Coping with war and crisis through memes

After the news broke the first week of January that President Trump had ordered the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, one of the most rapid reactions to emerge amid the surprise and confusion was the memes.

Jokes about the possible fallout of Soleimani’s death were instantly everywhere. They especially proliferated on TikTok and Twitter, where hashtags like #WW3 drove major trends for several days. A member of the subreddit r/ww3memes, created over two years ago, announced on January 3, “It’s time for this sub to rise.” It’s currently got over 43,000 subscribers.

You might think this type of …

The next Democratic debate will take place right before the New Hampshire primary

The next Democratic debate will take place after the first voters have already weighed in on the 2020 race. Slated for February 7 in Manchester, New Hampshire, the debate is the first of a trio happening that month as individuals in all four early states head to the polls (or caucuses).

Scheduled just days after Iowa’s caucuses and less than a week before New Hampshire’s February 11 primary, the debate, hosted by ABC, WMUR-TV, and Apple News, is poised to inform last-minute voter decisions both in the state and across the country. As Vox’s Ella Nilsen reports, roughly two-thirds …

Mike Bloomberg throws shade at Joe Biden as a looming “lame duck”

Mike Bloomberg seemingly suggested behind closed doors at an event with Silicon Valley elite on Thursday that former Vice President Joe Biden could be a “lame duck” president if elected, implying that the former New York mayor is the better moderate 77-year-old to support.

Toward the end of his 10-minute pitch to about 200 tech executives, investors, and socialites, Bloomberg, looking at notes, offered the contrast without naming Biden explicitly, according to video posted to social media and seen by Recode.

“My message to you is if you want somebody who’s experienced, and strong enough to serve two terms and …

11 US troops were injured in Iran’s attack. It shows how close we came to war.

Last week, Iran attacked two US military sites in Iraq. Now, a week later, one thing has become unmistakably clear: The US and Iran only barely avoided a potentially devastating war.

Defense One reported on Thursday night that 11 US troops sustained injuries in the strikes, which followed report after report after report that some Americans were blown out of towers and received concussions when the missiles hit.

That prompted the Pentagon, following a week of administration assurances that the US had suffered no casualties, to admit there were indeed victims of the Islamic Republic’s assault.

Those service members …

Trump judge lashes out at a transgender litigant in a surprisingly cruel opinion

Federal appeals courts hear cases that impact the rights of millions. They decide matters with billions of dollars at stake. They sometimes hear cases where thousands of lives hang in the balance.

United States v. Varner is not one of those cases. The main thing at stake in Varner is whether three judges will treat a woman with courtesy or with needless cruelty.

Two of them chose the latter option.

The case involves Kathrine Nicole Jett, a trans woman who is incarcerated in a federal prison. (Jett does not appear to use the name “Varner,” but for the sake of …

Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and other companies are calling for an end to Trump’s rule to keep out low-income immigrants

Twitter, Microsoft, and LinkedIn and dozens of other tech companies are calling for an end to a new rule that places restrictions on low-income immigrants entering or living in the US.

The companies signed onto an amicus brief filing in the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Thursday, appealing the public charge rule, which establishes a test for whether immigrants are likely to use public benefits in the US like food stamps or Medicaid. If immigrants are found likely to in the future use these benefits, immigration agents can deny their right to legally enter …