U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: July 31, 2016

Robyn Beck/Getty Images


1. Trump responds to father of slain Muslim soldier: ‘Did Hillary’s script writers write’ his speech?
Donald Trump on Saturday responded in an interview to a Democratic National Convention speech from the father of a Muslim U.S. soldier who died while deployed to Iraq. Trump said Khizr Khan, who questioned whether the candidate had read the Constitution, “doesn’t know” how much he has “sacrificed” for America by having “tremendous success.” He suggested Khan’s comments were pure political manipulation by the Democratic Party, asking, “Did Hillary’s script writers write” Khan’s remarks? Khan in turn argued Saturdaynight that Trump’s comments were “typical of a person without a soul.” He lamented “all the snake oil [Trump] is selling, and my patriotic, decent Americans are falling for that.”

Source: ABC News, The Washington Post

2. Hot air balloon carrying at least 16 crashes in Texas, leaving no survivors
A hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people caught fire and crashed into a pasture in Texas on Saturday morning. The crash happened near a small city called Lockhart in Caldwell County south of Austin around7:40 a.m. Central time. The Texas Department of Public Safety initiallyannounced multiple fatalities, and Caldwell County later confirmedthere were no survivors of the crash. “Investigators are determining the number and the identities of victims at this time,” said the local sheriff, Daniel Law.

Source: Associated Press, NBC News

3. Trump accuses Clinton of rigging the debate schedule
Republican Donald Trump began accusing Democrat Hillary Clinton of tampering with the general election debate schedule Friday night, tweeting, “As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!” He continued that line of attack Sunday morning in an interview on ABC News, announcing he “got a letter from the NFL saying, ‘This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against’ — ’cause the NFL doesn’t wanna go against the debates. ‘Cause the debates are gonna be pretty massive, from what I understand, OK?” A representative of the NFL denied such a letter ever existed, while the Commission on Presidential Debates said the debates were scheduled in September of 2015 without consultation “with any political parties or campaigns.”

Source: Politico, Associated Press

4. Turkey plans to shutter military academies, fires hundreds more soldiers
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Saturday his intention to shut down the country’s military academies and bring its armed forces under the direct control of his administration as part of ongoing efforts to consolidate his power following a failed military coup attempt. Erdoğan also dishonorably discharged nearly 1,400 soldiers Sunday morning, a move which comes close on the heels of the dismissal of another 1,700 troops last week. These hundreds of new firings represent just a tiny fraction of the 60,000 judges, military officers, teachers, and other government employees who have been detained, dismissed, or suspended on suspicion of having ties to coup organizers.

Source: The Guardian, Reuters

5. French Muslims attend Mass to show solidarity after church attack
Muslims across France attended Catholic Mass on Sunday morning in an expression of solidarity after a beloved French priest was killed by two men who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. “We’re very touched,” said Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen, where more than 100 Muslims gathered at the local cathedral, just a few miles from the site of the church attack. “It’s an important gesture of fraternity,” Lebrun added. “They’ve told us, and I think they’re sincere, that it’s not Islam which killed Jacques Hamel.” Similar Mass attendance was observed elsewhere in France and Italy, with three Imams attending Mass at St. Maria Church in Rome.

Source: Associated Press, The Week

6. Two brothers in Belgium arrested, one charged, on suspicion of plotting terrorism

Belgian authorities arrested two brothers, identified as Nourredine H. and Hamza H., late Friday night after raiding multiple houses in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of the nation. A representative of the Belgian prosecutor’s office said Saturday morning there was so far “no connection with the terrorist attacks” that occurred in Brussels this past March. The suspects’ phones and computers were confiscated, though no weapons or explosives were discovered. Saturday afternoon, Nourredine was charged with attempted murder by terrorism, while Hamza was released without charges.

Source: CNN, The Wall Street Journal

7. Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban backs Hillary Clinton
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton snagged the endorsement of billionaire investor Mark Cuban Saturday, a somewhat surprising announcement given the Dallas Mavericks owner’s previous expression of interest in voting for Republican Donald Trump. “Leadership is not yelling and screaming and intimidating,” Cuban said at a Clinton campaign rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “You know what we call a person like [Trump] in Pittsburgh? A jagoff!” Pennsylvania is expected to be an important battleground state for both campaigns in November.

Source: Reuters

8. Severe flash flooding in Maryland hits Baltimore and nearby Ellicott City
Heavy thunderstorms produced flash flooding in central MarylandSaturday night that closed roads and necessitated emergency rescues. Residents of Baltimore were warned of rising waters and encouraged to move to higher ground, but the worst damage was done in closeby Ellicott City. The historic downtown area saw businesses flooded with several feet of water and cars overturned in the streets. One person has been reported dead and two remained missing as of Sunday morning.

Source: The Weather Channel, CNN

9. Skydiver successfully jumps 25,000 feet without a parachute
An American skydiver named Luke Aikins became the first person to jump from 25,000 feet without a parachute and survive in a daredevil feat Saturday night. Aikins leapt from a plane over California’s Simi Valley and landed in a 100-by-100-foot net while moving at a velocity of 120 miles per hour. “I’m almost levitating, it’s incredible,” he said while celebrating with his family after the event. Aikins did wear a parachute for the jump as an emergency back-up plan.

Source: CNN, The Washington Post

10. Jon Stewart will return to television this fall with an animated HBO show
Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart is on track to return to television with an animated HBO commentary on current events which should debut early this fall, said Casey Bloys, HBO’s chief of programming, on Saturday. “It’s an animated parody of a cable news network. It’s Onion-like, with video and text,” Bloys revealed. “It’s very much Jon’s voice and tone,” and will be somewhat similar to the animated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton characters used on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. As for the timeline, Bloys said, “My hope is that it will be up and running by September or October.”

Source: Deadline, The Washington Post

U.S. Politics

Trump Claims He’s Never Spoken to Putin. In This 2014 Video, Trump Says He Did.



On Wednesday, Donald Trump angrily told reporters that he had no connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I have nothing to do with Putin,” he said. “I’ve never spoken to him. I don’t know anything about him other than he will respect me.”

But those comments contradict what he said in 2014, when he spoke at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. During this appearance, he discussed US-Russian relations and claimed that he had talked to Putin during a recent visit to Moscow, where Trump held his Miss Universe pageant. Here’s what Trump told the Press Club audience:

Russia does not respect our country any longer. They see we’ve been greatly weakened, both militarily and otherwise, and he certainly does not respect President Obama. So what I would do—as an example, I own Miss Universe, I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success. The show was live from Moscow and we had tremendous success there and it was amazing, but to do well, you have to get the other side to respect you, and he does not respect our president, which is very sad.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Trump’s claim that he has spoken to Putin.

It’s not the first time that Trump has made contradictory claims about his relationship with Putin. During a Republican primary debate in November, Trump said, “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes.” But it turned out that Trump and Putin were interviewed in separate locations. During his press conference on Wednesday, he claimed not to know anything about the Russian leader. “I never met Putin,” he said. “I don’t know who Putin is.”

Does Trump know Putin or doesn’t he? Have they spoken or haven’t they? Trump may want to get his story straight.


U.S. Politics

Fox’s Judge Jeanine Pirro Says Black Lives Matter Is “Based on Something That Is Not True”

Fox's Judge Jeanine Pirro Says Black Lives Matter Is

Image Credit: Getty Images

Whoa…did I misconstrue this article?  My take-away from this is that ‘Black lives DON’T matter’…period…end of story!    Clearly and sadly…she is not alone in her thinking. (ks)


During her appearance on The O’Reilly Factor Friday, Fox News contributor Jeanine Pirro argued that the entire Black Lives Matter movement is “based on something that is not true.”

Fox News host Eric Bolling raised the issue of people chanting “Black Lives Matter” as the families of slain police officers spoke to people attending the Democratic National Convention.

Pirro grew angry. Here are her remarks, transcribed in full:

“And I have to tell you, Eric, I have a real problem with that. The whole concept of Black Lives Matter, the genesis, it began in Ferguson with Michael Brown and with Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin, the defendant was acquitted. In Ferguson, with Michael Brown, they didn’t even bring charges up against him. The Justice Department couldn’t bring anything against him. So, it was based on a lie, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’ Now, this whole Black Lives Matter movement is based on something that is not true.”

Pirro later argued that Brown was a “thug” who “reached for a cop’s gun.”

Her remarks were part of a larger conversation spurred by Bolling, in which he asked why the families of the victims of violence against police were not invited on stage with the Mothers of the Movement. Pirro said there is “no moral equivalency” between the people who died because of America’s police brutality epidemic and police officers who died in the line of duty.

Pirro, herself a judge, seems to believe that a person being acquitted or not having any charges brought up against them means they did nothing wrong. She says Black Lives Matter is based on a lie because George Zimmerman was acquitted and Michael Brown’s killer didn’t get indicted. Pirro also repeated several times that Ferguson was the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, though it actually began earlier, following the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Fox's Judge Jeanine Pirro Says Black Lives Matter Is "Based on Something That Is Not True"

Source: Mic/YouTube

Pirro also decried “vigilante justice” and people killing police officers “because they’re white.” However, as Mic‘s Jamilah King previously wrote, the shooting of Dallas police officers is exactly the kind of vigilante justice that Black Lives Matter fights against.

King wrote that Black Lives Matter is founded on the “belief that the violence aimed at black people in America is so endemic, so pervasive, that it underlays the violence that disrupts every other community in our country. If we refuse to address the disregard for black life, we make it all too easy to disregard other lives — and yes, that includes the lives of police officers.”

By Mathew Rodriguez



U.S. Politics

Clinton’s court shortlist emerges

 Clinton's court shortlist emerges

Getty Images


Hillary Clinton’s potential shortlist for the Supreme Court is coming into view.Clinton has refused to name names when it comes to the court, saying only that Congress should confirm President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.

Her general election opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, has taken a different tack, releasing a list of 11 possible nominees. That list, released in May, included several judges often found on conservative wish lists, reassuring groups on the right.

Still, while Clinton hasn’t followed Trump’s lead in releasing names, advocates say her most likely choices for a high court appointment are already apparent.

The Hill talked to three well-connected groups in Washington about Clinton’s Supreme Court options should she win the White House. None would go on the record, citing the sensitivities surrounding the issue.

But there’s broad agreement about who Clinton would be most likely to consider, not only for the vacancy already on the court, but also the additional ones that could open up over the next four years if liberals like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Anthony Kennedy were to retire.

Topping the list, insiders say, is Garland.

He’s an obvious choice, having already completed the background checks from the FBI and the American Bar Association to be a Supreme Court nominee; that process can take up to four months.

Garland already serves on the powerful D.C. appeals court, and personally knows some of the other members of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice John Roberts.

And while Republicans have refused to consider Garland’s nomination this year, saying the court vacancy should be filled by the next president, many have spoken highly of his qualifications, giving him a good chance at being confirmed.

Other top contenders for a Clinton appointment would be Sri Srinivasan, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Jane Kelly, a judge on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Obama White House reportedly considered both judges this year before the president nominated Garland.

Srinivasan would be the first Indian-American and Hindu to serve on the court, but his nomination could face resistance from the left due to his past work representing corporate clients.

While an attorney for O’Melveny & Myers, Srinivasan reportedly defended ExxonMobil and mining giant Rio Tinto against allegations of human rights abuses in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Paul Watford, an African American judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is also being mentioned as a potential Clinton nominee, along with Jacqueline Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American judge on the same court.

In a blog post after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February, Tom Goldstein, the publisher of SCOTUSblog, called Watford the “most likely nominee.”

Not only was the Southern Californian recently vetted for his current position, Goldstein said the Senate confirmed him in 2012 by a vote of 61-34 — a filibuster-proof majority, though the balance of votes in the Senate will almost certainly change in 2017.

Insiders name Goodwin Liu, an Asian-American judge on the California Supreme Court as another possibility. Liu, whose nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was blocked by Republicans in 2010, is a former UC Berkeley Law School professor who has a history of advocating for equal rights.

Mariano Florentino Cuéllar, of the same court is considered in the mix, along with his wife Lucy Koh, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, who was recently nominated to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Koh is the first Asian American United States district court judge in the Northern District of California, and best-known for presiding over high-profile tech cases, including a patent feud between Apple and Samsung over design ideas for the iPhone and iPad.

Patricia Ann Millet is another D.C. Circuit court judge often mentioned by insiders. The former appellate lawyer, who worked for 11 years as an assistant in the Office of the Solicitor General, has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court.

Rounding out the list of potential nominees are two names from Congress: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Corey Booker (D-N.J.).

Booker has a law degree from Yale Law School, while Klobuchar is a former prosecutor.

Conservatives have made the Supreme Court as a rallying cry for the election, fearing Clinton would nominate the most liberal candidate she could find.

“It’s that simple, a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court means your right to own a firearm is gone,” Chris Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, warned earlier this month.

By Lydia Wheeler


U.S. Politics

After Trump Attacks Family Of Fallen Soldier, His Mother Issues A Heartbreaking Response

After Trump Attacks Family Of Fallen Soldier, His Mother Issues A Heartbreaking Response

“Running for President is not an entitlement to disrespect Gold Star families and [a] Gold Star mother.”  ~ Mrs. Khan

Apparently Trump’s disgusting criticism of this family was a bridge too far…(ks)


The mother at the center of Donald Trump’s attack on the family of a slain purple heart recipient responded to the Republican presidential candidate.

In an interview with ABC News, Trump claimed that Ghazala Khan did not speak as her husband Khizr Khan spoke at the 2016 Democratic Convention because of their Islamic faith.

Trump said, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

In his appearance, Mr. Khan discussed that his family emigrated to the United States and spoke about how his son served with distinction in the military, losing his life in Iraq. Khan pointed out that if Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims were in place, his son would have not been able to serve.

ABC reporter Mary Bruce spoke to Ghazala Khan, and she responded to Trump’s smear. She said, “Running for President is not an entitlement to disrespect Gold Star families and [a] Gold Star mother.”

Khan also explained that she did not speak at the convention because “I was in pain.”

In interviews Mrs. Khan has said she still is filled with grief over the loss of her son, and 12 years later still has trouble entering rooms in their home with his picture. She discussed this in an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell the night after the couple appeared at the convention.

Hillary Clinton released a statement after Trump decided to attack the Khan family on Saturday:

“I was very moved to see Ghazala Khan stand bravely and with dignity in support of her son on Thursday night. And I was very moved to hear her speak last night, bravely and with dignity, about her son’s life and the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country.”

That, Donald Trump is leadership. Once again, you show you are completely unfit for the office you seek.

By Oliver Willis

U.S. Politics

Fox seeks to extend cable news domination in post-Ailes era

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Fox News dominated the cable news landscape for 20 years under Roger Ailes, but faces questions about whether it can extend its reign going forward.

The shocking departure of Ailes amid allegations of sexual harassment has left Rupert Murdoch, the 85-year old executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, in charge. But with a myriad of other major media properties to attend to and age considerations, Murdoch’s role running day-to-day operations out of Nee York will only be in an interim capacity.

A source familiar with the situation says it will be “multiple months” before any permanent successor to Ailes is decided upon.

The same source says there’s no rush to make a decision because current to management at the network is stable in the hands of Murdoch, Bill Shine ( executive vice president of programming) and Jay Wallace (executive vice president of news and editorial).

Rivals of Fox see an opportunity, while longtime political fans of the network, who saw it buttress the conservative political movement, are openly worried the network could shift under new leadership.

Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, serve as co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox News’s parent company, and could use Ailes’s departure to reinvent the network.

“Fox News will be going through a dramatic transformation as it figures itself out without its creator,” said James Shepard, chair of the Communications Department at California State University, Fullerton.

“In the short term, I suspect we will see minimal turnover and experimentation,” he said. But in the long term, we may see softening of the most radical elements of programming and perhaps see more ‘fair and balanced’ news.”

Sky News in Britain, which is also operated by the Murdochs, doesn’t have the edge of Fox News in the United States. If there is a change, Shepard says it will be a sign that “the Murdoch sons want to put their stamp on the company by importing practices from Sky News in Britain.”

Shepard’s view isn’t necessarily a majority opinion.

The cable news network makes its parent company millions, and some think that alone means there will be no change.

Research firm SNL Kagan estimates Fox News generated $2.3 billion in ad sales alone last year. Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser says the operating profit for Fox News was $1.6 billion in fiscal 2015. That’s nearly 25 percent of 21st Century Fox’s overall operating profit.

“At this point Fox News is such a fine-tuned and well-oiled machine, I think even Mickey Mouse could step in and keep it running, says Doug Spero, associate professor of communication at Meredith College and TV veteran who includes ABC, CBS and NBC on his resume.

“They attract the same demos year after year and they’ve dominated with their prime-time lineup. Bill O’Reilly has been number one for years,” he said.

“As the saying goes, ‘If it ain’t terribly broken, don’t terribly fix it.’ Would they change the ideology or content? I don’t think so,” says Spero. “They’ve carved out their audience and if you’ve got the market, why mess with it? If the cash register keeps ringing, I can’t imagine the Murdoch family will allow that to stop.”

Fox has easily been number one in cable news for the past 15 years.

The network even recently finished at the top of all cable channels, including ESPN.

The competition with CNN and MSNBC hasn’t even been close, with Fox oftentimes at least beating the two audiences combined in both total viewers and the key 25-54 demo.

At the same time, many of Fox’s stars are aging, and it is not clear younger stars such as Megyn Kelly will stay with the network.

CNN has been making gains lately under industry veteran Jeff Zucker (who ran NBC before eventually going to CNN in 2012) and is clearly in a better positions of the two networks below Fox to make a serious challenge.

But is Fox vulnerable to a challenge?

The momentum of election years — particularly this one with the ratings gold that is Donald Trump — doesn’t always carry over into election off-years.

MSNBC, for example, finished second to Fox News after the 2012 re-election year of President Obama. The network finished so strong that MSNBC President Phil Griffin made the bold prediction that MSNBC would catch Fox in the ratings by the end of 2013. The exact opposite happened, with MSNBC falling backwards and behind a struggling-at-the-time CNN instead.

The key for both CNN and MSNBC, at least in terms of being truly competitive with Fox, is to have the kind of talent and compelling content foundation to keep audiences tuning in after the votes are counted on Election Day.

“Ailes has built a very strong machine. No one can deny that he’s built an empire at Fox News,”” says television veteran Doug Spero. “Yes, it’s bigger than one man, but it’s basically his baby. At this point, it’s so solid I don’t think it’ll budge even two ratings points even after he’s gone.”

Ailes was undeniably Fox’s most valuable employee.

But who will guide Fox News into next year and beyond?

Outside observers differ over whether the company will look outside for leadership.

Some media analysts see the top candidate as Bill Shine, Sr. EVP, Programming of FOX News and FOX Business. Under Shine, the business network has been enjoying its best 18 months in its history since he was promoted to handle the day-to-day operations in late 2014, even beating rival CNBC on some occasions, once an unthinkable feat.

Shine has been with the network since its inception in 1996, working his way up the ranks from producer to senior programming executive.

Jay Wallace is also seen as a strong contender for the job, having recently been promoted to executive vice president of news and editorial in April. Wallace replaced the now-departed Michael Clemente, who left the network last week for reasons — according to the network — unrelated to Ailes’ departure.

Wallace has also been with Fox News since Day 1, having started out as a tape coordinator. He now oversees daytime and weekday news programming.
The third and final serious contender internally is John Moody, executive vice president and editor. Moody has been with the network for four years and is Rome bureau chief for Time Magazine.

Another name making the rounds is David Rhodes. The current president of CBS News extended his contract last year through 2019.

But if the goal of the Murdochs is to use the Ailes departure as impetus to reinvent Fox News into a more traditional news outlet, Rhodes, 43, may be a viable option (if not costly given the existing contract) since he is also a former Fox News executive.

But David Parsons, a public relations executive for more than 40 years, with a focus on corporate and crisis communications, says another name with an impressive resume should be considered.

“I would see the candidate being embraced as having direct news experience, still young enough to navigate the digital world and all – someone like David Westin, former head of ABC News from 1997-2010,” says Parsons. “He was well respected and well liked, knows the political ropes and the talent handholding that are a big part of the picture.”

Chad Wilkinson, a longtime cable news producer and President of Liberty Media Strategies, sees Fox strongly considering a change but ultimately keeping with what’s worked for the past two decades in turning to Bill Shine, the EVP for programming and Fox Business.

“In the short term, I think Rupert taps Bill Shine to run the operation,” says Wilkinson. “
“Shine is respected by the staff and has done a strong job leading Fox Business since Kevin Magee has exited.

“Long term, I think Murdoch thinks long and hard about (CBS President) David Rhodes, but ends up staying the course with Bill Shine,” Wilkinson continues, adding, “Fox News is a money maker and staying the course with someone that knows the operation and what made it a success will win the job.”

By Joe Concha

U.S. Politics

Trump: I Have Sacrificed

Donald Trump Campaigns In Davenport, Iowa

Joshua Lott—Getty Images


Donald Trump said he has “made a lot of sacrifices” by creating “tens of thousands of jobs”—his first response to the emotional Democratic convention speech by grieving Army father Khizr Khan, who told Trump he had “sacrificed nothing and no one”

U.S. Politics

Sunday Talk: Night and Day


attribution: Rocky IV


Last week, Donald Trump (and the Republicans willing to be seen with him) paintedvery dark picture of America—the sort of picture you might see in a Russian textbook.

Speaker after speaker at the Republican National Convention warned the bloodthirsty crowd that the end is near, before Trump took the stage to present himself as the only one who could stave off disaster.

No doubt, his mentor and (alleged) sugar daddy, Vladimir Putin, was impressed.

This week, Democrats gathered in Philadelphia to formally nominate Hillary Clinton for president, and paint a picture of a diverse, optimistic country.

While the Democratic National Convention definitely had a few problems at the outset, compared to the Republican National Convention, it was Masterpiece Theatre.


Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort; Julian Assange (WikiLeaks); Russian Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov; Democratic National Convention Speaker Khizr Khan.

Face The Nation: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort; RNC Chair Reince Priebus; Democratic Strategist David Axelrod; Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci; Roundtable: Amy Walter(Cook Political Report), John Heilemann (Bloomberg Politics), Dana Milbank (Washington Post) & Reihan Salam (National Review).

This Week: Raging Narcissist Donald Trump (R); Vice President Joe Biden (D); Retired Marine Gen. John Allen; Roundtable: Republican Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, Cenk Uguyr (The Young Turks),Greta van Susteren (Fox News), Alex Wagner (The Atlantic) & Jonathan Karl (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton;Roundtable: George Will (Washington Post), Julie Pace (Associated Press), Republican Strategist Karl Rove (Fox News) & Juan Williams(Fox News).

State of the Union: Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL); Democratic National Convention Speaker Khizr Khan; Roundtable: Former South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D), Republican Strategist Amanda Carpenter, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) & Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report on three unjustly convicted people who spent years in prison and then were exonerated (preview); a report on scientists trying to get to the bottom of climate change and sea level rise by studying one of the largest glaciers in the Arctic Circle (preview); and, a report on an American woman and her Tanzanian business partner who have become the legal guardians of almost 100 young Tanzanians (preview).

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday: Actress Viola Davis; Actor Simon Helberg; Singer Declan McKenna.

Tuesday: Actor Will Smith; Actor Logan Lerman; Singer Tony Bennett.

Wednesday: Pro Wrestler/Actor John Cena; Actor Scott Eastwood.

Thursday: Actor Jamie Dornan; Actor Javier Munoz; JournalistMalcolm Gladwell.

Friday: Actress Diane Kruger; Comedian Mark Normand; US Olympic Athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah & The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore will be airing reruns all week.



Melania Trump’s professional website disappeared down the memory hole.

For months now, reporters have noted that Ms. Trump, who grew up in the small Slovenian town of Sevnica, did not obtain an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana, as her professional website claimed she did. Instead, she left after her first year to pursue a modeling career in Milan.

As recently as a week ago, Ms. Trump’s website stated that she had obtained a degree before going on to become a philanthropist and skin care entrepreneur.

On Wednesday, The Huffington Post noticed that the site had been entirely scrubbed of its content. People clicking on its address are now redirected to the Trump Organization’s website.

In a Twitter post, Ms. Trump said the website had been removed “because it does not accurately reflect my current business and professional interests.”


– Trix


U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: July 30, 2016

Don Emmert/Getty Images


1. Courts reject voting stipulations in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas
Courts in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas issued rulings Fridayagainst Republican-backed rules for voting procedure. A federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s photo identification law, holding in a unanimous decision that it was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.” The decision also rejected other restrictions like a ban on same-day registration. In Wisconsin, a federal judge left a photo ID requirement intact but much modified while rejecting a host of other voting limitations. And in Kansas, a county judge ruled the state could not ignore the votes of those who failed to provide proof of U.S. citizenship while registering, a decision that will affect up to 50,000 votes in November.

Source: Associated Press, Politico

2. Clinton campaign denies its computer system was hacked
Hillary Clinton’s campaign denied its computers were among the Democratic tech systems reported hacked on Friday. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said Friday night “an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by our campaign and a number of other entities was accessed as part of the DNC hack,” but insisted experts “have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cannot say the same. The DCCC acknowledged evidence of hackingFriday, a breach which follows last month’s revelation that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked and last week’s subsequent leak of thousands of internal DNC emails.

Source: The Washington Post, Reuters

3. Trump’s convention polling bump evaporates

Republican Donald Trump took a six-point national lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in at least two polls immediately following his nomination at his party’s convention in Cleveland. That polling bump has since evaporated, as a new Reuters survey finds Clinton is now six points ahead after her own convention. Meanwhile, a Real Clear Politics average of multiple recent polls puts Trump and Clinton in a dead heat — each claiming 44.3 percent national support — as ofFriday. It likewise records the disappearance of Trump’s brief lead, which marked only the second time he has ever pulled into first place per that calculation.

Source: The Hill, Real Clear Politics

4. The Koch Brothers still refuse to back Trump post-nomination

Representatives of billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch continue to turn down meeting requests from major fundraisers of the Donald Trump campaign, even after Trump formally claimed the Republican nomination for president. A pro-Trump cadre reportedly lobbied for a conversation Friday in Colorado Springs, but the Kochs firmly declined. The brothers have been consistently critical of Trump’s candidacy, with Charles in April calling Trump’s Muslim registry proposal “reminiscent of Nazi Germany,” “monstrous,” and “frightening.” He has described choosing between Trump and Hillary Clinton as picking “cancer or a heart attack” and labeled Trump’s principles “antithetical” to his own.

Source: Politico, The Guardian

5. Zika virus was transmitted by local mosquitoes for first time in U.S.

Four cases of Zika virus infection in Florida have been confirmed to have been transmitted by local mosquitoes, a first in the continental United States since the global outbreak began last year. None of the four patients affected had traveled to a region outside of the U.S. where the virus is known to be present, nor had any of them had sexual contract with someone who had traveled to such a region, which confirmed the disease came from bites from local mosquitoes. The patients live in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that to date, no mosquitoes in the state have yet tested positive for the virus.

Source: CNN, Associated Press

6. Former Fox employee details 20 years of alleged harassment by Roger Ailes

In a story by New York‘s Gabriel Sherman published Friday, former Fox News employee Laurie Luhn detailed alleged harassment by former network chief Roger Ailes over a span of more than two decades. The explosive account chronicles Luhn’s experience beginning in the summer of 1988 and running through 2011, when she signed a settlement with Fox that included “extensive nondisclosure provisions,” Sherman writes. Luhn told Sherman Ailes demanded regular hotel-room meet-ups, where Luhn would perform oral sex and dance suggestively in routines Ailes would capture on camera. She also said several Fox employees deduced she was sexually involved with Ailes, especially as she began moving up in the company. Ailes has denied all allegations against him, and last week resigned from the network.

Source: New York, The Week

7. California’s Soberanes Wildfire has spread to cover 50 square miles

Nearly 4,300 firefighters on central California’s Big Sur coast continue to battle the Soberanes Wildfire, a raging blaze that has spread to cover about 50 square miles (or 32,000 acres). The fire began last Friday and is mostly located in the drought-ridden Los Padres National Forest, but it has destroyed 57 homes and caused multiple parks to close. As ofSaturday, the fire is just 15 percent contained as “high temperatures [and] rugged, steep terrain” make firefighters’ work difficult. Meanwhile, another wildfire near Los Angeles, the Sand Fire, is 85 percent contained after burning nearly 60 square miles (39,000 acres).

Source: Reuters, KSBW

8. The Army released disturbing new details on the Dallas gunman’s history
The U.S. Army released documents late Friday evening describing disturbing behavior from Micah Xavier Johnson, the lone gunman who killed five police officers in Dallas at an otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter rally, while he was enlisted several years ago. Johnson, who was killed by police during his attack, was caught hiding a grenade in his sleeping bag in Afghanistan. He was also found in possession of panties stolen from a female colleague and prescription drugs pilfered from a fellow soldier. Johnson was eventually discharged, and the redacted report does not explain why that release was honorable given this pattern of behavior.

Source: The Washington Post

9. The Obama presidential library will be built in Chicago’s Jackson Park
The Obama Foundation announced Friday that the library memorializing President Obama’s time in office will be placed in Chicago’s Jackson Park. “The center will be located in the heart of the South Side,” the organization said in a statement, “which has been the home to the First Family for many years.” Obama Foundation Chairman Marty Nesbitt applauded the decision, noting that this will be the first time “a presidential center will be in the heart of an urban community.”

Source: Politico

10. Illinois decriminalizes low-level marijuana possession
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bill Friday to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less, making it a civil offense punishable with a fine of up to $200 instead of jail time. This makes Illinois the 17th state to enact some form of marijuana decriminalization. The capital city of Chicago previously decriminalized low-level pot possession in 2012, leading marijuana-related arrests to drop by 21 percent over the next two years. However, decriminalization there failed to reduce massive racial disparities in marijuana arrests: Arrest rates in some predominantly black neighborhoods are as much as 150 times higher than those in mainly white areas despite marijuana use at similar rates across racial lines.

Source: ABC 7 Chicago, Chicago Sun Times

U.S. Politics

The Reverend William Barber Just Diagnosed What Ails This Nation


His speech at the Democratic National Convention is worth your time.

PHILADELPHIA—Here on the fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention, the Reverend Dr. William Barber II broke through. Or, more accurately, he rose above, past the partisan food fights and the insults and the vindictiveness. His soaring speech was a call to action, and a declaration that it was inaction on a range of issues—gun violence, the deteriorating relationships between police and communities of color, the climate—that had led to a kind of national cardiac arrest. We are not all equally to blame, he said. There are forces, he said, that are intent to “stop the heart of our democracy.” But we are all responsible for what comes next.

“We are being called, like our mothers and fathers, to be the moral defibrillators of our time,” he said, as the crowd rose with him for the umpteenth time. “We will shock this nation and fight for justice for all.” And later: “We will not give up on the heart of our democracy, not now, not ever.”

His words are timely for a nation—and a Congress—paralyzed by partisanship and cynicism and self-interest. Do yourself a favor, and watch the whole thing.