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Trump fires US Attorney to halt investigations around himself.

Whether Berman keeps his post, loses his post to Clayton, or loses it to someone else, Trump is clearly trying to halt investigations into his and his buddies’ shady dealings by replacing a US Attorney with his friend.



Not enough people paid attention to what happened in the Southern District of New York last night, so let me quickly summarize in the most basic of terms.

The Players:

Bill Barr, Attorney General of the United States

Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York

Donald Trump, a bag of that toilet crust in nasty people’s apartments

The Setting:

The Southern District of New York, possibly the most important jurisdiction in the country because it covers Manhattan, where Wall Street crimes take place as well as most of Trump’s fraudulent activity.

The Issue:

Berman is investigating Trump.

Back in 2017 Trump, through then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, requested the resignations of 46 US Attorneys from across the country, and the media went a little crazy in reporting it because it was so abrupt and hadn’t happened in so long, but it was perfectly normal. Obama and Dubbya both replaced US Attorneys from various districts, but they did it gradually. It felt like the new norm because there hadn’t been an abrupt firing in almost 25 years, but it wasn’t unprecedented — Bill Clinton fired 93 (of 94!) US Attorneys after he took office in the early 90s.

Preet Bharara was the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and in November 2016, Trump told Bharara that he’d be staying in his position because he’d been effective. Unfortunately for Bharara (and all of us), he was investigating two of Trump’s buddies: Tom Price, Trump’s Secretary of Health & Human Services (for writing legislation affecting certain health-related corporations while he was trading stocks for those same corporations), and Roger Ailes/Fox News (for covering up sexual assault and harassment allegations). Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, told Trump that Bharara wouldn’t hesitate to go after him, and Bharara was fired less than a day after he refused to take a call from Trump.

Trump fired Preet Bharara, and Geoffrey Berman was appointed to fill the vacancy by the Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York on an interim basis until Trump appointed someone else. Berman had previously been an Assistant US Attorney in this district back in the 90s and he’s a strong prosecutor. Trump didn’t appoint a successor, and Berman was unanimously elected by all of the judges in this district to fill the position until someone else was appointed and approved by the Senate.

Berman isn’t afraid of Trump any more than Bharara was, so he’s investigating Trump and everyone around him, and Trump has wanted Barr to get rid of him for months. The only reason this didn’t happen sooner is those investigations. If Trump had fired Berman right after he sent Michael Cohen to jail or right after opening an investigation into Rudy Giuliani or Jeffrey Epstein, the uproar would have been deafening. Trump & Barr wanted to take advantage of the country’s shifting focus — we’re all talking about the pandemic and the marches for equality and nobody is really thinking about what the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York is doing. So at 9pm on a Friday night when nobody is supposedly paying attention, Bill Bar said Berman was being replaced by Jay Clayton, a lawyer with no experience as a prosecutor, who is the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton told his buddy Trump he was interested in the US Attorney Job and Trump would love to have a friend in that position so that’s that.

Can we just take a moment to reflect on how boldly this administration lies to us? They said, in print no less, that Geoffrey Berman is stepping down, and he hadn’t even been notified that he was being fired, let alone stepping down.

Berman released a statement saying he found out about his firing at the same time as everyone else and he has no intention to vacate his post before a nominee had been confirmed by the Senate. So now we have another mess of Trump’s making. Nobody knows if Berman can hold on to his post or if he has to vacate while an interim fills the position until a nominee is confirmed.

Also, here’s an interesting wrinkle for Trump: Matroness Lindsey Olin Graham Sugarbaker Deveraux is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, so Trump probably thinks Clayton will sail through the Committee and onto the floor for a vote. Lady G doesn’t seem inclined to cooperate.

The fate of Clayton’s nomination is also uncertain. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said Saturday he had not heard from the Trump administration about its plans to replace Berman but praised Clayton as “a fine man and accomplished lawyer.”

However, Graham (R-S.C.) indicated he would defer to the Senate’s “blue slip” tradition, in which individual senators may effectively block the nomination of someone who hails from their home state. That would empower Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to stop Clayton from advancing through the Judiciary Committee — and Schumer has already indicated he thinks Clayton should withdraw from consideration.

(cont. Politico)

Whether Berman keeps his post, loses his post to Clayton, or loses it to someone else, Trump is clearly trying to halt investigations into his and his buddies’ shady dealings by replacing a US Attorney with his friend.

Checks and balances my ass.
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Valentina Sampaio, Sports Illustrated, and trans women under the male gaze.

Trans model Valentina Sampaio is the definition of “threatening” to fragile masculinity. 



Brazilian-born Valentina Sampaio is one of eight rookies in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit class of 2020 and she’s the first openly transgender model to grace the pages of the magazine. Since taking over the Swimsuit issue in 2015, editor MJ Day has pushed for inclusiveness in the magazine. She joined the staff as an intern in the 90s who had to sort through thousands of bikinis in a closet to send back to designers, and now she heads a team of only four SI staff-members who work for the Swimsuit edition full time. What she says goes, and she’s been going for diversity.

The inclusive spirit of Sports Illustrated’s current model lineup can be credited to the publication’s longtime editor in chief, MJ Day. Day included Graham as the first plus-size model in 2016; Halima Aden as its first hijabi face in 2019; and had Banks return at the age of 46 to dazzle on the cover in 2019, all of which has heightened the relevance of the annual issue.

(cont. Vogue)

Of course, none of those picks will draw the same pushback as Sampaio, but I think she can handle the criticism. Trans models are the bravest women in the industry because everyone has an opinion on what is or isn’t in their pants, and for the segment of the population being courted by SI, Valentina is the definition of “threatening” to their fragile masculinity.

And those last two are the crux of the issue: straight men who think being attracted to trans women is a statement on their heterosexuality.

Men who are quick to express their disgust over trans women are weak. If you were attracted to her before you knew she was trans, you still are. You don’t turn it off with a switch. You’re just pretending not to be because you think it says something about your sexuality, which is still linked with your masculinity in the minds of most people.

And you can save the the “but I don’t like dicks” argument. I promise you she has no intention of sleeping with you, so what she does or doesn’t have between her legs is absolutely none of your business. If the only thing that stops you, a heterosexual male, from being attracted to  someone or makes you, a heterosexual male, attracted to someone is the space between their legs, then what you’re saying is, this man (Trip Richards, who does porn, so we know what his genitals look like) who has a vagina is someone you can be attracted to:


And this woman, who may or may not have a penis, is someone who disgusts you:


Let’s also be very clear: no straight man is disgusted by a penis. If he was, he wouldn’t watch porn. And porn wouldn’t be dominated by men with large dicks getting hard for other men to watch go in and out of women, sometimes alongside other men with large dicks (seriously, gangbangs and DP should make you question your heterosexuality way more than a woman who was born with a penis).

The bottom line is, if there is a trans woman in front of you and you are attracted to that woman, be secure in that attraction without commenting on what is or isn’t under her skirt. You don’t ask cis women to confirm that you like the way their vagina looks before you decide whether they can have the honor of appearing in your little fantasies, so don’t ask trans women. The only time anybody’s genitals should be of your concern is if they personally want you to experience them. Otherwise, go back to your basement and keep flipping through Sports Illustrated. I hear the Swimsuit issue is especially good this year.
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More testing does not mean more positive results.

When someone says more tests mean more positive results, ask them to explain New York.



I don’t know any Conservatives, but some of my friends do, and this is the talking point I see most often from covidiots: The US has more cases because we do more testing.

That is completely false. This isn’t even a situation where there’s a kernel of truth that the Trump Administration has skewed or misrepresented. “The US does more testing” is easy to disprove — and quickly! — so here are a few resources to give those people (who won’t believe you anyway because facts mean nothing to them, but at least you can provide the information and move on).

These are the 10 most affected countries.


For awhile, we were comparing ourselves to Europe to show how well the EU flattened the curve while the situation in the US is spiraling out of control. Europe is done with COVID-19. None of them are in the Top 10 anymore (save for Russia) and there’s no reason to compare the United States to the best. We can now compare ourselves to the worst.

These are the countries doing the most tests (numbers are per million people).

covid testing


That’s it. No deep analysis of the numbers to be had. The only countries in the top ten of testing that are also in the top 10 of new cases are the US and Russia. If new cases was a result of new tests, those top 10 lists would look the same.

More Americans are testing positive than Russians.

(ourworldindata lets you play around with what countries you want to see in case you’re curious about other regions)

Because Russia and the US are the only two countries that are in the top ten for testing and new cases, I wanted to see which country had a higher percentage of positive tests. Russia is at 2.3% and the US is at 7.6%. In the only comparable head to head matchup — a country with a lot of new cases who is also doing a lot of testing — the US is losing.

usa vs russia

I think it’s important to note that back in April, our numbers were largely due to NYC, where half of the cases in the US were located. The resulting drop was also largely due to NYC — because we had so many cases, when we got the situation under control here, the trend for the entire country went down. The US (with the exception of the northeast and parts of the northwest and California) never flattened anything.

I looked at the rate of infection again with both top 20 lists — most cases and most testing — to see where the highest rates of infection are. Admittedly, the US isn’t doing as badly as I thought. However, look whose line is trending upward while the other countries performing the most tests are controlling the spread.

us vs world

The US has moved in the right direction.

Donald Trump has been saying the US does more testing than anybody for the past two months. Luxembourg has done almost four times as many test per capita (but as you may remember, there are many per capitas according to Trump). If you look at new tests recently, the US has continued an upward trend and we’re almost ahead of Russia on a daily basis. But we are nowhere near Luxembourg so Trump will never be able to factually say we do more testing than anybody.


New York has a lot of tests and few cases.

I’ll leave y’all with one more graph to disprove the “more tests equals more cases” lie being drilled into the Fox News audience. This is New York, the original epicenter.

ny tests

When someone says more tests mean more positive results, ask them to explain New York.
Venmo: Rafi-DAngelo
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Disney World starts opening this weekend.

Let’s see how quickly this goes from Magic Kingdom to Tragic Kingdom.



The doors to Disney will be back open soon. Two theme parks, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, are set to reopen Saturday for the first time since coronavirus-related closures in March. The resort’s two other theme parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios, are opening four days later.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was asked Monday during a news conference in The Villages, one of Florida’s largest retirement communities, about the safety of reopening theme parks amid the spike in cases in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis said he was not concerned about the increasing positivity rate in Florida and theme parks welcoming guests again.

“Disney, I have no doubt is going to be a safe environment…”

(cont. CBS Miami)

Ron Pissbaby DeSantis said Disney is going to be a safe environment.

how how how

One. DeSantis wants to be Trump.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is a Trump acolyte who sees himself as a mini-Cheetolini in training. Our Dear Leader downplays coronavirus, so DeSantis downplays coronavirus. President Velveeta cuts funding for coronavirus relief, so Governor Pissbaby cuts funding for coronavirus relief.  They’re both liars and they both lie to their supporters about the rapidly unfolding disaster we have on our hands.

[DeSantis]has wiped out funding for coronavirus treatment in prisons and for online learning services, while insisting schools will reopen in the fall. And he is downplaying the spike in cases in his state, saying that those contracting the virus are younger.

“There’s no need to be fearful,” DeSantis said Monday.

(cont. CNN)

Two. Every metric in Florida is getting worse.

A record high percentage of Floridians tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday.


In NYC, the percentage is hovering around 1% and we can’t even sit in McDonald’s and eat chicken nuggets. Florida is opening Disney and 16% of their tests come back positive. Where in that number does it look safe to open theme parks?

Three. Even Texas has a more sensible response.

Texas and Florida, as the most populous states under Republican governorship, are frequently in a race to see who can be the absolute worst. Florida is definitely winning this race currently. While DeSantis has decided to open Disney and cut funding for online courses because he wants to send kids back to Corona Classrooms in September, Texas’s governor at least has the common sense to admit that COVID-19 is a problem and we’re stuck with it for a very long time.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott — who had previously blocked local governments from requiring masks, and had been among the first to reopen businesses — last week reversed himself and issued a mandate requiring masks in most of the state. The move came after he’d shut down all bars, limited restaurants to 50% capacity and halted elective surgeries in coronavirus hot-spots. In a video, he acknowledged what he said was “a stark reality: Covid-19 is not going away. In fact, it’s getting worse.”

(cont. CNN)

Four. The people who are going to Disney are not going to be careful.

I’m sitting here aghast at the thought of thousands of strangers wandering around a theme park. I would never go, because I take this pandemic seriously. There will be nobody like me there, social distancing, washing my hands constantly, wearing a mask everywhere, and shaming anybody I see being lax.

The people who will be there either think this is a hoax or think it’s not as bad as (some) government officials make it out to be. Disney can say as often as anyone will listen that they will have temperature checks and mask requirements, but Costco has mask requirements and their customers in Florida just about pop a vein when you tell them to put it on.

I don’t wanna say you deserve what you get if you go to Disney during a pandemic, because children don’t have a choice and they’re beholden to the idiocy of their parents. But it’s going to be really hard to have sympathy for people who end up on a respirator because they decided some mouse ears and an overpriced funnel cake were worth risking a virus that is quite literally running rampant in the area.

Maybe they think the Kingdom really is Magic but from where I’m sitting…

tragic kingdom
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