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Articles on this Page
- 08/15/16--19:16: _15 Guantanamo Detai...
- 08/15/16--21:30: _Pennsylvania Attorn...
- 08/16/16--04:24: _83 Days and a Wake Up
- 08/16/16--05:25: _Brooklyn Man Charge...
- 08/16/16--05:55: _Yeah, The NSA Was P...
- 08/16/16--07:05: _Zephyr Teachout Cha...
- 08/16/16--07:12: _Is This How the Res...
- 08/16/16--07:45: _Your Dad Tim Kaine ...
- 08/16/16--09:42: _The DEA Says Weed S...
- 08/16/16--10:00: _No One Ever Needs t...
- 08/16/16--10:15: _Trump Campaign Deni...
- 08/16/16--07:23: _Worthless Airport S...
- 08/16/16--10:45: _Your Parents Had a ...
- 08/16/16--09:45: _How Hollywood Is De...
- 08/16/16--13:09: _Stern but lovable n...
- 08/16/16--12:45: _Philly DA Declines ...
- 08/16/16--07:01: _Today's Best Deals:...
- 08/16/16--15:07: _That YouTuber's Upb...
- 08/16/16--17:00: _A Gary Johnson Supe...
- 08/16/16--18:30: _Omarosa Says Critic...
- 08/15/16--19:16: 15 Guantanamo Detainees Transferred in Largest Release Under Obama
- 08/16/16--04:24: 83 Days and a Wake Up
- 08/16/16--05:55: Yeah, The NSA Was Probably Hacked
- 08/16/16--07:05: Zephyr Teachout Challenges Secretive Republican Financiers to Debate
- 08/16/16--07:12: Is This How the Rest of the World Views Donald Trump?
- 08/16/16--10:00: No One Ever Needs to Hear From College Republicans About Anything
- 08/16/16--10:45: Your Parents Had a Lovely Date In Sweden Last Friday
- 08/16/16--12:45: Philly DA Declines to Prosecute in DNC Sexual Assault Case
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On Monday, the Pentagon announced that 15 Guantanamo Bay detainees have been transferred to the United Arab Emirates, bringing the total number of prisoners at the facility to 61. According to CNN, the State Department says this is the largest single transfer of Guantanamo detainees under President Obama.
While Obama’s plan for shuttering the facility calls for bringing the several dozen remaining prisoners to maximum-security prisons in the United States, U.S. law bars such transfers to the mainland. Obama, though, has not ruled out doing so by executive action.
“I think we are at an extremely dangerous point where there is a significant possibility this is going to remain open as a permanent offshore prison to hold people, practically until they die,” said Naureen Shah, Amnesty International’s U.S. director for security and human rights.
Shah said keeping Guantanamo open gave cover to foreign governments to ignore human rights.
“It weakens the U.S. government’s hand in arguing against torture and indefinite detention,” she said.
According to the Pentagon, interagency review boards approved all 15 detainees for transfer either unanimously or by consensus. In a statement, Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed Monday’s announcement, citing security concerns.
“In its race to close Gitmo, the Obama administration is doubling down on policies that put American lives at risk,” said Royce. “Once again, hardened terrorists are being released to foreign countries where they will be a threat.”
On Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted of nine criminal charges—including two counts of felony perjury—in connection with the illegal release of secret grand jury documents, The New York Times reports. According to prosecutors, Kane, a Democrat, leaked the information to a Philadelphia newspaper to embarrass former prosecutor Frank Fina, who led the investigation of Jerry Sandusky under her Republican predecessor.
After taking office in 2013, Kane fulfilled a campaign promise by launching an inquiry into whether the Sandusky investigation was intentionally delayed. When an article critical of Kane came out in 2014, prosecutors say the Attorney General blamed Fina for planting the story and instructed aides to leak confidential documents in retaliation. From the Associated Press:
[Kane] decided to leak word that [Fina] had shut down an investigation into an NAACP official in 2009, the jury found.
The NAACP official, who was never charged, was smeared in the process, authorities said.
Kane had the material sent to a reporter through chief deputy Adrian King and political consultant Josh Morrow.
“Where is my story? I’m dying here,” she texted Morrow as the Philadelphia Daily News reporter worked on the story, according to texts shown to the jury.
In the end, the probe into the Sandusky investigation found it had not been delayed for political reasons, but uncovered a series of pornographic emails
In June, Fina resigned from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, but Kane ultimately fared far worse, being found guilty of criminal conspiracy, obstruction, official oppression, false swearing and perjury for leaking the grand jury documents and lying about it afterward.
Monday night, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf released a statement imploring Kane to “do what is right” and resign immediately. Kane, who potentially faces years in jail but is currently free on bail, has not stepped down.
A Brooklyn man taken into custody in East New York late on Sunday has been charged in the killing of imam Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin outside the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in Ozone Park, Queens, on Saturday. Oscar Morel is charged two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, police said Monday night.
On Saturday afternoon, the gunman walked up behind the imam and his assistant and shot both in the back of the head at point-blank range. Surveillance footage showed him getting into a Chevy TrailBlazer after the shooting, police said. Ten minutes later, there was a reported hit-and-run about three miles away involving a bicyclist and an SUV matching the killer’s vehicle. Police said they were able to track the car to East New York, where they took Morel into custody around 11pm.
An unnamed police official told the New York Times that investigators found what they believe is the murder weapon—a revolver—in Morel’s apartment, hidden inside a wall. According to the New York Post, Morel denies the accusations.
“Because of the evidence so far, we strongly believe this is the individual,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said on Monday, although investigators haven’t yet determined a motive. “We’re still drilling down on it,” Boyce said. However, it’s “certainly on the table that it’s a hate crime.”
In an interview with the Post, Morel’s brother Alvin denied that Oscar would take violent action against Muslims:
“The only time we ever felt anything was 9/11,” Alvin Morel said. “We felt that same anger. We all had a hatred.”
Police have not yet speculated on a motive, but Morel’s brother insisted that his anger at Muslims over 9/11 was only “temporary” and he now “definitely has no hate for the Muslims.”
“We’re Catholic-school kids — we don’t do this,” Alvin added. “He’s a good guy.”
“Right now, we can’t explain why this person was there. He was there just prior to [the shooting],” Boyce said. “We have him on video about eight minutes prior to the homicide.”
According to the New York Daily News, detectives are exploring a theory that Morel was hired as a hit man.
New context from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden makes the case that files dumped online over the weekend probably came from the NSA.
Hacking group “The Shadow Brokers” made headlines Monday when it leaked files that supposedly belonged to “Equation Group,” which has widely been speculated to be an NSA hacking offshoot. When researchers from Kaspersky analyzed Equation Group, they found codenames also found in documents leaked by Snowden. The Shadow Brokers only released some of the files, which computer security experts have deemed as legitimate, and are asking for millions of dollars in bitcoins to release the rest. The files supposedly contain the frameworks for multiple NSA hacking tools.
According to Snowden, some NSA spies may have gotten lazy, and left their hacking tools on the malware staging server.
Snowden also theorizes that this hack might make it possible for foreign countries to definitively attribute hacks conducted against them to the United States.
This hack is still playing out, and there is much more to come. But this insider knowledge from Snowden just made it much, much more interesting.
On Monday, Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham Law professor running for Congress in New York’s 19th Congressional District as a Democrat, is looking past her Republican rival John Faso to the men backing him: the secretive Republican financiers Paul Singer and Robert Mercer.
Teachout mounted a primary challenge against Governor Andrew Cuomo in the last New York gubernatorial election, establishing her progressive bonafides with a rigorous critique focused on corporate corruption and campaign finance reform, of a type with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
In a campaign ad uploaded to Facebook, Teachout challenged Singer to a debate. Recently, Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management, netted $2.4 billion from Argentina’s debt crisis. He also endorsed and supported Senator Marco Rubio in the presidential primary. Mercer, meanwhile, dropped $11 million trying to get Senator Ted Cruz elected—or, failing that, gather as much voter data as possible
“The voters deserve to hear directly from the billionaires backing John Faso about what they expect to get from him in Congress,” Teachout said in a statement. (She is also fundraising off the challenge.) “When someone writes a $500,000 check they don’t do it out of the goodness of their heart. These are people probably trying to buy power, and voters should know who they are and what they stand for. I’m challenging Paul Singer and Robert Mercer to put your mouth where your money is and debate me directly, not through your mouthpiece.”
Singer has actually contributed $600,000 altogether to New York Wins, the super PAC operating on Republican candidate John Faso’s behalf—he wrote a $500,000 check in May and a $100,000 check in June, FEC filings show. Mercer wrote the super PAC a $500,000 in January. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, New York Wins has not yet started spending against Teachout; however, it did spend $905,268 against Faso’s Republican primary rival, Andrew Heaney, who compared himself to Donald Trump and called Faso, a former N.Y. Assembly Minority Leader, a “lawyer, lobbyist, failed politician.”
“Having just moved into the district from NYC and registered to vote just seven months ago, Professor Teachout is not just a carpetbagger, but a grandstanding one as well,” Faso said in a statement. “As a law professor, Teachout knows that candidates have no control over independent spending. Rather than discussing jobs and the upstate economy, she attempts to distract attention from her radical views. That is what NYC carpetbaggers do.”
Incidentally, Singer lives in New York City and Mercer lives on Long Island. New York’s 19th congressional district is upstate, covering the Catskill Mountains between New York City and Albany.
Should Singer or Mercer accept Teachout’s challenge, Gawker would be happy to moderate.
Is this how the rest of the world sees Trump? Or perhaps what his true face looks like when he peels back his human mask? Is The Donald a close relative of Graham?
These questions are in no way answered by a new Tumblr art project in which the Republican nominee for president is reimagined as a bloated skinmonster, devoid of humanity and several facial features. Is it political commentary? I don’t know. What’s certain is that it’s very weird.
In some instances Trimp is little more than a gaping, flabby mouth—an extended throat, really—presumably gurgling something incoherent about emailing a wall to ISIS.
In other images, Dinild more closely resembles a gigantic speed-gobbling
But the worst ones have no identifiable features whatsoever. Remember the scene in Akira where Tetsuo mutates and spontaneously generates flesh at an alarming rate, which eventually fills an entire stadium, killing several people in the process? Now imagine 41 percent of the American electorate was totally into that.
Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s determinedly inoffensive (except, you know) running mate, had a big ole’ time wailing on the harmonica with a bluegrass band at Catawba Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina on Monday night.
Like an eager dad resolved to bond with you even if it costs him some friggin’ dignity, Kaine—who has told CNN that he has “six harmonicas in my briefcase at all times”—performed “Wagon Wheel” and “My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains” with musicians Nikki Talley and Jason Sharp. Politico reports that Kaine’s wife Anne Holton, your mom, “clogged to the side of the stage” during the second performance.
“That felt great,” Kaine told CNN after his performance. “Nothing makes me more nervous than doing that. But it’s good to get our of your comfort zone.”
Go get ‘em, Pop!
UPDATE: I somehow missed this video of Anne clogging:
What’s so bad about weed that we should continue to keep it illegal in this country? The DEA is glad you asked. We should keep weed illegal because it is illegal, they say.
One of the dangers of weed is that if you smoke it, you might get arrested is an impressive bit of tautological reasoning, which comes from The DEA Position on Marijuana, a 2011 document recently obtained by MuckRock in response to a FOIA request. The document puts forth the agency’s arguments for why we should continue weed prohibition at the federal level. The whole thing is worth a read—it also includes an anecdote about using pot to treat an ecstasy overdose as supposed evidence that it has no medical value—but one bullet point sticks out in particular. Under the heading DANGERS OF MARIJUANA, it reads:
According to CASA in their report Criminal Neglect: Substance Abuse, Juvenile Justice, and the Children Left Behind, youth who use marijuana are likelier than those who do not to be arrested and arrested repeatedly. The earlier an individual, the likelier he or she is to be arrested.
Now, it’s likely that they mean that pot-smoking teens are more likely to be arrested for all sorts of things—shoplifting and so on—presumably including smoking pot. But still: if you want to stop kids who smoke from getting arrested so much, there’s a pretty simple solution: stop arresting them for it.
Recently, the Harvard University Republican Club (of kids) got widespread news coverage for refusing to endorse Donald Trump. Now the Yale Republicans are in a public battle over Trump as well. Hey—fuck off!!!
Should we care what a bunch of 20-year-old college Republicans, who are some of the world’s most insufferable pricks, think or do? No.
Some Yale college Republicans are resigning over their club’s Trump endorsement.
I don’t care!
Some little Republican shits at Harvard call Trump a “threat to the survival of the Republic.”
I don’t care!
I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. Not only are these people college students, which means they don’t know anything, they are by definition the biggest pricks on their respective campuses, which means I also do not want to listen to them for aesthetic reasons. Stop telling me!!!
You may note that by writing this very story I am only reinforcing this atrocious trend of spreading the thoughts of college Republicans far and wide. Okay. My company is being auctioned off today. What’s your excuse?
College is not real and neither are Republicans!
All the best people work for Donald Trump.
Among them now, the New York Times reports, is Roger Ailes, the disgraced former CEO of Fox News who resigned last month
It’s not clear whether Ailes, who received $40 million as part of his exit agreement with Fox News, is being compensated for his role. Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort (who is not being paid, it turns out) denied the veracity of initial reports that Ailes might be joining the campaign last month—a denial that was swiftly undermined by the candidate himself
“He’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person,” Trump said
“He’s been a friend of mine for a long time,” Trump said. Of course, that didn’t stop Trump from using a trove of secrets he had learned about Ailes as leverage, as Gabriel Sherman reported for New York magazine in April:
It was also thanks to some information he had gathered that Trump was able to do something that no other Republican has done before: take on Fox News. An odd bit of coincidence had given him a card to play against Fox founder Roger Ailes. In 2014, I published a biography of Ailes, which upset the famously paranoid executive. Several months before it landed in stores, Ailes fired his longtime PR adviser Brian Lewis, accusing him of being a source. During Lewis’s severance negotiations, Lewis hired Judd Burstein, a powerhouse litigator, and claimed he had “bombs” that would destroy Ailes and Fox News. That’s when Trump got involved.
“When Roger was having problems, he didn’t call 97 people, he called me,” Trump said. Burstein, it turned out, had worked for Trump briefly in the ’90s, and Ailes asked Trump to mediate. Trump ran the negotiations out of his office at Trump Tower. “Roger had lawyers, very expensive lawyers, and they couldn’t do anything. I solved the problem.” Fox paid Lewis millions to go away quietly, and Trump, I’m told, learned everything Lewis had planned to leak. If Ailes ever truly went to war against Trump, Trump would have the arsenal to launch a retaliatory strike.
In any case, campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied the Times’ report. “This is not accurate,” she said in a statement. “He is not advising Mr. Trump or helping with debate prep. They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign.”
The first debate is on September 26, on Long Island.
The idea of all the security we put up with at airports—the lines, the scanners, the bullshit—is so that when there’s an attack, we’ll all be orderly protected. On Sunday night at JFK Airport, we found out how wrong that is. Cheering for Usain Bolt at the Olympics appears to have been mistaken for gunfire and complete chaos ensued.
The issue is not that there was a perceived threat when there was none. It’s that during this perceived threat, all hell broke loose with cops not showing up, security at the airport giving up, and multiple stampedes allowed to run wild.
It’s a damning look at what would happen were there an actual attack at even a New York City airport, much like the last time JFK’s $100 million security got breached by a confused dude on a jetski
New York Magazine published a firsthand account of what the night was like at JFK. That there was screaming crowds and real terror even in the absence of any actual terrorists is not surprising. What’s more worrying is the complete disorder and almost total lack of protection from the airport’s security apparatus. There was no sign of communication between parts of the airport, no useful organization of panicking crowds, and almost no evidence that the airport would have protected anybody had there been an active shooter or worse. “Where was my fucking billion-dollar NYPD anti-terror force?”, writer David Wallace-Wells asks.
It’s still not entirely clear what started the non-attack, as Wallace-Wells notes. Either cheering for Usain Bolt’s 100m dash sounded like gunfire, or someone screamed they saw a gun, or already-panicking crowds knocked over the metal poles that divide airport lines, and they clacked on the tile floors sounding like gunfire. But that was enough to spawn multiple stampedes, none of which had any direction:
There was a second stampede, I heard some time later, in Terminal 4. I was caught up in two separate ones, genuine stampedes, both in Terminal 1. The first was in the long, narrow, low-ceilinged second-floor hallway approaching customs that was so stuffed with restless passengers that it felt like a cattle call, even before the fire alarm and the screaming and all the contradictory squeals that sent people running and yelling and barreling over each other — as well as the dropped luggage, passports, and crouched panicked women who just wanted to take shelter between their knees and hope for it, or “them,” to pass. The second was later, after security guards had just hustled hundreds of us off of the tarmac directly into passport control, when a woman in a hijab appeared at the top of a flight of stairs, yelling out for a family member, it seemed, who had been separated from her in the chaos.
Wallace-Wells got separated from his wife after they landed and got stuck in a JFK-typical gigantic line, disrupted by the initial flash of panic. His wife’s story gives little hope to any of us that we’ll be protected in any way come a genuine attack:
She’d been running down the hallway, she told me later, when the terminal turned and her crowd of sprinters met another crowd of sprinters, which everybody took to mean there were multiple shooters, attacking from multiple directions. Somebody called out they’d seen four of them. Soon she found herself in another stairwell, where there was one guard sobbing hysterically and screaming and another dismissing anyone who turned to him for help or leadership by yelling that he didn’t want to die tonight, either.
Eventually they found each other, escaped out of the terminal and onto the tarmac with another rushing crowd breaking seemingly every airport security protocol. From there, they got ushered back into the airport and huddled into a tiny, vulnerable room, then sent back onto the tarmac again. At no point during the mess were they addressed by police of any kind, only after it was entirely clear that there was no attack whatsoever, and the biggest threat to any people in the airport was somebody else trampling them, unchecked and panicked.
It’s not just a question of how little did JFK airport security do to protect anyone. The question is now becoming whether or not all of this security theater actively made people less safe.
“Swedish Pokemon teens terrorized by laser-wielding sex pigs,” reads one headline. “Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens,” screams another. I, however, see something else entirely. I see two Swedes having a romantic night out wearing pig masks and physicalizing their love for each other on public infrastructure. I see two Swedes in love.
It all started last Friday night in the town of Insjön, when two Pokémon Go-playing teens were accosted by a couple wearing rubber pigs’ masks who, according to the kids’ parents, “started screaming and waving a green laser.” This is otherwise known as a “classic Swedish ‘hello’”.
The teens, no doubt fearful of the love and vulnerability that comes from opening yourself up to another soul, and also probably the laser, ran away from the couple. The two laser-loving pigs were, thankfully, still able to find solace in one another’s embrace. According to Sweden’s The Local:
The masked shooters, who also wore T-shirts labeled ‘King’ and ‘Queen’, were next spotted by incredulous motorists as they had sex against the hamlet’s waterwheel.
Traffic backed up on the highway as some drivers slowed down and others clambered out of their cars to behold the bizarre spectacle, one motorist told the paper.
The police didn’t care so much about the traffic jam, she said, but officer Daniel Hagthorpe was concerned about the alleged laser attack and public sex.
Officer Hagthrope, you have nothing to fear. All we have here are two naked people in pig masks, attacking teens and engaging in coitus near an open highway. A perfect date night for two sex pigs in love.
The overwhelming support for the forthcoming film The Birth of A Nation has made Nate Parker a Hollywood rarity: a black filmmaker who’s earned major acclaim before his movie even hits theaters. While anyone who dares to make a movie about Nat Turner’s slave rebellion wants people to talk, the conversations around Parker’s film may go a different route: So far, they’ve been partially centered around a rape charge he faced as a student at Penn State 17 years ago.
The Birth of A Nation was a movie designed to be a conversation piece about race and the idea that black bodies have been so recklessly undervalued throughout history. That should continue to be a focal point as Parker—who co-wrote, produced and directed the film—steadily becomes a mainstream star. Since the record-breaking $17.5 million Sundance deal
Is it possible to root for a talented black filmmaker amid contentious details about his past with women? Certainly, it’s left us perplexed. Jezebel floated the idea of discussing the charges when the trailer was released in April, and didn’t. It’s irresponsible to overlook a rape charge, though, simply because there’s a buzzed-about movie on deck. The details of the trial have been available through public record, just not highly publicized until now, leading up to his movie’s October release. Along with an interview with Parker published to their site on Friday, Deadline posted portions of the trial transcripts, including a disturbing phone call and closing arguments from both sides.
As a student at Penn State, Parker, then 19, shared an apartment with his friend Jean McGianni Celestin, who has a story credit on The Birth of A Nation (in its Sundance review, Variety noted that Parker wrote the screenplay and Celestin contributed to, or co-wrote, the story). In August 1999, an 18-year-old college freshman at the time accused the two men—both then members of the school’s wrestling team—of sexual assault. The student alleged that Parker and Celestin had sex with her in a room in their apartment while she was intoxicated and passed out, according to court papers. Parker and Celestin claimed it was consensual sex. During the trial, Parker and the accuser also stated that they’d had a consensual sexual encounter prior to the alleged rape.
While Parker was acquitted of the rape charges in October 2001, Celestin was convicted of sexual assault. His conviction was later overturned on appeal. Variety notes that “a second trial in 2005 was thrown out due to the victim not wanting to testify again.” Court papers state that the accuser eventually dropped out of Penn State and claimed she attempted suicide. The accuser won a settlement in a civil suit filed with the Women’s Law Project, and Penn State was ordered to pay her $17,50o.
The gravity of both the film and Parker’s rape trial, as with similar sexual assault allegations against famous entertainers like David Bowie and R. Kelly and its relation to their art, once again challenges our expectations on how to approach and ultimately contextualize an artist’s actions, not to mention the endless footprint our past decisions have in the internet age. Parker is in a precarious position now, forced to explain the charge while promoting a project whose subject matter is unrelated. It’s difficult for him to atone for his past—in other words, to acknowledge some form of guilt—without also detaching himself from it for publicity reasons. As audiences and fans of art, we’re in a difficult position, too: we want to support this important film and advocate for the victim (and all victims).
Parker, who has addressed the rape charge before, talked about the trial again in his Deadline interview about Birth of a Nation. In it, he refers to the trial as an unfortunate blemish in his past. “I was sure it would come up. It is there, on my Wikipedia page, the Virginia Pilot,” he says. “I stand here, a 36-year-old man, 17 years removed from one of the most painful moments in my life. And I can imagine it was painful, for everyone. I was cleared of everything, of all charges. I’ve done a lot of living, and raised a lot of children. I’ve got five daughters and a lovely wife. My mom lives here with me; I brought her here. I’ve got four younger sisters.”
Parker is expectedly vigilant and ambiguous with his language, pointing out that the law exonerated him. He calls that time in his life “painful.” He seems comfortable speaking generally about the case—just not in specific detail. He wants the public to know he supports sexual assault victims.
“Women have been such an important part of my life. I try, every day, to be a better father to my daughters, and a better husband,” he says. “The reality is, this is a serious issue, a very serious issue, and the fact that there is a dialogue going on right now around the country is paramount. It is critical. The fact we are making moves and taking action to protect women on campuses and off campuses, and educating men and persecuting them when things come up.”
He adds, “I want women to stand up, to speak out when they feel violated, in every degree, as I prepare to take my own daughter to college.” His language is carefully chosen.
Parker may feel far removed from the trial, but the general public has only recently been made aware of its details, many of which are hazy and disturbing. Based on the content of public records, the central argument in the case was whether the accuser could have consented to sex while intoxicated. That both Parker and the accuser admitted to previous consensual sex legally played a role in his acquittal.
In the trial transcripts, the accuser reveals that she and Nate initially met through her male friend Courtney, and describes an encounter with Nate in his room that happened the day before the alleged rape. The accuser appears to want to convey the idea here that she liked him and felt obligated to pleasure him when they had consensual sex. That portion of the transcript reads:
Q. So what happened?
A. He came up. Initially we spoke like he could help me unpack. I started unpacking. He was sitting down on my bed. He then asked me to sit beside him. I was putting away a red dress I do remember and he asked me to try it on and I told him no and he asked me to sit beside him. He started rubbing my neck, kissing my neck, kissing. We did kiss back and forth. I was wearing a skirt. He tugged at my panties and I pulled them back up and I said, no, I do not know you that well yet and instead I performed oral sex on him.
Q. Why did you perform oral sex on him?
A. I liked him, but I don’t see that — I mean at the time I did it because I didn’t want to have sex, but I didn’t want to leave it at nothing. I can’t really explain it. I’m not proud of it, but I saw it as being safer and not as big an issue.
As for the rape allegation, according to Deadline (the publication posted scans of court documents but chose not to name the accuser):
At trial, the woman testified she was intoxicated, unconscious through much of the encounter and upset to find she had experienced unwanted sex with Parker — though she acknowledged having willingly engaged in oral sex with him during an encounter the day before. More, she said she was shocked on becoming briefly conscious to find in her mouth the penis of another man, who was later identified as Celestin.
Court papers also refer to a disturbing phone call (that transcript is here) between Parker, Celestin and the woman that was referenced as part of the trial. Via Deadline (emphasis mine):
In a phone call taped without the permission of Parker or his roommate, the woman falsely claimed to be pregnant, in what she said was an attempt to get him to identify the third sexual partner in the room that night. The police later monitored a second call during which both Parker and Celestin generally admitted the sexual encounter but insisted it was consensual.
“I’m not try, trying to be mean, but, I felt like you put yourself in that situation, you know what I mean?” said Parker. “I really felt like I didn’t do anything wrong.”
The trial also featured testimony from another student who was around during the incident:
At trial, a third man, Tamerlane Kangas, testified that Parker waved him and Celestin to join him when they spied Parker and the woman having sex in the bedroom. While Celestin accepted the invitation, Kangas declined, and left the apartment. He was not charged with any crime. “I didn’t believe that four people at one time was — you know, it didn’t seem right,” he testified.
These trial details say it all in many ways. With the case now out in the open as The Birth of A Nation approaches release, Fox Searchlight has reportedly tried to get ahead of the conversation to determine “how best to protect its sizable investment and Oscar chances,” Deadline reports, especially given that the movie contains a depiction of rape, which Gabrielle Union previously detailed.
For the movie’s producers and distributors, with the risk that the rape case might overshadow a project in which they’ve placed tons of money and faith, the focus seems to be on image. It’s perhaps no coincidence that news about Parker’s fellowship for directors of color dropped around the same time as Parker’s interview. The studio remains anxious about the backlash potential, according to Variety, which reports that, as of Monday, execs are “taking a wait and see approach to a proposed ambitious release plan that had called for extensive outreach to church groups, college campuses and prominent Hollywood figures.”
The studio is reportedly hesitant about Parker doing any further interviews (following Deadline and Variety’s articles) before The Birth of A Nation’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September:
The hope is that by addressing the case well in advance of the movie’s festival run and October 7 debut, Parker can put it behind him by the time audiences get to see the movie.
While a source claims Searchlight execs didn’t know about the rape charge before acquiring the film, it’s hard to believe a studio wouldn’t do their homework before such a huge deal.
Mashable’s article on Parker’s charges includes a disclosure from the writer at the end, noting that he’d met Parker before and liked The Birth of A Nation but that those circumstances didn’t play a role in their prior lack of coverage. It’s a strange level of self-awareness. From the media’s perspective, there’s a presumed obligation on display, given incidences of famous men whose gross behaviors have returned to haunt them (Bill Cosby is the most egregious example). As much as we, Jezebel included, want to boost Parker’s work, we also feel the need to untangle past mistakes and be a voice in the internet-fueled cycle that champions accountability rather than ignores it.
Parker told Deadline he’s been open throughout the post-production process. “I never felt the need to introduce all the obstacles in my past when I say, ‘Hello, my name is Nate.’ But at the same time, I’ve never hidden from it,” he says. “Anytime anyone has asked me about this, I’ve been open. It’s tough reliving it, 17 years after the fact, but I never hid it from Fox. The last 48 hours, it was something we discussed and I’ve always said I live in truth. I don’t know how these things work, who to talk to and what to say, but I have been very clear with everyone. Anyone who wants to talk to me, I will talk to them.” If Searchlight permits it, he’ll likely have a lot more talking to do.
Stern but lovable news show host John McLaughlin has died at the age of 89. He hosted his iconic, low-fi political talk show for 34 years. Now he is presiding over Pat Buchanan- Eleanor Clift shoutfests in heaven. “Bye BYE,” John.
Earlier this month, Philadelphia organizer and Pennsylvania Bernie Sanders delegate Gwen Snyder told Jezebel that she had been sexually assaulted by a fellow delegate during the Democratic National Convention. Frustrated by the convention’s lack of clear guidelines for handling sexual assault between the delegates and unable to have her attacker’s convention credentials revoked, Snyder filed a police report with the Philadelphia Police.
Snyder met with Philadelphia’s Special Victims Unit earlier this month. In an email to Jezebel, Snyder said that there wasn’t “much concrete” that SVU could tell her about her case, but said they would forward it to the District Attorney. On Monday, Snyder said that District Attorney Seth Williams declined to prosecute her case. She said that the office declined to prosecute because her attacker was “drunk and they ‘can’t prove’ he knew I wasn’t consenting.” She described Williams’ decision as “terrifying” adding that the DA’s office was “essentially...claiming that alcohol consumption is a get out of jail card for sexual assault.”
In a petition on Action Network, Snyder wrote called on Williams’ office to apologize for “your office’s choice to use alcohol consumption by a perpetrator as a factor in deciding whether or not to prosecute cases of sexual violence.”
We have reached out to the District Attorney’s office for comment. We will update when we receive a response.
Update: In response to Snyder’s petition, Communications Director for the Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office said, “That investigation is currently under investigation so until that has been completed it’s not appropriate to comment.”
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Amazon’s running several back-to-school themed Gold Box deals today, but one of the most intriguing bundles a bunch of popular computer accessories from several of your favorite manufacturers.
Inside, you’ll find the likes of the Razer DeathAdder Chroma (one of your favorite gaming mice
Just note that like all Gold Box deals, these prices are only available today, and the best stuff could sell out early.
Amazon is having a sale on a crazy amount of luggage, backpacks and more for the whole family, including your top pick for the best carry-on luggage
somehow marked down to only $50). So, if you’ve been using that duffel bag since college and you have a flight to catch soon, you should get on this one.
Update: The Travelpro Maxlite 3 has already sold out, but there are still lots of good bags in there.
Little Giant Ladders are some of the most popular on the market, and you can get a 17' model with a wall rack for for $180 on Groupon today. We’ve seen the bare ladder a little cheaper in the past, but the wall rack makes this deal particularly enticing.
There’s also a 22' ladder without a rack on sale for $210 on the same page. That’s a decent deal, but not nearly as good.
If you take racing games (or Rocket League) seriously, the popular Logitech G29 (PS4/PS3/PC) and G920 (Xbox One/PC) racing wheels are down to around $240 today. That’s around $50 less than usual, and easily an all-time low price in both cases.
Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom Creative Cloud photography suite normally costs $10 per month, but Amazon’s currently discounting a 12-month plan to just $95. Creative Cloud plans don’t go on sale often, so if you’re a creative professional, or just want to make your own photos look better, this is a great opportunity to save on industry standard software.
Rare is the apartment kitchen that includes enough storage and counter space, but you can add your own with this attractive Whitmor baker’s rack for just $59 from Amazon, down from its usual $75.
That includes stainless steel shelves and hanging hooks, a removable butcher block cutting surface, and a 10 year limited warranty.
When it comes to smartphone dash mounts, magnetic solutions have dominated
First up, iOttie’s One Touch 2 universal dash mount is marked down to $13, matching an all-time low. The original One Touch won a Kinja Co-op
And if you’ve got $36 to spare, and hate plugging and unplugging a power cord every time you get in the car, the iOttie One Touch Wireless is also marked down to an all-time low price today. This thing is basically just a One Touch 2, but with a Qi charger built right in for hassle-free charging. That’s no use for iPhone owners, but if you own a modern Android phone, I’d say it’s well worth the price premium.
The TiVo for cord cutters comes with lifetime service and a 1TB hard drive, and Amazon’s offering the first deal we’ve ever seen on it today.
Note: This was on sale last week for $372, but now, it’s eve cheaper.
The original Roamio OTA sold for $50 with a 500GB hard drive, but you had to pay $15 per month for the TiVo service. The new model though comes with 1TB of space, and usually retails for $400 upfront, with lifetime service. Assuming you’ll use it for more than a couple years, that’s a good deal on its face, but Amazon’s taking an extra $28 off the sticker price right now, while supplies last.
Uniqlo’s AIRism is one of those lines that people continue to go back to. The boxer briefs always sell out quickly when there’s a sale, and even your favorite undershirt is part of the AIRism line
$50 is about as cheap as 1TB external drives ever get these days, so if you need more space for your files, or if (gasp) you haven’t been doing regular backups, this is a great price.
The PS Vita doesn’t get a ton of new games at this point, but it might be worth it just for remote PS4 streaming, and you can pick one up a refurb for just $100 today, one of the best prices we’ve seen.
We’ve seen several deals lately on RFID-blocking front pocket wallets, but if none of them have been quite what you’re looking for, maybe this one will fit the bill. It’s leather, it can hold at least six cards, an ID, and some cash, and it’s only $7 today with code 5TEE8S7P.
This Amazon Gold Box is marketed as a back to school sale, but if you like Lärabars, Nature Valley products, Annie’s Snacks, or Fiber One, there’s no reason not to stock up for yourself. Just be sure to lock in your order before they’re all gobbled up.
This hard-sided headphone case is designed to fit popular cans like Audio Technica’s ATH-M50x, certain models of Beats, Sony’s MDRs and more. Assuming you spent $100 or more on your headphones, I’d say it’s definitely worth $20 to keep them safe in your bag. Other than a very brief $10 deal, this is the best price we’ve ever seen.
The new Apple TV is good, and getting better, and Walmart is taking $20 off the 32GB and 64GB models. We’ve seen a few better deals in the past, but this is still a solid discount as far as Apple products go.
Use your savings to pick up a discounted iTunes gift card
Because drinking the whole bottle isn’t always an option, this $7 vacuum sealer can keep your wine fresher for longer.
Just insert one of the two included stoppers, place the hand pump on top, and pump until you hear a click. The system removes all of the excess oxygen from the bottle, slowing down the oxidation process that makes old wine taste sour. Does it actually work? Over 1,300 5-star reviews and an Amazon top-seller badge speak volumes, and if it saves even half a bottle of nice wine that would have otherwise gone to waste, it’ll have paid for itself.
We’re no strangers to waterproof Bluetooth speakers, but most of them under $30 are 3W or 5W single-driver affairs. If you want something a little louder to hear over the din of your shower or from across the pool deck, Jackery’s new 10W Boom is only $29 today with code JKRYBOOM, or $30 with an included bike mount.
Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down technology is probably just barely second in popularity behind their AIRism
Two-packs of shoes always intrigue me, but when they’re on sale for only $21, it’s kind of hard to pass up. Grab two pairs of espadrilles from ASOS in white and striped and you’re set for the rest of the summer. - Jillian
We’ve posted a lot of deals over the years on the original Anywhere Mouse, but the second generation adds a rechargeable battery and (optional) Bluetooth to the mix, which are two huge reasons to upgrade. And of course, it still includes Logitech’s dark field laser sensor, which means it can be used on any surface, including glass.
Today’s $50 price tag is a match for the best we’ve ever seen, so click over to eBay and lock in your order.
The Timex Weekender is the most popular watch we’ve ever listed, and the one I’ve worn most days since 2014. The Weekender and leather strap pair well with the full range of casual clothing options, and are comfortable and easy to adjust for just the right fit.
Our discount also applies to other Timex options matched with straps, with pricing as follows:
To give some pricing context, the Weekender without the strap can fall to around the $30 range when discounted on Amazon, while the pairing currently goes for $108 at FormFunctionForm and $88 on Huckberry before our discount.
Tell us which watch you’ll be strapping to your wrist in the comments, or tell us about other products you’d like to see us cover or work out an exclusive discount on.
If you don’t want to dedicate a watermelon-sized chunk of fridge space to a Brita pitcher, this easy-to-install faucet attachment is just $16 on Amazon today, an all-time low.
The Brita on Tap can filter up to 100 gallons of water per filter, and at roughly $10 each, that comes out to just over $.01 per 16 ounce bottle of lead, asbestos, and sediment-free water.
If you still listen to music, or any sounds really, through your computer’s built-in speakers, it’s time for an intervention. The Logitech Z623 speaker set was one of Lifehacker readers’ five favorite computer audio systems
Sugru is right up there with binder clips and the Raspberry Pi in Lifehacker’s pantheon of must-have gear, and you can stock up today with eight packs from Amazon for just $13, the best price we’ve ever seen on the stuff.
iTunes gift card discounts are noticeably less common than they used to be, and while we do see 20% discounts from time to time, a $100 iTunes gift card for $85 is still a solid deal if you pay for Apple Music, iCloud storage, or PokéCoins.
Lightning cable deals are nothing new, but if you could use a spare or two, they’re just $4 each from Mpow today.
Use this link and code IHKTA559 if you just want one.
And if you want two, use this link and code HZ4AQL26.
Want a mechanical keyboard, but don’t need (or want) a number pad? This tenkeyless CM Storm QuickFire has your name on it for just $67 today. And while it’s technically listed as a gaming keyboard, its understated design and relatively quiet Cherry MX Brown switches make it appropriate for office use as well.
If that’s a little more than you’re looking to spend, this $30 alternative uses off-brand Blue switches, which should be extremely loud and clicky.
It might not be mission-critical equipment for your home, but a good label maker is a nice gadget to keep around, and the popular DYMO LabelManager 160 is back in stock for just $10 today, matching an all-time low.
If you remember the old label makers that literally pressed the letters into a piece of tape, this is a bit more advanced than what you’re picturing. The Dymo LabelManager 160 can print in eight fonts at six sizes, along with clipart and special characters, and you can even preview the entire label on its LCD screen before you print.
We’ve seen this deal a couple times in the last few weeks, but it always sells out quickly, so act fast.
And in case you missed it earlier, a the Amazon Fire HD 6 is still $30 off.
Range extenders can’t work miracles, but if there’s one corner of your home that struggles to get a good Wi-Fi connection, this $30 gadget might be all you need.
Packing cubes can make organizing clothes and toiletries for your next trip a little less hellish
Anker’s kevlar-wrapped PowerLine cables have been an immediate hit with our readers, and you can upgrade your entire microUSB cable collection today with this $11 5-pack.
Want wireless streaming and handsfree calling in your older car? This $21 dongle receives the Bluetooth signal from your phone (or music files from flash drives and microSD cards), and transmits it to the FM radio station of your choice.
We’ve seen several deals on Bluetooth car kits in the past, but most require that your car include an AUX jack, whereas this only needs a working FM radio.
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For the last week or so, a British YouTuber named Louis Cole has been uploading dispatches from North Korea. Rather than focusing on the state’s constant surveillance, arbitrary arrests, and murders of its own citizens, Cole is focusing on the positive aspects of the North Korean experience, such as the water parks.
As Richard Lawson at Vanity Fair pointed out in a post this morning, Cole has written that he is “trying to focus on positive things in the country and combat the purely negative image we see in the Media.”
If the capital-M Media portrays a “purely negative” image of North Korea, that is because it is attempting to present things as they actually are. By being so relentlessly upbeat about what he sees, Cole is doing a pretty good job of propagandizing for the ruthless regime that is hosting him, whether that is his intention or not. And at about 1.8 million YouTube subscribers, his audience is not insignificant. When Cole visits Pyongyang’s Juche Tower in the video above, his tour guide tells him it represents “the guiding ideology of our party”—that is, the ideology by which North Korea’s leaders have justified the last 50 years of brutal dictatorships there. “Cool!” Cole says, panning his GoPro upward. “And it’s like a flame, on the top of it.”
Cole talks to some ordinary North Koreans during his travels, and that’s admirable, but by refusing to engage with the reality of their situations, he ultimately does them a disservice. At one point, a woman strokes his long dreadlocks, refusing to believe they are made of his natural hair. “They’re fascinated,” Cole says, turning to the camera with a laugh. Maybe that’s because locks aren’t on North Korea’s list of 28 state-sanctioned haircuts.
Cole’s job is to make his globetrotting life seem as enviable as possible, so that when he makes sponsored content for KitKat and Doritos, his followers want to buy them. We can’t really hold a travel blogger to the standards of an investigative journalist, but he shouldn’t be painting such a flattering picture of the regime, either. As Lawson notes, the series feels like the surreal apex of the culture of smarmy positivity that reigns on the internet, and especially on YouTube. If you write a bad review, you’re just being a hater; if you’re having a bad day, you just need some inspirational content to cheer you up; if you’re visiting the world’s most oppressive nation, go surfing in the gnarly wave pool.
According to a new FEC filing, AlternativePAC, a super PAC formed by small government activist Matt Kibbe, spent $30,000 this week on “internet web memes” supporting Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
In June, the owner of libertarian tomato processing company Morning Star donated half a million dollars to AlternativePAC, but Sunday’s meme buy appears to be the super PAC’s first significant expenditure since Kibbe announced its creation earlier this year.
“There is real interest in the Libertarian ticket, and Gary Johnson has an historic opportunity,” Kibbe told Reason.com at the time. “Our PAC will use data, technology, narrative and cutting edge social media to target disaffected constitutional conservatives, independents, and Bernie progressives looking for something different.”
Unfortunately for anyone who wants to know what 30 grand in rare pepes looks like, AlternativePAC has yet to share any memes (internet web or otherwise).
In a trailer for a new Frontline two-hour special coming to PBS in September the Trump campaign’s Director of African-American Outreach Omarosa Manigault
The trailer released Tuesday promises to dig into the candidates themselves, in order to figure out how we reached this nightmare hellscape where a former reality-show host is running for president.
“Before America votes,” intones a dramatic voice-over, “in this historic election, a two hour special report that’s less about what they say and more about who they are.” Oh, good. Really chomping at the bit here to learn more than we already know about an orange buffoon and a beleaguered woman who really, really wants this.
The documentary promises to dive deep into the backgrounds of two “controversial candidates,” and assures us that it will use “trustworthy journalism, big-picture context, and powerful new insights at a moment when voters are being bombarded with conflicting partisan stories about each candidate.”Great!
Most alarming, however, is Omarosa’s chilling statement about Trump and her confidence that he will somehow win this whole thing and drag us all to hell.
“Donald Trump is running for president because he really, truly believes he can turn the country around. More importantly, every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.”
Christ. The documentary airs on PBS September 27.