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May 29 2016 5:23 PM

NBC Host to Bernie Sanders: Isn’t Your Superdelegate Strategy a Bit Hypocritical?

The host of NBC’s Meet the Press did not mince words when Bernie Sanders was a guest on his show today, directly saying that it sounded like his strategy to win over superdelegates was a bit “hypocritical.” Chuck Todd made the comment after Sanders said he saw “three paths to victory” that would allow him to become the Democratic Party nominee for president. As far as Sanders is concerned this would be the three-pronged strategy that would allow him to beat Hillary Clinton:

  1. Get to the convention with more pledged delegates than Clinton, which he recognized would be “an uphill fight.”
  2. Talk to the superdelegates who represent states where Sanders won a landslide victory to push them to follow their state’s voters.
  3. The “most important point” is talk to the “over 400” superdelegates who threw their support to Clinton “eight months before the first ballot was cast.”
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That’s when Todd thought that something was off:

You're basically contradicting yourself on the issue of superdelegates in this way: you're saying you want them to respect the vote in their state, then at the same time, you say, "But oh, by the way, for those of you that are a superdelegate in a state that Clinton won, why don't you think about the general election?" It's a little bit hypocritical to be on both sides of those issues.

Sanders disagreed with that characterization, saying that the key was that he was talking about the superelegates who made a decision to support Clinton before the race had even started. “And all that I am saying is for those superdelegates who came onboard before I was even in the race, you have got the very grave responsibility to make sure that Trump does not become elected president of the United States,” Sanders said. “Vote for the strongest candidate.”

May 29 2016 2:11 PM

Marco Rubio Apologized to Trump for Implying he Had a Small Penis

Marco Rubio said in an interview that mocking the size of Donald Trump’s hands was one of the mistakes of his campaign and he personally apologized to the real estate mogul for the dig. "I actually told Donald—one of the debates, I forget which one—I apologized to him for that," Rubio said. "I said, 'You know, I'm sorry that I said that. It's not who I am and I shouldn't have done it.' I didn't say it in front of the cameras, I didn't want any political benefit.”

Rubio revealed the apology after CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the senator from Florida about the “unprecedented moment in American politics when Donald Trump went onstage and assured the American people there was no problem regardless of the size of his hands.” In case anyone had any doubt about what Tapper was referring to, the CNN journalist helpfully pointed to his own genital area.

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“I didn’t like what it reflected on me,” Rubio said. “It embarrassed my family. It’s not who I am.” The senator did attempt a tepid defense of his words though, saying they were uttered at a moment of desperation when none of the attacks on Trump seemed to be sticking. “Nothing, at this point, nothing is working. I mean, this guy is out there every day mocking people, saying horrible things about people, but if you respond to him somehow you’re hitting below the belt? And that was my sense of it at the time” Rubio said.

Although Rubio had previously warned that a Trump nomination would “fracture the Republican Party” he said earlier this week that his main goal is making sure Hillary Clinton doesn’t win the election. "I want to be helpful,” he said. “I don't want to be harmful, because I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president."

May 29 2016 1:04 PM

Judge Trump Described as “Hater” Orders Release of Trump University Documents

A federal judge ordered internal Trump University documents that are part of a class-action lawsuit be released following a request by the Washington Post. U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel is well aware that Donald Trump is none too happy with the way he has been handling the case and cited it as a reason why the documents should be released by June 2.

"Defendant became the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue," Curiel said in an order that unseals a series of documents that Trump's lawyers didn't want released. Yet the fact that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee only increase the pubic interest in the documents, the judge said.

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Curiel issued his order to unseal the documents on the same day that Trump called him a “hater” and said the Indiana-born judge was a “Mexican.” The judge makes no reference to those specific comments in his order, but does mention several instances in which the real estate mogul questioned his integrity.

The Wall Street Journal lays out the documents that will be released:

Among the documents to be unsealed are two sets of Trump University “playbooks,” outlining rules and procedures for running Trump University events and employee scripts for engaging with customers.
Some of the documents have already surfaced online. Online political website Politico in March posted a 2010 Trump University playbook, which instructed employees to rank students by liquid assets to help determine what kind of course packages they could afford to buy.
Other documents would be made public for the first time, including a sales playbook the judge said contained marketing techniques for selling Trump University programs.

All in all, the records amount to around 1,000 pages, notes the Post

May 29 2016 11:45 AM

As Many as 900 Migrants Killed at Sea This Week

At least 700 refugees are believed to have been killed in numerous shipwrecks across the Mediterranean this week, according to the United Nations high Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Doctors Without Borders estimated that the number of dead was as high as 900 although it emphasized on Twitter that “we will never know exact numbers.” Around 14,000 people were rescued since Monday and there have been at least three large shipwrecks. The loss of life appears to add up to the deadliest week in the Mediterranean since April 2015, when as many as 800 people are believed to have been killed in a single shipwreck.

"It really looks like that in the last period the situation is really worsening in the last week, if the news is confirmed," Giovanna Di Benedetto, a Save the Children spokeswoman in Italy, tells the Associated Press.

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The deadliest shipwreck of the week took place on Thurday, when a large fishing boat overturned. Although initial estimates put the number of dead in that shipwreck at 400, the U.N. refugee agency says the real number is likely closer to 550. The agency is also estimating that around 100 people died when a boat capsized Wednesday off the coast of Libya and some 45 people were killed on Friday with an unknown number still missing.

More than 13,000 people have entered Italy through the sea since Monday, reports the Los Angeles Times, which notes that government authorities were caught off guard by the sudden surge in migrants. “This week has been the most intense this year and one of the busiest ever,” said Save the Children’s Di Benedetto.

On Friday, the International Organization for Migration said an estimated 194,611 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea so far this year, while around 1,475 died during the journey

May 29 2016 9:48 AM

Cincinnati Zoo Kills Rare Gorilla to Protect Boy Who Fell Into Enclosure

A 400-pound western lowland gorilla was shot and killed on Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo after a four-year-old boy climbed through a railing and fell into a moat within the animal’s enclosure. Although 17-year-old Harambe did not attack the boy, he did start carrying it around its habitat for 10 minutes in what officials interpreted as a life-threatening situation. According to a report by the fire department, the gorilla “was violently dragging and throwing the child,” reports local NBC affiliate WLWT. So a zoo employee fired a shot using a long rifle and the child was removed from the enclosure.

"It's a sad day all around," zoo director Thayne Maynard said. "They made a tough choice and they made the right choice, because they saved that little boy's life. It could have been very bad." Although Harambe wasn’t directly attacking the child, the way he was dragging him meant “all sorts of things could happen,” Maynard said. A tranquilizer dart was not an option because it can take a while to kick in, especially when an animal is agitated.

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The child was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but is expected to recover.

Harambe was killed a day after his 17th birthday.

Correction at 9:57 a.m.: This post's headline originally misspelled Cincinnati.

May 28 2016 5:46 PM

No, Bernie Sanders Didn't Play a Homophobic DMX Song at a Rally

UPDATE: Edwin Acuna admitted on Saturday afternoon that he edited a DMX song into video of a Bernie Sanders rally to make it look like the Democratic presidential hopeful entered the room while a horrifically homophobic song was playing on the loudspeakers. It all seems to have been a practical joke that got out of hand as the video created by an avowed Sanders supporter became viral after it was picked up by several large online news outlets, including Billboard and The Source. It took several days for the outrage to kick in and on Saturday the Sanders campaign insisted the video had been doctored.

Slate reached out to Acuna to try to clarify what happened. Acuna wrote back a few hours later with a statement that explained the editing of the video “started off as a goof, and turned into a social experiment.” Acuna added that “everyone and their mothers went nuts” using the video “for their own agendas.” The full statement reads:

To make a long story short, It started off as a goof, and turned into a social experiment. Literally everyone and their mothers went nuts, using it for their own agendas to prove that some how Bernie Sanders was anti gay all along, I chose that song because I knew it would shake up both ends of the spectrum. So I want to ask everyone, The younger folks out there, I really do appreciate the immense love everyone gave Bernie Sanders, but please think more about the political process and get involved instead of having to have a viral video to motivate you to make a move and vote. To those Hilary supporters, I hope you feel at a lose for words and I say that with all due respect, I respect your stance but Id like to ask you how it feels to believe you almost had a 1up on Bernie and a reason to shame him only to come up short? Just like you all accused the Bernie supporters of being senseless for following this man coming out to a DMX you too are a victim of blindly believing everything you see on the internet. With that said, I hope everyone remembers what memorial day is all about and RIP to all my dead soldiers, its more than just a 3 day weekend. God bless america.
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Original post at 3:57 p.m.: In what may be one of the most confusing episodes featuring an allegedly doctored video from this already very weird nominating contest, the Bernie Sanders campaign is staunchly denying that the senator entered a rally to an extremely homophobic DMX song in California earlier this week. The reports began on Thursday, when a video popped up on YouTube and Twitter that appeared to show Sanders entering a rally in California to DMX’s Where the Hood At?

Billboard even got a comment from DMX on Sanders using his song: "When God shows up he shows out." And that’s where it seemed to end until the video started making the rounds and people started realizing that the song in question has some horrifically homophobic lyrics:

Man, cats don't know what it's gonna be
Fuckin with a nigga like me, D-to-the-M-to-the-X
Last I heard, y'all niggas was havin sex, with the same sex
I show no love, to homo thugs
Empty out, reload and throw more slugs
How you gonna explain fucking a man?
Even if we squashed the beef, I ain't touching ya hand
I don't bunk with chumps, for those who been to jail
That's the cat with the Kool-Aid on his lips and pumps
I don't fuck with niggas that think they broads
Only know how to be one way, that's the dog
I know how to get down, know how to bite
Bark very little, but I know how to fight
I know how to chase a cat up in the tree
Man, I give y'all niggas the b'iness for fucking with me, is you crazy?!

Outrage began to spread.

Except none of it actually happened, according to the Sanders campaign. “Never thought I'd have to say this, but no @BernieSanders did not walk out to a #DMX song in Lancaster earlier this week,” Sanders’ press secretary wrote on Twitter.

Warren Gill, another Sanders spokesperson, also denied the song was used. “Someone ripped the music from this video and placed it over Sanders’ entrance,” Gill told the Washington Blade.

Other videos from that rally also don’t seem to have any DMX music playing. And the campaign provided its own clip to prove its point.

The source of the original video appears to be the Twitter account for one Edwin Acuna (@Edwinprime), who seems to be an avowed Sanders supporter. Slate has reached out for comment and will update this post if he responds.

May 28 2016 4:50 PM

Pelicans Guard Bryce Dejean-Jones Killed While Reportedly Breaking Into Apartment

New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen early Saturday morning. The Dallas Police Department said that the NBA player “kicked open the front door” to a Dallas apartment at 3:20 a.m. on Saturday morning and the man sleeping inside shot him. According to the police statement:

The resident, who was asleep in the bedroom, heard the individual enter and retrieved a handgun. He stated he called out to the individual, but was not answered. As the individual kicked the bedroom door, the resident fired his gun. The individual left the apartment and collapsed in the breezeway. The individual was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.
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The Pelicans also issued a short statement confirming the news of the 23-year-old player’s death. "It is with deep sadness that the Pelicans organization acknowledges the sudden passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones," the statement said. "We are devastated at the loss of this young man's life who had such a promising future ahead of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce's family during this difficult time."

Dejean-Jones signed a three-year contract with the Pelicans in February. He played 14 games in the NBA, and averaged 5.6 points, according to Sports Illustrated.

May 28 2016 2:04 PM

World Health Organization Rejects Call to Move Olympics Over Zika Fears

The United Nations health agency says the 150 public health experts who wrote an open letter calling for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be moved or postponed because of the Zika virus are wrong. “Cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus,” the World Health Organization said on Saturday. The WHO responded a day after the 150 public health experts said that moving forward with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro would lead to “an unnecessary risk.”

The response by the WHO likely did not surprise those who wrote the open letter as they had warned that the global health organization suffers from a “conflict of interest” due to its partnership with the International Olympic Committee. That’s why the experts called on the WHO to “convene an independent group to advise it and the IOC in a transparent, evidence-based process in which science, public health, and the spirit of sport come first.”

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All that, however, is unnecessary, according to the WHO, which pointed out the virus has already spread. “Brazil is 1 of almost 60 countries and territories which to date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes,” the WHO said. “People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons.”

The Olympics has never been moved for a public health reason, although the Women’s World Cup was moved to the United States from China due to fears over the Sars epidemic, notes the BBC

May 28 2016 11:18 AM

Donald Trump Blasts “Mexican” Judge in Trump University Case

You know what’s presidential? Using 12 minutes of a campaign rally to criticize a judge who is overseeing civil litigation against your failed “education” venture. And that’s exactly what Donald Trump did in San Diego when he seemingly bored his audience with details about the ongoing case, specifically attacking U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel for being a “hater” and even speculating about what his ethnicity might be.

“The trial is going to take place sometime in November. There should be no trial. This should have been dismissed on summary judgment easily,” Trump said. “Everybody says it, but I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel.”

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Curiel “is not doing the right thing. And I figure, what the hell? Why not talk about it for two minutes?” What followed was “one of his most personal attacks against an apolitical figure since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee,” notes the Wall Street Journal. As part of his attack, Trump told his audience, which just moments earlier had chanted about the need to “build that wall,” that Curiel is “Mexican.”

“The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great, I think that’s fine,” Trump said. “You know what? I think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump when I give all these jobs, OK?” Curiel was born in East Chicago.*

“I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself,” Trump said. “I’m telling you, this court system, judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace, OK? But we’ll come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I’m president and I come back to do a civil case? Where everybody likes it. OK. This is called life, folks.”

534725174-anti-trump-protesters-and-supporters-argue-outside-a
Anti-Trump protesters and supporters argue in San Diego, California on May 27, 2016.

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Outside the rally, San Diego Police arrested 35 people after a crowd of around 1,000 people did not disperse as ordered. Although the protests were peaceful throughout most of the day, small fights broke out after Trump left. “Even as there was no room to move, police officers continued to push protesters and reporters, with some toppling over in the fray,” reports CNN. “Police pepper-sprayed several protesters.” Trump took to Twitter later that night to praise the actions of the police. 

*Correction at 4:45 p.m.: This post originally misstated Judge Gonzalo Curiel's birthplace as Chicago. He was born in East Chicago, Indiana.

May 27 2016 5:45 PM

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