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Tom Petty Estate Blasts Losing Candidate Kari Lake for Using “I Won’t Back Down” Anthem

The Tom Petty estate said it was exploring all legal options to get Lake to stop using the anthem.

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Kari Lake is not backing down from the race for Arizona governor, but she will have to stop using Tom Petty’s music.

Lake, who lost the gubernatorial race, has refused to concede and signaled she may challenge the result. She also released a promotional video set to Petty’s hit song “I Won’t Back Down.”

The Petty estate was having none of it.

This is illegal. We are exploring all of our legal options to stop this unauthorized use and to prohibit future misappropriations of Tom’s beloved anthem,” the group said on Twitter.

MAGA Republican Lake embraced multiple conspiracy theories on the campaign trail, including that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. It should come as no surprise, then, that she insisted there was fraud in her own election as Democrat Katie Hobbs maintained a steady lead throughout vote-counting—and ultimately won.

Lake is only the latest Republican to fall afoul of Petty and his estate. The musician, who passed away in 2017, had never been shy about making his political stance known.

Petty issued a cease and desist letter to George Bush in 2000 for playing “I Won’t Back Down” at campaign events. In 2011, he told Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to stop using “American Girl” in her campaign.

Ultraconservative Bachmann clearly had not listened to the song all the way through, since the lyrics urge: “Oh yeah, all right, / Take it easy baby, / Make it last all night.”

And in 2020, Petty’s estate forbade President Donald Trump from using “I Won’t Back Down” in his reelection campaign.

We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either,” the Petty family said in a statement at the time.

However, in 2012, Petty said he “got chills” when “I Won’t Back Down” played as then-President Barack Obama walked onstage at the Democratic National Convention.

As Hundreds of Twitter Workers Mass-Resign, Elon Musk Posts Stolen Memes

Imagine shitposting through the destruction of your $44 billion website.

Christopher Pike/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Picture this. You spent $44 billion on Twitter, which serves around 400 million people worldwide. Upon acquisition, you, for some reason, feel the need to haphazardly lay off half the around 7,500-person staff. Some of your ensuing made-on-a-whim decisions lead to even more staff leaving. You become fed up and decide to offer workers an ultimatum: Stay to work “extremely hardcore” hours or leave the company.

Unsurprisingly, most of those who remain decide to resign en masse.

By this point, a normal person would realize their mistakes. But not Elon Musk.

On Thursday, hundreds of Twitter employees resigned, many of them on teams critical to the functioning of the website. As doubt circulated about whether Twitter would even survive till the next day, Musk spent the night posting memes (and stealing some).

Or he just encouraged people to leave the website entirely.

As much as Musk’s behavior can be ridiculed, his actions—and inaction—warrant serious attention. Beyond the thousands of workers who have now lost their jobs, the platform itself has been crucial: in sharing news, connecting people together, and giving voice to the marginalized.

While Twitter may not crash all at once, its stability is now up in the air. It could shut down technically, financially, or even perhaps by regulatory oversight. Either way, the saga should disprove once and for all the notion that wealth or specialized success has anything to do with broader intelligence.

Watch Nancy Pelosi Give John Boehner a Standing Ovation at His Farewell Address

Kevin McCarthy said he “had meetings” and couldn’t attend Pelosi’s farewell speech. Here’s a reminder politics wasn’t always this way.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

There was one notable absence from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s farewell speech: the man next presumed to take the gavel, Kevin McCarthy.

Pelosi stepped down from her party leadership position Thursday after almost two decades, though she will continue to represent her San Francisco district.

McCarthy, newly nominated to lead the Republicans when they take control of the House in January, did not attend the speech. He later told NBC it was because he “had meetings.”

It was a very different tune from when Pelosi attended her predecessor John Boehner’s farewell speech in 2015. She even gave him a standing ovation.

However, Pelosi did not attend outgoing speaker Paul Ryan’s farewell speech in 2018, saying she was “busy doing other things.” Donald Trump had been president for two years by that point, and the divisions in U.S. politics had become far more vicious.

During Pelosi’s own goodbye speech, she received multiple standing ovations, mostly from her fellow Democrats. Only a handful of Republicans joined in, a sign of both how divided the House is and how chaotic it will be under the GOP’s razor-thin majority.

Minority Whip Steve Scalise was the only senior House Republican to attend Pelosi’s speech. A survivor of politically motivated violence, Scalise stood to applaud when she mentioned her husband, Paul, who is still recovering from a brutal attack in the couple’s home.

Who Is Hakeem Jeffries? More on the Man Who May Replace Nancy Pelosi

Here’s what you need to know about the New York representative.

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As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn all step down from leading the Democratic caucus, a new trio of Democrats prepares to step up: Representatives Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, and Pete Aguilar of California.

And Jeffries is aiming for the top.

Chairman of the House Democratic caucus, Jeffries is seen by many as Pelosi’s successor. If elected by House Democrats, he would be the first Black party leader in either the House or Senate.

Jeffries, 52, was born and raised in Brooklyn, near the district he now serves. After earning graduate public policy and law degrees, he went on to work in corporate law for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a firm known for defending fossil fuel companies in at least 30 cases over the last five years.

Jeffries then worked for Viacom and CBS before getting elected to the New York State Assembly, serving from 2007 to 2012. Elected to Congress in 2013, Jeffries has, on one hand, been a prominent voice for liberal reform. As an assemblyman, Jeffries teamed up with then–state Senator Eric Adams to help pass a bill that banned police databases from storing the names of people detained but not arrested during stop-and-frisk procedures.

After an NYPD officer killed Eric Garner, Jeffries was one of the loudest voices on the Hill calling for an investigation. In 2015, Jeffries introduced a bill to make the use of a chokehold illegal under federal law. In 2018, Jeffries’s co-authored First Step Act passed, prompting the development of education, vocational, and mental health counseling programing for formerly incarcerated individuals.

On the other hand, Jeffries may give some progressives pause. In 2016, he criticized a unanimous U.N. resolution denouncing Israel’s settlement activity as a “flagrant violation” of international law. Jeffries argued that President Obama should have gone against the 14 nations who voted in favor of it and vetoed the resolution instead of abstaining.

Jeffries has also collected hundreds of thousands from industry donors embedded in investment, real estate, and lobbying. He has received the support of pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC, which has deliberately worked to tank Democratic candidates and support election denialists.

While insisting he is “progressive,” Jeffries finds a need to distinguish himself from the left. “I’m a Black progressive Democrat concerned with addressing racial and social and economic injustice with the fierce urgency of now,” Jeffries told The Atlantic last year. “There will never be a moment where I bend the knee to hard-left democratic socialism.”

Why he felt the need to distinguish himself from the left, and not also from other groups like corporate interests, is unclear.

Though Jeffries appears to be the party favorite, there are others vying for leadership positions—and some who may yet still announce their intentions. His win is not guaranteed, and it would be remiss to treat it as such.

Watch Nancy Pelosi Completely Ignore Trump in Her Farewell Speech

“I have enjoyed working with three presidents,” she said, conveniently ignoring one.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Never one to waste words, Nancy Pelosi didn’t bother acknowledging Donald Trump in her farewell speech as speaker of the House on Thursday.

Pelosi stepped down from the position after leading the House Democrats for more than two decades, and as Republicans eked out control of the chamber.

“It has been my privilege to play a part in forging extraordinary progress for the American people,” she said during her speech. “I have enjoyed working with three presidents: achieving historic investments in clean energy with President George Bush; transforming health care reform with President Barack Obama; and forging the future, from infrastructure to health care to climate action, with President Joe Biden.”

Pelosi received multiple standing ovations during her speech from her fellow Democrats. Only a handful of Republicans joined in, a sign of how divided the House is and how chaotic it will be once the GOP takes over.

This is not the first time Pelosi has made her opinion of Trump clear. At the end of his 2020 State of the Union address, she stole his thunder by tearing up her copy of his speech. That was also the night of her highly memed, witheringly dismissive applause for the then president.

Pelosi said she will continue to represent her San Francisco district in the House even after leaving her leadership position. She has given no indication of whom she supports to succeed her, but the favorites include Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar.

Republicans, meanwhile, will take control of the House when the new Congress is sworn in in January, having reached the 218-seat threshold for a majority overnight Wednesday, more than a week after Election Day.

Their majority will be razor-thin—only a handful of seats—and the party does not seem to be unified, with Kevin McCarthy facing opposition to his nomination for House speaker and moderate Republican Don Bacon saying he is willing to work with Democrats.

Hunter Biden Laptop, Stephen Miller, and More: House Republicans Preview Their Agenda

Republicans are showing what they’ll do with their House majority.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Now that Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives, they’re starting to indicate what their next steps will be … and it’s nothing good.

First on the agenda appears to be a new investigation into a laptop owned by Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden. Biden’s computer—which supposedly contains proof of fraudulent financial practices—has for years been a favorite line of attack for Republicans.

On Thursday morning, just hours after Republicans secured control of the House, Representatives Jim Jordan and James Comer held a press conference accusing the president of participating in his son’s business dealings. Jordan is expected to chair the House Judiciary Committee and could launch a probe into the younger Biden, and even the entire family.

They also managed to slip in an accusation of human trafficking against the president.

Republicans are reportedly also planning to investigate current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Department of Justice for their treatment of those arrested for involvement in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

And former Trump adviser and far-right bigot Stephen Miller was spotted walking into the office of Kevin McCarthy, the House Republicans’ newly nominated leader.

It is not known what the two men discussed, but considering Miller oversaw Trump’s most draconian immigration policies, spread election lies, and promoted articles from white nationalist groups, his presence on Capitol Hill does not bode well.

But there’s no guarantee the Republicans will be unanimous in these moves. McCarthy faced opposition to his nomination, and it’s unclear whether he will have the 218 votes necessary in the full chamber to become speaker.

Some moderate Republicans may cross the aisle to push back on their more extremist colleagues. Representative Don Bacon has already said he will work with Democrats to avoid gridlock and even put forward a more centrist speaker of the House.

Nancy Pelosi Steps Down as Speaker, Ending Two-Decade Leadership Tenure

Pelosi said she will still continue representing the people of San Francisco.

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

After leading the Democratic caucus for two decades, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is stepping down from leadership.

Pelosi made the announcement Thursday morning on the floor of the House, tracing her journey from child visitor to D.C. power broker. “I will never forget the first time I saw the Capitol. I was 6 years old,” she began. “Never did I think I’d go from homemaker to House Speaker.”

After detailing the way Congress has grown to be more representative of America, Pelosi made it official. “With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress.”

While Pelosi steps down from leadership, she said she will remain in Congress representing her San Francisco district. Earlier in the day, Puck News reported that Pelosi will likely serve an emeritus role, using her remaining time in Congress to oversee a leadership transition—one to come amid what’s poised to be a chaotic narrow GOP House majority.

The California representative first rose to leadership in 2001, being elected House minority whip. She was the first woman in U.S. history to hold the role. One year later, Pelosi was elected to lead the Democratic caucus—becoming the first woman to lead a major party in either congressional chamber.

Now the race to fill Pelosi’s shoes begins. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, 82, both sit atop Democratic leadership. Punchbowl News reports that Hoyer will also be stepping down from leadership while still remaining in Congress, and will back New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries for party leader. Clyburn has not yet expressed his intentions.

Jeffries, along with Representatives Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Pete Aguilar of California, are largely seen as Democrats preparing to step in as a new trio leading the caucus.

Jeffries, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and chairman of the House Democratic caucus, has been laying the groundwork for years in preparing to replace Pelosi. Like Pelosi’s, his ascendance would make history, as Jeffries would be the first Black party leader in either the House or Senate.

This piece has been updated.

Watch Mike Pence Get Black Woman’s Name Wrong and Mechanically Reboot

This right here is 2024 material, folks!

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence appeared at a CNN town hall on Wednesday night to discuss a lot of things—like his new book, his opinions on Donald Trump’s 2024 bid, the January 6 attack on our democracy.

But one clip caught the attention of the internet.

In a repeat of flygate—an uncomfortable two minutes of Pence seemingly unaware of a fly nesting on his head during a vice presidential debate—we have received even more evidence of Pence’s robotic nature.

At the town hall, a Black woman named Andrea Barber-Dansby asked Pence a question.

“Barbara, thank you. I represented Madison County in Congress for many years,” Pence starts with a grin.

“Andrea,” Barber-Dansby interjects with an admirably patient smile.

“It’s nice to see you,” Pence responds, as if he’s starting an entirely different conversation. He then takes a shockingly long pause, not unlike an automaton rebooting:

Pence’s town hall came amid his ongoing effort to both express disapproval for Trump yet still maintain favor with the GOP, while he sets the ground for his own potential 2024 candidacy.

We don’t know for sure whether Pence is even running. But robotically malfunctioning and struggling to remember someone’s name (and not even apologizing for it!) on live television is maybe not the best soft launch for a campaign. Rest assured, if Pence does proceed to run, we’ll likely see many more instances showcasing the kind of charisma and presence only a real human could display.

Mike Pence: January 6 Was “Most Difficult Day” of My Life, and Also I Won’t Testify

Pence admitted his family was in danger that day thanks to Trump, but he still won’t cooperate with the January 6 committee.

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Mike Pence has made his stance clear: January 6 was one of the most harrowing days of his life, and also he will not cooperate with investigations of the attack.

Speaking in a CNN town hall Wednesday night, Pence told Jake Tapper that the January 6 riot was “the most difficult day of my public life.”

He explained he certified the votes for President Joe Biden—against the wishes of former President Donald Trump, who continues to falsely insist the 2020 election was rigged against him—because his main loyalties are to his God and the U.S. Constitution.

Pence also condemned Trump’s actions that day, although he stopped short of explicitly placing the blame for the riot with his former boss. “The president’s words and tweet that day were reckless,” Pence said. “They endangered my family and all the people at the Capitol.”

But, somewhat bafflingly, Pence also said he will not testify before the House January 6 committee. He argued that a congressional committee summoning a vice president would violate the separation of powers, and besides, Congress has “no right” to his testimony.

He expanded on that in an interview with CBS, explaining, “I must say … the partisan nature of the January 6 committee has been a disappointment to me.”

The committee hit back at Pence, accusing him of trying to drum up press for his forthcoming memoir. “It is disappointing that he is misrepresenting the nature of our investigation while giving interviews to promote his new book,” committee Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney said in a statement.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, also a committee member, took particular offense with Pence’s comments, accusing him of waffling on his duty.

Pence’s interviews come just a few days after Trump announced a third run for president, but Pence is reportedly considering making a bid for himself.

If so, then his wishy-washy stance makes sense: In both the interviews and his new book, he sought to distance himself from Trump—a bid to moderates and independents—but stopped short of agreeing to actively work against the former leader, risking alienating Trump’s rabidly loyal fan base.

Latest on the House: Here Are the Democrats’ Remaining Best Shots

Republicans have a narrow majority in the House, but there are still a few races left in this election.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Republicans finally clinched control of the House of Representatives, more than a week after Election Day, but it does not necessarily signal the end for Democrats.

The GOP reached the 218-seat threshold for a majority Wednesday night, but it is still a fight to the finish for the remaining six seats. Democrats hold 211 seats, and The New York Times predicts they will easily take two more with Mary Peltola in Alaska and Katie Porter in California.

Republicans are likely to get two more seats in California, and the last two seats are still too close to call, even with more than 90 percent of the votes counted. One of those races is Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert, a Trump-backed election denier who was initially expected to easily win her race.

Either way, the GOP’s majority will be only a handful of seats—a far cry from the overwhelming “red wave” they had predicted before the midterms.

The question for Republicans now is whether they can stay unified in order to advance their agenda, namely blocking President Joe Biden’s agenda and launching a slew of rather petty investigations into policies they don’t like.

But it’s unclear if Representative Kevin McCarthy, who was nominated the party’s House leader, will be able to pull that off. He faced multiple opponents to his nomination and did not have a unanimous vote in his favor.

Democrats, meanwhile, have kept control of the Senate, and they might still have a chance of passing measures in the House if they are willing to deal with more moderate Republicans.

Nebraska Republican Representative Don Bacon warned CNN, “I perceive that there’s a small group that is trying to put us in gridlock.” He has already said he is willing to work with Democrats to avoid a deadlocked House and even find someone more centrist (than McCarthy) for speaker.