Mixed Media

Justice Department Investigating Whether Airlines Work Together to Keep Prices High

| Wed Jul. 1, 2015 2:58 PM EDT

The Justice Department is looking into whether airlines are cooperating to deliberately "work at a slower pace" in order to keep airline prices high, the Associated Press reports on Wednesday.

A department spokesperson confirmed the investigation but declined to list which airlines were subject to the probe. The potential "unlawful coordination" orchestrated by major airlines comes amid questions of why airline ticket prices have remained high despite plummeting oil prices and more fuel efficient aircrafts.

Following news of the probe on Wednesday, all U.S. airline stock prices took a dive.

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Jim Carrey Lashes Out at California's Mandatory Vaccine Law

| Wed Jul. 1, 2015 9:17 AM EDT

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Jim Carrey voiced his anger over California's new law that officially ends personal belief exemptions for vaccinations. The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday, follows the measles outbreak in Disneyland that infected 117 people last December.

This is hardly the first time the actor has spoken out against vaccinations. Carrey, who dated anti-vaccination activist Jenny McCarthy, has long pushed the belief there is a link between vaccinations and autism.

"The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases," Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement. "While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community."

The Guy Who Made the ISIS-Dildo Flag Just Told Off CNN

| Tue Jun. 30, 2015 4:42 PM EDT
A still taken from CNN's news coverage last Saturday.

Anyone near the internet last Saturday was treated to one of most glorious cable news gaffes in recent memory. CNN thought it had a stunner of a scoop: Gay pride was being infiltrated by Islamist terror!

CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux crossed from the US studios to international assignment editor Lucy Pawle in London, who claimed to have spotted an ISIS banner amongst the rainbow-adorned floats at London's annual LGBT pride parade. A glorious exclusive! "I seem to be the only person to have spotted this," Pawle claimed. The segment was given the full, breaking-news treatment: Peter Bergen, the network's national security analyst, was even called in for his sober assessment.

The only problem? The banner Pawle spotted was a satirical flag adorned not with ISIS's logo in Arabic, but with butt-plugs and dildos.

Now the flag's creator has spoken publicly for the first time in a Guardian op-ed that is sure to make CNN execs, Pawle, and Malveaux squirm with humiliation. Why did Paul Coombs—a self-described "collagist" and "multi-media dildo obsessive"—make the flag? "Medieval ideologies and barbarism were being spread and recorded through that most modern of expressions, social media, with that flag ever-present," he writes in something of an artistic mission statement. "It has become a potent symbol of brutality, fear and sexual oppression. If I wanted to try and stimulate a dialogue about the ridiculousness of this ideology, the flag was key."

"The Pride festival is a pure celebration of the finest aspects of humanity: of tolerance, togetherness, acceptance and liberation, the polar opposite of what Isis stands for," he continues. "If there was anywhere where my flag had a voice, it was there."

Coombs also writes, "CNN correspondent Lucy Pawle described my flag as a 'very bad mimicry' but the only bad mimicry I could see was CNN's impression of a reputable news organization. What does this say about every other report that they broadcast? And why have they not mentioned it since?"

Boom. Great questions, Coombs. The original report has been taken down from CNN's website. But you can still watch it right here:

NBC Finally Dumps Donald Trump

| Mon Jun. 29, 2015 2:32 PM EDT

On Monday, NBC released a statement announcing it was severing its business ties with Donald Trump following his recent remarks stating Mexican immigrants were "rapists" who carry drugs into the United States.

The network will no longer be airing the real estate mogul's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Trump, who earlier this month descended from an escalator and announced he was making a bid for the White House, stepped down as host from the reality show in order to run for president.

Just last week, the Spanish-language television network Univision also announced it was cutting ties with Trump due to the "insulting remarks." Since then, Trump has threatened to sue the company. On Friday, he even publicly posted a Univision reporter's personal phone number in retaliation to the network's announcement.

John Oliver: Quit Asking Transgender People About Their Genitals

| Mon Jun. 29, 2015 11:08 AM EDT

Friday's historic Supreme Court ruling invalidating gay marriage bans across the country was a major step for equal rights in America. But when it comes to equal rights and protection for the transgender community, the country still has a long way to go.

"For all the strides transgender people have made lately, let's not get too complacent about how far we've come because they still face a host of obstacles," John Oliver reminded on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "Even when the news media are trying to be supportive they can make dumb mistakes.

It's true—just listen to how the media discusses the "wrong genitalia" and continues to ask invasive questions about a trans person's body.

"It is no more okay to ask transgender people about their sex organs than it would be to ask Jimmy Carter whether or not he's circumcised," Oliver said. "Which by the way he is—smooth like a boiled carrot."

Of course, the challenges facing the transgender community go much farther than how issues are discussed. As Oliver noted on Sunday, it's the practical, everyday changes such as simply allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, many parts of the country are still fighting against.

"This is a civil rights issue. If you're not willing to support transgender people for their sake, at least do it for your own. Because we've been through this before; we know how this thing ends. If you take the anti-civil rights side and deny people something they're entitled to, history is not going to be kind to you."

Watch below:

A Spanish-Language Television Network Had the Perfect Response to This Anti-Immigrant Billionaire

| Thu Jun. 25, 2015 3:53 PM EDT

A piñata maker isn't the only one seeking revenge on Donald Trump.

After the Republican presidential candidate claimed that Mexican immigrants crossing the US border were drug-peddling "rapists" in his campaign announcement last week, Univision says it will no longer broadcast Trump's Miss Universe pageant next month over the "insulting remarks."

"At Univision, we see firsthand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country," read a statement from the Spanish-language network.

Last Tuesday, Trump entered an increasingly crowded field of Republicans making a bid for the White House. Political pundits and news outlets mostly laughed off his announcement, which included the offensive statements about Mexican immigrants.

Now, the litigious real estate magnate is already threatening to bring forth a "major lawsuit" against Univision.

"I love the people of Mexico, but my loyalty is to the United States," Trump told the New York Post on Thursday. "Running for president is far more important to me, frankly, than running the Miss Universe pageant."

On Thursday, Colombian artist J. Balvin also announced he would not be performing at Trump's Miss USA event due to his comments.

"This isn't about being punitive, but about showing leadership through social responsibility," he explained. "His comments weren't just about Mexicans, but about all Latins in general."

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You Were Right. Whole Foods Is Ripping You Off.

| Wed Jun. 24, 2015 4:35 PM EDT

For anyone who regularly gawks at Whole Foods' sky-high prices in New York, here's some righteous vindication: The grocery store is being investigated by city officials for overcharging customers.

The Daily News reports New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs has opened a probe into a laundry list of pricing violations going back to at least 2010, mainly dealing with mislabeling prepackaged food products with incorrect weights. An agency spokesperson said that when investigators weighed 80 different items at eight locations, every single one of the labels were found to be incorrect, usually overcharging the customer.

One item cost $4.85 more than its correct price.

"Our inspectors tell me this is the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers," commissioner Julie Menin said. "As a large chain grocery store, Whole Foods has the money and resources to ensure greater accuracy and to correct what appears to be a widespread problem—the city’s shoppers deserve to be correctly charged."

As a result, Whole Foods has been hit with more than 800 violations. In a statement, a company representative denied the charges and said Whole Foods was "vigorously defending ourselves."

Around this time last year, Whole Foods was forced to shell out $800,000 to the municipal governments of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and San Diego for similar violations in its California stores.

Meryl Streep Is Pushing Congress to Finally Revive the Equal Rights Amendment

| Wed Jun. 24, 2015 2:17 PM EDT

On Tuesday, Meryl Streep sent all 535 members of Congress a letter urging them to bring back the Equal Rights Amendment in order to finally ratify it into the Constitution.

"I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality—for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself—by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment," the letter read.

Accompanying Streep's letter was a copy of "Equal Means Equal" written by EPA Coalition president Jessica Neuwirth.

"The ERA is not just a women’s rights issue—it will have a meaningful benefit for the whole human family," she added.

Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment back in 1972 and thirty-five states ratified it but that was three ratifications short of the constitutional requirement.

Streep, who will be starring as British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst this October, has long been a vocal advocate for women's rights and has also spoken out against rampant ageism against women in Hollywood. During Patricia Arquette's impassioned acceptance speech at this year's Oscars, Streep was seen cheering enthusiastically in support of Arquette's call for gender equality.

In her letter on Tuesday, the Oscar-winning actress called on Congress to revive the issue for a "whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality—equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights."

Fox News Has Apparently Had Enough of Sarah Palin

| Wed Jun. 24, 2015 9:52 AM EDT

Fox News just dropped Sarah Palin. Mike Allen reports:

Fox News will not renew its contract with Sarah Palin, whose bombastic appearances have been a cable staple since the former Alaska governor’s failed run on John McCain’s ticket in 2007 [sic]. When asked for comment, a Fox News spokesperson confirmed the network had amicably parted ways with the governor on June 1.

Palin, 51, is expected to make occasional guest appearances on Fox and Fox Business, and will appear on other networks and cables. She has a show on the Sportsman Channel, does a lot of speeches, and will announce a new publishing project soon.

Now she'll presumably have more time to pick imaginary fights with Liz Warren on her web series.

Norway's Women's Soccer Team Just Obliterated Sexist Stereotypes in Sports

| Tue Jun. 23, 2015 3:22 PM EDT

The Norwegian women's soccer team may have lost in spectacular fashion to England on Monday. But the team's contribution to this year's FIFA Women's World Cup will go on, in the form of this hilarious attack on sexism in sport, above.

In a four-minute mockumentary aired on Norwegian television in the lead-up to the team's match against England, the players make fun of sexist stereotypes in women's soccer. "We're shit, we suck. Plain and simple," admits captain Trine Ronning. In emails to FIFA, the players offer suggestions for making the women's game less boring. For instance, they could play on smaller fields or use a smaller, lighter ball. Or FIFA could allow goalkeepers to swat incoming goals away with collapsible light reflectors. 

Oh, and what was (potentially) outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter's comical response to the suggestions, according to the segment? "HAHAHA these suggestions made my day. LOL."

h/t The Guardian