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August 1, 2018

A spokesman for Corey Stewart, Republican nominee for Senate in Virginia, had a lot to say on Facebook and Twitter about Democratic Rep. John Lewis ("#PompousAss"), civil rights icon Rosa Parks ("give me a effing break"), and black leaders (they are afraid of "being labeled an #UncleTom #Oreo #HouseNegro"), CNN reports.

CNN's KFile found these inflammatory social media posts by Rick Shaftan, who did not respond to a request for comment, dating back to 2014. In October of that year, Shaftan tweeted, "There are a lot of parallels between the 'House Negro' and the GOP Establishment." In September 2017, KFile reports, Shaftan wrote on Facebook that "Black 'leaders' are working overtime to isolate 'the community' from everyone who isn't Black. And almost no black people will say anything for fear of being labeled an #UncleTom #Oreo #HouseNegro."

Shaftan also reportedly took shots at Parks and Lewis, tweeting in September 2015: "Rosa Parks. Give me a effing break. How about PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY?" Schlafly was a (white) conservative activist. In January 2017, he asked, "So what has John Lewis done besides get beat up 50+ years ago. #PompousAss." In 1965, Lewis was beaten while marching for voting rights in Alabama. You can read more of Shaftan's posts at CNN. Catherine Garcia

September 30, 2016

Donald Trump's campaign has been trying to come up with an effective way to defuse the flare-up that followed Monday night's presidential debate over Trump's decade-old belittling of a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado. After Hillary Clinton mentioned Machado at the debate, her campaign put out an ad featuring the Venezuelan-Cuban actress, two magazine profiles came out, and Machado went on TV to talk about how Trump had publicly called her fat, alleging he used the terms "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping."

The Trump pushback has included arguing that Machado was overweight and difficult, alleging that she was the getaway driver in an attempted murder, that she was allegedly filmed having sex with a costar on the reality TV show La Granja (like MTV's The Real World), and posed topless in Mexican Playboy — you can see all iterations of that in supporter Scottie Nell Hughes's appearance on CNN. Media outlets that support Trump, like Alex Jones' InfoWars, Rush Limbaugh, and The Daily Caller, went dirtier, saying Machado became a porn star (Snopes says she did not).

Trump adviser Mike Flynn, the former DIA chief, made the tame version of this argument on Thursday night's Kelly File. "You look at some of the things that have come out about this young lady in the last 24 hours," he said, and Kelly — who has already criticized Trump's response — stepped in. "Even though this woman had some troubles, even though this Miss Universe had some troubles," she said, "his comments about her weight are on camera," including from earlier this week.

Early Friday morning, Trump apparently decided that his supporters weren't doing a good enough job pressing the case that the Machado "cookie is going to crumble really quickly" for Clinton, as Hughes said, or "blow up in her face," as Newt Gingrich said on Sean Hannity's show, so he took to Twitter to press the case himself.

Because obviously the story is not that Trump publicly humiliated a 19-year-old woman over her weight, as captured on video, but that the woman went on to star in a reality TV show and pose for Playboy. Peter Weber

September 1, 2016

Disgraced Subway pitchman Jared Fogle, now serving 15 and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to having sex with two underage girls and receiving images of child abuse from a former employee, is suing the parents of one of his victims, saying they are at least partially responsible for her abuse, TMZ reports.

TMZ obtained a copy of Fogle's suit against the parents of "Jane Doe," which says the parents often fought and drank alcohol in front of their daughter. The suit claims that their actions caused her to engage in "destructive behaviors," including drug and alcohol abuse and self-mutilation, which ultimately resulted in her abuse. Jane Doe said Fogle and Russell Taylor, the former head of The Jared Foundation, shared nude photos and videos of her, and earlier this year, her parents sued the pair. After he was convicted, Fogle was ordered to pay $100,000 to each of his 14 victims. Catherine Garcia

May 10, 2016

Donald Trump is trying to backpedal on being associated with the licentious, playboy lifestyle he once boasted about. Understandably — the guy is running for president of the United States.

In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Trump "acknowledged he would not have said certain things had he known that he would eventually be running for office." Those "certain things" presumably include his quotes on The Howard Stern Show, including (but hardly limited to):

  • "A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10"
  • "Nice tits, no brains" — in regards to ex-wife Marla Maples
  • "Would you go out with Marcia Cross or would you turn gay, Howard?"
  • That he needs "anti-Viagra, something with the opposite effect"
  • That he would have a "hard time [getting it up]" for Madonna

You get the picture.

Trump, though, defended his past by telling The Washington Post that, "I never anticipated running for office or being a politician, so I could have fun with Howard on the radio and everyone would love it. People do love it." Trump added he is "much less" obsessed with women's looks "than people would think."

"I greatly respect women," Trump said. Well then, it's settled. Jeva Lange

March 5, 2016

When Gwyneth Paltrow brought her skincare line, Goop, on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon was the first to admit he doesn't know much about beauty products. But that doesn't mean he can't try them.

After learning that all the ingredients are organic and the preservatives are food-grade, Fallon whipped out some McDonald's French fries and dipped right in. Paltrow joined him.

The verdict?

"Somewhere between ranch and bath soap," Paltrow said. Watch below. Julie Kliegman

October 22, 2015

An estimated two million rats dwell in New York City, and their human neighbors have lodged a record number of complaints about them to the city's 311 hotline.

"The rats are taking over," New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer told Reuters. "I'm a lifelong New Yorker and I've never seen it this bad... I see them on my way home, they're standing upright, they say, 'Good morning, Mr. Comptroller.'" Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokeswoman, Natalie Grybauskas, said that 24,375 complaints have been made about rats that are above ground — anyone reporting rat-related issues in the subway are sent to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A rodent expert from the city Health Department told Reuters that the influx in complaints is partly due to a new 311 smartphone app, making it much easier to report rat troubles. Stringer doesn't buy that explanation. "As if no one knew this before the app — it's just not true," he said. "It's a lack of taking care of business by the city's health department." New York City is expanding a pilot program tasked with getting rid of (shudder) "rat reservoirs," going after them in the colonies they set up in sewers, parks, and subways. Carolyn Bragdon with the Health Department said they know from the pilot that "we have the ability to crash a rat population by 80 to 90 percent," and they also educate residents about how to prevent attracting rats in the future. Catherine Garcia

May 21, 2015

The award-winning indie darling of movies like Secretary, Frank, and Crazy Heart revealed what we all know in our hearts to be true — that Hollywood is a terrible place for women.

In an interview with The Wrap, the 37-year-old actress said she was turned down for a movie recently because she was told she was too old to play the love interest of a man 18 years her senior. "It was astonishing to me," she said. "It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh."

Perhaps due to that droll sense of humor, Gyllenhaal said she's not in total despair over such rampant ageism, thanks to the inspiring ladies that surround her. "A lot of actresses are doing incredible work right now," she said, "playing real women, complicated women." Lauren Hansen

April 22, 2015

An Indiana woman woke up from brain surgery to some incredible news: What doctors through was a tumor was actually a teratoma — her embryonic twin complete with bone, hair, and teeth.

Yamini Karanam took the bombshell well, joking that the teratoma is her "evil twin sister who's been torturing me for the past 26 years." She's relieved that after months of having difficulty reading, listening, and even following a conversation, she'll soon be able to function properly again, especially after hearing differing opinions from several neurologists. "I'm like, could someone be educated about this?" she said.

Her frustration took her to Los Angeles, where she met Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, who uses a minimally invasive technique to get deep inside a patient's brain. "We want to be in and out without the brain knowing we were there, and I think that's the beauty of this technique," he told NBC Los Angeles. While Karanam's condition is rare, it's not the doctor's first time seeing a teratoma. "This is my second one, and I've probably taken out 7,000 or 8,000 brain tumors," he said. Catherine Garcia

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