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Democrats Can Help The Mueller Investigation Now. But They Also Might Make Things Worse. | FiveThirtyEight
Robert Mueller’s stock is about to go up on Capitol Hill — or at least, it’ll go up in the newly Democratic-controlled House. After a two-month stretch where Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election barely made headlines and was notably absent from the campaign trail, some Democrats are now vowing to do everything in their power to protect the special counsel as he enters what may be the final phase of his work.
At the same time, Democrats are also promising to begin aggressive investigations of their own. Adam Schiff, the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman, says he plans to reopen the panel’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, starting with a list of 70 people, organizations and companies that he and other Democrats believe the GOP failed to examine fully. This is both good and bad news for special counsel Robert Mueller: On the one hand, Democrats’ desire to get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 could help fortify his work, especially after supervision of the Russia investigation was transferred last week to acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, who has been openly critical of the investigation. On the other hand, it could create new headaches for Mueller or even undermine his work.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress  Dems  538 
5 hours ago by rgl7194
The Suburbs — All Kinds Of Suburbs — Delivered The House To Democrats | FiveThirtyEight
Throughout this election cycle, FiveThirtyEight and others wondered where Democrats could pick up House seats: Would it be in the 13 districts that Mitt Romney carried in 2012 but Hillary Clinton won in 2016? Or would it be in the 21 districts that Barack Obama carried in 2012 but Donald Trump won in 2016? It turns out that both types of districts mattered, and as Nathaniel Rakich noted, Democrats scored big in Romney-Clinton districts (and they may still gain more ground there, as not all races in California have been called).
But arguably what mattered more than a district’s presidential choice in 2012 and 2016 was whether it was suburban. Democrats made huge gains in Romney-Trump seats, too — we’re looking at you, Oklahoma 5th. Seats that leaned Republican but weren’t in rural areas proved to be pretty big pickup opportunities for Democrats and may be part of a larger story on the growing divide between urban and rural America.
538  politics  election  congress  gov2.0 
6 hours ago by rgl7194
Remembering The Women Codebreakers Who Helped End World World 2
Today, June 6th, is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a victorious Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France that marked the near end of The Second World War. This part of history is a permanent aspect of the average American high school education; usually, this portion of the lesson plan entails a serious discussion about the evils of Nazi Germany and American valor. 
However, what we do not learn about, are the thousands of young British women who contributed to the war's end by breaking the encoded German signals being sent between Nazi generals. The operation took place at a decoding enclave in the English countryside called Bletchley Park. Young, female code-breakers were recruited from all over England to help out with the Allies' decryption effort. Using what would later be revealed as the world's first electronic computer, "Colossus," these women have just recently been recognized as having made more of a contribution than we realize; their decoding efforts not only had a hand in shortening the war, but also in lessening the amount of Allied casualties. 
bletchley  encryption  gov2.0  math  military  privacy  security  spying  uk  women  WWII 
22 hours ago by rgl7194
How Democrats Won Big in Michigan in the Midterms - The Atlantic
A Democratic tsunami in the midterms engulfed the state Trump won most narrowly in 2016—and could keep the state blue in 2020.
Detroit—gretchen whitmer had her red water bottle with the Wonder Woman logo. Debbie Stabenow was touching up her makeup. Dana Nessel was up front, sitting with her wife, right behind the stack of boxed salads that was the food for the day.
The top of the Democratic ticket in Michigan—candidates for governor, Senate, and attorney general—were rolling along to the 77th and final stop of a statewide bus tour, hours before polls closed on Election Day. When the dust settled on 2016, no one would have been counting on any of them to be in contention, let alone win.
politics  gov2.0  state  Dems  congress 
2 days ago by rgl7194
It’s Easier Than Ever To Get The Recommended Amount Of Exercise | FiveThirtyEight
If you’re sitting right now, stand up. Walk a few steps or wave your arms in the air. Maybe do a quick dance move. OK, finished? You just did something really good for your health and well-being.
That’s according to the latest Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, released this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The new guidelines update ones published in 2008, and although the amount of exercise recommended isn’t different, the new guidelines incorporate some recent, tantalizing findings about the ways people can get in their exercise, promising to make the standards easier to meet. Whether these changes can overcome the human inclination to lie on the couch remains to be seen.
health  exercise  538  gov2.0 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Underage vaping prompts FDA to restrict flavored e-cigarette products - The Verge
The FDA is also taking aim at flavored cigars and menthol-flavored cigarettes
Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially announced plans to limit the sale of sweet-flavored e-cigarette products in places where people under the age of 18 can freely shop. The agency will also take aim at flavored cigars and menthol-flavored cigarettes in an effort to keep kids from getting hooked on any products that contain nicotine.
This isn’t a complete ban on flavored e-cigarette products, and it’s weaker than the proposal that was teased last week before the FDA officially announced it. All e-liquids — in pods, bottles, and cigalikes — in traditional tobacco flavors, as well as mint and menthol, can stay on the shelves of convenience stores and gas stations. Stores can sell products in more kid-friendly flavors only if they don’t let in underage consumers, or if the products are placed in an age-restricted section where kids can’t see them, much less buy the merchandise. E-cigarette manufacturers can continue to sell their fruity- and dessert-flavored cartridges online, provided they have adequate age verification measures in place.
smoking  gov2.0  teenager 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Commanding the trolls
Thanks to a series of journalistic investigations, many of which have been carried out by Russian reporters, it is already well known that employees at the so-called “troll factory” in St. Petersburg receive instructions about which messages they should push in social media and online debates.
Examples of such instructions have now been published in written form in the new indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice, which charges a named employee at the “troll factory” with attempted meddling in the upcoming U.S. midterms elections.
The new documentation confirms and fleshes out the instruction system and the fact that the “troll factory” is still active. The evidence also showcases the “troll factory’s” activities as a strategic communications campaign with emphasis on target group awareness.
gov2.0  politics  russia  troll  election  social_media 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Report: Charges against Assange relate to Russian hacking | Ars Technica
A government cut-and-paste error revealed Assange has apparently been charged.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has asked a federal court to unseal documents related to the federal government's pending prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The existence of that prosecution appears to have been accidentally revealed due to a cut-and-paste error in an unrelated sex crimes case. Now that its existence has been revealed, the Reporters Committee argues, there's no good reason to continue to withhold other details of the charges against Assange.
"Both the press and the public have a particularly powerful interest in access to sealed court records related to the government's prosecution of Assange," the rights group said in its filing.
Thursday's accidental revelation set off a flurry of subsequent reporting on the Assange prosecution. On Friday evening, The New York Times reported that the prosecution focuses on Assange's relationship with Russia.
wikileaks  gov2.0  politics  election  legal  russia 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Cut-and-paste error apparently reveals federal charges against Assange | Ars Technica
Filing in unrelated case mentions criminal charges against Wikileaks founder.
Federal prosecutors have accidentally revealed that criminal charges have been filed against "Assange"—an apparent reference to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The feds filed the revealing document back in August, but the slip-up wasn't noticed until it was flagged in a Thursday evening tweet.
The filing was in an unrelated sex crimes case in the Eastern District of Virginia. Federal prosecutors asked the court to seal its criminal complaint and arrest warrant against a man named  Seitu Sulayman Kokayi—for "coercion and enticement of a juvenile to engage in unlawful sexual activity"—to avoid tipping the suspect off. But in two places, the document refers to "Assange" instead of the actual defendant in the case.
wikileaks  gov2.0  politics  election  legal  russia 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Secret Charges Against Julian Assange Revealed Due to "Cut-Paste" Error
Has Wikileaks founder Julian Assange officially been charged with any unspecified criminal offense in the United States? — YES
United States prosecutors have accidentally revealed the existence of criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a recently unsealed court filing in an unrelated ongoing sex crime case in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Assistant US Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, who made this disclosure on August 22, urged the judge to keep the indictment [pdf] prepared against Assange sealed (secret) "due to the sophistication of the defendant, and the publicity surrounding the case."
Dwyer is assigned to the WikiLeaks case.
wikileaks  gov2.0  politics  election  legal  russia 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Do White Women Vote for Republicans or Democrats? - The Atlantic
Some progressives are blaming a single demographic group for a string of losses in the midterm elections—but that distorts the actual results.
After Democrats gained a House majority, causing most of them to celebrate the biggest check on Donald Trump’s power since he was elected, a tiny faction in the progressive coalition reacted in anger and frustration, fixating on races that would have made the Democrats’ “wave” even bigger: Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Andrew Gillum in Florida, Stacey Abrams in Georgia.
In all of these Democratic defeats, there was an easily identifiable group that voted overwhelmingly against the progressive candidate: Republicans. But members of this progressive faction did not lash out at Republicans. They instead directed their ire at another group, defined by race and sex. They lashed out at white women.
women  election  voting  politics  gov2.0  Dems 
3 days ago by rgl7194
First Ever Ranked-Choice Vote Flips Seat to Dems - WhoWhatWhy
Democrats netted their 36th House gain on Thursday as Democratic challenger Jared Golden unseated Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District.
Golden pulled ahead thanks to Maine’s ranked-choice system of voting. Under the system, voters rank their preferred candidates under their top choice. If neither major party candidate secures the necessary 50 percent threshold for a victory, ballots cast for third-party candidates are reallocated to their second choice.
On election night, Poliquin (R) led Golden (D) by a 46.4–45.5 percent margin. Under Maine law, since Poliquin failed to reach 50 percent, ballots for independent candidates Tiffany Bond and William Hoar were reallocated to one of the two major party candidates selected by those voters as their second choice.
Dems  congress  voting  election  gov2.0  politics 
3 days ago by rgl7194
French president requests respect following Trump's tweets - ABC News
French President Emmanuel Macron said France and the United States must respect each other, in a response to a flurry of critical tweets by Donald Trump.
Macron said in an interview Wednesday with French television TF1 from the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier off the coast of southern France that "the French don't expect from me to answer to tweets."
france  trump  gov2.0  politics  foreign_relations  twitter  SMH  europe 
5 days ago by rgl7194
Readers Respond: Midterms Voting Difficulty - The Atlantic
Readers respond to Jemele Hill’s account of her difficulty voting in Florida.
I Still Don’t Know Whether My Vote Will Be Counted in Florida
When Jemele Hill went to vote, she discovered that her name had been removed from the rolls over something she’d tweeted. “In another election year, this incident would just be a funny story for me to repeat at parties,” she wrote, “but this was the most serious election of my lifetime.”
I am 21 years old, a university student, and a Florida resident. I voted in the 2016 presidential election, or at least I think I did. I sent in my absentee ballot ahead of the deadline, but I never checked to make sure it was counted. I never thought to.
For the 2018 midterm elections, I again sent in my absentee ballot ahead of schedule. This time I checked. It still hasn’t been counted. I put extra stamps on it and a return address so that I would at least know if something went wrong. I’ve called my county office a number of times, to no avail. I was proud to vote as a young person in that infamous 18–29 bracket, but this only made me lose even more faith in our government. This is our voice; we are encouraged to use it, and yet, even if we follow all instructions, we are not heard. After reading your article, I don’t think it’s outlandish to wonder whether someone saw that the ballot was addressed from Berkeley, California, and simply disposed of it. And that is the most disheartening feeling.
voting  election  politics  gov2.0  university 
5 days ago by rgl7194
Gerrymandering, explained - Vox
How politicians draw the lines to benefit themselves.
What is gerrymandering?
How does gerrymandering work?
Who actually does the gerrymandering?
Where does the term gerrymandering come from?
Does gerrymandering cause political polarization?
What is racial gerrymandering?
Are there reforms that can prevent gerrymandering?
What’s the best path to political victory? Is it running good candidates? Is it crafting a strong campaign message? Is it fundamental factors like the economy?
What can be better than all of these is: drawing the district lines.
Politicians often draw district boundaries to help themselves or their party. Packing as many of the other party’s voters as possible into just a few districts they’ll win overwhelmingly, while ensuring your own party’s voters get smaller but solid advantages in more districts overall, is the classic way to gerrymander. But it can be immensely frustrating to voters, and make them feel their voices aren’t being heard.
Both parties have historically gerrymandered, but Republicans had far more opportunities to do so after their 2010 wave election — they had sole control of redistricting in most swing states. And now, the next redistricting and the next opportunity for both parties to gerrymander is drawing ever closer.
gov2.0  politics  election  voting  gerrymandering 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Midterm election results 2018: a blue wave - Vox
With all votes counted, it’s a larger landslide than 1994 or 2010.
The narrative that congealed election night before polls had even closed on the West Coast was that while Democrats may have taken the House, they also underperformed relative to expectations and the hoped-for blue wave had turned into, in the words of columnist Nick Kristof at the New York Times, “only a blue trickle.”
This was a questionable interpretation at the time it was offered, but subsequent events have shown it to be almost entirely a psychological illusion based on timing.
Like in any election, Democrats both won some squeakers and lost some squeakers. They overperformed expectations in some races and underperformed them in others. And in 2018, it happens to be the case that Democrats got some of their most disappointing results in East Coast states with early closing times, while the GOP’s biggest disappointments came disproportionately in late-counting states.
Consequently, what felt to many like a disappointment as of 11 pm Eastern time on election night now looks more and more like a triumph.
election  voting  politics  gov2.0  congress  trump  state 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Queen and I bonded over sore feet, reveals Michelle Obama - BBC News
It was described as a breach of royal protocol - but Michelle Obama has revealed the reason why she put her arm around the Queen's shoulder during a 2009 reception.
The monarch responded by putting her arm around the waist of the then US first lady as they stood side by side.
In her memoir, Becoming, Mrs Obama said they had just agreed a long day wearing heels had left them with sore feet.
We were just "two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes", she added.
At the time, Mrs Obama's embrace was described by one commentator as "extraordinary", but as she put it: "I did what's instinctive to me any time I feel connected to a new person."
The exchange took place on 1 April 2009 when Barack Obama made his first visit to the UK as US President to attend a G20 summit.
gov2.0  politics  FLOTUS  michelle  uk  royal 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Press Corps Backs CNN's Jim Acosta, Calling Out Sarah Huckabee Sanders For 'Complete Lie' | HuffPost
“If he really thought [Jim] was unfair, then why did he call on him? Because he wants the confrontation,” The New York Times’ Peter Baker wrote.
Fellow journalists and members of the White House press corps came to the immediate defense of CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday after the Trump administration revoked his press credentials.
Acosta was involved in a fiery exchange with President Donald Trump during a lengthy, post-election news conference at the White House earlier Wednesday. After repeatedly asking the president questions, provoking a heated outburst, an intern stepped forward to try to take a microphone from the CNN reporter as he moved to evade her. Within hours, Acosta said the Secret Service had denied him entry to White House grounds and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the reporter had placed his hands on the young woman.
trump  politics  news  gov2.0 
7 days ago by rgl7194
Rational Rant About an Irrational President - WhoWhatWhy
Something changed on Election Day, and no, I am not talking about the Dems taking the House. What changed is that now President Donald Trump not only feels he’s under attack but, for the first time, he really is.
Now, before you rejoice about that, understand how a man like Trump reacts when under attack. We had a peek preview at his presser, when he openly fought with reporters and banned one from the White House.
When such characters are cornered, they don’t surrender, they dig in. And it’s at such a moment that they drop all pretense of normality. We will now see the unvarnished, despotic, mega-paranoid, vengeful Trump. Firing Sessions (for the sole sin of recusing himself as the law required) was just the beginning.
For the next two years, Trump will be, metaphorically, hunkered down in his bunker, barking angry orders, identifying new enemies and depending on an ever-shrinking circle of trusted advisors.
gov2.0  politics  trump  op-ed 
7 days ago by rgl7194
The 2018 election was a blow to partisan gerrymandering.
The 2018 election was a body blow to partisan gerrymandering. Four states enacted redistricting reform that will diminish the role of politics in drawing district lines; more elected Democratic governors who can veto partisan maps. Another state, North Carolina, replaced a Republican state Supreme Court justice with a liberal who fought gerrymandering as a civil rights attorney. No matter what happens in 2020, it is all but guaranteed that the next decade’s maps will be significantly fairer than our current gerrymandered mess.
election  gov2.0  politics  gerrymandering 
7 days ago by rgl7194

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