Sunday, October 20, 2019

6 key moments from Cory Booker’s CNN town hall

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has struggled to break through in the crowded 2020 Democratic primary. He is campaigning on an aspirational message — love and unity in short — and his policy prescriptions tend to have a more pragmatic bent. The full spectrum of Cory Booker was on display during a CNN town hall on Wednesday night broadcasting from Orangeburg, South Carolina. He said he would “absolutely” consider issuing mass commutations and pardons for federal marijuana offenses and touted his baby bonds proposal. He praised the Green New Deal for its visionary scope, comparing it to the Apollo missions to...

Vox Sentences: Turning off the red lights

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. Sudan’s military and civilian leaders reach a power-sharing deal; Amsterdam’s first female mayor wants to reform the city’s red light district. Sudanese military and protesters strike a deal Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images After a weeks-long standoff, riddled with violent crackdowns on protests, Sudan’s ruling military council and pro-democracy...

Pete Buttigieg explains his theory of political change

Pete Buttigieg is a Rhodes scholar, a Navy veteran, and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He’s a married gay man, a churchgoing Episcopalian, and a proud millennial. He’s also, according to CNN, “the hottest candidate in the 2020 race right now.” Buttigieg has become a surprising standout in the 2020 Democratic field. He joined The Ezra Klein Show to talk about the structural issues plaguing US politics, how being a mayor has prepared him for national office, and his vision for the country. “We’ve really hit a different moment in our political trajectory, where we are so paralyzed in our...

Vox Sentences: “Something that is loved is never lost”

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. Literary legend Toni Morrison dies at the age of 88; India escalates tension in Kashmir by revoking the territory’s special status. Nobel laureate Toni Morrison dies Bettmann via Getty Images Writer Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. As the first African American woman to receive the Nobel...

Shazam! is an unapologetically buoyant triumph of a superhero movie

Shazam has arguably the goofiest plot device in the long history of goofy superhero plot devices: In order to tap into his superpowers and transform into his superhero self, Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel in this movie), a 14-year-old runaway teen, must shout “Shazam!” into the ether and get throttled with a bolt of lightning. Saying that magic word grants him the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, the speed of Mercury (SHAZAM!), and a body some 15 years older and at its physical peak...

The Seth Rich conspiracy theory needs to end now

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, released on Thursday, raises a lot of new questions — but in one section, in just under 320 words, it answered another one, putting to rest one of the most harmful political conspiracy theories in recent memory. The report definitively disproved the notion that a Democratic National Committee staffer named Seth Rich was the source of leaked DNC documents later published by WikiLeaks, and that his July 2016 murder came as the result of his decision to leak those documents to WikiLeaks. This wasn’t true, although Trump associates like Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone, and countless others,...

YouTube says it’s still trying to fix itself. But it’s not...

Youtube spent the last year confronting accusations that it had become a haven for people who used the video site to distribute disinformation, hatred and abuse. Just like it did the year before. And on Thursday night, YouTube gathered thousands of advertisers and told them it took those problems very seriously. Then it put on a glitzy show aimed at getting them to give YouTube all of their money. Just like it did the year before. If you attended this year’s “Brandcast” event at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall and last year’s, it would be easy to come away...

Vox Sentences: What ISIS leaves behind

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. Baghouz, in eastern Syria, is liberated from ISIS rule; tech companies in Europe will be held responsible for copyright infringement. ISIS no longer in eastern Syria Chris McGrath/Getty Images US-backed Kurdish forces announced on Saturday that they had liberated Baghouz in eastern Syria from ISIS rule. This was the first territory...

The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest...

Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class, and you’re not just watching the lectures: They’re watching you back. Every time the facial recognition system decides that you look bored, distracted, or tuned out, it makes a note. And after each lecture, it only asks you about content from those moments. This isn’t a hypothetical system; it’s a real one deployed by a company called Nestor. And if you don’t like the sound of...

Social media’s conspiracy theory problem isn’t going away

After convicted sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide in jail this past weekend, conspiracy theories surrounding his death almost immediately jumped to the top of Twitter’s trending recommendation page. #ClintonBodyCount and tweets mentioning the Clintons — and the baseless conspiracy theories that the Clintons have orchestrated many murders over decades — were widely circulated on Twitter, a major gathering place when news breaks. Conspiracy theories, and their ability to spread at lightning speed, are what happens when some of the worst aspects of human psychology are amplified by the internet. We keep seeing this happen over and over. After...