Yesterday was Cal's thirteenth birthday, giving me once again an opportunity to reckon just how amazingly he's grown since...well, since he was born, obviously, but also since last year, and the year before that, etcetera. He's officially a teenager today. I bought him his first batch of student's tickets, made him stick one in the till as we went through the turnstile at Coxwell subway station. At Sherbourne, he suddenly turned to me and, quite seriously, said: "Mom, this is our stop." I'd intended to go to Yonge/Bloor and ride the subway all the way around to King, but I asked him: "Do you want to get off at Sherbourne?" "Yes." "You want to ride the Sherbourne bus down to our building?" "Yes." "Okay." So that's what we did, and when I told him to show the bus driver his transfer, he did. And then we went back to Sherbourne and I fell asleep on the couch, utterly gutted by a post-adrenaline surge exhaustion that later gave me a massive sick headache. I feel like I haven't quite recovered even today.
Because the other thing about yesterday, of course, is that it began with an 8:30 AM pre-op checkup appointment at Toronto East General Hospital, where Cal and a bunch of other kids got a little lecture about what to expect when they got their tonsils and adenoids out. I and the other parents were given a small tour of the pediatric ward, told things like "the parent who goes in with him gets to stay through recovery, no one else"--because he actually does have to stay overnight, ha ha ha, which means so do I--and "this is a fasting ward, you won't be able to eat until they go in, so have a big breakfast before you get here." Then we saw the anesthesiologist, who was so kind and pleasant I started to cry at one point, without even vaguely knowing why. I've signed off on them sedating him before giving him the gas, because he sometimes fights it at the dentist. And then there's two weeks of after-care, pain and weirdness and the constant threat of infection, bleeding, whatever. That terrible sense that something has changed, permanently.
I don't want him to feel like we've tricked him or betrayed him, but he probably will. I can't see how he wouldn't. I'd give my right arm to be with him through the procedure, even though the idea of seeing them cut into him is...awful, horrifying. He's literally never been in hospital before, aside from that time they put him to sleep to remove four rotted baby teeth and a recent-ish trip to Emergency Mom had, which he got caught up in because I had committed to walking up with her and Steve wasn't yet home to take him away. They have a lot of toys there, at least.
I know it's the best idea, that is really does have to be done; shit, I fought for this, after all. But yesterday, when he literally exploded into song after we left, then did it again after our birthday dinner with Mom, I couldn't help thinking that we don't even know if he'll be able to sing anymore after this surgery. Or if his voice will suddenly change in some wrenching way--drop, maybe. He sounded beautiful last night. He sang "Beauty and the Beast" all the way through, maybe because he knows Mom likes it, even though Mom was already far behind him. He let me sing along with him, even though I don't have perfect pitch, like he does.
I don't want him to hate me, even for a moment. I love him. I need him to love me. To keep ON loving me.
So there we have it: why I can't sleep, why I sleep too much, why I'm finding it hard to write, why why why. Because my heart permanently lives outside of my body, forever stuck inside a piece of myself that they cut out of me thirteen years ago. Because I am a Mom, along with everything else, and goddamnit, it did change me. It made me better, and worse, and different. He made--and makes--me who I am.
Donald Trump, it seems, is having a very hard time fully comprehending why all of the sports men are taking a knee during the national anthem. He seems to think it is because they hate the flag or because they hate the national anthem (to be fair, it is a bad song), or because they hate him, or because they hate all the veterans who died so that all Americans could be compelled to salute the flag and stand during the national anthem.
Gregg Popovich is the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. Like many other sports people lo this past week, he has some things to say about Dear Leader’s comments about all the sports men and why they shouldn’t be allowed to have freedom of speech. Very good things to say, actually!
Obviously, race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly, it’s not going to get better. ‘Oh, they’re talking about that again. They pulled the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?’ Well, because it’s uncomfortable. There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it’s the LGBT movement, or women’s suffrage, race, it doesn’t matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people, because we’re comfortable. We still have no clue about what being born white means. And if you read some of the recent literature, you realize there really is no such thing as whiteness. We kind of made it up. That’s not my original thought, but it’s true.
It is true! Do go on, Gregg Popovich!
It’s hard to sit down and decide that yes, it’s like you’re at the 50-meter mark in a 100-meter dash. You’ve got that kind of a lead, yes, because you were born white. You have advantages that are systemically, culturally, psychologically rare. And they’ve been built up and cemented for hundreds of years. But many people can’t look at it that way, because it’s too difficult. It can’t be something that’s on their plate on a daily basis. People want to hold their position, people want their status quo, people don’t want to give that up. Until it’s given up, it’s not going to be fixed.
Although many people claim to not understand any of this, most of them are lying. You would have to be a complete idiot to not understand that being born white grants you privileges that you did not actually earn. You would have to be totally dense to think that equality would be achieved by ignoring racism and giving up exactly zero privilege points.
But, I would argue, our president is that dense. And he is a complete idiot. I truly think that if you asked him if his life would have been more difficult if he hadn’t been born white, if he hadn’t been born male, if he hadn’t been born rich, he would tell you no and he would be sincere in that. That is literally how not smart he is. Thus, concepts like those Popovich is explaining are miles beyond his ken.
According to my dad (I am currently reporting to you from a family vacation in lovely Warwick, Rhode Island!), Gregg Popovich is called “Pop” (appropriate!) and is also very good at the the whole coaching thing. It would be pretty awesome, I am thinking, if Gregg Popovich, who is a very smart and astute man, were able to coach Donald Trump into understanding these things.
Of course, it does not seem like Popovich would be too interested in becoming Trump’s “Racism exists and is bad Henry Higgins.” In that same interview, he very bluntly stated that “Our country is an embarrassment in the world,” and criticized Trump for being a weirdo who disinvites people to parties they already RSVP’d no to.
“I thought it was comical that it was rescinded because they weren’t going to go anyway,” Popovich said. “It’s like a sixth grader is going to have a party in his backyard and he finds out somebody might not come, so he disinvites them. Although it’s disgusting, it’s also comical.”
“It’s disgusting, it’s also comical” really ought to be our new national slogan.
Back in the 1980’s, when Louis Smuts was growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa, his family couldn’t go outside together without risking arrest. “My mother would always walk behind [my father] wherever they went,” he recalls. And in the car, she would sit in the back and pretend to be the family maid. At the time, Smuts didpn’t understand that only white people could move freely in cities while black South Africans were pushed to the outskirts. White rulers called this system by the Afrikaans word “apartheid,” meaning “separateness.” Under apartheid, white people had access to the best schools, jobs and healthcare.
Smuts’ father was white and his mother was colored—a South African term for people of mixed race. They had gotten married in neighboring Swaziland, but back home their marriage was illegal.
Apartheid leaders claimed that segregated cities were better for everyone, and apartheid was strictly enforced. Police would patrol neighborhoods to make sure that white people and black people weren’t living together. But the system was never airtight, and people found creative ways to slip through the cracks.
“If you lived in a high rise building with five or six hundred flats in it,” explains Smuts, “they weren’t going to go through each and every flat to come look for any illegal persons.” And over the years, many interracial families like the Smuts disappeared into one high rise apartment building in particular—a tower called Ponte City. “I don’t think there’s anybody in Johannesburg that doesn’t know Ponte,” Smuts says. “They might not have been there. But everybody knows Ponte.” Looking at Johannesburg’s skyline, the 54-story tower is hard to miss—it is the tallest apartment building on the African continent. It is also distinctively shaped, a massive cylinder with an empty central core. The billboard wrapping its top like a crown also helps it stand out. For many, the building symbolizes Johannesburg—because over the past four decades, its fortunes have reflected the changing city around it.
“Because of its scale, size, its checkered history, its toughness, and roughness, [Ponte speaks] to a very Johannesburg condition,” says architectural historian Melinda Silverman. “It has spoken to a city which goes very rapidly through cycles of decline and prosperity and decline and prosperity.” Ponte has always been a kind of vertical waiting room for admission to South African society. But it’s also been a laboratory, a place where the city seems to try out new versions of itself.
Before Ponte became a hideaway for interracial families like the Smuts, the building attracted a much different kind of clientele.
At the start of the 1960’s, the apartheid system had been firmly in place for more than ten years and South Africa’s economy was a rising star in the world. It had just given birth to a new currency, the Rand, which was already stronger than the US Dollar. Its success was largely driven by its access to cheap black labor and the high value of gold.
Over the next decade, foreign investment in South Africa doubled, but skilled workers were in short supply. Because the government had denied the majority of the population a decent education, it had to fill the gap by recruiting single white men from all over Europe. The country’s white population increased by over 50% between 1963 and 1972. They were attracted in part, explains Silverman, by “a level of privilege that you probably couldn’t have found in any other part of the world. If you’re a middle class person, living in England or America, you probably had to wash your own dishes, and made your own beds, whereas if you were a middle class person living in South Africa, you probably had at least two people doing that for you.”
One particular square mile of central Johannesburg—the future site of Ponte City—served as a regular landing place for incoming European migrants. It was home to bars and live music joints, a place where specialty stores hawked French magazines, Italian shoes and American rock-and-roll. It had a shiny, vibrant, bohemian edge that people compared to New York’s Greenwich Village and London’s Soho District.
At the same time, it felt almost like a foreign country. As with most of Johannesburg’s nicest neighborhoods, this area was zoned exclusively for white people. Black South Africans could work there, but unless they were live-in servants they had to be out by nightfall each evening.
Developers could hardly satisfy the demand for high rise apartments in this part of the city. Buildings kept getting bigger and taller, monuments to a thriving economy. “This was white people wanting to make their mark on the landscape,” says Silverman, to show that “South Africa is a modern, progressive, impressive place.”
Across the continent, though, change was underway; this was the era of African independence. Old colonies were falling like dominoes and by the mid 1960s, most African countries were black-ruled. To much of the world, South Africa’s white government began to look pretty backward. And it didn’t help that the country had recently thrown several of the anti-apartheid movement’s most powerful leaders in jail for life, including a young lawyer named Nelson Mandela.
Nonetheless, Johannesburg kept developing, and in the middle of it all rose Ponte, a great round tower completed in 1975. Rodney Grospkoff, one of three architects who designed the building, describes the structure: “The whole outside of it is made out of raw concrete. And then at its foot it’s really anchored,” he explains, describing the big base that spreads out at the bottom. “It’s so beautifully done that people once upon a time said it looks like a wedding cake.” But not everyone shared this affection for the massive, brutalist structure. “Straight after it was built, it was voted as the second ugliest building in Johannesburg.” Ugly or not, though, Ponte City was popular. Residents started moving in even before the building was finished, lured by its 470 furnished flats and panoramic city views. All the units in Ponte faced both inward and outward, with entrances wrapping around the central core and views out the sides.
It was designed to be like a city within a city, featuring housing above but also shops below. There was even talk of putting a miniature ski slope inside its hollowed-out core.
But even as Ponte’s new residents were moving in, the city around them was cracking apart. At the time it was built, Johannesburg’s inner-city was almost exclusively white. Black South Africans lived on the edges of the city, in communities called townships. And twelve miles southwest of Ponte, in a black township called Soweto, a new revolt against apartheid had begun.
Protests escalated and on June 16, 1976, police murdered at least 176 high school students during a peaceful protest march. Images of the massacre quickly circled the globe, inspiring renewed calls to end white rule. The Soweto uprising also sent Johannesburg’s urban planning dreams crashing down. International sanctions and boycotts in the wake of the violence helped tank the country’s economy. It became difficult to keep all the newly constructed high-rises fully occupied.
Meanwhile, like many cities around the world, Johannesburg had also started to experience a wave of suburbanization, with white people moving out of the inner city and into new suburbs. And for black South Africans fleeing from the poverty and violence of the townships, the inner city was an alluring option, especially Ponte.
It was still illegal for black and colored South Africans to live in these areas, but the scale and density of the inner city made the laws harder to enforce. A new term was coined to describe the increased mixing going out on—”graying“—and for many, gray areas were refuges, impossible for the police to close down and search all at once. Landlords would turn a blind eye to skin color, but, in exchange, illegal residents had to deal with rent increases and poor maintenance.
Inside Ponte, apartments started to get crowded and grimy. Plumbing broke down, and trash began to fill the open core in the center of the building like an oversized concrete garbage can.
Pretty soon, banks stopped issuing home loans in the area around Ponte—known as Hillbrow—as white people kept moving out. Between 1983 and 1993, Johannesburg’s inner city went from 20 percent black to 85 percent. So by the late 1980s, “white suburbanites would have been terrified of Hillbrow,” explains Silverman, but for black and colored people: “Hillbrow would have been this great beacon of opportunity,” a way into urban life.
Then, on February 2nd, 1990, President F.W. De Klerk went in front of Parliament to give his annual State of the Nation speech. Much to the shock of the audience, he announced that apartheid-banned political parties would be allowed to operate again and that, after 27 years, the government was going to release Nelson Mandela unconditionally. From all over the world, exiled political activists began to return, eager to make their mark in a dramatically changing country.
Anti-apartheid activists who had fled South Africa, like Lentswe Mogatle, returned and found homes in Ponte. “It was like being in New York,” he recalls. Many of the old European cafes from the 1950s and 60s were still standing, serving late-night espressos and thick schnitzels. But alongside them were new shops and nightclubs, including one run by the famous South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who had also recently returned from his own exile.
Thabo Mbeki, who would later become president of South Africa, lived in the building next to Ponte. At the time of the country’s first democratic election in 1994, one observer counted 50 of the new members of parliament staying in the area.
But the end of apartheid didn’t represent the end of Ponte City’s evolution. Among other things, the transition to black rule in South Africa also meant the end of the country’s tightly closed borders, which for decades had cracked open only for white immigrants and a few laborers from the surrounding countries.
Throughout the 1990s, immigrants began arriving in Johannesburg by the tens of thousands. Many came from nearby Congo, Zimbabwe, or Malawi. Others traveled from as far as Nigeria or Pakistan. Some fled persecution. And many of them landed in Johannesburg’s central bus and train terminal, Park Station, which is just a mile from Ponte.
But the rush of immigration didn’t help the neighborhood’s physical decline. Like the residents of the 1980s, many new migrants had few legal protections against unscrupulous landlords. Ponte, the giant concrete trash bin at the center of it all, became the ultimate symbol of the neighborhood’s decline. There was no clearer, more distressing sign of how far things had fallen than when an American architect announced in 1998 that he was interested in turning the tower into a jail. In the end, Ponte never became a prison, but the symbolism was clear: not many people wanted to live in this building by choice.
Many of Ponte’s flats were eventually abandoned, while others were crammed with people trying to scrape together the monthly rent. The building, and the neighborhood, experienced a wave of violence and prostitution. Criminals were taking over abandoned high rises and running them like vertical slums.
Developers made a few attempts to gentrify the tower and turn it into luxury apartments again, but ultimately those plans didn’t really work. Ponte remains a lot like it was at the end of apartheid — a home for recently arrived immigrants from all over Africa.
Like South Africa itself, Ponte has gone from a symbol of white opulence to something far more complicated. It’s hopeful and it’s a little a rough around the edges. It’s a microcosm of the country’s history, but it’s also a place that forgets and moves on. And the strange concrete tube at the center of Johannesburg’s skyline continues to play the same role for newcomers that it always has. “the diversity is the same,” says Silverman. “It might have been Czechs, Portuguese, Italians and Danes living in Hillbrow then, but now it’s Cameroonians, Angolans, Nigerians and Zimbabweans. It always has been your entry point into the city.”
At the time Alexx read this to me, i've had watched 83 of the 152 films, which, as a horror fangirl, left me sadly disappointed in myself.
How could this happen? Where did I go wrong?
Upon further study of the list, I realized that I had been somewhat thrown by the use of the word "education" in the title because I still think of the word "education" as denoting a certain degree of neutrality, but, in reality, any formation of a canon, any syllabus or other form of list, is based upon personal choices, and personal choices are never neutral. For instance, by looking at this list, I can tell that the list author really loves his monster movies. Being about the same age as the list author, I suspect he was as much of a fan of the Saturday TV show, "Creature Double Feature," as I was. (Explanation for anyone who was born after the Internet: Once upon a time, there was no cable TV, no Internet, not even a video store, and so about the only source little horror fangirls and fanboys had was the "Creature Double Feature," which showed old monster movies and Hammer horror and other dark delights, and we hugged every shiver and jump scare to our wildly-pounding little hearts.)
Again, the list author and I are about the same age, and I can see a lot of 1980s horror films that I would qualify more as nostalgic favorites of the 1980s (Gremlins, Fright Night) rather than classics. I have my nostalgic favorites also, although mine tend more toward supernatural and occult horror of the 1960s and 1970s, so I'm including those, because it's my list and I can.
I also think the original list helps to highlight how horror, as a genre, still has a lot of gender bias built into it. (Note: I know the list author personally, and any further discussion I make about gender bias is not aimed at him personally--it's just built into the genre itself.)
“We keep passing unseen through little moments of other people’s lives.
—Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.
Earlier this month, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos declared that the Department of Education would no longer work with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to root out bad players in the student loan servicing arena. While the CFPB fired back, accusing DeVos of misunderstanding just what the Bureau does, a coalition of state attorneys general are now joining the choir, claiming the decision to end the agencies’ agreements undermine protections for student borrowers.
Today, a group of 21 state attorneys general sent a letter [PDF] to DeVos, demanding that she stop rolling back protections related to student loan borrowers and continue working with federal regulators to ensure students aren’t being taken advantage of by unscrupulous lenders and debt collectors.
Leading To This
In early Sept., DeVos sent a notice [PDF] to the CFPB notifying the agency that her department was ending years of formal cooperation combating student loan fraud.
DeVos accused the CFPB of not living up to its end of agreements established in 2011 and 2013, by doing too much to hold loan servicers accountable.
According to the memorandums, the two agencies are to “collaborate to ensure coordination in providing assistance to and seeing borrowers seeking to resolve complaints” related to their student loans.
The Secretary claimed the Bureau overstepped its authority by taking enforcement actions against student loan servicers and collectors, rather than simply passing those matters on to the Education Dept. to handle.
Additionally, the notice accused the CFPB of failing to abide by its agreement to provide the Department with all complaints related to federal student loans within 10 days of receiving the grievance.
The CFPB fired back the following week, with director Richard Cordray noting in a letter [PDF] that he believes the Department’s decision to end years of formal cooperation combating student loan fraud is based on DeVos’ misunderstanding about the Bureau’s responsibilities and the actions it has taken related to student loans.
The AGs’ Take
The group of 21 attorneys general this week took issue with DeVos’ decision, declaring that they won’t let the Department victimize students.
“Secretary DeVos and the Trump administration have repeatedly rolled back vital protections for borrowers, putting deceptive lenders above the very students the Department of Education is supposed to serve,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
The AGs took issue with DeVos’ letter, noting that it was trouble for at least three reasons.
No Exclusive Role
First, the AGs claim that the Dept. of Education made false assertions that it has exclusive jurisdiction over companies that service student loans.
Rather, these companies are subject to oversight by the CFPB, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, attorneys general, and other law enforcement agencies.
In fact, the AGs note that members of Congress made this clear just this month in their own letter, noting that the Deptartment’s authority is “not exclusive and has been intentionally constrained by law due to the Department’s historical negligence in carrying out many of its oversight responsibilities over federal student loan servicers.”
Hurting Everyone… Again Second, the AGs claim that the termination of the memorandums between the Department and the CFPB will harm taxpayers and the tens of millions of families who struggle to repay student loans.
“The Department’s termination of the [memorandums] will hurt American families by making it more difficult for the CFPB to assist borrowers with complaints about loan servicers and to fulfill its consumer protection mission,” the AGs write, noting that it will also increase the likelihood of default by borrowers who can’t receive help from the CFPB because the Department withholds information.
Additionally, the AGs point out that this is just the latest in a line of actions the Dept. of Education has taken to “abandon its responsibility to product student loan borrowers.”
In a memo sent to the Federal Student Aid office, DeVos withdrew two pieces of guidance from 2016 that required the Federal Student Aid office to consider servicers’ past behavior when awarding contracts, including whether the company had misled or provided wrong information to borrowers or engaged in abusive consumer service.
Speaking of contracts between the Dept. of Equation and student loan servicers, DeVos announced in May the intention to put all federal student loan servicing under the control of just one company starting in 2019.
There are currently nine student loan servicers handling these accounts for the federal government.
“Like those ill-considered actions, terminating the [memorandums] harms students, borrowers, and taxpayers because consumers have lost a key partner in standing up to loan servicer,” the AGs write. “The only beneficiaries of the Department’s sweeping rollbacks of consumer protections are the loan servicers and for-profit colleges, and their executives and investors.”
Eliminating “Critical Leadership”
By terminating its relationship with the CFPB, the AGs claim that the Dept. of Education will allow loan servicers and for-profit schools to continue engaging in allegedly predatory practices.
DeVos’ letter terminating the memorandums misrepresents and undermines the strong work done by the CFPB on behalf of students and families across the country, the AGs state.
“The CFPB has stood up for tens of millions of families trying to repay student loans and for victims of for-profit colleges that fail to deliver a worthwhile education,” the letter reads.
Over the past six years, the AGs note that the CFPB has processed complaints for more than 40,000 student borrowers; cracked down on allegedly abusive for-profit collects; halted illegal loan servicing practices, and worked with AGs to assist borrowers in choosing colleges and comparing financial needs.
In Citigroup’s case, the Bureau was looking into the company’s payment processing and servicing policies related to borrowers who have a difficult time making payments. Citigroup stopped servicing loans in 2011.
In July 2015, the agency ordered Discover Bank and its affiliates to pay nearly $18.5 million in refunds and fines for, among other things, overstating amounts due on student loans and failing to notify borrowers of their rights.
“We urge the Department to reconsider its termination of the MOUs,” the AGs write. “Instead of taking on the job of monitoring student loan servicers by itself, we ask that the Department welcome the assistance of the CFPB, AGs, FTC, DOJ, and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that students and families repaying student loans are protected from illegal acts by servicers and for-profit colleges.”
The letter was signed by the AGs from following states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington State, Illinois, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the Executive Director of the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.
Basketball coaches at some of the country’s biggest names in college athletics, and executives at one of the biggest names in athletic apparel, now face federal charges involving allegations that schools and student athletes were getting paid to lock players into deals with financial advisers, endorsers, and even tailors.
The indictments — against assistant basketball coaches at the University of Southern California, the University of Arizona, Auburn University, and Oklahoma State University — were unsealed today by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The first indictment [PDF] accuses USC’s Tony Bland, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, and Emanuel Richardson of Arizona of each accepting bribes — ranging from $500 to $15,000 — from two co-defendants: a business manager named Christian Dawkins, and financial adviser Munish Sood. According to prosecutors, the coaches accepted this money with the understanding that they would then steer certain players and/or their families into meetings with Dawkins and Sood.
A second indictment [PDF] then links Sood and Dawkins to Adidas marketing executive Jim Gatto and his colleague Merl Code, who are accused of conspiring with colleges that are sponsored by the international athletic gear company. According to the complaint, Adidas would funnel money through the schools to make payments to top high school basketball players in order to recruit them to that Adidas-backed college, and the school would then encourage their top players to sign on with Adidas when they eventually joined the NBA. Dawkins and Sood were allegedly involved in brokering these deals with the schools and players.
Unlike the alleged bribes to the basketball coaches, which were relatively small dollar amounts compared to the volume of money floating around NCAA basketball, the alleged payments from Adidas to some families were quite substantial. The indictment claims that the Adidas execs, through Dawkins and Sood, secretly paid high school players as much as $150,000 each to sign on to schools sponsored by the company.
The final indictment [PDF] involves allegations against Auburn assistant coach, and former NBA Rookie of the Year, Chuck Person, and former NBA official Rashan Michel. Per the complaint, Person accepted at least $65,000 in payments to steer his players toward specific service providers, including Michel, who now owns a men’s clothing boutique selling bespoke apparel. Person is also accused of taking payments in exchange for trying to push players and their families to accept the services of a financial adviser.
The majority of Americans don’t live within driving distance of a Disney theme park, but they do live within driving distance of a mall. That’s why Disney is experimenting with a new store concept in six of its 340 mall stores. A central feature of these stores is a large video screen where aspiring Mouseketeers can watch a live feed of the daily parade down Disneyland’s Main Street.
“It’s not unusual to have 50 people or so come [for the parade] on a Tuesday or Wednesday,” the entertainment mega-company’s executive in charge of stores, Paul Gainer, told Bloomberg News.
If that’s not immersive enough for you, there are plans to bring in vendors that will sell popcorn, cotton candy, and mouse ears, since there’s nothing more Disney than relentless up-selling.
The stores can also do two-way communication and celebrations for kids, with Donald Duck serenading guests celebrating their birthdays from the screen.
Disney’s retail stores are suffering the same problems with foot traffic as other retailers, and it doesn’t help that Disney hasn’t had a merchandise-heavy hit movie like Frozen in a few years.
This year’s release of the next Star Wars saga installment, The Last Jedi, may help with that problem, but doesn’t solve the wider issue of declining mall foot traffic. Creating events that people will want to attend, and that help promote the company’s theme parks and characters while they’re at it, is at least an on-trend way to get people in the store.
If they buy some popcorn, a princess dress, and a lightsaber, that’s even better.
If you’ve ever been vegging on the couch and found yourself wondering why you’re watching a commercial for Sonic Drive-In — starring those two vaguely familiar actors — when there’s no Sonic restaurants nearby, you’re not alone. The chain purposely airs nationwide ads even in markets where the nearest Sonic is an hour away.
Why spend ad money to target folks who don’t have access to your restaurant? First of all –it doesn’t cost much, the company’s head honcho explained recently.
“It’s cheaper and more efficient, because we do business in 45 out of 50 states, to buy nationally,” CEO Cliff Hudson told Business Insider. “You get the airtime cheaper and you get better placement.”
However, of those 3,500 locations across the country, some states may have hundreds of Sonic locations while others, not so much. Here in New York City, the closest Sonic restaurants to me are in New Jersey and Long Island, a lot farther than I’m willing to travel for fast food.
But just because there’s currently no Sonic locations in a given area doesn’t mean there never will be one. That’s another reason Sonic is willing to talk itself up anywhere it can — to create buzz in case it ever expands into that market.
And by the time a new location is finally open, customers have seen so many Sonic commercials, restaurants are often hit with long lines, Hudson notes.
Get the keg out of the frat house. It's about time. I recall frat parties that weren't considered successful unless they had 15 kegs. That's a heluva lot of beer, a lot of drinking, a lot of car accidents, and a lot of women attempting to avoid unwanted attention because the parties didn't stay in the frat house but spilled onto the street and down the block. And then there's rape and assault and other unpleasant side effects of so much beer acting to remove the inhibitions on late adolescent brains.
WASHINGTON – Federal officials are planning to collect social media information on all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens, a move that has alarmed lawyers and privacy groups worried about how the information will be used.
Connie Faddis has graciously offered to allow us to post her fic online. For now, they will be available in PDF format download. If someone wants to convert her Star Trek fic to html and post them on a fic archive, I'd be happy to put you in contact with her.
an excellent story, 'The Third Wheel' written from McCoy's point of view, which captures well the deep-down feeling between McCoy and Spock that we all expected was hidden there somewhere (1976)
It also follows Connie's pattern of both De Profundis and Mojave Crossing -- starting out good, and then somehow, magically, late in the story, something inside the story fuses and melts and transforms into something incredible and breathtaking and very different. And in the last conversation between Spock and McCoy it's no longer idfic but it's a pitch-perfect moment of connection, really sincere, meaningful, and just plain lovely. Like a plot twist, except it's not the plotline that gets twisted. An emotion growth-twist? A character-relationship-arc twist? I don't know, but the ending of The Third Wheel is the most heartwarming new thing I've read in some time (2014)
Guys? It’s time to shit on the New York Times again. It is our favorite! Last time, we gave Glenn Thrush the business for springing wood over Donald Trump going to visit hurricane-ravaged Texas, you know, like all presidents do. (He THANKED us for the beatdown.) Now it’s Maggie Haberman’s turn! Maybe she will also appreciate our constructive and loving criticism. (?)
Haberman shared a byline on a Times piece about Trump White House idiots using private emails like a common Jared Kushner, and it included this paragraph, which has recently been pronounced dead from lack of self-awareness:
That’s very true! Donald Trump did “repeatedly harp” on Monster Villain Hillary, who directed the Benghazi attacks gleefully from behind her AOL account. But Trump wasn’t the only one “harping,” as we recall! Pollster person Nate Silver also recalls somebody else who harped on Hillary’s emails ad nauseam, long after the issue was over, in a feeble, “both sides do it” attempt to cover the election “fairly,” because they are “expert journalists” who went to “school” to get “good” at “journalism”:
But who was it? Who in the Sam Hill is Nate Silver talking about? Let’s embiggen the second picture he attached to his tweet:
OHHHHHHHHHH that’s right. It was the New York Times, the place where Maggie Haberman goes every day with her lunchbox, to write about the news.
Now, to be clear, Haberman does some very good reporting on the Trump White House. So does Glenn Thrush. They are partners in crime, and are especially good at getting inside scoops on what the employees of this fuckshow administration are really thinking and doing. That doesn’t mean they can’t simultaneously suck at other parts of life, now does it? No it does not.
Nate Silver is correct as usual, King Friday, in charging that the New York Times had a prurient obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails that went far beyond anything that was necessary, journalism-wise. It was pathological. In July 2015, the paper published something that was little more than slash fiction, claiming that ZOMG!!!!!11!!! CRIMINAL HILLARY IS THE SUBJECT OF A CRIMINAL INQUIRY ABOUT HER EMAILS!!!!!!
Of course, it wasn’t true. NONE OF IT. Not least, the part about how NYT said “criminal” when what it actually meant was “not at all criminal.” The Justice Department was like “Um, yeah, that is some bullshit,” so NYT started changing the headlines and all the details of the story until finally, it was like OOPSIE DOO, we guess we fucked up.
NYT finally sorta kinda “apologized” approximately a week later, after the damage was thoroughly done. (EXCUSE US, WONKETTE CORRECTION: We have just been notified by the historical record that when we said “apologized,” we should have said “didn’t remotely apologize.”)
And it wasn’t just about the fucking emails either. When there wasn’t any Hillary email dirt to make up shit about, NYT was going hard on whether the Clinton Foundation was raping puppies or Hillary was getting lesbian ass on the side, or, literally, stories about Hillary Clinton’s contractor not getting the permits for her kitchen reno, you know, just asking all the normal journalism questions you’d expect from the Grey Lady. Oh, and how can we forget, but the NYT payroll department was financing Maureen Dowd’s pot brownie habit the ENTIRE TIME, so she could write her asshole columns about Hillary Clinton and her big dick.
Meanwhile, the Times, in the form of haggard loser “reporter” Eric Lichtblau, was maniacally jizzing itself to exonerate Donald Trump of all Russian crimes past, present and future. Heckuva job, you lazy cockbags.
Haberman, instead of saying, “Yeah we really did blow a goat on that one,” went ad hominem at Nate Silver, because as we said in the headline, she has decided to be a dick today:
Oh go fuck yourself, Maggie Haberman.
Of course, Nate Silver doesn’t need Wonkette to say that for him. He already said it:
Well that’s just far too reasonable, Nate Silver! Why should the New York Times, the finest news institution that ever did exist, have to do any self-examination? Shouldn’t it just be allowed to keep fucking up and then halfway saying sorry days/weeks/months/years after the fact? Maggie Haberman will not let such injustice stand, so she decided to be a dick again:
As we said, Haberman and her colleagues have been doing some really decent reporting these days, and we appreciate it. But it’s not the fucking worst thing in the world to ask, “How could we have done the 2016 election better?” Not for Hillary Clinton’s sake, mind you — that ship has sailed. But for America’s sake! Because, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, DONALD FUCKING TRUMP IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE NEW YORK TIMES HELPED.
We are just pointing that out, in case we haven’t already pointed it out five million times.
The point is stop being a dick, Maggie Haberman, because you’re better than this [nope — ed].
For the better part of the last year, Instagram has introduced new tools intended to keep the social media platform a “safe and positive place for self-expression” by allowing users to filter out unwanted or offensive comments. Now, the photo sharing site is launching another initiative letting users pick just who can comment on their posts in the first place.
Instagram announced the new tool in a blog post today offering users another option to manage their comment experience on the site.
Starting today, users with public accounts will be able to choose who can comment on their posts. Users can limit comments to only those who follow them, only people they follow, or anyone.
Additionally, users with both public and private accounts will be able to block other accounts from commenting on their posts.
In addition to rolling out the new comment filtering tool, Instagram also announced today that it has increased its efforts to provide mental health resources for users.
To do so, the company has added anonymous reporting to live video.
Now, if you see someone going through a difficult time or in need of support during a live broadcast, you can report it anonymously, the company says. The person will then see a message offering help with options to talk to a helpline, reach out to a friend or get other tips and support.
Ahahah it's the 26th of September and I haven't finished the short story I had that I think the deadline for submission was on the 30th oops. And of course now that I've realized this my brain has gone into a panic and focus is not happening. Because such is my life.
No, wait, it turns out that lack of focus was a precursor to what I hope is only a headache. Please no migraines today I never did reup my triptan scrip.
I need to finish my damn Roc and a Hard Place story. I need to finish Starlight because I have all the last scenes outlined and I'm slowly chipping away at it but the last three weeks have been a couple quiet days and then a three day clusterfuck, usually a health-involved clusterfuck. I need to do edits on Long Road, start prepping for Nano, try and balance all of this with talking up Turing Shrugged, and every time I think of all of this and how behind I am in some or another thing I want to cry.
On the other hand the house has stayed... not clean clean but cleaner than it was, for a while. Except the hallway where the cat post is because they really love that scratching post and within about a day of me sweeping the hallway it turns into an explosion of carpet bits, or whatever that thing's covered in. But eh. That's what happens when you live with cats, along with weekly construction of a frankencat out of all the goddamn hair they shed.
Blergh. I don't really have anything cheerful, although none of this is dire, either. I just have a headache and deadlines and projects and one thing at a time, I guess. At least this week isn't chock-a-block full of either illness or health care visits. Or whatever else was going on the two weeks before last. Mostly illness I think. Aaargh.
Good morning! In less than one month (28 days, not that I’m nervously counting or anything), my second cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, will be ready to leave warehouses and head to you or your favorite bookstore. A book tour will be quickly under way (I hope we get to meet!). And all of this means that today, I get to share two more awesome things:
1. Early copies of the book have begun to arrive at warehouses! While the book will not be officially out until October 24th, we thought it would be fun to send a few of these out right now. To you. For free. Because maybe being the first of your friends to get the book comes with bragging rights. Because we hope it’s worth the wait, and that wait (4.92 years) has been long enough. My publishers are giving away 10 copies each to U.S. and Canadian residents; use the links below to submit your name for a chance to win.
How to find us:
I’ll grab a table(s) either outside, downstairs, or upstairs (depending on room/weather), and will have a floppy-legged buffalo plushie with me. I will make a foldover sign saying “CA Meetup” to put on the table.
For more info:
Feel free to pm me on the forums, or email me at email@example.com.
This is probably a lot more low-stakes than a lot of other questions, but I’d like to get your perspective on Christmas/wish lists.
My Mom is a thoughtful gift giver who often misses the mark in a well-intentioned way (clothes in the wrong size, portion control lunchwear, a poster for a musician I don’t really listen to). She just sent out an (early!) email to my siblings and me asking if there’s anything we want for Christmas, which has brought up FEELINGS, mostly anxiety-flavored.
I feel really, really weird coming up with a wish list. I don’t want to come across as issuing a list of demands, I like surprises and always appreciate whatever I’m given even if it wasn’t what I would have chosen (looking at the poster right now, it’s kind of cool!), I never know how to gauge what to put on a list (small things like books I’m interested in? Things I don’t have the money for but which would be useful? Genres of gift?), plus there’s additional background where when I fought with my parents as a teen I was often called selfish and I do not want to be that! Also I don’t know if my mom will wind up sharing this around to relatives or not and that also feels weird.
I know that this is really a lucky kind of problem to have….but it’s still worrying me. What is a non-weird way to let it be known what I want for Christmas and other gift giving occasions? In this case I know she asked first, but how do I handle this in a thoughtful way with grace and tact and an overall low level of awkward?
Most sincerely, Anything But Too-Small PJs (she/her/hers)
I love a good low-stakes question where everyone is nice and well-intentioned, so, thank you!
There are people who love Gifting Holiday Lists and people who hate them and we will never resolve this divide in a way that satisfies everyone, but I think we can help you out here. Here’s what we know about your situation:
You’re from a family that does the holiday gift thing.
You like surprises but your mom gives you gifts you don’t really like and can’t use.
You’d like to be seen/understood better by your mom so that she’d know what the right things are without having to ask. This is an okay thing to want on an emotional level but clearly not working on a practical level.
She wants to give you something you will like and will use and she has asked you to help her out with this. Think of this as her asking for information that will help her see/understand you. People’s tastes change, people’s needs change. She’s trying to keep up.
HELP HER OUT. To me this is a bit like the question “What do you want for dinner?” and the answer “Anything!” or “What do you want to do when you visit me in my city?” and the answer “Whatever!” There is emotional labor involved in gift-giving (meal planning, trip planning, general deciding) and giving the person who is doing that labor an indication of your preferences when they ask is actually anything but “selfish.” It means that you are participating in the decision and the process.
You could make a Pinterest board of things you’d like and send the link to your mom, or you could send an email. Depending on how your family handles gift-giving, assume that it might be forwarded to other people in the family. (Let us never forget the time my dad – my dad who never reads novels – put Fifty Shades of Grey on the Christmas List that my mom dutifully typed that up along with shirts and socks and DVDs he asked for and added jaunty candy cane and sleigh clip-art before she circulated it to all of our relatives).
First Rule of Gift Lists: People are asking for a list because they want to buy you something. You aren’t being “selfish” by compiling one.
Second Rule of Gift Lists: Give people options that takes into account price/affordability/availability of things as well as things that it will give people pleasure to buy for you and give you pleasure to receive. Include:
A) Inexpensive yet useful things – This is where socks/tights & kitchen gadgets come in handy. Does your potato peeler suck? What’s your overall kitchen utensil situation? Would you enjoy cool socks with tiny witches or hedgehogs on them? Has your umbrella recently died from being inverted by the wind so many times?
B) Little luxuries and pretty things that it will give people pleasure to choose and wrap. This is where “winter hat & gloves that will look nice with my purple coat” or adding cute Etsy-faves to Pinterest comes in handy.
C) Genres of things that lets the person pick out the exact thing. Your mom likes to give you cozy things like pajamas, so what if you told her your correct size? “I need some new work tops and sweaters, I wear roughly a size ___, can you pick some out for me?” “I’d love to hang up some old family photos in my place, could you pick some out for me and we could get them copied and framed as a present?”
Caveat re: clothing sizes: If your mom or other relatives are likely to be judgy about weight and your clothing sizes are things that you are sensitive about, don’t share them or ask for clothes for gifts. Ask for anything but clothes. This is the beauty of making a list. You can redirect people away from weird/sensitive/annoying areas (Portion control lunchware + too small pajamas) toward things you’d actually like.
D) Books make GREAT presents. Easy to wrap. You can write nice dedications in them. Go ahead and ask. (Though NOT FOR TERRIBLE PORNS, DAD. WE ARE ADULTS AND ADULTS BUY THEIR OWN TERRIBLE PORNS.)
E) Consumable and/or experiential things. Does your favorite restaurant or movie theater do gift cards? Is there a concert series or theater subscription that would be cool? Do you wish to take lessons at something?
F) Absolutely include things you haven’t been able to buy for yourself but would be useful. My mom will always ask us: Do you want several smaller gifts or one big gift? You can indicate this when you make the list, like, “I put some smaller things down so there would be lots of options, but I’m also saving up to buy a _________ if that helps!” You might get a __________ or you might get a gift card to help defray the cost of ________. Last year my ________ was an awesome housing and lenses and a microphone for making movies with my cell phone that I now use all the time. Thanks, Mom/Santa!
Third Rule of Gift Lists: Send it to the person who asked and then let it be. If you get weird comments back, you’re not the one who made it weird. If someone doesn’t want to buy something on the list, they can just skip it and find something else.
Every family is going to have a different way of handling this. My older brother and I spent at least a decade giving each other identical Borders gift cards in identical amounts wrapped in creatively improbable packaging to preserve the “surprise.” It drove my mother to distraction but the private joke between siblings (and her “Noooo, but whyyyy would you do that?” reaction) was part of the pleasure. She’d get so excited when she’d see, for example, a box that was a giant cylinder under the tree. Finally, we’d come to our senses and gotten each other a real present! Of course it was a giant cylinder that contained a series of gradually smaller boxes the smallest of which held a Border’s gift card for $45. (We’d break down our boxes and re-use them from year to year, don’t @ me). Sometimes terrible jokes repeated until they are not funny and then repeated more until they come back around to being funny is how we say “I love you.”
My opinion is that if your family is a holiday-gift-giving sort of family you’re not selfish or weird for wanting things or for answering their questions about those things. Do a tiny bit of work and think about things you would like and then let your mom in on the secret. It will give her a little glimpse of who you are and what you like, and it will make her happy to see you and know you and please you. ❤
When the curtain parts, when the doors open, when unknown beings from there come here, they always arrive in an empty parking lot, at twilight, when the sky is glowing but the earth is dim, and the electric lights of humankind seem as weak as a last breath.
Title: A Day In The Life… Fandom: Torchwood Author: badly_knitted Characters: Nosy, Ianto, Jack, Owen, Team Torchwood. Rating: PG Word Count: 922 Spoilers: Nada. Summary: Like every other member of the Torchwood Team, Nosy is never off duty. Content Notes: None needed. Written For: Challenge 204: 24 Hours. Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
If you want to read an anthology of speculative fiction testing the boundaries, I recommend Transcendent.
I ripped out one of the stories and tossed it in the trash, because it was written by a fandom bully who hounded hesychasm, among many others. hesychasm has written about them here. But genuinely enjoyed the rest, some of them tremendously. (I'm still thinking of Red, and Joash, and the time-travellers.)
On our last day in St. Louis, after nearly a month in the field, Dominic Gwinn and I walked up Delmar Avenue, where windows had been boarded up and painted with murals after a few people went on a window-smashing spree last weekend. We had to walk into the street to get around a gaggle of middle-class teenaged girls taking Instagram photos of themselves in front of one painting. It’s unknown if any of them could have told you why exactly there was plywood where windows should be except that there’d been some kind of Black Lives Matter thing.
What had actually happened was the Stockley verdict, in which ex-SLPD officer Jason Stockley had killed Anthony Lamar Smith after saying he was going to kill him but a judge found him not guilty anyway. It set off waves of protest in the city. Some evenings that’s meant broken windows, which has certainly annoyed people! People in St. Louis are Very Concerned about the safety and health of their local windows because of Law And Order and Respect and things! And after they have secured the safety of the windows they will think about securing the safety of the black residents!
I’ve been thinking about how I should frame this, how to explain this impossible place, but I don’t think I can do it in a blog post. So instead, here are some things that I’ve seen in the last four weeks. The pictures are Dom’s. (You should hire him, by the way, if you are a photo editor! He is the guy you want out getting your shots, because he is patently insane and sees nothing wrong with lying in the street while a group of a thousand people marches around him.)
I walked with a few hundred protesters through St. Charles, which does not think of itself as St. Louis. It’s over the Missouri river from the city proper and features an unexpectedly manicured casino, an artisanal dog biscuit bakery and, on that evening, a beer festival. Oh, and also it’s where the white flight settled. So drunk racist white people of course were screaming things like “All lives don’t matter” or “Your life doesn’t matter” or “We back the blue.” I also heard things that I will not reprint here because nobody needs to read that, and I am a woman who will happily print phrases like “racist dickweasels” or “motherfucking waste of goddamned space” and who takes the British position on the word “cunt,” which may or may not be edited out of wonkette even! So when I tell you the words were disgusting, you will know that it was drunk white people talking to black people with their most boisterous racist vocabularies. I might have even learned new words that night.
I watched police object to protesters carrying guns, though the state just this year passed a law underscoring how totally okay it is to carry guns in Missouri. The state is having a moment in which it is having to confront the fact that open carry means open carry, and that if you want to stop black people from having guns you need special legislation for that. (The felony incarceration rate does a PRETTY good job of making guns a White People Only thing, but it’s not 100%. Police can only find so many broken taillights a day, after all!) Since non-lethal force is authorized when police are confronted with potentially deadly threats, like guns or something, we all watched police spraying chemicals at protesters and residents alike with joyful abandon. Just, into the air for fun like cowboys would shoot the air in old Westerns. Only the cowboys were riot cops with low-budget Star Wars uniforms on.
Journalists from local papers were arrested while they were wearing press tags and carrying notepads when police surrounded them, ordered them to leave the area without giving them a path and then booked them for unlawful assembly. This looks in the video to be intentional on the part of police, who have been known to target journalists in order to stop them taking pictures. They use a strobe light at night as well to disrupt shots, no matter how many seizure-prone people might be nearby.
White people held a demonstration outside a Billy Joel concert, which is such a very interesting thing that I will leave it to you to editorialize in your own head.
At least five cars that I saw drove into crowds of protesters at low speeds. One did so at high speed and the driver turned out to be a police officer. Nobody was injured in that incident, but one woman had minor injuries from a guy who backed into her with his truck in another.
Police have body-slammed protesters in a full-on WWE audition. They’ve published their arrest list on Twitter. They’ve knocked down and choked old ladies. They’ve chanted “whose streets, our streets!” They have arrested hundreds of people, many for the crime of “being near people who cops think look like protesters.”
We went to cover this story a month ago. The first two weeks were tense waiting, with everyone feverishly speculating on what the city might do. In the last two weeks I was tear gassed, caught a rock to the back of the head, marched nearly two hundred miles and watched dozens of grown people dissolve into tears of rage and grief. I learned new things about racism, because it’s St. Louis and it’s the sort of place where the metaphors write themselves: I actually saw a drunken Missourian tell his buddy “hold my beer” so he could more effectively scream racial epithets at passing black people.
There is a beauty to be found in anything; shattered glass will sparkle in starlight. There isn’t much that’s good that will come out of this not-guilty verdict but there is one moment that burned into my retinas because it was so unexpectedly powerful: a homeless man walking out of a gas station with six bottles of water to give to protesters. I asked him how much he’d spent, and he told me “everything I had.” And that’s the movement in St. Louis, a sometimes powerful and sometimes futile attempt to right wrongs that is undertaken because it is right, not because it is easy.
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Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter is 99c! This urban fantasy novel is the first in the Soulwood series, which seems to be a spin-off of Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series. It was also recommended during our SBTB Reader Recommendation Party at RT 2017. I remember because I immediately added it to be TBR pile.
Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.
When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.
Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.
Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…
Must Love Dukes by Elizabeth Michels is $1.99! This historical romance is the first in the Tricks of the Tonseries and many readers loved the heroine. However, there is a warning that the historical research is a little lax and I know that’s a hot button issue here at the Pink Palace.
The Mad Duke lean in closer, his lips gently brushing her ear, and whispered, “I dare you.”
She Can’t Resist the Dare
Lillian Phillips could not imagine how her quiet, simple life had come to this. Blackmailed by the Mad Duke of Thornwood into accepting one wild dare after another…all because of a pocket watch. Desperate to recover her beloved father’s pawned timepiece, Lily did something reckless and dangerous and delicious—something that led to a night she’d never forget.
He has a Reputation for Scandal
When Devon Grey, Duke of Thornwood, runs into a mesmerizing, intoxicating, thieving woman who literally stole from his bedchamber—with his new pocket watch—Devon plots his revenge. If the daring wench likes to play games, he’s happy to oblige. After all, what’s the ruse of being the Mad Duke if you can’t have some fun? But the last laugh might just be on him…
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley is $1.99! Like Kearsley’s other books, it has strong romantic elements and dual timelines. Many readers loved Sara, a woman who’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s and takes a job as a codebreaker, but other readers found the book took a while to get going. And, in case you missed it, check out Susanna Kearsley on our podcast!
The highly anticipated, brand-new timeslip romance from New York Times bestselling author Susanna Kearsley
For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread-its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal’s cipher.
But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal’s reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn’t hold the secrets Sara expects. As Mary’s tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take… to find the road that will lead her safely home.
Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan is $1.99! This is a contemporary holiday romance. The hero is a former champion skier and single dad and the heroine is his best friend. Friends-to-lovers catnip, ahoy! A few readers weren’t too fond of the hero, but many loved how the transition in the couple’s relationship was handled. It has a 4.1-star rating and is the third and final book in the O’Neil Brothers trilogy.
This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O’Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he’s simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he’s never ruined, and he’s not about to start now.
Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she’s been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture…how can she concentrate on being his friend when he’s sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she’s always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?
I miss the old LJ community and the sense of a conversation, sometimes.
At the weekend, I went blackberrying with my girlfriend. (She's amazing. Have I mentioned that?) It was an accidental sort of blackberrying: we filled her hat, because there was a patch of dead ground filled with brambles and berries and we just couldn't turn away.
With a cooking apple cooked down with chopped dates for sweetness, we made a blackberry pie:
Current Music:Tegan and Sara - I Couldn't Be Your Friend
Even though JetBlue makes multiple international flights to the Caribbean and Latin America, the airline has yet to crack the European market. That may change, as JetBlue is now mulling over the idea of finally offering transatlantic flights.
Speaking this week at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo in Long Beach, CA, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said the airline will make a decision whether or not to take on Europe by the end of the year. Currently, JetBlue serves 101 cities, but none of them outside of the Americas and the Caribbean.
While his exact comments weren’t reported, JetBlue confirmed to Consumerist that it’s considering offer transatlantic flights: Under the terms of its Airbus purchase agreement, the airline has the option to take delivery of the Airbus A321LR, which it says could potentially fly to Europe from the East Coast.
“Europe suffers from the same lack of competition and high fares as transcontinental routes have,” a JetBlue spokesperson told Consumerist. “We have not committed to the LR, or to adding Europe to our network, but that is certainly an environment that JetBlue competes well in.”
The airline doesn’t have to decide until the end of this year, and until then, it will “consider opportunities in Europe against other opportunities we are looking at.”
Located in western Nebraska, a couple hours’ drive to either Denver or Cheyenne, WY, the small city of Sidney has been home to outdoors outfitter Cabela’s for more than 50 years, as it grew from a little catalog operation to a retail chain with billions of dollars in annual sales. But now that Cabela’s has been purchased by Bass Pro Shops, what will happen to the 2,000 jobs that the company had provided to the local economy?
This is an understandable fear. Mergers are about efficiency, and combining two very similar companies means that some functions will move to departments already doing the same thing at Bass Pro headquarters in Springfield, MO.
The Associated Press reports that Bass Pro Shops maintains that it will keep some operations and employees in Sidney, but that the combined headquarters will be in Missouri.
Just six years before that, a local man named Dick Cabela started selling fishing flies from his kitchen with the help of his wife and his brother.
The business grew over five decades from three people at the Cabelas’ kitchen table to a catalog and superstore giant that sold to Bass Pro shops for $4 billion. Is there an up-and-coming local business that will grow and employ people from the town this time?
Here’s a spicy rumor started by Donald J. Trump that may or may not be true, since Donald J. Trump lies a lot! According to previously unreleased conversations between Trump and Howard Stern in December of 2005, the president’s first- and second-born children, NeedsABag McOverHisHead Junior and Bitsy, are just the kind of entitled fucks you’d imagine they are, and MAYBE they conspired to have Trump’s fourth child, Tiffany, bumped out of her inheritance like a common crime family murder victim reality TV contestant who just got voted off the island.
Donald Trump told Howard Stern that Ivanka and Donald Jr. weren’t happy when they discovered they’d have another sibling, and agreed when Stern asked whether the two were working together to “bump off a child.” […]
“I have a friend who is also like a very rich guy,” Trump said to Stern, according to the tapes. “And he said how his children hate the new children coming along and everything else; I said, ‘Yeah, because every time you have a child, it’s 20 percent less to the people [Inaudible].’”
The conversation quickly switched paths to the subject of “making love to Melania during the pregnancy,” but not before serving one last, swift blow to Tiffany Trump.
Stern asked Trump if Donald Jr. and Ivanka were trying to “bump off a child.”
Trump immediately responded with, “Tiffany?”
“Is there any truth to that? [Inaudible] Tiffany?” Stern asked. Trump said he had great children and evaded the question until Stern asked again: “Tell me the truth, though.”
“Yes,” Trump said.
WHOA. IF. TRUE. And completely unsurprising! From everything we can tell, Trump Junior and First Lady Ivanka Trump are DICKS, and the only reason they have anything in life is because of their idiot father. Can you imagine what they’d be doing if they weren’t Trump kids? Ivanka would probably be that TJ Maxx employee who steals merch after her shift and Junior would probably be … just masturbating a lot and not really having a “job” per se.
According to the transcripts, Daddy Trumpbucks said none of his kids, even “To A Lesser Extent Tiffany,” should worry about their inheritance, because at the very least, they will get “Trump Online University” and “Trump Ice.” Trump’s scammy “university,” of course, is #LOLdead, and Trump Ice is apparently bottled water with Trump’s face on it, and we imagine it’s downright undrinkable. The website says when you taste it, “the difference is clear,” so you’ll pardon us for wondering if the secret ingredient is Russian hooker pee. Just saying.
Two (2) questions for your consideration:
How in tarnation does Eric Trump factor into this? He’s literally not mentioned in the conversation. Wouldn’t he, as the third child of the “original” Trump family, be in cahoots with his big sisters to steal the inheritance from that new girl from dad’s second marriage? Or were the older ones trying to “bump” him too? Or is he considered so stupid by the entire Trump family that, instead of being given an inheritance of his own, when Old Man Trump buys the farm, one of the two older children will get Eric in the will, and it will be their I’m A Big Kid Now responsibility to make sure their dumbfuck little brother is fed and washed and taken out twice a day to poop? Just wondering!
Is this why Donald Trump Jr. got rid of his Secret Service Protection for five minutes, then got it right back? Did he have to take some personal time, away from their prying eyes, to go murder Tiffany with a gold-plated sconce from Trump Tower, so she doesn’t get all that “Trump money,” which definitely exists? We are just asking! And we are just suggesting somebody should go check on Tiffany!
Oh well, the only thing we know for certain in this post is that Donald Trump will one day die, and that Junior and Ivanka are fuckheads. The rest of the details are up to God.
The Yuletide tag set is open, so everyone can see what was nominated this year. I am genuinely surprised that someone else remembers Escape To Witch Mountain (1995). And all incarnations of The Tomorrow People (I’ve only seen the 90’s American version) tv shows made it in, too. There are so many things that I need to rewatch or read again before I can confirm what I would love to offer to write or what I want to request. I probably need to locate the Holmes and Watson 1975 tv pilot with Robby the Robot.
These are all the ones that I have a particular interest in after looking—including the ones I nominated, somewhere among them:
The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter (Mostly going to read this soon)
Carmilla - J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle
Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles - Kim Newman
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
The Real Ghostbusters
The Company of Wolves (1984)
Count Dracula (1977)
Crimson Peak (2015)
The Haunting (1963)
Horror of Dracula (1958)
The Innocents (1961)
The Mummy Series
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone films)
The Shadow (1994)
Van Helsing (2004)
Dark Shadows (Big Finish Audio)
Dark Shadows (1966)
Dark Shadows (1991)
Dracula (TV 1968)
Dracula: The Series (This is the 1990 version)
She-Wolf of London (TV)
I need to read Nine Coaches Waiting, by Mary Stewart. Tanz der Vampire - Steinman/Kunze is one that Youtube keeps recommending I watch, due to my interest in Dracula musicals. I spotted My Two Dads, which currently airs in reruns on Sunday nights on Antenna TV. Poltergeist: The Legacy is on daily on Comet TV.
I have She-Wolf of London, and the 1991 version of Dark Shadows on DVD, along with Dracula: The Series when it comes to the tv shows section.
The federal government has repeatedly advised both advertisers and celebrities that it’s against the law for someone to advertise a product without disclosing that it’s an ad or that the celeb was compensated. Yet it looks like reality TV’s most well-known family either didn’t get that memo or is choosing to ignore it.
The folks at Truth In Advertising (TINA) have been on the Kardashian and Jenner brood for a year, complaining in 2016 to the Federal Trade Commission about the sisters’ alleged stealth ads on Instagram and other social media platforms.
In the months since, the FTC has blasted out warning letters about this practice, some of which involve members of the Kardashian family. One letter [PDF] cites a Kourtney Kardashian Instagram post where she and one of her siblings chows down on some Popeyes chicken, complete with ideal product placement.
Yet, TINA now claims to have found another 200 posts on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook from Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner that fail to disclose the fact that they’re ads.
“The Kardashian/Jenner sisters are masterful marketers who are making millions of dollars from companies willing to turn a blind eye to the women’s misleading and deceptive social media marketing practices,” Bonnie Patten, executive director for TINA, said in a statement. “It’s time the Kardashians were held accountable for their misdeeds.”
Merely burying “#ad” among multiple other hashtags is not sufficient. The same goes for a disclosure at the end of a very long caption that is automatically truncated by the social media app of choice.
It’s not all on the reality stars, though; TINA points out that brands are legally obligated to ensure so-called “influencers” adequately disclose their material connection — which can range from compensation to free products to a business or family relationship — in posts.
Here We Go Again
While TINA notes that the Kardashian and Jenner sisters fixed, deleted, or modified about 45% of the posts in violation of disclosure following the group’s complaint last year, that still left another 55% either unchanged or with insufficient disclosures.
Additionally, several of the brands contacted last year for failing to hold up their end of the disclosure requirement are once again involved in ad violations when it comes to the Kardashian and Jenner posts.
For instance, TINA found that Puma, Manuka Doctor, Jet Lux, Fit Tea, and Sugar Bear Hair were repeat offenders. Brands such as Adidas, Diff Eyewear, Alexander Wang, and Lyft were new additions.
TINA has alerted the family and their associated brands, as well as the FTC, to this latest batch of allegedly deceptive social media posts.
It’s Not Enough
Even when the Kardashian and Jenner sisters do attempt to disclose their material connection with brands on social media, they don’t do a very good job of it, TINA claims.
The group contends that the post disclosures fail to meet the FTC’s standards on clear, unambiguous language.
TINA claims to have found dozens of instances in which the sisters made “half-hearted attempts at disclosure” by using “cryptic hashtags” such as #sp (meaning sponsored), #PWCollab (Protein World collaboration), and #KJ4EL (Kendall Jenner for Estee Lauder).
In other posts, TINA notes that the reality stars have belatedly disclosed when posts are sponsored, sometimes waiting hours or even days before revealing their material connection.
This, the group contends, does little to inform the public, as studies have shown that most posts’ likes or comments occur within the first 10 hours of publication.
As a result, “when the sisters use this delayed-disclosure tactic many of their followers have viewed the post prior to it being disclosed as an ad.”
In once instance, TINA found that Kourtney took at least two days to disclose in an Instagram post that she had a sponsorship deal with Jet Lux — a jet charter company. By the time the disclosure was made, more than a million of her followers had already liked the post.
Similarly, Kylie Jenner’s Instagram post about her obsession with new jeans had more than a million likes before she disclosed the photo was a paid endorsement.
“As Kourtney and Kylie’s posts clearly demonstrate even when the sisters do get around to adding a disclosure, there’s no telling where that disclosure will end up in their narrative,” TINA states, noting that it has numerous examples of the sisters burying #ad in the middle or end of posts.
Although TINA found that the reality stars weren’t great at disclosing when posts were ads on all social media avenues, they also claim the women’s posts show they know when to note a post is an ad.
For instance, Kendall Jenner shared the same post about Jet Lux on Instagram and Facebook. However, in the Instagram post the model includes the #ad disclosure at the beginning of her caption, while the Facebook post doesn’t include the disclosure at all.
Looking For Action
TINA says it has notified the FTC of its latest findings related to the Kardashian and Jenner sisters’ posts.
To date, however, TINA points out that the reality stars have largely escaped the FTC’s attempts to rein in bad ads.
Earlier this month, the FTC escalated its crackdown on stealth-advertisements by sending warning letters [PDF] to 21 celebrities including supermodel Naomi Campbell, actresses Vanessa Hudgens, Lindsay Lohan, Lucy Hale, Sofia Vergara, and reality stars — like Snooki from Jersey Shore who show off clothing, food, alcohol, and other products or services through posts on Instagram.
None of the Kardashian or Jenner sisters were included in this list, however, Kourtney’s former boyfriend Scott Disick — who is continuously hanging around the family — was included.
TINA adds that the FTC has recently stated that action against an individual endorser might be appropriate “if the endorser has continued to fail to make required disclosures despite warnings.”
In that case, the group believes the FTC could “take its pick of any of the five Kardashian/Jenner sisters. Or better yet, go after them all.”
Mitch is horrible, but he's competent (from a Republican perspective) horrible. Can't imagine who else in that playpen would be better.
The Trump White House is gearing up to lay blame for a series of likely failures this week squarely at the feet of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), according to sources in and outside of the administration.
Canada might be the *one place in the rich world* where the super super rich might be less than thrilled with the health care system, otherwise every other American would be thrilled to have Canadian health care, whether they know it or not.
Pence warns Alaska that if Graham-Cassidy fails, they could end up with the health-care of "a place called Canada": https://t.co/EPpFbHDK19
Boy howdy, y’all! The day has finally come for Alabama Republicans to tell Big Luther Strange that he can git on outta here with his weird, porny name. The people of the Yellowhammer State like their politicians smothered in Jesus gravy, so they’re ordering up a big helping of Roy Moore, a guy who was kicked out of office for violating the Establishment Clause, TWICE.
Yeah, yeah. We know they haven’t actually counted the votes yet. But come on.
But before that happened, in February of 2017, Alabama’s favorite racist Senator Jeff Sessions got promoted to Attorney General of the United States by one Donald J. Trump. And Governor Horndog thought he might be able to get rid of that pesky ethics investigation if he got rid of Luther Strange by appointing him to Sessions’s empty seat, ALLEGEDLY. Which is how Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange became U.S. Senator Luther Strange.
Fuck, Marry, Kill: The Alabama Edition
Alabama law requires a special election to permanently fill a vacant Senate seat. Mitch McConnell lined up behind Luther Strange, dumping $10 million into his campaign. And they propped Poppy Trump up in front of a teleprompter and he shouted, It says here I support Luther Strange BIGLY!
Then Luther Strange, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, the Godbothering gayhater, and Congressman Mo Brooks took turns beating the crap out of each other and humping Donald Trump’s leg for six weeks. But when the votes were counted in August, none of these guys got over the 50% threshold. SAD! So they kicked Mo Brooks off the island and set September 26 as the runoff date.
All the Dicks in Dixieland
With McConnell backing Strange, all the McConnell-haters lined up behind Moore. (Because Mitch McConnell is so liberal. Yes, we know.)
Moore has held a solid lead throughout the race. But each side was careful to begin every speech with a song of gratitude to President ADD, so as not to wind up on the wrong end of one of his morning boomboom tweets.
Rumble in the … Cotton Field
Last Friday, Donald Trump brought his special brand of crazy to a rally in Alabama for Strange. The Post reported that Trump took credit for the nickname “Big Luther,” which has been on Strange’s printed materials for years.
“I said, ‘That is the tallest human being I’ve ever seen!’ ” Trump said, recalling when he first met Strange before this year’s health-care battles. “That’s why I call him Big Luther. Everyone’s now calling him Big Luther.”
Who would have thought to call a giant 6’9″ man “Big,” right?
Then Trump said perhaps he should have backed Moore, and promised to campaign for him if he won the primary.
I might have made a mistake. I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake. […] If his opponent wins, I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him. But, I have to say this … Luther will definitely win.
Strange himself only spoke for four minutes, during which someone screamed, “You suck!”
Trump returned to the podium to praise Alabama, population 4.8 million, for taking in in “17 million” hurricane refugees. Factcheck: LOLWTF.
But no one noticed, because the ONLY takeway from Trump’s Alabama speech was him wishing that NFL coaches would “get that son of a bitch off the field” next time a black player peacefully protests police violence.
We can only hope Big Luther is appropriately grateful for your efforts, Mr. President.
And Then Things Got REALLY Weird
Last night Steve Bannon brought Brexit-champion Nigel Farage to campaign for Roy Moore in Alabama.
Nigel Farage just introduced Steve Bannon at the Roy Moore Rally calling him “the greatest political thinker in the Western hemisphere.” pic.twitter.com/ifw5suYBQ7
After successfully conning working class Brits into believing their jobs would magically return if they left the European Union, Farage was defenestrated from his own UK Independence Party shortly after the vote. He’s recently been seen as a Fox News commentator (of course!), since the pay for lying on television is better on this side of the pond.
We’re still scratching our heads over Farage’s presence in Alabama. But Farage likes to blow shit up, and Bannon likes to blow shit up, so perhaps having a Brit around makes Bannon feel like he’s part of an international fraternity of arsonist shit-up-blowers. Whether Farage can help Bannon blow up Senators McConnell, Flake, Heller and Strange remains to be seen. But even for a freckled old ham, Steve Bannon was laying it on thick last night.
Per CNN, he opened by promising that only he and his merry band of populists could see the obvious wisdom of the mob.
They think you’re a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes.
Then he openly mocked their intelligence by quoting Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar, operating on the assumption that no one in the crowd would catch the reference.
We did not come here to defy Donald Trump. We came here to praise and honor him.
He really does think he’s fucking Marc Antony, praising Trump as an honorable man, all the while ginning up the “gentle Roman” pitchfork mob against his candidate.
Trump, preoccupied with shit-tweeting at black football players, fell back on his regular strategy of lying out his ass. Yesterday he called in to syndicated radio show “Rick and Bubba” to make shit up about Roy Moore being vulnerable to a Democratic challenger. Via AL.com,
“Luther Strange is going to be a great Senator,” Trump said. “He loves Alabama, he loves the state and he loves the country. He will absolutely win against the Democrat. Ray will have a hard time. If Luther wins, the Democrats will hardly fight. If Ray wins (Democrats) will pour in $30 million.”
When host Rick Burgess clarified that Moore’s first name was Roy and not Ray, Trump came back with why it’s “not a good sign” when the president doesn’t know your name.
Sounds legit. The President is senile, so deep red Alabama is going to forget Roy Moore, who’s been an Alabama fixture for 20 years, and vote for the Democrat.
But Brutus says he was ambitious
And Brutus is an honorable man.
United is creating an automated system that will allow passengers who are willing to change their plans to bid, auction-style, for how much money they should receive to give up their seats. It’s wort noting that although Dr. David Dao was not pulled from his seat on an oversold flight, the incident was prompted in part by United’s failure to find someone willing to give up their seat.
“As part of our commitment to further improve our customers’ travel experience with us, we plan to test an automated system that will offer customers an opportunity to voluntarily bid for a desired compensation amount in exchange for potentially changing travel plans if faced with an overbooked flight,” a United spokesperson told Consumerist, adding that the airline has already seen “a 90% year-over-year reduction in involuntary denied boardings.”
The airline will roll out the program next month, a person familiar with the matter told Consumerist. United declined to offer more details about how the bidding system will work or which flights will offer it.
The news was first aired on Twitter last week by Skift reporter Brian Sumers, who says United wants to start testing the system by Oct. 3.
This HaBO is from Julie, who is hoping to find this older romance:
Looking for a book I read possibly about 20 – 25 years ago.
It started with the hero and heroine on a train in England. She is headed to marry an old man who is still trying to get his heir. I do not remember what his royal rank is, and he is headed to the home of a distant relation who he is heir to. They met and have one incredible night on the train together. She marries the old man, but he is unable to bed her and dies a few dies later. No one knows the marriage was never consummated.
The hero shows up a few days after this; turns out he is the heir to the same man the heroine married. After about a month or so she faints and falls off a horse and the doc comes. Turns out she is pregnant from the night on the train, but of course, everyone else thinks the marriage is consummated and the old man will have an heir after all. The rest of the story is about how the hero and heroine handle all of this. If anyone can help that would be great.
While three and a half million American citizens in Puerto Rico spent the weekend with no electricity, little access to drinkable water, and fewer “houses” than you would want in such a situation (some areas have seen 90 percent of houses destroyed), Donald Trump was too busy dealing with a football emergency to notice. Monday night, somebody on his staff must have finally mentioned to Donald Trump that things in Puerto Rico were really bad after Hurricane Maria hit the island — and that his continued silence on it was starting to draw pissy questions. Trump took the message to heart, and cranked up his Twitter to spread the message: Puerto Rico is a very bad place that clearly had no business getting hit by a hurricane. What were those people even thinking, getting hit by a hurricane like that?
Damn, Puerto Rico, why couldn’t you be more like Texas and Florida, and not be an embarrassment like that? Sort of makes a person wonder what it is about Puerto Rico that Trump sees differently than Florida and Texas, huh? But let’s be fair — he had a really difficult time acting like he cared about people in either of those disasters, too. But we don’t recall him actively scolding them for getting hurricaned.
Also, he’s not quite right about the food, water and medical “doing well,” either: Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, said on MSNBC Monday night that only 40 percent of the island’s residents have access to potable water. Reuters reports that Puerto Rico’s hospitals “are in critical condition”:
After the power went out, back-up generators at some hospitals failed quickly. Other hospitals are running critically low on diesel. Fuel is so precious that deliveries are made by armed guards to prevent looting, according to Dr. Ivan Gonzalez Cancel, a cardiovascular surgeon and director of the heart transplant program at Centro Cardiovascular.
“Another hospital wants to transfer two critical patients here because they don’t have electricity,” Gonzalez Cancel said. “We can’t take them. We have the same problem.”
Another doctor warned, “If this is not taken care of, people are going to start dying.” Generators are running out of fuel and many patients desperately need to be evacuated to hospitals on the mainland. So you know, doing well. Better do something about that debt!
Needless to say, the Internet Was Not Pleased:
But don’t worry! Donald Trump is staying on top of things, and he’s confident that at least one official in Puerto Rico said something nice about him. Or about the government, at least:
He followed that with a demand that the NFL “set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!”
Smith’s exit was announced this morning by the Equifax board of directors, with today being the CEO’s final day. Smith has also stepped down from his spot as Chair of the Equifax board.
“The cybersecurity incident has affected millions of consumers, and I have been completely dedicated to making this right,” said Smith in a statement. “At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward.”
The board doesn’t have a new CEO lined up, but is giving Paulino Barros — head of Equifax’s Asia-Pacific operations — the interim CEO gig while the company decides on the best person to steer the company in the right direction after the embarrassment of the data breach that compromised information for some 143 million people.
Smith was slated to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Oct. 4 at a hearing about the Equifax hack. It’s not yet clear if he’ll still be expected to take a break from scouring the Help Wanted ads for a few hours to explain what happened at his now-former company.
It’s no secret that big pharma is big business. Americans spend hundreds of billions on prescription medications every year, with that figure projected to keep growing. And now a new report shows that the top-selling brand-name prescription drugs in the U.S. earn more than $60 billion a year for their manufacturers, with the biggest money-maker topping $13 billion per year in sales on its own.
The figures, Axios notes, are pure gross figures, and so don’t reflect what individuals or their insurers are paying, and don’t include any negotiations, discounts, rebates, coupons, or promotions. Still, they show a clear pattern of how many billions of dollars the top blockbuster drugs are bringing in.
Below is some more information on the ten biggest earners in the U.S. prescription drug business. Combined, they represent more than $60 billion a year in sales. Only three of these drugs have generic versions available; some of them have generic versions that could be released but are being held up by lawsuits. In terms of the ailments treated by these pharmaceutical money-makers, rheumatoid arthritis shows up most frequently, followed by diabetes.
1. Humira (adalimumab): $13.6 billion
Manufacturer: AbbVie Introduced: 2003 (granted FDA approval Dec. 31, 2002) Treats: First introduced to treat rheumatoid arthritis; now also prescribed for psoriatic arthritis, juvenile ideopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Currently costs: $49,752 – $58,044 per year [PDF] Generic available? No.
Manufacturer: Gilead Introduced: 2014 (granted FDA approval Oct. 10, 2014) Treats: Hepatitis C Currently costs: $94,500 for 12-week regimen; $113,400 – $226,800 per year [PDF] Generic available?: No.
Harvoni is the specific combination of two drugs, ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. Generica drug company Mylan, after entering a deal with Gilead, has launched a generic equivalentin India, but it is not currently approved or for sale in the U.S.
3. Enbrel (etanercept): $7.4 billion
Manufacturer: Amgen Introduced: 1998 (granted FDA approval Nov. 2, 1998) Treats: First introduced as to treat rheumatoid arthritis; now also prescribed for psoriatic arthritis, juvenile ideopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis. Currently costs: $49,762 – $62,202 per year [PDF] Generic available?: No.
Manufacturer: Sanofi-Aventus Introduced: 2000 (granted FDA approval Apr. 20, 2000; Solostar is specifically an automatic pen-style delivery mechanism) Treats: Diabetes Currently costs: Approx. $75 per pen (annual dosing varies widely; one pen may last from less than a day to more than a week) Generic available? Yes.
Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson Introduced: 1998 (granted FDA approval Aug. 24, 1998) Treats: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Currently costs: $39,223 per year [PDF] Generic available?: Yes.
The FDA has approved two biosimilars to Remicade: Inflectra, in Apr. 2016, and Renflexis, in Apr. 2017. The two are made by Pfizer and Merck, respectively.
6. Januvia (sitagliptin), $4.8 billion
Manufacturer: Merck Introduced: 2006 (gained FDA approval Oct. 17, 2006) Treats: Diabetes Currently costs: Price varies widely by dose; anywhere from $8 to $15 per pill Generic available?: No.
Manufacturer: GSK Introduced: 2000 (gained FDA approval Aug. 24, 2000) Treats: Asthma, COPD, and other respiratory issues Currently costs: Price varies widely depending on formulation, and dosage varies from person to person. Price for one inhaler is approximately between $230 and $370. Generic available?: No.
Competitor Hikma did apply for approval for a generic; however, its application was denied earlier this year, as was another potential generic version from Mylan. Neither is expected to reach market before 2018 at the earliest.
8. Lyrica (pregabalin): $4.4 billion
Manufacturer: Pfizer Introduced: 2005 (gained FDA approval Dec. 30, 2004) Treats: Nerve pain, including from fibromyalgia, diabetes, or shingles; epilepsy; generalized anxiety disorders Currently costs: Price varies; 60-capsule supply runs approx. $500. Generic available?: No.
In 2014, Pfizer won a lawsuit blocking the entry of a generic competitor to Lyrica onto the market until Dec. 2018 at the earliest.
9. Crestor (rosuvastatin): $4.2 billion
Manufacturer: AstraZeneca Introduced: 2003 (gained FDA approval Aug. 13, 2003) Treats: High cholesterol (statin) Currently costs: Price varies; an average of around $170 for 30 tablets. Generic available?:Yes.
The FDA approved the first generic version of Crestor in Apr, 2016.
10. Neulasta (pegfilgrastim): $4.2 billion
Manufacturer: Amgen Introduced: 2002 (gained FDA approval Jan. 31, 2002) Treats: Reduces the chance of infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy Currently costs: $23,5900 per year [PDF] Generic available?: No.
Novartis applied to have a biosimilar drug approved, but that application was rejected in 2016.
Monday afternoon, the Congressional Budget office released a partial score of the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill. And while the Republicans’ attempt to rush the bill through didn’t allow enough time for a full analysis of how many people would be tossed off insurance, the CBO was at least able to say that the “number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions.” It was enough for Maine Senator Susan Collins, who’d been saying she would wait to see the CBO score before saying how she’d vote on Graham-Cassidy. And that vote is now a definite no.
John McCain and Ron Paul had already said they would vote against the bill, and unless one of them changes his mind (still a possibility, because they are Republicans in 2017), Collins’s no vote means Graham-Cassidy should be dead, at least for the current year. The whole damn reconciliation clock will be reset in January, so no, this isn’t over. Now would be an excellent time for constituents of Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito to make it clear they should speak up and drive a stake through the heart of Graham-Cassidy. Just the bill, you bloodthirsty Terrible Ones. We got rules, you know.
Before the CBO score and the announcement by Collins, some very rude disability activists from the grassroots lobbying group ADAPT disrupted Monday’s Senate hearing of Graham-Cassidy, the one gesture the Senate made toward even a hint of normal procedure. Seems people with disabilities don’t seem to understand how important it was to Republicans to kill off healthcare to tens of millions of Americans to please big-dollar rightwing donors. Over 200 protesters made their way into the hallway outside the hearing room, although only seven of the activists using wheelchairs were allowed into the hearing room itself, plus another 20 or so temporarily abled folks.
The protesters’ chants of “No cuts to Medicaid! Save our liberty!” led Orrin Hatch, head of the Finance Committee, to recess the hearing while the protesters were arrested. Just before Hatch called the recess, he muttered “Let’s let em get it out of their system,” according to REBECCA SCHOENKOPF, FACEBOOK LIVESTREAM REPORTER, who was so disgusted she had to turn the damned thing off after a while. [It was several hours; Bill Cassidy had already lied about “$39,000 premiums,” Lindsey Graham was an UNBELIEVABLE piece of shit, and I was all the way through SANTORUM, who for unknown reasons thinks he didn’t get his ass kicked out the Senate a decade ago. Do not ever make me be the one to watch the hearings again. — Ed] Hatch also admonished the protesers, as if they were elementary school children acting up on a field trip, “If you want a hearing, you better shut up”:
They didn’t shut up, so Hatch turned that Dirksen Senate Office Building right around and recessed the hearing. That freed CSPAN of the unpleasant spectacle of the Greatest Nation On Earth dragging people out of wheelchairs to arrest them because they selfishly insist there be no cuts to funding that guarantees their ability to live independently. Bummer for that plan, though, since reporters have phones, like Vox’s Jeff Stein:
I've been covering health care activism from day one and this is a sight that is still hard to make sense of pic.twitter.com/gFaR6V0yHv
HuffPo reporter Matt Fuller captured co-sponsor Bill Cassidy giving no fucks at all for people who’d be affected by turning healthcare funding into ever-shrinking block grants to the states (and boning all protections for people with pre-existing conditions, like some of the pre-existing conditions seen here):
Beyond the Medicaid cuts that would most directly affect the ADAPT protesters, Graham-Cassidy would have made everyone’s insurance worse by allowing states to eliminate insurance regulations that guarantee essential health benefits, to cut protections from huge premium increases for preexisting conditions, and to give permission to insurers to re-impose annual and lifetime caps on coverage. As Capitol Police prepared to drag off the folks using wheelchairs, currently able-bodied protesters blocked the halls and entrances to the elevators. Seems we’re all in this goddamn leaky boat together:
A CBS News poll released Monday shows only 20% of Americans support the Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal, and that’s including the over 25% of those who didn’t have an opinion of the bill. When narrowed to those who actually know enough to have an opinion, that comes to over two-to one disapproval:
With those low numbers, we’re going to rate this ballpark estimate by ThinkProgress’s Lerner TRUE:
Nobody got dragged out of a wheelchair, mind you. The cops were simply reuniting them with their mobility devices.
Oh, but it wasn’t all horrible: Oregon’s Ron Wyden bought pizza for the protesters (add your own pizza-based conspiracy theory here):
The deadline for passing some sort of hell-spawned eldritch horror by reconciliation won’t actually come until Saturday at midnight, kids. There’s still plenty of fuckery the Rs could yet get up to. Keep your senators’ website and some holy water handy.
I was a bit irked - apart from my previously stated historical-accuracy nitpicks - by the representation of women in The Limehouse Golem - no positive ties between any of the women characters, apparently either bitches or victims (even if the denouement complicated that), and the idea that Gay Men Were Their (unsuccessful and even deluded) Saviours.
And then I read some interview with I think Peter Ackroyd himself about the original novel and the film (cannot remember whether it was in the paper or online somewhere), and the opinion was expressed that in 1880, only a man dressed as a woman could speak for women.
A dubious proposition, I contend, in that there is also a tradition of drag as a way of expressing misogyny.
But women in 1880 were not silenced: this was a mere 3 years before the campaigns against the Contagious Diseases Acts (and when people are talking about statues of women, when will we have one for Josephine Butler?) obtained the suspension of the Acts, which were repealed in 1886. The 'Shrieking Sisterhood' as they were described in the hostile press, were very much not silent and not inarticulate.
Nor was this entirely about middle-class women. I'm pretty sure that women music hall performers expressed certain dissatisfactions with the state of things as they were in gender relations. There were also the drag kings of the day sending up men, if only by gentle subversion.
I can see it makes for a powerful narrative to have a woman so silenced that she can only make a protest by violent physical means, but I don't think that can be turned into a master-narrative for the entirety of society at that era.