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Dominican Newspaper Posts Photo of Baldwin as Trump

Too funny. El Nacional, a newspaper in the Dominican Republic carried an article on Donald Trump and Israel. But it mistakenly posted a photo of Alec Baldwin as Trump, next to a correct photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The paper has now issued a correction.

So will Trump add the Dominican Republic to his ban? Probably not, since Eric Trump just visited there last week, and may plan to relaunch a long ago stalled business project there called Cap Cana (that ended in lawsuits.)

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Sears and K-Mart Remove Ivanka Trump Merchandise

Ivanka Trump merchandise will no longer be available to purchase online by Sears and KMart, due to lagging sales.

“As part of the company’s initiative to optimize its online product assortment, we constantly refine that assortment to focus on our most profitable items … Amid that streamlining effort, 31 Trump Home items were among the items removed online this week,” spokesperson Brian Hanover announced.

Thank you Sears and KMart. (They don't carry Trump branded items in their stores.)

The WSJ reports that sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise started slumping big time weeks before the election. Nordstrom's denies giving its sales data to the WSJ. [More...]

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Ivanka Trump Brand Boycott Grows

#GrabYourWallet is working. After Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, TJ Maxx has decided to disassociate from the Ivanka Trump brand. Her father's tweet against Nordstrom didn't hurt Nordstrom, it's stock is slightly up today.

So where can you now find Ivanka's merchandise? According to AV Club, on EBay and in bargain bins.

Trump's actions are taking a toll on the Trump brand.

For more, go to GrabYourWallet. The companies on the left column (in green) are safe to shop at.

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Oscar Nominations Revealed

This year's Oscar nominations are out. The New York Times has the surprises and snubs. The nominations are much more diverse than last year.

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Extreme Over-Reaction to Katie Rich's Tweet

You'd never know it from the news headlines, but as the San Francisco Chronicle reports, there are people supporting SNL's Katie Rich, who tweeted a joke about Barron Trump, deleted it and got suspended by NBC, notwithstanding her profusive apology.

The Chronicle reports supporters can be found at the new #KeepKatieRich hashtag on Twitter, where many point out that Donald Trump posts worse things about people every 30 minutes.

There are legitimate topics to discuss about Trump's children, including 10 year old Barron, that affect us all -- like how much extra it's going to cost taxpayers to provide continuing security for him and his mother in New York while Trump is living in the White House so the child doesn't have to be inconvenienced by changing schools in the middle of the school year. This isn't a second residence, which most Presidents have had, but dual residency. While they have the right to decide where they sleep, Trump should be footing that bill, not us. [More...]

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SNL On Trump Inaugural

Don't miss SNL's cold open (Vladimir Putin on Trump's inauguration) and the opening monologue by guest host Aziz Ansari excoriating racism and bigotry against immigrants by Trump supporters, whom he calls the “lowercase k.k.k." Both are terrific.

Fast forward through the skit called "Conway" -- it's as lame as the person it's named for. What a waste of air time. Ansari said all that needed to be said about her when he said her inaugural outfit made him wonder if she was moonlighting as a doorman at FAO Schwarz.

Weekend update was also very funny. Video below: [More...]

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Turkey's Best Asset: #SaltBae

Turkey has the hottest, most sensual butcher, chef/restaurateur ever. His name is Nusret Gökçe, and his Instagram videos have now gone viral. Bruno Mars posted a photo of them together last week. Then James Corden did the hilarious clip above, which pretty much sums him up. He's been dubbed #SaltBae on Twitter (reflecting his signature move with salting meat.) Here's his Twitter page. You can scroll also through his posted Instagram photos and videos. He now has a million and a half Instagram followers and Corden's clip has been seen more than 1 million times.

He's been prominent in Turkey and Dubai for a while -- he and his partners own a chain of steakhouses called Nusret ET with restaurants in Istanbul and other places in Turkey, and in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. (The resturants' instagram account adds "soon the world.")[More...]

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SNL Cold Open and Open Thread

Alec Baldwin has so many funny lines and faces in last night's SNL cold open. Enjoy.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Golden Globes Tonight

Update: Thank you, Meryl Streep. You made the entire 3 hour show worth watching. In accepting a lifetime achievement award, she blasted Donald Trump for his positions of foreigners, Hollywood, the press and especially the disabled, without ever mentioning his name. She called on the foreign press to support the Committee to Protect Journalists and hold Government accountable. The audience cheered her. If you get a chance to watch her speech, please do.

“You and all of us in this room belong to the most vilified segments of America right now: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press,” she said, with a hoarse voice, as the crowd roared.

....“Hollywood is crawling with foreigners and if you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

...Slamming Trump without actually naming him, she said “disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence,” after recalling an incident in which the now-president-elect in November appeared to mock the appearance of a New York Times reporter with a physical disability. “When the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose,” she added


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China Gets a New Media Network

For some reason, China has always been more interesting to me than Russia -- maybe because I've been there twice. In any event, while almost everyone is writing about Russia, a new media network has launched in China -- in English -- that I think is really good. It's called the China Global Television Network, or CGTN, and it launched New Years Day, replacing what was called CCTV.

CGTN will be a multi-language and multi-platform media grouping. It will consist of six TV channels, a video content provider and a digital media division.

China's President wishes them well:

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his congratulations during the opening ceremony held at the CGTN headquarters in Beijing on Saturday. Xi said that the relationship between China and the world is changing, adding that China needs to better understand the world, and the world needs to better understand China.

Here's more about who they are and their goals. I've been reading their news articles at their global site CGTN and at CGTN America and following two of their Twitter feeds (CGTN_America and CGTN )since New Year's. Their articles are well-written (and news and commentary are very distinct), their photos are terrific, and best of all, even though it's a a video network, there's no auto-play video. So far, the photos seem to link to text articles, not the video versions. It's easy to follow, well-organized, and the site is very uncluttered. It also loads quickly. [More...]

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New Years Musical Hits and Fumbles

I didn't see any of last night's TV performances live, but judging from the videos and news reports, Gloria Estefan and the cast of On Your Feet (a Broadway musical about her and her husband Emilio Estefan) put on a terrific show, while Mariah Carey just imploded.

I especially liked Ektor Rivera's booming voice (see at 3'45" in) and Ana Villafañe, and the child dancers. Gloria still has her powerful voice, and they were obviously not lip-syncing.

So what happened to Mariah Carey? Here's the video. [More...]

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R.I.P. Debbie Reynolds

Very sad. One day after Carrie Fisher died, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, had a stroke and died this afternoon at the hospital. She was 84.

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Wednesday Night TV Thread

The third most watched cable channel in the U.S. is HGTV. Only ESPN and Fox News have more viewers. It even beats CNN.

Why? Apparently, the HGTV shows are happy shows, that allow people to escape the real world. And that's what viewers (including me) want.

The escapist appeal of looking at other people’s beautiful homes turned Home & Garden Television into the third most-watched cable network in 2016, ahead of CNN and behind only Fox News and ESPN. Riding HGTV’s reality shows, parent company Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. has seen its shares rise more than 30 percent this year, outperforming bigger rivals like Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc. and Viacom Inc.


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SNL: Walter White Will Head the DEA

The cold open for Saturday Night Live mocked Trump's cabinet picks. Skip past the beginning with Trump's campaign manager and go right to Bryan Cranston (1 min. 30 sec) playing Walter White, Donald Trump's pick to lead the DEA.

It's time to Make America Cook Again.

We want to fill this nation with red, white and a whole lot of blue....

Live From NY....

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Oakland: It Justs Keeps Getting Sadder

The death toll in the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire has now reached at least 36.

The Daily Mail has photos and stories about some of those who lost their lives.

A criminal investigation is underway. All of SFist's coverage is here.

Here's a profile of the master tenant and his wife. Here's some information about how heavily the event was promoted. An interesting interview with the master tenants' "nanny" about how they lived is here.

Ghost Ship's Tumblr feed has some really large and detailed photos of the interior and posters for prior parties.

The fire is believed to have begun on the first floor in the back of the structure, where residents lived, underneath where the party was being held. While the cause is not known, there is a lot of speculation it is electrical-related. According to one tenant who was sleeping and made it out alive, the fire started in a room where the occupants had just hooked up a refrigerator. Electricity frequently went on and off in the building.

More bodies are expected to be recovered.

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