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- 06/14/16--05:55: _Donald Trump Accuse...
- 06/14/16--06:12: _Jalopnik For $7,500...
- 06/14/16--06:18: _A Special Chrome Ex...
- 06/14/16--06:52: _Grocery Yoga Is the...
- 06/14/16--08:45: _Report: Pulse Shoot...
- 06/14/16--09:05: _History Repeats Its...
- 06/14/16--09:42: _Here’s LGBT Champio...
- 06/14/16--10:09: _Russian Government ...
- 06/14/16--10:30: _Lawyers Say Chris C...
- 06/14/16--10:45: _Saudi Royal Drama: ...
- 06/14/16--11:48: _Science Watch: The ...
- 06/14/16--12:09: _Crazed Greenwich Vi...
- 06/14/16--13:10: _Now Peter Thiel’s L...
- 06/14/16--13:50: _Smash Mouth's Despe...
- 06/14/16--14:20: _Anderson Cooper Rea...
- 06/14/16--07:45: _In Honor of Donald ...
- 06/14/16--13:45: _Is Apple’s New Medi...
- 06/14/16--14:31: _Fans Think The Newe...
- 06/14/16--17:17: _Miserable Republica...
- 06/14/16--18:45: _Hillary Clinton Win...
- 06/14/16--05:55: Donald Trump Accused of Deleting Emails in 2004 Casino Lawsuit
- 06/14/16--06:18: A Special Chrome Extension for Donald Trump on His Birthday
- 06/14/16--06:52: Grocery Yoga Is the Latest Trend For You to Get Exasperated About
- 06/14/16--09:05: History Repeats Itself, First as Musical, Second as Fitness Cult
- 06/14/16--11:48: Science Watch: The Ancient Lands of Pluto
- We’ve finally found it: a planet that orbits two suns. Wow. *An hour or two of quiet contemplation pass* So what?
- Now this one’s a little tricky, so follow along. It has to do with molecules—but also with outer space. It concerns chemistry—but also astronomy. It contains elements of science—but also philosophy. It involves terms as various and assorted as “propylene oxide,” “Sagittarius B2,” and “telescope.” What it all adds up to, when you’re able to truly comprehend the majesty of its interlocking and overlapping parts, is breathtaking. I think it’s a new kind of space dust. Honestly it went right over my head.
- The dolphins that live in the National Aquarium in Baltimore are moving to a “seaside sanctuary.” Soon, they’ll be able swim right up to edge of that seaside sanctuary and gaze out into the sea and say, “What gives?” I bet the dolphins will be like, “Hey, thanks for the sanctuary—mind if we go out into the actual freaking sea, now???” And they’ll look over with a comically exasperated look at their human handler who will give an exaggerated shrug— “Hey, I don’t speak dolphin!” Then they’ll all laugh, until the dolphins figure out how to kill the human. It’s game theory.
- Some geology professor took the time to write an essay titled, “If We Want to Send Astronauts to Mars, We Must Go Back to the Moon First.” How about this: we don’t want to the moon or Mars. We want to go to KFC.
- Did you know that almost 6,000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico is called a “dead zone?” Sounds bad, doesn’t it? But don’t jump to conclusions. “Dead” and “zone” are not even real words in the language of Mexico. And “Gulf” is pronounced “Golfo.” Does that mean we should all be worried that Mexicans will die from playing golf? Not at all. This is just one example of how using science can lessen cross cultural misunderstandings.
- A new textbook will encompass all of the findings of the NASA mission to Pluto. Can you imagine? “So, what are you working on, Eric?” “Oh, I’m writing a book about [launches into a long discussion of rocks and dirt that aren’t even on our planet].” “Okay Eric... I have to go now!” I walk off and leave this loser to waste someone else’s time. If I want your life story, Eric, I’ll ask you for it explicitly. “Tell me your life story, Eric,” I’ll say. Until then, don’t even “go there.” But when the moment comes that I do demand your life story—be ready to spill it. I don’t tolerate lollygagging.
- A new study shows that doctors do a better job of washing their hands when they’re being watched. Some also do a better job of masturbating.
- 06/14/16--12:09: Crazed Greenwich Village Gunman Also Off-Duty NYPD Officer
- 06/14/16--13:50: Smash Mouth's Desperate, Endless Twitter Battle
- 06/14/16--14:20: Anderson Cooper Reads Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi For Filth
Seagull dipped in tikka masala
Bursting landfill of municipal solid waste
Mountain of rotting whale blubber
Sputum-filled Orange Julius
Gangrenous gaping wound
Racist, sexist block of aged Cheddar
Oversized wasp exoskeleton stuffed with old mustard
Neo-fascist real estate golem
Abandoned roadside ham hock
Bewildered, golden-helmeted astronaut who’s just landed on this planet from a distant galaxy
Monument to human hubris crafted out of rotting Spam
A walking pile of reanimated roadkill
Stately hot dog casing
Flatulent leather couch
Swollen earthworm gizzard
Narcissistic bowl of rotten gazpacho
Yellowing hunk of masticated gristle
A human/Komodo dragon hybrid
Blackening scab artfully hiding in your Raisin Bran
A man who could one day become the first hobgoblin to enter the White House
A pair of chapped lips superglued to a hairball
Horsehair mattress stuffed with molding copies of Hustler
Malignant corn chip
Human Kinder Egg whose inner surprise is a tiny pebble of rat shit
The sculpture your three-year-old made out of soggy ground-up goldfish snacks
A man with the hair of a radioactive skunk
- Roiling Cheez Whiz mass
Cryogenically frozen bog man
A glistening, shouting gristle mass with a history of saying terrible and stupid things
Screaming giant cheese wedge
Republican frontrunner and 250-pound accumulation of rancid beef
Day-Glo roadside billboard about jock itch
Temperamental gelatinous sponge
A Rumpelstiltskin inflated with a bike pump and filled with bacteria
Sun-kissed ass plug
An enraged, bewigged fetus blown up to nightmarish size
Parental pile of burnt organic material
Human-shaped wad of Gak
Walking irradiated tumor
Uncooked chicken breast
KKK rally port-a-potty holding tank
A plentiful field of dung piled into the shape of a presidential candidate
Malfunctioning wind turbine
Sloshing styrofoam takeout container filled with three-day-old mac and cheese
A sticky, grabby, Cheeto-hued toddler with no sense of adult deportment
Figurative rubber, and also literal rubber
A carnivorous plant watered with irradiated bat urine
Sentient waste disposal plant
Lamprey eel spray-painted gold
A hair that you pluck, causing a cluster of hairs to sprout in its place
Sunken, corroding soufflé
Nacho cheese golem
A cartoon representation of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a pharmaceutical ad
Horking mole-creature suffering from radioactive spray-tan
Tattered Craigslist sofa
A full-grown Monopoly dog carefully balancing a spongecake atop his head
Play-Doh factory explosion
A new superfood made of finely-ground clown wigs
- Unkempt troll doll found floating facedown in a tub of rancid Beluga caviar
- 06/14/16--13:45: Is Apple’s New Meditation App More Full of Shit Than Deepak Chopra?
- 06/14/16--14:31: Fans Think The Newest Pokémon Totally Looks Like Donald Trump
- 06/14/16--18:45: Hillary Clinton Wins Final Democratic Primary in Washington D.C.
According to USA Today, transcripts from a 2006 lawsuit against the big bouncing birthday boy Donald Trump, who turns 70 today—when did he get so big??—reveal that his company, the Trump Organization, regularly erased all emails from 1996 to 2001.
Email figured prominently in the lawsuit, filed by Trump’s publicly traded casino company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, against a former employee Richard Fields. From USA Today:
The gist of the Trump company’s suit in a Broward County, Fla., court was that while he was working with Trump, Fields had developed the idea of working with the Seminole Tribe in Florida to build a casino, then told Trump the idea wasn’t going to fly. Fields then left Trump’s employ at the end of the 1990s and struck the same deal with other partners.
Trump sued Fields and the companies he had ended up working with on a Seminole casino, arguing that Trump Hotels should be entitled to all profits the casinos produced, which were expected at the time to be more than $1 billion over 10 years.
The companies Trump sued argued that if it was true that Trump Hotels had been pursuing a similar deal with the tribe, there would be emails and other records documenting their discussions. The judge agreed and ordered Trump Hotels to hand over emails, financial documents, executive meeting calendars and so forth.
But the emails no longer existed (if they ever had). “My understanding from speaking to my client is that there are no emails,” Trump company’s lawyer, Robert Borrello, said at a March 2006 hearing. “They don’t keep emails from the time period from ’96 until within the last couple of years, when the organization instituted retention procedures for keeping emails electronically.” An IT director testified that there were no routine procedures in place for preserving emails before 2005. Also, Borrello said, Trump himself didn’t even use email.
The judge in the case was baffled. “He has a house up in Palm Beach County listed for $125 million, but he doesn’t keep emails. That’s a tough one,” Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld said. “If somebody starts to put forth as a fact something that doesn’t make any sense to me and causes me to have a concern about their credibility in the discovery process, that’s not a good direction to go, and I am really having a hard time with this.”
Despite this, Trump has not shied away from criticizing Hillary Clinton for using her own private email server as secretary of state and deleting emails she thought private. “And where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?” he asked on Twitter last week, after Clinton told him to delete his account. “What she did is a criminal situation,” he said on CBS earlier this month. “She wasn’t supposed to do that with the server and the emails.”
Jalopnik For $7,500, Could This 1975 Corvette L48 Be Some Drastic Plastic?
Today, a questionably lucid, racist old man turns 70 years old. And we here at Gawker would like to wish a very happy birthday to future President Donald J. Trump.
In honor of our new septuagenarian, Editorial Labs Director Adam Pash has updated our Making America Great Again extension for Chrome. To celebrate Trump’s birthday in style, simply add the extension here, and from now until midnight, every single mention of Donald Trump on the internet will be appropriately amended for his very special day.
And of course, you still get a picture of his face with a dick on it. Everybody wins.
Have you heard about this? I mean, seriously. This is literally just so ridiculous.
Yoga in a grocery store. Come on, people. Really?
When I moved here they hadn’t even build that grocery store. There was literally nothing there. And now, this.
Yoga in a grocery store? No thanks—I have a life!!
When I go to the grocery I do something super crazy: shop for food. Yah. Maybe you should try it. If you can manage it while you’re in the downward dog. Okay? I’m dropping the mic.
Yoga in a grocery store. I literally can’t even!!
Citing unnamed officials familiar with the case, NBC News reports that Omar Mateen’s current wife, Noor, told the FBI that she tried to talk her husband out of attacking Pulse, the gay nightclub where he killed 50 people, including himself, this weekend.
She said she was with him when he bought ammunition and a holster, the officials said, and once drove him to the nightclub so that he could assess the building. From NBC News:
Authorities are considering filing criminal charges against Noor for failing to tell them what she knew before the brutal attack, law enforcement officials say, but no decision has been made.
She is cooperating with investigators, several officials say.
Also on Tuesday, reports emerged that Mateen had at various points declared allegiance or sympathy to a variety of terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Hezbollah—all of which are in conflict with each other—further complicating attempts to determine his motive for the shooting.
“Hamilton”-themed SoulCycle classes?
“Our riders cannot get enough of our SoulCycle Hamilton-themed classes. There is nothing more magical than riding to the beat of the music as a pack to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s extraordinary masterpiece,” Gabby Etrog Cohen, senior vice president of the brand’s PR and brand strategy, explains. Amen, girl.
Yesterday, birthday boy
Birthday boy Donald Trump’s response to the kiss is incoherent at best, but we’ve transcribed his comments in full anyway:
We’ve become so politically correct in this country that the country is going to hell. People are afraid to talk. They’re afraid to express their own thoughts. I’ve heard many people — I’m not even speaking for myself, but I’ve heard many people that thought the display after he was chosen was inappropriate.
And whether or not it was, I don’t know. But it was certainly out there a little bit. And I’m very happy that he got chosen. I’m all for it. I think it’s great that he got chosen. I hope he does so well.
But I thought, when he... you know, when—when he was really going at it. I mean, whether—that... I-I haven’t seen anything like that in a while. He was really going at it. And, yet, when Tebow did his thing, which a lot of people thought was totally fine, he was just criticized so badly. So, I guess you could say there is a double standard. You know, it’s sad.
Presumably, birthday boy Trump is referring to Tebow’s celebratory peck with Demaryius Thomas from 2011. Is he saying that if we can be outraged when two straight men kiss, we should be able to express outrage when two gay men kiss, as well? It’s hard to say what he means by any of it, exactly.
Judging from his stammering and garbled sentiments, though, it would that something about these two men “really going at it” made him uneasy.
Hackers working for the Russian government gained access to the Democratic National Committee’s database of opposition research on Donald Trump, The Washington Post reports. Some of the hackers might have been in the network for a year, with access to all chat logs and email traffic and whatever files of dirt the DNC has collected on Trump—dirt that some analysts say would have become public at some point anyway.
CrowdStrike, which is currently fixing DNC’s network disaster, has identified two hacker groups who have previously attacked government agencies, defense contractors, tech companies, and universities in several countries. The cyber security firm also gave them cute little names: Fancy Bear—which targeted the DNC’s opposition research files and the computers of the entire research staff in late April—and Cozy Bear—which has been spying on DNC’s chats and emails since last summer. Cozy Bear previously compromised White House, State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff’s email systems in 2014. CrowdStrike believes that Fancy Bear works for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, and isn’t really sure about Cozy Bear, but thinks it’s probably the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service. Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear were not working together, it seems. The Washington Post:
“There’s an amazing adversarial relationship” among the Russian intelligence agencies, [CrowdStrike co-founder and chief technology officer, Dmitri] Alperovitch said. “We have seen them steal assets from one another, refuse to collaborate. They’re all vying for power, to sell Putin on how good they are.”
The hackers weren’t targeting personal, financial or donor information, but appear to have been playing catch-up on a relatively new political threat, stealing homework for the boss.
It’s interesting that the Russian government is so interested in the oppositional research on Donald Trump, as Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort is notorious for his relationships with pro-Russian heavyweights. Among his various questionable engagements, Manafort served as campaign manager for the to-be-ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2010. He was also employed by several oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin, some of whom he may have screwed.
Lawyers representing the defendants accused of shutting down a bridge as part of an elaborate revenge scheme say Chris Christie—Donald Trump’s unpaid intern and the technical governor of New Jersey—destroyed evidence, including a cell phone, text messages and emails, that connected him to the crime.
Comparing the governor to Nixon—almost a compliment at this point—an attorney for defendant Bill Baroni accused Christie of covering up his involvement.
“President Nixon’s tapes were not immune from a subpoena,” Baroni’s attorney, Michael Baldassare, wrote in the brief. “Neither is Governor Christie’s phone.”
The allegations were made in a pair of briefs filed with the court late Monday night in federal court in New Jersey. Among them: Chris Christie “lost” a cell phone he used during the bridge closure, deleted text messages sent during that time, and failed to turn over emails that defense attorneys eventually found through other methods.
It is, of course, in Baroni’s best interest to implicate Christie. But frankly he’s doing him a favor—jail would be a big step up from where Christie is now
On Sunday, the Jordanian state news agency Petra published a story in which Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman boasted about funding 20 percent of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In a statement Monday, Petra said the now-deleted story was published as part of a “hack.”
“The Agency was surprised to see some media outlets as well as the social media publishing false news that were attributed to Petra,” the statement reads. “They said that Petra transmitted a news item related to the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and later deleted this news item. This is totally false and untrue.”
The Institute for Gulf Affairs, a DC-based think tank that is historically critical of the Saudi monarchy, took screenshots of the Arabic-language story before it was removed, and translated the remarks attributed to the prince:
Saudi Arabia always has sponsored both Republican and Democratic Party of America and in America current election also provide with full enthusiasm 20% of the cost of Hillary Clinton’s election even though some events in the country don’t have a positive look to support the king of a woman for presidency.
We are pleased that the vast majority of Saudi Arabia’s foreign exchange reserves is in America and America and the United Nations know that Saudi Arabia is a power and should not ignore it.
Campaign finance law bars foreign countries from funding U.S. candidates. A spokesman for the Podesta Group—a lobbying firm founded by John Podesta, who served as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and now serves as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—assured Middle East Eye that the Saudi Royal Court (a client of the firm) had not provided funding to the Clinton campaign.
The deputy crown prince is meeting with officials in Washington and bankers in New York this week to discuss U.S.-Saudi political and financial ties. It will feel good to get away from all this drama.
Double stars! Space molecules! Sea dolphins! Moon missions! Dead zones! Pluto-nic findings! And cleanliness of all of the atoms! It’s your Tuesday Science Watch, where we watch science—from a perch of ill repute!
And that’s the science!
An argument between a driver and bike messengers in Manhattan yesterday almost became deadly when the driver pulled out a gun. Reports of a gunman spread, and a local elementary school was even put on lockdown, but thankfully police and firefighters arrived before anyone was shot.
Then an unarmed bicyclist was arrested, and not the angry man with the gun, because the angry man with a gun was also an off-duty cop.
As reported by WABC-TV and the New York Daily News, the confrontation began when the driver apparently drove into the bike lane, causing the cyclists to yell at him (and, police claim, hit his side-view mirror or his window), whereupon the officer (in plainclothes, and without identifying himself as a police officer) exited his car and drew his gun.
“He did not even say he was a cop. Literally got out of car with his weapon drawn,” a biker said.
“We kept asking him, identify yourself. He just wouldn’t,” another friend of the biker’s said.
As word spread through the village that there was a gunman on the loose, a nearby elementary school was put on temporary lockdown instead of regular dismissal.
On-duty cops eventually arrived and, naturally, arrested one of the cyclists: Dejaune Jones, 19, who was charged with criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and harassment. The gun-wielding cop was not arrested, nor has he been identified. (The Daily News says he is a sergeant.)
Police claim Jones had an icepick, though they did not recover an icepick from the scene and all the bicyclists involved deny that any of them were armed. Video of the the confrontation was captured by one of the cyclists. Another video is on WABC’s website.
As the old saying goes, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a bicycle is an enraged good guy with a gun and nothing identifying him as an officer of the law.
One day after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal attack on Gawker Media to the New York Times, Gawker reporter Ashley Feinberg published a lengthy investigation
Thiel has portrayed Gawker as a force for evil, but Feinberg’s article—which drew potential connections between Trump and the work of a $60,000-a-pop hair-extension company called Ivari International—still went over rather well, drawing praise from staffers at the Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic; and at least three winners of the Pulitzer Prize.
Even David Simon, the award-winning reporter-turned-screenwriter and frequent critic of Gawker, offered his accolades, arguing that if the U.S. press had investigated the Bush Administration’s claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction with the same energy, the Iraq War might have been avoided.
But if you were under the impression that praise-worthy journalism is somehow inoculated against campaigns like Thiel’s, you’d be mistaken. Last week, Thiel’s lawyer-for-hire, Charles J. Harder, sent Gawker a letter on behalf of Ivari International’s owner and namesake, Edward Ivari, in which Harder claims that Feinberg’s story was “false and defamatory,” invaded Ivari’s privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed “tortious interference” with Ivari’s business relations. Harder enumerates 19 different purportedly defamatory statements—almost all of which were drawn from several publicly available lawsuits filed against Ivari.
Harder’s demands included the immediate removal of the story from Gawker, a public apology, the preservation of “all physical and electronic documents, materials and data in your possession” related to the story, and, notably, that we reveal our sources.
[We specifically demand that Gawker Media and its employees] immediately provide us with the name and all contact information for the unnamed “tipster” of the Story, so that we can serve that person with an immediate cease and desist letter to stop the spread of the false Story.
Harder goes on to threaten legal action over the story: “Your actions expose you to substantial monetary damages and punitive damages.”
These claims are, on their face, ridiculous. For instance, one of the “defamatory” statements Gawker published, according to Harder, is this: “What’s more, Ivari’s New York location is inside Trump Tower—on the private floor reserved for Donald Trump’s own office.” Harder omits, of course, the sources on which this assertion was based: Ivari’s own brochure, an archived version of his web site, and multiple advertisements Ivari placed in New York Magazine, all of which specified his New York address as being on the 25th floor of the Trump Tower in Manhattan. Furthermore, he didn’t even quote the article correctly. Here’s what Feinberg actually wrote (emphasis mine): “What’s more, Ivari’s New York location was inside Trump Tower—on the private floor reserved for Donald Trump’s own office.”
The second set of “defamatory” statements, Harder claims, were “taken from a lawsuit filed against Mr. Ivari by Alicia Roach”—that is, an official judicial proceeding, the publication of which is protected by New York State’s fair report privilege:
The following false statements taken from a lawsuit filed against Mr. Ivari by Alicia Roach in 2001—a case won by Ivari—presented to be a true “breakdown of what amicrocylinder treatment actually entails”:
a. “The intervention involves the use of skeins of natural donor hair. Each skein consists of a line of hairs attached to a thread about one inch in length. The threads are then attached end-to-end in concentric circles over the client’s head. The circles of thread are then anchored to each other by separate threads, which radiate from the center so that the underside of the resulting hairpiece resembles a spider’s web. The client’s natural hair is attached to the hairpiece by forty to sixty separate threads. Each of those threads is attached at one end to the web and at the other end to a tiny metal clamp around a few strands of natural hair at the scalp. Every few weeks, as the natural hair grows out from the scalp, the hairpiece loosens on the head. This places increased tension on the natural hair to which the microcylinders are attached and can cause hair breakage. A maintenance procedure (maintenance) is necessary wherein the clamps must be removed and replaced closer to the scalp. A maintenance tightens the hairpiece on the client’s head.”
b. The following statement taken out of context from the same lawsuit: “The judge’s decision states, ‘Ivari, Inc. is in the business of installing exorbitantly- priced hairpieces on the heads of people with thinning hair. These hairpieces are the functional equivalent of wigs and might be expected to look and feel like wigs after attachment.’”
It’s not clear what Harder means by “taken out of context from the same lawsuit,” since the context in which the statement appeared was a Connecticut state judge’s written description of Ivari’s hair-restoration practice.
It goes on for six pages. Ordinarily, we would publish the entirety of Harder’s letter, so readers can judge its merits themselves. (Gawker Media’s response can be read here.) But Harder claims, on the fifth page, that the document is “protected by applicable Copyright law and therefore may not be copied, published, disseminated or used by any person or for any purpose, other than internally at your company and its outside legal representatives.” Given Harder’s propensity to launch groundless lawsuits against us, we have decided not to invite distracting litigation over whether such publication is covered by the Fair Use doctrine, even though it plainly is. But the absurdity of Harder’s threats should not distract from the underlying mission of the man who pays him: To intimidate Gawker and its reporters from publishing true things about public figures.
Update, 8:15 p.m. — For readers’ understanding, we have uploaded the full letter from Harder with explanatory annotations.
(One question about Harder’s legal strategy: He has won a $140 million judgment against Gawker Media in Hogan, and is pursuing a $10 million case against us on behalf of a reporter named Ashley Terrill and a $35 million case against us on behalf of a man, Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have created email. Gawker Media is currently valued, in bankruptcy, at between $90 million and $100 million, according to reporting on a bid to purchase the company by Ziff Davis. Where do Harder’s clients think their winnings will come from?)
With the exception of Hulk Hogan, Peter Thiel has refused to identify which other cases against Gawker he has funded with his own money. According to Forbes, however, it’s not clear how much control he has over individual lawsuits:
According to multiple sources familiar with Harder’s arrangement, he never had any direct contact with Thiel. And, these sources claim, Harder didn’t even know who was funding the litigation until FORBES broke the news in May. What he surely did know: The checks cleared. And there was presumably more where that came from, if he could find more cases.
This is a savvy strategy for a publicity-averse billionaire. By refusing to disclose which other lawsuits his money has touched, Thiel is able to publicly embrace P.R. victories (such as the Hogan case ) while distancing himself from litigation that would expose him to criticism. At the same time though, Harder has pursued litigation against Gawker that is completely unrelated to its journalistic output. Forbes highlighted Harder’s involvement in a class action lawsuit brought against Gawker three years ago by several former interns who argued that they should have been paid. After enlisting a former journalist to contact former Gawker interns under the guise of “academic research,” Forbes reported, Harder assembled the most willing plaintiffs before his firm “passed them off” to a New York labor firm, which filed the suit in June 2013.
Whatever the merits of the interns’ claims, it’s absurd to suggest that Gawker Media’s unpaid internship program was guilty of, in Thiel’s words, “ruin[ing] lives.” Plus, the company was not alone in being sued for offering unpaid internships: Similar claims were aimed at Viacom and Condé Nast, among others. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against Gawker Media in March 2016 after concluding that its editors provided the sole eligible plaintiff, Aulistar Mark, with “training and mentorship that [was of] the same sort of hands-on instruction he received from his educational institution.”
According to Forbes, Harder’s firm, Harder Mirell & Abrams, also had a role in an obscure defamation lawsuit filed by a Chicago lawyer named Meanith Huon in May 2011. Huon’s initial complaint targeted the legal news blog Above the Law over a 2010 article which claimed, incorrectly, that Huon had been charged with sexual assault on multiple occasions. (The plaintiff had only been charged once.) Huon later amended his complaint to add Gawker Media’s Jezebel and 100 anonymous Jezebel commenters as defendants, after the site wrote
Huon’s amended complaint argued that Jezebel had, in the course of describing the material facts of his own defamation case, “engaged in the same reckless or intentional misconduct as Abovethelaw.com.” A federal judge found this theory unpersuasive and, in 2014, dismissed all of Huon’s claims against Gawker, but permitted him to pursue some claims against Above the Law. The case then took a rather strange turn. Following the judge’s opinion, Huon settled his claims against Above the Law but decided to appeal his claims against Gawker Media in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which is currently considering the case.
Why? As Forbes reported last week, Huon stated publicly that his legal fees were being paid for by Harder’s firm:
According to Steve Mandell, an attorney for Above the Law who was present at the hearing, Huon told the judge in open court that he wasn’t worried about his appeal because he was “getting support from Hulk Hogan’s lawyers in California.” Huon and Harder declined to comment on the case, which is now on appeal.
The federal judge overseeing the case found that the author of the Jezebel article, Irin Carmon, had clearly noted that Huon had not been charged with sexual assault more than once, and relied on court testimony to show why he had been acquitted of the charge. Huon was hardly a victim, the judge held, writing that the post “bolsters rather than defames [Huon’s] reputation.” The judge continued (bolding ours):
Huon alleges that the report is defamatory insofar as it suggests that the jury acquitted him partly on the basis of a bartender’s testimony. The challenged statement appears at the end of the article’s discussion of his trial and reads as follows: “Huon’s version was that it was a consensual encounter, and partly on the strength of a bartender’s testimony that the woman had been drinking and asked where to go to have fun, the jury believed him.”
Huon asserts that the Gawker defendants never spoke to any jurors and simply invented the idea that the jury relied on the bartender’s testimony in reaching its decision. That is an odd argument given that the bartender’s testimony about the victim’s drinking and inquiry about where to go to have fun was almost certainly evidence that the defense elicited at trial; Huon does not explain how a report that credits defense evidence with contributing to a verdict of acquittal could defame the successful defendant. ... The import of the statement is that the jury found reason to discredit Jane Doe’s claims and therefore acquitted Huon of the charges; it thus bolsters rather than defames his reputation.
In other words: A Thiel-funded attorney is helping a man sue Gawker Media over an article that comes nowhere near invading his privacy, concerns a clear matter of public interest, and explicitly states that the subject is not guilty of a crime. Remember: Thiel told the New York Times that “it’s precisely because I respect journalists that I do not believe they are endangered by fighting back against Gawker.”
Again, it should be noted that, while Thiel has acknowledged funding multiple legal attacks, including Hogan’s, nobody knows for sure whether he’s behind all of Harder’s efforts to harm the company, or just some of them, or if he can even control what his money is used for.
At least some of the fights he appears to have been picking, though, have nothing to do with the kind of journalism to which he objects. If Gawker Media is, as Thiel claims, so serially guilty of egregious invasions of privacy against powerless individuals, why is he throwing his lot in with a lawyer intent on punishing Gawker for writing about Edward Ivari, the man who may have restored Trump’s hair to greatness, or Meanith Huon, whose coverage on Gawker “bolstered” his reputation?
In 1997, when Guy Fieri and three of his friends released hit single “Walkin’ on the Sun,” they knew they’d finally made it. What they didn’t know, however, was that they’d be beating anonymous Twitter eggs over the head with this fact for the rest of their lives. This is Smash Mouth’s burden.
As soon as Shrek, which featured “All Star” heavily, came out in 2001, no one remembered Smash Mouth’s earlier, less-commercial hits. All the teens and youths of Twitter knew was that this was the Shrek band with the Shrek song and the Shrek videos. Shrek has probably made Smash Mouth very, very rich.
And yet—that’s not enough for Smash Mouth’s Twitter account, where day in and day out it demands recognition for its other accomplishments.
Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself.
Sometimes they yell about the fact that they had a single before Shrek came out. Sometimes they yell about the fact that they’re not a one-hit wonder, but a six-hit wonder, a seven-hit wonder, and occasionally, an eight-hit wonder. How does Smash Mouth count hits? Incredibly loosely, it would seem. Because according to the US charts, they’ve racked up only three lonely hits.
Regardless, and in complete opposition to any facts or sense of integrity, Smash Mouth tweets on, into the void, perhaps forever.
Update 5:25 p.m.:
Shrek came out in 2001, not 1999 as was previously stated. Gawker is deeply embarrassed and regrets the error.
This afternoon on CNN, Anderson Cooper interviewed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. You know how these things generally go. The host asks the guest a few questions, the guest regurgitates some talking points, the host tries to pin the guest on a point, the guest evades, everyone laughs, and we go to a commercial. But today would be different!
At some point during the interview, Cooper asks Bondi an uncomfortable question: How, after the massacre in Orlando, can she position herself as a champion of LGBT people when her own office argued vigorously against allowing Florida’s gay citizens to marry? This kicks off a protracted back-and-forth in which Bondi attempts to thread a Constitutionalist needle: She doesn’t really think gay marriage would harm the state of Florida, she just had to argue that in order to do her sworn duty to protect the state’s constitution.
Cooper then asks Bondi how she can trumpet the help line set up by the state for the victims of the Pulse shooting while also having argued against a law that would have granted their partners access to their health information? Bondi responds by obfuscating, saying that today is “about the victims.” Okay.
When Cooper tells Bondi that he has “never really seen [her] talk about gay, lesbian, and transgender people in a positive way” she argues that on her website she has “hands clasped together, all different colored rainbow hands.” If you can find that image, let me know. Bondi’s office did not respond to a request for comment on what she was referring to.
Perhaps most tellingly, after being boxed in by Cooper, Bondi pivots to the sort of statement you would expect to hear from a conservative politician: “The only thing I’m championing is human beings whose lives were lost.” When Cooper asks if she will be a champion for Florida’s gay residents she says, “They are citizens just like anyone else, of course.” Bondi’s yearning to obscure the identity of the shooting’s victims—to not admit that they were targeted for being gay—is predictably becoming a popular move for some Republicans.
As my colleague Rich Juzwiak wrote yesterday
But that’s exactly it, isn’t it? To commit mass murder of gay people, one must see us as less than human. To deny gay people the basic human right of marriage, one must also necessarily see us as sub-human. There is no other way to interpret the belief that a class of people deserves a fewer amount of rights because of the way in which they were born.
Like sexuality itself, the way an individual views gay people is not a binary but a spectrum. On one end is Omar Mateen, on the other end are gay people themselves. Everyone else falls in between, and what you’re seeing here are conservatives itching with discomfort over their degrees of closeness to the former.
Wow, today is an auspicious day. Not only is June 14, 1940 the day that Nazi troops invaded Paris during World War II, it’s the day that—just six years later—Donald Trump, an exploded goose down pillow bathed in menstrual blood, would invade the United States.
70 years later, boy, what he has accomplished! He founded
In honor of the man who wants to remove our First Amendment rights, we decided to embrace them wholeheartedly, while we still can, by publishing a list of 70 of Jezebel’s favorite Trump descriptions since the start of 2016.
Trump, while you might destroy America as you’ve destroyed essentially every business venture you’ve ever run, you’ve made us examine our own creativity, and realize that the best thesaurus is the thesaurus of the heart.
Happy birthday—you are a:
Image via Getty.
Hundreds of so-called “mindfulness” apps already clutter the web. Now Apple is integrating such an app into its watch, and pitching it with a quote from new-age garbage peddler Deepak Chopra—just a few days after Chopra introduced his own mindfulness app.
During WWDC yesterday, Apple introduced Breathe
The digital pursuit of mindfulness is the basic idea behind Chopra’s own app, Jiyo, which debuted on iOS and Android last week. Although Chopra doesn’t want to call it an app—he prefers, ahem, “wellbeing partner”—it has similar features to Apple’s Breathe, like guided breathing and meditation exercises. It also feels like it’s pitching a quick and easy path to mindfulness: Hey, just tap on this screen, follow these simple directions, and you’ll be rewarded with better health. Or as he would put it, “quantum health.”
The value of Chopra’s own ideas and recommendations are dubious—to the point that some of his Tweets have been deemed indistinguishable from bullshit. And according to some experts, mindfulness apps are just as questionable. “Science behind mindfulness apps shows most don’t help or work,” tweeted Harvard psychiatrist John Torous, who is also the editor-in-chief of the JMIR Mental Health journal. Torous later told Fast Company that these types of apps are increasingly being investigated by experts. “These companies are very bold in their claims, and very quiet when things don’t work,” he said. “It is premature to say the mindfulness app space is well-validated at this time.”
This is actually a problem with most “mental health” apps, which a study in Nature earlier this year determined can sometimes give improper advice that makes people’s conditions worse. A 2015 study by Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia looked at 606 mindfulness apps and determined that only 23 actually taught mindfulness techniques. The rest were just timers or reminders—most of them told users to stop what they were doing and breathe.
That’s not to say deep breathing is necessarily useless. According to the research of Jonathan Palley and Neema Moraveji at Stanford’s Calming Technology Lab, the techniques can be helpful. After seven years of studying the benefits of deep breathing, Palley and Moraveji have concluded that slow, purposeful breathing can indeed lower blood pressure and increase endorphins.
The pair created Spire, a $150 mindfulness-focused fitness tracker that tracks breathing as well as activity. It pairs with an app on your iPhone or watch and sends reminders to breathe deep when it thinks you’re “tense.” (It’s important to note that our reporter reviewed Spire, and found that the device didn’t seem to accurately correspond with her perceived levels of tension, telling her to chill when she was pretty chill already.)
The Spire app also includes breathing exercises from famous mindfulness experts. And yes, there is a “Breathe with Deepak,” which might provide all the information you need about whether you want this device or not. Its deep-breathing graphics are also strikingly similar to the Breathe interface that Apple introduced yesterday, right down to the pulsing green circle
But I did talk to the creator of another mindfulness app that’s been available in the App Store since last year. It’s called... Breathe.
This isn’t the first time Apple’s just happened to launch an app
It also illustrates how crowded the mindfulness space is becoming—and how developers like Erez will have to add more bells and whistles to differentiate themselves, now that Apple has basically branded Breathing™ and integrated it into its device. “Mindfulness is very personal,” Erez said. “The notion that breathing is important isn’t something new or novel, but each of us is inspired by different things.”
Some people might be inspired to pay $1.99 per month for Chopra’s brand of mindfulness, which includes tips on releasing pain from your “cellular memory” and some tough inquiries on science that “physicists can’t answer.” You might have to do some deep exhaling just to recover from all that bullshit.
Meet the newest Pokémon, Yungoos. The internet thinks he looks kiiiind of familiar.
Earlier today, Nintendo debuted footage of a new normal-type weasel monster who will be available in Pokémon Sun and Moon. This is what he looks like normally:
See the yellow fur on the top of his head? That’s what Pokémon fans are fixated on, and what is drawing all sorts of comparisons to Donald Trump’s famous hair on Twitter.
Some folks are going even further, and straight up drawing Yungoos as Trump, or with Trump:
We of course had to throw our hat into the ring, which is why the lovely Angelica Alzona drew up Yungoos on the campaign trail on the first image of this post. It’s almost too perfect, no?
I’d totally vote for that guy. That razor-sharp smile inspires both confidence and terror! Yungoos is like a real politician already.
Having powered through the “futile bargaining” phase of the Donald Trump grieving process, the Senate’s bereaved Republicans are now processing the 2016 election as full-on depression, according to reports released Tuesday.
“You’d think that he would have pivoted by now,” Arizona Senator Jeff Flake told Bloomberg for an article titled “Republican Senators Lose Hope That Donald Trump Will Change.” “Not just the tone and the tenor, but some of his positions need to change. But I’m not hopeful right now.”
In “Hill Republicans despondent over Trump,” Politico offered an even grimmer assessment, finding that “a palpable mix of despair and resignation has permeated the Senate Republican Conference”:
Trump’s insinuation that Obama may be sympathetic to Islamic State terrorists was the final straw for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“I’m not going to be commenting on the presidential candidates today,” the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday, in an abrupt reversal after several weeks of weighing in on Trump’s performance, particularly the ways he believed the candidate needed to improve.
McConnell’s No. 2, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), declared he was done talking about Trump until after the election — nearly five months away.
But while many melancholy Republicans have chosen to give reporters the silent treatment when asked about Trump, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott employed an even more ingenious coping strategy on Tuesday: straight-up running away.
According to NBC News, Scott “paused a moment” when asked to comment on Trump’s reaction to the Orlando shooting, before responding, “You know…hmm.”
“Then,” reports the news network, “without another word, he walked onto the Senate floor.”