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Monthly Archives: February 2020

Sounds like Jennifer Garner‘s boyfriend is starting to get a little leery of this new Ben Affleck!

John Miller has been with the 47-year-old actress for two years now, but even their strong track record together apparently can’t overcome his discomfort with Ben’s newly candid interview style! So it goes when you date an A-list celeb

A source close to the 41-year-old businessman revealed to Us Weekly this week that he is actually “uncomfortable” with Ben’s recent series of interviews, as the 47-year-old actor sets out on the press trail to promote his new movie, The Way Back. For Miller, having Affleck reveal so many personal details about his addiction history and marital f**k-ups with Garner before their divorce has put the spotlight on Jen — and not in a good way.

The source explained more, adding (below):

“John is empathetic to Ben’s struggles with sobriety, but he worries about how Jennifer has once again become the focus. … The spotlight on Jennifer is intense and Ben needs to consider her feelings before speaking so publicly.”

Interesting… it’s especially noteworthy that even though Ben “needs to consider her feelings before speaking,” the source doesn’t note it’s Jen who is uncomfortable with all the interview candids, but John.

Hmmm. Just saying! Is Jen uncomfortable with Ben’s openness here, or is John scared he’s going to lose his girlfriend to her ex because Ben is starting to take some responsibility for himself and show a bit of emotional depth???

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Selena Gomez is continuing to open up.

In her new feature for Dazed, the Lose You To Love Me songstress is answering questions from friends, fellow artists, and even stan accounts about her regrets, inspiration, Latin heritage, and more.

Yara Shahidi asked about her her “sources of inspiration that may surprise people,” and her answer of “pain” might not actually surprise die-hard Selenators too much:

“My best friend, Petra, inspires me like crazy! And also my pain. (laughs) My heart! Um.”

Bad Bunny asked:

“You have a Latin surname because of your father: as a worldwide star, do you feel like you represent Latinos despite the fact your music is sung in English?”

To which the Billboard Music Award nominee replied:

One thousand per cent. I’m always very vocal about my background, as far as me talking about immigration, and my grandparents having to come across the border illegally. I wouldn’t have been born (otherwise). I have such an appreciation for my last name. I’ve rereleased a lot of music in Spanish as well, and that’s something that’s gonna happen a bit more. So there’s a lot more I would love to do because I don’t take it lightly, I’m very honoured.”

When asked by photographer Brianna Capozzi if she could get rid of Instagram would she, Selena seemed split in her decision:

“Oh gosh! I think I’d have a lot of people not liking me for saying yes. (laughs) If I could find a balanced, happy medium that would be great, but I would be lying if I said that it isn’t destroying some of my generation, their identity.”

As you’ll recall, the former Disney Channel star took an extended social media hiatus at the end of 2018. Gomez added:

“It’s a huge part of why I named my album Rare – because there’s so much pressure to look the same as everyone else. It was scary going back on – the first four days I was like, ‘No, there’s no way I can do this.’ What I do now is to only go on it when I feel like I need to, and then I’ll just log off, I won’t take time to explore or look at anything else.”

Capozzi also inquired into who she would like to be stuck in a lift with, to which Miz Gomez revealed:

Princess Diana. She was such a warrior; I love everything she did. There’s this interview I will never forget where she is like, ‘I just want to be the queen of people’s hearts.’ You know, she didn’t necessarily care for all of the rules that (were imposed on her).”

Anna Chai — director of the Gomez-produced Netflix series Living Undocumented — inquired into whether or not she has any regrets. The 27-year-old explained:

“No, no. I mean, there are certain things which I wish hadn’t happened to me. But without them I wouldn’t have been the voice I am for people who have gone through the same thing. You know, going through the lupus thing and the kidney transplant, I was dealing with fame and with being run-down, dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that I had. It was all a bit confusing.”

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(CNN)Like so many odd things on the internet, the hawk neck challenge began with a tweet.

The original post got more than 300,000 likes, but when someone retweeted the video and quipped “Jabbawockeez have 24 hours to respond,” that number exploded to 600,000.
And Jabbawockeez, a hip-hop dance crew, did exactly that.
    Pretty sure it’s called Jabbawockeez neck challenge now.
      The Jabbawockeez first became well-known after their win on America’s Best Dance Crew in 2008. The crew uses plain white masks and gloves as an integral part of their performance, as seen in their video.
      Recently, the crew appeared in rapper DaBaby’s music video for “Bop” and danced during his “Saturday Night Live” performance.

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      From Lil Nas X to Billy Porter on the Grammys red carpet, Yee Haw fashion is everywhere. It is helping to finally put black cowboys, long erased from history, on the agenda Read more from the spring/summer 2020 edition of The Fashion, our biannual style supplement

      I have been archiving the black cowboy experience online for about a year. Ive lived in Texas for most of my life and have always been interested in the aesthetic.

      I think the ubiquity of the white American cowboy myth reflects a lot of deep-rooted ideas about heteronormativity and whiteness in the US. It also speaks to the historical erasure of the black cowboy most people dont know that one in four cowboys were actually black.

      I called the movement, and my Instagram account, which began in March 2019, the Yee Haw Agenda as a play on the gay agenda. A lot of straight people have issues with gay people or gay content being so popular and feeling as if its being forced on to children, which Ive always thought was ridiculous. This has never made sense to me because the LGBTQI community has contributed so much to culture in general, stuff that they havent been credited for. Its similar to the way black cowboys have not been historically credited. There are people who actually hate the term Yee Haw Agenda, but its funny to me because it was never meant to be as serious as it has become.

      Mary J Blige in 2000. Photograph: Steve Azzara/Corbis via Getty Images

      Black erasure is something thats happened since the beginning of time. Its still happening today, because the chairmen, the CEOs, the company heads, the people behind the scenes and the people who are in positions to actually change things still all look the same the same as they have always looked. So I think its great and important when something becomes so popular, like Yee Haw. It means people cant ignore the disparity any more. And the people in power are forced to open the doors that have been closed for so long. These days I think social media plays a huge part in that.

      Historically, the most significant Yee Haw looks have included Diana Rosss cowgirl style for her 1969 TV special, the Gap Bands look from the early 80s, singer Nicole Wrays artwork for her first album in 1998 and Lil Kims look in the 1999 Get Naked music video with Tommy Lee. But the first person that comes to mind, when I think about who exudes the Yee Haw look as we know it today, is Mary J Blige. I dont think she gets the praise for taking as many chances as she did, style wise, in the late 90s and early 00s, but she was never afraid of a good cowboy hat and boot combo. I would include Destinys Child in there as well. They always made being from Texas look fly, even though they got criticised for some of their earlier outfits.

      Destinys Child in 2001. Photograph: Sipa/REX/Shutterstock

      Lil Nas X was very significant to Yee Haw: Old Town Road is literally the biggest song of all time [the song holds the record for the longest time at number one in chart history], so it goes without saying. Seeing his rise was entertaining and made perfect sense, because hes really good at using the internet to his advantage. His stylist, Hodo Musa, is also amazing: my jaw always hits the floor when I see the looks they put together. A lot of the older people who have a problem with him now, mainly forgotten homophobic hip-hop stars, cant keep up with his wit. He always deflects any shade thrown his way.

      Recently, I saw an Out magazine headline that read The Gay Yeehaw Agenda Hit The Grammys Red Carpet, accompanied by a photo of Lil Nas X, Billy Porter and Orville Peck [all of whom wore cowboy hats to the awards ceremony]. It made me smile. The only real agenda at this point is to continue to spread the word about Yee Haw so maybe the world wont be as shook the next time a black cowboy makes their presence known.

      Diana Ross in 1979. Photograph: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

      Right now, Im just taking things a day at a time, with the growth of the account [Malandro now has 13.5k followers on Instagram]. I spoke at a festival a few months ago and got to meet some amazing people who participate in the rodeos of today. Im working on incorporating them into the movement and helping put a spotlight on more active cowboys and cowgirls.

      I dont think the Yee Haw movement will end any time soon, because its more than just one moment. There may be people who lose interest, like anything that sees a spike in popularity, but fashion will always repeat itself and black cowboys will still be there, like theyve always been.

      As told to Priya Elan

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      Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

      The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads in 2019 and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annie’s recently released “State of Mobile” annual report. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

      In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

      This week, we look at YouTube TV’s decision to stop revenue-sharing with Apple, another mobile voting app with serious flaws, new Apple launches in coding and AR, Microsoft’s game-streaming service Project xCloud arrival on iOS and other notable app news and trends, including WhatsApp’s big 2 billion user milestone, and more.


      YouTube TV fights back against Apple’s cut of in-app subscription revenue

      This week, YouTube emailed customers subscribed to its YouTube TV service by way of Apple’s in-app purchases to let them know that this subscription offering will be discontinued starting on March 13, 2020. Current subscribers will have their subscription canceled automatically on their billing date after March 13, the letter said.

      This is a pretty severe way for Google to end its subscription revenue-sharing with Apple, however. Most companies that decide to shut off in-app subscriptions still continue to honor those from existing subscribers — they just stop selling to new customers. In YouTube TV’s case, it’s actually ending its relationship with all its customers on Apple devices with the hope they’ll return and resubscribe. That’s quite a risk, given that YouTube TV is not the only streaming TV service out there, and customers getting their subscription canceled may take this opportunity to shop around. The timing is also poorly thought-out, given that YouTube TV just picked up new subs following Sony’s PlayStation Vue shutdown — and now it’s kicking them out.

      The move makes Google the latest company to rebel against Apple’s 30% cut of all in-app payments (which drops to 15% in year two). A growing number of app publishers are refusing to share a cut of their revenue with Apple — even saying that Apple’s decision to charge this fee is anti-competitive. For example, Spotify believes Apple’s fee makes it more difficult to compete with Apple’s built-in music service, and has raised the issue repeatedly to regulators. Netflix also stopped paying the “Apple tax” over a year ago.

      Mobile voting app Voatz, used by several states, was filled with security flaws

      Above: Voatz, via The NYT

      Last week, we looked at how a smartphone app meant to tabulate votes from the caucuses really screwed things up in Iowa. This week, MIT researchers took a look at mobile voting app Voatz, which has been used to tally votes for federal elections in parts of West Virginia, Oregon, Utah and Washington as part of various mobile voting pilot programs. The researchers found the app was riddled with security flaws that would let attackers monitor votes or even change ballots or block them without users’ knowledge. Attackers could also create a tainted paper trail, making a reliable audit impossible — despite Voatz’s promise of using blockchain technology to increase security. One security expert, speaking to VICE, called the app “sloppy” and filled with “elementary” mistakes.

      Coming on the heels of the Iowa caucus mobile voting disaster, this latest news delivers another huge blow to the promise of mobile voting in the U.S.

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      When it comes to the internet, content may be king, but in many cases, the emperor has no clothes. That is to say, the masses may click on interesting stories, video, music and other media, but building a lucrative business around that content can be a struggle, with advertising-based models often providing little in the way of margins except for the very biggest properties (and even then, it can a tough balancing act managing costs).

      A startup called Minute Media believes that it has found a way through that challenge with a platform that brings in user-generated content across a number of its own mostly-sports-based media properties — built organically and by way of acquisition — which it then syndicates to third-party publishing partners.

      Today, the startup is announcing a $40 million round to continue its growth — specifically to continue investing in its publishing platform; to invest in properties that it already owns; and to make more acquisitions.

      Led by London’s Dawn Capital (Minute Media describes itself as based in New York, but its founding team are out of Israel and it grew initially in London, where its CEO current lives) with participation from other unnamed previous investors (a list that includes Battery Ventures, Goldman Sachs, ProSieben, Qumra Capital, Vintage Investments, Gemini Ventures, North Base Media, La Maison, Remagine Ventures, Hamilton Lane and Maor Investments) the funding brings the total raised by Minute Media to $160 million.

      The startup is not disclosing its valuation, but last year we understood from a source very close to the company to be between $200 million and $300 million. Given that it grew around 100% last year, and currently is on track for revenues this year of $200 million, that likely puts the current valuation closer to $400-$500 million.

      On the shoulders of giants

      Minute Media may not be a name you know very well, but if you are a consumer of sports content online, you may have come across some of its properties or articles. Its holdings currently number seven titles and include names like (which focuses on soccer, hence the name: the startup’s founder and CEO Asaf Peled is a football fanatic), as well as FanSided, The Players’ Tribune and Mental Floss. (Others include 12up, DBLTAP and The Big Lead.)

      Some of these Minute Media built from scratch, but many have come to it courtesy of the bigger picture of the media industry today: titles are created, gain an audience and brand recognition, and then get passed around in the world of online publishing when the previous owner has not been able to make the business case for the site work.

      For example, FanSided came to Minute Media by way of an acquisition just last month: Meredith sold it, reportedly for $15 million, as part of a larger divestment of “non-core” assets it has been making post its Owen acquisition of Time, Inc. in 2018 (FanSided once sat under Sports Illustrated).

      The Players Tribune, meanwhile, runs stories written by athletes themselves — some extremely timely, such as this one from Sabrina Ionescu, a rising star in women’s basketball, published just on Monday, in the same week that her name has been making waves because of her speech at the Bryant memorial service, plus her heroic work on the court. The site was founded by baseball legend Derek Jeter, and raised some money from big names, but ultimately couldn’t last as an independent startup. It sold in November last year to Minute Media.

      And Mental Floss, something of a cult click-bait title (at one point even Monica thumbed through a printed version at Central Perk), lost its way after Facebook algorithm changes. Now its home is also at Minute Media.

      On the surface, this might look mainly like an aggregator media play, or on an M&A level something based on the private equity model of hoovering up a lot of tired or slow growing brands with the aim of optimising them and moving on.

      But neither is actually accurate. As Peled describes it (and as VCs apparently believe), there is a technology story, and corresponding interesting business model, underpinning what Minute Media has built that spans, B2C, B2B and C2C publishing and distribution.

      For starters, there is the centralised content management system that runs the sites, “an open CMS system that allows any casual fan to create rich content,” Peled told TechCrunch.

      While this has had as many as 20,000 contributors on it at one time, contributing articles in a variety of languages beyond English, the number of pieces — selected by human editors — published across all its platforms is less than 1,000 per day. Only the most prolific and longstanding contributors get paid; others contribute for free. This forms the basis of the company’s content engine.

      That content brings in traffic and advertising on Minute Media’s owned properties, but this is only one piece of how the company makes money. That same platform is also a licensing-based B2B and B2C play: it links up to about a dozen or more other publishers and media partners, which use it both to syndicate content out and bring in content from other places. The logic here is that bringing in syndicated content from elsewhere can help the other publishers bring down their operating costs while still continuing to expand the content (and thus traffic) on their own sites; hence why they partner with (and pay) Minute Media.

      Last summer, Peled told me that the balance between ad and licensing revenues were “around 50/50, but no doubt the B2B open platform is easier to sell and is growing faster.”

      Sport wins

      Although there is other content beyond sports on Minute Media’s platform, sports is a key focus, and for good reason.

      Sports content has shaped up to be an extremely important segment in the world of online media. Done right, it can breed a legion of engaged and very loyal visitors — readers, viewers, listeners — who are willing to do more than just click once and move on. If they like what they see, they will come back again, and again. That has helped some of the more interesting sports properties build paid content models — see The Athletic — and others spin out media empires based on still-evolving mediums like podcasting — see the huge success of The Ringer and its recent sale to Spotify.

      Minute Media fits into that bigger picture with its own take on how to build and scale a sports publishing empire. Without some of the overhead that has weighed down other online publishing plays, the startup has built a concept for publishing that appears to have a kind of sustainability to it.

      “Minute Media’s best-in-class platform enables publishers to create, distribute and monetize high-quality content,” said Haakon Overli, general partner at Dawn Capital, in a statement. “The company is quickly establishing itself as a major player in the new generation of online publishing, empowering creators and audiences alike. Following explosive revenue growth in 2019, we’re pleased to back the team once again, allowing them to accelerate R&D and commercial efforts further still.”

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      On Monday night, I was minding my own business, suffering through the first part of the Below Deck reunion, when my friend sent me like, 12 Snapchat videos of her broom standing up on its own in her kitchen. Honestly, I didn’t really get the big deal at first, but everyone else in the group chat seemed totally amazed. Soon, the broomstick challenge started popping up everywhere on Twitter and TikTok, and obviously I had to figure out wtf was going on.

      The broomstick challenge really isn’t that different from the bottlecap challenge, or the ice bucket challenge, or any of these viral internet video trends—someone started it, and now everyone from celebrities to your little cousin are posting their videos. But this time, there was allegedly some crazy science behind what was going on. As soon as the broomstick challenge videos started going viral, the internet had an explanation for it. According to the hard-hitting non-journalists of Twitter, NASA said that something about the gravitational pull or planetary alignment was allowing the brooms to stand up, and that Monday was the only day of the year when this was possible. Sounds totally legit, right? Yeah, no. Mercury is going into retrograde this weekend, but that’s about all the planets are doing right now.

      Turns out, brooms can do this any day of the year—I guess just no one ever noticed before? Thank god we have TikTok now, so these things don’t go unnoticed. There is some science at work here, but it’s just regular old physics. Guess I should have paid attention in high school, because I have no idea how to explain it, but it’s not that crazy. So yeah, if you missed the broomstick challenge yesterday, you should still be able to try it out today, because the gravity isn’t going anywhere.

      While we’re here, let’s go through some of the best broomstick challenge videos, because I have to admit, these are kind of fun.

      My absolute favorite, and probably the most random of all, is Paula Abdul’s take on the broomstick challenge. I basically love Paula’s chaotic energy no matter what she’s doing, and when she knocked over the broom, I f*cking lost it. Paula, never change.

      The award for most extra broomstick challenge goes to this guy, who managed to balance his broom on some piece of warehouse equipment that’s like, 40 feet up in the air. I’ve never been this dedicated to anything in my life, so I have to applaud this effort.

      Never one to miss a chance for some online clout, Tyler Cameron obviously hopped on the broomstick challenge on his TikTok. I love that he did his in the aisle of a random Duane Reade, but it makes me wonder if he doesn’t have a broom at his home? Tyler, how are you keeping the floors clean? Brb, going to check every Duane Reade in the city until I run into Tyler.

      @tylerjcameron3Brooms are standing up for themselves today and we should celebrate that!! #fyp #foryourpage #bippityboppity #bippityboppityboo #broom #broom #bro♬ Originalton – svensven39

      While most of the videos from the broomstick challenge are just… broomsticks standing up in the middle of the floor, some people got extra points for creativity. This person on Twitter really went off, with three brooms, a crutch, and a big-ass knife all standing up. Please, if you’re reading this at home, don’t try to balance a knife in your kitchen, because I feel like that’s not going to end well.

      But really, I’m tired of talking about brooms, so let’s all take a second to appreciate the work of art that is this piece of chicken, perfectly balanced on a table:

      I love art.

      If you’re dying to try the broomstick challenge, go for it, but don’t expect your basic video of an old broom to go viral or anything. I have a feeling this challenge is going to disappear in like, three hours, but it was fun while it lasted.

      Images: cunaplus / Shutterstock; rivericenhour, paulaabdul, rosson70, gisellemg_, skinnyboyrob / Twitter; tylerjcameron3 / TikTok

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      (CNN)Donald Trump is moving fast in the wake of his impeachment trial to use the government to punish his enemies and pursue his political ends, underlining how his acquittal has helped make him one of history’s most powerful modern Presidents.

      He is completing his project of fashioning the office around his own personality. It’s unrestrained, unaccountable, often profane, impervious to outside influence and factual constraints of normal governance. The President has established dominance over his party, his Cabinet and his own media complex. He loosened Congress’s constraints by refusing to cooperate with the impeachment probe.
      The result is that there are very few political constraints on his behavior left.
        Trump sent a strong signal of Washington’s new power realities Friday by ignoring pleas from the Republican senators who acquitted him and who had hoped to protect those who testified against him.
        Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a national security council Ukraine specialist and his brother Yevgeny, a national security lawyer who was not involved in the Ukraine controversy, were sent back to the Pentagon. US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who effectively implicated Trump in a quid pro quo in colorful House testimony was also sent packing.
        Republican senators have correctly pointed out that the President has the power to fire anyone in the executive branch and has the right to a team in which he has confidence.
        “He’s a political appointee. He serves at the pleasure of the President,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, referring to Vindman.
        Yet Trump’s moves, conducted so quickly after the ending of the impeachment showdown were a clear sign that those who cross him will pay a price — in a way that could send a chill through the government and stifle dissent and accountability. And they undermine the comments of GOP senators who in voting to acquit the President suggested that the shame of impeachment could temper his behavior.
        Similarly, Trump’s vocal attacks on Mitt Romney, the sole senator in history to vote to convict a President of his own party send an unmistakable warning to the GOP: the President demands total loyalty. Those who refuse are ostracized.
        Trump is also set to ignore another constitutional norm — that Congress has the power of the purse — by diverting billions more in already appropriated funding to pay for his border wall. The administration argues it does not require the approval of lawmakers for such steps. But lawmakers from both parties have complained about losing funding for projects within their own states and have argued the practice is symptomatic of a wider transfer of power from Capitol Hill to the White House.

        Taking aim at the NSC

        This week, the President is expected to take another scythe to the restraining bureaucracy by gutting the National Security Council itself, a rare remaining source of non-Trumpian thought in the government.
        Now that impeachment is over, there are also signs that Trump’s government and allies are using their power to perpetuate the behavior — targeting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden — that caused him to be impeached in the first place.
        Graham said Sunday that the Justice Department was now evaluating information about the role of Biden’s son Hunter in a Ukrainian energy company provided by Trump’s personal lawyer.
        “The Department of Justice is receiving information coming out of the Ukraine from Rudy (Giuliani),” Graham said on CBS, citing a conversation with Attorney General William Barr.
        “He told me that they have created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it’s verified,” Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said. Graham also warned that any information Giuliani collected in Ukraine needed to be evaluated by Justice to ensure that it did not contain Russian propaganda. But given previous evidence that Barr is acting not as the independent arbiter of the US Justice system but as a political facilitator for the President, there will be extreme skepticism among Democrats about Justice handling Giuliani’s material at all.
        Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, his potential 2020 general election rival, were at the center of the President’s impeachment trial. Trump and his allies have repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the Bidens acted corruptly in Ukraine.

        Trump shows how he will use his new power

        In a post-impeachment appearance at the White House last week, the President lashed out at his political enemies, even questioning the faith of some critics, hinting that he would use his power to exact vengeance.
        He branded his opponents “evil,” compared those who investigated his presidency to “dirty cops,” blasted the Russia probe as “bullsh*t” and condemned his critics as “liars and leakers.”
        This is all music to the ears of Republican voters — more than 90% of whom are gravitating to a strongman President sitting atop a purring economy. And Democrats are suddenly beginning to realize the formidable task they face in November. Trump last week had the highest approval rating of his presidency — 49% in a Gallup tracking poll — and is building a formidable election machine in swing states while Democrats struggle to identify their best potential candidate to take him on. His State of the Union address last week underlined how Trump will use the strength of the economy — on which his ratings outpace his presidential job approval numbers, to make a case for a second term.
        From a historic perspective, the President’s consolidation of his own position is a political achievement that is not to be discounted. It is even more notable than his dominance of the Republican nomination chase in 2016 and remarkable for the fact that he had no prior political experience.
        But it also raises profound questions about the balance between the branches of government and puts American democracy under the most strain that it has faced in decades.
        And it raises the possibility that the President’s instincts could steer him on to more murky legal and constitutional ground. After all, his notorious “do us a favor” phone call with Ukraine’s President came just two days after ex-special counsel Robert Mueller testified on the Russian probe in Congress.
        The President’s new-found political liberation is the culmination of three years of tearing at the norms of his office and of defanging competing centers of power. He has comprehensively answered the question posed at the beginning of his term: would he change to accommodate the presidency or bend the office in deference to his wild, unrestrained personality?
        Trump has removed cabinet titans like former Defense Secretary James Mattis and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who worked to contain his more impulsive instincts. He has replaced them with more compliant loyalists, and also favors pliable and dispensable acting cabinet secretaries.
          And he has discovered, especially during the impeachment drama, that a President who is willing to ignore the institutional restraints around his office and the normal codes of moral behavior that have attached themselves to his role can access a well of power that his predecessors were unable to tap.
          That’s part of a reason why his presidency seems likely to set many new precedents for the behavior of the executive in the US political system before it ends — and why the current period up until the next election could be a particularly intense ride for Trump and the nation.

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          (CNN)Good news, true crime fans and armchair sleuths: “Forensic Files” has gotten a reboot.

          Now, under the new name “Forensic Files II,” there are 16 fresh episodes to dissect for clues.
          Here’s what to know about the new season:

            When can I watch it?

            New episodes air on HLN Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT starting February 23.

            Are they different from the old episodes?

            No. Aside from new stories and evolved investigative technology — a lot has changed since the show went out of production nine years ago — “Forensic Files II” is comfortingly familiar with the original format and title music.

            Who’s narrating?

            That would be actor Bill Camp, who has joined the “Forensic Files” team as the series’ new narrator after the death of Peter Thomas in 2016.

              Where can I watch more episodes?

              You can catch up on past seasons of “Forensic Files” on demand. Watch out for new episodes of “Forensic Files II” on demand via CNNgo.

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              Yesterday afternoon, I was just minding my own business, when my phone lit up with a breaking news alert. It wasn’t about the impeachment proceedings, or results in Iowa, but something far more exciting: Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill were feuding on Twitter. So I cracked my knuckles, made a strong cup of coffee, and put on my reading glasses, because I knew this sh*t was about to get good.

              These days, I’ve pretty much written Nicki Minaj off as problematic and annoying and stopped paying attention to her antics, but this is really too crazy to ignore. First, the background: Nicki and Meek broke up in 2017, and honestly, it’s surprising how low-key they’ve kept things since then. For someone who loves to start drama as much as Nicki Minaj, these two haven’t been that messy since they broke up. But obviously there’s, uh, some tension going on, which we got a glimpse of when Meek had a run-in with Nicki and her husband, Kenneth Petty, at a store in LA last month. In a video of the incident, Kenneth and Meek call each other pussies, and Meek is physically held back by his security while they’re all yelling at each other.

              While we didn’t have specifics about the argument, to me it felt like the release of some negative feelings that have probably been simmering for a while. Funny, because when I have simmering negative feelings about someone, I usually just overthink things for months and ultimately make myself feel about it. But some people prefer yelling about it in a public place. Different strokes for different folks.

              So yeah, after that, we knew that these exes weren’t in a great place, but things really took a turn for the worse on Wednesday afternoon, when Nicki decided to log on to Twitter and fire some shots Meek’s way. It started with this weird grainy photo of Meek on his phone, which has major Future texting meme vibes, and Nicki declaring that Meek’s “trigger fingers turn to #TwitterFingers” and that he’s obsessed with her.

              *grabs popcorn*

              In her first round of tweets, she went on to say that Meek has been “tweeting bout my man for a year now,” and that he said he was blocked from her Instagram. Tbh, if you don’t block your ex on Instagram, you’re too stable for me, so I respect Nicki’s decision here. But the best part of this tweet is the second half, when Nicki says that Meek “Sh*tted yaself in that store when u got pressed tho.” AND CLOWN EMOJI. SEND TWEET. Like I said before, I really have no idea what actually happened in that store, but I’m absolutely obsessed with this sentence and emoji combo.

              As you can see from the timestamps, it only took our dude Meek Mill 10 minutes to hop on Twitter and fire back, and I’m really impressed with the efficiency of this feud. Who has time to wait hours for one celeb to respond to another celeb’s shady tweet?

              From his very first tweet, Meek Mill went all the way in on Nicki, bringing up her brother’s recent court case. Here’s the deal with that: Last week, Jelani Maraj was convicted of sexually assaulting his 11-year-old stepdaughter, and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. No matter how you feel about Nicki Minaj, what her brother did was absolutely disgusting, the fact that she reportedly him throughout the case and even posted his bail doesn’t make her look great. In the first tweet, Meek says that Nicki knew about what her brother was doing, and paid for his lawyer.

              At the end of that tweet, and in the next one, Meek gets into some cutting accusations about Nicki’s career. After working with three people to decipher what all of this actually means, I think I have it figured out. Meek is basically saying that Nicki wants him to feud with her man Kenneth, because her career is dragging, and she wants the publicity. Considering that Kenneth is literally a registered sex offender, it seems like Nicki would want to keep him out of the line of fire, but Meek might have a point. Nicki definitely doesn’t have the clout she used to, and it’s been a while since she had a big hit.

              After Meek Mill’s first round of allegations, Nicki fired back with what’s easily the most shocking tweet out of this whole feud. In less than 280 characters, she accuses Meek of:

              • beating his sister
              • filming said beating
              • spitting on his sister
              • taping said spitting
              • kicking Nicki in front of his mom
              • sending his mom to the hospital
              • and finally, sucking Drake’s dick (pretty sure that’s a metaphor but still)

              Guys. I need a f*cking nap just from unpacking this one single tweet. All of the problematic things about Nicki’s husband and brother were already out in the open, but all of these accusations about Meek Mill are brand new information. If any (or all) of this stuff is true, then I suddenly feel a lot more torn about whose side to take here.

              Nicki then addressed the situation with her brother, but naturally she found a way to turn it back onto Meek. She says in a now-deleted tweet that she “wasn’t involved,” and that he’s just talking about it to get people to dislike her. She also alleges that the mother of her brother’s victim (so, his wife) “is on tape asking me for $20 million to make the charge go away.” I think what Nicki is trying to do here is accuse this woman of extortion to make it seem like the whole case against her brother was a scam, but I feel like Twitter isn’t really the place to do that.

              In doing this, she also claims that Meek knew exactly what was going on, and calls him out for not mentioning these details. I don’t really get this argument. Maybe Meek should’ve just said nothing, but also… this is a Twitter feud, not a courtroom. It’s not Meek Mill’s job to present every possible objective fact about Nicki’s brother when the whole point of this situation is just for two petty exes to take shots at each other.

              Then, Meek Mill tweeted and deleted a couple more messages taking shots at Nicki’s career. He said “ya bag getting low so ya wanna destroy me,” and also that he’s “never scared to speak up.” I have a feeling this was the moment Meek got a call from his publicist, saying that he actually needed to address those allegations of violence against women. His next two tweets had a markedly different tone—all of a sudden he’s above the drama, and doesn’t have time for “devils tricks.” I’m gonna start using that in everyday conversation, thanks Meek!

              Honestly, I want to frame this tweet about Jeff Bezos and put it on my desk:

              Well, we’ve made it to the end, and what did we all learn? Meek and Nicki clearly don’t like each other a whole lot, Meek may or may not have done some really f*cked up stuff, and Nicki’s bag may or may not be getting low. Just a normal day on twitter dot com! Nicki and Meek have both quieted down on Twitter since these tweets, so they either got their frustrations out, or moved this heated conversation to a more private platform per their publicists’/lawyers’ instructions. Bless this mess.

              In other Nicki Minaj news, she’s already ended her retirement, and her new single is causing controversy (shocking). On Instagram, she shared a clip of the song, which contains the lyric “you bitches Rosa Parks—get your ass up.” 🥴 The song is actually called “Yikes,” and it’s already living up to its name. This lyric probably wouldn’t be in great taste at any time of the year, but people got especially mad because Nicki posted the video on… Rosa Parks’ birthday. Smh, I really can’t with her. 2020 has already been a messy year, and with Nicki Minaj back in the game, it’s only getting messier.

              Images: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage; meekmill, nickiminaj / Twitter

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