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July 16, 2012

In a world "overrun by steel and glass," we all can feel alienated from nature. Though Kansas artist Sally Jane Ebright may not be able to cure modern ennui, her chicken footstools (from $650) "offer a rustic but rich, zoomorphic alternative to the traditional ottoman." Inspired by François-Xavier Lalanne's sheep ottomans and Ebright's pet chickens, each bird has cast-bronze feet, a solid oak body, and feathers upholstered from hand-felted alpaca wool. Ebright and her crew labor for about a week on each chicken. Source: CoolHunting.com The Week Staff

5:26 p.m. ET
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A New York City councilman is urging police to investigate the property manager of a condo building in Queens that's adorned with images of guns, a swastika, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Josef Stalin, and Robert E. Lee.

The building's entryway features two 10-foot-tall statues of Uncle Sam and a crucifix. Once inside, residents are confronted with National Rifle Association stickers, a tribute to President Trump, and an array of images that includes Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, and Jim Crow. The directory lists everyone from Nazis Rudolf Hess and Josef Mengel to rappers LL Cool J and Biggie Smalls.

In a rally Wednesday outside the building, Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer declared the lobby "a hate crime." "I see and have had them tell me personally how afraid they are, and they're literally unable to speak out for fear of retaliation from this man, so we as a community have to speak out for them," Van Bramer told Gothamist. "If you put it all together — the images in the lobby with the fear I've been told firsthand by people who live there — you realize there's something much larger going on."

Residents say they believe the decor is the work of the building's property manager and board president, Neal Milano, who apparently has a track record of harassing tenants and condo owners. A lawsuit has been filed against Milano and the condo board, and the New York City Police Department's Hate Crime Unit has been alerted.

CBS New York reported that Milano is "currently out of the country, but his attorney said the murals were approved by the board" and that the posters are "patriotic and historical." Becca Stanek

4:11 p.m. ET
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

For $1,000, you can buy a five-night cruise to the Bahamas, a new laptop, or a king-size mattress. Or, you know, you could buy Samsung's Galaxy Note 8. Shortly after debuting the new phone Wednesday, Samsung revealed that people are going to have to shell out a hefty $930 to get it.

Crazy as that price may sound, it's not wildly out of the range of what phones are costing nowadays. The upcoming iPhone 8 is estimated to cost more than $1,000. The Samsung Note 7, infamous for sometimes spontaneously combusting, cost more than $800 before it was discontinued.

The Verge noted that Samsung hasn't been selling its new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus for full price "all that often," thanks to frequent deals. The phone also boasts some pretty high-tech features, like a massive infinity screen, dual mega-pixel cameras, and an S Pen Stylus that can translate complete sentences.

Still, watching $930 hit the ground when you inevitably drop your phone couldn't feel good. Becca Stanek

3:43 p.m. ET

Reuters had a bit of trouble writing a tweet on Wednesday about ESPN pulling announcer Robert Lee from covering a Virginia college football game because his name sounds too similar to the Confederate general's.

In their multiple attempts, Reuters both claimed that Lee — who is Asian-American — is a look-alike or supernatural twin of General Robert E. Lee, or had been directly named after him (he wasn't):

Writing, of course, is not easy, especially as ESPN's decision to pull Lee from the broadcast has been mocked as an overreaction to a non-controversy. "We're watching Reuters headline writers in real-time trying to figure out what was wrong with Lee broadcasting the game," joked one Twitter user.

In the end, Reuters offered a helpful clarification for anyone they might have confused. Jeva Lange

3:16 p.m. ET
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

An estimated 25 million viewers tune in every Sunday for the latest episode in Game of Thrones' seventh season, but George R. R. Martin isn't among them. The author of Game of Thrones admitted in a recent interview with Metro U.K. that he has stopped watching the show.

Martin blamed his busy schedule of writing, travel, and speaking engagements for the lapse in his viewing, but Inverse pointed out he's been doing those things during the show's previous seasons and he's still tuned in. Admittedly, he is pushing to get the last book in the series, The Winds of Winter, out by next year, but he also said he is "in no rush to hit a particular deadline."

Up until the fifth season, Martin was still writing an episode per season, a commitment that would seemingly necessitate, well, watching the show. "The book series and TV adaptation go their separate ways," Martin said in his recent interview with Metro U.K. "On the screen characters are killed right and left. About twenty of them have died already, which are quite alive to me and will appear in a new book."

Perhaps Martin, like some other Game of Thrones fans, isn't pleased with this season's shaky logistics? Becca Stanek

2:54 p.m. ET

President Trump delivered a subdued teleprompter speech on Wednesday at the American Legion's national convention in Reno, Nevada, causing some people to marvel at the president's ability to change gears after his off-the-script rally on Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona. "I have whiplash," said CNN's Brooke Baldwin. "It's which president will show up today?"

In Reno, Trump applauded "incredible progress" on reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs and called for a "new unity," telling Americans that "we are one people with one home and one great flag."

"This is the spirit we need to overcome our challenges, to pursue our common destiny, and to achieve a brighter future for our people," Trump went on. "We will win."

Watch below, and read more about Trump's wild Phoenix rally here at The Week. Jeva Lange

1:46 p.m. ET

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson likely broke a federal law Tuesday night when he was introduced by his government title before President Trump's rally in Phoenix, Arizona, The Washington Post reports.

The rally was, technically speaking, part of Trump's 2020 bid. Carson ran into trouble because of an odd little rule in the 1939 Hatch Act, "a measure meant to preserve the impartiality of public servants," the Post's Philip Bump writes.

Among the prohibitions included in the Hatch Act is one prohibiting Cabinet secretaries from leveraging their positions for a political cause. That means that the head of, say, the Department of Housing and Urban Development can't appear at a campaign rally in a way that implies he's doing so in an official capacity. Say, by being introduced with his official title. [The Washington Post]

"[Carson] should have told them in advance that they cannot use his title," said the senior director of the Campaign Legal Center, Larry Noble. “Once hearing the introduction, he should have made clear he was speaking in his personal capacity and not as secretary."

Read more about how Carson possibly broke the law at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

1:02 p.m. ET
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

A Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday revealed that 45 percent of President Trump's supporters believe that white people encounter "the most discrimination in America." Meanwhile, 17 percent of Trump voters said that Native Americans face the most discrimination, 16 percent said that African Americans do, and 5 percent said that Latinos do.

The poll also found that a majority of Trump voters — 54 percent — believe that Christians face the most discrimination of any religious groups in the U.S. Twenty-two percent said that Muslims do, while 12 percent said that Jews do.

Public Policy Polling suggested that the "mindset among many Trump voters that it's whites and Christians getting trampled on in America ... makes it unlikely they would abandon Trump over his 'both sides' rhetoric," referring to the president's tack of blaming "both sides" for the violence at the Aug. 12 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In fact, Trump doubled down on his remarks at a Phoenix rally Tuesday night, accusing the "dishonest" media of downplaying the actions of anti-fascists.

The poll surveyed 887 registered voters from Aug. 18-21. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. Becca Stanek

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