Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate who alleges an affair with President Trump, filed a complaint for declaratory relief in California on Tuesday. She wants the court to find that her contract with tabloid giant American Media, Inc.—the company bought rights to her story so it could suppress it and she got $150,000 and a promise to boost her career in exchange—is void by reason of fraud and illegality. And she has a decent case. McDougal claims that she understood the contract to guarantee a certain level of exposure via regular columns and covers, for example. While AMI hasn’t refuted reports (and there are many) that characterize their representations to McDougal as promises, the company is refusing to hold up its end of the bargain. A.M.I.’s general counsel ... promis[ed] to boost McDougal’s career and offer[ed] to employ a publicist to help her handle interviews. E-mails show that, a year into the contract, the company suggested it might collaborate with McDougal on a skin-care line and a documentary devoted to a medical cause that she cares about, neither of which has come about. The initial contract also called for A.M.I. to publish regular columns by McDougal on aging and wellness, and to “prominently feature” her on two magazine covers. She has appeared on one cover and is in discussions about another, but in the past seventeen months the company has published only a fraction of the almost one hundred promised columns. “They blew her off for a long time,” [McDougal friend John] Crawford said. A.M.I. said that McDougal had not delivered the promised columns. The only subsequent discussions about AMI’s promises to elevate McDougal took place after journalists began seeking her out. A.M.I. responded quickly, however, when journalists tried to interview McDougal. In May, 2017, The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin, who was writing a profile of [AMI chair and Trump friend] David Pecker, asked McDougal for comment about her relationships with A.M.I. and Trump. [Chief content officer Dylan] Howard, of A.M.I., working with a publicist retained by the company, forwarded McDougal a draft response with the subject line “SEND THIS.” In August, 2017, Pecker flew McDougal to New York and the two had lunch, during which he thanked her for her loyalty. A few days later, Howard followed up by e-mail, summarizing the plans that had been discussed, including the possibility of McDougal hosting A.M.I.’s coverage of awards shows such as the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars. None of that work materialized. (A.M.I. said that those conversations related to future contracts, not her current one.)
It turns out that adult film actress Stormy Daniels isn’t the only one who’s been subjected to a legally questionable Trump-related non-disclosure agreement. As of Sunday, we know President Donald Trump has bullied White House staff into signing expansive NDAs that bar them from speaking about the administration, and Trump, indefinitely. Among other issues, this practice runs afoul of the First Amendment. Our government isn’t allowed to suppress speech in the same way Trump could in the private sector. In the early months of the administration, at the behest of now-President Trump, who was furious over leaks from within the White House, senior White House staff members were asked to, and did, sign nondisclosure agreements vowing not to reveal confidential information and exposing them to damages for any violation. Some balked at first but, pressed by then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the White House Counsel’s Office, ultimately complied, concluding that the agreements would likely not be enforceable in any event. The notion was hardly new to Trump, as he proposed subjecting government employees to NDAs back in April 2016. He was already forcing campaign staff to sign NDAs, binding them not for a few months or years, but indefinitely. (The Texas Tribune got hold of one.) But back then he also acknowledged he might not be able to extend that practice to federal employees: “there could be some kind of a law that you can’t do this.” No kidding. Ruth Marcus, the Washington Post deputy editorial page editor who broke the news, sums up just how nutty this NDA thing is: Every president inveighs against leakers and bemoans the kiss-and-tell books; no president, to my knowledge, has attempted to impose such a pledge. And while White House staffers have various confidentiality obligations — maintaining the secrecy of classified information or attorney-client privilege, for instance — the notion of imposing a side agreement, supposedly enforceable even after the president leaves office, is not only oppressive but constitutionally repugnant. The draft version of this NDA, per Marcus: would expose violators to penalties of $10 million, payable to the federal government, for each and any unauthorized revelation of “confidential” information, defined as “all nonpublic information I learn of or gain access to in the course of my official duties in the service of the United States Government on White House staff,” including “communications . . . with members of the press” and “with employees of federal, state, and local governments.” How far would the ban on speech go?
Russell Bucklew has been on Missouri’s death row for more than two decades. Four years ago, he was within a couple of hours of getting a lethal injection from the state of Missouri when the sentence was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court. This was done while a lower court ruled on his lawyers’ argument that he should be spared a potentially «prolonged and excruciating execution» from pentobarbital and be executed by means of nitrogen hypoxia instead. Now that the courts have ruled against requiring a change in the method of execution, he’s hoping for another stay. Bucklew in 1996 shot dead the man he assumed was his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in front of that man’s young son. Then he kidnapped and raped his ex-girlfriend over a period of several hours. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to execution. But in 2014, he gained the stay while the courts determined whether or not his medical condition mandated a change in the method of execution. This matter arose because Bucklew suffers from cavernous hemangioma. This causes the formation of unstable, blood-filled tumors in his head and neck. His lawyers argued before a district court that if he were injected with pentobarbital, the single drug Missouri uses for executions, one or more of those tumors could burst and choke him to death on his own blood, giving him a sense of suffocation. This, they said, would violate the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. Switching to nitrogen hypoxia to kill him, they told the court, would cause him to lose consciousness quicker and suffer less. But, in a summary judgment, the district court ruled against Bucklew, and the 8th Circuit Court upheld that ruling: In light of the evidence which showed that Bucklew's proposed method of execution — nitrogen hypoxia — would result in unconsciousness in approximately the same amount [of time] as Missouri's proposed method of execution - pentobarbital injection - the district court correctly concluded that Bucklew failed to satisfy his burden to provide evidence «establishing a known and viable alternative that would significantly reduce a substantial risk of severe pain [...]» It would seem, under the circumstances, that Bucklew’s chances of getting a second stay are slim.
Trump’s past is causing the president a legal headache that he'll have to address sooner or later
It's late, but better than never. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a draft summary of its review of Russia's interference in the 2016 election and recommendations for securing the 2018 election. «It is clear the Russian government was looking for the vulnerabilities in our election system,» said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the chairman of the Intelligence panel [...] «Russia was trying to undermine the confidence in our election system,» Burr added. [...] «Russia attempted to penetrate 21 states; we know they were successful in penetrating at least one voter database,» Burr added at a bipartisan news conference on Capitol Hill. […] Their recommendations for what the federal government and states can and should do make sense and actually do something if the occupier of the Oval Office wasn't in Vladimir Putin's pocket and if Republican Congress leadership wasn't all but inviting Russia in for 2018. Burr and committee recommend that the federal government «clearly communicate to adversaries that an attack on our election infrastructure is a hostile act, and we will respond accordingly.» The federal government might say that to Russia, but Trump never will. The committee also calls for «information-sharing among the various U.S. intelligence agencies and federal, state and local governments,» and state and local governments to use resources already in place in the Department of Homeland Security for evaluating the safety of their voting systems.
There's one big fix in the messed up tax law Republicans hurriedly shoved through last year that Democrats have been willing to work with Republicans on. It's the «grain glitch» which would give farmers who sell grain to coops dramatically lower tax bills. But only farmers who sell to coops. It was an error that other farmers, including corporate farms, deeply oppose and demand be corrected. Democrats have actually agreed to help, on the condition that in return, they get an expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. So the opposition to making this fix is coming from inside the House. In fact, it's coming from the top of the House. House Speaker Paul Ryan is standing in the way of a deal to fix the GOP’s tax law that is desperately sought by lawmakers from agricultural states, according to four sources in both parties familiar with the matter. […] Most Senate Republicans would be OK with that deal, but Ryan is not. His opposition could keep the grain fix out of the must-pass omnibus spending package due by Friday evening to prevent a government shutdown. Ryan is so committed to not helping low-income people, he's screwing over his own farm-state members. Because he's a sociopath.
IDBI Bank has been selling non-core investments through 2017-18
Nifty, Bank Nifty, ONGC, Tech Mahindra and Larsen & Toubro
US President Donald Trump today signed an executive order making it illegal for Americans to purchase any cryptocurrency issued by Venezuela. The order prohibits US entities from engaging in any financial transactions involving the Venezuelan state digital currency, the Petro, on or after January 9, 2018, and builds upon the one that the President signed in August 2017, a senior administration official said, after Trump signed the executive order. Specifically, this executive order prohibits transactions and dealings in the Petro and Petro gold, as well as any similar future efforts by the Maduro regime to issue a digital currency, digital coin, or digital token by US persons or within the US. The Petro is a desperate effort by a corrupt regime to defraud international investors, the official said on condition of anonymity. "At face value, the Petro is a scam ripe for exploitation by corrupt regime insiders seeking to defraud international investors and ordinary Venezuelans. Investing
Diosdado Cabellohe, vice president of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela slammed United States President Donald Trump for signing a decree prohibiting Americans from using Venezuela's newly introduced cryptocurrency, Petro.Diosdado Cabello said that Trump was «wrong» when he announced possible further sanctions against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.«Today, the emperor Trump has announced measures that will not be easy to execute, but imperialism is seeking to sow fear, to scare the free peoples of the world,» China's state-run news agency Xinhua quoted Cabello as saying.Cabello expressed his «profound indignation and rejection at the decision of the North American imperialism, which is intended to submit Venezuela to more blockades, and our people to more sanctions and to more aggressions».Donald Trump's administration on Monday announced that it was broadening sanctions against Venezuela by blacklisting four government officials, and banning the ...
G20 officials fretted about the dangers that a potential trade war posed to world economic growth
Commentary: A Bug's Land is out, Avengers are in. I've been on Hong Kong Disneyland's Iron Man Experience, and Disney has earned my trust on this one.
The subscription model is growing in popularity as a way to monetize a service, netting in trends in SaaS, media, e-commerce and other verticals that are in search of more predictable, recurring revenues. Now, a startup built to provide a subscription platform to businesses has raised a round of funding to grow. San Francisco and […]
Brian Acton, the co-founder of messaging service WhatsApp (which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion), is now joining the chorus of the #deletefacebook movement. It is time. #deletefacebook — Brian Acton (@brianacton) March 20, 2018 A tipster alerted us to the fact that Acton made the same call… on Facebook… as well. Since the […]
Travis Kalanick, the former Uber CEO who was shown the door in June last year amid a series of major controversies, has already found his next leading role following his announcement of a new investment fund just weeks ago. Kalanick said on Twitter that his fund would be investing $150 million to take a controlling […]
Another day, another breach. Today, online travel agency Orbitz disclosed that hackers managed to get both credit card data and personal information (though no Social Security numbers and passwords) from users who made their travel purchases on the site between January 1, 2016 and December 22, 2017. In total, the company says, that’s about 880,000 […]
The bad thing about making your face synonymous with the company you run: When you go M.I.A., everyone tends to notice. The callout posts began over the weekend. Normal Facebook users don’t always track the tech press outrage cycle, but a flurry of reporting on Facebook’s mishandling of the private data of 50 million users, […]
Two people who were going blind can now see the word in much greater detail than before thanks to an experimental stem cell treatment for macular degeneration.
FRENCH LICK, Ind. (AP) - A historic southern Indiana hotel's century-old bowling complex is set for a restoration that will turn it into a venue for weddings and special events. Work will begin this fall on the West Baden Springs Hotel's former billiard and bowling pavilion. Crews will restore its ...
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A fiercely debated bill to raise car rental taxes to build a new stadium in Birmingham passed a final vote and will move to the governor's office to be signed into law. The bill passed 14-3 Tuesday after two hours of debate. The tax revenue will ...
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The recent discovery of the USS Juneau in the depths of the South Pacific has provided some closure to people with connections to the ship, which was blown apart during World War II. Hundreds died, including the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa. An expedition backed ...
Want a nice high-end scooter for quick locomotion? Or perhaps a nice VR headset is more what you’re looking for. Well, we’ve put together a list of the best deals on offer, so […] The post Geek Deals Roundup: $300 Segway Electric Scooter, $70 Portable Power Station, and more appeared first on Geek.com.
There’s hardly anything cuter than a flock of baby chicks. If you’ve ever hung out with the fluffy little critters, you know how close they stick to their mothers. That’s why it’s so […] The post These Baby Chicks Following a Robot Hen Are Teaching Researchers About Animal Behavior appeared first on Geek.com.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Florida hit a record number of tourists in 2017, even though Hurricane Irma slammed the state. Gov. Rick Scott announced in a news release Tuesday that 116.5 million people visited Florida. That's a 3.6 percent increase over the 112.4 million visitors in 2016. Visit Florida, ...
Prosecutors say former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin has pleaded not guilty to threatening former teammates who had harassed him in the NFL.
The Milwaukee Brewers won the internet this week with their rendition of a scene from «The Sandlot,» led by Stephen Vogt as Hamilton «Ham» Porter,
Washington ace Stephen Strasburg pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits, including a homer by Lewis Brinson.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who famously sparked Alabama’s comeback in the National Championship Game against Georgia, got banged up in the team’s first spring practice.Coach Nick Saban noted that Tagovailoa suffered an injury to his throwing thumb.“They took him to Birmingham to get it checked out,” Michael Casagrande of AL.com reported. “He could be back within a few practices but since it’s his throwing hand, it’s unclear.”While the news could be worse, it’s certainly not what the Crimson Tide want to hear. Until the beginning of the season, Tagovailoa is likely to be in a rather intense battle with Jalen Hurts to be Alabama’s starter in 2018.At halftime of the National Championship Game, the Crimson Tide trailed 13-0. At that point, they replaced Hurts — who had been Alabama’s primary starter over the previous two years — with the freshman Tagovailoa. He went 14-for-24 for 166 yards, tossing three touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, Tagovailoa added 27 yards on 12 carries. That helped lead the
John Fox, who most recently coached the Chicago Bears from 2015-2017, will remain prominent in the NFL, only as an analyst.According to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Fox has been hired by ESPN, although his specific role is presently unknown.Sources tell The Athletic that the longtime NFL head coach, with stops in Carolina, Denver and Chicago over his 16 years leading teams, has been hired by ESPN as an NFL studio analyst. The network has some studio openings with the departure of Herm Edwards (to coach Arizona State football) and the possibility of some of its studio crew moving to Monday Night Football. ESPN declined to comment.Fox was fired by the Bears after the 2017 season. In three years with Chicago, he went 14-34.His stints as head coach of the Carolina Panthers (2002-2010) and Denver Broncos (2011-2014) were far more successful. In addition to compiling a winning record in both places, Fox also guided both Carolina and Denver to conference championships following the 2003 and 2013 seasons, respect
One of the last truly big names of the 2017-18 MLB free agent class is off the market. According to a report, starting pitcher Alex Cobb has signed with the Baltimore Orioles. Cobb, who had previously spent his entire career with the Tampa Bay Rays, will remain in the American League East. He will also definitely aid a rotation that was one of baseball’s worst in 2017. A season ago, Orioles starters posted a 5.70 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, ranking dead last in the majors in each category.Cobb, meanwhile, posted a 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 2017. The ERA was better than any of Baltimore’s primary starters, while the WHIP trailed only Dylan Bundy (1.20).Whether the Orioles will have the starting pitching depth to compete for a playoff spot remains to be seen. But their chances of doing so are unquestionably better than they were before the signing.