call me now
May 1, 2014

There was once a time when the hotline psychic Miss Cleo's face was all over television, her Jamaican lilt urging couch potatoes to "Call me now!" for a reading. And people did: the Federal Trade Commission said that the Psychic Readers Network made more than $1 billion in shady profit.

In February 2002, the FTC filed a complaint against the company and Miss Cleo, alleging that they misrepresented the "free" readings and did not disclose the correct fees in advertisements. That was the beginning of the end for Miss Cleo, who says that she was just a spokeswoman, not the mastermind behind Psychic Readers Network.

She's kept a pretty low profile since, until now; today, she's featured in a new documentary, Hotline, which takes a closer look at telephone hotlines and their place in today's digital world:

Vice interviewed Miss Cleo (real name: Youree Dell Harris) in Toronto and asked her about everything, from what she did before joining the Psychic Readers Network to how much money she really made.

Some of the more interesting tidbits she shared include the fact that she was not "fresh from Jamaica," although her television accent would have you believe otherwise, and she never went to jail, despite rumors today that she's still rotting away in a cell. She made 24 cents a minute from each call (compared to the other psychics, who made 14 cents) and comes from a long line of "spooky people." Read the entire interview at Vice, and watch the video below to instantly be transported back to a commercial break during The Ricki Lake Show. --Catherine Garcia

a feast fit for a president
November 26, 2015

We know President Obama doesn't mess around when it comes to pie, so it should really come as no surprise that the White House's Thanksgiving menu offers six of them. Yes, the Obamas see your standard pumpkin and pecan pies and would like to raise you a banana cream:

On top of the generous pie options, the presidential feast will feature three different main dishes — turkey, ham, and prime rib — and myriad sides. Here's hoping Obama's turkey day suit comes complete with Thanksgiving pants. Kimberly Alters

happy thanksgiving!
November 26, 2015

With the 89th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade expecting a crowd of about 3 million spectators, the annual procession was always going to be a big deal. A record 2,500 police officers were stationed along the Manhattan parade route in light of recent, heightened fears of terrorism — though officials have said there are no known, credible threats to New York — as the city prepared for the larger-than-life gathering. Below, photos from the festivities, including some cartoon favorites inflated to a truly terrifying scale. Kimberly Alters

turkey travels
November 26, 2015

If you traveled this Thanksgiving, you know how cutthroat holiday hotel reservations can be. Or maybe over-crowded gatherings at home have you outsourcing to a local hotel. In any case, finding lodging for friends and family can be a certified headache.

Not so for the turkeys chosen for the White House's annual turkey pardon. National Journal accompanied last year's lucky birds, Mac and Cheese, into their swanky hotel suite at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the two turkeys had their own room:

Mac and Cheese's digs go for more than $350 a night for non-presidentially pardoned guests, and come with stellar city views. The hotel did add a "thick layer of wood shavings" in the entryway specially for the birds, though. See more photos of the luxurious lodging for pardoned turkeys at National Journal. Kimberly Alters

where is the un-send button
November 26, 2015

Ah, Thanksgiving, a day for packing in as much poultry and pigskin as possible. And given the holiday's proclivity for football, NFL teams have a natural incentive to spread the good cheer on turkey day.

If you're the Washington Redskins though, you might want to stay mum on a holiday that traces its roots back to America's takeover of Native American land. The D.C. football team has been embroiled in controversy over its team name — an offensive word for Native Americans — for years. (If you're unclear as to why the name is offensive, this Daily Show segment can get you up to speed.) But rather than miss out on the holiday fun, the team's official Twitter account posted this glaringly oblivious graphic:

At least you can be thankful the Redskins aren't playing today, so their controversial brand won't add to your surely contentious Thanksgiving discussions. Kimberly Alters

feel the bern
November 26, 2015
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign has focused on his ambitious plans to, as a recent press release summarized, "create millions of jobs, raise wages, provide health care for all Americans, lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices, make college affordable, guarantee paid family leave, ensure pay equity for women and strengthen Social Security."

That's a tall order — and the automatic spam filters in Gmail, America's most popular email service, evidently think it's a little too good to be true.

(Washington Times)

Some Gmail users received the Sanders press release with an automated phishing warning, cautioning readers that Sanders' campaign goals could be a scam designed to trick them into sharing personal data. The email's use of words like "prescription drugs," "guarantee," "free," and "health care" — common phrases in the spammer vocabulary — are likely what attracted the filter's attention. Bonnie Kristian

poultry, not politics
November 26, 2015

In his Thanksgiving-themed episode of The Late Show on Wednesday, host Stephen Colbert made an impassioned plea to keep politics out of Thanksgiving.

Even a "harmless gesture of goodwill" like the presidential turkey pardon "is pitting people against each other," he said, citing real poll results which found that 59 percent of Democrats approve of President Obama's turkey pardon — and just 11 percent of Republicans say the same.

This year, as usual, there are a litany of guides available for how to argue politics at the Thanksgiving table, from the DNC's passive-aggressive comebacks at to Politico Magazine's delightfully satirical ideas for being the crazy uncle.

But if you're more of the Colbert persuasion, check out the case against talking politics at Thanksgiving by The Week's own Michael Brendan Dougherty here. Bonnie Kristian

mcdonald shooting
November 26, 2015

Following the release of a video showing the fatal officer-involved shooting of a black teenager, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Chicago on Tuesday night. Some shouted "16 shots," referring to the number of bullets allegedly fired during the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. The protests continued Wednesday in Chicago's business district, The Loop, as demonstrators peacefully chanted and marched through the area.

New footage of the shooting was released Wednesday from the dashboard cameras of four additional police cars that responded to the incident, including Van Dyke's vehicle. That brings the total number of clips released to five, with footage from the three other squad cars that were at the scene during the shooting yet to be released.

The videos in question have little audio, something the Chicago Tribune notes should not be the case; while some videos include siren sounds from outside the vehicle, no sound of officers talking or any radio communication inside the vehicle can be heard. Only one of the videos shows the actual shooting of McDonald, while the others show the scene at various points. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday. Kimberly Alters

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