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July 28 2015 6:15 PM

The GOP Debate Cutoff Is One Week Away. Here’s Where Everyone Stands.

It’s crunch time for the crowded Republican field. Next Tuesday, Fox News will send out 10 invites to the first GOP presidential debate, which will take place two days later in Cleveland. Who makes it onto the main stage—and who’s doesn’t—will be decided by an average of the five most recent national polls recognized by the network as of Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. ET. That, to put it mildly, is less than a scientific process: As plenty of pollsters have noted, it’s almost akin to drawing straws for the final few spots. Nonetheless, those are the rules Fox News came up with, and those are the rules the Republican Party signed off on—so those are the rules we have.

In theory, a candidate could survive being left out of the main event and still catch fire, either at the televised GOP kids’ table that will precede the debate or on the trail later. In reality, though, it would take a minor miracle for any of them to convince voters, donors, and the media that they’re worth the attention moving forward. Given that, what happens over the next seven days should provide the first major winnowing of a campaign that is still six months away from its first official nominating contest. Here’s a quick rundown of where things stand heading into the home stretch. (We’ll continue to update this post between now and decision day as major news warrants.)


1.) Donald Trump
RealClearPolling average: 18.2 percent
Debate status: Lock.

Much to the dismay of the GOP establishment, The Donald is very much still around. Even his real-war-heroes-don’t-get-captured shtick hasn’t derailed his campaign. He’s finished atop five of the six most recent national polls, and placed a close second in the other. The laws of politics (and general decorum) have yet to catch up with Trump; they’re unlikely to before next Tuesday.

2.) Jeb Bush
RCP average: 13.7 percent
Debate status: Lock

Bush was expected to run a shock-and-awe campaign that would clear a crowded field. His massive fundraising totals aside, though, the biggest shock of his campaign has been how little he’s controlled the race. Still, the former Florida governor remains the establishment favorite and has continued to poll in the top-three pretty much all year long. Trump may be stealing the spotlight but he doesn’t appear to be actually stealing Jeb’s support.

3.) Scott Walker
RCP average: 11.7 percent
Debate status: Lock

Walker would prefer the national conversation was focused on Iowa, which will hold the first nominating contest of 2016 and where the Wisconsin governor currently sits atop the polls. But Walker remains safely in the top-tier in the national surveys. In the past six polls, Walker has three second-place finishes to his name.

4.) Marco Rubio
RCP average: 6.8 percent
Debate status: Near-Lock

The final member of the GOP establishment’s Big Three, Rubio hasn’t exactly lived up to that title. The Florida senator hasn’t been able to keep pace with Bush and Walker in the polls and currently finds himself at the top of the main heap. Still, with his name recognition and perceived frontrunner status, Rubio will have the chance in Cleveland to right the ship.

5.) Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson
RCP average: 6.0 percent a piece
Debate status: Safe

Two favorites of the Evangelical set, Huckabee and Carson have remained in the thick of the nominating contest for months. Carson has done so rather quietly, winning over voters at GOP cattle calls and on conservative media. Huckabee, meanwhile, has begun to make as much noise as he possibly can—even if that means adding his own corollary to Godwin’s Law in the process.

7.) Ted Cruz and Rand Paul
RCP average: 5.7 percent a piece
Debate status: Safe

Both senators have yet to live up to the hype that preceded their presidential campaigns—and both have turned increasingly desperate to stand out in a crowded field that continues to be dominated by Trump. Cruz has tried to buddy up with the billionaire frontrunner, while simultaneously lobbing bombs at his own party’s establishment on the Senate floor. Paul, meanwhile, has proved he’s willing to do just about anything short of setting himself on fire to get some of the attention being bestowed upon Trump. So far, though, stunts like taking a chainsaw to the U.S. tax code haven’t been able to steal the show from a professional showman.

9.) Chris Christie
RCP average: 3.0 percent
Debate status: Nervous

Four years ago, GOP powerbrokers were begging for the New Jersey governor to make a White House run. This year? Not so much. Bridgegate didn’t help things, but neither has his shifting position on Common Core or his moderate position on climate change. Two months ago he seemed like a safe bet to be on stage in Cleveland, but now he has his work cut out for him.

10.) John Kasich
RCP average: 2.2 percent
Debate status: Nervous

Kasich may have timed his official launch perfectly. Less than three weeks ago the Ohio governor sat three places and about two points away from snagging the final invite to a primetime event in his own backyard. Thanks to a post-announcement bump, he’s since inched into the top ten with less than a week to go. Helping his cause: A recent surge in New Hampshire, which may earn him some valuable free media over the next week.

11.) Rick Perry
RCP average: 2.0 percent
Debate status: Desperate

Perry is in real danger of missing out on the debate stage. Of the entire field, he’s been the most willing to go directly after Trump, calling the reality TV star a “cancer on conservatism.” Unless he finds some late momentum, though, the former Texas governor might be left to watch from home and yell insults at his television. The good news for Perry? If he misses out on the debate he’ll be spared reliving his “Oops” debacle from four years ago on a continuous cable news loop next week.

12-13.) Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina
RCP average: 1.5 percent, 1.3 percent, 1.3 percent respectively
Debate status: Never Say Never

All three are within one percentage point of the all-important tenth place—but time isn’t on their side. None have managed to really catch fire, even briefly, during the early campaign, and it’s unclear how they might pull off the trick before the buzzer sounds. Still, they’ll certainly try given a few points in a single poll this week could decide their respective fates. Watch out for something big from one or more of them in the next couple of days.

15.) Lindsey Graham
RCP average: 0.2 percent
Debate status: Say Never

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July 28 2015 5:59 PM

Hillary Clinton’s Climate Plan Is Rhetorically Grand and Scientifically Unambitious

On Sunday, Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, released her first policy proposals on climate change—and at first glance, the Clinton plan seems ambitious. It secures the Obama administration’s gains on renewable energy and, as my Slate colleague Josh Voorhees writes, provides a “solid start” to take them significantly forward. It is great to hear Clinton call global warming an “urgent challenge that threatens us all.”

But is the new Clinton climate plan ambitious enough according to the science? Not really.


Like many of his colleagues, climate scientist Kevin Anderson has argued that since there’s only a finite amount of carbon that can be emitted before the world is committed to “dangerous” climate change, and we’ve waited so long for serious climate policies, a “war-like” mobilization is now required. International equity—letting poor countries emit more carbon than rich countries from here on out—demands that the United States, Europe, and other historically high emitting countries should position themselves for at least 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. With Obama at the helm, the U.S. is on pace for reductions of just 43 percent by then. Clinton’s new plan is consistent with a reduction of about 54 percent by 2030.

It’s true that Clinton’s plan is a significant improvement from Obama’s, but when compared to her two principal challengers, Clinton’s climate goals don’t look so grand. Emily Atkin from Climate Progress has a worthwhile analysis of climate policy statements so far from Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley, concluding that O’Malley’s statements rise to the top. I’ve gone a step further and tried to assign likely nationwide greenhouse gas emissions totals for the major plans on the table right now:

  • Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which includes his Clean Power Plan targets.
  • Clinton’s Clean Energy Challenge, announced Sunday.
  • Bernie Sanders’ probable plan. Sanders hasn’t announced a comprehensive climate proposal yet, but he’s aligned himself in the past with ideas put forward by climate scientist James Hansen, whose 350 parts per million goal by 2100 includes massive reforestation and other “soft geoengineering” proposals.
  • Martin O’Malley’s goal to fully power the United States by renewable energy by 2050.
Projected U.S.A. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions

If you agree that climate change is the singular foreign policy issue of the 21st century—an “existential threat” as Clinton called it recently, the O’Malley plan is almost a perfect example of what going all in looks like. While such a plan is technically possible, emissions reductions that drastic would almost certainly require a willing Congress at the president’s disposal—most notably to put a price on carbon that motivates the private sector—and even then, it’s still an open question of whether full decarbonization by 2050 is possible given the heroic social and political change it would require at the same time. (David Roberts recently had an excellent examination of this at Vox.)

To be fair, as a Clinton fact sheet promises, Sunday’s announcement is only the first prong of her forthcoming comprehensive six-prong climate plan, so there will be much more to analyze in the coming weeks. But digging into the numbers, Clinton’s plan barely moves the needle forward.

On day one, Clinton says, she’d put the U.S. on a path for a seven-fold increase in solar power, which would help usher in enough renewable energy to completely power all homes by 2027. What she doesn’t say is that her plan is voluntary, and would probably require more policy changes than she’s introduced to make it happen.

Essentially, Clinton is proposing to continue a nationwide exponential uptake in solar. That assumes continuing declining costs for solar power and clean energy tax breaks that don’t expire. As Greentech Media points out, even with Clinton’s lofty goals, the total amount of installed solar power in the U.S. would grow at a slightly slower rate in Clinton’s first term than it’s on pace to during Obama’s second term. O’Malley and Sanders are much more ambitious than Clinton on climate, even allowing for these uncertainties.

Although solar often gets top billing in political announcements like Clinton’s, it still represents less than 1 percent of our electricity generation, so it will take tremendous growth for many years for it to provide a meaningful offset to fossil fuels. Despite its sexiness, solar is among the most expensive ways to decrease our country’s carbon footprint. A far better near-term choice is wind power, but both wind and solar begin to have another problem at scales at or above that which Clinton is discussing: Since solar panels and wind turbines can’t currently work at full capacity 24 hours a day, they require huge advances in energy storage and grid capacity, as well. California is already running into this problem as it prepares to implement a plan to derive 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Earlier this year, China was forced to idle about 9 percent of its solar capacity because of storage and grid issues.

Clinton says she wants to turn America into the “world’s clean energy superpower.” But you can’t get there by continuing to support fossil fuel drilling on public lands. Clinton’s video laying out her plan includes imagery of the Apollo moon landing and the World War II flag-raising at Iwo Jima. But Clinton’s plan is not a war-like clean energy mobilization. It’s about what could be expected from an establishment candidate that believes human-caused climate change is a growing threat to global stability, but nowhere near what science and international equity dictates is necessary.

Earlier this month, Clinton was heckled by climate campaigners at a New Hampshire town hall-style meeting for a clear (and in my opinion, condescending) response in which she refused to oppose oil drilling on public lands. As Grist’s Ben Adler says, Clinton “still hasn’t broken out of the ‘all of the above’ energy policy mold.” In a separate post, Adler notes that among the contributors to the Clinton campaign so far are ExxonMobil executive Theresa Mary Fariello, Chevron lobbyists Scott Parven and Brian Pomper, and Gordon Giffin, a former lobbyist for TransCanada, the company pushing to build the Keystone XL pipeline. And after her event Monday where she launched her climate change policies, which oddly took place in a room where only media were allowed in (perhaps to avoid a second embarrassing heckling episode?), Clinton boarded a private jet to New Hampshire.

July 28 2015 5:17 PM

Sandra Bland Made As Many As Seven Phone Calls From Jail but Couldn’t Post Bail

One of the biggest initial questions in Sandra Bland's case was why, at the time she died, she had been in jail for nearly three full days after being arrested on a relatively minor charge. The simple answer is that she hadn't yet been able to come up with the $500 required to post bond and gain her release; per information and images provided by Waller County, Texas, officials at a press conference, Bland may simply have been having trouble getting in touch with friends and family members to arrange the transaction.

A Waller County administrator named Trey Duhon showed video footage to reporters of Bland making calls on Saturday afternoon after her arraignment:


Bland also apparently placed a phone call on Friday night at about 10 p.m., which authorities said they believe was made to 57-year-old LaVaughn Mosley, a male friend who lived in the area. (Bland, a Chicago-area resident, was in Waller County to interview for a job at Prairie View A&M, her alma mater.) It's not clear whether Mosley made attempts to help Bland find bail money.

July 28 2015 3:43 PM

NFL Won’t Reduce Tom Brady Suspension, Says He Destroyed Cellphone to Hide Evidence

Update, 5:40 p.m.: The NFL has filed suit in New York asking the courts for a "declaratory judgment" upholding Brady's suspension, or in other words asking for a preemptive affirmation of its decision. Writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk: "The question now becomes whether the NFLPA will proceed with its own lawsuit," presumably in a different venue that it believes will be maximally favorable to Brady, "and if so whether one of the two judges will defer to the other one." (The NFLPA says it will appeal Goodell's ruling but doesn't appear to have made a filing yet.)

Original post, 3:34 p.m.: On May 11, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell—citing dubious evidence—announced that New England Patriots star Tom Brady would be suspended four games for participating in a scheme to deflate footballs below the pressure boundary required by league rules. Brady appealed his suspension, an appeal which was heard by none other than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Perhaps not surprisingly, Goodell has now declared that he will not reduce Brady's penalty, adding insult to injury by alleging that the quarterback destroyed a cell phone in an effort to hide incriminating evidence. From the NFL's statement:

On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed.  ... The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.

(Brady told the NFL that he regularly destroys his old phones and that he had begun using a new phone "on or about" the day that he spoke to Wells. Needless to say, the NFL doesn't know whether there actually was incriminating evidence on Brady's phone, because they never saw it.)

Brady and the NFL Players Association are reportedly likely to file a lawsuit in federal court contesting Goodell's ruling. Third-party arbitrators have ruled against Goodell in a number of high-profile cases in recent years: Disputes involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and the New Orleans Saints players implicated in the "Bountygate" scandal all ended with Goodell-levied penalties being overturned.

July 28 2015 3:39 PM

Obama Called Ethiopia a Democracy. It Is Not.  

In the first ever speech by a U.S. president to the African Union, Barack Obama criticized African leaders for clinging to power, saying "nobody should be president for life," (though he joked he could win a third term if the U.S. constitution would allow it). He also denounced countries that institute "democracy in name, but not in substance” while jailing opponents and journalists.

The criticism might have held a little more weight if it hadn’t come shortly after Obama described host country Ethiopia’s government as “democratically elected” in a press conference with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. In the East African country’s last election, Hailemariam’s EPRDF party, which has ruled Ethiopia since 1991, and its allies won all but two of the seats in parliament amid allegations of voter harassment and obstruction of election observers. Freedom House has classified the country as “not free” and criticized Hailemariam’s government for “harassing and imprisoning political opponents, journalists, and the country’s Muslim population.”


Obama’s own State Department cited these problems as well as “alleged arbitrary killings, alleged torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees” in its recent human rights report. Ethiopia might not have “presidents for life,” but Hailemariam’s predecessor, Meles Zenawi, served for 17 years before dying in office and being replaced by the party’s chosen successor.

At least Obama did urge the “fledgling democracy,” as he put it, which has seen years of rapid economic growth under the EPRDF’s rule, to include more voices in the political process. Ethiopia is also seen by the U.S. government as an important partner in fighting militant groups like al-Shabaab. Ethiopian troops are on the front lines fighting the group in Somalia, and U.S. drones have been launched from its territory. Obama’s generous description of the country’s democratic progress doesn’t do much to dispel the impression that the U.S. will only go so far in pushing its counterterrorism allies to clean up their act.

July 28 2015 2:48 PM

Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard to Be Released

Former American intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who has been serving a life sentence in the United States since 1987 when he was convicted of selling classified information to Israel, is set to be released on Nov. 20, according to his lawyers—a move U.S. officials will deny has anything to do with tensions over the recently negotiated Iran nuclear deal, though that’s hard to buy. His lawyers are also reportedly pushing President Obama to grant him clemency so he can leave the country—presumably for Israel.

Israel has long pressed for Pollard’s release, and it has been floated as a bargaining chip frequently over the years, whenever the U.S. wants a concession from the Israeli government. Pollard’s release was reportedly part of a package proposed by Secretary of State John Kerry last year in an unsuccessful attempt to salvage Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. U.S. intelligence leaders have long balked at the idea of releasing Pollard—then-CIA Director George Tenet threatened to quit when Bill Clinton considered it in 1998.


When the Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Obama administration was preparing to release Pollard, it looked like another trial balloon. Officials denied that there was any link between Pollard’s case and the Iran deal. It’s true that Pollard was eligible for parole in November, so his release doesn’t exactly come out of nowhere—but still, it would be a remarkable coincidence if the U.S. finally agreed to a longtime Israeli demand at a time when relations between the two allies are at a nadir and Israel is lobbying for Congress to reject Obama’s Iran deal.

Still, if this is an olive branch to Israel, it’s unlikely to be a very effective one. Much as he may want Pollard released, Benjamin Netanyahu seems unlikely to soften his position on a deal he views—or says he views—as an existential threat to Israel. As for Republicans in Congress, while they may support Pollard’s release, Lindsey Graham likely spoke for most of his colleagues when he characterized the Pollard release as “a pathetic attempt by a weak administration to curry favor with our Israeli allies who across the board reject this dangerous deal with Iran.”

The New York Times speculates the intended audience may actually be Jewish Democrats like New York’s Chuck Schumer, who have long pushed for Pollard’s release and are on the fence about the Iran deal, though this doesn’t seem like much of a prize given that there aren’t enough no votes on the deal to overturn Obama’s veto anyway.

The last time Pollard came up in the news, I wrote that after nearly 30 years in prison, his release would be a reasonable price to pay for a significant diplomatic breakthrough, whether on a West Bank deal or another issue. But if the Obama administration really did push for Pollard’s release to assuage Israel, this doesn’t seem like it meets that standard. It is, however, more evidence that Netanyahu will likely be able to turn the Iran defeat in his favor.  

July 28 2015 2:30 PM

Update: Dentist Blames Local Guides for Zimbabwe Lion Scandal

Update, July 28, 2015, 2:30 p.m.: Walter Palmer has put out a statement on the lion's death.

That last sentence refers to the Oxford University research project that was tracking the dead lion, nicknamed "Cecil."


Update, July 28, 2015: The U.K. Telegraph reports that the well-known Zimbabwe lion which died earlier in July under potentially unlawful circumstances was killed by a Minnesota dentist and prominent bow-and-arrow hunter named Walter Palmer. Palmer was assisted by a professional hunter named Theo Bronkhorst who reported the incident to authorities, the Telegraph writes, and Bronkhorst is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 6 alongside the owner of the land on which the lion (nicknamed "Cecil") was killed after allegedly being lured out of the protected Hwange area.

Walter Palmer's previous exploits in "trophy hunting," the Telegraph notes, are well-documented; he's shown on this blog posing with an elk, a bighorn sheep, and (somewhat disturbingly) a leopard that he killed, and was written about in the New York Times in 2009. The Times and the Telegraph both note that in 2008 Palmer pleaded guilty to charges that he made a false statement to federal wildlife officials about the details of a black bear hunt in Wisconsin. He was sentenced to a year's probation.

The website for Palmer's dental practice says he is a North Dakota native who enjoys participating in activities during which he can "stay active and observe and photograph wildlife."

Original post, July 27, 2015: An upsetting story out of Zimbabwe: National Geographic and other outlets are reporting via a conservation activist group that a well-known, oft-photographed lion nicknamed Cecil has been killed—allegedly after being lured out of the protected Hwange wildlife park with bait.* From National Geographic:

According to Jonny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a charity which focuses on the conservation and preservation of wildlife in the southern African country, Cecil was shot with bow and arrow by a Spanish hunter in the Gwaai concession about a kilometer [1,100 yards] from the national park ... Rodrigues says that Cecil did not die immediately;  it took two days to track the lion and finish him off with a rifle. The big cat was skinned and his head removed as a trophy.

The Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association acknowledged in a statement on its Facebook page that one of the individuals involved in the killing had committed a "violation of the ethics of ZPHGA" and has been suspended from the group.

The Guardian reports that police in Zimbabwe are "seeking the lion’s remains among the country’s taxidermists." The animal is thought to have been killed on July 6.

*Correction, July 27, 2015: This post originally misstated that National Geographic had reported that the lion may have been lured out of the park with bait. That allegation was specifically reported by other outlets.

July 28 2015 2:16 PM

The Alleged Lion Killer Could Be Tried in the U.S.

As outrage grows over Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer’s alleged killing of a lion in Zimbabwe, some have called for Palmer’s extradition to Zimbabwe to stand trial, or for his prosecution in America. Unfortunately, Palmer’s whereabouts are currently unknown, though Zimbabwean authorities are looking for him. Once he’s located, could America prosecute Palmer here for his alleged misdeeds in Zimbabwe if he has already returned home? Or, failing that, could the government extradite him to Zimbabwe to stand trial?

Yes. The United States is in an excellent position to try Palmer—or to extradite him to Zimbabwe. Oddly, though, the alleged crime that could really do Palmer in isn’t the killing of an endangered animal. It’s the alleged bribery of wildlife guides to gain access to his prey.


If Palmer did indeed kill Cecil, that’s not a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Under that federal law, it is illegal to “take” (that is, wound or kill) an endangered animal. But the U.S. doesn’t consider the African lion to be endangered—just “threatened.” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed revising the lion’s status to list it as endangered; a final decision is expected in October.) When an animal is merely threatened, federal law prohibits only the possession, transportation, or shipment of the animal (or part of its carcass, as a trophy) across state or international borders. And even if the lion were endangered, the Endangered Species Act probably doesn’t apply to acts committed outside the United States. In other words, on its own, the killing isn’t punishable in America.

However, Palmer didn’t just stumble upon the lion: According to Zimbabwean authorities quoted in the Independent, he allegedly bribed wildlife guides $55,000 for the honor. And a federal law called the Travel Act forbids foreign travel with the intent to engage in certain “unlawful activities” overseas. One of those activities is bribery. If Palmer traveled to Zimbabwe to hunt exotic species, and planned to bribe guides if necessary to access his prey, that offense would fall within the broad scope of the Travel Act. Palmer could be prosecuted in America for it.

The second way to make Palmer answer for his alleged crimes would be to extradite him to Zimbabwe to stand trial there. That would be a fairly simple affair. The United States has a generous extradition treaty with Zimbabwe, which contains a “dual criminality” clause. Under the treaty, if an American commits an act in Zimbabwe that is illegal under both American and Zimbabwean law—and which is punishable by more than one year in prison—America is “obligated” to extradite him to Zimbabwe (and vice versa). Palmer’s potential violation under the Travel Act is punishable by up to five years in prison under U.S. law; his alleged bribery is punishable by many years in prison in Zimbabwe. His crime thus fulfills the “dual criminality” requirement of the treaty, and America must extradite him to Zimbabwe if the government so desires.

A trial in Zimbabwe would have its benefits—namely, that the witnesses and evidence would all be close at hand. Plus, the government could prosecute Palmer for his more egregious crime: Hunting without a permit, in violation of Zimbabwe law. A trial in the U.S., on the other hand, would have the guarantees of impartiality and procedural fairness that might be lacking in Zimbabwe. Either way, it’s clear that both countries could prosecute Palmer if they wish to. The odds seem high that Palmer will see his day in court.

July 28 2015 1:58 PM

The Simpsons Predicted 15 Years Ago That a Trump Administration Would End in Disaster

The above clip is from the show’s March 2000 episode “Bart to the Future,” in which Bart gets a glimpse of what his life will look like 30 years down the road. While 2030 doesn’t look so bright for him, Lisa has become the nation’s “first straight female president.” Though that too comes with a catch. “As you know we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump,” she says in the Oval Office.

“Remember when the last administration decided to invest in our nation’s children?” says Secretary Milhouse van Houten. “Big mistake.” Not only did Trump’s Balanced Breakfast and Midnight Basketball programs bankrupt the country, they also combined to create a “generation of ultra-strong supercriminals” who can “function without sleep.” The good news about the Simpsons’ darkest timeline? If President Trump left office in 2030, he most likely didn’t win in 2016.


(Credit where credit’s due: Reddit by way of The Fix’s Chris Cillizza.)

July 28 2015 1:02 PM

Arizona Cardinals Hire First-Ever Female NFL Coach to Work at Training Camp

Jen Welter will become the NFL's first female coach when she joins the Arizona Cardinals as a intern working with inside linebackers during the team's training camp, the team announced Monday. From the Cardinals' official site:

During the owners meetings in March at the Arizona Biltmore, someone asked [head coach] Bruce Arians about the possibility of female coaches in the NFL. “The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired,” Arians said ... It was soon after that Arians heard from the coach of the Texas Revolution in the Indoor Football League, who told Arians the Revolution already had a female on its staff that would be worth a look. Monday, Arians brought in Jen Welter – the one-time collegiate rugby player who played 14 seasons of pro football, mostly in the Women’s Football Alliance – as a training camp/preseason intern coaching inside linebackers.

Welter played rugby for Boston College and is already the first woman to play a position besides kicker in a men's pro football game, having carried the ball three times for the Revolution for a total of -1 yard in a February 2014 preseason game. She played linebacker and safety during her time in women's leagues.

According to Welter's LinkedIn page she has a master's degree in sports psychology and a Ph.D in psychology from a for-profit online institution called Capella University.