The Slatest
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Feb. 8 2016 10:12 PM

After Another Glitchy Stump Speech, Rubio Advisers Ponder Turning Him Off and Back On Again

Someday, Elon Musk assures us, there will be self-learning, self-improving robots that will be able to live and learn, love and laugh and annihilate us all, just like a real boy; but, until that day comes, it appears we’re stuck with this janky Atari version of Marco Rubio. After a rocky debate outing over the weekend, where the Florida Republican got roughed up by rival Chris Christie for a strange, Small Wonder-like repetition of Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing talking points, Rubio came into the new week looking to regain his mojo, which hit peak-levels during his strong third-place *victory* in Iowa.

Rubio, however, appeared to get his wires crossed again in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Monday, giving this glitchy, repetitive portion of his stump speech:

“We are taking our message to families that are struggling to raise their children in the 21st century because, as you saw, Jeanette and I are raising our four children in the 21st century, and we know how hard it’s become to instill our values in our kids instead of the values they try to ram down our throats.
“In the 21st century, it’s becoming harder than ever to instill in your children the values they teach in our homes and in our church instead of the values that they try to ram down our throats in the movies, in music, in popular culture.”

Ram down our… throats… jeez, is it getting hot in here? While it’s not the worst stump blunder by any stretch, coming on the heels of Saturday’s record-scratch of a performance, it’s not a great look for Rubio, who’s now facing growing calls to release his birth certificate to quiet claims he was constructed from the ground up in the basement of a Miami-Dade County Best Buy.

It will be interesting to see how the Rubio folks try to spin the new speaking style, but here are a few tried-and-true options the campaign may wish to employ before hitting the panic button:

  1. Turn the Marco Rubio off and then back on again.
  2. Take Marco Rubio’s cartridge out and blow on it.
  3. Clear Marco Rubio’s cache and delete his browser history.

If the Marco Rubio’s still not working, make sure he’s plugged in before calling customer service for help. It’s always embarrassing when the not-plugged-in thing is the right answer.

Feb. 8 2016 7:53 PM

Federal Judge Denies Texas Lawmakers’ Attempt to Block Resettlement of Syrian Refugees

A federal judge in Texas denied Monday the latest attempt by Republican lawmakers in the state to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees there. This is the second time U.S. District Judge David Godbey has thwarted Republican efforts to bar refugees being sent to the state; he denied an emergency order filed in December. On Monday, Godbey denied a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee, the nonprofit coordinating the resettlement program.

Godbey, a Republican appointee, however, didn’t make the case that the Obama administration and others have made that the refugees are just that, not ISIS-affiliated terror threats; rather, Republicans in the state, he says, are asking the federal judiciary to do what conservatives regularly complain about by overruling another branch of the government, in this case the executive branch.


Here’s more of what Godbey had to say in his 11-page order from the Dallas Morning News:

“The court does not deny that the Syrian refugees pose some risk,” wrote Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey in his 11-page order. “That would be foolish. In our country, however, it is the federal executive that is charged with assessing and mitigating that risk, not the states and not the courts… Somewhat ironically, Texas, perhaps the reddest of red states, asks a federal court to stick its judicial nose into this political morass, where it does not belong absent statuary authorization.”

"The Commission is unlikely to succeed on the merits," Godbey wrote of the suits prospects for success, "because it has no viable cause of action against the Federal Defendants."

Feb. 8 2016 6:25 PM

Breakfast-Eating American Hero Ignores Presidential Candidate, Continues Eating Breakfast

Elections are important for The Future of Our Republic, I guess. But sometimes you just want to watch TV, check social media, or eat your god dang eggs, bacon, and home fries without coming across presidential candidates and/or their supporters shouting nonsense at you/each other, right? Unfortunately for the woman above, an uninterrupted meal was not on the menu today in Manchester, New Hampshire as Carly Fiorina (currently polling at 2.5 percent) rolled into Blake's Restaurant for an event. But this hero of breakfast fortitude didn't let that bother her.


Darren McCollester/Getty Images

This angle, from the Manchester Union Leader, is even better:


Unidentified Woman is a new American icon.


Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Painting by Edward Hopper, photo by Darren McCollester/Getty.

Unidentified Woman/Diner Eggs 2016!

Feb. 8 2016 5:06 PM

The Monday Slatest Newsletter

Hillary Clinton is refusing to release transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs, and her stated reason for not doing so—because no one else releases their corporate speech transcripts—might just play right into Bernie Sanders' argument about the insidiousness of money in politics. In other news:


Have a good day out there.

Feb. 8 2016 4:43 PM

Michigan Board Approves Snyder Recall Petition Effort, but It’s Not Related to Flint

Michigan's Board of State Canvassers has approved the wording of a petition to recall Gov. Rick Snyder, MLive and the Detroit News report. Caveat: While the governor has been in national headlines because of the Flint lead-poisoning crisis and specifically because of decisions made by emergency managers he appointed to run that city, the petition that was approved on Monday actually cites an executive action Snyder took regarding the emergency state takeover of certain schools.

The petition's backer now has 60 days to collect 790,000 signatures; if he's successful, a measure to recall Snyder would appear on Michigan's ballot in November. The Board of Canvassers has rejected a number of Flint-related petitions on the grounds that they were not specific enough about why Snyder should be recalled from office.


The Detroit Free Press reported on Jan. 28 that while 58 percent of Michigan residents believe Snyder is doing a poor job as governor, only 29 percent believe he should resign; that poll, however, was released before the publication of March 2015 emails alerting the governor's office that some public health officials believed Flint River water was responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the city. Snyder said he wasn't told about the link until this January; perhaps even more problematically, some of the Snyder administration officials who learned about the Legionnaires' outbreak last March were involved in downplaying and outright denying the existence of problems with Flint River water in summer 2015.

Snyder has been Michigan governor since 2011; he won re-election in 2014 and would be prohibited from running again in 2018 by term limits.

Feb. 8 2016 3:17 PM

Why Hillary Clinton Won’t Release Her Goldman Sachs Transcripts

Pressed during Thursday’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said that she would “certainly look into” releasing the transcripts of the paid speeches she gave in private to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street institutions. By Sunday, her promised careful consideration was apparently complete. “Let everybody who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release them—we’ll all release them at the same time,” Clinton said on ABC’s This Week, noting that her opponents from both parties have also “given speeches to groups.” Her conclusion: “These rules need to apply to everyone.”

The answer was both tone-deaf and disingenuous. Clinton’s six-figure speeches are a point of contention in the Democratic race not because she was paid to give them but because of who paid her to give them. Bernie Sanders is running on the idea that Washington and Wall Street are too cozy and that the former will never be able to effectively regulate the latter as long as the status quo continues. He’s not challenging Clinton because he thinks she rigged the game; he simply contends that she is playing it like everyone else in politics.


Clinton’s decision to ignore the transcript controversy in hopes it will go away is hardly a surprise. She deployed a similar strategy early last year in the face of questions about the overlap between her family’s financial interests and those of the Clinton Foundation’s global donors, and to defend her use of a private email server to conduct official government business while secretary of state. Hillary responded to those controversies like she is responding to this one: by suggesting they are not controversies at all. Most politicians, she says, do the same thing, but she alone is treated differently. Many of her supporters agree, though many Democratic voters do not.

In a vacuum, the transcripts are a relatively minor issue. She is under no legal obligation to release them, and no one is seriously accusing Clinton of promising a roomful of bankers that she’d do whatever they want if she ends up in the White House. The worst anyone would probably discover from reading the transcripts is that Hillary said some relatively nice things about the financial industry while talking of the need for Washington and Wall Street to work together, a message many politicians might give in the same situation. But Clinton knows that’s not a message many progressives want to hear right now. She has every reason to fear that snippets of her Goldman speeches would be quoted in attack ads and on cable news shows for days and weeks to come. She’s betting that it is better to risk reminding voters of her less-than-transparent ways—which have been well-documented—than it is to provide tangible evidence that she says one thing in public to working-class voters and another in private to the 1 percent.

Her more immediate problem, though, is that she’ll continue to pay a price for keeping the transcripts under lock and key. The media’s coverage of the controversy will only remind voters that Clinton was paid millions from people working in the very industry she promises to reform. The questions will also keep her on the defensive at a time when she needs to be going on the offensive against a surging Sanders. And making matters even more awkward is that her But all politicians do it defense actually plays directly into Sanders’ larger argument, which is that too many politicians do it.

Clinton’s inability to fully deflect that criticism is only the latest evidence that she still doesn’t have a way to assure skeptical voters that the millions of dollars Wall Street has given to her foundation, her campaigns, and directly to her and her husband would have no bearing on her presidential decision-making. Asked at a debate last year about her ties to the financial industry, she answered with a non sequitur about women and 9/11. Asked by a reporter last month about releasing the transcripts of her Goldman speeches, she laughed and turned away. Asked at a town hall last week why she accepted $675,000 in speaking fees from the investment bank, she said, “Well, I don't know, that’s what they offered.” Like her transcript defense on Sunday, those are hardly the answers political strategists dream of—but if Clinton had better ones, we’d have heard them by now.

Feb. 8 2016 2:52 PM

NFL Folk Hero Makes Greatest Retirement Announcement of All Time

Seahawks running back Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch is an NFL fan favorite, beloved for his tough, indefatigable running style and for personality quirks like eating Skittles during games. That legend will only grow with the way he announced his retirement Sunday night:

Those Seahawks-green shoes are the same color as the ones Lynch was wearing during the signature play of his career, the legendary "Beast Quake" run over and through seven attempted tackles by the New Orleans Saints defense late in the fourth quarter of a playoff game at Seattle's famously loud home field:


Godspeed, Beast Mode.

Feb. 8 2016 11:31 AM

Everyone Somehow Survived This Truly Insane Leopard Attack in India (Video)

The BBC is reporting that, miraculously, six individuals sustained only "minor injuries" during an attack by a leopard in this terrifying video from Bangalore in India:

The animal had apparently been spotted by a security guard at the school and cornered in a bathroom before escaping through a ventilation duct into the pool area. It was eventually subdued via tranquilizer dart and taken to a national park.

Feb. 8 2016 9:22 AM

Sanders, Trump Have Wide Leads in New Hampshire Ahead of Tuesday Vote

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders appear fairly well set for easy victories in New Hampshire's Tuesday primary, the latest poll aggregations and projections say:


The real action is in the competition for second place in the Republican field, where CNN and RCP both have Rubio's support at 15 percent; all of the CNN polling and most of the RCP polling, though, was conducted before Rubio's already-infamous performance in Saturday night's debate. John Kasich, who seemed to do well in the debate and has picked up a number of New Hampshire endorsements, is in third in the FiveThirtyEight projections and in fourth, narrowly behind Ted Cruz's 13 percent, in both the CNN and RCP numbers.

Feb. 7 2016 11:51 PM

Bizarre Ad for Colonial Williamsburg Shows 9/11 in Reverse, Civil Rights Marching Backward

Super Bowl 50's most perplexing ad wasn't seen nationwide. The spot, which aired only in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., showed footage of various historical events playing in reverse as Tom Brokaw asked, “Where did our fight come from?” The answer: “It started here,” with here being Colonial Williamsburg.

Among the historical events that played backwards was 9/11, with the ad showing smoke being sucked back into the burning World Trade Center towers. There were also archival images of President Obama, civil rights protests, and suffragette marches. Played in reverse, this reel gave the impression that Colonial Williamsburg wants to move back the clock on equality struggles. Come to our lovely village, where you don't have to worry about all that awful social progress!