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2018 Changed the Game for Halloween Costumes for Black Kids
Cyclops, Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker—these were my childhood heroes. Whenever I wanted to play make-believe around the house, I dressed like them. More, I wanted desperately to be them, not least because they were the only images of masculinity I saw routinely after my father left the house. Then, one Halloween in elementary school, I stopped feeling comfortable pretending to be them.
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Seth Meyers Takes Us on a Whirlwind Tour of the Death of Democracy
It’s been two weeks since Seth Meyers last took a closer look at the mess we’re in—the show was off the air while Meyers hosted Saturday Night Live—but this time around, the common thread isn’t “a lot of crazy stuff has happened!” so much as it’s “the American system of government has become fundamentally anti-democratic and will soon face a legitimacy crisis.” Which is true, but not a particularly common idea to see expressed on a network late night TV show! Please enjoy a stiff drink while attending this brief wake for government by the people:
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The NFL Mafia
Listen to Slate’s The Gist:
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The Crushing Dumbness of Donald Trump
Donald Trump is the president of the United States, which, to Donald, is great because it’s like being the star of a show that everyone has to watch, because they’re terrified of what he might do next. Trump has embraced that breezy you-never-know-and-I’ve-got-nukes vibe and, you’ll notice, really settled into himself on the stump as president, even though the stump is a place that most presidents avoid for much of their first term, in order to actually do the job of being president. Not Donald. Early on, he recognized the positive feedback loop of saying unthinkably dumb things out loud. Doing so set off a frenzied chain reaction of analysis, reporting, and speculation about what was meant by whatever came out of his mouth that didn’t make any sense at all.
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“A Mob of Humanity”
What does unauthorized immigration to the United States look like? Like a child in a cage? A truck full of dead bodies at a Walmart parking lot? A comb of black steel jutting into the Pacific Ocean?
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What Do Leaked Memos Really Tell Us?
On Sunday, the New York Times reported it had obtained a memo revealing that the Department of Health and Human Services may move to define gender in binary male-female terms based solely on one’s genitalia at birth. The Obama administration, acknowledging the approximately 1.4 million transgender people living in America, had previously revised federal programs in keeping with the medical fact that gender identity is distinct from the sex a person is assigned at birth. The proposed changes would most immediately apply to Title IX, a civil rights law that prohibits gender discrimination in education programs, and effectively erase protections for—and even recognition of—transgender people under federal law.
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Hang Up and Listen: The Crotch-Chopping, Bat-Flipping Edition
Listen to Hang Up and Listen with Stefan Fatsis:
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Kamala Harris Wants to Give Middle Class Families $500 Every Month. Her Plan Is Bold, Generous, and Maybe Ill-Conceived.
Sen. Kamala Harris is probably running for president. So, like other Democrats probably running for president, the Senator from California has decided to start rolling out some moonshot policy ideas that might endear her to the Democratic primary electorate. Last week, she introduced a giant tax credit called the “LIFT the Middle Class Act.” It would essentially send up to $500 each month to working families. It’s not a universal basic income. But it’s as close as we’ve seen to one from a serious 2020 prospect.
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“I’m Not a Debate. I Shouldn’t Be a Debate.”
This post is part of Outward, Slate’s home for coverage of LGBTQ life, thought, and culture. Read more here.
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Trump vs. the Caravan
Two weeks away from the midterms, Donald Trump’s nativist rhetoric has reached fever pitch. Perhaps encouraged by the knowledge that an astounding 75 percent of potential Republican voters consider illegal immigration to be a “very big” problem for the United States, Trump has quite literally bet the house on anti-immigrant fearmongering. His most recent boogeyman is the Central American caravan that has gathered thousands of potential refugees fleeing unspeakable violence, mostly from Honduras.
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Down With the “Spanish Flu”
It’s been 100 years since the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. Are we ready for the next pandemic? On Friday at 6 p.m., Future Tense will hold a happy hour conversation in D.C. with experts to talk about what we learned from 1918 and what we can do now to prepare for the next global outbreak. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.
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How the Trump Administration’s Radical New Definition of “Sex” Would Legalize Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
The Trump administration is preparing an escalation in its unrelenting assault on the rights of LGBTQ Americans. According to a New York Times report, the Department of Health and Human Services is circulating a memo proposing a new federal definition of the word “sex” that’s designed to strip protections for gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans under civil rights laws. This definition would be implemented through four major executive branch agencies, removing safeguards that currently bar anti-LGBTQ discrimination in education, employment, and health care.
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The Angle: Insufferable Jerk Edition
Jerk watch: Jim Newell, who has been in the Lone Star State following Ted Cruz as he campaigns against charismatic congressman Beto O’Rourke, thinks that many people misunderstand the Texas senator: Unlike his charming challenger, Cruz is smug, smarmy, and calculating, but that’s not an obstacle—that’s why he’ll win.
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Is A Star Is Born’s “Why Did You Do That?” Meant to Be Bad? The Songwriter Weighs In.
The central question of Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star Is Born has somehow boiled down to whether “Why Do You Do That?” is a parody meant to take a stab at all pop music or a straight-up bop. As a plot device, this song and Ally (Lady Ga Ga)’s corresponding back-up dancer-filled Saturday Night Live performance demonstrates Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper)’s sense that Ally has abandoned her own authenticity. What’s unclear whether the film itself shares this disdain. If the song is meant to be bad, that means the story pretty clearly equates pop with bad music and rock with good music which would be a misguided and overly broad take on the current musical landscape. Sensing a jab at pop as a genre, some viewers have reclaimed “Why Did You Do That?,” pointing out that it kind of “slaps,” playing it in clubs, and setting it to everything from robot demonstrations to Pokémon choreography. So there, Bradley! But wait a minute, if the song is actually good, maybe the movie isn’t prejudiced against pop is just presenting Jack’s reaction. After all isn’t the whole plot based around his deteriorating cultural relevance? Hopefully we can at least try to solve this circular debate now that the songwriter herself has weighed in with some answers.
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Trump Is Promising A “Middle Class Tax Reduction” And Everyone Is Confused
Before starting his trip to Houston to campaign for Lyin Beautiful Ted Cruz, President Trump promised that he and Republicans in Congress would deliver a “middle income tax reduction of about 10 percent,” through “a resolution” before the midterm elections in a few weeks.
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Renewable Energy Is Ready to Overtake Fossil Fuels. Will We Let It?
Here’s the most important thing to know about climate politics in this critical election year: How fast we act decides the future we get.
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What’s a Muslim to Do About Hajj?
As excruciating details have leaked over the past two weeks about the killing and reported dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi government agents, the most high-profile public backlash has come in the form of defections from a glittery upcoming conference, the Future Investment Initiative, planned by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, along with dozens of other politics, business, and media figures, have pulled out of the so-called Davos in the Desert because of scrutiny around the case and the crown prince’s likely involvement. They don’t want to be associated with an event designed to bolster the image of (and enrich) a brutal regime and prince that might kill a dissident and barely try to hide it. Go figure.
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Help! Everyone Loves My Boyfriend’s Ex. I Wish She Would Just Go Away.
Daniel Mallory Ortberg is online weekly to chat live with readers. Here’s an edited transcript of this week’s chat. 
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What Should Silicon Valley Companies With Saudi Money Do?
On Oct. 12, about a week and a half after Jamal Khashoggi went missing in Turkey, journalist Anand Giridharadas wrote in the New York Times about Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia problem. Saudi Arabia’s $250 billion Public Investment Fund invests a portion of the country’s oil revenues in companies and projects worldwide. Recently, under the influence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a lot of that money has been invested in tech companies including Uber, DoorDash, and Slack. Giridharadas argued that Khashoggi’s disappearance was a reason for Silicon Valley to live up to its “change the world” and “do the right thing” rhetoric by returning that money.
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All in the Family
This piece is part of the Radical issue, a special package from Outward, Slate’s home for coverage of LGBTQ life, thought, and culture. Read more here.
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McKinsey’s Saudi Arabia Scandal Exposes the Consulting Industry’s Achilles’ Heel
This weekend, the New York Times reported that McKinsey & Company, the famed consulting firm, had compiled a report identifying Twitter users opposed to the Saudi government’s policies. As the Times piece noted:
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus Becomes Sixth Woman to Receive the Mark Twain Prize
On Sunday, Julia Louis-Dreyfus received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which is considered the highest honor in comedy. The comedian and actress rose to fame in the ‘90s for her role as Elaine Benes in the sitcom Seinfeld, where she was a “last-minute addition.” She is the sixth woman to be awarded the Mark Twain prize, with Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, Lily Tomlin, Ellen DeGeneres, and Carol Burnett as past recipients.
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Louisiana Might Finally Get Rid of Its Century-Old, Racist Jury System
On Nov. 6, Louisiana voters will decide the fate of a Jim Crow–era law that allows juries to convict people on felony charges with only 10 of 12 jurors agreeing on a guilty verdict.
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Turkey Has Been Masterfully Driving the Khashoggi Crisis
The Republic of Turkey currently ranks as the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with 73 behind bars at the end of 2017. Since a failed coup in the summer of 2016, the government has pursued a massive and brutal crackdown against thousands of its critics and opponents, both real and probably imagined. This has included U.S. citizens: Pastor Andrew Brunson was finally released after two years in custody on laughable terrorism charges earlier this month. Former NASA scientist Serkan Golge remains in prison.Turkey’s dragnet has extended beyond its borders from Kosovo to Mongolia, sometimes with little respect for local laws. The U.N. has accused the Turkish military of killing thousands and razing entire neighborhoods in the southeast of the country in recent years as part of a brutal counterinsurgency campaign against Kurdish militants.
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Don’t Just Look at the Odds: The Math Says You Should Buy a Mega Millions Ticket
The Mega Millions jackpot has reached a staggering $1.6 billion, meaning Tuesday’s drawing will be the largest in U.S. history. The odds haven’t changed, with your chances of winning at 1 in 302 million, and so the value of a single $2 ticket has only increased.
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Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Passion Project Will Be Produced by Netflix
Guillermo del Toro is known for rendering monsters whose brutal forms overlay a piercing and kind sincerity. He even declared in a recent awards acceptance speech, “Since childhood I’ve been faithful to monsters. I’ve been saved and absolved by them because monsters are the patron saints of our blissful imperfections.” So it feels right that Del Toro is retelling the story of Pinocchio, a deformed creature who’s strongest desire is to be seen as human. Netflix has described a forthcoming stop-motion animated musical as Del Toro’s “lifelong passion project” and the director himself made his love for the mythic character clear, stating, “No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio.”
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Trump’s Biggest Attempts to Roll Back Environmental Regulations Remain at the Starting Gate
It is a popular fiction that despite its many foibles, the Trump administration has been successful in dismantling environmental regulations. Given the sheer number of attacks levied on energy and environmental regulations involving the coal, oil, gas, and automotive industries, casual observers might reasonably conclude that the administration is deploying a successful deregulatory strategy.
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World Economic Forum: You Think That’s A Davos? Now THIS Is A Davos
The World Economic Forum, whose annual conference in Davos, Switzerland is generally just referred to as “Davos,” would very much like it if people stopped referring to other gatherings of business and political elites as “Davos.”
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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Sings About Something Scarier Than Vampires or Zombies: Social Anxiety
Halloween is almost upon us, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is getting into the scary, scary sexy spirit with an episode all about being haunted, whether by ghosts or by one’s own feelings of embarrassment and guilt. It’s a theme that even found its way into the episode’s title, “I Am Ashamed,” the second ever on the show not to include a man’s name, following last week’s “I Want to Be Here.” (“I Am Ashamed” was directed by two women, Audrey Wauchope and Rachel Specter, though only Wauchope is credited due to a Directors Guild of America decision. More on that here.) That change in episode titles marks yet another sign that despite being called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this show is no longer about Rebecca’s relationships with Josh or Greg or Nathaniel or even Trent. On Friday’s episode, it became about Rebecca’s relationship with her past choices—and also with Devon, a woman Rebecca has never met but who was murdered in her house years earlier, allowing Rebecca to get it on the cheap. Though Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been home to dream ghosts and memory spirits in the past, “I Am Ashamed” marks the first time it has focused on an actual poltergeist.
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Amy Schumer Says No to Super Bowl Ads and Encourages Maroon 5 to Drop Out of Their Halftime Slot
There are two reasons why people watch the Super Bowl besides football: the halftime show and the ads. Amy Schumer wants to have an effect on both. On Friday, the actress and comedian took to Instagram to announce she won’t be doing a commercial for next year’s 53rd Super Bowl, in support of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who have kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
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Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis Met for the First Time Ever Last Night. They Didn’t Like Each Other.
Despite being locked in a pretty close race, Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum had never met in person before Sunday’s gubernatorial debate in Florida. Let’s just say they didn’t hit it off. The CNN-hosted event made clear that the two men have little in common, disagree on nearly everything, and have little respect for one another.
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Trump Ramps Up Hysteria Around Honduran Migrants, Now Warns of “Unknown Middle Easterners”
President Trump continued his regular habit of fulminating at Central American migrants, warning this morning of “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners;” threatening again to cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador; and saying that it was the Democrats fault.
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Trump’s Missile Misfire
National Security Adviser John Bolton is heading to Moscow this week to announce that President Donald Trump will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty, the landmark 1987 arms control accord, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, that marked a key step toward the end of the Cold War.
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NYPD Pulls Nearly 3,000 Body Cameras After One Bursts Into Flames
The New York Police Department is pulling nearly 3,000 body cameras off the streets after one device worn by a Staten Island officer burst into flames Saturday night, according to the New York Times.
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Women in Charge: Ellen Stofan
Listen to Women in Charge via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher. 
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Halloween Methodically, Relentlessly Murders Its Way to the Top of the Box Office
Halloween, director David Gordon Green’s entry in the long-running horror franchise, has stabbed its way to the top of the weekend box office, pulling in an estimated weekend take of $77.5 million, according to Variety. That gives the Jamie Lee Curtis-starring slasher film the best opening weekend for any film in the series, easily besting the previous record holder, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, which earned $26.3 million on its opening weekend back in 2007. Adjusted for inflation, that’s just over $32 million today, which is to say: still a lot less than the newest Halloween just made.
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The Great Disappointment
The Millerite movement experienced its Great Disappointment on this day in 1844, after the Second Coming event predicted by the movement’s leader did not occur. You may use the comment thread on this page to discuss the history of Adventism and the Second Great Awakening or to pursue other points of off-topic, freewheeling discourse.
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The Misreading of Ted Cruz
DALLAS—The morning after his second and final Senate debate with Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Ted Cruz was happy to see me. Late the night before, I had published an assessment of the debate, crediting Cruz with getting the job done, but also mocking his over-the-top, fear-mongering portrayal of Texas under Democratic control, delivered in that famously smug voice that’s riled up millions—not all of them Democrats—for the last five years.
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Migrant Caravan Grows as it Continues Push Toward the United States
Mexican efforts to stop the caravan of migrants from Central America at the border with Guatemala failed and their number keeps growing. As of Sunday, the numbers of migrants taking part in the caravan had swelled to anywhere from 5,000 people, according to the Associated Press to 7,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. Most of those taking part in the caravan that has turned into a rallying cry for President Donald Trump ahead of the midterm elections are from Honduras.
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Pete Davidson Speaks Out About His Breakup With Ariana Grande: “Anybody Looking for a Roommate?”
Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson talked about his recent breakup with pop star Ariana Grande during a standup set at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles on Saturday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The occasion was “Judd & Pete for America,” a benefit show for SwingLeft.org featuring Davidson and director Judd Apatow. Davidson cancelled a scheduled appearance at Temple University on Wednesday, citing personal reasons, but made the trip west for the pre-election fundraiser.
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Eric Reid Confronts Malcolm Jenkins Before Panthers-Eagles Game, Calls Him a “Sellout”
Eric Reid and Malcolm Jenkins are two of the NFL’s most prominent voices in regards to player protests, but they have disagreed about how the movement should proceed. The dispute boiled over on Sunday when Reid’s Carolina Panthers played Jenkins and the Eagles in Philadelphia. Reid ran onto the field and confronted Jenkins during the pregame coin toss, and the Panthers safety had to be restrained by his teammates. After the game, Reid told reporters that Jenkins was a “sellout.”
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How Republicans Laid the Groundwork for Trump’s Assault on Transgender Existence
The Republican campaign to deny the humanity of transgender Americans has now reached its logical endpoint. According to the New York Times, the Trump administration seeks to redefine the sex of every American in a narrow, unscientific, and intentionally trans-exclusive manner. The Times quotes internal memos stating: “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”
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Ryanair Criticized for Failing to Act During Racist Tirade That Was Caught on Video
Ryanair is facing a torrent of criticism after a video went viral showing flight attendants doing little to prevent a passenger from inflicting a racist tirade against a fellow passenger. Rather than remove the passenger who was hurling the insults, the airline decide to move the woman from her seat.
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Bears’ Hail Mary Swarmed By Patriots at Pearly Gates and Sent Straight to Hell
In football, a Hail Mary results in one of three outcomes:
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Russia Threatens Retaliation After Trump Vows to Exit Landmark Nuclear Arms Treaty
President Donald Trump surprised many observers over the weekend when he unexpectedly said the United States will be pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. Trump’s reason for ending the landmark Cold War-era treaty? Russia has been flagrantly violating the deal. But Moscow immediately warned that withdrawing from the 1987 agreement would be “very dangerous” and automatically lead to a “military-technical” retaliation.
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I Believe Saudi Arabia
I believe that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is very keen to know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and that he left the Saudi consulate after a few minutes or one hour.
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How Does a Marijuana Lawyer Do His Job?
Listen to Working via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.
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Trump Administration Is Considering New Rules to Flat Out Deny Transgender Identity
The White House has been seeking to chip away at transgender rights ever since Donald Trump became president. And now, in what would amount to the most extreme move to date, a new set of rules is being proposed that would essentially pretend as if transgender people simply don’t exist.
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