment of disease. Universal health care serves as the moral bridge between citizens and their governments. In this sense, the United States is not a normal democracy. Untreated illness and uncertain care fill our politics with unnecessary fear and rage. Our president pushes this logic by offering insecurity instead of security as the aim of politics. Meadows only clarified what has been true all along: Trump’s form of politics works with a plague, not against it. Among the president’s notable responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have been the withdrawal from the World Health Organization and his persistent attempt to take health insurance away from tens of millions of Americans. This is not inefficiency or neglect. It is a pattern evident all across the Trump administration: Governing is not about problems to be solved, but emergencies to be magnified.Health care is always political, but the politics can confirm or deny democratic norms and practices. A democratic country that handles a pandemic well generates trust in government, and even national pride. If care is not universal, then the political equation, especially during a pandemic, is entirely different. When citizens cannot imagine security, politics becomes the distribution of insecurity, the allocation of fears and anxieties that push us away from an idea of common citizenship and toward authoritarianism. What is lethal for Americans is also lethal for our democracy.[Read: How the pandemic defeated America]I am an American historian who has seen the pandemic from both sides of the Atlantic, and who has just written a book about health care in the United States. When journalists from other countries ask me why so many Americans have died during the coronavirus pandemic, they phrase the question actively: “What have Americans done to bring about such needless mayhem?” And that is the right way to think about our COVID-19 policy. It is not a blundering, but a bludgeoning.In other rich nations, it is easier to see a doctor and harder to die than in the United States. As I write these lines, I am sick in Austria. That means that if I call a doctor, I see her the same day, get tests right away, fill out no forms, and pay no fees. Without worries about access to care, I am a freer person. On the scale of a whole society, the gain in liberty is extraordinary. Even before the pandemic, even before Trump, Americans were killing one another in huge numbers in the service of dogma. Too many of us take for granted that health and freedom are somehow in contradiction—and so we exclude our own bodies from our notion of rights. We treat as normal a system of commercial medicine in which decisions about life and death are made on the basis of profit. Our babies and their mothers die at rates that Europeans find unbelievable. American Millennials will likely pay more for health care yet die younger than their parents and grandparents did. Life expectancy peaked here in 2014, even as it continues to rise elsewhere. Americans pay twice as much per capita for health care as the citizens of peer countries do, for the privilege of dying years younger.Americans have internalized entirely unnecessary inequalities in access to care—to the point that they run deep into our souls. Many of us, by some calculations nearly half, simply avoid care because it seems unaffordable. Those of us with insurance think about how good our insurance is, and where it will get us. Those of us who get access believe that we deserve it. It does not occur to us that the less-bad access we have is worse than what everyone has in countries with universal health care. Lost to us are the political consequences: If we take for granted radical inequality and repeated emergencies in the realm of health, we are primed for authoritarianism in the realm of life. In the health-care debate in the United States, proposals to extend coverage to all are decried as government overreach, socialism, even outright tyranny. But the lack of health security is what makes Americans vulnerable to demagogues and authoritarians.[Ibram X. Kendi: Stop blaming black people for dying of the coronavirus]Our sense that suffering is normal is also racial. Many white Americans regard their own suffering as virtuous, while maintaining that public health care would only be abused by Black people and immigrants. In other words, suffering is normal so long as others suffer more. During the pandemic, this everyday American sensibility has been on full display in widespread white indifference to a disease that has killed Black and Latino people disproportionately. Racial inequality brings unnecessary death. It also brings a sentiment that an authoritarian leader can exploit: Namely, that those who suffer the most are themselves at fault. When racism is a preexisting condition, the disproportionate death rates of Americans of color during a pandemic seem normal.Given these grievous problems, America’s only hope of stopping the COVID-19 pandemic was to do so at the outset. Such efforts have been mounted before. Under George W. Bush, the number of SARS cases in the U.S. was limited, and no one died. In 2014, the Obama administration took the fight against Ebola to West Africa, a prudent step that was normal then but that seems like science fiction now.Before the novel coronavirus arrived in the U.S., the Trump administration dismantled the institutions that were responsible for early warning and early action. By telling Americans in February what they wanted to hear about the virus—that it was not serious, that it would disappear, that everyone could get a test—Trump ensured that death would be widespread. By failing to institute a regime of testing, he made it normal for us to follow our own guesswork and emotions rather than dealing with facts. This was a profound choice, and Trump made it explicitly: For him to feel good personally about artificially low numbers was more important than for Americans to accumulate the knowledge that we would need to survive.The Trump administration announced a kind of new federalism, in which governors would have to show their loyalty to get federal assistance, and in which the Democratic ones would be blamed regardless of what happened. The bluster shrouded the basic decision, which was not to launch a federal response to the pandemic. No nationwide lockdown, no national testing initiative, no national contact-tracing initiative, no nationwide signaling on wearing masks and washing hands. This set the United States apart from every other comparable country.After first blaming Democrats for not doing enough, Trump switched to blaming them for doing too much. He placed himself on the side of those who opposed public-health protections, and helped to create a sense among some of his supporters that lockdowns and quarantines were a power grab by liberals. By tweeting in April that states should be “liberated” at a time when armed protesters were at statehouses, he encouraged violence. In June, according to the FBI, men gathered in Ohio to plot the kidnapping of Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan. When the plot was exposed, Trump suggested that Whitmer was herself responsible, because she “wants to be a dictator.”Throughout the summer, as anxieties over the pandemic mixed with resurgent anger over racial injustice, Trump worked to make white people feel like victims. He used the Black Lives Matter protests to declare that Black people were actually the aggressors. By hiding in the White House bunker and using force to disperse a peaceful protest in nearby Lafayette Square on June 1, Trump defined himself as the real victim. He tried (and failed) to persuade the armed forces to view protesters as enemies. By issuing an executive order to protect monuments on June 26, he claimed that the real issue was the innocence of (white) American history. By sending unidentified federal agents to Portland, Oregon, he tried to create the impression that defenders of the rights of Black Americans were threats to American cities. The problem was not the shooting of civilians by police; it was that Black people were making trouble in cities for no good reason.[Read: Black Lives Matter just entered its next phase]In the real world, Americans have been dying from the pandemic all summer and fall, in ever greater numbers in states with Republican governors. The whole time, COVID-19 has been the real danger to everyone involved. More police officers have been dying of coronavirus exposure while on duty than from all other causes combined. At the very moment when the disease is reaching those whom Trump calls “my people,” the White House admits that it has no plan to stop it.This is America’s basic problem: Health care is not a promise for all, but rather an expectation of the rich that they will do relatively better than the poor, and of white people that they will do relatively better than Black people. Suffering can seem meaningful if it affirms this basic order, even if that suffering is one’s own. This is a posture of submission. Letting a disease play itself out is not the attitude of a free people. Nor is resentment against those who take the initiative.Our politics were supposed to be about the pursuit of happiness; and, as the author of that phrase knew, happiness is impossible without health. Yet a democracy can become suffused with suffering, to the point where many voters do not even expect that policy might help them or loved ones stay well. An aspiring authoritarian such as Trump knows what to do: provide the emotional jolts of pleasure that distract from the general decline. “Winning” is no longer about gaining something for oneself, such as a healthier or longer life, but about taking pleasure in the suffering of others. This is a sensibility—the strong survive; the weak get what they deserve—that favors authoritarianism over democracy. Those who endorse it cannot win this year’s election for Trump, but they can wreak havoc in November.When Trump stands on a balcony after receiving treatment that is out of reach for others, he is asking not just for submission but for sacrifice. After all, he looks strong in the foreground only if others die in the background. That Trump would maximize pain, divide people, and create emergencies should not surprise anyone. It is just the authoritarian alchemy that one should expect. The unpredictable part is how we choose to react. In this election, Americans face a choice not between individuals, but between regimes: between tyranny and a republic as forms of government, and between suffering and happiness as its aims. If Trump is defeated, our democracy should be reinforced by universal health care. Health and freedom collapse together, and they can be recovered together. We would be much freer as a people if we accorded ourselves health care as a right.
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Road to 270: 4 years ago, Trump turned this state red
Four years ago President Trump flipped Pennsylvania red on his path to the White House. John King explains which cities and suburbs Joe Biden needs to turn it blue again.
How the Court Inverted Constitutional Protections Against Discrimination
We are living through a time of constitutional inversion. When it comes to the religion clauses in the First Amendment and the equal-protection guarantee in the Fourteenth Amendment, what was once constitutionally prohibited is now constitutionally required. Each of these areas has a different constituency, but they also share much in common. And, in both areas, the Supreme Court has transformed constitutional provisions for fighting racial segregation into instruments that preserve it.Consider where the law stood in the 1970s. On the religion-clause front, in 1971, the Supreme Court decided Lemon v. Kurtzman, which invalidated two state statutes that reimbursed private religious schools for expenses that included teachers’ salaries and textbooks related to secular subjects. The state, the Court believed, could not send funds to religious institutions for these purposes. Likewise, in two subsequent cases, decided in 1975 and 1977, the Supreme Court invalidated similar portions of state-aid programs to religious schools. The Court ruled that using taxpayer money to fund field trips, instructional materials, or equipment for religious schools violated the establishment clauseOn the equal-protection front, many prominent judges in the 1970s, including Justices William J. Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, believed that the equal-protection clause prohibited the government from enacting facially neutral laws (those that did not specifically mention race) when they resulted in different burdens on different racial groups, though many other judges and scholars disagreed. Brennan and Marshall maintained that the equal-protection clause prohibited the government from enacting policies that had adverse effects on racial minorities. Several federal trial courts and courts of appeals, including the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, did as well.[Zalman Rothschild: ‘Religious equality’ is transforming American law]Now consider where we are today. On the religion-clause front, at the end of the previous Supreme Court term, Espinoza v. Montana held the inverse of its earlier position: not that states couldn’t support religion, but that a state could not refuse to provide public-funding benefits to religious schools if it were providing funding to other, nonreligious private schools. The chief justice wrote for a majority that “a State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.” The Court’s reasoning focused on the religious status of the schools; it was not concerned that some of the government funds could be put toward religious uses. Indeed, several of the conservative justices wrote separately to say that they believed the religion clauses require the government to provide money to religious institutions for religious purposes, such as training ministers. Thus, whereas previously the Court had said the religion clauses prevent the government from providing financial support to religious schools for some purposes, now the Court says the clauses require governmental support for private religious schools in certain circumstances.This term, the Court will hear another religion-clause case that will likely result in even more government financial support for religious institutions, including when the institutions engage in discrimination. Fulton v. City of Philadelphia involves a challenge to Philadelphia’s contracting program for foster-care agencies. In order to receive a government contract to provide foster-care services, agencies must agree not to discriminate on the basis of race or sexual orientation. Some religious agencies challenged the program. They do not want to place children with same-sex families, and argue that the policy discriminates against the agencies for their religious beliefs. If their challenge succeeds, it will mean not only that states cannot deny generally available financial benefits to religious institutions, but also that states cannot require as a condition of receiving government funds that an entity comply with nondiscrimination obligations.On the equal-protection-clause front, the question is now whether the Constitution requires the government to pursue laws or policies that result in disproportionate disadvantages on underrepresented minorities. The Supreme Court first addressed this new question in 2008 in a case called Ricci v. DeStefano. A federal statute, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibits employers from using policies or practices that have a disproportionately adverse effect on minorities and are not sufficiently related to job qualifications. For example, a real-estate brokerage could not try to hire people whose ancestors owned land before the Civil War; that policy would disadvantage Black Americans and has no bearing on employees’ job performance. In the Ricci case, the City of New Haven was considering whether to use an examination to promote firefighters. But the city decided not to when the first round of test results showed that white candidates outperformed minority candidates.A group of white firefighters sued the city for racial discrimination. They alleged that the city’s decision not to use test results with disproportionately adverse effects on Black applicants constituted unlawful discrimination on the basis of race—against white applicants. The Court agreed, finding that the city violated Title VII’s prohibition on racial discrimination. The Court also suggested that taking into account whether laws or policies result in disproportionate disadvantages on underrepresented minorities amounted to discrimination in violation of the equal-protection clause. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a concurring opinion that the statute forbidding employment practices with adverse effects on minorities requires “employers to evaluate the racial outcomes of their policies, and to make decisions based on (because of) those racial outcomes.”The religion clauses and the equal-protection clause have thus proceeded along parallel tracks. The Court has gone from thinking that the Constitution prohibits certain actions (government funding of religious schools or institutions, or government practices that are selectively disadvantageous to racial minorities) to thinking that the Constitution now requires those very same actions.But perhaps most interesting is not that these parallel tracks exist, but why they do. And the answer comes down to not some abstract development in legal theory, but a more specific story that happens to be in the forefront of the country’s mind today—racial integration and racial equality. The trajectory of the religion clauses and the equal-protection clause share a driving force: opposition to Brown v. Board of Education and a desire to limit the reach of that decision.Although the religion clauses today primarily arise in cases involving discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, historically they came up in cases involving racial integration. A desire for racial integration, and the promise of integrated schools, is part of what drove litigants to challenge government funding for private religious schools and courts to invalidate such programs. Similarly, a desire for racial equality also drove challenges to government policies that did not explicitly mention race, but nonetheless had the pernicious effects of disproportionately disadvantaging Black Americans and preserving segregated schools.[Read: The limits of desegregation in Washington, D.C.]But it was white Americans’ opposition to this progress that has now inverted the interpretation of these clauses of the Constitution. It was this opposition that fueled the social movements that propelled to the White House presidents such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. As the New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has argued, “A hallmark of Richard Nixon’s ‘Southern strategy’ during his presidential campaigns” was that it “relied on unifying white anger about fair housing and school integration to build a successful coalition of white Southerners and white ethnic Northerners.” Reagan’s successful campaigning against one particular form of integration (school busing) is another example of this. And the judicial nominees of these and other Republican administrations shifted the equal-protection and religion clauses away from being weapons against segregation to tools to preserve it.This story of how these clauses were turned into shields against integration begins with Brown v. Board of Education, which invalidated the “separate but equal” system of segregated schools. The Court held that segregated public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The schools in Brown were segregated by law in the sense that there were laws on the books that assigned white students to one set of schools and Black students to another. In the aftermath of the decision, the question became: What other kinds of racially segregated public schools might violate the equal-protection guarantee? Many laws or policies that did not explicitly mention race nonetheless resulted in schools that were primarily white and primarily Black. For example, given the prevalence of residential segregation in the U.S., assigning students to neighborhood schools often resulted in, and still results in, racially segregated schools.After Brown, some school districts adopted so-called school-choice plans that allowed parents to pick which schools their children attended. In the 1960s, the Court held that a school-choice plan was not legal if it resulted in schools that were primarily white or Black. Many other school-assignment plans, such as policies that assign students to schools in their neighborhood, also resulted in similarly segregated schools.In 1976, in Washington v. Davis, the Supreme Court concluded that the equal-protection clause allowed the government to adopt facially neutral policies that produce adverse effects on the basis of race. (The decision involved a challenge to the District of Columbia’s hiring and promotion tests for police officers.) As a result of the decision, schools were no longer required to affirmatively and proactively integrate. Instead, the schools could do nothing to address persistent segregation, and they could even take some actions to enable it. The decision ensured that facially neutral school-assignment policies that resulted in segregated schools were largely immune from judicial scrutiny. It represented, in the words of the University of Chicago law professor David Strauss, “the taming of Brown”—a way of limiting the decision so that it did not actually require integrated schools.The shift in the Court’s religion-clause cases accomplished much the same thing: It eliminated one method of achieving racially integrated schools. One of the ways that white parents avoided sending their children to integrated public schools was to opt to send their children to segregated private schools. Some of these schools were known as “segregation academies.” As the University of Virginia law professors John Jeffries and Jim Ryan noted in their history of the establishment clause, “by the late 1960s, both the rural and the urban South faced imminent desegregation. The result was a dramatic explosion in the number of private schools and a turn to church-based education.” Jeffries and Ryan also noted that the Court’s equal-protection-clause cases requiring integration contributed to the rise of private religious education: “The demise of freedom-of-choice … triggered a massive exodus of whites from public schools and a scramble to find private alternatives.” (The majority in Espinoza cited Jeffries and Ryan’s article as a source for their interpretation of the religion clauses, so the justices are aware of this history.)To challenge government support for private religious schools that discriminated on the basis of race, civil-rights advocates relied not just on the equal-protection clause, but also on the religion clauses, and the establishment clause in particular, because the government was supporting particular religions and religious instruction. In the obituary for Alton Lemon, the lead plaintiff in the Court’s foundational establishment-clause case on government support for religious schools, Lemon v. Kurtzman, The New York Times noted that the suit challenging government aid to religious schools relied on both the equal-protection and the establishment clauses. “The case was decided against the backdrop of resistance to the desegregation of public schools,” the obituary explained. The establishment clause, like the equal-protection clause, was one of the tools that civil-rights advocates used to counter that resistance—to try to stop the government from supporting private religious schools whose discriminatory practices undermined the development of racially integrated public schools.Private religious schools do not have to discriminate on the basis of race. But at the time, quite a number of them did. And they continued to for some time, at least through the 1980s.Today, racial discrimination is no longer the kind of discrimination that the religion clauses address. Instead, the modern religion-clause cases tend to involve discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, women, or women’s health care, as in the cases challenging the requirements that employers offer health-insurance coverage for contraception.[Read: What do religious women think of the contraceptive mandate?]Fulton itself underscores how the religion clauses have become a shield against states’ efforts to prohibit discrimination—in this case against LGBTQ couples. In Philadelphia, the government has conditioned a benefit, a government contract, on contractors’ agreement not to discriminate against certain groups. The government is not imposing an antidiscrimination obligation on everyone and threatening to send individuals to jail if they do not comply; it is instead conditioning the receipt of a benefit on an entity’s acceptance of a generally applicable nondiscrimination provision that does not single out religious institutions. If the Court accepts the challengers’ argument, then the Court will be further weaponizing the religion clauses to serve as shields against state antidiscrimination efforts.The Court has justified the changes in the law on the basis of the Court’s assessment of the history of the constitutional clauses and the meaning of the text. But it is no coincidence that those interpretations happened to line up with the views of the social movements that propelled to victory the presidents who nominated the Supreme Court justices. Those movements have had only greater victories since—one just this week—and they may well reap more victories this term.
Op-Ed: Democracies around the world are under threat. Ours is no exception
Few democracies these days are killed by coups. They die when aspiring autocrats get elected and subvert democracy from inside.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he's '100% sure' he will never box professionally again
Since retiring from professional boxing with an unmatched 50-0 record, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has turned his attention to promoting and mentoring the next generation of fighters.
Here’s Everything New on Netflix in November 2020—And What’s Leaving
Netflix’s award-winning original series The Crown returns for a fourth season on November 15. The cast for the British Royal Family in season 3 will be back, including Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, and viewers can also expect to meet Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher…
Live election updates: Trump, Biden continue visiting battleground states three days away from election
There are now just three days to Election Day, and more than 85 million people have already voted, according to numbers compiled by @electproject.
'The most visited state': Trump, Biden barnstorm Pennsylvania as key state on final campaign weekend
Pennsylvania, where Trump and Biden will each campaign on the final campaign weekend, could be the tipping point deciding who wins the White House.
Four more states could legalize marijuana this November
Voters in Arizona, South Dakota, Montana and New Jersey, could join 11 other states in making legalizing recreational marijuana through ballot measures next month.
Despite suppression tactics, young voters are 'raising hell' with historic early voting turnout
Young voters face voting obstacles from cumbersome voter ID laws to a lack of polling places. Still, they're turning out in historic numbers.
Yurts, meditation and medication: Getting through election night by tuning it out
The election is winding to a close, but election night might provide more drama than closures. Instead of refreshing social media into the wee hours, some people are choosing to avoid the news altogether and tune in when there's more clarity.
Here’s What’s New on Amazon Prime in November 2020
From 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' to 'Something's Gotta Give'
Melania Trump, Jim Carroll: Partnering to help America's children live their best, drug-free lives
We reinforce our commitment to ensuring that the American people and our youth can live in strong, safe, and healthy communities that are drug-free.
‘Princess Bride,’ ‘Seinfeld’ and more: How nostalgic cast reunions became a Democratic fundraising weapon
“I wanted to do this for Wisconsin,” says actor Bradley Whitford, of a “West Wing” event, “and then it turned into this kind of behemoth.”
Coronavirus has claimed more than 90,000 lives in Mexico, muting the country's iconic Day of the Dead
The pandemic has quieted one of the country's signature holidays — Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, when Mexicans honor deceased loved ones in often-boisterous fashion.
Letters to the Editor: It won't be enough to vote out Trump. His enablers must be defeated too
Trump is a transparently malevolent force in politics. Problem is, the Republican Party supports him.
College football kickoff: Midseason awards and the constant threat of coronavirus
Eight weekends of college football are in the rear-view window and eight more Saturdays are (hopefully) still to come prior to the selection of this year’s playoff field.
Letters to the Editor: The Dodgers finally won, but readers are mostly booing Justin Turner
Justin Turner brushed aside his COVID-19 diagnosis and joined the Dodgers -- and made the conversation about him and not the World Series.
Letters to the Editor: Why moving to New Zealand (or anywhere else) isn't an option if Trump wins
It's hard enough to move to New Zealand, but Americans aren't really welcome anywhere else because of their country's mishandling of COVID-19.
What Time Do Clocks Go Back? What You Need to Know About Daylight Saving Time's Fall Back
Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott pushed this year to keep daylight saving time as a temporary fixture of American life, but the Senate never voted on the bill.
All Policies Are Economic Policies
Slate Money talks the Trump economy, dual interest rates, and Chewy.
Letters to the Editor: Hey, UCLA, why not feed your food-insecure students like your football players?
UCLA's football players eat gourmet meals that cost millions of dollars per year, while some students on campus can barely afford food at all.
School to student: You took too many courses. No senior year for you.
Michigan high school student fights penalty for learning too much,
In Virginia, fight against gun control gives rise to armed militias
Lauded by supporters as community benefactors, militia movement stokes racial tension.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Son Dropped Out of Law School
A mutual love of music turned into a lifelong pursuit for Jim Ginsburg.
Justice Alito’s “Cloud of Doubt” Is a Worrying Echo of Trump
Don’t blame the court’s victims, blame its systems.
Young Black men a political prize for both sides
Both campaigns are focusing down the stretch on young Black men. The group is traditionally less likely to vote — and more likely to vote Republican — than other African Americans.
What Tommy Tuberville’s Former Auburn Players Think of His Trump-Loving Senate Run
"All I could think is, why?"
Floyd Mayweather: I'm not fighting boxers anymore
Legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather tells CNN en Español that he isn't going to fight boxers anymore in the ring, but he is open to other combat sportsmen boxing against him.
Honestly, to Hell With Self-Care Right Now
Throw tantrums instead.
2 officers 'ambushed' in New Orleans by shooter on pedicab: Police
One of the officers is in serious but stable condition, the other suffered minor injuries.
Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird announce engagement
Professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe announced her engagement Friday after proposing to her longtime girlfriend, WNBA guard Sue Bird.
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Mega Millions Results, Numbers for 10/30/20: Did Anyone Win the $118 Million Jackpot Last Night?
Lucky ticket holders scooped a range of prizes in the Friday night draw.
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US coronavirus cases break global daily record, and experts warn it will only get worse
The US reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday -- the highest single day number of cases recorded for any country. The top five records in daily cases all occurred within eight days, and an expert says he worries the upward trend will push hospitals past capacity.
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If you decide to go trick or treating Saturday, you'll get an extra special full moon
Not everybody is trick or treating this Halloween.
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D.C.-area forecast: Cool but sunny today, with another strong cold front arriving Sunday
Seasonably chilly yet decent for Halloween activities. Tomorrow doesn't look so nice.
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Voice of Bugs Bunny, Eric Bauza, shares the secret behind the 'Looney Tunes' star’s success 80 years later
The cottontail hare made his grand debut in the summer of 1940.
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David Bossie: Trump will be reelected — here is his path to an Electoral College victory
President Trump has a clear path to the 270 electoral votes he needs for reelection — and the map is not dissimilar to his historic 306-vote Electoral College landslide in 2016.
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Voting 2020 updates: Texas early vote count surges past 2016 numbers; massive number of lawsuits already filed; COVID shutters Florida poll
Early voting has swept across the US in record form, including by a 99-year-old first-time voter. There are lots of lawsuits. News you need to know.       
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How The Lincoln Project Keeps Going Viral
The anti-Trump group has amassed 2.6 million Twitter followers and continues to utilize its reach to take shots at President Trump and his allies.
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Brace for a Blizzard of Disinformation
Last month, Donald Trump Jr. squinted grimly into a camera—his hair slicked, his voice hoarse—and issued a call to arms for MAGA nation.“The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father,” he declared in a video posted to the Trump campaign’s Facebook page. “Their plan is to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel your vote and overturn the election.” To defeat these scheming radicals, he warned, they’d need “every able-bodied man [and] woman” to join an organization called the Army for Trump: “We need you to help us watch them.”Like so much of Donald Trump’s presidency, the recruitment video straddled the line between menacing and self-parodic. Don Jr.’s claim was preposterous on its face (no, a massive voter-fraud conspiracy is not under way in America), and his militaristic rhetoric had the faintly silly quality of cosplay. But the “election-security operation” he was pitching is actually a key element of the Trump campaign’s closing strategy—and its capacity to wreak havoc next week could be significant.In the coming days, thousands of pro-Trump poll watchers are set to fan out across battleground states—smartphones in hand—and post themselves outside voting locations to hunt for evidence of fraud. This “army” has been coached on what to look for, and instructed to record anything that seems suspicious. The Trump campaign says these videos will be used in potential legal challenges; critics say their sole purpose is to intimidate voters. But in recent conversations with a range of unnerved Democrats and researchers, I was offered another scenario: If the president decides to contest the election’s results, his campaign could let loose a blizzard of misleading, decontextualized video clips as “proof” that the vote can’t be trusted.“The goal here is really not producing evidence that stands up for any length of time,” Laura Quinn, a progressive researcher monitoring election disinformation, told me. “They’re interested in sowing just enough doubt … to develop this narrative of fraud—not only so that he can contest the election, not only so that he can refuse to concede a loss, but also so that some portion of his supporters will remain embittered and be able to say the results were illegitimate.” (A spokesperson for the Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this story.)[Read: The billion-dollar disinformation campaign to reelect the president]Partisan poll-watching has a long history in American politics—Trump did not invent it. But this is the first presidential election since 1982 in which the Republican National Committee is allowed to organize such activities without permission from a federal court. For nearly four decades, the party was restricted by a consent decree issued after a New Jersey election in which Republicans allegedly hired off-duty police officers to patrol minority neighborhoods wearing “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands. The decree expired in 2018.This history, combined with the president’s support among militias and other extremist groups, has fueled fears that the Army for Trump could lead to confrontation and even violence at the polls. In September, a noisy crowd of Trump supporters was accused of intimidating voters and disrupting an early-voting location in Fairfax, Virginia. (The Virginia Republican Party responded to these complaints on Twitter: “Quick! Someone call the waaaambulance!”)But the poll watchers’ real influence may not be felt until they go home and start uploading their videos. Three Democratic strategists who are involved in post-election “scenario planning” told me that—barring a blowout on Election Night—Americans should expect a last-ditch disinformation blitz from Trump and his allies to create the impression of wide-scale cheating. (The Democrats requested anonymity to candidly describe strategy discussions.)“This Election Day poll-watching will be part of a whole campaign to dispute, delay, and bring into doubt the counts in various states,” one Democrat told me. “[Trump] has been setting up the rigged-election narrative for a while,” another told me, “and he needs tools to show that the votes that are rolling in are probably these rigged votes: So here’s the video evidence!”Some of the Democratic hand-wringing had a slightly panicked, paranoid quality, rooted in the trauma of 2016. “Will there be photos and videos purporting to be, for instance, Chinese intelligence agents stuffing ballot boxes?” one Democrat mused. “Probably, yes. And even if the quality of these videos is poor and the provenance is suspect, they will have at least some audience.”Of course, Trump could simply win or lose the race outright, without any of the drama that many are anticipating. But it’s not far-fetched to expect a spike in unsubstantiated voter-fraud claims around Election Day. Such rumors often gain traction in the final days of a presidential race—and Trump and his media allies have been especially invested in amplifying them this year.Nate Snyder, who served as a counterterrorism official at the Department of Homeland Security under Barack Obama, told me that if Trump contests the election results, things could quickly “converge into a perfect storm of disinformation.” In the already-overheated political environment, foreign adversaries could circulate conspiracy theories online, while domestic trolls and extremist groups amplify their own toxic messages. Chaos would be the goal—and Snyder says United States intelligence agencies are preparing for it.“But I’ll be pretty blunt about this,” he added. “We have a unique situation now where we have to worry about what we’d call, in security terms, an ‘insider threat.’ You have a president who is focused on pushing out whatever kind of information, from whatever sources, to help his narrative.” It might not just be Russian trolls and “boogaloo boys” trying to “sow discord,” he said—the president himself may be part of that effort.[Read: The election that could break America]There are reasons to doubt the sophistication of Trump’s operation. His campaign has hemorrhaged money this year, and suffered several high-profile logistical failures. (Remember Tulsa?) A recent perusal of the #ArmyforTrump hashtag on Twitter revealed that it had been temporarily hijacked by K-pop fans. And my own efforts, earlier this fall, to enlist in the campaign’s poll-watching efforts in Virginia were unsuccessful. After an initial phone call asking if I was willing to travel to another state (I said I was), I never heard back. It’s possible that someone spotted my name on the list and screened me out because I’m a reporter. But it seems just as likely that my application was lost in the shuffle of a disorganized campaign office.Some Democrats, meanwhile, are skeptical that collecting and amplifying video “evidence” of voter fraud will actually benefit the president. “Nothing has done more to bolster people’s faith in voting early and in person than videos of people perfectly happy to wait in line to vote Trump out of office,” Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told me. Prioritizing conspiracy theories over conventional get-out-the-vote efforts, he added, “would be consistent with every other incompetent Trump strategy.”Still, if the Trump era has taught us anything, it’s that a well-oiled political machine isn’t necessary to cause chaos. As I’ve written before, the most effective modern disinformation is defined by what scholars call “censorship through noise”—drowning out the truth with a barrage of lies, distortions, and conspiracy theories designed to confuse and exhaust.“Bad actors aim to break down trust because it makes us insecure,” Jiore Craig, a researcher who advises Democratic campaigns on disinformation, told me. “When we’re insecure, we’re defensive, and when we’re defensive for a long time, we get tired—and when we’re tired, we’re easy to control.” She told me that her recent research suggests a level of fatigue in the electorate right now that could easily curdle into apathy, making it difficult to sort out truth from lies if the election becomes a long, complicated, drawn-out affair.“The danger,” Craig said, “is that you just go with the loudest voice in the room to put it to an end.”
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