Why Attorney General Pick Jeff Sessions Is So Controversial
Real Talk |  Source: ibtimes.com

Why Attorney General Pick Jeff Sessions Is So Controversial

He doesn't support the Voting Rights Act, for one.

Today marks the day that confirmation hearings begin for President-Elect Trump's attorney general pick, Jeff Sessions. This is a big deal, with sitting senators Cory Booker and John Lewis testifying against him. With their testimony, it is the first time in history sitting senators will testify against another sitting senator for a Cabinet position.

This is why Jeff Sessions is so controversial and why senators are creating history to stop him from getting confirmed.

He called the Voting Rights Act a piece of "intrusive legislation".
This is a big deal. All the Voting Rights Act does is protect an American's right to vote, specifically a minority American's right to vote. In calling it "intrusive legislation", he showed that he does not believe that all Americans deserve the right to vote, especially minority Americans.

The right to vote is a constitutional right protected by the Fifteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. It's very telling that Jeff Sessions doesn't really support the Voting Act, which, in a way, turns into him not really supporting the Fifteenth Amendment of the US Constitution either.

He prosecuted civil rights activists for registering black voters.
This is another big deal. Albert Turner was a civil rights activist that, after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, became known as "Mr. Voter Registration" for all his work in helping African Americans get registered to vote.

In 1985, when Jeff Sessions was the US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, he charged Turner, his wife and a fellow activist Spencer Hogue with 29 counts of mail fraud, altering absentee ballots, and conspiracy to vote more than once.

This case and Turner and Hogue are known as the Marion Three. A not guilty verdict was the outcome of this case, but the fact that Jeff Sessions willing tried to convict civil rights activists for registering voters is concerning for obvious reasons.

Voted to defund Planned Parenthood and against the "Violence Against Women Act".
As a college student, Planned Parenthood is one of the best resources for health screenings, birth control and STD testing. Jeff Sessions voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Voting to defund Planned Parenthood isn't too controversial, as numerous politicians voted with him, however it isn't a good thing that he treats women's health with such little regard.

In another strike against women, Sessions voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which was changed to include gay men, lesbians, and undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse.

Even if Sessions disagreed with the LGBT and immigrant inclusion included in this bill, the entire bill is to protect domestic abuse victims, which Sessions voted against.

He doesn't think Stop-and-Frisk is racist.
Stop and frisk was controversial because of the disproportionate number of blacks and latinos being targeted - 87 percent of stop and frisk targets were blacks or latinos. A federal judge acknowledged that when she ruled it unconstitutional in 2013.

Jeff Sessions - along with Donald Trump - still believes that stop and frisk is not unconstitutional, that it is in fact constitutional. This is troubling because stop and frisk was racial profiling. It targeted blacks and latinos considerably more than whites.

It doesn't bode well when the nominee for attorney general stands and supports a racist procedure that was ruled unconstitutional.

Jeff Sessions is a very controversial pick for Trump's attorney general. His record, his views, and his standings are very conservative and troubling for the whole of America. The fact that sitting senators will create history in order to testify against him speaks volumes.

And all of this culminates into why Jeff Sessions isn't the best pick for attorney general and why it is so controversial that he is.

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Real Talk |  Source: Redalertpolitics.com

Why the Hell Do We Care Who Celebrities Are Voting For?

Form your own opinions!

Seriously. Why do we give two shits who celebrities are voting for?

It seems as though politics has become more about pop culture and less about the core issues, especially when it comes to the 2016 presidential election. Sure, you could say it has something to do with Trump, who aside from being a businessman, was also a reality-tv show host. But, it goes far beyond that. I mean, Trump's made it this far, he obviously knows a thing or two about politics.

My problem isn't with celebrities having an opinion per say, it's about celebrities imposing their opinions onto others. I mean, Lena Dunham really needs to chill with the ultra feminist Hillary shit and Brad Pitt needs to quit it with his medical agendas and get back to filming Oceans 14. Until Kanye decides to follow through on the whole "running for president" thing, Hollywood and politics should stay in their own lane.

Hollywood is no doubt extremely influential, even more so to some than others, however the influence of celebrities should extend no further than what to wear to a festival or how to rock boots in the summer. These people are entertainers, not political scientists (and certainly not medical experts).

Your political opinions and choices should not be influenced by anyone you could possibly see on E! News. But what's the fascination? Why are younger generations letting their favorite celebrities influence their political opinion?

A couple of months ago, I asked one of my friends, a Hillary supporter, why she was voting for Clinton. Even though her views are completely different that mine, I was genuinely interested in hearing her educated and respectable response.

Unfortunately, the only answer I got back was, "because Anna Wintour is and she's a bitch." *Insert 800 question marks and confused face emojis* This troubling answer quickly prompted me to ask other friends and even take to social media and the internet to see what political pieces the rest of my friends were sharing and it all circled back to celebrities.

Hollywood is being more vocal about this election than any prior election. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we have two very opinionated and unique candidates and maybe it's for the pure fact that social media is far more than it was four years ago.

We've become so fascinated and wrapped up in what the upper echelon is doing that we've begun to let them influence our views and opinions and that is absolutely not OK. I'm not saying you're wrong for voting for Hillary and I'm not saying you're right for voting for Trump. All I'm saying is you shouldn't be making that decision based off of the shit Anna Wintour wore to fashion week or the post Emma Watson put up on Instagram.

Read an article or two about the actual issues and then make your decision based off education.

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Real Talk |  Source: Quote.com, Bestofpicture.com (edited)

Who Are You Voting For?

Crooked Hillary or PR nightmare Donald Trump?

This coming November will undoubtedly be groundbreaking for the United States, and for me, too. After years of following politics from the sideline, I will finally be able to take part more actively this November, as I cast my vote for the 2016 presidential election.

Of course, with that comes the nagging question, "who are you voting for" from literally everyone: family, friends, coworkers and randos passing by on a casual Sunday morning coffee run. But, to be honest, I still have no idea. I am literally stumped. But, here's what I know so far:

To the right, is heavy-weight, nickname-aficionado, Donald Trump

Some of my friends think he has some good ideas, and I see where they're coming from. Here are the aspects of Trump's campaign positions they were referring to: fewer undocumented immigrants, more gun security, more jobs for Americans and reformed healthcare. Those ideas sound great, and even a little bit promising.

But, for me, the hold up isn't his campaign positions necessarily. My problem with Trump is the man himself that Americans have come to know. To me, he appears selfish. I mean, he's a man who accepted congratulations following the tragic Orlando shooting for being "right on radical Islamic terrorism."

He has also said that a pregnant woman is an "inconvenience" in the workplace. The man who called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US. The man whose blatant racism is rampant. Who remembers the infamous Cinco de Mayo taco bowl tweet? I shuddered - I gagged - when I saw that one. It couldn't have been for real. But, it was.

I feel as though I could go on and on. People tell me things like, "Well alright, what if he didn't say those things? Would you vote for him then?" The fact of the matter is that he DID say those things, and that he WILL continue to say those things. People who think that presidency will "change" Trump are sadly mistaken, in my humble opinion.

So, naturally, I look to the left, where Hillary, Sander's new BFF sits.

Hillary Clinton is definitely not similar to Trump, which actually seems to be a valid argument for some people. The highly ambivalent #GirlIGuessImWithHer trend on Twitter took off, as celebrities continued to stand with her. But, is that necessarily a good thing? Let's look at some aspects of her platform.

When it comes to foreign policy, Clinton opposes sending US troops to Syria and Iraq to combat ISIS, which, to me, is a pro. I, however, can't ignore that she voted in favor of the Iraq War while senator, which many would argue fueled the rise of ISIS.

She wants to keep Obamacare in place, which seems practical, until you look at the 33 million who still don't have health insurance. She's got a cool idea about allowing college kids to attend school without having to take out loans. Hell yeah, but it's wildly unpopular with the GOP and will therefore probably not pass.

Oh, and you may or may not have heard about the FBI investigation of Hillary's email server, which she has been cleared of. Interesting.

So, now what? On the one hand, I have a sexist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic racist who maybe has some good ideas until you look at the fact that, OH YEAH, he's a sexist, xenophobic, misogyn... I don't need to repeat myself. You get the idea.

But on the other hand, I have a Democrat whose ideas seem well and good, for the most part, until you realize she has this nasty tendency to lie, as well as engage in shady behavior worthy of a full-scale FBI investigation.

What am I supposed to do? From my perspective, there are positives to both candidates, but those positives don't cancel out the negatives. Do I ignore the grotesque comments and find the positives in Trump's policies? Or do I ignore the FBI investigation and go for Hillary, her platform, and the fact that she's very simply not Trump?

Do I vote for the racist or for the criminal? I hate to boil it down to such simple terms, because there is certainly more to both candidates than what these labels suggest. I'll say it again, as I'm sure I'll say it several more times: I don't know what I'm going to do in November. And I'd better figure it out soon.

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Real Talk |  Source: L. Smith, Stereogum

Is Kid Rock Running For Senate?

It's looking pretty likely.

Well, having a president with no experience in politics at all has opened up some interesting gates. Kid Rock has expressed interest in running for Michigan Senate... maybe interest is too light of a term, though.

There is currently nothing filed in the Federal Election Committee under Kid Rock or his real name, Robert Ritchie. This certainly doesn't take everything off the table yet, though, as we could see a filing in the near future.

In case you were wondering what Kid Rock's political stance is, he endorsed Trump, so that's probably rather self-explanatory. However, there's still plenty of room for surprises here.

There's quite a few celebs who are talking about running for political position... how many of them are serious, we aren't so sure. Qualification clearly isn't a big deal anymore, so these are pretttttttty feasible. Check out a few:

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

source: The Sun

So The Rock has actually formally filed to run for president in 2020, his campaign committee described it as a "grassroots movement to send the People's Champion to the White House in 2020. #MakeAmericaRockAgain". Guess this is up and running!

Let's see what the Rock is cooking in 2020, eh?

Kanye West

source: amny.com

So Kanye claimed before that he was going to run in 2020, but supposedly met with Trump to "discuss a role". Apparently it went well, because he's supposedly decided to push back his campaign until 2024.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah says that she never considered running until Trump's election, but seems to be considering the possibility now. She's probably more qualified than he is, tbh.

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Real Talk |  Source: L. Smith, Daily Kos

Video Of Florida State Attorney Pulled Over For No Reason Goes Viral

Something seems odd here.

Aramis Ayala, a state attorney for Florida's 9th Judicial District (the first African American to hold that position), was pulled over on June 19 by Orlando police. While officers explained to her that this was a sort of routine stop... something didn't seem right. The stop seemed questionable.

Recently, some social media users were thinking that some sort of racial bias was at play. The police officer who stopped Ayala was wearing a body cam,.

In the video, we hear the officer explaining why he pulled over Ayala. He said that he ran her tags and the car didn't come up, and also that her windows were dark. Now, it's important to note that both the officer and Ayala are very respectful in this encounter.

Although Ayala is clearly confused as to why she was pulled over, she remains calms and respectful in the interaction, as is the police officer.

It's also important to note that both the Orlando Police Department and Ayala have said that the stop was lawful. There was nothing illegal about the stop. But, it does seem questionable as to why she was even stopped in the first place.

It's also important to note that Ayala herself wasn't doing anything illegal. The officer says in the video that they routinely check tags, that her tags weren't coming up in the system, but it still doesn't really add up to me.

The officer also claimed that her darkly tinted windows was another reason she was stopped, but Alaya herself said that her windows did not violate any Florida laws. I think it's pretty fair to say that a state attorney would be aware of such laws.

Now, I'm not a police officer and I am not an attorney, but this stop still seems fishy to me. It's not clear if racial profiling was at play, or if it was a random stop that shouldn't have happened... it's hard to say.

I am an aspiring attorney, which is why this headline in particular grabbed my attention. I mean, if there's anyone you don't want to mess with when it comes to a questionable stop... it's a state attorney.

Again, nothing illegal was done on either Alaya's part or the officer's part. It's just unclear as to why she was pulled over, because to me (and a lot of people), the stop was really unnecessary. What's important is that Alaya has responded to the situation professionally.

She wants to have a discussion with the community and law enforcement about strengthening our relationship with our police, and how situations like this may affect it. She wants to talk with the Chief of Orlando Police about the incident, and how we can achieve that goal of respect between law enforcement and the community.

My hope is that while this incident has gone viral, that there is a discussion that takes place, and we work toward that goal of mutual respect between law enforcement and the community.

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Real Talk |  Source: thelibertarianrepublic.com

Fantasy Congress Could Be a Thing Again

Drafting senators and lawmakers instead of quarterbacks and receivers.

Right now, many sports fans are enthralled and heavily into their fantasy football leagues, trying to figure out how to ensure playoff contention in the second half of the season (or at least how to not finish in last). Meanwhile, fantasy baseball is a month into its offseason, and fantasy hockey and basketball are just getting underway.

But there are people out there who don't care about how many points Eli Manning puts up for them or how many yards the Denver Broncos' defense holds its opposition to. These people are more interested than others in the upcoming election, are heavily invested in domestic and foreign policies and can somehow name every person in the Senate and House of Representatives.

And between 2006 and 2009, there was something for these people: fantasy congress.


The creators of fantasy congress weren't people who had been in the fantasy sports world since the pre-internet days. It was created by four Claremont McKenna College students in 2006. That's right, people our age 10 years ago created a game on their own that received coverage from the likes of the New York Times and NPR.


Now, as someone who didn't play fantasy sports until college (yes, go ahead, call me lame), I wasn't around to play any of fantasy congress -- the website shut down in 2009. So, gameplay explanation is based solely on research alone.

Just like at the start of any fantasy sports season, you'd draft. It's just instead of drafting players, you would draft those in Congress.


You couldn't just draft anyone, however, as you needed to choose four senators and 12 representatives. More specifically, you needed to draft members who have different levels of seniority. In the words of one of the student creators, Andrew Lee, "You can't choose everybody on your team as a John McCain. You have to think of the sleeper picks, people like Bob Jindal."


SOURCE: FOX26Houston.com

So how did you score in fantasy congress? Mainly it came from the legislation process. A player earned five points for introducing a bill, 25 if it passed the House or Senate and 50 points if it was signed into law. Eventually, scoring also came from things such as voting attendance, mentions in the news and even the ability to cross party lines when voting was tight. And of course, if your politicians weren't doing you any good, or got into yet another political scandal, you can always make a change, including trades and free agency.

There were no head-to-head competitions, it was more rotisserie style, with the points all added up at the end of the week. The league winner was the one with the most points at the end of the season.


So, would you try fantasy congress if it were ever to come back? For me, I'm not sure -- I'll admit I'm not as big on politics as I am on sports. But I'm always willing to try new things, and for non-sports fans, it would be an opportunity to get in on the "fantasy fun."


And I know it would help me learn more about the men and women making decisions in this country, and consequently, make me care more. In fact, when fantasy congress first popped up, it was praised for that. With as big of an election as 2016 is presenting us, maybe it would be an opportune time for this to make a comeback.

After all, as Lee said to the Times, "If as many people knew about Congress as knew about football, baseball and basketball, we'd all be more educated."