Blog Note

I have to wrap up early today, and I'm so sorry I didn't get to In the News today. That's one thing I really like to be able to get done for the community on days I have to wrap up early, but I hope you'll forgive me since my time was spent trying to pushback against some major bullshit on Twitter. (Which I'm going to keep doing as time allows, and I'll hope you'll join me!)

Anyway! I will be back here tomorrow. See you then!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in front of me, looking at me with a SERIOUS FACE
This dog. She's the best.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Teaspoons Ahoy!

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Right now, there's a trending hashtag on Twitter: #DropOutHillary. I am absolutely livid that Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner and presumptive nominee, is being admonished to drop out. No other frontrunner would be subjected to this demeaning shit.

I've started a pushback hashtag: #KeepWinningHillary. Please, if you're on Twitter, compose your own tweets using that hashtag so we can get it trending and push that other garbage off the radar.

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Kasich: Out

Welp, somebody finally woke up John Kasich from his nap, and he's dropping out of the Republican race for the presidency. Which is basically just a formality, since he has absolutely zero chance of winning the nomination, and has had all along.

From seventeen down to one. The cheese Donald stands alone.

I've got a piece on this at BNR, focusing on the fact that Trump's now totally undivided attention is one more reason that Bernie Sanders needs to immediately cease his personal attacks on Hillary Clinton.

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Let's Hope These Are the First of Many

McCain's Former Top Aide Will Support Clinton Over Trump:

A former aide to John McCain, who served both as the Arizona senator's chief of staff and a senior advisor on his 2008 presidential campaign, made clear Tuesday that he would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the general election.

"I'm with her," Mark Salter tweeted, referring to Clinton's campaign slogan, after noting the likely nomination of Trump, "a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it's on the level."
And Trump's taste in reading material is, of course, the least of his problems.

And at Fox News, former George W. Bush White House staffer David Meyers writes a message to his fellow Republicans: "If you back Trump you will not be trusted again."
Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States for reasons almost too numerous to mention.

First, Donald Trump's sole motivation for seeking the presidency is Donald Trump. His careers in business, reality television, and politics have been marked by personal ambition, self-aggrandizement, and a willingness to do or say anything to achieve power, fame, or notoriety. He is exactly the kind of demagogue that our founders feared might try to seek the Presidency for his own personal gain.

Furthermore, Trump lacks the judgment, character, and emotional stability to be president. Given his frequent public outbursts and lack of self-restraint, the thought of Mr. Trump controlling our military and nuclear weapons is unacceptable. The GOP, which has spent decades claiming to be the party of national security, should have been the first to declare Trump unfit for the presidency.

Instead, the opposite has happened.

...While I disagree with many of Hillary Clinton's policies, she is clearly qualified to be president. She possesses judgment and self-restraint. She does not have a track record of irrational, risky, and unsound business decisions and public comments. She has a long record of public service. She can be trusted with controlling our military and nuclear weapons. Mr. Trump cannot.

Any Republican who claims that it's better to elect Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton either lacks proper judgment, or has become so blinded by partisan ideology that they have lost objectivity.
Truly so.

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Discussion Thread: Trump's Veep?

Who is Donald Trump's running mate going to be? I mean, all jokes aside (and I know it's almost irresistible), who in the hell is going to complete this Ticket of the Damned?

I feel like they'll want someone who isn't another East Coast guy, which rules out Chris Christie. But I do think they'll definitely want a governor, to add executive experience to the ticket.

I'm thinking maybe Nikki Haley? She's the Governor of South Carolina, so she brings regional cred Trump doesn't have, plus she's a woman of color.

The thing is, IIRC, Trump has talked shit about Haley before, and I'm not sure she'd want the job.

That's actually going to be a big problem across the board: Lots of potential candidates who simply don't want to be part of a Trump ticket.

At this point, it's regarded as a losing ticket, so it would have to be someone who is willing to lose in order to set themselves up for a presidential run next time around. And also someone who is willing to risk permanent Trump-stank.

The list of people who fit that bill seems very short to me.

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Primarily Speaking

image of Donald Trump, making a smirking expression, to which I've added text reading: 'The face of the Republican Party.'

Well, Republicans, you've done it. From a field of 17 terrible candidates, you have selected the absolute fucking worst as your nominee. After a commanding victory in Indiana, that smirking scoundrel is the new standard-bearer of your reprehensible party.

John Kasich still remains in the race, presumably because no one has yet woken him up from his nap to inform him it's drop-out time, but Ted Cruz suspended his campaign last night (that must have been a fun few days for Carly Fiorina!), and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus tweeted: "@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton."

Which is exactly what they're going to do. It's what they were always going to do.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Bernie Sanders won in Indiana. It was, however, close enough he won't gain much ground in delegates, as they're still proportionally awarded to Democrats. Which means there's still no path to victory for Sanders.

At this point, even if Sanders won 100% of the remaining pledged delegates, he still couldn't win, unless superdelegates start abandoning Clinton en masse, which is highly unlikely.
After winning Indiana, Sanders has 1,399 pledged delegates and superdelegates to his name, according to the Associated Press' count. That means he needs 984 more to reach the threshold of 2,383 needed to win.

The remaining contests, however—Guam, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia—only have 933 pledged delegates to offer.
Clinton is not going to win zero delegates from here forward and lose hundreds of superdelegates. Sanders simply has no viable path to the nomination.

Naturally, that did not stop him from declaring otherwise. In a brief presser last night, he vowed to keep fighting, saying: "We feel great about gaining the momentum to take us to the finish line." And then, incredibly: "I think we can pull off one of the greatest political upsets in the history of the United States." Okay.

So now as Trump looks to general, Clinton will have to fight on two fronts: Start taking on Trump; keep fighting Sanders. As long as Sanders keeps attacking Clinton, the media will keep reporting it, and she'll be obliged to respond, to some extent.

It's not that she can't handle it; of course she can. It's that, at this point, given the math, she shouldn't have to.

Which isn't to say Sanders must drop out. It's only to say he doesn't need to keep attacking her. He, too, could pivot to Trump. He hasn't.

So Sanders is going to keep making it tough on Clinton. He's going to keep attacking her, which means he's going to keep generating negative press for her and keep handing talking points to Trump.

All the same, Clinton is going to be the nominee. Her road will just be unnecessarily more difficult. But what else is new?

Given that reality, my colleague and friend Peter Daou wrote what is possibly the greatest post ever written last night: "This Is the Face of the Woman Who Will Save the World from Donald Trump."

"Take a look, and act accordingly." LOLOLOLOLOLOL A+

If you're wondering whether I will definitely be shouting ACT ACCORDINGLY! for the next several decades, the answer is a resounding YES.

Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for the United States presidency. A terrible man who would oversee a ruinous administration defined by abject bigotry and reckless governance.

He is rude. He is offensive. He is intemperate. He is incompetent. He is unprepared. He is vainglorious. He is brittle. He is unethical. He is dishonest. He is cruel. He is terrifying. And he has a legitimate shot at becoming the next president.

image of Hillary Clinton in black and white, looking presidential
ACT ACCORDINGLY!!!

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Open Thread

image of Lucy from the Peanuts comic strip

Hosted by Lucy.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Brenda A.: "What is a strange coincidence that has happened to you, or that you have witnessed?"

One of the strangest coincidences that ever happened to me started in a book club chat room circa 2000. There was a dude who was having technical problems as he was trying to join the chat room, and he was asking for help in a most hilarious way, and everyone else was ignoring him, so I private messaged him to try to provide some tech support.

After we managed to solve whatever problem he was having (I can't even remember), we got to chatting and became friends. He lived in Nottingham, England, and I was living in Chicago at the time. After a few conversations, he mentioned to me that his best friend since childhood had moved to Chicago. He started telling me about him, and it turned out that not only did I know his friend's wife (!) but that his friend DJed in a club directly across the street from my apartment. (!!!)

That has to be the biggest "small world" coincidence I've ever experienced.

A couple of years later, Iain's and my last stop in the UK before we headed back to the States for good was at that bloke's flat in Nottingham. :)

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Lesley Gore: "You Don't Own Me"

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Here We Go

[Content Note: Disablist language; bigotry.]

For a very long time, as Donald Trump was emerging as the Republican frontrunner, prominent members of the GOP were wringing their hands about it and pretending that Trump's policies (such as they are) were outside the mainstream of their platform. It was always bullshit: The only thing that's "extreme" about Trump, by the measure of the GOP platform, is his refusal to conceal it with dogwhistles and doublespeak.

As seas of digital ink were spilled on stories about how the GOP was going to implode, I said over and over that they would coalesce behind Trump, specifically because he isn't truly outside the mainstream of Republican politics. And because they want to win, at any cost.

And so here we are. The coalescing has begun.

Lest there be any doubt how thoroughly cynical the Republican Party really is, today former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that he will vote for Trump, if he is the nominee:

"[I]f he is the nominee I will be voting for him, I will be supporting him," he said, explaining that there are "quite simply too many important issues," giving it "a chance" that Trump would get rid of Obamacare.

"I think there's a zero percent chance that Hillary Clinton would do that. So yes," Jindal continued. "If it comes down to a binary choice between Donald Trump, I'm supporting the party's nominee. I'm not happy about it. I don't think he's the best qualified, I don't think he's the one most likely to be successful, but I would vote for him over Hillary Clinton."
Let us recall that, last September, Jindal wrote an essay for CNN entitled "Trump is a madman who must be stopped," in which he called Trump "a shallow, unserious, substance-free, narcissistic egomaniac" whom conservatives "need to stop enabling... They need to stop praising him, stop being afraid of him, and stop treating him rationally. ...Conservatives need to say what we are thinking: Donald Trump is a madman who must be stopped."

Fast forward eight months, and suddenly Donald Trump is now the nominee who must be voted for.

Welp.

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The Media Must Change Their Approach on Trump; Our Nation's Future Depends on It

[Content Note: Bigotry; privilege.]

The media has positioned itself as Hillary Clinton's second opponent by running more negative stories about her than any other presidential candidate. Not only are they running against her with disproportionate negativity toward her, but with disproportionate positivity toward Donald Trump.

As I mentioned last week, former NBC News and CNN correspondent and anchor Campbell Brown has written a remarkable piece in which she calls cable news onto the carpet for having cravenly caved to Donald Trump so thoroughly that they've clearly abetted his rise to the Republican nomination.

Writes Brown:

I would really like to blame Trump. But everything he is doing is with TV news' full acquiescence. Trump doesn't force the networks to show his rallies live rather than do real reporting. Nor does he force anyone to accept his phone calls rather than demand that he do a face-to-face interview that would be a greater risk for him. TV news has largely given Trump editorial control. It is driven by a hunger for ratings—and the people who run the networks and the news channels are only too happy to make that Faustian bargain.

…We all know how it started. Early on, even before he was the front-runner, TV news was giving Trump far more attention than other candidates and far more than he deserved. …Trump gets about six appearances on the major networks for roughly every one his rivals Ted Cruz or John Kasich get. In fact, Trump's exposure has been three times greater than that of Cruz and Kasich combined. He received 50 percent of the exposure when there were more than a dozen candidates—a percentage that has only grown. Of course, by now, you've all also read the figure of close to $2 billion worth of free media the New York Times cited for Trump's TV bonanza. And that story was back in March. No campaign's advertising budget can compete.

…It is not just the wall-to-wall coverage of Trump. It's the openness with which some are reveling in his attention. It's the effort, conscious or not, to domesticate and pretty him up, to make him appear less offensive than he really is, and to practice a false objectivity or equivalence in the coverage.
She calls Trump's candidacy "largely a creation of a TV media that wants him, or needs him, to be the central character in this year's political drama." And "character" is a good word to use—it's a word that's used a lot around Trump, in endless cable news discussions wondering (with no conclusion) whether Trump is playing a "character," or whether he's really as odious as he seems.

The reflexive generosity of treating Trump as just a "character" is why the media greeted his candidacy, and long continued to regard it, as a bit of amusement. That he is entertaining has been enough to justify the endless coverage given to him.

Only now, as he closes in on the Republican nomination and takes one step closer to the US presidency, is cable news beginning to wonder if they made a terrible mistake.

Well, let me assure them: They did.

Trump's "shtick" has never been entertaining, or fun, or amusing to the people who are targeted by his heinous rhetoric. Many people who are members of communities at which he's directed his nationalistic bombast are terrified of a potential Trump presidency—and have been, understandably so, all along.

There's a reason that, for example, "registration among Hispanic voters is skyrocketing." And it isn't because they're laughing it up about what a "character" Trump is.

Maybe if the opinion-makers on TV news weren't "overwhelmingly white, conservative, and male in every category measured," there would have been someone to tell these mirthful Trump cheerleaders ages ago that there was nothing funny about his bigoted rhetoric.

Brown recalls CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves saying, regarding Trump's candidacy, "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." And she observes: "This is a statement of the obvious to anyone in TV news. My wonder at it stems from how long we've managed to treat this as our dirty little secret, that thing we all know: that what's damn good for CBS is damn bad for American journalism."

If only it were just bad for American journalism. But it is bad for America. This glib submission to Trump because he is "damn good" television stands to be ruinous for the nation.

Trump's candidacy is spiraling out of control. World leaders fear his presidency. Many women, Latinxs, Muslims, and other marginalized people are frightened of what a Trump presidency could mean for their very safety. Even his rallies have turned dangerous: Last week in California, his overflow crowd again clashed with protesters, resulting in violence and more than 20 arrests.

This is a mere snapshot of what is possibly to come, if his candidacy continues unchecked and upheld.

The media has a choice to make. They can continue chasing ratings by engaging in sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton while ignoring Donald Trump's rank sexism and other bigotries, or they can start delivering fair and just coverage of both candidates.

So far, they've shown a potentially catastrophic unwillingness to make the right choice on either point.

Prioritizing profits over people doesn't cut it as a justification for this obscene dereliction of their duty. While they keep raking in the dough, it's the rest of us who will pay the price.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat lying on the couch next to Iain, with her tiny paw on his arm

You might have noticed by now that lots of the pictures of Sophie show her with one of her tiny paws resting on either Iain or me. This is definitely one of her most adorable and endearing habits: If she's not able to lie directly on top of one of us (because we're working, for example, and there's a laptop where she wants to be), she will lie as close to us as possible, and put one of her paws on an arm or a leg. It's so cute. She is just the sweetest thing.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; terrorism] "A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed Tuesday in an attack by Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq, highlighting the evolving nature of the Pentagon's mission in Iraq and how American troops are serving closer than ever to the front lines. The SEAL, an enlisted petty officer first class whose identity was withheld until family members were notified, was killed by enemy fire about 9:30 a.m., said U.S. military officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly. ...It marks the third time a U.S. service member has been killed in combat since the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State began June 2014." My condolences to the SEAL's family, friends, and colleagues.

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Another must-read from Jessica Mason Pieklo: "Dillard, Daleiden, and Dear: A Summer of Abortion Violence Trials Starts Now." I am so deeply grateful for all the work she and Imani Gandy do covering the legal aspects of the war on agency and anti-choice terrorism.

[CN: Misogyny] New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continues to be terrible: "New Jersey's lawmakers want to require employers to pay women the same as men for essentially the same work. But Gov. Chris Christie (R) thinks they went too far." Why? Because it actually addressed pay equity or comparable worth, i.e. requiring that women must be "paid equally if they're doing the same tasks in a different role," thus denying businesses the ability to pay women less by giving them a shittier job title, basically. "Christie specifically objected to this piece of the bill in his veto, calling it 'nonsensical' and saying that it 'makes New Jersey very business unfriendly.'" Of course he did.

[CN: Disablist language; discussion of bigotry] Donald Trump isn't actually "literally delusional" because he thinks beating Hillary Clinton will be "easy," but he is hilariously and aggressively wrong. And Greg Sargent makes a strong case for precisely why he is so hilariously and aggressively wrong.

[CN: Misogyny] GOOD FUCKING GRIEF: "How Bernie changed Hillary: Sanders has left a lasting imprint on Clinton's candidacy, even if few in her camp are willing to admit it." A+ Politico. If only her campaign videos from 2008 were available online to show what she was talking about then! OH WELL. (P.S. No, Bernie Didn't Make Hillary a Better Candidate; She Did That Herself.)

In related news: Here's a story about Hillary Clinton addressing some of her critics and their criticisms. And apologizing for using imprecise and scary language. And promising, with regard to protests outside the venue: "I will do whatever I can regardless of whether people are yelling at me and whether people are misrepresenting me or whether people are not looking at everything I say and taking something out of context. That's part of it, I understand that. But I'm gonna get up every single day trying to figure out what to do to help you provide the kind of future for your children that they deserve to have." Somehow, I don't think Bernie Sanders taught her to do any of that.

[CN: Racism] Another company (Old Navy) features an akyriarchetypical family (interracial) in an advert, and bigots (racists) lose their shit over it, but love wins as many families who look like the family in the ad (interracial) post pictures of themselves and thank the company (Old Navy) for recognizing their existence, prompting the company (Old Navy) to vow their commitment to diversity. It's a MadLib at this point, because bigots are so infuriatingly predictable. Just fill in the blanks.

Congratulations to Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast and the crew and the fans and everyone !!! after the show made history by receiving 16 Tony nominations. Sixteen!!!

This is the most David Bowie thing ever: "David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, was a 'parting gift' to fans before his tragic death, according to his long-time producer Tony Visconti. ...Users of imgur, the image-sharing website, have discovered something quite touching about the vinyl edition of the album. If you leave take the gatefold sleeve, which contains the record (and which you'd be wise to remove first, lest you damage the record) and leave it in the sun, it transforms and depicts a different image. Instead of the titular black star, you're greeted by an entire galaxy." Blub.

Neat! "A Belgian-led team reported Monday that it's discovered three Earth-sized planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star less than 40 light-years away. It's the first time planets have been found around this type of star—and it opens up new, rich territory in the search for extraterrestrial life. Because this star is so close and so faint, astronomers can study the atmospheres of these three temperate exoplanets and, eventually, hunt for signs of possible life. They're already making atmospheric observations, in fact, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope will join in next week. Altogether, it's a 'winning combination' for seeking chemical traces of life outside our solar system, said Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Julien de Wit, a co-author of the study, released by the journal Nature."

And finally! This made me laugh out loud SO HARD! "Hilarious Bulldog Repeatedly Rolls Herself Down a Hill." As advertised!

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Balancing the Scales

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

I got an email asking me why I don't "write more bad stories about Hillary Clinton." Not critical stories. Bad stories.

It's interesting how many people seem very angry with me that my coverage of Hillary Clinton is one-sided. These people are clearly not paying attention if they believe I've never made a criticism of Clinton, but, even if they were, they wouldn't be satisfied by thoughtful criticisms and stated disagreements based entirely on reasoned analysis.

What they want is for me to hate her.

The only sufficient proof I can possibly offer to satisfy them is to write "bad stories" about Clinton. Stories that indulge conspiracy and cynical misrepresentation. Stories that are riddled with misogyny, preferably as overt as possible. Stories that satiate their need to hate her.

Stories at all. Tales. Pieces of writing that ignore the facts.

I'm guessing that the many corporate media outlets who routinely deliver precisely these sorts of "stories" about Clinton aren't approached by the same people criticizing their one-sided coverage. Because of course the people who email me aren't seeking fairness. They're seeking the precise opposite. They're seeking as much vitriol delivered by trusted sources as possible.

And when I fail to deliver, they accuse me of bias. As if I haven't made my bias abundantly clear.

Being biased, however, doesn't require an abdication of facts. Every supportive thing I have written about Clinton is supported by facts. The truth is, there is no shortage of good things to say about Clinton—and her supporters. I don't have to invent anything or reshape anything or even sand off any rough edges to write positive things about Clinton.

If it seems like I'm conjuring the things I write from nothing, well, frankly that isn't a commentary on me. That's a commentary on how insistently the corporate media conceals the many good things there are to say about Clinton, that what I write feels jarring or discordant or false.

What bias I have is this: I support Clinton, and I do not support a concerted effort to derail the career and attempt to discredit any woman on the basis of anything but the relevant facts.

There are more than enough people willing to talk shit about Hillary Clinton. There are far fewer people who are willing to talk about her many accomplishments.

I'm just trying to balance the scales.

And I don't feel even the tiniest bit obliged to apologize for that.

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Ughhhhhhh This Guy and Also That Guy

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

While campaigning in South Bend, Indiana, yesterday, Donald Trump opened his mouth and poured out this toxic sludge:

Trump also addressed one of his biggest general election liabilities: His terrible standing among female voters, who in Clinton could have the chance to vote for the first female president. "Women are looking for security in our country and they know I'm going to do the best job," he said, pivoting to attack Clinton's record in that arena. "When they called her on Benghazi she was sleeping, folks."

Earlier in the day in Carmel, Trump seized on Bernie Sanders' contention that Clinton isn't "qualified" to be president. "Bad judgment. I didn't say it," Trump said. "A lot of people said it. … It was said by Bernie. But I can't take any any heat if it was said by Bernie."
Great job, Trump! Great job, Bernie! You make quite the impressive team of dudes running against Hillary Clinton by saying totally stupid shit about her.

Also: I am already 100% exhausted with Trump making claims about what "women" think about him. I'm sure there are indeed some women who believe that Trump will "do the best job" on national security, because this is a big damn country with lots of people who have lots of different opinions! But not all women agree. To the absolute contrary, I would sooner trust a monkey with a head injury to make better foreign policy decisions than Donald Trump.

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Indiana Primary Day!

Today is the Indiana primary for both Democrats and Republicans! It's gonna be a wild one! Or not! Since it will definitely not change the shape of either race no matter what happens!

In any case, there are 92 delegates up for grabs on the Democratic side, and 57 delegates up for grabs on the Republican side. As always, the Democratic delegates will be proportionally awarded, and, this time, the Republican contest is winner take most.

The best news for Hoosiers is that, after today, Bobby Knight can crawl back into whatever hole Donald Trump dragged him out of! Huzzah!

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GOOD GRIEF THIS ELECTION

[Content Note: References to violence. Video may autoplay at link.]

This is just a real headline in the world: "Heidi Cruz responds to people who call her husband the Zodiac Killer."

I mean. I MEAN.

Heidi Cruz knows that her husband, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is not the Zodiac Killer, no matter what people online say.

Heidi spent Monday morning traveling across Indiana in support of her husband's presidential campaign. At a cafe in Carmel, Yahoo News asked for her reaction to a series of jokes that Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore made at the White House Correspondents' dinner on Saturday night, where he repeatedly called her husband "the Zodiac Killer."

"Well, I've been married to him for 15 years, and I know pretty well who he is, so it doesn't bother me at all. There's a lot of garbage out there," Heidi said.
Of course, the whole reason this particular garbage is out there is because Ted Cruz is probably the Zodiac Killer. Just kidding. He definitely isn't. He's just an ordinary human man who wants to "carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion."

Which, of course, would make him a much more prolific killer of innocent people than any serial killer.

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Open Thread

image of a 'woman's cut' white lab coat on a mannequin

Hosted by a lab coat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker yes: "What was a recent 'AHA!' moment you had? Sort of like an epiphany, but not necessarily profound."

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