trombones days to go in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and the candidates have a lot on their minds: Clinton makes a $95 million ad buy; Trump and his band of Steves yearn for calmer days when they'll be able to discuss Morning Joe gossip in peace, as Minion "9/11" Rudy spreads Clinton conspiracy theories; Egg McMuffin continues to do his thing.
With his campaign chair Paul Manafort mired in scandal and polls showing Arizona and Georgia on the brink of going blue, an increasingly agitated Donald Trump has launched a major shake-up of his political staff. Reportedly infuriated by talk of being "tamed," the Republican nominee has rejected Manafort's moderating sway in favor of Breitbart News CEO Steve* Bannon, an alt-right firebrand who Bloomberg has called "the most dangerous political operative in America." Washington Post reporter Robert Costa foresees a vicious campaign in the making, a prospect further suggested by rumors that disgraced Fox News founder Roger Ailes will be advising Trump ahead of next months' debates with Hillary Clinton (whose odds of a landslide are currently on par with that of any Trump victory). [more inside]
"After all the arguments, lack of tips and constantly sending back food I finally learned the name of my worst customer, Coleman Sweeney. And I'll never forget it." More from Forbes, Adweek, The Drum, UPROXX. Organ donor websites: USA, UK, Canada, Australia.
Election season, 1860: "Stumping for the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, [a] strange movement electrified the presidential election. Young men from Bangor to San Francisco and from huge Philadelphia clubs to tiny Iowa troupes donned uniforms, lit torches, and “fell in” to pseudomilitary marching companies." The Wide Awakes, as they were known, began as escorts for Republican speakers, but as the campaign season continued, these "political police" became an intimidating presence throughout much of the nation--young, fervent brawlers and unapologetic supporters of an aggressive style of American political combat. [more inside]
In case you were wondering about [a conspicuous lack of] the Koch Brothers' involvement in the 2016 US political elections, here is the inside scoop. [more inside]
"May Day: America's Traditional, Radical, Complicated Holiday," from the Smithsonian NMAH blog. Part One, Part Two.
Jane Mayer takes on the Koch Brothers [1,2,3] - "For decades, billionaire libertarians Charles and David Koch have spent millions trying to reduce the size of government and slash regulations, making the brothers a target of the political Left and campaign finance reformers. But few people have dug deeper into the Koch empire and family history than New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, author of the new book 'Dark Money'. Among other revelations, she alleges that the brothers hired private detectives to investigate her after she published articles critical of them. We talk to Mayer about the book and about what the rise of Donald Trump means for the Kochs and their allies." (previously)
"Pretty please, with a cherry on top." The Curzon is one of the best cinemas in London, but it's under threat from plans to redevelop its Soho home. In its bid to survive, the cinema has produced this original, inventive (and very sweary) video (SLYT).
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ben Carson?
What If Sarah Palin Were a Brain Surgeon?
Taking Ben Carson Seriously
What If Sarah Palin Were a Brain Surgeon?
Taking Ben Carson Seriously
Tom Schweich, Missouri's state auditor and a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary, died in an apparent suicide on Feb. 26. [more inside]
Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign - "an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history... These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. Now the Kochs' network will embark on its largest drive ever to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party's dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government."
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
When last we checked in with Toronto mayor Rob Ford, he had just come back from a stint in rehab. The ensuing summer found him apparently clean and sober, although still with an aura of scandal (last weekend he was subpoenaed in an extortion case) and despite great efforts, polls had Ford trailing by more than ten points in the race in August. Earlier this week, things took another shocking turn when he was admitted to hospital with an abdominal tumour. With 2:00 PM today as the deadline for candidates to add or remove their names to or from the ballot, many speculated on how Ford's health concerns would affect the race (the two candidates polling in fourth and fifth bowed out of the race in the last two weeks). This morning, hours before the deadline, Ford announced he was withdrawing his name from the mayoral ballot, but he would be running for city council. He has asked his brother and erstwhile campaign manager, rookie councillor Doug Ford, to run for mayor in his place. [more inside]
Today, the Supreme Court issued its 5-4 opinion in McCutcheon v FEC.
The Government has a strong interest, no less critical to our democratic system, in combatting corruption and its appearance. We have, however, held that this interest must be limited to a specific kind of corruption—quid pro quo corruption—in order to ensure that the Government's efforts do not have the effect of restricting the First Amendment right of citizens to choose who shall govern them. For the reasons set forth, we conclude that the aggregate limits on contributions do not further the only governmental interest this Court accepted as legitimate in Buckley. They instead intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise “the most fundamental First Amendment activities.” Buckley, 424 U. S., at 14. The judgment of the District Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings. It is so ordered.The Supreme Court strikes down provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ("BCRA") as an unjustified intrusion on First Amendment rights. The link also includes the concurrence of Justice Thomas and a dissent by Justice Breyer. [more inside]
Celebrities naked with fish. Photography done for the Fishlove campaign which raises awareness about the destruction of the seas and the unsustainable practices that lead to over fishing. Founded by the restaurant, Moshimo and the actresss, Greta Saatchi it gathers celebrity, professional photography and fish to ask the question, "Are you a fish lover?" [more inside]
Name this mouthwash. Name this winter coat. Name this urinal. Name the herb garden. Name this salt and pepper. Name this fire extinguisher. Name this Case Manager. Name this pie. [more inside]
Supreme Court to consider lifting campaign contribution limits. Reversing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission would allow unlimited individual campaign contributions.
The Welsh Space Campaign. The suit is made of the fabric woven in the last remaining wool mills in Wales. The astronaut boots are traditional Welsh clogs crafted by a traditional clog maker. The whole pressure system that will enable the astronaut to sustain life in outer space was built by a Welsh plumber. The aim of the designer is to reveal that Wales has the capacity to explore space, and to show that off-world culturalisation can be achieved through a collective communitarian effort; as a way to allow the people involved to reconsider their role and skill in relation to these cosmic contexts. -- We Make Money Not Art
TruthTeller is an ambitious new automated application built by the Washington Post, which fact checks political speeches, ads and interviews "in as close to real time as possible." The prototype is intended to be a complement to the paper's Fact Checker Blog. More on the project from TechCrunch and Poynter.
A Vast Left-Wing Competency: "How Democrats became the party of effective campaigning — and why the GOP isn’t catching up anytime soon." Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab, has been writing a series of posts on Slate that focus on different aspects of "the new science of winning campaigns". [more inside]
US Presidential race got you stressed? Escape into the past with Retro Campaigns.
Sunt tibi necessaria consilio pro electione? Q. Ciceronem, frater M., habet quaedam verba pro vobis in Commentariolum Petitionis [more inside]
Meet the Green Candidate. Is Maine ready to elect America's first Orc Assassin Rogue senator?
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney just took his case to the NAACP. This satirical look at Mitt's prep session.
"A mother, grandmother, activist, leader, feminist, and successful business woman that is addressing the concerns of the 99%"
With a platform that includes legalization of pot, withdrawal of military support for Israel, forgiveness of all student loan debt and ballot access in all 50 states, Roseanne Barr is seeking the Green Party nomination for the presidency.
Robert Reich writes today: My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State -- a position he's apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President [more inside]
Americans Elect is an organization creating a ready-made slot on the 2012 presidential ballot for an unnamed independent ticket, thus removing the biggest barrier to a 3rd party challenge. (Donald Trump suggests himself.) The NYT thinks they'll qualify in all 50 states. They say they want a non-partisan, mixed-party ticket. Some on the left see a cabal of shadowy millionaires with ties to the FBI, CIA and military behind it. Team Obama is concerned.
Last Friday, USA Today reported that two people from PR firm Burson-Marsteller had been contacting various news outlets and bloggers, pushing a story about how Google's "Social Circle" gmail feature violates users' privacy. The pitch was made on behalf of an unnamed client that The Daily Beast now confirms was Facebook. [more inside]
New York State Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) did an IAMA (I Am A Democrat Who Fights) Q and A on reddit last week. While he answered many questions, he responded to the top five most popular questions questions in video form. [more inside]
Some political watchers are saying this could be the nastiest, most negative election season of all time. [SLYT]
Kentucky officials have identified the assailant in the face-stomping of a private citizen shortly before a debate between candidates for the office of Senator in the state of Kentucky. Contrary to initial reports which quickly dismissed the assault as the isolated acts of assorted private citizens, it has now been revealed that the gentleman curb-stomping the head of a MoveOn.org activist prior to the debate between candidates last night was none other than a county-level representative of the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, Mr. Rand Paul.
Jack Conway, a candidate for United States Senate, is catching flak from Democrats and Tea-Partiers alike, for airing an attack ad against his opponent, Rand Paul that brings up some bizarre dirt published in GQ a few months back. At a debate between the two candidates Sunday, Paul refused to shake Conway's hand at the end. Today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a response to the Aqua Buddha ad. [more inside]
"The Man Who Never Was." Vanity Fair editor Todd S. Purdum follows up his 2007 profile of then-Senator John McCain and a scathing 2009 profile of Sarah Palin by asking whether McCain, "...the leader so many Americans admired — and so many journalists covered — ever truly existed." (Previously)
About-Face aims to provide women and girls with skills to critically examine media messages that affect their positive self-image. Their website is a one-stop shop for simple, direct, teen-friendly educational materials about female self-esteem and body image. [more inside]
"EIZO High End Monitors Medical Imaging" presents: Pin-Up 2010, an x-ray pinup calendar. (Possibly NSFW)
Yesterday, the New York Times published an investigative report showing Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) either lied or spoke ambiguously about serving in Vietnam in several past public appearances. Blumenthal is currently the Democratic frontrunner for Senator Chris Dodd's Senate seat, and is expected to face former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R). Today, McMahon's campaign announced they "fed" the story to the paper and posted the video of Blumenthal's statement to their YouTube channel. More from Politico. [more inside]
Carly Fiorina, perhaps best known as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is attempting to become the Republican candidate for Barbara Boxer's long-time Senate seat. But her nomination isn't sewed up yet; her potential GOP challenger is former Congressman and Stanford Law professor Tom Campbell. So earlier today, Fiorina's campaign released this political attack ad against Campbell. It features her newly-minted acronym "FCINO", it's about six times longer than most political ads, it makes copious use of stock photography, and it stars demon sheep with red glowing eyes. Wait, what?
Alan Grayson (D - FL) has introduced a bill to tax corporate political campaign donations at 500% (via). The bill is called the "Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act."
Follow the money. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money.
It's time to find out who owns your democracy, and how they bought it. Do you feel like US campaign finance is hopelessly shrouded in mystery? Fear not citizen, there's a website for that: The Center for Responsive Politics has made available a well-organized, highly detailed database of their analysis of US campaign finance to shine a bright nonpartisan light on the green underbelly of US democracy. [more inside]
Piano Stairs! (Not everyone thinks they're a good idea.) Also see "The Deepest Trash Can". Both videos are from Volkswagon Sweden, whose new English-language website, TheFunTheory is still under construction. But here's the Swedish-language version.
Brazil's new water conservation campaign: Xixi no Banho! (slyt)
According to the Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact.com, change has stalled. Obama has kept 2 of his top 25 campaign promises so far. But he hasn't closed Guantanamo, restored habeus corpus for "enemy combatatnts", attempted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, attempted to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or cracked down on lobbyists. With promises on healthcare in the works, Obama seems to be at a crucial point in his first term.