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March 30, 2014

A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board last week ruled that football players at Northwestern were "employees" and could therefore form a union. To some, the ruling was not a step toward a more equitable system, but a dangerous, unnecessary precedent.

To wit, Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins argued in a Sunday op-ed that the issue hinges on the "specious premise" that college athletes are "exploited and aggrieved" in the first place. Right from the outset then, her whole argument is total bunk.

You can quibble all you want about whether student athletes are exploited, but there is no question a bunch of them are "aggrieved." The mere fact that Northwestern players are pursuing the issue so stridently is proof of that. And then there's the class-action lawsuit filed by former UCLA hoops star Ed O'Bannon, who is challenging the NCAA's ban on compensating athletes. So yes, I'd say that settles the "aggrieved" question.

Yet you may not have even made it that far into the article after stumbling over its first, puzzling line:

It's hard to view Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter as the Che Guevara of college sports once you learn that he interned at Goldman Sachs. [Washington Post]

I don't even know where to begin. Is Jenkins arguing that financial internships preclude you from joining a union? Is she forgetting that Guevara was a medical student before he became a revolutionary? And is it really apt to liken literal revolution to college football?

To her credit, Jenkins raises many legitimate questions about student-athlete unionization, such as whether members would pay dues, and who all could join. But to simply throw up your hands and declare, "It's not looking out for college athletes to open the Pandora's box of employment and unionization," as Jenkins does, is a lazy attempt to ignore the problem. College athlete unionization will of course be problematic. It will of course raise thorny questions, experience hiccups, and need to be fine-tuned. But just because it will be a difficult process doesn't mean it isn't worth pursuing, especially since it would end an exploitative system that is at best cabalistic, and at worst racist.

It's not looking out for college athletes to dismiss their grievances simply because you don't know how to resolve them. Jon Terbush

1:05 a.m. ET

Jimmy Kimmel is running for vice president, solo, but he's not bitter about it. "I'm not on anyone's ticket, but I'm not sitting down," he said on Monday's Kimmel Live. "I issued a challenge to Hillary Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, and I said 'Let's go head to head on this,' and he accepted on one condition: We had to find a neutral site." They found one at a national chicken-wing chain restaurant. Clinton and Donald Trump had just duked it out on a stage at Hofstra University; Kimmel and Kaine tried to settle their differences sitting in a booth.

"So, um, I mean, what's your plan for the country?" Kimmel asked, and when Kaine said that he and Clinton have proposals to "build an economy that works for all," Kimmel stepped in: "Hillary and I would have a good plan, too." Kimmel then laid out some of his proposals, including making Super Bowl Monday a national holiday, restricting the use of social media, and regulating concert seating by height. "I don't have an argument with you about that," Kaine said of the last proposal. "I didn't think you would, because it makes perfect sense," Kimmel said. "It's called common sense, it's something I have a lot of. I feel right now like you would vote for me for vice president." "Yeah, I mean, I frankly think you are probably superior to me, it's just that when Hillary was making a choice, you know, she had a couple of criteria," Kaine said. "I mean, looks was a big, important thing to her." Spoiler: Kimmel won the debate. But if you like harmonica jams, especially, watch till the end. Peter Weber

12:21 a.m. ET

It is commonly believed in the punditocracy that televised presidential debates are won not on points and policies but on "moments" and the facial expressions of the candidates. This belief was born in the John F. Kennedy–Richard Nixon debates in 1960 and codified with Al Gore's sighs in his 2000 debate against George W. Bush. So in Monday's first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who wore their face better? On Fox News, Britt Hume seemed to suggest Clinton, but it's not clear he meant it as a compliment.

"What did they think of the two faces while the candidates were not talking, while they were listening?" Hume asked about viewers. "The Trump expression was one we're all familiar with from the earlier debates: He looked annoyed, put out, uncomfortable. And she looked, for the most part, she looked composed, smug sometimes, not necessarily attractive. I think a lot will turn on how people reacted to the faces they saw side-by-side on that screen tonight." His comments about Clinton and Trump's faces start at the 2:30 mark:

Coincidentally, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway also said Clinton looked "smug" in the post-debate spin room. Peter Weber

12:18 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's past came back to haunt him Monday evening when Hillary Clinton slammed him for being a man who "has called women 'pigs,' 'slobs,' and 'dogs.'" Trump most vehemently protested when Clinton told the story of a woman named Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe winner:

"He called this woman Miss Piggy," Clinton said. "Then he called her Miss Housekeeping, because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado."

"Where did you find this?" Trump interrupted. "Where did you find this?"

It turns out Clinton found it out from the source herself. Watch Machado tell her story — complete with condemning footage of Trump — in the campaign ad, below. Jeva Lange

12:13 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Donald Trump announced during Monday night's debate that he "was just endorsed by ICE," but it's actually a non-government agency representing border agents that's supporting him.

While discussing cyber security, Trump declared, "I was just endorsed by ICE. They've never endorsed anybody before on immigration. I was just endorsed by ICE. I was just recently endorsed — 16,500 Border Patrol agents." As a government agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would never endorse a candidate, and the Los Angeles Times believes they've deciphered what Trump meant: On Monday morning, the Trump campaign announced the Republican nominee received the endorsement of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union that represents 5,000 immigration officers. They also said the union has never before endorsed a candidate for president, and just five percent of members wanted to back Hillary Clinton.

As for the 16,500 Border Patrol agents, that was likely a reference to the endorsement Trump received back in March from the National Border Patrol Council, which represents 16,500 people. Catherine Garcia

September 26, 2016
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had a number of ups and downs throughout the presidential debate, not necessarily making it entirely clear who "won" and who "lost." But according to a CNN snap poll, there was no question about the matter, with Hillary Clinton "winning" 62 to 27. That number needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as CNN reports the crowd skewed 10 points more Democrat and two points less Republican than a truly representative electoral audience — but it's still a rather overwhelming agreement.

Still, even some Republicans were quick to concede the debate was all Clinton's. As John Kasich strategist John Weaver said:

Others disagree. "Everyone is saying I won the debate," Trump told Mark Halperin. Jeva Lange

September 26, 2016

Donald Trump personally entered the spin room at Hofstra University after his first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton, and he told ABC News reporter Tom Llamas that he left only one thing on the table: "I got everything I wanted to say, I got it out, other than the transgressions of Bill, because, you know, she takes all these commercials, spending hundreds of millions on commercials — and they're lies, they're lies — but I thought — and I didn't want to do it with Chelsea, who I think is a wonderful young lady, I didn't say what I was going to say with Chelsea in the room, so maybe they're well off to bring Chelsea all the time."

Llamas asked if it was fair for Clinton to bring up the $14 million loan from his father and his derogatory comments about women. "I thought it was very cheap," Trump said. "First of all, my father gave me a very small amount of money, relative to what I've built — I've built a massive company and a great company — but I learned so much from my father." He added that Clinton's comments about things he has said about women were "disgraceful," but not as bad as the TV ads she's running against him.

He told CNN's Dana Bash that he might bring up Bill Clinton's "indiscretions" at the next debate, but when Bash asked if he took "Hillary Clinton's bait" on the "birther" issue (which was raised by moderator Lester Holt), Trump said no. "I was very proud of the fact I was able to get him to put up his birth certificate and Hillary Clinton failed, because she just can't bring it home," he said. "I mean, she just can't bring it home. And she'll fail with jobs, and she'll fail all the way along the line, and I think we proved that tonight. She failed with getting him to do it, I got him to do it, so I'm very proud of it."

Clinton, it should be noted, never asked to see President Obama's birth certificate, and never questioned if he was born in the U.S. But that's why it's called the spin room. Peter Weber

September 26, 2016

Donald Trump sent debate audience scrambling for their dictionaries Monday night when he told them, "I wrote the Art of the Deal. I say that not in a braggadocious way."

The Merriam-Webster dictionary reported that "look-ups for braggadocio spiked during the debate … after Trump used a word that is very similar in nature and spelling. The word employed by Trump was braggadocious, which is a dialectical word from 19th century America, meaning 'arrogant.'"

The dictionary added that while Trump has used "braggadocious" in the past, it hadn't skyrocketed to the top of their lookups the way it did after the debate.

But the 19th-century word wasn't the only one people were curious about — "stamina" and "temperament" also climbed the dictionary's charts Monday night. Jeva Lange

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