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    It Pays to Be Pals With the Clintons
    Photo: AP

    In 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports, the Clinton Global Initiative set up a $2 million commitment to Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., a for-profit company with ties to a number of Democratic political operatives and Clinton allies.

    Founded in 2009 by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who ran for Congress from Nebraska twice, the company’s business plan was to insulate people’s homes and allow them to repay the cost through their utility bills. At a September 23, 2010 gathering in New York, the Clinton Global Initiative—a program within the Clinton Foundation that “convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges”—announced the $2 million commitment to Energy Pioneer Solutions from Kim Samuel, a Canadian academic and philanthropist.

    The company is mostly owned by Kleeb; Jane Eckert, an art gallery-owner in Pine Plains, N.Y.; and Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y. Smaller shares are also held by Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias and former Rhode Island Democratic chairman Mark Weiner.

    (Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, in 2008 and 2016, have paid Weiner’s company Financial Innovations Inc. about $4.2 million for souvenir items, like coffee mugs and pens.)

    Tax-exempt charitable organizations are required by law to act in the public interest, and IRS guidelines for these 501(c)(3) require that “The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests.”

    The $2 million commitment was ultimately placed on the conference’s agenda at President Clinton’s behest, the Journal reports, and over the protestations of Clinton advisor Doug Band, who feared criticism over the company’s connection to McMahon, who owned 29 percent of the business.

    According to the New York Post, McMahon is rumored to be a frequent visitor to Clinton’s home in Chappaqua—so frequent that she has a Secret Service codename, “Energizer.” McMahon—who happens to be the daughter of millionaire Democratic donor Joel Tauber—has denied that her relationship with President Clinton is an intimate one, describing him as “a family friend.”

    The company also received an $812,000 grant from the Energy Department at the former president’s urging. Though a 2010 news release from the department announced the grant to the “women-owned small business,” the company isn’t really a “women-owned” business: The company was founded by a man and its ownership is majority male. Actually, it sounds like it isn’t much of a business at all. From the Journal:

    Energy Pioneer Solutions has struggled to operate profitably. It lost more than $300,000 in 2010 and another $300,000 in the first half of 2011, said records submitted for an Energy Department audit. Mr. Kleeb noted that losses are common at startups.

    The audit found deficiencies in how the company accounted for expenses paid with federal grant money, Energy Department records show. The company addressed the deficiencies, and a revised cost proposal was approved in 2011, said an Energy Department spokeswoman, Joshunda Sanders.

    Kleeb tells the Journal he recently laid off most of Energy Pioneer Solutions’ staff, closed the offices, and sold his trucks as part of a pivot. “We are right now gearing up to start under this new model,” he said. Asked whether the company ever broke even, he replied, “We’re at that stage…We are expanding and doing well. We have partnerships, and it’s good.”

    The commitment, Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian told the Journal, was an instance of “mission-driven investing…in and by for-profit companies,” which is “a common practice in the broader philanthropic space.”

    A Clinton spokesman, Angel Urena, sums it up: “President Clinton counts many [Clinton Global Initiative] participants as friends.”


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    Ben Carson Confident Ted Cruz Will Drink the Orange Kool Aid Soon 
    Photo: AP

    Ben Carson, eerily calm as always, offered a dead-eyed observation Friday: Ted Cruz will eventually come around to Donald Trump, unlikely as it sounds, because they all do, eventually.

    Via the Daily Beast’s Gideon Resnick, who spoke to Carson on the phone:

    “I would certainly expect that to happen over the course of time,” Carson said of a Cruz endorsement. “Recognize that there are a lot of raw wounds. Not only Sen. Cruz, but a whole host of party regulars will come to recognize the importance of unity.”

    Previously, Trump suggested that Cruz’s father played a role in the assassination of JFK, called his wife ugly, and suggested he was not eligible to run for office.

    “Water’s nice,” Ben Carson whispers. “Come on in.”


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    World’s Oldest Woman Temporarily Named World’s Oldest Woman
    Image: AP

    This past Thursday, world’s oldest woman Susannah Mushatt Jones was tragically killed, making her the latest victim in a string of long, frequent serial murders. Now, Italy’s Emma Morano has ascended the Oldest Woman throne at the spritely age of 116. But, we must ask ourselves, for how long?

    http://gawker.com/who-keeps-kill...

    Morano, who attributes her long life to a diet of raw eggs and equally raw steak, seems entirely unperturbed by the fact that she’s likely to become the yet unnamed killer’s next target. With The Sacramento Bee writing that “journalists... had to wait until she finished a nap to greet her.” How anyone could possibly sleep with the knowledge that the reaper’s untimely scythe could be waiting at every possibly turn remains a mystery.

    Be careful, Emma. The world is no longer safe for your kind.

    And as always, if you have any information at all on this assassin of the ancients please do let us know.


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    Eater.com Editor Placed On Leave After Apologizing for Racist Punk Past
    Eater editor Nick Solares in front of the Katz’s, a Jewish kosher delicatessen on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Photo: YouTube

    Eater.com, a popular food and restaurant website owned by Vox Media, placed an editor named Nick Solares on leave for at least one week, effective immediately, after he apologized for participating in New York City’s skinhead punk rock scene in the 1980s, according to several sources with knowledge of the decision.

    The suspension came a week after former associates of Solares began sending reporters (including several at Gawker) links and photos documenting his past life as a skinhead. On Wednesday, Solares published an apology and explanation of his past on Eater, where he had recently been promoted to the position of Restaurant Editor:

    When I was a teenager in NYC in the 1980s, I became involved with the right-wing skinhead scene within the hard punk subculture. I am deeply ashamed by this, and I made the decision decades ago to disassociate myself from far-right politics and fully disavow the bigoted and dehumanizing ideologies they represent. ...

    I was a British kid who wound up falling in with a group of white-pride American nationalists, and while I was part of this group I believed the hateful things that they believed, and helped spread the message. I was the lead singer of a popular hardcore band and fed off — and indeed contributed to — the darker impulses of the scene.

    “I am sorry to the people who were the target of my hateful speech then, and its equivalents and legacy today,” Solares’ wrote toward the end of his note. “I am sorry to those that I have hurt—particularly my colleagues at Eater and Vox Media—for putting you in a position to have to confront my shameful past.”

    Solares, then known as “English Nick,” belonged to a punk band called the Youth Defense League, or Y.D.L., whose members identified as “skinheads” and focused on the experience and liberation of the white working class. Though their lyrics were never explicitly racist, the band’s politics leaned far-right-wing, attracting many fans (and members of other bands) who did, apparently, believe in white supremacy. Y.D.L. reportedly tried to thread this needle by arguing that they believed in white pride, but not racial hegemony.

    Solares’s public apology came after several people who knew him as “English Nick” directly contacted editors at Eater. Among the pieces of evidence they provided was an album of photos uploaded to Y.D.L.’s dedicated Last.fm page, in which Solares can be seen performing at a Y.D.L. show:

    Eater.com Editor Placed On Leave After Apologizing for Racist Punk Past
    Photo: Last.fm
    Eater.com Editor Placed On Leave After Apologizing for Racist Punk Past
    Photo: Last.fm

    The red, white, and black flag hanging from the stage’s back wall is most commonly associated with the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, a militant group that historically advocated for the political and racial hegemony of South Africa’s white Afrikaner population, who descended from the territory’s Dutch settlers. The group, which still exists today, believes in reinstating South Africa’s apartheid system, under which the country’s white minority subjugated its black majority.

    Sometime after Solares published his apology, editors at Vox Media were apparently sent a link to the photo below, in which Solares appears to mingle with several other members of New York’s skinhead scene—including Mervin Shields (far left), who at one point played bass for the infamous neo-Nazi rock band Skrewdriver:

    Eater.com Editor Placed On Leave After Apologizing for Racist Punk Past
    Photo: Matt O’Connor, Google+

    The existence of this photo, which was taken and uploaded to a Google+ page in late 2012, would appear to contradict Solares’s suggestion that he disavowed the skinhead scene “decades ago.” In a statement to Gawker, Solares argued otherwise:

    The photo in question is from a few years ago at Manitoba’s Bar in NYC and was the first time I had seen Mervin Shields since the 1980’s. Additionally, the photo in question was only something Eater editors and Vox Media became aware of recently. I have long since turned my back on these oppressive views, do not have friends that are still racists or play in racist bands, and have no political affiliations with any hate groups. I remain deeply ashamed of and apologetic for my actions as a teenager and any inferences this photo may lead to.

    It’s unclear how exactly Solares’s colleagues at Eater (or other Vox Media employees) reacted to Solares’s apology, at least internally. (According to Grub Street, at least two editors, Helen Rosner and Robert Sietsema, voiced their support for him.) No other staffer at the company has publicly addressed the matter.

    In the past few years, people who write and report for a living have engaged in a fractious debate over the degree to which a person’s private activities or beliefs, including their past political views, should bear on other parts of his or her life. It’s not illegal to be a former (or current) skinhead, so as a matter of New York labor law, Vox Media would likely find it difficult to fire Solares for being one. And it’s not as if there’s a clear connection—or conflict of interest—between his racist past and his present ability to visit and review restaurants.

    In 2009, Human Rights Watch suspended an analyst named Marc Garlasco after several bloggers documented his deep interest in Nazi war memorabilia. In that case, there was a much more obvious conflict between Garlasco’s private activities and his work at Human Rights Watch, where he focused on researching allegations of human rights abuses committed by the Israel Defense Forces in the Palestinian Territories.

    At least one food critic sees more of a similarity than a difference, however. Writing for New York magazine’s Grub Street, Eddie Huang observed today:

    Eater is not all-powerful by any means, but the Solares story raises the question: Who is forming the identity of this industry? The people living in this city? The people cooking the food? The people serving us? Or the former skinhead assigning restaurant reviews? ...

    What makes [this] all worse is that one of the things Eater has done is help push a kind of restaurant consensus around that monoculture, which goes a little like this: notable chef, must speak English, must be media-savvy ... Eater’s not alone in doing this — plenty of others do, too (including Grub Street). But the result is a formula that has basically condo-ized New York’s food culture with some ultimately pretty conservative, even intolerant, values. Which means maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s a penitent skinhead near the top of Eater’s food chain.

    A spokesperson for Vox Media did not immediately return a request for comment. If you know any more about this story, please get in touch.

    Update, 5 p.m.

    A spokesperson for Vox Media provided the following statement to Gawker:

    While we do not comment on individual employee matters, Vox Media disavows and adamantly rejects hate groups and hate speech as well as organizations that seek to oppress individuals or groups based on religion, race, gender identity or sexual orientation.


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    Judge Delays Release of Unindicted Bridgegate Co-Conspirators
    Photo: AP

    Prosecutors were set to release Friday a list of people suspected but not charged in 2013's Bridgegate conspiracy until a federal judge granted a temporary reprieve after a lawyer for one of those included on the list argued that her client would be permanently branded with a “badge of infamy.”

    On Wednesday, Justice Susan Wigenton of the United States District Court in Newark granted a motion, filed by a group of media organizations, seeking the release of the list, ruling that “there is very little that is private about the lane closures or the lives of the people allegedly connected to them.”

    Federal prosecutors were ordered to release the list by noon Friday. However, late on Thursday, Jenny R. Kramer of Chadbourne & Parke in Manhattan filed a motion arguing that the release of her anonymous client’s name would result in him being “publicly branded a felon without due process of law, causing him immediate and irreparable reputational harm.”

    According to the judge, everyone on the list is either a public employee or elected official. Prosecutors have previously indicated that the evidence against the people named on the list meets the probable cause standard but does not constitute guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The deadline for the list’s release has been pushed back to Tuesday. In their counter-motion, the media organizations lobbying for the list’s release wrote that the John Doe “can only delay the inevitable.”


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    If it were a trailer for a low-budget slasher movie, I’d say, “You should really tone it down.”

    On Friday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a Hillary Clinton attack ad entitled “Toxic.” The ad seeks to paint Clinton as a poisonous swamp monster, and is narrated by a Concerned Female Voice, so you know it’s legit and also not fundamentally based in any sort of misogyny.

    “She’s a living history of scandal, lies and spin,” the narrator says. “Defended an accused child rapist, then laughed about his lenient sentence.”

    “WHITEWATER, TRAVELGATE, CHINAGATE, FILEGATE,” the narrator continues without explanation (something which I can do too: LAMPGATE, FISHWOMAN, ICICLE TITS, WATERCOOLER).

    “BENGHAZI, THE CLINTON FOUNDATION, FBI INVESTIGATION, RUTHLESS,” she says.

    If we’re just naming things, I’ll keep going. HORSES, A BICYCLE WITH NO WHEELS, THE CONCEPT OF TIME, A CHILD’S LAUGH.

    “FAKE ACCENTS,” says the narrator over audio of a woman (maybe Clinton) laughing, “FAKE CONCERNS, and FAKE LAUGHS. Hillary Clinton: She is the living embodiment of everything people hate about politics.”

    The ad concludes with audio of Clinton saying, “Hahaha! I am a real person.”

    Damn, NRSC, that is extra, even for you.


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    Remember When Donald Trump Shut Down Liberals With This One Crazy Fact About Arsenio Hall?
    Image: Getty

    Donald Trump is busy distancing himself from former butler Anthony Senecal—a man who Trump previously saw as “irreplaceable” according to The New York Times. Because friends, Donald Trump wants you to know he is not a racist. Just like he wanted you to know he was not a racist four years ago when he said, “How can I be a racist? I just picked Arsenio Hall [for The Apprentice]. Give me a break.”

    http://gawker.com/donald-trumps-...

    The remarks came during North Carolina’s Republican convention, when friend-to-all-races Donald Trump decided to take the opportunity to dispel some notions that had cropped up in the midst of his birther campaign against President Obama—like the notion that he was a raging racist, specifically.

    Rather than go with the classic “some of my best friends are” so on and so forth, Trump took the businessman’s route:

    I mean, I don’t want to bring up a very successful show called The Apprentice. I assume you all watch The Apprentice? Where Arsenio Hall—somebody said because I brought up the birth certificate, I’m a racist. [laughter] I said, “How can I be a racist? I just picked Arsenio Hall. Give me a break.”

    Case closed. A racist would never allow his producers to pick the (sole) black contestant on a mediocre reality show to be his fake assistant for a few press photos.

    Just as a racist would never say that he “would love to be a well-educated black, because I really do believe they have the actual advantage today,” as Donald Trump did in 1989.” Nor that he is “the least racist person there is.”

    You see, Donald Trump can’t possibly be a racist like his close, personal friend and former butler Anthony Senecal. Otherwise Arsenio Hall would be unemployed.

    Now, let’s build that wall.


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    Why Are Strippers More Heavily Vetted Than Uber Drivers? 

    After losing an extended, expensive fight in Austin over an ordinance passed in December that mandated fingerprinting for ridesharing drivers, Uber and Lyft have ceased operating in the city. Drivers are upset about the loss of income. Riders are angry about being stuck with Austin’s insufficient cab service. Everyone is framing it in terms of crotchety, charming old Austin versus the interlopers who have either made the city one of the most vibrant in the country or killed its soul, depending on whether you moved to the city before or after Twitter exploded at SXSW.

    Uber and Lyft fought the fingerprinting ordinance with Proposition 1—it was the only thing on the ballot in last week’s election—in which they asked to retain control of their background check process. They called fingerprinting an unnecessary burden on drivers and painted the city’s proposed regulations as targeted at stifling their industry. There’s also been wide speculation that Uber and Lyft are fighting fingerprinting because it could be used as fuel in employee misclassification lawsuits, like the one they recently settled in California for $100 million, which alleged the drivers were actually employees of the company and not, as Uber and Lyft say, independent contractors. (Lyft is in the process of negotiating its own settlement.)

    This is a new and contrary line of thinking, because often the need to get a specialized license for work is used as evidence for the opposite argument: that a worker is an independent contractor. There are a number of contract-based professions in which workers are required to undergo this kind of background check, which has not historically led to reclassification of those workers as employees. This includes one particular profession that’s seen 30 years of misclassification lawsuits fail to change labor practices: exotic dancing.

    There are many places to read about the specifics of the campaign in Austin, which brought out the worst in everyone—Uber and Lyft’s election tactics included spending almost $9 million to robo-text customers and blanket the city with paper—but I would recommend Neal Pollack’s accurately jaundiced take on my obstinate hometown. Austin, he writes, did this to itself. The city put itself in the position of choosing between a drunk driving epidemic (there were more than 6,000 DUI arrests in 2013 and 2014) and the strongarm tactics of app-based car services (the 23 percent drop in drunk driving accidents Uber claimed after it came to town was revised downward by police to 12 percent, but either way it’s significant), as its supposedly progressive residents have spent 30 years fighting against meaningful urban planning and public transportation. You say Austin’s the liberal oasis in Texas? Allow me to introduce you to the liberals who proudly protest the likes of residential density and rail lines.

    In other words, the ride-sharing companies are filling a meaningful and somewhat self-inflicted gap in the Austin market. And with all the company’s persecution fantasies, Uber isn’t wrong that licensing regulations can create a barrier to entry. Strippers, who face actual regulatory bias in many cities, understand this well. Licensing can be used to put an undue burden on people working part-time jobs as independent contractors; local regulation can be used to force out an industry deemed suspect in the name of public safety. Adult entertainment is a fragmented industry and the biggest strip club chains are a fraction of the size of Uber or Lyft, so there is no massively funded pushback against local regulations by the clubs on behalf of the workers. In cities that require strippers to obtain a license—a testament to Austin’s independence is that it’s the largest city in Texas where no effort has been made to do so—chances are they’ve been as thoroughly vetted as a cab driver. And they aren’t even responsible for driving anyone.

    Stripper licensing is, like cab licensing, done on a city or county basis. There isn’t yet any state-level licensing, although Arlington state representative Bill Zedler proposed one in 2013 that would have required strippers to take a training course on human trafficking, and in 2015 a Pennsylvania proposal to create a statewide stripper registry stalled out. In both cases, the legislators were fairly transparent that they wanted to use the proposed licenses as disincentives or under the guise of protecting women from sex trafficking or working underage. Like most laws around the industry, what is touted as protecting women and children is actually about controlling women’s movements and policing nonwhites.

    Why Are Strippers More Heavily Vetted Than Uber Drivers? 

    The licensing process in most jurisdictions only looks for drug- and prostitution-related charges and convictions. In places where the requirements are that narrow, a felony—even a homicide charge—isn’t going to disqualify someone from a stripper license, but a mere arrest on one of the specified charges can be enough to prevent the granting of a license even if the applicant was found not guilty. This means that people of color, who are more heavily policed, are disproportionately affected by licensing requirements. The City Council’s background check regulations specified that only convictions (for certain crimes, “to be specified by separate ordinance”) would be taken into account, but the Austin NAACP and Austin Area Urban League others made a similar point in a letter to the city council registering their concerns about fingerprint checks for drivers. (Currently, Uber and Lyft use third parties to run their background checks for convictions for certain offenses and moving violations.)

    Of course, there are more legitimate arguments to be made for checking the backgrounds of drivers than of strippers. In Austin, investigations of sexual assault by drivers were in the spotlight, and cab drivers and ridesharing drivers alike know where their passengers live, but the worst a stripper can do is kick someone in the head with a seven-inch stiletto while popping it in a handstand. The licensing of exotic dancers is about something else, says my friend Michelle. We used to work together at an Austin strip club, and she’s also a Lyft driver. “The only reason [stripper licensing] exists is shame and revenue. It’s almost universally unnecessary,” said Michelle.

    Michelle saw a lot of parallels with her experience dancing and driving for Lyft. “I found that after a few years not dancing that I really missed wrangling drunks and being out all night talking to weirdos and finding out people’s stories, and also parallel to what I enjoyed about stripping is it was a way to make people’s lives better and happier. And in the case of Lyft, it’s materially safer,” she said.

    Like every Lyft driver I’ve talked to (I’ve never actually used Uber, but a lot of drivers use both and are free with their opinions), Michelle says it’s a better company than Uber, with a better pricing structure for drivers and more stringent driver requirements. “Uber is kind of a sketchy company. We all know this,” said Michelle, citing Uber’s greatest hits, like their CEO threatening journalists and their less stringent background checks. “I sat at Circuit of the Americas one night waiting to pick someone up, and just that night alone I met three or four Uber drivers who did not pass Lyft’s background checks.”

    When she was a traveling stripper, Michelle danced in cities where she had to get a license to work. “It took longer to get my stripper license for Maricopa County [AZ] than it did to get my drivers’ license. I had to visit three different offices and it took all day,” she said. In contrast, to get approved to drive for Lyft in Austin, she was able to submit her information via the driver app. “I gave them my name, address, social security number—gave them enough information to do a background check, It took a couple of days and then once I cleared that I was told I should meet with one of their mentors.” No office visits required.

    Here’s a sampling of what a stripper might go through to work in some major cities. Only one of them, Houston, also requires that Uber drivers be fingerprinted. Lyft left the city over the requirement and Uber has intimated they are considering doing the same.

    HOUSTON: Must go in person to the city office between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on a weekday, be fingerprinted, undergo a background check, supply two passport photos, pay $276.70 for a permit that is valid for two years and that must be worn on the performer’s person. Clubs where dancers wear pasties are exempt.

    ATLANTA: Must obtain one permit per club. Everyone down to the dishwasher has to have one, and it costs $300.00 per year. Have to get three separate money orders, the only accepted form of payment, to pay all the fees. Background check and fingerprinting required.

    LAS VEGAS: Licensing is not stripper-specific, but dancers are required to obtain a work card from the police department ($45 every five years) which requires fingerprinting, and a Nevada business license ($200 per year). Some clubs require a background check ($9).

    NASHVILLE: Entertainers are required to make an appointment with the city inspector at the Sexually Oriented Business Licensing Board Office, get a background check, fingerprints, supply two passport photos, pay a $50 fee, then wait for one of the two monthly meetings of the board to meet and approve the permit, which is valid for a year.

    DETROIT: This information isn’t available anywhere online, so thanks to Josephine, Detroit’s Angriest Stripper, for sharing this process with me. Applicants (every club worker, not just dancers) must get a traffic clearance from municipal court. Having unpaid traffic tickets is grounds for being declined. Then, they must get a criminal clearance at the police station, get a notarized affidavit from the police attesting they’re not a sex offender, get a $150 USPS money order, go to the licensing office—which moves around to different precincts—and get thumbprinted, photographed, and issued a cabaret license. It expires every year on the holder’s birthday, no matter when it was issued.

    Employee misclassification lawsuits filed by dancers—be they minimum wage claims through a state agency or a federal class action suit—are consistently settled by defendants or judged in the dancers’ favor. Plaintiffs do not generally use licensing as evidence that they should be reclassified as employees, and the consistent legal findings that they are being treated like employees without being classified as employees have not led to a change in the way strip clubs do business. Instead of putting strippers on payroll, clubs require them to sign increasingly airtight arbitration agreements. In other words, the industry would rather sustain the cost of an occasional multimillion-dollar class action settlement rather than reclassify their workers. Uber, which recently settled for $100 million in a case involving drivers in California and Massachusetts, would rather do this too.

    The departure of the ridesharing companies has attracted so much attention nationally because losing an election in a city with the fastest tech employment growth in the country, in a state that itself boasts about enticing companies from overly-regulated and -taxed states like California looks pretty personal. Uber basically turned itself into Ted Cruz in Austin, inspiring an instinctive recoil. Of course, Ted Cruz will probably get re-elected in Texas, and there’s already a state senator salivating to take up the ridesharing cause in the Texas legislature, a body that most recently demonstrated its antipathy towards business-unfriendly municipal regulations when it passed legislation aimed at overturning Denton’s fracking ban. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) told reporters, “Texas should not accept transparent, union-driven efforts to create new barriers to entry for the sole purpose of stifling innovation and eliminating competition.”

    Strippers in cities around the country, however—lacking Uber’s political power—have had to deal with these regulations for years, with little assistance from the businesses they enrich. If the strip clubs can operate with a workforce of non-employees, Uber probably has a good shot at abolishing the notion of employment entirely. And at least our bosses don’t close the club out of petulance when things get tough.


    Susan Elizabeth Shepard is a fourth-generation UT-Austin alum. She now writes and strips in Portland, Oregon, where there’s public transportation and the whole ridesharing thing was handled with a much quieter steamrolling of local officials. She helped found Tits and Sass, the sex workers’ culture site.

    Illustration by Jim Cooke, license image courtesy of Susan


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  • 05/13/16--12:45: Nice.
  • This has been Nice.


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    The President Plans to Gravely Insult the Nordic People Tonight
    Photo: AP

    Today the Washington Post was invited to preview the White House State Dinner, which will honor the leaders of five Nordic nations Friday evening. What they’ve done to Obama, I can’t say. But from what I can see, based solely on this review, we’re going to be at war soon.

    The party, which has not yet begun, is a clear act of aggression against the Nordics comprised of dozens of small but unmistakable slights like cheap-looking chairs:

    The White House on Thursday previewed the decor and menu for Friday evening’s black-tie affair, and several reporters couldn’t help but notice that the sculptural white seating displayed under the chandeliers looked like it could have been a bargain buy from the value-price, high-design Swedish superstore’s aisles.

    Worse yet—no tablecloths:

    No billowing swirls of brocade that usually connote a Serious Dinner. Just woven runners topping those au courant rustic-wood rectangular tables.

    And then, the piece de resistance:

    And hey, in addition to the sleek decor, the after-dinner entertainment, pop singer Demi Lovato, has a young-skewing demographic.

    A message has been sent.


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    Director Ben Wheatley on His Demented High-Rise: "I Can Understand Why People Didn’t Like It"
    Photo: Getty

    While wrapping up my recent conversation with British director Ben Wheatley about his new movie High-Rise, he mentioned liking Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I told him that I hadn’t seen it, but it surprised me nonetheless as I’d heard it was incoherent. “So? Since when was that a problem?” he said with a laugh.

    That attitude makes sense coming from someone who makes the kind of challenging, playful, confusing, and delirious movies like those Wheatley has been for the past several years. His most recent is High-Rise, a fairly faithful adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel of the same name about a massive apartment structure that slowly implodes as a result of an internal class struggle and dependence on technology. Throughout Wheatley skewers capitalism, pulls ingenious performances out of the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elisabeth Moss, and evokes a series of classic films by directors like Luis Buñuel, Stanley Kubrick, Marco Ferrari, David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, and more.

    I spoke to Wheatley last month in the theater of the Thompson Street Hotel. I didn’t know such a space existed prior to entering it and even then, it was still surreal—rows and rows of thick and foamy fluorescent orange seats in an otherwise all-black space that Wheatley and I sat in the middle of (separated by one seat). We discussed his unique filmmaking process with his regular collaborator, Amy Jump (who’s also his wife), retrofuturism, and why a movie like High-Rise is so hard to get made in today’s cultural climate, even though it shouldn’t be.

    Gawker: Why High-Rise?

    Ben Wheatley: When I reread it, it felt like it had been torn out of the newspaper. When I read it when I was a teenager, it was predictive science fiction, and I enjoyed it but I didn’t connect it to anything, in the same way that you might read Philip K. Dick or [Robert] Heinlein or anything like that. But when I reread it, it just felt like he’d gotten a lot of it right. It was more relevant than ever.

    What stuck out to me immediately as the most relevant thing about this story is how it shows that technology keeps people indoors. Was that something that was on your mind?

    Yeah, that and the way that we’ve merged with technology so that it becomes an extension of us. The thing that struck me when I reread the book is that they were filming themselves the whole time and projecting the information onto the walls, which really made me think of YouTube and that we can’t live now without broadcasting. We’ve become our own media nodes, constantly updating everybody about what we’re doing, whether anybody cares or not. I thought that was very sharp of Ballard to see that from 1975, because that really is mad science fiction from a 1975 position, certainly in the UK, where we [were] probably 20 years behind America. We didn’t even get supermarkets in the UK until 1960. My nan went to the States in 1935, my great grandmother. We found all the letters from her reporting back saying, “Oh my god, there’s these shops where you can buy all different types of foods.” It was all corner stores before that in the UK. And the idea of televisions that have more than three channels. That was still going in my lifetime. For him to then take the information that was around him and basically predict YouTube, it was pretty incredible.

    Presenting that vision of the future from 40 years ago now—in a retro-futuristic framework—speaks to the bigger picture of human nature that he was getting at, right? Is that part of the point of making High-Rise now?

    Yeah. I like the idea of the past and the future being safer places to represent now. I think basically every period movie and every science fiction movie are doing the same thing, which is shifting our culpability up or down the timeline so that we can present difficult issues without having to make us feel personally guilty, or disengaging some of the context, the more nitty gritty of the context that we’re in in the moment. It becomes much more complicated when it’s a personal thing that you’re being called out on.

    What exhilarated me most about this movie is that feeling of “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.” It feels like ‘60s and ‘70s cinema in a big way, in that it’s experimental, you engage in class commentary, and you don’t spoon-feed, but present ideas without giving a definitive moral.

    All the films that [writer/co-editor Amy Jump] and I have made are like that. I’ve never been a fan of exposition in particular. I’m a fan of thinking. I like cinema that makes you think. But not exclusively. Cinema is a broad church that can support all types of cinema. But when I feel most exhilarated, it’s coming out of a movie, trying to put it together after it’s taken no prisoners. It’s a shame that that kind of cinema doesn’t exist as much [anymore]. The other thing is if you take this movie and you put it into any week in 1975, it doesn’t look that crazy. How’s that happened? This type of movie would have been a studio movie and it would have been mainstream, effectively. Now it’s not. It’s been pushed far, far back to the edges of culture.

    Was part of the way that you got to make a movie this challenging a result of your high-profile cast?

    Yeah, of course, that makes a difference. But that’s just a reality of unlocking certain amounts of money. The thing is the film wasn’t very expensive, so it’s effectively a low-budget film that punches massively high because of the art design. The cast didn’t rinse us for loads of money. They wanted to support the project so they weren’t coming in hard on it. I think that helped it.

    Are you aware of the reactions that this movie has already elicited?

    Yeah, I follow it.

    It’s pretty divisive.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Do you think that has to do with making a movie that makes people think?

    I don’t know. It’s just taste, isn’t it? There’s plenty of things I don’t like, and there’s plenty of things I do like. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s divisive like that. The way modern cinema’s gone is that anything that isn’t completely obvious becomes a mistake. But also, I can understand why people didn’t like it. It doesn’t matter. There’s no judgement on that.

    I felt like I saw references to or reflections of a variety of directors in this movie, almost from scene to scene. Everything from A Clockwork Orange, which people have noted repeatedly, to The Exterminating Angel given the fact that your characters don’t leave the building. Were you cognizant of the references you were evoking?

    Some I was, some I just did and didn’t realize. I am a conclusion of watching a lot of cinema. I’ve watched a lot of movies and it’s all broiling around inside. I’m not a postmodern filmmaker in that respect and I don’t sit down and go, “Right! We’re gonna do the scene from The Thing and this is gonna be the shot from this and take this bit of music from this movie, which is gonna make us all remember that film.” I’m not that interested in that. But when I look at my own movies, I can’t deny it. It’s not necessarily references—it’s more like echoes. And it’s not just cinema in there. There’s television and comic books and all these kinds of things. It’s a tricky one in interviews, ‘cause your natural instinct is to deny it: “I didn’t copy that stuff!” Or, “I’m not THAT influenced by it.” But it is undeniable. It hasn’t been assembled, Frankenstein-like, from those influences. It’s more in the moment, we make decisions about things and in the edit suite, we choose things. And then it starts to coalesce from that.

    It took me a while to untangle what I took from the movie. What you ultimately got at for me, especially with the Thatcher quote you include at the movie’s end [“There is only one economic system in the world, and that is capitalism”], is that our contrived idea of “society” is the root of order, but people are always on the brink of displaying their primal, id-based selves. But then when that root of society is then id-based itself, or id-encouraging in the way capitalism is, destruction and collapse are inevitable. Does that seem...?

    Yeah. When you read Ballard’s stuff, he deals in extreme metaphor. The building itself isn’t necessarily a building. It could be a body, it could be a person. He’s explicit about that in some respects. The characters are sets of ideas that are firing around inside it. Laing and Toby and Royal are the same person, effectively, at different stages of their development. Or Laing and Wilder and Royal are the same person, at different points of their psychological makeup. You could take those positions within it. It’s a subset of types of movies that Amy and I have been making. We do films about couples, movies about childlike men and their stoic, strong wives. Or we make movies that are like wrappers that hold different elements of a person that are all fighting to become unified, that’s something like A Field in England or High-Rise, but then High-Rise is also a film about couples destructing rather than coming together. There’s a lot going on.

    Do you like to fuck with people’s heads?

    I think that’s a genre thing we’ve been working on for a while. There’s a lot of elements of genre that gives people a pass. Behaviors become OK and simplified, and when you actually look at what the actual actions are of characters in films and what they get up to and why they are the “hero”...I think the original Cloverfield’s interesting like that because he flips it onto the street to find what the monster was up to. You get some movies where the heroes go ‘round and by the end of it, they’ve murdered a hundred people. You go, “They’re the hero?” In any other story, they’d be the villain. It doesn’t matter what happened at the begging of their tale. By the end they’ve caused so much [pain]. I love in one of the Austin Powers when he kills one of the minions and they cut to the family being told about it. This is most of cinema isn’t it? It’s like what Kevin Smith said about Return of the Jedi, with the destruction of the second Death Star. All the private contractors that were on there just building this thing and they all get fucking incinerated. How do we explain that?

    I think the blockbuster industry is somewhat culpable in our cultural desensitization of death.

    Within narrative. That’s a different thing. That sits outside. I don’t think it’s in a general sense. I blame that on news rather than movies (laughs). I think it’s more in a metaphorical sense.

    It seems like it does people a disservice to make death so consumable. It should be brutal and tough to deal with.

    You should feel bad about it, to a degree. But then we’re actually creating an environment here where the karate movie can’t exist and that’s a bad thing. That can’t happen. I think there’s checks and balances within it. I think it’s fine to talk about it, but I wouldn’t be so prescriptive as to stop it. I enjoy these movies, too, but it’s talking ‘round it.

    You can only put into the world what you see as being right.

    And also you want people to feel. I think the example for me is Hannibal, the TV show, where it’s so horrible, unbelievably horrible. I was watching it, thinking, “Why is this so fucking horrible, this thing?” I think it’s because if in real life I saw a dead body over there and they’d just had a heart attack and died, I’d be traumatized by it and think about it for weeks. If I see it on a TV show and that’s happened...I don’t care. They must have hit that thing and gone, “Right, well now we do a procedural investigation, but no one cares about murder anymore so it has to be this much murder.” If anything had happened on that show in real life, everyone would be talking about it forever. For every episode forever and ever. There would be a whole industry of publishing books about it, going over it, “Well, how could this happen?” I was thinking that’s a crazy gap, between reality and how a show is perceived.

    I think of the most recent Purge movie, which suggests that rampant violence could be contained into one night. At the end of the second one, a survivor just pulls into a hospital the next morning, as though there wouldn’t be lines around the block, as though the hospital wouldn’t still be overbooked from lost year’s purge. Very tidy.

    High-Rise crescendos into chaos. What were your thoughts about presenting that and making it intelligible?

    Well, it’s all planned. It has to be. You can’t do parties and you can’t do a war film and you can’t do action without it being planned and planned and planned, otherwise people get hurt. There was a lot of storyboarding, a lot of it’s written into the script. Amy writes the scripts, and we’ve been working on this for a while. The common wisdom with scripts is you don’t write in anything visually because it irritates the directors and it makes the page count go wonky because suddenly they’re not a minute a page anymore and it gets out of hand. But because we make our own movies, we don’t have to conform to any of these ways of working, especially because she’s the editor as well, with me. She writes the editing into the script. It’s lots of little scenes. In a normal script it’d be a big old scene and then they’d find ways of cutting it up. It wouldn’t necessarily be talked about in that structure. It would almost be like a ghost script between the script and what got made, which would be the decisions that the editor was bringing to it and plans and whatnot. So all that stuff is baked into it early on. And then I do a lot of storyboarding just to get a sense of what the film is going to be like so that it’s not overloaded with an incredible sequence [early on] and then you’re wondering why the film doesn’t do that anymore.

    Are there advantages to this unique experience of working with your wife so closely?

    I don’t know about on a personal level, to speak to that really, but in terms of why wouldn’t the editor and the writer be the same person, seems to be the question.

    Sure.

    It makes the writer think in a more visual way because they’re going to have to deal with the edit at some point, and it eliminates the editor as a person who comes into a project at the end with their own agendas from other movies that they’ve done, and other ways of cutting, and all this kind of stuff. From my point of view, it’s a much purer way of working. Now obviously, any editor hearing that would be furious and rightly so. They’ve got their own things that they think they bring to stuff and how it works. But in terms of my understanding of cinema is the person with their hand deciding what frame goes where is the one with the power completely so why would you want to put someone between you and that situation? When you have the editor as the writer this whole idea of the script being written three times or whatever they say—why would the last rewriting of the script happen without the writer involved in it?

    And then there’s stuff within it that she’s made decisions about in the writing visually, which cross over into what I do as well. We try to find a way of communicating this. This goes back to the French, really, but there’s a lot of weight put on the director as the primary creator. We all know it’s a collaborative medium, but when you’ve got a writer-editor and director-editor, they kind of balance out, those two roles. It’s more of a proper partnership. And then all of our movies are movies we’ve made by a couple—a man and a woman’s voice in them. That’s why they represent men and women at the same time, or we hope they do.

    Is there a downside to the free thinking that you espouse? It seems like your wings would get clipped somewhere down the line.

    It depends on what you want to do. Last year before I did High-Rise, I did two episodes of Dr. Who. I didn’t do them like this. My wife didn’t edit it. I didn’t say anything about the script. That wasn’t anything to do with me. I got that, it was an assignment, and I did it. I went into that wanting to do it. I didn’t do it because I needed the money or was desperate for work. I sought it out, I sent my agent after them and I said, “I want to do Dr. Who because I’m a big fan of Dr. Who.” I did get paid for it, but that wasn’t the primary concern. And that experience was absolutely fine. If I made High-Rise and had a load of people materialize out of the mist about how it was going to be cut then it would have been a problem. But generally the movies I’ve done I’ve had final cut on, so everything’s clear from the start.

    How is it that you’re able to do that and other people aren’t? Is it because you make smaller movies?

    Yeah, that’s mostly it. High-Rise is a Jeremy Thomas-produced film, so it’s the first one I’ve done that I wasn’t the de facto producer on as well. Rook Films that made all the other films I’ve done I’m a co-owner of with Amy and Andy Starke. That hierarchy, I’m at the top of it, so I get to decide that stuff. And also from the beginning we’ve been reasonably relaxed about stuff. I don’t live a large life. I kind of keep to myself. I’m quite quiet. I can say no. So we can do things like A Field in England, which is like a year’s work that we got fifteen grand for or something like that, between the two of us. That can happen. That gives you control, basically.

    Is your primary motivator artistry? Expression?

    Yeah, making stuff. Enjoying myself, more. Having a good time. And kind of...that’s it. Why would you not do that if you had the chance? I really love making films and I really love the process of it any different levels as well. Eventually I’ll do something that I won’t have complete control over but I won’t go in and cry about it. I’ll have gone in knowing what was going to happen.


    0 0

    Highway Billboard Hijacked with Candy Penis-Licking Rubio Photoshops

    Our nation is filled with unsecured LED billboards that are hooked up to the internet and can be configured by anyone to show literally any image. Today, one of those billboards showed a doctored photo of Marco Rubio licking a penis lollipop.

    Here comes an amazing train of proper nouns: after notorious neo-Nazi hacker Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer tweeted a link to some of these unsecured billboards, a Twitter user by the name of “Johnny Cockring” shared his handiwork with a large roadside screen in Alabama:

    What you’re seeing in those screenshots is the interface one would use to change the images for legitimate reasons, easily hijacked by anyone with rudimentary technical skills. All Johnny had to do was add this image to the cycling gallery of other images the billboard’s server keeps queued up:

    Highway Billboard Hijacked with Candy Penis-Licking Rubio Photoshops

    According to the website Manhunt Daily, this is a photoshopped picture from a Gay Pride festival in Spain. One entertained Alabama motorist tweeted a photo of the billboard, so we know it’s real:

    Over DM, Mr. Cockring told me that “It was just a prank nothing more,” and that “I go for the absurd and rediculous [sic].” He added that in terms of difficulty, the hack was the “easiest exploit in the history of exploits—the amazing thing about this is the gaping hole in security that allowed it the first place.”

    Previously:

    http://gawker.com/fbi-and-homela...

    h/t Motherboard


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    High-Ranking Police Official Questioned in NYPD Corruption Probe Commits Suicide
    Via Daily News

    NYPD Highway patrol Unit commanding officer Michael Ameri, was found dead in his car on Long Island Friday afternoon from a gunshot to the head, the same day he was questioned as part of an ongoing corruption investigation of his department.

    The 44-year-old joined the NYPD in 1993 and became commanding officer of the department’s Highway Patrol Unit in 2014. He was found dead in his car in the parking lot of a golf course not far from his home. The details, from the New York Daily News:

    Ameri’s day started with the FBI arriving at his residence for an interview, a police source said. Once the feds left, Ameri climbed into his car, drove to the golf course and took his own life, according to the source.

    The commanding officer of the NYPD Highway Patrol Unit “was found deceased in his vehicle of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said in a statement.

    Other officers in the highway district were also questioned about providing police escorts to two businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who are closely tied to Bill de Blasio’s recently-shuttered nonprofit Campaign for One New York. They were also reportedly involved in airborne sexcapades with high-ranking police officials.


    0 0

    Today's Best Deals: Anker Surge Protector, GreenWorks Yard Tools, and More

    Anker’s new surge protector, battery-powered yard tools, and a popular stick vacuum lead off Friday’s best deals.

    Bookmark Kinja Deals and follow us on Twitter to never miss a deal. Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here to learn more, and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter.

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    Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Headphones + $30 VUDU Credit + 3 Months Rhapsody, $99 with code PLATINUMSOUND

    If you still haven’t picked up Audio-Technica’s coveted ATH-M50x headphones, BuyDig will sell you a pair for $99 today (also in white), complete with a $30 VUDU credit and three months of Rhapsody with promo code PLATINUMSOUND. Even without the toss-ins, that’s one of the best deals we’ve ever seen.

    http://co-op.kinja.com/the-best-headp...


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    Finish 90-Count Powerball Dishwasher Tablets, $10 after 25% coupon

    If you use Finish Powerball tablets in your dishwasher, Amazon’s taking 25% off a pack of 90 today when you clip the coupon and use Subscribe & Save. Remember, you can always cancel the subscription after your first delivery.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...


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    Extra $4 off Lärabar Subscriptions

    Lärabars are great for starting your day or fueling up on the go, and Amazon’s taking an extra $4 off when you buy a 16-pack today. Just pick your favorite flavor, order it through Subscribe & Save, and you’ll see the discount at checkout.


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    Nitecore i2 Charger, $9

    If you take your Eneloop collection with you, and need a travel-friendly charger, this Nitecore i2 is marked down to just $9 today on Amazon. It’s the little brother of one of your favorite chargers, and it can accommodate 18650, AA, and AAA batteries. It’ll even detect whether they’re Li-ion, Ni-MH, or Ni-Cd, and change its behavior appropriately.

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    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0096U26QQ/...


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    Aukey Bluetooth Car Kit, $20 with code VE5IYZO6

    We’ve seen a lot of deals on Bluetooth car receivers, but I don’t think any of them have looked as nice as this model from Aukey. It even lets you pair two phones at once, and comes with a three-port USB charger to keep all of your devices charged as well. Just note that your car will need an AUX jack for this to work.


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    81-Count Tide Pods, $14 with $5 coupon and Subscribe & Save

    Tide Pods are the easiest way to do laundry, and you can get an 81-count tub for just $14 today on Amazon. You’ll need to clip the $5 coupon, and order via Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program, but you can always cancel that subscription once you receive your first delivery.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tide-Spring-La...


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    AmazonBasics Sheet Sets, $31-$54

    Weird but true: Amazon makes bed sheets! They’re sateen, they’re 400 thread count, and they’re cheaper than ever in all sizes and colors today. I wonder if Bezos uses them?

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q7OE3VA/...


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    GlowBowl, $17

    You probably looked at that image up there and laughed. But let me tell you, there’s nothing funny about using the bathroom in the middle of the night and having to turn on an overhead light to see where you’re going. Because as soon as you hit that switch, you know you’re not getting back to sleep for another hour.

    GlowBowl fits on just about any toilet, is motion activated, and can even output seven different colors of light. Most importantly though, it won’t wreak havoc on your circadian rhythms.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018Z0TE3K?...


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    Aukey Dash Cam, $57 with code JYLE5AH9

    We’ve seen our fair share of $50-$70 dash cams, but this new model from Aukey is unique in offering 1080p/60 recording (most in this price range are limited to 30FPS), and the ability to connect its power directly to your car’s fusebox. It also comes with a standard power cable that plugs into your cigarette lighter, but the ability to wire it directly will result in a much cleaner look.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rotatable-Cove...

    Don’t forget a microSD card!

    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Class-...

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    Line Mysteriously Goes Dead When Washington Post Reporters Ask Trump About Fake Spokesperson
    Photo: AP

    According to a new report, Donald Trump today hung up on a group of Washington Post reporters and then pretended he wasn’t home when they called back. The cause of his fright? A question about John Miller, the name he sometimes uses when pretending to be a spokesman for himself.

    The unnamed reporters were reportedly 44 minutes deep in an interview with Trump about financial issues when someone asked him about the surreal recording of him in character as Miller. In response, he hid. Via the Post:

    Then, Friday afternoon, Washington Post reporters who were 44 minutes into a phone interview with Trump about his finances asked him a question about Miller: “Did you ever employ someone named John Miller as a spokesperson?”

    The phone went silent, then dead. When the reporters called back and reached Trump’s secretary, she said, “I heard you got disconnected. He can’t take the call now. I don’t know what happened.”

    I know what happened.





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    BuzzFeed to Interview Obama on Facebook Live, Same Medium It Used to Explode Some Fruit
    Photo: BuzzFeed

    Last month, BuzzFeed successfully convinced hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting Facebook users to watch a pair of employees use rubber bands to make a watermelon explode. Next week, the news and entertainment behemoth will use Facebook and YouTube to interview the President of the United States.

    CNN’s Dylan Byers reported this afternoon that BuzzFeed plans to use YouTube’s live-streaming service to interview Barack Obama on Monday afternoon, with questions focusing on his recent nomination of federal judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Gawker recently learned two additional details: The interview will be conducted by BuzzFeed’s legal editor, Chris Geidner, and the site intends to broadcast their exchange not just on YouTube but also Facebook Live, the same video platform BuzzFeed used for their exploding watermelon stunt.

    Facebook Live recently surged in popularity after Facebook began paying publishers, including Gawker Media, to create videos for the platform. It’s not clear, however, whether BuzzFeed’s Monday interview with Obama will be live streamed, rather than pre-recorded. (Facebook Live allows publishers to upload pre-recorded video to be played “live”at a specified time.)

    If all goes according to plan, Geidner will be the second BuzzFeed editor to interview the President; the first, editor-in-chief Ben Smith, had a sit-down with Obama in February 2015. Like nearly all video interviews with the President, however, Smith’s was pre-recorded. Live one-on-one interviews with U.S. presidents, by contrast, remain fairly rare.

    BuzzFeed declined to comment. Facebook and the White House did not immediately respond to inquiries.


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    Obama: Don't Do Drugs or You'll End Up Like Macklemore
    Image: YouTube

    In this week’s White House address, President Obama has a bone-chilling message for our nation’s youths: Stay away from drugs—or you, too, could end up like 9/11 truther and occasional anti-semitic caricature Macklemore.

    Obama begins the clip by informing those of us who don’t share his “same love” for hip hop who exactly Macklemore is. “Same Love,” of course, is Macklemore’s hit single that famously ended discrimination against same-sex couples back in 2012. It’s little hip-hop joke for the in-crowd. Don’t worry if you don’t get it.

    The video comes just after the House passed a (notably weak) bipartisan set of bills meant to fight against the country’s opioid addiction epidemic. It also comes after President Obama was forced to spend an extended period of time with Macklemore, a recovering addict himself.

    So listen to Obama, kids: Don’t do drugs. Don’t be like Macklemore.


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    'Don’t You Think My Daughter’s Hot?' Donald Trump Once Reportedly Said of His Biological Child
    Photo: Getty

    Donald Trump has never been one for cautious restraint—or any restraint—and a few decades of treating women like pieces of meat while masquerading as a “playboy” is starting to catch up with him.

    In a deep and unsettling dive into the Republican presidential frontrunner’s past relationships and encounters with women from The New York Times, we get a portrait that we knew was coming—but is no less creepy.

    The anecdotes include Trump asking his date to “rate” his ex-girlfriend and ex-wife; Trump telling a female employee that “men tend to be better than women;” Trump commenting on that same employee’s weight gain by saying, “You like your candy.”

    But the most upsetting bit of the piece comes when Trump allegedly asked Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, Miss Universe at the time, what she thought about his daughter, Ivanka.

    “ ‘Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?’ ” Ms. Lee recalled him saying. ‘I was like, ‘Really?’ That’s just weird. She was 16. That’s creepy.”

    Still, all this, for Trump, is actually pretty routine—this is the same man who once said to a female contestant on The Apprentice, “That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.” He’s also the same man who appears in this photo with that same daughter, Ivanka, so, should we really be shocked?

    h/t The New York Times


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    Conservative Toad Sheldon Adelson To Dump $100 Million on Donald Trump's Campaign
    Photo: Getty

    The billionaire most known for forcefully colonizing the Las Vegas Review-Journal is now onto his next conquest: the White House.

    According to The New York Times, Adelson told Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump in a recent private meeting that he would contribute a sum up to $100 million in order to help elect him. From the Times:

    What remains unclear is how Mr. Adelson plans to contribute his money to Mr. Trump. He will give the maximum allowed to Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, but to spend the amount he contemplates would require donating through a “super PAC,” able to accept unlimited donations.

    As New York Magazine pointed out, Trump hasn’t always been an Adelson fan.

    It’s not the first time Adelson has tried to win an election with cash—he wasted upwards of $100 million to launch a Republican in the 2012 presidential election. Adelson is also a man who claims that Palestinians are “invented people,” and already spent a small fortune on a malfunctioning robot this election cycle. Can’t wait to see how this one ends up.


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