Culture

The Ebola Scare Has Been Awesome for Ebola Lobbyists

By on 10.23.14 | 4:26PM

You might be terrified to leave your house lest you catch the Ebola from a male stripper or two, but there are a few health care lobbyists in Washington who couldn't be more pleased that Americans are shivering at the thought of a disease that has killed less people than have been married to Kim Kardashian. 

According to a recent study by the Center for Responsive Politics, health-related lobbying has, in some cases, doubled in just the last few weeks, especially for companies that have Ebola-related treatments in the experimental phases (as if you thought only the government was responsible for developing an emergency Ebola vaccine) and who specialize in infectious disease response.

One such company who doubled the amount they spent on lobbying is Sarepta Therapeutics. Sarepta Therapeutics has been pushing its experimental Ebola treatment AVI-7537 for some time now. In the past, the group has never spent more than $40,000 annually on their lobbying tab. Now,in the third quarter alone, the company has poured $80,000 into lobbying efforts.

Politics

Republicans and Democrats Both Patronize Young Voters

By 10.23.14

Midterm elections are all about turnout: empowering those random demographics who have little else to do all day besides take in '80s sitcom reruns and consult with telemarketers. Numbers count, and numbers don't show up to polls between presidential elections, when the most important decision on the ballot is whether the local library can repair its water fountains with public funds.

To add to the expected crowds of old people at the polling booths in two weeks, both the Republican and Democratic parties are attempting to "empower" the "disaffected youth," by which they seem to mean people my age who don't earn enough money to be day drunk and might be counted on to reliably vote. To no one's surprise, these efforts are laughably terrible. On the right, you have the noted arbiters of campus cool, College Republicans, with a "Say Yes to the Dress" ad that's insulting even for TLC, a cable channel that airs a show about nudists trying to find their dream home.

Democratic Lead Among Women Evaporates

By on 10.22.14 | 3:37PM

According to a new AP-GfK poll, the Democratic lead among women has almost completely evaporated. Turns out, a couple of years to think about their vote, and probably fewer commercials berating Republicans for their systemic oppression of American women by forcing them to purchase generic birth control pills at Wal-Mart will greatly alter the split between parties among female voters.

Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.

Alison Lundergan Grimes’ Family Runs a Joint Called “Hugh Jass Burgers.”

By on 10.21.14 | 5:07PM

If there really is a #waronwomen, Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes might just come from one of its founding families. Ms. Grimes is the heir to the Hugh Jass burger fortune, at least in theory, and a legacy that stems from her family's Kentucky burger joint, whose menu celebrates the finer things in life, like giant, juicy female booty. 

 Hugh Jass Burgers -- say it out loud to get the joke -- has menu items like "Charlotte's Rack, sure to be voted biggest rack" named after Grimes' mom and "Abby's Hugh Jass," a burger named after her sister. They also sell souvenirs like an apron with "Check Out My Buns" emblazoned across it.

The restaurant's approach has raised eyebrows, especially since Grimes' camp accused the GOP of sexism.

"I am the Kentucky woman who my Republican colleagues in this state so gentlemanly refer to as an empty dress," Grimes said.

When we tried to ask Grimes about her family's use of double entendre, she refused to answer, letting her security detail lead her away from reporters.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg Has a Secret Supply of Tee Shirts With Her Face on Them

By on 10.21.14 | 4:57PM

When my friends and I still operated the "Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan" Tumblr, we did so without so much as a "Thank You" from our economic and legislative muse. One of us got a picture with him or something at a campaign rally in Wisconsin, but the rest of us got form Christmas cards and rumors of annoyance. Eh, that's life. Next time, we'll do a Tumblr about Joe Biden. Maybe with Journey lyrics.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who inspired the Tumblr Blog, "Notorious RBG," has a significantly different approach to her social media fandom. Since the blog started selling tee shirts, one of their main consumers has been the Supreme Court Justice herself, who stocks up on Notorious RBG tees to hand out to friends

Ginsburg: I think a law clerk told me about this tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr. I have—and in fact I think I gave you a Notorious RBG—

Totenberg: Two of my three. I bought one.

Ginsburg: I have quite a large supply.

Two Male Strippers Are Latest Ebola Quarantine Victims

By on 10.20.14 | 12:40PM

Two male strippers have entered voluntary quarantine after sitting near second Ebola nurse Amber Vinson on a plane from Ohio to Texas. Axl Goode and Taylor Cole, who are strippers and male models for romance novel book covers, decided to order themselves into isolation after realizing that the hazards of their job, like sweaty tear-away clothing and close-quarters gyrating could put hundreds of women in danger.

Goode and a stripper pal, Taylor Cole, voluntarily pulled themselves out of circulation after the pair sat near an infected nurse on a Cleveland-to-Dallas flight. They vowed to stay in their homes for 21 days, a move suggested — but not required — by the CDC.

“It doesn’t take an intelligent person to make a good decision,” Goode, who comes from a family of pharmacists, told the Daily News. “If a stripper can make a decision that’s more responsible than the CDC, then surely other people can make those decisions, too. It’s not rocket science.”

Professional Clowns Upset With American Horror Story’s Fake Murder Clown

By on 10.16.14 | 6:38PM

I haaaaaaaaate clowns. Haaaaaaaaaaaate. And apparently, I'm not alone. But Clowns of America International, apparently a trade association for clowns (here's hoping I never acidentally run into their convention in Vegas), wants you to know that there's nothing to fear. Except for that one time John Wayne Gacy dressed up like a clown to entertain at children's parties between murder sprees, clowns are a mostly agreeable bunch. And definitely nothing like the psychotic clown on American Horror Story: Freak Show, Twisty, who chops people up with scissors.

Take it from Glenn Kohlberger, their president (clown name: Clyde D. Scope): clowns are an unfairly maligned bunch.

“We do not support in any way, shape or form any medium that sensationalizes or adds to coulrophobia or ‘clown fear,’” says Glenn Kohlberger...

“Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm. They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare,” Kohlberger says. 

Andrew Cuomo Is the Saddest Author Ever

By on 10.16.14 | 6:17PM

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, long thought to be a contender for the White House in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, has released a book entitled, "All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life." And like his primary contender for the 2016 Democratic nomination, it has not been well received.

Wednesday night, Cuomo held a book signing at a Barnes & Noble in New York City and it was probably the saddest thing the New York Times has had to cover all week, and that includes the slow and tragic decline of AirBnB.

There were no lines snaking down the sidewalk, and no scramble to claim a copy of the 517-page tome. The most enthusiastic attendees seemed to be the protesters outside, who urged a ban on hydraulic fracturing...

Then he took a seat at a long table and began signing. He greeted guests with a handshake and asked how they were doing. Often, he inquired about the name written on a Post-it note for him to include in his inscription.

Bono Apologizes for That U2 Album He Stuck Everyone With

By on 10.15.14 | 3:22PM

I'm a fan of U2, even though I came of age in an era of music where everyone on the radio was whining about their sex lives and refusing to shave their armpits. I even ended up kind of liking their new album when it came up accidentally on my iPhone's shuffle feature because an entire album was downloaded onto my phone without my permission. 

Like millions of Americans, I was simultaneously creeped out - that Apple could just add random people to my playlists - and befuddled as to when a music industry that has been, for years, prosecuting pre-teens for illegally downloading Justin Bieber albums decided to start pushing free music. But mostly, we were all confused as to why anyone would think that, of all the albums available, we'd want a U2 album.

Thankfully, Bono himself has now apologized for the oversight.

Facebook user Harriet Madeline Jobson asked:

“Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically download to peoples’ playlists ever again? It’s really rude.”

Californians Won’t Have Water to Wash Their Mandatory Reusable Grocery Bags

By on 10.14.14 | 4:10PM

California recently passed a ban on those plastic bags they give you at the grocery store to hold all the food you buy. Obviously, those bags, which are recyclable, reusable and generate 80% less waste than paper, are damaging the environment, so California is now mandating that you bring your own reusable grocery bags to the store with you (or buy them there). 

Opponents of the bag ban have begun a referendum push, but they need over 500,000 signatures from residents to qualify for the statewide ballot, and so far, that's been an uphill challenge, though they maintain the majority of clear-thinking California voters are on their side (though there may not be that many clear-thinking California voters).

Opponents of California’s newly-signed ban on single-use plastic bags have been cleared to begin collecting signatures for a referendum, state elections officials said Friday.

Pages