Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The November 5, 2019, elections

Voters in several states are headed to the polls on Tuesday, November 5, to cast votes in elections that could lead to major shifts in power. In both Mississippi’s and Kentucky’s gubernatorial races, Democrats have the potential to retake the governor’s seats, and in Virginia, Democrats could flip the House and Senate. In Kentucky, the governor’s race is being cast as a referendum on President Donald Trump; can a Democrat win in a deep-red state one year from a presidential election? And in Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood has a good shot at becoming the state’s first Democratic governor in...

How a Jim Crow law still shapes Mississippi’s elections

Jim Hood is a political unicorn. A Democrat, Hood nonetheless has won four consecutive statewide elections in the blood-red state of Mississippi — all of them for attorney general. Now he hopes to add a new line to his resume. He’s the Democratic candidate for governor in Tuesday’s election. And the polls suggest that he’s got a real fighting chance. But there’s a catch. Mississippi held a constitutional convention more than a century ago to, in the words of one former state governor and US senator, “eliminate the n****r from politics.” One still-remaining vestige of that convention is the unusual...

The internet is getting less free

Free speech and privacy on the internet declined globally for the ninth consecutive year according to the Freedom on the Net 2019 report by bipartisan watchdog and think tank Freedom House. The report’s authors cite two main reasons for the decline: increased online election interference — by government and civilian actors alike — and increased government surveillance, both of which are spreading on social media platforms. These are topics that continue to dominate the news cycle, whether it’s Facebook’s ad policy that allows politicians to spread lies or Amazon’s growing relationships with police departments that use its Ring smart doorbells...

Vox Sentences: The 2019 elections, explained

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. Voters across America face state and local elections Voters across the country have the opportunity to select their representatives Tuesday as several states hold elections. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky are looking at tight gubernatorial races, as many view these races as a referendum on Trump’s own candidacy. Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin won in 2016 with a 30-point lead over his opponent, but...

Bernie Sanders escalates the war on tech and calls out Apple’s...

Sen. Bernie Sanders is expanding the Democratic Party’s war on Big Tech to a new frontier, calling out Apple’s impact on the housing sector as the company tries to promote a new affordable housing initiative. The debate between Democrats running for president has mostly focused so far on data collection, privacy, content moderation, and corporate market power. But Sanders on Monday tied critiques about tax evasion to a new, ballyhooed commitment by Apple to spend $2.5 billion — “pennies,” in Sanders’s view — on expanding affordable housing in the Bay Area. “Apple’s announcement that it is entering the real estate lending...

The firing of McDonald’s CEO won’t solve the chain’s sexual harassment...

The CEO of McDonald’s was booted from the company Friday after the board of directors discovered that he had a consensual romantic relationship with an employee. Stephen Easterbrook, who has been the top executive at McDonald’s since 2015, stepped down for his “poor judgment” in violating the company’s code of conduct, according to an SEC filing. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, with few details about the relationship. Easterbrook’s separation agreement shows that he will get about 6.5 months of severance (his base salary is $1.5 million). As part of the deal, Easterbrook signed a confidentiality agreement...

The Popeyes fried chicken sandwich is back after a 2-month shortage

Popeye’s spicy fried chicken sandwich is back, and the hype around its highly anticipated return has not died down. The sandwich, which is currently available in 150 nationwide locations, made its comeback on November 3 (which is apparently National Sandwich Day), more than two months after Popeyes officially declared a shortage on August 27. Demand for the sandwich is high. On social media, some customers reported waiting over an hour for their order. Those who ordered on Popeye’s mobile app managed to skip the in-store wait, making the process much faster. It appears that the returning date — a...

Is Watchmen too confounding for its own good?

Every TV show has one episode where its core audience goes all-in, where the show goes from merely “promising” to one that fans will watch every episode of, if only for a few seasons. That episode will differ for every single audience member, but I (Vox critic at large Emily VanDerWerff) am totally unsurprised that “She Was Killed By Space Junk” is the episode where so many of my fellow TV critic pals, regardless of whether they’ve read the comics the series is based on or not, went from guardedly optimistic about Watchmen to all in on Watchmen. After...

Trump responds to California wildfires by threatening to cut federal aid

As California continues to suffer from a number of wildfires, President Donald Trump has made a vague threat to cut federal aid to the state’s fire recovery efforts. Amid high winds and dry weather, the fires have spread so rapidly that California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency last week to mobilize resources to fight the blazes. Californians have been experiencing historic blackouts and mandatory evacuations. Hundreds of people have lost their homes, and more than 10,000 acres have burned. Rather than address those hit with tragedy, Trump criticized California Gov. Gavin Newsom Sunday morning for doing a...

The whistleblower offers written testimony to House Republicans

The whistleblower who first brought concerns about President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine to light has said he is willing to directly respond to Republican questions, according to his lawyer. That lawyer, Mark Zaid, told CBS News he informed Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) — who is the ranking Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee — on Saturday the whistleblower had volunteered to answer Republicans’ questions of him in writing under oath and penalty of perjury. Trump and other Republicans have called for the testimony of the whistleblower for some time, and have intensified that request in recent weeks. Nunes,...