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Fresh Intelligence: Today Is a Rough Day for Melania Trump, But an Even Worse Day for Russian Athletes

2016 Republican National Convention - Day 1
Trump goes full Bond villain. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/2016 Tasos Katopodis

Good morning and welcome to Fresh Intelligence, our roundup of the stories, ideas, and memes you’ll be talking about today. In this edition, mass hallucinations pass for a convention in Cleveland, the Republican platform makes Leave it to Beaver seem like radical-communist propaganda, and the White House requests a Supreme Court mulligan. Here’s the rundown for Tuesday, July 19.

A heat wave is baking the Central States today, while storms deluge the Mid-Atlantic — from D.C. all the way down along the Gulf Coast. All in all, a more mild day than we’ve been experiencing, with temperatures in New York City topping out in the upper-80s. [USA Today]

RNC Convention Day One: The Bonkersing

Well, it finally happened. The Republican National Convention is upon us, and it did not disappoint, which is to say it disappointed profoundly. The convention almost went off the rails before it even got started, that is, until Trump used wildfire to silence the Never Trump camp once and for all. Next, it was Chachi’s turn to speak. Scott Baio vowed to do to the country what he did to Happy Days: Totally ruin it. Then, there was a speech from a guy who sells “cancer vitamins” to vulnerable sick people — making America presumably great again — and a speech from a mother whose son died in Benghazi. We didn’t see that one because we watched Trump’s interview on The O’Reilly Factor, which ran at the same time, instead. And finally, Melania Trump spoke, delivering a speech previously given by Michelle Obama, in part. She played the role of a human woman who would happily be in the same room as Donald Trump to a tee — golf!

New Iran Nuclear-Deal Documents Come to Light — Maybe Candidates Won’t Notice

The Associated Press has gotten its hands on new documents pertaining to the Iran nuclear deal, which among other things, show that the much-reported 15-year-long time frame for the deal is not as rigid as it appears. In fact, according to the AP, the restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program will begin easing well before the agreement lapses. In the document, Iran lays out its plan to grow its uranium-enrichment program in just ten years. Whether this document proves to be a legitimate — forgive us — bombshell or not, it will certainly lend fodder to the Republican side in the presidential debate. Trump and his cohort have long argued that the Iran deal was a mistake, too lenient, and would ultimately help Iran develop nuclear weapons. [AP]

The Republican Platform Is Also a Time Machine
Yesterday, the Republican Party officially adopted its party platform, and early reports that it would be the most conservative and backwards-looking platform in its history have been proven accurate. Despite same-sex marriage being a legal reality in the country, the platform still creates a distinction between same-sex couples and what it calls “natural” families, and comes down strongly against homosexuality in general. This is how the platform describes the historic Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage: “Five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” The platform also calls for a wall along the border with Mexico; asks that Congress impeach more judges; encourages the display of the Ten Commandments; is supportive of gay-conversion therapy; says “the data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: Every child deserves a married mom and dad.” Again, this is all the stuff the Republican party is proud of. [NYT]

Hillary Clinton Is Against Cop-Killing
Is Hillary Clinton really that unpopular that she has to remind the American people that she is against killing police officers? That’s exactly what she did yesterday when she promised that under her leadership, the country would bring the “full weight of the law” to bear on anyone who killed cops. She also agreed that penalties for killing police officers are correctly stricter than for people who kill civilians because “police are symbols of the rule of law.” The same reason killing a bald eagle is so frowned upon. [Reuters]

White House to Supreme Court: Can We Get a Do-Over? Pretty Please?
The White House has taken the extremely rare step of asking the Supreme Court to rehear a case that has already been ruled on. The Obama Administration called on the Supreme Court yesterday to rehear a challenge against Obama’s immigration plan once the court had the correct number of justices. The court’s failure to reach a consensus on the case has put 4.4 million undocumented immigrants’ status in this country in jeopardy. If the court did agree to rehear the case, it would be put off until after the next president is sworn in, as Republicans have effectively blocked Obama’s nominee for the court from taking the bench. [NBC]

Couldn’t Be Clearer: Yahoo Revenue Tops Estimates, Falls Short, and Is in Line With Expectations

Yahoo released its second-quarter earnings yesterday as the sale of its core business looms. And, depending on who you talk to, its earnings either “topped analysts’ estimates,” “fell short of Wall Street expectations,” or were “in line with analysts’ … expectations.” Business is such an exact science.

And Today’s Bad News for Volkswagen Is …
It emerged yesterday that three states — Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts — are each filing separate lawsuits against Volkswagen over the company’s never-going-to-die emissions scandal. The suits accuse the car company of “violating state environmental laws and defrauding regulators.” All of which Volkswagen has pretty much admitted to already. [Reuters]

WikiLeaks Under Attack: “We Will Prevail and Publish”
WikiLeaks’s online infrastructure came under what the site called a “sustained attack” yesterday following the announcement that it would publish “300,000 emails and 500,000 documents” relating to the coup in Turkey. WikiLeaks openly suspects the Turkish government of being behind the attacks, but has vowed to publish anyway. [CNet]

Hard of Herring: Court Rules Against the Navy’s Sea-Life-Tormenting Sonar
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has found that the resolution that approved a type of sonar used by the Navy, and long-known to harm marine mammals, violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Navy has been using the sonar for five years across 70 percent of the world’s oceans to the widespread chagrin and often outright death of its mammal inhabitants. [The Verge]

Roger Ailes Is Almost Certainly Out

All signs are pointing to the imminent departure of Roger Ailes as the head of Fox News. The Murdochs, who control Fox News’ parent company, have reportedly decided, in light of Ailes’s ongoing sexual-harassment case, to call on the extremely unpleasant media titan to either resign or face termination this week.

Private-Equity Firm Acquires Adweek from Mediabistro
It was announced in a staff meeting yesterday that the private-equity firm Beringer Capital, well-known for investing in digital media, has completed talks with Mediabistro to acquire Adweek. Brian Martin, co-founder and managing partner of Beringer Capital, is now the chairman of Adweek. The sale includes the eponymous site, as well as its nine subsidiary blogs including TVSpy and FishbowlNY. [Adweek]

Netflix Viewers Cheap and Lazy
Netflix stock is way down today after a subscription fee increase of one dollar slowed the streaming service’s rate of new subscriptions. The company was also caught off-guard by a rash of cancellations following the rate hike. Still, it plans on adding “300,000 U.S. subscribers and 2 million in markets outside the United States.” [Reuters]

Class Act
America braces for a lot more “finger guns.”

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/2016 Tasos Katopodis

Sign of the Times
This unfortunate sign at the RNC is getting a lot of attention — the bad kind.

We Promise Babe, You Can Totally Get Zika From a Toilet Seat

Health officials are baffled over a mysterious transmission of Zika in Salt Lake County, Utah. It seems a caretaker has tested positive for the disease after caring for a Zika-infected elderly relative who has since died. It had been thought that Zika was only transmittable from person-to-person through sexual contact. Now doctors are saying that the relative might have somehow brought back a mosquito from where he was infected. [ABC]

How to Keep Your Marriage Fresh: Missouri Edition
A couple in Joplin, Missouri, have been arrested after taking a tandem joy ride on a stolen lawn mower naked. The couple had been swimming in a nearby creek and decided to engage in a bit of felonious air drying. Say what you will, but those guys are never breaking up. [UPI]

Nation Braces for Republican National Convention, Day Two

The nation will continue to follow the Mad Hatter further down the rabbit hole in the second day of the Republican National Convention. Anything can happen, especially now that the steadying hand of Scott Baio is off the rudder. [NYT]

If the Convention Is Just Too Ridiculous for You
If you need a break from the histrionics and shallow theatrics of the convention, then there is always the World Wrestling Entertainment draft, which is taking place at the same time today. Before you even ask, the Undertaker will not be taking part. [PWMania]

Russia’s Olympic Fate Likely Sealed Today
After finding that there was, in fact, a massive state-sponsored doping conspiracy among Russia’s elite athletes, now a group of anti-doping officials has to decide what to do about it. It seems more and more likely that Russia may be banned from competing in the Olympics entirely. Something tells us they will be displeased. [NYT]

Fresh Intelligence: RNC Kicks Off in Cleveland