Bye Bye AOC? Democrat Socialist Ocasio-Cortez Could Lose House Seat After New Census ⋆ Conservative Firing Line

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Based on the latest census projections, New York State may lose one congressional district, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fears the district that goes away will be hers.

The horror. ūüėČ A0C Fears Losing Seat Due to 2020 Census.
…

The Potential Loss of A0C’s District Highlights Why Democrats Fumed Over Trump’s Proposed 2020 Census Changes https://t.co/7xQu3sdo4K

‚ÄĒ Junkyard Dogs (@baileyjer) January 1, 2020

Nothing is official yet. The Census Bureau will announce the final count in December 2020, and the congressional districts will be updated for the 2022 elections.

Party leadership is not happy with AOC, which is why her district is in danger.

As we reported in January of 2019, Congressional Democrats were growing sick and tired of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s antics, especially her use of Twitter to attack other Democrats and to get what she wants from the caucus.

Even some progressives who admire AOC, as she’s nicknamed, told Politico that they worry she’s not using her notoriety effectively.

‚ÄúShe needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star?‚ÄĚ said one House Democrat who‚Äôs in lockstep with Ocasio Cortez‚Äôs ideology. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress.

In  July, AOC used the race card against Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Responding to criticism from the speaker, she told WAPO:

‚ÄúWhen these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm‚Äôs distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood. But the persistent singling out ‚Ķ it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful ‚Ķ the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color,‚ÄĚ she told The Post.

AOC appears to suggest that Pelosi is targeting her because Pelosi wants her to get death threats: ‚ÄúIt’s singling out 4 individuals, and knowing the media environment that we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get ‚Ķ. I think it’s just worth asking why‚ÄĚ pic.twitter.com/cueiQi9XC8

‚ÄĒ Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 11, 2019

When one adds the fact that in her first election she primaried and beat Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, who was seen as Nancy Pelosi’s heir apparent to the fact that she’s attacked the party leadership as much as the other party, it’s understandable why AOC fears being left without a district in 2022

There is something that may hold party leadership back from gerrymandering  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district out of existence. In 2022 Chuck Schumer will have to run for re-election. If she is left without a congressional district, AOC may attempt to primary Schumer. And who knows? Schumer is very powerful, but NY is VERY liberal, and a Democratic Socialist like AOC may be their cup of tea.

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CATTLE DECAPITATION – Death Atlas – HEAVY Magazine – Music, Interviews, Reviews, Podcasts, Shop, News and more…

Captivating, confronting, engaging, excruciating but most of all honestly extreme. Exactly as it should be! This is a brief introduction of feelings and emotions that gripped me intensely the first time, plus all ensuing times I’ve listened to Cattle Decapitation’s 2019 masterpiece and easily my album of the year so far, Death Atlas.

Absolutely never a band to shy away from confronting their audience, it has always been Cattle Decapitation’s intent to be unrelenting and unrepentant in their extreme metal mastery. They have never made apologies within their bleak yet truthful message over the course of their past two albums, Monolith Of Inhumanity [2012] and The Anthropocene Extinction [2015] of the plight of the world and our destructive patterns and habits as a pathetic human plague destined for extinction. 

Death Atlas opens with the prologue ‚ÄúAnthropogenic- End Transmission‚ÄĚ. A monologue draped by a soundscape of desolation. A fog of despair lures us into the foreshadowing world of Death Atlas as seen through the lens of Cattle Decapitation‚ĶAnd then the magnificently catastrophic ‚ÄúThe Geocide‚ÄĚ drops like a nuclear bomb on the senses, clearly setting the bleak scene yet malevolent pace at which Cattle Decap wish to, as a means of sonic visualisation, deliver their uplifting message of human extinction. ‚ÄúThe Geocide‚ÄĚ is the perfect opener to slate the thirst of Cattle Decapitation fans and a deathly sigh of relief shall emanate from your parched throats as you are decimated with familiar territory.

‚ÄúBe Still Our Bleeding Hearts‚ÄĚ is a pummeling fuck machine of emotion! Clearly at the beginning of the track there is nothing but hatred , yet early on there is an ebb and flow of musical brilliance and dichotomy within the band that sees them battling one another to cohesively bind eachother forming a perfect incoherent tragedy. So the song is aptly titled ‚ÄúBe Still Our Bleeding Hearts‚ÄĚ. A third of the way in, the chorus kicks in and here we hear vocalist Travis Ryan‚Äôs first stunning attempt at clean extreme vocal clarity with decipherable lyrics to paint a picture of what is presented before us.¬†

The addition of a second guitarist in Belisario Dimuzio, complimenting Josh Elmore, adds a new found songwriting element expanding the ability of more pronounced and accentuated razor slicing clarity and lead breaks rarely touched on on previous Cattle outings. The songs are harsher and thicker (courtesy of new bass player Olivier Pinard) in dimension and scope which, thanks to the incredible production capabilities of long time Cattle producer Dave Otero who has managed to produce one of the best death metal albums for this decade. 

‚ÄúVulturous‚ÄĚ rumbles in like an imminent, destructive tsunami. Slow and full of groove it pulses with murky intent before the arrival of a wall of noise and armageddon ¬†is erected to sand blast our ears with scathing hate. The groove that follows the previous moments is nothing short of incredible. ¬†‚ÄúVulturous‚ÄĚ is a song in chapters that engulfs the listeners in many emotions that is hard to honestly decipher at such an early point within the album. Following is the brief intermission of catastrophic memories of Death Atlas so far, ‚ÄúThe Great Dying‚ÄĚ, is a dialogue of themes we‚Äôve already heard and are without question not done with yet. The female reader is un-subtly framed by thick choking sounds swirling around her as she warns of more unrelenting chaos to follow. Which bleeds into the first glimpse we got of Death Atlas nearly three months ago ‚Äď ‚ÄúOne Day Closer To The End Of The World‚ÄĚ. Classic Cattle Decap! A galloping tirade of brilliant malevolence. Whilst there seems to be nothing but enormous tragedy as the main protagonist of Death Atlas, this album is Ryan‚Äôs first where he truly utilises his singing talent for the first time. And it seems as though he finds it as a means to promise albeit fruitless. You can truly get a firm grip on why Travis is without question one of the best, most gifted and diverse metal vocalists on the planet. His voice paints a myriad of pictures and emotions it is so easy to get lost in the images depicted and visualised thanks to his medium of choice.¬†

Out of ‚ÄúOne Day Closer To The End Of The World‚ÄĚ into our second unearthing of what you‚Äôll hear on Death Atlas was ‚ÄúBring Back The Plague‚ÄĚ. Summoning the rage and clarity before us, this track embodies the album title‚Äôs true nature. No mincing words or apologies for lack of discretion. This track epitomises all that Cattle Decapitation are! Intelligent, thought provoking and unapologetic!

¬†An album full of idealistic hope ‚Äď Negative optimism or nihilistic positivity, Death Atlas runs through a universe of unachievable hope via tales of our race‚Äôs unrepentant and destructive tendencies upon our planet and own lives regardless of our best laid plans to right the wrongs we have willingly adopted as a standard method of self-imposed annihilation. As Travis Ryan has stated recently on his thoughts of Death Atlas, we need look no further than the last twenty minutes of the album to hear their best yet bleakest work. I‚Äôve given you enough detail as to how undeniably and simply perfect Death Atlas is. Your task is to now delve into its extreme brilliance and emerge on the other side forewarned and well equipped to make a difference.

Simply, if the five members of Cattle Decapitation were the last men living on this planet, it will be because they exemplify and harnessed the will through every extremity the world inflicts upon itself and they were chosen to write the soundtrack and script to the demise of the population they graciously loved but we’re forced to mourn due to complacency and self disregard!

Whilst Monolith of Inhumanity and The Anthropocene extinction were both incredible feats of extreme metal leading Cattle Decapitation up to this point, it is undoubtedly obvious underneath all their foreboding and tragic notions contained therein were precursors to what is heard within Death Atlas. Make no mistake that as we metal fans near the end of this decade and closer to our end, Death Atlas is a superbly crafted, perfect album delivered by Travis, Josh, David, Belisario and Olivier which will for many years to come be Cattle Decapitation’s shining light disguised as a tragic legacy.

Death Atlas, courtesy of Metal Blade¬†is out on Black Friday ‚Äď November 29th and can be pre-ordered here

DON’T MISS CATTLE DECAPITATION’S 2020 AUSTRALIAN TOUR

THURSDAY 13TH FEBRUARY ‚Äď THE BRIGHTSIDE BRISBANE

FRIDAY 14TH FEBRUARY ‚Äď THE FACTORY THEATRE, SYDNEY

SATURDAY 15TH FEBRUARY ‚Äď CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE

SUNDAY 16TH FEBRUARY ‚Äď THE BASEMENT CANBERRA

WEDNESDAY 19TH FEBRUARY ‚Äď MAX WATT‚ÄôS MELBOURNE

THURSDAY 20TH FEBRUARY -PELLY BAR, FRANKSTON

FRIDAY 21ST FEBRUARY ‚Äď ENIGMA BAR, ADELAIDE

SATURDAY 22ND FEBRUARY ‚Äď AMPLIFIER BAR, PERTH

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Hotel Owners Look To Bring In Local Restaurateurs To Boost Revenue

Want to get a jump-start on upcoming deals? Meet the major D.C. players at !

Hotels in D.C. have struggled to increase revenue from rooms as a surge of incoming supply adds competition to the market, and hoteliers are increasingly focusing on opening quality restaurants that appeal to locals as a way to bring in more money. 

GKA’s Sarah Vining Crisafulli, Dream Hotel Group’s Judy Chen, Chef Robert Wiedmaier and Streetsense’s Jay Coldren

“Our food and beverage in most of our properties contributes a bulk of total revenue,” Dream Hotel Group Development Director Judy Chen said Wednesday at Bisnow’s Hotel Leadership Investment & Management Summit in D.C.¬†

Dream’s Hollywood Hotel, for example, brings in about 75% of its revenue from its restaurants and nightlife¬†offerings, she said. The company does not own a hotel¬†in D.C., but Chen said Dream has been touring the city¬†and is actively seeking¬†to open one.

Chen has spent time visiting D.C. hotels with strong food and beverage components to find out what type of demand exists in the market. She said she was impressed with the crowded food and drink offerings at Adams Morgan’s Line Hotel, and thinks there is room for more similar concepts in the District.¬†

“There is clearly a demand for something of a certain caliber, and clearly the demand is under-met,” she said. “We love the [D.C.]¬†market, and I think there is a lot of room for opportunities.”¬†

CSI DMC’s Amberlee Huggins, EDSA’s Ryan Clifton, Forrest Perkins’ Deborah Lloyd Forrest, Trump Hotels’ Kathleen Flores and Papadopoulos Properties’ Tom Papadopoulos

While it has come¬†under scrutiny¬†since its founder became president, The Trump Organization’s¬†Trump International Hotel¬†on Pennsylvania Avenue has also brought in significant revenues from its food and beverage offerings, Trump Hotels Executive Vice President Kathleen Flores said.¬†

The hotel, a redevelopment of the Old Post Office Building, features a BLT Prime by David Burke, Sushi Nakazawa, Benjamin Bar & Lounge and a Starbucks, all of which Flores said have been successful. 

“Most of what we do maximizes guests experiences and revenues from locals,” Flores said. “The lobby programming is robust, and there is something going on in the lobby every afternoon and every night.”

Flores confirmed last week’s reports¬†that the company is exploring a sale of the hotel, but she did not discuss¬†it in detail.¬†

Dream Hotel Group’s Judy Chen and Chef Robert Wiedmaier

RW Restaurant Partners Executive Chef Robert Wiedmaier said the D.C. restaurant scene has shifted in recent years to have more high-quality dining options in hotels that bring in customers that are not staying at the property. 

“Now you’re seeing a change that a lot of the good restaurants are in hotels,” Wiedmaier said. “Hotels have spent the money to bring in talent to give their guests, and the outside guests more importantly, a good dining experience.”

Wiedmaier, who has opened several restaurants in D.C.-area hotels, said attracting locals is critical to making them successful. 

“The key is to open restaurants that aren’t considered hotel restaurants and are going to drive people into the hotel,” he said. “If you have to rely on people staying in the hotel to make a restaurant successful, you’re going to¬†lose.”¬†

Big-name celebrity chefs can add a level of cachet to a hotel, but Wiedmaier said he is seeing a shift toward more local operators. 

“What happens is a lot of times you bring in a celebrity chef and then see them four times; I think that’s going to die out a bit,” he said. “Local chefs from the area that are in hotels will drive more business than bringing somebody from across the water.”

Forrest Perkins’ Deborah Lloyd Forrest, Trump Hotels’ Kathleen Flores and Papadopoulos Properties’ Tom Papadopoulos

Papadopoulos Properties principal Tom Papadopoulos, a broker who has worked on restaurant deals in hotels, also sees the trend toward more local chefs.

“The celebrity chef thing may be coming to an end in some respect,” he said. “Just because somebody puts his name on the door and you don’t see him again, it doesn’t really work out. Here in town some of the¬†hotels with the most successful F&B have well-known local guys.”

Streetsense Managing Director Jay Coldren said hotels are increasingly searching for restaurants that create buzz throughout the city that will keep them crowded. 

“The way to think about it is ‘how do I create a local base of business first, and make amenities for travel guests second,'” Coldren said.¬†

The retail amenities that can bring money into hotels are not just limited to bars and restaurants, Forrest Perkins founder Deborah Lloyd Forrest said. Retailers like bookstores, such as the one that opened at a Dallas hotel her company designed, can also bring people in and create activity throughout the day. She said hotels are increasingly looking for concepts that can bring in revenue outside of the rooms. 

“The rooms are not secondary, but they are less important in a way,” she said. “You have to sleep, but we want you downstairs spending money.”

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The Disgusting Matt Lauer News, and Vindicating Ann Curry

NEWSLETTERS
The Daily Beasts Obsessed
Everything we cant stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
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This week:

  • Were still thinking about Ann Curry.
  • Go see Parasite.
  • The wildest detail of the Rihanna Vogue story.
  • Dont be jealous of my pumpkins.
  • Goodenough.
Once Again, Vindication for Ann Curry

In light of the disgusting revelations that surfaced this week, there are many things I wish for Matt Lauer. Because of those revelations, among many other reasons, I wish to know how NBC News bosses Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim still have jobs. And because of all the horseshit Ive witnessed covering TV news and morning television over the last decade, there are many things, as always, I wish for Ann Curry.

I wish for her to rise each morning, well-rested, to a breath of crisp, invigorating air. Maybe theres a whiff of warm croissants coming in through the window, stoking an appetite for the knowledge she will immerse herself in that day. I wish for her curiosity about the world to be satiated, but I wish for her to have found the balance between being activated by the news without being too traumatized by the horror of it all. I wish for her to feel things, but not so deeply it hurts.

I wish for her to be greeted every day at 4:30 p.m. with a healthy pour of white wine. I wish for a non-stop parade of knowing, warm smiles from passersby on the streets. I wish for her to stumble on a $20 bill on the street, though I know she will do something saintly with it, rather than indulge in spending it on herself. I wish for her weekends to be spent at the beach, a relaxing convalescence from this crazy thing we call life, energizing her to return to her journalistic pursuits when Monday morning calls.

I wish for her to see, as it already appears she has, the Matt Lauer news, breaking seven years after his role in forcing her exit from the Today show, as a call to continue to mentor and galvanize female journalists.

And for everyone who, in response to the grotesque Lauer news, has called for Curry to get her own show, I wish for you to know that she hasChasing the Cure Liveand I wish for you to watch it.

Over a decade ago when I first started my career, I interviewed Curry at an event. The conversation turned personal, for both of us, and in the middle of it she reflexively gripped my hand and stared deeply into my eyes, forging an electric, compassionate connection as she spoke.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will never understand what the hell TV executives and, presumably, audiences value in hosts and journalists; what, really, did Matt Lauer bring all those years to justify tolerance of his behavior? But the way Curry led her thirst for facts and truth with empathy always struck me and still does. (For what its worth, those same traits are why I think Hoda Kotb is so good in her new role at Today.)

Anyway, these developments are heinous and pathetically emblematic of a broken system in television. Every time things like this come out, I think about Ann Curry and how she was treated. And then I wish the world for her.

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Parasite Is the Best Movie of the Year

I dont think Ive ever experienced a movie quite like Parasite. In the time since I first screened the new film, out Friday, that is what has stuck with me, that watching it is an experience. It sounds like such hooey cinephile nonsensean experience that I am rolling my eyes at myself while typing the words. But it is so true.

It is the best movie Ive seen this year. I implore you to see it! I can also tell you nothing about it!! Sorry!!!

The film is written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, best known for his English-language titles Snowpiercer and Okja. It is about an unemployed, impoverished family who infiltrate the lives of a wealthy and glamorous upper-class clan. I refuse to tell you anything else about it, and beg you not to seek out much more information than that.

Maybe youre a spoiler-phobe or maybe your entire 90s wasnt ruined by knowing that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time before you saw The Sixth Sense. Wherever you are on that spectrum, I truly, deeply believe that knowing what happens in this movie is a significant detriment to your viewing experience.

I dont want to overhype it, or make you think youre in for twists so unbelievably good that the wig is going to leap right off your head. But the film is one of the most stressful cinematic experiences Ive had. It drives up your heart rate to lethal levels, and once youve come to terms with the fact that your heart just lives in your throat now, it changes gears completely. Now all of a sudden your heart is over there in your forehead, and then exploding out your back, and then making its way to your left pinky. I dont know how it happens, I just know that it is what Bong Joon-ho does!

The film has been called a black comedy, which it sort of is. Its been ruled a horror film, which it sort of is, too, as well as a thriller, which, yeah, that fits. But its also really none of those things either. I am very aware that none of this information is helpful but I hope you take the spirit of itGO SEE PARASITE, YOU GUYS!!!and run with that all the way to the theater.

The Rihanna Vogue Detail That Shocked Me

There were a lot of details in the new Vogue profile of Rihanna that made headlines. Theres just how much money shes made by injecting long-overdue diversity and inclusivity into the worlds of beauty and fashion, tapping into a traditionally ignored market: actual people. Her next album is being worked on and it will be reggae-inspired, though there is still no time frame for its release.

The juiciest bits, of course, are about politics: She confirms that she turned down the Super Bowl Halftime Show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, and she called Donald Trump, in specific reference to his response to the mass-shooting epidemic, the most mentally ill human being in America right now.

But there was a passage in the profile that has rattled me so viscerally that my bones shook and heart moaned when I read it. It is when writer Abby Aguirre says this: Normally I bring a list of questions, but I didnt have time to prepare one, which I make a split-second decision to confess.

A person showed up to interview Rihanna for Vogue without having prepared.

Everyone has different reporting styles. Staying awake at night poring through everything thats ever been written about an interview subject, scripting questions, ordering and reordering them, strategizing, and even pre-planning small talk and icebreakers isnt for everyone. And the writer is candid about the fact that the interview snuck up on her after Rihanna moved the appointment several times.

Would I have still scribbled down an outline, a handful of questions, or some mantras of encouragement before I even put presumed to put pants on for this interview? Yes. But hey, as Rihanna herself says in response, were all winging it, I guess.

The Only Good Thing About Halloween Are My Pumpkins

I do not like Halloween. I do not like people who like Halloween. But cranky as I get anytime someone uses the word spooky or tries to tell me about their costume, there are two traditions I partake in: eating candy cornscrew you, its deliciousand having an absolutely ridiculous jack-o-lantern carved.

I do not know if Brent Heuser, pumpkin carver extraordinaire, is delighted or embarrassed each year when I assign him an uber-gay design to craft during his residency at the High Line Hotel. This year, he carved me a fabulous rendering of Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler during the You Dont Own Me finale of The First Wives Club, which I very much look forward to my boyfriend rolling his eyes at as it rots on our dining room table for the next three weeks.

Last year, he carved me Ryan Phillippes butt scene from Cruel Intentions, a photo of which made its way to the actor himself, who appeared good-naturedly baffled by it.

If Im being honest, it was a tough call to go with The First Wives Club this year over my second choice, Andrew Scott as the Hot Priest cradling a guinea pig in Fleabag. But Brent will be at the High Line Hotel for a few more weeks should any of you be looking for some gourd-eous temporary art.

More Than Goodenough

The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded this year to a man named John B. Goodenough. I read this news on Wednesday and havent stopped laughing since.

What to Watch This Week:

Parasite: Duh!

The Addams Family: Charlize Theron as Morticia Addams? Sure!

Looking for Alaska: Finally, a good teen drama this fall.

What to Skip This Week:

Gemini Man: Will Smith is in this movie and Im not kidding when I say I only found it existed five minutes ago.

Insatiable: I cannot BELIEVE this show is coming back.

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Trump’s right-wing media diet is a factor in the impeachment inquiry

Media

New York (CNN Business)A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

The whistleblower’s complaint says “I do not know why the President associates these servers with Ukraine.”
Well, he must not be an avid consumer of the MAGA media universe.
    As The Daily Beast’s Kevin Poulsen explained here, Trump was “referencing a conspiracy theory pushed by Russian trolls and far-right pundits that imagines the Democratic National Committee fabricating all the evidence in Russia’s 2016 breach of the DNC network.” In other words, it’s a Russia-friendly theory that contradicts all of the U.S. intel community assessments about Russia’s meddling in the election.
    It went “from the depths of 4chan, promoted by Russian media, to the president’s mouth,” BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick wrote.
    This is how the president’s alt-right media diet actively hurts his presidency and the public.

    John Solomon’s contributions

    WaPo’s Philip Bump zeroed in on this point on Thursday. “There’s little indication at this point that Trump’s media diet is anything other than a buffet of conservative television and Internet articles. That diet might just have contributed to the most significant threat Trump’s presidency has seen,” Bump wrote.
    The allegations in the whistleblower complaint “include a significant number of news articles published by a popular conservative opinion columnist for the Hill” — that’s John Solomon, a Fox regular — “articles that the whistleblower seems to think contributed to the fervency of the Trump-Giuliani effort.”
    Bump said it’s clear that “Solomon’s reporting and the stories he helped advance were simultaneously politically useful to Trump and potentially influenced his thinking.” And he pointed out that former chief of staff John Kelly specifically tried to keep these sorts of “unvetted” stories off of Trump’s desk. It doesn’t seem like anyone is trying to do that now…
    → For more on Solomon, WaPo’s Paul Farhi is out with a new story… It says Solomon “has had a long, and occasionally decorated, career as an editor and investigative reporter in Washington, though his more recent work has been trailed by claims that it is biased and lacks rigor…”

    What Trump’s favorite TV shows are telling him

    Right now they’re telling him that he’s a hero. That the Democrats just hate him no matter what. That, as Dan Bongino said, “this was a professional hit on Donald Trump. I have no doubt.” And that, as Mark Meadows told Lou Dobbs, “the president didn’t do anything wrong.” Trump tweeted out three different clips from Dobbs’ show on Thursday… and two clips from Sean Hannity’s show…
    → Gabriel Sherman reported on Thursday that Fox’s Shep Smith was told to stop critiquing Tucker Carlson. A Fox spokesperson denied that management had any direct conversation with Smith. At issue: The question of whether Trump is in legal jeopardy.
    → Oliver Darcy writes: A chyron on Laura Ingraham’s show said ‘Legal Experts: Both Call And Complaint Show No Criminality or Basis for Impeachment.’ Fox’s senior legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said Trump admitted to a crime. Shep Smith has cited other experts who agree. It’s nuts how it has become totally normal for Fox’s biggest stars to totally undermine and contradict the reporting and analysis from their own colleagues…

    NYT’s banner headline on Friday

    The front page says “COMPLAINT ASSERTS A WHITE HOUSE COVER-UP.”
    news
    …And that’s arguably the biggest headline from Thursday: The whistleblower’s allegation that senior White House officials tried to “lock down” a record of Trump’s call, and that other politically sensitive info may have been treated the same way…

    NYT criticized for identifying whistleblower’s workplace

    Who is the whistleblower? Where does he work? What were his motives? Reporters have been chasing these Q’s for more than a week. On Thursday the NYT came out with a story describing the whistleblower as a CIA officer, though not naming him. The paper was widely criticized for sharing the details. The man’s lawyer, Andrew Bakaj, said the report was “reckless, as it can place the individual in harm’s way.” The WSJ later matched the NYT’s reporting.
    Times exec editor Dean Baquet initially defended the reporting this way: “The role of the whistle-blower, including his credibility and his place in the government, is essential to understanding one of the most important issues facing the country — whether the president of the U.S. abused power and whether the W.H. covered it up.”

    Did the W.H. already know where the man worked?

    On Thursday evening, the NYT came out with more: “The White House learned that a C.I.A. officer had lodged allegations against President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine even as the officer’s whistle-blower complaint was moving through a process meant to protect him against reprisals, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.”
    Baquet updated his statement to note, “We also understand that the White House already knew he was a C.I.A. officer.” If that’s the case, it takes some of the heat off the NYT, for sure…

    The LAT’s scoop

    Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times was the first reporter with quotes from Trump’s shocking remarks to a group of diplomatic officials on Thursday. The NYT followed a few minutes later. The LAT was also first with the audio. “When I heard it for the first time today, it just took me aback,” Stokols told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, calling it “casually menacing.”
    → In his remarks, Trump also said “many” reporters are “scum,” a word that he has mostly deployed against MS-13 gang members and other criminals in the past. He also called members of the press “animals” and “some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet.”

    Coming up on Friday…

    — Nancy Pelosi will be on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” at 7:30am…
    — Pelosi and House Dems will be holding a presser on 200 days of “Senate GOP Inaction” at 9:30am…
    — BTW, Friday marks 200 days without an on-camera White House press briefing…

    FOR THE RECORD

    — TIME’s cover this week has Trump painting himself into an orange corner…
    — Greg Miller’s analysis: “The whistleblower has by some measures exceeded in weeks what Mueller accomplished in two years: producing a file so concerning and sound that it singlehandedly set in motion the gears of impeachment.” (WaPo)
    — Lester Holt at the end of “Nightly News” on Thursday: “If history is any guide, this will only get uglier. And louder. And yes, further leach at this country’s political divide. Which makes our collective challenge even more important: To listen. To ask. To examine the facts and demand nothing short of the truth. That’s what we endeavor to do here every night. And will continue to do as this story unfolds…” (Mediaite)
    — Tim Naftali, former director of the Nixon library: “The Whistleblower complaint is from a patriot who understands and fears Abuse of Power. If even 50 % of his fears are accurate, we are in a variation of Nixonland again…” (Twitter)
    — Samantha Storey in praise of the whistleblower’s complaint: “It’s well written. It’s clear. The sentences are easy to read. Its point ― that the president of the United States has undermined America’s democracy ― screams off the page…” (HuffPost)

    McConnell’s silence

    “Sen. Mitch McConnell, who often ignores reporters’ questions but sometimes engages, just ignored three of mine,” CNN’s Manu Raju reported Thursday afternoon. “I asked him if he’s concerned the whistleblower alleged Trump sought help from a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 elections. I asked if he’s concerned that the WH allegedly sought to conceal the president’s conversations And I asked if he has any concerns with Trump asking the Ukraine president to talk [to] Rudy Giuliani.” McConnell “walked in silence…”
    → Related, and the headline of the day, from the WSJ: “Everyone In Washington Is Reading the Whistleblower Complaint — Except Senate Republicans.”

      Romney is not alone, but…

      Jonathan Martin is out with a must-read story about Mitt Romney. He says Romney’s public statements of concern “reflect what many in his party believe privately but are almost uniformly unwilling to say: that they are faced with damning revelations about the president that are difficult to explain away, and are unsure of whether there is more damaging material to come.” This calls to mind what Mike Murphy said on MSNBC the other day: “One Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump.”

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      The Politician, God Help Us, May Be the Future of TV

      NEWSLETTERS
      The Daily Beasts Obsessed
      Everything we cant stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
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      This week:

      • Wrapping our heads around The Politician
      • Living for the J. Lo moment. (J. Loment)
      • Employing our fashion expertise.
      • The best Emmys photos.
      • Wendy Williams has not seen Fleabag.
      The Politician Is a Wild Binge… but Is That Good?

      The Politician, the new Ryan Murphy series that hits Netflix on Friday, is a simple show. A boy named Payton, played by Ben Platt, wants to be class president and, one day, president of the United States.

      Well, theres that. Theres also a bisexual love triangle, a suicide, a staged kidnapping, a murder investigation, Gwyneth Paltrow having an affair with Martina Navratilova, a deaf school principal, a whistleblower with cerebral palsy, a poisoning through cupcakes, a poisoning via BB gun, a staging of the musical Assassins, January Jones as a pill-popping former hooker, a performance of Joni Mitchells The River, a throuple featuring Judith Light, and a ghost mentor/therapist.

      And thats all not to mention Jessica Langes role as a grandmother with Munchausen-by-proxy who poisons her granddaughter and tells her she has cancer.

      That The Politician does SO MUCH is its fatal flaw, because scaled back to its core, to that simple logline, it is legitimately fascinating and provocative. Given the state of the world and the kind of behavior that isnt just excused, but rewardedand given who is, ahem, sitting in the White Housewhat kind of person would want to be a politician? What kind of ambition does that take? What does ambition mean, or require, in 2019? And what about us: What moral compromises are we willing to justify so that we dont have to be leaders ourselves? Its cynical and optimistic in warring ways that feel just about right given the mood of today.

      Its a shame thats essentially drowned in the flood of constant lunacy. Its tonally all over the place. Respective elements of it are intriguing and occasionally fantastic. Platt is a captivating actor, capable of both Election-like camp and emotional rawness in equal measure. The storyline between him and Paltrow, who plays his mother, is remarkably tender, elevated all the more by the Oscar-winners stirring performance. And no one does big comedy with dame-like flair more skillfully than Jessica Lange.

      But that the show doesnt seem to know what it is becomes clearer as the episodes continue and actors whose plot lines never meetlike Paltrow and Langeseem to think they are in entirely different shows. Paltrow is acting with the grounded sincerity of someone on a Murphy show like American Crime Story. Lange is doing broad, satirical work straight out of Glee. The large ensemble falls on the spectrum in between.

      The truly remarkable thing, however, is that for how mixed and meh I feel about the series, I could not be more excited for a Season Two. The standout final episode of the show sets up a Season Two featuring Platt, Light, and Bette Midler. Other critics have wondered why the series didnt just start there.

      And thats what makes this show such a captivating test case. Of the many reasons Im obsessed with the serieshello, did you catch that part about Paltrow and Martina Navratilova?the biggest is that its existence provides a window into what may be the next stage of television, at a time when the medium is in a curious stage of transition.

      The Politician is Ryan Murphys first Netflix series, and he now has a massive $300 million deal with the streamer. The series is the first example of how a slew of celebrated TV auteurs will take advantage of the seemingly free rein and bottomless bank accounts they have access to while transitioning from networks to streaming services. (Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris first shows under their respective, massive Netflix deals have yet to air.)

      With the streaming service apocalypse nighApple TV+, HBO Max, and Disney+, oh my!the ways in which these major names adapt to the new landscape is fascinating in its own right. And with The Politician especially, imperfect as it is, every decision, from the casting to the camera work to the tone and the themes merit dissection. From that standpoint, the show is as addicting as series get; its interesting to see what Murphy produces when the intention is to binge.

      Is messy the new norm? Will people watch anyway? With so much content racing toward us, and as expensive and expensive-looking as that content is, is a series mere ambition and the promise of an interesting season two enough to merit endorsement? In the case of The Politician, were surprising even ourselves by voting yes.

      The Jennifer Lopezaissance Is Here and Its Real

      I cannot express to you how thrilling the Jennifer Lopez MOMENT we are having is for me. Her accolades for Hustlers? As moving to me as when I met my baby nephews for the first time. That she could win an Oscar? Sweet, sweet vindication for someone who loved every batshit second of The Boy Next Door and watched it twice in theaters, accounting for two of the three film screenings I bought tickets to that year. That, somehow, the news about her has somehow gotten even more exciting? I could cry.

      First came the iconic moment that was her walking the runway at a Versace show in Milan in a replica of the jungle-print gown she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. It wasnt even that she looked so jaw-droppingly stunning in the dress, at age 50, or that she had the showbiz wisdom to celebrate the anniversary in that way. Its the way she wore it. (Watch it here.)

      What I cant stop swooning over in the video is that not only did she wear the dress, but she also worked the runway like that. She didnt just come out with a knowing smile and wave at the audience while teetering around getting applause. She treated that runway walk like a job. Perfection.

      And if you think Im being histrionic about any of this, well, gird your loins, babe, youre not ready for my ecstatic mania over the news that Lopez will be performing the Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside Shakira. That is how you book a show, football people in charge of such things, whoever you are. I am not overselling it when I say that Lopez ranks among the most dynamic live performers in the business, whatever you may think about her music. (Want proof? Watch this video.)

      That this will be taking place two days before Oscars voting ends is just *chefs kiss* magnificent. When her Best Supporting Actress competition is out shaking hands and answering bland questions at screening Q&As, Lopez will be setting the stage on fire on the biggest entertainment event of the year. Will such a blazing reminder of her breadth of talents win her an Oscar? Well, it wont hurt

      Best Dressed at the Emmys!

      I am not a fashion reporter, know nothing about labels and designers, and abjectly have no sense of style. But I am gay!!! So take it with that authority that I pronounce Mandy Moores red-carpet look at this years Emmys to be Best Dressed. I love it! She looks great! Sexy high-fashion first lady is a sensational look on her. Good for you, Mandy!

      Speaking of the Emmys

      The combination of these two photos taken after Fleabag swept the night, the first of creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the second of co-star Andrew Scott partying with A Very English Scandal winner Ben Whishaw, just about killed me.

      And Speaking of Fleabag

      Wendy Williams does not know what that is. Hey, not everyone has Amazon Prime. I dont know why, but this video makes me laugh so much. (Watch it here.)

      What to watch this week:

      Judy: What Rene Zellweger does in this film is astonishing.

      Sorry for Your Loss: I bet you didnt know Facebook had an original series, or that its this good.

      Abominable: It looks cute!

      Transparent Musicale Finale: Judith Light sings a song called Your Boundary Is My Trigger. Out of its mind.

      What to skip this week:

      Transparent Musicale Finale: On the other hand, sometimes out of its mind is just out of its mind.

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      The Emmy Awards Reflected TVs Future, While The Show Was Stuck In The Past

      Watching Sunday night’s Emmy Awards was a roller coaster. At times, it was exhilarating, with a string of history-making and surprising wins, especially the unexpected dominance of “Fleabag” over presumed front-runner “Veep” in the comedy categories. Yet it was also stomach-turning, with a series of questionable and downright embarrassing moments to fill the hostless ceremony, far less successful than the similarly hostless Oscars earlier this year.

      The dissonance between the Emmy awards and the show itself perhaps reflects TV’s broader existential crisis. So many of the night’s wins felt like they were embracing the future of television, honoring diverse performers and creators, and heralding shows that swing for the fences and reinvent the form. But the awards ceremony itself, overstuffed with worn-out bits and interminable montages, was a formulaic relic of the past.

      The biggest narrative of the night was the series of surprise wins for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag.” “Veep,” a perennial Emmy favorite, failed to receive what had been expected to be a coronation after the end of its seven-season run.

      But it was “Fleabag” that prevailed. In addition to its anticipated win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, it took home several surprise trophies, including Outstanding Comedy Series.

      Based on Waller-Bridge’s one-woman play, the Amazon Prime and BBC sitcom is a seamless blend of tragedy and comedy, punctuated by Waller-Bridge’s signature fourth-wall breaks. Told from an unabashedly feminist perspective, the show dares to make jokes about otherwise taboo topics like miscarriages, while also serving as a powerful meditation on grief, loneliness and uncertainty. “Fleabag” is among a number of inventive comedies, many of them created by women and people of color, that infuse their creator’s singular vision.

      news

      Phoebe Waller-Bridge poses with the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series for “Fleabag” during the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019. 

      On the drama side, Jodie Comer won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for “Killing Eve,” also created by Waller-Bridge. The BBC America drama, about the cat-and-mouse game between MI6 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and assassin Villanelle, recenters the male-dominated genre of crime thrillers, telling it from the female gaze.

      The divisive “Bandersnatch,” the create-your-own-adventure episode of Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” which won for Outstanding Television Movie, also marked a new frontier for TV. Netflix is developing similar shows employing the format, including a forthcoming interactive special of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Other streaming platforms are also looking to adopt the formula.

      Netflix ended the night with 27 Emmys, while Amazon won 15, increasing the dominance of streaming platforms at the Emmys.

      Several history-making winners gave Sunday night’s ceremony some of its most memorable moments. “When They See Us” star Jharrel Jerome became the first Afro Latino performer to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, giving a poignant speech honoring the show’s subjects. Created by powerhouse director Ava DuVernay, the limited series is a searing and humanizing portrayal of the wrongfully convicted teenagers of color formerly known as the Central Park Five. Now, thanks to the series, the men are known as the Exonerated Five.

      “Pose” star Billy Porter became the first openly gay Black man to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, for Ryan Murphy’s FX series, one of the first mainstream shows to center transgender people of color. The series contains the largest recurring LGBTQ cast of any scripted show ever.

      news

      LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: Billy Porter attends the The 71st Emmy Awards- Press Room at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

      “I am so overwhelmed, and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day. James Baldwin said, ‘It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I had been taught about myself and halfway believe before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here,’” Porter said in his rousing acceptance speech. “I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right.”

      The jubilant and poignant victories felt like they came from a TV universe separate from the ceremony itself. Aside from a few memorable presenter pairings (get Catherine O’Hara and Amy Poehler their own show, immediately), the awards show was a mess from the very beginning.

      news

      Amy Poehler and Catherine O’Hara speak onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. 

      There was a head-scratching introduction, with Anthony Anderson “saving” the show by enlisting Bryan Cranston to wax poetic about the power of television. There was montage after montage, including a bizarre “in memoriam”-like segment for shows that ended this year. The moment felt like an afterthought, playing second fiddle to segments that honored the series finales of “Veep” and “Game of Thrones.”

      Most befuddling of all, there was the official “announcer,” actor and comedian Thomas Lennon, who doled out a series of embarrassing and stale punchlines, awkwardly providing transitions before and after commercial breaks. At one point, he seemed to acknowledge the absurdity of the gig, giving up midway through another cringeworthy line.

      “Are the Emmys woke?” he began. “Or is that just something that was — this is why people don’t do this, because it sucks.”

      In an earlier bit, presenters Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel jokingly lamented the show’s lack of a host, and seemed to acknowledge that the formulaic role usually goes to white men like themselves.  

      “You know who the real victims are here? It’s us. This show sucks. It’s just sad. Hosting is the only thing we know how to do,” Colbert said. “Without a host, who would read the words, ‘You know my next guest from the hit series “NCIS: New Orleans”?’”

      “The next thing you know, they’ll start using Alexa to present the nominees,” Colbert joked, before the voice of the Amazon device announced Waller-Bridge as the winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

      The idea that future awards shows might be hosted by a robot is certainly extreme. But it serves as an acknowledgment that the Emmys, unlike their winners, are stuck in the past. Next year, the show should try to reflect the diversity and forward-thinking inventiveness of the winners, instead of doing them and the TV audience a disservice with a soulless slog of an evening.

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      The Five Distinct Levels of Donald Trump Ass-Kissing, Explained

      The last three years have taught us that Donald Trump enjoys sycophancy as few presidents have. As Carlos Lozada wrote in The Washington Post, Some are born Trump sycophants. Some achieve Trump sycophancy. And some have Trump sycophancy thrust upon themsince hes a star, they let him do that.

      Married to his love of having his boots licked, Trump has an obsession with propaganda that feels more than a little fascistic, and the Republican Party has largely obliged by sucking up to Trump in the way he longs for. Everyone from the supposedly wonkish Paul Ryan to the formerly brave iconoclast Lindsey Graham has eventually kneeled down to kiss the ringamong other things. Monday was an especially big day in Trump sycophancy because Tom Cotton, a young Republican senator considered the future of the GOP, went to die on the Greenland is just a smart purchase hill, arguing that the former reality television host was crazy like a fox.

      It was proof positive that Trump can say anything and members of the GOP will back him up. But there are shades and nuances. Through hours of interneting, I have divined the different circles of Trumpian sycophancy. The guide for Trumps propagandists is Dantes Inferno. Each successive level plummets deeper into the abyss of suck-up-ery. There are nine levels in Dantes Inferno, but only five in Trumps, because in the age of Twitter we have much shorter attention spans than people did in the 14th century.

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      American Crime Story drama

      Latest series of the US hit show will recount the former White House interns affair with the then president that led to his impeachment in 1998

      America

      Monica Lewinsky is among the producers on a new series of American Crime Story focusing on the Bill Clinton sex scandal.

      Titled Impeachment: American Crime Story, the Ryan Murphy-helmed anthology drama will recount the notorious affair between the then US president Clinton and former White House intern Lewinsky, and the subsequent impeachment proceedings called against him by the US House of Representatives.

      Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein will star as Lewinsky, with Sarah Paulson playing Linda Tripp, the civil servant who secretly recorded phone calls the 22-year-old made about her affair with Clinton, who was 27 years her senior.

      The series will premiere in September 2020 in the US, and is expected to air in the UK soon after. The previous two series of American Crime Story have been shown on BBC Two in the UK, as part of the broadcasters syndication deal with the US.

      Impeachment has been adapted by Murphy from Jeffrey Toobins book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Murphy originally optioned the book in 2017, but shelved plans to bring it to TV last year as he felt that such a project would be gross without the contribution of Lewinsky.

      However, with Lewinskys involvement, Impeachment is now going ahead. In a statement to Vanity Fair, she said that she had been hesitant to sign on to the series, but was swayed by the opportunity to reclaim my narrative.

      People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades, Lewinsky said. In fact, it wasnt until the past few years that Ive been able to fully reclaim my narrative, almost 20 years later.

      This isnt just a me problem. Powerful people, often men, take advantage of those subordinate to them in myriad ways all the time. Many people will see this as such a story and for that reason, this narrative is one that is, regretfully, evergreen.

      FX chairman John Landgraf said that the network would not be reaching out to Bill and Hillary Clinton for their input.

      The Clinton scandal has been the subject of renewed public interest in recent years, following the rise of the #MeToo movement and calls for the impeachment of current US president Donald Trump. Last year, Lewinsky contributed to docuseries The Clinton Affair, while the subject also formed the basis of the second season of popular current affairs podcast Slow Burn.

      American Crime Story has attracted critical acclaim and high ratings for its retellings of landmark events in recent US history. Its first season, 2016s The People Vs OJ Simpson, won a total of nine Emmy awards for its account of the 1994 murder case against former American Football player and actor OJ Simpson.

      The drama went on to win a further three Emmys in 2018 for its second season, which recalled the 1997 murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. A further series, about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, had been in production but was scrapped by FX last year.

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