×
July 26, 2018

While national Democrats debate pithy slogans, force out tired satires, and generally wonder what exactly they're supposed to be doing, Stacey Abrams has a plan. The Georgia state legislator and Democratic nominee for governor is a compelling speaker and driven public servant, Molly Ball wrote for Time in a profile published Thursday — but more than that, she's not afraid to try strategies that party bigwigs have largely ignored.

Georgia is a red state veering purple; in the run-up to the 2016 election, there were several polls that breathed life into the idea that Hillary Clinton could steal the conservative state. President Trump ultimately won the Peach State by 5 points, but Abrams thinks there's a coalition to be built that could nonetheless propel her to the governorship. Abrams is facing the deeply conservative Brian Kemp, who serves as Georgia's secretary of state and who has focused his campaign ads on culture war issues. Abrams, by contrast, has made budget priorities the center of her campaign, pledging to rejuvenate Georgia's public education system and overhaul its safety net.

The key, her team believes, is in tweaking its target voters:

Ever since Bill Clinton won re-election in 1996 with a strategy of triangulation, Democrats have tried to win in Republican territory by appealing to white centrist voters. The idea was to combine them with the Democrats' base, but it frequently left white voters cold and the base unenthused. Abrams' campaign is built on the proposition that a compelling candidate can get elected in the South with a progressive message that attracts liberal whites and minorities to the polls in greater numbers. [Time]

"I am coming for you, Georgia!" Abrams says, speaking to hyped up crowds. "Help me get there!" Read more about her plan to turn Georgia blue — and how she used to explain Republican lawmakers' bills back to them — at Time. Kimberly Alters

9:31a.m.

One person was accidentally killed and more than 200 injured in large-scale protests against higher fuel taxes in France on Saturday.

An estimated 250,000 people, many wearing yellow safety vests, turned out in about 2,000 locations around the country to block roads and highways. The new tax was supported by French President Emmanuel Macron, and demonstrators called for his resignation. Macron's approval rating was at a dismal 21 percent as of October.

"We are not political people; we do not belong to a union; we are citizens," said one protester near Paris, Didier Lacombe. "The taxes are rising on everything. They put taxes on top of taxes. It is not the tax on gas; it's everything. The injustice is greater and greater."

"The price of fuel is as politically and sociologically sensitive as the price of wheat in the ancient regime," French public opinion researcher Jerome Fourquet told The New York Times. High wheat prices were among the factors leading to the French Revolution. Bonnie Kristian

7:30a.m.

Steve Carrell hosted Saturday Night Live for the third time, and after much teasing over whether he'd ever reboot The Office, he got down to the business of the evening: mocking President Trump in character as Amazon's Jeff Bezos.

"As you know, Amazon just announced the location of its two new headquarters in New York and Virginia, and everyone — except for the people who live there and the people who live in all the places we didn't choose — is thrilled," Carrell as Bezos begins.

He quickly shifted to address the rumors head on: Did he choose these locations, one where Trump grew up and one close to the White House, to overshadow the president? "That's simply not true," SNL's Bezos says. "I chose our locations because they were ideal for growing business, not just to make Donald Trump think about how I'm literally 100 times richer than he is."

And the new locations aren't Amazon's only exciting news, Bezos notes. The company is also debuting delivery drones humanized by suspiciously Trumpian wigs, as well as Amazon Caravan, a special new delivery service exclusive to Trump properties. Watch the full sketch below. Bonnie Kristian

7:09a.m.

President Trump on Saturday downplayed Friday's report that the CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"They haven't assessed anything yet. It's too early. That was a very premature report," Trump told reporters. "We'll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday," he said, adding that it will include "who did it."

The president also praised Saudi Arabia as "a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development." He has repeatedly resisted calls to end U.S. arms sales to Riyadh over Khashoggi's death and the Saudi military intervention in Yemen's civil war, claiming the economic toll on the United States would be too high. Bonnie Kristian

6:51a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence took a harsh line on China at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Papua New Guinea on Saturday, pledging Washington "will not change course" on trade policy "until China changes its ways."

"We have great respect for [Chinese President Xi Jinping] and China," Pence said, "but as we all know, China has taken advantage of the United States for many, many years, and those days are over." He accused Beijing of unfair trade and lending practices and suggested additional tariffs may be on the way.

President Xi also spoke, arguing, "Unilateralism and protectionism will not solve problems but add uncertainty to the world economy." He called for further cooperation on trade and infrastructure development, defending his signature Belt-and-Road Initiative against Pence's critique. "History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war, or a trade war, produces no winners," Xi said. Bonnie Kristian

November 17, 2018

President Trump flew to California on Saturday to survey and discuss the massive fires still raging throughout the state. But one very, very important topic didn't come up.

While flying back to Washington Saturday night, Trump told reporters he and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom (D) didn't talk about climate change — a factor that's likely made the deadly fires far worse than expected. "We have different views but maybe not as different as people think," Trump said of his visit with Newsom, presumably because the two didn't discuss a reality that Trump doesn't quite believe in.

California is at highest risk of wildfires during the summer. But this year's fire season started earlier than usual, per The Sacramento Bee, and the worst of it came after the season typically ends with November's Camp and Woolsey fires. The Camp Fire has left 71 dead and burned 148,000 acres as of Saturday morning, per the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Woolsey Fire is now 82 percent contained, but still left 3 dead and 98,362 acres ravaged, Cal Fire reports. And California's increasingly dry climate, made even worse by climate change, is likely to blame.

Trump conceded in a Friday interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace that climate change "contributes maybe a little bit" to harsher wildfires, but went on to say "management" and a lack of raking dry leaves were mostly to blame. After visiting an entire town destroyed by the Camp Fire on Saturday, Trump told reporters nothing changed his mind.

Watch that moment below. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 17, 2018

Democrat Andrew Gillum has officially ended his bid for Florida governor, conceding to former Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) in a Saturday Facebook video.

The progressive Tallahassee mayor was expected to be the state's first black governor, seeing as he consistently polled ahead of the President Trump-backing DeSantis. Election Day results were far tighter, and Gillum actually conceded that night after DeSantis secured 49.9 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

But after reports showed votes in some Democratic strongholds, including the notorious Broward County, had not yet been counted, Gillum retracted his concession. A gap of just 34,000 votes, or 0.41 percent, between Gillum and DeSantis triggered a recount. DeSantis eventually finished with 49.6 percent of the vote to Gillum's 49.2 percent, per The New York Times.

Gillum reflected the protracted ballot-counting process in his concession video, calling for updates to Florida's voting system.

Gillum's concession comes after Trump tweeted congratulations to the Democrat for "running a tough race" Saturday morning. Florida's Senate race between current Gov. Rick Scott (R) and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is still undergoing a manual recount. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 17, 2018

Elon Musk's tweets often seem like jokes. They never are.

In September, the Tesla and SpaceX founder tweeted that he'd be opening a "brick store" in about two months. "Only 10 cents a brick!" he touted. And while Musk's self-imposed due date has come and gone, The Brick Store LLC is set in stone, TechCrunch reports.

Musk has spent the past two years working on a project called The Boring Company, which literally bores holes through the Earth to create tunnels that alleviate traffic. Just Friday, The Boring Company completed a tunnel under Los Angeles that Musk has called "disturbingly long." Another tunnel to Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium is also in the works, which people will travel through on "autonomous electric skates" that travel up to 150 miles per hour, per the company's website.

But all that boring moves a lot of dirt. And with dirt, you can make bricks. That's the simple premise behind The Brick Company, which Musk started in July, per public documents obtained by TechCrunch. Bricks will be available for purchase at a brick-and-mortar shop called — what else — The Brick Store, the documents show. The Brick Store will be made of bricks and accented by "forbidding black steel security grilles," TechCrunch writes, and will be located right outside the just-completed tunnel.

Musk branded what seemed to be The Brick Store as "a watchtower" in a tweet yesterday, and announced The Boring Company was hiring "a knight to yell insults at people in a French accent" from its dirt brick facade. Please, read more at TechCrunch. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads