Now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has canceled plans to introduce a "best popular film" category at next year's Oscars, the organization says everyone misunderstood what the controversial award was really about, although their new explanation only makes things more confusing.
Academy President John Bailey spoke with IndieWire on Thursday shortly after announcing that the award had been scrapped for 2019, and, bizarrely, seemed to suggest that the category would not just have highlighted films that are popular as the name suggests. Outlets like Vanity Fair speculated back in August that the category was little more than a ploy to boost the Oscars' dwindling
"To focus on this new award as if it is somehow oriented primarily toward big-action films, it might be a part of it, but it's about films that have not been recognized, not been seen by people," Bailey said.
This explanation baffled critics. From the outset, the award's purpose — or how "popular" would be defined — was never really clear. Per The Hollywood Reporter, there had been some internal discussion of only allowing movies that had opened in wide release to be eligible, so it evidently would be more about accessibility than popularity. Bailey told IndieWire the award was needed because "the last three Academy award-winners were not films large numbers of people were going to see." However, as critic Myles McNutt pointed out on Twitter, that's not entirely true: The most recent Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, actually did open in wide release and therefore could have won best popular film.
Bailey added that the award would only be for studio-backed films that audiences had access to, and used Groundhog Day as an example of one film the popular award would have been perfect for, even though it was only the #13 highest-grossing movie of 1993. Brendan Morrow
To the extent that police focus on revenue collection through fee and fine enforcement and civil asset forfeiture — a practice often dubbed "policing for profit," particularly when the funds are built into departmental or city budget plans — they solve fewer crimes, study results published Monday at The Washington Post show.
A trio of researchers compared Census Bureau data on municipal revenue collection with information from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. After examining two years of data for 6,000 cities, they found police in cities that rely on fines for revenue crack significantly fewer cases.
The numbers are dramatic. In a hypothetical average city, if 1 percent of municipal revenue comes from fees, fines, and forfeitures, this model predicts the police department would solve 58 percent of violent crimes and 32 percent of property crimes. But if 3 percent of the revenue is collected this way, only 41 percent of violent crimes and 16 percent of property crimes would be solved.
Thus, the Post report summarizes, "cities where police are collecting revenue, communities are at once overpoliced — because they are charged with more fines and fees — and underpoliced — because serious crimes in their areas are less likely to be solved."
A 2013 study of towns in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi found some municipal governments get more revenue from fines than from taxes. A particularly egregious case, Henderson, Louisiana, obtained about $3.73 from fees, fines, and forfeitures for every $1 it collected in taxes. Other cities and towns across the country are increasingly relying on this sort of revenue collection to increase budgets without a formal tax hike. Bonnie Kristian
Millennials are more likely to be stay-at-home parents than Gen X parents were two decades ago.
Data published Monday by the Pew Research Center shows that in recent years, 21 percent of millennial parents have opted to stay home and take care of children. Millennials are generally classified as people ages 20 to 35. Back in 1999, when Gen X parents were the same age, 17 percent of parents in that group remained at home.
The difference between generations is particularly apparent among fathers — 6 percent of millennial dads were home with their children in 2016, while 3 percent of Gen X dads stayed home when they were about the same age. An increasing number of stay-at-home dads additionally say that they are intentionally opting to care for their children full time, as opposed to parents who stay home because of difficulty finding employment.
About 18 percent of U.S. parents overall don't work outside the home, Pew Research found, which is about the same as the share of stay-at-home parents in 1989. The share of stay-at-home moms hit an all-time low of 23 percent in 2000; it has since since climbed back up to 27 percent. Stay-at-home parenting rose to 20 percent in 2010 in the wake of the recession, but analysis suggests that fathers who stay home are increasingly doing so because of changing gender roles, not because of unemployment. See more data at Pew Research Center. Summer Meza
Measuring the effect of a political endorsement is tricky: For some voters, it may be a determining factor. For others, it may simply match previously-held beliefs. But endorsements do offer a telling gauge of how a political party's base is thinking.
For the Republican Party in 2018, endorsements from President Trump and the Koch network correlate with victory by a large margin. Nearly 90 percent of the candidates who gained these coveted affirmations won their primary this year, a FiveThirtyEight analysis finds. No other endorser can boast above a two-thirds success rate.
"That's especially interesting given the Kochs' opposition to Trump's trade policies and Trump's public feud with the brothers," FiveThirtyEight notes. Charles Koch has said Trump's principles are "antithetical" to his own, calling the president's Muslim registry proposal "reminiscent of Nazi Germany," "monstrous," and "frightening."
Also interesting is what falls at the bottom of the list. For all the present furor over the possibility of a conservative-majority Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, pro-life groups Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List are in the bottom third of endorsers.
FiveThirtyEight conducted a similar analysis of Democrats earlier this year and found former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Democratic Party committees were the standout endorsers. Bonnie Kristian
Now contending with a second allegation of sexual misconduct, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces an uphill journey to confirmation. But President Trump is standing by his man.
In allegations published in The New Yorker on Sunday, Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of thrusting his penis into her face at a party while they were both students at Yale University. But the new story has not deterred the president, as Trump told reporters Monday that he still heartily supports Kavanaugh, whom he called a "fine man with an unblemished past."
The allegations, Trump said, are "highly unsubstantiated statements," and the president encouraged reporters to "look into" the lawyers representing the accusers. Last week, California professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward with an allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh stemming from a high school party both attended in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied both Ford and Ramirez's accusations.
What's happening to Kavanaugh "could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything," Trump said, concluding that the allegations are "totally political." Watch his remarks below. Brendan Morrow
At the UN, TRUMP dismisses new Kavanaugh allegations as "totally political": "He's a fine man w/an unblemished past & these are highly unsubstantiated statements from ppl represented by lawyers - you should look into them ...I am with him all the way... I look forward to a vote." pic.twitter.com/etCljNGN1u
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 24, 2018
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday it would seek "deadly and unforgettable" revenge against those responsible for an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, including 12 guard members.
Tehran has accused Gulf Arab nations allied with the U.S. of supporting the gunmen in Saturday's assault, and Revolutionary Guard acting commander Gen. Hossein Salami again promised vengeance Monday. "You have seen our revenge before," he said in a televised speech before a funeral service for some of the attack's victims. "You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating, and you will regret what you have done."
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pushed back Sunday on comments from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani linking the United States to the attack, suggesting it was provoked by Tehran's own policies. "I think what Rouhani needs to do is he needs to look at his own home base," she said on CNN's State of the Union. "He's oppressed his people for a long time," she continued. "I think the Iranian people have had enough, and that's where all of this is coming from."
The attack was claimed by both the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement, an Iranian separatist group, and, without any evidence, the Islamic State. It targeted officials gathered on a viewing stand in the southwestern city of Ahvaz during an annual event held to remember the start of Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq. Bonnie Kristian
The latest battle in this year's U.S. vs. China trade war is the most brutal yet.
President Trump imposed new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods Monday, The Washington Post reports. China has promised to respond to levies with fresh tariffs of its own, and immediately kept its word by imposing tariffs on $60 billion in American goods.
The escalating trade war, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is "determined to win," has reached such heights that China is running out of American products to target, reports the Post. China's government accused the U.S. of "trade bullying," after canceling trade talks due to the rising economic tensions.
Trump has shown no sign of reining in the punitive duties. Pompeo predicted that "we're going to get an outcome which forces China to behave," but the Chinese government on Monday castigated the U.S. for "attempting to impose its own interests on China through extreme pressure." Trump has said that retaliatory tariffs would simply lead him to levy additional taxes on $267 billion in Chinese products. Once China runs out of American goods to hit, officials expect "qualitative" retaliation like slowing the process for visas and licenses.
When Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was first accused of sexual misconduct last week by Christine Blasey Ford, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Ford should be heard. But now Conway's tone has changed.
Over the weekend, a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh thrust his penis into her face at a party when they were both students at Yale University. Kavanaugh denies the allegation. Conway on Monday told CBS that the allegations are "starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy."
Referring to Ramirez as the "second so-called accuser," Conway suggested to CBS that this is all a "smear campaign," also citing The New York Times' report that the paper spoke with dozens of sources and was unable to verify Ramirez's story.
Conway concluded that Kavanaugh is simply a victim of a "pent-up demand for women to get their day." Watch Conway's full interview below. Brendan Morrow