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June 29 2016 3:41 PM

Nation’s Dreams Crushed as Mike Tyson and Mike Ditka Deny That They Are Appearing at GOP Convention

Bloomberg News, citing "people familiar with the planning," reported Tuesday that officials were "lining up" macho sports figures Mike Tyson and Mike Ditka to appear at the Republican National Convention in July. (It's been previously reported that Donald Trump intends to make the convention an entertainment spectacle that will involve more than just the typical schedule of political speeches.)

This seemed like a questionable move given that Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist and listening to Mike Ditka attempting to formulate coherent sentences, even on apolitical subjects like football, is like listening to a cow trying to play the piano. Now, various parties report that pretty much everyone involved is denying all parts of Bloomberg's report. From the Chicago Tribune:

While Ditka, 76, has made no secret of his support for presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and Trump has in the past publicly returned the love, the Chicago Bears legend told the Tribune on Wednesday morning, "No one's ever talked to me about it. I have no idea where it's coming from."
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And from Bloomberg itself:

On Wednesday, Jo Mignano, Tyson’s personal publicist, told Bloomberg Politics that the former boxer will not attend the convention. “He’ll be nowhere near Cleveland,” she said.

And from Trump's Twitter account:

Does "the media" make "everything" up? Not really. But could people who wanted to embarrass Trump have leaked a rumor that he thought it was a good idea to appear alongside Mike Tyson on national TV? Or could Trump staffers excited about winning over the pro-rape demographic with a Mike Tyson endorsement have jumped the gun? Both of those seem like possibilities. For now, though, the Ditka/Tyson plan seems dead in the water, which means Trump will have to go with his backup plan of announcing that his running mate is the guy who does the terrorist Arab puppet.

June 29 2016 12:35 PM

New Poll Finds That Hillary Supporters Are Pretty Racist Too

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll paints a particularly depressing picture of the U.S. electorate’s opinions on race. The main takeaways from the survey, which was released late Tuesday: A significant slice of Americans expressed racist views against blacks, and those who identify as Donald Trump supporters are more likely to fall into that group, though Hillary Clinton supporters are definitely there too.

Pollsters interviewed 16,000 Americans and asked them to grade whites and blacks on a series of personal traits, ranging from their intelligence to lawfulness. “In nearly every case,” the outlet notes, “Trump supporters were more likely to rate whites higher than blacks when their responses were compared with responses from Clinton supporters.” To wit:

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  • Roughly one-third of Trump supporters described blacks as less “intelligent” than whites, compared with about one-fifth of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 22.5 percent suggested whites were smarter than blacks.
  • 40 percent of Trump supporters described blacks as more “lazy” than whites, compared with one-quarter of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 26.8 percent suggested whites were harder working than blacks.
  • 44 percent of Trump supporters described blacks as more “rude” than whites, compared with 30 percent of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 31.3 percent said whites were more well mannered than blacks.
  • Nearly half of all Trump supporters described blacks as more “violent” than whites, compared with nearly one-third of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 32.8 percent said whites were less violent than blacks.
  • Nearly half of all Trump supporters described blacks as more “criminal” than whites, compared with nearly one-third of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 33.2 percent said whites were more lawful than blacks.

Trump backers on average rated blacks more negatively than whites on all six character traits Reuters provided than did supporters for any of the other candidates listed (Trump, Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich), which shouldn’t come as a shock given the ethno-nationalist worldview the celebrity strongman has built his campaign around. (The trend was consistent even when pollsters filtered the results to include only white respondents to account for the reality that Democrats tend to attract far more nonwhite voters than their Republican counterparts.)

Still, it’s worth taking a long hard look at the non-Trump results, too. Racism—that is, the belief that one race is superior to another, which is exactly the view being expressed in these numbers—is not hard to find among those backing the presumptive GOP nominee. But this survey makes clear that it’s also not all that much harder to find it among the general population, including those who want to see Clinton in the White House: all you have to do is ask.

June 29 2016 10:28 AM

It’s Way Past Time to Stop Reporting Random Election Polls

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running neck and neck, according to a new election poll out from Quinnipiac University. The presumptive Democratic nominee leads the race 42 to 40 percent, and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

The most remarkable thing about this particular result is that it has somehow commanded full stories from the New York Times and CNN, among others. I thought we were beyond this. It has been eight years since Nate Silver started beating into the media's collective consciousness that tracking the often random fluctuations of individual polls is a singularly terrible way to follow an election. Pollsters frequently have house effects that bias their results toward one candidate or another. Their results move around in weird ways. The most exciting polls, like this Quinnipiac production, are often just outliers. You can get around this issue by averaging together the results of lots of different polls. Lo and behold, Real Clear Politics and HuffPost Pollster still have Clinton comfortably in the lead. None of this is new.

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I get why news organizations still trumpet their own polls. They paid for them. They want to reap a little web traffic and attention from the effort—which is probably a worthwhile social trade-off, since it ensures that we have a consistent amount of polling for the averages. And yes, sometimes polls ask interesting questions aside from "who are you voting for" that are worth exploring. Reuters recently found that Trump supporters aren't too fond of blacks. That result probably deserves some coverage. The first poll after a massive news event like the Orlando shooting? OK, fine, people are going to be curious, might as well write something up.

But random horse-race results? Come on. It is way past the point where we ought to have given up this journalistic crutch—which, by the way, Slate is occassionally guilty of leaning on as well. There's plenty of other content for us to churn out.

June 29 2016 10:05 AM

Istanbul Attack Updates: Death Toll at 41, No Responsibility Yet Claimed

  • 41 victims have died and 109 remain hospitalized.
  • No organization has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, and while ISIS is obviously a potential suspect, officials have not disclosed any evidence of the group's involvement.
  • Regular air traffic resumed at Ataturk at about 2:30 a.m. local time, roughly 4½ hours after the attacks, which is heartening, because it demonstrates how little these attacks are ultimately able to accomplish, but also hugely frustrating, because what was the point of taking these 41 lives away? To stop traffic at an airport for four hours?
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We'll update this post as information becomes available.

June 29 2016 9:31 AM

Zika Funding Bill Fails Over Planned Parenthood, Confederate Flag, Obamacare Disputes

A bill that included funding for Zika virus response activities has failed in the Senate because of provisions in the bill that involve Planned Parenthood and the Confederate flag, among other disputed issues. With Senate Democrats opposing the measure, a Tuesday vote to "invoke cloture" (end debate) on the bill received only 52 of the 60 votes that would have been necessary to hold a vote.

Among the problems that Democrats say they have with the appropriations bill that includes the Zika funding:

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  • It cuts $540 million in Affordable Care Act funding.
  • It doesn't include money for Planned Parenthood or any other contraceptive providers. (This is a shortcoming because Zika can be transmitted sexually.)
  • It doesn't include a provision passed earlier in the House that would prohibit federal funds from being used to fly Confederate flags at veterans' cemeteries.
  • The Zika money it does include is $800 million less than what the Obama administration has asked for.

While a number of U.S. Zika cases have been confirmed in individuals who traveled outside the country, none are yet known to have been acquired here. Hopefully that will remain true as Congress goes through the arduous process of getting its act together.

June 28 2016 10:25 PM

Donald Trump Repeatedly Compares Trade Deal to “Rape of Our Country” During Campaign Speech

During a campaign rally in St. Clairsville, Ohio, Tuesday, Donald Trump took a moment to criticize the often-criticized Trans-Pacific Partnership. Railing against the as-of-yet unratified trade deal has been a popular tactic on the campaign trail this year on all sides, but Trump, as he often does, took his rhetoric one step farther than is necessary, or appropriate, and characterized the trade agreement as "a continuing rape of our country”—three times.

Here’s exactly what he had to say:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country. That's what it is, too. It's a harsh word: It's a rape of our country.
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*Correction, June 29, 2016: This post originally referred to the Ohio town where Donald Trump gave a campaign speech as Clairsville; the speech was in St. Clairsville.

June 28 2016 8:25 PM

At Least 36 Confirmed Dead in Terror Attack at Istanbul Airport

Final Update, 10:45 p.m.:  CCTV footage appears to show one of the attackers detonate a bomb strapped to his body after being shot by security forces in the airport. The footage is graphic, but can be watched here. It’s now Wednesday morning in Istanbul and the airport is still open to air traffic, according to Turkish officials. There has still been no claim of responsibility. There will surely be new information as authorities piece together evidence, but we’ll pick it up in the morning with updates.

Update, 8:25 p.m.: Turkish authorities say they believe the terrorist threat is over, meaning, presumably, all suspects in the plot were killed during the attack.

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Update, 8:15 p.m.: The Turkish Prime Minister has raised the death toll to at least 36 confirmed dead; 140 reported wounded.

Update, 8:05 p.m.: “[A] Turkish government official said that shortly before 10 p.m., the police fired shots at two suspected attackers at the entryway to the airport’s international arrivals terminal, in an effort to stop them before they reached the building’s security checkpoint,” the New York Times reports. “The two suspects then detonated their bombs, the official said. The third attacker detonated explosives in the parking lot, another official said.”

Update, 7:55 p.m.: Here is some footage from on the ground over the last several hours.

Update, 7:25 p.m.: There’s some discrepancy on the death toll; the AP is now reporting 31 people are confirmed dead. That number appears to be continuing to rise, however, and unfortunately still could meet the earlier estimate by a Turkish official, reported by the AP. CNN is reporting 88 have been wounded in the attack.

Update, 6:25 p.m.: The death toll from Tuesday’s bombing now stands at nearly 50 people, according to Turkish officials. Details of the attack are still sketchy, but the governor of Istanbul told Turkish news outlets three suicide bombers carried out the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, nor have authorities assigned blame, but the Associated Press reports that Turkish officials say there are indications that ISIS is behind the bombing.

Original Post: Turkish officials say at least 10 people have been killed and more than 20 injured in what appears to be a terror attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. Initial accounts say that two explosions took place in the airport's international terminal; a CNN source says the explosions were triggered by suicide bombers. Images from the scene showed damage to some outdoor areas, suggesting that the attack, like the Brussels airport bombings in March, may have taken place near the terminal's entrance and outside its security checkpoints.

Turkey has been hit by several major terrorist attacks recently; as Slate's Joshua Keating wrote after a February bombing in Ankara, more than one radical group has targeted Turkish civilians, including ISIS, Kurdish nationalists, and "ultra-leftist groups." (Another deadly bombing took place in Istanbul a month later.)

June 28 2016 5:52 PM

Why Did Buddy Ryan Run Up the Score On the Cowboys in 1987? Revenge.

Legendary NFL coach Buddy Ryan died Tuesday at age 82. Ryan, who was the father of Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan and Bills defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, was a defensive genius—and as brash as he was innovative. He beefed with opposing coaches, called quarterbacks “overpaid, overrated, pompous bastards,” and once punched one of his fellow coaches on the sideline.

June 28 2016 5:27 PM

The Tuesday Slatest Newsletter

Today's biggest stories:

Have a good night out there.

June 28 2016 5:21 PM

Today's Trump Apocalypse Watch: The Great Wall of Garbage

The Trump Apocalypse Watch is a subjective daily estimate, using a scale of one to four horsemen, of how likely it is that Donald Trump will be elected president, thus triggering an apocalypse in which we all die.

Donald Trump gave a speech today in front of an actual pile of garbage at a recycling center. (The subject of the speech was free trade; at this point it remains to be seen how Trump's remarks went over with pundits and voters.) Meanwhile, the Washington Post published the results of an investigation into Trump's charitable giving. The Post contacted 167 charitable organizations with links to Trump and could only find evidence of one donation given personally by the Republican nominee in the past seven years. One! It's truly unbelievable. And the Post's huge investigation likely wasn't even the most damaging Trump story of its news cycle! At this point, there is just so much Donald Trump garbage in the world that no one recycling center or voter could possibly process all of it.

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Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons

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