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Jeffrey Epstein accuser sues gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell, claims she ‘oversaw the process’

Jeffrey Epstein accuser Jennifer Araoz sued the late pedophile’s estate and his gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell on Wednesday as part of the first wave of civil actions under the newly enacted Child Victims Act. Araoz said she was just 15 when the financier raped her at his tony Manhattan townhouse. In her Manhattan Supreme Court...
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Adidas expects profit rebound as COVID-19 shakes up fashion world
Coronavirus-fueled office closures have provided a surprising boost to Adidas, which on Thursday announced it expects to return to profitability in the third quarter as more customers dress down as they work from home. The German sportswear giant’s CEO told reporters that customers in the 18-34 age group say they plan to spend more time...
nypost.com
Beirut residents search for missing loved ones: "It might be too late"
Ghassan Hasrouty is one of dozens who have not been heard from since the devastating blasts that left more than 130 dead and thousands wounded.
cbsnews.com
North Korea ships massive aid supplies to city with coronavirus scare, despite regime still claiming no cases
A North Korean city placed in an “ultra-emergency state” over a suspected coronavirus case has been sent more than 550,000 aid items, the country’s state media is reporting Thursday, despite the Hermit Kingdom’s continued insistence that the disease doesn’t exist within its borders. 
foxnews.com
How NYC plans to restart TV, film and stage productions
“It’s been very hard to see these industries that are really so definitive of NYC just (struggling) to find a way forward."
nypost.com
After Isaias rocks Each Coast, more storms on the way
Millions are still without power Thursday morning.
abcnews.go.com
Poseidon's Huntington Beach desalination plant still in choppy waters
Does Orange County need all that expensive water from Poseidon's proposed seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach?
latimes.com
This dirt pile sold for $1.2 million in New York City
The owner of this empty lot in Manhattan will need a lot of imagination to fill it. Originally listed for $1.5 million, this plop of dirt in Washington Heights is 25 feet by 90 feet and came with overgrown weeds, old asphalt and a creepy back building that could work as a two-car garage —...
nypost.com
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ on Hulu, a Feelgood Charmer and Lazy Southern Parable
Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen pal around on the coast, feelgood-style.
nypost.com
Biden Says He Wouldn't Stand In The Way Of A Trump Prosecution
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he would not stand in the way of a future Justice Department pursuing criminal charges against President Trump after he leaves office.
npr.org
What will it take for schools to reopen safely in the midst of a pandemic?
Educators, health officials and scientists are still working to understand what it will take to make schools safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
latimes.com
'This rice is life-giving!': An Eagle Rock chef shares her recipe
Cacao Mexicatessen chef Christy Lujan shares her restaurant's recipe for cilantro lime rice.
latimes.com
Thunder follow Chris Paul's lead by making noise in NBA bubble
Oklahoma City has been a longshot to win an NBA title this season after trading its two best players last summer. The Thunder are now a threat to pull an upset.
latimes.com
A Bunch of Mice Ran 11 Marathons in Six Weeks
What have you accomplished this pandemic?
slate.com
How inequality is changing the Republican Party — and breaking American politics
President Donald Trump shakes hands in 2017 with then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, as Vice President Mike Pence beams. | Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images A new book tries to untangle the relationship between white identity politics and skyrocketing inequality. Historically, conservative political parties face the problem Harvard political scientist Daniel Ziblatt calls “the conservative dilemma.” How does a party that represents the interests of moneyed elites win elections in a democracy? The dilemma sharpens as inequality widens: The more the haves have, the more have-nots there are who will vote to tax them. This is not mere ivory-tower theorizing. Conservative politicians know the bind they’re in. When Mitt Romney told a room of donors during the 2012 election that there were “47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what” because they “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” even though they “pay no income tax,” he was describing the conservative dilemma. “Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect,” he said, a bit sadly. If anything, Romney understated the case. Sure, 47 percent of Americans, in 2011, didn’t pay federal income taxes — though they paid a variety of other taxes, ranging from federal payroll taxes to state sales taxes. But slicing the electorate by income tax burden only makes sense if you’re wealthy enough for income taxes to be your primary economic irritant. That’s not true for most people. Romney’s 53 percent versus 47 percent split was a gentle rendering of an economy where the rich were siphoning off startling quantities of wealth. Occupy Wall Street’s rallying cry — “We are the 99%!” — framed the math behind the conservative dilemma more directly: How do you keep winning elections and cutting taxes for the rich in a (putative) democracy where the top 1 percent went from 11 percent of national income in 1980 to 20 percent in 2016, and the bottom 50 percent fell from 21 percent of national income in 1980 to 13 percent in 2016? How do you keep your party from being buried by the 99 percent banding together to vote that income share back into their own pockets? In their new book, Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality, political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson offer three possible answers. You can cease being a party built around tax cuts for the rich and try to develop an economic agenda that will appeal to the middle class. You can try to change the political topic, centering politics on racial, religious, and nationalist grievance. Or you can try to undermine democracy itself. Despite endless calls for the GOP to choose door No. 1 — and poll after poll showing their voting base desperate for leaders who would represent their economic interests while reflecting their cultural grievances — Republican elites have refused. Take the 2018 tax cuts. Donald Trump might have run as a populist prepared to raise taxes on plutocrats like, well, him, but according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the bill he signed gave more than 20 percent of its benefits over the first 10 years, and more than 80 percent of the benefits that last beyond the first 10 years, to the top 1 percent. For that reason, it’s one of the most unpopular bills to ever be signed into law. It’s not the kind of accomplishment you can run for reelection on. From Let Them Eat Tweets, by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson That’s left Republicans reliant on the second and third strategies. Hacker and Pierson call the resulting ideology “plutocratic populism,” and their book is sharp and thoughtful on how the GOP got here and the dangers of the path they’ve chosen. Where it’s less convincing is in its description of where “here” is: Does Trump represent the culmination of the Republican coalition or the contradictions that will ultimately tear it apart? The logic, and illogic, of plutocratic populism Plutocratic populism presents as a contradiction — like shouted silence or carnivorous vegan. The key to Hacker and Pierson’s formulation is that, in the GOP, plutocracy and populism operate on different axes. The plutocrats control economic policy, and the populists win elections by deepening racial, religious, and nationalist grievances. “To advance an unpopular plutocratic agenda, Republicans have escalated white backlash — and, increasingly, undermined democracy,” Hacker and Pierson write. “In the United States, then, plutocracy and right-wing populism have not been opposing forces. Instead, they have been locked in a doom loop of escalating extremism that must be disrupted. This is their synthesis of the great economic anxiety versus racial resentment debate. Republican elites weaponize racial resentment to win voters who would otherwise vote their economic self-interest. Hacker and Pierson are careful to sidestep the crude version that holds that ethnic and religious division are mere distractions. Voters see racial and religious dominance as political interests as compelling and legitimate as tax benefits, and the demand for politicians to reflect those underlying resentments and fears is real. David McNew/Getty Images A demonstrator questions the citizenship of President Obama at an American Family Association (AFA)-sponsored T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) Party in 2009. Weirdly, their sign says nothing about taxes. This is a key point in Hacker and Pierson’s analysis: They focus on the decisions made by GOP elites, not the desires of conservative voters. Their fundamental claim is that if Republican elites had chosen a more politically sellable economic agenda, they would have — or at least could have — resisted the lure of white resentment and still won elections. But once they made tax cuts for the rich and opposition to universal health care the immovable lodestones of their governance, they had little political choice save to power their movement with the dirty, but abundant, energy offered by ethnonationalism. The most compelling evidence Hacker and Pierson cite for this argument comes from a study conducted by political scientists Margit Tavits and Joshua Potter, which looked at party platforms from 450 parties in 41 countries between 1945 and 2010. Tavits and Potter find that as inequality rises, conservative parties ratchet up their emphasis on religious and racial grievances — particularly in countries with deep racial and religious fractures. The pivot only works, Tavits and Potter say, when there is high “social demand” for ethnonationalist conflict. The question this raises, and which Hacker and Pierson don’t really answer, is what would happen to this demand in the absence of conservative politicians willing to meet it — particularly in an age of weakened political parties, demographic change, and identitarian social media? Trump’s rise, which Hacker and Pierson present as the culmination of plutocratic populism, can also be read as a symptom of its mounting internal contradictions, and of the way Republicans voters are increasingly capable of demanding the representation they want. It may be that the uneasy coalition that married white identitarians to Davos Man is breaking apart. Indeed, reading Hacker and Pierson’s book, I found myself wondering whether inequality was, itself, the cause of the coalition’s collapse: Perhaps the plutocratic agenda is becoming too unpopular to even survive Republican presidential primaries. And if that’s so, is the future of the Republican Party more moderate on all fronts, or more purely ethnonationalist? The Donald Trump question If you survey the modern Republican party, the figures most intent on turning it into a vehicle for ethnonationalist resentment are the least committed to the plutocratic agenda. Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, Sen. Josh Hawley, and 2016 candidate Donald Trump are all examples of the trend: they are, or were, explicit in their desire to sever the ties that yoke angry nationalism and a desire for a whiter America to Paul Ryan’s budget. Conversely, the Republican figures most committed to plutocracy — like Ryan or the Koch Brothers or the Chamber of Commerce — tend to back immigration reform, recoil from ethnonationalist rhetoric, and in 2016, they opposed Trump in favor of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. They just lost on all those fronts. Hacker and Pierson emphasize the fact that once in office, Trump abandoned populist pretense and gave the Chamber of Commerce everything it had ever wanted and more. But as with so much else with Trump, it can be hard to distinguish decision-making from disinterest. Trump outsourced the staffing of his White House to the Koch-soaked Mike Pence and his agenda to congressional Republicans. The question, then, is whether the dissonance of his administration represents an inevitability of Republican Party politics or simply a lag between Trump demonstrating the base’s prioritization of ethnonationalist resentment and a politician who will both win and govern on those terms. This is the central unanswered question of Hacker and Pierson’s book: If you cut the plutocrats out of the party, either because bigotry drove them out or campaign finance reform neutered them or the Ayn Rand-rapture ascended them, would their absence lead to a Republican Party that moderates on economics and eases off the ethnonationalism, or would it lead to a Republican Party that moderates on economics so it can more effectively pursue social division? Put differently, do you get 2000-era John McCain or 2020-era Tucker Carlson? I suspect the latter. Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon Tucker Carlson abandoned conservative economics in favor of a purer, more confrontational ethnonationalism, and it’s made him Fox News’s highest-rated host, and spurred talk of a 2024 presidential run. Hacker and Pierson admit they are assessing the GOP as an elite-led institution, and quite often, that’s probably the right way to look at it. But they end up virtually ignoring the power that Republican voters actually hold and, when they are sufficiently offended, wield. Bush and Rubio and Christie were humiliated in 2016. GOP-led efforts at immigration reform failed in 2007 and 2013. Majority Leader Eric Cantor was deposed by Rep. Dave Brat. The Republican autopsy, which recommended that the GOP become more racially and generationally inclusive, was ignored. At key moments, Fox News tried to support immigration reform and deflate Trump, and it lost those fights, and remade itself in Trump’s image. There are lines even conservative media can’t cross. Hacker and Pierson marshal data showing the very rich are more economically conservative than the median voter, but also more socially liberal. As the GOP becomes more crudely identitarian, there’s some evidence that it’s losing the economic elites who George W. Bush once called “my base”: Contributions from the Forbes 400 have been tipping toward the Democratic Party in recent decades, and there’s reason to believe that’s accelerated under Trump. Hillary Clinton won the country’s richest zip codes in 2016 — a change from past Democratic performance — while Trump’s electoral college win relied on gains among lower-income whites. Hacker and Pierson don’t assess the Democratic Party much in their book, but the future of plutocratic populism likely depends on the direction that coalition takes. Joe Biden’s Democratic Party is a tent restive billionaires might feel comfortable in. Yes, they’ll pay higher taxes, but they’ll also receive competent protection from pandemics, and won’t have to explain away the white nationalists in their ranks. If Bernie Sanders’s vision is the future of the Democratic Party, billionaires will remain in the Republican Party, where they are at least seen as allies. Minoritarian authoritarians The most chilling argument in Hacker and Pierson’s book is that Trump’s rhetoric has focused us on the wrong authoritarian threat. The fear that he would entrench himself as an individual strongman has distracted from the reality that his party is insulating itself from democracy: As their goals have become more extreme, Republicans and their organized allies have increasingly exploited long-standing but worsening vulnerabilities in our political system to lock in narrow priorities, even in the face of majority opposition. The specter we face is not just a strongman bending a party and our political institutions to his will; it is also a minority faction entrenching itself in power, beyond the ambitions and careers of any individual leader. Whether Trump can break through the barriers against autocracy, he and his party—with plutocratic and right-wing backing—are breaking majoritarian democracy. A useful thought experiment in American politics is simply to imagine what would happen if the system worked the way we tend to tell our children it works: Whoever wins the most votes wins the election. In that case, George W. Bush would never have passed his tax cuts nor made his Supreme Court nominations, and neither would Donald Trump. The Republican Party would likely have had to moderate its approach on both economics and social and racial issues, as there’d be no viable path forward that combines an economic agenda that repels most voters and a social agenda that offends the rising demographic majority. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in 2012, before becoming first Trump’s most slashing critic and then one of his most sycophantic defenders, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” As I argue in my book on polarization, which similarly ends with a call for democratization, if Trump had won exactly as many votes in 2016 but lost the election because of it, he and his followers would be blamed for blowing a clearly winnable contest and handing the Supreme Court to the Democrats for a generation. In that world, the toxic tendencies he represents would be weakened, and the Republican Party, having lost three presidential elections in a row, would have been far likelier to reform itself. Its ability to keep traveling the path of plutocratic populism stems entirely from the minoritarian possibilities embedded in America’s political institutions. Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images Hundreds of activists, mostly women, gathered in front of Trump International in Columbus Circle for a “Not My President!” rally in December 2016. As Hacker and Pierson show, this is a point of true convergence between the identitarians and the plutocrats: Both have lost confidence that they can win elections democratically so they have sought to rewrite the rules in their favor. What hold on power they retain comes from the way American politics amplifies the power of whiter, more rural, more conservative areas — and that’s given the conservative coalition a closing window in which to rig the system such that they can retain control. America does not exist in a steady state of tension between majoritarian and minoritarian institutions. Those institutions can be changed, and they are being changed. A party in power can rewrite the rules in its own favor, and the Republican Party, at every level, is trying to do just that — using power won through white identity politics and geographic advantage, but deploying strategies patiently funded by plutocrats. As Hacker and Pierson write: Recent GOP moves in North Carolina show what’s possible in a closely balanced state. Republicans first took the statehouse in 2010. They quickly enlisted the leading Republican architect of extreme partisan gerrymanders, Thomas Hofeller. A mostly anonymous figure until his death in 2018, Hofeller liked to describe gerrymandering as “the only legalized form of vote-stealing left in the United States.” He once told an audience of state legislators, “Redistricting is like an election in reverse. It’s a great event. Usually the voters get to pick the politicians. In redistricting, the politicians get to pick the voters.” In 2018, North Carolina Republicans won their “election in reverse,” keeping hold of the statehouse even while losing the statewide popular vote. In North Carolina’s races for the US House, Republicans won half the statewide votes and 77 percent of the seats. A global elections watchdog ranked North Carolina’s “electoral integrity” alongside that of Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has sought to reword the census so Hispanics fear filling it out, in the hope that the political representation they’d normally receive flows to white, Republican voters instead. So far, the White House has been too clumsily explicit about the aims of this strategy for courts to clear it, but that’s a mistake that can easily be remedied by savvier successors. Hacker and Pierson argue that the conservative dilemma matters because conservative parties matter. History shows that democratic systems thrive amid responsible conservative parties — parties that make their peace with democracy and build agendas that can successfully compete for votes — and they collapse when conservative parties back themselves into defending constituencies and agendas so narrow that their only path to victory is to rig the system in their favor. This is the cliff on which American democracy now teeters. The threat isn’t that Donald Trump will carve his face onto Mt. Rushmore and engrave his name across the White House. It’s that the awkward coalition that nominated and sustains him will entrench itself, not their bumbling standard-bearer, by turning America into a government by the ethnonationalist minority, for the plutocratic minority. Further Listening I spoke with Hacker and Pierson about their book, and the questions it raised for me, on my podcast, The Ezra Klein Show. Listen here, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your pods. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
vox.com
Joe Biden unable to answer softball questions and media's silence is 'mind-blowing,' says Sarah Sanders
It is "shocking" how quiet the mainstream media is reacting to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's incoherent answers to "softball" questions, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told "Fox & Friends" Thursday.
foxnews.com
Pete Hamill: From high school dropout to legendary journalist
Errol Louis writes about the incredible life of Pete Hamill, who died Wednesday at the age of 85
edition.cnn.com
Grammy-winning producer Detail charged with more than a dozen counts of sexual assault
Detail, a Grammy Award-winning music producer behind hits from Beyonce, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa, was arrested on Wednesday on more than a dozen counts of sexual assault.
foxnews.com
Rep. Rodney Davis tests positive for COVID-19
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis has tested positive for coronavirus, less than one week after he delivered a presentation on staying safe from the virus in the Capitol. Davis, the top-ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee, was diagnosed Wednesday morning, he said in a statement. The congressman said he had been giving himself twice-daily temperature...
nypost.com
Jake Paul’s neighbors heard ‘mysterious explosions’ before FBI raid
Jake Paul was already facing a $2 million tax lien when a cache of weapons was found in an FBI raid.
nypost.com
Zoe Kravitz’s ‘High Fidelity’ Reboot Canceled at Hulu
Top five TV heartbreaks, go.
nypost.com
Hiroshima survivors mark 75th anniversary of attack, urge ban on nuclear weapons
Survivors of the world’s first atomic bombing gathered in diminished numbers near an iconic, blasted dome Thursday to mark the attack’s 75th anniversary, many of them urging the world, and their own government, to do more to ban nuclear weapons.
foxnews.com
Cacao Mexicatessen Cilantro Lime Rice
This vegan cilantro lime rice is the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
latimes.com
Bellator 243's Georgi Karakhanyan looks to make statement against Myles Jury
Veteran Georgi Karakhanyan looks to make it two straight victories when he meets Myles Jury on the main card of Bellator 243.        Related StoriesBenson Henderson skeptical of Michael Chandler's 'knockout warrior' self-assessmentBellator 243's Sabah Homasi relieved to learn relatives safe in Beirut explosionA free agent after Bellator 243, Michael Chandler keeping options open 
usatoday.com
Ellen Pompeo stuck with 'Grey's Anatomy' all this time for the money: 'I’m financially set'
Ellen Pompeo revealed the main reason she’s stuck with “Grey’s Anatomy” all this time simply comes down to financial security. 
foxnews.com
US workers file over 1 million jobless claims for 20th straight week
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits topped 1 million for the twentieth straight week — bringing the total number of initial jobless claims filed during the coronavirus pandemic to more than 55 million. An additional 1.186 million people filed for unemployment last week, according to the US Department of Labor. Jobless claims were...
nypost.com
Coronavirus live updates: Dr. Deborah Birx warns of 'different' outbreak; testing declines amid delays; L.A. cutting power to party houses
The Department of Labor releases its latest jobless claims figures Thursday. Congress anticipates relief package by week's end. Latest COVID-19 news.        
usatoday.com
Meghan McCain is Sick of “B.S.” Questions About Leaving ‘The View’: “I Hate This”
Do you really think Meghan McCain would miss an election cycle?
nypost.com
Fewer Americans filing for unemployment aid
The number of people applying for initial unemployment benefits fell below 2 million for the first time since March.
cbsnews.com
Portland Riots Continue After Withdrawal of Federal Officers; Target Local Police
Riots have continued in Portland, Oregon, for several nights despite the withdrawal of federal law enforcement officials, as left-wing activists from Black Lives Matter and Antifa have attacked local police and battled them in the city streets.
breitbart.com
'Nothing compares': Unemployment filings top 1 million for 20th straight week
The unprecedented streak of jobless claims has shattered all previous records.
abcnews.go.com
Car recalls for July 30-Aug. 6
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued recalls for July 30 through Aug. 6.       
usatoday.com
Giancarlo Stanton checks out Vanessa Hudgens as model ex moves on
There appears to be a new beauty on Giancarlo Stanton's mind.
nypost.com
Sally Yates is probably ‘on the very short list’ for AG in a Biden administration, Ian Prior says
FBI agents arbitrarily used the Logan Act to interview former national security adviser Michael Flynn in order to "set him up to lie," former Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said on Thursday. 
foxnews.com
ACLU files nearly 400 cases versus Trump
As of this week, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed nearly 400 lawsuits and other legal actions against President Donald Trump's administration
abcnews.go.com
Bella Hadid flips off NYPD officers for not wearing masks: ‘U guys look goofy’
Bella Hadid stuck up her middle finger at the NYPD for not wearing masks as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
foxnews.com
Layoffs: 1.2M workers file for unemployment amid COVID-19 spikes, pushing total in crisis above 55M
Another 1.2M workers sought unemployment benefits -- a measure of layoffs -- last week, pushing the total in the crisis above 55 million      
usatoday.com
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to testify on federal agents' actions in Portland protests
Oregon officials say the federal government's presence in the city fueled violence and civil liberties experts raised concerns.        
usatoday.com
Thousands still without power in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut days after Tropical Storm Isaias
Tropical Storm Isaias ripped through New Jersey with winds reaching close to 70 mph,        
usatoday.com
Facebook launches app for Instagram that looks a lot like TikTok
Facebook is launching a new app for Instagram called Reels. The app is almost identical to popular social media app TikTok.       
usatoday.com
Another 1.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week
The recovery from America's jobs crisis seems to have hit a roadblock, and weekly claims for unemployment benefits are proof of that.
edition.cnn.com
Chip and Joanna Gaines bringing 'Fixer Upper' back
"Fixer Upper" fans have something to look forward to next year.
edition.cnn.com
PEN America Study Says Hollywood Increasingly Normalizing Self-Censorship to Appease China
The left-wing PEN America has repeatedly attacked President Donald Trump as a menace to free speech. Now the elite cultural organization finds itself in the awkward position of agreeing with the Trump administration on the issue of Hollywood's cozy relationship with China's Communist regime, which is suppressing the freedom of expression around the world.
breitbart.com
Long Island residents rip PSEG for poor customer service after Isaias
Long Island residents say their electricity company has been missing in action — except to flag a fake Twitter account that had been mocking the utility after Tropical Storm Isaias knocked out power throughout the region. “We are aware of a fake Twitter account mimicking our official company account @PSEGLI,” PSEG Long Island tweeted Wednesday...
nypost.com
Romance Novels Help Shape Our Understanding of Desire
Romance novels keep teaching us what we like, what we don’t like, and the happily ever afters we want for ourselves.
slate.com
U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Fall to 1.19 Million, Lowest Level of Coronavirus Pandemic
Economists had expected around 1.4 million.
breitbart.com
WWE legend Marty Jannetty’s apparent murder confession sparks police probe
An apparent murder confession by former WWE star Marty Jannetty is prompting cops in Georgia to launch an investigation, according to a report. The former intercontinental and tag team champ who rose to stardom as part of “The Rockers” duo with Shawn Michaels in the late 1980s and early 90s said he “made a man...
nypost.com
Vice President Mike Pence calls Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts 'a disappointment to conservatives'
Pence held up Roberts as a political siren call to remind Republican voters "just how important this election is for the future of the Supreme Court."        
usatoday.com
Trump’s radical lawsuit against Nevada’s vote-by-mail law, explained
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on August 4, 2020, in Washington, DC. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images It’s Bush v. Gore all over again. On Monday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed legislation intended to ensure that voters in his state can still cast a ballot during the Covid-19 pandemic. Among other things, the new law (known as AB4) provides that registered Nevada voters will automatically receive a ballot in the mail, a common practice in Western states. It also requires the state to provide a minimum number of polling places for in-person voters, both on Election Day and for early voting. President Trump’s response to this new law was apoplectic. On Tuesday, one day after AB4 became law, Trump’s lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party, seeking to block it. Their legal complaint in Donald J. Trump for President v. Cegavske is not a model of careful legal argumentation. It claims, for example, that AB4 changed Nevada law to allow mailed-in ballots without postmarks to be counted so long as they arrive within three days of Election Day. In fact, Nevada law already allowed such ballots to be counted. An entire section of the complaint focuses on the fact that AB4 was enacted “on a weekend vote” — the state House approved the bill on a Friday, but the Senate passed it on a Sunday — without explaining how the day of the bill’s passage was relevant to its legality. Though Trump for President v. Cegavske (the named defendant is Barbara Cegavske, Nevada’s secretary of state) targets several provisions of Nevada’s election law, its most significant attacks focus on two provisions — the provision allowing some late-arriving ballots to be counted, and a provision requiring the state’s two most populous counties to have a higher minimum number of polling places than less populous counties. It’s not hard to guess why Trump wants late-arriving mail-in ballots to be tossed out. Multiple polls have shown that Biden voters prefer to vote by mail, while Trump voters are much more likely to vote in person. Trump has spent the past several months attacking states that try to make it easier to vote by mail — though he recently claimed that mail-in ballots in Florida are fine because “Florida’s got a great Republican governor.” In any event, Trump’s lawsuit suffers from several fundamental flaws. Some of its arguments rely on federal statutes that most likely cannot be enforced through a lawsuit brought by a private party. Others rest on speculation about how certain provisions of AB4 will be implemented. Important prongs of Trump’s legal arguments rest on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore (2000), an opinion that explicitly states its decision is “limited to the present circumstances” and therefore should not be relied on by future courts. And beyond that, at least some of Trump’s arguments would lead to sweeping progressive results that he probably would not like, if they were embraced by federal courts. Trump would not like the implications of his own legal arguments AB4 requires all Nevada counties to have at least one in-person early voting site in every county and at least one in-person polling place on Election Day. Only two Nevada counties have more than 60,000 residents, and those two counties are required to have additional polling sites. Washoe County (Reno), with nearly 500,000 residents, must have at least 15 early voting sites and 25 sites on the day of the election. Clark County (Las Vegas), with more than 2.2 million residents, must have at least 35 early sites and at least 100 on Election Day. The Trump team claims this arrangement is unconstitutional and relies heavily on Bush v. Gore to make its case. One of the ironies of Bush v. Gore is that if the Supreme Court actually took its own holding in that case seriously, Bush would have been one of the most progressive election law decisions in American history. The specific issue in Bush, which effectively handed the presidency to George W. Bush, concerned a recount of the ballots cast in Florida’s extraordinarily close 2000 presidential contest between Bush and Democrat Al Gore. The majority in Bush faulted Florida election officials for failing to apply “uniform rules” to this recount — an unclearly marked ballot might be counted in one Florida county while a ballot with the same unclear marking might be rejected in another. This lack of one statewide standard, according to a majority of the justices, injected too much arbitrariness into the recount. But Bush also contains sweeping language suggesting that any disparate treatment of voters within a state may be constitutionally suspect. “Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms,” the majority concluded in Bush, “the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.” One reason Bush was widely criticized by legal scholars is because this expansive approach to voter equality was hard to square with prior, more parsimonious voting rights decisions handed down by conservative justices who joined the Bush majority. As Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and a member of Gore’s legal team in Bush, wrote in 2003, “the ‘right’ ostensibly protected by the majority in Bush v. Gore seems characteristic of a class of entitlements that has received only reluctant federal protection from the Rehnquist Court.” The conservative justices’ departure from their ordinary practices, their decision to restrict their holding to a single election, and the fact that Bush placed a Republican in the White House all gave a fairly clear impression that Bush v. Gore was an exercise of partisanship and not of legal reasoning. Moreover, the Supreme Court has since been fairly clear that it doesn’t take Bush’s approach to voter equality seriously. In the nearly two decades since Bush was decided, only one Supreme Court opinion has so much as cited Bush v. Gore, according to the legal database Lexis Advance. And that single citation appears in a footnote to a dissenting opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas that was joined by no other justice. Nevertheless, Trump’s lawyers ask the courts to take Bush’s expansive approach to voter equality very seriously. Relying on the strong language in Bush calling for all voters to be treated on “equal terms,” Trump’s lawyers argue that Nevada’s formula for setting the minimum number of polling places in each county is unconstitutional. “Several rural counties — where AB4 authorizes only 1 polling place each — have substantially higher numbers of registered voters per polling place” than the two most populous counties, they claim. As a threshold matter, this claim is premature. As the Supreme Court held in Texas v. United States (1998), “a claim is not ripe for adjudication if it rests upon ‘contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at all.’” AB4 does not require Nevada’s smaller counties to have only one polling place — it provides that those counties must have at least one polling place. It’s possible that once AB4 is actually implemented, rural counties will have roughly the same number of registered voters per polling place as urban counties. But if Trump is truly serious about implementing a voting rights standard that requires all voters to have equal access to polling sites, Democrats should agree to that deal with enthusiasm. After the Supreme Court struck down much of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many states started closing polling places — and these closures disproportionately impact voters of color who tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans. As a result, voters in large Democratic cities within red states sometimes have to wait hours to cast a ballot. It’s unlikely, however, that Trump really wants Democrats of colorin urban centersto be able to vote with ease on Election Day. It’s more likely that he is looking for another decision like Bush v. Gore — a one-off opinion that lifts up a Republican presidential candidate without providing any benefits to future voters. Trump wants to force Nevada to toss out many ballots AB 4 provides that mall-in ballots will be counted so long as they are postmarked by the day of the election and received by the seventh day following the election. But not all mail is postmarked, and sometimes the date on a postmark is illegible. Thus, there is a risk that voters will be disenfranchised for completely arbitrary reasons — such as the postmark on their ballot getting smudged while the ballot was being delivered. Nevada addresses this problem by creating a safe harbor for some ballots that arrive without postmarks. Under a provision ofNevada law that took effect last January, mailed ballots will be counted if they are “received not more than 3 days after the day of the election and the date of the postmark cannot be determined.” (AB4 actually makes this provision marginally stricter, by requiring such ballots to arrive by 5 pm on the third day after the election.) Trump’s lawyers argue that this provision is illegal because it conflicts with a federal law providing that “the electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November.” At least in theory, a ballot mailed after Election Day might arrive within three days of the election, and it might bear an illegible postmark. Thus, Trump’s lawyers claim, by accepting some late ballots, Nevada could wind up counting ballots mailed after the federally mandated Election Day has passed. It’s a clever argument. And it is true that, at least before the Covid-19 pandemic, few states explicitly allowed ballots that arrived late and without postmarks to be counted. But there are a number of reasons to suspect that courts will reject this argument. One problem with Trump’sargument is that it is difficult to square with the expansive theory of voter equality that Trump uses to challenge the state’s allocation of polling places. If it is unconstitutionally arbitrary for some counties to have more polling places per voter than others — or, for that matter, if it is unconstitutionally arbitrary for some Florida counties to use different standards to evaluate unclearly marked ballots than others — then surely it is also unconstitutional to toss out some ballots and accept others based on whether the post office smudged a postmark while the ballot was being delivered. It’s also far from clear that Trump’s campaign — or, for that matter, any other private party — is allowed to sue because a state decides to count ballots that are cast after Election Day. Not all federal laws create a “private right of action,” meaning that private plaintiffs are allowed to bring a lawsuit challenging alleged violations of those laws. As the Supreme Court explained in Gonzaga University v. Doe (2002), “for a statute to create such private rights, its text must be ‘phrased in terms of the persons benefited.’” Thus, for example, a statute that reads “eligible voters shall receive a ballot by mail” would create a private right of action because the text of this hypothetical statute centers “eligible voters” — the people who would benefit from that statute. A different statute that provides that “the state shall provide for a system of voting by mail” most likely could not be enforced in court because that statute does not even mention the people who would benefit from it. In any event, the federal statute setting the date of presidential elections (“the electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November”) is not phrased in terms of the persons benefited — it conveys no rights that apply to individual voters, political candidates, or their campaigns. So it most likely cannot be enforced by private plaintiffs in federal court. There’s also a third reason to doubt that Trump will prevail in his effort to toss out late-arriving Nevada ballots. Though Chief Justice John Roberts, frequently the median vote on the Supreme Court, is often hostile to voting rights claims, he’s also signaled that state officials struggling to control the pandemic should be given an unusual amount of deference by courts. In South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom (2020), for example, Roberts sided against a church that challenged a state public health order that only allowed places of worship to reopen at limited capacity. “The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement,” Roberts wrote in his South Bay opinion. He added that “our Constitution principally entrusts ‘[t]he safety and the health of the people’ to the politically accountable officials of the States ‘to guard and protect.’” The same logic that led Roberts to defer to state officials who want to prevent Covid-19 from spreading at churches in South Bay may also lead him to defer to Nevada officials who want to prevent Covid-19 from spreading at polling places. That said, there is never any certainty in this kind of highly political litigation — especially when a Republican president seeks relief from courts dominated by Republicans. In the short term, the case is assigned to Judge James Mahan, a George W. Bush appointee. However Mahan rules, the losing party will likely appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is closely divided between Democrats and Republicans. And the case may very well be heard by a very conservative Supreme Court. 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