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    Beyond 'Work': Here Are the Songs of the Summer

    Panda. Panda. Panda. By this time in the summer, most of the seasonal hits are a foregone conclusion, so we can all bank our beach bods on hearing Desiigner, Drake, Rihanna and, unfortunately, “Toothbrush” fifty-eleven times before we have to pack away our bikinis.

    But what about the sleeper hits that soundtrack our individual lives, not just the songs that unite us but those which elevate our chill seasonal vibes? The Jezebel staff and some of our colleagues at Gawker have compiled a definitive list of what we’ll be bumping at every barbecue this summer, a playlist of songs ready to shift your mood and imbue you with a feeling of triumph.

    Our picks aren’t the most precise—last year, for instance, we fully omitted “Lean On,” a mistake that was particularly egregious because that Major Lazer/Mø joint will likely soundtrack some of the most glorious moments of this summer, too. But the songs we have chosen are ours, and we believe in them, love them enough to play them when we’re slightly boozy and about to exchange a kiss with our summer boos.

    Flume f. Tove Lo, “Say It”

    I included this track from Flume’s latest album on a playlist dedicated to my butt, and I will include it again here, because in addition to getting me through some bleak moments on the stairmaster, it’s the exact kind of pulsing, wistful, not-quite-dance-y jam I can see blaring out of a backyard barbecue in August. -Ellie Shechet

    Miguel f. Kasey Musgraves, “Waves”

    Three months ago, Kacey Musgraves and Miguel teased a video for their country-tinged joint remix of his song “Waves.” At the time, I assumed it was being primed as a summer hit, but have since been proven wrong. The video never happened (I was told last week by Musgraves’s publicist that there are “no plans” for its release), but the song—a chill and sexy roll in the sand that’s as convertible-ready as any good summer song—still exists, and I’ll be listening to it until the temperature starts dropping. -Bobby Finger

    Kiss Daniel f. Sugaboy, “Napo”

    I won’t pretend to know too much about the Nigerian pop star Kiss Daniel. I was turned on to his debut album New Era by my friend David, and the entire thing is an ideal summer record that blends the pan-global polyrhythms and American-influenced vocals of contemporary Afropop with the elastic thump of the more traditional afrobeat—which is to say that it’s a record that would appeal equally to Drake and Paul Simon. “Napo” is one of its more laconic songs—it has a swaying lilt that brings it closer to reggae than pretty much anything else on the album. It’s meant for the slowest of wines, but it’s the one that’s been speaking to me lately as I, uh, sit on my couch on Sunday afternoons smoking a bowl and watching baseball. -Jordan Sargent

    Calvin Harris f. Rihanna, “This Is What You Came For”

    I am embarrassed and proud to admit that I was heavily involved in my college radio station (I was the president), and that those four years ended up being the alt music equivalent of a child actor’s career—now that I’m grown up, I want nothing to do with inaccessible, acceptably hip noise. So much of the time, when I want to listen to music, I don’t want to work. “This Is What You Came For” doesn’t make me work. It’s got a great Rihanna hook, satisfying dance beat from Calvin (no offense Taylor), and it makes me want to make out. If you looked up “summer anthem” in The Joy of Cooking, that would be the recipe. -Joanna Rothkopf

    Pitbull f. Enrique Iglesias, “Messin Around”

    This also has all the ingredients of a summer hit. Though it is objectively worse than my previous pick, it has two additional foolproof song ingredients: Pitbull, master of the club fuck song, and Enrique Iglesias, my nighttime husband. -Joanna Rothkopf

    The Chainsmokers f. Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”

    I love The Chainsmokers, honestly, but even more than that, I hate them: the lazy whip to their sound, the wall of all-access rage that’s become their signature; the blank, throwaway Instagram femininity that colors their riffs and hooks—it’s all so competent that it feels scornful, like they’re hate-fucking the radio and always eliciting a yes.

    Anyway, The Chainsmokers are particularly good for this Spotify Discover era of barely distinguishable feature vocalists, and “Don’t Let Me Down,” featuring the 17-year-old Daya, really, really slaps. It’s a song for the thoughtlessness of summer, it’ll casually shut you up. I know exactly when I’m going to be listening to this one—behind a beer pong game I’m losing, in a car with the night wind blowing my hair in my mouth, when it’s too late in the night to talk. -Jia Tolentino

    All Saints, “Chick Fit (KissySellOut Remix)”

    I’m writing this in the vague hope that more people will listen to this song with me this summer, or, ideally, that someone (perhaps KissySellout himself… where are you) will get the All Saints stems and recreate the mix into something more current, or at least something HQ. Let’s close the blog house circle all the way. -Jia Tolentino

    Drake f. Rihanna, “Too Good”

    My senses tell me Rihanna’s “Work” is gonna carry us into the summer, even though it feels partially old for the summer anthem category. So as a companion, I’m feeling Drake’s “Too Good” with Rihanna, one of the wannabe Caribbean chunes from his Views album. Rhythmically, it has the simple, light BBQ/beach bounce that almost overshadows the expected Drake complaint slash self-pep-talk raps about a woman who can’t appreciate him. I’m hearing it and seeing cut-off shorts and glass particles in the Coney Island sand so I hope it plays outside of just my Spotify jams vicinity. -Clover Hope

    Yuna, “Best Love”

    A lot of singers have tried the nu-Sade thing; few have done it as seemingly naturally as Malaysian singer-songwriter. Her third album, Chapters (released last month on Verve), brims with slow jams that spotlight her still-not-chill soprano—like her sonic godmother Sade Adu, she conjures emotion with a deceptive coolness. The gem “Best Love” is about as up-tempo as Chapters gets—it’s the “Hang on to Your Love” in Yuna’s particular diamond life. Like an ass just out of a seat and hovering, “Best Love” is this close to dancey. With a midtempo sway that recalls Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” and accents that range from self-consciously sophisticated (those swooping violins) to down-to-earth (those ratchet snares), “Best Love” is like fresh air to a mostly laconic album—and to contemporary R&B as a whole. -Rich Juzwiak

    Usher, “Crash”

    This song was released a few hours ago and I’m still high on it. While bumping its ass to a sexy, sub-house BPM of 104, “Crash” sits at the humid intersection of Kygo-style tropical house and the futuristic adult contemporary (call it nu-AC) tendencies that are creeping through R&B at the moment. It’s right out of Majid Jordan’s playbook with the key difference being that Usher has the capacity to sing the shit out of a track. And so he does. His limber voice bends all over time from the future (“If it don’t last forever, I wanna let you know”) to the future past (“We really had something special/ It’s hard tryin’ to let it go”) to the present (“I’m just being honest / I’m still in the moment”). Spotlit is his gorgeous falsetto much as it was in “Climax,” with which “Crash” shares a sort of spot-the-hook sensibility—it seems to build from one pre-chorus to the next, teetering on the brink of a hook until you realize the whole damn thing is a hook.

    Usher is a gift, appreciate him. -Rich Juzwiak

    YG f. Drake & Kamaiyah, “Why You Always Hatin”

    Play this at the next BBQ you host for all of your haters. -Emma Carmichael

    Roy Woods, “Gwan Big Up Urself”

    This is a late drop for song of the summer, but it has all the markings of the perfect warm weather jam: the feeling that the melody is floating along on a cloud of haze, the patois, the NSFW description of some pretty chill sex hidden in some smooth operator singing. Woods hasn’t dropped his new full album Waking At Dawn yet, and he might be way too OVO for those who don’t stick with Drake even when he’s putting out weak shit, but this track is ripe for remixing/blasting out of cars that insist on driving around the block all afternoon. -Kate Dries

    Ryan Adams, “Wildest Dreams”

    I’m so fucking embarrassed by this selection and the way it’s wormed itself into my head and earholes. This is of course a Ryan Adams cover of a Taylor Swift jam. The whole concept is so damn corny. And yet, Shit Is Going On right now for me, and I forecast it will do so for the remainder of the summer. This cover sounds like where my head is likely to be at: It sounds like waiting for a late, empty train back from Coney Island, a chilly ocean breeze sweeping down as the sun disappears. Ugh. I hate how much I love this stupid song. -Anna Merlan

    Beyond 'Work': Here Are the Songs of the Summer

    Kaytranada f. Shay Lia, “Leave Me Alone”

    If you’re not familiar with Kaytranada, you are not living your life right. On an album full of bangers, this stands out the most because every time I listen to “Leave Me Alone,” I imagine myself sitting by the pool in a bikini, holding a glass of rosé and singing the words to my boyfriend Blake Griffin who will ignore the lyrics and not leave me alone. If that’s not a summer fantasy you can get behind, then you don’t even deserve the season. Also, that beat though. -Kara Brown

    Kelela f. GoldLink, “Rewind (Louie Lastic Remix)”

    Kelela’s original version stretched out, leopard like, over a set of classic Miami bass beats, hits that always sound like summer for their long legacy and breezy emotional drive. (For more of that, give this Abra joint a try.) But Louie Lastic recognizes her genre versatility both as a singer and a stylist, so he gamely cuts her vocals on an upbeat synth gleam that invokes the best attitude of classic UK garage, a tempo Goldlink can get down with. Going to rewind-selectah this all over the next three months. -Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

    Quentin Miller, “Potential”

    Does it seem hatery that I’m closing this out with Drake’s (alleged) ghostwriter? It shouldn’t: I first heard this song a couple months ago bumping out a car in my neighborhood, the number one sign of a relative summer hit. I was immediately drawn in to Miller’s slackjawed delivery and the second thought in the chorus— “I got money, I ain’t stressin; wait.”—that indicates what’s going on beneath the surface; I followed that car a block out of my way so I could hear enough lyrics to sufficiently Google this track. The video is an added draw, his lowkey, chilled out charm is totally infectious and the sly smile with which he delivers it suggests he knows he’s talented, but is a little bemused about it all. “I ain’t stressin” as a philosophy is what summer’s all about, no? -Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

    Image via Getty

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    Gawker Media Is Filing For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Will Be Put Up For Sale

    Executives at Gawker Media told employees today that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel’s third-party funding of several lawsuits against the company. This plan will allow Gawker to continue functioning, but will require selling the company to another entity. The move came after the Hon. Pamela A.M. Campbell of Pinellas County, Florida denied Gawker’s request to stay the enforcement of a $50 million bond that would allow it to appeal the $140 million verdict that a 6-person jury awarded Hulk Hogan in March.

    The filing is not expected to affect Gawker Media’s normal editorial or business operations for the foreseeable future. However, it is the most significant change to Gawker’s corporate structure in its 14-year history. In tandem with its bankruptcy filing, the company announced that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with the media conglomerate Ziff Davis, which serves as an initial bid to purchase the company. The bankruptcy process will involve an auction of the company, including its seven main media brands, and several additional buyers beyond Ziff Davis are expected to enter the bidding.

    Gawker Media’s parent company, Gawker Media Group, explained the decision to sell in a statement distributed on Friday:

    The sale and filing are intended to preserve the value of GMG’s pioneering digital news business, safeguard the jobs of journalists and other staff, and allow GMG to fund the appeal against the $130 million judgment in the Hulk Hogan case against the company in a Florida state court.

    In the same statement, CEO Nick Denton said:

    Authentic writing, whether it takes the form of honest reviews of technology, video games and entertainment, or revelations about the way the system works, is more important than ever. We have been forced by this litigation to give up our longstanding independence, but our writers remain committed to telling the true stories that underpin credibility with our millions of readers. With stronger backing and disentangled from litigation, they can perform their vital work on more platforms and in different forms.

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    A Message from Greg Bonecutter
    Photo: Getty

    Last month, Gawker attempted to reach a Donald Trump supporter by the name of Greg Bonecutter, who’d told the Guardian that if it were up to him, “We’d bring back public execution and there’d be several trap doors on the White House lawn.” We wanted to know what was under the trap doors.

    Today, we have an answer. From Greg:

    About 15-20 ft and air.

    There you have it!

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  • 06/10/16--13:16: A Note From Your Editor
  • Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy, as you read on Gawker earlier today. What does that mean? For you, the reader, it means very little: We will continue to operate as usual through the Chapter 11 process. There will continue to be new stories on this website by all of your favorite Gawker writers and also Hamilton Nolan. Eventually, things might be different—for example, anthropogenic climate change will probably lead to widespread famine and endless resource wars—but for now, we’re not going anywhere. Thanks for reading.

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  • 06/10/16--13:25: Gawker Fan Sends Note 
  • Gawker Fan Sends Note 

    Recently retired New York Post editor Col Allan took the time to write Gawker a thoughtful note today.

    Perhaps reflecting on his rich history with this website during these tumultuous times, Allan reminisced...

    Col Allan <>

    To: Today at 3:15 PM

    Here’s a tip. You lie, you die. Squeal, pig fuckers, squeal.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Asked by Gawker Media executive editor John Cook if he was drunk, Allan replied:

    Not yet. Surely you don’t take offense. Such wit is your charm. Denton knows more about fucking pigs than I ever will. But it’s a joke, right.

    Sent from my iPhone

    One day, years from now, we’ll all get together and laugh about this and fuck a pig.

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    What Happened to the Girl Behind 'White Girl Problems'?

    In an economy where the idea of a woman is often more commercially appealing than the actual presence of one, it is seemingly a natural development that the White Girl brand is now run by a group of men.

    The story goes that viral Twitter account White Girl Problems was launched in March 2010 after a boozy conversation between “brothers Tanner and David Oliver Cohen and their friend Lara Schoenhals” (although some provide conflicting accounts about whether or not David was involved in the initial stages of the account’s launch). The account was retweeted by Emma Roberts, among other notable social media users, and featured in a number of “best of Twitter” lists.

    The account was founded during a period of internet history that spawned a series of viral social media accounts, including “Feminist Ryan Gosling,” and “Shit My Dad Says” which were parlayed into a book, and television show and a book, respectively. WGP’s three actor-comedian types found the same success, earning several generous book deals (eventually published under the account’s fictitious persona, Babe Walker), and offers to option it as a TV show or movie. The film rights were eventually purchased by Lionsgate.

    In an impressive branding achievement, WGP has pivoted its Twitter persona into a product that has little to do with Walker herself. In 2015, the team announced it would be partnering with Josh Ostrovsky (also known as the serial internet plagiarizer The Fat Jewish) to launch a rosé brand called White Girl Rosé. While the move makes some sense from a business perspective, the partnership is an odd one—why would anyone willingly team up with one of the most loathed (and lucrative) men on the internet, one who received massive press attention for stealing jokes from comedic Twitter accounts just like Walker’s?

    As Ostrovsky was welcomed into the WGP creative team, Schoenhals seemed to leave it. In 2015, Schoenhals abruptly stopped appearing in interviews with the Cohens, and, at least in press, the story of the brand’s three founders was whittled down to two. “White Girl Problems” is now run by a group of three men.

    That the persona behind White Girl Problems is a fictional woman allows the identity of who is actually running the account to be obscured—the timeline is seamless; any behind-the-scenes changes in the brand are undetectable. Several publications, including Harper’s Bazaar, Total Sorority Move, Guest of a Guest and Thought Catalog featured interviews with “Walker” herself.

    Still, the launch of the rosé brand has brought a spate of media attention for the now all-male team. An article in Pret-a-Reporter boasted that the guys would pick up your clean-up fee if you could prove you puked from the drink in an Uber. A video segment posted on Thursday on Business Insider featured Tanner and Ostrovsky giving tips on how to gain more followers on social media.

    A June 2015 piece in Bloomberg celebrated the launch of the new brand by interviewing Ostrovsky and David:

    To fulfill his desire to “make real things,” Ostrovsky is teaming up with another Internet star, David Oliver Cohen—aka Babe Walker of @WhiteGrlProblem on Twitter—to produce the northern-California bottled wine. Their first order rang up to 30,000 bottles of dry Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel blend.

    “Ultimately with our two brands, [we’re planning to] come together and figure out a way to have a real product people could buy and enjoy the fun they are having on social media and bring it to their actual party,” says Cohen. “We want to be national by next summer, one year from now: 1 million bottles sold.”

    In each piece, the Cohens, consistently referred to as the founders of White Girl Problems, refrain from mentioning Schoenhals, and the outlets refrain from asking about her. (Though in the Bloomberg article, neither Tanner nor Schoenhals is mentioned as having anything to do with the brand.)

    “White Girl Problems is really more of a platform from which we can all stand and air our grievances,” David said of the brand’s name. “So you don’t have to be a white person, or a girl, to have a white girl problem.”

    So it would seem.

    The copyrights for books penned by the fictitious Walker have also changed. In the first two books, White Girl Problems and Psychos, the copyright is shared between the Cohens and Schoenhals; for American Babe, the upcoming title due out on June 28, the copyright only mentions the Cohens. In response to an inquiry about whether or not Schoenhals was still involved in the third book’s production, the book’s publicist Stephanie DeLuca wrote simply, “The writing team behind Babe Walker is made up of Dave and Tanner Cohen.”

    In a phone call with Jezebel, Tanner Cohen said that Schoenhals had left the team a year and a half ago—before the idea of White Girl Rosé had hatched—after the team made a mutual decision to “go our separate ways.”

    “Do I know why she made that decision?” he repeated. “There were a lot of things that made it hard for us to work intimately and creatively together because she was on another coast and the nature of the projects were—you know, we were writing a book together, we were creating a character, building this person’s life all the time, and we made it work for two books and we then, at that point we still had a lot of passion for the project but we were doing other things as well and she has a lot of other passions which she’s following. So it wasn’t, I mean I can’t speak for her, but I know that for us it was like an organic break.”

    Now, the WGP team has melded with Ostrovsky’s: “Anything under the Babe Walker brand is David and I. The rosé is Josh [Ostrovsky], the Fat Jew, David, me, and another guy called Alex Ferzan who does most of our visual. He’s our graphic designer. And then there’s obviously crossover between the Fat Jew, Babe Walker, and the wine, and then it gets all sort of mixed up.”

    The new partnership has seemingly brought upon an abrupt change of focus for WGP. The brand’s Twitter account, which once entertained its 830,000 followers with jokes like “Judging me will only make you fat,” and “Where’s my ass?,” is devoted primarily to advertising rosé and the new book, as is its Instagram account. automatically redirects to the homepage for White Girl Rosé. What was once an upstart account run by three funny people is now not much more than a corporate account maintained to satisfy consumers, with jokes written as thinly-veiled attempts at selling product.

    On our call, Tanner said that due to the brand’s shifting focus, American Babe would probably be Babe Walker’s final book.

    “Right now we’re completely focused on rosé. It’s taken over our lives and we are essentially a marketing agency,” he said, noting that he was speaking to me from his White Girl Rosé office in New York. “Now when people ask me what I do I don’t say writer anymore, I say ‘creative director,’ which is weird but that’s my job. I do branding and marketing and I plan activations and events and all this shit. It’s amazing but it’s definitely new and challenging and weird.”

    Tanner said he has thought about a potential issue of the lack of women on the team, but he reiterated his brother’s sentiment from the Bloomberg interview: “I don’t think our brand is about being a girl. I’m not here to represent that experience necessarily, so in that sense, I don’t lose sleep over it. That being said, I wish things worked out with Lara and there was still a girl in an executive position. I don’t know what else to say.”

    I followed up: did he have any plans to hire a female executive?

    “Our director of operations is female and our director of marketing, who does, like, event coordination and planning, but the founders will always be the founders. I wish I was with girls always—all the time, 24 hours a day, because I just prefer women, but this is just how it happened.”

    After we spoke, Jezebel received an email retracting Cohen’s entire interview and requesting it be taken off the record.

    When Jezebel reached Schoenhals on the phone, she said she was unable to speak with us without consulting her lawyer. She did not return several follow-up attempts to reach her.

    A November New York Times interview with Schoenhals indicates she’ll be involved in a WGP Lionsgate film adaptation, and is busy with other projects, including the Instagram account Cosmo Sex Tips, which has 32,000 followers. Lionsgate declined to comment on her involvement in the film.

    “Ninety-nine percent of the people I meet are literal garbage, but there a few [sic] that I truly do love, besides myself,” reads the acknowledgements section in American Babe. “Tanner Cohen and David Oliver Cohen, you guys complete me. Like actually, how would I have written this book without you? Thank you, thank you, thank you!” The section also acknowledges Ostrovsky, “the Rosé boys,” and Meryl Streep. There is no mention of Schoenhals.

    Image via White Girl Wine.

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    If Somebody Really Wants to Hack You You're Probably Fucked
    Image: Twitter

    In the wake of the leak of tens of millions of Twitter and old Myspace passwords this week, you may have heard a lot about two-factor authentification, the supposed impenetrable firewall between you, the unsuspecting cloud-based electronics user, and a hacker. I’m here to tell you that if someone is deeply intent on hacking you, you’re probably fucked.

    This morning, the Twitter account of famed Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay Mckesson was compromised. Per the Baltimore Sun (Jesus Christ), the hacker tweeted, among other things, an endorsement of Donald Trump from Mckesson’s account. This afternoon, after regaining access to his some-376,000 followers, Mckesson revealed that he did in fact have two-factor authentification on his Twitter account, but the hacker(s) managed to bypass the system anyway:

    This sort of “social engineering” preys not on the security of your password-protected accounts, but the lowly call center employees who can access your shit with a few keystrokes.

    So what are the solutions? Destroy all your electronics. Ummm, move to a remote island. Uhh...

    [via Fast Company]

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    Trump Made Millions off the Huge Financial Failure of his Atlantic City Casino Empire 

    Most stories about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump involve him profiting off some group of people’s misery. So you knew it would be only a matter of time before one of them would be about Atlantic City, the gambling addiction hotline capital of America.

    A New York Times investigation reported on Saturday that Trump has been wreaking havoc on the Jersey Shore resort town for 25 years with his “business acumen.” As properties like Trump Plaza Casino and Hotel and the Trump Marina Hotel Casino lost money and eventually shuttered, the man behind the brand made millions by shifting personal debts onto investors and the casinos, ripping off local contractors, and inflating expectations (lying).

    The Times reports:

    [A] close examination of regulatory reviews, court records and security filings by The New York Times leaves little doubt that Mr. Trump’s casino business was a protracted failure. Though he now says his casinos were overtaken by the same tidal wave that eventually slammed this seaside city’s gambling industry, in reality he was failing in Atlantic City long before Atlantic City itself was failing.

    The investigation also suggests that Trump’s Atlantic City casinos were never meant to last:

    “Mr. Trump assembled his casino empire by borrowing money at such high interest rates—after telling regulators he would not—that the business had almost no chance to succeed.”

    The only remaining Trump asset on the shore, now under new ownership, is the Trump Taj Mahal Casino. If the Times’ bleak description is anything to go by, Trump Taj sounds more like a nice laundromat than a vacation destination: “The carpets are frayed and dust-coated chandeliers dangle above the few customers there to play the penny slot machines.”

    Trump has invoked the “success” of his Atlantic City casinos repeatedly on the campaign trail, arguing that somehow being able to run chichi gambling dens prepares one for the United States presidency.

    In an early Republican primary debate Trump said, “I made a lot of money in Atlantic City. And I’m very proud of it.”

    Did Trump not expect anyone to investigate his claim that he is one of the only people to have ever made money off Atlantic City casinos? I guess?

    As for Atlantic City, it’s currently four hundred million dollars in debt, with the credit rating of a junk-bond. At this rate, it’s possible Atlantic City itself will file for bankruptcy.

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    A Rightwing Italian Newspaper is Handing out Copies of 'Mein Kampf' to its Readers 
    Photo: AP

    History repeats itself, but usually not word for word.

    The rightwing Italian newspaper Il Giornale, property of disgraced former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, is doing just that by outfitting its Saturday edition with supplemental copies of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

    The decision has already sparked considerable backlash. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi denounced the fascist display on Twitter, calling Il Giornale “sleazy.”

    The Israeli embassy in Rome told ANSA, an Italian news agency, “If they had asked us we would have advised them to distribute much better books for studying and understanding the Shoah.”

    Il Giornale’s director, Alessandro Sallusti, defended distributing free copies of the white supremacist and anti-semitic text, pleading that the goal was to warn readers not to repeat its mistakes. The paper has pointed out that it circulated a highly annotated version of the text.

    Mein Kampf, which just went back into print in Germany this January (annotations are required by law) was first published in 1925 and quickly became a best-seller. In 1933, Benito Mussolini outbid publishing houses in Britain and the United States for foreign rights to the book, which several historians have interpreted as a token of good faith in Hitler’s fascist agenda. And what else could it possibly have meant?

    Mussolini once famously called Mein Kampf “illegible,” but the reasons one might have for distributing it really aren’t.

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    Tell Congress: Vote NO on David Blaine
    Image: Getty

    David Copperfield, the man who famously stole the Statue of Liberty in 1983 as a nation looked on in horror and disgust, wants to make a mockery of our American values yet again. David Copperfield wants Congress to officially recognize magic, the same magic that has caused both infinite hours of embarrassment and David Blaine, as “art.”

    More specifically David Copperfield (not even his real name) wants our ruling government body to pass House Resolution 642, which would recognize “magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” The resolution, which is being sponsored by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), offers a number of justifications for why our notoriously gridlocked congress should make time to discuss the value of “magic” as art.

    These reasons include the facts that:

    • “Magic enables people to experience the impossible.” To which I counter that magic is not real.
    • “Magic is used to inspire and bring wonder and happiness to others.” To which I counter that magic also inspires our children to get beat up by other, more well-adjusted children.
    • “Futurist Arthur C. Clarke claimed that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” To which I counter this is not at all what he Arthur C. Clarke was talking about and this is getting embarrassing.
    • “David Copperfield, with 21 Emmy Awards, 11 Guinness World Records, and over four billion dollars in ticket sales, has impacted every aspect of the global entertainment industry.” To which I counter that, David, no one cares.
    • “People consistently leave David Copperfield’s live magic show with a different perspective than when they entered.” To which I counter that I saw a David Copperfield live magic show once and fell asleep about 25 minutes in.

    And of course, that:

    • “There is not an effective national effort to support and preserve magic.” To which I say, thank fucking god.

    Sessions, who is the House Rules Committee Chairman—the same rules committee that decides which resolutions are actually called to a vote—claims that “this is art. Magic is art.”

    While some Democrats are correctly mocking the effort, Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) told NPR, “There are many magicians who live in my district, and many magicians who work in my district.” Rep. Titus—we are so sorry.

    In these times, we urge Congress to remember that a vote for magic is a vote for this:

    Tell Congress: Vote NO on David Blaine
    Unfortunate image: Getty

    Please, call your local Representative and tell them to vote NO on magic.

    [h/t NPR]

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    Oakland Police Chief Resigned Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against his Department 
    Photo: AP

    New details have emerged about the Oakland Police Department sex scandal that suggest it was much more expansive than previously reported.

    On Thursday, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent resigned amidst multiple sexual misconduct allegations in his ranks. At this point, it had been reported that the OPd is being investigated for sexual misconduct by some low-ranking officers, including alleged sexual encounters with an underage girl. Four officers have been put on leave while the city conducts its investigation, of which tow have resigned.

    But according to an investigation conducted by the East Bay Express, published on Friday, these allegations extend to high-ranking officials from several departments around the Bay Area.

    From the Express’s report:

    The Express has learned that the sexual-misconduct scandal involves more than just a few rank-and-file Oakland cops, but also high-ranking officials from departments throughout the Bay Area. A few committed statutory rape of the victim, who was an under-age sex worker at the time, and informed her of undercover police operations.

    Multiple city sources told the Express that Independent Police Monitor Robert Warshaw, who is tasked with oversight of OPD reforms, forced Whent to resign as a result of these allegations.

    But the official OPD and city government narrative differs. At a Friday press conference, Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth cited “personal reasons,” as the motive for Whent’s resignation.

    The alleged victim at the heart of the scandal, who goes by the name Celeste Guap, revealed to the Express that a retired Oakland police captain solicited her for sex when she was still underage and paid to have sex with her when she turned eighteen. The captain, who collects a $125,000 yearly pension from the city, confirmed these details with the Express, which did not reveal his identity for health reasons after he sent them a phone message saying, “Please don’t publish my name. I will die. I have a heart condition.”

    Whent will be replaced temporarily by current Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) deputy police chief Benson Fairow, after heading the OPD for a little over a year.

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    Oklahoma's Department of Health is Now Required by Law to Promote an ‘Abortion-free Society’
    Photo: AP

    “The State of Oklahoma strongly urges you to contact them if you are pregnant,” is a pretty terrifying sentence that you will find on the state’s Department of Health website in a just a few months.

    But that’s only a small part of what a new bill, quietly signed into law earlier this week by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, will require the Oklahoma DoH to do in the service of dismantling women’s reproductive rights. The bill, which goes into effect on November 1, states that the DoH must:

    “Develop and distribute educational and informational materials to provide public information through public service announcements, media and otherwise for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.”

    The DoH will also have to work with the Department of Education to create, “education programs regarding the humanity of the unborn child.” The school boards at least have the right to choose whether or not they will implement these “instructional programs.”

    The information the DoH provides to the public in compliance with this mandate must also be “scientifically verifiable.” So, fine, the DoH will just have to get new science.

    All these great new facts about women’s bodies will be good for justifying this stipulation of schools that participate in the program: “no program or state employee may refer any student to a medical facility or any provider for the performance of an abortion.”

    Three weeks ago, Gov. Fallin vetoed a bill that would have made it a felony for doctors to perform abortions, which sounds great, until you hear her reasoning: “too vague.”

    This new bill is nothing if not diabolically clear.

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  • 06/11/16--19:52: Scared Man Fondles Cloth
  • Scared Man Fondles Cloth
    Image: AP

    The presumptive face of the Republican Party screamed a series of loosely related words at thousands of people in Tampa earlier today, pausing only to clap quietly to himself as he embraced a large piece of colored cloth.

    The flag fondling came in response to Donald Trump’s devotees chanting back at the candidate to “build that wall.” Apparently confused by the loud noises coming from someone other than himself, Trump takes several steps back, glances at his surroundings, and ultimately decides to clutch one of the American flags arranged behind him.

    We hope that, in the embrace, Trump was able to find the solace he seeks.

    You can watch the hour-long ordeal in full below.

    [h/t Talking Points Memo]

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    Update: Approximately 50 Dead, 53 Injured After Gunman Opens Fire at Gay Nightclub in Orlando
    Image: AP

    A gunman opened fired at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, at around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, killing approximately 50 and injuring at least 53.

    In a press conference this morning, Orlando Police Chief John Mina originally said that approximately 20 people had been killed with 42 injured, but both of those numbers were updated in a press conference held later this morning.

    According to Mina, the suspect began shooting shortly after 2 a.m. An officer working at Pulse exchanged shots with the suspect outside the club. Following that exchange, the gunman went inside Pulse and opened fire. He subsequently held those remaining in the club hostage. Mina said that at approximately 5 a.m., authorities made the decision to enter the club, at which point SWAT teams exchanged further gunfire with the suspect and killed him.

    Audio of that exchange appears to have been captured by witnesses outside the club:

    According to Mina, the gunman was carrying an assault rifle and a handgun, as well as a “type of device” that may have been explosive in nature. An FBI official said that the incident is being investigated as a form of terrorism. Authorities also stated that the man is not from the Orlando area.

    Victims were taken to several local hospitals and triage units were established outside of the club. Per authorities, around 30 hostages were rescued from inside the club, a number of whom were barricaded inside a bathroom and communicating with police. Some of those hostages had been previously wounded.

    The AP spoke with a mother who was texting with her son while he was trapped in one of the bathrooms at Pulse:

    Mina Justice was outside the club early Sunday trying to contact her 30-year-old son Eddie, who texted her when the shooting happened and asked her to call police. He told her he ran into a bathroom with other club patrons to hide. He then texted her: “He’s coming.”

    “The next text said: ‘He has us, and he’s in here with us,’” she said. “That was the last conversation.”

    Police responded to the scene just after 2 a.m. on Sunday, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The bomb squad and hazardous material teams were called to the scene after 3 a.m. On Facebook, Pulse staff warned partygoers to stay away.

    Update: Approximately 50 Dead, 53 Injured After Gunman Opens Fire at Gay Nightclub in Orlando

    One witness, Rosie Feba, told the Sentinel that she’d taken her girlfriend to the club for the first time.

    “She told me someone was shooting. Everyone was getting on the floor,” Feba said. “I told her I didn’t think it was real, I thought it was just part of the music, until I saw fire coming out of his gun.”

    Feba and her girlfriend ran out of the club. On the way out, they saw a man who had been shot.

    Feba grabbed him. Others around her called 911. Some of the man’s blood stained the sleeve of her striped T-shirt.

    One Facebook commenter also claimed to have been an eyewitness:

    I was there. Shooter opened fire @ around 2:00am. People on the dance floor and bar got down on the floor and some of us who were near the bar and back exit managed to go out through the outdoor area and just ran. I am safely home and hoping everyone gets home safely as well

    Gunfire can be heard in the background of videos posted to social media of the heavy police presence outside the club.

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    Reports: Orlando Gay Nightclub Shooter Identified As Omar Mateen; Police Investigating Terrorism Link
    Image: AP

    According to various reports, police have identified the man who killed approximately 20 people and injured at least 42 more at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse as Omar Mateen, a resident of Port St. Lucie, Fla., a city about 125 miles southeast of Orlando.

    According to CBS News, Mateen has “ties to Islamic terrorism” and is an American citizen with no criminal record. Authorities have not confirmed any details about Mateen’s past but are scheduled to hold a press conference shortly.

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    Orlando Blood Center Has Not Lifted Ban on Blood Donations From Gay Men [UPDATED]
    Photo: AP

    According to reports on social media and a city official speaking on MSNBC, OneBlood, a local blood center in Orlando, temporarily lifted the ban on sexually-active gay men donating blood following the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Those reports are false.

    Men who have had sex with other men within the past year are banned by the FDA from donating blood. Gawker wasn’t able to reach OneBlood or the FDA to verify the earlier, erroneous reports. The blood center posted on Facebook:

    Please share! There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Dozens of people have been injured and taken to area hospitals. The need for blood continues. All eligible O Negative, O Positive and AB donors are urged to please donate today. To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you please visit or call 1.888.9.DONATE (1.888.936.6283)

    OneBlood’s website crashed temporarily on Sunday morning. This was its most detailed statement on the shooting as of noon:

    There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Dozens of people have been injured and taken to area hospitals. The need for blood continues.

    All eligible O Negative, O Positive and AB donors are urged to please donate today. To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you click here.

    City commissioner Patty Sheehan of Orlando’s fourth district said on MSNBC this morning that she “understands” that OneBlood is accepting donations from gay men.

    The Council on American-Muslim Relations has encouraged Muslims in the Orlando community to donate blood.

    According to Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, the White House has lifted HIPAA restrictions to allow hospital staff to communicate with victims’ families.

    Update – 1:03 pm

    “All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation,” OneBlood wrote on Twitter. “There are false reports circulating that FDA rules were being lifted. Not true.”

    Update – 1:29 pm

    Not only has the FDA’s ban on donations from gay men not been lifted at OneBlood, the Washington Post reports that OneBlood’s system has not even been updated with the FDA’s revisions to its guidelines, per spokesman Pat Michaels.

    While many people sharing the call on social media have reported that OneBlood is allowing all men who have sex with men to donate — going against Food and Drug Administration guidelines — Michaels said that’s not true. He said OneBlood is continuing to adhere to the longstanding federal restriction on gay men from donating blood. Although the Food and Drug Administration recently updated its guidelines to allow men who have not had sex with another man within a year’s time to donate blood, Michaels said OneBlood’s system hasn’t been updated to allow that just yet, but it will happen later this year.

    Michaels asked people with O-negative, O-positive and AB plasma blood to donate immediately; people with other types should wait. “We have hundreds of people showing up to our locations,” he said. “We understand the sentiment that people want to help and that giving blood is a profound way to help but we are asking those who have other blood types to give us some space for now.”

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    Ex-Wife of Alleged Orlando Shooter Says He Was Unstable and Abusive

    The Washington Post spoke with the ex-wife of suspected Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who says he was “not a stable person” who beat her during their short marriage.

    Mateen, who died in a shootout with police, killed at least 50 people and injured more than 50 others when he opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning.

    “He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that,” the ex-wife, who was granted anonymity, told the paper.

    She says they met online and married in March of 2009, when she moved to Florida to live with him in a two-bedroom Fort Pierce condo owned by Mateen’s family.

    They were only married for a few months, the ex-wife reports, before she told her parents about the abuse and divorced Mateen. Their divorce was reportedly finalized in 2011.

    Her parents flew down to Fort Pierce and pulled her out of the house, leaving all her belongings behind. The ex-wife she said never had contact with Mateen again despite attempts by him to reach her.

    “They literally saved my life,” she said of her parents.

    Mateen was reportedly investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 over his alleged ties to extremists, but during the time they lived together, the ex-wife says, he wasn’t particularly religious and showed no indication of subscribing to radical Islamism.

    “He seemed like a normal human being,” she said.

    The woman’s father verified her account to the Post.

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    Man Armed With Assault Rifles and Explosives Arrested En Route to Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade
    Photo from the 1991 LA Pride Parade via AP

    Police in Santa Monica Sunday arrested a man, armed with assault rifles and possible explosives, who said he was in town for the Los Angeles gay pride festival.

    Santa Monica police were responding to a call about a prowler early Sunday morning when they encountered the man, who has not been identified, in or near a white Acura sedan with Indiana plates. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed assault rifles, ammunition, and tannerite, an explosive used in target practice and sometimes pipe bombs, the LA Times reports. A source tells the paper he appeared to be caucasian.

    The man reportedly told police he was waiting for a friend and in town for the gay pride festival. A city official tells the LA Times security has since been increased around the event.

    One source in West Hollywood said there was discussion of calling off the parade but that officials decided to go forward, with heavy security including undercover officers in the crowd.

    According to Pro Publica reporter Robert Faturechi, a text about the arrest went out to law enforcement officials around 11:19 a.m.

    The arrest comes just hours after a gunman, reportedly 29-year-old Omar Mateen, opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 and injuring dozens more. The alleged gunman’s father tells reporters his son was recently disgusted by the sight of gay men kissing.

    The FBI has reportedly taken over the investigation in Santa Monica.

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    In a statement regarding this morning’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 50 people dead and 53 more injured, President Obama has announced that “the FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism.”

    Speaking at the White House, Obama said:

    Today as americans we grieve the brutal murder, horrific massacre of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families who are grasping for answers.

    We stand with the people of Orlando who have endured a terrible attack on their city. Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.

    The shooter had previously been identified as Port St. Lucie, Florida resident Omar Mateen, who authorities claim had “ties to Islamic terrorism.”

    President Obama has already met with both the FBI and his national and homeland security advisors, during which he “directed that the full resources of the federal government be made available for this investigation.” He continued:

    We are still learning all the facts. This is an open investigation. We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer.

    The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism, and I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what, if any, inspiration this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred.

    Obama appeared largely emotionless during the address, but then again—he’s had far too much practice. This appears to be Obama’s eighteenth address in response to a mass shooting since he took office.

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