Gerrymandering, explained

Gerrymandering, explained

How politicians draw the lines to benefit themselves. What’s the best path to political victory? Is it running good candidates? Is it crafting a strong campaign message? Is it fundamental factors like the economy? What can be better than all of these is: drawing the district lines. Politicians often draw district boundaries to help themselves or their party. Packing as many of the other party’s voters as possible into just a few districts they’ll win…

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House Republicans are trying to block a vote on the Yemen War

House Republicans are trying to block a vote on the Yemen War

It’s a surprise effort that has caught Democrats totally off guard. On the first day of their post-election lame-duck session, House Republicans are planning to block a vote on whether the US should support Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen, three congressional sources say. On Tuesday night, the still GOP-led House Rules Committee will strip a measure seeking an authorization vote for US military support in Yemen of its special privilege. “When Democrats assume…

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Why the Camp Fire in Northern California is so severe

Why the Camp Fire in Northern California is so severe

Heat, wind, and drought — and long-term climate trends — conspired to create a calamitous, deadly wildfire. The Camp Fire in northern California is now the state’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record, causing at least 42 deaths and destroying more than 7,600 buildings. Since igniting last Thursday, the blaze has scorched more than 125,000 acres, an area more than four times the size of San Francisco. Almost the entire town of Paradise, California,…

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Melania Trump publicly demanded a top NSC aide’s firing — and reportedly got it

Melania Trump publicly demanded a top NSC aide’s firing — and reportedly got it

Mira Ricardel’s firing, explained. A spokesperson for first lady Melania Trump took an extraordinary step on Tuesday afternoon: publicly calling for the job of National Security Council staffer Mira Ricardel. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Mira Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” said spokesperson Stephanie Grisham in a statement sent to a number of media outlets. Ricardel is the top deputy for…

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The best part of Michelle Obama’s new memoir is how much smack she talks about her husband

The best part of Michelle Obama’s new memoir is how much smack she talks about her husband

Becoming proves that the Obamas are soulmates brought together by a mutual love of shade. Real talk: By far the most endearing thing in Michelle Obama’s new memoir Becoming is that she seizes absolutely every opportunity she has to brutally drag her husband. Barack Obama may be America’s first black president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, but Michelle Obama is never going to let the world forget that he wore a Miami Vice suit…

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The larger-than-life huckster dialogue of Stan Lee

The larger-than-life huckster dialogue of Stan Lee

“Let the Vapors of the Vishanti drive you from the sight of man! Let the mystic Hosts of Hoggoth prevent you from ever returning again!” You may not have read those immortal lines before, but superhero comics fans can probably instantly identify the author. Stan Lee, who died yesterday at age 95, wrote like no one before him — or, in spite of his massive influence, since. Though he initially became famous as a comics…

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5 biggest takeaways from Michelle Obama’s revealing new memoir

5 biggest takeaways from Michelle Obama’s revealing new memoir

Becoming mostly plays it safe, but it’s the nuances that make it a fascinating read. Michelle Obama joined the ranks of former first ladies-turned-authors on Tuesday with the launch of her new memoir. During her husband’s presidency, Michelle Obama was nearly always more popular than he was. She was a master at walking what Vox’s Constance Grady calls the “First Lady Tightrope” — being effective without being threatening; supporting her husband while keeping up a…

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Apple is now selling refurbished HomePods, but Black Friday deals are cheaper

Apple is now selling refurbished HomePods, but Black Friday deals are cheaper

Apple has added refurbished HomePods for the first time to its online store, where they’re selling for $50 less than the original price, via MacRumors. Both the white and space gray versions are selling for $299, but you’re better off looking elsewhere — Best Buy’s Black Friday deals show new HomePods selling for even cheaper, at $250. The HomePod normally costs $349, which is pretty high for a wireless smart speaker that requires you to…

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One of Europe’s biggest carriers is bringing 5G service to 16 UK cities next year

One of Europe’s biggest carriers is bringing 5G service to 16 UK cities next year

The United Kingdom’s biggest cell carrier, EE, announced plans today to launch proper 5G mobile service throughout parts of the region, with a 16-city rollout planned for 2019. The first phase of the rollout will begin with capital cities across the UK, including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London. Two other England cities, Birmingham and Manchester, are also included in phase one, which is scheduled for sometime next year. EE is focusing its efforts on high-volume…

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Juul cuts flavored nicotine supply to stores and shutters its social media

Juul cuts flavored nicotine supply to stores and shutters its social media

E-cigarette company Juul Labs will stop supplying over 90,000 brick-and-mortar stores with its fruity and dessert-flavored pods, the company announced today. It’s also quitting Facebook and Instagram in an effort to dampen the popular vape’s appeal to underage consumers. The announcement follows rumors from last week that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon announce a flavor ban to combat youth vaping. E-cigarettes are teens’ favorite way to get nicotine, according to the Centers…

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