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the reviews are in
May 21, 2019

The Game of Thrones series finale continues to draw some scathing reviews — not just from average fans but now from three prominent Democrats.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) teamed up in a spoiler-filled video posted on Warren's Twitter account on Tuesday to pan the finale, with Ocasio-Cortez describing herself as "disappointed" and "sad" and Warren saying she's feeling "meh" about it. In particular, they were critical of the show's treatment of its female characters.

"I feel like we were getting so close to having this ending with just women running the world, and then last two episodes, it's like 'Oh, they're too emotional," Ocasio-Cortez said. "'The end.' It's like, ugh, this was written by men."

Warren strongly agreed, expressing disappointment over Daenerys Targaryen's conclusion and that Sansa Stark did not end up on the Iron Throne. "Come on, Sansa!" Warren said. "Go for the big one!" Ocasio-Cortez concluded that "we need to get some feminist analysis up in HBO," and Warren concurred, adding, "they need some help on this."

This analysis comes after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) previously offered an even more withering assessment of the highly-divisive Thrones finale, telling Now This she's "so pissed off" about it. "I hated it," Gillibrand said, complaining that the show "destroyed" her two favorite characters, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. "I'm angry and upset," she said.

With two 2020 Democrats now coming out swinging against Thrones, perhaps that petition to remake the last season, which has racked up more than 1.4 million signatures, may soon become an official campaign platform. Brendan Morrow

February 6, 2019

About three-quarters of those who tuned in to the State of the Union on Tuesday approved of what President Trump said in the address, according to two instant polls.

A CBS News poll found that 76 percent of speech-watchers approved of Trump's remarks, and 72 percent specifically approved of what he had to say about immigration. Additionally, 71 percent of those polled agreed with Trump that there is a crisis on the southern border. Twenty-four percent of respondents disapproved of the speech.

The overwhelming majority of Republicans — 97 percent — approved, but Trump also earned the approval of 82 percent of independents. Only 30 percent of Democrats approved of the speech. The margin of error in this CBS poll, which was conducted by speaking to 1,472 U.S. adults who watched the State of the Union, is 3 percentage points.

Meanwhile, CNN found that 59 percent of speech-watchers had a very positive reaction, up from 48 percent in 2018, while 17 percent had a somewhat positive reaction, and only 23 percent had a negative reaction. CNN's poll was conducted by speaking to 584 U.S. adults who watched the speech, and the margin of error is 5.4 percentage points.

It's worth noting, though, that these polls are just among people who actually tuned in, and people who watch the State of the Union tend to be more favorable toward the president than the general public. CNN in its poll found that the speech's audience was more partisan than that of any State of the Union since 2001, and of those CBS polled, 43 percent identified as Republicans. Brendan Morrow

December 17, 2018

Depending on who you ask, the new Dick Cheney biopic Vice may be one of the best films of the year or one of the very worst.

Reviews started rolling in on Monday for Adam McKay's newest film, which stars Christian Bale as the former vice president. The reactions were far more divisive than one would expect for a film that received more Golden Globe nominations than any other. Vice currently holds a 62 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the aggregator where a film's score typically declines as more reviews are added.

On one end of the spectrum, Chris Evangelista argues for Slashfilm that Vice is "one of the year's best," awarding it a score of 9 out of 10 and describing it as a "blunt wake-up call." On the complete opposite end, Marlow Stern and Kevin Fallon argue for The Daily Beast that Vice might actually be the year's worst film, with Fallon calling it a "baffling tonal hodgepodge" and Stern saying it's the "most exhausting and frustrating viewing experience of the year," with some of its satire being "embarrassing and awfully reductive."

Meanwhile, USA Today's Brian Truitt awards the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, saying it's "exquisitely crafted" and "totally works," while Vanity Fair's Hillary Busis says it's "the worst trying-to-be-good movie I have ever seen." While critics overall are split on the film, they generally agree it's about as far from subtle as possible, with some finding this more acceptable than others.

Vice is angling for some Oscar nods this year, and stars Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, Amy Adams, and Steve Carell already received Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award nominations. Based on these first reactions, expect the film to become one of the most fiercely debated of awards season when it hits theaters on Dec. 25. Brendan Morrow

October 24, 2018

President Trump's response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi isn't earning high marks from the American public.

A new poll from Axios/SurveyMonkey found that 56 percent of Americans feel Trump hasn't been tough enough on Saudi Arabia following the murder of Khashoggi, who was killed after visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month. In the aftermath, Trump has repeatedly emphasized that Saudi Arabia is an ally to the United States and has appeared willing to believe the Saudi government's shifting stories about how Khashoggi died, and claims that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no involvement. In the poll, 32 percent of respondents said Trump's reaction has been about right, while 5 percent said he's been too tough.

The poll's results mainly fall along partisan lines, although Democrats are more united than Republicans. Seventy-eight percent of Democrats think Trump has not been tough enough, while 56 percent of Republicans think his response has been about right; 37 percent of Republicans think that he has not been tough enough. Among Independents, 55 percent think Trump's response has been too soft.

Americans also don't seem to be behind the idea that Saudi Arabia is a friend of the U.S.: Just 10 percent of respondents said Saudi Arabia is an ally, while 35 percent said it's "friendly, but not an ally," 37 percent said it's "unfriendly," and 12 percent said it's an "enemy." Despite all of this, the poll does show that Trump's overall approval rating on foreign policy issues has gone up four points since August to 45 percent.

This poll was conducted by speaking to 3,919 U.S. adults online from Oct. 17 through Oct. 23. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 percentage points. Read the full results at Axios. Brendan Morrow

July 27, 2018

Without a lectern to hide behind, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was left vulnerable during a book signing in New York City.

Spicer was at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square on Wednesday night, promoting his new book, The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President. A protester started yelling at him, Page Six reports, shouting, "Hey Sean, you're a real piece of garbage and I hope you look around and you see al these empty seats. And you realize even in New York City, people will not come and pay money to hear you speak."

He was escorted out by security, and some of Spicer's supporters shot back, with one telling the man, "You're as stupid as you look." That wasn't enough to stop the protester, who continued to berate Spicer. "It's a garbage book, and you're a garbage person," he said on his way out. "You lied as press secretary, now you're lying in your book."

Spicer, whose book is ranked #3 on Amazon's Russian and Former Soviet Union chart and #245 overall, won't have to worry about this happening to him on Saturday: his scheduled signing at a BJ's Wholesale Club in Massachusetts has been canceled, due to the "political climate," Page Six reports. Catherine Garcia

January 28, 2017

President Trump came under widespread criticism Friday and Saturday after signing an executive order that bans U.S. entry from seven majority-Muslim nations for 90 days while suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days and instituting a preference for persecuted Christians once admissions resume.

"Christ calls us to care for everyone, regardless of who they are and where they come from," said Jenny Yang of World Relief, an evangelical organization that provides refugee resettlement services, in comments that reflect the uproar from a diversity of religious leaders. Some 2,000 clergy members signed a letter via the Interfaith Immigration Coalition which argues the United States "has an urgent moral responsibility to receive refugees and asylum seekers who are in dire need of safety."

Representatives of France and Germany likewise registered their alarm at the order, while British Prime Minister Theresa May refused to offer an opinion. In Washington, Democrats castigated the order. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said "tears are running down the checks of the Statue of Liberty" and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) labeled it "a betrayal of American values." Bonnie Kristian

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