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Kamala Harris Dropping in Polls Following Attacks From Tulsi Gabbard
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Kamala Harris Dropping in Polls Following Attacks From Tulsi Gabbard
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Kamala Harris’ 2020 campaign appears to be taking quite a hit following attacks from Tulsi Gabbard. Perhaps the most notable moment from last week’s Democratic debate came when Gabbard criticized Harris’ record as Attorney General of California. According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, Harris has lost nearly half of her support since last week’s debate.

Harris is down to just seven percent support in the latest Quinnipiac poll. That’s a big change from her 12 percent support in the previous Quinnipiac poll taken just a week before. According to the most recent poll, her support among black Americans has dropped to just one percent.

“Kamala’s entire campaign is based on a lie — that as AG of California, she was a fighter for the oppressed and for criminal justice reform,” Gabbard claimed in a recent tweet. “But her criminal justice record shows that her policies exemplified the worst aspects of our criminal justice system.”

During last week’s debate, Gabbard accused Harris of knowingly attempting to withhold information that would exonerate an innocent man on death row. In what was likely the most explosive moment of the event, Harris did not appear to dispute the allegation.

Unfortunately for Gabbard, her polling numbers to not appear to be benefiting from Harris’ decline in support. The most recent Quinnipiac poll has her at about one percent support. Although, she is polling near the middle of the Democratic field.

As of today, Biden is still well ahead of his Democratic contenders. Of the other candidates, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are commanding a significant lead. The third tier is comprised of Pete Buttigieg and Harris. Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke were among the third tier of candidates until they began falling behind in the polls.

A$AP Rocky Back in USA After Incident in Sweden
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A$AP Rocky Back in USA After Incident in Sweden
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American musician A$AP Rocky is back in the United States after being released from Sweden. The rapper was behind bars since July, resulting from a violent confrontation on the streets of Stockholm. Rocky says he was acting in self defense, a claim which is supported by numerous videos of the incident.

On June 30, two men confronted Rocky and his entourage as they toured Stockholm. Although the musician and his friends repeatedly pleaded with the men to stop antagonizing them, the two men continued to provoke a violent confrontation. The arrest appears to be in response to injuries sustained by Mustafa Jafari, an Afghani immigrant to Sweden and one of the two instigators of the incident.

Although Rocky’s bodyguard filed a counter-complaint against Jafari for allegedly throwing the first punch, Swedish authorities insist Jafari was acting in self defense. They claim Jafari was somehow justified in attacking the bodyguard simply because he was pushed away from the group and repeatedly asked to leave. The response by Swedish authorities has been condemned by many around the world, with some pointing to an alleged pattern of tolerance toward migrants accused of violent crimes in Sweden.

Among those critical of the Swedish response was US President Donald Trump. In a series of tweets last month, President Trump demanded Sweden release Rocky. The president went on to say that he watched videos of the incident for himself, which he described as vindicating Rocky.

“Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act,” President Trump tweeted. “Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly!”

Swedish authorities responded to President Trump’s statements by stressing Sweden’s separation of powers between the courts and the federal government. “Sweden and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven have been very clear in the dialogue with both the White House and directly with the American president, that in Sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the government cannot interfere in legal proceedings,” a spokesperson for the Swedish government told Reuters.

Undeterred by statements from the Swedish government, the Trump administration continued applying pressure to Sweden throughout the criminal case. Earlier this week, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien issued a letter to Swedish prosecutors urging them to resolve the matter amicably “as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative consequences.” O’Brien was also present during the trial to observe the proceedings.

Yesterday, Rocky was finally released from Sweden by judges in the case. However, a decision on the case is not expected until August 14. Considering Rocky is not required to return to the country for the verdict, analysts are predicting an acquittal.

Rocky returned to the US earlier today, just after midnight, when his private jet landed in Los Angeles. The musician seemed quite happy to be back home, cheerfully posing for photographs and embracing his friends and family.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Multiplayer Trailer Released
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Multiplayer Trailer Released
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Yesterday, publisher Activision and developer Infinity Ward unveiled a preview of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer gameplay. The new game will be a return to the roots of the franchise, reimagining 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The Modern Warfare line of Call of Duty games have been among the most popular in the series.

The upcoming game will feature several new multiplayer modes. Modern Warfare will support matches as small as 2 vs. 2 to matches allowing more than 100 players. The largest multiplayer battles in the game can be accesses through the Ground War mode.

The franchise is clearly trying to mend bridges with their fan base, as even longtime fans of the series have expressed disappointment over the past several games. In an effort to make amends, the developers have decided to eliminate the “season pass” DLC option. It was also announced that the game will receive several free maps in future updates.

“Our goal with Modern Warfare is to bring all gamers together from day one to play together,” said creative director Patrick Kelly in a press release for the game. “We’re doing away with the season pass; we’re delivering a mix of free maps, a ton of content following launch, and we’re developing the game for crossplay. We’re live-testing now, and fans will get to try for themselves next month in the Beta. This is a new day for Call of Duty multiplayer, and today is just the start — we have many more exciting reveals coming for fans that we can’t wait to share.”

Here’s how Activision described their new game in a press release on Thursday:

Today, Activision and Infinity Ward revealed the all-new Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® multiplayer universe to all gamers with a thrilling multiplayer premiere trailer. Scheduled for worldwide release on October 25, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will bring first-person action fans, Call of Duty fans, and gamers from all walks of life together in the ultimate multiplayer playground. First details of Modern Warfare multiplayer will be unveiled by some of the world’s most prolific streamers in an exclusive global livestream today, where viewers will get their first look at the new online multiplayer, and will also have the opportunity to join the fun and get their own hands-on experience next month when the Modern Warfare Beta goes live for everyone.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows on October 25, 2019. The game’s developers say they hope to support “crossplay” multiplayer between the different platforms. Open betas will be available in September.

Even Using a 4K HDR TV, Set Your Xbox One to Output 8-bit Color Depth
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Even Using a 4K HDR TV, Set Your Xbox One to Output 8-bit Color Depth
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Achieving the optimal video output settings on the Xbox One has been a topic of debate for quite some time. Controversy has raged across various internet forums regarding which settings should be enabled to ensure the highest image quality. Thanks to the use of signal capturing devices, the debate has finally been settled.

The Xbox One console should be set to output at an 8-bit color depth. This probably seems counterintuitive to those with 4K HDR TVs, whose panels support a 10-bit or higher color depth. However, it has been demonstrated that the Xbox One will still automatically output all HDR content in 10-bit or 12-bit color depth, even when the console’s video output settings are set to 8-bit. The advantage of setting the Xbox One’s color depth to 8-bit is quite simple. The console renders all non-HDR (SDR) content in 8-bit, and setting your console to output in 10-bit or 12-bit will negatively affect the image quality of SDR content due to the introduction of inherently flawed video reprocessing.

HDMI 2.0 is only capable of transmitting data at 18Gbps. This constraint does not allow the Xbox One to output full 10-bit or 12-bit 4K 60hz video in YCC 4:4:4. As such, the console is only capable of outputting 10-bit and 12-bit 4K 60hz video in YCC 4:2:0 or 4:2:2. All SDR games will render on your Xbox One in 8-bit, a signal that can be transmitted in full to an HDMI 2.0 TV at 60hz in 4K. This is one of the reasons why setting the Xbox One’s color depth to 10-bit or 12-bit will cause SDR games to lose color accuracy, a result of forcing the video to output in YCC 4:2:0 or 4:2:2.

Another video output option you’ll want to enable while playing games in HDR on your Xbox One is “allow YCC 4:2:2.” This will force your Xbox One to output 10-bit and 12-bit HDR content at YCC 4:2:2 instead of 4:2:0. Disregard Microsoft’s suggestion that you should only enable this feature if your console is having problems. However, only enable this feature while you’re playing games in HDR.

Again, the “allow YCC 4:2:2” option should only be enabled while you’re specifically playing HDR video games. Do not leave the option enabled while watching any other HDR or SDR content. Do not leave this option enabled if you’re playing a video game in SDR.

Ultra HD Blu-rays are encoded in YCC 4:2:0, and it would be best to transmit them to your television in that format. But remember, even those only using their Xbox One to watch movies should still set their color depth to 8-bit, ensuring the best video quality possible for their collection of SDR DVDs and Blu-rays.

YCC 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 refer to chroma subsampling. Basically, all you need to know about chroma subsampling is that YCC 4:2:2 is superior to 4:2:0. While YCC 4:4:4 would be ideal, the signal cannot be transmitted via HDMI 2.0 due to the limitations of the technology. The Xbox One Console renders SDR games in 8-bit RGB, not YCC, and the RGB signal does not employ chroma subsampling. HDMI 2.0 is capable of transmitting the 8-bit RGB signal in 4k at 60hz, which is exactly why you should set your Xbox One to output in an 8-bit color depth. Setting your Xbox One’s color depth to 10-bit or 12-bit won’t render SDR games in a higher color depth, it will simply force the console to output at a higher color depth by introducing additional video processing that will negatively affect the image.

Realistically, most people would never notice the difference. Then again, if you’ve already purchased a 4K HDR television and an Xbox One, why not get the most out of them? It’s also worth noting that not all games look best with HDR enabled. Some games that “support” HDR do not actually render in HDR. Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, does not properly render in HDR.

While playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2, which do not accurately render in HDR, you will need to disable HDR support in the Xbox One’s settings. Even when playing games that allow the option of disabling HDR through the in-game settings, it’s probably best to disable it via the console to prevent any conflicts between the game and the system. It’s fairly common for games to improperly render in HDR, and it’s worth researching information about each of your games to ensure they will render correctly in HDR.

Let’s explore the concept of HDR a little further. The 10 in HDR10 refers to 10-bit color. While it is possible to render SDR content above an 8-bit color depth, the Xbox One does not. The Xbox One will only render above the 8-bit color depth when outputting in HDR10 or Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision outputs in a 12-bit color depth, although few 4K TVs support this feature. Remember, your Xbox One will still automatically output HDR content properly in HDR10 or Dolby Vision when those options are enabled, even though the console’s color depth is set to 8-bit.

The Xbox One X will support HDMI 2.1, and Belkin recently released an HDMI cable capable of transmitting at 48Gbps. Unfortunately, these new cables won’t allow HDMI 2.0 televisions to receive 60hz 4K 10-bit or 12-bit YCC 4:4:4 video signals, due to the limitations of HDMI 2.0 technology. New TVs featuring HDMI 2.1 are coming soon, but it’ll likely be at least a year before the Xbox One X receives an update allowing it to transmit 10-bit and 12-bit YCC 4:4:4 4K video at 60hz and above to these new devices. Although, the Belkin 48Gbps HDMI cords are allowing Apple TV users to transmit 4K 10-bit YCC 4:2:2 video at 60hz, as the Apple TV has a strange defect that renders 18Gbps HDMI cables insufficient at transmitting the high bandwidth signal.

The above video is one of the best on YouTube at explaining these concepts. While this article currently provides the best advice for achieving optimal video quality from your Xbox One, we will update this content to reflect any future changes to the console’s settings by Microsoft. If you have any questions or comments about the information presented here, be sure to let us know in the comment section below.

Throwback Thursday: Mortal Kombat Released on Gaming Consoles 25 Years Ago
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Throwback Thursday: Mortal Kombat Released on Gaming Consoles 25 Years Ago
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Mortal Kombat completely changed the gaming world when the arcade game was released in 1992. Mortal Kombat allowed players to challenge one another to a literal death match. The fighting game featured five buttons and an eight-way directional joystick. Two buttons controlled the players kicks, two controlled punches, and one allowed the player to block.

When a player won the fight against his opponent, the winner was allowed a short amount of time to perform a secret combination of buttons that would allow the victor to kill his dazed opponent. This finishing move was referred to in the game as a fatality. Each character had their own finishing moves, and the game even featured a stage fatality that allowed the winner to use the environment to kill his opponent. Needless to say, the game was quite controversial when it was released. It was also incredibly popular in the United States.

Thanks to the popularity of the arcade game, Mortal Kombat was quickly ported to home gaming consoles. The launch of Mortal Kombat on consoles was one of the largest and most highly publicized releases in gaming history. Referred to as Mortal Monday, Mortal Kombat hit store shelves for the Sega Gensisis, Super Nintendo, Game Gear, and Game Boy on September 13th, 1993. The game’s launch was preceded by a huge wave of advertising in the form of print ads and television commercials.

Although the game launched on four separate gaming consoles on the same day, there were enormous differences between the games. The Game Boy and Game Gear versions were significantly less technologically advanced than the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis versions. The Super Nintendo version came the closest to reproducing the visual and audio achievements of the arcade game, due to the console’s technological superiority compared to Sega’s Genesis. However, the Sega Genesis version remained much more faithful to the mood of its arcade predecessor. This was due to Sega’s inclusion of game’s more controversial elements.

Nintendo was not comfortable with releasing Mortal Kombat uncensored for their console. Nintendo chose to leave the blood out of the Super Nintendo version of Mortal Kombat. The blood was replaced with sweat. Fatalities were also altered for their version of the game.

Sega, on the other hand, decided to go with a different approach. The Sega Genesis version of the game allowed users to enter a code at the beginning of the game, similar to how players  performed fatalities, that unlocked the sight of blood and uncensored the fatalities. This more faithful adaption of the game on Sega’s console was much more well received than Nintendo’s. Mortal Kombat was the deciding factor for many gamers when choosing between purchasing a Genesis or SNES, and Sega likely benefited greatly from their decision.

Gamers may also remember another feature from Sega’s version of Mortal Kombat. The code to unlock blood in the Sega version of the game is “ABACABB.” Abacab is an album from the band Genesis, who shares a name with the Sega console. This Easter egg is one of many found throughout the game.

Mortal Kombat is known in the gaming community for its early adoption of the practice of hiding secret elements in the game. The arcade version allowed users to access a hidden fight against a secret character with its own secret stage. Future Mortal Kombat titles even adopted hidden Easter eggs based on rumors about previous games.

Mortal Kombat 10, the latest title in the series, was released in 2015. Warner Brothers purchased the Mortal Kombat franchise in 2009 when they acquired Midway Games. Ed Boon, co-creator of the original Mortal Kombat, is still currently serving as creative director for the Mortal Kombat games. Although there is no official word yet on Mortal Kombat 11, we look forward to brutally finishing off our opponents in the next Mortal Kombat game.

Prison Profiteering: Companies Making Millions Charging Prisoners to Email
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Prison Profiteering: Companies Making Millions Charging Prisoners to Email
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Wired recently reported on a system of prison profiteering that many people may not be aware of. Several companies are making healthy profits charging prisoners, and their acquaintances, to send emails. While the practice is legal, there are several ethical concerns surrounding it.

JPay, a leader in the industry, provides prisoner communication services to prisons in 20 different states. As some prisons have instituted a ban on greeting cards, JPay is commonly presented as an alternative to those wanting to communicate their well-wishes to friends or family in prison. JPay will charge the prisoner’s friends and family to send their electronic message. They may also charge the prisoner to read the message.

States like Michigan have instituted strict guidelines regarding mailed prisoner communication. These rules restrict the color of paper the letter may be written on, and even restrict the color of ink that can be used to write it. Due to concerns that a letter may go undelivered, many are turning to services like JPay.

Electronic communications aren’t the only services being offered for-profit in our prisons. Often times, these same companies will offer a variety of other options to prisoners. Securus, JPay’s parent company, provides the phone service for Louisiana’s prisons. In Michigan, they sell tablets to prisoners. According to Wired, about 2/3 of Michigan’s prisoners are currently enrolled in that program.

While some may be disgusted by the idea of profiting off prisoners, others defend the behavior of companies like JPay. They say these businesses are simply providing a service to those who want it. While these large companies are clearly benefiting, they argue that the prisoners also benefit from using their service.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

This article contains the personal opinions of the author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Mess of Media. This disclaimer appears on all articles that feature the personal opinions of the author, as Mess of Media is an unbiased and nonpartisan source of information.

 

Crypto Markets are Down, Time to Panic? Miners Don’t Think So.
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Crypto Markets are Down, Time to Panic? Miners Don’t Think So.
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While the price of Bitcoin may have decreased by around 75% in the last 8 months, the hash rate has increased by around 500%. The hash rate is the processing power contributed to the network. Right now the hash rate is sitting around 50,000,000 tera hashes. That’s the equivalent of 50 million computers each performing 1 trillion calculations per second.

Some would contribute the growth to the increased productivity of ASIC miners. While that is definitely a factor, these increases in hash rate can be found in cryptocurrencies that use GPU mining as well.

Others say the discrepancy between price and hash rate may simply be caused by a lack of understanding. Generally speaking, miners have a strong technical understanding of cryptocurrency. They understand its value and use it regularly. On the other hand, many investors have have absolutely no understanding of the technology at all. This may make them susceptible to emotional decision making, such as panic selling at a loss.

While Peter Schiff and many other prominent figures say this is the beginning of the end for Bitcoin, there are obviously many in the mining industry that disagree. Is Bitcoin a passing fad? Or are the critics simply misinformed? Only time will tell.

Mess of Media’s cryptocurrency reporting is for informational purposes only. Our reporting should not be considered financial advice. Participation in the crypto market is at your own risk.

NASA Launches Probe to Touch the Sun
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NASA Launches Probe to Touch the Sun
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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is on its way to the most important form of energy on Earth, the Sun. The Parker Solar Probe is on a seven-year mission that will involve passing by the Sun a total of 24 times. The robotic spacecraft will probe the outer corona of the sun.

The Parker Solar Probe will reach within 3.85 million miles from the surface of the sun. The spacecraft is also expected to reach speeds up to 430,000 miles per hour. It’s also the first NASA spacecraft to be named after a living person, physicist and University of Chicago professor Eugene Parker. The NASA project is expected to cost 1.5 billion dollars.

NASA scientists hope to learn more about several unanswered questions of the universe. For example, what keeps the corona generating so much energy? Another popular topic of curiosity involves the constant stream of supersonic solar wind blowing throughout the galaxy. The space exploration community is eagerly awaiting the results obtained from the mission.

The Sun’s surface is about 2 million degrees Fahrenheit. Below the surface, temperatures reach a scorching 10 million degrees Fahrenheit. Why wont the Parker Solar Probe melt? According to NASA, in short, the heat is less dense. NASA contrasted the differences in heat density by comparing a person putting their hand in a hot oven versus putting their hand in pot of boiling water. Along with the atmosphere being less dense, NASA has equipped the Parker Solar Probe with a Thermal Protection System (TPS) that can withstand temperatures up to 3 thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

The NASA probe was launched into space August 12th, 2018. It is expected to return to Earth sometime in 2025. What mysteries of the universe will the spacecraft unlock once its mission is complete? Only time will tell.

Keep track of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe by following their official Twitter page!

The Spaghetti Showdown: Ravioli Retriever vs Sicilian Shepherd
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The Spaghetti Showdown: Ravioli Retriever vs Sicilian Shepherd
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This is a main event you won’t want to miss. Two goliaths showdown in this clash of the ages. In one corner we have a Golden Retriever who is hungry for a challenge. In the other corner we have the battle hardened German Shepherd. While only one can win the spaghetti eating contest, both of these good boys won my heart.

Be sure to watch the second Spaghetti Showdown and the third Spaghetti Showdown in case you missed them!

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more content like this.  Thank you for watching!

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VA Officials Oppose Agent Orange Claims
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VA Officials Oppose Agent Orange Claims
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Veterans Affairs Officials are opposing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017 Congressional bill. This legislative bill extends payouts to about 90,000 Vietnam Veterans who claim effects from Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and is estimated to cost about one billion dollars.

The VA’s Undersecretary of Benefits, Paul Lawrence has stated, “The Science is not there, and what we do depends on the science.” VA officials also believe they cannot get proper “scientific” evidence on whether a veteran has cancer or an illness from being exposed to Agent Orange or simply from old age.

Rick Weidman, Executive Director at the Vietnam Veterans of America, responded stating, “These people were exposed. How much they were exposed doesn’t make a difference. And you can’t put that all together 40 years later.”

Agent Orange was a strong herbicide used by the United States military during the Vietnam War to eliminate the harsh terrain, making it easier to navigate the harsh environment. The United States dropped millions of gallons of the herbicide from 1961-1971. The VA’s own website details the deadly side effects of exposure to Agent Orange.

The Blue Water Bill has passed the House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote at the Senate. If you or someone you know would like to make a claim with the VA, you can contact them at 1-800-827-1000.

LATEST HEADLINES

President Trump Proposes Ending Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegal Immigrants
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President Trump Proposes Ending Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegal Immigrants
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Earlier this week, President Trump renewed his call to end birthright citizenship for the children of those in the country illegally. According to the government’s current interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, any child born in the United States is automatically granted American citizenship. Throughout the campaign trail, and repeatedly since, the president has suggested ending the practice via executive order.

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States,” Trump said during a 2018 interview. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

On Wednesday, President Trump revived his proposed immigration changes. “Birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land — you walk over the border, have a baby, congratulations, the baby’s now a U.S. citizen. We’re looking at it very, very seriously,” President Trump told reporters from the White House lawn. “It’s, frankly, ridiculous.”

President Trump has repeatedly claimed the policy encourages illegal immigration, commonly referring to the children as “anchor babies.” The landmark 1898 Supreme Court decision in US v. Wong Kim Ark interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment as establishing citizenship for those born in the country. However, not everyone is convinced that the decision applies to children of those in the country illegally.

The dispute centers around the exact language of the amendment. It states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Advocates of the president’s proposal argue that birthright citizenship does not apply to those in the country illegally, as they are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.

In the case of US v. Wong Kim Ark, the parents involved were legally allowed in the US when their child was born. If the president does decide to issue an executive order denying citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, he’s certain to be met with immediate legal challenges in the courts. Perhaps the Supreme Court will wind up having the final say in the matter.

Bill Maher Responds to Congresswoman Tlaib Promoting Boycott of His Show
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Bill Maher Responds to Congresswoman Tlaib Promoting Boycott of His Show
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Bill Maher has responded to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s boycott of his HBO program. Tlaib’s reaction was in response to last week’s comments from Maher criticizing the BDS movement, an organized boycott of Israeli goods and services. Not only did Tlaib suggest Maher’s show be boycotted, she implied that he is racist.

“BDS is a bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class,” Maher said on his show. “It’s predicated on this notion, I think it’s very shallow thinking, that the Jews in Israel are mostly white and Palestinians are mostly brown, so they must be innocent and correct and the Jews must be wrong.”

The comments did not sit well with Tlaib. The congresswoman retweeted statements suggesting Maher was racist for daring to make the comments without an Arab panelist present at the table. She went on to suggest “folks should boycott his show.” In the same tweet, Tlaib compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Maher responded on Wednesday, tweeting, “Some people have one move only: boycott. Cancel. Make-go-away. But here’s the thing, the house voted 318 to 17 to condemn the #BDS movement, including 93% of Dems. Does Tlaib want to boycott 93% of her own party?”

Tlaib is already embroiled in a separate controversy after she and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar shared an image on social media drawn by an anti-Semitic cartoonist. The cartoonist, it turns out, had won second place in an Iranian contest mocking the Holocaust. The congresswomen have been condemned as anti-Semitic from both sides of the political aisle over their history of controversial statements.

Earlier this month, Israel chose to block the congresswoman from entering the country. It’s the first time in the nation’s history that American members of Congress have been denied entry. In 2017, Israel passed a law allowing the country to block entry to those supporting the BDS movement.

In the aftermath of Israel’s announcement, Tlaib formally requested a humanitarian exception from the nation to visit her Palestinian grandmother. The congresswoman promised not to promote any boycotts of Israel while visiting the country. However, when Israel approved her request, Tlaib quickly rescinded her inquiry.

Many, including President Trump, condemned Tlaib for refusing Israel’s offer to allow her to visit her grandmother. Her critics have accused her of essentially using her own grandma as a political prop. President Trump called Tlaib “obnoxious” for declining Israel’s offer but suggested her grandmother was fortunate to no longer “have to see her.”

Trump Administration Rejects Universal Background Checks
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Trump Administration Rejects Universal Background Checks
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According to a recent article in The Atlantic, President Trump has distanced himself from universal background checks following a phone call with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. Earlier this week, the NRA confirmed the conversation via their Twitter account. The president had previously suggested an expansion of background checks following two recent mass shootings.

“Frankly, we need intelligent background checks,” President Trump said in the immediate aftermath of the tragedies. “We don’t want people that are mentally ill, people that are sick — we don’t want them having guns.”

Many had assumed President Trump was referencing universal background checks for gun purchases, frequently advocated by Democrats.  In most of the United States, private transfers of firearms do not require a background check. For example, when someone sells or gifts a gun to a family member or friend.

Last Sunday, President Trump clarified his comments on background checks. He blamed mass shootings on the country’s “big” mental health issues, saying the US already has “very, very strong background checks.” Federal background checks are required across the United States when purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer.

“A lot of the people that put me where I am are strong believers in the Second Amendment,” President Trump recently told reporters. He went on to warn of the risk of a “slipper slope” when it comes to gun legislation.

According to the Washington Post, the NRA’s LaPierre warned President Trump earlier this month that advocating for tougher background checks would be extremely unpopular among his supporters. In 2018, the Trump administration banned bump stocks following a mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people. In March, the Supreme Court declined to block the implementation of the ban.

Comedy Central Debuts The Trevor Moore Show
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Comedy Central Debuts The Trevor Moore Show
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Fans of Trevor Moore rejoiced earlier this month when Comedy Central debuted The Trevor Moore Show. The format of the show is similar to the comedian’s popular 24 hour telethon that aired last year. During each episode of the show, Moore and his guests lightheartedly attempt to solve a different issue facing the world.

Moore began his career as part of the sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U’ Know. The group produced a television series of the same name that ran for five seasons, airing from 2007 to 2011. They have appeared at numerous stand-up comedy events since show ended, and they’re expected to reunite for a film that’s currently in development.

Following the end of WKUK’s television program, Moore began a successful solo career in Hollywood. He was cast in a recurring role on Christian Slater’s Fox program Breaking In the same year his IFC show ended. He also produced numerous segments for Jay Leno’s Tonight Show from 2011 to 2013.

Keeping quite busy, Moore released his first comedy album for Comedy Central in 2013. Titled Drunk Texts to Myself, Moore and Comedy Central also produced several highly-amusing music videos for the album.

Moore followed his first Comedy Central album with two more. This time, the albums were further developed into television specials. High in Church was released in 2015 and The Story of Our Times was released in 2018.

Amid Moore’s success with Comedy Central, he also began working with Disney. In 2016, Moore co-created Walk the Prank for Disney XD, the Disney Channel’s sister network. The show aired for three seasons, from 2016-2018.

Just this year, Moore and Disney collaborated again on a new television show. Just Roll with It, another show co-created by Moore, began airing in June. Unlike Moore’s last program, which aired on Disney XD, Just Roll with It airs on the Disney Channel.

Fans of Moore were pleasantly surprised by the development of The Trevor Moore Show, which was first announced just over a week before it aired. The show is broadcast live on Sirius XM Wednesdays at 10 PM Eastern Time. Video episodes of the show are released a few days later on YouTube.

Unfortunately, Moore’s first tweet about the show makes it seem like it may only last for three weeks. Hopefully Comedy Central and Moore can reach an agreement to produce many more episodes. WKUK alum Sam Brown has joined Moore in both episodes so far, another pleasant surprise for fans. You can watch the first episode at the top of the page and the second episode here.

Ebola No Longer Incurable, Researchers Say
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Ebola No Longer Incurable, Researchers Say
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Wishes have been granted and hopes are high as two Ebola patients from the Congo have been declared cured. The World Health Organization’s announcement came Monday, August 12, after a year-long outbreak that infected more than 2,800 people and caused over 1,800 deaths – making it the second-largest known Ebola outbreak. Treatments for the disease, previously considered incurable, are predicted to save thousands of lives. However, Congolese mistrust and violence towards outsiders has made it difficult for medical personnel to administer treatments in the past, meaning that only half of the Ebola battle has been won.

According to Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, gaining trust in these societies is just as crucial as the treatments themselves. In a recent interview, Konyndyk explained, “Stopping the spread is not just a matter of curing the people who already have it. It’s a matter of preventing those who have it from spreading it to others through risky behaviors.”

The behavior that Konyndyk is referring to is the Congolese’s tendency to hide the sick from outsiders and treat the disease from home, where its estimated that at least a third of victims will die. The spread of Ebola as a direct result of the desire to protect loved ones has led Konyndyk to describe the disease as one “that preys on very basic human instincts and emotions.”

Thus, it’s generally understood by the research community that treatments can only do so much until behavior and attitudes about the illness dramatically shift. Until then, it’s predicted that roughly 75% of those that go untreated by professionals will continue to perish unnecessarily.

What’s more, even with trust, medical staff will still need to vaccinate that majority of the impacted population in order for the treatments to be effective. Known as herd immunity, vaccinations protect a population by stopping the transmission of dangerous illnesses among most of its individuals. However, experts estimate that at least 80 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated before herd immunity can be achieved.

As tough as the situation seems, nevertheless, it’s believed that the new treatments may allow responders to overcome mistrust and save many more lives. Moreover, researchers are hopeful that solving both aspects of the crisis will provide a model for treating other illnesses and outbreaks in the future.

Researchers Tackle Waste Associated With Electric Car Batteries
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Researchers Tackle Waste Associated With Electric Car Batteries
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In recent years, electric cars have seen a surge in consumer interest amid  technological advancement and growing affordability. These vehicles cater to a relatively new sort of consumer – those who wish to leave a smaller carbon footprint. Yet, the hazardous waste associated with electric car batteries have created another issue to be addressed.

Although many consumers view electric cars as a more eco-friendly option, the exponential growth in production of car batteries begs an ironic question of waste pollution. Where do the batteries go when they’re replaced? After all, there are over one million electric cars on the road in the US alone.

Researchers at the University of Warwick have taken the question into serious consideration, and have created a method to both recycle and reuse the power sources. The technique, which uses retired 2 kWh batteries to power isolated or developing communities, is said to be capable of supplying enough energy for farms, shops, and residential homes. The exciting development prompted lead researcher James Marco to state, “This is a great result that not only provides a highly efficient repurposing solution for automotive batteries but which could also change lives in remote communities.”

The endeavor’s future is due, in part, to the general consensus that a car’s battery must be replaced when its capacity drops by 80 percent or more. According to Marco, while the remaining 20 percent is too little to satisfy drivers, “it remains immensely useful for anyone who seeks to use the battery in a static situation.”

Nevertheless, as with many technological advancements, there are several challenges that the research team must overcome. These hurdles include: protecting the batteries from discharge and overcharge, making the energy storage systems (ESS) compatible with multiple manufacturers, keeping maintenance costs low, and ensuring that the ESS interface is easy to understand.

The University of Warwick research team has tackled these challenges head-on with the help of Jaguar Land Rover.  The company supplied batteries and components from the Jaguar I-PACE, their first all-electric performance SUV. In turn, the team has been able to develop a portable ESS prototype that aims to solve current concerns.

Despite the team still working to perfect the technology, Marco is already setting the project’s future goals. “We are now looking for support to allow these new units to be further developed and tested in remote or off-grid locations.” If successful, the experiment could provide America’s one million electric car batteries with a future home of sustainability and progress.

Israel Blocks Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib From Planned Visit
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Israel Blocks Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib From Planned Visit
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Yesterday, the Israeli government announced their decision to block US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from a planned visit to the country. The judgement is a result of the congresswomen’s past controversial comments and their vocal support of boycotts against Israel. In an early morning tweet yesterday, President Trump encouraged Israel to block their visit.

In 2017, the Israeli government passed a law allowing the country to block entry of those supporting boycotts against Israel. Both Tlaib and Omar openly support the boycott of Israeli goods and services, known as the BDS movement. Critics of the congresswomen have accused her of hypocrisy for attempting to visit Israel, and spending money in the country, while simultaneously supporting a boycott of the nation.

Just last week, 41 Democratic members of Congress visited Israel as part of a trip sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation. Omar and Tlaib decided to skip that trip in favor of their own. Considering the AIEF is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, perhaps it isn’t too surprising that the congresswomen decided to snub the tour. Omar has publicly criticized the organization in the past.

President Trump may have helped to influence Israel’s decision. Yesterday morning on Twitter, the president said it would show “great weakness” if Israel allowed the congresswomen to visit. He went on to accuse the congresswomen of hating Israel and the Jewish people.

In a 2012 tweet, Omar called Israel “evil” and accused it of “hypnotizing” the planet. On Tlaib’s first day in Congress, a Post-It note reading “Palestine” was placed over Israel on a map in the congresswoman’s office. During an interview earlier this year, Tlaib said that thinking about the Holocaust gives her a “calming feeling.” Even CNN, where Tlaib was routinely defended prior to her statements about the Holocaust, strongly condemned her comments.

The president sparked a controversy of his own last month when he attacked the congresswomen in a series of tweets. Democrats, political pundits, and even some Republicans denounced the statements as racist. However, some political insiders have suggested that the constant barrage of attacks against the congresswomen was intended to keep their names in the press, while forcing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin defending her colleagues amid her own dispute with the freshman members of Congress.

The theory seems logical, based on a recent poll shared by Axios. According to the report, Omar holds just a 9% favorable rating among swing state voters familiar with the congresswoman. With that in mind, it isn’t too surprising that President Trump would be eager to attempt to make Omar and her allies the face of the Democratic Party leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

Below, you can read President Trump’s latest tweets about the congresswomen:

Fellow Lawmakers Call for Steve King’s Resignation Following Offensive Comments
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Fellow Lawmakers Call for Steve King’s Resignation Following Offensive Comments
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Congressman Steve King is once again facing calls for his resignation. While speaking to a group of conservatives yesterday, King sparked controversy while advocating against laws allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest. Several of his colleagues in Congress have demanded his resignation, including at least one Republican.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” King asked the crowd of supporters at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa. “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

The Democratic candidates for president pounced on King’s comments, most of them taking to Twitter to bash the congressman. However, King has faced plenty of criticism from Republicans as well. Liz Cheney, a fellow member of the US House of Representatives, called King’s comments “appalling and bizarre.”

“As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go. The people of Iowa’s 4th congressional district deserve better,” Cheney wrote on Twitter yesterday. While Cheney has denounced King in the past, this is the first time she has called for his resignation.

King, a 70-year-old Republican congressman from Iowa, has made numerous controversial statements over the years. He was stripped of his committee assignments by Republican leadership earlier this year after making racist comments to the New York Times. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked the New York Times during his interview.

The congressman claims he misspoke in the interview and contends that he is not a racist. However, many of King’s critics have suggested otherwise. Below, you can read tweets from some of King’s colleagues about the incident:

A$AP Rocky Convicted of Assault in Sweden and Fined $1,300
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A$AP Rocky Convicted of Assault in Sweden and Fined $1,300
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Earlier today, American musician A$AP Rocky was convicted of assault in Sweden. As part of the conviction, Rocky and his two bodyguards were ordered to pay a little over $1,300 to the alleged victim. Many Americans, including President Trump, condemned Sweden for jailing the rapper.

Video of the incident has been circulating online since the scuffle took place in late July. The footage shows Rocky and his entourage repeatedly attempting to avoid confrontation with two men on the streets of Stockholm. The men repeatedly provoke Rocky and his bodyguards until a fight breaks out.

Even President Trump admitted to watching the videos online, calling them a clear example of self-defense. However, Swedish courts rejected Rocky’s claim that he was simply defending himself. According to the courts, Rocky and his entourage “were not in a situation” that allowed them to legally defend themselves.

Much of the three-day trial centered around the alleged use of a glass bottle during the fight. The presiding judge in the case said he believed a bottle was used during the fight, but he was unable to determine whether it was swung by Rocky or one of his bodyguards.

The alleged victim in the case is a 19-year-old Afghani immigrant named Mustafa Jafari. Although Jafari instigated the confrontation, he was seeking over $14,500 in damages from the courts. American legal analysts have noted, nearly universally, that the brawl would have been viewed as an act of self-defense in the US justice system.

Rocky was released from a Swedish jail about two weeks ago. The development came shortly after President Trump sent Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien to observe the legal proceedings. O’Brien personally delivered a letter to Swedish authorities urging them to release Rocky and his bodyguards “as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative consequences.”

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