There were high hopes at the beginning of the Trump Administration that we’d elected a bumblefuck who didn’t know how to do his job. That way, smarter people could do it for him. The right seemed to understand this; there was Steve Bannon calling him a “blunt instrument” during the campaign, and then there were the…
While Sean Spicer (and Sarah Huckabee) have never been all that forthcoming during their White House Press briefings to begin with, they were at least a regular occurrence in the opening months of the Trump Administration, and often a source of consternation for the White House. Sean Spicer stuck his foot in his mouth so frequently that rumors of his firing began on his first day and never really died down. As Trump began to contradict Spicer and Huckabee on Twitter, however, those press briefings have become fewer and more far between, especially following his foreign trip. When they did happen, they were shorter, and Sean Spicer usually had little more than the same non-answers: «I don’t know,» «I haven’t spoken to the President about that,» «I’ll have to get back to you on that.»
Lately, however, the press briefings are practically nonexistent, and when they do happen, they are often reduced to off-camera gaggles.
Today CNN’s White House Correspondent finally blew up. «I don’t know why everyone is going along with this,» Acosta exclaimed on CNN earlier today, expressing his frustrations with a White House that is stonewalling the Fourth Estate. «It just doesn’t make any sense to me. It feels like we’re slowly but surely being dragged into a new normal in this country where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions.»
There’s currently an enticing job listing over in the Scottish Borders for a family who needs a nanny. The pay is over $ 63,000 a year, the kids are five and seven years old, and you’d get to live on a beautiful historic property that is absolutely, insanely haunted.
I love my Amazon Prime account. I love the «free» two day shipping. Amazon made my favorite show of the year. I love my Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick. I like my Amazon Echo a whole bunch. The new Amazon Look terrifies me.
So, what is the Amazon Echo Look?
Warning: the first girl’s voice asking Alexa if it’s going to rain is weirdly jarring. Also, just laying around on couches asking robots if it’s going to rain later is absolutely a key step to us becoming this:
That said, here’s their pitch:
So, in short, it’s a standing, voice activated camera. You put on an outfit that you’re thinking of wearing and tell the Amazon AI, named Alexa, to snap a picture of you. You can try on multiple outfits, have Alexa take pictures of you in all of them, and then use Amazon’s style guide to help you choose the best one based on current fashion trends.
You can also check the Amazon Echo Look camera to see how you appear from behind. Just stand in front of it and check out how you look using the Alexa app on your phone. Oh! That’s how my ass looks!
The legal documents I accept without reading are what concern me. Because yes, I have an Amazon Echo, (Just the regular canister kind, not the video kind that a Macedonian hacker overpowers and jerks off to), and in so many ways it’s great. My stellar reviews of it actually convinced both Dustin and Seth to get one. But the thing that kind of irks me is that it’s always on…just sitting there…listening.
Yes, it’s listening for its name to be called, theoretically. For you or some member of your family to say «Amazon» or «Alexa» depending on which wake word you chose, but it also keeps an audio record of your requests, ostensibly to improve its voice recognition capability, but c’mon.
That’s not how I’d parent, but that’s just me.
Oh FUCK OFF Alexa. If that is your real name.
Anything — and I mean ANYTHING that has human beings associated with it is going to have some corruption. You think there are no Amazon interns randomly parsing data? You think that Amazon is so noble that they don’t randomly just pull sounds from your home and chock it up as an audio pilot exercise?
I mean, I hope they don’t, but…c’mon.
It’s why we ended up disconnecting our Xbox Kinect. First because the games for it were largely worthless, but second because why would we ever have a fucking CAMERA pointed into our living room?
But it’s not on.
Yes, it is.
No, really, there’s a little light that goes on if it’s on.
So, you couldn’t hack your way around that?
I mean, maybe, but-
And at no time has any Microsoft employee improperly accessed anyone’s camera?
Well, I can’t know-
Right, none of us can. But what do you think? Is there any clause inside any of the many many many irritating contracts we click to get them the hell out of the way that maybe says that Xbox can periodically conduct unannounced quality checks to make sure third party instrumentation is working within spec?
Yeah, that means they’re covered if they want to watch people fornicate.
Riiiight. We’re not idiots.
That’s why ours lives unplugged, in a box.
But the Amazon Echo Look! It’s so fucking cool!
Yes, it is. I agree. And when you’re done Amazon Looking you can Amazon Show yourself!
In this video, a grown ass man talks to his mom hands free on the Amazon Show, which is a talking and viewing screen shat directly out of the nightmares of George Orwell. As the mom and overgrown man-child have a chat, his wife enters the room. That’s where this whole bullshit video breaks down because the husband doesn’t immediately say, super-loud
HI HONEY I’M JUST TALKING TO MY MOM OVER THERE ON THE AMAZON PRIVACY INVADER!
Because the wife is hustling and could be about to say anything. She could walk in and say:
Ugh! My vagina is still aching from last night.
Or she could say:
Hey, don’t forget to call the doctor to get your hemorrhoids lasered.
Or she could say:
Can you call your mother and tell her we can’t go over there this weekend because we actually have real shit to do and we don’t need to eat lamb again for like seven years?
I don’t know what kind of idyllic existence these Amazoners live in, and I love my in-laws more than I love ice cream, but I certainly want a heads up if they’re on the motherfucking horn.
Anyway, I like Amazon. They have the best customer service. But they’re also data crazy. You think they’re not training the future robots who will steal our consciousness to approximate human fashion? You think Amazon isn’t tallying the shit on the wall in the room behind you? Or depth-measuring the size of your fashion room & cross-referencing that with the related spending habits of people with comparable residential square-footage to big data the fuck out of your buying profile?
While the Amazon Look and Show are going to provide a nice bump for both peeping toms and voyeurs out there, I’m not sure that they provide real value. Our digital addicted, no-privacy kids may someday invite them into their homes, and opt to digitize their own organs or whatever, but for those of us who grew up in the Before Time? I think we need to draw the line.
And if you ever stand around wondering how your ass looks in those jeans? I’m here to tell you:
It looks fucking amazing.
And so does mine. And so does the ass of every person who doesn’t ever buy an Amazon Echo Look.
NOTE: Apologies for the lousy, defective polls. I remember Straw Polls being cooler. Now it’s comic sans and captcha and they don’t seem to work. I won’t be using them again. I really needed Alexa to make a poll for me. «Alexa are you recording my credit card number when I order pizza over the phone? No? Okay cool.» Poll is conclusive.
Please, please, please let HGTV to do an episode of House Hunters in Concho, Arizona, because I really need to see a picky couple say, “Doesn’t have the granite counters or hardwood floors that I love, but I can see myself enjoying my morning coffee on this scratching post bench as my 200 cats slowly suffocate my body while begging for more food.” In Concho, AZ is a house that’s for sale for $ 240,000 and it’s covered from ceiling to floor with pussy, pussy, pussy and not the kind that Charlie Sheen’s house is covered with.
If you’re a people-hating cat hoarder who wants to be trapped in a Lisa Frank-like cat-themed acid trip and loves to wake up to the sour aroma of overused litter and pussy pee, get your ass to Concho. Your purradise has been found. Making the rounds today is a listing for a house that’s 2,500 square feet, has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath and sits on 20 acres in the middle of absolutely nowhere in Arizona. The good news about being in the sticks is that you don’t have to worry about annoying neighbors complaining about the screeches from your dozens of cats. You also don’t have to deal with them throwing you judgmental looks when they see you making a gorgeous front yard cat sculpture out of the slimy hairballs your pussies coughed up.
Here’s how a real estate agent used words to try to sell the almost unsellable:
Contemporary eccentric full log sided custom home on 20+/- acres for the cat fancier! If you love cats this is the home for you! If not bring your sandblaster! Custom build, hardwood kitchen cabinets (Oak, Lacewood, and Bocote) artistically accented with river rock. Cat walkways and in great room Medieval cat castle with different levels (stone). All interior doors custom built (wood). Must see to believe it does exist!!! Once in a lifetime find extremely fun home!
It’s like a house Taylor Swift would live in if she wasn’t a multi-millionaire celebrity. And this pussy palace is also perfect and move-in-ready for someone who really, really hates their dog.
One of myriad problems raised by the Trump Presidency (a low priority problem, to be sure) is that so much of what happened leading up to and following the election has been — in a sense — normalized. I have lived through quite a few Presidential campaigns in my life, and while the promise of drama almost always exists, it usually fizzles out on election day, that 2000 election notwithstanding (I will note, however, that America was strangely serene during those days between the election and when the Supreme Court gave the Presidency to George W. Bush, no doubt because neither of the candidates in the 2000 election inspired much passion on either side of the aisle). But the 2016 election lived up to and exceeded anyone’s wildest expectations for drama, and in the Trump era, it’s now expected as a normal course of business.
For political dramas, the end result is that storylines have to be pushed beyond their breaking point to sustain as much drama as real-world politics. The West Wing would no longer work in this political climate, which is why we have Designated Survivor, which is The West Wing set against the backdrop of a terrorist attack that killed nearly every member of all three branches of government.
Likewise, it’s not enough for the fifth season of House of Cards to present a close Presidential race that isn’t decided until days after the election, as in the 2000 election. In House of Cards, President Underwood — faced with certain electoral defeat — manufactures a constitutional crisis that drags on for months. Terrorist attacks are staged, more or less. Polling stations are closed down. The election is thrown to the House of Representatives, and even after that, a re-vote is required to settle the matter. In the meantime, the country is run by the Vice President, who happens to be Underwood’s wife, who only gained the position by virtue of what can only be described as a political caper. And that’s just the first few episodes of this season of House of Cards before Underwood retakes his Presidency, which is immediately thrown back into chaos. Oh, fuck it: House of Cards kills off some more characters, too, because the popularity of Game of Thrones requires it.
It’s an exhausting season of television to watch, all the moreso because House of Cards rarely provides big, satisfying moments. The series often builds storylines toward big dramatic confrontations, which are then glossed over in a time-jump or dealt with in a backroom deal or election that takes place offscreen. The problem is particularly egregious this season, after the writers put themselves into a corner with an impeachment hearing and then seemingly invented a twist that would explain away the many, many inconsistencies and narrative black holes the show took us through this year. Indeed, even when there are victories, there are no celebrations in House of Cards, in part, because there are no characters for whom we can root. They’re all awful. Every goddamn last one of them.
The storylines, however, seem almost beside the point in House of Cards. This show is almost entirely a showcase for Kevin Spacey to deliver folksy colloquialisms, rage at Cabinet members and Congresspeople, and pontificate to the camera. Meanwhile Robin Wright delivers her lines with a cold, clipped efficiency designed to ensure that no one will ever feel anything for her beyond an appreciation for her ability to shut down an argument with a few well chosen words or an icy stare that could wilt the sun.
Yet, as messy and nonsensical as the plotlines have become, and as predictable as the actions of the characters are, House of Cards remains inexplicably as addictive as ever. It’s a series that always holds the carrot stick tantalizingly within reach, but never lets the viewers take a bite. The pursuit, however, is where the fun lies in Cards. We spend 13 conflicted hours each year, hoping that the Underwoods will finally get their comeuppance, while secretly praying that they will continue to escape it. They’re a fun couple to hate, so much so that a show of humility or an ounce of passion might constitute a character assassination. The moment we feel anything beyond a loathing respect for the Underwoods is the moment House of Cards stops being fun.
The way the writers continue to pin themselves into corners suggests that that moment may arrive sooner rather than later. Indeed, after this year’s season finale, there’s not much room left in which to maneuver.
Five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA), were shot Wednesday morning during a congressional baseball practice. According to reports, a gunman walked up to practice and opened fire on the baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, was shot this morning during a baseball practice. Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN that he was on deck when the shooting occurred, and Scalise appears to have been shot in the hip. Capital police officers were also shot. Other staffers were also apparently hit — at least four people were shot.
The gunman was carrying a rifle. Between 10 and 30 shots were fired.
Rep. Mo Brooks tells CNN shooter was trying to take security detail before "getting to the rest of us."
— The big development over the weekend is that Jeff Sessions — further embroiled in the Russian controversy after the James Comey hearing — opted against testifying in an open hearing in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and will instead testify tomorrow in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in what is believed to be a closed session. Sessions is clearly scared of something getting out, and the last thing he wants to do is piss off Trump, who already resents him for getting him into this mess by recusing himself and setting the DOJ up to appoint a special prosecuor. If Sessions even confirms that he left Comey alone with Trump, it could look bad for both Trump and Sessions. A growing number of Republicans are uneasy with Sessions involvement with Russia.
— Speaking of Mueller, it does appear that several on the far right are laying the groundwork to fire the special prosecutor. Politically speaking, I don’t know how that wouldn’t be the nail in the coffin of the Trump presidency.
Growing theme amomg pro-Trump allies and media figures in recent days: laying the groundwork for ousting Mueller. pic.twitter.com/7AJ8qd70cD
— Firing Mueller, in fact, might give the GOP the leverage they need to get rid of Trump. According to Axios, they’d be much happier with a President Pence:
Beyond his base voters, Trump has an even bigger potential problem looming with his base in Congress. While Republican lawmakers won’t say it publicly, it’s widely known if they could pick between President Pence and President Trump, the Vice President would win 90% of the vote among the GOP.
— There’s further proof of that in the fact that the Republicans — despite pressure from The White House — have refused so far to back Trump’s attacks on James Comey, according to Politico:
Across national news shows on Sunday, Republican lawmakers showed varying degrees of concern about Trump’s handling of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and his decision to fire Comey in the midst of that probe. Though many contended the reaction to Comey’s testimony was overblown, most said Trump had acted improperly — even if it was out of naivete and not malice.
— That same Axios piece confirms what many Republicans have been saying behind closed doors: That they are terrified that the House will flip in 2018.
What Republicans fear: a downward spiral in which the Russia distractions make it harder to pass Trump’s agenda, new talent won’t come into the West Wing, top-shelf potential challengers are reluctant to run as Republicans in 2018, the House flips, and article of impeachment become a real risk.
Their worst fear is our ideal scenario.
— Meanwhile, D.C. and Maryland are now gearing up to sue the Trump Administration for violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
The lawsuit, a signed copy of which Racine and Frosh provided to The Washington Post on Sunday night, alleges «unprecedented constitutional violations» by Trump. The suit says Trump’s continued ownership of a global business empire has rendered the president «deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors» and has undermined the integrity of the U.S. political system.
The lawsuit comes days after the Department of Justice basically said that Trump is not violating the Constitution by repeatedly accepting payments from foreign governments at Trump owned properties.
— Elsewhere, the latest rumor is that Reince Priebus now has until the 4th of July to clean up the White House or he will be fired. This threat, however, has been looming over the Chief of Staff since the beginning of the Trump Presidency, and it’s unclear if Trump will ever follow through on the threat. Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie are seen as potential replacements, although both would probably be disastrous for Trump. Then again, Trump does have a propensity for shooting himself in the foot.
— Finally, word is that Donald Trump will not be visiting the UK this year, after all, as he had previously planned. He apparently fears wide-scale protests, which is understandable after he went after the London mayor on Twitter last week.