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Good evening, folks. I’m here, as always, to be your guide through Mic’s top stories of the day, including a fascinating series of interviews shedding light on what it’s like to be a sober person working as a bartender.

Stacey Abrams defends decision to burn Georgia flag with Confederate insignia in 1992

Stacey Abrams speaks at the 2018 Essence Festival in July.
Stacey Abrams speaks at the 2018 Essence Festival in July. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

As a freshman at Spelman College in Atlanta, Stacey Abrams — years before she decided to run as a Democratic candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial race — participated in a protest of Georgia’s state flag, lighting it ablaze. At the time, the state’s flag was emblazoned with Confederate imagery.

In a new statement sent to the New York Times on Monday, Abrams defended the decision.

Early voting has begun. Here’s why you should be wary of reading too much into turnout numbers.

A voter holds her 3-week-old daughter as she casts an early ballot for the midterm election in Indiana on Tuesday
A voter holds her 3-week-old daughter as she casts an early ballot for the midterm election in Indiana on Tuesday Michael Conroy/AP

November’s midterm elections are still two weeks away, but a few states have opened early voting locations — and demographic data is emerging about those who have turned up so far. But, according to Mic’s Emily Singer, for now you should be skeptical as to the significance of those numbers.

Trump mocks Beto O’Rourke as a “stone-cold phony” during Texas rally

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump Loren Elliott/Getty Images

During a rally in Houston on Monday night, President Donald Trump was in a particularly rambunctious mood. In a short time, Trump cast Rep. Beto O’Rourke as a “stone-cold phony,” then self-identified as a “nationalist” and baselessly blamed Democrats for the so-called caravan of migrants traveling toward the southern border of the United States.

Sarah Silverman apologizes after telling her Louis CK masturbation story

Sarah Silverman and Louis C.K. at the Academy Awards Governors Ball in February 2016
Sarah Silverman and Louis C.K. at the Academy Awards Governors Ball in February 2016 Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Recently, comedian Sarah Silverman told Howard Stern in an interview that her longtime friend and fellow comedian Louis C.K. had masturbated in front of her with her consent — in part, at least, crafting a more sympathetic narrative around allegations of sexual misconduct C.K. has willingly admitted are true.

In response to Silverman’s comments, one of the women who first publicly accused C.K. of misconduct criticized her, saying C.K. is “a predator who victimized women for decades and lied about it.”

7 bartenders on what it’s like to be sober in the booze industry

Chris Cardone at the Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling-themed semifinal of the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year competition in August 2017
Chris Cardone at the Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling-themed semifinal of the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year competition in August 2017 Rob Lawson/AP

As a bartender, a big part of your job is to schmooze with your patrons, making conversation and helping them feel comfortable in your space. But how does that dynamic shift when you tell a customer you actually don’t drink — say, when they offer to buy you a shot?

Mic spoke with seven in the industry who have had to deal with exactly that.

Tim Mulkerin
Reporter and Social Media Editor, Hype