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Historian explains why America under Trump is closer to civil war than it has been since the 1850s

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The Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings have once again exposed massive divides within the United States — and one historian believes the country is closer to civil war than it has been at any time since the 1850s.

Talking with the New York Times, Columbia University historian Stephanie McCurry says that the current split in American society mirrors the split over the legalization of slavery that occurred in the mid-19th century.

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“At that point, what you’re looking at is this sense of powerlessness all around about the ability of any institution to mediate not just a political conflict, but a conflict of fundamental values,” she said. “That’s maybe something like what we’re dealing with right now.”

What makes this moment particularly unusual, Public Religion Research Institute director Daniel Cox explains to the Times, is that the voters whose party is in power feel just as estranged as the voters whose party is out of power.

Even more striking, he says, is that Trump supporters’ feelings of cultural alienation have actually increased slightly since his election.

“Trump is continually stoking these feelings of resentment, of loss,” he said. “If you’re already primed to feel that way, getting a sort of regular dose of that kind of rhetoric I think would cause you to continue to believe it.”

Read the whole report here.

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Trump Jr ripped for ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘stupidity’ as group releases new #ByeDonJr ad

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‘Odd Radio Circles’ perplex astronomers studying the newly discovered phenomenon

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Astronomers believe they have discovered a new, bizarre type of cosmic object that is invisible to all wavelengths of light except radio.

This story originally appeared at Salon.

The strange circular objects in question have been unofficially dubbed "Odd Radio Circles" (ORCs); three of them were discovered in a recent data accumulated during a preliminary survey by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, a radio telescope array in Western Australia. A fourth Odd Radio Circle was discovered when researchers sifted through old data from 2013.

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Bill Barr quietly pulls off a shake-up in a federal prosecutor’s office — but why?

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Attorney General Bill Barr’s attempt last month to push U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman out of his position at the Southern District of New York blew up in his face. While Berman was ousted, Barr didn’t get the replacement he wanted, and House Democrats are now investigating.

But last Friday night, Barr successfully pulled off a similar maneuver in the Eastern District of New York. Richard Donoghue no longer leads that office, as he has taken the position of principal associate deputy attorney general at Main Justice. Seth DuCharme, who had been principal associate deputy attorney general and worked under Barr, will now serve as the acting U.S. attorney for EDNY.

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