December 5, 2019

The Treasury Department is sanctioning a Russian criminal organization whose name couldn't possibly be more on-the-nose.

The Trump administration on Thursday announced sanctions against a Russian organization that used malware to "infect computers and harvest login credentials from hundreds of banks and financial institutions in over 40 countries, causing more than $100 million in theft," CNN reports. That organization's name? "Evil Corp."

This absurd name, CNBC notes, seems to be a reference to a fictional organization from the TV series Mr. Robot.

"Treasury is sanctioning Evil Corp as part of a sweeping action against one of the world's most prolific cybercriminal organizations," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday. "This coordinated action is intended to disrupt the massive phishing campaigns orchestrated by this Russian-based hacker group." Move aside, Fraud Guarantee. There's a new most hilariously incriminating name in town. Brendan Morrow

November 22, 2019

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has it out for a Purple Heart veteran.

When Lt. Col Alexander Vindman testified in the impeachment hearing into President Trump on Tuesday, Trump and other Republicans questioned his military bonafides and seemed skeptical of the fact that he doesn't know who the Ukraine whistleblower is. And in a Friday tweet, Blackburn kept the attacks going, tweeting that "Vindictive Vindman is the 'whistleblower’s' handler."

There's a lot wrong with this short tweet. First, it suggests Vindman has something against Trump, furthering the right-wing rhetoric that claims he's less American because he was born in the Soviet Union. And second, it falsely claims Vindman knows the identity of the whistleblower — something that isn't true, but didn't stop Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) from trying to get Vindman to spill their identity on Tuesday. And third, it's an outright smear on a high-ranking military official who received heaps of praise for his service before, during, and after his hearing. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 5, 2018

Contrary to what government officials, public protesters, and tweets suggest, New Yorkers would love to have Amazon as their new neighbor.

About a month ago, Amazon announced it would plop one of its massive new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. And it turns out New York City residents overwhelmingly approve of the deal, 57-26 percent, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows.

The decision to put one Amazon HQ2 in Queens and another in northern Virginia sparked concerns over how New York's already crumbling transit system would support 25,000 new workers. But that didn't seem to worry the borough's residents, with 60 percent of Queens respondents approving the deal and 26 percent opposing it. They also didn't have a problem with New York enticing Amazon with a few billion dollars in tax incentives, approving of that 55 to 39 percent. Queens and the Bronx largely support the incentives, while Staten Island and Brooklyn are divided. The only borough opposed is Manhattan, where 52 percent of resident oppose the tax breaks and only 39 percent support them.

Some government officials and advocates took issue with New York's leaders paying a multi-billion-dollar company to move in, rather than funding education and public services. Reflecting that, 38 percent of New Yorkers disapproved of how Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) each handled the Amazon deal, the poll shows. Just 31 percent approved of De Blasio's actions, but another 30 percent said they didn't know.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,075 New York City voters from Nov. 27 through Dec. 4 with a 3.8 percent margin of error. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 28, 2018

Serena Williams is trying to enjoy motherhood out of the limelight, but drug testers just won't leave her alone.

A U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officer apparently showed up at the tennis star's Florida home on June 14 for an unannounced drug test, sources tell Deadspin. It would've been Williams' sixth test this year — far more than any other tennis players have faced, per CBS Sports.

Williams earned a No. 25 seed for the upcoming Wimbledon on Wednesday, shattering the precedent of maternity leave stripping women players of a seeding spot. Williams was recovering from a hip injury that pulled her from the French Open and preparing for Wimbledon when the test attempt happened.

The drug tester apparently arrived around 8:30 a.m. to test Williams, Deadspin says. Williams wasn't home, but the official insisted on waiting for her to return. After a confrontation, the official left without administering a test.

American women far above Williams' 183rd world ranking have been tested twice at most this year, as have American men, CBS Sports says. And Williams isn't happy about it. On May 21, she noted on Twitter that she was tested twice in one week — even though at the time, she was ranked 454th in the world:

Williams apparently called Women's Tennis Association CEO Steve Simon to complain about the June 14 test, Deadspin says. Williams has never failed a doping test in her 23-year career, and she'll keep complying with as many tests as needed, her spokeswoman told Deadspinbut she'll also keep questioning this "invasive and targeted" system. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 30, 2017

President Trump is looking at the bright side of a government shutdown, telling people close to him he thinks it could be a good thing for him politically, several people who have spoken to him in recent days told The Washington Post.

Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House, but Trump told his confidants that should there be a shutdown, he's going to blame it on Democrats. He plans on focusing much of his attention on his base, one person told the Post; Trump was proud of the work he did with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in September, but after advisers told him his supporters didn't like this show of bipartisanship, he's decided to go all in on immigration and securing money for a border wall.

A White House official speaking on behalf of Trump told the Post that the president does not want the government to shut down. White House aides are worried it wouldn't help Trump's already low poll numbers, and several leading Republicans, who know they need Democratic support to pass spending legislation, also said a shutdown would be a terrible thing. "When you run for office and you get elected and you are given the opportunity to govern, it strikes me as a bad idea to shut the government down," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. "That seems like an abdication of responsibility." Read more about Trump's state of mind and the behind-the-scenes spending talks going on between Democrats and Republicans at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

July 9, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is on a mission to keep Americans safe from the looming menace that is "snortable chocolate." In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday, Schumer called for federal investigation of an inhalable caffeine product called "Coco Loko," which is marketed as "raw cacao snuff."

"This suspect product has no clear health value," Schumer argued. "I can't think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses." I can't either, though whether the sort of person willing to put powdered chocolate in their own nostrils can be deterred from such endeavors by the federal government remains to be seen. Bonnie Kristian

February 16, 2017

Lethal injection drugs are in short supply thanks to a combination of factors including manufacturing difficulties, distribution restrictions by drug companies, and legal battles in which opponents of capital punishment use specific drug cocktails as a vehicle for cruel and unusual punishment cases. To bypass the execution delays this state of affairs has produced, Arizona's latest capital punishment protocols, published in January, suggest attorneys for death-row inmates can provide the drugs themselves:

If the inmate's counsel or other third parties acting on behalf of the inmate's counsel are able to obtain from a certified or licensed pharmacist, pharmacy, compound pharmacy, manufacturer, or supplier and provide to the Department the chemical pentobarbital in sufficient quantity and quality to successfully implement the one-drug protocol with pentobarbital set forth in Chart A, then the Director shall use the one-drug protocol with pentobarbital set forth in Chart A as the drug protocol for execution. [Arizona Department of Corrections]

The document also provides for a scenario in which the lawyer can't get pentobarbital but can get "the chemical sodium pentothal in sufficient quantity and quality" to do a one-drug or three-drug execution protocol.

The suggestion has attorneys baffled. "It's not legal for me as a lawyer to go out and procure drugs for a client. So legally it's impossible and ethically [problematic] as well," to comply with this protocol, said Dale Baich, an assistant federal public defender who works with death-row inmates in Arizona. "If the state wants to have the death penalty it has the duty to figure out how to do it constitutionally," he added. "It can't pass that obligation on to the prisoner or to anyone else."

The Arizona Department of Corrections did not respond to a request for comment from The Guardian. Bonnie Kristian

October 13, 2016

The personal telephone number and home address of one of the women who alleged Donald Trump assaulted her was shared with the world Thursday morning, thanks in part to Fox Business Network anchor Lou Dobbs. In a retweet that has yet to be taken down, Dobbs shared a now disabled link to a conservative news site that had published accuser Jessica Leeds' personal contact information:

Dobbs has since issued this apology tweet:

Still, the anchor has more than 793,000 followers and his tweet was shared upwards of 1,000 times.

Leeds, now 74, publicly accused Trump of groping her in the early 1980s in a story published Wednesday in The New York Times. Then a traveling businesswoman, Leeds said Trump "grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt" when they were seated next to each other on a flight to New York.

Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson denied Leeds' accusations in an interview Thursday morning, claiming that it wasn't possible in part because "first-class seats have fixed armrests." Becca Stanek

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