Culture Feature

Does Stormy Daniels Deserve to Blow Up Trump Plaza Hotel?

The former adult film star is the subject of a GoFundMe campaign for the demolition, but is she really the most deserving?

Stormy Daniels Trump Plaza Demolition

Long before he wreaked havoc across the United States and the world at large, Donald Trump inflicted his horrors on Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In that case it was a string of failed casinos financed with high-interest junk bonds that he was never going to be able to pay off. Their collapse and the tremendous ten-figure debt he took away from them in the early 1990s was, at the time, Donald Trump's most public and embarrassing scandal.

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CULTURE

Kirstie Alley's Awful Tweets (Still) Point to Everything Broken in American Politics

Her thoughts on billionaires, socialism, and impeachment betray a complete disinterest in understanding the topics she discusses

Update 3/24/2020: Kirstie Alley has kept her streak of awful going. Taking to Twitter last night, Alley praised Donald Trump's "recent decorum, sincerity, & care," and his "willingness to solve problems." This despite the fact that Trump's delayed response to the COVID-19 pandemic has sent US infection rates on a trajectory that exceeds Italy's terrifying model, and shortly after news that an Arizona couple had poisoned themselves trying to take advantage of the unproven "cure" that Trump has recklessly touted in his press conferences.

The tweet also comes amid a newly opened debate about whether the country should return to business as usual before the pandemic has run its course—allowing the healthcare system to be overwhelmed, and many thousands or millions to die in a misguided effort to prop up the foundering stock market. As Trump put it, "Our country wasn't built to be shut down."


When Kirstie Alley, star of Cheers and Look Who's Talking, was last in headlines, she was explaining how she had traded a cocaine habit for a flower addiction.

It's actually a really sweet story, but whatever is in those flowers must be pretty great stuff and seems to have overwhelmed any awareness of our cultural moment or political realities, because she has since been feeling herself on Twitter in a way that is truly remarkable. The latest entry in the saga arrived around the time the impeachment vote was announced on Wednesday night, when Donald Trump officially became the third president in US history to be impeached. If you want to say that impeachment may not be the right political move, or that other articles of impeachment would have been more effective, there are valid arguments to make. But Alley's take is not one of them.

Alley adopted a sage tone to declare it a "dangerous precedent" and let the world know that "it's gonna be a bumpy decade," as if allowing a president to exchange political help for military aid would not be a dangerous precedent, as if the coming years could somehow be anything but "bumpy" to the point of terrifying division and chaos. What world has she been living in? Does she not realize that the US is currently more divided than at any time since the Civil War? That every Republican lawmaker is beholden to a Trump-adoring constituency in a way that precludes any criticism of his petulant whims, racism, or corruption?

This is not the first time Alley has tweeted regrettable opinions about Trump and the Republican Party. She actually endorsed him in 2016 before walking back that endorsement after the Access Hollywood "grab them by the pussy" tape came out. So maybe she has an ulterior motive in criticizing the Democrats for finally standing up to this absurd regime. More importantly, when she talks about the dire backlash that's headed our way, what does she think that will look like? Will Republicans no longer allow a Democratic president to appoint a Supreme Court justice? Will they redraw maps to cling to power? Or adopt obstructionist tactics with the explicit goal of ensuring that the next Democrat in power only serves a single term? Or maybe they'll just track down a petty personal scandal to build an impeachment case on. That would be so crazy...

In case you don't feel like clicking those links, I'll just let you and Kirstie Alley know that all those things have already happened. And the process of avoiding craven political retaliation from the Republicans would be literally indistinguishable from letting them do whatever they want. So… nice try.


But Alley has other opinions, too. On Monday she also wanted the world to know that she is staunchly anti-socialist. So much so that she recently compared the term "democratic socialist" to "gentle nazi." Strange, then, that the handful of Democratic Socialist countries in Europe are listed as full democracies, according to the Democratic Index. This is in contrast to America's "flawed democracy." And really, all the countries rated "full democracies" incorporate more socialist-leaning policies than the US—like single-payer health care, or fully socialized medicine, just as an example. Is it possible that Kirstie Alley doesn't know what she's talking about? Did she grow up in an era that poisoned her mind with trickle-down, free market, American exceptionalism, domino effect Cold War propaganda? Is she maybe…a boomer?

Democracy Index

The reality is that, whatever the issues with its implementation, the underlying ethos of socialism is fundamentally more democratic than that of capitalism. Under true capitalism—and to a lesser extent America's dilute form—owners necessarily control everything from work to speech to political power. You have rights to the extent that you can own things, and the right to ownership is the only one that's fundamental. Under true socialism—and to a lesser extent the dilute form found in Scandinavia—workers are in control of their work and the nation's wealth belongs to the will and the needs of its citizens.

In other words, a Democratic Socialist is far from the contradiction Alley lays out in "gentle Nazi." So as long as we're in agreement that Nazis are fundamentally violent and bad, maybe we can get on the same team with standing up to the politician who has made them feel welcome in America? And if we aren't going to impeach him for creating concentration camps at the border and deporting tens of thousands of people to face death and sexual assault as a result of violence that we export to our southern neighbors, can we at least hold him accountable when he tries to cheat his way through reelection? No? That's a bad precedent?

concentration camp

The truth is that the truly bad precedents in our politics stretch back decades. Since at least the days of Newt Gingrich, the GOP has adopted the approach of pushing as far right as they possibly can while labelling taxes, regulations, social services, and critiques of expanding wealth inequality as "Socialism." In response, Clintonist Democrats have tacked toward the center on economic issues, running away from any accusation of radicalism or a desire for dramatic change.

The result has been that the political left in America has spent decades slowly eroding while the "center" has shifted further and further toward the economic right—toward favoring ownership above all else. And while those economic right policies are not really all that popular with Americans today, the regressive social agenda that the GOP has attached to it has a vocal, enthusiastic core of straight white support—one that makes plenty of room for figures like Donald Trump, Steve King, David Duke, and real, live, non-gentle Nazis.

Now Millennials are faced with being the first generation of Americans since the New Deal who have worse prospects for the future than their parents. And Kirstie Alley apparently sees nothing wrong with that. While many of us are waking up to a potential for economic progress and wondering if the socialist boogeyman was all that scary to begin with, Kirstie just wants to go back to the civil politics that brought all of this on—back to a time when the idea of a more equitable distribution of wealth was not even on the table.

Peter Daou

Fortunately, not everyone is so rigid in their mindset. Alley's thoughts on socialism were prompted by an interaction with Hillary-Clinton-advisor-turned-darling-of-the-far-left Peter Daou, who had offered a challenge to Twitter at large: justify the existence of billionaires. Come up with a reason why any individual should own so much money. So much power. Money rules our lives—our politics, our press, our legal system—so what could possibly justify one person having such immense sway over all those sectors? The power to buy legislation, kill negative news stories, and get away with any crime you want to commit. Who deserves that?

Alley had a lazy and thoughtless response ready to go: all you have to do is come up with something really nifty! If enough people want to give you money for it, you deserve to have dominion over the world! The follow up was even less compelling, but I want to dig in on this idea. Don't get me wrong, people who create great products and services deserve reward and recognition. Of all the world's ultra-wealthy people, the small group of successful creators are the ones who most nearly deserve what they have. But a billion of dollars?

Let's say you invent a cool video game that everyone likes? Well, now you have enough money that you can blast your awesome opinions about race and sexuality as loudly as you want. Good for you, Notch! Though you might want to spread your wings and buy up some media companies like some other billionaires have done. If you do that, you can basically just run for president and everyone will have to take you seriously! All because of that video game you came up with, Notch. Or the money you illegally inherited from your dad, Donald. Or that emerald mine in Africa, Elon. Makes a lot of sense.

young elon Definitely looks like a kid who deserves even more money

It would be easy and petty to run through Kirstie Alley's acting credits as though the legacy of Veronica's Closet precludes her from doing some background reading before involving herself in politics. I don't think that actors of any stripe—or anyone else with a platform, an audience, and a message—should be excluded from a conversation on the basis of benign things they've done for money. That isn't why Kirstie Alley is out of her depth here.

You can make movies about talking babies and even be a Scientologist and still have important things to say—though maybe not about psychiatry. You also don't need to have three degrees in political science to have a valid opinion on current events. But if you really think that creating a thing that people want is so inherently good as to justify the wild excesses of unrestrained capitalism, you should at least be willing to read The Lorax to get a sense of where that leads.

You think it’s easy taking all those selfies; shopping; flying all over the world, standing on a red carpet?

No it is not my friends—it is actually really, really hard work—and Kim Kardashian wants you all to know that she works harder than ANY of you.

The 34-year-old spills all about her exhausting work regime, during an interview with Access Hollywood host, Billy Bush—and Popdust has the details.

Mrs Kanye West shared details of her hardest working person in the world manifesto, after Bush asked the selfless mom-of-one how she deals with all the haters on social media.

"To be honest, I don't really pay too much attention to it," Kim said. "I get more fed up with questions like – I was traveling recently and I was doing a press day and people were, like, 'How do you feel when people say what do you do?' And I’m, like, I'm here working aren't I? Like, I'm here to promote something.

"I said, hey why don't you do this – tell someone else that you think can do it. Tell them to do everything that I've done in my career and see if they end up where I'm at. Try it. Just try it. I dare you."

Meanwhile, the tireless hustler, has vowed to carry on Keeping up with the Kardashians, despite her unbearable workload that would leave other, mere mortals, exhausted.

"Every time we're like, 'OK our contracts are up… we're not exciting, there's nothing to share,' and then there are things where we feel like there has got to be other people going through what we're going through and why don't we just continue doing it while we're having fun," KK explained. "It's still fun."

 

Jennifer Lopez is responding to comments Sean "Diddy" Combs made about her famous ass, saying she is proud to get his seal of approval.

As Popdust previously reported, Diddy said JLo's booty was "a work of art", and no other derriere - including Kim Kardashian's - could compare.

According to Jen, she and the rapper will always be friends - and those curves are going NOWHERE.

"It's awesome! Here's the thing about me and Puff, and I'm sorry I'll always call him Puff, we always root for each other, we always support each other. It's great after all these years to know and watch him do all that he's done," she told Shaun Robinson during an interview with  Access Hollywood. "To see him do all that he's done makes me proud and to know that he's still in the game so strong and to know that he supports me and is proud of me is a beautiful thing."

Jennifer went on to explain how although her figure was considered "heavy" when she first started out as a dancer, it now seems to be extremely popular and celebrated.

"When I came out to L.A. from the Bronx and started pursuing my career as a dancer, as an actress, as a performer and singer, I realized that I was different. I was Latina first of all…and then my body wasn't traditional. I was bottom-heavy, small on the top, you know I had thick thighs and people criticized me…Now booty is in fashion, finally, but before it was just, 'You're heavy!'" she recalled. "And I was like wait a minute, there's nothing wrong with me. I'm a size six…eight…eight on a heavy day and that's OK, that's healthy."

There are MANY women who would be happy to be size eight on a heavy day, right? Watch the video below!

Chris Brown is opening up about his relationship with ex-girlfriend Rihanna, saying they are in a great place right now—and that if ever she wants him, all she has to do is call.

According to Chris, his recent jail stint really showed him what was wrong in his life and encouraged him to be a better man. The singer, who was placed on probation in 2009 for assaulting Rihanna, believes they have moved on from the now infamous pre-Grammys brutal beatdown and will always be friends.

"Me and her are friends," he told Access Hollywood.  "We have a great understanding. There's no issues."

Chris went on to say how much he would enjoy working with the Barbadian beauty again in the future, and if she ever wanted to, all she had to do was ask.

"If she's working on an album [and] she wants me on a record, she can call. I'll get on the record," he said. "If I need her on something, it's vice versa. So, that friendship, I think speaks volumes without having to speak. We've been friends. We've known each other for almost 10 years, the same amount of time I've been doing music. I don't think that's ever gonna change… we're friends."

How lovely is this shiny, bright, new and improved Chris Brown?

Make sure you catch the first half of Chris' interview tonight and the second tomorrow on Access Hollywood (check local listings for times)

Avril Lavigne sat down with Access Hollywood to address the rumor that she was carrying the next piece in the Kardashian-Jenner blended family puzzle. Contrary to what the Abbey Dawn designer's recent fashion choices may suggest, she is not expecting a child. "How insulting!" said the 27-year-old, who really shouldn't be judged for enjoying the comfort of a cozy poncho while getting a manicure. But instead of crying, she opted for straight forward denial. "No, I'm not. Obviously not. Not anytime soon." Somewhere, Brody Jenner lets out a huge sigh of relief." But leave it to Access co-host Kit Hoover to remind us what's most important in this discussion of bringing new life into the world. "I thought, oh, Khloe and Kim are going to be furious! The Kardashians, because they want to get pregnant." Let's get through the Kim and Kris wedding special first.

Surfing the Net with kids

The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) April 15, 2011 With the advent of the Internet, reinforcing reading skills does not have to be all about having your nose in a book. These educational game sites run the gamut from introducing phonics to preschoolers to fun online activities for middle school readers. website planets for kids

Earobics: GameGoo www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html Earobics is a K-3 "reading intervention" product from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. GameGoo is the free, online educational practice game component. For a list of educational standards addressed in each game (such as identifying the letters in words), follow the Home button to the Teachers & Parents link. The games (arranged on the menu from advanced to beginner) are colorful, noisy, fun, and just plain wonderful.

Scholastic.com: Flashlight Readers www.teacher.scholastic.com/activities/flashlightreaders/ T_landingPage.asp "Go inside your favorite reads" with online games from Scholastic, along with author notes, photos, and audio interviews. Ten popular young adult books are featured, including "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo, "Holes" by Louis Sachar, and "Hoot" by Carl Hiassen. The site includes teacher and parent guides with ideas on how to reinforce "reading skills in fun and meaningful ways." Kabongo www.kabongo.com Reading is Fundamental: Leading to Reading www.rif.org/kids/leadingtoreading/en/leadingtoreading.htm Reading is Fundamental divides its online activity center into two age groups: Reading Planet for ages 6 to 15, and Leading to Reading for zero (zero?) to 5 years old. With great graphics and fun game play, these colorful online reading activities and interactive books are sure to please. To access Reading Planet (for kids over 5), look for the link in the horizontal menu at the bottom of any page.

Starfall www.starfall.com Starfall offers four levels of interactive reading resources for pre-K through second-grade from ABCs and phonics to read-along plays and short stories. "Every word on the site is clickable and will read aloud. In this way, your child's speaking, reading, and writing vocabulary can grow alongside his curiosity." Although the interactive stories are the star of the show at Starfall, don't overlook the printable downloads which include a Reading and Writing Journal, Reading Awards, Phonics Puzzles, and printouts to accompany many of the stories. They can be accessed from the Download Center link at the very bottom of the home page. planetsforkidsnow.net planets for kids

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