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Schwarzenegger Blames Trump for Celebrity Apprentice Sagging Ratings

Arnold Schwarzenegger has had enough. He has told NBC he will not returng for another season of New Celebrity Apprentice, should the network renew the show. Ratings were low, for which he blames Donald Trump:

“With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show,” Schwarzenegger said in that interview. “It’s a very divisive period now, and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”

He made it clear the show was not to blame:

“Everyone — from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department — was a straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage.”


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The UnSpeech

Update: If, like me, you intentionally skipped Trump's speech, here's a worthwhile recap.

Trump launched his campaign with lies—slandering Mexicans as rapists and criminals—and has continued to lie ever since. The only variation is the degree of cruelty with which he delivers his propaganda.

...Every autocrat flirts with benevolence, promoting themselves as the sole protector against threats, the strongman who remembers “the forgotten people.” Trump is actually worse at this game than most authoritarian leaders due to his erratic temperament, leak-prone staff, and combative relationship with the US press.

...But there is only one winner in an autocratic state: the autocrat and his lackeys. Citizens function as pawns and props, conned into complicity until their regret carries no weight. The US currently has an authoritarian-leaning government but is not yet an authoritarian regime, due in large part to the constant vigilance and pushback of citizens. If you seek to stop the slide into authoritarianism, do not let yourself get played.


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Oscars Time: "This is Not a Joke"

Update: Steve Harvey must be delighted he's not the only one to blow the announcement of a winner at an awards show. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway just joined the club. They announced the wrong winner for Best Picture. How did it happen? According to a 2016 LA Times interview:

"In an undisclosed location, the partners tabulate votes and stuff two sets of winning envelopes, partly as another security measure and also to aid the show's flow. Stationed with their signature briefcases on opposite sides of the stage, either [PricewaterhouseCoopers partners, Brian] Cullinan or [Martha] Ruiz can dispense envelopes to presenters. At the end of the evening, each accountant will have given out about half of the envelopes.

Another version is here. That would mean the blame would lay with PriceWaterhouse, who dispense the envelopes and bring duplicates on purpose. Here's what I saw, watching it live and re-watching once: [More...]

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Milo Y. Loses Book Deal, Gets Canned from Conservative Conference

I don't know who Milo Y. is, but apparently he is with Breitbart News (which I never read.) Some old video of his that has popped up and is recirculating is apparently bad enough that Simon and Schuster has canceled his book deal and CPAC has canceled his speaking invitation.

What did he do in the video?

[He]criticiz[ed] age-of-consent laws and joking about a teenage sexual encounter he had with a Catholic priest.

I'm not sure why anyone cares about this guy, but apparently those who do think he endorsed ped*philia. He denies it (on his Facebook page which I haven't looked at). The Post repeats his comments:[More...]

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Grammys Tonight with James Corden Hosting

The Grammys' red carpet starts here in 30 minutes. I'm sure it's already streaming online, but as usual, the online websites are so disorganized, cluttered and slow, I'm not bothering. I'll wait to watch the condensed version on live TV.

The Grammy Awards website says there are 59 reasons to watch. I can think of one (besides the musical performances): James Corden is hosting.

Esquire has a new feature profile on James in its March issue, which you can read now here.

This thread is for the Grammys (not an open thread.) [More...]

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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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