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Oh Great, Here's a Hit Song Demanding Women Shut Up and Drink

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 5:05 PM EST

While students around the country join Emma Sulkowicz's fight against flawed campus sexual assault policies, a new song by popular duo Play-N-Skillz is glorifying rape culture to the catchy tune of telling women to quit resisting and drink up already. The video, which came out in late October, has already been viewed more than 600,000 times. 

Sample lyrics include: "A shot of vodka? I can't. Tequila? I can't. After party? I can't. Girl-on-girl? I can't. Literally I can't. Literally I can't."

This back and forth banter is repeatedly met with a resounding: "Oh my god. Shut the fuck up!" 

On the surface, "Literally, I Can't" is a weak, and late, attempt to poke fun at an internet-established joke about a woman's inability to utter concrete sentences to describe their unbridled excitement/disgust/horror/delight. But the result is an incredibly offensive mantra with an equally repugnant video starring fratty dudes in "STFU" varsity jackets, imploring the prude sorority girls of LIC to give in and let loose.

Lovely, no? As for a purely musical assessment, the song is just insufferable. Envisioning bros singing along to it, red Solo cups at the ready, is eye roll-inducing. But when you recall that Sulkowicz is still out there literally carrying the weight of the issue, that's when it gets truly heartbreaking. 

(h/t Mashable)

 

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Housekeeping Note

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 3:10 PM EST

Sorry folks. Not a good day today. Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow.

Obama Just Announced His Full Support to Preserve Net Neutrality

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 11:05 AM EST

In a move strongly backing net neutrality regulations, President Barack Obama announced his plan to reclassify the internet as a utility in order to preserve the web's "basic principles of openness and fairness."

Net neutrality has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas.

In the announcement, Obama urged the FCC to implement four "common-sense steps" to help protect net neutrality, including increased transparency and the prohibition of paid-priority gatekeeping by internet service providers.

The decision, however, remains up to the FCC, which has thus far proposed new changes to allow content providers to pay cable companies for so-called "fast lanes" of service. Net neutrality advocates say the proposed rules are a threat limiting access to the open internet.

"Simply put: No service should be stuck in a 'slow lane' because it does not pay a fee," Obama said in the Monday morning statement. "That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth."

Unsurprisingly, the GOP is not happy with the president's plan:

Watch Obama's announcement in full below:

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for November 10, 2014

Mon Nov. 10, 2014 9:30 AM EST

US Marines patch up holes after close-range shooting practice. (US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Timothy Parish)

Watch John Oliver Explain How the Government Seduces Americans to Spend Huge on the Lottery

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 9:14 AM EST

Americans spend a colossal amount of money betting on the lottery, even when the chances of winning have always been near-impossible. In fact last year alone, lottery sales raked in a massive total of $68 billion, according to the latest Last Week Tonight.

"That's more than Americans spent last year on movie tickets, music, porn, the NFL, Major League Baseball, and video games combined," John Oliver explained. "Which means Americans basically spent more on the lottery than they spent on America."

It becomes even more bizarre when you understand it's our states governments profiting from the giant business, which targets lower-income families who have historically spent more on tickets than the wealthy.

One of the frighteningly successful ways governments accomplish this is by creating ads that essentially mask the lottery as some kind of mutual fund or "charitable investment." Watch below:

 

 

Why Rand Paul Was the Only Kentucky Republican to Lose on Tuesday

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 8:00 AM EST
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Republicans had a pretty good night last Tuesday. They won control of the Senate and added to their already-sizable House majority. They now hold 33 governors' mansions and 69 of the 99 state legislative chambers. But even as they solidified their grip on state governments, they came up short in one red state they'd trained their sights on—Kentucky. And that's bad news for Sen. Rand Paul.

While the national GOP's resources primarily targeted the state's Senate race, Paul focused his attention on winning control of the Democratic-controlled Legislature in Frankfort. His reasons went beyond mere party loyalty—he wanted a GOP statehouse majority to pass a bill, written with him in mind, that would allow a politician to run for Senate and president in the same year. He's up for reelection in 2016, and is also seriously considering a White House bid. But given the depth of the GOP presidential field that year, he doesn't want to bet the house on winning the nomination.

For Paul, a.k.a. the best-dressed man in Washington, this is hardly a deal-breaker. He got some good news on Wednesday, when Sen. Mitch McConnell, whom Paul dutifully backed in the face of a tea party primary challenge, all but endorsed his presidential bid. And if Paul were to drop out of the race early (say, in the face of an unstoppable Mitt Romney wave), there'd be plenty of time to get back into Senate reelection mode. But the longer he stays in the hunt, the more difficult things will become on the home front.

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Bob Dylan and The Band's Legendary "Basement Tapes" Live up to the Hype

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 6:00 AM EST

Bob Dylan
The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings

The recordings Bob Dylan made with The Band in the basement of a house in West Saugerties, New York in 1967 have long been the stuff of legend. Bootlegged in part as Great White Wonder before the end of the decade, released officially in truncated and doctored form in 1975, and repeatedly bootlegged in numerous permutations since, these remarkable recordings found Bob and friends in back-to-basics mode, tackling a mix of enticing Dylan compositions (including "Quinn the Eskimo" and "I Shall Be Released") and rootsy covers with the verve of a boozy roadhouse ensemble. With a mind-boggling 138 tracks on six discs, The Basement Tapes Complete lives up to the hype. The performances range from sketchy fragments to fully realized pieces, many with surprisingly good sound quality. (The lowest-fi bits are consolidated on disc six.) The tapes also include obscure Dylan originals such as "I'm Your Teenage Prayer" and "I Can't Come In with a Broken Heart," while the covers revisit songs associated with Johnny Cash ("Folsom Prison Blues"), John Lee Hooker ("I'm in the Mood"), and Elvis Presley ("I Forgot to Remember to Forget"), among others. Endlessly fascinating, often surprising, and essential listening for Dylan fans.

Republican Agenda Starts to Take Shape

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 12:48 AM EST

Reading between the lines, I gather that Republicans are starting to coalesce around a legislative agenda to celebrate their recent midterm victory:

  • Ban abortions after 20 weeks.
  • Wipe out all of Obama's new and pending EPA regulations.
  • Repeal Obamacare bit by bit.
  • Figure out a way to obstruct Loretta Lynch's nomination as Attorney General.

Oh, there's still some desultory happy talk about tax reform and fast-track trade authority and other "areas of agreement," but that seems to be fading out. Poking a stick in President Obama's eye is very quickly becoming the order of the day.

And no reason not to, I suppose. Republicans won, after all. But they shouldn't be surprised if Obama continues to plan to poke back.

See the Moving Artwork Commemorating the Fall of the Berlin Wall 25 Years Ago

| Sun Nov. 9, 2014 11:13 AM EST

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which for more than 28 years divided East and West Germany and became the defining symbol of the Cold War. On November 9, 1989, following a series of large protests that swept throughout Eastern Europe, East German officials hurriedly changed travel regulations to the West, for the first time allowing regular citizens to cross. The rules were supposed to take effect the next day, but East Germans swarmed the border stations and, as it became clear border guards were no longer willing to shoot, the gates were finally opened. Crowds from both sides began demolishing the wall, and for months Berlin resonated with the sound of people pecking away at the concrete.

A crowd celebrates atop the wall after realizing that guards have set their weapons down. Peter Kneffel/DPA/ZUMA

 
Running through a border crossing on November 10. DPA/ZUMA

 
A man celebrates atop the Wall. Before the border opening, anyone climbing it would have been shot and killed. More than 250 people died trying to cross. Scott A. Miller/ZUMA

 
A forlorn guard at the Brandenburg Gate. AP
 
DIY demolition. Scott A. Miller/ZUMA

 
AP
 
Official demolition of the Wall did not begin until 1990, but East German guards removed this section on November 12, 1989. Eberhard Kloeppel/DPA/ZUMA

 
Before the "anti-fascist rampart," as the GDR government called it, went up, barbed wire and armed guards prevented people like this couple from fleeing to the West. AP/Edwin Reichert

 

To commemorate the anniversary this weekend, Berlin installed a "border of light" made up of 8,000 illuminated balloons tracing where the wall once stood.

AP/Markus Schreiber
 
AP/Markus Schreiber
 
AP/Kay Nietfeld

 

"Remembrance belongs to the people," the installation's creator, artist Marc Bauder, said. "We want to offer individual access instead of a central commemoration." Tonight, exactly 25 years after the opening of the border was announced, the balloons will be released into the air.

Here's What It Looks Like When a Typhoon Devastates Your City

| Fri Nov. 7, 2014 5:30 PM EST

Well before Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on November 8, 2013, weather watchers knew the storm would be terrible. But with more than 6,300 confirmed deaths and billions of dollars in damage, it turned out to be one of the worst natural disasters of the decade. The photos below show what the town of Dulag and the city of Tacloban looked like before and after Haiyan.

Dulag

DigitalGlobe/Google


Tacloban

DigitalGlobe/Google


Tacloban

DigitalGlobe/Google


Tacloban

DigitalGlobe/Google
 

Tacloban

DigitalGlobe/Google


Tacloban

CNES-Astrium/Google


Tacloban

CNES-Astrium/Google