Morning Update: Bieber, Beto, And Bexistential Dread

Midterm races intensify, ISIS is not dead yet, hip-hop's resistance to #MeToo.

Five days before the midterm elections, races intensify

It’s go time across the US, as candidates make their final pitches ahead of Tuesday’s elections. Here are four stories you should know about this morning:

Ohio: Donald Trump will hold a rally in Cleveland the day before the midterms — and the Republican candidate for governor may not attend. Mike DeWine has been trying to walk the fine line of appearing close with Trump, but not too close.

Georgia: Oprah Winfrey, the only human who requires no introduction, is headed to the Peach State to campaign for Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor. She’s not the only big name lending a hand there — Barack Obama is set to stump for Abrams, too. If Abrams wins the race, she will be the first black woman governor in the history of the US.

New York: The Democratic candidate in New York’s 11th District is trying to win by taking Trump’s style. The wisdom in this approach: The district leans Republican, and Trump himself remains wildly popular on Staten Island.

Texas: The state’s Democrats are going to huge lengths to associate themselves with Beto O’Rourke. He's the type of high-excitement candidate the likes of which they haven’t seen in a long, long time. So lesser-known candidates running in local races across Texas are hopping aboard the Beto train.

The Trump White House says ISIS has been defeated in Iraq. The data says otherwise.

It wasn’t long ago that President Donald Trump touted the defeat of ISIS as one of his accomplishments.

The data, though, shows dozens of ISIS attacks just in the last two months around the group’s former strongholds in northern Iraq.

According to Kurdish intelligence, the number of incidents is on the upswing, too: more than 70 in August, more than 80 in September, and nearly 90 in October.

An expert put it succinctly: “ISIS is going to play dead in order to rebuild its forces, and it’s going to break out rapidly, because the United States is not paying attention to what is happening in Iraq.”


Logan Paul gave a revealing interview about that “suicide forest” video. The YouTuber defiantly insisted that his career is far from over in a piece by the Hollywood Reporter. Paul told the magazine: “Good luck trying to cancel me. It’s so easy for anyone to be like, ‘Logan Paul just ended his career, he’s done.’ But the only person who will ever decide whether that’s true is me.”

A sheriff's office put warning signs in registered sex offenders’ yards for Halloween. Sheriff Gary Long of Butts County, Georgia, had the signs put up to discourage kids from trick-or-treating and “notify the public that it’s a house to avoid.” Long told CBS his aim isn’t to humiliate sex offenders. He said some have emailed him saying the signs are embarrassing, but “at the end of the day, I don't care if they do like it or if they don't like it.”

One woman’s experience as an Airbnb host turned into a complete nightmare. Alavia Khawaja said the guest, a man named Leonard Jackson, had a positive review on his profile. The only red flag was that he wanted to make sure no other men were staying in the apartment in Texas. His check-in went fine, but Khawaja later came home and found he had broken into her locked bedroom and thrown out any photos she had with male friends. That was just the beginning of the nightmare.

A Better Call Saul actor says he cut off his arm and lied about being a war vet. Todd Lawson LaTourrette told a news station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that he sawed off his own limb nearly two decades ago while going through what he called a “psychotic episode.” He said coming clean was “a necessity” because the lie he’d held inside was “so difficult to live with.” Prior to cutting his arm off, LaTourrette was a struggling actor, but Hollywood eventually took notice, especially once he spun the tale that he was a war veteran.

Lena Dunham is adapting a story about a Syrian refugee and people are not pleased. Dunham was criticized after she was picked by Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams to write the film adaption of A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival, a book detailing Doaa al-Zamel’s journey to Europe.

Justin Bieber has finally cut off his hair, and stans are celebrating. It appears no one is going to miss long-haired Bieber.

Will time ever be up for abusive men in hip-hop?

A little over a year ago, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was taken down by reports detailing decades of sexual harassment and abuse allegations. The reports brought the #MeToo movement to the mainstream, sinking the careers of other accused abusers.

The music industry, though, has largely turned a blind eye toward hip-hop’s lack of accountability when it comes to accusations of abuse.

This year, rappers like Eminem and Lil Wayne were able to have seamless comebacks even given their history of alleged partner abuse. Meanwhile, rapper 6ix9ine is still having a breakout year despite pleading guilty to the use of a child in a sexual performance in 2015.

Sylvia Obell interrogates hip-hop’s relationship with accused abusers, and writes that “the lack of backlash across the board makes it difficult to believe the #MeToo movement will ever affect hip-hop.” It’s a smart, worthwhile piece.

The little girl obsessed with Michelle Obama’s portrait dressed as her for Halloween

Remember the story from earlier this year? Parker Curry went viral for staring in awe at Michelle Obama’s official portrait. People just loved it.

Well, it is my distinct privilege to provide you with the most wholesome update — Parker dressed as her hero for Halloween, and it is honestly so sweet.

Please enjoy:

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