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Oct. 25 2016 9:38 AM

It Could Cost You $100 to Park in Cleveland Today


Tuesday night, the first game of the World Series will be played in Cleveland, whose Indians haven't won a championship since 1948. (They're facing the Chicago Cubs, who also have a title drought you may have heard about.) Across the street from that game, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be opening the NBA season against the New York Knicks—and receiving their championship rings for winning the 2016 NBA Finals, which was Cleveland's first title victory in any major sport since 1964.


So it's going to be a wild night in Cleveland. And parking prices are apparently rising accordingly.

$100 to park in downtown Cleveland! Truly, wonders never cease.


Oct. 24 2016 11:29 PM

Justice Department Reportedly Replaces Investigators in Eric Garner Chokehold Case

In a highly unusual move, the Justice Department replaced the team investigating the controversial 2014 death of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old black man who was choked to death on camera by police officers. In 2014, a local grand jury refused to indict the NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo most involved Garner’s death. Since then, the DOJ has been putting together a civil rights case with limited success.

Federal authorities have been investigating whether officers violated Mr. Garner’s civil rights in his fatal encounter with the police. But the case had been slowed by a dispute because federal prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in New York opposed bringing charges, while prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department in Washington argued there was clear evidence to do so… Another complicating factor, according to three federal officials, is that the disagreement between Washington and New York is reflected in the F.B.I. reports, which often become evidence at trial.
In recent weeks, the F.B.I. agents who have been investigating the case were replaced with agents from outside New York, according to five federal officials in New York and Washington. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are no longer assigned to the case. It is not clear whether civil rights prosecutors from Washington will work alone in presenting evidence to a grand jury in Brooklyn and in trying the case if charges are eventually brought.

Garner’s death came in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri. Garner was accused of illegally selling individual cigarettes on the street corner when officers surrounded him and took him to the ground. The incident was recorded on a camera phone; Garner was on the ground screaming “I can’t breathe” when he was killed. The city of New York agreed to a nearly $6 million settlement with the Garner family last year.

Oct. 24 2016 11:20 PM

Watch Donald Trump Absolutely Gush Over Hillary Clinton in a 2008 Interview

We all know what the 2016 edition of Donald Trump thinks of Hillary Clinton. It isn't particularly nice. But it wasn’t long ago that what appears to be the same human Donald Trump, not a body double, appeared destined to own an “I’m with her” T-shirt someday. During a 2008 NY1 interview, Trump wasn't just complimentary of his now-rival, he positively gushed about her, and her husband's presidency:

Her history is far from being over, I’d like to answer that question in another 15 year from now. I think she’s going to go down at a minimum as a great senator. I think she is a great wife to a president and I think Bill Clinton was a great president. … Hillary Clinton is a great woman and a good woman.


The Republican nominee, who has taken dirty campaign rhetoric and tactics to a previously unimaginable level, also had this to say about the Clinton's treatment during the 2008 campaign*:

I thought they roughed her up pretty good. I think she’s a wonderful woman. I think she’s a little bit misunderstood. You know, Hillary’s a very smart woman, a very tough woman, that’s fine … but she’s also a very nice person. … I thought she was roughed up. … I’m not knocking the other side, you know, you want to win a battle so if it gets a little bit nasty it is politics and politics is a tough game, but I thought she was perhaps unnecessarily roughed up.

I’d like to see what 2016 Donald would do to 2008 Donald in a debate.

Correction, Oct. 24, 2016: This post originally misstated that Donald Trump was referring to Hillary Clinton getting “roughed up” during Bill Clinton’s presidency; Trump was referring to her treatment during the 2008 campaign.

Oct. 24 2016 8:49 PM

Average Obamacare Health Premiums to Rise 25 Percent Next Year on Federal Exchanges

For Americans that get their health insurance from Obamacare, monthly premiums are set to rise again next year, in some cases significantly, federal officials announced Monday. Premiums for plans sold on the federal exchange will rise an average of 25 percent, across the 38 states that use the federal health insurance marketplace. Last year, the same plans increased by an average of 7.5 percent.

When the enrollment period begins Nov. 1, customers will have fewer coverage options to choose from in many states. Higher-than-expected costs have led some large insurers to pull their coverage from the exchange. “Among the states relying on, the typical number of plans available is declining by more than one-third, from 47 to 30,” according to the Washington Post. “In Arizona, the number of plans will plummet from 65 to four. … And 21 percent of the customers shopping in the federal exchange will find only one insurance company, compared with 2 percent for 2016.”


Administration officials stressed that federal subsidies will cushion the blow for many of the 11.4 million expected to sign up for Obamacare for 2017 and more than three-quarters of current enrollees would still be able to purchase insurance for less than $100 out-of-pocket each month. Despite the rise, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Kevin Griffis says prices are still in line with the Congressional Budget Office’s projections when the law was first passed. “The initial marketplace rates came in below costs,” he said. “Many companies set prices that turned out to be too low.”

Oct. 24 2016 4:43 PM

Mike Crapo Re-Endorses Donald Trump, Inspiring No Puns Whatsoever

In the hours after Donald Trump was revealed to have boasted that he would kiss women and “grab them by the pussy” without their consent, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was one of the earliest of a number of Republican political leaders to revoke their support for the GOP presidential nominee.

“This is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior has left me no choice,” read a statement announcing Crapo’s apparently principled stand. “His repeated actions and comments toward women have been disrespectful, profane and demeaning.”


Crapo has now had another change of heart. On Monday, Politico reported that Crapo had released another statement stating that he would in fact be voting for Trump.

Again, this stood in stark contrast to his statement earlier this month that indicated he felt that Trump’s now infamous hot mic moment in 2005 was more than just “locker room talk,” the excuse the candidate has stuck by even as a flood of accusers have come forward to say they were attacked by Trump in exactly the way he described.

“I have spent more than two decades working on domestic violence prevention,” Crapo said at the time of his unendorsement. “Trump’s most recent excuse of ‘locker room talk’ is completely unacceptable and is inconsistent with protecting women from abusive, disparaging treatment.”

There has been no public polling of the Senate race in Idaho, a deep red state that hasn’t elected a Democratic Senator since 1974. The three-term Republican incumbent is running against businessman Jerry Sturgill for a seat that electoral prognosticator and academic Larry J. Sabato has continued to list as “safe” for Crapo and the GOP. It’s possible that Crapo felt squeezed by Republican voters that still strongly back Trump and more moderate voters who have been turned off by the assault talk and accusations, and opted to go with the base. Still, it’s hard to say what’s behind Crapo’s sudden shift. The move does seem especially craven, though, given what should be a solid Crapo seat.

One thing’s for sure, there should be some sort of expression for what Crapo has been doing this election cycle that might also serve as an interesting play on his very unusual name. But it’s really, really hard to think of one.

I mean, what do you call someone who promises one thing based on what he claims are sincerely held beliefs and then does the exact opposite thing?

Or if only there was an idiom for someone who struggles to conclusively make up his mind on a matter for an absurd period of time?

Or a phrase to describe someone who is “totally or utterly worthless, contemptible, or of very poor quality.”

Anyways, if you can think of ways to describe Mike Crapo’s indecision that also might serve as a fun bit of wordplay, please leave them in the comments below, because we are at a complete loss.

Oct. 24 2016 2:42 PM

Weird Political Parties Are Having a Big Moment in Europe

The current populist wave in Europe has been very good for parties on the far right and on the far left—France’s National Front is leading the polls heading into next year’s presidential election and Spain’s Podemos has busted up the country’s long-running two-party political system. But the anti-establishment mood has also been good for parties that don’t fall neatly on the ideological spectrum.

In a shocking result over the weekend, the Lithuanian Peasants and Green Union won 40 percent of the seats in the country’s parliamentary elections. While the name might conjure up images of pitchforks and straw hats, the agrarian party was founded by billionaire industrial farmer Ramunas Karbauskis promising a centrist, technocratic government that would seek to slow the flow of emigrants from Lithuania to richer parts of the European Union. (An estimated 370,000 of Lithuania’s 3.3 million people have left since it joined the EU in 2004.)


On the other side of the continent, Iceland’s Pirate Party appears to be on the verge of triumph in parliamentary elections next weekend. The first Pirate Party was founded in Sweden in 2006 by software developer Rick Falkvinge to support online privacy and oppose restrictive copyright laws that prohibit file sharing. (Falkvinge is also a major backer of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.) It has branches in most European countries and one seat in the EU parliament, but Iceland looks likely to provide its greatest success, again. Though most of its members skew libertarian to anarchist, the party is officially nonideological and sets its platform through online polls.

The Icelandic Pirate Party was founded by poet and activist Birgitta Jonsdottir, who used to be a close ally of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and has since fallen out with the group. The party wants to make Iceland a haven of internet freedom, a “Switzerland of bits,” and wants to offer asylum to Edward Snowden. Iceland has in recent years been fertile ground for unusual and unclassifiable political voices, particularly since the financial meltdown of 2008. Comedian Jon Gnarr, whose “Best Party” ran on a satirical platform promising dinosaurs in the city parks and a “drug free parliament by 2020,” served as mayor of Reykjavik from 2010 to 2014.

Italy’s Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment, anti-globalization party founded in 2009 by comedian Beppe Grillo, had its greatest moment of triumph in June, winning mayoral elections in Rome and Turin. But Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi, a political newcomer, has had a rough go of it so far, with several high-profile resignations, conflict of interest scandals, and a chronic failure to pick up garbage during the hot summer months. Whether or not the city’s experience will be a cautionary tale about voting for inexperienced candidates to stick it to the establishment remains to be seen.

Still, it’s a good time to be an outsider in European politics. If Germany’s Die Partei, a satirical party that advocates war against Liechtenstein, the rebuilding of the Berlin wall, and regulations mandating the curviness of tank barrels, can win a seat in the European parliament, there’s hope for anyone.

Oct. 24 2016 1:34 PM

A Ton of Floridians Registered to Vote After Hurricane Matthew, as Rick Scott Likely Feared

As Hurricane Matthew barreled toward Florida earlier this month, Gov. Rick Scott urged 1.5 million residents to evacuate … just as the state’s voter registration period was set to close. Voting rights advocates urged Scott to extend the deadline for residents whose plans to register were thwarted by the hurricane, but the Republican governor refused, insisting that “everybody has had a lot of time to register.” Advocates sued and U.S. District Judge Mark Walker intervened, requiring the state to extend the deadline. “This case pits the fundamental right to vote against administrative convenience,” Walker wrote in his stinging rebuke to Scott.

Given his eagerness to cut off voter registration as soon as possible, Scott will not be happy to learn that registration surged during the extra week ordered by Walker. More than 108,000 residents registered during this period, a rush of new voters that has the potential to tip several elections in the state. Florida isnotorious for its painfully close races, and in 2012, President Obama won the state by roughly 74,000 votes out of well over 8 million cast. Hillary Clinton currently holds a narrow lead in Florida, while the Senate race between Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy remains locked in a dead heat. (Let’s dispel with this fiction that Scott didn’t know what he was doing by maintaining the original deadline.)

Oct. 24 2016 1:20 PM

Curt Schilling Signs on With Breitbart, Could End Up on Trump TV, Might Ruin Sports

Curt Schilling is best known for winning Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series while wearing a sock soaked in blood from a stitched-up ankle injury. He's also a Trump supporter who's long been an outspoken conservative and was fired from his job as an ESPN analyst earlier this year after posting a tasteless meme image and writing the following on Facebook about North Carolina's anti-transgender bathroom law:

A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.

Men's Rooms™: Designed for the Penis! Anyhoo, Schilling has for several years seemed to engage with the world mostly through right-wing memes, and he had been disciplined by ESPN before for sharing an image that compared Muslims to Nazi-era Germans. The loss of his ESPN job has, not surprisingly, made him even more prominent in right-wing circles; last week, Schilling asserted that he plans to run for Senate against Elizabeth Warren in 2020, and now has announced that Schilling will anchor its first online radio show, which will debut Tuesday(!) and run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. The publication's announcement says that "the caller-intensive show will feature Schilling’s unfiltered and insightful commentary on a mix of topics ranging from politics and culture to current affairs and perhaps some sports."

Writes the ex-pitcher himself in a sentence that seems to be missing a few words:

I am proud to be a part of a team that will continue to point out the very thing that’s ruining this country: liberal, progressive, socialist agenda driven by the elite globalist connected to American politics and the Clinton family.

As Gabe Sherman at New York magazine notes, the move to hire a well-known figure with a TV background comes amid widespread speculation that Donald Trump and Breitbart could collaborate to launch a TV network after this year's election. It also so happens that I'm currently working on an article about right-wing hot takes and the world of sports. Here's an excerpt from a draft I handed in last week before the Schilling news broke:

As for the ghastly culture-war napalming of the sports landscape that I feared, it could still be coming. The rumors of a post-election Breitbart/Trump far-right TV network launch are still percolating, and I will bet you one bloody sock that when/if that network gets off the ground, it will feature sports content contributed by, among others, former MLB pitcher and baseball analyst Curt Schilling, whose passion for tasteless right-wing Facebook memes got him fired from ESPN. If Donald Trump has proved anything, it’s that you still can’t go broke underestimating the American public, or at least a particular white male segment thereof. Verily, the Takening of sports still looms.

The Breitbart announcement notes that Schilling's show will be called Whatever It Takes.

Oct. 24 2016 1:04 PM

France Dismantles “Jungle” Refugee Camp in Effort to Sweep Crisis Under the Rug

French authorities began on Monday the process of moving refugees from the “jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France, where around 7,000 migrants have been living in increasingly squalid conditions in recent months as they waited to make attempts to sneak across the channel to Britain. Refugees have been living in the area in various arrangements for about 17 years, but the camp had grown massively in size during the current European refugee crisis. The current move by French authorities is more one of political expedience and making the problem appear to go away, than actually solving it.

There’s been resistance to the move, with a massive police presence on the scene responding to rioting at the camp Sunday night and other clashes over the weekend. But so far the process, which has been planned for weeks, seems to be happening in a mostly orderly fashion. Residents began on Monday boarding buses bound for 450 relocation centers throughout the country. The dismantling of the camp itself will start on Tuesday. British and French authorities are also rushing to process hundreds of unaccompanied minors, for fear that they will be lost amid the chaos of the next few days. Some children from the “jungle” had already been brought to the U.K. even before this week’s operation began.


The jungle’s continued existence was certainly unsustainable, but the new arrangement is hardly ideal. For one thing the draw of Britain, which is seen as more attractive than other European countries because of the international popularity of the English language and because it’s believed to be an easier place to get work in the black market, isn’t going away. It’s possible that many residents of the camp will scatter into the countryside then re-establish a new camp for those wishing to move to Britain once the coast is clear. Camps near the eastern side of the Eurotunnel have been shut down before, only to re-emerge. There’s also hostility about the relocation plan in many of the communities where current jungle residents are being sent. A camp set to house 90 people in the Paris suburb of Forges-les-Bains was burned in a suspected arson attack last month.

But by dismantling the jungle, France’s socialist government, deeply unpopular heading into an election year, is relieving pressure on a major chokepoint. Seven thousand people scattered in groups of a few dozen throughout the country are a much less visible symbol of desperation than they are bunched altogether in a single prominent location.

The move comes as fewer refugees are reaching southeastern Europe thanks to a deal struck between the EU and Turkey last year to limit migration. The number of those dying in the Mediterranean on the dangerous crossing route from North Africa and those living in camps in the Balkans, meanwhile, are actually increasing. But as long as these problems remain just outside Fortress Europe or on its periphery, it’s a problem that is easier for European politicians to ignore or marginalize. This is a welcome development for governments under pressure from a Europe-wide populist backlash from anti-immigrant voters, including many of those who voted to pass Brexit in the United Kingdom.

The crisis isn’t going away any time soon. But Europe does seem to be getting much better at sweeping it under the rug.