November 13, 2019

When acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor revealed on Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland called President Trump from Kyiv while sitting in a restaurant, it left many former security officials dumbfounded.

Taylor testified before the House Intelligence Committee that in July, a member of his staff at the U.S. Embassy, David Holmes, "could hear President Trump on the phone," asking Sondland about "the investigations." He was referring to the request Trump made during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, asking him to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who once served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Sondland responded that "the Ukrainians were ready to move forward" with the probes, Taylor said.

This was a major violation of security protocol, Larry Pfeiffer, a former senior director of the White House Situation Room, told The Washington Post. "The security ramifications are insane — using an open cellphone to communicate with the president of the United States," he said. "In a country that is so wired with Russian intelligence, you can almost take it to the bank that the Russians were listening in on the call."

Russia has intercepted phone conversations conducted in Ukraine between U.S. diplomats and leaked the recordings. A former U.S. intelligence official told the Post that Sondland calling Trump from a restaurant is "indicative of a lack of concern for operational security," as senior officials are "routinely briefed on the threats to their communications. You could assume that talking on an unencrypted line from a foreign country would be on that list." Catherine Garcia

October 18, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has uh... something to say.

In a Thursday interview with the Campaign HQ podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested Republicans were "grooming" a current 2020 candidate "to be the third party candidate," clearly implying that the outsider Democrat Gabbard is a "favorite of the Russians." So with a very absurd and slightly unhinged tweet storm, Gabbard fired back.

Reports have indicated Gabbard's campaign has become a target of foreign bots and Russian media — something Gabbard didn't address in her Friday tweets. She instead labeled Clinton "the queen of warmongers" and "embodiment of corruption," and taunted her by declaring "this primary is between you and me."

Clinton's spokesperson responded with a sly zinger...

... while Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) just tried to figure out exactly what went down.

And 2016 Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who Clinton also declared a Russian asset in her Thursday interview, challenged the former secretary of state to a debate. Kathryn Krawczyk

Update: An earlier version of this story said Clinton believed Russians, not Republicans, are grooming Gabbard for a third-party run. We have updated the story accordingly, based on Clinton's full comments, and apologize for the error.

October 10, 2018

During a visit to the accurately named Nashville Nightmare on Friday, a woman stabbed her friend in the arm after a random man with a skull face handed her a knife and told her she should get back at him for teasing her.

The friend, Jay Yochim, 29, was at the haunted house complex with the woman and a few other pals. He told The Tennessean that after visiting several attractions, they stood in a courtyard area and started talking with a man they believed was an employee. They all were playfully teasing each other, and after Yochim made a joke, the man gave his friend a knife and suggested she stab him. "Keep in mind, we'd been chased by chainsaws, holding other weapons, all kinds of stuff all night, and it was all fake," he said. "So she stabs me with it, and everything got really black."

Blood began to gush from Yochim's arm, and the man who handed his friend the knife started to freak out, telling the group he had no idea the knife was "that sharp." Yochim passed out, and when he woke up, his friend was crying. "No one wants to stab their friend," the extremely understanding Yochim told The Tennessean. "I've been stabbed and I still can't even imagine what it's like to accidentally hurt your friend like that."

While Yochim did need nine stitches, doctors say he was lucky because the knife did not hit any major arteries, tendons, or bones. Nashville Nightmare told The Tennessean it believes an employee was involved, and he has been placed on leave while the bizarre incident is being investigated. Catherine Garcia

May 8, 2018

Imagine Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise when, after enjoying a delicious meal in Israel last week, a shoe was placed in front of him, with his dessert of chocolate pralines plopped inside.

The odd dish was served to Abe during a May 2 dinner at the home of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. The meal was the work of celebrity chef Segev Moshe, and it's been panned by several Israeli officials and diplomats, who are aware that in Japan, people take their shoes off before walking into a home. "There is nothing lowlier than a shoe in Japanese culture," one senior Israeli official told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot on Monday. "Not only do they not wear shoes at home, you also won't find shoes in their offices. This is disrespect of the first order."

Israel's foreign ministry is slowing backing away from the debacle, releasing a statement clarifying that it had nothing to do with choosing the menu or the presentation of dishes, and declaring that the country has "the utmost respect for the Japanese prime minister." A publicist for the chef said the shoe was the "high quality" work of artist Tom Dixon, and it was made out of totally hygienic cast metal: "It is not a real shoe." Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2016

Designing a good logo is really hard — just ask Airbnb. But for some reason or another, the 2016 presidential race seems to have its share of exceptionally bad logos, including Hillary Clinton's giant red arrow pointing to the right and Jeb Bush's definitely-not-low-energy exclamation point.

But the newly-revealed Trump-Pence fundraising logo spectacularly takes the cake:

Nobody knows what's going on with it. Or, well, actually everyone does know what's going on with it, but they're too polite to say:

Okay, come on folks, get your mind out of the gutter. Jeva Lange

June 2, 2016

A middle school teacher in Alabama gives her students a math test. It is filled with questions about pimps, drugs, and guns. How many days will it be until this teacher is fired? Extra credit if you can explain why the teacher thought this was a good idea.

The Mobile County Public School System has confirmed that a teacher at Burns Middle School in Mobile has been put on administrative leave after giving eighth grade students what's known as the "L.A. Math Proficiency Test," CBS News reports. The test, which has been making the rounds on the internet for years, asks such questions as: "Leroy has 2 ounces of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Antonio for $320 and 2 grams to Juan for $85 per gram, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?" and "Pedro got 6 years for murder. He also got $10,000 for that hit. If his common-law wife spends $100 of his hit money per month, how much money will be left when he gets out?"

Superintendent Martha Peek said because this is a personnel issue, she could not comment, but stated that as soon as administrators found out about the test, the unidentified teacher was suspended. Parent Erica Hall told Fox 10 her son took a photo of the offensive test, given to him during language arts, and sent it to her. "They took it as a joke, and she told them it wasn't a joke, and they had to complete it and turn it in," she said. Perhaps the most alarming thing is this isn't the first time a person entrusted with educating children has gotten in trouble over this — teachers in California, New Mexico, and Texas have been suspended for passing out similar tests. Catherine Garcia

September 22, 2015

You might remember the Hillary Clinton Emojigate of August 2015. Don't you wish you could have reacted to it with a "skeptical face" emoji of Clinton herself?

Luckily, the next time Clinton — or anyone else, for that matter — does something you want to reply to with a picture of Clinton herself, you can: Snaps Inc. has created a full keyboard of Hillary emoji, or "Hillmoji," for iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, email, and other social media platforms. For free, users can download emoji of Clinton wearing three different shades of pantsuits, plus Clinton in a "Brooklyn NYC" shirt (the facial expressions, of course, all vary). There are also stickers that say things like "The SheVote" and "Future is Pink," or "#ICan'tI'mBusyBreakingGlassCeilings."

"Emoji are supposed to be a little bit playful and make someone more relatable,” Snaps founder and Clinton supporter Vivian Rosenthal told The Wall Street Journal. "It might be a catalyst for two friends to start talking about donating some time to the campaign," she added, clearly ignorant of the rich potential here for left-leaning millennials to spam right-wing relatives with pictures of Hillary's laughing face.

To download the Hillarys for yourself, visit Snaps' website. Jeva Lange

September 21, 2015

Donald Trump ought to consider changing his campaign motto, because this is proof America is already great: A sexy Donald Trump costume now exists. USA! USA!

"You'll be 'Making America Great!' this Halloween in this limited edition Yandy Donna T. Rumpshaker costume featuring a white sleeveless shirt with an attached collar, an attached red tie, a royal blue faux blazer, and royal blue booty shorts," the lingerie and costume website Yandy advertises, adding that the "Making America Great" hat and "Comb Over Politician Wig" are sold separately. The base costume will run you a classy $69.95.

The "Sexy Donald Trump" costume is only the most recent apparel inspired by Trump, whose "Make America Great Again" cap was dubbed "an ironic summer accessory" by The New York Times style section and was parodied by New York City's Strand Bookstore. America, what will you think of next? Jeva Lange

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