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Lies, Pardons, and Bringing Trump to Heel

To listen to this episode of Trumpcast, use the player below:

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Criminal Pardon

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that President Donald Trump has been asking advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members, and even himself. It‘s fair to say that such efforts by the president would lead to a full-scale constitutional crisis and potentially mass protests in the streets. If the Republican Party failed to initiate impeachment proceedings in the face of a string of pardons meant to protect the president and

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A Tennessee Jail Is Offering Vasectomies for Reduced Prison Time

A horrifying report bubbled up from Sparta, Tennessee, this week: A standing order by Judge Sam Benningfield of White County will allow the White County jail to offer to remove 30 days of jail time from inmates‘ sentences as long as they undergo voluntary birth control procedures-temporary birth control implants in the case of female inmates, permanent vasectomies in the case of male inmates. Benningfield signed the order in May, and by the

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The Angle: More Trump Than Trump Edition

Mini-me: New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is super Trumpy, Daniel Gross writes. The guy even has his own crappy Midtown restaurant and sketchy international business deals.

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Al Gore, Ever Hopeful

Listen to Episode 790 of Slate‘s The Gist:

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Why Exactly Does Putin Hate the Magnitsky Act?

On a recent episode of Trumpcast, Bill Browder joined Jacob Weisberg to discuss the Magnitsky Act-the supposed reason why Donald Trump Jr. met with a group of Russians during the campaign. Browder, author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man‘s Fight for Justice, hired Sergei Magnitsky to investigate why the Russian police had raided and seized his company‘s offices in June 2007. Magnitsky found that Browder

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Uber Needs to Share Its Salary Data

Uber has spent much of 2017 in crisis mode thanks to a series of self-inflicted scandals-many of them involving the abhorrent treatment of women who work at the company. But it finally had a friendly news cycle this week: News broke that the nearly 70 billion company had closed its gender and race pay gaps.

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Lawyers Aren‘t Wizards

The pattern is so familiar that it almost starts to feel rational. Nearly every day, for the six-month slog that has been the Donald Trump presidency, it‘s gone like this: The president or someone in his administration does something previously unthinkable, then legal pundits take to Twitter and the airwaves to ponder whether it was legal or constitutional or criminally prosecutable.

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Nobody Knows Anything

To listen to Episode 15 of Trumpcare Tracker, use the player below:

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The Best of Slate Podcasts

In this edition of our members-only podcast digest, listen to the best segments of the week:

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The End of Norms

In the Slate Plus bonus segment of Thursday‘s edition of the Political Gabfest, Emily, David, and John discuss the breaking of presidential norms. With two of the hosts having recently written on the destruction of norms under Trump-Emily in the New York Times and John in the Atlantic-the hosts decide to break down what norms are, how they come to be, and why they are so hard to enforce.

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Trump Can‘t Escape the States

This piece was originally published on Shugerblog.

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Can the President Get the Vice President to Pardon Him?

A version of this piece was originally published on Just Security, an online forum for analysis of U.S. national security law and policy.

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On Mayonnaise

In the Slate Plus bonus segment of Wednesday‘s edition of the Culture Gabfest, Dana, Stephen, and Julia clash over mayonnaise-yes, really. On the heels of a discussion about a controversial column by David Brooks that linked sandwiches with declining social mobility, the critics reflected on the culinary merits of mayo and other condiments.

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‘They Believe the Government Is Now on Their Side‘

On May 13, members of the anti-abortion group Operation Save America walked solemnly to the entrance of the EMW Women‘s Surgical Center, the last abortion clinic in Louisville, Kentucky. They sat down with their backs to the door and, as other protesters prayed nearby, refused to move. Eleven people, including Operation Save America‘s director, Rusty Thomas, were arrested. It was the first such coordinated clinic blockade in 13 years

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Making Afghanistan Great Again

Addressing the subject of Afghanistan this week, President Donald Trump said that he‘d like ‘to find out why we‘ve been there for 17 years, how it‘s going, and what we should do in terms of additional ideas.‘ These are all good questions, though if he really wanted to know, at any point over the past six months he could have called any of the hundreds of officers and intelligence analysts at his disposal-or the many

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In The Parallax View, Conspiracy Goes All the Way to the Top-and Beyond

This article supplements Slate‘s Conspiracy Thrillers Movie Club. To learn more and to join, visit Slate.com/thrillers.

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The Trump Administration Is Stealing Our Jokes

The intentionally brain-dead TV action satire Decker returned to Adult Swim this week for its sixth season. I edit the show, which boasts brazenly shoddy production values and stars Tim Heidecker as Special CIA Agent Jack Decker, a cartoonish patriot in the mold of Jack Bauer with a head injury. More accurately, it stars ‘Tim Heidecker,‘ the megalomaniacal, incompetent, platitudinous right-wing gasbag played by the eponymous actor, wh

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Google‘s New News Feed Is Scary-Good at Personalization

It was inevitable that Google would one day launch a news feed. The format of a feed-one nugget of information at a time, chosen for you by your friends and/or personalization software-suits the way people use mobile phones. Google‘s search-result lists, in contrast, make more sense on a desktop.

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How to Make Afghanistan Great Again

Addressing the subject of Afghanistan this week, President Donald Trump said that he‘d like ‘to find out why we‘ve been there for 17 years, how it‘s going, and what we should do in terms of additional ideas.‘ These are all good questions, though if he really wanted to know, at any point over the past six months he could have called any of the hundreds of officers and intelligence analysts at his disposal-or the many

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Worth the Wait

Listen to Episode No. 158 of Live at Politics and Prose:

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Exotic Minutiae

James Earl Ray was an eclectic reader. His nightstand in the weeks following his assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968 could have theoretically included the novel Mission in Tangier, the self-help book Psycho-Cibernetics, or a manual on hypnotism. At any given time, his floor could‘ve been littered with old copies of the Times of London, the Daily Telegraph, the International Herald Tribune, or the Financial Times. He eve

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De Blasio Wants to Dramatically Reduce NYC‘s Rat Population. Don‘t Hold Your Breath.

New York City is notorious for its large rat population, and Mayor Bill de Blasio is eager to do something about it. Last Wednesday, de Blasio‘s administration announced a 32 million Neighborhood Rat Reduction Plan, which could reduce rat activity by up to 70 percent in select zones. Some might consider any double-digit reduction in rat action ambitious. After all, New York City has fought the vermin to a stalemate for more than a century.

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The Fake-Image Arms Race

It‘s no longer true that ‘seeing is believing.‘ A team of psychologists from the University of Warwick, led by Ph.D. student Sophie Nightingale, has recently published research in which respondents misidentified 40 percent of doctored images as real. The experiment showed five fake images and five real images to 707 participants, asking the respondents to classify each picture as real or fake. These images were distorted in ways

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