Updated 11/30/2020:

While many fans rejoiced at Rosario Dawson's recent appearance as Ahsoka Tano on The Mandalorian, plenty were dismayed and disappointed that the 41-year-old actress has a lawsuit against her and her family based on their alleged attack of a transperson and "longtime family friend."

Prior to Dawson's anticipated debut on The Mandalorian, LGBTQ+ fans felt that little attention was paid to the pending lawsuit, which felt like added erasure of trans rights in a year when 39 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed in targeted crimes, often with the added insult of being unreported or misreported. (That's to say nothing of non-fatal violent crimes against transpeople, including a recent attack against Laverne Cox and her friend.)

Initially, the lawsuit against Dawson and her family included battery, assault, trespass, discrimination, civil rights and labor violations. However, recent court documents show that 18 of the 20 claims have been "withdrawn voluntarily without a settlement."


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Satire

Donald Trump's Disinfectant Injection—and Other Brilliant Ideas (that Will Kill You)

Really really don't do any of this, or anything else the president tells you to do

President Donald Trump made a medical breakthrough on Thursday, during his daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

Using his tried and true method of blurting out the first dumb idea that popped into his head, he stumbled upon the most dramatic advancement in health science since Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine. No doubt he was searching for new options after a study from the VA seemed to show that hydroxychloroquine—previously his favorite miracle cure—provided little to no benefit to COVID-19 patients. And he found those options in the course of the seemingly aimless rambling that is currently being broadcast on every major network and cable news channel on a daily basis.

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WIRED

For the few who haven't noticed by scrolling Twitter to the point of agony, the political climate sucks right now.

Partisan politics are pretty much always messy, soul-crushing chaos, but especially these days as the fate of the 2020 presidential election gets closer (but not too close...it's still March, people). Still, during these trying times, what better way to break up the centrist white man narrative than with some female-hosted political podcasts?

Whether you're a full-speed-ahead progressive or a more subtle centrist, there's a podcast to help you feel less alone.

The Electorette

Among the slew of podcasts that spawned from the fateful 2016 election is the Electorette, which features interviews with brilliant female minds—politicians, authors, activists, you name it. What each guest of the semi-anonymous host, Jenn, share is a passion for progressive policy and leading the resistance.

The Electorette Podcast

The Electorette Podcast open.spotify.com

Reply Guys

Julia Claire and Kate Willett are comedians, political activists, and hosts of Reply Guys, a podcast in which they discuss progressive politics with like-minded guests with a healthy dose of filterless humor. If hating billionaires is a hobby of yours, this one's for you.

Reply Guys

Reply Guys open.spotify.com


Pantsuit Politics

Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers host Pantsuit Politics, a bipartisan podcast that values connection and conversations to help us all understand politics a little better. This country isn't going to get any better if we don't learn how to cohesively and calmly discuss it, right?

Pantsuit Politics

Pantsuit Politics open.spotify.com


The Rachel Maddow Show

You know Rachel Maddow for her namesake commentary show on MSNBC, but her liberal hot-takes are available on-the-go in podcast form, too.

The Rachel Maddow Show

The Rachel Maddow Show open.spotify.com

On One With Angela Rye

Angela Rye is a CNN political commentator. Her podcast, On One, searches for honest, nuanced answers to the most important issues in politics, particularly how they pertain to race and pop culture.

On One with Angela Rye

On One with Angela Rye open.spotify.com


Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour Podcast

Hating Donald Trump has never been so uncensored. On Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour Podcast, the original "sexy liberal" talks politics and pop culture with her comical friends over stiff drinks.

Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour Podcast

Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour Podcast open.spotify.com


Hear the Bern

National Press Secretary Briahna Joy Gray hosts this podcast about everyone's favorite democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, featuring discussions with campaign staffers, organizers, activists, regular people, and sometimes even the man himself.

Hear the Bern

Hear the Bern open.spotify.com

CULTURE

Donald Trump's Reading List

Trump may not read, but he does love to recommend books.

It's well-known that Donald Trump doesn't read.

Admittedly, reading can be hard in the social media age of distraction and SparkNotes. Maybe if you're the president of the entire United States, you should perhaps read–but who are we to judge?

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CULTURE

Rush Limbaugh Is a 30-year Infection in American Media

His latest insanity involved claiming that the coronavirus is both "the common cold," and a bio-weapon designed by China.

Bloomberg/Getty Images

There are few people in American media as reliably unhinged and distasteful as Rush Limbaugh.

But to many in his audience of more than 15 million weekly listeners, Limbaugh is a bastion of straight talk. Since the late 1980s, his brand of antisocial advocacy has twisted and infected the nation's political conversations.

What makes Limbaugh so compelling is that he never pulls punches or offers any deference to basic human decency. He will fight for the rights of smokers to choke a restaurant with clouds of thick smoke, will happily claim that Planned Parenthood is committing genocide against black Americans, and will never shrink from accusing Michael J. Fox of "exaggerating the effects" of Parkinson's disease with no evidence beyond the fact that Limbaugh himself can do a morbid pantomime of wild muscle spasms. To regular listeners, these unequivocal stances reflect Rush's willingness to stand up to the leftist authoritarians and the woke scolds of the world. He speaks truth to power… Unless of course Republicans control the levers of power, in which case Rush will speak in power's defense.

Limbaugh mocking Michael J. Fox

That was the case on Monday, when Rush managed to argue—in the span of a few minutes—that COVID-19 (colloquially known as the coronavirus) is both "the common cold," and "a Chicom laboratory experiment that is in the process of being weaponized." Chicom is a reference to China's ruling Communist party, whom Rush is accusing of deliberately manufacturing this new strain of virus as a form of biological warfare. But due to their incompetence or some nefarious ulterior motive that involves getting everyone only mildly ill, their biological weapon is—according to Rush—"the common cold."

As evidence of its mildness, Rush cites the low mortality rate—"98% of people who get the coronavirus survive." Of course, this would seem to undermine the sinister plot that Rush has espied through his omniscience, if not for his clever discovery of Chicom's co-conspirators: the mainstream media. "The drive-by media hype of this thing as a pandemic, as the Andromeda strain, as, 'Oh, my God, if you get it, you're dead.'"

There's no doubt that the media has a history of exaggerating the potential danger of emerging epidemics—ask anyone who had the Swine flu and shrugged it off. It makes for a gripping story to tell viewers that a new disease that's spreading is coming to kill them and their loved ones, but the famously pro-communist "drive-by" media is legitimately too distractible to really focus on overblowing a health crisis while also covering election drama, Megxit, Trump's pardons, and Harvey Weinstein. So if they are giving the coronavirus too much hype, it can only be part of an elaborate conspiracy with Xi Jinping and the Chinese government…but to what end?

COVID-19 Timeline Wikimedia

As always, in times of uncertainty, we turn to Rush Limbaugh for the answer: "The way it is being weaponized is by virtue of the media, and I think that it is an effort to bring down Trump, and one of the ways it's being used to do this is to scare the investors, to scare people in business. It's to scare people into not buying Treasury bills at auctions. It's to scare people into leaving, cashing out of the stock market—and sure enough, as the show began today, the stock market—the Dow Jones Industrial Average—was down about 900 points, supposedly because of the latest news about the spread of the coronavirus."

Fascinating. Meanwhile the fact that nearly 3,000 deaths have occurred—with more than 80,000 confirmed cases and outbreaks spreading in Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan—must all be part of the hype. The fact that the virus is wildly contagious and not well understood is part of the hype. The facts that the entire city of Wuhan—with a population of over 11 million—is under strict quarantine and that containment measures throughout China are disrupting office work, manufacturing, and transportation is all part of a clever, convoluted plan to hurt the presidency of Donald Trump. The fact that tourism and travel have dropped off around the world, and that various companies have reported losses as a result of the virus and the measures taken to combat it, it's all just calculated to undermine President Trump's singular metric of success—the surging "economy" embodied in the stock market.

Stock market drop

Because there can't possibly be anything wrong with structuring economic policy entirely around a foundation of volatile investor speculation and a faith in limitless corporate growth. No, the strategy would be perfect if it weren't for the forces of evil aligning against Donald Trump to control global events in a way that hurts his political chances. In that sense, it's only reasonable for President Trump to dangle military aid in front of foreign leaders in exchange for dirt and propaganda against his political rivals. It's the only way he can fight back!

This latest drama comes on the heels of Limbaugh's receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Trump's State of the Union Address—an honor which Limbaugh pretended to be surprised by. Some people have criticized the decision to give such a prestigious award to the kind of man who would glibly invent conspiracies about Chinese bio-weapons and downplay the severity of a little-understood contagion. On the other hand, if anyone should know about the dangers of viral respiratory infections—and the deadly pneumonia that can result in people with compromised systems—it's surely Rush Limbaugh. He is, after all, currently being treated for stage four lung cancer and is unlikely to recover.

Rush Limbaugh with a Cigar

That last point is worth restating: Rush Limbaugh most likely will not be with us for much longer. It's an important thought to keep in mind when things seem bleak.

MUSIC

The Strokes Debut Stunning New Music Video and Songs at Bernie Sanders Rally

"This is what a Bernie Sanders presidency looks like."

Last night, the Strokes headlined a massive Bernie Sanders rally at the University of New Hampshire.

The legendary indie rock band took the stage before 7,500 Sanders-supporting students and volunteers, coming on after a stacked lineup that included Dr. Cornel West, Cynthia Nixon, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the indie band Sunflower Bean, and of course, the Senator from Vermont himself.

"This is no ordinary campaign," said Dr. West. "This is a movement that has a spiritual, strong coming together. It's part of the genius of Hebrew scripture—I don't care if you're Muslim, I don't care if you're Christian, I don't care if you're Buddhist, Hindu—it says the spreading of Hasid, the spreading of that steadfast love to the orphan, the widow, the fatherless, the motherless, the oppressed, the occupied, the dominated—it's rooted in the best of America… That's a moral and a spiritual dimension, and I thank god my dear brother Bernie Sanders has got the courage and the vision to bring us together."

"We're moving forward," said Ocasio-Cortez in her introductory speech for Sanders. "Forward to a multiracial democracy. Forward to guaranteed health care. Forward to a living wage. Forward to indigenous rights and honoring sovereignty. Forward! That's where we're gonna go! We're not going back to the days where people had to hide!"

Sanders is currently surging in nationwide polls and is expected to spar with Pete Buttigieg for the top spot in the New Hampshire primaries, which will be over by 7PM on Tuesday, February 11th. He took to the stage to cheers and the sound of "Power to the People," and delivered his typical invectives against the 1% and his calls for unity.

The Strokes, who performed last, remained relatively apolitical throughout their raucous set, which consisted of the infectious indie rock that made them into legends of the New York downtown scene in the early 2000s. They played some of their classics, like "Someday," and debuted a new song called "Bad Decisions." At one point, frontman Julian Casablancas announced that his album was coming out April 10th. At another, he launched into a tirade about pirates, who represent the "evil people" that "stole and r*ped for money" who "Bernie Sanders would knock out of office." He made sure to clarify that he meant "no disrespect to pirates" and added, "modern businesspeople? Way worse." The banter was strange, but the energy was undeniable.

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Near the end, Casablancas asked fans to look at a screen hanging above the audience. He then played a new song, "At the Door"—an autotune-heavy, synthy number reminiscent of his work with the Voidz—while a psychedelic animated video played in the background.

The video "At the Door" appears to follow several disparate science fiction-inspired storylines, and uses vintage Disney-style animation. There's a little boy who leaves his house with a Grim Reaper-type figure after watching his parents fight. There's a superhero-esque woman who kills her captors and embarks on a heroic journey in a racing car. There are a couple of rabbits reminiscent of Watership Down who are forced to run from both an enemy mutant rabbit and a massive dark sun. And then there are a host of aliens, who seem to live in a paradise world on the other side of the real one. Filled with starry, surreal imagery, the video blends science fiction and fantasy with reality and seems to present different possible futures, some apocalyptic and some Elysian.

www.youtube.com

There are a lot of ways to read this video in the context of the rally. It could have little to do with the burgeoning political revolution that Sanders is leading. Then again, the rabbits, the little boy and the trapped woman could also represent some of the fear and suffering that occur in America—ecological disaster looms, suffering reigns, and mutations land people with incurable illnesses—and Sanders' campaign promises to fight these realities with environmental movements like the Green New Deal and beneficial programs like free college and Medicare for All.

Whether or not the Strokes' new video was a symbol of political revolution, it struck more than a few chords. But it was far from the end of the show. Casablancas had been complaining periodically that the lights had been turned on, and when someone told him that the cops were to blame, he launched into a version of the song "New York City Cops," an anti-police number. Perhaps frustrated by their presence and disruptiveness, and inspired by general frustration with cops, he invited audience members to jump onstage (much to the disdain of the present police).

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When the show finished, crowds poured outside and launched into an impromptu ice skating session on a frozen pond, writing "BERNIE 2020" in the snow.

Prior to the event, Casablancas released a more political statement that said, "We are honored to be associated with such a dedicated, diligent, and trustworthy patriot — and fellow native New Yorker… As the only truly non-corporate candidate, Bernie Sanders represents our only chance to overthrow corporate power and help return America to democracy. This is why we support him."

The Strokes—with their private school backgrounds and rockstar ethos—might not be the most obvious representatives of Sanders' campaign. But something in the gritty energy of their music seems to perfectly embody the spirit of hope and determination that's carried Sanders' campaign from obscurity to the front lines of the future.