March 20, 2019

The world of Hawkins, Indiana is about to turn upside down — again.

Netflix on Wednesday debuted the first trailer for the third season of Stranger Things, which teases a summer theme, trouble for one particular character, and a downright horrifying new creature.

After an extended opening sequence in which the gang uses Eleven's powers to play a prank on Dustin, we see footage of the kids living it up over the summer after two seasons set during the fall. But they're getting older, as the trailer makes abundantly clear when Mike defensively declares, "we're not kids anymore." It seems something will threaten to tear the group apart during the season, with Will looking wistfully at a photo of a more innocent time — that time being season 2.

The trailer also teases the introduction of a new mall in Hawkins, which promises to be a central location, as well as a new character in Mayor Kline, played by Cary Elwes. But what's the season's central conflict? Well, the trailer features a brief shot of Billy Hargrove in the shower with some sort of infection on his arm, and it concludes with Jonathan being confronted by a horrifying new creature, which looks like the Demogorgon mixed with something out of The Thing. Could that infection have actually transformed Billy into this monster? Or might Billy become possessed much like Will was last season?

We'll find out when the third season of Stranger Things premieres on July 4. Watch the trailer below. Brendan Morrow

1:46 p.m.

Stripping a school of its Confederate namesake is complicated and costly.

For the hundreds of schools named for Robert E. Lee, choosing a new name amid nationwide protests also means replacing signs, uprooting turf fields, and reissuing sport uniforms. So to avoid some of the trouble, some schools have tried to find new namesakes who share the Confederate general's surname, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Take Lee Elementary in Oklahoma City. Administrators at first didn't even know if the school was named for Robert E. Lee, but after a bit of digging, they found it was and renamed it Adelaide Lee after a local philanthropist. Houston went for Russell Lee Elementary after a Depression era photographer, and also swapped a school named for confederate soldier Sidney Lanier to former Mayor Bob Lanier, the Journal notes.

Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, Texas, went a different route. Estimates found that it would cost $1.3 million to remove and replace everything with the Lee name, the Journal reports. So it rebranded as Legacy of Educational Excellence High School, stuck with its old school colors, and saved about $1 million by only swapping "things that had Robert E.," a spokesperson told the Journal. And Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia — known as W-L High School — went entirely uncontroversial and changed the L to "Liberty."

Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:39 p.m.

President Trump on Monday implemented harsh sanctions by executive order against Iran which targeted the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others. But while a series of U.S.-imposed, Trump-approved sanctions have angered Tehran amid rising tensions between the two countries, the president might not be the antagonist in Tehran's eyes, said Trita Parsi, the head of the National Iranian American Council during a Monday appearance on The Hill's Rising.

Instead, he argues, that National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are the problem. Parsi said that Bolton and Pompeo are "walking around talking about regime change," which makes it difficult for Tehran to believe Trump's publicly stated desire to avoid conflict. He added that Iran is hearing directly from North Korea about Trump's willingness to make deals, but that Bolton and Pompeo wind up sabotaging negotiations.

"I suspect if Trump lets go of Bolton and potentially Pompeo, it could actually open up some space in which the Iranians would start at least beginning the first movements of diplomacy," Parsi said. But if that doesn't happen, he said, it's unlikely Tehran will come to the table. Tim O'Donnell

12:55 p.m.

The Olympics are slip-sliding back into Italy.

Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo will host the 2026 Winter Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee announced Monday. The decision means Italy will host another winter games 20 years after it held them in Turin, and comes as the IOC moves toward condensing games to fewer locations with reliable funding, The Associated Press reports.

The decision came down to Stockholm and its nearby ski resort of Are, Sweden, and the joint Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo bid. Cortina d'Ampezzo is a ski resort that's a few hours' drive from Milan, and held the winter games in 1956 as well. Skeptics worried that Italy couldn't handle such a large-scale event given its recent economic troubles that derailed its previous Summer Olympic bids. But Italy's Undersecretary of State Giancarlo Giorgetti pointed out that Milan-Cortina are "two of the richest provinces in Europe," AP notes.

Italy isn't alone in its financial woes, seeing as nations are known to spend billions of dollars fulfilling their Olympic hosting duties. That reality has led the IOC to consider rotating between a few economically sound cities, or letting broader areas split hosting duties. Turin was originally included in Italy's 2026 bid, but dropped out amid a "political squabble among the cities' mayors," The New York Times says.

Watch Sweden get the bad news below. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:16 p.m.

There might be more to President Trump's decision to withhold a military strike against Iran last week, The Washington Post reports.

Trump said he aborted the strike after learning that an estimated 150 Iranians would die, which he deemed disproportionate to Tehran shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone. White House officials reportedly said Trump had actually been told the number of potential casualties before he called off the raid, but Trump said he was given "very odd numbers" and wanted a more accurate estimate.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump was receiving casualty assessments "throughout," but he backed up his boss, saying that there were more specific projections provided to the president in the later stages.

But therein lies the bigger issue, Ned Price, former President Barack Obama's special assistant on national security, told the Post's Greg Sargent. Price said that the president should have received the specific information at the outset.

"The vice president seems to acknowledge that the estimates sent to the president changed over time," Price said. He questioned whether Trump's advisers "may be orchestrating a process that not only filters but potentially manipulates information making its way to the president."

It is possible, but not typical, that Trump might not have been briefed on a casualty estimate change until late in the game. So, Sargent concludes, either Trump was given the 150 casualty estimate earlier then he said, raising doubt over his reasoning for calling off the strike, or his advisers were giving him potentially-manipulated information. Either way, Sargent argues, "more scrutiny is warranted." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

11:59 a.m.

It's a big day for companies with names that sound suspiciously like curse words.

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a provision in a federal law banning "scandalous" or "immoral" trademarks from being registered, NBC News reports. This came as part of a case in which a clothing brand named FUCT was denied a trademark because it sounds like, well, you know. The company's founder, Erik Brunetti, took the case to court, during which he said that actually, the name is an acronym for "FRIENDS U CAN'T TRUST" and that it's supposed to be pronounced F-U-C-T.

Thanks to the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling, Brunetti will be able to get his trademark. Associate Justice Elena Kagan said that "the First Amendment does not allow the government to penalize views just because many people, whether rightly or wrongly, see them as offensive," per USA Today.

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, though, arguing that the First Amendment "does not require the government to give aid and comfort to those using obscene, vulgar and profane modes of expression." Roberts, as well as Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, argued in favor of striking down the part of the law that banned "immoral" trademarks, but not the "scandalous" part, ABC News reports.

The Supreme Court did say, however, that Congress is free to write a "more carefully focused" statute banning "the registration of marks containing vulgar terms that play no real part in the expression of ideas," NPR reports.

This decision comes after the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 against the government's ability to deny disparaging trademarks, in that case to an Asian American band called the Slants, The Washington Post reports. Mentioned in the case was the Washington Redskins, which was similarly looking to retain a trademark on its "disparaging" name. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement at the time, "I am THRILLED." Brendan Morrow

11:23 a.m.

It's back.

The Supreme Court will hear yet another case involving the Affordable Care Act, it announced Monday. This isn't a challenge to the act itself, but rather a lawsuit from health care providers and health insurers who claim ObamaCare cost them $12 billion in lost payments.

Former President Barack Obama's signature act largely took effect in 2014, but soon after, Republicans had passed a provision requiring it was budget neutral, CNN notes. That provision didn't come until insurers had already set their 2014 rates, meaning they had accounted for a higher federal reimbursement than they would now actually receive. Three small insurers tallied that loss up to $12 billion, and sued the federal government over it.

An appeals court decided against two of the carriers last June, prompting four of them to join together to bring the case to the Supreme Court. Beyond reimbursing that total, a ruling in the insurers' favor could set the agenda for similar pending cases, CNN continues. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Attorneys general in mostly blue states have filed briefs in support of the insurers.

This case will be the fifth involving ObamaCare to come up before the Supreme Court, Politico says. Another constitutional challenge to the ACA, led by Republicans, could also head to the Supreme Court soon. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:03 a.m.

No "freedom gas" here, thank you very much.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is, for all intents and purposes, the climate candidate in the field of 2020 Democrats. He lived up to his reputation on Monday when he unveiled an 11,000-word, 27-page opus titled "Freedom from Fossil Fuels." The plan, as its name suggests, outlines how the United States would gradually eliminate its reliance on coal, oil, and gas under an Inslee presidency. His campaign says the proposal is part of Inslee's goal to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2045, Axios reports.

It's a mix of legislative and executive proposals, Axios reports, and a few of the standouts include cutting nearly $20 billion in coal, gas, and oil subsidies, tax breaks, and royalty exemptions; ending new fossil fuel leasing; and curbing development on non-federal land. Inslee also calls for re-imposing a ban on crude oil exports and instituting a "climate pollution fee" on various industries, though the cap is unknown.

While the plan would damage the fossil fuel industry, Inslee did include proposals for helping industry workers transition, including a "G.I. Bill for Energy Workers."

With the plan's release, Inslee also becomes the first 2020 candidate to consider the idea of nationalizing parts of the fossil fuel industry by buying out and decommissioning assets, HuffPost reports. Inslee, though, refuted that notion, saying that the section referred to buying back and terminating unused leases. Still, the language appears to leave room for ramping things up in the future. Tim O'Donnell

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