Here are 6 burning questions for Hillary Clinton
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After journalists Steve Brill, Keith Olbermann and Merrill Brown listed the questions they'd ask Donald Trump, it's time to turn the tables on Hillary Clinton. Here's what Katherine Mangu-Ward, the new editor of libertarian Reason magazine, would ask her:
-House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that "no one should be above the law," in response to the FBI's decision not to bring criminal charges over your handling of your email, despite evidence of some wrongdoing. What does the phrase "rule of law" mean to you and how would you apply it here?
-Your historical record on free speech is pretty abysmal. Do you still think flag-burning, or selling violent video games to 16-year-olds, or failing to adequately restrict minor-access to online pornography, should be punishable federal offenses?
-In 1998, you claimed that charter schools "are meeting the needs of students who had trouble succeeding in more traditional public schools." In 2015, after the country's two biggest teachers unions endorsed you, you miraculously decided that "most charter schools...don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them." You're the top recipient of cash from the teachers unions. Can you give us a ballpark estimate of how much it would cost to convince you to change your mind back?
-You tend to be critical of international trade agreements (such as TPP) during election seasons but pull back when it comes time to govern, and act (correctly) in support of free(r) trade. Can we expect the same bait-and-switch this cycle?
-Antonio Bascaro has served over 30 years in federal prison for a nonviolent marijuana offense. By the time his release date comes in 2019, he will be 85 years old. Would you use your presidential pardon power to help him, as well as to void the unnecessarily harsh sentences handed down to those who were also convicted of nonviolent drug-related crimes?
-So are we just going to keep Gitmo operational forever, or what?
Is Peter Thiel funding another assault on Gawker?
"RJ Bell, the 'Vegas oddsmaker' in charge of the sports betting website Pregame.com, and subject of a lengthy investigation by Ryan Goldberg on Gawker’s sister website Deadspin, has enlisted Charles J. Harder — the same lawyer who has threatened Gawker over Ashley Feinberg’s reporting on Donald Trump’s hair — to demand a retraction of the article." (Gawker) Gawker notes how Forbes reported that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel "is funding numerous lawsuits brought by Harder against Gawker Media, which owns Deadspin." But beyond the Hulk Hogan suit against Gawker, "neither Harder nor Thiel have stated which lawsuits in particular are being funded by Thiel."
Latest Yahoo bids due today
As Verizon "gears up for a possible acquisition of Yahoo! Inc., the executive in charge of reinventing the phone company as a digital powerhouse is Marni Walden, who began her career selling handsets from a kiosk in a home-improvement store. If Walden, the head of product innovation and new businesses for the $231 billion company, can successfully swing the transition, it may alter not only Verizon’s course but also her career. The 49-year-old is on a short list of candidates to potentially succeed Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam, 62, a position never held by a woman." (Bloomberg)
"Cable giant Comcast will allow popular web video streaming service Netflix onto its X1 platform, the companies confirmed after being asked by Recode about talks to do so." (Recode) To be on Comcast's set-topbox "would be akin to the arrangement that Netflix has cut with smaller cable operators in the United States and bigger ones across the globe." Lots of specifics, like who's in charge of billing, were unclear. "No matter the details, this move is an enormous step, given the long and sometimes contentious history between the two companies against a backdrop of increased consumer usage of internet-delivered video."
Game of Genomes
Carl Zimmer, national correspondent for the life sciences site STAT, went out to learn about all of our genomes largely through an understanding of the sequencing of his own. Rather than have a rather pro-forma test via a genealogy laboratory, he got the raw data of his and found two dozen scientists to break it down. A three-part series starts Monday but, in a gambit more associated with Hollywood flicks and network TV shows, STAT is unveiling a very fun trailer hyping the upcoming series and narrated by the reporter. It's a short, entertaining effort that other digital and print news organizations might check out. (STAT)
Why NASA's latest deal is a big one
It's tough getting American media as interested in NASA as they were long ago. Indeed, it wasn't all that long ago that the NASA beat was among the most prestigious. Vox, though, leaves no doubt why its Juno Jupiter orbiter is very, very big stuff. We still don't know that much about gassy Jupiter. "Does Jupiter have a solid core? How does it generate such extreme levels of radiation? How did Jupiter form and evolve?" This is a well-done, graphics- and video-filled explanation of an astonishing project. (Vox)
Comey's big Hillary announcement
Here's a sampling of the headlines in the wake of Tuesday's big announcement: "FBI rebuke leaves a heavy political cloud over Clinton." "F.B.I.’s Critique of Clinton Is Ready-Made Attack Ad." "For Hillary Clinton, Political Fight Over Emails Is Far From Over. And a facetious, "Hillary Clinton broke the law, but she should not be charged with her crimes." But Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post nailed how and why the FBI director's comments were extraordinary:
-He made the statement himself, not prosecutors.
-He offered a synopsis of the facts and the legal analysis prompting a decision not to prosecute.
-He "engaged in extensive editorializing" about Clinton's carelessness. This made Marcus anxious, "but I understand the impulse: to err on the side of tough assessment even as he declines to recommend charges."
-His "barely disguised slap at President Obama" for offering his two cents on the matter. (The Washington Post)
She might have added that he protects the system from weeks more of controversy, speculation and, yes, political pressure. He came off as smart and principled even if at least one former legal affairs reporter (me) found it hard to believe that not a single soul at Justice Department headquarters ("Main Justice," in government parlance) had a clue about what he'd say. It bespoke a head-turning bifurcation of the FBI and Department of Justice, if true.
Should journalists be neutral in the face of ISIS?
BBC correspondent Paul Wood did a stint at Harvard's Kennedy School and now pens a sharp paper that details ISIS kidnappings with vivid specificity, as well as his own Syria experiences, and raises fundamental questions about a journalist's duty. Can neutrality be a mistake when there may not be two sides to a story? Should one offer rallying cries to your audience to take action? "Faced with evil," is it folly to try to be neutral? (Poynter)
PBS burned by dumb decision
It was creamed for splicing footage from an earlier Fourth of July celebration in the nation's capital with its live coverage Monday. It did so because the weather was crappy this year. But it didn't fess up to the dishonesty until many viewers badmouthed in on social media. (USA Today) It said it was the "patriotic thing to do." Well, look for it to use video of old puffs of white smoke at the Vatican next time they pick a Pope or to suddenly switch from a Trump-Clinton presidential debate, if deemed boring, to Ronald Reagan debating Jimmy Carter.
Under Armour an unofficial Olympics media winner
A big media change for the upcoming Summer Olympics means the International Olympic Committee will let more brands exploit the event's big audience even if they're not official Olympic sponsors. (Adweek) They just can't use certain intellectual property (IP), such as the Olympic rings or terms such as "Olympics" "2016" "Rio," "games" and "gold." "Under Armour, which is not an official Olympic sponsor but sponsors 250 Olympic athletes, including Michael Phelps, has been one of the most notable beneficiaries of the relaxed Rule 40. The brand's 'Rule Yourself' campaign includes an emotional spot with the U.S. women's gymnastics team and a Cannes award-winning spot with Phelps that shows the most decorated athlete in Olympic history as he trains for his last games. Both ads comply with Rule 40: They launched before the March deadline, and neither contains any Olympics IP."
Drolly mocking Durant
As noted yesterday, basketball star Kevin Durant chose The Players' Tribune, a media-free bulletin board for athletes created by Derek Jeter, to announce he was leaving Oklahoma City to play for the Golden State Warriors. But you now must listen to comedian Frank Caliendo reading the letter posted on The Players' Tribune in a pitch-perfect Morgan Freeman imitation. He captures its well-intentioned but mushy, overwrought essence. (Bleacher Report)
Trump is MARVELous!
Well, it's really that he's caricatured as "a new comic book baddie." (The Telegraph) "MODAAK, which stands for Mental Organism Designed as America’s King, is a new villain who has been introduced to the Marvel universe by comic book artist Jason Latour in the recently released 2016 Spider Gwen Annual. With an umber hue, golden suit and dislike of "foreign filth," MODAAK appears to be a riff on US presidential candidate Donald Trump."