that'll cost you
August 4, 2014

Elite Yelpers, be warned: A hotel in Hudson, New York, will fine you for posting a negative review of your stay anywhere online.

Here's how the Union Street Guest House, a historic inn in the Catskill mountains and popular lodging choice for wedding parties, describes its policy for online reviews:

Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and families may not. This is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer — therefore we expect you to explain that to them. USGH & Hudson are historic. The buildings here are old (but restored). Our bathrooms and kitchens are designed to look old in an artistic "vintage" way. Our furniture is mostly hip, period furniture that you would see in many design magazines (although comfortable and functional — obviously all beds are brand new). If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here."

Since the New York Post's Page Six picked up on the policy in a post this morning, USGH has quietly removed a portion of their "Reviews Policy," which read as such:

Therefore: If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event.

Page Six readers, many of whom were never guests of the hotel, have since flooded the inn's Yelp page to defiantly write negative reviews. "Well that kinda backfired, didn't it?" wrote one Yelper. "You are charging $500 for bad reviews. Do you consider offering a reward of $500 for good reviews?" wrote another.

While the flood of frantic poor reviews may eventually be scrubbed from Union Street Guest House's Yelp page (Yelp, Fast Company notes, is pretty good about removing fake and/or troll-y reviews), it may still be hard for the business to recover. Thankfully, though, one Yelper is optimistic. --Samantha Rollins

(h/t Yelp, Fast Company)

started from the bottom now we an app
4:50 p.m. ET

An emoji might be worth a hundred words, but nothing captures an emotion quite like a Drake lyric. Now, thanks to the Drizzy iPhone app, you can let Drake do the texting for you. The app allows you to express all your feelings with Drake quotes, which are sorted into five categories: feels, hustle, exes, hate, and random.

As it turns out, there is a Drake quote to fit pretty much every real life situation: 

(Drizzy App)

The Drizzy App is all yours to download as long as you've got iOS 8.

Only in America
4:40 p.m. ET House

Officials in New York City are using a clip from the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie Road House to urge police officers to avoid unnecessary confrontations as part of a mandatory, $35 million retraining program. "I want you to be nice," Swayze's character says in the clip, which shows him training a group of bar bouncers, "until it's time not to be nice."

it's a bird it's a plane
4:19 p.m. ET

Another superhero have arrived on the scene. Today, CBS unveiled the first pictures of Melissa Benoist, the star of the network's upcoming Supergirl TV series, in full costume:

At the Television Critics Association press conference in January, CBS chairwoman Nina Tassler described the network's version of Supergirl as "a very strong, independent young woman." 

"We're big feminists," said Tassler. "It's her intellect, it's her skill, it's her smarts. It’s all of those elements."

Got the wrong guy
3:58 p.m. ET

Chris Hayes at MSNBC took a deep investigative look at the Texas case of Rodney Reed, who was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996. Despite some compelling evidence against him, it turns out the case is much weaker than it seemed at the time. Reed was scheduled to be executed yesterday, but in February an appeals court issued a temporary stay of execution.

Make sure to watch through to end of the third video, which carefully explains new exculpatory evidence which has come to light. —Ryan Cooper

Numbers don't lie
3:23 p.m. ET
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

A new CNN/ORC poll released ahead of the 50th anniversary of Selma, Alabama's "Bloody Sunday" march reveals that nearly 4 in 10 Americans think race relations under the Obama administration have gotten worse.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said that race relations have worsened under President Obama, while 15 percent said they think race relations have improved. Forty-five percent said they think they've stayed the same.

Unsurprisingly, more Republicans (65 percent) said race relations have worsened under Obama compared to Democrats (26 percent), though only 20 percent of respondents from the president's own party said things have gotten better.

These findings are in contrast to a 2009 poll, which found that 32 percent of people thought Obama's leadership had improved race relations, 6 percent thought he made things worse, and 59 percent said nothing had changed.

Family Ties
3:08 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

What do Sasha and Malia want to be when they grow up? There's at least one occupation that the first daughters seemed to have ruled out: Politics.

During an interview with radio host Tom Joyner, President Obama said it's unlikely either of his teenage daughters will want to run for public office "partly because they've been listening to their mother."

The president, who will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama tomorrow, said he hopes Sasha and Malia will be "engaged and involved" in whatever they decide to do in the future.

"If they want to do it through business, then I want them to have a business that is providing employment and opportunity for people who might not otherwise get it," he said.

"If they want to do it through the arts, then I want their art to be informed by the great social issues of the day so they are illuminating that for other people and telling stories that need to be told." [The Hill]

For those who have everything
2:47 p.m. ET
Courtesy photo

Tucking in beneath an eiderdown duvet from Norvegr (from $6,714 for a double bed) has to be “one of the chicest ways to hibernate,” says Jemima Sissons at Financial Times. The down is “some of the coziest in the world,” and collecting it is a challenge. Every year, just past midsummer, Norvegr’s veteran down gatherers head to the Norwegian island of Svalbard to handpick the down left in nests abandoned by the island’s eider ducks. A good yield for one nest is 15 to 20 grams of down, and the annual yield for the entire team is less than 100 kg. Still, “what sets Norvegr apart is its bespoke service.” The firm will even vary the weight of the filling on each side of the duvet to keep both bedmates happy.

This just in
2:31 p.m. ET
Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Justice Department is reportedly preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), sources told CNN. Menendez is accused of doing political favors for a Florida doctor, Salomon Melgen, a close friend and benefactor. CNN's sources said the official announcement from prosecutors may come within weeks. Menendez' office, meanwhile, has called the allegations a "smear campaign" and denied that the senator has done anything improper.

Coming Soon
2:20 p.m. ET

Following the unexpected resignation of the president, the fourth season of the acclaimed HBO comedy Veep sees Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) assume the presidency. It's everything she's ever wanted — but with an election around the corner, she'll need to prove herself to keep the seat, and her staff seems less than prepared for the contentious campaign:

Veep's fourth season premieres on April 12.

spoiler alert
1:38 p.m. ET

With just four episodes left in its freshman season, Fox's Batman prequel Gotham is taking a short hiatus before resuming in April. But anyone who can't wait to see how the season resolves was just dealt a major hint from star Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays the gangster Fish Mooney.

"I don't think [I'll be in the second season]," said Pinkett Smith in an interview on Live with Kelly and Michael. "I signed for a year, and the year's up."

Pinkett Smith's comments don't bode well for the fate of Fish Mooney — a major player in Gotham, but one who, tellingly, never appeared in a Batman comic book or film. If Pinkett Smith isn't booked for season two, there's a very real chance she'll be diminished or dead by the time the first season ends.

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