We’re inching closer to a total Trump utopia which probably means the opposite for quite a few people. (this is what literary folks call dystopia. Betcha never heard that term before). His travel ban is going into effect (well, partially) even though it could be unconstitutional – because no matter when the Supreme Court hears the case, it’ll go into effect. And if there’s no terrorist attacks or mass shootings during that time, I’m sure Trump will remind us it’s because of this ban. Aside from the moral implications (like the fact that we’re creating a lot of these refugees ourselves), this is irrelevant to our safety. You’re more likely to get killed by your own clothes than a immigrant terrorist.
WELP Speaking of a Trump utopia, it looks like the Supreme Court is happy to oblige:
In 2012, the Church applied for a grant with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to help pay for recycled tires for the playground. Trinity Lutheran was denied based on a section of Missouri’s constitution, which reads “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, section or denomination of religion.” Trinity subsequently sued the state on the basis of religious discrimination. After lower courts dismissed the church’s claims, Trinity took its case to the Supreme Court in January 2016 and heard oral arguments in April. The Court overturned the lower courts’ rulings on Monday morning. [Vox]
What’s ironic is that some of the the most vocal support for the state came from religious institutions:
The state also had some perhaps less-expected defenders. For example, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Freedom has come out against Trinity Lutheran, arguing that safeguards are necessary to protect religion from government interference. In a statement to the press shortly after filing an amicus brief in defense of the state, Holly Hollman, the BJC’s general counsel, said, “Baptists and other religious dissenters in colonial America fought to ensure that the coercive power of the government was not used to force taxpayers to pay for churches. The result has been a rich flowering of religion and religious institutions, funded by voluntary gifts and offerings.” [Vox]
I think it’s not hard to imagine as this decision opening the floodgates for more and more formal ties between church and state. I’m not saying we don’t have a lot of overlap between government and religious institutions already, it’s just there seemed to be a line drawn – religious institutions should not be financially supported by the government, no matter what. If we really wanted a truly American religious institution, we should treat them just like any other business that lives or dies by capitalism. If a church or any other religion can’t raise money for their socially-responsible programs, then maybe they should reconsider what they’re doing or just fail. I think a lot of these churches and religious non-profits get preferential treatment anyway (tax exemptions being one example), but now were inching closer to giving carte blanche for their own interests – which may or may not include discrimination from other religions and minorities.
JUST SHUT UP McEnroe needs to stop:
NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” host Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked the tennis legend why he chooses to qualify her greatness by specifying she’s the “best female athlete ever.” You can hear the exchange below, starting at the 6:20 mark. “Some wouldn’t qualify it, some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it?” Garcia-Navarro asked. “Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” he responded. “Yeah. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player. I do, but the reality of what would happen would be I think something that perhaps it’d be a little higher, perhaps it’d be a little lower. And on a given day, Serena could beat some players,” he said. “I believe because she’s so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke ’cause she’s been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit — the men’s circuit — that would be an entirely different story,” he continued. [Mashable]
I’m pretty sure Serena in her prime (hell, even now) could wipe the floor with McEnroe in his prime. This type of bullshit always comes from insecure people who have no business qualifying anything, let alone the best in their respective fields. Hell, I’d still take Roger Federer’s opinion on this matter with a grain of salt. (more…)
Welcome to another week at DotD! I hope this weekend found you well relaxed. Because I’m sure we’re due for another meltdown from Trump or a bombshell report about Trump or at least something. At this point, it’s nice to have a weekend where pretty much nothing happens. Except maybe the fact that we’re now getting sketch artists to interpret the White House press briefings. I’m starting to think the Washington Post’s new slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness” is now more of an odd telling of the future.
YES I AM EXCITED So it’s been a pretty slow news weekend (thank god), which gave me plenty of time to get my plans ready for this total solar eclipse:
On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will darken a narrow path across the continental U.S., from Oregon to South Carolina. The eclipse’s path of totality, where the sun will be entirely obscured by the moon, is set to pass over 14 states (technically it includes a sliver of uninhabited Montana wilderness, and a teeny corner of Iowa). During the event, the midday skies will turn to night anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on where in the path it is viewed from. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience a total solar eclipse, and just two months out, finding a good spot to view the celestial wonder is already becoming a challenge. With anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of people expected to swarm prime spots along the path of totality, space in hotels is pretty much booked in most areas, with some locations even reporting reservations being cancelled and available rooms going for as much as a $1,000 a night. But since much of the eclipse’s 70-mile-wide path crosses over rural portions of the country, many cities and towns are offering space for camping as part of their eclipse celebrations, which may be your best bet at this point. [Atlas Obscura]
Well, it’s technically not really a once-in-a-lifetime chance simply because there’s another one hitting the United States in 2024. And their paths forms a big X:
The primo spot to be? Carbondale, Illinois. Sure, it’s not Eclipseville – where the best and longest totality will hit this August – but I think it would be pretty neat to go there this year and then hit the same place up in seven years. Luckily, there is a University nearby and there using their football stadium to house an eclipse viewing party. I already ordered my special sunglasses and am ready to go! If you’re cool like me, maybe I’ll see you there.
WHAT A SURPRISE A lot of people are really digging the new Spider-Man:
Spider-Man Homecoming is a hilarious John Hughes-style high school movie disguised as a superhero film. Second best spidey film.
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) June 24, 2017
And he’s not alone in his praise. Just about everyone else who has seen the movie seems to like it, with the vast majority of the responses leaning toward the “total head-over-heels in love” end of the spectrum. Critics praised the action, how the story mixes superhero antics with high school drama, and Tom Holland‘s Peter Parker (who is being called the best actor to wear that red and blue costume yet). [/Film]
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is an absolute, gosh-darned DELIGHT. It’s like Spider-Man meets CAN’T HARDLY WAIT.
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) June 24, 2017
Can’t Hardly Wait? Probably my fave 90s teen comedy, right up there with 10 Things I Hate About You. I mean, this has got to be unprecedented, right? Pixar is the only other studio I can think of that has had a streak of critically and commercially successful movies. Up until probably Cars 2, their 12th movie. 11 solid movies in 16 years is amazing. Marvel has been doing this for only 9 years, but with 15 movies (Spider-Man will be no. 16). Sure, some were misses (Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2), but they were misguided, not terrible, movies. Y’all know me, I’m a huge, huge fan, but it’s hard to deny, from an objective standpoint that they keep churning out good, if not great, movies.
Thought you were going to go into Friday without hearing me talk about the dumb health care bill? Well, let’s just say the health care bill is simultaneously Obamacare in disguise and also the furthest thing from it. And that’s all I’ll say. Whatever, it’s turtles all the way down, regardless. Speaking of turtles, (or at least that phrase) – have you ever noticed something, like a phrase or a certain object appearing over and over everywhere you go once you notice it? It’s like when you buy a Honda Civic and notice all the Civics everywhere. I’m finding that happening with the phrase turtles all the way down. Maybe it’s just in the zeitgeist right now. Maybe it’s John Green’s fault (in our stars….hehe). I just know those elephants standing on that turtle get no love.
WELP This is what happens when you give a person absolute power:
The Church of England “colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward” when faced with allegations of longterm sexual abuse by one of its former bishops, the church’s leader said Thursday. “For the survivors who were brave enough to share their story and bring Peter Ball to justice, I once again offer an unreserved apology,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a statement. “There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systemic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.” The archbishop’s statements coincided with the release Thursday of an 81-page report titled “An Abuse of Faith,” which outlined the results of an independent investigation into the church’s handling of sex-abuse allegations against former bishop Peter Ball, who in 2015 admitted to sexually abusing 18 young men over the course of two decades. Ball was handed a 32-month sentence for misconduct in public office and indecent assaults, though he was released on probation in February after serving 16 months. The report, which Welby called a “harrowing read,” said Ball used his position within the Church to target young men seeking spiritual guidance, noting there were “striking similarities across the accounts of those abused by him.” [Atlantic]
At first when I saw this headline I glossed over Church of England and thought it was another Catholic Church story which have been widely documented so I was just like, “of course.” And then I realized it was the Church of England….and I said “of course”. I mean, I haven’t affiliated with a religious institution in a long time and for all the good these institutions do, there’s almost just as much ugliness and evil hiding to wipe out any of those good deeds.
KEEP DIGGING THAT HOLE Cosby sure thinks he’s the bees-knees
Bill Cosby is apparently wasting no time firming up his summer plans, after a jury couldn’t decide last week as to whether he drugged and sexually assaulted accuser Andrea Constand in 2004. And what do those plans entail? Embarking on a town hall tour across the country to educate young people on how to avoid being accused of sexual assault. Cosby’s spokespeople, Andrew Wyatt and Ebonee Benson, announced the initiative on Thursday to a Fox News affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama. That’s right. This is not a series of educational workshops on how not to sexually assault someone, the meaning and importance of consent, or how to gauge whether your own behavior is inappropriate. The tour won’t be about how giving another person pills in order to guarantee yourself some sort of sexual satisfaction is a form of rape or sexual assault. Instead, Cosby’s town halls are intended to teach attendees how not to get accused of sexual assault. “This is bigger than Bill Cosby. You know, this issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today,” said Wyatt. “They need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things that they shouldn’t be doing, and it also affects, you know, married men.” After the anchor interviewing Wyatt and Benson asks, “Is this sort of a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ sort of thing?” and Wyatt laughs nervously, Benson interjects, reiterating the need for better education around sexual assault and its attendant statutes of limitations. That was a key point for Cosby’s legal team during his trial, since plaintiff Constand’s sexual assault allegation against Cosby stems from an incident that took place more than a decade ago, and was weeks shy of being too late to prosecute. Benson notes that the statutes of limitations are being “extended” for victims of sexual assault, explaining that “this is why people need to be educated on, you know, a brush against a shoulder, anything at this point can be considered sexual assault, and it’s a good thing to be educated about the laws.” [Vox]
Cosby came to our school when I was in college for a couple shows. It was a big get for our small school, but when I was talking to a couple comedians who have toured with him, there were too many stories of the same misogynistic actions and cheating on his wife that I couldn’t ignore. He can’t possibly think if he continues he can reverse his legacy. Because right now it’s in the tank and I don’t think we are going to remember him for his comedy anymore. Just like Joe Paterno at Penn State, there is a point where no matter how much good a person has done or how much joy they’ve brought into people’s lives, it cannot erase the fact they did some pretty horrific stuff. (more…)
ORAL HISTORY: Guns and (Shea) Butter, an Oral History of Predator
LONG READ: How the Port Trucking Industry is Rigged Against Drivers
PROFILE: The Scarface of Sex
VIDEO GAMES: The New Hitman, Episode One, is Free Right Now
SEMANTICS: Nintendo Would Literally Like to Have a Word With You and It’s Called Capture
DAYUM: Killer Whales Winning Against Fishermen
LOL: CIA Mercilessly Hunts Down Vending Machine Thieves
WTF: Tom Cruise Pulled a Primal Fear on Everyone
SMH: Driverless Bus Goes on Rampage in Brooklyn
ABOVE: A Million Times Nope For Me [Via]
Details are out on the new Senate version of the AHCA and it’s still bad. So despite a victory in Georgia and South Carolina (wait, what?), it seems like winning is putting out very unpopular bills in the hopes that complacency will win the day. Sure, it might pass, but the long term effects of any version of this law will undoubtedly hasten the demise of this current incarnation of the GOP. It would’ve been so much smarter easier and a lot more victorious if they touted a few prominent changes to the law. But smart and easy aren’t words that you’ll hear alongside Congress.
UGH Flint has been through too much:
The FBI is investigating a possible terrorist attack at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan after a police officer was stabbed in the neck and back on Wednesday at around 9:40 a.m. local time. The officer, whom authorities identified as Lieutenant Jeff Neville, was originally in critical condition, but has since upgraded to stable condition after receiving surgery. NBC reports that Neville, a father of two, has worked at Bishop International for more than 15 years. According to the FBI, the suspect has been taken into custody and questioned by law enforcement. In a statement on Wednesday, the FBI said the stabbing, which took place outside the TSA screening area, was an “isolated incident,” adding: “We currently have no specific, credible information that there is a threat to the Flint community.” [Atlantic]
First of all, I live pretty close to Flint and I didn’t even know there was an airport there. Let alone an international airport. I keep picturing the Pawnee, Indiana airport and the friendly crew that supported Leslie Knope. So I can only imagine what kind of horrors all the workers there have faced today.
COOL STORY BRO Dress codes are pretty BS most of the time, case in point:
If women can wear skirts/dresses at work can I wear smart shorts like so? pic.twitter.com/UD0AQ6ZCbP
— joey (@jBarge_) June 19, 2017
What looks better pic.twitter.com/aj7S4sPrtJ
— joey (@jBarge_) June 19, 2017
Listen, this is great and luckily he got the company to change their policy. But you think this would’ve worked if a female worker was doing this? I’ve seen enough stupid dress codes in schools and offices to say this guy was pretty damn lucky he was a guy. (more…)
— Cal Jam 17 (@caljamfest) June 20, 2017
LONG READ: A Portrait of the Artist as an Undocumented Immigrant
EDUCATE: Being Gay in the NFL
PROFILE: The High Schoolers Hunting for the Universe’s Secrets
TV: Netflix’s New Interactive Shows
MOVIES: Daniel Day-Lewis Retiring from Acting
INTERNET: What Happened to Upworthy?
WHY NOT: Meet the New Ken Doll
WTF: Pizza Ice Cream? Pizza Ice Cream.
FTW: Japanese Robot Sumo Wrestling
ABOVE: Foo Fighters Were Never Gone, God Bless ‘Em
Howdy folks! Well, it was a hard-fought (and hard-bought, too!) race, but the Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief. I honestly don’t think all the hype surrounding this race will have any bearing on 2018. We might still be too close to the 2016 election and Trump hasn’t even cross the 6-month mark. There’s still plenty of time – a year and a half! – for both parties to gain or lose ground. But who knows? 2017 has proven to be far more chaotic politically than 2016 and it may just get messier.
GHOST SPICE Looks like we will be saying farewell to Sean Spicer:
Nothing’s official yet, but it seems the president will finally sideline White House press secretary Sean Spicer, the stormy spokesperson who often endured ridicule for blurring the lines between truth, fiction, and wishful thinking. In typical fashion, the news so far is based on leaks. The White House has not made an announcement, but Politico and Bloomberg each reported yesterday that Trump is searching for candidates to replace Spicer at the podium, according to two unnamed administration sources. Spicer himself is expected to stay on, perhaps in a more senior — but less visible — position. For weeks now, the president has reportedly expressed disappointment in his communications team, particularly for how it handled his firing of FBI Director James Comey, which resulted in more backlash than was expected. Communications director Mike Dubke stepped down in May, and many rumored that Spicer would be next, as soon as the White House found a replacement. [Vox]
Why would they need a replacement? It’s been pretty clear that Trump and his administration don’t care for these conferences or briefings. There isn’t some law that states they have to hold them and honestly, if Trump just shut out the press that would not be a big surprise. Sure, it would be an outrage, but surprising? No. I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter just becomes the de facto communication for the White House. It’s really hard to ‘wing it’ or get things wrong when you’re issuing statements instead of responding to live questions.
STONE AGE Well, this is pretty damning:
The globetrotting head of the White House Office of American Innovation broke his cipher-like silence on Monday to offer a stunning outline of the federal government’s recidivistic tech tendencies. Chief among them is that the U.S. Department of Defense still uses 8-inch floppy disks, a stored media technology retired by most businesses back in the early 1980s…Some of the mind-bending details comes from a 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report, which notes that the Defense Department’s use of antiquated media is a “a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces.” The report details the ages of numerous agency systems (including those used by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of the Treasury, Social Security Administration, and the Department of Justice) and the assessment that many are running COBOL, a programming language developed in the 1950s. Many services still use paper forms, including, according to Kushner, 90 percent of healthcare forms. Even those documents that are electronic suffer behind legacy systems and bureaucracy. Kushner noted how over 500 Veteran’s Affairs documents are “not accessible on modern browsers” and that a 1980 “Paper Reduction Act” is so outdated that it didn’t even account for computerized systems or the Internet, yet has domain over all documents filed with the government online. Kushner also outlined some aggressive plans to move the government’s 6,100 data centers and 1.6 million civilian email accounts to cloud-based services. That could save the government millions of dollars, but will, naturally, raise security concerns, since many of these agencies deal with the personal data of millions of Americans. [Mashable]
I knew the government was slow, but when technology moves so rapidly, it starts to look like barbaric culture running our government systems. A lot of this updating is going to take massive amounts of work and effort and money, which I’m pretty sure the administration and Congress absolutely loathe. Wouldn’t it be great if there was just a movement to get people jobs not just re-building and repairing our infrastructure, but to overhaul all these systems? I mean, those jobs, once they ended, could be transferrable to other job sectors and industries with a little training, I’m sure. But we’ll probably just hang around with these failing structures and systems until something disastrous happens and then we’ll get it done. But half-assed and complaining the whole time. (more…)