“Comey resignation” – Google News: The Calamity of the Weaponized Narrative | Dechert LLP – JD Supra

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The Calamity of the Weaponized Narrative | Dechert LLP  JD Supra

Tim Sloan resigned as the CEO of Wells Fargo a few months ago. I had briefly worked with Tim and much admired him so, on a personal level, this was sad.

“Comey resignation” – Google News


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“Mueller Investigation of voters manipulations online” – Google News: Facebook, Twitter set to fight fake news during Democratic debates – San Francisco Chronicle

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Facebook, Twitter set to fight fake news during Democratic debates  San Francisco Chronicle

In advance of the 2020 Demcoratic primary debates, Facebook and Twitter are working with the DNC to counter potential disinformation operations on their …

“Mueller Investigation of voters manipulations online” – Google News


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mikenov on Twitter: #Mueller did not investigate the #TrumpOrganization’s #financialdealings with #Russia, or large-scale acquisitions of Trump properties by #Russians. theglobalist.com/g20-summit-don…

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#Mueller did not investigate the #TrumpOrganization’s #financialdealings with #Russia, or large-scale acquisitions of Trump properties by #Russians. theglobalist.com/g20-summit-don…


Posted by

mikenov
on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 11:21pm

mikenov on Twitter


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Putin and Trump: Hiding the Cash

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from The Globalist.

A mysterious encounter on the side of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, is likely to take place between Russian president Vladimir Putin and U.S. president Donald Trump.

Once again, as was the case when they met in Helsinki in July 2018, there may be no notes taken and no assistants in the room and, consequently, we may never know what was said and what was agreed.

Overshadowing this meeting are continuing concerns that Putin has found ways to compromise, indeed blackmail, Trump.

There is no hard evidence to support this view. However, Trump’s continuous friendly comments about Putin and his secretive conversations with him have generated suspicions.

The FBI remains silent about the findings of a counterintelligence investigation that it opened in early 2017.

Election support

Trump has publicly contradicted himself in various interviews and Tweets recently as to whether he would welcome foreign (that is Russian) information against his Democratic Party opponents as the 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign proceeds.

He has brushed aside suggestions that accepting such information would violate U.S. election laws.

The U.S. president has ignored all of the evidence in the April report by special counsel Robert Mueller of enormous Russian engagement in the years leading to the November 2016 election. Instead, he has stated that he trusts Putin who told him there was no interference.

Trump agreed, with a big smile across his face, in a long and wide-ranging interview with U.S. NBC TV reporter Chuck Todd that was fully aired on Sunday, June 23, that he would raise the subject of Russian interference in U.S. elections when he meets Putin in Japan.

Sanctions and cash

Mueller did not investigate the Trump Organization’s financial dealings with Russia, or large-scale acquisitions of Trump owned properties in the United States by wealthy Russians.

Investigations now being pursued by New York State authorities and by Congressional committees may provide information on such matters as Trump’s taxes, as well as his many ties to Deutsche Bank.

Some of these investigations have now been going on for more than a year.

In addition, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank has been investigating whether Deutsche Bank was involved in transactions that saw it move Russian funds through the Estonian branch of Danske Bank into New York accounts. Deutsche is under a further set of investigations by European authorities.

And further aspects of the dirty cash investigations in the United States embrace Deutsche Bank’s involvement in possible transactions with Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who headed a family real estate firm and who is now a senior White House advisor.

It seems likely that Putin will try and convince Trump to lift U.S. financial sanctions on major Russian enterprises and the close circle of Putin’s multi-billionaire friends.

Few issues anger Putin as much as this one, but it is difficult to see just what Trump may ask for in return to pledging an effort to curb sanctions – perhaps a private Putin promise of further help to Trump in the 2020 U.S. elections.

Or perhaps Russian support for Trump’s strategy of “maximum pressure” against Iran?

Putin’s money

The importance to Putin of seeing the United States lift sanctions cannot be underestimated. The issue is prominent in the Mueller report. It is a critical and compelling feature of extensive research contained in a brand new book by Atlantic Council scholar Anders Aslund – “Russia’s Crony Capitalism.”

Drawing upon multiple sources, Aslund suggests that the private investments held by Russians in real estate and other assets in the West could be around $800 billion, and: “Putin personally holds tens of billions of dollars of assets abroad, probably in the range of $100 billion to $160 billion.”

Aslund notes that many of Putin’s friends and associates have created opaque complex sets of offshore holding companies to launder the cash and invest it and that a significant portion of these funds belongs to Putin himself.

So, when Putin forcefully argues against Western sanctions, he is not just doing this on behalf of his friends, but he sees himself as a victim as well.

Raising transparency

Many Trump properties are registered in the names of holding companies that mask the identities of the true owners, although Russians are thought to be particularly prominent at Trump properties in New York and in Florida.

Putin has every reason to try and see that the United States continues to allow such real estate investment secrecy and Trump may have personal financial reasons to share this view.

Surprisingly he has been silent, so far, as legislation to secure beneficial ownership of assets in the U.S. has recently been gathering bi-partisan support in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

The FACT Coalition, representing approximately 100 different organizations, has been lobbying hard for this legislation and secured formidable political and business support.

A transatlantic effort

This comes at a time when greater efforts to curb money laundering, investigate banks and pressure offshore havens to be more transparent are being seen on both sides of the Atlantic.

For example, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK’s House of Commons has recently warned that Putin is striving to undermine British security and it has argued that both sanctions on Russia and UK anti-money laundering regulations need to be strengthened.

If there is one thing that Putin and his cronies do not like it is transparency (while Trump is going to extreme lengths to keep his own finances secret).

The question is – will Trump in this week’s meeting provide Putin with any joy when it comes to lifting those sanctions and keeping a tight lid on Russian investments across the world?


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Jerry Mitchell on taking ‘Kinky Boots: The Musical’ to the big screen

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Jerry Mitchell with his Tony Award

Sirens sound as I pick up the phone.

“Sorry, I’m on the New York street.”

Jerry Mitchell apologizes for the noise.

The out-gay Tony Award-winning director and choreographer of shows like Hairspray, Legally Blonde and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels sounds a bit out of breath. We don’t need to ask why.

In addition to having just wrapped the annual benefit Broadway Bares, a burlesque review that raises money for HIV/AIDS research, just the week before, Mitchell is unveiling his cinematic production of Kinky Boots at Frameline, the San Francisco-based queer media arts foundation.

Based on the film of the same name, Kinky Boots follows the parallel lives of Charlie, heir to a shoe factory and Simon, an aspiring drag queen. With the factory on the edge of bankruptcy, Charlie enlists Lola–Charlie’s drag persona–to help design a new line of shoes which will revitalize the business.

With a score by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey FiersteinKinky Boots became a Broadway smash running for more than 2,500 performances and winning six Tony Awards, including best choreography for Mitchell, and best actor for a then-unknown Billy Porter. The show helped catapult Porter to leading man status, and cemented Mitchell’s name as one of the biggest on Broadway.

The filmed version of Kinky Boots comes from the West End production, and stars original London leads Killian Donnelly and Matt Henry. It lands in select cinemas nationwide this June 25 and 29.

Queerty scored a few minutes with Mitchell to talk about bringing the show to the big screen, and his career on the wicked stage.

How did the opportunity to do a filmed production come to you?

Once Harvey and Cyndi had signed off on it, it was all about how do we get it together and make it happen? We got the original two leads back who opened in the West End, Killian Donnelly and Matt Henry, both of whom were off doing other things. Matt won the Olivier for his performance. And we went to town. We did it for a week. We got them back in the show and put it together over four or five days. It was great fun. Everybody had a ball doing it.

It’s tricky filming a stage production for the big screen. It’s a bit of a concert film, but it also has a plot. Were you reluctant?

It is tricky, and you’ve gotta know who you’re working with. The folks at Steam [Steam Motion and Sound, which filmed the show], I was a big fan of theirs. I was very impressed with their work. We’d done Legally Blonde for MTV. I had done that with Hairspray: LIVE for NBC. So I came to it with a little bit of experience about how to take a Broadway show in the theatre and try and get that on the screen. I think it came off well. I did see the finished edit and I was very happy with where we were.

Was there ever hesitation because this wasn’t the original Broadway cast. Everyone is West End?

For me, you know what? I wasn’t part of that decision. I had to go where they sent me. But, you know, I think there’s still room for a Kinky Boots film, a proper full musical film of it. I’m hopeful that could happen someday, and I might be involved with it. I think Harvey wants it to happen. I think Cyndi wants it to happen. Who knows? There’s still room.

One of the criticisms I hear of Broadway going to the West End is that a show isn’t created, it’s recreated; in other words, it’s made to be as identical to the Broadway show as possible. How do you find originality in recreating a show?

Here’s how I work, and here’s how I think it works best. I’ve been under, as a performer, as a dancer—don’t forget, I was in A Chorus Line—which was done all over the world. I worked for Jerry Robbins [director of West Side Story]. I worked for Michael Bennett [director of Dreamgirls]. I watched them do this with their productions, sometimes really well, sometimes not as well. What I’ve learned is that the show, sets, costumes, lights—the static things will always be the same. What will never be the same is an actors interpretation of the role. My job as a director is to get all of the actors in every company I put together all on the same page, working together as a company, telling the story their way. I never ask an actor to do something that another actor did in terms of making a choice about how to play a scene or read a line. Yes, they have to do the choreography, they have to stand where the light comes on or where it goes off, but even that I change sometimes. And I always change for the place we’re playing. We made a lot of changes in London. We made a lot of changes in Korea. We made a lot of changes in Japan, things that would help their culture understand our story. That’s important. If you close your eyes to that, you do put up a stale production.

Matt Henry as Simon/Lola

Here’s another way to put it: When you hire a group of actors, you’re asking them to invest in the story. How can they invest if they don’t put in a deposit? If they don’t go to the bank and make a deposit, what will they have to draw on when they have to do it eight times a week six months into the run? So you have to, as a director, get a cast to invest in the story. The only way to do that is to invite them to be creative with you.

I would certainly think that also applies to replacement actors as different performers join or leave the show.

Absolutely. You have to start over. That’s even harder, because the actor who’s been doing the show and doesn’t leave has been working with one actor, and has to be open to rehearsing with a new actor and finding new things. That’s kind of what keeps it alive for everybody. Look at Kinky Boots: we had so many different guys come in and play Lola/Simon. Wayne Brady, Todrick Hall, J. Harrison Ghee—every time they came in, because the template was set by Billy and everyone in the production about welcoming them and being there to support them, we never had that kind of a problem.

It’s a testament to the bravery of those actors as well.

Yeah.

Billy left behind some large heels to fill.

Yeah.

One of the elements I love in this story is the friendship between a gay man and a straight man—something that often goes totally ignored in the movies as a subject.

I think that’s one of the reasons the show was so successful.

Really?

Absolutely. I think they became brothers. And I think that relationship is more powerful than a love relationship for men on a lot of levels. There are so many men who are straight who love gay men and are friends with them and have no fear in that. There are so many others that do have fear that a gay man can never be friends with a straight man because it will always be about sex. I think that’s one thing that makes the show so strong.

I think it makes it true to life. When you did the adaptation, did you ever feel pressured to make that friendship a romance, or more adversarial?

Never. Not once. Harvey was really, when we first started talking, Harvey locked into an idea that he wanted it to be about two guys not living up to the expectations of their fathers and finding out that even though they were from opposite ends of the Earth, they share the same relationship with their fathers: basically being failures in their father’s eyes. So they first had to learn to succeed and to accept themselves, so they could heal that relationship. That was the whole arc of what we were attempting to do.

You beat me to my next question. The other element, which is as subtle as it is profound, is that both Simon and Charlie are men living with the specter of their fathers.

Related: Watch This Kinky Boots Actor Do 29 Death Drops For His 29th Birthday

You’ve obviously worked with some incredible talents in your career. Here, you’re working with Cyndi Lauper & Harvey Fierstein.

Here’s the deal. I choreographed Cyndi 25 years ago for the closing ceremony of the gay games. It was the first time I worked with her. She came to me and said “I want to do “Hey Now” with 50 drag queens.” I said, “Oh my God, incredible. Let’s do it.” So we put the number together, and it was so much fun, she said she wanted to make a video with it. So we made a video. Michael Musto was in drag in it, and in the video.

Oh wow.

We had that relationship. She did Broadway Bares for me. Harvey I go back to Hairspray with, La Cage, Broadway Bares, so we had a really great relationship. So there was no intimidation because we all joined together to want to do this story, and we’d all worked together. So it was effortless. And Billy Porter, I hired when he was 19 to be in one of the first musicals I ever directed.

Wow.

He got the job but didn’t take it because he wanted to finish school. Then I hired him to be in Grease with Jeff Calhoon. Then we were friends all the way up to when this happened. And I said, “Billy, this is the role.” And he said, “I know.” I said, “Come read it.” And that was it. We never looked at anyone else.

That production of Grease, when I interviewed Billy recently he brought it up, as did Angelica Ross from Pose. That was formative for her because she realized she could play any part regardless of how she looked.

Looking at your resume, you’ve also worked on a considerable number of productions that are based on existing films.

Yeah.

Hairspray, La Cage, Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Pretty Woman. What’s the appeal of adapting an existing property? Is this something you sought out, or is this just luck of your career?

For most of them, it was a producer coming to me and asking me if I thought it would make a good musical. There have been a lot of others, some that made it to Broadway that I thought there’s no way. But these—I tried to get the rights to Hairspray and to Kinky Boots at one point. So these were two stories that I was really passionate about.

When I came to Broadway in 1980, the AIDS crisis was hitting New York City. I always think of dance as a naturally sexual form of expression, of storytelling. You use a physical body to do it. If you think about it, in the 80s, there was no choreography. There were no shows with choreography because everyone was afraid to relate to each other physically.

That’s interesting.

It started to come back in the 90s. That’s when Broadway musicals started to pick up again after the devastating loss of the 80s. Dance became another way of expressing musical theatre, which had been lost. So because there weren’t writers, producers were looking for material to adapt, so of course, they went to film since they don’t read books anymore.

[Laughter]

It’s faster to watch a 2-hour film than it is to read a book. So that’s what was getting offered to me. What’s ironic is my next two musicals I’m working on are both incredible stories. The first is called Becoming Nancy, and it’s about a young boy in the musical Oliver! who gets cast as Nancy and falls in love with the boy who gets cast as Bill Sykes in 1979. It’s such a beautiful story. The one after that is called Drag King, with Jeffery Phelps, Steven Arena, Jake Shears and myself adapting a book. So my next two musicals are adapted from books and both deal with gay characters. I’m really excited. They’re both great.

Do you have premiere dates for either?

We premiere Becoming Nancy September 4 at The Alliance in Atlanta. Then hopefully Broadway next spring. It’s really special.

The reason the British invasion—Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, Boublil and Schonberg—happens in the mid-80s is that the queer theatre crowd here was sick or wiped out.

Everyone here was dead, dying or flying to France to get AZT. That’s what was happening.

That’s interesting that is also the reason we end up with so many movie adaptations.

That’s my take on it. Musicals at that time still cost $5-10 million and there was nobody with a track record to stake that on. It was a very scary time on Broadway.

There’s a show in that somewhere. So what are you doing for pride this week?

My partner is actually in St. Louis right now doing Kinky Boots. He comes back Wednesday. His birthday is July 6. We have a house out in The Pines [on Fire Island]. We’re having Pride in the Pines with a bunch of friends.

Sometime We’d love to chat about your career overall and listen to your dish on all the backstage drama.

Oh, I have some Trump stories.

Really?

Yeah, I did Will Rodgers Follies with Marla Maples [Trump’s mistress and briefly, his second wife]. I have all sorts of Wife #2 stories.

I’d love to hear those.

Kinky Boots streams into select theatres June 25 & 29.


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mikenov on Twitter: #JerusalemSecurityMeeting2019 – #AllWin: A very good and promising start, an enhancement of the Middle East regional and global security; and also of the international cooperation and stability. Mr. Bolton appears to be on the right (correct) track, and he is doing a good job. pic.twitter.com/ptWWcCpdHJ

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#JerusalemSecurityMeeting2019 – #AllWin:
A very good and promising start, an enhancement of the Middle East regional and global security; and also of the international cooperation and stability. Mr. Bolton appears to be on the right (correct) track, and he is doing a good job. pic.twitter.com/ptWWcCpdHJ



Posted by

mikenov
on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 1:47pm

mikenov on Twitter


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“trump authoritarianism” – Google News: Trump’s Middle East peace plan unveiled to anger and derision – The Guardian

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Trump’s Middle East peace plan unveiled to anger and derision  The Guardian

No Israelis or Palestinians present for launch of deal that shreds decades of diplomacy.

“trump authoritarianism” – Google News


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Phase one of US Middle East peace plan greeted with scepticism

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No Israelis or Palestinians present for launch of plan that shreds decades of diplomacy

The first phase of the Trump administration’s long-awaited peace plan for Israel and Palestine has been rolled out to scepticism, anger and outright derision.

A conference hall of regional officials – with no Israelis or Palestinians present – was the first to hear details of the US-brokered deal, an economic blueprint that shreds decades of diplomacy and which even its mooted financial backers seemed reluctant to embrace.

Continue reading…


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Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.: In trilateral Jerusalem summit, Russia sides with Iran, against Israel and US https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-trilateral-summit-russia-sides-with-iran-against-israel-and-us/ … via @timesofisrael

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In trilateral Jerusalem summit, Russia sides with Iran, against Israel and US https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-trilateral-summit-russia-sides-with-iran-against-israel-and-us/ … via

Twitter search feed for: michael novakhov.


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‘Fabulous’ Cuomo, Good Omens, PwC, Art After Stonewall, Laverne Cox, Bradley Cooper, Burning Man, Luke Evans: HOT LINKS

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GO IT ALONE. Trump considering dropping 68-year treaty with Japan: “Trump regards the accord as too one-sided because it promises U.S. aid if Japan is ever attacked, but doesn’t oblige Japan’s military to come to America’s defense, the people said. The treaty, signed more than 60 years ago, forms the foundation of the alliance between the countries that emerged from World War II.”

LIFE’S A DRAG. City & State magazine glams up New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

GOOD OMENS. Christian petition of 20,000 to get Netflix to drop the ‘blasphemous’ show Good Omens fails because it’s an Amazon show.

MIGRANT CHILDREN. The latest on this continuously unfolding crime against humanity.

PwC. First ever Global LGBT+ summit to be held in NYC over WorldPride: ‘The Summit will bring together more than 160 PwC LGBT+ leaders and people from 23 countries to share knowledge, network and talk about LGBT+ issues. On the agenda is a private screening of the Lavender Scare, the first documentary to tell the story of an unrelenting campaign in the 1950s by the US federal government to identify and fire all employees suspected of being homosexual. For updates from the Summit, follow @PwC, #PwCPride and #PwCProud.”

ART AFTER STONEWALL. Miami will be one of only three cities in the U.S. to host Art After Stonewall: 1969  1989. “The show will headline Art Basel Miami this year, at the Frost Art Museum FIU (Sept. 14 – Jan. 5). This will be the first time all of these amazing 200+ works of art will be shown together under one roof (the current show in NY is split up between two venues). Features works by trailblazing artists who cleared a path from 1969-1989 through uncharted cultural terrain, including: David Hockney, Marlon T. Riggs, Andy Warhol, Alice Neel, Judy Chicago, Diane Arbus, Luis Cruz Azaceta, David Wojnarowicz, and many more.”

BURNING MAN. Desert festival hires top lobbying firm for permitting: “The Burning Man Project, the non-profit organization behind the festival, hired the law and lobbying firm Holland & Knight on May 9, according to disclosures. Rich Gold, the leader of the firm’s public policy and regulation group, will be on the account as well as Scott Mason, who worked on Trump’s campaign and in his administration transition. “

SPLITS. Laverne Cox and boyfriend Kyle Draper split after almost two years. “@thekyledraper and I have broken up. After much soul searching and tears from both of us, we have decided it’s time for us to go our separate ways. We decided we should make a public statement since our relationship was public in ways neither of us anticipated. This is that public statement.”

GLASTONBURY. Are Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper set to reunite?

EATING. The 50 best restaurants in the world 2019.

MAINE. Episcopal Diocese consecrates first openly gay bishop: “The diocese says Rev. Thomas James Brown was ordained and consecrated its tenth bishop on Saturday in a ceremony that drew more than 900 people to St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland. Twenty-seven Episcopal bishops and more than 100 clergy from Maine participated in the service.”

KANSAS. Transgender people will soon be able to change their gender on birth certificates.

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Sweaty Betty in Budapest #saturdaymorning #weekendworkout #gym

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WET T SHIRT OR NO T SHIRT. Luke Evans, Rome Flynn, Nick Adams, Dylan Geick and more male celebs show off some skin.

SPACEX. Elon Musk firm successful in early morning launch of Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites into orbit as well as cremated remains of 152 space enthusiasts.

TOUCHY FEELY THING OF THE DAY. Jimmy Fallon and Chrissy Teigen play ‘Can You Feel It?’

TRAINER TUESDAY. Donald Romain.

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A little sun on a good day

A post shared by DONALD ROMAIN (@donaldromain) on

The post ‘Fabulous’ Cuomo, Good Omens, PwC, Art After Stonewall, Laverne Cox, Bradley Cooper, Burning Man, Luke Evans: HOT LINKS appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Customer called ‘fat, gay’ on restaurant receipt, owners say it was “just a way of describing him”

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bad receipt

A Houston man was shocked to discover insulting language used to describe him written at the bottom of his receipt by a restaurant employee.

The man, who asked not to be identified, dined at Plush Daiquiri Bar and Grill in Houston last Saturday. When he went to pay his bill, he noticed the words “to go dude with dreads, fat, gay” on the receipt.

“I don’t even know her, she don’t know me,” he tells his local news station. “What’s that, like, stereotyping? For her to not even know me and say ‘fat, gay’ and this and that.”

But the restaurant owners don’t seem to see any problem with it.

“It was just her way of describing him,” says co-owner Marcus Barlow. “It wasn’t nothing against him or nothing personal. It was her way of referencing back who to deliver the food to.”

Of course, another way of doing this would have been to ask for the guy’s name.

“She was unaware that he could see it,” adds Leighton Dickson, another co-owner, “and she was very apologetic to us about it, and she was disciplined.”

In other words: As long as a customer can’t see what derogatory words are being used to describe them, it’s OK.

The waitress has since been put on a three-day leave. Meanwhile, Dickson insists, “We do no discriminate at all at Plush.”

They just call their customers fat and gay behind their backs. Or, in this case, right in front of their faces… at the bottom of their receipts.

Meanwhile, the customer seems to be a lot more forgiving than most people would.

“If anybody asked about it, I would tell them, it’s a good restaurant,” he says. “I have nothing bad to say about the restaurant. I just will not go back.”


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‘Pose,’ ‘Stonewall OutLoud,’ the Original ‘Tales of the City’ and More TV This Week

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Check out our weekly guide to TV this week, and make sure you’re catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won’t admit you watch when no one’s looking.

Pose continues its triumphant second season with a new episode written by Our Lady J and directed by Janet Mock tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX.

Get to know the 19 Democrats who will not be running for President (and the one who might) at the first Democratic presidential debates Wednesday and Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Wednesday features Booker, de Blasio, Castro, Delaney, Gabbard, Inslee, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Ryan and Warren. Thursday’s contenders are Biden, Bennet, Buttigieg, Gillibrand, Harris, Hickenlooper, Sanders, Swalwell, Williamson and Yang.

Another stellar season of Real Housewives of New York comes to an end Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern on Bravo. After a manic trip to Miami, will it be Luann’s Christmas cabaret, Ramona’s pop-up holiday party or Bethenny’s “S’mores and Whores” party that will feature the most epic blowout in the finale?

While not necessarily new, the iconic original Tales of the City comes to Netflix Friday. The original miniseries, starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, should be considered required viewing for its bold portrayal of 1970s San Francisco, drug use, queer people and a wild, soapy story that still shocks.

Ahead of the massive WorldPride celebration in New York City this weekend, commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings with Stonewall Outloud, a new documentary from WOW Presents available Friday on Youtube.

What are you watching this week on TV?

The post ‘Pose,’ ‘Stonewall OutLoud,’ the Original ‘Tales of the City’ and More TV This Week appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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mikenov on Twitter: In trilateral Jerusalem summit, Russia sides with Iran, against Israel and US timesofisrael.com/in-trilateral-… via @timesofisrael

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In trilateral Jerusalem summit, Russia sides with Iran, against Israel and US timesofisrael.com/in-trilateral-… via @timesofisrael


Posted by

mikenov
on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 7:26pm

mikenov on Twitter


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Which sport has the worst instant replay system? An investigation

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Sports. Technology. Two great tastes that go great together. OK, that is a barefaced lie. As much as we have fallen in love with the innovations technology has brought to sports, we also often hate the implementation of things like instant replay and referee review. It’s because, somehow, no matter how good this stuff sounds on paper, it always ends up sucking and makes us all furious anyway.

But, there are striations of sucking. Variances in implementation and exercise that definitively make some instant replays more off putting than others. It’s difficult to evaluate which instant replay is the best without being woefully subjective. So I’ve implemented a fool proof* method for objective evaluation I call the “Universal Suck Quotient,” or the USQ. We take the total search results for a given sport, like say “NFL” and divide those by the Google search result number for “[sport] replay sucks.” This gives us an idea of what percentage of people interested in the sport thinks the replay system sucks. From there I will implement my own subjective writer’s tilt, which I promise to exercise only then it’s important.
*This method is definitely not fool proof.

MLB: 22.31 USQ

Is anything good about MLB instant replay?

Yes. I mean, it’s good to get calls right — and despite resisting for so many years there’s actually a lot that’s laudable about MLB instant replay. Some will argue that it doesn’t go far enough, but it’s so much better than seeing a game get decided by a bad call on the field. This is generally reflected by the system’s low USQ. Most people are happy with it.

What’s bad about it?

How do we have a system that can review whether a ball is foul or fair, but not whether it’s a ball or a strike? I feel like that’s the most basic important thing you need to get correct in baseball — but it’s not reviewable.

Remember that time in 2018 when it took umpires ALMOST FOUR MINUTES to decide on a call?

NASCAR: 45.13 USQ (-20 writer’s tilt) = 25.13 USQ

Is anything good about NASCAR instant replay?

Yes. I mean, it’s all functionally fine. Race infractions have been corrected or clarified through the use of the system and there is generally not much complaining about it.

What’s bad about it?

Not much, honestly. I used a writer’s tilt here because the majority of results for “NASCAR instant replay sucks” were people complaining about when races were re-airing on TV. There isn’t much talk about people being unhappy with the system.

NFL 29.38 USQ

Is anything good about NFL instant replay?

More calls are being made correctly now, which goes for any of this stuff. The whole challenge flag concept it fun, and now that networks are employing former rules officials to add commentary it’s always hilarious when they definitively say what is going to happen, and then referees see something entirely different.

What’s bad about it?

They still get stuff wrong all the time. Also there are so many weird caveats on what can, and can’t be challenged for seemingly no reason. There are dozens of game-defining moments every season that can’t be altered because NFL rules don’t allow certain penalties or plays to be challengeable.

And who could forget …

Tennis 33.01 USQ

Is there anything good about the Hawk-Eye system in tennis?

Tennis is definitely better off for using the Hawk-Eye technology. More close calls are being made correctly thanks to the system, and considering many of these line calls happen at a speed that’s difficult for humans to process, ultimately the sport is better off.

What’s bad about it?

There’s a margin of error. Now, that margin is listed at 3.6 mm, which is barely perceptible — but there are instances where the replay has failed. In the 2007 Wimbledon man’s final a line call was made in a match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer that came down to a 1 mm difference between a shot being in or out.

Rugby League 47.62 USQ

Is there anything good about Rugby League’s “Video Ref”?

There are a few great elements to the video ref system in rugby league. Firstly, it’s made more correct calls — but the innovation really comes in the use of multiple officials (in the NRL in Australia) which decide as a group what the video is showing. It results in more correct calls than mistakes.

What’s bad about it?

There have been human error issues in the past. These range from the wrong button being pressed to telling the crowd the wrong call, to the NRL announcing that calls have been correctly poorly.

Rugby Union 48.72 USQ

Is there anything good about Rugby Union’s system?

Similar to the NFL, Rugby Union adopted a system which uses TV cameras to replay angles at referee request. There is no way for teams to challenge calls, instead it’s up to the head referee to ask for a second look.

What’s bad about it?

There have been numerous times in the past fans have believed a moment needed a second look, but the lead referee chose not to send the moment to the booth for another look.

Cricket 53.01 USQ

Is there anything good about the Hawk-Eye, Snicko, and Hotspot systems?

Perhaps no sport was in need of technology more than cricket. There are so many moments that hang on subjectivism or referee’s decision that really shouldn’t. Furthermore, the technology is so cool to watch. Whether it’s thermal imaging to pick up a potential LBW, or a ultra-sensitive microphones to hear glances, the game is definitely better off for having the technology.

What’s bad about it?

I am never one to clutch pearls about the history of the game impacting its future, but there are definitely times it feels like moving to a lengthened decision by video evidence only makes a long game feel even longer and some of the drama and romanticism is removed by every call being double and triple checked.

NCAA basketball: 53.78 USQ

Is there anything good about the instant replay system in NCAA basketball?

It’s admirable that people want the sport to be as correct as possible.

What’s bad about it?

Every single call is getting stopped and over-analyzed. I know it’s important to get things right, but it feels like it’s coming at the expense of the game right now.

NBA 62.21 USQ

This is really an identical case of the NCAA’s benefit and problem to the game. It’s being used to correct a lot of calls and even verify buzzer beaters and important elements that should be right — but it’s also slowing everything down far too much.

This earns a higher USQ largely because more people are complaining about what instant replay has done to the NBA than they have in NCAA basketball.

Professional Bull Riders 297.59 USQ (-200 writer’s tilt) = 97.59 USQ

I had to put a massive writer’s tilt on this one because the vast majority of complaining about replay in PBR came from people complaining about events being re-aired in the middle of the night.

Is there anything good about instant replay in PBR?

Anyone can issue a challenge and have a call reviewed, and more often than not they get it right. Also this whole system is weird and amazing at the same time. Like a challenge flag in the NFL, another rider or team can challenge a decision and have it reviewed. If they’re right the call is overturned — but if they’re wrong they need to donate $500 to a group charity to provides funding for retired bull riders.

NHL 127.41 USQ

Is there anything good about instant replay in the NHL?

It’s nice to have borderline goals checked.

What’s wrong with it?

Fans absolutely hate it. Everything from offsides to judgement calls can be reviewed by a coach challenge and it’s made the entire system draw anger and hatred. The offside challenge in particular just ruins the flow of the game and needs to go away. In 2017 the Edmonton Oilers were caught in a situation where they lost a playoff game because of video review, and that’s the kind of thing that just makes fans hate it all as a result.

The there was this moment from 2015 in which it took over 10 minutes to resolve a challenge. Who is a fan of this? Who likes this? Is it worth the hassle? No.

Golf: 24.06 USQ (+1,000 writer’s tilt) = 1,024.06 USQ

Golf might not have a traditional instant replay system, but dammit it belongs on this list. Do you know the process behind correcting a call in the PGA? Basically viewers can call in any infractions they see on the course, and then tape will be reviewed. A golfer doesn’t even know they’ve made a mistake until after the round it over.

Golf have made instant replay an internet message board of people whining, except it’s binding. Imagine an NFL game being reversed after the final whistle because a viewer called in about a referee mistake in the first quarter.

What garbage.

Soccer (VAR): 3,513.70 USQ

VAR sucks. You can tell how much VAR is loathed by people based on how many soccer fans have taken to the internet to vent about how much they dislike VAR. VAR is the hall monitor you had to deal with in high school. The coworker who rats out people for taking too many bathroom breaks.

I know that the stakes are high and getting calls correct are important — but when it means a team gets kicked out of the World Cup because of VAR … then it’s gone too far.

Nobody likes VAR.

VAR can die in a fire.


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Malaysian politician after leaked gay sex video: “I am very paranoid now”

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Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, Malyasia, gay sex, video
Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz (image via Facebook)

Haziq Aziz is a Malaysian cabinet member who serves as the Senior Private Secretary to the Deputy Minister of Primary Industries and Commodities. Or rather, he was until earlier this month.

About two weeks ago, Aziz was ousted from his government position after a sexually explicit video of him with another man leaked online.

The video quickly made the rounds on social media and, in response, Aziz was forced to make a videotaped “confession,” admitting to appearing in the video.

He said the explicit video was shot on May 11 in his hotel room at the Sheraton Hotel Four Points. He also said it was recorded without his knowledge or consent.

After his “confession,” Aziz went into hiding, deleting his social media pages and ignoring all requests for comment from reporters.

Until now.

“This sex video scandal has affected my political dream,” he now tells The Straits Times in a heartbreaking new interview. “I have to forget about becoming a politician.”

When asked about why he made the “confession,” Aziz replies, “The Malay-Muslim community can’t accept this kind of behavior. But one thing is I admit, I did it. It was a mistake and the right thing to do was to confess.”

Aziz recalls the moment he learned about the video:

I found out about the video at 8 AM when I woke up on June 11. I was really shocked. … At first, I did not want to admit it was me. At first, I felt afraid as a personal thing about me went viral. I was thinking of [going into hiding]. That is why I deleted all my social media accounts.

…My family was very sad about this. On the day it went viral, my mum cried non-stop. My family was even afraid to leave the house. When I made the video confession, they were shocked. At first, they thought that the video confession was fake. I told them, “Look it was not fake, it was me.” They had to accept it.

Honestly, my family is very sad because my family is very conservative. And they want to [take care of] the good name of the family.

Homosexuality is considered a crime in Malaysia, punishable with up to 20 years in prison and/or whipping. The country has no legal protections for LGBTQ people, and just last year, two women were publicly caned for “attempting lesbian sex.”

The U.S. State Department warns LGBTQ travelers that they may face discrimination or even violence while visiting the country.

Asked if he’s afraid about what will happen to him now he’s “confessed” to homosexual acts, Aziz replies, “Of course, yes. I thought about that. But I had no choice. My safety and my life are quite important.”

Aziz adds that the real person who should be punished is whoever set up the spy cam and leaked the video online, as the sex was “consensual between two adults.”

Since the scandal broke, Aziz has been laying low, living in fear as he awaits his fate.

“I don’t have my phone now,” he says. “I have thrown it away as I am afraid that someone will track me and kill me. I am very paranoid now.”

Aziz spends most of his days at home, reading books or watching TV and trying to tune out the world.

“I have not read anything posted online,” he says. “I don’t want to become stressed.”

“Right now,” he adds, “I don’t have a plan.”

Related: Politician could face prison time after being outed by an explicit gay video


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The wrestling beef between Seth Rollins and Will Ospreay, explained

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This is all so dumb.

Real life conflict between professional wrestlers is nothing new, but the past 48 hours on Twitter have given us the dumbest, most nonsensical beef between WWE’s Seth Rollins and New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Will Ospreay that the whole thing is already reaching the height of ridiculousness.

What began as seemingly harmless banter has evolved into insults, bank account comparisons and merchandise opportunities. The entire thing doesn’t serve anyone, and does more harm than good in the long run, and yet it just keeps going.

How this all began.

Rollins, the WWE Universal Champion, was defending his title against Corbin at the WWE Stomping Grounds pay per view on Sunday night, a show which fans expected very little out of. Poor ticket sales and an underwhelming card let to horrible expectations — but all in all it was an entertaining show. Except for one match: The main event featuring Rollins.

It wasn’t the performer’s fault. The match was over-hyped on TV and promised a “special guest referee” as its main point of curiosity. Fans became irate when it was revealed that Lacey Evans was the surprise, and while I’ll spare you why this made sense from a story perspective, it definitely let fans down. The end result was a middling match with a disconnected crowd chanting “boring,” “CM Punk” and “AEW” as a result.

Hyping the event, Rollins called it “the best pro wrestling on the planet,” and made a bold proclamation.

It’s here where Ospreay enters the story. The current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Ospreay is regarded as one of the best wrestlers on the planet who isn’t signed to WWE. He took exception to Rollins saying he was the greatest in the world and it took just two words to set everything off.

It’s unclear whether Ospreay meant it as a direct shot at Rollins following the poorly received main event, or whether it was a matter of circumstance — but Rollins didn’t take kindly to Ospreay disagreeing with him, especially while negative reviews of his match rolled in.

Rollins’ condescending, dismissive response to a beloved wrestler seemed wholly out of left field — but it makes sense in the context of what transpired. Rollins probably shouldn’t have logged on for a couple of days, but here we are.

Ospreay let it sit for a couple of hours before clapping back again, this time at the notion that he hasn’t worked as hard to get where he has, than Rollins or anyone else on the WWE roster.

To which Rollins decided the best route would be to go with the “I MAKE MORE MONEY THAN YOU” defense.

It’s at this point the back-and-forth should probably have ended. It would have been a little spat between two guys, but then in came Corbin with the grace, wit and timing of a Baron Corbin.

Rollins talking smack is one thing. He’s a guy who pushed through the independent wrestling scene to earn his spot, and knows what it’s like to sacrifice for the business. On the other hand there’s Corbin, who left the NFL to get a developmental contract in WWE and has been pushed to main event status when almost nobody thinks he deserves it, which led to …

Then Chris Jericho got involved too and this whole this is making my head hurt.

Ospreay decided to jump on the attention and launch a new line of shirts, because why not?

Here’s why this is all so dumb.

This back and forth transcends simple beef solely because of the people involved. Rollins dragged himself into a fight with Will Ospreay for no good reason, which is whatever — people do dumb things. However, this is so much worse because of what it represents for Rollins.

Rollins has made a trade of being a true “wrestler,” one of the good ones. He’s not only WWE Universal Champion, but the company’s premiere babyface (good guy). One of the reasons fans like him so much is that he’s an amazing performer with a tireless work ethic, but also because a bulk of the fans know his story. They’ve followed him through the independent scene when he wrestled as “Tyler Black,” and have carried that torch through to being the face of the biggest company in professional wrestling.

This is what makes it so shocking and unnecessary for him to go after Ospreay. Wrestling fans don’t exist in a vacuum. Many watch other promotions too and appreciate Ospreay as well. Picking a fight that didn’t need to take place only serves to make Rollins look petty, especially when it comes to trying to compare checkbooks.

Furthermore, it’s ridiculous to denigrate Ospreay considering that by all accounts he’s turned down WWE before. The money isn’t the motivating factor for him. Ospreay wants to stay in New Japan because he enjoys it, so making a “I have more money” clap-back only serves to make Rollins look like an arrogant bully — and remember, he’s supposed to be a good guy.

Rollins’ frustration at fans is palpable, and it’s understandable. However, he’s missing the point that much of the ire wrestling fans direct at WWE isn’t towards its performers, but rather its storytelling, management and booking (how matched take place). When fans chant “boring” there’s no doubt it’s upsetting for those in the ring, but it’s often a larger indictment of everything fans are seeing — not simply a claim that the people wrestling aren’t doing a good job.

After all, it’s a lot easier to chant “boring” than “I would really prefer these wrestlers were used in stories more effectively so I could care more about their in-ring performance.”

There’s also blame on Ospreay for escalating this too, and it makes no sense for him to burn potential bridges in the future over something this petty. In the pantheon of dumb sports beefs this one is right up there, but now it’s on Rollins not only to squash this before it gets even worse, but find a way to re-ingratiate himself to fans who feel burned by him going after another amazing performer.

What a mess.


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