Wiretap: Trump’s war zones, Virginia’s felon-voting-rights redux, Ramen’s rising value

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At a time when Donald Trump is straining to lure African-American voters, he strayed far beyond his teleprompter Monday to claim that cities run by the Democrats are more dangerous than countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan: “You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it is safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats,” he said in Akron. The GOP nominee went on to portray those cities as so dangerous that “now, you walk down the street, you get shot.” Via The Guardian.

Trump’s biggest deal ever

Biographer Neil Gabler argues that for The Donald, the ultimate attention-monger, the goal of the presidential run may not be winning votes as much as raising his profile, building his brand and expanding his media empire. In Trumpworld, the theory goes, even losing is winning. “One can well imagine a postelection Citizen Trump crowing that while Hillary Clinton is saddled with four years of headaches and a measly $400,000 salary, he is using the attention he got to make billions more as a media mogul,” Gabler writes in The New York Times.

It takes a village

The adage “Think globally, act locally” may sound cliché in most places, but not in Ashton Hayes, a village in England where residents have spent the last decade radically reducing their carbon footprint. By using clotheslines instead of dryers, glazing their windows and installing solar panels, among other measures, the good people of Ashton Hayes have cut their emissions by 24 percent. “We just think everyone should try to clean up their patch,” said Rosemary Dossett, a resident of the village. “And rather than going out and shouting about it, we just do it.” Via The New York Times.

Second chances

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has devised a legal work-around to a state Supreme Court ruling that he couldn’t restore voting rights en masse to 200,000 felons. On Monday, he announced he had restored voting eligibility to the 13,000 felons who had registered to vote prior to justices’ decision in July. The move is hailed as a civil rights victory in a state where wide swaths of African Americans long have been stripped of voting rights. Still, Republicans continue to deride McAuliffe for simply trying to milk votes for his friend, Hillary Clinton. Via The Atlantic.

Big tab for the big house

Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s biggest private prison company, snagged a four-year, $1 billion contract from the Obama administration to detain women and children seeking asylum in the U.S. Unlike most private prison contracts, though, CCA gets the money regardless of how many people it actually houses. The unusual deal CCA brokered with the feds sidestepped the normal competitive bidding process and costs vastly more than alternatives such as ankle monitors. From The Washington Post.


Using their noodles

Speaking of prisons, who needs cigarettes and hooch in an era when states are cutting the quality and quantity of prison meals? A new study released Monday finds that ramen has overtaken tobacco as the top currency in prisons’ black markets. Inmates hungry for calories and flavor are exchanging packages of the noodles for laundry or cleaning services, and even using them like money in gambling rings. Inmates have made an art and science out of concoctions such as a teriyaki sauce made of strawberry jelly and soy sauce to top off their ramen. Via The Guardian.


Why reaction to hyper-masculine women

The Olympics are, by definition, an exercise in exceptionalism and biological rule breaking. So why were Caster Semenya’s testosterone levels and hyper-masculine physique such a dilemma in Rio? “If you’re born with a V8 engine in your bones, is it against the rules to use it?” asks Olga Khazan in The Atlantic. Scorn for middle-distance runner from South Africa suggest “that our anxieties about her might be rooted in something other than a love of fairness,” Khazan argues.

[Flickr photo by Antonio Campos Dominguez]

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