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Hate crime or hoax? The drama behind the Jussie Smollett case, explained

The ‘Empire’ actor is being accused of orchestrating his own attack. It’s been nearly three weeks since actor and singer Jussie Smollett came forward saying he was...

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5 years in, HBO’s Last Week Tonight is a lot more than “just comedy”

No matter what John Oliver says. When Last Week Tonight premiered on HBO in 2014, it was growing in the shadow of Jon Stewart’s hugely influential Daily Show, and not...

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Standup comedy’s debate over political correctness, explained by HBO’s Crashing

The comedy series smartly breaks down “anti-PC” comedy without getting preachy. Every week, we pick a new episode of the week. It could be good. It could be bad. It...

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The acting Pentagon chief has yet to say whether Trump’s border wall is militarily necessary

Patrick Shanahan has the final say on where the Pentagon will find the money. Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says he has yet to determine how much money th...

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Biologists are trying to make bird flu easier to spread. Can we not?

This research into viruses could help us understand pandemics better - or it could cause one. The bird flu is a deadly virus with the potential to spark a global pandemi...

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SNL thinks Trump’s border wall makes perfect sense — if you’re “not that smart”

Host Don Cheadle took the opportunity to throw shade at the president. Two years into the Donald Trump era, and the business of “playing president” is getting old fo...

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The complicated, always racist history of blackface

Author John Strausbaugh on why blackface keeps coming back. A series of scandals last week brought the issue of “blackface” — when nonblack people darken their ski...

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The chaotic road to the 2019 Oscars ceremony, explained

The Academy narrowly dodged a revolt. We usually spend most of Oscar season arguing about the actual movies: whether they should be nominated, who got snubbed, if movie...

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The Aurora shooter had a history of domestic violence and assault. He never should have had a gun.

Even a background check didn’t prevent Gary Martin from getting a firearm — even though he shouldn’t have been able to. The warning signs were there: The gunman wh...

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The House inquiries into the secret Trump-Putin talks are (slowly) taking shape

Two powerful House oversight committees are getting their subpoenas ready. President Donald Trump has reportedly gone to extreme lengths to keep secret his discussions w...

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Why Netflix’s Russian Doll keeps referencing Emily of New Moon

Emily of New Moon is like a gothed-up Anne of Green Gables. She’s perfect for Russian Doll. Halfway through Netflix’s buzzy new show Russian Doll, Natasha Lyonne’s...

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An ex-cardinal has been defrocked for sex abuse. This has likely never happened before.

The Catholic Church found Theodore McCarrick guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades. The Vatican has defrocked Theodore McCarrick, an ex-ca...

Vox

How capitalism reduced diversity to a brand

A law professor explains how corporations commodify people of color. Back in 2000, Diallo Shabazz was surprised to see himself on the cover of the University of Wiscons...

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The best book covers from 1820 to 1914 include a sweet potato doing a pinup pose

And the rest of the week’s best writing on books and related subjects. Welcome to Vox’s weekly book link roundup, a curated selection of the internet’s best writin...

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Measles is back in the US because states make it too easy to avoid vaccines

The era of religious and moral vaccine exemptions needs to end — and fast. As of Friday, more than 270 people across the country, mostly small children, have...

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Bill and Melinda Gates and the problem of the “good billionaire”

A new wave of critics say even the most generous billionaires are bad. Are they right? Bill and Melinda Gates are odd billionaires. The Gateses, who released their found...

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The Democratic National Committee has voted down a ban on corporate PAC donations

The DNC isn’t ready to give up corporate PAC money. An internal fight is roiling the Democratic National Committee over whether to forgo corporate PAC money and make a...

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Mueller recommends a very lengthy sentence for Paul Manafort

The sentencing memo was harsh. Special counsel Robert Mueller would like Paul Manafort to go to prison for a long, long time, according to a new sentencing memo he’s f...

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Vox Sentences: California’s train plan derails

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Frida...

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3 big things to know about Nigeria’s presidential elections

The incumbent Muhammadu Buhari is facing off against businessman Atiku Abubakar during a tenuous time for Nigeria’s economy and its security situation. Nigeria will ge...

Vox

Amazon scrapped its New York City plans. Some residents are elated — others are disappointed.

“I wanted there to be a deal, but not the deal that was on the table. I wanted there to be a fair deal,” one Queens resident said. From the moment Amazon announced i...

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Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the NFL, explained

Kaepernick’s lawyer and the NFL announced a confidential settlement in the grievance case on Friday. More than 16 months after filing a formal complaint alleging that...

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Illinois and New Jersey passed a $15 minimum wage. That means 1.8 million workers get a raise.

Fast-food workers organized dozens of strikes, rallies, and protests to make this happen. Years of strikes and rallies to raise the minimum wage across the US are starti...

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5 ways Trump’s national emergency declaration could be stopped

House Democrats could file a resolution — and a lawsuit. President Donald Trump has officially declared a national emergency in order to secure funding for his border...

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How one scientist coped when AI beat him at his life’s work

A Harvard biologist on his journey from melancholy to acceptance. It was with a strangely deflated feeling in his gut that Harvard biologist Mohammed AlQuraishi made his...

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Aurora, Illinois, shooting: what we know

Multiple people, including police officers, were reportedly injured. Multiple people, including police officers, are reportedly injured in a shooting at an industrial ar...

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Netflix’s Siempre Bruja centers a powerful black witch, for once

The new fictional series shows that black witches can be human, powerful, and the stars of their own stories. As her friend lies comatose in a hospital bed, Carmen Eguil...

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Ralph Northam wants forgiveness. Virginia’s black activists want him to work for it.

The embattled governor’s fight for redemption is just beginning. It’s been two weeks since the news of a racist photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical sch...

Vox

Who actually pays for your credit card rewards?

(Hint: It’s probably you.) Shoppers love credit card rewards. These tantalizing extras come in offers like cash back, travel miles, and cash bonuses, and banks use the...

Vox

Trump just tweeted a video of Democrats looking sad set to REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” Really.

The president of the United States, everyone. After declaring a national emergency to get his wall at the US-Mexico border on Friday, President Donald Trump took a littl...

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The Census lawsuit headed straight to the Supreme Court, explained

The Trump administration is rushing the case through the courts to get the citizenship question reinstated in time f The US Supreme Court announced on Friday that it’...

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Trump just signed a border security deal and declared a national emergency

Here’s why he’s doing both at the same time. President Donald Trump has officially signed a spending bill that will keep the government funded until September, whi...

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2019 has been Trump’s most disjunctive year yet. And it’s only February.

Three gaps help us understand the politics of the wall, the shutdown, and the national emergency declaration. A few weeks after the longest government shutdown in histor...

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Meet Annie Turnbo Malone, the hair care entrepreneur Trump shouted out in his Black History Month proclamation

She became a millionaire after giving Madam C.J. Walker her big break as a sales agent. One of the first black women to reach millionaire status did so by launching a ha...

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Trump suggests he’s privy to secret stats proving immigrants are violent criminals

“You have stats that are far worse than the ones I use.” Undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans. The vast majority of drugs...

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One of film’s greatest epics is a 7-hour adaptation of War and Peace. Really.

The biggest blockbuster in Soviet history is returning to movie screens in 2019. It’s compulsively watchable — and absolutely worth seeing. Good critics avoid hyperb...

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Trump’s wall won’t do anything about drugs

If Trump has extra anti-drug money sitting around, the wall is a bad way to spend it. Congress isn’t giving President Donald Trump the money he wants for a wall at the...

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Trump has divided conservatives with the border security deal and national emergency declaration

Conservatives once railed against Obama’s use of executive power. Now, they’re split on Trump’s. President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergenc...

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“This is a constitutional crisis”: a legal expert on Trump’s emergency declaration

Seems bad! On Friday morning, President Donald Trump announced that he would be declaring a state of emergency on the US-Mexico border and unilaterally appropriating fun...

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Mudslides, snow, and flash floods: an atmospheric river has soaked California

The storm system stretched hundreds of miles wide and carried as much water as 15 Mississippi Rivers. A massive, gushing river in the sky — a mile high, more than 300...

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Trump declared a national emergency at the border. I asked 11 experts if it’s legal.

Spoiler alert: probably not. President Donald Trump just declared a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and fund his wall on the southern border. The presid...

Vox

Trump keeps highlighting “angel moms” to make the case for his immigration agenda

These bereaved parents have played a key political role. President Donald Trump has always liked to bring up “angel moms” — the bereaved parents or relatives of th...

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4 winners and 4 losers from the funding bill and emergency declaration

Trump’s national emergency declaration starts a new fight — but it also resolves the spending battle of the past few months. The long-term effects of President Donal...

Vox

Walmart just got hit with a major gender discrimination lawsuit

Walmart won a Supreme Court gender discrimination case in 2011. Now women are suing the company again. In 2001, Lisa Youman wanted a job promotion at Walmart. Youman, no...

Vox

Trump just declared a national emergency without a confirmed defense secretary in place

If this were a true national emergency to stop an “invasion,” Trump would have a permanent war chief ready to work. President Donald Trump just declared a major nati...

Vox

The real national emergency is Trump’s incompetence

He’s flailing and can’t get anything done. Today’s national emergency declaration from Donald Trump is an obvious fraud, detectable if nothing else by the reality...

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Trump just declared a national emergency at the border

There’s no major emergency at the border. Trump is declaring one anyway. After battling for weeks over funding for a border wall, overseeing the longest government shu...

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The ongoing saga of Jeff Bezos’s sexts, explained

The story pits the richest man in the world against some of President Trump’s closest media allies. At this point, you’ve probably read the sexts. “I love you, ali...

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Trump just got his first 2020 Republican challenger

It’s former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. It appears as though President Donald Trump will have at least one challenger for the Republican Party’s presidential nomin...

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The fight between Ilhan Omar and Elliott Abrams, Trump’s Venezuela envoy, explained

It revealed the real divides in American foreign policy. First-term Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is making headlines again. On the heels of a controversy surrounding a tweet o...

Vox

California high-speed rail and the American infrastructure tragedy, explained

Can’t have a Green New Deal if we can’t figure out how to execute on anything Congressional progressives’ push for a Green New Deal briefly put the question of a n...

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North Carolina’s election fraud scandal is heading toward a dramatic resolution

The ballot tampering scandal in the Ninth District reaches a climax with next week’s hearing More than a month into the new Congress, there is still no United States R...

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California has 149 million dead trees ready to ignite like a matchbook

18 million trees died just last year. That poses a huge fire and injury hazard. California has just emerged from two back-to-back years of record-setting wildfires, inc...

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No, the Green New Deal won’t threaten the grid

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler used an old trope about grid reliability to criticize the Green New Deal on ABC. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator An...

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The US held a global summit to isolate Iran. America isolated itself instead.

Witness the Trump administration’s spectacular failure in Poland. A US-led conference in Warsaw this week that was intended to isolate Iran has ended up isolating Amer...

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Why Mueller said Roger Stone’s case is “related” to his Russian hacker indictment

Stone is disputing this and asking for a different judge. Roger Stone has asked for his case to be transferred to a different federal judge — and what seems like a min...

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No, the Green New Deal doesn’t threaten a “stable” grid

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler used a tired trope to criticize the Green New Deal on ABC Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who is in...

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“Patient influencers” are the latest Instagram trend, and they want to sell you drugs and devices

Big pharma is partnering with influencers to sell new drugs and medical devices. Louise Roe has denim that’s ripped in all the right places, a bikini-ready body year-r...

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A California coalition is tackling one of the hardest, unsexiest parts of climate policy

Decarbonizing buildings: it’s tedious, but oh so necessary. Ask most people about reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change and they will mention solar panels...

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Chronic kidney disease is on the rise. These researchers think climate change is a factor.

Our kidneys might be vulnerable to the extreme heat brought on by global warming. In its early stages, chronic kidney disease can lurk silently in the body, causing no...

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Mitch McConnell’s dark secret: he used to support campaign finance reform

McConnell called money in politics a “cancer” in a 1973 op-ed. Then he ran for Senate. These days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell regularly scoffs at Democra...

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Netflix’s Umbrella Academy is as good as it is weird. It’s very weird.

The show weaves a brutal family portrait into a save-the-world adventure. It also has Mary J. Blige as a time-traveling assassin named Cha-Cha. Superheroes, particularly...

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