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June 21, 2019

The Flowers v. Mississippi Supreme Court case has an outsized media following, and Justice Clarence Thomas thinks that majorly influenced its outcome.

On Friday, the court announced it reached a 7-2 decision to overturn the death row conviction of Curtis Flowers, saying racial discrimination played a role in his jury's selection across previous trials. Yet in his dissenting opinion, Thomas wrote that the court likely only heard the case because it "has received a fair amount of media attention," namely from the viral American Public Media podcast In The Dark.

The APM podcast spent months investigating Flowers' case, in which a white prosecutor had tried the black defendant six times for the murder of four people in Mississippi. The prosecutor had consistently used his peremptory strikes to remove black candidates from the jury pool, leading Flowers to face all-white and nearly all-white juries in every trial. The majority determined that racial discrimination played a role in these strikes and found them unconstitutional.

Thomas, the court's only black justice, meanwhile authored a scathing dissent that criticized the media as much as his colleagues, suggesting the justices just furthered the idea that "this court gives closer scrutiny to cases with significant media attention."

Thomas went on to write that if the majority opinion "has one redeeming quality," it's that "the state is perfectly free to convict Curtis Flowers again." Kathryn Krawczyk

February 23, 2019

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) argued with a group of school of children over her unwillingness to support the Green New Deal on Friday.

The Sunrise Movement, an organization which encourages young people to combat climate change, posted a video of the encounter to Facebook. More than a dozen children and adults met with Feinstein to ask her to vote yes on the proposal. Feinstein, however, informed the crowd that the resolution will never pass the senate and "there's no way to pay" for the deal.

When one girl requested she vote yes anyway, Feinstein told her that she might end up doing that, but "it's not a good resolution."

Feinstein also clashed with crowd over age and experience. A young woman told Feinstein that she was "looking at the faces of the people who will be living these consequences" of climate change. "I've been doing this for 30 years," Feinstein replied. "So, you know, maybe people should listen a little bit."

Feinstein's camp released a statement about the meeting. "I have been and remain committed to doing everything I can to enact real, meaningful change," Feinstein said. She said the discussion was "spirited" and she heard the children's voices "loud and clear." Tim O'Donnell

September 13, 2018

Harrison Ford made a few requests Thursday at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

The event brings together leaders from around the world to discuss tackling climate change, and while onstage, the actor begged voters to know where candidates stand on the matter before filling out their ballots. "For God's sake, stop electing leaders who don't believe in science," he said. "Or even worse, pretend they don't believe in science. Never forget who you're fighting for."

If humanity can't protect nature, "we can't protect ourselves," Ford continued, and while people work to "meet the challenge of climate change, I beg of you, don't forget nature. Because today the destruction of nature accounts for more global emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world." Watch part of his speech below. Catherine Garcia

April 18, 2018

A blast from President Trump's past had an urgent message for him on Friday: Don't trust Michael Cohen.

Jay Goldberg, Trump's former attorney, told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Trump called him last week seeking advice, and he let the president know that on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 meaning Cohen would fully protect Trump, Cohen "isn't even a 1." Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, is under criminal investigation, and last week, FBI agents raided his home, office, and hotel room, searching for documents having to do with payments made to two women who claim they had sexual encounters with Trump, among other matters.

Cohen is known for his loyalty to Trump, but Goldberg told the Journal he let Trump know he thinks Cohen "will never stand up" for him and might even agree to wear a wire, "I don't care what Michael says." Goldberg also said he doesn't think Trump has done anything illegal, but if charged, Cohen would turn against him and begin cooperating with prosecutors. "The mob was broken by Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano caving in out of the prospect of a jail sentence," Goldberg noted. Catherine Garcia

February 5, 2018

Apple Music is on track to have more U.S. subscribers than its main competitor, Spotify, by this summer, The Wall Street Journal reports. While Sweden-based Spotify continues to dominate the global music streaming market, Apple has seen a monthly growth rate of 5 percent in America, versus Spotify's 2 percent.

Part of Apple Music's successful push in the U.S. stems from the service coming preloaded on all of the company's devices, including iPhones and Apple Watches. When Apple Music's free and discounted trial users are factored in, the service has actually already surpassed Spotify in the States, although "neither company publicly breaks out figures for the U.S. or any other single market," the Journal writes.

Both services cost $9.99 a month, with Spotify also offering a free version and a catalog of 30 million songs. Apple Music has a slightly bigger library, with 45 million songs. Spotify has almost twice as many subscribers worldwide compared to Apple, 70 million as opposed to 36 million. Jeva Lange

October 11, 2017

In a blunt PSA Wednesday night, Samantha Bee shared some tips with male Hollywood executives who constantly find themselves sexually harassing women, with the big one being to "keep your business in your pants."

Bee was speaking on good authority, as she's a "world-renowned expert on not sexually harassing her employees." Her "Penis PSA" got pretty graphic, but one thing it didn't do was name names — she never once uttered "Harvey" or "Weinstein." Watch the very saucy, NSFW clip below. Catherine Garcia

July 26, 2017

Kristin Beck knows what it's like to be in the military — over the course of her 20-year career as a Navy SEAL, she was deployed 13 times to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, and received the Bronze Star for valor and Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat.

Beck is a transgender veteran, and wants President Trump to know that his decision to ban transgender people from the U.S. military will have a negative impact on many, and there's no reason for this policy. "Being transgender doesn't affect anyone else," Beck, a member of SEAL Team 6, told Business Insider on Wednesday. "We are liberty's light. If you can't defend that for everyone that's an American citizen, that's not right."

In 2016, the RAND Corporation estimated there are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender people serving in the military, and Beck, who was born Christopher Beck, said any unit with a good leader wouldn't have any issues with transgender troops. "I can have a Muslim serving right beside Jerry Falwell, and we're not going to have a problem," she said. "It's a leadership issue, not a transgender issue." What really bothers Beck is that Trump claimed his decision was partly based on the cost of services that could be used by transgender service members. "The money is negligible," she told Business Insider. "You're talking about .000001 percent of the military budget. They care more about the airplane or the tank than they care about people. They don't care about people. They don't care about human beings." Catherine Garcia

December 25, 2015

Forget the cheer of Christmas classics like "Silver Bells" or "Jingle Bell Rock" — if you'd like to wallow in your sorrows this Christmas, but want to try something new, Miley Cyrus and LCD Soundsystem are here to help.

Cyrus recorded "My Sad Christmas Song" with the help of The Flaming Lips, and with lyrics like, "This is my sad Christmas song / so I rip another bong," she's surely aiming for a certain demographic.

Indie band LCD Soundsystem sounds similarly morose this Christmas, with frontman James Murphy claiming that the new single, "Christmas Will Break Your Heart," was simply the song that he had been "singing to [himself] for the past 8 years." But the fact that it exists at all is a triumph, as it's a hint that the band, which broke up in 2011, might reunite in 2016. Listen below:

And if you're perfectly happy this Christmas, try Carly Rae Jepsen's take on Wham!'s classic, "Last Christmas." Samantha Rollins

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