on or off?
October 16, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's snubbing of Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sure didn't last long.

Sky News on Wednesday morning published an interview with Erdogan in which he indicated ahead of a U.S. delegation's visit to Turkey he wouldn't meet with Pence and Pompeo, saying "I'm not going to talk to them" and that he'll talk "when Trump comes here." This seemed to surprise Pence, who in an interview subsequently said, "we have every expectation that we will meet with President Erdogan."

But the meeting is evidently back on, with Erdogan's communications director quickly telling Turkish press he actually does plan to meet with Pence and the rest of the U.S. delegation after all, Axios reports. Pence and Pompeo are visiting in order to negotiate a ceasefire in Syria.

At the same time that he's reversing this snub, Erdogan is floating the possibility of canceling his upcoming meeting with Trump in the United States next month, per Reuters, saying he may re-evaluate it because "arguments, debates, conversations being held in Congress regarding my person, my family and my minister friends are a very big disrespect" to Turkey. Brendan Morrow

April 29, 2019

Did Woodstock 50 just pull a Fyre Festival? It depends on who you ask.

Dentsu Aegis, a company that had been investing in the three-day music festival planned for August, told Billboard on Monday that it has been canceled because "we don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees."

Billboard also cited representatives for the festival as saying issues leading to its cancellation include capacity, site readiness, and permitting issues. Variety backs up this report, writing that the site "could not accommodate the 100,000-plus audience that had originally been anticipated" and that the "necessary permits had not yet been obtained."

Despite this, a statement from Woodstock 50 provided to the Poughkeepsie Journal on Monday reads, "Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival's cancellation and legal remedy will (be) sought." Organizers also said in a statement to Vulture that they are "currently on a call with Dentsu" over the comments.

Woodstock 50 was to take place in Watkins Glen, New York in August and commemorate the original festival's 50th anniversary. Some of the artists who have been lined up include Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Robert Plant, Common, The Lumineers, and Chance the Rapper. Tickets were set to go on sale a week ago, but this was delayed as the festival said it would "refine logistical plans."

So is it happening, or not? It sure doesn't sound like it, especially after Tim O'Hearn, Schuyler County administrator, confirmed its cancellation to NPR. If the festival really is off and those Fyre Festival comparisons are apt, don't be surprised to see all this confusion explored in eventual dueling Netflix and Hulu documentaries. Brendan Morrow

January 16, 2019

Is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) formally disinviting President Trump from delivering his State of the Union address on Jan. 29, or merely suggesting it be postponed? It seems even the House majority leader isn't quite sure.

Pelosi said in a letter to Trump Wednesday that the State of the Union should be rescheduled in light of the partial government shutdown. Pelosi used the word "suggest" in her letter, though, and didn't declare that the event was officially canceled or that she was rescinding the invitation.

But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) went on CNN and said that Pelosi wasn't really making a request and that the address is, in fact, not happening as planned. "The State of the Union is off," he told CNN, per Talking Points Memo. Hoyer explained that it's the speaker of the House who invites the president to address Congress, suggesting Pelosi is rescinding her invite to Trump until the government re-opens. When asked if the Democrats could be convinced otherwise if Trump wants to keep the Jan. 29 date, Hoyer simply responded, "No."

But almost immediately after this CNN segment aired, a spokesperson for Hoyer walked this statement back, saying he just "misunderstood" the situation because he didn't actually read Pelosi's letter, Slate's Jim Newell reports. "Still just a proposal from Pelosi, not a formal disinvitation," the spokesperson said, also telling The New York Times' Julie Davis that Hoyer had "mischaracterized" the letter.

Pelosi's office also says that she's simply making a proposal and not actually disinviting Trump — for now, at least. Brendan Morrow

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