Wiretap: Splitting tickets, dismantling public universities and cosmic butt-dialing

Divided loyalties

The Republican Party has bigger worries than just losing voters in the presidential race. Voting trends show that voters who stray from their party on presidential picks are likely to do so down-ballot. In other words, splitting the ticket is becoming a thing of the past. The share of voters who back one party for president and the other for Senate declined from 23 percent on average during the 1980s to 16 percent across Bill Clinton’s two races, 13 percent in 2008 and just 10 percent in 2012. As support for Donald Trump wanes, this doesn’t bode well for the GOP’s efforts to retain control of the Senate. Via The Atlantic.

Through the cracks

A wall erected in San Diego’s Friendship Park divides the U.S. from Mexico. As High Country News reports, music scales the barrier. Activist Marce Graudins sees the mass of chain link and steel mesh as less of a wall than “a portal” — ‘Whether physical, cultural, religious, psychic or spiritual, there are connections there.”

Starving the beast

The far right has turned its attention from elite private universities to public ones. The strategy: persuading Republican-controlled state legislatures and governorships to pass massive cuts in funding while attacking the foundations of higher education. A new documentary looks at efforts to undermine state schools in the U.S. Via The Nation.

A radical movement? Seriously?

Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who claimed to be behind the hack of 20,000 DNC emails leaked by WikiLeaks this summer, has a memo from a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee advising candidates on how to deal with Black Lives Matter. “Don’t offer support for concrete policy positions,” reads the memo, which refers to the civil rights group as a “radical movement.” Via DemocracyNow!

WikiLeaks: A Russian laundering machine?

Speaking of WikiLeaks, this summer’s rash of leaked Democratic Party documents, which were presumably hacked by the Russians, has raised speculation about whether WikiLeaks has become a “laundering machine” for U.S. dirty laundry collected by Russian spies. A terrific New York Times analysis shows that, “Whether by conviction, convenience or coincidence, WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with many of Mr. Assange’s statements, have often benefited Russia, at the expense of the West.” Read this. Fascinating.

Same story, different time zone

In November, Californians will vote to legalize marijuana for recreational use. If the measure passes, the state’s pot market is expected to leap from $2.7 billion to $15 billion. “Hedge fund managers, venture capitalists and savvy entrepreneurs have begun flooding into the arena, alert to opportunities for legal profits that dangled out of reach when marijuana was underground,” writes Politico. “But the transformation is causing discomfort within California’s community of renegade pot growers, many of whom worry that their long wished for legitimacy may end with them being coopted by the implacable force of corporate America.


You’ve seen them – cops for hire, private security officers who contract with schools, businesses, government agencies who want extra security. As it happens, that extra security often is put in place in areas inhabited by poor residents of color. ThinkProgress digs deep into the special, for-hire police officers who act like cops, but have far less oversight.

Alien text message or cosmic butt-dial?

Far, far away in the constellation Hercules, a star called HD164595 sent a two second burst of radio waves on May 15, 2015. Astronomers can’t tell if it was a big “howdy” from a brother from another planet, or as Dennis Overbye writes,just a piece of cosmic spam, the astrophysical equivalent of butt dialing.” In any case, we love this story for its sense of lingering wonder. Via The New York Times.

Flickr photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

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