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As a beauty pageant owner turned politician, President Donald Trump could not have been pleased with how the 2018 Miss America competition wrapped up.
In the interview round on Sunday, Sep. 10, judge Jess Cagle, editor in chief of People magazine, asked Miss Texas Margana Wood whether Trump was right to fault “many sides” for the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Wood was blunt:
“I think that the white supremacist issue, it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack, and I think that President Donald Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact and making sure all Americans feel safe in this country.”
“I do believe it’s a bad decision,” Mund replied. “Once we reject that, we take ourselves out of the negotiation table, and that’s something that we really need to keep in mind. There is evidence that climate change is existing, so whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table, and I think it’s just a bad decision on behalf of the United States.”
This is the United Nations, the center of global diplomacy. Countries from all over the world gather here to bicker about their differences and get nothing accomplished. This may seem like a huge waste of time, but it’s actually much better than the alternative, which is World War III.
Would World War III be bad?
Would World War III be good?
Yes, it would be very bad. Every human would die, and the Earth would become a radioactive cinder. World War III is one of the worst things that could happen.
No, it would be very bad. Every human would die, and the Earth would become a radioactive cinder. World War III is one of the worst things that could happen.
You are the U.N. secretary-general, the director of the United Nations. This is you.
Running the United Nations is a challenging job, but you know how important your work is. Without your tireless diplomatic efforts, World War III could erupt at any moment.
This is the start of a new day, and it’s bound to be a stressful one. You have just enough time for a soothing chamomile tea before you talk to world leaders and try to delay nuclear holocaust a little bit longer.
Brew a cup of chamomile tea.
Soon the weight of the world will be on your shoulders, but right now, for one brief moment, you can revive your spirits with the calming taste of chamomile.
Drink the tea.
The second you swallow the tea your bowels seize up in knots. Number one and number two are stirring through your guts like a pair of incestuous pythons, angrily slamming against the walls of your intestine and bladder. What the hell did you just drink?
Look at the tea box.
Oh no. You wanted to make chamomile tea, but must have grabbed the wrong box. You have to find a bathroom, fast.
Maybe you should do a little diplomacy first though, before you visit the toilet. You’ve already left the world unattended while you had your tea, and there’s no telling what mischief the countries are getting themselves into.
Go straight to the bathroom.
Hold it in and check up on the countries.
Diplomacy can wait five minutes. You desperately waddle straight to the bathroom.
Use the toilet.
While you’re in the bathroom, World War III occurs, and a nuclear shockwave obliterates New York City, which is where the United Nations headquarters is. You are instantly killed without even realizing there’s a problem. Soon every other city on Earth is also erased by nuclear hellfire.
Within minutes, a global population of billions is reduced to millions. The survivors struggle on for several decades, their numbers continually dwindling due to radiation sickness and famine caused by nuclear winter. The few that survive are often infertile from constant background irradiation.
Fifty years after World War III, fewer than 100,000 humans remain alive on the face of the Earth, surviving in scattered hunter-gatherer tribes. They eke out a tough existence on the toxic husk of the Earth, but even those hardened nomad bands are slowly killed off by the inhospitable wasteland.
Five hundred years after World War III, only two humans are left on Earth, a mother and her son. They live on the outskirts of the radioactive ruin of what was once called Cincinnati, eating cockroaches to survive. She dies of cancer when the boy is 10 years old. He lives the rest of his life alone on a dead planet, making up imaginary friends to keep himself company. He dies at the age of 49 from an untreated tooth infection.
This tragic fate befell humanity because you couldn’t hold in your feces for a few minutes before using the bathroom. It didn’t have to be this way.
Rewind last decision.
You visit the conference room where ambassadors hang out to argue with each other. “Good morning, Mr. Secretary-General,” the diplomats greet you in unison.
Your stomach is rumbling like a blender full of rocks. You really need to wrap up this diplomacy stuff, pronto.
Greetings, distinguished colleagues. Once again we gather in these hallowed halls of diplomacy to settle our respective nations’ disputes with the power of reason and words. Violence has no place in the interconnected world we now share. By working together, we shall build bridges of understanding that will transcend all borders and keep the grim specter of war at bay. Indeed, the prevention of the war is the seminal issue at the moment in this current crux of history, for the destructive power of atomic arms represents a threat to the continued existence of the human race. The great Albert Einstein once quipped, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” The wise scientist’s warning should be carefully heeded, because there are no victors in a battle involving an exchange of nuclear weaponry. Let us collaborate with a sense of renewed purpose, ever cognizant of the importance of cordial discourse between all the countries of Earth. Therefore, I hereby inquire whether any nations present here currently have any lingering grievances with one another that must be addressed before they escalate into the possibility of armed conflict?
Okay! World War III. It’s bad, and we don’t want it. Any countries fighting here? Gotta stop that.
You deliver a long and eloquent speech on the importance of diplomacy, ignoring the furious writhing of your intestine. Unfortunately, you take too long. As soon as your finish speaking, your colon erupts in a geyser of shit. Liquid rivers of warm dung flow down your pant leg, over your shoes, and spread across the floor like the Exxon Valdez spill.
Casually glance around the room to see if any of the ambassadors noticed that you soiled your pants.
“Hey, the secretary-general just shit his pants!” screams the Belgian ambassador.
“Whoa, what a loser!” shouts the Japanese ambassador. “We used to respect him, but he can’t even keep his crap inside his body where it belongs.”
“All these years, we’ve listened to him when he told us that World War III would be bad,” says the Chilean ambassador. “But now that we know he’s actually an idiot who shits his pants, what if that means World War III would be good?”
Excited murmurs start to fill the room. “Yeah, World War III!” “The Big War!” “World War III would be good!” “Nukes nukes nukes nukes!”
Everyone, please listen to me. I know that I shit myself, but you must believe me that World War III would be bad. Please, don’t do World War III.
The ambassadors ignore your desperate pleas and phone their home countries to tell them to start World War III. It doesn’t take long before a nuclear shockwave reduces the United Nations to radioactive ash, and you with it.
Rewind last decision.
The French ambassador clears his throat. “Yes, we are about to go to war with our hated enemy England.”
Uh-oh, he’s lifting weights. This is a traditional form of diplomatic saber rattling that countries use to show their power. If he’s doing exercise at the United Nations, that means armed conflict could erupt between France and England at any second.
What did England do?
“The arrogant and imperialistic British have been hogging Stonehenge all for themselves. Why do they get to own Stonehenge? They didn’t even build Stonehenge, it was druids a long time ago. France should get a turn owning Stonehenge. If not, we have no choice but to start World War III.”
England, how do you respond to France’s allegation?
Ungh, oh god. No no no no. Please, not now. Hold it. Hold it.
The diplomats watch you in puzzled silence as you struggle to control your spastic bowels. After a few perilous seconds you manage to resist defecating, for at least a little bit longer.
England, how do you respond to France’s allegation?
The English ambassador scoffs disdainfully. “How dare the devious French try to take our Stonehenge, when they’ve been selfishly hoarding the Eiffel Tower all to themselves for years. If France wants to do World War III, England welcomes the chance to best them in a contest of nukes. After we win, we’ll bring the Eiffel Tower to London where it belongs.”
You both raise good points. I guess you two have no choice but to start World War III.
Instead of resorting to World War III, why don’t we think of a compromise that will make everyone happy?
With your blessing, England and France begin lobbing nuclear weapons at each other, destroying both Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower, as well as all their cities and buildings and people.
The destruction of two countries would be bad enough, but England and France were both NATO signatories. As soon as they went to war, that invoked Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which declares that an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all and must be responded to with military action. All the other NATO members fulfill their obligations to defend England and France from England and France by bombing England and France. Attacking England and France invokes Article 5 of NATO again, which forces all the NATO nations to start bombing all the NATO nations that attacked England and France, including themselves.
You are killed in a nuclear explosion when the United States retaliates against the United States by bombing the United States.
Rewind last choice.
Knowing that your bowels could evacuate the entire frozen package of hot dogs you ate this morning at any moment, you have to propose a peace treaty between England and France on how to equitably divide Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower, and pronto!
Propose that England trade France a nude photo of the queen in exchange for the Eiffel Tower.
Propose that France appease England by drawing a Manchester United jersey on the “Mona Lisa.”
The British ambassador falls silent for a long moment, then takes a nude photo of the queen out of his briefcase. “This photo of the queen’s glorious bare body is one of England’s most treasured possessions,” he says gravely, handing it to the French ambassador. “England will not trade it for anything less precious than the Eiffel Tower.”
The French ambassador examines the photo for a few seconds. “She looks pretty good for her age,” he says with utter solemnity.
The British ambassador nods. “Yeah, she’s in her nineties. Not bad at all.”
The two ambassadors shake hands, signaling a new era of peace between their countries. Now that you’ve averted war, nothing stops you from running to the bathroom.
Run to the bathroom.
“The Mona Lisa is one of France’s most valued treasures,” says the French ambassador in a hushed and reverent tone. “We stole that painting from the Italians, and it’s ours now. Until now, we’ve had a policy to never paint on the Mona Lisa, but we would break that rule in exchange for Stonehenge.”
“Manchester United rules!” shouts the English ambassador. “They kick the ball very well. We’d be honored to have Mona Lisa become a fan of Manchester.”
The two ambassadors shake hands, signaling a new era of peace between their countries. Now that you’ve averted war, nothing stops you from running to the bathroom.
Run to the bathroom.
You sprint toward the toilets, using every ounce of willpower to contain the furious contents of your twitching asshole. The door of the U.N.’s bathroom beckons to you like a lighthouse in a storm.
You stride triumphantly toward the toilets, ready to drop your pants and destroy the plumbing. There’s no time to spare either, because shit is ramming against your sphincter like Vikings at the castle gates.
There are four stalls in this bathroom. Which one do you want to use?
First toilet stall.
Second toilet stall.
Third toilet stall.
Fourth toilet stall.
Wow, you just offended a Nobel Prize winner, and you still have a runaway brown train chugging down your colon, next stop sphincter junction. And without your guidance, World War III could break out in the general assembly at any time. Better make this quick!
Which stall do you want to use?
Second toilet stall.
Third toilet stall.
Fourth toilet stall.
You open the door to the first stall, and a young woman sitting on the toilet shrieks in alarm.
“Excuse me, this stall is occupied!” screams Malala Yousafzai. “What the fucking hell is wrong with you? Can’t a Nobel Prize winner take a dump in peace?”
Sorry! The door was unlocked!
“Well, fucking knock next time! Now get lost, so I can finish up in here and get back to a conference on the importance of women’s education in the developing world.”
Find another toilet.
The Dalai Lama is sitting on the toilet. “Suffering must be our teacher, not our master,” he says while smiling at you benevolently. There is a quiet continuous sound of trickling urine.
Sorry, your holiness! I didn’t know this stall was occupied.
“You are filled with sorrow,” says the Dalai Lama. “Instead, be joyous, for the world’s beauty is all around you!” Urine continues to steadily trickle.
Actually, I’m filled with about 10 gallons of diarrhea, and I need that toilet you’re using. Are you going to be done soon?
“Our needs and wants are roadblocks on the path to nirvana.” The sound of urine slows down to intermittent spurts, and eventually stops entirely. Five quiet seconds pass as the Dalai Lama smiles at you. Then suddenly urine starts pouring again twice as loud as before.
Find another toilet.
Sit on the Dalai Lama’s lap and try to shit between his legs into the toilet.
You drop your pants and seat your bare ass on the Dalai Lama’s naked thighs. In response, the Buddhist spiritual leader calmly takes a can of mace out of his robes and pepper-sprays you in the eyes.
Blindly stumble away in agony, shitting as you go.
The world is a painful blur. You try to fumble your way to the sinks to wash the pepper spray from your stinging eyes, but instead accidentally wander out of the bathroom into the U.N.’s hallway, right in front of an elementary school tour group.
There are shocked gasps and giggles from the students as you waddle around with your fallen pants, reluctantly shitting a breadcrumb trail of turds behind you.
Get arrested for public indecency in front of minors.
Police handcuff you and throw you in the back of a squad car. You face some pretty serious charges. Shitting in front of minors will get you put on the sex offender registry, which will get you fired from your job at the United Nations and make it impossible to ever get employed again.
However, you’re never charged for your crimes. On your way to the police station, World War III happens, and you’re disintegrated by a nuclear explosion.
Rewind last decision.
Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is sitting on the toilet. “Occupied,” says the brutal tyrant. “My bad, I should have locked the door.”
Sorry, Mr. Gaddafi. I’ll find another toilet.
Sorry, Mr. Gaddafi. Wait, didn’t you die a while ago? An angry mob killed you.
“No, they only killed one of my body doubles,” says Gaddafi. “I was at the United Nations for a diplomatic summit when my government was overthrown, so I decided to lay low and live in the bathroom here.”
Can I use that toilet?
“Sure, help yourself,” says Gaddafi as he stands and pulls up his pants. “Heads up, though, I just dropped a monster deuce, and this toilet is completely clogged. Sorry about that.”
The odor from the toilet is absolutely horrendous. Gaddafi’s dump smells like a combination of dog sweat and spoiled cheesecake. You flick the handle a few times, but it doesn’t flush. You definitely do not want to sit on top of that mess, but you need a toilet and you’re getting desperate.
Use Gaddafi’s toilet.
Look for a different toilet.
You sit down on top of the steaming dung and defecate. It’s pretty gross feeling the polluted Gaddafi-water splash up against your ass cheeks, but at least you get rid of your diarrhea.
Successfully use the toilet.
You have succeeded in using the toilet for five minutes without World War III breaking out, so congratulations! Technically, you win! On the downside, you get all kinds of weird diseases from exposure to Gaddafi’s shit, which is to be expected from someone who slept with thousands of prostitutes and sex slaves over four decades. A few hours after using the bathroom you start hemorrhaging blood from your anus and then die. After your death, there’s nobody around to prevent World War III, and humanity is eradicated by nuclear warfare.
If you’re okay with this, you can quit now and consider this a victory, but maybe there’s a way to take a shit and also prevent World War III from happening at all.
Rewind last decision.
You open the door and find Bill Gates sitting on the toilet, but not actually defecating. The toilet lid is down, and Bill Gate’s pants are up.
The billionaire philanthropist is lost in thought and doesn’t notice you enter.
Hello? Mr. Bill Gates? Are you using that toilet?
“Oh, hello, Secretary-General,” says Bill Gates. “No, I don’t need to use the bathroom. I just came here to think about all the strides the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made in the fight against malaria. The bathroom is one of my favorite quiet places to think about doing charity.”
If you’re not using that toilet, can I please use it?
“Sure, of course you can use this toilet,” says Bill Gates. “Unfortunately, not everyone on Earth has a toilet. And other unfortunate people have malaria, a serious and sometimes deadly disease spread by mosquitoes. There are over 200 million cases of malaria each year. It’s an enduring problem that I hope to fix in my lifetime.”
Yes, sure, on behalf of the United Nations I commend your efforts against malaria. Now please stand up so I can use the toilet.
“Oh right, you need to use the toilet,” says Bill Gates. “I forgot because I was talking about malaria, a serious disease endemic in tropical climates. Combating malaria will require a threefold approach: 1) reducing mosquito populations by eliminating standing water sources and employing judicious use of pesticides; 2) developing effective drugs and vaccines to protect at-risk populations from malaria; 3) employing barriers such as mosquito nets to prevent contact between humans and mosquitos.”
Bill, please, I am going to crap my pants if you keep talking about malaria.
Bill, I think there is a mosquito trapped in my car, and it might be carrying malaria.
“I’m sorry to hear that. I will get off the toilet immediately so you can use it,” says Bill Gates while remaining seated on the toilet. “Diarrhea is also one of the symptoms of malaria, a serious disease that is sometimes fatal. Other symptoms of malaria include fever and vomiting. Over half a million people die each year from malaria, a grim annual toll that is too often ignored in the Western world.
“The good news is that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made huge strides against malaria, reducing deaths by 20 percent since the year 2000. Our scientists have made promising breakthroughs experimenting with recombinant protein-based vaccines, and we intend to keep funding grants to pursue that area of research.
“Eradicating malaria is a long-term goal, but an attainable one, that will require ongoing cooperation between government health departments and NGOs. By the way, didn’t you say you needed to use the toilet? Sorry, I got distracted talking about malaria.”
Bill Gates stands up and gestures at the toilet. “It’s all yours.”
Crap your pants before you can reach the toilet.
You shit your pants because you let Bill Gates ramble on about malaria for too long. There’s no way you can conduct diplomacy like this. None of the ambassadors will take you seriously if you have sopping-wet shit legs. You have no choice but to go shopping for a new pair of pants.
Take the subway to Macy’s to buy a new pair of pants.
You and your befouled pants squeeze onto a packed subway train. The other straphangers give you disgusted looks and inch away.
In your worst nightmares you never dreamed that you, the secretary-general of the world’s most esteemed diplomatic institution, could become a social pariah stinking up a train car. You pray the subway gets to your stop quickly so you can reach Macy’s and buy clean pants as soon as possible.
Ride the train.
You’re traveling through a tunnel when the subway comes to a screeching halt. The lights flicker, and the car shakes as the ground trembles.
The train conductor’s voice crackles over the intercom. “Sorry passengers, this train is experiencing service delays because World War III just happened on the surface and everyone up there is dead. Thank you for your patience.”
Evacuate the subway car.
You climb a service ladder to the street level and behold the grim aftermath of World War III. Charred corpses litter the streets amidst burning rubble. This is the exact kind of situation you tried to warn people about when you said World War III would be bad.
Fortunately, you managed to survive doomsday and become a nomadic scavenger. You spend the rest of your grueling life searching through the radioactive ruins of civilization for canned food and bugs to eat. However, in all your decades of wandering the nuclear wasteland, you never find a clean pair of pants.
Rewind last decision.
“Don’t worry, I’ll squish it!” shouts Bill Gates. He runs out to the United Nations parking lot, hops into his car, and drives into your car at 90 mph, totaling both vehicles.
Bill Gates dizzily climbs out of the wreckage of his car. He has a long gash bleeding on his forehead where it hit the steering wheel. “I don’t see the mosquito,” he shouts out in warning. “I think it got away. Don’t let it bite you, or you might get malaria!”
You’ve successfully tricked Bill Gates into leaving the toilet.
Sit on the now-unoccupied toilet.
You drop your pants and lower yourself down. The ring of the toilet seat feels cool and refreshing on your buttocks.
Just as you prepare to tense your colon and expel all the filth within, there is a loud commotion from outside the bathroom. You hear angry shouting. Someone screams, “If World War III is what you want, then World War III is what you’re gonna get!”
Use the toilet as quickly as possible, then go check up on the noise.
Grit your teeth, hold it in even longer, and go check up on the noise.
Missing the former first lady already? You’re not alone. As it turns out, some people think she’d be the best bet to serve the White House again — but this time, she’d be at the helm. As he wrote in an op-ed for , former Bill Clinton pollster Douglas E. Schoen thinks Michelle Obama would dominate the 2020 election for the Democratic party.
Pretty much since the election ended and current President Donald Trump took office, Democrats, pundits, and concerned Americans alike been chattering about who might be stepping up to compete for the 2020 election nomination. And already, the competition looks pretty full, despite being only eight months into the president’s first term.
Democratic Senators Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have been flagged as early options, and their campaigns are already in fundraising mode.
But Schoen doesn’t seem to think these candidates would solve the problem. He writes,
This alternative plan requires a new, united opposition, led by a political leader with widespread popularity.
The only person I can see accomplishing this would be none other than the party’s most popular political figure: Michelle Obama.
The whispers of whether Obama might consider running for president began even before her husband’s second term ended. Some have suggested it as a half-cracked fantasy that the first lady would ever run for office, and she herself has dispelled that notion. As points out, when Oprah asked Obama the very same thing back in December, she put those queries to bed, saying:
I don’t make stuff up, I’m not coy — I’m pretty direct. If I were interested in it, I’d say it.
She’s also expressed that, after eight years in the White House, their family is not looking to return to the immensely demanding Washington lifestyle. Nevertheless, Schoen thinks she’d be the best candidate to run in the Democratic party. He wrote,
Michelle Obama is perceived as a strong, well-qualified leader with immense national popularity. Broadly, the polls show she is respected by the American people and by the near-entirety of the Democratic Party.
Schoen makes clear that he’s in no way personally endorsing her as a candidate and stresses his concerns with the Obama administration. But Schoen’s analysis is based on polling numbers and strategies that might avoid the shortcomings that buckled Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016. He cites a lack of any controversies or ethical Achilles’ heels for Mrs. Obama, and focuses on how popular she remains among the American people. According to Schoen, her favorability ratings far outpace the sitting president’s, for example. And not only could she outdo Republican candidates, but she would potentially rate higher than the other Democratic names already flagged as possible candidates.
If Michelle Obama ran for president in 2020, she’d win don’t @ me
Schoen notes that if you’ve got nothing but fondness for the former first lady, you’re joined by a lot of Americans who gave Michelle a 68 percent approval rating — higher than her husband or former vice president Joe Biden. (As of July 8, Melania Trump’s approval rating was only 51 percent, according to a Fox News poll.)
If some were holding out hope that, over time, Trump’s presidency would wear down the Obamas and convince them to reconsider a 2020 run for president, it’s not looking likely. reports that Obama again reiterated her position on Aug. 27 at a Q&A during a conference in Florida, saying:
Politics is tough, and it’s hard on a family. I wouldn’t ask my children to do this again because, when you run for higher office, it’s not just you, it’s your whole family.
Her own clear insistence on the matter hasn’t done much to dissuade dreamers. (This guy even made… T-shirts… ?)
My latest design in red and blue – Michelle Obama 2020.
It’s unclear what impact, if any, the repeated narrative of her presidential potential might have on Obama. Nothing is certain until it’s happened, and some point to the continued unpredictability of this administration as evidence anything can happen. Polls aren’t everything, though, and personally: whatever Michelle decides to do with her life will probably still be 1,000 times cooler than most of us.
First Lady Melania Trump didn’t make the cut, although her predecessor, Michelle Obama, did (not for the first time). But while no Trump family members are on the list, the Washington Post points out that Melania’s go-to stylist, Hervé Pierre – who dressed the First Lady for her husband’s inaugural ball, along with several other high-profile events – was named.
In addition to Obama, who appears in the “couples” section of the list alongside former president Barack Obama, a small group of other politicians made the cut, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron (along with his wife, Brigitte).
Trump’s wardrobe has been discussed by Vanity Fair in the past — recent topics include her penchant for pink, and her decision to board a flight to flood-ravaged Houston in stiletto heels — but the site has also reported on her more innocuous fashion choices, too. In late August, the site ran an article titled, “Melania Trump Takes a Fashion Cue from Michelle Obama,” which likened Trump’s more affordable ensemble to the J.Crew outfits Obama was fond of wearing.
In response, fans of the First Lady are fuming over the Trump family’s exclusion from the Vanity Fair list, with some accusing the publication of ignoring her purely out of spite.
Vanity Fair made a big mistake by purposely neglecting to give credit to @FLOTUS Melania in the 2017 Best Dressed List-She’s a Fashion Icon! pic.twitter.com/7bVSCEu29q
While many are claiming Vanity Fair seemingly left Trump off the list due to the magazine’s political position, The Cut notes that both Obama and Macron made the list as a best dressed couple, so perhaps Trump would be included if her husband dressed differently.
However, not everyone agrees that Trump should’ve made the list, sparking a heated debate on Facebook.
“Just because Melania is ‘First Lady’ — she had to wear a tacky hat in Texas to remind us — doesn’t give her an automatic entrée to the Best Dressed List; especially since every time I see her she’s dressed like a ‘high-end’ hooker,” one person commented.
Another wrote: “Vanity Fair and Vogue have much different criteria than our personal taste.”
“It’s not ONLY about clothes, but rather someone’s entire persona. Melania has been on the job almost a year and has done NOTHING but wear clothes, she’s the least interesting First Lady in history. Sorry, she’s not good enough,” another person wrote.
A Maryland county judge has ordered the state bar to investigate three lawyers accused of deleting thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Circuit Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. ruled Monday that the Attorney Grievance Commission and Office of Bar Counsel Maryland Office of Bar Counsel must look into complaints against Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson and David E. Kendall, citing “allegations of destroying evidence,” according to the Washington Times.
The ruling came after Ty Clevenger, an attorney in New York City, filed the complaint. He recently was denied files from the FBI related to Clinton’s email investigation, due to what the bureau called a lack of public interest.
Clevenger argued that the lawyers should be investigated for wrongdoing by destroying evidence, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Harris said Clevenger’s appeal to have the lawyers investigated “appears to have merit,” the Times reported.
Clevenger is looking to prove Clinton committed perjury, the Times reported. He said he was writing a book about political corruption — and has lobbed accusations against both Republicans and Democrats.
Michael Bennett. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
What Le Batard read next made him furious.
During a commercial break on the Wednesday edition of his radio show, Le Batard said he received a stream of text messages from irate fans accusing Bennett of embellishing, or fabricating the story.
“Calling total BS on that story, video or lie,”one text reportedly read.
“Don’t believe this story. Back it up with a police report or an eyewitness,” read another.
“Shut up fat face Leba-tard,” another began. “I still haven’t found the racists who spray painted LeBron’s gate. This is all made up. Liberal sheep liar. Shut the [bleep] up.'”
In a righteous, five-minute response, Le Batard called out his listeners for reflexively doubting the Pro-Bowl defensive end.
The host rattled off a list of other athletes who have identified racism in their daily lives — including Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who reported racist taunts at Fenway Park, and NFL players attributing teams’ refusal to sign Colin Kaepernick to the quarterback’s national anthem protests last season — and the skeptical responses he’s received from listeners.
“I’m just hurt by it man,” Le Batard said. “‘Prove to me that racism exists.’ ‘Adam Jones, you got called the n-word. Prove to me that you got called the n-word.’ ‘Colin Kaepernick, look at the starters in the NFL this week. Prove to me that he’s blackballed.’ ‘Where’s the proof?’ ‘Prove racism to me.’ Well, how can I prove it to you if when Michael Bennett comes out and tells your story, you’re gonna tell him, ‘Not true.’ How? How can I prove it to you if every time I come to you, you’re gonna say, ‘Fake news’?”
Dan reacts to Michael Bennett’s account of his detainment by Las Vegas police and texters’ disbelief of Bennett’s story. -Lorenzo pic.twitter.com/iMbPh7356l
The ESPN host went on to express shock at the intensity of the blowback.
“The reaction was too strong,” Le Batard said. “Man, who hurt you? Who hurt you? Because I know who hurt black people. It was white people.” He speculated that black Americans and the police often feel threatened by one another — making rational discourse impossible.
Le Batard frequently analyzes the intersection of race and sports on air. The host has voiced support for Colin Kaepernick’s activism and dismay that the quarterback remains unsigned by the NFL.
“He is good enough to be paid by that league and the only reason he’s not paid by that league is because that league is run by cowards,” Le Batard said on a July 19 edition of his radio show. “I shouldn’t say it’s the only reason. It’s one of the reasons.”
He concluded the monologue with an appeal to his listeners’ empathy.
“You don’t know what it’s like to be on the end of those handcuffs for no reason,” he said. “Because if you did, there’s no way you would respond to that Michael Bennett story by calling BS and wanting to fight me for reading the story to you.”
Five days a week, thousands tune in to listen to Le Batard. Now, he’s asking them to listen to others whose experiences differ dramatically from their own.
President Donald Trump should be pretty well informed about what to do in a disaster situation by this point. After being criticized for his initial response to last month’s Hurricane Harvey, should know by now to stick to public expressions of concern for those affected and discussions of how to help. But it looks like he hasn’t learned his lesson yet. The president stuck his foot in his mouth again on Sept. 10, when Trump said hurricanes were improving the Coast Guard’s brand.
Trump started the statement he made to a reporter in the White House pool on Sunday right. As Hurricane Irma pounded Florida, devastating the state with catastrophic flooding, intense wind, and heavy rain, the president began by praising the work of the government agencies working to help, like the Coast Guard. Trump said that “a group that really deserves tremendous credit is the United States Coast Guard,” according to The Hill. So far, so good — acknowledging the severity of the situation, praising those who are risking their own safety to help, talking up his administration’s response an acceptable, but not boastful, amount.
But then, he screwed the pooch. Trump quickly reminded us of his inability to overlook a branding opportunity, no matter how gauche or mistimed. He said,
What they’ve done — I mean, they’ve gone right into that, and you never know. When you go in there, you don’t know if you’re going to come out. They are really — if you talk about branding, no brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard.
Oh, no. Oh, Donald, Donald, Donald. You were doing so well. Okay, it was for, like, a split second, but hey, the bar is pretty low these days.
Just in case it needs to be said: no, the Coast Guard probably isn’t worried about their “brand.”
The Coast Guard is, currently, probably worried most about A) saving lives across Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, which have all been heavily hit by the storm, B) keeping their own people and resources safe, and a possible third of C) getting the funding that they need which Trump’s budget wants to cap.
On ABC News’ on Sept. 10, Rear Admiral Peter Brown said that the Coast Guard was focused on recovery in the places that the storm had hit, and getting channels of travel open again to bring first responders and resources to the people who need them.
He also acknowledged that the resources of the Coast Guard were stretched, with many people and resources being moved right from Harvey recovery to helping with Irma. He said,
My district is also responsible for Coast Guard operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and those response operations have been going on for several days now. … Many of the same assets and people who responded to Harvey have now reprovisioned and repositioned to be ready to respond to Hurricane Irma. And although the storms are different and the threats are a little bit different, we’ll take the lessons learned from our recent experience with Hurricane Harvey and apply it to respond to Hurricane Irma.
It’s not Trump’s first flub when it comes to responding to a major disaster.
In late August, he took heat for traveling to Houston, Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey — only to avoid meeting with any actual survivors of the storm. On a second try, Trump and First Lady Melania went to a shelter for people who had been displaced by the storm, where they helped distribute meals and told survivors to “have a good time.” There were some raised eyebrows before the couple got to Houston, as well — both times, the first lady got criticism for wearing stiletto heels as she headed out to supposedly lend a hand to people who had lost everything to flooding.
So, Donald. Let’s go over what we’ve learned. In a natural disaster, when people have lost everything, DO: meet with those affected; express your concern and sympathy; and tell people what you’re doing to help. DO NOT: gladhand; wear inappropriate footwear; or express a bizarre concern with branding. You get me?
It’s a full day after Ted Cruz lit up the internet for allegedly liking a hardcore porn account’s tweet on Sept. 12, and I’m on the phone with his 2018 Texas Senate opponent, Beto O’Rourke. So, of course, I bring it up. Cruz is known for his “evangelical voting conscience,” which, in Texas, is the short-form slang for a few key issues.
But O’Rourke, unsurprisingly, isn’t fazed by theCruz headlines. In fact, he’s not even paying attention. Over the phone for an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, he tells me, in reference to the tweet, “Yesterday was our first day back in DC and we’re — as you can imagine — doing our best to try and make sure we’re responding to those who have been hurt by [Hurricane] Harvey and now [Hurricane] Irma in Florida. I just have not had a lot of time to get online and to see that.” He adds, “But I don’t take any joy out of anyone else’s misfortune.”
And was that on Ted Cruz.
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It’s hard, however, to talk about O’Rourke without bringing up his politicalopponent. After all, Cruz has been leading the Texas Senate since his election in 2012, and the Texas senator was a major talking point in the 2016 presidential election, though he ultimately lost the Republican primary to now-PresidentDonald Trump. Cruz is also notably disliked within his own party. Former Senate majority leader Trent Lott once called out the way Cruz handled himself on the Senate floor for calling Mitch McConnell a liar, and former President George W. Bush once said, “I just don’t like the guy.” O’Rourke stands in opposition to just about one of Cruz’s political beliefs. For starters,O’Rourke is pro-choice, supports equal access to healthcare, and is looking to legalize marijuana.
O’Rourke is also gaining notoriety, and not just due to his contrasting political POVs. Before he was firstelected to the House of Representatives in 2012, O’Rourke was a businessman in El Paso, Texas. However, before that, O’Rourke was a punk rocker. In fact, there are still grainy videos of O’Rourke and his band, Foss, floating around YouTube, and one of Foss’ ex-members (Cedric Bixler-Zavala) even went on to join the bands Mars Volta and At the Drive-In. O’Rourke was on bass and vocals, and in true punk-rock, Kurt-Cobain fashion, even shows up in what appears to be a floral dress on the band’s album cover.
Somewhere in Texas, you can practically hear Cruz’s shuddering in his pantsuit.
Western Breed Records
Looking back, O’Rourke’s band days may have served as his first foray into politics, long before evenhe realized it. Hesays being around others in the music scene who were putting out their own music, booking their own tours, and publishing their own zines had a huge influence on him. “It just demonstrated the power that we all have when we just decide to take matters into our own hands [and not] wait for someone else to do it,” he says.
O’Rourke is looking to that same “power of the people” mindset to help fund his campaign for Senate. He’s been vocal about his refusal to accept Political Action Committee (PAC) money, which, he says boils down to the fact that “special interests don’t have a home” inhis campaign. In fact, he’s so against PAC involvement in campaigns that O’Rourke even introduced the No PAC Act into congress.
PAC money isn’t exactly Texas’ biggest problem. Although a Democrat hasn’t been elected to the Texas Senate since 1994, Republicans aren’t exactlythe problem, either. “Texas isn’t a red state or a blue state, it’s a non-voting state,” O’Rourke tells me. He points to gerrymandering — representatives having the power to draw literal re-zoning lines, which gives them the power to choose their voters and not the other way around — as the cause. This means that those congressmen and women only have to appeal to their voters; hence, little change actually gets made. “If you don’t feel like your vote is going to count and you feel like the system is rigged, why would you waste your time voting?”
Texas was number five on Huffpo’s 2016list of top 10 states with the lowest voter turnout. According to O’Rourke, “the way the system works right now is, literally, members of Congress choose their voters instead of the other way around, so I think young people get that that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.”
Although gerrymandering has been going on for years, it only recently gained attention as a constitutional problem. The Supreme Court is set to hear a case on the issue in October with involving alleged unconstitutional redistricting in Wisconsinfrom 2011. With mostly Democrats backing the case and a few Republicans (John McCain, to be exact) lending their support, ending the issue could be closer than we think. But O’Rourke doesn’t have time to kill waiting.
Gerrymandering is one of the biggest issues he sees in Texas that he quite literally can’t sit with. If Texas is a “non-voting state,” as he calls it, then it’s doomed to repeat a cycle of electingrepresentatives who just don’t listen to the needs of their peers. It’s what motivated his run and decision to reject PAC money in the first place. He wants voters to be involved in the democratic process again.
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Of course, now we’re all wondering the same thing: Does O’Rourke have a shot at unseating Cruz? As we saw with the November 2016 presidential election, elections are hard to pinpoint. But as we also saw as a result of the 2016 election, people are starting to take more notice at what’s going on. are the people O’Rourke wants to talk to.
O’Rourke firstbegan his fight for the Senate in mid-2017,a full year ahead of the November 2018 elections. Instead of running a campaign centered on calling out Cruz’s “flaws,” O’Rourke is focusing on what matters: Texans. By the time we talk on the phone about his campaign, he’s just recently finished a 34-day tour across Texas, where he visited small towns and met with supporters and critics alike. When Hurricane Harvey hit, he headed to Houston. “We’re going to the places where people often feel like perhaps they are forgotten or their voices aren’t being heard,” O’Rourke says.
“It’s been incredibly encouraging to see [young people’s] interest,” he says. “It gives me some very strong cause for optimism going forward.”
If the most unsettling aspect of the political landscape in Texas isn’t concern over whether it’s “red” or “blue,” but more the fact that it’s silent, then O’Rourke’s biggest challenge now is to make some noise. As someone who once thrashed in a punk band on local TV, the challenge, it seems, is one he’s already accepted.
There are a lot of bogus claims about autism out there on the Internet. Countless quacks and angry Internet commenters will tell you that vaccines cause autism, despite a lack of scientific evidence to back them up.
Unhelpfully, PETA have also made claims about autism. In a campaign that has recently resurfaced to widespread criticism, PETA linked drinking milk to autism. The campaign has received criticism from a prominent vegan chef, as well as other commentators, both for the unscientific nature of their claims and the negative way it portrays people who have autism.
In a post that’s still on their site, despite numerous people debunking it, PETA say that drinking milk “worsens” autism.
“It isn’t surprising that dairy products may worsen this condition,” they write on their site. “Considering that milk has already been strongly linked to cancer, Crohn’s disease, and other serious health problems. Anyone who wants to alleviate the effects of autism should try giving cow’s milk the boot and switch to healthy vegan alternatives instead.”
PETA cite a study as well as anecdotal evidence in their post. “More research is needed, but scientific studies have shown that many autistic kids improve dramatically when put on a diet free of dairy ‘products’. One study of 20 children found a major reduction in autistic behavior in kids who were put on a casein-free diet (casein is a component of cow’s milk).”
They then say that the reason why dairy “worsens autism” is up for debate, but that “some suggest that the gastrointestinal problems so often caused by dairy products cause distress and thus worsen behavior in children with autism.”
The problem is that this isn’t the case. PETA cites a study that has just 20 participants, which isn’t enough to be recommending dietary changes for anyone. More than that, it’s a study that has been discredited by two independent overviews.
The University of Texas looked at 14 other studies that investigated the efffects of casein and gluten-free diets on people with autism, and found that “overall the study quality was poor,” and only the least scientific studies said that the diet improved behavior, The Atlantic report.
In short, their campaign linking autism to drinking milk was unscientific, and yet PETA have not taken it down, even after years of being told this.
The campaign resurfaced this week, after food writer Jack Monroe asked PETA to remove recipes from their website because of the campaign. In a brilliant twitter thread (which you should read in full), Monroe outlines why their campaign is offensive and why their claims are bogus.
If you Google keywords such as “milk and autism”, their website is one of the first results that show up. It’s time for PETA to remove this post, or at least admit the science is dodgy.
There may be plenty of benefits to drinking milk alternatives. PETA should talk about these if they want people to stop drinking milk. Don’t play on the fears of parents who are looking for advice on how to raise a child with autism.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are full of amazing people, hilarious jokes, and insightful commentary — any of which can throw people into a murderous rage at a moment’s notice. It’s a great time to be alive.
But as with most great, murder-inducing things, there are a few downsides to these websites. Because of the speed with which they encourage us to respond to things, we can get into all sorts of trouble. As is so boringly the case, the solution to most of these problems is just slowing the fuck down, but because I know you really don’t want to do that, I’ve broken it down a bit into some concrete “do-not”s and … more “do-not”s. Not a lot of “do”s here, basically. For your rage-ameliorating pleasure, here are the five least-helpful ways you can react to things online …
Social media encourages and rewards rapid response. You can quip back and forth with friends, your puns literally moving at the speed of light. Or you’ll think up an obvious joke about a current event and need to get that out there before everyone else does. Or maybe you’ll just be swimming in your everyday rage and want to channel that before it seeps into your pancreas and kills you. As with so many things, it’s the people who speak loudest and fastest who will tend to have the most people listening to them. And social media networks know this. That “reply” field is right there for a reason.
Speaking quickly and without thinking is often hilarious and profitable, but there are unique problems when doing it online. To illustrate, let’s first consider an offline example. Were you to scream “Ass-gargler!” at your boss during a meeting, that would certainly dazzle and intimidate the people in the room, and probably get you fired. But outside the room, people would only hear about the incident in whispers. And outside the company, people might not hear about it at all. You probably wouldn’t have your life ruined over it.
But online, everything you say lingers in the public record. Even if you delete the offending words, there’s always a chance that someone got a screenshot of it. Or, you know, that it was archived in the Library of Congress. There are plenty of tales of people ruining their lives because of something they blurted out on social media. Like the woman who made a stupid racist joke, got on a plane, landed several hours later, and found out her tweet had gone viral and she was now widely hated. I’m not excusing racist jokes, but I’m a stupid guy, and know that stupid jokes pop into one’s head every now and then. There’s an art in not saying them, and social media doesn’t exactly encourage that art.
Another weird side effect of social media is that it amplifies the importance of everything you say. What might have been funny (or at least tolerable) when taken as an off-the-cuff statement looks a lot worse if it’s considered as a published statement, which is what it ultimately is. Your words are just there, hanging out, giving people time to pore over them and pick out all the meanings you never even considered.
Never say anything online without a team of PR professionals, is my main suggestion, I guess. Workshop “ass-gargler” for a few days. Let that shit simmer.
Dragging Someone Else Into It
Twitter has this fun feature wherein you can tag someone else into a conversation, ensuring they see your message and any replies to that message and so on. It’s a fun way to open up conversations to people who might be interested, and it’s also basically the worst thing one human being can do to another.
OK, that’s still probably murder. Or overlong hugs. Maybe manspreading.
But anyways, it’s not good. The main problem is that this other person might not want anything to do with the conversation. Even if they know the person who tagged them, they might not care about any of the other random strangers chirping away in the Twitter canoe they find themselves in. And these conversations can go on for days. Imagine if your phone chimed with a notification every time someone posted in a random YouTube comment thread if you want an idea of this particular hell.
Worse is what can happen when a person with a lot of followers tags someone. Your followers are essentially people like you, except a bit less clever and quite a bit meaner. Which means if you’ve got a lot of them, tagging someone (in particular an enemy) is a pretty sure way to flood that person’s notifications with hundreds of angry, less-clever versions of you, all swarming and shrieking away like a bunch of you-shaped monkeys.
Actually, that sounds kind of rad. I regret mentioning it.
Here’s another less threatening but still irritating situation: Someone speaks ill of a celebrity. On its own, this is a fine, healthy thing to do. Well done, all involved. But then one of this person’s followers tags in that celebrity, and suddenly they’re in an awkward conversation with @frandrescher. Aside from being an awkward thing to do to the insulter, it’s even worse for the insultee. What are they supposed to do when they find out someone insulted them? I get insulted online only a fraction of what I probably deserve, and I still hide under thick blankets every time it happens. I can’t imagine what an actual famous person feels when … oh, that’s why they have people read Twitter for them. Right.
It’s nice when you learn something that you already know! It fits right in! And since it’s already right there on Twitter, you don’t even have to condense it down to its most salient 140 characters; you can just retweet it and let your friends know what they almost certainly already know about too.
But hang on. Is the thing you’re retweeting actually true? Like, you know it’s true, and you’re right about roughly 100-105 percent of the things you believe. But would a panel of independent experts and ex-lovers and mountaintop-dwelling monks agree? What are your obligations to verify the information you retweet? Retelling a lie uncritically might be more innocent than conceiving the lie in the first place, but it does just as much damage.
Back before “fake news” meant “everything I don’t like” and “CNN,” the term got applied to cheap websites which were set up entirely to publish insanely untrue news stories in the hopes that they’d get spread by gullible Facebook users. But any form of social media is prone to this, as is any political persuasion. Since Trump’s election, there have been dozens of loosely researched liberal fantasies making the rounds about how Trump is supposedly close to impeachment, or how he got stuck in a jar of honey. People want it to be true, sure. I get that. But it doesn’t make it true. We’re not powering Santa’s sled here, folks.
So what is this lesson? Think before you tweet, think before you tag someone, think before you retweet? This is exhausting. Let’s lighten the mood a bit …
Making Jokes When The Mood Is Not Right
Twitter is great for jokes. That might be what it’s best for, except when it’s freaking out, which is definitely what it’s best for, forget what I said earlier about jokes.
A necessary part of telling jokes on Twitter is keeping up with what everyone is talking about. This not only lets you know the references people will get and the jokes that are already badly worn out, but will also let you know when people don’t want to hear jokes at all. During a disaster, or a terrorist attack, or one of the existential crises which seem to afflict us so much more frequently these days, no one wants to laugh at your fucking Smurfs gag. Come on. I don’t need to tell you why.
OK, aside from the timing, it’s not very woke, pal. Smurfette can do what she wants on her own terms. It’s not for any of us to judge.
Anyways, this is most glaring-
Oh, also it’s long been implied the Smurfs reproduce asexually, so it’s not even like that accurate.
Anyways, this is most glaring when it’s done by corporate Twitter accounts. Many companies draft and review all their tweets well in advance, just to make sure all their messaging is on-brand and whatnot. They then schedule the tweets to be posted at a later date. But by taking the human element out of the timing of their jokes — or at least assigning it to some weekend intern — these companies can end up in exactly the disaster they were trying to avoid. Lowe’s or Little Caesar’s might not accidentally praise Pol Pot or something, but if they make a joke when everyone else in the world is weeping, it’s almost as bad.
The intent behind the callout is pretty understandable. When people say racist, sexist, homophobic, or other awful things and get away with it, it only emboldens them — or their friends — to say it again. So we shouldn’t remain silent when we see this stuff in the wild. That’s what the callout is for; you see someone say something awful and call them out for it. Maybe they’ll reconsider what they said and apologize for it. Or maybe they’ll just shut up. Sometimes this can get a little heated, and insults generally get tossed around, but hey, why use kid gloves when dealing with a racist, right?
But does it work?
When you get criticized online, your immediate reaction is usually to get defensive. You’re right, you’re always right, so these people criticizing you must be idiots. You marshal counter-arguments, find allies, and dig out your own childish insults to hurl back at your critics. It takes some practice to stop and consider whether the critics have a point, especially if that point is accompanied by insults and calls for your immediate death. You like living! It’s the only thing you’re good at.
The limitations of social media probably amplify some of the problems here. Character limits leave room for insults but not persuasive arguments. And the fact that this is all being done in public lends everything a performative air — you’re not being criticized so much as being stunted on. It’s less “Here are three things you haven’t considered” and more “I call for your immediate death by bees” while people applaud thunderously.
I guess if the intent is to punish the person being called out, then it still kind of works. They get their nose publicly bloodied and a partial fear of bees, and maybe it discourages their peers from speaking up in the same way. Or does that just drive that speech underground, sending our racist but possibly redeemable foe scurrying into the arms of people even worse than them? That doesn’t sound good.
But even if they are irredeemable, the problem exists within progressive communities as well. For instance, there are a number of issues that fall under the umbrella “feminism,” which feminists have differing opinions on and pretty heated arguments about. The degree to which transgender people should be included within feminism, or the relative morality of sex work, for example. “Heated” might be an understatement; the arguments and callouts can get pretty vicious. And this is for people who agree with each other on like 98 percent of their worldview.
In the same vein, consider the hilarious agony some college students go through when deciding whether it’s OK to wear a sombrero at a party or ask for a sushi night in the cafeteria, for fear of getting called out on social media later about cultural appropriation. The discourse about the discourse is getting problematic, folks.
So I don’t know. We probably shouldn’t let racists be racist, and that logic seems like it should extend to other social ills as well. But think long and hard before making those callouts, especially the insult-laden ones. They’re probably doing less good than you think.
And a sombrero sushi night is fine, guys. It’s fine. Just space the chairs out a little more so you don’t keep bumping into each other.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist, takes 12 days to react to anything, and may technically be a plant. As the author of the amazing novels Freeze/Thaw and Severance, he thinks you should definitely go buy both of those now. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
At least Clinton did take one more good shot at Trump during the interview, saying later to Pauley (below):
“We have a reality show that leads to the election of a president. He ends up in the Oval Office. He says, ‘Boy, it’s so much harder than I thought it would be. This is really tough. I had no idea.’ Well, yeah, because it’s not a show. It’s real. It’s reality for sure.”
Would’ve loved to have had you as our leader, Mrs. Clinton…
Put it in place of some of the stars or something. It’s important. It’s one of those things everyone knows, right up until it’s convenient to not know it. Hell, hating bad people doesn’t even necessarily get you closer to being a better person. The Klan hates ISIS, but we don’t count that as a point in their favor. Yet I’m pretty sure that most of what we consider being good in this culture is just having disdain for the right things. What does this have to do with police shootings, Nazis, immigration, and most of the headlines you’ll see this year? And how does it tie into the best Keanu Reeves action franchise? Well, it comes down to how …
We Hate Giving People Second Chances
This subject will be about five outrages old by the time this article goes up, but as I type this, the Trump administration just ended a government program for children whose parents entered America illegally. “DACA” basically allowed these young people to get jobs, pay taxes, go to school, and get driver licenses despite not being citizens. Ending the program means destroying the lives of about 800,000 people for a crime their parents committed. As one Republican congressman put it, “justice” means these people deserve to “live in the shadows.” After all, he said, they entered the country illegally. Not even years of productive, law-abiding living absolves them of that original sin.
Experts call it “John Wick morality” (or at least they should), named after the film series in which Keanu Reeves’ dog is killed by Russian mobsters, and in response he shoots 738 of them in the head. You wouldn’t think any real person considers that a reasonable moral code to live their life by, until you look at the comments under any article about a police shooting and see …
… or see entire comment sections full of people rooting for a guy who shot a car thief to death. The logic almost makes sense if you squint — if the victim hadn’t resisted (or suddenly moved their hands, or smoked weed, or failed to signal, or illegally crossed the border), they’d still be alive, therefore they have no one to blame but themselves.
That “no one to blame” phrasing is key. It implies that once someone breaks a rule, you can do whatever you want to them and you cannot be blamed. Listen for it, and you’ll hear somebody using this reasoning once a day, even if it’s just over stupid shit. Do you have some poor bastard in your social circle who’s gotten stuck with a demeaning nickname based on something they did when they were 13? If you want a famous example, try to find a single discussion about Richard Gere, anywhere, that doesn’t bring up the urban legend about him shoving a gerbil up his ass (a rumor that got started during the freaking Reagan administration).
We need that one mortal sin which will let us revoke a person’s status as a human worthy of dignity, respect, empathy or anything else. It’s the proverbial John Wick’s Dog, the moral trump card. We cannot be accused of prejudice or pettiness as long as we’ve got a bloody JWD carcass to jiggle in response to critics.
How does this apply to you, a good person fighting the good fight? I’m getting to that.
We Use “Justice” As Cover For All Manner Of Awfulness
“Hold on,” says the hypothetical skeptical reader who’s been following me from article to article for the last ten years, “you’re using immigration hardliners and police shootings as an example of this shit in action? Those are just the result of racism, dude.”
I don’t think that’s the complete truth. I think the reason so many racists could pass an “Are you a racist?” polygraph test is that they don’t think minorities are inhuman due to their color, but rather their supposed criminality. The officer who shot Philando Castille as he sat in a car with his girlfriend and four-year-old daughter said that he thought he smelled marijuana. In his mind, this single hint of a single minor crime meant absolutely anything done in response was justified.
That he would not have done this if the driver were a whimsical white stoner dude never occurs to him — prejudice almost always hides behind a supposed zeal for justice. Internet hate mobs never flood a woman’s inbox with death threats without a JWD to justify it. (“She wouldn’t be getting these calls in the middle of the night if she hadn’t made fun of us on Twitter!”) And where a crime doesn’t exist, we’ll extrapolate one. “Of course I thought my family was in mortal danger when that Mexican man approached the car! After all, if a guy will cross the border illegally, he’ll rape a woman. He’s already proven he doesn’t care about the law!”
It’s an utterly insane double standard, of course — our own mistakes are singular instances and in no way should affect others’ overall opinion of us. (“Just because I lied doesn’t make me a liar!”) Yet it’s so seductive that virtually every hateful asshole you’ve met in your life has built their fetid nightmare of a personality upon this very foundation. They all think their daily cruelty is in response to some extreme provocation.
But this article isn’t just about piling scorn on those people; virtually everyone reading this already thinks of them as monsters. My point is that none of them were born monsters, so we should be having the same conversation people do in the second act of every zombie movie. “How do we stop them and, more importantly, how do we keep ourselves from getting turned?” If cruelty wears justice as a disguise, then anyone who believes in justice is at risk. In fact, the more strongly you believe in justice, the more at risk you are.
Once, as a well-meaning child, I asked my Sunday School teacher how it was okay for God to send people to Hell for eternity based on fairly minor infractions, while if an earthly ruler punished rulebreakers with indefinite torture, they’d be considered cruel despots. The answer made sense to me at the time, and went like this:
Because God is infinitely righteous, He has infinite loathing for unrighteousness. His very purity is what makes any tolerance of impurity impossible.
Therefore, our modern pansy-ass attitude toward lawbreakers (insisting on reform and humane treatment) is actually evidence of our corruption. If we were more righteous, we would be more cruel toward the unrighteous. Therefore, not only is that cruelty justified, but it is in fact a key barometer of our own goodness. Petty meanness toward atheists and homosexuals is exactly what God wants. If you’re reading this and sure that this kind of medieval thinking only applies to Christians … well, keep reading.
We Start Hating People For All The Wrong Reasons
A critic of any female politician/pundit/activist can’t resist pointing out how ugly/fat she is (if she’s pretty, then the insult is that she’s a slut or that she only got her position based on looks). Racists will start with high crime rates and unemployment, but will quickly move on to how rap music is shitty, how ghetto women wear trashy clothes, how blacks can’t speak proper English. Never mind that it’s impossible to justify music, fashion, and dialect as examples of moral failure. For some reason, it’s not enough for their enemies to be merely wrong; they have to be disgusting on a visceral level.
It’s crazy how those racists do that, isn’t it? Those dirty, toothless, inbred hillbillies. They’re almost as bad as the gamergaters. You know, those fat virgin neckbeards in their mothers’ basements? They all probably voted for Trump — that guy with the gross weird hair and fake tan and tiny hands. Disgusting, right?
“Well, but that’s different! In those cases, the targets deserve it!” Oh, I get it. It feels great to poke our enemies in their sensitive spots. We know Trump is insecure about his hair, that Chris Christie is probably sensitive about being fat, that social outcasts are so ashamed of their virginity that some of them will blow their brains out rather than live with it. So why not use those weapons? This is total war, after all — everything about the enemy is fair game. And remember, the more cruel we are to bad guys, the better we are as people. God himself said it.
But what about all of the good people out there with weird hair, those insecure guys shyly trying to hide bald spots? Or your allies who are unattractive, nervous, and unsuccessful at sex? How are they not supposed to take home the message that personal appearance apparently matters just as much as their moral choices, and that sexual failure is something to be deeply ashamed of? That it doesn’t matter if you’re one of the good guys if you also have poor grooming and social skills?
Well fuck, now look what’s happened. We’ve not only justified cruelty toward our enemies based on their past sins, but justified cruelty to totally unrelated people. Just throwing out collateral damage like John Wick’s stray bullets, mowing down passing tourists with gun-fu until the whole city is brought to a panicked standstill. We certainly don’t stop to ask if the dog would even have wanted this.
We Wind Up Radicalizing Ourselves
One genre of angry message I’ve gotten over the years goes something like “I’ve been a daily reader since 2010 and thought you were the good guys, but after seeing [joke/article they found offensive], I’m realizing how wrong I was! Goodbye forever.” Think about that for a moment. They are claiming to have read and enjoyed literally thousands of articles and videos before encountering one single offensive idea, at which point they declared the whole enterprise a loss. That’s super weird.
Well, it’s weird until you consider what particular bubble they spend their time in. I’ve never been around an activist group that didn’t turn into an endless series of petty purity tests. I was raised in a church where everyone was looking for more and more inconsequential things to judge each other by. R-rated movies were of course forbidden, but which prime-time network TV shows were permissible? Any of them? Of course rock music was of the devil, but what about country? Aren’t those songs about faith, kind of?
The natural evolution is toward tighter and tighter criteria for what behavior gets you shunned from the group. The end result is that the central cause, the group’s JWD, can be as pure as the driven snow, and yet the tone will get more and more toxic over time, the members becoming less and less charitable with each other. Here, for example, is what my Twitter timeline looks like:
“Nazis are bad and must be opposed.”
“People who enable or defend Nazis must also be opposed.”
“Unlawful violence is perfectly acceptable when opposing Nazis and their enablers.”
Wait, I’m not sure I’m on board with that …
“Anyone who opposes the use of unlawful violence against Nazis is also a Nazi enabler.”
What? No! I’m one of the good guys!
“Also, if you think about it, all American institutions and capitalism itself help support white supremacy, therefore all are Nazi enablers and eligible for violent retribution.”
Hey, I think you just declared war on literally everyone who isn’t currently in the room with you.
You hear experts talk about how extremists get “radicalized” — how a guy went from a mild-mannered food inspector in San Bernardino to a brainwashed suicide attacker in the course of a year or so. But it really isn’t a mystery, and we all form less-murderous versions of this. All it takes is a closed like-minded social circle in which it’s considered unacceptable to disagree with the group, and then devote that group to hating something. It doesn’t even matter if the thing truly deserves hating — it still turns toxic. In fact, it works better if it does. “How can you criticize any flaw in our group’s behavior when the other side is Nazis! That’s literally saying that both sides are the same! The mere existence of pure evil on the other side mathematically means our side is pure good!”
At that point, no criticism is possible and there is nothing to moderate the rage. The rhetoric ratchets higher and higher as each member tries to top each other (to prove their own righteousness by demonstrating they hate the target most), and there is no method for reining it in. Moderate voices from outside the group are excluded completely, anyone from the inside who takes a moderate tone can be shouted down with accusations of being an enemy sympathizer. Soon, everything from objectively grotesque insults to elaborate torture fantasies are tossed around without a second thought.
… Until You Reach A Point Of No Return
At some point, an action will be suggested that you would normally consider immoral. It doesn’t have to involve armed mobs or building bombs. Depending on the time, place, and cause, it might be as minor as agreeing to spread a lie. (“I mean, even if they didn’t really do it, they probably did something just as bad! It’s not like they never lie about us!”) Or maybe someone will suggest digging up a member of the opposition’s address, maybe find out where they work, show them how serious we are.
In every case, some members will be nervous. There can be consequences to this kind of thing, right? But will they risk their status in the group by objecting? Will they have their commitment to the cause questioned?
airdone/iStock “I can’t lose face in front of my fellow cyber-warriors. Wait … wasn’t this group about repairing the potholes on Main St. at some point?”
It is right about here that you realize the cause was never what was important. The group was what was important — having a bunch of like-minded people standing and fighting alongside you. After all, was it ever about the dog, or was it about what the dog symbolized? So maybe you wouldn’t sacrifice yourself for the cause — you can always get another dog — but would you sacrifice yourself for your friends, these people who you know would damned well do the same for you? Absolutely!
And now, without realizing it, you have the answer to the question you’ve been asking your whole life: “How can evil people live with themselves? How can a Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Charles Manson look themselves in the mirror every day?” Here you go. This is how. Inside every truly destructive person is the JWD, the broken and bleeding puppy driving them mindlessly forward, and outside of them is a group of people reinforcing their rage until the rage is all they are.
It is a fact of human nature that living purely in opposition to something, rather than for something, hollows you out inside. To be a whole human being, you have to spend your life building something good. It’s easy to find yourself withholding time and energy from friends, family, career, and hobbies, because damn it, one of those assholes on the other side has said something outrageous and I must respond, because this is war and this is all that matters.
And The Whole Time, You’ll Tell Yourself It Was The Only Way
Around 70% of readers never make it to the end of an internet article, so it’ll be interesting to see how many rebut this with, “Oh, great, another article saying Antifa and Nazis are the same! As if one of them ISN’T ACTIVELY DEMANDING GENOCIDE.” It’s the same mental dodge I’ve been pointing out — as long as the other side is worse, you can’t criticize me. But I’m personally telling you, as an individual human being, that you need to ask yourself one crucial question: Are you in it for the cause, or are you in it for the fight? There’s an easy way to tell: Do you get involved with the boring parts?
Donald Trump’s entire agenda could be obliterated a little more than a year from now with a new congress, but statistically the vast majority of you won’t vote at all (and I’d say the vast majority who show up to anti-Nazi rallies also won’t cast a vote). Smacking Nazis with clubs is fun. Voting in midterms is not. Only one results in real change. Hell, in the 2016 election that supposedly determined the future of humanity “Did Not Vote” won 44 of 50 states. Why are some of you willing to put yourself in physical danger at a protest but won’t suffer the tedium of real-world policy change? Deep down inside, you know the answer.
“But voting doesn’t change anything!” Okay, the outcome of exactly one senate race just prevented Obamacare from being repealed. Twenty million people will have health insurance next year because just a small group of voters — enough to fit in a stadium — showed up instead of staying home. You think Hillary would be talking about repealing DACA? “Sometimes violence is the only way!” Are you saying that based on evidence, or because you want it to be true? For every nationalist/authoritarian movement that got turned back by war, literally thousands quietly died due to losing elections or just failing to drum up popular support. How many elections has David Duke won? Goddamnit, you’re playing their game. Don’t let the devils drag you into Hell.
Because god help you if one day you find your enemy has finally been defeated or, even worse, that your tactics only made them stronger (would an armed mob on the other side hurt or help recruitment for yours?). You are left with a personality built entirely on fighting a misguided war, a bottle of poison that didn’t kill the cockroaches and is now just collecting dust in the garage. At that point, will you give up the rage and rebuild your personality around loving something? Or will you just turn that hatred on yourself? I want you to at least think about it. Here’s a GIF of an otter having a snack.
The question-and-answer session gave the internet a chance to pick the famous anthropologist’s brain. Goodall is a world-famous primatologist and conservationist, and her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania — not to mention her activism and remarkable common sense — has earned her a ton of fans, including bigwigs like John Oliver and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Goodall hosted the Reddit event in part to promote her new online class about animal intelligence and environmental action.
Goodall at a German zoo in 2004. Photo from Jens Schlueter/AFP/Getty Images.
The entire discussion is worth a read, but if you can’t set aside enough time to read all 3,684 (and counting!) comments, here are five big points from Goodall’s AMA that are worth checking out.
1. Hard work can defy even the most ardent critics.
Ever since she was young, Goodall says, she wanted to go to Africa and study animals. A lot of people laughed at her.
“They told me girl students cannot do that,” she said. “But I had a wonderful mother who had supported my love of animals ever since I was born, and she said to me if you really want to do this, then you’re going to have to work very hard and take advantage of opportunity.”
Today, Goodall — a world-renowned scholar, conservationist, and peacemaker — is an example to others of just how far hard work can take you.
2. Animals are more human than we give them credit for.
When asked how she wanted to world to see her work, Goodall said she’d like to be remembered as the person who encouraged humans to consider the animal mind — which we didn’t do much before the mid-1960s.
Goodall’s time with the chimps at Gombe National Park revealed their great intelligence and emotional range. From watching an older male adopt an orphaned baby to seeing chimps wage bloody war against each other, the scenes Goodall documented changed how we thought about the animal mind.
Goodall says she hopes we continue to explore the field of animal intelligence well into the future. After all, there’s still a lot to find out.
3. In case you didn’t know, Doctor Dolittle books are pretty awesome.
OK, so maybe this isn’t world-shattering, but anyone who’s read them knows it’s true. Doctor Doolittle was the main character in a series of children’s books in the 1920s about an English doctor and naturalist who can speak to animals and spends his days helping and studying them.
Over the course of several questions, Goodall listed a variety of ways people can help, from spreading awareness and getting involved in local efforts, to raising funds, to even simple things like changing what we buy and what we eat (Goodall is a cheese-eating vegetarian, she says).
Young people have been empowered and fired up to take action. Clean energy is on the rise. Social media, harnessed for good, can unite billions of people for a cause and change politics. And, finally, there’s always the human spirit.
“Only when the head and heart work in harmony can we reach our true human potential,” said Goodall. “And this, I believe, is to come.”
Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% – below the rate of inflation.
There has been speculation in recent weeks the cap could be lifted in response to worries about its impact on staff recruitment and retention and morale in the public sector.
Announcing the increases for police and prison officers, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss said “now is a time to move to a more flexible approach” to public sector pay.
She told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One review bodies and departments were being given greater leeway to use pay to address “pinch points” within public sector staffing.
“We are making sure that our policy is targeted to where there are specific issues, where we need to make sure we recruit more talent into the public sector, but also where we do need to make sure that we are holding on to those really valued people,” she said.
“What we are making sure is that we look at it on a workforce-by-workforce basis because there are very different issues for teachers than for nurses and for police officers.”
The higher increases for rank-and-file police and prison officers, which are backdated to 1 September and 1 April respectively, are based on the most recent recommendations of independent pay review bodies.
Analysis: By BBC political correspondent Eleanor Garnier
Since the general election, Theresa May has been under pressure to respond to voter concerns over squeezed living standards. And today’s announcements on pay for police and prison officers mark the beginning of the end for the public sector pay cap.
But if the government thought breaching its own pay cap would ease tensions with the trade unions it will need to think again. At the TUC conference there was anger and disappointment.
The biggest union, Unite, threatened to press ahead with strike action even if their ballot turnout and margins don’t meet levels now required by law.
While there was very little support for talk of calling illegal strikes, legal action could be on the horizon.
If the unions don’t get a commitment from the chancellor in November’s Budget to fund larger pay increases next year we should expect the prospect of strikes in the new year.
Although next year’s pay settlements for other parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, have yet to be decided, a No 10 spokesman confirmed the existing pay cap was at an end.
The newly-announced rises are still below the level of inflation, which measured by the Consumer Prices Index rose to 2.9%, from 2.6%, in August.
Steve Gillan, the general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said: “I have made it clear that it is a pay cut. It is not acceptable. Our executive will be looking to co-ordinate action with other trade unions.”
Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the announcement would leave many officers “angry and deflated”.
“We were not greedy in what we asked for,” Mr White added. “Officers have been taking home about 15% less than they were seven years ago.”
The federation had asked for a 2.8% increase to basic pay, while the Prison Officers Association had called for a 5% increase.
How much will it cost?
By Anthony Reuben, BBC Reality Check
The government has decided to lift the 1% pay cap on the public sector, although at the moment we don’t know by how much, except for the police and prison officers.
How much it would cost is a tricky question. In the case of the police and prison officers, the money is apparently coming from existing budgets, but that means that there will have to be cuts elsewhere or reserves will be run down.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies reckons that an extra 1% pay for the entire public sector would cost about £1.8bn a year, although it would get some of that back in income tax and National Insurance.
But there are other savings that need to be taken into account, for example, some have argued that raising pay in the NHS would stop staff leaving and reduce absence, so reducing the use of more expensive agency staff and saving money.
Chief Constable Francis Habgood, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said forces had budgeted in line with the 1% cap until 2020, adding that without extra government funding the latest award would “inevitably impact on our ability to deliver policing services and maintain staffing levels”.
This was rejected by Policing Minister Nick Hurd, who said the offer was affordable to forces.
He added that police forces were “sitting on” at least £1.5bn in reserves.
Chancellor Philip Hammond had been expected to address the issue in his Autumn Budget amid calls from Labour, and some Tory MPs, for help for million of workers who have suffered years of real-terms pay cuts.
As the latest announcements are being funded through existing budgets, they will bring no extra funding for the devolved administrations, who have the power to set their own rates of public sector pay.
Last month, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the 1% cap would be scrapped from next year.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said the pay cap was “no longer sustainable”, calling for it to be “lifted across the board”.
As Hurricane Irma now churns toward Florida, the presidents have announced that funds raised will go to victims of both natural disasters.
Former presidents joining forces for charity is not without precedent. In 2010, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush teamed up to raise funds for Haiti after an earthquake devastated the impoverished nation, raising $54 million.
President Donald Trump endorsed One America Appeal in a tweet last night.
Nothing makes us angry like other people’s opinions about literally anything. That’s why we invented a little thing called “murder.” But now we do the bulk of our rage-venting through the magic of the internet. Which means fewer stabbed faces, sure, but also untold human energy wasted on millions upon millions of words of wholly inane bullshit. And nothing gets people going like …
“Does Pineapple Belong On Pizza?”
Since Sam Panopoulos invented Hawaiian pizza in the 1960s, the validity of pineapple as a pizza topping has been an oddly hotly contested topic. Some insist that the combination of sweet pineapple and savory cheese is enjoyable, while others are correct. There’s obviously no real answer for something as subjective as taste, but that certainly doesn’t stop people from obsessing over the question. The debate might have peaked when the president of Iceland was asked his thoughts on pineapple pizza, and said that if he had his way, he would ban it. The world promptly flipped its shit. CNN and The New York Times reported on it. Time had to specifically clarify that the guy was joking, because some people worried that a president might actually outlaw a pizza topping. Even The Washington Post happily threw fuel on the fire:
If you thought it was weird that a world leader chimed in on this absurd debate, how about two? Here’s Justin Trudeau:
Other celebrities have freely taken sides. Jimmy Kimmel and Gordon Ramsay are rabidly anti-pineapple, while Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton like it. Yeah, you see the kind of company you’re keeping, Pineapple People.
“Is It Pronounced ‘GIF’ or ‘JIF’?”
Up until 2013, “GIF” was a nigh-exclusively online word which we all knew but rarely heard spoken aloud. We said it however the hell we wanted, more worried about the shame of admitting that we used the internet than about the proper pronunciation. But according to the term’s inventor, there always was a correct way to pronounce “GIF.” Steve Wilhite used his Webby lifetime achievement award speech to formally state that it’s pronounced “JIF.”
The few scraggly freaks who had always pronounced it that way probably shrugged and thought “Yeah, that’s what I’ve always said.” The rest of the world took the news like God himself had come down from Heaven and said, “It’s pronounced ‘Gesus Christ.'” Nobody was noncommittal on the issue. Even Barack Obama is on record that the official presidential stance is “Hard G all the way.”
YouTube has thousands of videos which passionately scrutinize the subject. There are entire websites full of painstakingly elaborate arguments. You could easily lose an entire day trying to pull apart this Reddit thread alone. A common argument in favor of the hard G is that the first letter stands for graphics, not jraphics. Pretty solid reasoning. But here’s one of the many, many, many comments out there defending the creator-approved “JIF” pronunciation:
SCUBA stands for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.” You do not pronounce the U in SCUBA the same as the U in Underwater. LASER stands for “Light Amplification By Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” You don’t pronounce the A in LASER like you pronounce the A in Amplification, nor the S as you do in Stimulated, nor do you pronounce the E the same as in Emission.
We cut that argument very short. Trust us, it goes on and on … and on. Were you swayed by those points? Ah, well, that’s provided you’re treating the term GIF as an acronym. The problem is that many people (and the Oxford English Dictionary) recognize it as a word in its own right. What they don’t recognize is Steve Wilhite’s right to name his own invention:
The creator said it was pronounced like the peanut butter! The majority of people who read the acronym clearly thought it was pronounced as a hard G, or else they wouldn’t have needed correcting. Based on what the creator has been quoted saying on the topic, it sounds like the only reason he wanted it pronounced like the peanut butter was so that they could make jokes about it being like the peanut butter. Hilarious stuff. He was (is?) a programmer, not a linguist.
The argument has become memetic enough to have its own Know Your Meme page. The comment section is naturally filled with people arguing about the pronunciation, using the exact same arguments listed on the page itself, because the internet is an ouroboros of pedantry that was designed to torment us all for eternity.
“Is Holding The Door Sexist?”
Holding a door open for the next person seems like common courtesy, but everyone seems to have an opinion on why and how exactly a door should be held open. The Huffington Post proclaims that 14 feet is the official distance that necessitates keeping a door open, while actual researchers at Penn State wasted sweet science-time determining that the likelihood of holding a door increases the closer the follower is to the door. And that’s just distance. The real question: Is holding a door open for a woman sexist?
The Huffington Post (they are super concerned about this) ran a piece on gender inequality in the workplace. It’s a very real issue that warrants concern, but the piece veered toward absurdity when it claimed that a man holding a door for a woman is a false symbol of gallantry that empowers inequality. Slate’s spin on the subject couldn’t resist throwing in a crack about women damaging their nail polish if they open their own doors, but women chimed in on the comment section to clarify things:
Men holding the door open for women has nothing to do with manners. It’s a power thing. A true gentleman would respect my wish not to have the door opened if I can open the damn thing myself. How does that not make sense?
People should hold doors for other people, regardless of sex or gender. The main problem with the practice is the Nice Guys (TM) who think they deserve some sort of sexual favor for observing a simple courtesy. This is Not Nice.
The study I do every day is whether or not the persons the door is held open for or given way to in our local High Street say thank you or ignore the courtesy. The survey, like the courtesy costs nothing but I believe contributes a lot. But more often the costless thank you is not made. Mainly mothers with pushchairs. I fear for their next generation.
Absolutely agree about mothers and pushchairs. Helped one on the bus at the weekend, heaving up the chair etc. and she hardly acknowleged [sic] me. I got the feeling that she thought it her right that folk should help.
Here’s a piece from The Telegraph wherein the author feels the need to explain why he no longer goes out of his way to let women go first. He says he doesn’t want to add to his daughter’s sense of vanity and conceitedness, which society is apparently imposing on her through the whole “ladies first” thing. It’s a pretty weird take already, but here comes the trusty comment section to make everything worse again:
I stopped offering my seat on the Tube when I was humiliated by the lady (?) who loudly informed me that pregnancy was not an illness and that I clearly needed the seat more than she did…….I’m sure I am not the only person who has had the offer refused and who has been left standing and feeling rather foolish
Oh please. It’s time to confront feminist sexism for what it really is: a form of female chauvinism. Stop opening doors, giving up seats, or standing when a female enters the room. Enough is enough.
Clearly, we would be better off removing all doors entirely and converting to some sort of flap system. It has to be better than talking to any of these people, even for a second.
“Should A Shirt Be Buttoned Top-To-Bottom Or Bottom-To-Top?”
How do you button your dress shirts: top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top? You probably had to think about that for a minute, since this is one of those things that nobody really cares about, unless they’re the heir to a mining conglomerate or something. The rest of us working-class folks simply start jamming buttons into holes until our shameful torsos are hidden from polite society.
But then along came the internet, and now everybody has to choose a side in this war. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Nick Bonino was shocked when he found out that some of his teammates button their shirts differently than he does. So he did the natural thing and took to Twitter to try to get to the bottom of the issue:
He even arranged a vote, only to be further mind-fucked when some maniacs said they start buttoning their shirts from the middle.
As Twitter reeled from the shocking revelation that people sometimes do basic things differently, internet idiots were already firing up the hot take machines. A writer for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fanned the flames by not only arguing for top-to-bottom, but also stating that he’d never heard of anyone who did it Bonino’s way. He even went the extra mile and grilled a random clothing store employee for his opinion. The guy was mainly baffled at the question. John Feitelberg of Barstool Sports saw Nick Bonino’s tweet and was filled with ruthless anger at those “top-to-bottom assholes.”
Nick never led me to believe he was an insane person… Today I learned he’s a crazy man with even less knowledge than hair follicles. Because, you see, Nick buttons his shirts top to bottom and, frankly, that’s certifiable. I can’t even fathom how that’s done. You know how women button shirts from the opposite side? I bet they go top to bottom too. Yeah, I just called Nick and all you other maniacs a girl, what are you gonna do about it?
It should be noted that Bonino is on the same side as Feitelberg. Feitelberg completely misread Bonino’s Tweet, and the steaming, white-hot rage that consumed him prevented simple reading comprehension.
“Do You Call It ‘Soda’ Or ‘Pop’?”
The “soda or pop” debate is pretty heated, and a lot of people are taking part. There’s even a webpage where you can enter your zip code and the word you prefer, and it displays the results on a map:
The effects of the Civil War can be seen even today.
Historically, the correct term is “phosphate,” which was defined by soda jerks as being a flavored syrup mixed with carbonated water. Sodas were what we today call floats. Therefore Soda is clearly WRONG and pop is more acceptable as a shortening of phosphate.c
Soda lovers are just as passionate, and even more insulting:
Pop. is this word used to describe soda because of the carbonation or the noise it makes when the can is opened? i asked someone in Indiana once why she called it “pop” and that was her answer. well thats just plain retarded. i dont call a cat “meow”. i dont call a baby “waaa” please. as i look at my soda on my desk now.. it says plain as day on the can “A&W Cream Soda”. if the company that is producing the product has labeled it as soda, then my friends … it is (TM) and ready to go as soda. just accept it you northern hicks and toothless southern rednecks, pop is what you call “yer daddy”. soda is what you call your beverage. [sic across the board]
This comment thread illustrates how frequently the pro-soda side claims that “pop” is an onomatopoetic term that comes from the sound the bottle makes when it’s opened. This makes it a stupid word, and you a stupid person for using it:
POP in an onomatopoeic a term used to describe the sound a soda makes when opened but who turns an onomatopoeic into a noun…dumb people!
The pop camp counters by pointing out that “soda” doesn’t have anything to do with soft drinks, and means soda water. Their weapons of choice are historical terminology and, shockingly, calling the other side stupid:
People can name something whatever they want. SODA refers originally to SODA-WATER anyway chump. “Dumb-people” called soft drinks thereafter SODA which is inaccurate at best. SODA-POP or POP-SODA would be better and Soft Drink or Carbonated non-alcoholic beverage the most accurate.
So there you have it, we’re all idiots who should be saying “carbonated non-alcoholic beverage” instead. Or “CNAB,” for short. We like it. It’s catchy.
Crack open a refreshing cnab, folks. We’re done here.
David Klesh believes it should be called “soda.” His writing has also appeared on the Faith Hope and Fiction blog. James has a Twitter, and infrequently blogs. Mike Bedard thinks you should put whatever you want on pizza. He also thinks you should follow him on Twitter. Adam Schwallie is on the same side as you on all of these debates, because you’re incredibly smart. Don’t look at his Twitter to try to find out otherwise.
Apparently, there are shirts for pro and anti pineapple pizza.
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Ted Cruz was NOT the one who liked a pornographic video via his verified
We knew we’d be getting some sort of excuse from the senator, especially since the like made the explicit content pop up on thousands of his followers’ timelines.
BTW, the like has since been removed.
In regards to the social media snafu, the 46-year-old stated:
“It was a staffing issue and it was inadvertent, it was a mistake, it was not a deliberate action… We’re dealing with it internally but it was a mistake, it was not malicious conduct.”
An aide from the Cruz camp confirmed Ted’s remarks to CNN and told the outlet that the office was conducting an internal effort in order find out who exactly is responsible for the controversy. Sounds like some poor intern is getting the boot.
Catherine Frazier, who serves as Cruz’s senior communications adviser, added on Twitter:
The offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter — Catherine Frazier (@catblackfrazier) September 12, 2017
Looks like Ted’s team is scrambling to clean up this mess. Sucks to be them!!
The BBC’s home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said that while forces were welcoming reports of a pay rise, there were widespread concerns that it would put a huge strain on them if extra resources were not found.
The West Midlands Police and Crime commissioner has warned that, in such a scenario, 80 jobs would be lost for every 1% rise above the current cap.
“If the government do not put aside money to fund the pay increase, PCCs will be left with large bills and have no other option other than to reduce officer and staff numbers,” Labour’s David Jamieson said.
“The government must act quickly to ensure that its pay cap lifting is not a hollow gesture.”
Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% – below the rate of inflation.
The higher increases expected this week for police and prison officers are based on the recommendations of independent pay review bodies, with recruitment and retention problems being cited in the case of prison officers.
The BBC understands the Treasury will then issue guidance on next year’s pay round, which is likely to see the cap eased in other areas where there are similar problems, such as teaching and nursing.
Analysis: Iain Watson, BBC political correspondent
Most – though not all – pay review bodies this year identified recruitment and retention problems, but decided to take note of government policy on wage restraint so they didn’t recommend rises above an average of 1%.
But the police and prison officers review bodies, in as yet unpublished reports, did call for increases above 1% this summer, and the government has been mulling over how to handle a controversial issue.
This week it will agree to the recommendations, though there may be some creativity over how the pay awards are implemented.
And the government would also say that some public sector workers have enjoyed rises above 1% through promotion or pay increments.
But now, more widely, the Treasury is expected to tell other pay bodies – covering teachers and NHS staff for example – that they can take recruitment and retention difficulties into account when recommending next year’s increases.
So not lifting of the pay cap across the board – which Labour is calling for – but this could be, as the TUC put it, a crack in the ice of pay restraint.
It comes as MPs are set to vote on public sector pay on Wednesday.
Labour’s health spokesman Jon Ashworth urged Conservative MPs who “sincerely” believe the public sector pay cap should go to vote with his party during its Opposition Day debate, which would not be binding on the government.
He told Sky News: “We keep getting briefings in newspapers and suggestions that the government is sympathetic and wants to do something, and ‘oh, it’s terrible and we accept that but let’s see where we get to’.”
But the TUC’s Frances O’Grady said the government should not favour some public service workers over others – and speaking at the TUC conference in Brighton, she said nurses, paramedics and fire fighters “are very angry”, adding that seven years was “a long time for anyone to manage” with pay restraint.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re very clear that public service workers are a team. Pay shouldn’t be a popularity contest. We know that front-line workers, so-called, depend on the whole team so we want a pay rise across the board.”
The Public and Commercial Services union is to ballot its members on industrial action over the cap.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said raising pay in line with inflation for the next three or four years would cost £6bn to £7bn more than continuing with the current policy.
During last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May said public sector workers were doing a vital job in often harrowing circumstances.
She added that the government would wait for the publication of the police and prison officers’ pay review bodies’ reports before deciding its policy framework for 2018-2019.
Given the amount that North Korea versus the United States of America is dominating the news right now, you’d think that most Americans would know where their “new enemy” is on the map. Donald Trump and his rival, Kim Jong-un, were all over the news on Tuesday night, after Trump issued a warning to the North Korean leader saying that they would feel “fire and fury” if they didn’t back down on their attempts to fire a missile towards the American owned island of Guam. Understandably, the world is waiting with baited breath to see what the next move is going to be, as North Korea are pretty certain that they are not going to back down. But amidst all the panic, furore and rising tensions, The Jimmy Kimmel show took it upon themselves to find out just how many Americans know where North Korea actually is. The results, as you can probably guess, were eye-opening. “North Korea is the big story of the day, if not the year, but what I wonder is, how many Americans even know where North Korea is… and this is what we learned.” Said Kimmel, before playing the footage. The four minute footage took place on the infamous Hollywood Boulevard, and features Kimmel’s crew asking members of the public whether the United States should take military action if North Korea becomes a real threat. Most of the individuals that were questioned said that they believe that the United States should take military action against North Korea if they become a more concrete threat. However, when those same people were asked to point to their new enemies on a map, it turned out the majority of them had no idea where North Korea was. It’s pretty embarrassing stuff, with many commenters on the video saying that it shows the apparent inward looking nature of Americans. Take a look at the footage below and see what you think.
One woman in the video says: “I don’t know, I’m horrible at geography” before unbelievably pointing at Canada, the neighbouring country to the USA. A few people pointed towards the Middle East, with one person bizarrely pointing towards Australia. However, one individual was aware that it was in Asia, but was still unable to locate it on the map. Not on person in the video correctly predicts where North Korea is, including one woman who has numerous different attempts. Unsurprisingly, the video has been met with a sigh from the internet, with many people rolling their eyes at the lack of knowledge from the the people in question, as well as saying that the video is reflective of modern America. As with most things that are uploaded to the internet, this video became an opportunity to “Trump bash” with many people directing their anger at Trump and his administration. Still, whether it has anything to do with Trump or not, it’s fair to say that it’s a pretty embarrassing reflection of the amount of knowledge people have about North Korea, especially when you consider the amount of news there has been surrounding the country in recent weeks.
In an era where art is shared and streamed for free, Patreon offers new hope for turning content creation into a career. Illustrators, comedians, game makers, and musicians use Patreon to let fans pay a monthly subscription fee for special access to their work. In exchange, Patreon takes only a tiny 5% cut.
With 50,000 creators and 1 million subscribers on board paying an average of $12 per month for early and exclusive looks at their content, Patreon is on track to pay out $150 million in 2017. That means Patreon will only earn about $7.5 million this year despite doubling in size.
But investors are betting that if enough artists sign on and bring their fans, Patreon could grow into a pillar of the new creator economy. TechCrunch has learned that Patreon has closed a big Series C round of funding, three sources confirm. Two say it values the startup at around $450 million and that Index Ventures participated in the round but didn’t lead it. Patreon declined to comment for this story.
The cash should give Patreon the muscle needed to compete with other big platforms that help creators monetize, including YouTube and Facebook’s new Watch tab of original video. While those two have massive user bases and teams to court artists, they only pay out 55% of the ad revenue earned off a creator’s content. With some more marketing to boost awareness that Patreon pays out 95%, and that direct payments from fans deliver many orders of magnitude more revenue that ad views, Patreon could gain ground.
To Fund The Creative Class
Musician and videographer Jack Conte had struggled to earn enough from his work, and found one-off project crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter didn’t provide the steady capital artists need to focus on creativity. So in 2013 he co-founded Patreon, “whose mission it is to fund the creative class” he told me in June. “Advertising? It doesn’t pay enough. Consumer payments has to be come a bigger portion of the financial mechanics that support art.”
Patreon had raised $47.1 million to date up through its January 2016 $30 million Series B led by Thrive Capital and joined by Index that also participated in the Series A. But this big infusion of new capital could boost the confidence of creators in the platform. If they know Patreon isn’t going to run out of money any time soon, they may be more enthusiastic about building a subscriber base for the long-run on the platform.
Deeper pockets could also allow Patreon to build out its suite of bonus tools for creators, some of which it could charge extra for. “There’s going to be new opportunities to build revenue streams into the product” Conte has promised me. He suggested that could include selling event tickets or merchandise, or better helping creators understand and communicate with fans. That could grow Patreon’s take beyond the 5% rake it takes that seems paltry compared to what platforms like iTunes or Spotify earn.
Illustrator WLOP offers 4K-sized version of their art with no watermarks to Patreon subscribers
To its advantage, Patreon is relatively lenient about what types of content are monetized on its platform. Erotic drawings, adult games, and marijuana-related news and entertainment are all attracting subscribers on Patreon. Much of this isn’t even allowed on Facebook or YouTube, or can’t be monetized with ads following YouTube’s Adpocalypse crack down after the PewDiePie scandal or the new rules Facebook published this week.
Though this is a double-edged sword. Patreon has seen some right-wing political pundits raise money through hate speech. It kicked off several, leading to the creation of its alt-right clone Hatreon. More funding will bring more scrutiny, and Patreon will have the tough job of walking the free-speech-without-filth tightrope in codifying what exactly is allowed and enforcing those rules.
So far, Patreon hasn’t been too focused on helping people discover new creators to fund. That’s a massive opportunity for it to grow its revenue and assist artists. But it would also produce challenges. How much should Patreon promote already-popular creators who might have better conversion rates even if it makes the site into a bit of an echo chamber? Making editorial decisions about who to spotlight could also leave Patreon vulnerable if any of those creators end up offending people.
It’s all worth the risk, though, as a mission and as a business. Content distribution is moving online. Creators beyond video-makers and Indiegogo inventors want a steady paycheck. Ad platforms are proving to be restrictive, stingy, and just don’t bring in enough cash. Automation threatens old professions. The Internet is able to connect niche artists with niche audiences. And with all the new ways to forge bonds with your favorite creators, consumers are increasingly willing to pay for enhanced access to the personalities they love.
Patreon sits at the center of all these trends. Not every artist has to be starving.