Here are your official 2015 V+V Summer Jams

This year we opted to not just try and predict which jams would be summer jams as they were released at to just wait and see what came to be. Now that July has come, it’s time to decide. It’s been a pretty great summer for summer jams, all told. In fact, here are two. One is better, but the other would easily win were it not for the first.

The official winner is “Staring Contest” by Mates of State. A Summer Jam has to be happy, catchy as hell, floating and lush, and about that kind of nostalgia for summers past that crashes into hope that this one will be even better. This track checks off all the boxes while also being a great pop song that has a super fucking cute video. It’s the sonic equivalent of the sun sweeping across your face on a breezy day atop a mountain. It’s a summer crush, both in the middle school love and orange soda varieties.

The runner-up is “Run Away With Me” by Carly Rae Jepsen. Again, it’s just about perfect as a summer jam. You should hear this track everywhere for the rest of the summer, which isn’t the worst thing ever. It’s arguably (and that argument is correct) her best song yet.

Now if anybody could explain how her album has already been released in Japan but isn’t being released in the U.S. until the end of August…

Morning Constitutional – Thursday, 30 July 2015

Good morning, everybody. Here’s your morning constitutional:

The Taliban confirmed the death of leader Mullah Omar. Peace negotiations scheduled for Friday between the Afghan government and the Taliban were postponed after a Taliban statement suggested they would pull out of the talks. The nightmare scenario of a leaderless Taliban.

Two drone strikes in Afghanistan killed 20 militants tied to Islamic State.

Myanmar pardoned nearly 7,000 prisoners on humanitarian grounds.

University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing was indicted Wednesday for killing an unarmed man during a traffic stop. New York Times has a great feature on how video is affecting perceptions of race and policing.

Pennsylvania House Representative Chaka Fattah was indicted for misuse of funds Wednesday along with a staff member, a lobbyist and two others.

A dangerous level of viruses and bacteria from human sewage were found in water venues where athletes will compete in next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Flooding in northern Vietnam has killed at least 17 and threatens to heavily pollute Ha Long Bay.


Valuable, old forests in Cambodia are being destroyed at a unprecedented rate according to a new report.

The U.S. economy grew at an accelerated 2.3 percent annual rate.

The vast majority of children bought and sold for sex in the U.S. are American.

Liberals did not censor or ignore the Planned Parenthood sting video story.

Why Trump can’t win and Clinton can.

Maybe they found the plane?

Ohio Governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich doesn’t like The Roots.

Finally, fugitive caught after starring in movie.

Watch: What happens when water and an effervescent tablet are combined in zero gravity

In January, the fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station brought astronauts an Epic Dragon camera by RED, which is capable of shooting 6K video. In the above video, astronaut Terry Virts uses it to show what happens when you add an effervescent table to water in zero gravity. Here’s more information on the mission from NASA.

Morning Constitutional – Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Good morning, folks. Ben Affleck is dating his kids’ nanny. Now, your morning constitutional:

Afghanistan is investigating reports that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban who has not been seen publicly since the regime was toppled in 2001, is dead. Peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are set to begin Thursday or Friday.

Ukraine is having trouble controlling rogue volunteer battalions who are fighting separatists in the east.

Turkey has launched its heaviest air strike against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq. Turkey’s move against Kurds is complicating U.S. plans to fight Islamic State militants in Syria, which relies heavily on Kurdish forces.

Pakistani forces have gunned down Malik Ishaq, the leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned Sunni extremist group that is believed to have killed hundreds of Pakistani Shiites.

A Sudanese man died Wednesday after migrants stormed the channel tunnel entrance in hopes of crossing over from France to Britain. France said Wednesday that they are sending 120 additional police officers to Calais to secure the tunnel entrance.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited Iran Wednesday in the first trip taken by a top French diplomat to Iran in over a decade.

The Iraqi government declared a four-day holiday beginning on Thursday as temperatures are set to hit 123 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two Zimbabwean men arrived in court Wednesday to face charges for poaching after being paid $50,000 to help Walter James Palmer, American dentist, hunt Cecil the lion, a beloved attraction at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

In Flint, Michigan, aging pipes have lead to water contaminated with lead, copper and bacteria; if other cities don’t update their old pipes, it could become a common problem.

Companies making up for not giving employees raises by providing perks like bonuses, paid time off, free gym membership and pet health insurance.

Joe Lieberman did not cost Al Gore the 2000 election.

Good thoughts on media coverage of Donald Trump.

Finally, forklift thief caught after hitting pothole.

New York Times Columnist Line of the Day

If you frequent this here premier “web log,” there’s a good chance you may once or twice have read the New York Times op-ed page. You might even recognize the names of the columnists, who every day spout the most conventionally wise of the conventional wisdom. This is a feature that is dedicated to these folks, highlighting one line that is either funny, ridiculous, strange, or actually intelligent or well-written.

Today’s is from David Brooks, who turns in a pretty boring affair with his column today, “The Structure of Gratitude,” opening:

I’m sometimes grumpier when I stay at a nice hotel.

Yeah, samesies, man.

Morning Constitutional – Tuesday, 28 July, 2015

Good morning, everybody. Grace Gealey and Trai Byers are engaged. Now, your morning constitutional:

NATO is holding an emergency meeting Tuesday at Turkey’s request to discuss the threat of Islamic State militants against Turkey.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey would end four years of peace negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Kurdish militant group that is simultaneously assisting in the fight Islamic State militants. 

An effort in Congress to scale back mandatory minimum prison sentences may be getting some traction as President Obama, Speaker Boehner and even Senator Grassley have become open supporters.

The Boy Scouts of America ended its ban on gay scout leaders, while allowing religious-based groups power to continue discriminating on sexual orientation. However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has suggested they may leave the Boy Scouts anyway.

On Robert Gates: America’s unlikely gay-rights hero.

The U.S. Navy is investigating after an unusually large number of healthy young personnel who have worked at Guantanamo Bay have been diagnosed with cancer.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, was sentenced to death by a court in Libya for war crimes committed during the 2011 revolution.

The Arizona Cardinals hired the NFL’s first female coach.

A day in the life of the newest leader of white nationalists.

Volkswagen sold more cars than Toyota in the first half of 2015, as demand for cars in Europe spiked to its highest level in 5 1/2 years.

Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and hundreds of experts are calling on a ban on robots that can kill autonomously.

Whoa Americans are actually eating less.

Finally, Florida man knocks himself out by headbutting bus in protest of $2 fare.

Till the End of the Day

Anti-abortion activists hacked Planned Parenthood and released all of the organization’s web databases and employee information.

The Economist published a massive report on the investment risks in disregarding global climate change.

The value at risk to manageable assets from climate change calculated in this report is US$4.2trn, in present value terms. The tail risks are more extreme; 6°C of warming could lead to a present value loss worth US$13.8trn, using private-sector discount rates. From the public-sector perspective, 6°C of warming represents present value losses worth US$43trn—30% of the entire stock of the world’s manageable assets.

The New York Times published a horrendously inaccurate story on Thursday about Hilary Clinton’s emails. The public editor investigated what happened and finally responded.

The first cargo ships have moved through Egypt’s new second Suez Canal in preparation for its opening next month. Security is tight because it runs through some areas controlled by militants.

If white-people food were described described like “exotic” food.

The Boston 2024 Olympics bid is over. Good riddance.

The Americans With Disabilities Act is 25 years old. How it helped usher an era of accessible architecture.

On this day 75 years ago, Warner Brothers released “A Wild Hare,” and introduced the world to Bugs Bunny:

Hump-Day Song of the Week: Golden Parachutes by Desaparecidos

No music video this time, so you’ll just have to listen. That’s fine though, because it’s my favorite track on one of my favorite records so far of 2015. It’s easily the best thing Conner Oberst has been involved with since I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. It may take you a couple listens, but yes, that is Laura Jane Grace singing too.

Morning Constitutional – Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Good morning, everybody. Kylie Jenner graduated from high school. Now, your morning constitutional:

Over 13,000 people were evacuated and three airports were closed after five volcanoes erupted throughout Indonesia.

Video released Tuesday of Sandra Bland’s arrest contains numerous continuity issues that suggest that it may have been edited.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that the U.S. killed Muhsin al-Fadhli, a leader of a group of veteran al-Qaeda operatives known as the Khorasan Group in Syria, in an airstrike on July 8.

Democrats in the House and Senate will introduce a bill Wednesday to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

At least 25 are dead after a suicide bombing at a market in the Faryab province of Afghanistan.

Afghan security forces are struggling to maintain a stalemate as U.S. and NATO troops leave the country.

How Russia is everywhere and Ukraine is nowhere in Donetsk.

Turkey briefly blocked Twitter on Wednesday to stop photos of Monday’s bombing from being disseminated and to prevent protests against the government for not doing enough to prevent the bombing.

Following his escape after 17 months in prison, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman faces a much changed drug trafficking landscape.

Martin O’Malley is right to connect the Islamic State and climate change.

In a new Quinnipiac poll, Hillary Clinton has lost ground and now trails Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.

Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter and the future of the liberal agenda.

Cool feature on Upshot on how chance could determine the Republican nominee.

Fragments of a Koran in a UK university are old enough to have been written within just a few years of the founding of Islam.

Connecticut teen flies drone with guns mounted.

Finally, a Florida gun-range owner has declared a “Muslim-free zone.” Go ahead and mind the irony of him using the word “patriots” while standing in front of a Confederate flag.