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This feed includes news on our Congress from Yahoo.

Trump: 'George Washington would have had a hard time beating me before the plague came in'

President Trump suggested that even an opponent as formidable as the nation’s first commander in chief would have had difficulty unseating him before the coronavirus pandemic.

An admitted KKK leader has been sentenced to 6 years in prison after driving a truck through a crowd of protesters in June

A Virginia man who boasted to police of his Ku Klux Klan rank was sentenced to six years in prison after driving his truck into a crowd of protesters.

Three killed in Bangalore clashes over Prophet Muhammad post

Police in the southern city of Bangalore opened fire on protesters angered by the Facebook post.

Florida sheriff orders deputies not to wear masks, bans civilians in masks from office

"Now, I can already hear the whining and just so you know I did not make this decision easily," Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said in a memo to staff.

'Terror crocodiles' with teeth the size of bananas once roamed North America preying on dinosaurs

"Terror crocodiles" which had teeth the size of bananas and could reach 33 feet in length once roamed North America preying on dinosaurs, according to a new study. Researchers say the Deinosuchus, which means "terror crocodile", was the largest predator in its ecosystem when it roamed the earth between 75 to 82 million years ago, outweighing the largest predatory dinosaurs which existed at the same time. The new study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, revisited fossil specimens of the gigantic creatures and found the Deinosuchus had teeth “the size of bananas”, capable of taking down even the very largest of dinosaurs. It also confirmed that the predators grew to as much as 33ft in length, making them nearly as long as some city buses. Researchers also found that there were at least three species of Deinosuchus, two of which lived along western America from Montana to northern Mexico.

China warns US against 'playing with fire' over Taiwan visit

China warned Washington not to "play with fire" on Wednesday as a US delegation wrapped up a historic trip to the self-ruled island of Taiwan. Beijing has been infuriated by the highest-profile visit in decades to Taiwan, which it sees as part of its territory, as US-China relations plunge to a record low over a range of issues from trade to military and the coronavirus pandemic. Health chief Alex Azar finished a three-day visit to Taiwan, during which he criticised China's handling of the pandemic and visited the shrine of a former Taiwan president hated by the Communist Party leadership.

Pro Poker Player Was Bound, Sexually Assaulted, ‘Lit on Fire’ After Motel Meeting

Susie Zhao, the professional poker player whose charred remains were found in a remote Michigan park in July, was allegedly bound with zip ties and sexually assaulted before she was “lit on fire until she died” after meeting with a convicted sex offender, according to new court documents. Zhao, 33, was last seen around 5:30 p.m. on July 12 by her mother, the White Lake Township Police Department previously told The Daily Beast. The next day, her “badly burned” body was discovered at around 8:05 a.m. in a parking lot near the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, about an hour outside of Detroit. Last week, Jeffrey Bernard Morris, 60, was charged from his hospital bed with first-degree premeditated murder. Authorities discovered the convicted sex offender allegedly met Zhao in a motel room the night before her body was found. Morris, who is homeless and has a “lengthy criminal history” is currently in jail after being denied bail. A Pro Poker Player Was Found ‘Badly Burned.’ Was She Murdered Over Gambling?“This is not the end of the investigation into Susie’s death but the beginning of the pursuit of justice for her and her family,” White Lake Township Detective Chris Hild said in a press conference. “We can only hope that where we are today brings some level of comfort to the healing process.”In new court documents, first obtained by WXYZ, authorities revealed what occurred the night the pro poker player, known on the circuit as “Susie Q,” went missing. Cell phone records indicate Morris and the rising poker star first met on July 12. In an interview with police the night of his arrest on July 31, Morris admitted to picking up Zhao on Watkins Lake Road before they both checked into the Sherwood Motel at around 9:26 p.m.  Morris told investigators the pair left the motel at some point to buy some alcohol and that Zhao left the motel at around midnight and took everything with her. Cell phone records, however, show the 33-year-old’s phone didn’t leave the motel until around 5 a.m on July 13, according to the court documents. Surveillance footage near the motel and cell phone records also show Morris left the room at around 5 a.m., before driving to a secluded section of the Pontiac Lake Recreation area— where Zhao was found. Court documents say that evidence suggests Morris was at the 3,745-acre park for about seven minutes. When Zhao was found the following morning, she was identified by fingerprints and was bound with zip ties. She had been sexually assaulted with a large object before being "lit on fire until she died,” the court documents state. A spokesperson for the Oakland County Medical Examiner told The Daily Beast that Zhao’s cause of death is currently unknown, pending an autopsy and toxicology results. When authorities pulled Morris over on a warrant in Ypsilanti weeks later, investigators found several hairs and other evidence with possible bloodstains. They also found duffle bags with a fitted bed sheet that appeared to have blood on it and a wooden baseball bat that also appeared to have a bloodstain. The items were taken to Oakland County Crime Lab for testing. Authorities are now scrambling to understand the motive behind the “mysterious death” that occurred just weeks after Zhao moved back to her home state of Michigan from California on June 9. Two childhood friends of Zhao previously told The Daily Beast that the poker player bounced between several cities—including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Florida—both for her job and because she was “a jet-setter.” According to, Zhao was successful in the professional worker world, garnering several deep runs in the World Series of Poker Main Event—placing 90th in 2012 to earn $73,805. Over the course of her career, Zhao won $224,671, according to the poker database The Hendon Mob. Despite earlier speculation, authorities have said there is no evidence that Zhao’s death was connected to her gambling.“I don’t think there was ever anything else that she wanted to do. She was playing poker from a very young age,” Meredith Rogowski, a childhood friend, told The Daily Beast. “It was not a surprise. She was very bold and did whatever she wanted to do. Whenever we talked about her job, she was very nonchalant. But I do know it was exhausting to be in that world—it was long-hours and some of the people she met weren’t always genuine.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Virginia city council votes to remove Confederate monument


Thunderstorms have hospitalized 52K Americans for breathing issues, study says. Why?

As global warming continues, more respiratory hospitalizations are expected.

Joe Biden decided he didn't have to choose a leftwing progressive. Here's why

The Democratic party thinks it has the most to gain by appealing to centrist voters – particularly older Black votersIn one of the least surprising moments of what has so far been an uncommonly anticlimactic race, Joe Biden on Wednesday did what everyone was already expecting him to do: he chose California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.The pick comes on the heels of a slew of leaks and on- and off-the-record comments from Biden allies wishing to trash Harris and downplay her chances in the press. Florida Democratic donor John Morgan lamented to CNBC that Harris “would be running for president the day of the inauguration.” Former Senator Chris Dodd complained that Harris showed “no remorse” after attacking Biden based on his racial justice record. In retrospect, these comments in the media read less like realistic dispatches from within the VP vetting process than attempts to influence it from the outside, perhaps from Biden allies still angry at Harris over the primary. That anger, evidently isn’t shared by the candidate himself.But more than evidence of mended fences between Biden and Harris, the pick reflects a strategic decision over which sections of voters, and which factions of the Democratic party, the Biden team feels it needs to prioritize in order to win in November. And with the Harris pick, they are resoundingly signaling that it is the centrist and pragmatic voters – particularly older Black voters – and not the younger progressive left, that they feel they have the most to gain from appealing to.Harris was the early frontrunner for the VP slot in part precisely because her political record reveals only spotty and inconsistent ideological committments. During her own presidential bid in the primary cycle, she moved left on Medicare for All, Bernie Sanders’ signature issue, but then backtracked right. She claimed to have evolved her thinking on law enforcement and incarceration in one instance, then touted her record as a prosecutor in another. Harris was by no means alone in this ideological shape shifting: she was no more willing to alter her positions for the sake of convenience than, say Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But the shifts signaled that what Harris was selling to the American people was not so much an ideological commitment, like Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to her left, or Amy Klobuchar to her right. What Harris was running on was more cultural and affective. She was not selling a policy platform. She was selling her character; namely, the carefully projected impression that she was thick skinned, intelligent and unwilling to suffer fools.For Biden, himself light on policy and heavy on appeals to his own affable familiarity, presumed competence, and promises to return the country to a pre-Trump “normal,” this made Harris a good fit. But after a heated, if not especially close, last few months of the primary contest against the party’s progressive standard bearer, Bernie Sanders, there was one line of thinking that posited that a Harris vice-presidential nomination would be risky. As a noncommittal but generally center-left contender, Harris would potentially alienate and certainly fail to excite the younger, more progressive voters who had backed Sanders. Could Biden afford to turn off Bernie’s base by not picking a progressive?Evidently, he thinks he can, and there is some evidence that he’s right. Though the left raised huge amounts of money for the Sanders campaign, they couldn’t drum up votes: after a long and contentious primary season, Biden won overwhelmingly, in spite of Sander’s superior fundraising. Bernie’s failure – namely, his campaign’s inability to transform money and significant online enthusiasm into actual voter turnout – may have undercut the left’s ability to build leverage more broadly. It didn’t help matters that Bernie’s base, though enthusiastic, was hostile to overtures from other candidates: when Elizabeth Warren made gestures to Sanders voters, she was met with vitriol, derision and misogynist contempt. Democratic strategists may have begun to understand the Sanders base as an unreliable voting block, one that doesn’t deliver turnout and can’t take yes for an answer. From that perspective, the Biden campaign had few incentives to pick a progressive running mate or to make many policy overtures to the party’s left wing.But perhaps the more morally grievous downside to the Harris pick lies in her potential to alienate the emergent movement against police brutality that has gained traction this summer in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The filmed killing ignited protests that the New York Times says were likely largest popular demonstrations in American history. Under the rallying cry of Black Lives Matter, these uprisings crystallized a growing distrust of the police and a consensus around racial justice issues that is emerging in a large and surprisingly multi-racial contingent of the country. The choice of Harris – a former prosecutor and attorney general whose career has included uncomfortably collegial relationships with the police and a comfort with incarceration as a punishment for even nonviolent crimes – risks appearing to dismiss this movement’s righteous and morally urgent demands. But here, too, is a place where the Biden team may feel comfortable taking the left for granted: In a contest against the sadistic and racist Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter protestors have no meaningful choice except to support him.And yet in spite of a policy history that places her in opposition to the policy demands of the country’s largest and most energetic movements for racial justice, Harris’ vice-presidential nomination is also seen as an acknowledgement of the outsized role played by Black voters, and particularly Black women voters, in Democratic electoral victories.Despite pat political punditry that says otherwise, the Black vote is not monolithic, and nor is the progressive wing of the party uniformly white. Within the Democratic party, ideological differences fall much more neatly along generational lines than racial ones, and younger Black voters often have very different political instincts than their parents and grandparents. To understand the factional divide within the Democratic party as being between progressive voters, on the one hand, and Black voters, on the other, would be to fundamentally misdiagnose the issue.But the Harris pick is part of a growing consensus among establishment Democratic strategists that many Democrats owe their electoral victories to the party’s most reliable constituency: the older Black voter, and specifically, the older Black woman voter. It is turnout among such voters that has propelled Democratic candidates to victory in many recent contests, but for too long the party has seemed to take them for granted, relying on the growing racism of the Republican party as a guarantee of Black votes they presumed they did not have to earn. The Harris pick can be seen as an attempt, if a relatively symbolic and short sighted one, to correct that neglect by putting a Black woman at the center of a party they have long helped to maintain.Tactically, it’s not hard to see why the Biden team thought that attempting to appeal to Black voters would be a winning strategy. Older Black voters in particular have been reliably loyal to the Democratic party, and are crucially much more likely to vote than younger people of all races. Perhaps this is because, given America’s long history of state-sanctioned racist violence and state-enacted racist neglect, these voters feel they have more on the line. With much to lose, some older Black voters find themselves picking candidates for tactical reasons more so than ideological ones. In the primary, Biden won them by promising them that he could win. It was their support that gave him the nomination.In a recent interview before he announced the choice of Harris, Biden said, in his characteristically weird idiomatic way, that Black voters “brought me to the dance.” He intended, he implied, to dance with them. This is what he is trying to accomplish with the Harris nomination: he wants to acknowledge his political debt to Black women voters by picking a Black woman as his running mate. He hopes they will see themselves in her.The symbolism of the Harris pick can’t be overstated. If she wins, she’ll hold a higher office as vice-president than any other American woman has held before. If she wins, it becomes much more likely that the first woman president will be a Black woman. If she wins, and takes the office of the vice-presidency as a Black and South Asian woman and the daughter of immigrants, she will be a living testament that although this nation’s founders intended our country to be one for white men, generations of Americans have worked to defy their vision and make the nation more worthy of its own professed values. Harris will symbolize that America is not just a country for white men anymore. The importance of that symbolism is profound.But what some of Biden’s primary voters might see in Harris is about more than Harris’ race and gender: it is also about her pragmatism. In Harris’ hard-nosed realism and ideological nimbleness, many voters see a do-no-harm pick who won’t damage the ticket and will appeal to – or at least not offend – a broad range of voters, and help Biden beat Trump. From their perspective, that isn’t just a tactical choice. It’s also a moral one. * Moira Donegan is a Guardian US columnist

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