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Author: Mary Chastain

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Mary Chastain

Mary is the resident libertarian. She covers stories in every vertical, but her favorite thing to do is take on the media. She saw its bias against the right when she was a socialist.

Mary loves the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, tennis, cats, Oxford comma, Diet Coke, and needlework.

Last summer, Dylann Roof opened fire at the historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, murdering nine black people during a meeting. The court started jury selection this month, but U.S. Distric Judge Richard Mark Gergel stopped the process when Roof and his defense team filed a motion "concerning the young man's competency to stand trial." A psychiatrist examined Roof and presented the findings to Judge Gergel, who released his decision today:
After carefully considering the record before the Court, the relevant legal standards, and the arguments of counsel, the Court now finds and concludes that the Defendant is competent to stand trial.

The Arab world has taken to social media to celebrate a massive brush fire that continues to destroy northern and central Israel. The Times of Israel notes they use #israelisburning to express their joy, moving it to the third most popular hashtag in the world. https://twitter.com/semmi993/status/801847393616613376

So it seems that computer scientists and election lawyers have advised the Hillary Clinton campaign to demand a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania because they have found evidence that shows the results "MAY HAVE BEEN manipulated or Shacked." I emphasize MAY HAVE BEEN because the evidence is not crystal clear. New York Magazine reported:
Last Thursday, the activists held a conference call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias to make their case, according to a source briefed on the call. The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee.
Before Hillary supporters get all riled up, other experts have said any hacking did not change the election. One of the experts in the magazine article even said that the authors misrepresented what he said and had to clarify his points in a separate article.

Designer Sophie Theallet caused a stir when she announced she would not dress or design for future First Lady Melania Trump and encouraged other designers to follow her. But famous designer Tommy Hilfiger only had praise for Melania:
“I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her. Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Republican philanthropist Betsy Devos to head the Depart of Education. DeVos has made a name for herself by championing school choice:
DeVos is the chairman of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s largest school choice advocacy group. The federation has worked at the state and local level to advance the expansion of charter schools and other education reforms. She and her husband, entrepreneur Dick DeVos, created the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter high school in Grand Rapids, in 2011.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Wisconsin's redrawn district lines, stating the moves favored the Republicans and violated the Democrats' constitutional rights. The ruling also provides a new argument to change district lines "by finding Republicans intentionally discriminated against voters of a certain party, rather than voters of a certain race." The Los Angeles Times reported:
The judges said GOP leaders had drawn districts for the Legislature after the last census with the aim of preserving their majority for a decade almost regardless of what voters had to say. Republicans had control of the both houses of the state Legislature, and Gov. Scott Walker signed their election map into law.

When Wikileaks released Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails in July, people immediately pointed fingers at Russia and cried that the Kremlin wanted to influence the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump, who won by a large margin over Hillary Clinton. But National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers dashed those conspiracy theories this past weekend:
“I don't think in the end it had the effect that [the hackers] had hoped it might,” Rogers said during a panel at the Halifax International Security Forum.

The New York Times public editor Liz Spayd's op-ed contains a lot of harsh truths and realities for those who write for one of the world's most famous newspapers: drop the bias. Her office has received "five times the normal level" of complaints "and the pace has only just recently tapered off." Spayd does not flat out say that, but she portrays it in her eloquent article:
But I hope any chest thumping about the impressive subscriber bump won’t obscure a hard-eyed look at coverage. Because from my conversations with readers, and from the emails that have come into my office, I can tell you there is a searing level of dissatisfaction out there with many aspects of the coverage.

President Barack Obama has said that he will not constantly criticize President-elect Donald Trump once they transition, but he will speak up if a certain situation arises:
"As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it's necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I'll examine it when it comes," Obama told reporters.

Aleppo has run out of hospitals due to constant bombardment from the Syrian regime and Russia backed by Hezbollah, which means over 300,000 people have no access to medical care:
Three hospitals in the opposition-held east were destroyed early Friday, forcing doctors and nurses to scramble between medical facilities to treat the wounded, often operating out of basements, which are safer from bombardments. By late in the night, the four remaining hospitals in the area had also been bombed out of service, according to local doctors and the Aleppo Health Directorate.

Chicago authorities have charged four people for beating David Wilcox and hijacking his car after a car accident. People around him just watched and did nothing to help him. Instead they screamed anti-Trump sentiments:
On a video posted online, Wilcox, 50, was pummeled by several individuals, while onlookers shouted “You Voted Trump!” The altercation started when his car was rear-ended at Kedzie and Roosevelt in the North Lawndale neighborhood on Wednesday.
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