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- 05/19/16--07:05: _Republican Chaplain...
- 05/19/16--07:35: _The Vaping Congress...
- 05/19/16--07:50: _New Census figures ...
- 05/19/16--08:17: _Remembering Robert ...
- 05/19/16--09:15: _Court Filings Revea...
- 05/19/16--09:15: _No One Will Ever Do...
- 05/19/16--10:30: _NYPD Protecting New...
- 05/19/16--11:30: _John McCain Wants t...
- 05/19/16--11:55: _Officials Say Terro...
- 05/19/16--12:30: _"Influencer" Is a F...
- 05/19/16--14:10: _Most Americans Have...
- 05/19/16--14:38: _University of Wisco...
- 05/19/16--14:32: _Truck Yeah The New ...
- 05/19/16--06:54: _Today's Best Deals:...
- 05/19/16--14:53: _Two Problems With t...
- 05/19/16--15:20: _Oklahoma Legislator...
- 05/19/16--15:45: _Trump Delegate Bust...
- 05/19/16--17:31: _Donald Trump Mocks ...
- 05/19/16--19:00: _San Francisco Polic...
- 05/19/16--21:47: _Grand Jury Says Gov...
- 05/19/16--09:15: No One Will Ever Do Facebook Live Better Than Martha Stewart
- 05/19/16--10:30: NYPD Protecting New York City’s Most Vulnerable: Tourists
- 05/19/16--11:55: Officials Say Terrorists Most Likely Cause of EgyptAir Crash
- 05/19/16--12:30: "Influencer" Is a Fake Job
- 05/19/16--14:10: Most Americans Have Only Reached the eBay Stage of Online Existence
- Only 27% of people have heard the term “sharing economy,” and only 11% have heard the term “gig economy.”
- More than half of Americans have not even heard of home-sharing sites like AirBnB.
- Only 4% of Americans have hired someone online to do a task or household errand for them.
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- 05/19/16--14:53: Two Problems With the New York Times Facebook Live Pitch Meeting
- 05/19/16--15:20: Oklahoma Legislators Just Voted to Make Abortion a Felony
- 05/19/16--15:45: Trump Delegate Busted for Guns, Explosives, and Child Porn
- 05/19/16--17:31: Donald Trump Mocks Chris Christie's Weight at His Own Sad Rally
- 05/19/16--21:47: Grand Jury Says Governor's Lawyer Urged Use of Wrong Execution Drug
On Monday, at a meeting of the local Republican Party in the third-most-populous county in the United States, a Christian pastor who serves as chaplain for the Harris County GOP tried to stop a Muslim man from serving as a precinct chair because of his religion. “Islam does not have any basis or any foundation,” the pastor, Trebor Gordon, said. “It is the total opposite of our foundation.”
More than four million people live in Harris County, Texas, which includes the city of Houston—home to the largest Muslim population in Texas and one of the largest in the southern U.S., according to the Houston Chronicle. It has more than 1,000 precincts, each of which is represented by a chair, nominated by committee and voted on by the local party.
Syed Ali, 62, who the Washington Post reports has been a Republican since the Reagan administration, was tapped to be one of those precinct chairs, before Gordon interrupted with his motion. Precinct chair Felicia Winfree Cravens was streaming the meeting over Facebook Live when the incident took place.
“Islam and Christianity do not mix,” Gordon said. “During my prayer, this man did not bow his head. During the pledge of allegiance, he did not utter a word. He didn’t even try to fake it and move his lips.”
“If you believe that a person can practice Islam and agree to the foundational principles of the Republican Party, it’s not right. It’s not true. It can’t happen. There are things on our platform that he and his beliefs are total opposite.”
He’s not the only one: Onetime presidential candidate Ben Carson said last year that he believes Islam is inconsistent with the United States Constitution
Those assembled on Monday debated Gordon’s motion, the Post reports. When one man pointed out that it was against the law to discriminate on the basis of religion; in turn, precinct chair Mike Robertson actually asked whether Islam is, in fact, a religion. “Can I have a point of information?” Robertson said. “Has there been any factual information provided that Islam is a religion?”
The motion was voted down, and Ali was instated as precinct chair. “It doesn’t bother me at all, as a Republican, as an American, as a Muslim,” he told the Post. “Everyone’s entitled to their view.”
The New York Times Magazine has a story this week on the political operation behind Donald Trump’s rise to power. Of particular note is the introduction of Paul Manafort, a mean motherfucker who has whipped everyone into shape—including the rock star vaping congressman, Duncan Hunter
Manafort had managed to impose a veneer of Beltway respectability on the campaign. More field organizers were now materializing in states like Pennsylvania, where local volunteers had hitherto been left largely to fend for themselves. Supporters who previously received no direction from the campaign before going on TV to expound on the candidate’s policies — “I just make [expletive] up,” Representative Duncan Hunter of California confessed to a Trump senior adviser — were now receiving daily talking points.
That’s the vape life, baby.
New Census figures show that U.S. urban growth is slowing, “as a bulge of late-20s Americans reaches prime homebuying age and high urban real-estate costs are making suburbs and exurbs more attractive.” Good
Welcome to Idiots of Yesteryear, a new series wherein we’ll remember the klutzes, cretins, and bumbling dunderheads who populate the cobwebbed dunce’s corners of the American past. In this great nation, for every gallant General Washington, who could not tell a lie, there is a doofy George W. Bush, who could not finish chewing a pretzel before trying to swallow it. Here, we will celebrate the blowhards, the two-timers, and the wretched scamps; we will honor the feckless morons and malevolent jerks who made our great nation in their images. Forgotten morons of history, we salute you.
We begin with Robert Potter, U.S. Representative from North Carolina who, one sultry Sunday afternoon in the late summer of 1831, sliced off the testicles of two men he believed had been sleeping with his wife. Gather ‘round.
Two Households, Both Alike in Idiocy
Robert Potter (born 1800 or so, died 1842) is probably best known for his role in the Texas Revolution, the mid-19th century conflict in which the state declared its independence from Mexico, which ultimately led to its annexation by the United States in 1845. (You remember the Alamo, don’t you?) Potter, who emigrated to Texas in 1835, is credited with founding the Texas Navy, a provisional maritime force that protected Texas during the decade or so that it called itself an independent nation, and as a framer of the Texas Constitution and a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Potter County, the 900-square-mile chunk of the panhandle that is home to the city of Amarillo, is named after him.
But the most colorful parts of Potter’s story happened before he settled in the Lone Star State, when he was just a swashbuckling upstart state legislator, and later U.S. Congressman, in his home state of North Carolina.
In 1824, after a five-year stint in the U.S. Navy, Potter ran for a seat in North Carolina’s House of Commons, the predecessor to the state’s current House of Representatives. A charming and argumentative young Jacksonian Democrat whose capacity for inflaming voters with populist oratory outpaced his legislative ability, Potter hoped to unseat Jesse Bynum, the conservative Whig who incumbently represented Halifax, a small town with only 50 or so registered voters.
When Bynum won the seat amid violence at the polls, Potter did what any self-respecting man of the era would do: He sent Bynum a letter politely inviting him to a duel to the death. The letter, included in Founder of the Texas Navy, a Potter biography by Texas historian Ernest G. Fischer, contains a decent burn on Bynum, which I’ve bolded below:
SIR: I foreborc to chastise your insolence at the polls yesterday because I was unwilling to invoke my brave and devoted friends in the consequences of a quarrel with you. I understand you have renewed your vaporing today; indeed you appear to have a wonderful itching to riot in the van of mobs. This is to invite you to the field of combat. I cannot say that of honor, your presence would deprive any spot of that character. You can choose your own weapon and distance. My friend, Mr. Burges, will make the necessary arrangements with any person you may think proper for that purpose.
Fortunately for the purposes of our story, that punchline did not entice Bynum into participating. Potter was “not a gentleman,” Bynum said, and therefore not worthy of dueling against. He declined the invitation.
Potter ran against Bynum once more in 1825, and the campaign was even more contemptuous. An 1859 report in the Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer, which looked back on the politicians’ feud with some perverse fondness, sets the scene.
It was the period when the celebrated Bob Potter, Hal Potter, Jesse A. Bynum, and perhaps other noted characters and rowdies, flourished in and about the town of Halifax. That town was entitled to a Representative in the House of Commons under the old Constitution, and there being only forty or fifty voters, there was abundant opportunity for the exercise of every species of electioneering—the kind most in vogue being drinking and fighting. Pistols and dirks were commonly used, and every body looked for bloody accounts from a Halifax election.
On one occasion (1825) no member was elected, the election having been broken up by a brawl between Potter and Bynum, and their friends.
The Observer goes on to note that the Halifax Compiler, the local paper, was eager to fan the flames. For one issue documenting the Potter-Bynum battle, an employee supposedly made a surreptitious change to the type on the Compiler’s flag, so that instead of bearing the paper’s title, the front page read Hel-fiar (hellfire) Compilax. “In that way the whole edition of the paper was printed off and circulated,” according to the Observer, much to the chagrin of the Compiler’s editor.
By Fischer’s retelling, the men had an altercation that was a good deal more brutal than the barroom antics suggested by the Observer’s account. It started with Bynum insulting Potter by placing his hand on Potter’s shoulder, apparently a no-no in those days. By the time it was over, “swords, pistols, knives, and clubs” had been used by both sides. Potter himself had been run through with a blade, and Bynum suffered a serious head injury.
Both men survived, but the 1825 election was called off entirely, and the people of North Carolina’s Halifax borough went without a representative in the House of Commons that year. Everyone involved was ordered by local courts to stay out of trouble. Again, Potter challenged Bynum to a duel, and again Bynum refused.
Finally, in 1826, the men faced each other for the House of Commons seat once more, and this time, Potter won, formally launching his political career.
What was the source of Potter and Bynum’s bitter, violent resentment? It may have had as much to do with the pursuit of a woman as it did with their opposing politics. “There was a story,” Fischer writes, “that Bynum had refused to introduce Potter to a young lady to whom Potter desired an introduction.”
It wouldn’t be the last time Robert Potter’s unconventional sense of romance got him into trouble.
Fairwell, Gruesome Twosome
A year after his election to the state House of Commons seat, Potter married Isabella Taylor, a woman from a “prominent family” in Granville, Potter’s home county. Thanks to Potter’s populist focus on railing against the state and federal banks, his star rose in state politics, culminating with his election to U.S. House of Representatives in 1831. Along the way, Potter and Taylor had two children.
“This apparently happy situation,” University of North Carolina historian Carolyn A. Wallace writes ominously, “Ended on Sunday, 28 Aug. 1831.”
Some of the particulars of that fateful day have been lost to history, but one fact is generally agreed upon: Two of Potter’s romantic enemies awoke on Sunday with four testicles between them, and they went to bed that night with none. Potter had evidently become suspicious that Isabella was messing around in the sack with two of her cousins, one a 55-year-old reverend named Louis Taylor, the other a 17-year-old identified by various names in different accounts. The congressman took the most direct route of vengeance available to him.
The account of Robert W. Winston, a historian quoted in the Fischer biography, implies that Potter’s violence that day gave rise to a ball-cutting neologism that has evidently long since been forgotten: potterized.
Mrs. Potter had two cousins who frequently visited the home, Reverend Louis Taylor, a minister of the Methodist Church, about 55 years old, and Louis Wiley, a youth of 17. Potter had conceived a dark, malignant hatred for these two men and had charged his wife with criminal intimacy with both. That Sunday Aug. 28 Taylor came out to Potter’s on a visit, not knowing Potter’s feelings towards him.
Potter laid the charge of adultery on Taylor and after a few angry words, pounced on him like a wild beast, beating him senseless. He then whipped out his keen, sharp blade and castrated the man, “potterized” him. Putting him to bed he told him if he would keep quiet his disgrace would not get out. “I have been very merciful and kind to you,” Potter vouchsafed. “I have spared your life.”
Potter then set forth in search of Wiley, who lived three or four miles nearer Oxford than Reverend Mr. Taylor’s home. Finding Wiley at home, Potter sprang upon him like a tiger, treating him as he had Taylor.
Fischer’s biography also quotes from a primary-source letter that is dated just two days after the incident. Confusingly, the letter refers to the teenage castrato as Miller, not Wiley. Whatever the victim’s name, the writer spares no details about his fate.
As Potter and Miller were attempting to corral a dog, he writes,
They both got down to tie the dog, & while in the act, Mr. Potter, instead of putting the rope around the neck of the dog, put it around Miller, & drew it around so hard as to choke him & then lashed it around his legs & tied him hand & foot & castrated him completely...
Potter was jailed the following day, without bail, and represented himself in court about a week later. The court convicted Potter for maiming his young competitor, sentencing him to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. His assault on the older man never went to trial.
Potter resigned from Congress before going to prison. However, the castration conviction did not even come close to ending the young lawmaker’s political career, as incredible as it may seem today. While Potter was imprisoned, Fischer notes, the North Carolina House of Commons ruled that his crime should be thereafter punishable by the death penalty. Upon his release, he ran once more for a seat alongside them.
Potter’s wife divorced him, and her brother made a failed attempt at his life, but he won the election. “His victory under the circumstances,” Wallace writes, “was a remarkable demonstration of his popularity in his home county.”
Potter remained in the House of Commons until 1835, when he was expelled for good after pulling a gun on another member during a gambling dispute. He fled to Texas, where he remarried and built up his name as a military man with the Texas Navy, and later as a lawyer and a two-term member of the Texas senate.
But he did not leave violence behind. In 1842, Potter arrived at the doorstep of William Pinckney Rose, a neighbor with whom he’d been feuding. Rose was accused of murder, and Potter carried the warrant for his arrest, but when he got there, Rose wasn’t around. The following day, Rose showed up at Potter’s house with a gang of men. Perhaps sensing that the jig was up, Potter jumped into a nearby lake. When he came up for breath, one of Rose’s men shot, hitting Potter’s head and killing him.
An (Ineffective) Public Servant to the Last
For each of these entries, so as to avoid desecrating the dead too profoundly, we will point to a moment in each famous idiot’s career that merits genuine praise. Every dog has its day, and every drunken local lawmaker has some piece of legislation that may have actually done some good.
Though Potter was not a man you’d like to cross, or be married to, or even spend any time around at all, really, at least one of his political hobbyhorses should be easy for modern readers to get behind. As a North Carolina state legislator, he advocated strongly for free public education. According to Fischer, Potter’s signature piece of legislation during his first term would have created a state agricultural college, where impoverished boys could learn the basics of farming without having to pay. (The bill ultimately failed.)
Voters today might heed the moral of Potter’s parable: it takes more than a big personality and a pocket full of hilarious insults to make a great leader. The toughest-seeming guy in the room usually turns out to be a paranoid, ineffective bully. He usually turns out to be not that tough at all—no matter how willing he is to go after the other guy’s balls.
It’s clear now that “Jackie”—the girl at the center of the now-retracted Rolling Stone UVA fraternity rape story—lied about most, if not all, of the alleged attack. Newly released documents in an ongoing lawsuit against the magazine show how she initially pulled it off.
The now-retracted story, “A Rape on Campus,” told the story of Jackie, a pseudonym used for an alleged rape victim who said she had been attacked by her date and his fraternity brothers outside a party. But evidence revealed after the story was published showed the man she named as her attacker, Haven Monahan, didn’t exist. Her friends later told the Washington Post
New evidence of Jackie’s alleged catfishing is coming to light as part of a lawsuit against Rolling Stone filed by a UVA administrator
Jackie used the Haven Monahan character, court papers allege, to try to make Duffin jealous. In text messages, sent from the number attributed to Monahan to Duffin, Monahan repeatedly declares both his love for Jackie and his frustration that Jackie is more interested in Duffin.
“HOw can she not Want me? wtf? She cant turn me down fro some nerd 1st yr,” one message reads, referring to Duffin, who was a freshman at the time. “She said this kid is smart and funny and worth it but I told her if he said no to fuck it Nd move onto better things like me.”
New evidence filed this week also reveals that a Yahoo email account for “Haven Monahan,” was registered just days after Jackie claimed the alleged attack occurred.
According to the Washington Post, which examined the documents, the Haven.firstname.lastname@example.org email account was registered from a computer connected to the UVA computer network on Oct. 2, 2012. A day later, the user—pretending to be Monahan—forwarded Duffin a letter purportedly written by Jackie, confessing her love for Duffin.
The filings also contain photographs Jackie sent of a man she said was Monahan. The Washington Post, which tracked him down, reports he’s actually a student at a “university in a different state” who says he “barely knew Jackie and hadn’t been to Charlottesville for many years.”
But perhaps most damning of all is evidence that someone on the Stein Mitchell Muse Cipollone & Beato law firm computer network—the firm representing Jackie—accessed the Monahan Yahoo email account on March 16, 2016. Four days later, court filings reportedly allege, her attorneys claimed “Jackie was not in possession of these emails.”
Wednesday afternoon, the lives of several Jezebel employees—my own included—came to a screeching halt when Managing Editor Kate Dries informed us that Martha Stewart was making shrimp cocktail on Facebook Live. It was unsurprising that Dries, one of Stewart’s biggest fans, would be excited about such an event, but the fact that so many of us were riveted—and I mean that, we were truly riveted—by the entire half hour broadcast was not something I could have expected.
Though I’ve been amused by some of the wackier Facebook Live streams over the past few weeks (I’ve even taken part in several; as a disclosure, Facebook has launched a program that pays publishers—including Gawker Media—to produce videos for its Facebook Live tool), it wasn’t until Stewart’s compelling instructional video in which she shared a deceptively simple recipe for a classic summer appetizer that I became convinced of the platform’s potential for housing truly worthwhile content. This was not a stunt: this was the kind of social interaction television networks have been trying to perfect since the dawn of the hashtag.
We’ve seen some hints of this mastery
Stewart not only taught her viewers (a few thousand simultaneously as I watched) how to make boiled shrimp and cocktail sauce, she answered all their questions about how many to buy for a party (think 5-6 a person) and horseradish (which she called “an obscene-looking root”). When she needed a cooking utensil that wasn’t there (oh, the risks of live video), she calmly asked for one. And when her cameraperson nervously told her the feed had gone down (it hadn’t), she waited patiently—if with slight and understandable irritation—for them to realize everything was back to speed. The woman is a pro.
It should be no surprise that it took someone with a lifetime of on-camera experience to show us how charming Facebook’s newest initiative could truly be—whether she’s making an appetizer or giving us a tour of her farm in Bedford, New York or tulip arranging. And though the platform’s success will not necessarily mark some kind of cultural return to a pre-on demand world of digesting video content, it suggests that if done right, truly live TV (let’s just call this TV) can be a rewarding shared experience. Even if it’s just 30 minutes of watching a rich ex-con devein a big ass shrimp.
Images via screengrab.
On Wednesday, police arrested more than a dozen people who were allegedly selling tourists fake tickets for ferry rides to the Statue of Liberty. The ferries, police said, never actually stopped at the Statue of Liberty, but rather circled New York Harbor before docking again.
According to the New York Times, the NYPD’s deputy police commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, John Miller, said that 21 vendors working around Battery Park had been charged with “fraudulent accosting.” Fourteen people were arrested and warrants were issued for seven more.
Commissioner Miller said the crackdown was meant to “eliminate what was becoming a growing quality-of-life problem down there.”
The police began investigating complaints about aggressive ticket sellers after a 33-year-old tourist from Arizona was assaulted in Battery Park in February after he rebuffed a vendor’s pitch. The tourist, Jeffrey White, was knocked unconscious and sustained a skull fracture. Two people were arrested and charged with assault.
After the episode, the police deployed undercover officers to pose as tourists in Battery Park and near the Staten Island Ferry terminal.
“What we found in the undercover portion of this,” Commissioner Miller said, “was that these aggressive ticket sellers preyed largely on people that they identified as tourists, particularly foreign tourists, by promising them that the tickets to the Statue of Liberty boat were all sold out, but that if they bought these tickets, it would take them to Liberty Island and they would have to charge a little extra and so on.”
Tickets for boats that stop at Liberty Island and Ellis Island are sold by a company called Statue Cruises, under contract with the National Park Service. Two vendors who work for one of the companies that sells tickets for boats that simply tour the harbor told NY1 that the onus is on tourists to note the distinction.
“You are not getting off on the Island on the Hornblower, and you are going around. If you want to get off, you go into Battery Park and you buy that ticket, and there, you can go and get off on the Island,” one said. Customers have to look at the tickets, the other said: “And it is one hour nonstop, and you don’t get off on the Island, and the customer reads this before they buy the ticket from us.”
The framing of this issue as a “quality-of-life problem” is not incidental, as Commissioner Miller was careful to also note that many of those charged have criminal histories. From the Times:
The vendors worked for five different companies contracted to sell tickets for boat operators offering tours of the harbor, the police said. Three of the businesses were run by parolees, including one who managed his company while incarcerated at Rikers Island, Commissioner Miller said.
The companies routinely hired offenders who were getting out of jail and needed to be employed as a condition of parole. Commissioner Miller said the practice raised concerns for the police because it put some sex offenders in contact with tourists who were traveling with children.
Last year, Corey Lashley, the owner of another ferry company operating out of Battery Park, sued the city and the NYPD, alleging that he and his employees had been subject to “borderline harassment” from the police. “Parks has given us more than 150 tickets, summonses and citations worth $250 to $1,000,” Lashley said in June
When he was running for re-election to his Arizona U.S. Senate seat in 2010, John McCain appeared in the ridiculous video above, an anti-immigrant campaign ad whose solemn punchline was, “Complete the danged fence.” Now that it’s no longer considered politically acceptable to hate Mexican people unless your name is Donald Trump, McCain isn’t so proud of the spot anymore.
Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democratic congresswoman from Arizona who is challenging McCain for his Senate seat this year, recently re-uploaded the ad to YouTube with one subtle but stinging modification: the addition of Spanish subtitles. This week, The Hill notes, the McCain campaign blocked Kirkpatrick’s subtitled version of the ad, citing a copyright violation.
It’s possible that McCain’s camp is really only interested in protecting its intellectual property. It seems more likely that the senator, who said this month that a Trump-led Republican ticket would make the Kirkpatrick battle “the race of my life,” thanks to the presumptive nominee’s lack of support among Arizona’s significant Hispanic population, wants to distance himself from his own Trumpian anti-immigrant rhetoric. As of March, polls showed McCain tied with Kirkpatrick, despite his vastly superior name recognition in the state, the Hill notes.
As the Spanish say: le salió el tiro por la culata.
Although investigators are still piecing together the sequence of events that led to the sudden disappearance of EgyptAir Flight 804 last Wednesday night, officials from several nations are in agreement on one key fact: It was probably terrorists.
Egyptian civil aviation minister Sherif Fathi, Donald Trump—perhaps prematurely—and Hillary Clinton all confirmed today that available intelligence suggests the crash was part of a terrorist plot.
“I don’t want to go to speculations and I don’t want to go to assumptions,” the New York Times quotes Fathi as saying: “Still, he said, ‘if you analyze the situation properly,’ the possibility of ‘having a terror attack is higher than the possibility’ of technical failure.”
“It does appear it was an act of terrorism,” Clinton confirmed this afternoon in an interview with CNN.
Still, the Times reports intelligence analysts who monitor jihadi communications have not seen any groups trying to claim responsibility.
The plane, which took off from Paris on Wednesday at 11:09 p.m., had just crossed into Egyptian airspace when it suddenly, and without warning, made a sharp left turn, a full circle to the right, and then plummeted thousands of feet before disappearing from radar contact at 2:37 a.m.
Egyptian and Greek authorities, working in tandem to locate the plane, reportedly found debris linked to the wreckage about 205 nautical miles southeast of Crete early this morning.
For years, “brands” have been paying “ordinary” “people” to “mention” their products in meaningless, easily ignored social media posts. This is called “influencer marketing,” and it’s collapsing
Once brands began to realize that some dipshit’s Vine account wasn’t going to make cans of Ragu or whatever go flying off the shelves, “influencers” cried foul. After all, their way of life–waking up, posting an Instagram of a cereal box, tweeting about laxatives, calling it a day—was threatened. They’d found a tremendous scam, and it sucks when your easy money train gets derailed. (I get it! I’ll be just as upset when blogging dies.)
The blowback looked like this:
Even MTV News was angry about the prospect of not being able to make a living typing proper nouns into an app caption. Amber Discko, a former Creative Strategist at Tumblr, has become a sort of Spartacus figure among the disgruntled, entitled influencer class. She’s also the person behind “Who Pays Influencers,” a new website aimed at exposing the payment practices of brands, much in the same way that Who Pays Writers has become a great source of transparency and accountability for freelancers. A key difference between that at “Who Pays Influencers,” though, is that writing can be good and worthwhile, while advertisements from a social media figure are always scummy. Who Pays Influencers has flung open the drapes and brought sunshine to the influencer economy, but instead of making it clear that these Viners are being exploited, it’s made it clear just how moronic this whole thing is.
Here are some reports, both satisfactory and aggrieved, from the people who think they should be paid for using Instagram and Vine, all of which appear on “Who Pays Influencers”:
Cutty Sark Whiskey via their agency at the time Ammirati/Resource, paid $700 as well as one case of various Cutty Sark whiskey products for ten abstract instagram posts, Whiskey (to shoot) provided upon contract, payment provided within two weeks.
American Express, Agency was High Road Communications. Paid $800 for 2 Instagram/Twitter posts, paid within 30 days, great to work with.
HP/Intel via Collectively (agency). Was paid $1000 + tablet for 1 Instagram, 1 blog post and 2 photos that were included in a Vine. Paid within 90 days
Honda paid $10,000 for a 2 minute youtube video that featured a car they loaned me and three of the features. Pay was $5,000 up front, $5,000 at delivery. They were really on top of it.
After working on a project with them, they asked me to post it to my instagram with their copy. I don’t have a huge following so I asked for $1k, they said they only had $500. Idk how this massive company could only have 500$ lying around. Didn’t respond to their email and they came back with $1k the next day. payment was 2 weeks late. Verizon is a shifty company and if I had known about the shifty way they treat their workers I wouldn’t have taken on this job. fuck verizon
I was offered $10,000 by Pepsi to record and broadcast songs on the piano that incorporated aspects of the Pepsi taste/brand, and when I showed them my work I was told to “fuck off” by an executive and paid nothing. Disgusting.
That last one is fake. I posted it on Who Pays Influencers as a joke, but it doesn’t really look out of place, and clearly no one at the site is vetting these accounts anyway. I’m not sure which of those should make me feel more chagrined.
This is what people are so afraid could be going away?? The chance to make $1,000 from a semiconductor company for posting “1 Instagram, 1 blog post and 2 photos that were included in a Vine”? The confluence of capitalism and cheap circuitboards has done so much to upend and devalue photography, journalism, illustration, and so forth—and we should defend a system that allows someone to make “$800 for 2 Instagram/Twitter posts”? The Influencer Economy isn’t an economy, it’s a market irrationality. It’s bonkers that anyone thought it was a good idea, and for once, companies are self-correcting in the face of so much wasted money—they’ve realized that $500 here and $800 there to pimp Starbucks and Intel probably isn’t actually doing anything. There’s a reason why Wheaties wants Stephen Curry, Nike wants LeBron James, and diet tea hockers want the Kardashians—gratuitously overpaid endorsements tend to work better when people care about and admire the person doing the endorsement.
So when you read an anonymous social media executive say “Brands are going to start realizing the amount of followers you have doesn’t mean shit” and “Just because photos look good and have 200,000 followers means nothing,” this is a good thing. It’s so, so rare for a “brand” to act like anything other than a terrified, rabid money amoeba. Be glad they’re thinking this through. Don’t mourn the influencer—they were never real to begin with.
While elitist urban bloggers fret over what the “online gig economy” will do our nation’s future, most American’s don’t even know what the fuck “Uber” means.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals that although you, the sophisticated reader of Gawker.com, are intimately familiar with how to use “apps” and “Snapchat” to enhance your affluent daily life, the average American still operates in the equivalent of the Internet Middle Ages, when eBay was considered a cutting-edge advancement in consumer choice. Here are a few REAL survey results to give you an accurate picture of our nation outside of your elitist bubble:
The only category of online economic activity that reaches a 50% share of the population is “purchased used or second-hand goods online.” That would be eBay. By contrast, only 22% have “purchased handmade or artisanal products online” (Etsy), 15% have used ride-hailing apps (Uber) and only 6% have ordered grocery delivery online (Instacart).
If you are an upwardly mobile resident of San Francisco you live the least representative life in America. And thank god for that.
You might remember Sigma Alpha Epsilon from when the fraternity’s Oklahoma chapter was kicked off campus last year after several of its members were filmed singing a racist song
Yesterday, the school suspended its SAE chapter after finding evidence of institutional racism that manifested in the repeated use of racial slurs and one incident of racial violence. Via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the school suspended the frat through Nov. 1 and barred it from recruiting new members this fall. It is also requiring SAE members to undergo diversity training and to meet with the school’s chancellor to discuss how they plan to implement changes upon reinstatement.
But that suspension feels light considering the allegations, which were first brought to the university’s attention on March 3 of this year by the lone black member of the fraternity. According to documents released by the university, the most severe incident occurred in 2014, when the man reported being choked by one of his brothers during a chapter meeting concerning the white members’ use of the n-word. (Redactions in the following excerpts were made by the school):
The school determined the student was a victim of, and witness to, extensive use of slurs, both before and after the choking incident. In one incident, the school reports, at least one fraternity member ran down the main drag in downtown Madison yelling racial slurs.
According to the school’s investigation, the student reiterated that he asked the fraternity’s white members to stop using the n-word but they excused the language by saying “no offense.” The university also found evidence that brothers were pressured not to snitch on those members who had used offensive language:
The abuse lasted through the school year, despite black member’s repeated requests that his white brothers stop using the slurs:
In deciding to suspend SAE, the school’s Committee on Student Organizations found that chapter leadership expelled and/or suspended brothers who perpetuated the abuse, but did nothing to change the culture within the fraternity. And, per the school, the fraternity handed the responsibility of rooting out racist, sexist, and homophobic language to its lone black member:
In determining whether SAE violated Code 2, the Committee examined the culture of SAE and actions taken by its executive members, and other individuals, when addressing concerns of discrimination. As noted above, with the evidence presented, the Committee agreed that the reporter had voiced his concerns of discrimination within his organization, and failed to see adequate reddress of those concerns. The Committee determined that SAE put an unfair burden on the reporter to address the cultural issues of SAE which included repeated use of racial slurs, bigoted jokes, and the general acceptance of derogatory language.
A summary of an interview with one of the leaders of the chapter gives a brief insight into how the black brother’s attempts at education were received by his white peers:
Though there appears to be something poisonous within SAE as a whole, even a year after the Oklahoma incident, it would be easy to pretend as if racism at a school like the University of Wisconsin—a classically liberal enclave—was limited to one fraternity with a bad reputation, or even within the Greek system in general. But another interview with an SAE brother illustrates something we know intuitively, which is that said racism is rooted deeply in our culture generally:
Discussions regarding campus culture wars tend to focus on the absurd—sidewalk chalk, sushi
Truck Yeah The New Jeep Wrangler’s Roof May Do Three Things It’s Never Done
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Need a new swimsuit before you head out to the pool or beach? Amazon’s discounting dozens of them today for men, women, and kids, from a variety of designers as part of a Gold Box deal.
Prices start under $20, and the vast majority of options here are under $30. Note that many suits include multiple color options if you click through to the product page, so if you see a style you like, don’t forget to check. And remember that like all Gold Box deals, these prices are only available today, or until sold out.
Today only, Amazon’s selling the 4.4 star rated Camco Deluxe Grilling Table for just $48, which is roughly $30 below its usual selling price, and a match for an all-time low.
The table expands from its suitcase-sized carrying case into a four-tier surface that’s perfect for camping, tailgating, or just grilling in your backyard. You might not use this thing all the time, but buying it now sure beats paying $80 for it a few days before your next barbecue.
If you want a capable media editing suite for standard consumer-grade needs, Amazon will sell you a copy of Photoshop Elements 14 and Premiere Elements 14 for $75 today, as either a download or a disc. That combo usually costs over $100, and unlike Adobe Creative Cloud, comes with no monthly fees.
Today only, Target’s taking 30% off hundreds of duvet covers, comforters, and bedding sets. There are options available to match just about any decor, so head over to Target to see the full selection, and don’t forget to use the sidebar tools to narrow down the options.
Blendtec is the brand that brought you those viral “Will It Blend” videos, and yeah, their blenders are really good. You can grab a refurbished model today for $190, which is over 50% less than buying it new. [Refurb Blendtec Total Blender, WildSide Jar, $190]
Update: Sold out. Hope you got one!
If you have any lamps or appliances you wish you could control from afar, Belkin’s popular WeMo Switch is down to $30 on Amazon today. Just plug one in between a wall outlet and the device of your choice, and you’ll be able to turn it on or off from your smartphone or Amazon Echo, create automatic schedules, and even tie it to IFTTT recipes.
Fix-A-Flat tire sealant is no substitute for having a professional fix a puncture or replace your tire, but it’s faster than putting on a spare, and should allow you to drive safely to the nearest tire shop. For $5, why not keep one in your trunk?
What’s this? A sub-$100 toaster oven with good reviews, convection fans, and digital buttons rather than imprecise knobs? I didn’t know such a thing existed.
This Oster can fit six slices of bread, a 16" pizza, and more, and includes two racks so you can bake multiple items at once. Good toaster ovens under $100 are few and far between, but the reviews on this model are vey solid.
The problem with reusable water bottles is that once you’ve finished the water inside, they become a massive waste of space in your bag. Not so for this foldable silicone alternative. Genius.
Google’s second OnHub router packed in plenty of smarts
The kit comes with three maintenance-free basil cartridges to get you started, but you can also purchase plenty of other flowers, herbs, and vegetables to suit your taste. You’re not going to feed a family with this thing, but it’s generally pleasant to look at, and nothing beats the feeling of using home-grown ingredients in your cooking.
If you can’t start your day without a morning cup of coffee, but you’re still using an electric drip coffee maker, or even a Keurig, you might want to try out a flavor-extracting french press. This 4.4 star-rated Bodum Chambord is one of the most popular models on the market, and it’s within a couple bucks of its lowest price ever right now on Amazon.
If you’re not convinced, know that french press took the #1 spot in Lifehacker’s coffee-making Hive Five, and many coffee aficionados swear by it. And with no disposable filters to buy (not to mention K-Cups), this $24 machine should pay for itself over time.
Grey felt laptop sleeves are so popular that they inspired a line of AmazonBasics knock-offs, but you can get even better deals by buying from Inateck today. Just pick the right size for your computer from the list below, and be sure to apply the corresponding promo code at checkout.
You’re never too old for gummy vitamins, and Amazon’s taking an extra 15% off a variety of offerings from Vitafusion. Just find the vitamins you’re looking for, add them to your cart, and you’ll see the extra 15% discount at checkout.
Notice any major absences in your tool chest? Amazon’s offering a variety of discounts on tools today when you buy from specific manufacturers, including $20 off a $100 DEWALT, Bosch, or Makita order, $10 off a $50 Black+Decker order, and more. Head over here to see all of the available discounts, and let us know what you got in the comments.
It’s certainly not for everyone, but the Garmin Forerunner 920XT is the undisputed champion of the triathlon tracking world
Apple’s top-of-the-line 15” MacBook Pro is probably overkill for most people, but if you expect a lot out of your laptop, you won’t find a better deal than this. The $2,500 model is all the way down to $1940 on eBay today, which is actually less than the MSRP of the base model 15” Pro.
Granted, that’s still a lot of money, but it buys you a whole lot of computer. We’re talking a 2.5GHz quad-core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM, a discrete AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics card, and a 2880x1800 retina display. Aside from a few minor build-to-order spec upgrades, this is the most powerful portable computer Apple has ever shipped, and if you’ve been on the fence about getting one, a 20% discount is basically unheard of.
If you can live with a 256GB SSD and no discrete graphics card, the base 15" MacBook Pro is still on sale for $1600, or $400 off.
If you aren’t familiar, IPS displays boast superior color accuracy and viewing angles compared to the TN panels you’ll find in most cheap 4K monitors, and with this deal, you’re basically getting IPS for “free” compared to the going rate for similar 4K displays. I happen to own the 24" model, and I absolutely love it.
For anyone who ever burns the midnight oil, it’s worth investing in a good LED desk lamp...oil’s expensive, after all.
These models from Aukey both feature adjustable color temperature, which is important for boosting your productivity
Robbers know to look for hidden house keys under planters, and inside fake rocks, but this sprinkler? Yeah, that should fool them.
If you’re sick of broken zippers and torn fabric on your luggage, Samsonite’s S’Cure 28" spinner might be the answer, and you can save $100 on the 28" version today.
Featuring an integrated latch and TSA-approved lock, the S’Cure is basically 100% polycarbonate, meaning there’s no fabric, and no zipper. It sells for $260 on Amazon, with fantastic user reviews, but you can pick one up from BuyDig’s eBay storefront for $100 less right now.
If you want to experience the joys of cooking cooking on a great skillet, but don’t have the cash for an All-Clad
Assuming it’s legal in your state, a good radar/laser detector can pay for itself over time, and this highly-rated Escort Passport S55 is on sale for just $109 on BuyDig’s eBay storefront, or about $20 less than Amazon.
For just $6 today, you can sip your drinks in style with a four pack stainless steel drinking straws. I own this exact set, and use them for everything from Coke Zero to Moscow Mules. And don’t worry, they come with a little tube cleaner to help you wash them.
Oh hey, would you look at that, it’s another Amazon sample box, this time featuring lotions, oral care products, sunscreen, and other beauty products. This one is more expensive than most at $15, but it comes with a $15 credit on your next beauty purchase.
Here are some other sample boxes that are still available from yesterday:
It never hurts to have some extra microUSB cables, and you can get six today in various lengths for just $7 with code 6USBCORD. If only Lightning cables were that affordable.
This bathroom scale doesn’t have any bells & whistles; just a sleek look, a great price, and tons of five-star reviews. Save a couple bucks with promo code HLNI3XKL.
We’ve seen several deals lately on RFID-blocking front pocket wallets, but if none of them have been quite what you’re looking for, maybe this one will fit the bill. It’s leather, it can hold about five cards and some cash, and it’s only $7 today.
By now, you should know that Anker PowerLine Lightning cables are incredibly popular
Did you know you’ve been pooping all wrong
7" or 9" model for just $19 on Amazon today. These things never go on sale, so if you’ve had your eye on one, it’s officially time to poop or get off the pot.
Note: These are listed for over $25 on the product page, but they’ll drop to $19 automatically at checkout. You must purchase from Squatty Potty’s Amazon listing, not Amazon’s first party one.
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This afternoon, in a scene plucked from one of my work-related anxiety dreams, New York Times reporters Nick Corasaniti, Maggie Haberman, and Thomas Kaplan pitched stories to politics editor Carolyn Ryan on Facebook Live while thousands of people watched it happen.
It’s a testament to how game these reporters are that when, at about one minute and 35 seconds in, Ryan says (in front of thousands of viewers), “I’m just not feeling it” about Corasaniti’s idea for a story about political advertising, the reporter does not slap himself in the face and say, “I’m just dreaming this. If I know I’m dreaming, I will wake up.”
This is all to say that streaming a pitch meeting on Facebook Live is a decently brave move, especially since half-baked story ideas that haven’t been subject to fact-checking or strenuous research are a pillar of pitch meetings. It’s customary in pitch meetings for editors to ask follow-up questions of writers to suss out whether the stories they’re pitching have legs, and we see that happen in this video. About four minutes into the live stream, Haberman and Kaplan pitch a story about the possibility of a third-party candidate for president, Gary Johnson, and his likely VP choice, Bill Weld. Weld, Haberman opines, might make a third-party ticket more palatable for voters, but he’s a bit of a loose cannon who said some things to Haberman that she calls “intense.”
Ryan wants an example. “He ‘hears the glass crunching on Kristallnacht’ when he thinks about Trump rounding up 11 million immigrants and deporting them,” says Haberman. Ryan asks if that was on the record and Haberman says, yes, “Not only on the record, but unsolicited.”
Ok, but what if the answer had been no? What if that hadn’t been on the record, and the Times published it anyway, in the form of a Facebook Live video?
Haberman goes on to paraphrase a few quotes from sources, which is something the Times would never openly allow in a reported piece. The problem here is that Facebook is, of course, a media platform
One of two things is going on here. Either the Times didn’t think this through, since pitches are never as airtight as the reported stories that result from them are, and the Times risked accidentally broadcasting incorrect or off-the-record information—or we’re not really watching a pitch meeting.
We get the answer pretty quickly. At about 3 minutes, 57 seconds, Ryan asks Corasiniti, of that same story about political advertising, “Has this story been edited?” He answers that yes, it has, and it’s with the copy department and will be ready to go in the next two hours or so. These are stories that seem, basically, as though they’re already done.
And indeed, Haberman and Kaplan’s article on Weld went live on the Times website basically around the time the live stream began. Maybe that’s why the whole exchange feels a little, well, rehearsed. What we’re seeing here isn’t writers pitching fresh ideas to their editors, but the Times pitching us the idea of watching writers pitch their editors.
Oh, what was that? What’s the second problem? Oh, right. The second problem is that it’s boring.
Terrifying news out of Oklahoma: state legislators there passed a bill today that would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. Republican Governor Mary Fallin, who is generally anti-abortion, has not publicly stated whether she plans to sign the bill.
Reuters notes that several pro-choice groups have vowed to take legal action against the state if the anti-abortion bill becomes law. Opponents of the legislation would seem to have a solid legal standing: The U.S. Supreme Court famously ruled that the right to an abortion is protected under the constitution in Roe v. Wade.
The bill would also bar physicians who perform abortions from obtaining or renewing medical licenses in the state. It does make an exception for procedures that could save the life of the mother, which would remain legal under the law.
Oklahoma’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill last month, and state senators voted 33-12 in favor of passing this afternoon, with much of the support and opposition falling along party lines. Not all Republicans voted in favor, however. The Associated Press reports that Senator Ervin Yen, a Republican and the only physician in the senate, sided with the Democrats. He called the legislation “insane.”
A Donald Trump delegate in Charles County, Maryland, has been indicted on child pornography and explosives charges, federal prosecutors announced Thursday. Caleb Andrew Bailey, 30, was elected as a Trump delegate last month.
Investigators began looking into Bailey in February, after a package he shipped to Wisconsin broke open en route and postal inspectors found that it contained ammunition and explosives. NBC Washington reports:
The package, which was addressed to someone in Wisconsin, was linked to Bailey a few days later when he called the U.S. Postal Service inquiring about the package. Investigators said Bailey did not have a federal explosives license to transport the explosives.
Authorities arranged to meet with Bailey at a postal facility on May 5 to discuss the package, but Bailey did not show up for the meeting.
Law enforcement then searched Bailey’s properties and found a machine gun, investigators said.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the indictment charges that Bailey “used a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct” to produce child pornography. He faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted. The Trump campaign will have to use an alternate delegate at the Republican national convention in July if Bailey is unable to attend.
After humiliating his new friend in every other possible way
During a fundraiser to help Christie pay off his campaign debt, Trump commanded the former presidential candidate and current political prisoner to stop eating cookies.
“I’m not eating Oreos anymore—neither is Chris!” said Trump, pointing to Christie. “You’re not eating Oreos anymore. No more Oreos. For either of us, Chris.”
“Don’t feel bad,” chastised Trump, “for either.”
Of course, it’s possible Trump really was making a point about Christie’s distaste for the cookie maker’s labor practices. In any case, don’t feel bad. For either.
Just hours after one of his officers shot and killed an apparently unarmed black woman, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned on Thursday at the urging of Mayor Ed Lee, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“I have previously expressed confidence in Chief Suhr because I know he agrees with and understands the need for reform,” said Lee at a press conference Thursday evening. “But following this morning’s officer-involved shooting and my meeting with Chief Suhr this afternoon, today I have arrived at a different conclusion to the question of how best to move forward.”
Thursday’s shooting was just the latest in a series of deadly police shootings and racially-charged controversies that have occurred under Suhr’s command. From the Associated Press:
Pressure had been mounting for the resignation of Chief Greg Suhr since December, when five officers fatally shot a young black man carrying a knife.
Mayor Ed Lee stood behind the chief after the shooting and later when it was disclosed in April that three officers had exchanged racist text messages.
But the mayor said he asked for the chief’s resignation Thursday after a sergeant shot and killed a 27-year-old woman as he tried to pull her out of a stolen car she had crashed into a parked truck.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there was “no immediate indication” the woman had a weapon or was trying to hit police with the vehicle.
Lee says Suhr, who was first appointed in 2011, will be replaced by Toney Chaplin, a former deputy chief with a record of promoting police accountability and commitment to the city’s diverse communities.
A grand jury investigating last year’s botched executions in Oklahoma
According to the grand jury, a number of officials failed to recognize that the state had accidentally purchased potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride until it had already been used to end one man’s life. From NBC News:
The panel focused on the Jan. 2015 execution of Charles Warner and the aborted September 2015 execution of Richard Glossip.
Under the protocol, both men were supposed to be put to death with a three-drug cocktail that included potassium chloride.
In Warner’s case, the executioners mistakenly used potassium acetate — a mixup that was not discovered until someone noticed the wrong drugs had also been ordered for Glossip.
Among the probe’s more disturbing findings was that Governor Mary Fallin’s top lawyer, Steve Mullins, pushed for the execution of Richard Glossip
“[T]he Governor’s General Counsel stated potassium chloride and potassium acetate were basically one in the same drug, advising Deputy Attorney General Miller to “Google it,” wrote the grand jury. “The Governor’s General Counsel also told Deputy Attorney General Miller that filing a motion to stay would look bad for the State of Oklahoma because potassium acetate had already been used in Warner’s execution.”
In other cases, officials claimed incompetence, with the pharmacist blaming his “pharmacy brain” and Warner’s execution leader saying he was distracted because he is “not very good at math.”
In the end, however, the grand jury declined to indict anyone over the botched executions and recommended the state increase training, update protocols and investigate the gas chamber as an alternative to lethal injection.
“With new management at the Department of Corrections, led by Interim Director Joe Allbaugh, I am confident we can move forward with a process that complies with the applicable policies, protocols and legal requirements,” Governer Fallin told the Associated Press.