Flying used to be so much easier: Not too many decades ago, you'd just walk up to the gate with your ticket, board the plane, take your seat, light up your cigarette, and wait for the stewardess to bring you a complimentary cocktail, a deck of cards, and hot meal.*
On Sunday, the TSA added yet another layer of annoyance for U.S.-bound air travelers from certain foreign airports: Before boarding the plane, you may now have to turn on your electronic mobile devices, presumably to prove they aren't covert explosive devices. Watched too much battery-draining World Cup action on your iPhone while waiting in the long security line? Too bad. "Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft," the TSA said in its statement, adding that "the traveler may also undergo additional screening."
U.S. officials say they aren't responding to a specific threat, but ABC News reported last week that terrorists in Syria and Yemen are working on "creative" new bomb designs to take down a U.S.- or Europe-bound airliner, presumably using U.S. or European nationals who have joined the civil war in Syria. The new bombs may be housed inside toothpaste tubes, shoes, and cosmetics packages, ABC News reported. This fear isn't exactly new, as this 2005 Slate article explains:
No one worried too much about electronic devices in carry-on baggage until the 1989 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The device that destroyed that plane — and killed 270 people — turned out to have been hidden inside a boom box. After this incident, Congress briefly considered banning electronic devices in the cabin. Instead, the FAA asked airlines and airports to exercise more scrutiny over cell phones, radios, alarm clocks, computers, and other electronics. As a result, many travelers were asked to turn on their laptop computers at screening checkpoints, to prove that they functioned normally. [Slate]
The laptop power-up rule isn't that common now, after a big uptick following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. No word on how long or how widespread the smartphone rule will be in effect. --Peter Weber
*Air travel was also much more expensive, and who misses cigarette smoke in the cabin?
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced on Sunday that she will step down after leaked emails seem to show the committee's bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders. In one email, the DNC's chief financial officer, Brad Marshall, suggested attacking Sanders for his religious beliefs and painting him as an atheist. Marshall apologized on Saturday, but on Sunday, Sanders said the emails were "outrageous" and called for Wasserman Schultz to resign. "I mean there's no question to my mind and I think no question to any objective observer's mind that the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton, and was at opposition to our campaign," Sanders said.
The leaked emails, and the resignation, come one day before the start of the Democratic National Convention and at a time when the Democratic Party is showing signs of division after a tense primary season between Sanders and Clinton. Wasserman Schultz will step down at the end of the convention. In a statement following the announcement, Clinton called Wasserman Schultz a "fighter" and thanked her for her service. Jessica Hullinger
In a surprising move, Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire media executive and the former mayor of New York City, will endorse Hillary Clinton for president, The New York Times reports. Bloomberg left the Democratic Party in 2000 to become a registered Republican. Earlier this year, he was considering his own presidential run as an independent. While Bloomberg disagrees with Clinton on a variety of subjects, including gun control and immigration, the Times reports he is dismayed at the thought of a Donald Trump presidency, and believes Clinton to be a "far better choice," said Howard Wolfson, a Bloomberg adviser.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg will make his case for Clinton on stage at the Democratic National Convention, alongside other convention headliners like President Barack Obama, and Clinton's VP pick, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). The hope, it seems, is that Bloomberg's endorsement will speak to undecided moderates. "As the nation's leading independent and a pragmatic business leader, Mike has supported candidates from both sides of the aisle," Wolfson told the Times. Jessica Hullinger
Chris Froome won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Briton to win the race three times. After 89 hours, six minutes, and one second in the saddle over the race's 21 stages, Froome, 31, crossed the finish line in Paris almost three minutes before his closest rival. He won in 2015 and in 2013, and is only the eighth man with three Tours under his belt. Jessica Hullinger
The International Olympic Committee said Sunday that it will not completely ban Russia from competing at the Rio Olympics, Reuters reports. Instead, the IOC is putting the responsibility of deciding who can compete in the Games on the bodies that govern the individual sports.
The announcement comes after an independent report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping among Russian Olympic athletes. Competitors will need to meet a set of criteria to demonstrate they are clean, and anyone who has previously been caught doping will not be allowed to compete. Jessica Hullinger
German authorities say the gunman who opened fire at a Munich shopping center on Friday, killing 9 people and injuring 35 more, planned the attack for a year. On Sunday, Robert Heimberger, president of the Bavarian state criminal police office, said 18-year-old David Sonboly left a manifesto on his computer. "He appears to have planned this act since last summer," Heimberger said. "He completely occupied himself with this act of rampage."
In planning his attack, Sonboly, who authorities say was "obsessed" with mass shootings, visited the site of a previous school shooting and took pictures, The Associated Press reports. In 2015, Sonboly spent two months as an inpatient at a mental care facility, where he was treated for depression and a fear of contact with other people. He killed himself after the attack. Jessica Hullinger
On Sunday morning, Donald Trump, or whoever was running his Twitter feed, went on a rampage against Hillary Clinton's decision to pick Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her vice presidential nominee. Embedded amongst a flurry of exclamation points and all-caps accusations of "BAD JUDGMENT" was an error that's sure to needle grammar snobs: Where Trump should have used "their," he used "there" instead. And in the same breath — er, keystroke — instead of "waste," he used "waist."
Then again, what more do we expect from a presidential candidate who researchers say has the grammatical sophistication of an 11-year-old?
I know, I know. You miss Game of Thrones. And the recent news that season seven won't air until summer 2017 is probably only adding to your despair. But if you need a quick fix, this is it: HBO released a blooper reel from season six, and it is delightful. Let it be known: Dothraki is hard, but the word 'benevolent' is even harder. Watch below. Jessica Hullinger