May 2, 2014

New York's Satanic Temple wants to put its own Satanic monument on the grounds of Oklahoma's capitol building in Oklahoma City, and they're using legal channels to do so. Enough people think this is a good idea that the Satanists raised $30,000 in a crowd-funding campaign to build their statue.

That's a mock-up for a bronze statue of Baphomet — a pagan figure dating back to the 1300s, more recently embraced by Satanists — next to children. ("We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is," temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told CNN in December.) After the Oklahoma-bound statue is cast, the Satanic Temple will retain the mold to "pop these things out like evil, terribly expensive action figures whenever they need a new one," as Smith puts it.

The temple's crusade to conquer Oklahoma is a reaction to the installation of a privately financed monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Oklahoma capitol by State Rep. Mike Ritze (R) in 2012. The Satanists argue that the First Amendment doesn't allow Oklahoma to implicitly endorse Christianity (and Judaism) without letting the worshippers of the dark lord put up their own statue, too.

And they have a pretty strong legal case, actually — assuming a judge recognizes the Satanic Temple as a religion (unlike the Church of Satan, the Temple of Satan is, by Greaves' admission, more a group of activists/provocateurs who view Satan as a "literary construct"). Right now Oklahoma is avoiding the constitutional showdown on a technicality. Its Capitol Preservation Commission, which handles approvals of all monuments for the capitol grounds, isn't accepting any new applications until the state settles a lawsuit from the ACLU over the Ten Commandments monument.

But it doesn't matter what the federal courts rule, really. Oklahoma legislators will come up with a reason to exclude the monument to Baphomet — this is a state that precipitated a constitutional crisis so it could execute two convicted murderers — and they will have popular support to do so. Oklahoma is overwhelmingly Christian; according to Pew data from 2008, the state is 53 percent evangelical Protestant, 16 percent mainline Protestant, 13 percent Catholic, 12 percent unaffiliated, and 6 percent "other."

As a last resort — and I doubt it will come to this — Oklahoma will remove the Ten Commandments monument rather than allow Satanic statues on state property. And that's probably the point of mocking up Baphomet. Next stop: Texas? Peter Weber

2:47 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Hours after a 10th woman leveled allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump, the candidate's campaign released a statement calling "these circus-like antics" the work of Hillary Clinton's team. Trump's deputy communications director Jessica Ditto said in a statement that Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing Trump's alleged victim Karena Virginia, was nothing more than a "discredited political operative" participating in a "coordinated, publicity-seeking attack with the Clinton campaign." "Give me a break," the statement said. "Voters are tired of these circus-like antics and reject these fictional stories and the clear efforts to benefit Hillary Clinton."

At a press conference Thursday, Virginia accused Trump of sexually harassing her and grabbing her breast at the 1998 U.S. Open. Virginia said Trump asked her, "Don't you know who I am?" Trump has repeatedly said he does not know the women who have come forward accusing him of unwanted sexual conduct, but Virginia said that regardless of whether Trump remembers her, she certainly remembers him. Becca Stanek

2:20 p.m. ET

Thanks to Donald Trump, Janet Jackson's 1986 hit "Nasty" is enjoying a resurgence. Spotify reported Thursday that since Trump called Hillary Clinton "such a nasty woman" at the third presidential debate Wednesday night, streams of Jackson's song have increased 250 percent.

In the lyrics, Jackson talks about how "nasty boys" who think "nasty thoughts" and aren't respectful "don't mean a thing" and "don't ever change." "Better be a gentleman, or you turn me off," sings Jackson, who was nominated this week for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

In celebration of the last presidential debate of the 2016 election, give the song a listen, below. Becca Stanek

2:17 p.m. ET

Independent cybersecurity firm SecureWorks has confirmed that Russian hackers broke into Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's Gmail account after he fell for a phishing scam, a report by Motherboard published Thursday revealed. Politico reported Podesta "unwittingly gave hackers access to his account by clicking a Bitly link that redirected him to a fake Google login page, where he entered his credentials."

SecureWorks determined Podesta was likely hacked by the same group, known as Fancy Bear, that is thought to be behind the recent breaches of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Fancy Bear is believed to be connected to Russia's military intelligence agency, and the Bitly account is just the latest piece of evidence linking the hacks to the Kremlin.

The hacks of Podesta's email, former Secretary of State Colin Powell's email, and other groups "were done using the same tool: malicious short URLS hidden in fake Gmail messages. And those URLs ... were created with a Bitly account linked to a domain under the control of Fancy Bear," Motherboard explained. Read their full report here. Becca Stanek

1:17 p.m. ET

We're experiencing a four-year low in the world's level of wine production, and the timing probably couldn't be worse for Americans. As the U.S. grapples with the election of a lifetime, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine revealed Thursday that worldwide wine production in 2016 is on track to fall 5 percent from last year's production levels. This means 2016 could mark one of the three worst years for wine production in almost two decades.

Thankfully, experts are confident the amount of wine made "should meet consumer demand" — though drinkers of malbec and carménère might have some cause for concern, The Guardian reported. The dip in wine production is being attributed to "climactic events," the effects of which are exceptionally pronounced in South America, where those two varieties are largely produced.

But while countries in South America — particularly Argentina, Brazil, and Chile — as well as European countries, including Italy and France, are seeing declines in wine output, the U.S. is pulling ahead. Production in the U.S. is forecast to grow 2 percent in 2016.

Which is all to say: When Nov. 8 finally rolls around, there should be plenty of wine to pour yourself a glass. Becca Stanek

1:08 p.m. ET

In case there was ever any question about who Hillary Clinton's number one fan is:

Awwww. Jeva Lange

1:01 p.m. ET

Donald Trump will "totally accept" the results of the presidential election — assuming he wins, that is.

To date, Trump has flatly refused to confirm he will concede the election if Hillary Clinton wins and has continued to stoke debunked concerns of widespread voter fraud. At the final presidential debate Wednesday, when asked point-blank if he would accept a peaceful transition of power, Trump said he'd keep Americans "in suspense, okay?" The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and many other major newspapers ran the quote as a banner headline, with The Associated Press declaring Trump is "threatening a fundamental pillar of American democracy."

Trump feigned Thursday morning as if he would clarify the whole scandal: "Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make a major announcement today," he began at a rally in Ohio. "I would like to promise and pledge to all my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election ... if I win."

Trump is clearly pleased with his clever line — and maybe he'd have a right to be, if what he was saying wasn't so terrifying. Jeva Lange

11:56 a.m. ET

Lawyer Gloria Allred held a press conference Thursday with yet another woman who claims she was subjected to inappropriate comments and touching by Donald Trump.

Yoga teacher Karena Virginia recounted attending the 1998 U.S. Open when Trump, a stranger to her, approached her. "Hey, look at this one, we haven't seen her before," Virginia recalled Trump saying. "Look at those legs." Virginia alleges Trump then grabbed her breast and asked her, "Don't you know who I am?"

Virginia confessed to long-lasting trauma from the confrontation. "For years I struggled with what to wear so as not to attract unwanted attention," she said. She addressed Trump directly through tears: "Perhaps you do not remember me … but I can assure you I remember you."

Last Friday, Allred hosted a press conference with a former Apprentice contestant who claimed Trump had made unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances toward her. Allred formerly represented several women accusers of actor Bill Cosby. Trump has so far denied all accusations of sexual assault and harassment. Jeva Lange

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