China Invokes ‘Debbie Downer’ Policy, Bans Hip Hop Culture on TV (Even Tattoos)

China’s media regulatory office – the snappily titled “State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT)” – has officially banned all depictions of hip hop culture on television, including tattoos, claiming hip-hop culture is “tasteless”. The move comes after video of rapper GAI – a winner of a popular reality show – were taken down from the Hunan network’s YouTube channel. Hunan airs the competition reality singing show Singer.

The Chinese news outlet Sina released a statement from the SAPPRFT’s director of publicity explaining that “Administration of Radio and Television invited guests should adhere to the “four absolutely not” standard, clearly required the program tattoo artists, hip-hop culture, subculture, funeral culture (decadent culture) do not.” – Translation by Google Translate

Department director Gao Changli also outlined four “Don’t” rules on Friday.

Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble
Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class
Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity

Well, those aren’t vague guidelines that could easily ensnare otherwise perfectly decent human beings.

 

Time magazine reports:

Rapper Mao Yanqi, aka VaVa, was cut from the variety show Happy Camp, according to Tecent News. Music by Triple H, an influential underground rapper, has also been removed from major streaming sites. And a contestant on the show Super Brian, which is not hip-hop related, even had his hip-hop style necklace blurred out.

Chinese social media has responded angrily to the ban.

“SARPPFT is so trashy! They didn’t want to give Chinese hip pop singers any chance of survival! we can go back to ancient times,” wrote one user on Weibo — China’s equivalent of Twitter.

“How can a government with high culture have such childish logic?” asked another.

Somewhere right now there is a Democrat looking enviously upon the Chinese and wishing the government had the power to enforce similar rules on anyone whose version of taste and morality does not line up with their own.

 

 

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Prime Minister Theresa May Appoints ‘Minister of Loneliness’

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her administration has created a new position designed to combat the plague of “loneliness” sweeping across Great Britain. The new “Minister of Loneliness” will specifically deal with “the sad reality of modern life”, according to Prime Minister May.

That reality was illuminated by a British study last year that found nearly 9 million people identifying themselves as often or always lonely. With some health experts suggesting chronic loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, May’s government identifies it a public health crisis.

“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with,” May said on Wednesday before appointing the minister Tracey Crouch, according to the New York Times.

May’s concern is rightly placed. Certainly we can’t deny that western society has left behind vulnerable groups like the elderly in our never-ending, botox-fueled, social media driven quest for youth and relevance. Western individualism, the internet and advancements in transportation have made the world a much smaller place than it used to be. Families are no longer confined to their region of origin and extended families living under one roof are less and less common.

However, the dire need for such a position underscores the root of a problem that cannot be addressed by yet another government program. No one stopped to ask what would happen when we jettisoned traditional values for progressivism. It was a nice thought to believe the government could relieve the “burden” of caring for the those in need from individuals and families; but when we are no longer required to bear that burden, what does it do to our relationships?

Suddenly western society went from an environment where families and communities bore the brunt of caring for the needy to one where the government stepped in for them. It’s all well and good that Janie gets to go to college and live in a posh one bedroom in the city and drive the car her parents always wished they had, but what is Janie being robbed of by not having the responsibility to care for her aging and sick grandmother? What is her grandmother being robbed of by not having to rely on her family for her day to day needs?

Churches and other faith communities used to be the main organizations to fill in the gaps left by failing family. They still do, but the atmosphere has changed and many faith organizations are no longer welcome in the sphere of public charity, particular in the UK. We’ve forced faith and religious values further and further to the fringes while we expand government aid exponentially each year. But a government entity is just a faceless bureaucracy and doesn’t have the same connections in a community that a church or synagogue might have. That bureaucracy doesn’t have a day-to-day interaction with the realities of life in any given community. The names of their rolls are just stand-ins for dollar signs.

With the expansion of Big Government has come the expansion of Big Brother. We’re told “if you see something, say something” but if that “something” involves a minority group or person then we risk being ostracized, fined or worse. A busybody neighbor who doesn’t think your 10-year-old should be walking home from school alone could make one call and have you tied up in with CPS for years. For many it is easier to live life isolated from neighbors rather than risk being misunderstood.

As we’ve changed the definition of “family” we’ve also changed the defined role of family.

As we’ve celebrated the rise of the internet, we’ve also changed how we interact with each other. The anonymity provided by our computer screens gives us the incentive to say harsh things to others we would never say to them in person. It has also given us a false sense of relationship with others, requiring no sacrifice on our part to nourish genuine friendship in service to another.

Since the 1960s (at least) we’ve been told that the traditions of our parents and grandparents -and even the traditions of newer immigrants from more socially conservative societies- are out of step with the pace of progress and modernity. We’ve been told we’d all just be happier if the government paid for our healthcare, our schooling, our meals; if the government could just force society to accept our personal choices as right; if the government could provide for our retirement and relieve people from the burden of preparing for their own futures.

Well, in the UK they have all those things and yet their people are lonelier than ever. Perhaps instead of yet another government intervention, they might consider looking at past decades when life was significantly less regulated…and act accordingly.

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Alec Baldwin Thinks Everyone Being Too Mean to Woody Allen

Alec Baldwin wants everyone to stop being unfair to legendary director/writer Woody Allen.

Allen has long withstood the horrific charges and accusations against him by hiding behind his work and the constant flow of elite actors in and out of his sphere of influence.

A colleague reminded me that I might need to provide some context for younger readers who aren’t totally familiar with Allen’s antics. In the 1980’s he and wife Mia Farrow were arguably the biggest celebrity couple in the United States – think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. When the couple divorced, an ugly custody battle ensued in which Allen was accused of molesting his young daughter. Farrow eventually dropped the suit to spare her daughter more trauma in exchange for custody and was painted as an unstable, bitter ex-wife.

Why bitter? Why the divorce in the first place?

Woody Allen married his daughter. Well, adopted daughter. Adopted stepdaughter. Mia Farrow had adopted Soon Yi before she moved in with (and eventually married) Allen but the two raised her together as partners. After Soon Yi blossomed into a teenager, Farrow discovered they were having a sexual relationship. The rest is history.

For you kids, it’s like Brad Pitt marrying Zahara.

People have been asking for years why actors are so eager to work with Allen when at the very least he’s a gross, perverted cheater. His daughter Dylan penned a letter 2014 detailing the reasons why he is probably much, much worse than that.

The #MeToo movement finally seems to be calling on Allen’s doorstep, with several actors from his recent films announcing they will donate their salaries and will not work with him in the future. More impressively, actress Mira Sorvino wrote an open apology to Dylan Farrow for working with Allen and dismissing her story.

However, Alec Baldwin thinks we’re all being a bit too hasty about all this. All those other accusations are fine, but when it comes to Woody Allen…well, he had a good time working with Woody and he’s never seen any inappropriate behavior so he thinks it’s unfair to lump Allen in with all these other Weinstein-esque goons.

In a tweet through his Alec Baldwin Foundation account, Baldwin begs people to remember that Allen was not charged with anything even after two criminal investigations.

That same account is also tweeting seeming rebuttals to Allen accusers from those eager to remind the public that Mia Farrow has also been accused of child abuse, even by her own children.

The timeline is also rife with plenty of Trump insults and denunciations – naturally.

For Baldwin, someone saying they heard Donald Trump say a bad word about 3rd world countries is enough to publicly indict the president even though he denies it; because hey, it’s something Baldwin feels like Trump would say.

However, someone saying Woody Allen sexually abused her (and subsequently) seeing Allen go on to marry the girl he started having sex with as a teenager living under his roof and paternalism…well it’s not fair to indict that guy because Baldwin doesn’t feel like Woody Allen would do something like that.

Like most of Hollywood, Baldwin bases his opinions on his feelings which is probably why sexual harassment and pedophilia have been allowed to thrive for so long in Tinseltown.

And let’s not forget that Baldwin called his own teenager a “little pig” in a now infamous rant after she told him she didn’t want to visit with him per his custody agreement.

One Father-of-the-Year defending another.

 

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A New Report Says Public Schools are Still Very Segregated…Here’s How to Fix That

A report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released Thursday reveals that segregation in public schooling is still disturbingly prevalent, with black and latino students often schooling in subpar conditions.

The commission said inequities are caused by the fact that schools are most funded with state and local tax dollars. More than 92 percent of funding comes from nonfederal sources, according to the Education Department.

The resulting imbalance renders “the education available to millions of American public school students profoundly unequal,” the commission said.

For instance, the authors said, 33 percent of high schools with high black and Latino enrollment offer calculus, compared with 56 percent of high schools with low black and Latino student populations. Nationwide, 48 percent of schools offer the rigorous math course.

On average, school districts spend around $11,000 per student each year, but the highest-poverty districts receive an average of $1,200 less per child than the least-poor districts, while districts serving the largest numbers of minority students get about $2,000 less than those serving the fewest students of color, according the study.

The authors called on Congress to create incentives for states to adopt equitable funding systems, to ensure adequate funding for students with disabilities and to increase federal funding to supplement local dollars for school districts that are underfunded.

“The reality is that the United States does not offer the educational opportunity that is consistent with our ideals,” commission chair Catherine Lhamon told the AP. “That’s appalling and it’s dangerous and all of us need for it to change.”

As someone who has worked in the education system and has had children in both inner city and suburban schools, I can anecdotally back up the notion that segregation is still a huge problem. Certainly, income levels and the dependency of public schools on tax dollars play a large – if not the largest – factor in the disparities. Our current suburban schools want for nothing. Our former inner city school didn’t have air conditioning and the playgrounds were more like a graveyard of trash and outdated equipment.

Commission chair Catherine Lhamon is absolutely correct to describe this situation as “appalling and dangerous”. She wants an “equitable” funding system to help catch up lower-income districts.

Like many people who rely on the government for their livelihood, Lhamon’s solution to the problem is just more money. However, more money isn’t necessarily the issue. For instance, some of the lowest performing school districts in the nation (Detroit, Chicago) receive the most dollars per student. In a response to actress Jenna Fischer’s concerns about school funding I outlined a gigantic problem with our current system of funding. Nearly every state in the country is increasing the number of off-site administrators at a rate that vastly outpaces the increase in student population. In fact, in Louisiana the student population actually decreased even as the administrative hires increased significantly.

We don’t have a money problem, we have a spending problem.

There is a solution that, though unfortunately the solution pits the people in government who think they know what’s best for us against…well, US.

School choice.

If you do a web search on “school choice” and “desegregation” you’ll come up with all kinds of opinions and vague reports of choice increasing segregation. Without even bogging you down in statistics (which are still fairly sparse as choice programs are quite new and reliable data is still being collected), one only needs to apply common sense to the equation to see that choice in education can absolutely lead to greater diversity in schools and also a greater diversity of programs to choose from.

Why are inner city minorities stuck in failing schools? One reason is that if they don’t live in the right district, they aren’t allowed to send their child to other public schools that might be thriving. It’s illegal. If you can’t afford to move to the suburbs or pay for a private program, you’re stuck where you are and your child becomes a tennis ball in the never ending lobbing match between teacher’s unions and the government budget office.  If zip code is the determination of the quality of your public education, maybe we should just get rid of the zip codes.

By allowing parents the freedom to choose what school in their area is best for their child, we are allowing them to escape their zip code without having to make an unaffordable move to a place they may not really want to be anyway. We desegregate by making education about the particular needs of a particular student rather than a geographical location.

An argument often used against this idea is that it might trigger some sort of “white flight”. However, the problem with this logic is that it doesn’t take into account that everyone will have a choice. A voucher program (just one of many options in the school choice universe) would mean that Mary’s kid from Compton could go to the same school Barb’s kid from Beverly Hills decided to “flee” to…be it public or private. It evens the playing field by simply letting parents determine their child’s educational options rather than a nameless, faceless bureaucracy.

Another argument is that this system would drain money from the public schools. This is one of the more ignorant arguments. Most people aren’t aware that in choice systems, the public schools still receive up to half of the funding per student who chooses a different school. They’re actually making money on the proposition by not having to service the pupils they’re being paid for.

Unsurprisingly, the Department of Education under Betsy DeVos agrees with me.

Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill said the commission’s findings underscore the need for reform. Promoting charter schools, voucher programs and other forms of school choice are key goals of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“This is further proof that too many children, simply because of where they live, are forced to attend schools that do not provide an equitable education,” Hill said in a statement. “Secretary DeVos has made clear her mission is to ensure every child has the opportunity to attend a school that offers an excellent education that meets their individual needs.”

Whether channeling more money to schools in underserved communities will help improve the quality of education is a subject of academic debate.

 

Giving parents more control over their educational dollars also discourages administrative budget abuses. There is less room for horseplay and outright thievery.  

When we give parents and students options, segregation becomes a non-issue. School populations become determined by the needs of those schools claim to serve instead of bureaucratic entities who never set foot in a classroom in any given community.

It’s a simple solution only made complicated by greed and those who wish to maintain the status quo.

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Mira Sorvino Pens Apology to Dylan Farrow for Believing Woody Allen

After a lifetime isolating herself from the media, Dylan Farrow wrote a public letter  in 2014 in which she detailed her sexual abuse by her father, famous writer/director Woody Allen. She spoke about the pain of having to tell her story over and over and over again during the bitterly fought custody battle between her mother (actress Mia Farrow) and Allen – a battle that left Allen to continue to pursue his fame and awards and the Farrows painted as lying maniacs.

Even still, she was largely ignored and dismissed.

In a twist that was made for the movies, it was her own brother who finally legitimized her story by breaking one of the biggest Hollywood scandals in history. Suddenly everyone who had once turned a blind eye to the perversion of the Hollywood power set was shouting #MeToo and rushing to take the hand of the nearest victim. Even still, no one was brave enough to at least question Allen.

No one, that is, until Thursday when actress Mira Sorvino penned a letter in the Huffington Post to Farrow. Sorvino has been a very public presence in the Harvey Weinstein scandal and while she’s been fairly quiet about her experience with Weinstein, she did promise to make a public statement eventually.

That she did, only Sorvino quite admirably didn’t make her first statement about herself. Instead she directly apologized to Dylan Farrow for ignoring her story for so long. Sorvino won an Oscar in the 1995 Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite. In her open letter she apologized to Farrow, explaining that she was a young actress who idolized Woody Allen and she just didn’t want to believe the worst.

I confess that at the time I worked for Woody Allen I was a naive young actress. I swallowed the media’s portrayal of your abuse allegations against your father as an outgrowth of a twisted custody battle between Mia Farrow and him, and did not look further into the situation, for which I am terribly sorry. For this I also owe an apology to Mia.

What I have to say next is not a justification, simply a description of my background with Woody at that time and since. As an adolescent, I cherished my copy of his book “Without Feathers.” I played the Diane Keaton role in a high school production of “Play It Again, Sam” and had grown up, like so many in my generation, in awe of his films. As a young actress I landed the dream role of Linda Ash in “Mighty Aphrodite,” and the artistic license he allowed me to create the character was thrilling. We were friendly though not close, but in no way did he ever overstep his bounds with me; I never personally experienced what has now been described as inappropriate behavior toward young girls.  But this does not excuse my turning a blind eye to your story simply because I wanted desperately for it not to be so.

It is difficult to sever ties and denounce your heroes, your benefactors, whom you fondly admired and felt a debt of gratitude toward for your entire career’s existence. To decide, although they may be fantastically talented and helped you enormously, that you believe they have done things for which there can be no excuse. But that is where we stand today.

Sorvino goes on to say that after meeting with Ronan Farrow she finally came to believe Dylan’s story and felt ashamed for ignoring it for so long.

I told him I wanted to learn more about you and your situation. He pointed me toward publicly available details of the case I had ruefully never known of, which made me begin to feel the evidence strongly supported your story. That you have been telling the truth all along.

 I am so sorry, Dylan! I cannot begin to imagine how you have felt, all these years as you watched someone you called out as having hurt you as a child, a vulnerable little girl in his care, be lauded again and again, including by me and countless others in Hollywood who praised him and ignored you. As a mother and a woman, this breaks my heart for you. I am so, so sorry!

We are in a day and age when everything must be re-examined. This kind of abuse cannot be allowed to continue. If this means tearing down all the old gods, so be it. The cognitive dissonance, the denial and cowardice that spare us painful truths and prevent us from acting in defense of innocent victims while allowing “beloved” individuals to continue their heinous behavior must be jettisoned from the bottom of our souls. Even if you love someone, if you learn they may have committed these despicable acts, they must be exposed and condemned, and this exposure must have consequences. I will never work with him again.

I am sorry it has taken me a few weeks to come out in support of you since that conversation, but it has been a process for me to own this truth and make this irrevocable break.

It seems tragically ironic that Sorvino has been the only person so far brave enough to publicly break with Woody Allen and yet wasn’t even given an invitation by the #MeToo contingent at last Sunday’s strokefest Golden Globes.

If any of them had any decency they’d feel ashamed of themselves for letting Sorvino make then all look like the hypocrites they are.

But decency seems sorely lacking in Tinsel Town.

 

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Sexualizing Our Youth in the Name of LGBT Is NOT Okay

Redstate writer Sarah Rumpf reported earlier this week on the story of 9-year-old Nemis Quinn Mélançon, who was featured in Teen Vogue as his drag queen persona “Queen Lactatia”. 

I know you’re rubbing your eyes right now and wondering which part of this you’re reading incorrectly. Believe it or not, all of those words go together. Here is 9-year-old Nemis as “Queen Lactatia”

“Lactatia” is apparently a regular fixture on the Montreal drag queen circuit and has recently been featured as the “cover girl” for a gay men’s erotic clothing line. Here are some images from the House of Mann Esty page.

And here’s “Lactatia” modeling a sequined onesie from the same site.

What is this child doing? What is this pose? Is this the body language of a young boy??

This is nothing short of child abuse. It is the sexualization of a young boy. You can dress it up in all the social justice, LGBT, free-to-be-me language that you want. There is no defense for this. The images of this child evoke all kinds of adult connotations, from suggestive poses to “bedroom eyes,” to heavy make-up.

Gay activist Chad Felix Green made it clear he is not on board with such perversion.

What in holy hell is acceptable about bringing a 9-year-old child to adult clubs and parading him around while he impersonates grown women? Even his “stage name” is designed to elicit thoughts of the female anatomy.

Teen Vogue calls this empowering and “magical”.

Would we be saying this if Nemis were a little girl? Not only are the images of this child shockingly inappropriate, they also belie a disturbing double standard when it comes to LGBT issues. As Rumpf points out, it wasn’t that long ago that we were discussing how distasteful JonBenét Ramsay’s parents were for dressing her up like a grown woman and parading her in front of adults as she performed numbers meant for grown women.

When a little six-year-old girl named JonBenét Ramsey was found murdered in the basement of her family home in 1996, a significant portion of the media attention and public debate centered around her participation in child beauty pageants.

Were the makeup, costumes, and song-and-dance routines too sexualized to be proper for a child? Did they make her attractive to a pedophile, and is that why she was killed?

Ramsey’s murder remains unsolved, so we may never know the truth, but her parents — even after they were cleared as suspects in her death — were vilified for “making her a target.”

Why was this child in a pink cowboy hat and a full face of makeup controversial, viewed as wearing too much makeup for an innocent child, as trying to look too “sexy”?

But this child, also in a pink cowboy hat and a full face of makeup, is “impressive and magical”?

What kind of a double standard is this? Would we be celebrating this if it were a girl being dressed as a grown woman, making “sexy lips” and wearing a ton of makeup while she modeled…anything? The rules for how we treat our children are not waved just because someone slaps “LGBT” on the cover. This is not appropriate for any child. This is the deliberate presentation of a little child as a grown adult. Kissy faces, hip-thrusting, duck lips…what do all those poses speak to the viewer?

House of Mann creator Brandon Hilton has been defending his support of “Lactatia” as his cover model, insisting that he does not support child abuse.

What Hilton doesn’t see to understand that it is the very presentation of a young boy as a grown woman caked in make-up that is the child abuse. He condones it simply by asserting that a 9-year-old child who dresses as an adult lady to hit the club circuit is in any way appropriate.

It. Is. Not.

I’d be curious to know Hilton’s (or anyone else supporting this insanity) thoughts on the Toddlers & Tiaras set.

And just to bring this back full circle to #MeToo…

This is nothing but yet another co-opting of feminine power structure by men.

“Queen Lactatia” is empowering? If he were a girl and the daughter of some redneck from Florida who puts her in a bikini and parades her around the pageant circuit all those Lactatia fans would be disgusted and publicly shaming that mother.

It is not okay to allow our children to participate in the sexual fantasies of adults, whether those fantasies be pedophiliac in nature or simply reflect the desire to be desired as a woman rather than a man.

It is not okay. There’s nothing right about this. There’s nothing good about this. This is child abuse on all fronts and Nemis’ parents are putting him in direct danger by putting him in a very adult world where he is being cheered and ogled for his physical form…at NINE.

Where are all the LGBT families and parents on this? Is there not one voice of reason to be had from our LGBT community on the issue of presenting children as sexualized adults? Does no one worry about how this brands the movement in their fight for “social justice” and equality?

What adults do is for adults and that’s that. You don’t have to be straight to understand that very basic concept and everyone – especially those in the LGBT community fighting to be recognized as the typical American family – should be wary of allowing the LGBT label to protect the perversion of childhood.

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Actress Connie Britton’s Red Carpet Look Is a Message…Literally

“Friday Night Lights” and “Nashville” actress Connie Britton wasn’t content to simply join the all-black #MeToo movement on the Red Carpet. She used the opportunity to send her own message…literally.

Mmmmkay…well, no word yet on whether or not “poverty” plans to enter the same rehab facility that Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey went to. We also have yet to receive a formal statement from “poverty” denouncing its sexist ways. #TimesUp

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10 Predictions for the Golden Globes Broadcast

The Umpteenth Annual Golden Globe Awards are this Sunday and this year stands to be more interesting than most thanks to Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo.

Will we hear award winners be as bold with their criticism of each other as they are of the American people? Will anyone have the courage to call out the creeps among them? Will they just ignore everything and carry on business as usual? Will there be Trump jokes?

Unsurprisingly, the Hollywood elite have already adopted a #MeToo accessory – black. In a courageous show of courageous bravery the brave celebrities will courageously wear black to protest…themselves? Or the just the idea that sexual harassment is wrong…amongst themselves…er…

I don’t know. Like anyone who lives for attention, the Hollywood set knows that your good thoughts don’t matter unless everyone in the world knows you’re thinking them.

Whatever happens, it will certainly be interesting to see how intellectually honest (or dishonest) the Hollywood crowd can be. While we wait on pins and needles, here are some of my predictions for upcoming Golden Globes broadcast on ABC.

  1. There will be an exhaustive use of #MeToo in every speech and throughout the show. It will replace the peace sign, the clenched fist and last year’s favorite – #Resist – as the virtue signaling of choice for 2018.
  2. Every male artist’s speech or interview will center around how much better women are than men.
  3. Not one of the now-disgraced Hollywood influencers will be mentioned by name. Vague outrage will be the name of the game.
  4. Any serious talk of Hollywood sexual harassment issues by Seth Meyers will be front loaded so he can spend the rest of the show pretending 3/4s of the audience haven’t been enabling sexual harassment and degradation for eons.
  5. TRUMP JOKES, TRUMP JOKES AND MOOOOOAAARRRRRR TRUMP JOKES!!!!!!! ALL THE TRUMP JOKES!!!! Why focus on the beam in your own eye when that speck in America’s eye is so glaringly orange?
  6. Publicists and managers will direct their actresses on the red carpet will be far too boring serious.
  7. Whataboutism will be alive and well and predominantly aimed at Melania and Ivanka Trump.
  8. Not one person will thank the viewers at home for buying their products and making them all very, very rich and privileged.                                                                                                                                                                                        
  9. There will be no fewer than 6 jokes made about Trump’s tweeting. After all, rebooting old ideas is very popular in Tinseltown these days.                                                           
  10. The show will be too long, too self-congratulatory and once again remind the general American viewer of why they are consistently rejecting the old, stale, studio fare they keep shoving down our throats in favor of more innovative entertainment platforms.

Or, they could surprise us all and actually apologize for being arrogant hypocrites who have intentionally alienated their customer base for decades and decades.

But I won’t hold my breath.

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Canadian Ex-Hostage Being Charged with Sexual Assault and Confinement

Canadian citizen Joshua Boyle and his American wife and children were rescued from Pakistan last year nearly five years after being abducted and held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The couple bore their three children while in captivity. Upon their rescue, Boyle strangely refused to leave Pakistan until he was guaranteed he would not have to land in the United States.

Now comes news that Boyle has been charged with at least a dozen counts of sexual battery and assault. 

A hearing on the case was scheduled for Wednesday in Ottawa, but the lawyer said Boyle would not attend in person. He said Boyle was in custody.

Granger said he had not seen the court documents yet.

“Mr. Boyle is presumed innocent. He’s never been in trouble before. No evidence has been provided yet, which is typical at this early stage. We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges,” Granger said in an email.

A publication ban bars reporting any information that could identify the alleged victims or witnesses in the case.

In a statement to the Toronto Star, Boyle’s wife wrote, “I can’t speak about the specific charges, but I can say that ultimately it is the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this.”

“Obviously, he is responsible for his own actions,” she added, “but it is with compassion and forgiveness that I say I hope help and healing can be found for him. As to the rest of us, myself and the children, we are healthy and holding up as well as well we can.”

The family met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the leader’s office last month.

Boyle told The Associated Press in October that his wife had been hospitalized in Ottawa, but did not specify why she was taken to the hospital.

“My wife has been through hell, and she has to be my first priority right now,” Boyle wrote then.

Boyle also told AP that he and his wife decided to have children even while held captive because they always planned to have a big family, thinking: “Hey, let’s make the best of this and at least go home with a larger start on our dream family.”

“We’re sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands,” Boyle added. “We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn’t want to waste time. Cait’s in her 30s, the clock is ticking.”

Nothing adds up and Canadian authorities are offering minimal information at this point.

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Apple Apologizes for Slow-Phone Fiasco, Offers Discounted Batteries For a Year

A story recently surfaced that Apple was intentionally slowing down the performance of older model forms upon the release of new models. Outraged iPhone users had suspected as much for years, but the story seemed to confirm all of the theories. The issue might be a bit more complicated than that. For more information read this fascinating article that claims it’s not so much the crime but the cover-up that is causing problems for the tech giant.

Regardless of what’s true and what’s conjecture, Apple is facing a huge PR problem and it’s not going away anytime soon. In light of the accusations and outrage, Apple issued an apology on Thursday and attempted to clear up some the “misconceptions” of what actually happened. The statement tried to explain that the “slow-downs” were not intentional but as the result of typical degradation due to environment and temperatures.

Perhaps realizing that wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the angry hordes, Apple also announced they would be slashing the price of their replacement batteries by $50. For an entire year from late January to December 2018 batteries can be purchased for just $29.

A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

How batteries age

All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.

Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.

A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

To help customers learn more about iPhone’s rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, we’ve posted a new support article, iPhone Battery and Performance.

It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.

Preventing unexpected shutdowns

About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.

Customer response to iOS 10.2.1 was positive, as it successfully reduced the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. We recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

Recent user feedback

Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.

Addressing customer concerns

We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

  • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
  • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
  • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.

What do you think? Is Apple just covering their tracks or are they actually the victims of #FakeNews?

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Source: Red State