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Matt Lauer Fired Over Sexual Harassment Allegation

Matt Lauer is the latest to topple. An allegation was made against him Monday Night, and today he is fired.

“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

Variety has the raunchy details from the multiple women accusing him of sexual harassment.

These accounts of Lauer’s behavior at NBC are the result of a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with current and former staffers. Variety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, and their stories have been corroborated by friends or colleagues that they told at the time. They have asked for now to remain unnamed, fearing professional repercussions.

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NYT Reporter Falls: Where is the Investigation of Trump?

Glenn Thrush has been suspended from the New York Times and will be entering an in-patient alcohol treatment program, following a Vox expose of his conduct with young female reporters. The report has copies of text messages between Glenn and one of the women.

I'd like to see the reporters focus on the allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against Donald Trump over the years. Trump, like the carnival barker he is at heart, just yells "Clinton" when the topic is raised, knowing it will deflect attention. Clinton is not sitting in the Oval Office or any public office. What he did or didn't do 25 years ago is a public record, was examined in depth at a House and Senate impeachment trial, in the Paula Jones lawsuit and more. Trump (and his Clinton-hating supporters) conveniently fail to mention that Monica Lewinsky, according to her public statements, engaged in a consensual relationship.

Glenn Thrush allegedly made unwanted sexual advances -- several women have made the same allegations against Trump. Thrush's accusers believed he was in a position to help their careers, and therefore his unwanted overtures were sexual harassment. Trump's accusers claim he used his position of power and wealth to make unwanted advances against them. Clinton is different, he used his position of power to engage in a consensual relationship. [More...]

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Donna Brazile: Fact, Fiction, Bias or Fantasy?

Donna Brazile has a major fact problem with her bizarre claim Hillary rigged the primaries. It's called evidence. The contract she refers to as support for her claim actually refutes it. Her claim, according to the Washington Post:

Brazile also details how Clinton effectively took control of the DNC in August 2015, before the primaries began, with a joint fundraising agreement between the party and the Clinton campaign. She said the deal gave Clinton control over the DNC’s finances, strategy and staff decisions — disadvantaging other candidates, including Sanders. “This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity,” she writes.

Here's the document, obtained by NBC News. It specifically applies to the general election, not the primaries.


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Senor de Los Cielos 5: The Finale

Note: No one has the time or the interest to read a post this long about a TV show in a foreign language. I've written it more for posterity than for reading enjoyment. Janis Joplin once joked that "Mercedes Benz" was a song with "great social and political import." Joking aside, that's how I feel about well-done narco-dramas, and Senor de los Cielos in particular. Yes, it's a fictionalized account of the life of a real life trafficker, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, and his family and loves, with exaggerated characters and events. But, unlike a Mercedes Benz, there are glimpses of political and social realities in the stories that I think give them a greater meaning. Also, I think many of the actors' performances, which take months to film, and the high production quality, deserve greater attention.

So don't feel like you have to read the whole thing, or any of it. It's enough that someone somewhere, googling for information about the show or its actors, will eventually come across it.

Update (recap and spoiler alert): By now anyone who is interested in Senor de los Cielos 5 has seen the finale or read what happens. It was good, and the best part is, there is going to be a Season 6. Here are 31 photos with captions from Telemundo, showing what happens in the finale. [More...]

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Trump Jr. Gets $100k to Speak at Texas University

Donald Trump got a $100k fee to speak at a state university lecture. The school says private donors paid Trump Jr.'s speaking fee.

The event was sponsored by private donors, such as Ryan LLC...Trump's $100,000 speaking fee is coming from a tax advisory firm owned by Ryan, according to UNT. Ryan used political and business connections to land the real estate executive as a speaker.
Who paid to rent the AT&T auditorium it was held at?

The article says he promoted his father's "nationalism" message. Did he have an original thought of his own to share? Never mind, I couldn't care less.

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Bill O'Reilly's $32 Million Settlement

Bill O'Reilly has just been dumped by his talent agency, following the disclosure by the New York Times that he settled a sexual harassment claim by Fox Legal analyst Lis Wiehl for $32 million.

Here's the affidavit she signed.

"I would no longer make the allegations contained in the draft complaint," she wrote.

It's clear from that statement that her lawyers sent O'Reilly a draft of the complaint she intended to file in court. Was she also going to sue Fox? I suspect the answer is yes, because the affidavit also refers to her settling her claims against Fox. I wonder what Fox agreed to pay her.

Lis is a long time acquaintance of mine and I have a great deal of respect for her -- professionally, personally and ethically. We used to spend time together in New York. She was already O'Reilly's radio co-host, and while my impression was she found it difficult to work with him and didn't look forward to it, I don't recall ever discussing any specifics with her. So I have no first-hand information. [More...]

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Trump Adviser to Bail Out Weinstein's Company

Colony Capital, owned by Trump adviser Thomas J. Barrack Jr., has agreed to bail out Harvey Weinstein's company, providing an immediate cash infusion and then buying most if not all of the assets.

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Donna Karan's Unfortunate Comments on Weinstein

Here is the video of the Sunday night red carpet interview of Donna Karan about Harvey Weinstein. Karan says her remarks about Weinstein and women's accountability for how they present themselves were taken out of context.

Twitter is filled with tweets by outraged women saying they will throw out their DKNY and Donna Karan clothes and boycott the brands. And while she may have well just killed the brands with her Weinstein comments, she no longer owns them. She sold them to LVMH in 2001 (yes, that long ago) and stepped down as a designer for the companies in 2015. (Here's a 2015 interview with Karan on why she sold them.) Nor are DKNY or Donna Karan International still owned by LVMH Fashion Group.

In 2016, LVMH sold them to G-III Apparel Group. What is G-III? The American licensing and manufacturing company that holds the license to Ivanka Trump's clothing line. Boycott away. [More...]

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Thursday News and Open Thread

The New York Times has released an extensive report with sexual harassment allegations against media honcho Harvey Weinstein. He has taken a temporary leave.

The New Yorker reports that Donald Jr. and Ivanka were facing a possible Indictment in New York.

ISIS is still claiming responsibility for Las Vegas. No one is listening to them.

I've been reading everything on the Las Vegas shooter, his girlfriend and her family here, in Australia and in the Philippines, ISIS claims about it, and even the Manila casino massacre in June, one of ISIS' few false claims.

There's obviously something missing, nothing adds up, and once I have a theory that makes sense, I'll write about it. One interview I don't see mentioned much is this one in the Guardian by the former partner of Marilou's sister, who spent time in Nevada with the couple. He describes Paddock's views on guns and his algorithms for gambling.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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RIP Tom Petty

September 21, 2017(11 days ago) at the Hollywood Bowl:

Update: 10:20 pm MT: After a day of contradictory reports, Tom Petty's manager confirmed a few minutes ago that he has passed away.

Original Post

I can't believe it. Tom Petty has died after a sudden cardiac arrest.

RIP Tom, and thank you for the decades of fabulous music. You will be missed. [More...]

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"Made in America": Barry Seal is No Biopic

I've been looking forward to the reviews of "Made in America" which opens Friday, starring Tom Cruise as real life cartel pilot Barry Seal. Most reviews says it's fun, typical Cruise, light-hearted and bears little resemblance to the real life events surrounding Seal. The director says they didn't want to do a biopic.

In real life: Barry Seal was gunned down in a parking lot outside the Salvation Army half-way house in Louisiana he'd been ordered to stay at during his probation in a federal case, when a car drove up with two men and shot and killed him. The U.S. insists it was a cartel hit. Others say it was ordered by the CIA. The truth will probably never be known.

The director of the movie is the son of the lawyer who was chief counsel for the Senate in the Iran Contra investigation. In an interview, the director acknowledges that He says he ordered the screenwriter to change a part of the script about Seal, drugs and the CIA, because his father maintained there was no such connection. connection.

There were things in the original script that contradicted my father's work. ... The screenwriter had in the original script some allegations about the CIA's actions that I checked with my father's deputies, and they said my father had actually looked into those allegations and they weren't true. They weren't in my father's reporting anywhere because my father actually found them to be so unsubstantiated that he didn't even want to bring them up to disavow them and give them that kind of credibility. ...I said we have to take it out of the script.

And the screenwriter was arguing back, and I was like, 'This is almost Shakespearean! You're asking me to put something in a movie that goes against my dead father's work.' You're never going to win that fight!

I wonder what the movie would have been like if Ron Howard hadn't bailed. He had initially signed on to the project when it was called "Mena", after the town in Arkansas where Seal flew a lot of drugs.

Here is the story of Barry Seal, according to a Louisiana state appeals court, in a 1991 opinion upholding the murder convictions of three men tried for killing him. [More...]

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Jury Finds Former DJ Mueller Assaulted Taylor Swift

Update: It's a home run for Taylor Swift. The Jury found former DJ David Mueller intentionally assaulted Swift and that her mother and music director did not interfere with his contract. He was ordered to pay Swift $1.00. Swift's statement:
"I want to thank Judge William J. Martinez and the jury for their careful consideration, my attorneys Doug Baldridge, Danielle Foley, Jay Schaudies and Katie Wright for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault, and especially anyone who offered their support throughout this four-year ordeal and two-year long trial process," Swift said in a statement.

"I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves."


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Taylor Swift Victorious in Groping Trial, Her Mom and Bell Not Yet

Bump and Update: Taylor Swift emerged victorious yesterday when the Judge in her trial issued his order on the Rule 50 motion described below.

I received this email from Clerk of Court who sent it to everyone on the approved media list:

When the case goes to the jury on Monday; it will go forward on the tortious interference with contract claims against defendants Andrea Swift and Frank Bell; any damages for the plaintiff will be limited to plaintiff's 2-year employment contract; and the defendant's counterclaims will go forward. In other words, none of the claims against defendant, Taylor Swift, survived the defendant's Rule 50 motion.

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Taylor Swift "Groping Trial" Underway

Is this photo "damning proof" fired Denver DJ David Mueller groped Taylor Swift, or does it capture an awkward point when David Mueller scrambled to get into a photo with Taylor Swift and his girlfriend at the last minute?

That question will occupy 9 days of federal court time in Denver this month. Jury selection began yesterday, was completed today, and lawyers made their opening arguments to the 8 jurors selected. Who made the jury? [More...]

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Media Coverage of Republican Health Care Fail

Most mistakes in one article I've seen yet on the health care vote: NBC News. I suspect it will be gone by morning, so I printed and uploaded it. How did they even release it? It seems like it was written before the vote by someone who was convinced the Republicans would succeed:

Senate Republicans narrowly passed their pared-down amendment of an Obamacare repeal bill at 1:00 a.m. Friday morning, less than three hours after the text of the legislation was released.

Update: I was right. NBC has already replaced the article with this version by the same reporter.

Some better coverage with interesting details:

Reuters on McCain's apparently last minute decision to vote against the bill: [More...]

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