Influencers Are Apparently Taking Pics At A Toxic Lake
Another day, another instance of Instagram influencers being stupid. God, they just never stop, do they? Not that I’m complaining, because it gives me endless article fodder. Carry on, you naive fools! The most entertaining thing about influencers (and wannabe influencers) is the lengths they will go to in order to capture a photo. Legitimately, last weekend, my friends and I watched as this girl stood in the middle of a house party, fake laughing to herself as if she were in the middle of an actual photoshoot, while her friend stood there with an iPhone, snapping pics for Instagram. If you just did that, not in front of a camera, you would look insane. A lot of the time, the dumb sh*t influencers do is pretty innocuous. But sometimes, it can be dangerous—like the Instagram couple who fell to their death while taking a selfie, or the “bikini hiker” who died of hypothermia on a hike. And you would think terrible, tragic stories like these would stop people from doing blatantly dangerous sh*t simply for the ‘gram, but you would be wrong, because PEOPLE recently reported that the newest Instagram destination that influencers are flocking to for photos is… a toxic blue lake.
Say it with me now: yeesh.
Russian government officials are apparently warning tourists to stay away from a body of water that’s been dubbed the Novosibirsk Maldives, after the bright blue water that’s reminiscent of the islands in the Indian Ocean. And, at a glance, it looks like a beautiful place to visit, swim, maybe snap a few pics.
Another great shot! Look how blue the lake and the sky are! I want a picture like this for my feed, should I go to the Novosibirsk Maldives? The guy above was in the water! What could go wrong?
Answer: a whole lot! To start, this isn’t a real lake. It’s a manmade pond, basically, and its name in Russian translates to “Lake Ash Dump.” Yikes! That’s because, you guessed it, the “lake” is a dumping site for a nearby coal plant. Even the company that owns the plant is urging people not to go swimming in or fall into the water. “We beg you not to fall into the ash dump in the pursuit of selfies!” they said. “That is the biggest danger.” When the actual company who runs the plant is telling you that it’s just not worth a selfie, you should probably listen.
And if you don’t want to just take the coal company’s word for it, one visitor told the Siberian Timesthat, after filming “a dreamy video as if she was on a tropical beach,” her face was “covered in a small rash” and she suffered from “a dry throat and nose”. Other visitors have reported the soles of their sandals flaking off after walking along the shoreline, so just imagine what that would do to your skin! The company itself warned, “skin contact with such water may cause local allergic reactions due to high mineralisation.”
Even more alarming, the Siberian Times alleges reports of “poisonous vapour, shrivelled plants and alarmingly-tinged blue seagulls,” though the company running the plant denies any harmful radiation.
So basically, this is the nuclear power plant from The Simpsons. And yet, people are still treating this like it’s the next go-to travel destination.
Guys, come on. This is so not worth it! I get that the waters look really blue and pretty, but this is not necessary. Especially in a day and age when you can just edit your photos or buy presets to make any old image look like it was taken in front of bright turquoise water or completely Photoshop yourself into a different location anyway. See:
I found this post a few days ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Technology is f*cking amazing. If you must get pictures with bright blue water, be like Michaela. Don’t go swimming in a toxic lake. Do. Not. Do it. This has been a friendly PSA.
Images: michaelaokland, maldives_nsk / Instagram
6 Takeaways From Attorney General Bill Barr’s Drama-Fueled Senate Hearing
Another day, another day-long congressional testimony where some old white guy lies at us for six hours. Grool. Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today regarding the Mueller investigation, his decision not to charge President Trump with obstruction, and the 4-page summary he provided of Mueller’s report ahead of its actual release. Here are 6 major takeaways from Barr’s testimony for those of you who can’t just casually watch hours of C-SPAN at the office.
1. Republicans Want to Investigate the Investigation
From the people who brought you the Benghazi hearings, I give you…the Mueller investigation investigation! Several Republican senators used their precious time to express concern over how the Mueller investigation was started and the legality of the FISA warrants used to surveil the Trump campaign. When asked by Senator Lindsey Graham if he was concerned about the “counterintelligence probe and how it started,” Barr answered yes, meaning he might be open to the Department of Justice investigating the origins of the investigation itself. All of this is based on a Trump-supported idea that the investigation into his campaign was based on the Steele dossier (aka the thing the pee tape rumor comes from), despite the fact that both the FBI and the Mueller report both demonstrate that the investigation began after George Papadopoulos got drunk and told an Australian diplomat the Russians had dirt on Hillary. Which reminds me, I need to apologize for some things I said after drinks last weekend…
2. Attorney General Barr Needs a Dictionary
Throughout the hearing, AG Barr seemed to be confused over the definition of very simple words. Barr claimed that he needed clarification on the definition of the words “suggest,” “summary,” “members,” and “conclusion.” He also said that President Trump never told White House counsel Don McGahn to “fire” Mueller, he simply asked him to “remove Mueller from his position due to alleged conflicts of interest.” See? Totally different.
3. Lindsey Graham Is Angry!!!!
Lindsey Graham resumed his role as craziest motherf*cker in the room for yet another hearing, Lord help us all. As committee chairman, Graham used his opening speech to yell about Hillary’s emails (of course) and read text messages between then-FBI official Peter Strzok and his girlfriend Lisa Page, one of which literally just said “Trump is a f*cking idiot.” Wait…but if criticizing Trump in 2016 is wrong then what about the guy who said this?
If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.
2020 hopefuls and Senate Judiciary Committee members Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar all used the hearing to audition for debating Donald Trump sometime in the future. Booker hammered Barr for “adding normalcy to a point where we should be sounding alarms,” about Russian interference. Klobuchar brought receipts while questioning Barr’s decision not to pursue an obstruction of justice charge, and in a particularly shady exchange, Kamala Harris came to slay when she asked Barr if the President or anyone else had ever suggested he investigate anyone. He responded by saying he doesn’t know what “suggest” means.
Here is the complete exchange, via CSPAN, between Kamala Harris and Bill Barr — including the part where Barr couldn’t say whether Trump or anyone in the White House has ever suggested that he open an investigation into anyone. It’s worth a watch. pic.twitter.com/wJOdSFR7JR
Much of the hearing was focused on a March 27 letter Mueller sent to AG Barr in which he expressed concern over Barr’s Cliffs Notes version of the report, saying that it “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions” and caused “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.” When asked about what Mueller’s concerns, Barr said that he thought the letter was “a bit snitty” and that after he read it, he called Mueller and asked, “Why don’t you pick up and call me if you have an issue?” You have my number, bro!
Despite the fact that the president tweets “TOTAL EXONERATION” once per hour these days, both Barr and the Mueller report were actually careful not to exonerate him. When asked about his decision not to charge Trump with obstruction Barr said, “I didn’t exonerate. I said that we didn’t believe that there was sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction case.” Nobody tell Trump he said that…
Omfg What Did I Just Watch: 6 Takeaways From The Michael Cohen Hearing
Apologies to the Boston Tea Party, but yesterday’s Michael Cohen testimony to the House Oversight Committee is now the day in our nation’s history most associated with scalding hot tea. It was served and boy oh boy was the nation tuned in, ready to sip it. Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified for over seven hours yesterday and since you like, probably have a day job or rightly don’t subject yourself to such torture: here are the main takeaways from the truly historical event.
Trump Talks Like A Mobster
Over and over again, Cohen was asked if the president told him to lie on his behalf and Cohen insisted he never directly did. But what he did say was that Trump didn’t have to say it explicitly. He had a code and Cohen knew how to read that code. So he’d say things indirectly and Cohen understood what was to be done. It’s like an episode of The Sopranos but Melania is nowhere near as cool as Carmela and Tiffany wishes she could hold a candle to Meadow.
Cohen: "[Trump] doesn't give orders. He speaks in code. And I understand that code."
I was once assigned to FBI Organized Crime Squad in Queens, NY. Can't begin to number amount of Mob cooperators who described their abilities to interpret Mob Boss's orders in exact same manner.
Cohen kept referencing an ongoing investigation by the Southern District of New York court that kept him from revealing too many details about other wrongdoings by Trump. While it isn’t completely clear what they are investigating, it likely has to do with campaign finance violations. Obviously, we’re all sending radar drones to circle the skies of that courthouse until they release more information about that case.
Congressman: "Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act…regarding Donald Trump that we haven't yet discussed today?"
Cohen said he was in the room when Roger Stone called Trump and told him that he’d spoken with Julian Assange, aka Pamela Anderson’s boyfriend, and that Wikileaks was going to release emails of Hillary Clinton’s. Instead of you know, reporting foreign meddling in our election, Trump just responded, “wouldn’t that be great.” Now, the Wikileaks Twitter account is playing a game of he said-she said, and is insisting they never once spoke with anyone in Trump’s camp. That tweet’s already being debunked.
A misleading statement from Wikileaks saying they “published” Hillary Clinton emails as early as March 2016. But that collection was no leak, they just reposted Clinton emails released by the State Department site. Very different from DNC emails stolen by Russia and given to WL. https://t.co/5pet5GNWuI
You know when your friend has a crush on someone and they are so insistent they don’t but it’s sooo obvious they do and it just feels like you’re stuck in an endless loop of getting them to admit it. That’s sort of how it feels hearing more information about the Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen claimed that two of Trump’s other lawyers made him change his 2017 Congressional testimony about the timeline of the Moscow Tower project, indicating it went on much longer than the Trump camp was open and honest about. If this is true, a lot of people, including Ivanka and Don Jr would be in a f*ckton of trouble for lying to Congress.
This is more a general takeaway from the entire hearing, but Republican’s came right out the gate yelling. Their entire tactic was to discredit Cohen by reminding everyone he is a liar. Unfortunately for them, Cohen up top admitted he had lied in the past and was very remorseful for it. So their tactic of doubling down on his dishonesty felt completely like a transparent distraction from the reality that they are all freaking the F out because all of a sudden one of the president’s Yes-Men isn’t nodding along anymore. If anyone reading this is a doctor, Mark Meadows needs a Xanax prescription STAT.
Scorecard after 4 hours: -Democrats: elicited information from the witness implicating the president in a crime and suggesting he had foreknowledge of the Wikileaks dump and a Russian plot to provide Trump campaign with dirt on Clinton -Republicans: proved Cohen may write a book
There was honestly so much that was said yesterday, not even the longest group text in the world could cover it all adequately. But some other insane takeaways from the hearing are that Trump hired a fake bidder to “pay” $60,000 for a nine foot tall portrait of him at an auction. The money came from the Trump organization. Cohen also confirmed that Trump directed him to pay off Stormy Daniels and showed a copy of the actual check that Trump signed for $130,000. At one point Rashida Tlaib called Mark Meadows racist for “using a black woman as a prop” and Mark Meadows got so angry he demanded the record be revised to show that he is not racist.
The entire day was so cataclysmically insane that I am going to begin day drinking and declare today a Friday for my own mental health sake. I will cheers to Michael Cohen for being brave and for everyone on the Oversight Committee for concentrating on something this complex for seven whole hours.
A Literal High Schooler Hacked The US Election System
Most of us consider our computers online shopping or Netflix machines, and have no f*cking clue how they work. Beyond the turn-it-off-then-on-again method, the vast majority of computer users are not necessarily tech savvy. However, 17-year-old River O’Conner from Washington knew enough about computers to hack our election system. Before you start picturing a hacker with a black hoodie on, sitting in front of like 5 monitors in his basement (i.e. our exact header image), think again. River did this as part of a hack-a-thon, and not as an international terrorist. Very important to clarify that fact since he prob is still trying to apply to college and he’s prob got a reputation to protect as a normal teen not terrorist, the usual.
Why Did He Do It?
So it wasn’t even his idea… the Democratic National Committee (DNC) decided to have a mock election system hacking challenge (say that 10 times fast) at the annual DEF CON convention in Vegas. Because a group of teen hackers and the DNC could really only make sense in Vegas. River has attended the convention since he was 11 and wanted to participate in this challenge because I guess something made him feel like our election system could be vulnerable? Wonder what that could be…
How Did He Do It?
In his personal account, which you can read here, River uses some jargon like “MySQL” and a bunch of other tech info that those of us who aren’t in STEM (I see you, beautiful lady STEM warriors) probs don’t fully understand. But whatever the method, the outcome was that a bunch of teens were able to change names, numbers, and – oh yeah – the outcome of an election. River decided to go one step further, putting himself in the mindset of a spy. He shut down the whole system by copying the IP Address, accessing the portal from a secure wifi spot, and the googled the coding he would need to use to shut it down. This all happened in minutes and he googled how to do the main part. *jaw on floor*
Why TF Does It Matter?
Basically our entire voting system is based on the idea that everyone gets one vote and that vote matters. So, when a bunch of high schoolers are able to hack into the election system and cancel those votes out, it’s def concerning. River O’Connor may not be a spy, but there are for sure plenty of countries *cough, Russia, cough* that would easily be able to pull this off. Even scarier is the fact that this may have already happened in 2016, when 21 state election systems were hacked.
It’s been no secret that state election systems have been v vulnerable in recent years and it is a problem that could be fixed. Unfortunately, the powers that be in Congress and the crumbling White House aren’t making any changes. If a 17-year-old who doesn’t even know if he wants to study technology in college yet can hack into an election system in 10 minutes, then let’s just assume pretty much every country as like hundreds of people who could too.
5 Facts About Mariia Butina, The Millennial Russian Spy With NRA Ties
Take a shot of vodka and say a prayer for Mueller, because the saga known as Russian collusion is the gift that just keeps giving. After seeing Trump and Putin’s creepy friendship earlier this month, it’s clear that something is up between Trump and Russia. Now Russian spy national Mariia Butina has been formally charged of conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent after her eight hour testimony in front of Senate Intelligence Committee.
Here’s 5 Things To Know About Mariia:
Mariia (also known as “Maria”) grew up in Siberia where she learned to hunt and got really good with guns.
She started an activist group called Right to Bear Arms in her twenties. Yes, only in Russia would it be that kind of bear…
She became the “special assistant” and spokes person for Aleksandr Torshin, a Russian Senator who is v powerful. Together they grew the Right to Bear Arms and basically they tried to hand out guns like candy across Russia.
She conveniently moved to the U.S. in 2016 to go to American University, but also teamed up with the NRA *cough* collusion *cough* and started a lobbying group in the U.S. with Paul Erikson, Republican uber villain supporter. Talk about really killing it on the extra curriculars.
Oh yeah, a grand jury formally charged her with conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent! That’s def important to know about her.
Maybe that was more than 5 things, but Mariia has been a busy girl since she came to the U.S. Turns out a Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev, was funneling money through her gun lobbying to gain influence in America. Now that is a political sugar daddy, no doubt. They tried to set meetings and discussed ways to make the Kremlin and Trump work in a mutually beneficial way. We’ll see if Trump continues to pull a Shaggy and say “it wasn’t me,” but it seems like collusion might not be so far fetched. Go stock up on some vodka and play a fun game while watching the news where you take a shot every time they mention collusion… you’ll be drunk in no time!
The 4 Craziest Moments From The Trump Putin Summit
Yesterday a very special one-on-one took place and no it wasn’t on The Bachelorette. This was a political one-on-one between our president and national embarrassment Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin, our real president the leader of Russia.The two met in Helsinki, Finland and had a private meeting that has left the entire world more anxious than the Handmaid’s Tale finale. It was like seven minutes in heaven but instead of wondering if there was kissing going on in there, we’re speculating treason. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what Former CIA Director John Brennan had to say:
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
Despite the FBI saying that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and literally indicting 12 Russians in the hack of the DNC just last week, Trump has basically decided to believe Putin who said they didn’t, basically be cause he said so. It’s a real “he said- American intelligence agency said” situation that actually isn’t hard to take sides on at all! Trump didn’t come outright and say this but the shady SOB didn’t deny it and let his buddy stand next to him and say they didn’t interfere with the US election. You are the company you keep, sweetie! Don’t believe me? Here’s what Michael Steele, the former head of the Republican National Committee had to say:
“My people came to me…they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
That’s how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler.
Perhaps we should have seen this one coming because Fox News is simply a propaganda channel suckling at the teat of Trump. But it still is wild to see Putin sitting down for an interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace like he just won American Idol or something. While Wallace was arguably tough on Putin at times and Putin was incredulous a journalist was asking him legitimately thorough questions, the whole interview was like a nightmare fan fiction diary entry of Trump’s.
But does that mean Fox loved the summit? Let’s let Fox Bussiness’ Neil Cavuto speak for himself:
Both sides are freaking out over Trump siding against the US and calling his the T word. (Traitor.) It’s truly the first moment of people reaching across the aisle and agreeing that things are very, very bad. Even Paul Ryan released a statement being like, “Trump, honey, no.”
There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”
Of course, will any of this outrage from Republicans lead to action? I’m willing to place a million Russian rubles on “no.”
These Are The VIP Perks Paul Manafort Is Getting In Jail
Gotta love perks, am I right? Some people get free coffee at the office, others bring their puppies to work. And if you’re a shady Trump associate awaiting trial, you don’t have to give up your little luxuries! Here are 5 insane perks Paul Manafort’s getting in prison.
In case you forgot who Manafort is, he’s the definitely-guilty dirtbag/former Trump campaign chair currently facing a whole host of charges thanks to the Robert Mueller investigation. Money laundering? Paul probably did it! Tax fraud? You betcha! Conspiracy against the United States? Add it to the freaking list! Also, according to a profile in The Atlantic, Manafort rented his mistress a $9,000/a month apartment in Manhattan, and that tells you everything you need to know about him.
Anyways, Manafort was on house arrest until he screwed it up by witness tampering and got moved to Northern Neck Jail in Virginia. But a Wednesday court filing revealed that his new digs have actually been pretty sweet. Even Manafort agrees. In a recorded phone call from jail, he said he was being treated like a “VIP.” Here are some of the ways…
1. He Doesn’t Have To Wear A Uniform
A fashionista like Paul can’t be constrained by a jumpsuit! It just wouldn’t flatter his figure!
2. His Own Workspace
Apparently, Manafort gets to prepare for his upcoming trial in a private workspace. Because lying is hard and he needs to CONCENTRATE.
3. His Own Living Unit
Forget what you see on Orange Is The New Black. According to the filing, Manafort has been staying in a “private, self-contained living unit which is larger than other inmates’ units” (and also probably larger than my NYC apartment?). Cool cool cool.
4. A Private Telephone
No waiting in a long phone line for Manafort! Unfortunately, though, he does not have a $43,000 soundproof phone booth like other ethically-compromised Trump associate Scott Pruitt. Strange, all these bad people around Trump… It’s almost like — and bear with me here, even though it might sound a little crazy – the president is a shitty person?
5. A Private Bathroom
Man, I don’t even have a bathroom to myself, but Manafort gets his own shower facility. Maybe I should get myself thrown in jail. Oh wait, it only works if you’re a rich, notorious white man? *Slowly puts down the $1,000-worth of beauty products I’d been planning to shoplift from Sephora.*
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6 Signs Michael Cohen Is About To Flip On Trump
The running theme of Michael Cohen, personal attorney to President Trump and former Executive Vice President at the Trump organization, has been ride-or-die loyalty to all that is The Donald. In a bros-before-hoes frat boy declaration, Cohen once declared that he would “take a bullet” for Trump, which is pretty impressive considering not even all members of the secret service were prepared to die for him
During George Stephanopoulos’ ABC interview Saturday night at the Manhattan hotel where Cohen has been living, his loyalty seemed to be waning. Speculations that Cohen could flip have been floating around since April, when the FBI raided his offices and homes. The President, of course, couldn’t resist offering up his own opinion, tweeting in April that “most people will flip if the government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that.” Sorry, but we’ll see about that.
Cohen Says His Loyalty is To His Family
When Cohen was asked directly who he would choose if prosecutors forced him to protect either President Trump or his family, Cohen said that his family is “his first priority.” What about taking a bullet for your boy, Cohen? When Stephanopoulos reminded him of his bullet vow, Cohen said, “To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.”
No Compliments for Trump
Cohen was sure not to praise the president at all during the interview, and he even dared to criticize the way that Trump has been publicly resisting the federal investigations. He defended his own cooperation by adding, “Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I will defer to my new counsel, Guy Petrillo, for guidance.”
He Won’t Be a Punching Bag
Cohen emphasized that everything he says during the investigation will not be out of loyalty to Trump, but rather the advice of his lawyer, Guy Petrillo. Once Petrillo formerly assumes his position, the previous joint defense agreement between Trump and Cohen is over. This means that Trump and Cohen’s lawyers will no longer be allowed to share documents or other information with each other, and they could start playing real dirty. When asked what he’ll do if Trump’s legal team attempts to undermine his previous work to protect the president, Cohen said, “I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy. I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.”
The one thing we’re all interested in: the $130,000 payment Cohen gave to porn star Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels nearly two weeks before the 2016 election so that she would keep quiet. The transaction could possibly be a violation of campaign finance law, which would mean bad things for Cohen. When asked before if Trump told him to pay Stormy off and promised to pay him back, Cohen said he acted on his own will. Not anymore, though. Cohen said “I want to answer. One day I will answer. But for now, I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.” All I can gather from this is that Trump and Cohen were at brunch and Trump was like, “Hey can you cover up a porn star affair for me? I’ll just venmo you.” He never venmo’d.
He Respects the FBI and The Mueller Investigation
Trump called the FBI break-in of Cohen’s home, “attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” Cohen, however, disagreed. “I don’t agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI. I respect the FBI as an institution, as well as their agents.” He also refused to call the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.” “As an American,” he said, “I repudiate Russia’s or any other foreign government’s attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process, and I would call on all Americans to do the same.”
He Just Wants His Life Back
Cohen said he hopes the interview is the first steps toward regaining his name, reputation and life back. Cough up the details on Stormy, and maybe we’ll be with you, Mike.
Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!ai