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17-year-old Ali Shukri Amin from Virginia will spend the next 11 years and 4 months in a federal penitentiary for his role in running the powerful pro-ISIS Twitter account, @Amreekiwitness. This account collected and disseminated ISIS propaganda to…

Hanksy, the Banksy parodist, has bestowed upon the streets of New York City a grand portrait of America’s leading Republican presidential candidate.

Behold!

Some day, we’ll gaze back fondly on President Trump’s grassroots 2016 campaign as we ruminate on the boundary-busting legacy left by another white male who managed, against the odds, to bootstrap his way into the race for the White House.

The bricks that host this homage to the American political establishment will have long been carefully removed from the building’s foundation and reassembled in the Smithsonian, next to President Obama’s real birth certificate and Megyn Kelly’s lipstick. 

What a world that will be!

For more on Hanksy, check out our past coverage here.

 

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Lionsgate and two long-time Marvel producers are working on a Borderlands movie and, no, it's not called Mad Max. Lionsgate is the production company behind Twilight, The Hunger Games, Ender's Game, Warm Bodies and tons of other mainstream flicks,…

HuffPost Comedy — your go-to for hard-hitting journalism — has acquired never-before-seen surveillance footage from equally credible news source Funny or Die.

In the tape, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, clearly having reached that final straw, confronts Donald Trump outside of what we can assume is some building he owns (because he is very rich) and proceeds to kick his ass.

Enjoy! For Journalism!

 

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I was curious about the big show of humanity Donald Trump assembled in the old Dixie stronghold of Mobile, Alabama, supported by nativist Senator Jeff Sessions, so I watched the entire Trump Alabama rally, and some others of his too. Trump was surprisingly entertaining, for the limited range of ideas he possesses, and at this point I find it hard to pull away from any of his antics.

Donald Trump assembling white power in Mobile, Alabama, and getting GREAT ratings, as he likes to repeatedly boast.

At first glance Trump would seem to fit the mold of the pure fascist better than George W. Bush, but in the end I would have to conclude that this is not quite the case. I’m always cautious about applying the term fascist, though I did so to the project I saw emerging (though never fully realized) during the peak of belligerence in the early Bush years, and I also reevaluated my early judgment and brought the situation up to date in the aftermath of the 2012 election.

Trump’s entire spiel is centered around how they–the immigrants, foreign countries like China and Mexico–have screwed us out of the wealth and prosperity we deserve, and how he, the duly elected strongman (though he wishes there were no elections and he could get in to do the job of the “killer” negotiator based on the strength of current polls alone) will outwit and outmuscle these wily powers (it’s always the state he rails against, or corporations and entities backed by the state) to regain America’s fair share; just as he personally embodies the American state, he will take on diverse states personified by other individuals like “Abi” of Japan. Oh, he loves the Saudis, the Chinese, even the Mexicans, how could he not, they buy his properties for forty million dollars, they have money and he must do business with them, but he will execute the “art of the deal,” which he knows better than any diplomatic namby-pamby like Caroline Kennedy or any other political appointee, and thereby make America great again.

America has been made weak by those without patriotic feeling, politicians who sell the country down the drain on behalf of corporations like Ford and Nabisco which relocate abroad. The only thing that will save us is when America becomes profitable again, but profits must be procured in the name of the nation, and he, Trump, will hire the kind of “horrible” people who will ensure such profits on our behalf.

Trump is a continuous stream-of-consciousness articulator of all the ignorant resentments–against uppity women and gays and African Americans and Hispanics and Asians, against Germany and Japan and Korea whom we still “protect” at great cost without getting anything in return, against Middle Eastern countries whom we strengthen and support at the cost of our only ally Israel–that I first heard injected in the body politic about twenty-five years ago when right-wing talk radio came into its own.

If we can’t have President Camacho from the movie Idiocracy, then we will have President Trump.

Trump’s spiel is a compilation of every uninformed, simplistic, and delusional component of the conspiratorial narrative of grievance held by “real” Americans against those who are said to have falsely appropriated the label “American” for themselves. Trump, like all the ignorant demagogues preceding him, claims that he will clean up this mess and separate the true Americans from the phonies.

Trump four years ago on the Bill O’Reilly show when the same opinions came packaged in a more “moderate” style

And even earlier, in the late 1980s, on the Oprah Winfrey show

But does all this add up to fascism? Fascism is the alliance of big business with the military in a nationalist rejuvenation that aims to regain lost greatness by resort to violence and brutality. Trump does say he’s the “most militaristic” guy you will know, and echoes Bush from the 2000 campaign and all subsequent Republican frontrunners that he will “rebuild” the military. He wants the military to be so strong that we will never have to use it. His attitude toward corporations is that they need to be brought in line with the country’s needs, they need to act patriotic rather than greedy by keeping jobs in America, otherwise he will tax them disproportionately if they build or send jobs overseas. He’s not about to start any wars–or at least he hasn’t said so yet–to bring back the luster to our glory. He does introduce the element of charisma, something I always noted was missing during the Bush years, because, entertainer that he is, he knows how to speak to the people in just the right folksy manner that reiterates their every prejudice while simultaneously holding himself apart (because of his wealth) as a super-special specimen of humanity.

Trump throws out Jorge Ramos at the press conference before the Dubuque, Iowa rally on August 25, 2015

Barack Obama confronts Jorge Ramos; Trump merely warned Ramos to “go back to Univision,” Obama has actually deported millions of human beings back to wherever they came from.

I leave it as an open question the degree to which this act is genuine and heartfelt or simply a way to tap into the narrative of resentment and accompanying aspiration for national regeneration that is ever the story of fascist insurgency. It’s not really a relevant question anyway, as long as we recognize the style.

Trump’s business practices in his early years exposed in a documentary; as usual, the reality behind the “self-made” entrepreneur is a sordid tale of dependence and exploitation.

For Trump, as for all his fascist predecessors, it is democracy itself which gets in the way of achieving greatness, performing those heroic deeds, for which the tired, weakened, aggrieved nation of true patriots yearns. It is democracy itself which must be circumvented and sidelined. Except in the case of Trump, it is not Middle Eastern domination or the end to terror worldwide that he’s after, but simply negotiating better deals with China and Mexico.

Trump campaign announcement

Fascist leaders have a way of appearing like clowns to rational liberal observers. This was true of Mussolini, Hitler, and lately Bush. It is hard to believe that with their ludicrous explanations of the way the world works they can gain any traction, but they always become enormously popular in the blink of an eye and the rationalist intelligentsia rub their eyes in disbelief. Precisely the same thing is happening with Trump now.

Trump’s pout versus Mussolini’s chin: one of Mussolini’s classic speeches, at Ancona in 1932, with some of his ridiculous physical postures on full display.

Consider the originator of fascism, Mussolini, and notice the remarkable similarities between his and Trump’s performances: the same supercilious mockery of democrats, journalists, liberals, human rights campaigners, do-gooders; the same puerile postures and gestures, hard to imagine on a national stage except that it is actually happening; the same denial of past history and present circumstances in favor of creating a brand-new reality in accordance with the wishes of the adoring masses; the same preening self-admiration as the hero who alone embodies the wishes of the outwitted, outmaneuvered, outgunned people and will lead them to salvation; the same identification of nation with leader, until Mussolini (or Trump) becomes the nation, until the nation is unimaginable without him as its singular reincarnation.

The war drums and patriotic music are missing, for now, and it is all done with a self-referential, ironic, calculated cool–the subtext of Trump’s performance is always that it is a performance after all, as is all politics, so we better get used to his perpetual mockery of the performance at the meta-level–that goes down well with consumers of reality TV.

What led to all this, to Trump’s emergence, to this new insanity?

I would like to go back to Hillary Clinton’s embodiment of the corrupt liberal style fascists like Trump are always assailing, beginning with her contentless book tour of last summer and punctuated by her opening campaign commercial, a terrifying advertisement for a neoliberal fantasy seeking to dismiss economic reality, as completely out of tune with present circumstances as Trump’s fascist fantasy. Hillary’s campaign commercial bothered me no end when it came out in April, and it hasn’t let go of me yet. It begs to be deconstructed frame by frame for the delusional economic exceptionalism it propounds. It’s a vision of a neoliberal America based on an imagined meritocracy that is as frightening as it is vacuous and severe and unforgiving. One mistake, in this world of strict rules and upward mobility, and you’re done.

Hillary Clinton’s opening campaign commercial

Here are the folks, the real everyday Americans–in her own liberal way, Hillary wants to continue the necessary segregation between real and fake Americans as assiduously as Trump–Hillary wants to give a chance at a better school, a bigger home, an entrepreneurial venture, a path forward in the professional world. Except that Hillary is not actually going to do a single thing for them; as she has explained in subsequent campaign speeches, these are the (righteous) folks who “fought their way back” on their own and pulled themselves up by the bootstraps during the economic crisis (the one during which Hillary was senator). It’s just–their time–you know. They’re not the ones who needed to be bailed out from unsustainable mortgage or student loan debt–Bernie’s people–they are the ones who made it. Every one of the people in her commercial smacks of liberal virtue, having paid their dues and followed every little rule on the path to success. Well, regardless of who gets elected, it’s these people’s time anyway, the righteous professionals already run the show.

Hillary Clinton unequivocally rejecting gay marriage in 2004; equal rights for LGBT people is suddenly, along with support for “hardworking” and “taxpaying” immigrants, one of the subsets of her “four fights.”

Yes, I’m blaming it all on Hillary–or rather, the establishment neoliberal capitalists who’ve selected her as their figurehead/messenger this time around (Jeb would serve just fine too, only at the margins is he any different than Hillary, so a Hillary-Jeb contest leaves them winners in every way). Fascism, or any form of political reaction, occurs only when liberals leave the field empty. And Hillary is leaving it emptier, blanker, seedier, more nondescript than any candidate I’ve seen in the Democratic party since the neoliberal ascendancy, more even than Al Gore, John Kerry, or Barack Obama. In that sense, she is the worst modern candidate ever.

And she never learns. Compare her rallies below in New York and Iowa after Bernie Sanders had climbed in the polls with later rallies and you’ll see no difference. It’s the same basic script, the same faux populism that neoliberals have been using since the 2000 Gore campaign, doctored by maestros such as Bob Shrum, using the same empty rhetoric about “fighting” for the middle-class and wanting to be the president of “all” Americans, not just “the few.” She even wants to work across the aisle to keep us “safe” from terror, that’s one of her four fights; and there’s even “reinventing government,” recycled from Al Gore’s failed venture.

Hillary Clinton’s opening campaign speech on New York’s Roosevelt Island, June 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton rally in Iowa, also in the same month

I wonder at the chutzpah of this politician whose husband’s administration accelerated the apocalyptic decline of the working class and the middle class, particularly after the 1994 electoral debacle. She who, along with her husband, jettisoned core Democratic principles such as single-payer health care, gave in to right-wing discourse on every single social policy, and gutted the New Deal and Great Society consensus on education, taxes, budgets, welfare, immigration, telecommunications, crime, banking, and trade, now wants to “fight” on behalf of the very people whose decimation is associated with Clintonism even more than with Reaganism. And she offers not a single policy prescription of substance, besides platitudes about rewarding hard work and playing by the rules (just as her husband did), as you can see in the videos above. Had she not left such a complete vacuum of policy and failed to address the real economic misery out there, there would have been no opening for Trump or other extremists.

Dreamers protesting against Hillary Clinton’s silence on immigration

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, offers specific policies–not just rhetoric–on each and every economic and social crisis that Hillary mentions and then sidelines in fuzzy words. Before Clintonism demolished core Democratic principles, as in the endorsement of managed care (i.e., privatized health care) rather than the single-payer Medicare-type health care Bernie advocates, all of Bernie’s prescriptions used to be mainstream liberal aspirations. I hope he jettisons his self-declared label of “democratic socialist”–he’s hardly a democratic socialist in the European vein, but rather a pretty conventional New Deal progressive, and actually harkens back even farther to the beginnings of the Progressive movement. He wants free higher education (which more or less used to be the case anyway for most students before rapid tuition inflation put paid to that in the last generation or two), a $15 minimum wage (already that figure is becoming outdated), and Medicare for all–hardly “socialist” prescriptions.

Bernie Sanders rally in Madison, Wisconsin

Bernie is the scholar-gentleman–a Ralph Nader with charisma–that this country desperately needs. Consider his measured, tolerant, patient response to Black Lives Matter disrupters at two events, in Seattle and the Netroots gathering, to the fascist bluster of Trump in kicking out anchor Jorge Ramos of Univision (for Bernie, it is always about what the people need, in terms of specific policies that have zero echo in Hillary’s world, while for Trump it is always about himself, bragging for instance about his $500 million lawsuit against Univision even as he throws quite the whiny fascist tantrum at the press conference):

Bernie Sanders’s speech being hijacked by Black Lives Matter activists in Seattle

Bernie being interrupted during his Netroots Nation speech

And isn’t it ironic that the Black Lives Matter protestors would be interested in going above all after Bernie, the one candidate who actually has their interest at heart, proposing real criminal justice reform and economic rehabilitation on a mass scale, compared to all the other fakes running for president? Black Lives Matter activists note correctly that it was neoliberal repression in the 1990s that set the stage for the current wave of mass incarceration and police brutality.

So there we have it, the style we need and deserve (Bernie’s, offering not just hollow words that have had all the meaning rubbed out of them after a generation of Clinton-Bush-Obama neoliberalism, but real solutions for real problems), versus Trump’s inverted populism, or fascism if you like to use that language (imagine every sane proposal offered by Bernie turned on its head, so it becomes a privatized, ruthless, brutal policy benefiting the rich even more than they already do, because after all we can all aspire to become rich like Trump), and the scariest of all, Hillary. No, it is not Trump who scares me–Trump at least lays it out in the open, let’s have Trump and Sanders be the nominees and go at it with all they’ve got, representing the Republican and Democratic bases at their core–but Hillary, with her delusional meritocracy in a world that’s become geared to benefiting only the already advantaged.

Contrast Bernie’s speeches–and his policy platform online–point by point with Hillary’s, and you’ll see each and every concrete proposal, rooted in economic sanity, meet with an illusory and fake one, such as “making college affordable.” Yes, Hillary, how? Why can’t you just say that public education will be free, as it pretty much used to be before inflation and privatization and deregulation distorted the social bargain in the 1990s?

Hillary is making Bill Clinton look really bad. There was an afterglow about some aspects of the Clinton presidency–at least he made globalization at the rhetorical level acceptable, rather than the inwardness of the cold war years, and even if said globalization was deeply flawed at the structural level, by the time Seattle 1999 rolled around there was at least the promise that its flaws could be addressed in the emergence of a global cosmopolitan order based on rights and duties–but Hillary has ruined what remained of the image, pulling out the same bag of nonsensical micro-initiatives that doomed the opportunities provided by the peace that followed the end of the cold war. She can’t change because it is all she and the people she represents, the neoliberal ruling class, have to offer. We can expect nothing beyond that from her, except more intensified paeans to American exceptionalism.

While I regret the element of economic nationalism that has crept into progressive thinking and feel sorry about the loss of faith in trade and globalization and openness in favor of a hunkered-down protectionism, this is something that infects the entire left, and is a legacy of the flawed inception of globalization in the Clinton years. The only way around that–to find our way back, really–is to make ours a more humane society, with exactly the kind of redistribution downward that Bernie is talking about, so that a freer, more open, more trusting world can once again emerge on the horizon. In that sense, I have total empathy with Bernie and his rhetoric. And then there’s the perverted economic nationalism of Trump, rooted in white supremacy and a xenophobic victimization that has no basis in reality given our unparalleled national wealth and resources.

I always felt Joe Biden’s entry into the race was imminent once Hillary persisted in her vacuous campaign–running on a platform of absolutely nothing substantive. The establishment narrative has it that Biden is the Democratic party’s insurance policy in case Hillary implodes due to scandal. But I rather think that Hillary desperately wants Biden in the race–just as the Clintons injected Wesley Clark as the attack dog in the 2004 campaign to scramble the equation and put Howard Dean on the defensive and eventually doom him–because she has no capacity to go one-on-one in debates against Bernie. It will have to be uncle Joe, then, doing one last service for the state before he fades into the dark–one septuagenarian against another, the voice of establishment reason gently mocking the silver-haired socialist from Vermont, killing him softly, taking the Clintons where they’re unable to go on their own.

Joe Biden, scheduled to take down Bernie, with his “caramel hands” and “crazy lunch digits”

Trump, for me, is mere entertainment–still. Hillary is where the real danger lies. In pre-fascist Italy, at least, the gains in terms of expanding democracy and prosperity were real; it was a revolution of rising expectations, as Tocqueville would have it, that led to the fascist upsurge in the teens and twenties of the twentieth century not only in Italy but elsewhere as well. But the Clintons hollowed out the American economy and as a consequence the social bargain, introducing the absolute dominance of corporations that immiserated Americans; even as she spouts mindless rhetoric, Hillary wants to extend precisely that project forward.

Anis Shivani is the author of several books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, the most recent of which is the novel Karachi Raj (HarperCollins/Fourth Estate), released this summer.

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Drones are playing an ever-expanding role in modern warfare, so it's no surprise companies like Boeing are developing news ways to shoot them out of the sky. Its last laser was the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) — a huge weapon mou…

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Ali Wallce, Miss Oregon. Photo credit: Ben Wood Photography

I had the pleasure of chatting with Ali Wallace, currently Miss Oregon. Early September she will head to Atlantic City to compete in the Miss America Pageant. Ali is a beautiful, smart, young woman who also happens to have an invisible injury that she struggles with every day — a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In her freshman year of high school, she made the varsity Cheer team. This was a very distinct honor not given to many freshmen. She felt a bit of pressure to keep up with the other girls on her team and would practice her tumbling skills outside of practice.

One afternoon, she was at the dance studio working on her round-off back tuck. She wasn’t comfortable with this move yet, and she became nervous in the middle of her flip, resulting in her falling to the floor. She landed half on the mat and half on the hardwood floor, with the back of her head/upper neck hitting first. Her mom saw it happen and rushed over to assist her.

Ali immediately knew that something wasn’t quite right.

She had completely lost vision in her left eye, and had decreased vision in her right. She was seeing stars and feeling woozy. Her mom called the nurse line to see if they should bring her in to see a doctor, and was assured that she should be fine–and to just go home and rest. In fact, Mom was told not to bother bringing Ali in to the clinic.

Her accident occurred in 2009, a time when concussions were “no big deal,” a time when athletes were sent back on the field to play, and a time when doctors didn’t understand that there might be long-term lasting effects. Even today, many people can misunderstand concussions, including medical professionals.

While awareness is growing as NFL players come forward and tell their stories, this isn’t enough. When the average person hears the word “concussion,” he or she might think it’s no big deal. When people hear the words “traumatic brain injury,” they imagine the worst-case scenarios –people who are in a coma or confined to a wheelchair. This simply isn’t the case, as one can see while looking at Miss Oregon.

More survivors of concussions need to step forward and shed light on the issue, which is exactly what Ali is doing. She is using her platform at the Miss America competition to bring a face and a voice to this debilitating injury.

The day after her accident, Ali’s entire body ached all over. Light hurt her eyes, sounds made her head throb, it hurt to read, and she was feeling dizzy and nauseous. Her mom once again called the nurse line, and finally Ali was instructed to go see her doctor.

As soon as her primary doctor saw her, he knew something wasn’t right. He ordered a brain scan, which showed some minor bleeding on her brain. While it didn’t require surgery, Ali was told she had suffered a traumatic brain injury. She was instructed to take an entire month off of school to rest and recover.

Ali said, “When I took a month off of school, there was a combination of jealousy, and those who thought I was just trying to get out of going to school. You can’t see a concussion, it’s not like a broken arm where you can see it’s broken.”

At her follow-up appointment, she wasn’t able to see her regular doctor. This doctor now told her “If you can put on your makeup, then you are fine.” His statement stunned both Ali and her mom.

Sadly, this is an all-too-often generalization: If you look fine, can talk and walk, then you must be okay. It is extremely frustrating to survivors, and can be quite disheartening.

Ali continued with her follow-up appointments, seeing her regular doctor. She was still feeling dizzy and nauseous, and was told that it could take about a year to get back to feeling normal. While her friends were out having fun, she spent her entire summer break resting in a dark, quiet room, trying to give her brain adequate time to heal and recover.

“You’re brain controls your entire body. If your brain is injured, things don’t work correctly,” Ali commented.

After missing an entire year of Cheer, her doctor cleared her to return. Ali shared that mentally she was never able to do tumbles again, as she always had a small fear in the pit of her stomach. She didn’t want to risk another bad landing and injure herself further. Regardless of her fears, she put her best effort into Cheer, and continued to thrive during her last two years of high school.

Six years later, Ali continues to struggle with the after-effects of her TBI.

She has frequent headaches, and she lacks depth perception in her left eye, which causes her to sometimes run into doorways or other objects that are on her left side. She has a lot of balance issues, which has put a damper on her dancing. She struggles with aphasia (being able to recall words), and has mastered the art of redirecting her sentence, using a different word. She also gets lost while driving, often having to pull over and try to figure out where she was headed by looking at her calendar.

Her biggest fear in the Miss America competition is being perceived as not being intelligent, especially when she can’t come up with a word quickly enough. “It’s embarrassing to be stuck in the middle of a sentence and not be able to think of the right word.”

Those who have never struggled with a TBI have no idea how frustrating aphasia can be, and outsiders who see a very pretty face sometimes make unfair assumptions and judgments.

Ali uses lots of lists to cope with her memory problems, spending time each night before bed writing down what she needs to do the next day. She continues to have sensitivity to light and sound, and struggles to remember people’s names. Overall she is doing great, and will be attending Portland State next summer to finish her BA degree. She plans to pursue a Masters of Film degree from the University of Southern California.

When she picked talking about TBI as her platform, she wanted to bring awareness to a topic that nobody is talking about. She has personal, first-hand experience with it, and is a cause that she wants to continue to shed light on and support.

Her biggest message she wants to bring the world is this: “I want people to understand how serious TBI is. When the conversations of brain injuries come up, I want it to be general knowledge of how serious and complex the injury is. No two brains heal alike, and it’s not like a bone where the standard recovery time is 4-6 weeks. The minimum recovery time for a very mild concussion is three months. Unfortunately, there is no formula to know when you’ll recover or heal.”

You can watch Ali compete in the Miss America pageant on Sunday, September 13th at 9|8 pm Central on abc. Follow Ali on Twitter and Instagram: @MissAmericaOR and on Facebook.

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Jimmy Kimmel thinks people are paying less and less attention to … Oh, wow! Kylie Jenner be doing that cray-cray stuff on Instagram again. How will we ever keep up with her?

… So anyway, Kimmel thinks … Whoa! JBiebs new song is on YouTube! I’mma tell you one time this is hot fire.

… Oh, right. So Kimmel thinks people are getting distracted by technology and paying less and less attention to what’s happening around them. To prove it, he sent out a camera crew and had the interviewer look at his phone after asking a question.

The interviewees seem pretty lost and frustrated, so there’s probably an important lesson to learn here.

And we’ll get to that right after watching this hella cute dog Vine for a few hours: 

Yeah, life’s ruff, man. 

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It was 3 a.m. and my cell phone was blowing up.

The Twitter handle Twothousandswifteen was now following me. TaylorSwiftUpdates had favorited my tweet, with copious re-tweets by the likes of Tator Swift and Dazzling_Swift.

Why the eff was I being digitally accosted by a gang of Taylor Swift devotees?

And then I remembered:

Skimming the Dailymail earlier that night, I’d come across some pictures of Taylor Swift grabbing a nibble with Selena Gomez. Nothing too out of the ordinary there. Except: Swift wasn’t wearing her usual “Mad Men” secretarial look (see here, here and here). No, the “Loving Him Was Red” songstress was wearing an apparatus across her torso that really could only be described as a harness. Not the kind I’d worn at summer camp. No, this harness was the consistency of a necklace, and it went around her back. I could see how it might’ve been expensive and sort of high-fashion, but at the end of the day, girl was donning a harness. And I needed to know why.

So I did what any entitled millennial would do. I sent this tweet:

I was genuinely curious! But also, this is when I need to disclose that I sort of have a bone to pick with Ms.Swift. Yes, “Speak Now” is probably my favorite album of all time. She is very pretty and she seems GENUINELY very nice. Her letter to Apple was well-written and also very effective. I am impressed that she arduously curates care packages for fans she’s never met, based on her knowledge of their Tumblrs, when I’m unable to respond to G-chats from friends with anything but a generic “lol.”

So why do I not let myself worship at the altar of T-Swift? Because I’ve long felt that she’s the kind of person who’d call her parents to pick her up from a sleepover party because the other girls are passing around a joint. She just feels like a goodie two-shoes on overdrive, too perfect to be human. We’re living in the era of celebrating “imperfections”; Lena Dunham’s “real body,” Jennifer Lawrence’s award show tumbles, Khloe Kardashian’s camel toe, Cara Delavigne’s dropped baggie of coke; Where is Taylor Swift’s Achilles’ heel? Getting dumped by Harry Styles on New Year’s? Some people would kill for that!

What I’m saying is: Swift does nothing to be subversive; she makes no missteps. She’s the antidote to the underdog, making her just not fun to root for.

So I harnessed (pun!) my feelings and shot the girl a tweet. With 60 million Twitter followers and presumably lots of texts from Gigi [Hadid] and Karlie [Kloss], I knew it’d likely get swept under the virtual rug.

Except it didn’t.

Half asleep, I waded through my mounting notifications and clicked through to T’s Twitter, where I saw her most recent tweet was addressed to “@emilytesskatz.” That’d be moi.

It said, as follows:

“@emilytesskatz in case anyone wants to go zip lining or rock climbing last minute OBVIOUSLY.”

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Proof that this actually happened.

I smiled. Then I lolled. Then I read it about 40 more times. I had to hand it to the “Shake It Off” chanteuse: she was exhibiting a good personality.

Hours later though, I woke up a little panicked. My tweet had been snarky, sent from a place of basic rudeness. This is the most beloved human being on planet earth. Who the f#$% did I think I was to question her harness? I’d seen the death threats waged against Kathy Griffin after she’d targeted Demi Lovato — the “Lovatics” had no patience for that. Any sort of social media warfare with the Swifties wasn’t something I was looking for.

I decided to basically unplug from my Twitter for the rest of the day to shield myself from potential tween snark. In the interim, I crafted a tweet to Swift that I’d hoped would placate any fans who suspected me of being a hater:

The twitteraction (portmanteau for ‘Twitter interaction’) was picked up by Buzzfeed and People.com. It began to occur to me that being tweeted at by Taylor Swift might be the benchmark achievement of my 25.5 years on earth.

And then, at around 4 p.m. that afternoon, a friend’s text bore the news that Taylor Swift had deleted her tweet to me. With no explanation. Nada! No more twitteractions would ensue, but I now felt it safe to finally go through all the tweets that I’d gotten. I prepared myself for tweens saying they’d like my head in a noose, but of the 100+ tweets that I read, this was honestly the snarkiest one:

Even more to my surprise, most of the tweets I received were really clever. Like these:

One fan even expressed gratitude for my inquiry:

I breathed a sigh of relief. And with that, my perception of Swift began to change. The very reason I disliked Taylor Swift was largely to credit for her fans being so nice and respectful. Swift isn’t catty. She’s just out-rightly nice. SO NICE. Arguably too nice. But my relief at not having been trolled left me questioning whether or not this construct even existed. The Mother Theresa-esque kindness Swift exhibits played against the fun, edgy image all millennials seem to strive for. But when feelings are at stake, you realize that that shit doesn’t really matter. T-Swift’s puritanical image had worked to my advantage. This commitment to being nice, which her fans clearly adhere to, had saved my ass, bringing me to a conclusion 25 years in the making:

It’s 100 times more important to be nice than cool. And while it’s cool to like the underdog, it it’s not nice to dislike someone purely for being successful.

So, Taylor Swift, thank you for shaking my tweet off. Thank you for basically gifting me 100 Twitter followers on a silver platter. And in case you’re wondering, the offer for an impromptu rock climb still stands.

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Fast forward to about 6:00 in. (Source: YouTube, obviously) 

Hey, it’s been about 30 years since Eddie Murphy took the world on a tour of the ladies’ room as host of the 1985 VMAs. Wow, how time flies, right? (Full disclosure: I was not yet alive in 1985.) 

Award shows are filled with so much so much safe, image-conscious garbage these days that watching Murphy show the audience around is a breath of fresh air. It’s also fun to see Murphy at the height of his powers. 

Could finding his way into the ladies’ area be considered offensive in 2015? Perhaps, but that’s not for us to address here. Instead, let’s enjoy a looping GIF of this woman coming out of wherever only to discover Murphy lurking around the corner.

IMPORTANT: Do you know the lady in this GIF? If so, please get in contact so we can do the world’s greatest retrospective interview.

 

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The founder and chief executive of the Ashley Madison extra-marital affair website, Noel Biderman, steps down following data hack.

Congrats are in order for Lucy Liu.

The “Elementary” star has welcomed a son via gestational surrogate.

“I can confirm that Lucy Liu is the proud mother of Rockwell Lloyd Liu, brought into the world via gestational carrier,” her rep told The Huffington Post via email. “Mom and baby are healthy and happy.”

On Aug. 27, the first-time mother shared a sweet black-and-white photo of her new bundle of joy on social media.

A photo posted by Lucy Liu (@lucyliu) on

“Introducing the new little man in my life, my son Rockwell Lloyd Liu,” she captioned the photo. “In ❤️!”

Aww.

H/T Just Jared

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The Pentagon wants to use wearables for more than just tracking steps. It's pouring $75 million over the next five years into the FlexTech Alliance — a group made of 162 separate organizations, including Apple, Boeing and Harvard — to create a "M…

Snoop Dogg, the reefer-smoking E. Buzz Miller of our generation, returned with a “Plizzanet Earth” episode on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday. This time the not-so-noted wildlife maven observed tree frogs in their natural habitat apparently doing what comes naturally. And rudely.

“Hit it and run,” Snoop comments. “Cold-blooded.”

 H/T Uproxx

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Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.31.10 AM Apple Watch not for you? The Amazon preorder page for the Huawei Watch states that the device will support iOS. Now, at this point, it’s unclear if this is a typo or unreleased information — let’s hope it’s the latter. So far iPhone owners have had a limited amount of smartwatches to choose from, say just the Apple Watch and Pebble devices. Likewise, there are dozens… Read More

Former US President George Bush returns to New Orleans 10 years on since Hurricane Katrina, a crisis his administration was criticised for over its slow response.

Huawei may have accidentally revealed that its Android Wear Watch will cost as much as $799.99 and be compatible with iOS. Earlier today, the company teased a September 2nd arrival at IFA 2015 via Twitter, but a tipster pointed us to a legit-lookin…

Hasbro is hoping you'd be willing to share your best party game idea ever(!) with the company and has launched a search for the "Next Great Game." The mechanics are simple: just go to the project website and submit an entry — along the same lines…


Here comes the … cold hard truth.

Spoiler alert! Kevin James is an athlete. Even before the actor starred as a teacher turned MMA fighter in “Here Comes the Boom,” he was on the same high school wrestling team as future pro wrestling superstar Mick Foley, where he says he took down Foley “all the time.” So how does the actor think he’d fair against UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey?

“I would be on my back so fast,” the actor told The Huffington Post. “No, I wouldn’t want to mess with Ronda Rousey. She would crush me. And by the way, I’ve seen her hitting mitts too, so she’s nasty. Yeah, she’s everywhere. There’s nowhere to go with Ronda.”

But does James think his match would at least go longer than Rousey’s 34-second knockout of Bethe Correia?

“I really don’t. I’m gonna be honest, I don’t make it out of the locker room,” said the actor, “Because if I pass a hotdog cart, I make a quick hard right, and I’m not even getting in the cage.”

James was recently on hand for the American Express Rally on the River, where he participated in a hydro-interactive show with tennis superstars including Maria Sharapova. And if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, we don’t either — and we were there. Whatever it was though, it was pretty cool

Besides Rousey, James also talked with us about his movies, a comeback to TV and even the possibility of “Paul Blart 3″:

 

If you were in MMA, what would your walk out song be?

My walk out song would probably be “The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round.” I think that would throw my opponent.

It’s pretty threatening.

It is threatening. It sucks you into a false sense of confidence from everybody. The crowd is going to be looking at me like I’m weird, but then when I get in there, and the wheels go round and round …

[Laugh] Oh no …

And my left and my right go whoosh, whoosh, whoosh — I think everybody’s in trouble.

What’s your favorite joke from your movies that ended up getting cut?

If it was really funny, we’d try to fit it in, but there were some tough ones. I had to cut my kids out of “Zookeeper.” That was tough.

No! Really? “Zookeeper” is my favorite movie of yours.

No, it’s not.

[Laugh] It is. So can you really talk to animals?

I’ve been known — look, it’s not confirmed, but I have talked to a few. I have a llama that I converse with on a weekly basis now. But seriously, as time goes on you can see I am the actual Dr. Dolittle.

Is there any dating advice we should take from animals?

I would say just groom. Grooming is big.

Is T.G.I. Friday’s really as incredible as it looks?

It always is. You know it is. It’s amazing that Bernie the Gorilla said that, and I’m just very happy about it.

Image: YouTube

Could we see a “Zookeeper 2,” or maybe even a “Paul Blart 3″ on the way?

I don’t think so. Not right now. I’m interested in doing original stuff.

Have you ever had any talks about a “King of Queens” reunion?

I don’t think there has been any talks about it, but I would always — I mean, I loved working with them, Jerry [Stiller] and Leah [Remini] were fantastic, and we’re working on trying to get back into TV now as a matter of fact and would love to get a show going, and I would love to work with them again.

There are people online who would like to see you in “True Detective.” Who would be your partner on that show?

Do I have to have a partner, or can I do it myself?

Sure, if you want to do it yourself.

Yeah, I think I’m going solo. Only because I like to talk to myself a lot. You know what, it’s going to be a shorter shooting day because you don’t have to reset the cameras. You just roll on me, and I take it from one angle, and then I speak to myself in the other angle.

Will Smith gave your character dating advice in “Hitch.” Did he ever give you any advice?

He took me under his wing. I had never done a movie before, so that was my first movie, and he showed me the ropes with a lot of stuff and was a fantastic friend and a mentor. I was so happy he gave me that opportunity.

 

So how’d you get involved in the American Express Rally on the River?

I think American Express ha been in my life for a very long time. I think I might’ve been tardy on a couple bills, and maybe this is how I pay them off. 

That’s so awesome.

Naw, they’re great, but just it’s exciting to be here. Any athlete. Anybody that can do stuff I can’t do, I’m a huge fan of. 


Nice recovery, Peanut Blart and Jelly.

Image: YouTubeMakeAGif

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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If you would like to watch Donald Trump say the word “China” 234 times then click the video above.

Complete transcript:

DONALD TRUMP: Let’s say “China.” China. China. China. China. China. China. China. China. CHINA? China. You go over to China, China, China, China, China, China, China. China, China, China, China. You take China.

MAN IN AUDIENCE: China.

DONALD TRUMP: China! I love ‘em! China! China? China, China, China. I have to have my China. China … China because China. China, China, China, China, China, China. CHINA. China. China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China now! CHINA. China … you know, China! I know China very well. China! China, China … China, China China. China. China. China …

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Northwest Wisconsin, where I’m from …

DONALD TRUMP: It’s China to me. China. China, China, China, China. China, China, China. You wanna buy from China? That’s great, buy from China. Buy toys from China. China in particular. China, China. I have people that I know in China. China. China. China. China. China. China, China, China, China, China. China, I’ve been saying China. China. China, Chi-nah! China. China, China, China, China, China, China … China … China … China …? CHINA!

JAKE TAPPER: Let me ask you about China.

DONALD TRUMP: China. I go to China. China, China, China, China. China? China? China, China … China, China. China, China, China, China. People from China, they love me! China! China. China, China, China, China, China, China. In China they say I don’t like China; I love China. People think I don’t like China; I love China. China. China is the new China, by the way. China, China. China. I deal with China. China. China … big league. China. So don’t tell me about China, I know China … China. China, China, China, China. Whether it’s China … China. So if you went to China, and you wanted to get a job in China … I don’t knock China. How can I dislike China? A man from China. China. You have China. Carl — take China. China … China … China … ? China. China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China’s over here … Look at what China’s doing. They’re learning from China. China. China, OK? Look at that, isn’t that nice: China. China. China. CHINA … China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China … China … China. China. China. And by the way, I love China. I mean, I love China. How can you not love China? I love China. China, China … China, China, China, China … China, China, China, CHI-NA. And you know China, China, China. China, China, China, China, China, China, China, South China, China, China! People say “Oh, you don’t like China.” I like China. Chi-nah! I love China. China. China all the time. China; when was the last time you heard “China”?

*** 

And in case you missed it… it’s Trump At The Roxbury!

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Failure of broadcaster’s stars to build online audiences and missed opportunities on iPlayer cited

Noel Biderman, the CEO of Avid Life Media, the company behind the extra-marital dating site Ashley Madison, is stepping down from his position "in mutual agreement with the company." In a statement released today, Avid says Noel Biderman the change…

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